“Shai, what the heck is with your voice tonight?”
The GVRen meeting was winding down after dissolving into chaos when business was taken care of. I ground my teeth together. I hadn’t been able to lose the strange accent I’d woken up with. I didn’t know why, but everybody had the common decency not to bring it up.
Everyone, that is, except Kitty, who continued to speak. “I mean, faire’s still weeks away, chica, and you’re already almost hitting fairespeak. Something wrong?”
Of course Alaina Conrad would bring it up. Of course. Don’t get me wrong, Alaina “Kitty” Conrad has been my friend since I met her last year, but sometimes she doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut. I opened my mouth to speak.
“I think it’s just a little reflexive, Kit,” Craig broke in deftly. “We went to Holly this past Saturday, so she’s been slipping in and out all week.”
Bless you, Craig. I never would’ve thought of using our trip to the Michigan Renaissance Festival as a cover for the accent. The look I caught in Craig’s eyes, though, told me that even if he wasn’t going to let Kitty press it out of me, he would.
I figured I’d save him the trouble, once we were on our way back to the dorms.
“Shai! Craig! We’re heading back dorm-side, if you want to come.” Jude was standing with a couple of our friends near the door out of Kirkhof.
“We’ll catch up in a few minutes,” I told her, and they left. I looked at Craig, who’d fallen into what appeared to be a conversation with Kitty and Jordan about something or another. I touched his arm. “Craig?”
He glanced at me, then back at them. “Look, I’ll talk to you guys later, all right? Jor, e-mail me, huh?”
We gathered our things amidst scattered calls of good-bye, then walked outside. Ahead, I could still hear the sounds of Jude and our other friends, talking and laughing. I looked at Craig.
“I suppose you want answers.”
“They’d be nice.”
I nodded, and slowly, haltingly, began to tell him about the dreams. I told him that I didn’t know what they meant or where they came from, that they had just begun, that I’d had two and I didn’t know if there would be more to come or not. He listened to me with a concerned expression on his face, then put his arm around me and hugged me.
“Who knows? Your imagination might be overactive. It’s not like you’ve had much to stimulate it lately, what with the same-old, same-old around here.”
“Yeah, maybe,” I murmured.
“Besides, dreaming during the day? You can’t tell me you don’t do that in some of your classes. Just daydream.”
I smiled. “You’re right, I do.”
“So then these dreams you’re having aren’t anything to worry about, are they?”
“No, I guess not.” I rested my head on his shoulder. “Thanks, Craig.”
“It’s always a pleasure.” He gave me a squeeze. “And by the way, Shai,” he added, “you’ve lost the accent.”
Thank God. As much as I wanted to believe him, though, believe that the dreams were nothing, the nagging doubt remained even as we caught up with our friends and continued on our way home.
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