In today’s excerpt from The Daring Witch, Brie meets her new roommate, Willow–and realizes that she’s different from any other student at Santa Cruz Witch Academy.
The Transfer Student
Willow was tall and broad, looking awkward in the school’s required uniform of a white button-up shirt and pleated blue-and-purple plaid skirt. She had that hunched-over look of a girl who felt uncomfortable with her size. But that wasn’t what surprised me. Her brown eyes glinted with a golden highlight, her nails were long and pointed without any sign of fake tips, and in her dark hair, two furry ears swiveled toward me.
I took an involuntary step back. I couldn’t place exactly what she was, but it wasn’t human. How could she be at the small witch academy instead of the many schools for magikin?
Hailey put her hand on my shoulder before I could retreat any farther. “Brie, this is Willow,” she said with extra cheerfulness. “She’s been given a special scholarship to study at our school, so we want to make her feel welcome. I was hoping that since you have so much experience with, um, people from diverse backgrounds, you might be the best person to show her around the school.”
Diverse backgrounds? Did she mean because I dated a mermaid last year, then a vampire over the summer? I folded my arms and shot a questioning look at Hailey to give her a chance to explain.
Willow sniffed the air and scowled. “I thought you said her mom was a faeriekin, but she smells all human to me.” Her voice was low and rough, like she was having a hard time shaping the words around her teeth.
“Brie has a mixed family,” Hailey said quickly.
I flinched. Was I getting paired with the new girl just because my family wasn’t all human? But at the same time, I felt sorry for Willow. She looked so uncomfortable and defensive, like she was just waiting for anyone to say something bad about her.
“My aunt married a naga,” I said with a shrug. “And my cousins both take after their dad, which makes babysitting extra fun. But I don’t think that you need a babysitter.”
Willow raised her chin, her eyes flashing at me in appreciation. “You’re right, I just need people to stay out of my way. Can’t I just have the room to myself?” she asked, turning to the RA.
Hailey shook her head. “I’m afraid it’s against school policy to let anyone room alone. Since we have an odd student out, someone’s going to need to move into a triple. It’s either one of you or Helena.”
Willow and I shared another look, sizing each other up. With a slight nod, we came to a silent agreement—we would find a way to make this work.
I smiled at Hailey. “I think we’ll get along fine together. Can you let my parents know so they can start bringing my stuff down here?”
Hailey hesitated for a moment, then handed me a key. “Fine, if you both agree.” She let out a sigh of relief. “That lets me sort out the last assignment. Have fun, girls.”