• tab Tiredly, I stand up and walk across my messy room, dodging books, dirty clothes, and crumpled paper. I sit on the edge of my scarred dresser top and kick open the doors of my closet. Silence of a stay at home mom and a fifth grade brother’s schedule hang onto the house like a second skin, giving me a sense of solitude. I revel in it.
    tab Staring at the rows of blacks, reds, silks and velvet, I decide to go with a traditional Goth palette today. I reach out and run my hands over the material, picking out a black Julia Ribbon and Lace skirt. Slipping out of my devil ducky robe, I pull on the skirt, deciding to forgo the ripped fish net stockings for once. I then search the confines of my closet for a suitable top for my first day of high school.
    tab “No. No… no, no, no.” Sighing, I move from the give daddy a heart attack section to the almost suitable for family reunions area. I was definitely not straying to the far right where my sunny nightmares resided. The pinks and yellows came from a dark time in my childhood when my mother still bought me my clothes. Say, elementary school?
    tab With a shudder of remembrance, I grimace. Feeling almost hopeless, I begin frantically searching for my simple yet chic black lace tank top. Not here. Crap.
    tab Suddenly, my hands rest on my clothing crisis savior. Taking it off the hanger, I inspect the black silk corset from arms length. A wicked smile rests on my lips as I look at it in the mirror, holding it up against my chest. “This will do, Chichi,” I murmur to my calico kitten. “This’ll do.”
    tab I slip into the top and search through my rows of boots. Short, high, leather and heeled. I grab two pairs- black knee high lace ups and Demonia black nine buckle platform boots. After a moment of contemplation, I put the lace ups back.
    tab I sit back down on top of the dresser and push away lipstick tubes and foundation. I open a drawer and search the dark colored eye liners jumbled in its midst. I pull out a black one and a tube of mascara. Looking into the mirror propped against the wall, I apply the makeup, and then line my grey eyes thickly. I then add smoky black eye shadow and color in my pale lips.
    tab Standing in front of the mirror, I arrange my naturally black hair, still damp from the shower. It hangs in a dark sheet that rests around my pale shoulders. My skin’s so white I didn’t even need powder, like some of my gothic friends. One summer I even tried to get a tan, but I barely darkened one shade. I pulled on my fish net fingerless gloves quickly.
    tab “High school, Chichi. I’m so proud of myself.” With a sigh, I grab my cell, keys, a black leather hoodie and my skate board, closing my bedroom door behind me.

    tab I shiver as a cold September breeze attacks my bare legs. I pull my jacket closer and pick up my skate board, staring at Oaktree High. Three stories of intimidating learning environment loom over head, filling me with depression. Walking through the crowds, I search for Kara.
    tab When I got up to the concrete stairs that led up to the main doors, I saw her.
    tab I blanched. Kara, the jean clad country girl I’d known all through middle school, was wearing a tartan skirt, black stockings, and surprise- my missing tank top. Her face was painted white and her eyes overdone in red and black. Her long, mousy brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail with a big red bow. Her gothic ensemble was ruined by her white sneakers and hot pink lipstick. I cocked an eyebrow.
    tab Then I saw him. The guy Kara had told me about. Taller than me in my thick heeled boots, he had emo black hair iced in gold and a slight tan, the two somehow going together. His face was chiseled and beautiful, and his black trench coat flapped in the wind. His face was polite but uninterested, somewhat guarded. My Goth, he was amazing!
    tab I walked forward hesitantly when Kara saw me, blushing at her own outfit. I stared at the gothic prince, his head swinging to move his hair out of his eyes; deep, arctic blue eyes that flashed through my memories with the pain of a knife.
    tab “Jace?” I whispered.
    tab Jace had been my childhood friend all the way through elementary. He was my closest friend, the one I told all my petty problems to, like how my mother still bought my clothes, or how Becky Anne decided she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. And he had been there through the serious stuff, when my parents got divorced and my brother was crippled in a car accident.
    tab Jace had been a life line, my hero. His family moved the summer after fifth grade. I had been heart broken, and secretly lonely all through out middle school. Jace had changed. Besides maturing, his dark brown hair was gone and so was his sporty attire. It was almost impossible to recognize him behind all the suiting black, but the eyes didn’t lie.
    tab “Raven,” Jace grinned sweetly, and his familiar voice tugged at my heart. He was back. Jace was back in town, back in school, and most importantly, back in my life.
    tab I smiled and launched myself into is arms. He stumbled back in surprise as I added on my extra weight, but I was surprised to see he held me with no problem. I buried my head in his shoulder, filled with joy. I inhaled the scent of leather and Jace, unshed tears in my eyes.
    tab Jace’s voice rumbled with silent laughter. “I missed you too, Ray Ray.”
    tab I nodded my head vehemently and laughed, releasing him and getting to my feet. His eyes on me made my soul soar and I smiled with the strength of the sun. He clasped my hand in his, and I tried to suppress a blush.
    tab “You two know each other?” Kara asked conversationally, her face somewhat crumpled and her eyes locked on our intertwined hands. I grew stiff; a little angry that she was getting territorial about a guy she just met. And that guy happened to be my best friend.
    tab “Yeah,” I stated simply. “This is Jace, Kara. He was my partner in crime from kindergarten to fifth grade.”
    tab Jace snickered at his new title. “Oh yeah, eating crayons and pushing people down the kiddy slide, that was us.”
    tab I laughed at his evil wink, surprised at the care free sound that had been missing for years. Kara laughed too, a little fake, and batted her eyelashes. I cocked an eyebrow. Kara never flirted like this, and Jace was obviously my friend. What was she doing?
    tab “What’s up with your clothes, Jace? I recall you saying I could wear as much black as I wanted, but you would never touch the stuff.” Jace’s blue eyes sparkled and his cheeks grew pink. Blushing?
    tab His voice was so low I could barely hear it, and Kara wouldn’t have a chance unless she barged between us and listened. “I did it to remember you better, Raven.”
    tab I stared up at him, bewildered. Jace wanted to remember me? Looking into his eyes, I warmed. I touched his arm softly before adding a joking tone to my voice. “Well, my remembrance never looked so good.”
    tab Kara brushed her hair away and smiled, putting her hands on her hips. “Yeah. Like, so good.”
    tab My head whipped around to look at Kara, anger flaring up inside me. She never acted like this. I noticed that Jace was staring at her with a cocked eyebrow, one of my maneuvers. I softened; happy we shared something over the years.
    tab “C’mon, Jace,” I said, guiding him away from little miss cowgirl slut. “Time to learn,” I muttered sarcastically. As we walked up the steps, I turned my head to call out to Kara. “And I want my shirt back!”