Trial By Fire (Going Down in Flames)(4)

By: Chris Cannon

“New room?” Bryn hoped she’d misunderstood.

“Yes. Your grandfather and I discussed it. Since you’ve been legally recognized as a member of the Blue Clan, it’s only right you stay in the Blue dorm.”

Bryn sent a mute appeal to Clint and Ivy for help.

“We like having Bryn in our dorm,” Ivy said.

“We’d be happy to move her things back,” Clint offered.

“I appreciate the kindness you showed my granddaughter when she first came here. I see nothing wrong with you continuing to be friends, but her grandfather and I believe her place is with her Clan.”

“Is this more him than you?” Bryn asked, knowing the answer already.

“I mentioned you might not want to be uprooted from your current location, but your grandfather felt strongly about the issue. There is a silver lining. Since Rhianna’s roommate asked to be reassigned, you’ll be able to move in with her.”

“Oh, that part I like. I don’t suppose Rhianna could move into the Black dragon’s dorm with me?” That way they’d be farther away from the people who weren’t so friendly toward both of them.

“No.” Her grandmother’s answer was succinct and gave no opportunity for argument.

Bryn groaned and turned to Clint and Ivy. “I’ll call you with my new room number, and we’ll figure out some way to mark my terrace, so you won’t land on the wrong one and have to deal with anyone’s attitude.”

“I’ve always wondered if their rooms were fancier than ours,” Clint said. “I guess now I’ll find out.”

“All right. That’s settled,” her grandmother said. “Let’s join Rhianna and tell her the good news.”

Rhianna stood outside the dining hall with Jaxon by her side. Crap. Rooming with Rhianna would mean more exposure to him.

“Hey, roommate,” Bryn said with a grin.

“Oh, good. Your grandmother talked to you. I wasn’t sure how to bring it up.”

“You’d be better off on your own.” Jaxon spoke like Bryn wasn’t standing right there in front of him.

What the hell? “You can turn back to your non-asshat self any time now.”

“Why don’t we go see your new room,” her grandmother said, like she hadn’t heard their comments. Odds were, she’d heard, and this was her way of telling both of them to suck it up and deal with it.

Bryn waved to Clint and Ivy and then followed her grandmother toward the one dorm on campus where she didn’t want to live. The Green dragons’ dorm had been nice, before she’d been poisoned, and she’d liked the Black dragons’ dorm because she’d been closer to her friends.

Rhianna seemed to know what Bryn was thinking. “It will be all right. Most of the other girls will be so caught up in their own lives, they won’t pay attention to us.”

Would she be ignored or shunned? Did it matter? Not really. It’s not like she was expecting to make friends, though it would be nice.

Entering the Blue dorm gave her a sense of deja vu. When she’d first come to school and entered the Green dragons’ dorm, they had stared and whispered. The Blue dragons stared as she and Rhianna entered the lobby. Maybe they were too polite or too fearful of her grandmother to whisper. Still, the view before her was like a sea of golden tan skin and blond hair. Her light freckled coloring would never blend in, or truly be welcomed, here.

Despite the cold greeting, the dorm lobby seemed comfortable. There were several sets of couches and wingback chairs scattered about the room. The furniture made of leather and dark polished wood looked like expensive antiques. Rather than a standard cafe in the back of the room like the other dorms, there appeared to be a sit-down restaurant where waiters took your order. To say this was nicer than the Black and Green dragons’ dorms was a severe understatement.

There was, of course, the same marble staircase, and no elevators. “Do you think the Directorate will ever modernize the dorms and put in elevators?” Bryn asked.

“No,” her grandmother and Jaxon spoke in unison.

“That’s a shame.” Rhianna held the handrail and climbed the stairs with her uneven gait.