Chapter 6: Getting Help

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        Fiona settled in beside Meredith, still mentally shaking her head over their computer class. Chay had sat down beside her, asked about her schedule, she hadn’t realized they were in the same math class, and then asked if she really was a dryad. Still, at least she’d learned the name of another of her classmates. Chay’s friend and Meredith critique partner was Perrin, though he insisted she call him Perry like everyone else. He definitely seemed the more reasonable of the two.

            The class suddenly hushed as their teacher came in, the bell ringing as she came to a stop behind the desk at the front of the room. Fiona had thought Meredith was what she’d always wanted to look like. She was wrong. Mme. Fontaine was. Her hair was like a smooth sheet of gold down her back, the opposite of Fiona’s own half-frizzy half-wavy tumble. Her big, though not quite so large as Meredith’s, eyes were bright blue and her full lips seemed to be naturally pink. Add in her hourglass figure, completely different from Fiona’s thin, boyish frame, and she was the kind of person that looked like she belonged in movies.

            “Bonjour,” she called, even her voice a light, sweet sound. “Aujord’hui on va commencer Notre-Dame de Paris. Est-ce qu’il ya quelqu’un qui veut lire premier?”

            When no one put their hands up, their teacher’s lower lip jutted out slightly. She sighed but said nothing as she began to hand out the books. On the one hand, Fiona wouldn’t mind getting the reading out of the way. On the other, she had no idea what the level was here and didn’t want to stick out as being the worst or anything.

            Still, she thought it was pretty cool they were going to be able to read The Hunchback of Notre Dame in its original language. Though she supposed she’d be thinking otherwise once they got far enough into it. Shakespeare could be bad at times and that was at least written in her first language.

            In the end, Mme. Fontaine started them reading alphabetically, each of them taking a turn at it and then trying to translate what they’d read into English. They’d barely gotten to the D’s when the bell rang.

            It wasn’t until they were leaving class amid Mme. Fontaine’s calls of “A demain,” that Fiona noticed her necklace. On a long gold chain that stood out against the black of her dress, a tiny braided loop hung, looking almost like a ring. The loop was pale silver-yellow, looking almost like electrum.

           Meredith caught the direction of her gaze and just shook her head. Fiona said nothing until they were outside, when she looked quizzically at her roommate. Meredith waited until they were three doors down from the French room before she said, “It’s her daughter’s hair. Her daughter died in an accident two years ago and for a whole year after, we had to have a substitute. This is her first full year back, so don’t ask her about it. It really messes Mme. Fontaine up. She still wears black in mourning for her.”

            Fiona winced. She could well imagine. She knew that pain of losing a family member and she wouldn’t want to remind anyone of that feeling. Not if she could help it. “Thanks,” she said. “You’ve saved me again.”

            Her roommate ducked her head but smiled. “Thank you for being friends with me.”

            She laughed. “I’m the one who bothers you with questions all the time. And I’d have put my foot in my mouth a whole bunch of times without you. Not to mention you’ve been helping me with school.”

            Meredith shook her head, but by then they were in the thick of the crowd of students heading back to the dorms and would have had to shout to hear one another. Once they made it to the courtyard things quieted down as people began to split off in packs towards their respective dorms.

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