“Okay,” said Charlie, “I might not be the brightest guy, but even I can tell that something weird was going on there. Edie, what were you doing with that clover?”
“It’s a four-leaf clover,” Edie explained, holding it out to him. “You know about them, don’t you?”
He frowned and nodded at it. “I didn’t notice that. I know there’s a lot of them around campus…”
“We use them to see past glamour,” Corrie said. “Those of us who don’t have the Sight like Dawn, of course.”
Dawn had not expected that response. She stared at Elrath, but his cool, calculating expression didn’t change. Of course, he wasn’t looking at her; he was focused on Edie.
She looked over at Edie, who was frowning, but didn’t seem as surprised as Dawn felt by the question of trade. But Edie had bargained with Brandon; she knew Leila, and probably Derwen, better than Dawn knew any faerie. Maybe she had been expecting that response all along.
Once the dessert menu was there, Corrie and Charlie both zeroed in on the chocolate lava cake, and when he suggested that they share dessert, she only hesitated for a moment. She probably couldn’t eat the whole thing herself, after that heavy meal, and she liked that they both had the same favorite dessert from this menu.
She was right: the cake was delicious and gooey, and their forks fought over the first few bites, but she was too full to go any further before she had eaten half of it. Charlie devoured the rest.
“High werewolf metabolism?” she asked him.
The silence stretched on too long. Edie was about to open her eyes and say that they should go when Elrath finally broke it.
“Are you sure it’s me you want to talk to about that?” He sounded—uncertain. Not the intimidating, powerful man he had appeared.
Corrie laughed so hard she tipped her chair back on two legs, highly entertained by a rude comment Charlie had made about Professor Lal. “That’s not nice,” she said, but between her continued chuckles, the increased conversation noise in the restaurant, and the sound of the band, which was now halfway through their first set, she didn’t think he could hear her.
He smirked hard at her. “Hey, I haven’t had her as a teacher in three years. I don’t have to be nice to her.”
Maybe he had heard her. “Well, you should be nice to everyone, just because they’re…”
Edie tightened the straps on her backpack as they walked, hurrying her footsteps to keep up with Dawn. When the straps were tight enough that she didn’t think the backpack would bounce and bother her even if they broke into a run, she started searching her pockets for a four-leaf clover—she knew she had one.
As Corrie and Charlie were finishing their appetizers, she saw movement over his shoulder and shifted in her seat to look. There were three guys standing by the raised platform in the corner, pulling some equipment up onto it.
She nodded in their direction so Charlie could see. “I guess we are going to get some music tonight.”
He twisted around to look. “Cool. I hope it’s good music. Um, something you and I will both like.”
“You don’t know who they are?”
“Should I?” he asked, turning back to face her.
An hour later, Edie had flipped through most of the book, and her eyes were aching. She had to admit that the book just wasn’t about faeries—or negotiations or anything else relevant to the treaty—and they weren’t going to find any answers in it.
She closed it and rubbed her eyes. “I’m sorry, Dawn. I got all excited for nothing. I guess this isn’t going to help.”
Dawn sighed. “I was excited, too. Well, at least we’ve made some progress, right? You copied down the piece of treaty, and now you can work on it at your leisure.”
Before Corrie and Charlie had much time to look at their menus, a middle-aged waitress arrived at their table and smiled warmly at them. “Would you like to start with drinks?”
“Oh, crap, you’re not twenty-one yet, are you?” Charlie asked, looking at Corrie.
She shook her head and decided not to mention that she was no stranger to drinking—they might be on a date, but he was still an RA and would probably have to report her. Anyway, she wasn’t going to try to order a drink while out to dinner. “I’ll have a Coke,” she said, with a friendly smile for the waitress.
Edie was puzzling her way through a sentence that seemed to be about the main character’s childhood when she heard footsteps and looked up. It was Dawn, a large book in each hand.
Dawn walked over and held the books out to Edie. “I picked out two dictionaries that looked promising,” she said. “They’re not student dictionaries, but this one seems to have etymologies, and this one is just really old.”