Jade has the coolest room I've ever laid eyes on. The white walls are covered with her outstanding artwork. She doesn't draw things on paper and tape them to the wall or whatever. She directly pours her creativity onto the walls with her pencils and paint brushes. In spite of her mother's objections, she keeps adding new illustrations to the walls regularly.

My favorite painting is the Poison Ivy Lady. Poison Ivy vines are snaking around her body, leaving only her left eye visible. The eye clearly conveys despair. I'm guessing the painting is a reflection of what Jade is feeling on the inside; Trapped and chained down.

It's so relatable. We talk a lot about getting the hell out of this place and never looking back. I secretly wonder if the grass really is greener on the other side, from time to time. But Jade seems certain of it. Her enthusiasm and hope is infectious.

Today we're not talking about the future though. We're living in the moment.

Jade got an insane idea. She said, "If we can't travel to Fiji, we should take Fiji to us."

So we're sitting underneath a colorful beach umbrella (that Jade found in her garage) in Jade's room, with sunhats on our heads and soda bottles in our hands.

"I wanna go surfing" by The Drums, is playing on the laptop that's sitting on Jade's nightstand. Jade's room is small, but has a large bay window which allows the room to bathe in sunlight on a sunny day.

We went to a park that belongs to Jade's neighborhood and bribed some kids to let us use their toy buckets, with candy bars. We filled the toy buckets with sand and poured it onto the floor of Jade's room, stationing ourselves in front of the open bay window with our beach equipment.

"Jade, you're so disturbed" I chuckle heartily and lift my leg to get a better look at the slippers we've made out of two Coca Cola bottles, that I'm wearing. That was also Jade's idea. I'm mostly just along for the ride, while Jade comes up with hilariously eccentric and creative things to do. But I love it.

"Not as disturbed as the vultures will be when they find out what we have in store for them this year, hahaha"

Vultures. That's our common term for the low-lives that go out of their way to make our lives miserable.

We've crossed paths with a few of them this summer. The derisive looks they exchanged with each other when they caught sight of us is a remainder of what is yet to come when we enter high-school. Our freshman year of high-school starts in two days. But unlike most kids our age, we're not looking forward to it whatsoever.

"Don't forget to bring Brutal Honesty with you on Monday" Jade reminds me, shading her nearly black eyes against the sunlight. She calls them, "demon eyes".

During lessons, when we're surrounded by vultures, we obviously can't voice our opinions about them without getting into trouble. So we communicate via text, writing down our thoughts on a notebook that we call, "Brutal Honesty". Sometimes we draw mean caricatures of the vultures in it.

"It's already in my back-pack" I grin and confess, "I leafed through it yesterday and almost laughed my head off when I caught sight of that depiction you made of Beauty & The Beast's wedding"

Beauty & The Beast are nickname's that we've given two of the vultures. "The Beast" is actually named Kiraz and is a member of what we like to call the, "The Lifeless Trio" which consists of a three bitches named Kiraz, Andria and Sandy, who went to the same class as Jade in eighth grade. They're basically obsessed with us and seem to think that the funniest thing in life is to keep tabs on us.

Kiraz is tall, hunchbacked and has a thick-set bone structure. She has more body hair than the average female. So we call her "The beast".

"Beauty" is a guy named Vidar. He's short and skinny with silvery-blonde hair and blue eyes. He looks like a fragile pixie. Compared to Kiraz, he's a beauty, albeit an effeminate one.

Last year, Jade made a caricature of them that highlights Kiraz's masculinity and Vidar's femininity in a satirical manner, where Kiraz is dressed in a tuxedo and Vidar is garbed in a wedding gown. Kiraz is carrying him in her sturdy arms as she walks down the stairs to the limousine that is waiting for them on the street, while her pathetic friends throw confetti at them. Jade has given Andria abnormally large eyes, alluding to her tendency of staring at us as if we're animals in a zoo. Sandy has duct tape over her mouth, alluding to her irritating tendency of just standing there and grinning like an idiot while her crew mates do all the talking.

Jade bursts into laughter, "You gotta admit that it's an accurate depiction of what their wedding would be like"

"Damn right" I chortle.

Our laughter is interrupted by the arrival of Jade's cat, Electra. The cat has silently slunk into the room and starts clawing at the sand.

"Oh no-no-no-no!" we shout hysterically in unison, knowing what is about to happen before it occurs.

"Oh shit!" Jade exclaims, slapping her forehead in defeat when Electra starts taking a dump in the sand. But when she catches my eye we both burst into a new fit of laughter, hooting and doubling over.

"I… c-can't… b-believe we never… thought of… that!" I gasp between my fit of giggles, clutching my ribcage and pinching my nose with the other hand to keep myself from inhaling the nauseating smell of cat feces.

"I know!" Jade manages to utter, her face beetroot-red and her eyes glistening with tears from laughter.

I eventually kick off the Coca Cola slippers and walk over to the other side of the room, since the odor becomes unbearable.

"Well, I gotta clean this mess up before Cruella decides to drop by" Jade sneers and gets to her feet.

My stomach drops. I can't believe that she manages to sound so casual about it. Sure, we joke about the vultures all the time, in spite of the mistreatment they've subjected us to. But Jade rarely talks about any of her family members or family dynamics. It's basically an unspoken rule to not bring up that particular topic.

Jade brings a spade and crouches down, shoving the sand along with the cat feces into a plastic bag. Her long, dark hair falls like a curtain over her face. It's always straight, glossy and enviable. Jade isn't particularly vain, but she rarely leaves her house without flat-ironed hair.

"So much for bringing Fiji to us" I sigh.

"One day we'll travel there for real though, right?" Jade looks up at me.


Jade and I have planned to travel the world when we have enough money. I personally don't mind where we are, as long as we're having fun. But Jade is a travel enthusiast. If she can't travel physically, she travels mentally by reading fictional novels. She blames it on her star sign, Sagittarius, which is apparently the most adventurous zodiac sign.

I open my cell phone. A text from Jade awaits me.

"Girl, I just found a disgusting beetle on my nightstand. Do you think Andria has transformed herself into her original shape in order to spy on me and report what I'm doing to the two other members of the lifeless trio? Seeing as they have no lives"

I write back, "Hahahaha, that sounds exactly like something they'd do!"

"I know, right? xD" Jade responds.

I know that Jade and I may not seem like the nicest girls ever, but the vultures are the ones who started it. We're simply doing what they're doing; making fun of others behind their back. We're fighting back.

I throw my cellphone into my knapsack and head towards the front door. I sneak a glance at the full-length mirror in the hall before I open the door and walk outside. I'm wearing a pair of bootleg jeans and a plain, pale pink t-shirt that I bought in like sixth grade. I sigh, wishing that I had cool clothes like Jade. I look like such a Plain Jane.

Jade and I meet up at the park in my neighborhood, since our high-school is located closer to my apartment complex than Jade's home.

Jade is dressed in black cargo shorts, black Converse shoes and a black t-shirt with the Brand New logo that gives her pale skin a ghastly glow. There are scratches on her arms and throat that are visible even from afar. She's wrapped the strap of her black shoulder bag around her wrist. She looks tough and untouchable. I know that I probably look meek and mousy in comparison, walking beside her.

"What happened!?" I burst out, eyeing the scratches with a horrified expression.

"I was trying to give Electra a bath since she came home drenched in some kind of liquid. She went berserk and attempted to escape from my grip" Jade rolls her eyes, "So much for trying to help her maintain her personal hygiene and all"

"Oh my God!" I exclaim again, "You know what this means, right?"

"Yeah, the vultures are gonna think that I cut myself" Jade chuckles.

"In order to maintain your emo image" I add sarcastically, chuckling along with Jade.

Jade does have certain Emo characteristics. Her favorite color is black and she mainly listens to rock and metal. But she doesn't engage in any self-destructive behavior or hang out with other Emo people. Sometimes she takes a break from the music that is labelled, "emo music" and listens to serene and ethereal music that is produced by bands such as Tycho and Com Truise. If I had to describe Jade in one word, I'd say that she's one-of-a-kind. I think that she's in a category of her own. Jade claims that's most likely because her Ascendant sign is Aquarius. Aquarius Ascendants apparently appear eccentric and unique.

My sun sign is Aquarius though, so you'd think that I'd also appear eccentric and stand out from the crowd. But Jade claims that the ascendant sign only determines how people appear to those around them, while the sun and moon sign determines our personality traits and inner life. She says that my ascendant sign is most likely a conservative and introverted sign, like Cancer or Taurus.

Jade's sun sign is Sagittarius. Jade claims that we're a match in heaven astrologically speaking, before adding that I shouldn't misinterpret her statement since I don't have the right equipment to be a match in heaven for her in a romantic way.

I laughed and almost told her that I only have eyes for Reese, one of the vultures, but managed to stop myself in time before I idiotically revealed the name of the guy who's been occupying my thoughts on a regular basis since seventh grade. Jade would've laughed her ass off and had probably considered me uncool if she knew. She might've even stopped being my fried.

"Doesn't it hurt?" I ask while we're walking, glancing at the scratches.

"I've been through worse stuff" Jade shrugs.

I admire that she doesn't complain or make a big deal out of it, although it must sting like hell, whereas I would've grown hysterical if I had gotten a paper cut.

The school gates come into view. Before I met Jade, my stomach used to tie itself into a knot as I approached school. But with Jade by my side, I feel much safer. She's like a human shield.

"Back to hell" Jade sneers as we're approaching the school building.