Chapter One

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"You didn't really mean that, did you?" Shade said as she observed her friend Brisa, whose face reddened with frustration.

"Rachel had it coming. She's the one who started it!"

Shade looked at her friend's ruined shirt, streaked with the remains of a red strawberry smoothie. The substance was sticking to her, and it felt cold. Her top was no longer the vibrant yellow it'd once been.

"She's a dumb idiot anyway," Brisa muttered. "She shouldn't be calling you those names. I only stated that she was a 'dumb as a wall, self-deluded bitch' in self-defense. I said it for you. Besides, it's only the truth."

Brisa frowned and gave up rubbing at the stain with a washcloth and soap. She pulled the shirt over her head and let it slip to the ground. Glaring at her locker, she realized her only other shirt was her gym T-shirt. It figures there's nothing else to wear. She sighed. "She shouldn't have thrown her smoothie at me. The next time I see her, she's going to pay," Brisa hissed and looked at Shade. "You're not a freak. Don't ever believe anything she says. She's wrong!"

Shade peered at her friend. Brisa rarely got along with anyone. Not a day went by that she wasn't in the principal's office, cleaning chalkboards, wiping down desks, or doing some other tedious job. Many times, she'd received these punishments for whatever trouble she'd gotten into, instead of hanging out with Shade.

Still, Shade had known Brisa since they were toddlers and would stand by her through anything. She was the only one who knew about Shade's strange abilities−hearing voices in her head. Brisa was the only one Shade trusted.

"It's all right, Brisa. I guess I would think I was a freak, too," Shade gave her friend a shrug. "Besides, it's my fault for blurting out what they told me about Rachel. Who would have known she was cheating on the final if I hadn't said anything? She needs to wise up. Well, at least you didn't smash her nose in. You only need one more fight to get that suspension they've threatened you with already. Your mom would hang you!"

Brisa grinned with a slight shudder at the thought of her mother. Brisa's face was smooth and olive-toned with bright blue eyes. Her dark brown hair flowed lazily in waves to her mid back. She wasn't gorgeous, but she wasn't bad looking either. She rarely had makeup on and preferred to wear her hair in a low ponytail instead of letting it flow freely around her shoulders. She was as much of a tomboy as a girl could be−completely opposite of her friend's more girly disposition. Shade's dark, brown hair was similar but longer than her friend's, and her complexion was creamier. Otherwise, they looked a lot like sisters.

"Like I need help in that department," Brisa groaned as she pulled her hair out from the collar of her gym shirt and smoothed the wrinkles down. Brisa and her mother rarely got along. She tended to spend more time at Shade's house than at her own.

Shade pulled out her cell phone to peek at the time. It was getting late, and their afternoon class was starting in two minutes. Dropping the phone back into her bag, she scooped it up before shoving away her own long, brown locks. She tapped her friend's shoulder, urging her to hurry. "Gotta go. Do you want to be late? Ms. Temor is going to lock us out! Chop, chop!" Shade turned and sprinted toward the entrance to the locker room and shoved the heavy metal doors out of her way.

"Wait up!" Brisa called as she stuffed her ruined shirt into her backpack. She stumbled behind Shade and cleared the doors just before they slammed shut.

***

Shade sighed. She swung her legs down from the stone ledge she'd propped herself on by the main entrance of the school. Might as well start walking, she thought. Her mom had forgotten to pick her up again, and it was a long walk home. Her backpack was heavy but not as much as some days when her homework was piled high. Luckily, today was a light homework day.

Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale #1) by Alexia Purdy (complete)Where stories live. Discover now