"So what was all that?" Spice pointed after the crowd of people exiting from Cola's apartment.
"The crew from People...They did that article today." Gothic stepped out of the way as the last two grips filed out of the apartment, holding tripods and other equipment.
"Wow...just like Misty said they would." Gothic nodded absently, and Spice frowned. "I hope it was a big picture of her on the front page, or she just might hang your 'skanky bi ass' out to dry..."
Gothic blinked. "What?" He looked at Spice. "What did you say?"
Spice shook her head. "I know, Gothic. I was in the hallway last week during the party." When he looked at her blankly, she sighed and continued. "The hallway? Right by the kitchen?"
"Oh..." He stepped out of the apartment and shut the door behind him. "You're...you're not going to tell Cola, are you?"
Spice frowned. "I should. But, like I told Cola, against all my better judgment, I like you now." She shrugged. "Just tell me one thing..." She leaned in close to him. "Did you mean what you said? Do you really love Cola? 'Cause, right now, that's the only thing keeping my from following my roommate's suggestion."
Gothic swallowed. "What...what did she suggest?"
"That I rip your still-beating heart out of your body and sacrifice it to the great god Pan."
Gothic paled. "Let's...let's not do that, okay?"
"So, do you? Yes or no."
"Good!" She smiled, taking his arm and started walking down the stairs. "You're buying me a cappuccino, 'cause we've got a lot of planning to do."
Misty knocked on the door of Rum's apartment, muttering under her breath. The door slowly opened, and Rum stood there, shirtless and exhausted-looking.
He motioned for her to come inside and held open the door. "So how was the shoot?"
"It wasn't enough." She strutted in and threw her coat down on the couch. "It wasn't about me."
"It was an article on Cola..." Rum offered mildly as he went back to cutting lines of cocaine on the small mirror on his coffee table. He gestured with the razorblade. "Want some?"
Misty rolled her eyes. "I don't care what you do... but you know I don't do that stuff." She sighed. "It was all Cola's show. I could see it in their eyes -- Nothing but a small-time losing catalog model -- that's what they were thinking. And now Gothic is in love with him! Bastard!"
"It was bound to happen, Misty... Everyone loves Cola," Rum set his razorblade to the side, smirking up at Misty. "Friends, Family, Mom, People...Gothic never had a chance..."
He leaned down, reaching for his straw, but Misty stopped him. "Not too much, Rum, okay? We have a lot of planning to do." She smiled nastily. "How does the headline ' Upcoming Designer Charged With Drug Possession' sound to you?"
True opened the door, about to leave the car, when Red stopped her. "Three o'clock," Red said sharply. "Be on time."
True smiled. "What's time anyway?"
"It's different when you actually have an adult life." Red sighed. "Sorry, True, that was a little harsh." She tapped the steering wheel nervously. "You haven't heard from Dark Red, have you?"
True shook her head, sitting back in the car seat and shutting the door. "Last time I heard from her, she was still in Paris." She looked over at Red sheepishly. "You're still mad at me, aren't you?"
"A little..." Red sighed. "I can't believe you spent the money Dark Red sent you on candles. What kind of candles cost 500 dollars?"
"Special candles," True said firmly. After a moment, she smiled brightly. "Actually, you know, I've been thinking, and I want to stay in Rosewood. It has much better vibes than New York."
"You can't stay with me forever, True. I..." Red sighed. "I'm trying to make things work with Blackie, and it's hard enough --"
True cut her off. "I know, I know, it's hard. I'm gonna find a job." At Red's skeptical look, she frowned. "Look, before I realized that life wasn't all about...grades...and scores...I did well in college! I have all the superficial shallow requirements that society demands, and I've put in some applications at the women's center, and I'm going to apply at Many Facets right now. Before you know it, I'll have a job, and an apartment, and I'll be totally out of your and Blackie's hair." She looked at Red seriously. "I think it's really important that Blackie and you work this out. It's obvious that you girls were meant to bring love to this world." True smiled. "Why else would there be so many forces working against you?"
"Oh, yeah, that's it, sis. Add some messianic expectations in there to make things a lot easier."
"Ooooh...'messianic.' SAT words from the college dropout."
"Aren't hippies supposed to be nice?" Red replied sarcastically.
True smiled. "You're my sister. I can make an exception." She opened the door again and got out, closing it behind her.
Red sighed in frustration and dropped her head onto the steering wheel.
Spice stirred her cappuccino with a cinnamon stick, and looked thoughtfully at the foam for a few minutes.
Spice glared at him, then looked down at her drink. She added another sugar, then slowly took a drink.
Gothic sighed. "Okay, I know you're mad, but weren't you supposed to be helping me?"
She set the cup down on the table with a bang, making the liquid slosh onto the table. "I'm sorry. Did the person who slept with Misty who slept with a vermin by the name of Rum and thus exposed my best friend Cola to who knows how many STDs say something?"
"We were very, very safe. I swear."
Spice ran a hand through her hair, swearing under her breath. "I just have to keep telling myself that I like you, and maybe, eventually, I'll believe it again."
"Spice, I am sorry. Unbelievably so." He sighed. "I want to make things work with Cola, and you're right. I can't...I can't do it without your help."
"Okay. Okay, okay, okay." Spice finished her drink. "First," she started counting on her fingers. "We have to get Misty out of town -- in a her being famous way. If she's gone and happy about why she's gone, she won't mess with you. Rum will leave if she's gone, too. Second, you have to get tested. I don't care how safe you were. And, third," she sighed. "You have to tell Cola."
"What?" Gothic blinked. "Why do I have to tell him? I'm not with Misty anymore, he doesn't have to know, can't I just be good from now on?"
"Either you tell him or I will." She looked at him levelly. "Don't you think he'd be a little more willing to forgive you if you told him rather than letting him find about it secondhand?"
"He'll never forgive me if I tell him," Gothic said in a small voice, looking down at his slice of french silk pie despondently. "He'll never speak to me again."
"You just have to tell him at the right time." Spice smiled slightly.
"Camel?" Auburn walked unsteadily through the small apartment, pushing back her tangled hair with her hands.
He pivoted his desk chair around so he could face her. "What's wrong, baby?" He looked at her. "Weren't you supposed to be sleeping?"
She shook her head weakly. "I...I couldn't get to sleep..."
"I've got just what you need." He rummaged through his desk and pulled out a couple of pills.
Auburn smiled greedily, then her face fell. "I shouldn't...Miss Ember has been talking about me lately...she says I'm losing jobs."
Camel pulled her onto his lap. "You don't feel good right now, do you?"
Auburn shook her head.
"These always make you feel better, right?"
"And you want them, don't you?" He held the pills close to her mouth.
"Open your mouth then." She obeyed and he fed her the pills. "Good girl," he said with a smile.
"What would I ever do without you..." she said dreamily. She leaned over to kiss him as her eyes glazed over.
Cherry peered into the mirror as she drew a thick black line just above her eyelashes. "So your parents are cool with you staying out late tonight, right?"
Rose wrinkled her nose slightly as she sat on the bathtub rim in Cherry's bathroom. "Not exactly. Dad's out of town again, so I just told Mom I was spending the night at Copper's house." She shrugged. "Copper doesn't mind I'm late as long as I come home eventually..."
Cherry grinned. "Sneaky! I think I've really made headway in my mission to loosen you up." She contemplated Rose with a mock-serious gaze. "Although we're really going to have to do something about the clothes."
Rose glared at Cherry. "What's wrong with my clothes?"
Cherry pointed at her skirt. "Honestly, a pink pleated skirt for a goth club?"
"And what do you call that?" Rose pointed at Cherry's one-shouldered tank top, covered in oversized pink roses. "You're wearing pink!"
"My pink is ironic," Cherry said with a grin. She put her hands on the bathtub on either side of Rose. "Your pink is just...pink."
Rose rolled her eyes.
The phone in the Shimmer family living room rang several times before Coral picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hi, Mrs. Shimmer...this is Sangria. Is Rose there?"
Coral muted the television. "Rose? No, dear, I'm sorry. She's spending the night at her sister's."
"Huh..." There was a pause. "She said she was gonna be bonding with you and her dad tonight. Like she's been doing for the past few weeks now."
"No..." Coral said slowly. "She hasn't actually been home much lately. She's been with a friend of hers -- Cherry, or Peach, or something like that?"
"That's interesting...Thank you, Mrs. Shimmer. Can you tell her I called?"
"Yes, of course. Goodbye, dear."
Cola laid on his bed, smiling blissfully. "Wow. That was just...wow."
"My pleasure," Gothic said as he rolled over to his side of the bed, reaching for some tissues before throwing away the condom. He took a deep breath. "Um...Cola?"
"Yeah?" Cola said dreamily, stretching out on the bed.
"I...I have something to tell you."
"Out! Get the hell out!"
Gothic ducked as his keys whizzed through the doorway over his head. He stumbled out in the hall, naked, trying to cover himself. "Cola, can't we talk about this?"
"Can I at least get my clothes?"
"No." Cola stared at Gothic coldly. "Go to hell." He slammed the door, sliding the lock into place immediately.
Gothic stared at the door, then cursed loudly.
"Could you guys keep it down out there?" Raven said, peering out of the door of the neighboring apartment. "Some people are trying to sle--" She gasped and opened the door wider. "Uh...Gothic...why are you...?" She gestured at his lack of clothing.
He blushed, trying cover himself more with his hands. "Cola and I...um...we had a fight. Do you have anything I could wear just to drive home? A skirt, a towel...even newspaper will do..."
Raven giggled, then opened up the door. "Yeah, I think my ex might've left something..."
Copper hovered in the doorway nervously. "Ruby? Are you coming to bed soon?"
Ruby didn't even look away from the television as it flickered in the dark room. "In a little while, Copper," she said distractedly.
"That's what you said last night...and the night before that...Are you sure--"
Ruby cut Copper off. "Nothing's wrong, Copper. I told you."
Copper shifted her weight uneasily. "I...um...I like your haircut. It's very cute."
"I got it cut last week, Copper," Ruby said, an edge of annoyance creeping into her voice.
"Oh..." Copper stood in the doorway, unable to say anything. "I...uh...I..." She sighed. "Good night."
Cherry pulled into Copper and Ruby's driveway and killed the engine, leaning back into the seat with a sigh.
Rose glared at her from the passenger's seat, her arms crossed over the sheer black top she was wearing. "I can't believe you kissed me out in public like that!"
Cherry shrugged. "So?"
"So?" Rose's glare grew deeper. "So people saw! Oh God, Star was there -- what if she tells Plum, and Plum will tell my sister and..."
Cherry rolled her eyes. "I really don't think Star cares if you're gay..."
"Don't say that!" Rose shrieked.
Cherry jumped slightly. "What?"
"I'm not gay." Rose looked out the window. "I'm not," she repeated, softly.
Cherry sighed. "Rose," she said grimly. "If you're not gay, then what the fuck are you doing with me?"
"I...I just..." Rose took a deep breath. "I don't know."
"You're hiding our relationship, aren't you?"
"No, I'm not hiding it! I just...I just don't want anyone to find out..." Rose trailed off, looking down at her hands.
Cherry nodded, and cursed under her breath. "Yeah," she said after a few seconds. "That's what I thought."
Rose looked up, her eyes wide. "Are we breaking up?" she asked in a small voice.
Cherry looked out towards the driveway. "It depends," she said quietly. "Are you willing to admit to people that there is something to break up?"
Rose shook her head slowly. "I...I can't. You know that."
"Then, yeah, I guess we're breaking up," Cherry said softly, turning on the ignition, her eyes still focused on the driveway.
"Okay," Rose said in a small choked voice as she opened the door and got out of the car. She stood in the driveway for a few minutes, watching Cherry pull away and drive away from the house.
She turned and went inside, tiptoeing past Ruby sleeping on the couch. Flipping the light on in the bathroom, she looked at her reflection with weary eyes. She sighed, closing her eyes as she let her forehead rest on the cool glass of the mirror. "Damn..." she whispered.