Edie headed up the stairs to the fifth floor. She marveled sometimes at how easy it was for her to climb the stairs now. Sure, she still got a little bit out of breath at the top, but she caught her breath again before she reached her own room. And her legs didn’t burn from all the climbing.
She hoped she didn’t get out of shape over the summer, or in their new dorm next year. They hadn’t learned yet whether they’d gotten the room assignment they wanted, but it probably wouldn’t be on the fifth floor of any building. Maybe if she did get out of shape, Corrie would finally convince her to go for a run some morning.
It would still involve getting up early, though, so probably not.
She let herself into the room she shared with Corrie to find both Corrie and Dawn there, chatting. “Hi,” Corrie said, turning in her chair to look at Edie. “Did you have fun with your other friends?”
Edie grinned. “Yeah, I did. Why, are you jealous?”
“Pfft, who needs friends,” Corrie said, and they laughed.
“People are still freaking out about what happened, though,” Edie said, sitting down on her bed. “I wish the school would release an official response. People have noticed that there aren’t any cops.”
“Maybe there have been cops, and we just haven’t seen them,” Corrie suggested.
Dawn shook her head. “I don’t think so. The cops would have interviewed people—at least the people who knew him best, which might just be his neighbors in Mary Thomas, but still. Rumors spread pretty quickly on this campus, and we would have heard about it.”
“You’re right.” Corrie rested her elbows on the back of her chair. “I am hearing the same questions from all over. Do you think we should tell the magic professors?”
“All the professors are probably getting the same questions,” Edie said. “It won’t be new to them.”
“Yeah, that’s true. Well, now that you’re here, Edie, want to go get some dinner? It’s getting late.”
“Sounds good,” Edie said. At least she didn’t have to warn her friends about staying in groups after dark. They were always careful—they had been since the very beginning of the fall semester, when Annie had been kidnapped and they’d learned about faeries. And Corrie was wearing her iron bracelets. While Corrie got her shoes, Edie rooted in her desk until she found one of her own iron bracelets and put it on.
They knocked on Annie’s door and got her to join them for dinner, then went down the hall to Roe’s room. “She’s probably out with Link,” Annie said as Corrie knocked.
“Well, we’ll give her a minute,” Corrie said.
They waited in silence, and Edie was just starting to think that it was time to head down the stairs when the door opened. It was Roe, somewhat to Edie’s surprise. She looked tired.
“Oh, hey, guys,” she said, opening the door slightly wider but not coming out. “What’s going on?”
“We just wanted to see if you would come get dinner with us,” Corrie said.
Roe hesitated a moment, sucking air in through her teeth, then shook her head. “No, I really don’t feel like going anywhere tonight. Thanks, though.”
“Are you okay?” Edie asked. She hoped Roe wasn’t sick when they were having such lovely weather and the semester was almost over.
Roe bit her lip and leaned forward slightly, which had the effect of making all of them lean toward her to hear what she had to say. “Link and I had a fight,” she said softly. “I just don’t want to be around people too much.”
“Oh, no,” Corrie said sympathetically. “You’re not breaking up, are you?”
“I… I don’t know.” Roe stepped back into the room, lifting her hand to wipe at her face. “I’ll see you guys later, okay?” She shut the door.
They stood there in stunned silence for a moment before finally turning to the fire door. “I didn’t mean to make her cry,” Corrie muttered, pushing open the door.
“It’s not your fault,” Dawn said. “It’s whatever Link said to her, I guess. I wonder what he could have done to make her so upset.”
“It might just be that it’s their first fight,” Annie said. “I mean, I think it is. They’ve had such a smooth relationship so far that one fight might feel devastating.”
“I hope they can get through it,” Edie said. “She seems so happy with him.”
“Yeah,” Dawn said. “Remember what she was saying the other day about him being the nicest guy? I hope he hasn’t just proven her wrong.”
“It might just be about him leaving, or not leaving,” Edie said. “Remember, he’s graduating. But he might stick around for Troy.”
“Let’s not speculate anymore,” Annie said. “I’m starting to feel guilty.”
“Good plan,” Corrie said. “How did your rehearsal go, Annie? Everything sounding good?”
“Pretty good,” Annie said, smiling. “Some of the horns need to pay better attention, but I think they’ll figure that out.”
They stayed on the subject of Annie’s music all the way to the dining hall.