Roommates

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Gay and Lesbian  |  House: Booksie Classic
Janet never promised Beryl she'd come back, but she came back nonetheless. Unfortunately she never considered that Beryl wouldn't be waiting for her when she returned. Instead, she finds two curious women who became Beryl's roommates in the time that Janet was gone.

Submitted: August 29, 2016

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Submitted: August 29, 2016

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The door is red. Three years ago, it had been white, almost blinding when the sun hit noon. It’s noon now, and the sun reflects the color bluntly. Janet supposes that’s a good thing, in a way, it's ...less blinding, more friendly, bigger somehow--- but all red does is draw attention to itself. It's the kind of color women like Beryl liked to soften. Because who remembers things in red? It doesn't really matter now, does it? Her door dilema extends to more then just the color, namely the old apartment key resting in her left jacket pocket. Janet thumbs at the old rusted thing, exploring it's texture for the familar, its past. She should just knock. It’d be the polite thing to do. Beryl never said she'd turn her away for knocking. But, Beryl had said she could use it again someday, should use it if she ever came back. Janet knows that Beryl would be disappointed otherwise, and Beryl's disapproval could peel paint. Besides, she keeps her promises, at least the Beryl she knew did. Janet grips the key tight and hefts her duffel bag up over her shoulder. Alright here we go. She takes the key out.

The door clicks open then and Janet isn't even able to process the betrayal and suprise that flits through her mind when a woman about Janet’s age appears in the entrance. She's dressed in a knit sweater and jeans, her long, curly hair is dripping water onto the threshold in steady rivulets. A ratty towel, that most likely used to be a lighter color than the deep set brown it is now, is swung over her shoulder. Janet stares at her, key still in her hand, probably looking like a fish caught in its final moments. The woman is stunningly beautiful, a lovely lithe build that speaks to an underlying, wiry strength, a sharp, full mouth, and eyes that spark like a flint in the dark. And though, Janet's first thought is, No one could ever compare to Berylthe intial shock is enough to make Janet think, if only for a second, that this woman could rival even Beryl's beauty.

“What the hell do you want?” Though it looks as if she definitely can't rival Beryl's kindness.

“Excuse me?”

The woman’s face scrunches up in disgust.  “I said what the hell do you want?”

“I, uh, is-“

“You must want something.” She leans on the doorframe, arms crossed. “You’ve been standing here for the last five minutes and I want to know what the hell your fucking deal is.”

Janet purses her lips. What the hell?

“Fatima, who is it?” a voice calls from within the apartment. 

The woman, Fatima, smiles at Janet, ugly and wide almost like she’s baring her teeth rather than smiling. “Nobody.”

Janet grips the key tighter in her fist. Sure, anger builds, but it's not like she can dispute her claim.

“Doesn’t sound like nobody,” the voice says, sounding closer. Another woman comes into view, gently pushing Fatima out of the way. “Now go back inside and dry yourself off, you’re a walking safety hazard.” Fatima deflates, seemingly put out at the other woman’s dismissal, but nods and directs one last glare at Janet before heading back into the apartment. Janet peers around the doorframe, watching as Fatima stomps up the staircase at the far right of the apartment.  

“Sorry.”

Janet’s head snaps back in surprise, having nearly forgotten the other woman, who she is much too close to at the moment. Before Janet can flounder, and stammer out some poor excuse for an apology, the woman backs away, raising her hands up in a placating manner. In fact, everything about her seems apolegetic, from her hunched shoulders, to her sweet little smile. Yet, that air about her stills as she finally gets a good look at Janet. “Oh,” she says softly, her eyes bright, “Oh. I’m sorry- I shouldn’t have scared you like that. Beryl always said you were easily startled.”

The sound of gears locking into place reverberates in Janet’s mind at the mention of Beryl’s name. Janet pauses with----what Fear? Nostalgia? She's not sure as her words keep jamming up between her teeth, but then the woman leans forward quizically and the words start bursting forth like water from a rusty pipe finally relenting under pressure. “Beryl? Is she here? I mean of course she's here. But, please tell me if she is or not, cause honestly I think I need more time to prepare. Please. Wait, you said, what you said ----she talks about me? What has she-“

“Whoa!” the woman says, raising her hands higher, “Slow down. Just calm yourself and come inside, and I promise if you do, I’ll answer all your questions the best I can. Ok?”

Janet breathes in deep, exhales, and nods because she knows that if she keeps going it's not going to end well. The woman smiles, warm and gentle. It's calming, she's calming, that's a good trait in a person Janet thinks as she follows the woman inside. But, that isn't enough to stop Janet from freezing up not even two steps into the apartment's dingy living room as reliazation hits her face first at terminal velocity. Everything is the same except for the little things that aren’t. The wood is gone, disappeared under a lush, gray carpet. The walls, no longer sky blue, are a warm clay color that gives the small apartment a more cozy appeal, not cramped like she remembered and complained about. The couch is bigger and the T.V. is almost brand new. There’s even a little coffee table. Janet’s attention then swings from the living room to the east side of the apartment. The staircase, to her relief, is still the same, as is the bathroom located underneath it. However, the door is ajar and Janet can see the residual steam on the mirror. She guesses that’s where that Fatima girl was before answering the door. Probably saw me through the window when she got out. 

“Hey, you wanna head to the kitchen?” The woman asks, halting Janet’s freefall of thought. Janet ducks her head, deciding that her shoes are infinitely more interesting. “Yeah, sure,” Janet says.

Janet follows her across the living room and into the kitchen. Before they enter the kitchen, Janet catches a glimpse of Beryl’s door. It’s closed. Somehow, despite everything else, that makes Janet feel as if her heart is folding into itself. What did she expect? It’s been three years, things change. 

“Hello?” The woman asks, tentatively waving a hand in front of her.

“Huh?”

“You kinda spaced out on me for a while there. You okay?”

Sulema is kind enough not to point out that this is the second time Janet's done that, so Janet doesn't point it out either, gratefully stuffing her hands into her pockets.“Yeah.” She sniffs. Avoiding eye contact with the woman, she dusts off her clothes and gestures with her chin toward the kitchen. “Lead on.”

The woman levels her with a skeptical look, mouth firm, which ok, it looks like she's not that kind of kind, but at least, in the end, she sighs and shakes her head. “Fine,” she says, and then walks into the kitchen. She heads toward the counter. As she crosses the tile, she grabs one of the chairs from the table and pulls it out. “Have a seat,” she says, her back to Janet, and gestures at a small round table with four rickety chairs clustered around it. It's the same table, probably still bearing the marks she made under it once upon a time. However, Janet pushes that thought aside in favor of humming in response to Sulema's gesture. She dumps her bag next to what used to be her usual seat and sits, ignoring the seat the woman had previously pulled out. Upon touching the surface of the table, Janet a familiar tick arise, thrumming beneath every other noise in the room. Slowly she drags her fingertips to the edge, humming under her breath. Yet, right before her fingers slip under the table, she hesitates, nicks and imperfectations can be sanded down, right? Janet, pulls her hands back, deciding that its maybe best she doesn't find out. 

The woman coughs. She’s leaning against the counter. Apparently, she seems to  have turned around to face Janet a few minutes ago. Janet realizes that the woman might have been watching as she settled in her seat. She feels faintly like she wants to throw up. But instead of doing that, Janet raises an eyebrow. “What?”

“Do you want something to drink?”

“Sure.”

“Coffee?”

“Coffee’s fine.”

The woman nods, and then turns to start rummaging through the cupboards. “So, um, as I was saying earlier, I’m sorry. About Fatima I mean. She’s usually not that abrasive, but I think it has to do with— I’m Sulema by the way, Sue for short. Um, anyway, she’s not good with people,” she cuts off and giggles nervously as she finally locates a tin of coffee grounds. She tosses it on the counter. It smacks against the coffee maker with a loud TINK! She flinches, but doesn’t turn around. “You don’t mind dark roast do you?”

“No…You said your name is Sue?”

Sue perks up at that and chances a look over her shoulder. “Yeah.”

“Cool. I’m Janet.”

“I know.” 

“You do?”

“Yeah, we actually met once, a couple years back,” Sulema replies nonchalantly. She grabs two mugs from the cupboard and places them in front of the coffee maker. She switches it on. “…Do you remember?” Janet goes silent, unable to bring up any recollection of Sulema.The coffee maker beeps, and Janet, having spaced out again, startles. Sulema laughs vibrantly, though too loud to be comfortable in the silence of a kitchen so small. 

“Uuuh.”

“Oh goodness, I’m sorry I laughed, but I’ve found that I just happen to be a forgettable person. Frankly, it’s really funny to me, So, it’s perfectly all right if you don’t remember me.” Sulema smiles again, wider than the last. The coffee maker beeps again as she says this, as if punctuating her words, the smile fades. “Also, coffee’s ready.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah,” Sulema responds as she pours a careful measure of piping hot coffee into the two mugs. Sulema sets the mugs down and takes a seat across from her. “Look, I mean it, it’s okay if you don’t. It was right before you left so-“ Janet tenses and the kitchen goes quiet in turn, quieter without the hiccuping burble of the coffee, it's rather unfortunate really. Janet watches Sulema for any signs of the concerned and well-meaning, the face of someone who wants to fix and repair regardless of the cost. And yet, Janet sees none of that in Sulema's face, yes there's concern, right there at the corners of her eyes, but she when she opens her mouth what comes out isn't "Do you want to talk about it?", but a, “Hey.” Sulema places her hand next to Janet’s and moves no closer. Janet’s eyes drop down to Sulema’s hand either way, still wary. “I don’t know why you left. And I won’t ask. Promise.”

Janet steals a glance at her face and finds no judgment, no accusation, just steady patience. That’s more than anyone gives her nowadays. She smiles weakly, relaxing. Sue smiles back, pats the table once, and pulls her hand back to cup her mug close to her chest. Janet, clasping her own mug with both hands, asks, “So, when did we meet?”

“Beryl introduced us. I was going to be the new roomie, since, you know.”

“Oh. I guess that makes sense.” She takes a sip of coffee. Which reminds her. “Speaking of Beryl, um, where is she? She’s usually here in the afternoon.” 

Sue clutches her mug tighter. “Uh, about that,” She stills for a moment, and then looks Janet in the eye, “Janet. Beryl is… Beryl's gone.”

Janet’s chest constricts, oxygen sticking in her lungs, turning cold. The question that follows comes out not as an exhale or a wheeze of insufficient air but as a ragged, broken thing; it’s a shard of ice tearing itself out through her body. Inside it is loud. In the kitchen, it barely makes a sound. “What?”

“I’m sorry.”

Janet remains seated, resisting the urge to hunch in on herself. Instead, she pushes back from the table. The legs of her chair make a screeching noise as they rake across the tile. In the silence echoing after, a horrible thought occurs to her. No, there’s no way. I was so careful not to touch when I was upset. I didn’t- “How?”

“Janet. Oh no, Janet, I didn't..” Sue stands up, half out of her chair, attempting to reach out. Janet pushes back further. Sue falters, uncertainty flickering across her features. 

“How.”

Sulema sits back down, placing her hands in her lap. “I didn't mean to say she's gone, gone…” Sue trails off, her eyes beginning to sheen bright with wetness. Color rises in her cheeks as well. She quickly rubs at her face with the back of her hand. “She just-- disappeared.”

They are both silent for a few moments. Sue's nails dig into the table, chipped nail polish glinting green under fluorescent lighting. Gentle, nervous, and firm. Janet takes this time to look at Sue while her attention is on the table. Her shoulders are hunched, round, brown, and freckled. She’s trying to make herself smaller. Though, Janet finds that hard to imagine, remembering her smiles and the careful yet assured way she carries herself. How could anything make this woman seem small. Sulema looks up then and smiles brightly, the corners of her mouth drawing Janet’s attention to the way her hair curls softly over her ears; highlighting how it seems to make her skin glow. Beryl always liked the strong ones. She always loved the strong ones.

"So you're fucking telling me, you have no idea where she is?" Ok that didn't come out how she wanted. Leave it to her to royally fuck it up the second Beryl's involved. 

Sulema's eyes mist over. "I'm so sorry."

Janet breathes out a frustrated sigh."No. Don't apologize." Even if you nearly gave me a heart attack. Who talks like that? "Just--, fuck am I glad she's not dead, but like--- I don't know, tell me she at least gave you an idea of where she was going."

Sulema tilts her head to the side, gathering her thoughts. She grips the table. "She did say some strange things. Talking about how I should be prepared for when she wasn’t there. And about how I shouldn't burden myself. For the longest time, I thought she was trying to break up with me. But she never did, so I-“ Sue shakes her head. 

Janet sighs again, she seems to do that often now. "So like always, she was cryptic as fuck?"

"I wouldn't put it that way, but yes. ...But there was one other thing."

Janet leans in. "What other thing?"

"She told me, that when you come back, to tell you that there's no trail of breadcrumbs here. Always thought she was being weird, what with her obsession with fairytales after all. Sorry."

Janet groans. “She knew? Also for future reference you should probably lead with that.”

Sue grants Janet an apologetic look, but then a rueful smile graces her features. She tilts her head to the side, glancing away. “Yeah. Sorry." She sighs. "She was kinda of magical like that. And annoying. Always knowing about stuff.” 

“Yeah, I get what you mean,” Janet says, frowning. "She always, she always knew best didn't she?" The frown fades and Janet scans Sue’s face. “But, did you-“

“Yes. Though she never told me, I figured it out. The whole second sight thing she had going on. I think she knew I knew too. The jerk. It's not as if I would have rejected her for being an....” Sulema trails off, almost afraid to finish her sentence.

Janet waves it off. "No its okay, say it. It's what we are. Ain't any other word for it."

"We?" Sulema shifts in her seat, face alive with quiet wonder as she realizes Janet's meaning. Janet laughs. She feels close to tears, having reached some kind of terrible, emotional event horizon. “Yeah. Aberrant. She, we, are Aberrants. Simple as that."

"You don't----"

"Yes, I do."

"But, its such a terrible way to---"

"And we are just as terrible. It's only fair."

 "It's not."

The words were quiet, filled with the type of emotion one could only expect from someone who actually cared. Janet would have missed it if she wasn't paying attention, but she was. "Well!" Janet exclaimed, clapping her hands together, "That's enough of that. Tell me. What was it like living with Beryl?"

Sulema lets slip a startled laugh, and eyes Janet incredulously. Janet makes a 'go on' motion and after a moment of indecision, Sulema relents. None of them relish the idea of hashing out the injustice of the world. 

"Well, like I said, she always knew everything and was always right."

"Oh, yeah? I remember that. She was just the worst. She'd warn you and when it happened she'd always be there. Right time, right place. Ready to pick up the pieces."

“With that knowing look in her eyes, right?.”

“Yup, her own special brand of 'I Told You So.'"

"Fine-tuned and sharp. Ready to whip out in any situation.”

They laugh. "It was warm too, you know. She was so kind and full of life. She was--- she was the sun."

"Yeah, I know....or I did. Guess I was too late, huh?”

"For what?"

"For Sunrise, maybe, I don't know."

Sulema doesn’t say anything more, taking another sip of coffee. It’s alright though, Janet wouldn’t have known what to say in return anyway. 

“So, you got a place to crash?”

“No, but…”

Sulema grins.

“You can have my room.” She rises from the table, gathers the mugs, and puts them in the sink.

“Sue?”

She stops. “Yes?”

“If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll just sleep on the couch.”

“Fine with me. I’ll go get some blankets,” Sue says. She gives one last smile before walking out of the kitchen and to the stairs.

****

“Was that her?” Fatima questions, staring down at Sulema. 

Sue stops at the bottom of the steps, her hand on the railing. “Yes. That was Janet. She’s staying the night.”

“No.”

“Not up to you, Fatima,” Sue replies, walking up the stairs. 

“Not up to me, my ass. I live here too. So, I get a say.”

Sue reaches the top of the stairs and brushes past Fatima to get to her room. “I am aware of that. But-“ She turns to look at Fatima. “You realize you are going to need to talk to her sooner or later. Beryl would have wanted that.”

“I don’t have to do anything. And don't fucking talk about her like she's dead."

"Practice what you preach."

"Shut up. If she didn’t leave, then Beryl wouldn’t have left.”

“It wasn’t her fault. Or mine. Or yours. You know full well, she would have gone, regardless.” 

Sulema places a hand on Fatima’s shoulder, face stern. Fatima sighs, visibly deflating, but jerks her arm away from Sulema's grasp all the same.“Look you need someone to talk to about these things with. And Janet, like Beryl, knows what it’s like.” 

Fatima barks out a laugh. “Are you serious? She’s destructive. Don’t you remember the stories, the messes she’s made? She can kill people with a touch. She’s nothing-

“She’s in control now. Why else would she come back? And it was an accident, of which had nothing to do with you. We’ve been over this; you can’t just keep blaming other people for what happened with Beryl.” 

Fatima sneers at Sulema then stomps past her and down the hallway towards her bedroom. She comes to a halt in front of her door, rigid and defiant. “I can try.” 

*****

Janet can’t sleep, which is her life story, but tonight it feels accelerated, heightened even. Beryl’s bedroom is only a few steps from where Janet is, and it is fucking closed, a fact that is a natural diaster causing a deluge of thoughts as she lies on the couch in the dark. She glances at the digital clock by the television. It’s 5:25 a. m., pretty much the asscrack of dawn. She groans. It’s not right for Beryl’s door to be closed. Beryl hated having that thing closed. Janet begins to play with the frayed edges of her blanket, reminiscing. Beryl hated a lot of things actually. Or maybe, Janet just thought she hated them, she never bothered to ask. It wasn't her right to ask, considering how Janet took great pains to keep her at arm's length. They weren't anything to each other, not in the way that counts. Not that Janet would know anything about that. Whatever helps you sleep at night. Janet lets out a frustrated growl and sits up, blanket twisted up in her fists. Slowly she turns to regard Beryl's door. Maybe, if she opened it, got inside, she could be one step closer to finding her. Then, she could ask all the questions she wanted. 

With that in mind, Janet grabs her coat and pushes off the couch, striding over to Beryl’s bedroom door. She stops in front of it, then pulls her key out from her coat pocket. Janet grips it in her hand, her thumb running over it’s dings and scratches. She counts to ten, and inhales, trapping her fickle courage inside her lungs. It’s now or never. She raises her other hand to grasp the doorknob.Yet, before she can open the door, she hears footsteps. Janet freezes. Slowly, she turns around, back up against Beryl’s door, staying absolutely still. She watches a lone figure reach the bottom of the stairs. They stop there, making no move forward or backward. Janet presses the herself hard against the wood. Briefly, she entertains the thought of darting to the couch. The darkness would probably be enough to shroud the movement. That thought dies as the figure finally turns around and looks right at her. Janet stiffens, in the dark, it is hard to pick out facial features; however, a petite build and long, tightly curled hair, is not. Of course it would be Fatima.Fatima, the lone figure in question, starts towards Janet. Janet squeezes her eyes shut, bracing herself for whatever is coming. But, nothing happens. Janet opens her eyes again, locking eyes with Fatima. They stare for a while, breathing tension into the walls of the room. Then the moment passes and Fatima breaks eye contact. Without preamble, she swipes a raincoat from the closet then heads out the door. She slams it behind her. Janet sighs and slumps against Beryl’s door, pressing the left side of her face to the cool wood. She closes her eyes and listens to the sounds of the apartment through it. Maybe if she concentrates, she could hear Beryl breathing on the other side, like the rise and fall of the tides in seashells filled with nothing. Beryl would know what to do. 

“You should follow her.”

Janet opens her eyes. Sue is standing in front of her. When the fuck did she get here without Janet hearing her? She's about to ask that, but instead what comes out is, “Why?”

“She doesn’t do well on her own.”

“No,” Janet says, standing straighter, “I mean, why me?”

“Why not?”

“I’m a complete stranger. You gonna send a complete stranger after your friend?”

“I trust you.”

“Trust me?” Janet questions incredulously, “Based on what?”

“Beryl.” 

Janet blinks. “What? …Look just cause Beryl had a knack for telling the future."

“That's not it." Sulema says, shaking her head. "Beryl trusted you. You two were best friends for years.” 

"That's a strong way to put it."

"You were, I saw how she looked at you. Heard how she talked about you."

"Look, whatever it is you think she thought, it still doesn't mean I'm the best person for this."

“Of course you are,” Sue says, voice tight in a manner that means she'll suffer no arguments to the contrary. 

“And what happens if she tells me to fuck off. What then? Cause frankly she doesn’t seem to like me very much.”

Sulema shrugs. “Then you leave. Respect her choice to refuse your presence. Because I’m not going to say that you should force your company on her. And I'm not gonna force you to go,” she says as she approaches Janet. She grabs Janet's shoulder and slips a flimsy business card into Janet’s sweaty palms. “Just, give it a chance.” Sulema  backs away, giving her a soft, tired smile, and then goes back upstairs, leaving Janet alone in the dark. 

“What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” she asks, glancing at Beryl’s door. There’s no answer. 

The business card sends Janet, dressed in a moth eaten, blue jacket and her pajamas, to a dirty old bar up the street. Janet hesitates outside the entrance, turning the card over in her hands. There is a good chance she will screw this all up. She always does. Besides, she’d be unwelcome company, Fatima’s made that clear the first time they met. She rubs the inside of her arm, feeling the softness of the skin and the interrupting roughness of scar tissue. Then again, that’s never stopped me before. She walks into the bar.

She finds Fatima at a booth tucked into the darkest, dankest corner in the place, nursing, what looks like, her first beer of the night. Janet slides in next to her. “Hi.”

Fatima glares at her.

  “Or not. Um, look, I don’t know if Beryl’s ever talked to you about-“

  “She did.”

  “Huh?”

  “I said she did. You’re the famous Janet.”

  “Famous? I don’t know about that.”

  “No you were. When I first met her she was still all hung up on you.”

Janet ducks her head, immediately struck by the fact that the tidal phase of this conversation is quickly shifting from low tide to high. “I- I didn’t know she-“

  “Don’t worry she never told me about your little accident. She didn’t need to.” Fatima smiles, teeth bared. Somehow it’s rawer this time around. It still chafes though.

“What the hell is your problem?”

“My problem? I’m not the one who left Beryl when her powers were kicking into high gear.”

“Oh my goood, I’ve got….wait, what?”

“The visions were getting worse.”

Janet pales, and buries her face in her arms. “God. Just, God, Beryl was never good about sharing the important shit was she? Fuck.” 
 

“You should have known.”

She lifts her head and scowls at Fatima, hyper aware of Beryl’s key still residing in her left coat pocket. “I’m—you have no, I mean—” Janet sighs. “…You’re right.”

Fatima sits up. “What?”

Janet swallows hard. “You’re right. I should have talked to her, communicated for once instead of shutting her out. Maybe then, she would have told me what was wrong.” Janet bites her lower lip.“Doesn’t change the fact that I was dangerous though. Like you said, my ‘little accident’ was no secret.”

“Definitely not a secret.” 

“Especially for those who knew about what we are.”

“Luckily not many.”

“Would you shut up? Look, all I woulda done was hurt her. If not with my lack of control, lack of invisibility, then with my lack of being good enough.”

“You still did.”

Janet rests her chin on her arms, feeling exhausted. “Is that why you hate me?”

Instead of responding, Fatima grabs her beer and examines it, as if searching for any imperfections, any life. “I don’t know.” She sets the bottle down. 

“Look, I don’t know what your relationship with Beryl was like, but I know that with Beryl, people tend to get attached fast. She was the real definition of a superhero, kind and strong and capable, making friends wherever she went. I used to think that was her superpower instead of- you know. But, that stayed with me, because she showed me that even with my powers, I could still find ways to be kind to people. Kind to myself, to a degree. Not that I’m asking for kindness, or forgiveness. Just-“

“It was the least you could do.”

“Yeah.”

“But, you were alone.”

Janet looks over at Fatima, wondering what her deal was. If that was what she was: Alone. She considers giving her Beryl’s key, telling her that Beryl had expected her to use it again someday. That maybe she could find some use for it, find some closure. It’d probably put her in her good graces for a while. But that’s the easy way out isn’t it? Instead of giving her an honest, answer. Besides, why would she need the key? She’s not the one who left. She hesitates, but says, “For a good while, yeah.”

Fatima scoffs in response. They sit together in silence for a while, simply existing in the same space rather than existing together. The silence goes on for a little longer until Fatima grabs hold of her beer and stares at Janet, assessing. She closes her eyes and pushes her beer over to Janet. 

“What?”

Fatima pushes it closer, not letting go of the bottle. 

“Okay. I guess you want me to take the bottle?” Janet tentatively grabs bottle, eyes on Fatima. Fatima doesn’t let go. Growing irritated, Janet looks away from her companion, glancing down at the bottle they are both holding. Then, for the briefest of seconds, she sees Fatima’s skin shimmer gold. She nearly startles, but instead she stares, wide eyed, at the hand still gripping the bottle. Well that makes sense. She's an Aberrant too. Looking up, Janet chances a glance at Fatima, who is looking the other way. Janet chews her bottom lip. “Hey.”

“What,” Fatima huffs, finally releasing the bottle. 

“You wanna go somewhere else?”

Fatima leans back in her seat, folding her arms. “Like where?”

“Wherever you want,” Janet says. Smiling, she takes a swig of beer and her face screws up. “Ugh, that shit is bitter!” 

Fatima laughs, taking great in Janet's discomfort. Weirdly enough, Janet thinks it sounds like the crash of waves on the beach. She stands up and takes the bottle back, finishing it off. "Let's go."
Janet grins. "Yes, Ma'am."

"Don't ever say that again."

"Alright," Janet replies amicably, getting up to join her. "By the way, are you gonna pay for that?" 

"Nope."

"For real? Oh, c'mon." 

"Think of it as payment for me tolerating your ass. Cause need I remind you, I still don't like you."

"Whatever," Janet grumbles, digging some bills out of her jacket and slamming them on the table. "But next time, you're treating me."

"Keep telling yourself that."

They continue to bicker as they exit the bar together, letting the door slam shut behind them. The night is warm.


© Copyright 2017 MagicalNixie. All rights reserved.

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