Dawn went back up to her own room once they’d gotten back to Gilkey, but she didn’t want to stay there. She gathered up her things for homework—she had a few sources she was still taking notes on for her History of Psychology paper, and her sociology class kept assigning homework up until the last class, which was Monday—and took it with her down to Rico’s room. She knocked on the door and he let her in. “Hey, sweetie.” He kissed her on the cheek.
She smiled, fairly certain that Duncan was in the room, because Rico was usually even more demonstrative when they were alone. “Hi. I have some work to do, and I figured we could sit and work together. Make it go faster.”
“That sounds like a great idea. I’m supposed to be doing homework, so maybe you can keep me on track.” He let her in, and she saw that his computer was on his bed, with his headphones plugged into it—she suspected that he’d been watching a movie or some videos rather than having the headphones in to help him concentrate.
Duncan was sitting at his desk focusing hard on his computer. “Hi, Duncan,” Dawn said, before realizing that he had his headphones on as well. That was fine with her—she really did need to do homework, and if Duncan was working hard, there was no reason for him to rush out of the room in embarrassment, as he sometimes did when she arrived.
Rico unplugged his headphones and set them aside, then arranged the pillows against the wall, so he and Dawn could sit on the bed leaning against the wall without too much discomfort. Dawn sat beside him and pulled out the book and notebook she was using for History of Psychology, then sighed with contentment as he settled down. She rested her head for a moment on his shoulder. He was so warm and strong and comforting. She was so glad they’d managed to meet. It was luck that had put them both in Gilkey as their freshman-year dorm—but more than luck that he’d decided to ask her out.
Studying with Rico probably wasn’t the best way to stay focused, since they kept taking breaks to kiss or have a short, random chat, but it was the best way to stay fresh and keep from getting too bored. If her eyes got tired from staring at a book, she could take a break and look at Rico instead—a much more pleasant sight.
They took a break for lunch in the early afternoon (dragging Duncan along with them—he didn’t want to take a break, but Rico insisted that he needed to eat), then went back to it. Finally, as it was getting to be evening and she’d finished as much as she could for her psychology paper and done all her sociology homework, she packed everything away reluctantly. “I’d better go back to where my actual computer is,” she told Rico. “Anyway, I probably have to do some stuff with Corrie. We’re helping the magic professors find the person who’s been attacking students.”
She felt bad not giving him the whole explanation, but she was pretty sure the magic professors didn’t want them telling anyone what was really going on, even if they hadn’t said so specifically. Anyway, she didn’t want to worry him.
He frowned anyway. “I hope they aren’t trying to make you do something dangerous.”
Dawn shook her head. “We’re just looking for it. Strictly non-confrontational.”
“Do you know what to look for?”
“Nope. That’s sort of the problem.” She smiled. “Maybe if we can figure out what it is… you know, I wonder if it messes with the air currents on campus. Human bodies do, a little bit, like everything else that’s large and solid. I could look for that, once it’s dark and everyone’s in their dorms, so that there’s not likely to be any students to confuse things.”
Rico smiled and kissed her cheek. “You’re brilliant, you know. Okay, good luck.”
“Thanks. Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
She headed back up to her dorm but left her bag there, eager to share her idea with Corrie. When she knocked on Corrie and Edie’s door, she found both of them inside, studying.
“Oh, thank goodness, a distraction,” Corrie said, throwing what appeared to be a math book onto her bed. “What’s up, Dawn? Do you want to get dinner?”
“We could do that,” she said. “But I just realized that bodies mess with the air currents on campus. I could use that to look for the faerie when there aren’t many people around.”
“That’s an interesting idea,” Edie said. “I guess any person wandering around campus alone is likely to be suspicious, at least after dark.”
“Either suspicious or in danger,” Corrie said. “Cool idea, Dawn.”
Dawn grinned. “We’ll see how it works out, anyway.”