Edie knocked on Derwen’s door and waited for a moment. The door was answered by one of Derwen’s roommates, who squinted at Edie, smiled, and called over her shoulder, “Sarah, your friend Edie is here.”
“What does she want?” Derwen called.
The roommate—Edie still hadn’t learned their names, though they had obviously learned hers—turned back to Edie and raised her eyebrows.
“We’re going to brunch,” Edie said. “Does she want to come along?”
“You got that?” the roommate called.
“Yeah.” Derwen’s voice was muffled. “Gimme a minute.”
Edie tried to look into the room over Derwen’s roommate’s shoulder. It seemed very dark in there, especially compared to the corner triple in Sayer, but maybe they just had their blinds all closed. Anyway, with the rain, the triple in Sayer probably wasn’t very bright right now either.
“Do you like living in a triple?” she asked.
The roommate shrugged. “It’s okay, I guess. I’m going to try for a single next year, but I probably won’t get one, so a friend and I are going to try to get a double in Richmond.”
“Seems like a good idea,” Edie said, nodding as Derwen came out of the room.
“Have a good brunch,” the roommate said before shutting the door.
Derwen looked back and forth between Edie and the door. “Were you talking to her?”
“I was wondering what you guys think of your triple.”
“It’s cramped and smelly,” Derwen said grumpily. “I’m getting a single next year. Why did you get me up so early for brunch?”
“It’s not early,” Edie said. “It’s after nine. And you didn’t have to come.”
Derwen looked around. “It’s after nine? Why is it so dark?”
“It’s raining pretty hard out there.” Edie gestured at her rain jacket and boots.
“Raining?” Derwen’s eyes opened wide, her whole posture straightening. Without saying anything else to Edie, she ran down the steps. Edie started to go after her, but heard a noise from above, and looked up to see Corrie, Annie, Dawn, and Rico coming down the steps.
“Derwen not coming?” Corrie asked.
“I just told her it was raining and she ran downstairs,” Edie said, heading down the steps herself. “I hope she’s okay.”
She didn’t find Derwen until she’d gotten outside, tugging her hood up and almost missing some movement out of the corner of her eye. Derwen was spinning around in the grass, the rain plastering her clothes and hair to her skin. Edie tried not to stare. “Sarah” wasn’t her type, but she was certainly not bad-looking with her clothes stuck against her figure.
“What are you doing?” Corrie called to Derwen, raising her voice to be heard over the rain.
“It’s rain!” Derwen called back. She spun one more time, her arms outstretched, then skipped back to the path to walk with them.
Edie shook her head. “I don’t understand you. You freak out about the cold but you deliberately run out to get wet in the rain?”
“It’s not cold rain,” Derwen said, grinning. “I missed the rain.”
“Are you a plant?” Dawn asked her. “Or plant-like somehow?”
Derwen frowned, furrowing her eyebrows. “I’m not a plant. I’m a person.”
“When we… when you traded yourself to the court faeries, for Annie, you seemed to turn into a plant,” Dawn said. “I didn’t think much of it at the time, because I was just starting to be able to use my Sight, but I’ve wondered about it since then.”
“What did it look like?” Derwen asked. Edie was curious, too. She remembered that day very well, and she’d never seen Derwen turn into a plant… but she’d also been unable to see any of the things Dawn Saw.
“Well, you had that tattoo,” Dawn started, then hesitated. They had just reached the dining hall, and Dawn dropped her voice as they walked inside. “Could anyone else see the tattoo?”
“I remember the tattoo,” Edie said, trying not to blush. When Derwen had been “Ever,” she’d looked different, but she’d been pretty attractive then, too. “Oak leaves on her chest, right?”
“Oh yeah,” Derwen said. “That was cool. Being Sarah kind of sucks, she looks so boring.”
“Anyway,” Dawn said, “it was like the tattoo spread all over you. You were just covered in oak leaves. All but your eyes.”
They swiped into the dining hall and followed Corrie to an empty table. Edie hung her jacket on the back of a chair. Derwen seemed to be oblivious to the way she was tracking water and mud all over the floor, or the looks some people were giving her.
“I remember that now,” she said. “Belara did that. She liked to do things like that… you know, mess with people’s bodies to mess with their emotions, or to keep them where she wanted them. It was fun for her, I guess. It didn’t last very long, but it’s one of the reasons I wanted to leave.”
“Oh!” Dawn’s eyes widened. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to remind you of something horrible.”
“It’s fine,” Derwen said with a shrug. “I mean, I got out of there. And I couldn’t have done it without you guys.”
She headed toward the food, and Edie followed, deciding what she wanted to eat. It wasn’t until she had gotten in line for fresh pancakes that she realized Derwen had never actually answered Dawn’s question.