“Well, he shouldn’t have gotten mad at you for that,” Corrie said, incensed on her friend’s behalf. She felt her hands balling into fists. Unfortunately, not only was Link not there, but hitting him wouldn’t do anything anyway. “Just because he’s—“
Roe held up her hand, nodding. “He apologized for that the next morning. He said he just overreacted because his ego was hurt.” She smiled faintly. “He says I can have all the time I need to decide my answer, but he really wants me to say yes. Of course, we might not be able to see each other again at all after he graduates, because the king could decide to keep him at home and that’s that.”
“Couldn’t he come out and visit sometimes?” Edie asked. “Surely he gets vacation.”
Roe frowned. “I don’t know. I’ll ask him… if I ever get to talk to him.” She sighed. “I get the impression he doesn’t think there’s anything he can do other than what the king says, which is kind of weird, because Troy’s supposed to be the next king, and Link tells him what to do all the time.”
“Even if he does come out to visit, letters and a few visits seems like very little to hang a relationship on,” Annie said.
Roe nodded. “So we were supposed to meet up tonight and talk about it now that we’ve both calmed down a little.”
“You didn’t seem very calm,” Corrie observed with a smile that she hoped would add a little humor.
Roe’s faint smile returned, so Corrie felt encouraged. “Well, no. He didn’t show up. When he was late, I called him and left a voicemail, which I don’t think he listened to. Then I called again a while later, and he picked up, but he said we would have to reschedule. He’s the one who insisted on discussing it today, instead of waiting for the weekend, so I don’t understand why he would want to change it now.”
“He didn’t say?” Annie asked.
“That’s the problem. He won’t tell me.” Roe dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. “He kept apologizing, and he says he’s fine, but he always tells me what’s going on, even if he won’t give me details.”
Corrie swallowed. “Do you think it has something to do with the faeries again?”
“I don’t know. He says he’s at home—I assume he means his dorm room. I don’t think a faerie would be likely to come in.”
“Maybe it’s Troy who’s having a problem, and he needs Link’s help,” Edie said.
Roe spread out her hands in a gesture of helplessness. “If that was the case, I would totally understand! He can tell me! He’s told me before that he has to be late to meet me or something like that because of Troy, and I’ve always been fine with it. I know that’s his job. Just like I wouldn’t cut class to meet with him.” She wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “I wouldn’t be mad if he would just talk to me. But if he’s refusing, well… he’s certainly going to have to be the one to get back in touch, and it better be in person, not on the phone. Because today the phone obviously wasn’t good enough.”
Corrie sighed. “I wish I knew what to tell you. Maybe he has a good reason, but right now it sounds like he’s being a jerk.”
Annie gave Roe a hug. “We’re here to support you.”
“Thanks,” Roe said, wiping her eyes.
“Do you want some chocolate?” Edie asked. “I think I have some.”
“I guess I wouldn’t complain.” Roe managed her biggest smile yet.
As Edie looked through her drawer for chocolate, Corrie shook her head, thinking back on recent interactions with Roe. “No wonder you said you weren’t sure if you were going to break up.”
“Yeah. That was the day he asked me to marry him and I said no. Well, at first I said no, and that sounds like you’re going to break up, right? But I didn’t want to do that, either. I just needed time.” She accepted the chocolate that Edie handed her. “Thanks.”
“Are you his first serious girlfriend?” Annie asked. “Maybe he only knows one way to be.”
Roe frowned, chewing on the chocolate. She swallowed and said, “You know, I might be. He’s dated girls on campus before, but I’m sure he never considered them serious enough to tell about the Djanaea. And he dated at least one Djanaea girl during a summer break, but if that was serious, it’s been over for a while.”
“He’s not the one who’s supposed to come to college to find a wife,” Corrie said.
“Yeah, but maybe…” Roe shrugged. “Well, there’s no rule against it. And I have to admit, I’m worried, you know? What could be going on that’s so big he won’t tell me about it?”
“Maybe it’s not so much big as private,” Edie said. “Couldn’t it be Troy’s problem that he won’t let Link tell you about?”
“Hmm.” Roe nibbled on the chocolate. “Maybe. I do feel better now. Thanks for listening.”
“Of course,” Corrie said. “What are friends for?”