Dawn stayed quiet, letting Link and Troy work this out on their own. If this turned into an argument, she would grab Corrie and Edie and leave. But they’d come here to learn about what had happened when the faerie had attacked Troy, and they weren’t going to give up this easily.
Troy looked up at Link guiltily. “I was going to tell you eventually. I just couldn’t find the right time.”
“Troy.” Link sounded like he was making an effort to speak calmly. “You can’t just go around kissing guys. You have two jobs here—you have to get your education and you have to find a wife.”
Troy shook his head, his dark hair flopping into his eyes. “I can’t do the second part. I’ve tried… I really have. I kept trying to convince myself that I liked this girl or that girl. But I’m gay.”
“You just haven’t met the right girl yet,” Link said. “You have to—“
“Link,” Corrie said. “Troy says he’s tried. You can’t expect him to keep putting himself and the girls through that. He knows his own mind better than anyone else.”
Link sat down and put one hand over his face. His other hand was still holding his fork with a small piece of pancake on it, which made him look slightly ridiculous. “Why haven’t you told me before?”
“I was scared, okay? It’s not something I really know how to deal with. I don’t know what my dad is going to say, so I kept finding excuses to not tell you yet. Even though Roe said I should, and I knew she was right.”
Troy nodded, even though Link couldn’t see him. “I told her when we went on that date. It was going really badly, but we had more fun once we both realized that it was never going to work out between us.”
“There you go,” Corrie said, smirking. “If only Troy really did like girls, you might not have gotten together with Roe.”
Link muttered something under his breath that sounded like swearing, then looked up at Troy again. “I really wish you’d told me earlier. I don’t know what your dad is going to say, either, and now we only have a couple of weeks before we have to see him.”
“We don’t have to tell him right away.”
“I’ll talk to my parents first, if we don’t think of something else. I don’t know what to do. The law might say that the king has to marry a woman who was human, and if that’s the case, you have to either marry or abdicate.”
“We can’t decide for Cordelia whats she’s going to do.”
“If it does turn out to be necessary,” Edie said, “I’m sure you could find a human woman who doesn’t mind a marriage of convenience if it means she’s married to a mermaid prince. Maybe one who isn’t attracted to men. You said you liked Annie last year. I don’t think she’d be interested, but someone might.”
“I was just trying to find someone to like. Annie seemed safe. Probably because I could tell she wasn’t interested in me.” Troy pushed his hair back out of his face.
“I’m sure this is going to be frustrating for you to work out,” Dawn said, “and if you want any advice, you can ask us, but I don’t think we’re exactly experts on how a gay guy can deal with his family’s expectation that he get married.”
“Right,” Link said. “Back on topic.” He snatched the rest of his pancake off his fork with his teeth and chewed angrily.
“So the faerie might have gone after Sean as a way to punish you,” Dawn said, trying to find the thread of the conversation again. “Just because you got away, maybe. Or maybe because he was just the next person to come out of the building.”
Troy nodded, poking at the pancakes with his fork. “I don’t know any other reason.”
“Do you know if he had any connection to Elrath?” Corrie asked. “Did he know him at all? For that matter, did either of you?”
The confused faces that Troy and Link both turned to Corrie made Dawn feel as though the awkwardness had at least been defused somewhat. “Elrath?” Link said.
“Oh, right,” Corrie said. “The first person who was killed—people knew her as Christy, but she was really a faerie named Elrath.”
Link shook his head, eyes wide, and got up for another pancake. “I had no idea. I knew her, sort of—I’d had a couple of classes with her—but I didn’t know she was a faerie. She was always really quiet.”
“He liked to avoid drawing attention to himself, because he was afraid people would find out he was a faerie, I think,” Dawn said. “Troy, did you know him at all? Or did Sean?”
Troy shook his head. “I’ve never heard either of those names before.”
“So what’s the connection?” Corrie said.