At school on Monday, Fay nearly knocked me over coming down a staircase, then proceeded to walk next to me, even though I knew the class to which she was headed was on the other side of the school.
"Hey Skyler!" she said exuberantly.
"Hey," I said softly, somewhat bewildered.
"What happened Friday night?" she asked eagerly.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You and Zhong were out together," Said Fay, talking very fast, "And now she's grounded for two weeks. Something more than what she told me happened happened,"
"What did she tell you?" I asked.
"If I tell you," said Faye, "You'll just make up a story to line up with hers. Zhong's a practiced and accomplished liar, and I saw through her, so you don't have a chance of fooling me,"
"Nothing happened," I said, "We went roller-blading, stayed out too late, and got lost,"
"Why didn't you invite me or Jason?" asked the girl.
I didn't really have an explanation prepared for this. We usually either all go along on something or else it's just Jason and me or just Fay and Zhong. I hesitated.
"You don't have to hide it from us," said Fay, "Jason and I think it's quite wonderful. In fact, if you'll admit it, I may be able to help you out,"
My mind was racing. How could they know about anything? Had Zhong told her? Had Mora somehow slipped up? But that was impossible, they didn't even know each other.
"How did you find out?" I asked, panicking.
"Well, you haven't exactly been doing a wonderful job of hiding it," she answered, "Besides, I'm an expert at this sort of thing,"
An expert? Where had she learned all this? And how hadn't he known about it? It seemed impossible.
"Wasn't expecting that much panic," said Fay, seeing my thoughts translate to my face, "Honestly, Skyler, have you never told a girl you liked her before?"
A wave of relief passed over my face. That's what she thought this was about? Me having a crush on Zhong? I opened my mouth to deny it, but then I changed my mind. It did seem a plausible explanation for things, and if I denied it, I'd have to come up with another one. So why not let her keep thinking that?
"I'd just as soon you not tell her," I said.
"I think she already more than suspects it," said Fay, "But whatever. Take your own pace,"
As she walked away, I thought about what she'd said. I'd meant it to throw her off, but the more I thought about Zhong in a romantic context, the more it seemed to make sense. She was very attractive - with her large blue-green eyes, her slightly pointy, elf-like ears, and cute round cheekbones. She had a certain unusual grace to her movements, and her smile could be downright bewitching. She was smart, I loved spending time with her, and we had a lot in common, in a way. We were both keeping big secrets. And it seemed only fair that since she knew mine, she should tell me hers.
But I soon put the thought out of my head. I wouldn't have time to date while learning to be a Draconic and trying to keep up with my schoolwork. She'd have to stay a friend for me to confide in. But still -it was nice to think about.