Eve and Claire managed to get a chocolate bar and a soda at the store, and were now walking through the quiet sidewalks that laced in between the apartment complexes of the Woodside Housing Authority. It was a pretty warm day for late September, and people were out enjoying the afternoon sunshine. When the two made their way around a corner, Eve saw the "A" Building Girls jumping rope in their usual spot. Eve noted that Sadie saw her too. She looked but didn't see Michelle with them.
"My building's over this way," she told Claire, and quickened her pace. There was that burning, nervous tingling inside telling Eve that something wasn't right. In science she learned that was called adrenaline and all animals had it. It was a body's way of taking care of itself.
The door to the building was just ahead, and Eve prayed she didn't have to fumble with her key. Most of the time it was propped open with something because people were too lazy to get up and buzz others in.
Eve stopped and took a deep breath. This wasn't going to happen. The first time she dared to share this part of her world with someone outside of it and the Uglies have to show up for the party. She turned to see Sadie Gordon and a couple of her mean friends standing a few feet from them.
"Sadie," Eve acknowledged with a serious nod.
"Who's your friend?" Sadie asked.
Beads of sweat were forming at her temples and under her arms. "This is Claire," she told them, with a sweep of her hand, "She goes to school with me."
Claire, in Eve's opinion, was not stupid or ignorant given the fact she cared to even come over at all. She looked at Eve, her eyes questioning. They seemed to be asking, Is this trouble? Eve felt a strength from her that was reassuring. She tried hard to silently communicate back that she wasn't sure, but they needed to be wary.
"Yeah, we figured that," Sadie said, pointing at the uniforms the two girls wore, having just come from there. "Us project girls aren't that stupid Eve."
Argh, talk about stupid she thought. Eve was tired of being baited.
"Sadie, I never called you or anyone stupid. If anything you're the one acting stupid. I didn't do anything to you. If you have a problem with me say it."
Sadie got in Eve's face again. Her eyes were the color of onyx and were just as a hard and cold. "When you insult a friend of mine, I make it my problem."
Eve's lips parted but nothing came out. Her mouth was very dry. She felt Claire's arm slide under hers and locked elbows.
"You know what?" Claire said, loud and cheerful. "We were going to go up to Eve's and listen to some records. Do you want to come too?" She sounded like a camp counselor. "I'll even share my Hershey Bar."
Sadie's friends waited for her to act or say something. It seemed like Sadie herself wasn't sure what she wanted to do next. Eve kept her gaze focused on those cold, black eyes and pursed her lips. What are you going to do, huh?
Sadie blinked, and took a step back. Claire stayed fixed at Eve's side, and kept this huge goofy smile on her face the whole time.
"Eve likes that Donny Osmond junk," Sadie said, and crossed her arms. "I think I'll pass." But she made no move to go.
"'Kay, well we'll see you around then." Claire tugged Eve around toward the front door of the apartment building. Eve looked back over her shoulder. Sadie just stood there with her mean face on watching them go, her friends standing like sheep behind her.
"Yeah, I'll catch you later Sadie."
Eve and Claire burst through the foyer and ran up four flights of stairs squealing and laughing, arriving at Eve's apartment door out of breath. She unlocked it and they ran inside shutting it quickly behind them. Even though neither felt there was any urgency, it added to excitement that came with having conquered the enemy.
Eve was flushed and glowing. She felt like she could fly off the roof, she was so high. Never had she experienced such… Eve didn't even know what to call it. What is it called when someone cares enough to stick up for you? Friendship didn't seem like an adequate word to describe someone who's willing to stay by your side even when it could spell trouble for them. Oh how she wanted to tell Diary, but Claire was there. She couldn't just leave her sitting while Eve went to go write out the whole story.