Shade's Fall

By: Jamie Begley

Chapter 1



Lily slid the tape across the top of the box, sealing it closed. Her eyes went to the clock on the wall across the large expanse of the factory, and she swallowed hard. It was almost lunchtime; a time of day she had begun dreading each morning as soon as the metal door closed behind her. The same door that was opening now with Evie carrying in a lunch tray to the main office.

One of the workers seated nearby jumped up to open the door for Evie. She laughed, saying something before going inside and shutting the door with her foot. The poor man flushed with pleasure at Evie’s words.

Lily slid off her stool, stretching as she tried to ease the muscles that had become stiff. Her hands smoothed down her loose dress, which had ridden up.

“Lily.”

She stiffened, turning toward the office door where Shade stood, framed in the doorway. Reluctantly, she made her way to his office. As she drew closer, Evie came out, giving her a friendly smile.

“How’s it going today?” Evie asked.

“Fine,” Lily replied, smiling back.

“Cool. You two enjoy your lunch,” Evie said as she started to walk away.

“Why don’t you stay and have lunch with Shade today? I’m not very hungry,” Lily tried to forestall the woman from leaving.

Evie’s eyes went to Shade’s before coming back to hers. “I’ve already eaten. I’d better get back; I left Rider doing lunch by himself,” Evie said, leaving before Lily could make up another reason for her to stay, not that it would work. It never did.

Lily slipped by Shade, who made no effort to move away from the door, forcing her to brush her body against his. She then took a seat on the chair, sitting next to his desk.

She had been having lunch with him every day for the last month, and she was determined to put an end to it that day. When he had called her into his office after she had first begun working at the factory, she had thought it was because she was new and Razer’s sister-in-law, but she had been here for over a month and he was still waiting to have lunch with her. She had tried everything to get out of the tense situation, yet somehow, every day at twelve she found herself sitting in the same chair.

Shade closed the door then took his seat at his desk. Handing her one of the plates with baked chicken and vegetables, he then began eating his own food.

Lily took a bite of the chicken while debating the best way to tell him that he didn’t have to tie his lunchtime up with her.

“How’s your arm doing since the cast came off?” Shade broke into her thoughts.

“Fine. The doctor said that it was healed.”

“When does school start back?”

“In a month.” Lily looked down at her food. It went down easier if she didn’t look him in the eyes. Shade was always polite, but he made her nervous. He was friends with her sister’s husband; both men had looked after her since Razer and Beth had begun seeing each other.

“How many classes are you taking?”

“Four. They’re pretty simple ones. I already completed the coursework in my major area. The only courses I have left are just to give me enough credits to graduate.”

Shade continued eating his food silently.

Lily took another bite, swallowing it down as she decided to broach the subject on her mind. Clearing her throat, she played with the food on her plate. “I know you and Razer are friends, and I appreciate the club giving me a job for the summer, but I—you don’t have to eat lunch with me every day, Shade. I can eat outside with the rest of the workers.” Lily released her breath, proud of herself.

“Don’t you want to eat lunch with me?” Shade questioned, his gaze steady on her.

“No. Yes. I don’t want you to feel like you have to keep me company because of Razer and Beth being your friends.”

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