“SAGE JADENS, MOVE YOUR FEET!” screeched my gym teacher, Coach Kerr, as the soccer ball flew past me and promptly moved into the goal. I woke from my daydreams immediately and scrambled to get the soccer ball from our schools beat up goal. Hilton High was our schools rival soccer team. Whenever anybody from Courtney Prep school (I don’t know where the name came from. The Prep part, I mean, not the Courtney part. She was the founder of our school. Whatever our messed up school was, it was not a prep school.) Meet anybody from Hilton High School (HHS)- there was trouble. Coach Kerr thinks is ironic, according to the fact that she and Coach Val (HHS’ school gym teacher) were the best of friends. I didn’t have any clue what they had in common, except a love to torture their students, physically. I hear you two whispering! Four laps around the gym! She’d always yell at the students who talked to each other.
“Times up!” called Coach Kerr to the White Hot Fury, (I have no clue why and/or how the ridiculous name came to be) staring directly at me. Her gaze felt like poison daggers stabbing me. “Thanks to our pal Sage, the Dragions-“ (HHS’ school teams name, a combination of dragons and champions) “won the game of the season, 4-3. Why don’t we all give a round of applause to our goalie, Mrs. Jadens?” she asked sarcastically. I was never really expecting applause (except for Melissa, my best friend, who at the moment was predictably smiling and clapping for me), but I also wasn’t expecting somebody to hurl a banana peel at me. Another person, wanting to join in on the game of ‘Lets pelt things at Sage while she stands there humiliated’, took her hair band out of her hair, aimed it at my face and fired it while I just stood there, dumbstruck. It wouldn’t have hurt, if it didn’t hit me in the eye. I just stood there, in the middle of the field trying not to cry, both because of the pain in my eye, but the pain in my heart. I couldn’t believe that these people who barley knew me would throw, or shoot, objects at me, just because I failed to block a goal. Okay, I do admit it would’ve helped if I hadn’t been thinking about my boyfriend- ex-boyfriend (Chad), as of yesterday, but still! It won’t change anything if you pelt stuff at me! Melissa was clapping hard, and everyone stared at her like she was an idiot. Noticing the cold stares, she clapped 3 more times listlessly, and then gave up. Miserably, I trudged back to the girl’s locker room.
After I threw on converse, skinny jeans, and a turquoise spaghetti strap tank top with a yellow off-the-shoulder shirt on top, I walked to the locker rooms full size mirror, and did a once over. I wasn’t Asian, but I had jet-black glossy hair that ran in waves to my hips. Unlike my sister, Jess, my face was flawless, while hers was littered with zits, pimples, and blackheads. My nose was average, not too big, not too small, and I had full lips that I began to paint a glossy pink. What my friends always told me, though, was that they were jealous of my eyes. I had purple eyes that had a pretty almond shape that made everything I say look like a question with my wide, playful eyes. I don’t know where I got any of my looks. My dad was an Irish redhead; my mom was a blonde Brazilian. I began to walk out to the parking lot.
“Slug bug!” called a familiar voice cheerfully. I turned around to find my freshman sister, Jess. I smiled when I saw her hair. Her hair was a mixture of blonde and red. I personally thought she had the coolest hair color of all time, but she tried to draw the attention away from it by styling it in crazy ways. For example, today she’d gotten a plastic fork and spoon from the cafeteria, and she stuck them into her hair with…glue? Tape? I may never know. I opened my mouth to speak, but that moment, whatever I was going to was permanently erased from my brain when my eyes flitted to the left side of the parking lot.
Chad casually lounged on his red convertible with a mob of girls surrounding him. Okay, maybe 5 girls, but to me it seemed like a mob. I saw Britney, the most popular girl at Courtney Prep, sitting in his lap. One glance at them, and I was gone. My vision blurred, from tears. Every second longer I looked, my heart was sinking deeper into my stomach, but I couldn’t rip my gaze away from them. Britney laughed at something my ex said, and he shrugged playfully. I stood there like an idiot as he stared forward, straight at me. I wanted to stab myself for dumping him. How could he? Our gazes locked, and I stared into his bottomless sea colored eyes. His gaze met mine for just a second more, until his head dipped, and his lips met Britney’s. My world spun. My only thoughts were: I dumped Chad. Chad is with Britney now. Chad is kissing Britney right now. Chad doesn’t care about me anymore. He moved on from me.
“Sa-aage” whined Jess. ”Can we go now? We have to walk home today. I need to get home early so I can work on my history report. Come awn!” with that, Jess grabbed my arm and tugged me. I blinked back into the real world, and wiped away some tears. I put on my brave face, so nobody would know I’d been crying over the guy I dumped, even when I still loved him.
“Why is Chad making out with Britney? I thought he was your boyfriend.” I felt a pang in my heard at the mention of that.
“I dumped him. He was getting old. I’m so over him.” I lied. God, I can’t even be honest with my little sister.
I looked at the street sign. 5th avenue, which meant my house, was two blocks away. I began to listen to Jess again.
“-Went down the hall to find him, but all I saw was the janitor, so I kept looking until I read the text again, which said 3’5’’5’8’’’3’9’0, which meant meat me TOMORROW at the stairwell.” She laughed. I stiffly fake laughed, as if I’d been listening to her. “C’mon, cross the street here.” She causally crossed the long street. I trailed, three steps behind her. She began to chatter away again, when I saw the pickup truck.
The truck was 60 feet away, about, and coming toward Jess at around 70 mph.
“Jess!” I screeched, my voice ragged, and foreign sounding to me. She turned and looked the opposite way of where the car was coming. “No! Other way! Run!!” I yelled. She turned the other way, and just stood there, frozen, staring at the pickup truck, which was less than 20 feet away. On impulse, I lunged at her, knocking her into the sidewalk with more strength than I ever knew I had. She lay in the bushes, looking mortified, while I lay on the tar road, my leg bent at a painful angle from the impact of the fall. My hands were scratched up and bloody from the impact of the fall. I tried to muster up all my strength, which was limited, and worked on dragging myself off the road. I heard Jess screaming, and I heard wheels turning. Those were the last sounds I heard before I died.
Pain. That was all I felt. Just pain. Excruciating pain, digging through my bones, filling my head with pressure. I couldn’t feel anything beside pain. Every part of my body felt pain, the only thing I could hear were my shrieks. Some of the pain felt like shark bites, some like knives stabbing me. All I could think was, Make this stop. Make this stop. The pain began to build up in me, until I couldn’t think. I felt like I was going to die, though I was already dead. Then, the pain stopped. I was laying on something incredibly soft, and I heard voices. Oh my god, I was losing it. What was wrong with me? I was dead. But then, why was my mom shaking me? Maybe I survived, and I was in a soft hospital bed. Why wouldn’t my mom let me sleep? I just went through the worst pain of my life, and my mom wouldn’t let me sleep for a freaking minute! I opened my eyes annoyed, and spat at my mom,
“I’m fine. I didn’t die in the car accident. There’s nothing wrong with me, so would you please go away and let me…” I trailed off. I wasn’t in a hospital bed. I was on a pavement that felt soft as silk, but in reality was as hard at cement. How was that possible? I took in my quaint surroundings. It was a cute place, and all the houses were three story villas. The style of the houses was to have a wide, tall tower in the center, and two even wider towers on each side that were a story shorter. I wasn’t on cement; I seemed to be lying on s soft, smooth brick road. I turned to see behind me, but my wing was in the way. Wait…my wing was in the way??? I jumped to my feet and turned my head. Yep, wings. I had huge, fragile looking, pair of white-feathered WINGS. I flapped them twice, just to make sure they weren’t just decoration.
At this flap, my wings flapped twice, and I shot up 4 feet like a cannon, and when I stopped flapping my wings, I hovered in the air.
“You’re new here, aren’t you?” Said a guy with a deep, smooth voice. I turned abruptly to see a guy with messy brown hair, and amber eyes that twinkled when he looked at me. He had a dark tan that contrasted with his white teeth that gleamed as he glided up to smile at me. He was a whole head taller than me, I realized, when he came up to my level. I wasn’t short, I was 5’6’’ but he was tall. He was muscled, but not in a way that made him look like he was on steroids. He had different wings than me. They were white, of course, but they seemed strong and powerful, like a falcon’s. He looked…nice. Like you could trust him. He looked different from Chad. Chad, he looked cool. Kind of like a snake. He had a gleam in his eye often, and it was impossible to tell where you stood with Chad. He always had a poker face, and he never told me he loved me. When I told him, he just said ‘thanks’.
“So…what’s your name?” asked the cute guy.
“Sage. Sage Jadens.” I replied, tossing my hair. Then I scolded myself for thinking he was cute, and slightly flirting with him. My heart belonged with Chad, though he obviously moved on from me.
“Cool name. I’m James Stralden. Nothing special, huh?” He said, extending his hand. I took his hand and pumped it up and down. Twice. His hand was warm in mine, and soft. He didn’t have all the rough calluses on his hand that Chad always had, and tingles shot up though my arm when our hands touched. The second the feelings came; I pushed them away and let go of his hand.
“Yeah, I’m new in…where am I?” I asked him, slowly landing on the floor.
“I could kind of tell you were new.” He glided to the floor. “This place is called The Beyond. It’s where people stay,” James paused briefly before going on. “Well, forever when they die. It doesn’t get crowded up here, though, because The Beyond literally goes on forever.” My mouth dropped open.
“So, basically, I’m immortal?” I said, my breath quickening. He just spread his wings again.
“Well, I guess. I died in 1792, a few months after I turned 18.” James said, his face darkening for a moment. ”Also, you can stop breathing. There’s no point.” He said, his smile returning. I flew up to where he hovered.
“M’kay.” I said, and stopped breathing. I tried it for ten seconds, but then my habit returned.
“Come on, I’ll show your house.” He said, and flew off. I fluttered my wings and took off, catching up to him in moments. I wasn’t really flying gracefully, but I was flying straight enough to not fly into anything.
“Here it is! This is the Jaden estate. All yours!” Announced James with a flourish. Like everything in The Beyond, it was a large, quaint villa, with an old fashioned tower on top.
“Jadens.” I corrected him with a toss of my hair.
“Say what?” he asked, turning away from the villa to give me a bewildered look, cocking his head in confusion
“Ja-dens. “ I peered into his hypnotizing brown-eyed stare. “With an s at the end.
Jadens. Not Jaden.”
“All right, your majesty. Enjoy your stay in the Jadens castle. Now, allow me to be your humble servant.” James joked, bowing before me.
“Ugh, shut up. Now, can you tell me what I’m supposed to be doing ‘til the end of time, maybe longer?” I enquired.
“Well, Paprika, you’ll go to school. I’ll pick you tomorrow at ‘round 8 for school, so you can figure out where it is. Later, Basil.” Said James, waving twice, then spread his wings to take off. He began to fly away.
“Sage! S-a-g-e, SAGE!!” I screamed at his retreating figure. He flew back quickly, and dropped a satin purple sachet at my feet.
“Bye, Cilantro!” called James, flying off as fast as he could. Typical. I get to meet a hot guy, and he flies off as fast as his wings could take him. I slapped my arm as hard as I could, and gave a little yelp. Everyone around me looked at me like I was a sycophant. Great, now I was known to my neighbors as the girl who likes pain. I hated pain, but I had to chase any feelings for James away, I have had enough heartbreak to last me a lifetime.
I reached for the bag at my feet, and pulled the gold rope drawstrings open. Inside lay the most beautiful key I have ever seen. It was silver, and at the end of the key was a swirling silver heart. It has SJ initialed into it, with amethyst gems coating the letters SJ. I walked over to the huge double door, and inserted the key in the right door. It fit perfectly when I slid it in, and I gently turned the key, after that I pushed the door open a crack. I took out the key, and then dropped it in the bag I realized I was clutching tightly. I pulled the drawstrings together tightly, held the sachet in my hand gingerly, and pushed the door open.
The giant room I was standing in was…magnificent. The walls, floor, and ceiling were entirely made of marble, and the room had many large windows. I saw a grand spiral staircase that led upstairs, and many doors.
After exploring the house, I came back to the living room where I had started. This house had an elevator! I sat down in the couch, which was silk, and saw a cream colored envelope on the small table beside the chair. I gently peeled the hardened wax that was keeping the envelope closed, and unfolded the letter.
Welcome to the beyond. I apologize for not being here to greet you, but I had my tasks I had to attend to. I know you don’t know me, but I know a lot about you, Sage. In the beyond, there is no currency. You are not provided with any school supplies, clothes, food, and etcetera. Anything at any shop is free, and you may take as much as you like. All of the food here has no expiration date, so you don’t have to worry about your entire food going to waste. I’m sorry I must write this short letter so hastily, but I hope I covered the most of your problems. If you don’t know the direction of the place you want to reach, you must perform a simple spell. It goes,
“Rain or shine, sleet and snow. Take me where I want to go!” you shall immediately know the directions to the street you wish to go to. I hope to see you soon, Sage!
Whoa. Well, I guess food and drink was the most important thing. I looked at the page, stood up, and filled my mind with food and drink.
“Rain or shine, sleet and snow. Take me where I want to go!” I walked out the door and spread my wings.
I looked around the huge store I had just walked in. They had shopping carts, I noticed as I walked towards them, but the carts had no wheels and floated a foot above the ground. Awkwardly, I took one by the handle and shopped.
The cashier took the items from my cart. Then he chanted,
“This angel still wants to roam, so ship these items to her home!” one by one, the items disappeared. I watched in amazement for half a second. Then, I remembered I didn’t want people to know I was new, so I tried to look bored.
I stepped outside the super market, and looked around. Then, I thought of school supplies.
“Rain or shine, sleet and snow. Take me where I want to go!” I flew through the air, with complete knowledge of where I wanted to go.
I looked at the titles of the shops. Kelly preschool readiness, Stevenson Elementary readiness, Frodian Jr. high readiness, Braveria high school readiness. I knew that Braveria was the Italian root of bravery. I walked in Braveria high school readiness and then observed the store. It had the same hover-carts as the super market. I grabbed one, then grabbed all the items I needed, then went to the cash register to have him ship the stuff home. I walked out with a smile on my face as I thought of where I was going. I recited the spell happily, then whizzed away.
Clothes! I couldn’t believe I could spend all I wanted. I walked into a store titled ‘Kiss me’.
I walked into the dressing room and put down the heaps of clothes. I stripped down and tried all the outfits. Halter-tops, off the shoulder shirts, camisoles, crew cuts, shinny jeans, baggy jeans, flared leg jeans, caprice, the list went on and on.
I had already gone to 7 clothing stores, now I stood in front of a shoe store called ‘gossip’. I got all the shoes under the rainbow (maybe) and finally, after a long day of shopping, went home.
I couldn’t believe it. When I saw my closet with everything put away, I almost fainted. I had so many hot outfits, and over 40 pairs of shoes. The surprising part was that I hadn’t even used a tenth of my closet space! I walked out, packed my backpack, and went to bed.
I woke up at seven to the sound of a horn. Weird. I slipped out of bed and remembered that James was picking me up to go to school. I took a semi-long shower and then decided I couldn’t get my wavy black hair done in time. Thinking back to all the spells, I decided to make one up.
“At my hair, James will think boo, put my hair in a dry beautiful up-do!” The rhyme was pathetic, but the spell seemed to work. There was a shimmering cloud covering my hair for a second, and I panicked. What if I didn’t word it right? I might end up BALD!
Just as I was thinking this, the shimmers went away. My hair looked…beautiful. Stunning. Breathtaking. I brushed my teeth, and walked to my closet. Wow. I still couldn’t believe how many outfits I had. I remembered reading somewhere that there was no dress code at my new high school, so I gave my closet an appraising look. I grabbed a bright yellow camisole, and put a latte brown ripped top over it. I walked over to the section of my closet where I had my jeans, and picked out a pair of skin-tight jeans. I remembered Melissa had always said ‘you have an amazing figure, so show it off!’ I could eat all I wanted, and never get fat. Amazing. I slid them over my toned legs, then easily zipped them up and buttoned them. I went over to my shoes. Chocolate brown, knee-high leather boots with a ½ inch heel. Perfect, because with my clumsiness, anything over 2 inches wasn’t even worth trying on. I quickly realized that I had put my shirts on over my wings, but they were sticking out, perfectly unharmed. It was weird, but far more normal than anything that has happened recently. I looked at my blowout again. How could I get a blowout this amazing with such a lame spell?
I looked up from my cereal at the sound of knuckles rapping against wood. I glanced at the clock hanging in the dining room. 6:58! I grabbed my backpack from the back of the chair hastily.
“Uh, at school I want to be seen, so make my cereal bowl clean?” I recited, as more of a question than a statement. I saw the regular shimmers, then a clean bowl. I punched the air in delight, and then hurried to the door.
I opened the door, and stumbled while I made my way down the steps. I heard deep laughter. I immediately looked up at the person who was laughing at me. My heart skipped a beat as I looked into a pair of dark brown eyes.
“James! Uh, hi! So, why are you here?” I asked and then bit my tongue. Why are you here? He told me he was going to pick me up for school yesterday! I was so-
“I told you I’d pick you up yesterday, cinnamon. Were you listening?” He asked, his hair falling into his eyes. I shook my head.
“No, I was listening, but I just forgot at the moment. By the way, cinnamon isn’t a herb.” I twirled a lose lock of black hair.
“I know. I was running out of herbs, nutmeg.” He was trying to suppress laughter. Why didn’t I ever have any snappy comebacks?
“Are we going to stand here and wait for you think of herbs, or we going to fly to school?” I asked, tilting my head up so I could look in to his twinkling eyes. I immediately got lost in his amber eyes. They were so beautiful.
“We could fly. C’mon, Sage.” He said, cocking his head, as to look at me at a better angle. I’m not exactly pretty, but what Melissa called striking. Most the teens in school called my look gothic. I couldn’t control my hair being black! I was often accused of wearing colored contacts, but no. My eyes were a bright, vibrant shade of purple. James eyes were scanning my face, staring into my eyes, as if trying to see into my soul. Chad’s line of vision didn’t stray far from my c-cups.
“It’s an hour’s flight to school. Come on.” James spread his wings, and we began to fly.
“So, Sage, do you have a boyfriend back on earth?” James asked in the school hallway as we walked down the hall after school. At the mention of the word boyfriend, I sidestepped into him and fell sideways.
“Whoa!” James exclaimed, catching me from cracking my head against the floor. I stared up into his amber eyes as I lay in his arms, breathing heavily. He was so…warm. Chad was always cold, I’ve noticed, when he pressed himself against me and kissed me harshly. “So?” He asked again. His expression softened when he saw my eyes water. ”Hey, don’t cry. Never mind. Forget I brought it up.” He looked into my purple eyes and pulled me to my feet, but still held me.
“No- you should know. Chad, he was my boyfriend, but I caught him kissing another girl, so I dumped him, but, I’m not sure if I did the right thing, because maybe I was a bad girlfriend, so he needed somebody else besides me.” I blabbered.
“Uh, let me get this straight. You wish you hadn’t dumped him for cheating on you?” He stopped walking to look at me.
“Yes. No! Ugh, I don’t know.” I stammered stupidly.
“So, you and this Chad guy, were you exclusive?”
“So…what did you guys have in common?”
“Uh…I…well, we, uh, um…” I tried to think of all the things we had in common, but my mind drew a complete blank. I took choir after school and he took football. I wasn’t popular; he won prom king every year. I did math, science, and language arts well; he did well in PE. He liked cats a lot; I loved dogs. “Opposites attract?” I said meekly.
“Okay. Where do you want to go?” he asked, dragging out the o in okay so it sounded like it had 3 syllables.
“Go?” I asked, wondering where he was planning on taking me.
“Well, I could take you home, or we could go to see a waterfall, or a cave.” James said, brushing floppy brown hair out of his eyes with his hand.
“Uh, a waterfall sounds cool.” I said.
“Great.” He said, and began to fly off.
“Wait for me!” I yelled at him and then flew off after him.
The waterfall was actually a series of many waterfalls and water slides, I noticed when I came near. The water wasn’t a blue-white, but a dark, crystal clear blue.
“This…this place is amazing!” I cried as I landed. James flew down onto the slab or rock beside me.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool.” He crossed his arms over his chest. I looked down at the crystal clear water half a foot below us. I walked one more step, to get a better view, when my heel caught on a root, and my foot twisted.
“Help!” I cried as I stumbled down into the water. James caught my hand, but the gravity pulling me down was stronger, and we both tumbled into the pool.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” I cried when James resurfaced. “Are-are our wings damaged?” I asked, silently praying he wouldn’t hate me. James face turned red with anger. Then, he burst out laughing. I slightly giggled along with him.
“No.” He choked out, still laughing. “Our wings are fine.” James smiled at me, one dimple showing. He splashed me playfully.
“Hey!” I cried, splashing water at him. Before we knew it, we were in a full on water war.
About two hours later, we flew back onto the slab of rock, and we both sat down. I squeezed water droplets out of my hair.
“Hey, do you want to come to my house? I might need help with my homework. I have to learn so much!” I said, trying to finger-comb my hair.
“Sure. We can stop by a restaurant so we can take food to your place.” He said. He got to his feet, grabbed his backpack, and extended his hand to me. I grabbed my bag and then took his hand. He pulled me to my feet and then let go of my hand. I still felt my hand tingle. We began to fly, and James told me some stuff about the beyond.
“You’ll get a room mate today. Another girl died, and she was sent to this part of the beyond.” James said casually. “We’ll pick her up at Town Square.” They had Town Square in the beyond? Weird.
“How did you-?” I began, but stopped asking my question when he put his phone away. Somebody sent him a text that told him that.
We neared Town Square. James put his hands in the pockets of his jeans after we landed. While we were flying, James put a spell on us, so it looked like we never got wet.
“Now, the girl will be sitting on the fountain. I can’t come over, because you need to get to know her.” He said, sounding upset.
“Kay. See you tomorrow at school?” I asked
“See you then.” James said. He flew off, and I walked over to the fountain. Sure enough, there was a girl sitting there. She had straight red hair that ran to her waist, bangs that went to her elbows, big naturally pale pink lips, freckles, and wide eyes that were staring at me in shock.
“Melissa?” I squealed.
“Sage!!!” Cried my best friend, running to give me a hug. I embraced her tightly.
“Melissa! What happened to you? Why are you uh, dead?” I asked.
“I, uh, kind of ate seaweed by accident.” She said, twirling her straight hair.
“Meli! How?” I cried, using my nickname for Melissa. I knew that Melissa was deadly allergic to any type of seaweed at all.
“I ate some sort of Asian salad, but that’s not important. What about you?” she asked, looking at me in concern.
“Jess was about to get run over by a car, I pushed her out of the way, well, and you know the rest.” I said. “Oh, we’re room mates!” I said after that.
“No way!” cried Melissa.
“Way! Come on, let’s go to our new house.” I said. I flapped my wings and hovered. She mimicked me, and we both took off.
“Oh my gosh. This is your house?” asked Melissa as I opened the door.
“Our house.” I corrected her. We walked over to the big purple silk couch. Our shoes were already off, so we curled up at opposite ends.
“I saw you talking to an ah-dorable guy. Spill!” She commanded.
“He’s just a friend. He’s really nice, even though he pretends that he doesn’t know your name, also, I tripped into a waterfall today, and he held out his hand, and he didn’t get mad at me when we both fell in. But, what’s weird, is that when he asked me what Chad and I have in common, I drew a complete blank.” I said.
“That’s because Chad’s a cheating, lying, good for nothing jerk! Chad broke your heart! He doesn’t even deserve to know you. “ Melissa said, narrowing her eyes.
“Melissa, I’ll tell you something, and that’s because you’re my best friend in the universe.” I took a deep breath, and blurted out, ”I think that I like James because he’s nice and funny and cute and whenever we talks, it feels like he understands me more than Chad ever did, and wherever our skin touches, I feel tingles and he’s so warm, not all cold like Chad.” I sighed, relieved to get all of it off my back.
“That is so romantic!” Squealed Melissa. “He sounds so great for you, and he’s cute too and looks so strong. I think that you two would be an adorable couple! Like, me, I like guys more blonde hair and blue eyes, and kind of like my knight in shining armor.” Melissa sighed, and I giggled. Melissa was a hopeless romantic. She loved romance novels, and she had a new crush every week.
“Well, you just might be lucky. There’s people here from medieval times, so you might actually get a knight.” I said.
“What’s this?” Melissa asked, picking up the letter from the side table.
“Oh, just a letter. You can read it, if you like. Oh! By the way, everything here is free, so we can go shopping. It’s only 4:28.” I said, glancing at the clock.
“That’s all I needed to hear. Come on; let’s do this spell. Think of clothes.” She said, grabbing my hand. I glanced at the page.
“Rain or shine, sleet and snow. Take me where I want to go!” we both chanted at the same time.
“Awesome!” squealed Melissa when we got there.
“I have some clothes already, but it can’t hurt to buy more” I said.
“Yeah, we’re the same jean size, but not the same chest size.” Melissa pulled her lips into a playful pout.
“At least people don’t think you’ve had breast implants.” I joked. We sashayed into a store called: I heard a rumor.
“Whoa! This store is huge. It’s way too big for us to look through it together. I’ll take tops and bags, you take jeans and shoes.” She said. I didn’t argue. I loved her taste in tops, and I was good at finding stylish shoes and jeans.
“Meet you in the changing room in about an hour.” I said, giving her a smile, and tossing my hair like a diva. We both cracked up.
“La-tah!” she said, raising a hand and wiggling her fingers. I waved.
“Ta-Ta For Now!” I said, using what she always had texted me when we had to say goodbye for now. TTFN was a little inside joke between us.
I slowly walked along the jeans aisle, stopping when I found dark blue skinny jeans, with 10 purposely ripped holes in each leg. I also grabbed black and dark blue tight-leg jeans, white flare leg jeans, dark blue baggy jeans, and dark wash denim short-shorts. I moved on to shoes. Melissa and I have the same shoe size, so that wasn’t a problem. I grabbed a few pairs of designer sneakers for when we needed to run, a pair or teal ankle boots with a 3-inch heel, a couple pairs of fuzzy winter boots, a pair of black boots that went up to the thigh and had a 1-inch heel, and 3 pairs of chocolate brown leather boots that stopped just before the knee, with no heel. I walked to the dressing room, and waited for Melissa to show up. There was only one dressing room available, so we both went in the large dressing room. We put down our clothes on the bench.
“Kay, Sage, lets see what we got!” said Melissa, and she pretended to crack her knuckles. We split up the clothes into two piles. “If something doesn’t fit you that might fit me, put it in my pile. If it most likely won’t fit either of us, put it over there.” She explained, pointing to the far back of the bench.
We ended up getting the holed jeans, the black and blue pairs of tight leg jeans, the white flare leg, all of the shoes, a dozen camisoles, halter tops in red, orange, green, blue, purple, black, brown, and white, many off the shoulder shirts, tank tops in 11 colors, many crew cut shirts, lots of jackets, and 11 handbags. The cashier sent all of the items we bought home, and we flew back to our house.
While we were curled up watching The Vampire Diaries re-runs, I heard somebody knock on the door. I quietly walked over to the peephole, then mouthed to Melissa, It’s James. Her eyes went wide, and she mouthed back to me I’m not here! I smiled to myself, took a deep breath, clenched my teeth to keep myself from smiling, and I opened the door.
“Hey.” James said, smiling shyly in the moonlight.
“James! Come in.” I said, and moved out of the way so he could walk in. He kicked off his shoes at the front door and then casually walked in.
We sat on the couch, and turned to face each other.
“So, how do you like your new room mate? Have you gotten to know each other?” James asked, putting his hands behind his head and leaning back. I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. I laughed until tears streamed down my face.
“No, actually, when I was alive, she was my best friend. We’ve been friends since the 5th grade.” I said with a smile.
“Hmm. Small world.” He said, brushing hair out of his eyes.
“So, why’d you decide to drop by? Were you flying around the neighborhood?” I asked, focusing on the way his dark tan contrasted with his bright white teeth.
“Nah, I just wanted to say hi. Also, I was wondering, do you want me to tutor you on angel studies form 7-8?” he asked me.
“Duh-uh, sure!” I stammered like an idiot.
“Great. Then it’s a date.” He said, smiling. “Later.” He said, raising a hand and going to put his shoes on.
“Bye!” I said cheerfully. After he closed the door, I bounded upstairs to my and Melissa’s room.
“He said what?” squealed Melissa after I told her what had happened.
“He said, and I quote, ‘Great. Then it’s a date. Later.’” I said, flopping down on my bed.
“You guys are totally made for each other. He is so yours.” She squealed, putting a hand on the chain of the lamp. “G’night Sage.”
“G’night Melissa. Do you really think he likes me?” I asked
“Totally. Why else would he tutor you for an hour? He wants to spend time with you.”
“Sage! He’s probably lying in bed now, thinking of you!”
“Night, James-lover.” She said, clicking off the light. I took one of the decoration pillows from my bed spread and threw at her head at the other side of the room. She tossed one of her pillows back at me, and we tossed pillows back and forth at each other until we were exhausted. She turned the light back on, and when we saw the pillows all over the room, we both burst out laughing. I scrambled to get all of my purple and black pillows while Melissa ran to get all of the red and green pillows. We arranged them carefully on the beds again, and she put her hand on the lamp again, about to turn it off, when I teased,
“Good night, hopeless romantic.” She playfully grabbed her pillow, and held the pillow up, as if she was going to throw the pillow at me, but instead just put it back down, too exhausted to get into another pillow fight. She clicked off the light.
“Now, good night for real!” she said with a laugh. I giggled slightly, then sank into the bedspread and fell asleep.
“M’kay, Sage, you need to look absolutely stunning today.” Melissa announced to me after dragging me out of bed.
“Why?” I asked, still dazed from her dragging me out of bed. I do not like getting up to someone whacking me in the face with a pillow.
“Be-cause,” Melissa said, sounding exasperated. “Sage, James is coming to school! You need to look eye popping, shoe stomping, ground shaking, ah-mazing!”
“Did you take that from a Katy Perry song?” I asked, remembering her song ‘Peacock’. Melissa reddened.
“Point is, I am totally dressing you today. No dress code? You have to take advantage of that.” She said, flipping through the clothes we bought. I sighed. When Melissa got going, there was no stopping her.
“Voila!” Melissa exclaimed. I screamed and dropped my toothbrush. She had straightened my hair, and put a bright purple beret on top of my head. She had also put makeup on me flawlessly, giving me soft pink lips, an even softer shade of blush, and had given me a smoky eye. My eyelashes had no mascara, to which I said a prayer of thanks, but she had curled my long eyelashes, making them look even longer. I had on a purple off the shoulder shirt with a red tank top underneath. I had on a pair of tight leg jeans, faded to perfection, and 1 inch purple pumps. My wrist was adorned with 10 silver bangles, and my neck had one silver necklace that had the initials SJ on it. I had a pair of silver dangly earrings that looked like chandeliers.
“Melissa!” I screeched. What did she do to me? I didn’t look like myself. I picked up my toothbrush, and almost dropped it again. Melissa was wearing a tight emerald green dress, with matching emerald green pumps. She hadn’t exactly curled her hair, but as we stood in the bathroom, I noticed she was working hard to make all sorts of flips in her hair. Unsuccessfully. She really wanted that night in shining armor. I felt pity on her, since her hair was flipping inward, outward, and some were curled like crazy.
“Uh, are you trying to make your hair, uh, flippy at the ends?” I asked, not really thinking that question out. Flippy? Now I knew why James wasn’t interested in me.
“Yes!” Melissa cried, turning of the hair thing. She sat down on the toilet seat, and buried her head in her hands.
“She wants to feel a cute blonde guys lips, help and put her hair in flips.” I chanted. Where did that come from? The air around her head shimmered, and her hair was in flips seconds later.
“How did you do that?” Melissa asked, her eyes wide after she looked in the mirror.
“Honestly? I have no clue.” I said. “C’mon, we’re going to be late for school if we don’t get going.” I looked for my backpack, but I didn’t see it.
“Here!” Melissa said, cheerfully. I turned, to see her holding out a Christian Louboutin backpack. I didn’t even know they made those. I rolled my eyes and peered inside. She must have transferred my stuff to this backpack before she whacked me in the face with a pillow to wake me up. I heard Melissa mutter the word bock, or pock, but I ignored her. I slipped the backpack through my wings.
Melissa and I walked to lunch through the gaggle of students.
“I’m going to the bathroom. Save a seat for me at table 28.”I said over the loud voiced of the angels. Melissa nodded, and I hurried to the bathroom. Guys had been staring at me all day, and I hated that much attention. I needed to change my look.
“I detest this look Melissa loves, chance me back to the way I was!” I said in the empty bathroom. Shimmers fell over me, but when I looked at myself again, I looked the way I looked after she made me up this morning!
“I detest this look Melissa loves, chance me back to the way I was!” I tried again. It didn’t work again. I tried 3 more times, until I recalled what Melissa had said this morning. She hadn’t say bock or pocks this morning; she had said lock!! I was stuck this way until midnight. I walked into the nearly empty hallway. I saw James carrying a pile of 5 books.
“Hi!” I said to him. He looked my way, and dropped all the books.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you!” I said in a rush. I ran over to help him, and then promptly tripped over my heels and fell. Typical.
James arm seized out, and caught me from falling. He steadied me.
“Sage?” he asked, as if he didn’t recognize me.
“Yeah, it’s me. I mean, it’s not me, because Melissa dressed me and straightened my hair and put makeup on me, and did a lock spell thing on me, so I can’t change myself to the way I was until midnight tonight, so that’s why I’m a slut. Wait, I’m not a slut; she just dressed me so I looked like a slut. I don’t look a slut do I? Wait, I don’t look like a slut. Right?” I rambled. Why did always get so tongue tied when I talked to him? He smiled, and picked up his books.
“You’re not a slut. You don’t look like one either. You just don’t look like…you.” He said. “So, can I eat lunch with you? “He asked, standing up after picking up his books. My eyes widened. James wanted to eat lunch with me? He turned as red as Melissa’s hair when he saw how wide my eyes were.
“I, uh, I mean, uh…I’d love to meet Melissa.” He nervously said. He looked down and began to walk to the cafeteria.
“Sure!” I said, and followed him to the cafeteria. We walked to the table I told Melissa to wait at. I hoped she didn’t get lonely all alone I the cafeteria. Turned out, I had nothing to worry about.
At table 28, Melissa was making out with some guy with blonde hair, the color of the sand at the beaches in Hawaii. He had his blonde hair in a side-cut, that Melissa had tangled her fingers in. James and I sat at the opposite side of the table, and pretended to be fascinated by our mashed potatoes.
“Sage! When did you get here?” Melissa exclaimed when they were done with their make-out session.
“Uh, 10 minutes ago.” I said. James extended his hand to her.
“I’m James. You must be Melissa Hoff. Sage has told me all about you.” Said James, shaking her hand. I looked at the guy she had been making out with.
“Uh, hi?” I said, not exactly sure how to talk to a guy who had been shoving his tongue in Melissa’s mouth, even though they’d probably known each other for 5 minutes. I looked at his eyes, which were as blue as the sea. He was handsome, but he was no James Stralden. James, I noticed, was a lot more handsome after I’d allowed myself to like him.
“Who the hell are you?” asked the guy. I almost fell back in my chair, but James caught the back of my chair, and brought it back to its legs. I looked at him gratefully. He smiled at me.
“Sage. Sage Jadens. I’m Melissa’s best friend.” I said, nervously.
“Why didn’t you tell me you had a best friend?” demanded the guy to Melissa.
“I- I’m so sorry. She slipped my mind.” Melissa said nervously. Who was this guy, and why was my best friend letting him control her?
“I’ve been friends with Melissa for as long as I can remember. Can’t say the same about you and her. I bet you don’t eyen know her last name.” I said angrily.
“Hell, why should I care? I bet you don’t know your boyfriends last name.” He said, gesturing to James. My cheeks turned even redder than Melissa’s hair.
“Stralden. Also, he’s not my boyfriend.” I said, my voice breaking on the word not. Who was this jerk?
“Sure he’s not. Later, Melissa.” He said.
“Bye Stephan.” Melissa said cheerfully.
“Actually, come sit with me.” Stephan said. Melissa got up and speed walked to catch up to him. I glared at him as he walked away.
“What does she see in him?” James wanted to know. “He’s the biggest jerk in the whole school.”
“I believe it.” I said. We spent the rest of the lunch period talking about my sister, Chad, Stephen, and The Beyond. I tried to act lively and bubbly and a ton of fun, so that James would look at me the way that Melissa looked at Stephen. No luck. He just smiled at me, the kind of affection he would show to a little sister. Even if he didn’t like me that way, I still liked hanging out with him. He was always so sweet and has the best sense of humor. We talked until the lunch bell rang, and I walked to my 2:45 class on spells. James was in a different class than me, so we said our goodbyes and broke away.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the spells class was Stephan and Melissa sitting at the back of the room next to each other. A girl with a soft brown bob, thick black eyeliner, dark purple lipstick, and a nose ring was sitting next to Melissa. Melissa was laughing nervously at something she had said. She glanced at me and then I saw Stephen slap her on the arm. She looked away from me quickly. I looked around the room for another seat. I saw a girl with dark brown ringlets, olive skin, and rectangular glasses smiling at me. I walked over to her.
“Hi! Can I sit here?” I asked, twirling my straightened hair with my finger.
“Of course! I’m Nadia.” She said, extending her hand. I took her hand and shook it firmly. The teacher wasn’t here, I noticed. It was a minute until class started.
“Mrs. Valdez never gets here on time.” She said to me. She looked at the back of the room where Melissa was kissing up to Stephan, and made a face. “Ugh, God, I hate him.”
“Why?” I asked, looking directly into her black eyes. Nadia leaned her head closer to me, as if she was going to tell me a secret.
“I’m totally ashamed of it, but…”she looked around to make sure that nobody was eavesdropping. “Stephan and I went out, and all he’s interested in is the girl’s body. When I told him I didn’t want to do it, he dropped me fast. Sheila over there,” she pointed to the brunette with the bob. “Didn’t get so lucky.” My mouth hung open.
“Nu-uh! No way am I letting that happen to Melissa. I stood up, planning on marching over to Melissa and slap some sense into her when Mrs. Valdez walked in.
“Good morning angels. Now, today we will be learning a spell that will freeze time.” Said Mrs. Valdez.
A note landed on my desk. I opened the blue post it note under the table, and read it. It said,
Sage, meet me after school at the fountain in Town Square. I want to talk to you about you-know-who. RSVP! BTW, destroy this note immediately. Nadia.
I smiled to myself, then immediately took a purple post-it note from my Christian Louboutin backpack. I took out my pencil, and wrote,
Nadia, I’ll meet you there after school. I’m really hurting about Melissa, and I could really use a little cheering up. It would also help to find a way to put glue in you-know-who’s shampoo. BTW, this is an RSVP. Ditto about destroying the note. Sage.
I ripped up the blue post-it note carefully and then placed my note in her hand.
When the day was finally over, I flew to Town Square. I sat there and waited a few minutes, when Nadia arrived. We hugged briefly and then talked for a few minutes.
“So, what’s going on between you and James?” Nadia asked. I could only stare at her. “I was talking to him earlier today, we sit next to each other in potions, and all he could talk about was you. Your last name is Jadens, and you’ve been here 2 days, right?” I nodded, unable to believe what I was hearing. “So, yeah, he was talking about you. He described you as beautiful and sweet with black hair and purple eyes. How did you think I knew your name?” I was stunned. I