I got home late last night and found that RescueTime had blocked WordPress. I have now taught RescueTime that WordPress is a productive site, not a distracting one, so that problem shouldn’t happen again!
Corrie tried to be open to conversation, but Edie didn’t say anything about Leila for the rest of the day, though she did keep looking out the window. Corrie didn’t want to bring the subject back up herself. She did wonder where Leila had gone after she talked to Edie, but she was confident that the faerie could take care of herself.
They passed a pretty quiet day, working on their homework and snacking throughout the day because neither of them felt like going out to the dining hall for lunch. Corrie didn’t want to leave Edie alone—and it was also nice to just hang out in the room all day with her roommate and best friend.
As the day wore on toward evening, though, Corrie started to get sick of homework. She’d caught up with her math and art homework and done the introductory and closing paragraphs of her essay for her English class; she knew she should practice trance, but now that she was getting bored, she didn’t think she would do very well.
Corrie sat back and stretched, rubbing her eyes. She’d filled half the page with carefully sketched cubes. That had to be enough for now. The assignment was to fill the whole page, at least two rows of cubes one inch on a side and two rows of cubes a half inch on a side, but she had time. She didn’t have Design Fundamentals again until Tuesday afternoon.
Anyway, right now she felt like if she drew another perfectly straight line she was going to break her pencil in half and throw the pieces out the window. Since it was a mechanical pencil, that would be really difficult. So, relaxation time it was.
She looked around the room, frowning. The other bed and desk were empty. She remembered Edie saying something about being right back; she’d assumed her roommate was going to the bathroom or something. But that had been a long time ago, hadn’t it?
Leila was silent for a long time, her hands no longer stroking Edie’s hair. Edie sat up—this time Leila didn’t try to stop her—and moved into a cross-legged position, next to Leila but at an angle so she could face her.
Leila was staring into space, or maybe up at the trees. She was very, very still—she didn’t even seem to be blinking.
Edie didn’t want to say anything; she was sure Leila must be thinking hard and didn’t want to interrupt her. So she sat quietly, just waiting.
“Now, Edith,” Leila said, “will you answer my question? What has happened while I have been gone? It seems to be a great deal.”
Edie took a deep breath. She wished she could look at Leila’s face while she explained what had happened, but maybe this was more intimate. Clearly, it was more comfortable for Leila.
“Okay. Before I start, how much do you know about the treaty between Thengul and Alienor Chatoyant before the school was founded? You weren’t around then, were you?”
“No, no. I am not quite that old.” Leila laughed.
Edie didn’t want to get up and go over to Leila, to bridge the small space between them. She was upset—she was mad at Leila, and she wasn’t getting answers that satisfied her, so she didn’t want to do what Leila said.
But she also missed her girlfriend badly, and she couldn’t bear to let Leila sit there reaching for her when they were finally together again. So she got up, walked over, and sat down next to Leila, resting her shoulder against Leila’s arm and not letting her skin touch the tree.
As soon as they reached the orchard, Leila sat down, her back to a tree trunk. She looked tired—were those dark circles under her eyes? Edie had never seen her looking anything less than perfect.
Leila gestured at another tree, the one she was facing. Edie hesitated. She had good memories of this orchard—but bad ones, too. And the bad ones had been hidden from her for a long time. She didn’t know how to feel about this place, and she knew even less how to feel about it with Leila there with her.