I stood in front of the mirror and brushed out my hair, then straightened it piece by piece. My mother called from downstairs to hurry up, but I paid no mind. This was a daily routine; I'd take a while getting ready, she'd get mad but get over it.

After picking out a cerulian blue shirt and faded skinny jeans, I went downstairs to eat breakfast. French toast, English muffins, scrambled eggs and orange juice sat on the table. I ate a muffin, eggs and juice then went to the car for school.

It was the same thing as ever, boring classes that dragged on until I could talk at lunch. My friends claimed our usual table right in the center.

"Hey, Evaliene, did you hear the play is coming up soon?"

"Of course! I'm auditioning, obviously."

"What role?"

I shrugged. "Lead, whatever that is. What play are we doing?"

Michaela laughed. "They're putting restrictions on that role. You have to be 'doing good acidemically.'"

Everyone at the table giggled with her. This was unbelieveable. "I'm doing just fine in all my classes. There's the same thing for the cheerleading squad."

Dayna shook her head. "No way. Cheerleading requires 80 or higher average for all classes. The play is 85."

My mouth dropped open and only caused another eruption of laughs. "I just have to raise my enrichment grade 4 points. It can't be that hard." And with that, I stormed away to .

She was shocked to see me when it wasn't required. I barely showed up when it was. Determined to get this over, I wasted no time and used my sweetest voice. "I've decided my grade can go up much more. It's awfully low, wouldn't you agree? Is there perhaps extra credit of some sort that will raise it to, I don't know, 85 would be nice."

looked me over and nodded slowly. "Yes, there is. Our next unit will focus on how horrible things can happen, and not many people will know. Yet sometimes, the story deserves a large audience to pay respects. It's basically to show how in these times when humans are so advanced and busy with different things, it's easy to forget the unfortune of others and how we have to still be kind. What I'd like you to do is find a newspaper article about a tragedy that isn't local and write an essay on it. You'll be ahead for this unit."

"What?" I shouted. "Can't I just print out the article and hand it in? This isn't fair, you can't expect me to write a whole essay!"

"Yes, Evaliene, I can. Now if you'd like your grade raised, I suggest you start."

I walked out and sulked back to the lunchroom to finish eating, but felt sick and couldn't. This might be the first year I didn't take lead, which would ruin me. Hannah noticed me pushing my food around and seemed genuinly concerned.

"What's wrong?"

"Some essay about a pathetic sob story. I'm going to have to stay afterschool and write it in the library. It just sucks!"

She looked at me, puzzled. "Any more details?"

"Yeah, it can't be local."

"Do one in California. The state of heartbreaks, broken dreams, dark secrets..."

It wasn't a bad idea, so I continued the rest of the day in a dreamy, half-awake state and zoned out in all my classes.

The dismissal bell rang. I looked at everyone who could go home with venomous eyes, jealous of their luck. The library was quiet and empty so I claimed a computer in the corner and got onto Google. So many results came up for "Newspaper deaths in California", and when I found a site it still required scrolling through old articles to pick one. A certain article caught my eye, though, from 16 years go. It was the first assignent I took interest in.

Sixteen year old girl's body found in her room

The body of 16 year old Ever Bloom was found in her room last Monday night, April 15th. According to the tests, she had been dead for atleast 12 hours before being found. No one has been arrested or subjected to trial for this yet, but it is announced a murder.

Ever's friends, Haven and Miles, report talking to her that day in school. "She was there, and acting fine all day." Haven says. Miles adds, "She had no enemies to kill her and no reason to kill herself. We don't know how or why this happened."

Many heads turned to her current boyfriend at the the time, Damen Auguste. People reported her spending much of her time with him. "I did nothing, and I'm just as upset and everyone else." He says. "She meant so much to me, and it's a mystery how this happened."

Reporters interviwed her legal guardian, Ever's only living realitive, Sabine. She refused to answer many of the questions. She did state that "I didn't know Ever was dead. It did upset me. She didn't affect my life by coming to live with me after her parents died, and I was glad to care for her. Infact, we grew very close. I just thought she had gone to sleep early, or talking to her friends."

The police then stepped in to interview her, to aid with solving the case. They were intruiged with what was said to be Ever's current behavior. "She spent a lot of time out with friends, and Damen, like most teenagers do. At home, she was mostly alone doing homework, studying or on the computer. But when she was downstairs, Ever didn't eat. Instead she had this peculiar red drink. It wasn't alcoholic or anything harmful, I was sure of that, but it worried me anyway. At first I thought it to be an eating disorder but she didn't look sick. It puzzled me."

Officers decided to keep investigating the case. "It's an unusual situation." Says one detective, looking for any clues as to who the murderer could be. "We haven't found anyting yet. No fingerprints are even on her body, but the marks look like physical contact was made. No signs of a weapon were found."

But, after five days of searching, the investigation was called off. Police plan to keep the case open and come back to it soon. The crime scene will remain untouched for the time not in use.

Ever Bloom's funeral services will be this Saturday at 3:00 pm at the Rose Memorial Center, room 39. "It is an open invitation." Says Sabine. "Anyone who wants to come and pay respects are free to. Her peers in school are welcome to arrive, or anyone in town who talked to her once or twice. She has no family left except me, but I believe more respect is due."

Until then, we continue to pray for Ever's mysterious death.

It scared me to think of how this girl could've died. Then another thing occured to me; was the case solved? I went back to the Google homepage and looked up "death of Ever Bloom". Only a few results about her came up, the rest being about "The Ever Blooming flower shop." I sighed, so impatient, and clicked on a link that brought me to a new page on her death.

I couldn't even be bothered to read it all once I saw "15 years later, still unsolved." It hurt somewhere inside me, a sort of guilt I hated. This girl's death was before I was born. It had nothing to do with me.

After printing the article and typing up a rough outline of the essay, I collected my things and started to walk home. The streets were no longer filled with obnoxious high schoolers; they were empty and quiet. Cars rushed passed every now and then, but nothing much. This town was so small, and the school was in a remote location on the outskirts of it.

The only thought on my mind was how far away my house stood from here. It was already 3:30 and each minute passed quickly, threatening to take away the rest of my day. never specified when the essay was due, so I decided to blow it off until Thursday. It was only Tuesday; if she asked for it tommorrow, I'd say I didn't know it was due. If she asked Thursday, my excuse would be it was done but at home and do it that night.

The next day, I woke up exhausted. That whole night was spent texting and talking with absolutley no sleep. My mother didn't let me stay home no matter how much I begged, so my hair was a mess and makeup sloppy. I skipped the fancy clothes completely and threw on a gray Hollister hoodie and baggy sweatpants to conceal myself. I looked like crap enough already; why futher myself into the world of unattractive by trying to look pretty when it absolutley wouldn't work? I texted Hannah, Dayna and Michaela before leaving, telling them to stay by me the whole day and hide as much view of me as possible.

School was going horribly that day. People stared at my complete and utter hideousness, and it seemed I earned a gawk wherever I went. It wasn't until history class that my mind focused on something other than my looks.

The teacher introduced a new student. He was really good looking and dressed expensive and refined. There was nothing off about him until he got to the end of his speech.

"I came from Dallas, Texas, but lived a couple other places like New York, London, Paris, Sydney, Mexico City, Las Vegas and a few cities in California. This town seems cool, though. Small and off the map. Oh, by the way, my name is Damen. Damen Auguste."

My stomach felt wrenched and sick. I almost considered asking for a pass to the nurse, but knew it was best to stay to gather any intelligence. He eyed me then claimed the desk right next to mine. All through class I stared straight ahead, trying not to think of the news article. No, no. It's a coincidence. I'm sure there's more than one Evaliene Terrason, so woul"d I accuse someone of identity theft if I met them? Still, something felt wrong.

After class I avoided conversation, but lunch was a different story. Damen came to sit at my table. This might've been perfectly reasonable too, if you considered that fact that someone so perfect looking fit right in with the popular group. I just felt as if he was following me, though. But how crazy did that sound?

"Hello, Evaliene. Avoiding me in hisory?"

I managed a nod, and tried to come across as if I didn't care. "If you didn't get the message, I'll try to send it again." And turned away.

He grabbed my shoulder and kept going. "I thought I could get to know you. This school is new, and no one wants to be friends so far. But something tells me you do."

I turned around with an annoyed expression. Inside, I was really scared to death and a little surprised. "You must not be paying good attention, because everyone does. I'm sure you'll find some friends. Go try the next table over, they're friendly." There was just two problems with that: the next table over was definitley not friendly, it just happened to be the first thing that popped into my head, and he was most likely not leaving.

"No, they don't want to be real friends. But I was hoping you'd be different." He lowered his voice, talking right into my ear and sending chills all through my body.

I scooted away. "Hope all you want, just leave me alone."

His grin grew wider, and even though I didn't want to push his away with a winning smile like that, I kept persistent. "Look, Damen, stalking is punishable by law. So get away or get sued."

"I'm not stalking anyone. Your friends want me to stay."

Only then did I notice them, watching me as if I was a science experiment. Michaela in particular shot me a glare full with venom. And for the only time in my life, they didn't accept me. The problem wasn't even me; it was what I had.

Damen gripped my wrist and tried to lead me away, but I pulled back and tried to stay.

"Come with me for just a second, and I'll leave you alone if you still want." He hissed.

This seemed tempting. He'd stay away forver, the freak with the murderers name never speaking to me for life. Then again, the icy tone he used was kind of a warning bell; this is something you won't be expecting, it might change your mind, he means buisness!

But I shrugged and played it cool, so matter how freaked out it made me feel. "Sure. Whatever."

Walking across the cafeteria, my head spun and ached. What was he going to say? We'd just met, it couldn't be anything serious... could it?

"Evaliene."

I snapped away from my thoughts and nodded. "Yep?"

"You need to listen and take what I tell you into serious consideration. This isn't a joke."

"Right. No problem."

He sighed. "Okay... you need to trust me with your life. Because I've loved you since I first saw you, and we belong together."

Without meaning to, a laugh bursted out. "Oh, okay. So you've liked me a whole day? Wow, we must be soulmates or something, I can't believe the chemistry."

His next words were shocking and petrified my whole body. "We are. All those years we've been, Ever."