I’d been so sure I was going to skip college. But I hadn’t known magic universities were a thing. If I hadn’t been fae, this one might’ve seemed even weirder…
Fae. Was I really? Unlike my twin, I’d thrown the fae part of me away.
But here, it didn’t matter what I was. Everyone was like, something.
And that guy who’d…visited me…was something too. Fae, probably. And if he invited me here, that meant he was somewhere around the campus too, right? So maybe I’d see him again. Not that I’d care, because ugh, awkward.
What a weird place this was. Were these bridges even safe? Or were they meant for fae?
I was looking for my dorm room. The letter said every student got her own unless they wanted roommates…good. No sharing with the magic-using Crystals of the world.
Somehow, I just knew which room was meant for me.
And it was perfect. Maybe a little too orange? But Mom–back when I had a mom–always went pretty heavy on the orange for Fox and me.
It almost felt like I was a princess.
Was I one? Cousin to a prince…not that I talked to him. Was Fox with Griffin right now? Probably. Not that I cared, since I was basically an only child now.
I wandered over to a mirror in the corner of the room. “This is it,” I said. “Starting fresh. You can be whoever you want to be.”
“You’re pretty. Like, none of the other freshmen know each other either, probably. Your personality needs work, but nobody’s perfect.”
“Don’t mess this up,” I said. “You’re running out of places to escape to.”
I can do this.
My first night at Dr. Puck’s Institute for the Otherworldly Arts…who was Dr. Puck, anyway? Some dead guy? I liked how the view from my window reminded me of Fangs Island. Did every student have a totally different view?
My grandparents were paying my tuition. Mom and Dad probably could’ve, if they still had access to their human world bank accounts, but I didn’t want to ask them for anything.
This was my home now. It was hard, imagining “home” as a place without Grandma and Grandpa. Right now, Grandpa would be falling asleep in front of the TV while Grandma deleted raccoon breeding sites from his computer’s browsing history.
Tomorrow morning, my new life would begin…
…Or at least my first class. I’d registered late, so most of the important classes I’d need for my major were already full, but I’d signed up for Flora Appreciation, a fae elective. Why not like, ease myself into the college experience?
When I got there, though, there only seemed to be one person in the classroom when I peeked in. Maybe the instructor really sucked–did magic schools have a site for professor reviews?
I quietly made my way into the classroom and slid into one of the many empty seats. Where was the professor?
Or was that guy supposed to be teaching? He didn’t look like somebody who’d teach anything about flowers, not with his sense of fashion. If you could even call it fashion–which, as a former model, I couldn’t.
He turned around, like he could feel me watching him. Whatever. “Damn,” he said. “Wasn’t expecting anybody to show.”
…Why did he look so familiar?
I gasped as he walked closer. “Sly?”
“Whoa. You’re that chick with the nice a–”
“…You don’t remember me?”
“Hey, I remember part of you,” he said, smirking. “Shame you’re sitting down. So you know me? Sorry I can’t remember the names of all the chicks I’ve boned.”
I stared at him. “I met you on Fangs Island. When I was a kid,” I added, hopefully to embarrass him. “You were smoking, and you had this scary grandma, and I kept your secret…? You taught me to play the guitar kind of? I have a fruit name?”
“…Kumquat, baby! I missed you. You and your fine, fine ass.”
“Clementine,” I muttered. “And if you’re my professor, I’m pretty sure that’s sexual harassment. Even if you’re not, it’s still sexual harassment–I just probably can’t sue the school over it.”
“Hey, I’m just a TA filling in for Dr. Puck. He’s supposed to be teaching this class, but nobody ever shows up–all the fae students just say they know how to appreciate flowers and shit–so he has somebody lounge around in the classroom just in case. Not like I’ve graduated yet either.”
“So…this class is just a sham?” I said. “I actually like flowers.” Maybe I could just do homework here or something–the classroom had a relaxing air to it thanks to all the colors and smells. “It’s not like you could really teach a class like this.”
“Oh yeah? Why’s that, Tangerine?”
First my ass, now my name? At least it was better than Kumquat. “Look at you,” I said. “You’re still as hairy as ever–except you’re even beefier now. Are you even really fae?”
“Shit,” he said. “Now I remember you–you’re that annoying little twerp who never shut up. Banana?”
“Clementine,” I repeated. “And my grandparents are paying a lot of money for this stupid school so you better teach me about flora appreciation. Or I’ll report you to Dr. Puck–he’s in charge of this whole place, right?”
“Damn, you’re still the same annoying little brat, no matter how many parts of you got bigger,” he said thoughtfully, completely ignoring my threat. “Sure, I got a lot to teach you. If you think you can keep up.”
“…I should’ve signed up for an art class instead. Also, your face looks like a hardware store.” It couldn’t even be real metal, not if he was fae.
He rubbed his huge hands together. “I’d be happy to keep it open twenty-four seven for you, baby.”
“…If you think you’re smooth, you’re really, really not.” But I was laughing anyway.
Was I seriously looking forward to this class now…?
I must’ve been an even bigger idiot than Sly.