Read Verity Online

Authors: Claire Farrell

Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Teen & Young Adult, #Werewolves & Shifters, #Paranormal & Fantasy

Verity (2 page)

BOOK: Verity
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“Ah, I don’t know then. You could always stay here.”

I smiled at her. It was nice of her to offer, but her house was already ful to the brim. Besides, I couldn’t handle the noise for too long. I was too used to being alone.

Gran was officialy supposed to babysit me whenever Dad worked, but she pretty much snuck off most of the time to her Senior Citizen nights. She always said she was off to play bowls, but anytime she caled me, I could hear pub noise in the background. As if a sixteen year old needed a babysitter anyway.

I stayed in Tammie’s house until it got late. I didn’t want to go home, so I let her test out makeup on me because I knew she liked that. When Dad arrived to pick me up, I didn’t make a fuss. He raised his eyebrow when he spotted the sparkly green eye shadow but, to his credit, didn’t mention it. In fact, he didn’t say a thing on the way home. He sat in the kitchen and fidgeted while Gran made a pot of tea.

They glanced at each other before Gran began to speak.

“Perdy, we’re realy sorry about earlier. You were right. We do need to... sort ourselves out.”

Dad nodded in agreement. “I don’t want you to feel badly about us rowing, so we’ve agreed to make more of an effort. It won’t happen again.” I glared at them, irritated by their attempts to brush things under the carpet. “What won’t happen again? She won’t want me to do one thing while you want the opposite of me? Things have to change around here or... or I’m not staying.”

Gran’s hand flew to her mouth; Dad’s face drained of colour. For once, they both looked like they were on the same page.

“What?” I said.

“What do you want from us?” Dad said. His voice shook, and that scared me a little, but I figured I had to take my chances wherever they came.

“Look. I’m almost seventeen. I don’t need anyone teling me what to wear. I don’t need a babysitter. I don’t need you two arguing over every single part of my life.

I’ve never gotten into trouble, so I think I should be alowed some freedom. I think I should be alowed to do things that other teenagers do. I think I’ve earned your trust by now Dad. If I mess up, punish me. But don’t punish me for things I haven’t done yet. And Gran, you need to stop using me to prove points to Dad. It’s not fair on me.”

I took a deep breath and glanced at them both to see how they were taking it. I couldn’t believe I had the guts to say al that. I usualy went along with everything they said, but I needed to start standing up for myself.

They both looked a little winded. The silence only frustrated me further.

“Fine. I’m going to bed,” I said. “And I’m getting the bus to school with Tammie from now on.”

I hurried up the stairs to my room before either of them could argue with me. Locking the door behind me, something I knew would infuriate my Dad, I sat on my bed and texted Tammie with an update. I made a decision about my own life, and I was going to stick by it. I just hoped I had the guts to go through with it.

The high from winning a smal battle left me too quickly. I suddenly felt deflated, worried and even a little scared. I had done some things I never had before, answered back, told Dad and Gran what I wanted, and hadn’t bothered listening to their arguments. Yet the world hadn’t ended. Tammie once said to me, “What’s the worst that could happen?” And so far, she had been right; nothing bad had come from me standing up for myself.
Better do it more often
, I thought, yawning loudly.

I checked my email, automaticaly deleting an unread one from my mother, before deciding I was too tired to stay awake. I barely managed to comb out my hair before my eyes began to close by themselves. I lay down, praying I would have that dream again. For months, I had been dreaming about a boy. At least, I thought that’s what they were about. The dreams themselves were out of focus, confusing and vague, but the main point was me reaching something. Someone. Someone with beautiful, big brown eyes that made my insides melt.

I knew it was a dream, but it felt like it was leading me somewhere. Waking up from such a dream left me with a warm feeling inside; yet the way it ended was always frustrating. I hadn’t gotten to where I was supposed to be. It left a sense of longing inside me that I couldn’t get rid of. I didn’t know what a recurring dream signified, but this one made me feel like I always woke before the most important part. It was like having a word on the tip of your tongue for a year, or being on the verge of remembering something you were supposed to do but not quite getting there.

I forgot about everything except those eyes as I relaxed into a deep sleep, stil hoping for a good dream. I wasn’t disappointed. Wind whipped my hair backward as I sped through a forest. I must have been flying because my feet didn’t touch the ground. Not flying exactly, gliding. It was dark, but I wasn’t scared, I knew I was meant to be there. I was looking for something. Something was waiting for me. An orb of light danced ahead of me, leading my way. It soon paused and changed direction, finaly guiding me along a path to an ancient oak tree that towered above.

I looked around, awestruck, until I noticed a figure under the tree. The dream blurred; the atmosphere turned cold. I could tel their back was to me, so I reached out.

There was something bad nearby, I could sense it. I had to warn them. As my fingers touched the skin on the back of their neck, a thriling jolt of electricity ran up my arm. I laughed out loud; this was al the way it was supposed to be. The figure whirled around, momentarily scaring me with a flash of something sharp and white, but then my gaze locked onto the most beautiful pair of eyes I had ever seen. Eyes so familiar to me. My fears melted away and everything else dimmed.

Chapter Two

I was torn from my dream by the jarring sound of my alarm clock. Turning it off, I indulged in an extra few minutes in bed, trying my hardest to remember every second of my dream. As usual it made no sense to me, but something about it calmed me, made me happy. Al too soon my good mood was lost to the memory of the night before. I had to face Dad and Gran, but worse, I had to pick an outfit that wouldn’t annoy either of them. I decided to wear my dressing gown to breakfast and then figure out what to wear based on how they acted. Relieved to have some sort of a plan, I wandered downstairs. They were both up already and had even made breakfast for me.

I sat down warily with the strangest sensation that this was the calm before the storm. Both of them were exceptionaly polite to each other and me. It was a little too pod people for my liking.

“So?” I said, eventualy. “Are we going to talk about it?” I hated when they dragged things out.

Dad folded his newspaper with slow, careful moments. Gran took a long sip of her morning coffee. Obviously neither of them wanted to start. I began to feel like I was the parent, and they were the kids. Finaly, after a few pointed looks from me, Dad cleared his throat.

“We had a long talk last night. Everything you said was pretty reasonable, so I’m prepared to make some changes. But if you let me down....”

“We don’t want you to feel like you have to leave us to be happy,” Gran said. “We al need to get out of the past. We were thinking that maybe we could make a fresh start, you know? We could redecorate together; you could do your room the way you want.”

“And you can pick your own clothes. Within reason,” Dad said. “Maybe stay out a bit later at weekends, we’l see.” They looked innocent enough, but I couldn’t help feeling suspicious. Gran was anal about keeping our house the way it had been when my mother lived there, and my Dad was anal about letting me do anything normal. I didn’t realy trust either of them to stick to their word. It would be interesting to see what happened next.

“Okay,” I said. “We’l see alright.”

I finished my breakfast and ran back upstairs to get ready. I puled my hair back into a tight plait and turned my attention to clothes. That was the thing. I hated my Dad teling me what I couldn’t wear, but the truth was that I had never had the confidence to wear the kinds of clothes he hated anyway. I quite liked feeling hidden under the heavy jumpers he preferred me to wear.

I ended up throwing on a pair of jeans and a thick black cardigan. I buttoned it al the way, hiding the bright coloured shirt underneath. Feeling a little daring, I even put on some clear lip gloss and the tiniest smudge of eyeliner. Satisfied, I got my things together, put on my jacket and raced down stairs to meet Tammie on time.

“You sure you don’t want a lift?” Dad asked, his tone hopeful.

“I’m sure.”

“Maybe you’d like to wear your hair down today; it’s so pretty down,” Gran said, looking wistful.

“No, Gran,” I said as firmly as I could. Surprisingly enough, they both left me alone after that. Cheering up, I waved goodbye and left on time. Thinking,
so far, so
I stood at the end of my road and waited patiently for Tammie. She texted me to see if I was realy there and then turned up a few minutes later.

“Hi,” she said with an excited squeal. “You’re free!”

I couldn’t help laughing. “Maybe. Baby steps right now.”

We walked toward the bus stop slower than I liked because Tammie couldn’t walk in her heels. She wore a short denim skirt and ankle boots with stiletto heels. I wasn’t even the slightest bit surprised when I noticed her shudder violently. Early Spring in Ireland meant it would be pretty cold for a while, so I was glad of the heavy cardigan and the extra padding from the denim jacket. The sun hadn’t fuly risen yet, the darkness of the winter months delaying for as long as they could. A sharp nip in the wind, and that distinct cold smel in the air made it feel like winter, but it was good to be outside. I was happier than I should have been on such a dul morning.

Tammie began to sing loudly, making me rol my eyes. I might have stayed under the radar, but she liked to be noticed. The more popular girls hated her and did their best to make her feel bad about herself, but she never listened.

When the bus finaly arrived, we sat in the middle seats by the heater so Tammie could defrost her legs. I heard a couple of insulting comments about Tammie’s appearance from the back seat, but she wasn’t in the least bit bothered by it.

When she had warmed herself, she perked up long enough to share a titbit of gossip with me. “I heard a rumour a family moved into one of those big old houses near the woods. Maybe there’l be someone new at school.”

I shrugged, not particularly interested. There were a lot of empty houses around. We lived too far on the outskirts of the city to attract many new families, chiefly because visiting anywhere useful meant traveling by bus or car.

This particular group of houses had gotten run down because they remained empty for so long with no upkeep. The smal wooded area was dense enough for lots of alcohol drinking teenagers to hide in at the weekends. Tammie and I were never invited, not that I would have been alowed out that late anyway.

The local gossip out of the way, it was time to talk about my cousin, Joey. Aside from Tammie, Joey was my only other friend at school. Tammie had a major long-term crush on him, which was probably the only reason why we started hanging around with him in the first place. We made an odd trio. He was the brainy nerd, she was the kooky outsider, and I was, wel, I was a bit of a non-entity. I was invisible. Joey had no idea that Tammie liked him. This was handy for me; there was no teling how weird things could become if my only friends began a relationship together.

We met up with Joey outside school, but he was too busy obsessing over his history homework to have an actual conversation with us. Tammie and I gossiped until the bel rang for our first class. The three of us walked there together, but while Joey sat right up front, Tammie and I sat further down the back. Even a major crush couldn’t persuade Tammie to sit up front.

I often wondered what Tammie saw in Joey. He wasn’t al that good looking, and they had nothing in common. He looked a lot like my Dad; he was a good four inches shorter than Tammie, and a little bit scrawny to boot. He already had his books out and was busy looking very studious.

Tammie was pretty outspoken and wasn’t interested in the academic side of things at al. A member of a primarily adult drama club, she spent a good portion of her school time trying to persuade teachers that we needed a drama club at school too. Joey didn’t believe in doing things like that when he could be studying. They’re both weird.

The teacher came into the room and immediately began to read from the history book. Almost instantly, everyone stopped paying attention. Apart from Joey. Our history teacher had the most boring voice in the world and no teaching skils to speak of. Every single class, he read aloud in a monotonous tone. Yeah, fascinating.

Double history on a Monday morning was a punishment from God.

Stifling a yawn, I noticed some of the girls gesture mockingly toward Tammie. Today’s joke being her hair. Short and blonde, she had fashioned it into a wild looking spiky style that was tipped with hot pink.

One girl in particular, Dawn Talbot, took on the evil cheerleader persona of American high school films with relish. She regularly gave Tammie a particularly hard time.

Even as I glanced around the room, I spotted her sneering at Tammie and whispering things that sent her group of friends into fits of giggles. She was very popular and very mean, and I had yet to figure out how the two are linked. She caught my disapproving eye and threw me a scornful look. I quickly bent my head before she could start an argument. I was always ready to stick up for Tammie, but confrontation on my own behalf didn’t come quite as easily.

I sighed to myself before resuming my regular time-wasting activity of scribbling on my books. I was okay at art, and I tended to sketch a lot in my spare time. It helped me relax, even when I found myself drawing a pair of familiar looking eyes on the inside cover of my history book. Half of my schoolwork was decorated by those dream eyes. I had spent way too much time daydreaming about them. Frustratingly, I could see them clearly in my head, but I stil hadn’t managed to reproduce them on paper accurately. It gave me a little ache inside that I would never tel Tammie about, not that I had ever told her about my dreams either. Some things, even your best friend wouldn’t understand.

BOOK: Verity
13.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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