Clare K. R. Miller

Chatoyant College Book 12: Chapter 53: Soft Afternoon

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Edie knew she should get working on her homework, since she didn’t know what else the weekend might have in store for her, but with the rain still coming heavily down, making shushing noises out her window, she couldn’t get motivated to sit down and focus. When Corrie suggested going down to the common room to watch a movie, she agreed, and Annie and Roe joined them.

It was very cozy and nice, sitting in the common room while the rain continued to hammer down outside (though they could barely hear it from there), nibbling on popcorn and watching a Jane Austen movie. Edie wondered whether they would be able to do the same thing next year. Maybe if she, Dawn, and Corrie got one of those nice suites in Sayer, they would be able to watch TV in their own room. The common area in Sayer had seemed busy—though if each floor had one of those, unlike Gilkey, then maybe different ones would be more or less busy.

“Where are you guys planning to live next year?” she asked Annie and Roe, looking over at them—they were sitting in two of the armchairs while she and Corrie occupied the couch. “Did you put in your applications?”

“Oh, yeah, we did that last week,” Roe said, her eyes still on the TV. “We applied for a double in Richmond, with singles in Mary Thomas and Sayer as our second and third choices.”

“So we’ll probably get the double in Richmond, since the singles will already be taken,” Annie said. “But it would be nice to get a single.”

“Oh, are the two of you planning to live together?” Corrie asked.

“Yeah, we talked about that a while ago,” Roe said.

“That’s really cool,” Edie said, very pleased that her two friends would be roommates, if they didn’t get their singles. Now she wondered what Derwen’s plan was. She was probably applying for a single—she didn’t seem to like having roommates very much.

“Though it would be even better if you got singles in Sayer,” Corrie said. “The three of us applied for a triple there, so then we would all live together.”

“That does sound nice,” Annie said, looking over at them.

“What about Talia?” Edie asked. “We thought you might want to stick with her, Roe.”

Roe shrugged. “She’s a decent roommate, but I like Annie more. Anyway, she already has a plan with a group to get one of the suites in Hickory.”

Corrie gave an exaggerated sigh. “I wanted to try that.”

“Maybe next year,” Roe said.

Edie shook her head. “I don’t know if I could live with that many people. Two is plenty.”

“Yeah, but you get more rooms in the suites,” Corrie said. “You and I would still be roommates, and there would be another room or two, then a common room and a kitchenette. It’s luxurious.”

Edie smiled. “Okay, maybe next year then. If we don’t all hate each other.”

“Never,” Roe said. “You guys are my friends.”

“I don’t think we need to worry about next year’s room assignments right now,” Annie said with a laugh. “And be quiet, this is my favorite part—see, Lady Catherine is about to show up.”

They were quiet through the rest of the movie, which had a really adorable ending (which Edie expected, of course, having read the book twice), then headed back upstairs. Edie again told herself that she should get some homework done, but instead she settled into her bed with her knitting. She was working on a lace shawl, just for fun, and she never seemed to get enough knitting time anymore.

The clack of her needles and the hush, hush of the rain was very soothing. She was really focused on the needles and the soft blue yarn, so at first she thought the tapping sound was just the rain getting heavier.

Then it sounded again, sharply and nearer her head, and she looked up suddenly, realizing that something had hit her window. She looked over at Corrie, but she was asleep, so Edie just scrambled up onto her knees and looked out the window.

Leila was standing there, way down at the bottom of the building. The rain didn’t seem to be touching her at all; her red hair blazed in the dim light. She stared up and threw a pebble, which struck the window with another loud tapping sound.

Edie scrambled to get her boots and jacket on and carry her umbrella. She left the door to the room unlocked, since Corrie was home, and ran down the stairs. She wrenched open the door to the building and flew around the side.

Leila was gone. But something white was visible at the edge of the stone.

Edie crouched down to lift the stone and pick it up. The paper was already damp, but it was readable. Sunset tonight is at eight o’clock, it read in Leila’s neat cursive. Please meet me at the gate at least ten minutes before that time.

Edie looked for her phone to check the time, but it wasn’t in her pocket—she must have left it in her room. She looked around, thinking she should hurry to the entrance gate to meet Leila, but she wasn’t sure if Leila would be there. Eight o’clock was hours away, and she might not have expected Edie to come down so soon.

Anyway, she knew she should have her phone with her if she left campus. And she couldn’t just run off without an explanation for Corrie. She didn’t want to make her friends worry. She sighed, stuffed the note in her pocket, and headed much more slowly back inside.

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