Settling back into the luxurious, leather seat, the pink haired girl placed her pale, white chin into her palm, elbow resting upon the car door. Periwinkle eyes stared without focus up at the endless dark blue of the sky. The cloudless night almost gave it a dusky purple shade.
Lacus rarely allowed herself the time to stare up like this at the early morning sky.
She turned her head to look at the brunette beside her, took in the flipped hair that didn’t quite reach her shoulders. Her hands loosely gripped the steering wheel as she drove. Her bright, aqua eyes stared out ahead at the road. Her expression was perfectly calm. What was she thinking? or was her mind as blank as her features?
Miriallia’s eyes briefly flickered to meet those of her passenger, before quickly returning to the road. “What is it?” she asked.
“Nothing,” Lacus replied, blushing slightly. She hadn’t meant to be caught staring. She took to gazing out the window, but then something unexpected happened.
The pinkette’s eyes widened as Miriallia took an unfamiliar turn into a backstreet. Where was she going? Hadn’t she agreed to take Lacus home? Where were they heading?
“Um, this is the wrong way,” she announced.
“Yeah,” Miriallia agreed. “There’s something I have to do. We’ll stop by my place and get you a change of clothes, too. You don’t want to go home looking like that, do you?” she asked, referring to the tattered, ruined costume Lacus was wearing beneath the long, borrowed jacket. “If you’ll take my advice, you probably don’t want your friends and neighbours seeing you in costume.”
“Hm,” Lacus agreed. She’d be mortified if people she had to deal with daily saw her dressed in one of those tiny, provocative outfits. There weren’t many people that still spoke to her. She couldn’t afford to lose the few friends she still had.
“Friends, family, neighbours… their understanding only stretches so far,” the brunette mumbled, bitterness staining her otherwise positive voice.
Lacus’ brow furrowed. “Do you…”
“Know from experience?” Miriallia chuckled softly, though her tone lacked any ounce of humour. “Yeah. I’ve made a few mistakes in my life, and I’ve lived to see the consequences. What we do is perfectly legit. We’re not hurting anyone, we’re not even breaking the law. My line of work carries with it a stigma that should no longer exist, not to mention…”
Lacus turned to watch the brunette. The girl captivated her gaze. “What happened?”
“Guys don’t like it when their girlfriends make more money than they do.”
Lacus’ eyes widened. “I’m sorry.”
Miriallia snorted in contempt. “I’m not. I’m better off without him.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
The brunette remained silent for a time, as if contemplating. When she finally spoke, it was in a more pleasant voice: One to which Lacus was more accustomed. “Some other time,” she said. “Not now.”
Lacus went back to looking out at the road as silence washed over the car’s interior. The farther they got from the main road, the shabbier the buildings became.
Many of these buildings appeared run down. Wooden walls were unpainted. Many appeared to be rotting from the ground up. The few that contained lawns or gardens were unkempt and overgrown with weeds.
The further they went, the worse things seemed to get.
“Huh?” the brunette asked, sounding as if she’d just come out of a daze.
“You’re running an errand, right? What is it?”
“I need to deliver something somewhere.”
Lacus raised an eyebrow. That didn’t make any sense. “What are you delivering?”
“So you’re taking it around here?”
“No, I left it at home. I gotta pick it up first. I’m taking it up near where you said your apartment was. I’ll swing my my place and pick it up first. Where almost there, won’t be too much longer now. You don’t mind, do you?”
Lacus looked away, staring back out the window. “So you live around here?”
“See that big complex up there?”
Lacus looked up on the dark horizon and just managed to see a dully illuminated building looming over the urban wasteland of houses that surrounded them. “Up there? That things gigantic!”
“Thirty fourth floor!” the brunette bragged.
“I’ve never been to this side of the city,” Lacus admitted. This place was so different to her parents’ house when she was growing up.
“I’m not surprised, but we’re not all so lucky.”
Miriallia smirked. “Welcome to the poor side of town.”
“Did you grow up around here?”
“Since I was born. My school’s just a few blocks away. Teachers telling us we’ll amount to nothing, bullies hitting us and spitting on us, kids showing up drunk to class and taking tests with hangovers and showing up high to the final exams… good times.”
“That’s… a joke, right?”
Miriallia’s face cracked into a wide grin. “What gave me away?”
“You oversold it a little.”
“Okay, so it’s not quite like that anymore. It used to be though, or so the old fogeys say. Getting abused by teachers in class, abused by the other kids out of class, walking two hundred miles to school in the blistering cold snow, and in bare feet. Guess they must’ve felt pretty stupid when the found out the train goes almost right up to the school grounds.”
“When has it ever snowed here?”
Miriallia’s grin widened. “Hell if I know,” she said, “but that’s what my father used to tell me. At least I think he was my dad. He’s the first one I remember, anyway.”
Lacus gave a soft laugh. “You can’t be serious.”
The smile faltered, “Well, actually, that part was the truth.”
“Really?” Lacus wasn’t too sure how much weight she should put on the brunette’s words.
“Yeah. I don’t really know who my real father was. I remember there were a lot of guys hanging around when I was younger, but they never stuck around for long.”
As they approached the large complex, Lacus was able to appreciate it in greater detail. It was a dull brown, concrete – by the look of it, and tall. The thing was massive, taking up an entire block.
The footpaths that surrounded it were unsatisfactorily lit up by the odd streetlamp. This definitely wasn’t the place one wanted to be after dark. It reminded Lacus of a horror movie setting, and it wasn’t any better once they got out of the car. The pinkette felt horribly vulnerable out there, even with Miriallia right by her side.
The building’s interior wasn’t much better, either. The dull decal and flickering strobe lights still reminded her of a horror movie. Just a different kind of horror movie.
They passed by an open staircase and kept going until they came to what appeared to be a shabby, old elevator. Miriallia pushed the button for ‘up,’ and they waited.
Nothing happened. Not even a sound.
“What floor are you on?” Lacus enquired.
“Thirty forth,” Miriallia answered, offering information she felt sure had been given before.
“How many are there? Floors, I mean.”
“I think the top floor is sixty, not including the roof.”
“…glad we’re not taking the stairs.”
Miriallia smirked at the quiet remark. “You know, you should loosen up and say things like that more often,” she said, much to the pinkette’s embarrassment. “Just pray that the elevator doesn’t break down.”
“Does that happen often?”
“Not as long as I’ve been living here, but I don’t exactly trust it, you know what I mean?”
“Perfectly.” Lacus wouldn’t trust it either, if she could help it.
The pink haired girl may have only lived in a one bedroom apartment, but at least it was on the good side of town. It wasn’t exactly roomy, but it was comfortable, and loads better than this rickety deathtrap of a complex. Of course, Lacus would never voice those feelings out loud. She didn’t want to appear disrespectful of Miriallia’s home, or ungrateful for her help and friendship.
For all the pride Lacus put into her rented hovel, there was with it mingled fear. For her tiny one bedroom apartment, Lacus was paying two hundred and fifty dollars a week. Or more accurately: She was being charged two hundred and fifty dollars a week. She hadn’t paid up in a while. She was already six months behind in rent, even with her friends chipping in to help her for the last two months.
Lacus would have to face facts soon enough. Her apartment was just too expensive, and too small. How long could she continue to stay there? Was it only a matter of time before she’d have to consider moving to a festering slum such as this?
It wasn’t a thought the pinkette wanted to face. She couldn’t. It was depressing, and it must have shown on her face, because she caught the brunette beside her staring.
“I love that nickname,” the brunette admitted in a husky voice. “Something wrong?” She hurriedly added.
“You’re face says otherwise.”
“Yeah. You look kinda anxious, like something’s bothering you. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it looks adorable on you, but if you’re troubled, make sure you came and talk to me, okay?”
Lacus turned away. Was she that obvious? She really needed to cover herself better, though hiding her emotions had never particularly been a huge talent of hers. Some people excelled at it. Unfortunately, Lacus did not happen to be one of them. It was obvious that Lacus would need to adopt some kind of mask. She didn’t want people to know the trouble she was going through. Certain people more-so than others, and–“
Lacus’ eye suddenly widened.
She stopped in mid thought.
She turned back to look at the brunette, who thankfully hadn’t noticed.
Had Miriallia just called her adorable?
Finally, the elevator door opened with a ding, and Lacus was ushered inside by her short haired companion, who then pushed the button for the fortieth floor.
After a minute, the doors closed, and with a violent jerk, the elevator thrust them upward, leaving Lacus to feel as though she’d been forced through a vaccum.
The inside of Niriallia’s apartment was a little better than the impression that Lacus had received from the lobby and from outside, but not by much.
Thin, white, stained carpet lay beneath them. The walls were papered a dank, brown. The living room was a basic one. A low sofa, a couple of old, ratty looking armchairs, and there was a dated television against the back wall. Over on the right side, the room opened up to a kitchenette Similar to Lacus’ own. There was a bathroom, and two doors leading to what Lacus presumed to be bedrooms.
“Make yourself at home,” Miriallia offered, gesturing toward the furniture. “I might be some time, so… I know the couch is dingy, but it’s more comfortable than it looks, trust me.”
“Okay, just don’t leave me here.”
Miriallia broke into a grin. “I won’t forget about you, don’t worry. Can I get you anything?” At Lacus’ bewildered expression, she pressed on. “Tea? Coffee? Beer? Cocoa beans? Peanuts? Name your poison.”
“Don’t worry about me.”
“Come on, I dragged you all the way out here, didn’t I? I can at least get you something to drink while you wait.”
“Tea then… if it’s not too much trouble.”
“See? Was that so hard? Wait right here. Take a seat.”
Placing the large, manila envelope tentatively to one side, Miriallia then opened her closet, browsing through the various outfits within, wondering how each would look on lacus.
It didn’t really matter. She’d only be borrowing them long enough to get home and change into something of her own. A day, two at the most. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder.
She had to pick the best outfit for the job. What would Lacus prefer? Did she normally wear trousers or skirts? Dresses or shirts? Shorts or frocks?
She tried to picture Lacus in each one of her outfits, but instead, her mind kept drifting to Lacus in her underwear, which was far too distracting a thought.
Finally, she settled on a plain white cropped t-shirt and a pair of blue, low-cut jeans. It was far from purposely skimpy, though it would reveal her midriff. It wasn’t a particularly extravagant outfit, but it would be good enough. It would cover the girl with enough modesty to get her home without arousing suspicion from any who may see her.
Before heading back out, she threw a long coat over her shoulders, placed the envelope within the inside pocket, and hung the clothes for Lacus from her arm.
“Hey, I’m sorry to keep you waiting so long,” she said as she returned to the living room “If you’re ready to… go?” The brunette couldn’t help the smile that graced her at the endearing sight.
Lacus lay stretched out on the low couch, head resting on the arm, eyes closed, lips parted ever so slightly. The flasher jacket had come open, exposing the milky skin of the girl’s chest. White breasts and pink nipples were laid bare to the room, to the brunette. Her hands were crossed elegantly over her stomach which rose and fell with her shallow breathing as she slept.
She looked so content. So peaceful. So adorable.
“I guess I took a little longer than I thought,” Miriallia admitted, placing the clothing down on the sofa, next to the sleeping pinkette.