September 1, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
It took them most of the evening to copy the pages. They divided up the copies and originals between them and went their separate ways, back to their dorm towers.
That left Enrie walking up the stairs to their dorm side by side with Gianci. She glanced over at him as they walked past all the other years’ floors, up and up to the top of the tower. He was already looking at her, one side of his mouth turned up.
“Thanks.” It didn’t seem like enough, but Enrie didn’t know what else to say.
“It was my pleasure… no, honestly, it was. You and your friends are entertaining.”
“Even that. Saydrie is both more honest and more polite about it than most of the enclave Bitrani.” Gianci smiled sidelong at her. “I wasn’t offended by your team, you know. Well, perhaps the locking us in a closet part was a bit annoying…”
“Oh, annoying, was it?” Enrie raised her eyebrows at him. “That’s not what you were…” She dropped her voice to a whisper. The stairs echoed. “Annoying?’ she hissed.
“Not the result.” Gianci’s clarification came with a broad smile. “But, tell me, weren’t you even a little irritated?”
“For a minute or two,” Enrie admitted. She couldn’t keep the smile from coming to her lips. “It’s a small closet.”
“Only on the surface. Like a lot of things around here.” He grinned at her. “Not what they seem at a first glance.”
“That’s why I like my team,” she admitted. “They are what they look like on the surface, just… more.”
“So you’re saying you don’t like me, then?” He was still smiling, but she wondered if she had made a mess of things again.
“No, no, clearly I like things that aren’t just what they seem, considering everything you’ve found out about me, but sometimes it’s nice to not have to guess. With Taikie and Saydrie, I don’t have to guess at all.”
“That must be very nice. I can get along decently with my team, but I haven’t really bonded with them the way and your friend have…” He trailed off as they came to the top of the stairs and found several of their dorm-mates staring at them.
“There you are!” A woman’s voice screeched down the stairway. A moment later, as Enrie froze in surprise, Lady Ilonilarrona stepped into view. “You obnoxious child, where have you been?”
Foiling all of your plans. Enrie managed a smile before her mouth provided the wrong words. “Associate Governor Ilonilarrona; I didn’t know you were waiting for me. Surely there’s some place better than the dormitory…?”
“Where have you been? There’s nothing in your room…”
“I tried to stop her, Enrie.” Kotke’s voice was small and nervous. “But she would not listen.”
“I don’t need to listen. I am missing papers, and they must be in your room. It wasn’t that little worm Lovdyo—”
“Hey!” A couple students behind her were obviously not sufficiently cowed by Ilonilarrona’s title or her obnoxious personality.
Ilonilarrona ignored them. “So it must be you.”