Saturday, September 23
Corrie and Edie stood in the doorway of Annie’s room while she packed a few things. They’d made plans earlier for a movie night with her, and since Dawn had made plans with Rico to spend the night in his dorm room (his roommate would be away), she’d agreed to let Annie sleep in her bed. They were all hoping Annie would be able to get a better night of sleep away from Mary Thomas. The ghost had been bothering her every single night recently. Corrie had suggested she ask to be moved to a different dorm room, but there weren’t any empty ones; the way the administration had juggled the student population when so many people had dropped out, the dorms that had remained open were fully packed.
Corrie heard footsteps on the rug behind her and turned around to see Roe, smiling wanly. “Hi, guys,” she said. “What are you up to? Keeping Annie company?”
They’d all been trying to spend more time with Annie if they could, since the ghost didn’t bother her when she was with other people—even, apparently, the people who had annoyed the ghost last week. Corrie nodded. “And then we’re all heading back to our room for a movie night and sleepover,” she said.
“Cool,” Roe said. “Can I join you?”
Annie lifted her head from where she was rummaging in a drawer. “Roe? Don’t you have a date with Link tonight?”
Roe grimaced. “That’s been… postponed.”
“Is everything okay?” Edie asked, frowning.
Roe passed a hand in front of her eyes. “I’d rather not talk about it,” she said. “I just want a break with my friends, is that okay?”
“Of course you’re welcome to join us,” Corrie said quickly. She didn’t want Roe to think she was being excluded. “You want to grab some stuff?”
“No, I’ll come back to my own room to sleep. But a movie night sounds like just what I need.”
Annie tossed something into her bag and stood up, slinging the bag over her shoulder. “I’m ready to go.”
“Great.” Corrie and Edie stepped back into the hall while Annie locked her door. “Is your burn all healed?”
“Yeah, it’s like it was never there.” Annie touched her chest through her t-shirt. “Ginny did a great job.”
They all headed back down the hall. “I’m not sure I’d still be in one piece if it weren’t for her,” Corrie said, touching her head. It had been almost a year ago that Paul had attacked them—apparently on the orders of Belara or Mardalan, she’d never been entirely certain which—and gotten her knocked out in a way that modern medicine couldn’t understand.
Roe paused at the top of the steps to yawn again, her hand covering her mouth. Edie turned to her with a frown. “Are you okay? I mean… I know you said you’d rather not talk about it, sorry.”
“Well, it’s not Link’s fault I’m not getting enough sleep. Or maybe it is.” Roe shrugged. “But I feel like I’ve been woken up a couple of times every night by a noise or something, and then when I actually open my eyes there’s nothing there.”
Annie stopped in her tracks, halfway down the steps, and turned all the way around to look at Roe. “That’s exactly how things started out with the ghost for me.”
“Really?” Roe blinked, then nodded. “I remember that now that you mention it. Do you think it’s the ghost bothering me?”
“It’s got to be,” Corrie said. “She’s expanded her territory, I guess.” She looked around as though she could see whether the ghost was listening to them, which of course she wouldn’t be able to do, since the ghost was invisible. But she was almost certainly listening. “I wonder…”
They were interrupted by the door opening and someone pink-haired running with a clattering gait partway up the stairs, only to stop and grin at them. “Hi, guys! Having a stairs meeting?”
Corrie grinned back at Celeste. “We were on our way out and got distracted, I guess. You don’t live here, do you? I know I’ve seen you around Sayer.”
“Yeah, I live there.” Celeste made a gesture over her shoulder. “I’m just coming to hang out with my friend Nakia tonight. Hey, have you guys heard about the weird stuff going on in this building lately?”
Corrie, Edie, and Annie exchanged a glance. They all knew Celeste—Corrie and Edie had been going to Rainbow Alliance meetings with her for over a year; she was gossipy and overly dramatic, though Corrie liked her. “What weird stuff?” Corrie asked.