Her hands tremble visibly. She pulls a wad of crumpled bills from her pocket. Her fingernails are painted purple on one hand and red on the other. The polish is cracked and flaking off. She smooths the bills one at a time. Six ones. Three fives. Three twenties.
You can't remember a time you had that much cash on you. How does this blind chick make more money than you? It probably has something to do with the fact that you're twenty-two and still working at Starbucks.
She takes out her iPhone next. You feel like she's taunting you. It takes her a full minute of scanning the faces of the bills to find what she's looking for. You realize she's using the camera to magnify the numbers. So she can see a little. You know there's a word for that. 'Legally blind?' Maybe.
“This is a five?” She slides the bill towards you. You've been staring at her hands for the whole encounter, so you didn't expect her to speak. She's blind, not deaf, you remind yourself.
You nod your head. She can't see. You clear your throat. “Y- yeah.” You pick it up. You're about to press the button on the register but she holds up a finger. She reaches into her purse and pulls out something familiar.
You remember when you were little, when your mother worked for the newspaper still. She always carried around her camera, a notebook, and five or six little plastic capsules. Something about them always made you want to eat them. Maybe because she kept a box of them in the fridge. They were black and shiny, with a grey top. The way they clicked open was so satisfying, but if you touched them you got yelled at. Exposing the film to direct light would ruin it, after all.
The woman with the crooked smirk doesn't remember any of this. She just opens the capsule with that satisfying click that meant you weren't getting dinner tonight. She holds her hand over the opening and tips it over. She places the two shiny quarters on the counter one by one, clacking into place loudly against the plastic.
“That'll be a dollar thirteen change,” she tells you, as if you're the customer. You pull her change out and hand it to her.
For the first time you look her in the eye. Her eyes are pointed directly at yours. You know she can't see you as more than a blue and black smudge, but it feels as though she's observing you, taking notes. You feel as though she sees more than anyone else in the coffee shop. More than you, even. “Thank you, Vriska.” She picks up the cane she'd leaned against the counter and sits at her table.
“What was her name?” John asks. He's holding a cup and a sharpie. You forgot to ask her name.
“Just bring it out to her, asshole. She's blind.” It's no way to talk to your manager, but he's a total doormat. Besides, everyone knows you're better at his job than he is. He's only manager because his Nanna owns the place.
“You do it, I'm doing inventory right now.” He hands you the drink (dark, 2 shots of espresso), and scurries off to count individual beans or something.
You push past some new hire and find the blind woman again.
“Do you need any sugar, creamer, or anything else?”
“No. Take the lid off.” You roll your eyes, (a luxury most customers are too not-blind to allow you), and put the now lidless cup on the table in front of her. Her hand slowly slides over the table until her thumb taps the side of the cup. She picks it up, hands still shaking. You flinch as you see the liquid on the edge of the cup. Her other hand reaches into her purse, and pulls out a bottle of Hershey's Strawberry Syrup.
“Can I get you some napkins?”
She makes a face. “Yeah sure.” You take a handful from the dispenser a few feet away, and when you return, she's still pouring syrup. However, her hands are perfectly steady now, and you watch with awe as she fills it directly to the brim.
“Put the lid back on.”
You're too impressed to say anything clever, so you just do as ordered. She picks up the cup, as well as her purse and cane, and heads for the door.
“W-wait a second.” She stops at your voice.
“Did I forget something?”
“No, I- How did you know my name.”
Her dark glasses and sharp teeth glint in unison. “You're wearing a nametag, silly.” Her smile makes you feel like she knows something she doesn't.
“Oh, duh. My bad.”
It isn't until your shift ends that you remember she couldn't have read your nametag if she was blind.
I started this project as part of Day 4 of Terezi week. The theme for today was AUs. For more info and submissions, check out @tereziweek on tumblr.
Chapter 2: 2cool4school, or, why vriska dropped out senior year
The blind woman is back. You didn't see her come in, but here she is. Her cane is dangerously close to poking your eye out.
"The usual." She purrs, as if she's been here more than once.
"Get that thing out of my face, or I'm kicking you out." She lowers her cane, thank god, because if you tried to kick a paying customer, a BLIND paying customer, out even that milquetoast shit John would fire you.
"I said the usual. And make it snappy." How did she get so much more insufferable so suddenly? Last time she seemed eccentric, not douchey.
"I'm sorry, you'll have to remind me what you usually get." You deadpan, even though you actually do remember her order for some reason.
"Soy chai, no water, with four shots of espresso."
"But last-" You stop yourself, but her smile has widened by a mile. She knows you remember.
You punch in her order, and then it's back to the laborious task of waiting for her to figure out which bill is which. Luckily for you, she just hands you a twenty without any fuss.
"Keep the change."
"I'm not allowed to acc-"
"Keep it or I'll tell your boss you made fun of me for being blind." You're fuming now. Who does she think she is? She probably isn't even really blind. You look to make sure John isn't looking, then pocket the bills. You drop the coins in the tip jar, though, because that new hire is looking at you now.
You glare at him. He rolls his eyes behind his inch-thick hipster glasses. If he tells John, you're gonna shove them up his ass so hard his children will have 20/20 vision. He hands you a drink. "This is your friend's."
She isn't your friend, but you don't correct him. He's already taking the next customer's order, so you step around the counter to bring the probably-not-really-blind girl her drink.
"Napkins?" You ask, setting the drink in front of her. She makes a show about searching for it, but her smile is so sugary-sweet, she's clearly teasing you.
"That raw sugar stuff. Eight of them."
Two can play at this game. Since she can probably see you fine, you smile brightly, and add that obnoxious bubbliness to your voice that all the other girls do. "Can I get you anything else, ma'am? Or will that be all for today?" She makes a face. Confusion. Perfect.
"Never mind, actually. I'm gonna be late for class." She goes to school? She must live with her parents, you guess. They're probably rich. Just thinking about how easy she must have life pisses you off.
She stands suddenly, almost bumping into you. She leaves the napkins on the table and tap tap taps her way to the door with her cane.
You're about to go back to your station at the register, but you have a sudden impulse to follow her. It's only been a few seconds since she left, she can't be very far. You push past a customer, wincing as they spill a little coffee on your leg. "Asshole," they mutter. You don't care.
You catch up to her almost immediately. She's waiting at the crosswalk. "Hey, wait!" You cringe. That sounded stupid.
She turns around, and you catch the glare of the rising sun off her red sunglasses. Her hair is messy, and her purple lipstick is smudged. Her mother probably does her makeup for her. "Vriska?" She looks confused. Her lips are, for once, not in that infuriating grin. They're almost pouting, now. Begging for a kiss, you start to think, but you angrily brush the thought aside.
"How do you know my name? You're supposed to be blind, so how could you read my nametag?" She doesn't say anything for a second. "Well?"
"Lucky guess." Her lips are back in that awful smile again. You realize you've grabbed her by the arm, but you don't let go. Her breath smells the way toothpaste and orange juice taste. You kiss her. Fuck.
Your eyes are closed, but you feel her stiff arm relax, and now she's kissing you back. What the fuck is wrong with you? You pull back. It was short enough that your breathing is even, but you feel as though you're underwater anyways.
"Skip school." Why did you say that?
"Yeah, okay. Your place or mine?" Oh my fucking god. You cringe at the thought of her probably rich parents' suburban paradise.
"I live a block away." You don't even have to cross the street to get to your apartment complex.
Her grin reaches across her face so wide, you feel like if she opened her mouth, rows and rows of sharp teeth would be inside, like a shark's mouth. You just hope she knows how to use them.
Chapter 3: why are they having sex its like noon at the very latest oh my fucking god
this is the one where they have sex
This chapter includes sexual themes! But don't worry, nothing explicit.
(If only because I'm really bad at writing smut.)
If you're uncomfortable listening to pillow talk, though, skip to the next chapter. You'll only miss some characterization and stuff.
Your apartment is a mess. Your xbox cases litter the floor in front of the TV, and fast food wrappers, bags, receipts, and more cover the coffee table.
She doesn't look around, doesn't even notice the mess. You'd count that as a solid point towards the "maybe she isn't faking being blind" argument, except she's preoccupied pushing you against the wall. She drops her purse on your foot, and your toes are crushed under what you guess is her strawberry syrup. You break the kiss for a second to make sure she doesn't do the same with her coffee. You don't want to explain any more stains to the landlord.
"Watch it!" You hiss, and carefully set it on the far end of the coffee table from the couch. You don't want to hit it accidentally if things get rough. You pull her onto the couch, and she's straddling you now. Your head hits the wall a little harder than intended, and you curse. She laughs, and it's like a witch cackling. Or at least it's like those shitty motion-activated halloween decorations.
"Are you okay?" She wraps her arms around your neck, tracing her fingers over your shoulderblades. "Want me to kiss it better?"
"Shut up." Your hands creep up her shirt, and there's her bra. You don't know what you expected. You suck at taking bras off. That's why you only wear them at work. "Fucker." You stop, and grab her shoulders so you can sit up without headbutting her. "Let's go to my room. This couch stinks anyways."
"I thought that was just you." Her grin is infuriating. And hot, when she licks her teeth like that. What the hell.
You're curled up on your shitty twin bed, blankets bunched up in a sweaty mess around your bare feet. Terezi is curled up too, in between your arms. You're spooning her, you suppose, though you probably look a lot more like spaghetti than any sort of utensil. Her hair is in your mouth. You're trying to get it out without moving your hands from her chest.
Terezi is wearing her ugly ass boxers. For some reason, she put them back on when you stopped. They don't do her ass any favors. They don't do your eyes any favors either, with their garish Yoshi's Island print. you wonder where the hell she got those. There's no way they're a licensed product. The shitty dinosaurs speckle her thighs, as if taunting you. If you were some sort of furry, they would probably seem suggestive to you. Okay, they kind of do, but that's because there's a pink one right on the front sticking its tounge out.
"I've never skipped class to have sex before." Terezi is awake again. Finally. You spit her hair out of your mouth loudly.
"Neither have I." That's actually true. You did skip to smoke weed a lot freshman year though. Before weed started feeling not quite as effective and a bit more expensive. You were never really hooked anyways. You mostly smoked because your friends at the time did too.
"After that, I'm guessing you've never skipped anything for sex before." She smirks at you, and you can't remember why you thought this was a good idea.
"Maybe when I'm not already covered in your sweat and drool."
"I don't drool."
"You do when-" You hit her with your pillow.
"I don't." She laughs again. You love that stupid, shitty laugh. Even though it sounds like a garbage disposal grinding up a glass bottle.
"I'd love to spend the night, but actually I wouldn't. It would be awkward. And besides, I have to get home."
"Want me to take you?" You don't even have a car. You hope she says no.
"No. I live nearby, and I need the exercise." Something about the way she says it makes you feel like you're missing out on a joke.
"Do you.." You don't know how to phrase the question.
"We'll see. I know where you live. And where you work." She gently moves your hands off her, and stands up. You appreciate the turnaround she gives you. "Can you help me find my clothes?"
You sit up. Her shirt was under your head, so you toss it so it drapes over her face. "Can you at least give me your number?" God, that sounded desperate.
"That's not a phone number."
"I know." You feel like you're missing another joke. This one feels bigger than the last one.
"What's this?" Terezi is holding up a familiar blue book. It shouldn't even be out right now.
"Don't touch that!" You grab it out of her hands, making sure she didn't damage it. It's your great grandmother's diary. You stole it from your mother when she kicked you out. "It's an old book. It's fragile." You put it on the nightstand. You'll find the box you keep it in once she's gone.
"Sorry." You go back to searching for clothes.
"It's no big deal." You find her pants, and hand them to her. She's found her socks, and put those on already. "You left your shoes at the door." You never take your shoes off at the door. That's something rich people do when they have fancy carpets. To be fair, Lightning McQueen Crocs with Heelies aren't what you imagine a rich girl wearing.
"Thanks." She kisses you again, gently. You feel like a little kid. Or maybe that's just how people are supposed to interact with people they like? You don't know. You haven't dated anyone since middle school. God, that's embarassing. At least you've had sex with people enough to say you're "active" at your yearly checkups. "I'll let myself out."
She has her clothes on, and her cane in hand. Her purse and shoes are by the door. You want to stop her, a little. You don't though. God, that would be embarrassing. You hear the door open.
You get up, and walk to the room with your couch and TV. She left her coffee. It's definitely cold by now. You walk over to the door anyways. You open it and peek out. You catch a glimpse of her walking away. She turns right at the end of the hallway, and you almost say something. The elevator and the staircase to the seond floor are both on the left of the hallway. You close the door.
If she really is blind, she might be lost for a while.
Chapter 4: burning on entry- wait no that sounds like a BAD sex pun
i swear theres no sex in this chapter
Nothing fills you with broiling rage quite like waking up at 5 am so you can get to work on time. Which makes it all the more questionable that you work at Starbucks. You have to wake up at 5 am 5 days a week.
First your 4:15 alarm goes off. Every day, you turn it off without getting out of bed. Then your 4:45 alarm goes off. Every day, you turn it off without getting out of bed. Then your 4:46 alarm. This is the one you actually sit up for. You open tumblr and scroll down a bit, until you see some shitty porn that clashes with your mood. You check the group chat you haven't spoken to in weeks. Nothing interesting has happened. (Just like every day). Finally, your 4:48 alarm goes off, and you get out of bed.
It's approaching summer, so your pants smell like dry sweat, and chafe as you dig through your hamper. You didn't put your black polo shirt back on after the maybe-but-probably-not-blind girl left, so it's probably clean enough to wear again. You pull out your other pair of work pants and throw them over your shoulder. You find socks and underwear, and you pick up yesterday's shirt from the floor. Just in case, you sniff it. Okay it kinda smells. You dig in the hamper for a fresh one, but they're all dirty. It doesn't smell that bad, you guess.
Your shower takes roughly 30 minutes. You almost forget to actually use soap. You left your towels in the dirty laundry pile, so you try to brush as much water as you can off with your hands, then use yesterday's pants to dry the rest off. Damn, they smell bad. You don't do much with your hair besides comb it out of your face with your fingers. You put a clip on either side so it doesnt fall back in your face. Good enough.
After applying deodorant, you're ready to go. You grab your phone. It's at 60 percent. You plug it back in to see what happens. As you expected, the charger is broken. Shit. You throw the charger on the floor before you go. What's another piece of broken garbage on the floor? You'll have to remember to buy a new one after work.
You start at 6, and it's 5:45. It's a four minute walk to work. On your way out, you jokingly imagine what it would be like if the possibly-blind girl was still lost, trying to find the elevator with her cane. Actually that's kind of fucked up. You hope she made it home safely. You should have walked her home. What if she really is blind and she gets hit by a car?
You live on the third floor, (Room 308), so you take the elevator. Stairs are for people who don't want to use their phones while they descend to the ground floor. On the way out the door, you think about checking the mailbox, but by then you're already on the sidewalk. You follow the road down to the front of the property and turn right. Starbucks at your 1 o'clock.
You push the door open with an annoying jingle. At least it's not the special bells they have in December. The new hire with the shitty glasses is at the register already. He looks worried as soon as he sees you.
"What's wrong?" Whenever people at work look at you like that, they're gonna ask you for a favor. And you'll probably do it, too, if only because you need connections to get places.
He says nothing. You step around the counter and punchin your number on the monitor closest to you.
ERROR Employee could not be clocked in. Reason: EMPLOYEE TERMINATED
"What the fuck?" You look around, confused. The new hire is the only one on the floor. "Is something wrong with the system?"
"No, uh." He purses his lips. He doesn't look worried. He looks annoyed. "John fired you because you left without clocking out yesterday. During a rush. And pushed a customer. And..." He trails off.
"John can't fucking FIRE me! He can't even make a macchiato! I make MORE than him!" You spin around, hitting your hand painfully on the edge of the counter. "Shit!"
"Listen, you have to go."
"No, YOU listen, Eric, I'm the best fucking employee this store has ever-"
"It's Eridan. And I don't care, John said not to let you-"
"FUCK John, you- FUCK!" You push him out of the way and swing open the door to the office. John is sitting at the computer, back to you. As you enter he turns his swivel chair around.
"Vriska, you're not supposed to know the code to the office door. Now I have to change it again." You expect him to look afraid. Instead, he looks... Kind of sad? Sorry, even.
"Like hell you do, because-"
"Listen, Vriska. I was supposed to fire you a month ago. I didn't want to because you're usually here when we need you. You-"
He goes on, but you're hardly listening. You want to punch him so much right now.
"-ith your girlfriend, I get it! Really, I do! But you just can't keep treating customers-"
"She's not my girlfriend."
"Whatever." He looks tired. Bored. It pisses you off that he doesn't even seem to care what you say. "Just... Go. I don't want to have to call the cops. Good luck finding a new job."
He pushes past you, into the main lobby, and with both of you outside, the door clicks shut.
He's ignoring you. Your knuckles are white, your fists clenched around your bag's strap. You leave silently.
You walk a few blocks to the grocery store. You pick up some canned fruit, some milk, and you grab a new phone charger from the rack by the checkout line. The old lady bagging your items looks terrified of you.
By the time you get home, the weight of several cans of fruit and a half gallon of milk have drained your energy. You punch the door code in with your pinkie, then realize you cant open the door without a hand. You set the bag with the milk down and put the code in again, this time opening the door before the timer runs out.
The elevator is open, and the light inside is off. Two toolboxes sit on the floor outside of it. Fuck. You drag the bags up the stairs, sweating from the effortof going up three flights of stairs.
You set the bags down outside your door and reach inside your purse for your wallet.
You're locked out.
The main office doesn't open until noon.
This is the last fucking straw for you.
You slump to the ground defeated. You lean your head against the door.
You stay like that for maybe five minutes, before you hear footsteps on the stairs to your left. Someone is coming up. You hope their room is to the left on this floor. That way they don't have to pass you. It would be really embarrassing if someone saw you like this.
The footsteps make it to the top of the stairs. They get softer on the carpet, and you think maybe they're heading away from you-
"Locked out?" A smooth, almost sensual voice hits you like a brick. You jump, and spin to look at the speaker.
It's a thick, dark-skinned girl, with a bob cut. She smiles at you, but something about her smile looks... Sneaky. Not like the maybe-blind girl, but still a little unnerving. "Is that milk?" She steps closer, and you take in her impressive features up close. Her eyes are soft and gentle. Her lips are purple - the same shade the blind girl was wearing yesterday, actually - and curve at the edges into a perpetual knowing smirk. She's totally your type.
"Here, you can wait in my apartment for the office to open. We don't want your milk to spoil." She kneels to pick up the bag, but gives you a questioning look before actually touching your things. You nod, and she picks it up.
"Thanks." Your voice is deadpan, and hoarse. You clear your throat. "I got fired from my job."
"I'm sorry to hear that." You feel like an idiot. Was that supposed to make you sound less pathetic? "Here, I'm on the fourth floor. This way." She leads you up the stairs.
Surprisingly, the carpet on the fourth floor is a different color. On the first three colors it's a faded yellowish brown color. On this one, it's green. Except... You realize the carpets are the same. The difference is that the first three floors get more foot traffic. So much that they're faded, and dirty. The fourth floor looks mostly clean, except for a few brownish yellow patches near the stairs and the elevator door. The more you know.
"My name is Rose."
"Vriska." Her hips are swaying nicely. You think she's doing it on purpose. Is she flirting? Or just teasing?
"My girlfriend and I are in room four one three." Definitely teasing you.
"I don't want to-"
"Not at all! Don't you worry at all. We're always entertaining guests." She looks over her shoulder at you and winks. Maybe she is flirting? You have a feeling the next four and a half hours are going to be either really uncomfortable, or really hot.
You try to envision your great grandmother, cool and collected.
Chapter 5: swimming (not in pussy, but in mental stress and self-hatred)
vriska has gay thoughts, but more importantly, she still has depression
there is some blood in this chapter but it's not explicit violence or anything. if you want to skip over it anyways, skip the italicized blockquote
You follow Rose inside, trying to keep a cool composure. You feel pathetic. Straight ahead from the door is a dark hallway that cuts immediately to the right. If the layout here is similar to your apartment, the bathroom and bedroom are that way. To your left is a kitchen, just as narrow as the hallway. Rose gestures for you to put your things down, and you set the bags on the small counter.
The "dining room" consists of an oval shaped table and six chairs, although 3 of the chairs are too close to the far corner to actually be used. Rose sucks in her gut to squeeze between the divider and one of the chairs. You're a lot thinner than she is, so you only have to angle yourself slightly to push past with ease.
When you were thirteen, you found your great grandmother's diary in your closet, tucked behind a shoebox of old photos on the top shelf. Reading it over and over again is your clearest memory from your childhood. You wanted so much to be like your great grandmother. Even today, you strive to be as badass as she was; she was the leader of a gang of bootleggers in the twenties.
I smiled during the entire court proceedings. That woman, she thought she was so smart. She had finally outwitted me. I felt pride, not in myself, for once, but for her. That probably proves I'm mad. But she was glorious! She acted as a prosecutor all on her own. It's fitting, if you ask me. Watching her display evidence, with that fire in her voice... I always promised I wouldn't remarry, but if I met a man with half her spirit, I'd have a ring on me in an instant.
I'm talking about Redglare, of course. The private investigator. She had always known I was guilty. And finally, she could prove it, beyond a doubt, to the law. She gave me a real run for my money. And the only time she faltered was at the very beginning of the trial. When she saw my smile. I know she suspected something wasn't right. But she brushed it off! The fool she was in that moment. If she'd had any smarts in her she would have turned tail then.
When they pronounced me guilty, that was her last chance. She should have left. But again! The fool. It saddens me, to see her so utterly bested. She had to stay to gloat. She sat patiently while all the jury left. She waited until it was just the two of us, plus my guards. I was shackled, of course. Like any thief, murderer, like any pirate would be. In her victory, she had grown prideful. She stood and walked over to me, looked me in the eyes, and opened that godforsaken mouth...
That's when the guard shot her. Right in the stomach. It pains me to remember her blood spilt so violently. She truly was amazing. But then, she was afraid. She screamed. The other guard shot her, this time, in the knee. She was crying on the ground, blubbering like a child, as the men unlocked my handcuffs. I stood over her, and I felt a sadness in me. Sadness! I truly must be mad. She reminded me of my husband then. In his last moments. Pathetic, disgusting even, but still they both tugged at my heartstrings.
My men brought me to my car after that, leaving the body there.
You always thought of yourself as your great grandmother's successor, but right now, you feel like the private investigator. Trapped. Tricked. You feel the bullet in your stomach, and you brace for the second shot. But it doesn't come.
Rose sits on the couch next to a familiar woman. "This is my girlfriend, Terezi." She's looking at you, but she says nothing. She doesn't know yet. She can't know. She really is blind. You feel like an idiot for thinking she was somehow faking it.
Her name sounds familiar, but you know she never told you. Just like you never told her. But she still knew, somehow.
"Hey." Your voice cracks, and the word seems gargled.
Terezi throws her head back, cackling like a witch. That awful laugh. Rose looks startled. "Have you two met?"
The blind girl, Terezi, wipes her mouth. "She's the coffee girl I told you about. The one I fucked."
There's the second shot. Your knees lock up, and you feel your face hot. You aren't crying. God, you're not crying today, or ever.
Rose smiles knowingly at you. "But sweetheart, you said she was cute."
They're leaving you, blubbering on the ground like a child drowning in its own blood.
"Fuck you, Rose." You don't know how you're keeping a straight face.
She stops smiling. "Sorry, that was harsh." She sits next to Terezi - her girlfriend - and pats the couch beside her. "Sit with us." You don't know what to do, so you just listen.
"I didn't know you had a-"
"I should have told you I had a-"
You and Terezi both stop at the same time. Rose, seated between you, stifles a laugh.
You speak first this time. "I forgot to put my milk in the fridge."
You stand stiffly and go to the kitchen. You hear Rose murmuring in the other room. You look around a little, and notice how much cleaner this apartment is than your own.
Terezi is standing in front of you now. "Vriska."
"Sorry I didn't say anything sooner. I just... I didn't want you to stop." She isn't wearing her red sunglasses, so you can see her eyes. The irises are vibrating, side to side. Her eyes are bloodshot.
"Me neither." You admit. "I'm sorry for coming on so strong."
"Don't apologize for that stupid." She punches your arm.
"Bitch, that hurt!"
Rose steps into the kitchen. "I wanted to give you some privacy, but you two both suck at whispering. Why don't we all have a talk in here?"
You put the milk in the fridge, then follow them to the couch. You sit next to Terezi, and Rose sits on your other side, sandwiching you in.
Terezi speaks first this time. "I really like you and I think we should spend more time to get to know one another."
Rose nods. "I haven't met you before, but I think it would be a good idea, if you're comfortable with..."
"I don't know." You shake your head. "I'm confused."
"Allow me to explain, then. Terezi and I are-"
"I know what polyamory is. That's not what I mean." You rub your eyes. "I don't know."
But you sort of do know. You don't want to have a girlfriend. It's too much work. Too many things you could fuck up. You're afraid. Afraid of the responsibility? Afraid of being blamed for something.
You stand up. "I need to breath. Can we talk later?"
Chapter 6: [s] vriska: suffer some more
once you hit rock bottom, you can only go up.
unless your name is vriska serket
It's 2 pm. You spent the day somewhere you wouldn't usually expect to: the local library. You haven't read a book since sophomore year. (You dropped out at the beginning of senior year.) You were researching bootleggers in the 20s. You couldn't get into your apartment to read your great grandmother's diary, so you'd have to make do.
You read about George Remus, Lucky Luciano. The Brain, Bill McCoy. They're all fascinating. But none come close to your great grandmother. What makes you so impressed with her is how, even to this day, nobody but you, your mother, and presumably her mother know who she was. To the rest of the living world, she's just "Mindfang." Nobody knows the extent of what she did, nor her true identity. All the information beyond references to her name were scrubbed from the records after her trial. The best you can find outside of her diary is one or two newspaper clippings, but even those only tell of her arrest and trial. None disclose more than these few facts: she was notorious, a coldblooded killer; she was finally captured and put on trial; and she was judged guilty, but mysteriously disappeared.
A google search won't help; there are theory boards, where fans argue over whether she was killed by a rival, or if she escaped. Some people argue she was never real. Many say she fled to Mexico. Others say she moved to China. You're the only one who knows where she went.
But more importantly, you're the only one who knows where she stashed her treasure.
2 pm, your phone has charged (you plugged it into a public computer at the lirary), and the office at the apartment is open by now.
With your mind ablaze with stories of piracy and murder, you feel strong again. You're back in control. As things should be.
You arrive at the main complex office at 2:42. Luckily, there's actually staff there. Usually they're on call, trying to sell shitty mildewy rooms to unsuspecting first time apartment buyers, or checking the pool's chlorine filters. You knock on the door, confident, cool, and collected.
The landlord himself opens the door. He's not supposed to be here on a Thursday.
"H-hey!" Your confident smile shifts to nervousness. "How are you?"
"What do you need, Miss Serket?" He doesn't look happy. "Scratch that, I need you to sit down." He gestures to the soft chair in front of his desk. He's dressed in a white suit, with a green shirt beneath it. It looks hideous.
"Of course, Doctor!" You know better than anyone not to get on the guy's bad side, and it looks like you already are. Hopefully shmoozing him up will work.
"You're late for rent. Again." The flourescent light is glaring off the top of his bald head.
"Yeah, about that... I lost my job. I only need a week or two to get a new one, though, really!" You think fast, "I just got back from filling out applications at the library actually!"
"Why were you at the library?"
"I. Locked myself out on my way to work today."
"I thought you were fired."
"Laid off. And I only found out today."
Scratch pinches the bridge of his nose. "Look. I'm required by law to give you a month's notice. I want you out within the next thirty days, or I'll have the police take you out."
"W-wait, I just need-"
"Room 308, yes? Let me get you the backup key." He stands up.
"Just one more chance, please!"
He sighs. "Miss Serket. This business runs on a three strikes basis. And frankly, you're on your eighth. No more chances."
You sit in silence as he hands you the spare key. "Bring this back once you get your copy." You turn silently and open the door.
"And for god's sake, check your damned mail for once."
Chapter 7: finally some good shit happens (for real)
introducing everyones favorite night-stalking lesbian
"You remember where the restroom is, right?" You nod.
"I'm really sorry about this. I really tried to convince him, but-"
"I don't care." Kanaya shuts the flap on her tablet. "Listen, Vriska. I'm only doing this because I don't like seeing you hurt. But that's it. You're going to get a job, and you're going to get an apartment, and after all that, you're going to leave me alone and never speak to me again. Got it?"
You're at your ex best friend's house. Yeah, her house. She's fucking rich now. You always figured you were going to be the rich and famous one out of the two of you.
Vogue, Marie Claire, and Allure magazine seems to disagree with you, though. The walls are covered in framed magazine covers, spreads, and flip-out pages dedicated to the fashion expertise of a certain Kanaya Maryam.
In middle school, Kanaya had asked you to marry her. That was back when you thought you liked boys, though, so you called her gross and told everyone at school she was a vampire. She... hasn'texactly forgiven you. You really, really wish you had accepted her proposal, now, though. You've never seen something as expensive as her couch in your life.
That's where you'll be sleeping for the next... Well, she said month. You're kinda hoping for more than that.
You technically have two more weeks to move out of the apartment, but you were low-key afraid Scratch might come into your bedroom and kill you in your sleep. That guy makes you super uncomfortable.
Kanaya's face softens. "Do you want dinner? I have a really good recipe I want to try out, but I couldn't finish it without help."
The thought of food makes you try to remember your last meal. You haven't eaten much since you lost your job. In fact, you just realized you left that milk at Rose and Terezi's apartment. You hope they don't let it sit there too long. It was on clearance because it expired in a week.
"That would be great." You bite your lip. She's much calmer than you remember. When she was a kid, she was really excitable. Actually, looking back, she started getting quiet right after you told everyone she was... Oh. You probably scarred her for life.
"Hey, I wanted to apologize..."
"It's okay, you've fallen on rough times, I understand. You don't have to-"
"No, I mean- When we were kids." She closes her mouth. She looks at you curiously, waiting for you to continue. "I called you gross. And a vampire. And-"
"I remember. Your point?"
"I'm sorry, that must have really upset you. Everyone made fun of you because of m-"
"No they didn't. A few kids were afraid of me, but that was normal."
"What do you-"
"They made fun of me before you called me a vampire. Because of my hijab."
Kanaya sighs. "Vriska, not everything is about you. Nobody liked me when we were friends. Nobody liked me after you stopped talking to me." She turns back to the cabinet, opening it to look for something. "You think you're the main character of everyone else's story, but you're not. You're only your own main character. Own that. Be yourself. Stop judging yourself based on the way you think you make other people feel. You're really bad at reading people." She finds what she's looking for, a little plastic stand with a stack of notecards on it, and sets it on the counter. A close look reveals it's a recipe set. It's handwritten. Kanaya's handwriting is full of loops with graceful points at the bottom. It's weird, almost like it's written in another language. But you recognize the words nonetheless.
"Vriska!" You look up. "You stopped listening."
"Oh, shit. Sorry, I-"
"Don't worry. I get it. You're tired. You're stressed. It's... It's whatever. Why don't you sit down while I cook. The wifi password is on a card on the coffee table."
You retreat to the living room. Sure enough, another handwritten note card lays pristine on the white coffee table. Kanaya's graceful handwriting is surprisingly easy to read, despite the fancy loops.
"Bloodsucker?" That's the password, apparently.
"That's right!" Kanaya's voice can smile, you think.
"Yes, because of you. Vampires are cool."
She's really sending you some mixed signals here.
Chapter 8: oh god mistakes were made mistakes were really honestly made
in which kanaya realizes vriska is nowhere near as stable as she claims to be.
theres another italicized blockquote with some violence. its a little scary but not gross, and its important to the story
Dinner is nice. Kanaya continues to send you mixed signals, but the rice and chicken dish she made was delicious, (although you could do without the almond shavings on top). She does the dishes, refusing to let you help. "Today, you are my guest. Tomorrow you will work," was her excuse.
You wanted to talk with her, but she insisted that you get some sleep, and went off to her own bed, as well. You aren't even tired. You lay on the couch, (god its comfortable), and scroll through tumblr.
My husband was not a very spirited man. I won't put his name here. Although I am ashamed of it, I still love him some days, and it pains me to remember the sound of his name. We met in school. I was the first woman he met in college, and for good reason; it was supposed to be an all men's school. But I got in, with a few tricks. I tested in easily. It's no hubris to say I'm a genius. I've always known this.
But a few sneaky omissions on my application meant I met all the qualifications; they never said no women were allowed. My professors hated me. I knew it. They knew I knew it. But they couldn't stop me, unless they wanted to lose their tenure. I've always been good at getting my claws tangled up in other people's business.
He was not my professor, thank the heavens. He was a student, like me. Not a genius, but he passed his classes. He didn't party much. Neither did I. We were hardly a match, but somehow we fell together.
He courted me boringly. I accepted his offers nonetheless, amassing gift after gift. After I graduated early, he promised me he would graduate with honors, and asked for my hand in marriage if he did.
I didn't believe he could do it without my help, though, so I tutored him. And somewhere in there I guess I let my guard down.
I started to think he was sweet. It's really my own fault. He graduated with honors, like he promised. We married the next month.
We never wanted children. We knew better. When prohibition hit, neither of us could have given a care in the world. We weren't drunkards, by any standard. But the neighbors, they had four children. Drink was all they had to keep them sane. They drove themselves mad, until they discovered bootlegging.
The man of the house thought himself a real clever one. Once he had his still set up, he got to thinking he could be a real gangster. Started selling his swill, rotgut, really, at the lowest prices in the state.
Got the real gangsters mighty pissed, I'll say. I caught wind of a rumor; they were coming for the fool. They were coming with their Thompsons, (tommy guns, we said if we wanted to be cute), and they were gonna rough him up.
Someone gave them the wrong address.
I remember the car came up the street and I was watching through the window, and my gut was telling me RUN. But I stayed, and I watched as two men got out. They were holding something, but I couldn't see it clear. They knocked on the door and asked if my husband was home.
He was at work, I told them. When is he coming home, they told me. I said I don't know, not more than a minute. They said we'll just wait for him. I said I wanted to know who they were. They said they wanted to speak with the man of the house. That's when he pulled in the drive and they stopped hiding the guns they were holding for a second. I wanted to scream but I knew they'd shoot me. He came in and said what's all this, dear, who are these men? They said they heard we knew where to get alcohol cheap around here. He said I don't know what you're talking about sirs, I run an honest business with my wife.
I wish he'd sold out that damned neighbor.
Running an honest business was their job they told him, and they started shooting. They didn't shoot me. When they ran out of bullets - the both of them - they left out the front door and drove away. I called the police and that's when I saw he was still breathing.
"Vriska! Vriska calm down!" Kanaya is holding you and oh god it was so real you're crying and everything is black and covered in blood and you see Slick's face reflected in it.
"Vriska, please!" She's shaking you, and you're okay and you're safe and Kanaya is there. You hug her and she hugs you back and she tells you everything is going to be okay just breath, "breeeeaaaath, iiiinnn, ooouuuut. Breath slowly, deep, deep breaths, Vriska, it's okay, you're okay."
Your throat is clogged. You choke a little, holding onto Kanaya tight. There are tears in your eyes but you don't know why you're crying. "What happened? What's wrong Kanaya?" Your throat is hoarse.
"What's wro-" She looks incredulous. "Vriska, you were screaming!"
"No I wasn't. That's ridiculous."
"You woke me up. I thought someone had broken in." There's a bottle of pepper spray on the table and a tennis racket on the floor.
"I don't have nightmares. I don't even dream." Your head hurts. "I need water." You start to sit up but Kanaya pushes you back down and runs off to the kitchen.
"Drink this, Vriska." You drink it and it's heavenly. You've never tasted anything like it before.
"What is this?"
"Tap water, sorry, it's all I could grab quickly." You drink the rest of it as fast as you can. "Are you okay?"
"'M fine. I don't even know what the big deal is."
"Vriska, this isn't fine. You're having serious nightmares. Probably a recurring one."
"I told you I don't dream."
"Everyone says that. Come. Up, up." She gently helps you stand, and guides you to the stairs. "You're sleeping in my bed tonight."
"I thought you hated me."
"We're not having sex! And I don't hate you... I-" She purses her lips. "I just want to be ready if you have another nightmare."
You're too tired to keep arguing. You can't remember the last time you got a full night's sleep that wasn't a depression nap that lasted until 4 pm.
Her bed is the softest thing you've ever felt. Despite her attitude earlier, Kanaya wraps her arms around you, spooning you as you both drift back to sleep. Her rhythmic breathing helps calm your wild heart.
Chapter 9: *standing on top of a chair* just kiss already!
dont call it subtext theyre fucking lesbians
You wake up sticky with sweat. This isn't new, per se, but the reason is.
Kanaya's thin, dark arms are wrapped around you, meeting at the wrists at your rib cage. Her breasts are pressed into your back. She's spooning you perfectly, every curve (angle, really) of your body is met with an exact match from hers. The tops of her knees are even pressed again't the backs of yours. You feel like one of those characters in a science fiction thing, with an exo-suit or whatever.
Her breathing is quiet, but its also right next to your left ear, so you can't hear anything else, except your own chest's even beat. Oh. Also, she's completely naked. You hadn't even noticed last night...
Last night. What even happened? Kanaya woke you up, took you to her room...
And you passed out immediately. You can't remember why she woke you up, but it wasn't for sex. You'd remember that. You can't move without waking her, which is a real shame, because you feel like you're missing out on a FANTASTIC view.
As you're thinking this, Kanaya stirs in her sleep. Her arms squeeze tight around you, and she mutters something you can't hear. As she shifts her weight, you feel a sharp pain on the back of your head. Her shoulder is on top of a mess of your hair, and now it's being pulled sharply by her weight.
"Ow ow ow OW! Fuck!" You try to push her off your hair, but it makes it worse. You flinch from the pain, and your heads knock together. Her arms come off, and she rolls onto her back.
"Not the peanuts, he's allergic..." She trails off, then sits up, rubbing her eyes.
You sit up, too, watching her come to. The sun is up, sneaking through the fancy looking blue curtains. It shows off the angles and curves of her body even more fantastically than you had guessed. Her short hair is standing up at every angle, like some anime character on a windy day.
"Sorry, are you okay?" You feel bad for headbutting her, but she doesn't look injured.
"Good morning," she says, looking at you curiously. "I was having the strangest dream, but- I don't know. It was weird." She turns and gets out of the bed. You stay seated. "Did you at least sleep well?"
"Like a rock."
"You felt like one, that's for sure." You weren't expecting a snappy comeback so early in the morning, so you say nothing. "Come on, up, up. That's my bed you're hogging." She's in the closet now, picking between over-the-top exquisite dresses, you're sure. You kind of hate rich people, but Kanaya's Kanaya, so...
"You can shower first." You say, not moving from the bed. It's even softer than her couch.
Kanaya steps out of the closet, dressed in a pair of loose jeans and a pink hoodie. Unexpected. "I showered last night. You smell like you haven't showered in months."
"I showered Friday." It's Tuesday. You've done worse. You get up, though, because she's right.
"The clothes you brought are all clean, right?"
"Ha ha." Your duffel bag is just outside the door, on the hallway floor. One of the weirdest things about Kanaya's house is the hallways. They're so... wide. You could almost stretch your arms out all the way without touching the walls. You bend over and dig through for a pair of underwear, pants, and a shirt. You can find socks later.
You shower (relatively) quickly, trying to ignore the thirty or so different kinds of soap. They make you feel dirty just looking at them. You wonder how rich people handle knowing literally every aspect of their lives are better than anyone else's. Kanaya seems to not mind.
Dressed, but sockless, you step out of the bathroom. Kanaya is out of sight. You know she doesn't have a second shower (right? she couldn't), so she must be waiting for you. You take a breath before shouting, "THE SH-"
"I'm right here, no need to yell!" She's taken the hoodie off, so she's only wearing a t shirt and jeans. She looks nice even with her hair up. You remember that she wears a hijab suddenly. If you had your phone, you could have taken pictures to blackmail her with. That was a joke. Why do you suddenly feel the need to defend yourself? They're your own thoughts.
Kanaya steps around you and closes the bathroom door. You go downstairs and grab your phone from the couch, then return to her bedroom, since she didn't tell you not to. You sit back on her bed, avoiding the part of the sheets that's wet from sweat.
Her shower is a lot faster than yours. Less than ten minutes. Astounding. The water shuts off while you're typing an angry response to some message you got on tumblr. You finish typing "so fuck off uwu" and press send right as she comes into the room.
She says nothing, but eyes you as she walks past. You probably should get out of her bed. You stand up and lean against the wall, facing the closet door. It's only vry slightly wider than the hallway, but it goes back far enough for there to be a dresser and a set of shelves on one side, with rows or hangers lining three walls. You watch through the door as she picks an outfit, but she closes the door when the two of you make eye contact.
She opens it again, and she's wearing leggings and a short blue dress. It looks nice, but you feel like saying so might be weird. Still no hijab. You consider asking her, but you're afraid maybe it's racist? Or something.
"Are you staring at me like that because you're hungry?" She waves for you to follow her as she steps into the hallway. "You're like a frog caught by a kid with a flashlight."
You actually remember catching frogs with her when you were little. Your parents had been friends, so you slept at her house a lot back then. The fence in her backyard had a hole where a bush was growing, and if you went through it you ended up on some private property with a bunch of tall grass and a ditch full of water. Parts of the grass that looked solid were actually floating on top of small pools of water, so going there was pretty scary as a kid, but Kanaya taught you how to avoid those parts. She showed you how you could catch a frog if you shined a flashlight in its eyes, and one time you put one down the back of her shirt and she started crying.
"Cereal?" Oh, right. You're in the kitchen now, and you forgot to say something smart back at her.
"Sure." She hands you a bowl, and you pour yourself a nice big portion. A few pieces spill over the side when you pour the milk in, but you pick those up. Kanaya gets a smaller bowl, and an uncooked Pop-Tart.
"I have work today. can you be responsible here, or do I need to hire a babysitter?" She's eating with one hand, while he other is tap tap tapping away on her tablet. It's one of those fancy ones that's actually a computer with a touchscreen, and not some shitty iPad. It has a rubber keyboard sewn into the case, and just watching her use it makes you want one.
"I was thinking of going to the library, actually." Free AC, a computer that actually runs Google Chrome, and no feeling like you're intruding in someone's private home? Nothing could be better than that.
"I didn't know you could read."
"I can't. You finally learned my secret." Oh thank god, you have your smart wit back.
"Do they do classes there?"
"Nah, I'm going to fill out job applications." Maybe. You should. But you kind of wanted to see if there was any information about Mindfang you could find in the archives. Just in case.
"Good luck with that, then." She puts her hand on yours. "And Vriska, what I said about never talking to me again yesterday... I hope you knew that was a joke. You're my friend. I'm here for you."
You feel a little sick suddenly. You've lost your appetite. She pities you. She wasn't like this yesterday. This must be because of... The nightmare she woke you up from. You can't remember what it was about, but... You shake your head.
"I don't need your help." It's stupid to say, when you're staying at her house, without paying rent, without a job.
She purses her lips, but she doesn't look angry or annoyed. "I know. But I really am your friend." She kisses you on the cheek, then lets go of your hand. "I'll be off at six. Do you want to get dinner together?" Without waiting for an answer, she continues. "Be ready by 6:45."
By the time you finish your cereal, she's gone.