"Please tell me you're not walking towards the Gap," Cola said, his face a mask of utter disgust. "Don't I give you enough clothes to wear?"
"Yes, but I can't wear a snakeskin minidress to my new internship." Spice put her hands on her hips. "C'mon, Cola, I just need to get a few basic things and then we'll go to Saks to get the bad taste out of your mouth.
"I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I make for you," Cola muttered as they walked into the store.
"Hi! Welcome to the Gap!" the perky salesgirl greeted them. Cola groaned and ran towards the fragrance section Spice rolled her eyes and started picking through T-shirts, looking for one to try on.
She picked out a few items, then started walking towards the fitting rooms. As she started to round the corner, she thought she heard a familiar voice. There, at the fitting room station, was her sister, Rose.
"What are you doing here?" Spice asked, her copper curls bouncing.
"I work here," Rose replied, smoothing down her peasant shirt, making sure it was still tucked into her black skirt. "What are you doing here?"
"Shopping, moron. Does Mom know you work at the Gap?"
"Just cause you don't tell her anything about your personal life doesn't mean I don't."
Spice sighed. "That's...it's not even a double negative, it's a triple negative. Now, can I get a fitting room?"
"Is that your sister's musical voice I hear?" Cola popped his head around the corner. "Aha! I knew that I recognized that jarring note of judgmental piety." He picked Spice's clothing choices out of her hand, making small noises of disgust. "Let me go in with you, see if I can salvage any of these things."
"We need a room, then, Rose."
Rose crossed her arms over her chest. "No boy/girl pairs in the dressing rooms. It's against Gap policy. No...hanky-panky."
"Trust me when I say there will be no hanky-panky, Rose." Spice paused. "Unless you put that cute boy in denim in the dressing room with us, then there might be."
"Ewwwwww...," Rose made a horrible face and ran to let them into the dressing room farthest from her post.
"That's it, girls!"
"About fucking time," Misty snapped, practically clawing off the cheap looking blouse she was wearing. "I couldn't stand that polyester crap for another second."
The other model twirled a strand of her long red hair around her fingers and smiled, her blue eyes wide. "I like the clothes here...especially the socks. Gothic, can I keep these socks?"
"Yay!" Shrieking like a little girl, she jumped up, throwing her arms around Gothic, then began skipping around the studio.
"Auburn!" The redhead stopped in midskip, her gaze turning towards Misty, who wore her most patient impatient expression. "Your dealer is downstairs, hon, don't want to miss your treats, do you now?" Auburn quickly ran from the room.
Once she was gone, Misty turned to Gothic. "Why wasn't Cola here today?"
"You know he sometimes uses other models and photographers." He carefully tucked his camera away in its case, wincing when part of the casing cracked.
"Didn't I tell you to make sure that he always used us?"
"Well, yes, but you know, we're his favorites, so there's no real threat..."
Misty cut him off abruptly, her voice hard. "I don't want to be his favorite. I want to be his exclusive. He's got talent, and I'm going to be there when he hits the big time. If you think I want to model in discount catalogues for the rest of my life, you have another think coming."
"I know, but..."
"No buts. You listen to me, Gothic, and you'd better do everything exactly as I say."
Spice was busily trying on shirts as Cola methodically peeled the size stickers off all of them and stuck them onto the mirror. "Your sister will have fun peeling them off."
"Good, anything to annoy her."
She turned around. "What do you think?"
Cola narrowed his eyes and looked at the red shirt she was wearing. "I like it. It clashes with your hair, but in a new and modern sort of way, you know? Very John Galliano color combination."
"So, Cola, am I like your Amanda Harlech? Am I your muse?" She grinned cheekily at him, then pulled the red top off. As she waited for him to reply, she pulled a green sweater on.
"Well, I don't know. I mean, you're good to bounce ideas off, and you look good in my clothes...and you can't be my Isabella Blow cause you didn't discover me, so yeah, you are. Just don't screw me over and run off to Chanel, OK?" He smiled at her.
"Speaking of screwing you over..."
"It's just that...Cola, don't you think it's kind of odd that Gothic suddenly wants to be your exclusive photographer? Have you ever heard of anything like that at the level you're at? I mean, if you were a big-time designer, and he was a major photographer, I could see it, but for catalogue? It's fishy, Cola. I think he wants to ride your coattails."
"It's not like that." Cola shook his head violently, knocking several pairs of khakis onto the floor. "He said he thought I was brilliant, that I was a genius, and he didn't want to work for anyone else. And he's a good photographer, Spice, much too good for catalogue. I'm honored to use him."
"Misty's gorgeous, she's a good model, and it only makes sense that he'd want to include her. They have a really good rapport together on photo shoots..." he sighed. "Look, I didn't tell you this before, because I knew how you'd react, but he said that he and Misty were having a few problems because he had feelings for someone else. And then he acted all vague when I asked him who." He looked up at Spice, his eyes wistful. "I can't be positive, but I think he meant me."
"He's straight, Cola."
"No, he's not. He used to date Blondy back when they were still in college."
"So he's bi, so what? He's still whipped as all hell. Even if he does have feelings for you, he'll never dump Misty."
Spice sighed. "All right, Cola. You do what you want."
Red, Blondy, and Dark sat in a darkened corner of the Dye Bar as Red worked out the administration. At one table, Copper and Ruby were quietly enjoying glasses of wine, talking about their day.
"Ok, Dark...do you want to cover the Friday rush?"
The chesty redhead nodded, but Blondy spoke up, "He always gets the Friday rush...that's when they have the biggest tips."
Red pursed her lips. "Blondy, you know that the straight businessmen come in on Friday...and that well, they're a little more open to Dark, as strange as that seems, than to you. I don't know what they expect if they're coming here, I mean, we have a fucking rainbow flag up in the window, but whatever. So Dark's in for Friday."
"I can't help it if I'm popular," Dark purred, his deep baritone voice in striking contrast with his demure appearance.
Blondy muttered something under his breath.
"I'm going to pretend you didn't say anything, Blondy," Red said. " So you're both going to be here for Saturday night, and Blondy, I want you to take the Friday evening and late night, and the Saturday late night, if that's okay with you." She paused. "The rest of the week's schedule is pretty static, you're going to be doing the opposite shifts you had last week, except for Wednesday, I'll be taking that shift, and you guys can take the night off. Though I'd prefer it if one of you was on call just in case."
"I'll do it, it's not like I have any where to go," Dark said bitterly.
" Wait a minute," Blondy interjected. "Don't you have a shindig with Barbara on Wednesday? You were all excited about it last week."
Dark looked down at the table, his eyes half shut. "We broke up. She wouldn't introduce me to her parents...and she finally admitted it was because she hoped the whole thing was only a phase I was going through. She said she was ashamed of me."
"Oh, honey." Blondy reached out and patted his arm. Red put down her clipboard, her eyes concerned.
"Are you going to be all right to work this week, then? I know you really cared about her, and if you need any time...I can get someone in here temporarily or something."
"No, it's okay. I think it might be better if I worked, to help keep my mind off of it."
"All right then." Red picked her clipboard back up, all business again. "We have a shipment coming in on Tuesday, and I think that's all we need to take care of today. I'll see you in a couple of hours, Blondy."
As she tucked the clipboard under her arm, the door to the bar swung open and a lone figure walked in. She was average height, about five seven, and she wore a black leather vest and jeans. Her black hair was slicked down, her mouth a cruel slash of red lipstick. She swaggered past Copper and Ruby's table, nodding slightly as they looked up at her, and headed straight for the bar, her eyes intent on Red.
Red had taken one look at the figure coming in and froze, her eyes wide. As the woman stopped a few feet in front of her, she opened her mouth to speak a few times, then closed it again. "Blackie?!" she finally managed to squeak out.
At the sound of Red's usually confident voice so high and squeaky, everyone in the bar turned to look at the pair of women, their eyes full of curiosity.
"Yeah, babe, it's me. I'm back."