Chapter 17: Wondering

1.9K 160 1

            After a lunch of some kind of herb and vegetable soup, Fiona never did find out where and how the twins had made it especially in such a short period of time, Meredith and her had spent the afternoon chatting and reading. By the time the last bells of the day sounded, the selkie was dozing again and Fiona was in her own bed, reading one of the books her roommate had lent her.

            A double knock at the door several minutes later had her turning to look. She wasn’t terribly surprised to find the twins there when she opened it. She stepped out into the hall and quietly closed the door behind her, nodding at them. “Mer’s asleep right now, but she’s feeling better. Thanks again for lunch.”

            “You’re welcome,” they said quietly before they exchanged a look.

            “You have a visitor,” Henry said.

            “But we’ll get rid of him if you don’t want to see him,” Robbin added.

            Fiona frowned. “A visitor? It isn’t Mr. Rana, is it?”

            They shook their heads. “He said to tell you it’s Chay.”

            She could feel her cheeks heat up. “I’ll go and see him. Thanks.”

            The twins nodded but frowned. They followed her to the stairs until she shooed them off. Their disapproving faces watched her head down to the lounge, unmoving. She did her best to ignore them as she hurried into the lounge.

            Chay was easy to spot as he was the only one there. He was looking around, his hands jammed into the pockets of his jeans, expression hard to read. “Hey,” she said as she walked towards him.

            He turned and smiled, his shoulders slumping slightly. “Hey,” he echoed. “You weren’t in class today.”

            Fiona nodded. “Mer’s sick so I’ve been taking care of her. Dr. Volkov says she’ll be fine, but I’m still staying with her. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if anything happened to her.”

            “It’s not serious then?” He asked, forehead creased with what she liked to believe was concern.

            “Yeah. The doctor and Mer both said it’s a selkie disease and she’ll be better in a couple of days. I just don’t like that she has a fever.”

            Chay winced. “Yeah, that always sucks.”

            Fiona smiled then nodded towards the couches at the other end of the room. “Do you want to sit for a bit? Mer’s asleep right now.”

            “Sure. You’re not going to catch it, are you?”

            “Nah. At least neither of them said I would.”

            “That’s good,” he said as he settled onto one of the couches.

            Feeling a bit bolder than normal, Fiona sat down on the same couch though on the other end. She hoped he didn’t notice her pink cheeks. “Did we miss anything important in class?”

            Chay shook his head. “Nah. We did the next page in the Math book, read the next scene in Hamlet, and Mr. Telford had us learning some basic HTML. You two should be able to catch up, no problem.”

            Fiona’s lips curved slowly upwards, liking that he’d mentioned both of them. He seemed to be warming up to Meredith the last little while. “I’ve done a little bit of HTML before though it wasn’t much.”

            “Ahead of the game,” he replied, grinning.

            They sat in silence for a moment, neither quite looking at the other. Finally Fiona cleared her throat. “I should be heading back to check on Mer.”

            Chay nodded, standing. “Yeah, I should be getting back to. I just wanted to make sure you were okay. And if you or Meredith need anything, just let me know. I’m happy to help.”

            Fiona smiled and stood as well. “Thanks.”

            She walked the short distance to the entrance with him. He hesitated at the door, turning back to face her, so close she could feel his body heat. Fiona shifted slightly, hoping he wasn’t aware of the way her heart was speeding up. Chay reached one hand slowly out stopped for half a second, then ruffled her hair. “See you,” he said quietly before he hurried away, leaving Fiona staring after him.

            It took her several second to collect herself before she headed back upstairs, but Fiona still felt like she was missing something. Then again, Chay always seemed to be doing stuff she didn’t expect and couldn’t explain. Maybe it was one of the reasons she was interested in him…

            She shook her head as she snuck back into her room, glad that Meredith hadn’t been awake to question her about what had just happened. She really didn’t have any answers.

            When morning came, Meredith’s fever had cooled enough that she wasn’t sweaty and even her voice was sounding better. Even the weather had cleared somewhat, with the clouds a pale grey rather than the dark grey of the day before. At her request, and despite the protests of the twins, Fiona and her roommate both headed to the cafeteria for breakfast.

            As they strolled slowly through the courtyard, Fiona noticed more than a few sticks and branches down. With the heavy wind and rain during the night, she wasn’t really surprised. She was actually impressed there weren’t more. Then again, with so many Phasms tied to the earth and the other elements, she shouldn’t have expected anything different.

            Once they were finally in the cafeteria, Fiona left Meredith at the table and went to grab food for both of them. Her roommate might look better, but she wasn’t about to risk her overtiring herself when she was still sick. Thankfully she knew most of Meredith’s preferences already. She loaded up one plate with French Toast and two small cups, one of honey and one of maple syrup. Her own plate featured eggs, bacon, sausage and ham.

            Carefully balancing both trays, she managed to get back to the table without spilling anything. As they both tucked into the food, more people began to show up in small groups, spreading out among the tables. Saturdays always seemed to have people coming in at odd hours for meals, at least in Fiona’s limited experience. They didn’t see anyone they knew, but it didn’t take them long to overhear what the number one topic was.

            “Another one?” Fiona shook her head, unable to believe what she’d just heard. “What’s going on?”

            Meredith’s eyes were wide as she said, “I don’t know, but I’m starting to get really worried. What if we never find out why this is happening? What if the people already in comas never wake up?”

            Fiona hid a wince. This wasn’t what Mer needed when she was still recovering. “I’m sure the teachers will figure it out soon,” she said, trying to make it sound like she actually believed that. “I’m sure with how many people are here from all over, that someone, somewhere, has heard of this and can fix it. We just need to wait until that info’s found.”

            Her roommate smiled. “You’re probably right. This can’t be the first time this has happened. And our teachers are good at research and dealing with Phasms from all over.”

           She nodded and decided that this conversation needed to be over before her real feelings bled through. “Yep. So, you want to try tackling a bit of Hamlet today between your naps, or would you rather fight through more math?”

            Meredith shook her head. “Either’s fine with me. We’re going to have to do both eventually.”

            Fiona made a face. “Don’t remind me. School’s important, but it’s still not my favourite. And hey, if the weather’s nice and you’re feeling better, we can finish up whatever we have left or go read outside. You’re probably dying for more fresh air.”

            The selkie nodded, smiling. “More than you know.”

Academy for the StrangeWhere stories live. Discover now