"That was fun," Licorice said as she unlocked their dorm room door. She gestured for Spice to walk ahead of her. "The ass-kicking was lame, but I'll definitely have to tag along and live vicariously through you living vicariously through your friends again soon."
Spice shook her head, chuckling. "You're just weird, 'Rish."
"No, no, dear, I'm Goth. It's so different." Licorice pocketed her keys. "Anyway, I'm late for work. See you later..."
Spice nodded absentmindedly as her roommate shut the door. She sighed, flopped down on her bed, grabbing the phone. She dialed a number from memory and frowned.
After two rings, a woman picked up on the other end, already mid-conversation. "...One drink! God, the bottle was almost empty anyway! Hello?"
"Um...hi...this is Spice. Is Blondie there?"
"Spice? A girl? Calling my son? Not some frosted-tip circuit boy in a mesh tank top? Oh Blondie, have you finally gone straight on me? Finally, I'll have some grandchildren..."
Spice cleared her throat. "Um...Goldie..." She could hear Blondie's muffled voice on the other end as he took the phone from his mother.
"Mom! Spice is my friend. I'm still gay!" He sighed. "Hello?"
"Hi, Blondie. Sorry about that. What's your mom doing at your place?"
"Oh, she brought back some exotic insect from Aruba and they apparently had to put her apartment under quarantine, so she's staying with me." He paused. "So what's up? I can't hit Strawberry's tonight, I've got to work."
"No, no, that's not why I called..." She smiled wickedly. "How'd you like to run Misty out of town?"
"On a rail, hopefully?"
Spice laughed. "No, no. But, seriously, how would you like to help me get Misty the hell out of town?"
Blondie laughed. "You keep talking like that and I might go straight yet..." Spice heard a muffled voice in the background and Blondie sighed. "I'm joking, Mom!"
Spice chuckled. "Well, I need an ally. I need to get Misty out of town, and since Gothic isn't going to be much help..."
"Wait. Gothic? What does he have to do with anything?"
"Oh, right, you must've not heard..." Spice sighed. "Cola and Gothic broke up."
Blondie made a noise. "And Cola didn't tell me?"
"I don't think he's actually left his apartment yet...and he's certainly not answering the phone..."
Blondie sighed. "Poor guy."
"Anyway...well...it turns out that Gothic and Misty were still screwing after he and Cola started dating..."
"No way!" Blondie shouted. "That fucking bastard!"
"I know, I know, but keep listening, okay?" Blondie mumbled something and Spice sighed. "Well, okay, see, he stopped seeing her awhile ago, and he says he's in love with Cola." Her voice softened. "And I actually believe him, so I'm trying to help him get back with Cola..." She twirled the cord around her fingers. "...And I need your help." She paused. "C'mon...it's a good excuse to insult Gothic a lot..."
There was a long pause. "So...I get to boss Gothic around and be mean to him all in the name of 'helping him'?" He laughed. "Oh yeah, I'm game." He paused. "Hell, if I can't have his ass, at least I can kick it."
Spice blinked. "Blondie...um...you don't...like Gothic, do you?"
He scoffed. "Oh hell no...But God, let me tell you what that boy can do with his mouth..."
"La la la la la," Spice sing-songed. "I can't hear you..." She wrinkled her nose in disgust. "Give me a break, Blondie, you know I don't tell you what I do with my ROTC boys..."
"And I'm so mad that you don't!"
"I'm sorry I don't let you fulfill your vicarious military boy fantasies, but this...god...it's Gothic, you know? I so don't want to know..."
"All right, all right..." Blondie sighed. "But now that he's back on the homme side of bi, I sure wouldn't have minded getting another go-around... And oh my God, turn on the Madonna, 'cause I'm totally embracing the stereotype."
The two friends dissolved into giggles. "So..." Spice said after they'd recovered. "We'll meet you tonight after you get off work..."
"The bar, of course..."
Cherry sighed and rested her head against the glass of the backseat window, staring at the trees as they passed by.
"So, hon, do you want to come to New York with us?"
Cherry lifted her head slightly. "Huh?"
Brown frowned. "Have you heard anything I said?" He turned around in the front passenger seat. "What's wrong? Is..." His frown deepened. "Rose hasn't come around recently, has she?"
"No...not...no..." Cherry trailed off, sighing. "We're not...really seeing each other anymore."
"Oh honey, I'm sorry..." He shook his head. "I can't say I didn't see it coming though..."
From the driver's seat, DB shot him a look, shaking his head. "Oh that's the right thing to say..."
"No, no," Cherry said, sighing. "He's right...I was just..." She sighed. "I was just hoping." She shrugged and went back to looking out the window. "I'll go to New York with you guys...as long as I don't have to miss that much school, y'know?"
"So where's your sister?" Blackie asked as she opened her beer, resting it on the countertop.
"She got a job teaching meditation classes at the Woman's Center..." Red said distractedly as she studied the sheaf of papers that scattered across her kitchen table. "So how was work?"
"Oh the usual...people kicking the cigarette machine, a near fistfight, sex in the bathrooms..." She took a drink. "You should see how flirty Blondie gets when you're not there... We had a bit of Club 44's closing crowd and I thought for sure he was gonna offer his ass up on a platter..."
"Mm-hmm..." Red replied, not looking up.
"So this is the all-business Red I've heard so much about." She walked over and gently brushed her bottle against the back of Red's neck.
Red jumped. "Jeez!" She relaxed. "I'm sorry. Dark wants to go out of town for a week with his girlfriend, and I think I'm going to have to hire someone to fill in..."
"When he's going?" Blackie sat down across from her girlfriend. "Crystal's coming through town soon, she might be able to..."
Red raised an eyebrow. "What does Crystal do these days? She comes into town a lot, doesn't she?"
"Runs a bar in Vegas, but still rides a lot. Some of the old gang is still around..."
Red closed her eyes for a second. "You know, I really don't miss that."
"Well..." Blackie rubbed her nose. "Crystal and you had different situations, y'know?" She shrugged. "Anyways, you know she's bartended before...I'm sure she'd be happy to take it on for a bit."
"I'll keep her in mind, but I'm really hoping for someone who might be able to stay on permanently..." She pushed the papers aside, sighing. "You staying the night?"
"Nah, I'm beat. I need to hit the sack..." She stood up, stretching.
"All right...did I put you on the afternoon shift?" When Blackie nodded, Red smiled. "Come here..." She grabbed a handful of Blackie's vest and pulled her into a kiss. "Mmm...see you tomorrow then."
Blackie smiled, then left. Red sighed and looked back at her papers again. A few minutes after Blackie left, the doorbell rang.
Puzzled, Red got up and answered the door, frowning when she saw who it was. "Ruby?" She arched an eyebrow. "What's going on?"
"Uh...okay, this is going to sound weird...but...um..." Ruby took a deep breath. "Can I spend the night?" She looked down. "Co...Copper and I...we had a fight, and I...I stormed out." She looked up. "I'd go to Blaze's, but she probably has someone over, and I can't really afford a hotel, and I can't go back tonight and..."
"Yes, yes, Ruby, you can sleep on the couch..." Red smiled. "It'll be just like college, right?" As she closed the door behind Ruby, she asked "So, you want to talk about it?"