"Camel?" Rum said incredulously as he stopped in front of the slickly dressed blond man.
Camel finished his cell phone call, reaching out to shake Rum's hand. "Rum, my man! What are you doing here?"
"Visiting my brother. I thought you would still be in Chicago, though."
Camel shook his head, then glanced around quickly. "Nope. Too much 'interference', if you catch my meaning. You doing anything now?" Cola shook his head. "Good. Why don't we go for a walk..." He turned to the tall, pretty redhead who was standing nearby. "Auburn, I'll be back after the show, all right?"
"But-," Auburn started, looking worried.
Camel kissed her gently. "Don't worry, baby. Walk towards the end of the runway and just remember to stop."
"Rose!" Cherry chased the other girl into the restroom. The door swung shut with a loud clang and Rose whirled around.
"Go away. I don't want to talk to you." She crossed her arms and glared at Cherry. "I'm not like that. That's my sister, not me."
"Look, Rose..." Cherry held out her hands in a plea for understanding. "I am like that. I like you, and I got carried away. I'm really sorry, and it won't happen again. We can just be friends."
"It's not OK! It's never going to be OK! It's just wrong and you're wrong and I was wrong to ever be friends with you!" Rose's voice rose frantically.
"I'm sorry! Rose, what else can I say? I can't take it back, but I'm sorry it ever happened. I wish I could take it back, but all I can do is apologize."
Shaking her head, Rose turned her back on Cherry. Her whole body was tense. "Just. Go. Away."
"Rose," Cherry said gently, reaching out towards her friend. Just then, Rose spun around quickly and moved towards Cherry. Cherry instinctively recoiled, afraid the other girl was going to hit her, but Rose only threw her arms around Cherry's neck and kissed her desperately.
This time it was Cherry who was caught off guard, but she recovered admirably. She slid her arms around Rose's waist and kissed her back. After a few moments, Cherry broke the kiss and pulled back. "What the hell was that?"
"I don't know." Rose blushed and blinked back tears. "All night afterwards...I couldn't sleep, I just kept thinking about it. It's wrong, I shouldn't, but I do....god, I don't know what I'm doing!"
Cherry bit back a sarcastic reply. Parts of Rose certainly knew what they were doing. "It's OK to be confused."
"Nobody..." Rose's eyes widened. "Nobody," she continued, "can find out. Oh god." She broke away from Cherry and darted towards the bathroom door. "I have to get back to Sangria and Pomegranate. I...I'll call you." She ran out of the bathroom, leaving Cherry alone.
"Deja vu," Cherry said, then smiled in spite of herself.
Champagne, Golden and Cashmere were sitting in the front row , watching Cola's elegant designs glide by on the models.
"So, Cassie, I know it's a tad...amateurish, but what do you think?"
"It's gorgeous, Chammy! I mean, I didn't think there'd be anything like this here..." Cashmere motioned towards the fluid leather dress that Raven was wearing. "He's very talented."
"It's OK," Golden said shortly. She seemed unimpressed. Neither Cashmere nor Champagne had been able to talk her out of the white tank top and black jeans she was wearing.
Cashmere rolled her eyes affectionately. "Don't mind her. It's really beautiful, Champagne, and to think you discovered him."
"Well, I try...and maybe some of the credit should be given to Gothic for 'discovering' him..." She pursed her lips in distaste. "I really think that you would look wonderful in that dark green dress."
Golden nodded. "Mmm, you'd look hot in that, babe-" she cut herself off abruptly, looking stricken. "Shit."
"What?" Champagne's eyes widened and she looked at Cashmere.
Cashmere sighed. "Well, I might as well tell you, Chammy. Golden is my girlfriend. I was going to tell you before, but you were so upset about Gothic and his new boyfriend that I didn't want to add fuel to the fire."
"I...oh, Cassie..." Champagne sniffed. "It's all very sordid, hiding it from me. I don't approve, but you are my cousin and I'm not going to hate you for it."
"But...are you sure you're a lesbian? It's not just a reaction to breaking up with Robert Thomas?"
Cashmere stared at Champagne incredulously. "That was in high school, nearly ten years ago."
"Well, I just thought..."
Misty was slipping off the bottle-green dress when Rum approached her. He gave her an appreciative glance, quickly lowering his eyes as she looked up.
"Good show, Cola...was that Cashmere Blonde I saw you talking to?" She reached for a robe. "She really seemed to like this dress."
Rum grinned. "Wrong twin. I'm Rum."
"I should have known. Cola's not usually the one to leer at me, for the...obvious reasons," Misty replied with a smirk.
"Yes, well," Cola answered her smirk with one of his own. "Cola and I are very different."
"I see. Do you want to go get a drink?"
"Fast mover. I like that in a woman."
"I think you and I could be very useful to each other." She started to pull on her street clothes.
"I'm not an one model man, you know."
"That's OK, sweetie," Misty purred as she reached for her purse. "I like my men in the plural."
They both smiled sharply.
"Gothic...there you are." Cola walked up to the dark haired man and embraced him, kissing him quickly.
"How did the show go?"
"Wonderful. Cashmere Blonde came up and asked if she could buy a few of the pieces. She even promised to wear them to a premiere!"
"That's great," Gothic mumbled.
"Are you all right?" Cola looked at his boyfriend concernedly.
"Yeah, I just...I think that your brother and Misty hooked up."
Cola looked horrified. "That's truly disgusting...what is he thinking?"
"Don't know...I uh, just saw them sucking face outside the center."
"Poor baby." Cola grabbed Gothic's arm. "I'll take you out to dinner. Spice and Copper and Ruby and I were going to go get something and you can come too."
"Yeah, that'd be great." Gothic shrugged.
"Are you sure you're OK?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." He glanced at the back exit, an odd expression on his face, then turned back to Cola and smiled. "Let's go."