The Darkest Lie by Angela Day

Posted on Saturday, July 20, 2013



              "So I think I hate AP History," she began, biting into her sandwich and continuing with food in her mouth. "The teacher doesn't teach anything and assigns a ton of homework. I wonder if I could transfer to AP English or something, but then they'd just make me get up and introduce myself again, and I'm so done with that. I hate getting up in every class to tell everyone what my name is and where I'm from and what my favorite hobby is and what?"

              Thane was staring at her. "You're sitting with me."

              "Your powers of observation are superior. You should be a super hero."

              "Invisibility is the only worthwhile super power," Thane responded.

              "Who would want to be invisible all the time? My dad says that reading people is my super power. You are something of a mystery," she mused, staring at him so steadily it made him uncomfortable. "For most people, their personality and interests are plastered all over. They read a lot or spend a lot of time on the computer, so they squint a little and talk a lot. They're big into sports, so they have calloused hands and they just love flexing their muscles in your face. They're skinny and self conscious so they wear big clothes or tall and they slouch or short and wear big shoes or too much makeup because they don't like their skin or spike their hair to look taller or tough or something, but not you. You are so completely normal it's almost creepy."

              Thane's lip twitched. "You think I'm creepy?"

              "Not in a bad way," Remi amended, "it's just... there's no such thing as normal, you know? There are things that most people have in common but no one person is supposed to have all the most common traits, and yet, here you are."

              She was still staring at his face, and Thane fought to keep the heat from rising in his cheeks. "If I'm creepy, you can sit somewhere else."

              "Nope, sorry, can't." Remi grinned. "You fascinate me, so you're stuck with me for however long the Air Force allows. I am a temporary friend, and now, I am your temporary friend." She took a bite trying to be nonchalant, but Thane could see the tightness in her jaw waiting for his reaction. She really was lonely, and afraid, and probably tired of feeling like that.

              Thane could see the loneliness and fear in her because he was an expert in both. He'd become reconciled to being by himself a long time ago. Never having a friend had meant never needing a friend. That's what he tried to believe. But here in front of him was a girl, a pretty girl, who wanted to know what he thought and listened when he spoke and asked questions. Part of him was reeling from all the emotional interchange and wanted to flee, find a safe place to hide, and wait until she'd gone away. But it was also that part of him that knew he couldn't leave someone when they felt scared and alone. "I haven't had a permanent friend before, so I guess a temporary friend would be a good start." 

              Remi's responding smile was so big and so genuine that it scared Thane. Wait, what had he just agreed to? The bell rang and he jumped to his feet. "I have to get to Chemistry." Her face fell a little, so he added, "Where are you going?"

              She pulled a crumpled paper out of her pocket and scanned it. "Also Chemistry.  With Rasmussen?"

              "With me, then."

              "All right, friend. Lead on."

              Remi chatted all the way into the classroom and sat on the stool next to him, which was usually empty. Other voices echoed off the cinderblock walls and square-tiled ceiling. Their chemistry teacher, Ms. Rasmussen, leaned against the front of her desk and gossiped with some of her favorite students while posing so everyone could admire her. She favored the brainy and the beautiful, and if you were both, you were golden in her book. She allowed and even encouraged her favored few to call her by her first name. Thane was regretting his decision to befriend Remi-- everyone kept looking back at them, interested in the new girl. He tried to surreptitiously move further away and so be out of their line of sight when she sighed and put her chin down in her cupped hands.

              "What?" he asked. Had she noticed?

              "I wish I had hair like that." Remi said, watching Ms. Rasmussen. Thane looked at the teacher's longer-than-shoulder-length red hair, and back at Remi, waiting. She snorted. "Her hair is long, wavy, and a gorgeous deep red that most women can't pull off. Mine is short and dark and curls out everywhere."

              "Your hair is nice. It fits you," Thane asserted, and Remi looked pleased. She seemed about to comment when the second bell rang, and Ms. Rasmussen clapped her hands.

              "Everyone in their seats!" Her voice was deeper than most other women's voices Thane had heard. Everyone sat down, shuffling papers and pencils clicking loudly in the suddenly voiceless room. Ms. Rasmussen was known for being fun-loving and jovial, but she was also infamous for her hot temper and short fuse. "Bi-polar" was one of the nicest things said about her by the students, and even her favorites were afraid of her. She smiled, showing two rows of even white teeth as her eyes raked across the students and rested on Remi.

              "What’s this? A new student?" Remi nodded. "Stand up and introduce yourself! Do you have an add sheet?" Remi pulled one from her bag and took it to Ms. Rasmussen who made a show of reading it, and then smiled at Remi again. "Why don't you tell us your name, where you are from, and your favorite thing to do in your free time?"

              Remi smiled winningly at Ms. Rasmussen, then rolled her eyes at the class. "My name is Remi Gage, I moved here from New Jersey but my dad's in the Air Force and we move all the time so my favorite thing to do is anything that isn't packing or unpacking." She got a few smiles and giggles with that, and Ms. Rasmussen handed her a well used Chemistry textbook. Remi returned to her seat. Ms. Rasmussen grimaced.

              "Are you sure you want to sit there? There are some available seats up front," Ms Rasmussen suggested. "Maybe here by Jeran?" Thane wondered if the football jock remembered that they used to be friends. But that was a long time ago, second or third grade, before popularity meant winner take all and losers lose forever.

              Remi was shaking her head. "I'm good here. Mr. Hoffman assigned me to Thane to help me find all my classes. I don't want to get lost," and she blinked at Ms. Rasmussen with wide, innocent eyes.

              The red-haired woman shrugged and began the lecture. Remi waited until she turned her back to write on the board, and then leaned over to Thane. "What was that? I can go sit by Jeran, as if that was so great? What has she got against you?"

              Thane had only known Remi for a few hours, but he was already sure that she wouldn't give up without an answer. "I'm not good looking and not smart, so she doesn't think I'm worth her time. It isn't a big deal," he said, seeing the look of indignation his new friend's face. "She's not my favorite person either, so we mostly just ignore each other. She must think your hair suits you too, or she wouldn't have offered you a seat up front." He meant it as an observation, but Remi gave him that genuinely pleased smile again before turning back to watch the lecture.

              "Her facial expressions are creepy. She's happy, she's sad, she's annoyed, she's like a cartoon character. Is she always like this?"

              "Mostly, yeah. My mom doesn't like her either, says she's fake."

              Remi looked interested. "When did your mom meet her?"

              "Parent night, back around when school started."

              "Is your mom pretty?"

              Thane was stumped. "She's my mom. She looks like my mom."

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Genre – New Adult Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG

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Website http://awriterbyday.com/


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