Evangeline Stardust has always known who she is. She is that girl in the back of the classroom whose voice none have heard. She is the one who has perfect scores everywhere, yet never raises her hand. She is the artist, the dancer, the normal girl. Until she meets Gabe, a perfectly confusing boy whispering things in her ear that seem impossibly probable. Now she isn't so sure if she's Evangeline or the dangerous Eva. A prophecy, a forbidden love and the Earth's last chance.
A sorceress and a Fairy
Why she had chosen to draw something so depressing was a mystery to her. She didn't have a say in what her hand produced on the thick pages of the sketch pad. Charcoal drawings filled almost half of the pages now, telling the story of her existence as an out casted high school leech.
The teacher still talked, pointing feverishly at the equations scrawled on the board. He looked so panicked, as if he was sure that someday those very equations would actually mean something to somebody. As usual, Evangeline kept her eyes on the sketch pad, adding shading to the willowy girl on the jock's arm.
"That's pretty good."
She looked up, unconcerned until she saw that it was a boy, sitting just in front of her in a desk that was usually empty. He reached forward and flipped the sketch pad over, studying the charcoal drawing carefully.
"Who is it?" He asked,
She shrugged, snatching it back. He didn't seem fazed, he just leaned his elbows on her desk, resting his chin on his hands.
"How often do you draw fantasy creatures?" He asked, watching her face,
The only expression she could muster was one of confusion, gazing down at the drawing.
"The sorceress, with that frightening guy?" He said, tapping the willowy girl carefully,
Evangeline just shook her head, closing her sketch pad and carefully putting the charcoal back into her bag, in the pocket she saved just for her art supplies.
"A woman of few words. I find that admirable, also amazingly hot." He said, leaning forward,
She just rolled her eyes and slid the pad into her bag just as the bell rang. The boy, however, followed her down the hallway, as her bag bounced comfortably against her hip.
"So, do you got a name?" He asked, keeping pace easily with her long strides.
"Evangeline." She said, her voice hardly audible.
"That's a little bit of a mouth-full, mind if I call you Eva?"
She just shrugged, stopping at her locker to grab her coat.
"The name's Gabe. Can I walk you home?" He said, sliding around to stand beside her, his back resting against the next locker over.
Evangeline shrugged, slipping her arms into the black coat and tying the belt around her waist to keep it closed.
"A woman of very few words. So I suppose you just prefer to act on what you feel?" Gabe said, grinning at her,
"Listen, I have dance class, so if you don't mind, I need to go."
"You lied to me?"
"I'm not really sure what you're talking about." Evangeline said, stepping past him,
"You said I could walk you home."
"No, I just expressed my indifference toward your request."
"Eva! Off to such a bad start. Well, I'll just walk you to your dance class. What kind of dance do you do?" He asked, turning and catching up with her,
"Whatever kind of dance my teacher wants me to do." She answered, shifting her bag on her shoulder.
They walked for a while in silence, Evangeline acutely aware of every glance that Gabe cast her way. He was watching her, clearly looking for something in particular. Finally, when his eyes started scanning her body, she turned to look at him.
"Can I help you?" She asked, "Is there a reason that you feel the need to accompany me?"
"You're really tall." Gabe observed,
"Glad you're listening."
"I'm listening, you're also very thin."
"Thanks for your concern, but I'm sure I can make it from here."
"Oh dear Eva, don't be so hasty. It's all innocent; is there something wrong with being concerned for your safety?"
Evangeline rolled her eyes as she pushed through the front doors of the school and stepped into the freezing air outside. She tucked her hands into her pockets, glad for the black beanie keeping her ears warm.
"I imagine that you have plenty of guys chasing you."
"I'm not amused." Evangeline said, not bothering to mention that most guys don't go for the silent, out-casted type,
"It wasn't a joke. Look at you, tall, thin, talented, you're the ideal girlfriend."
"Flattered." She stated, turning down an alley.
"You should be; only the best get my affections. I wouldn't waste my time like this for just anybody."
"Well, I'm here, so you can stop wasting time on me."
Gabe looked up at the old brick building they were standing behind and reached forward to tap the red material. He looked a few times between Evangeline and the building before taking a step back and opening the door.
"May I see the inside?"
"Whatever floats your boat. Though, you'll have to ask Madame Selene if you want to stay for long." She said, walking through the door without a backward glance at Gabe.
"My dance instructor. She's usually a little late, but she'll be here in a bit."
He started to step past her, but she held out her arm, raising her eyebrows at him.
"You can't wear your shoes in here."
â€œOh, right, I knew that." He said, kicking off his sneakers.
Evangeline slipped off her boots and started toward the back room. "I'll be right back, I've got to change."
She disappeared into the dungeon, as Madame Selene called it and opened her bag. Her dance clothing was at the bottom, bunched into a ball, a mass of black and light pink among her notebooks and sketches. When she pulled the wad of clothing out, one picture fell out that she hastily pushed back into her bag.
"Almost done?" Gabe called,
"Shut up and find something to do." She called back irritably, taking off her coat and sweatshirt.
Gabe sighed loudly and she heard him shuffling around the dance floor. Shaking her head, she quickly changed into the black tights and long-sleeved leotard. The silky pink skirt suddenly felt shorter now that she knew somebody was actually going to watch her dance.
"Hurry up, I'm bored!" Gabe called again.
"I'm finished." Evangeline said, rolling her eyes as she pushed open the door.
She stuffed her clothes back into her bag as she shuffled out to the dance floor. Surprisingly, Gabe didn't have a comeback, in fact, he was silent. When she looked up, she found him staring at her open-mouthed.
"You have very little clothing on." Gabe said, watching as she dropped her bag next to her shoes.
"I can't very well dance with heavy clothing on. It restricts motion." She said, removing her beanie and pulling the light brown hair into a bun.
"I'm very familiar with the concept, it's just...you look good." He said, stumbling over his words.
"Thanks, nobody's ever seen me in them but Madame Selene."
He opened his mouth to say something, but the door flew open and a fair-skinned woman entered, then froze. Gabe looked in surprise at the woman and she looked back with pursed lips.
"Hello, Evangeline, who do we have here?"
"Hm, oh, Madame Selene, this is Gabe."
"I was hoping I could stay and watch my friend's class, if it isn't too much trouble." Gabe said, looking meaningfully at Madame Selene.
She returned her gaze with narrowed eyes. "Of course your kind is always welcome, I only ask that you do not distract my student."
"Of course not." Gabe said, sitting down on a bench against the wall.
Other than Gabe's presence, Evangeline's lesson went as usual, she performed the complex ballet number for Madame Selene that she had been rehearsing and then let her instructor correct her positioning or her technique. Gabe watched her in silence until Madame Selene dismissed Evangeline and disappeared out the door quickly.
"Eva, my dear, you are very talented." Gabe said as Evangeline removed her Pointe shoes with careful hands.
"Thank you. You are strangely still here."
"Of course, you promised that I could walk you home."
"Well then, I'll be right back."
Gabe watched her disappear into the back room and then sighed, rubbing his temples. Eva was a puzzle, a strange girl. The first person who he couldn't place. Only one thing was clear and that was that she was not human. But, if not one of them, what?
A/N Many thanks to Love_At_First_Bite for the beautiful cover.