"Well, I would have thought you'd appreciate the help," Rum whined as he watched Cola pin up the hem on a model's dress.
"Help?" Cola mumbled through a mouthful of pins. "You call hitting on all the models helping?" He pointed at Spice, who was mending a ripped seam. "That is helping." He pointed at Blondie, who was ironing clothes. "That is helping. You are not helping." He put in one last pin and patted the model's leg. "All right, Raven, you're finished."
"Thanks, Cola. Hey, where's that cute boyfriend of yours? He was supposed to bring me a drink half an hour ago."
Cola shrugged. "Don't know. Haven't seen him in a while."
Rum shrugged and Raven had to hide a smile at the twin gestures. "It doesn't matter, sweetheart, I'll get that drink for you, if you just come with me." He linked his arm through Raven's smoothly, steering her towards the catering table. "What did you say your name was?'
"So, I was thinking, why not have Pomegranate drive us over to the fashion show today?" Sangria carefully smoothed back a strand of hair with a perfectly polished fingernail.
"I don't really want to go, Sangria."
"What?" Sangria arched an eyebrow. "This fashion show is a very cool happening, Rose." She glared at the redhead. "I don't know what's wrong with you. First, you start hanging out with that dyke and now you don't want to go the fashion show?"
"I don't know." Rose sighed as she absentmindedly stroked her lip with her fingertip.
"God, Rose, what the hell? Are you into fashion or not?"
"I am, really, it's just that..."
Sangria cut her off. "Good. Then I'll call Pomegranate."
"It's just like Paris!" Bordeaux paused. "Well, several times smaller, but still...a real fashion show." She turned to her companion. "We'll have to keep out an eye out for something for you to wear."
Dark smiled. "Just remember, blue's my color."
Bordeaux smiled and took Dark's hand, pulling him through the crowd to where Red was standing. "Hi Red!"
"Hi," Red replied tersely.
Dark followed Red's gaze to where Blackie was standing. "Oh. Uh, are you all right, Red?"
Bordeaux looked at Dark, puzzled. "What's wrong?"
"An ex...she was the woman Red fought with at the gallery opening," Dark whispered.
Bordeaux looked at Blackie and her eyes widened.
"I'm going to talk to her." Red said suddenly and headed off.
"Dark, that woman...the one she just went to talk to...she picked up Roast a few weeks ago. They came back to the apartment."
Dark raised an eyebrow. "I think we better stick to looking for dresses."
"Blackie?" Red touched the older woman on the shoulder gently.
"Red." Blackie kept her expression blank. "Hi."
"I...I haven't seen you for a while. How have you been?"
"Fine." She shifted her feet. "I got ahold of Crystal, from way back when--"
"I remember her."
For a second, remembrance flashed through Blackie's eyes, then they were clear again. "Yeah. So, she and I are gonna meet up in a couple days. I was gonna do it right away, but then I got this job as security for the show..." she shrugged.
"You're leaving?" Red said, a small tremor betraying her vulnerability.
She nodded. "There's not really anything keeping me here."
"Would you like a reason to stay?" Red hurried on, "There's an opening for a bouncer at the Dye Bar. You're definitely qualified."
Blackie looked at Red levelly. "Do you want me or would any muscle bound freak qualify?"
"Anyone strong enough could do it..." Blackie's jaw clenched. Red continued, her voice softer. "But, I'd feel safer if you were there."
Blackie cleared her throat. "I guess I could call Crystal and tell her to forget about it."
"Copper?" Rose walked into the kitchen. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, I..." she rummaged in the cabinet, "I forgot something..." She pulled out a large serving tray. "Here it is!"
"OK, Copper. I just wanted to tell you that Sangria and I were going to the fashion show right now."
"Do you want me to take you guys? I'm going right back there."
Rose shook her head. "No, that's all right. Pomegranate is taking us. So..." She sighed deeply. "I guess I'll see you."
"Rosie..." Rose scowled at her childhood nickname. "Are you all right, honey?" Copper looked at her younger sister closely.
"Yeah, I'm fine." She walked out of the room.
Misty rolled her eyes as Currant continued to ignore Spice, who was trying to fix the strap on the beautiful green dress that Currant was wearing in the show. Currant was blathering into her cell phone.
"Well, you know, Karl, it's just a community fashion show...young designers...yes, the town does have a Fashion Week, but it's strictly small print, back page of Elle." She paused. "Yes, in a few days. Well, give Amanda my love. Kiss-kiss, darling."
She turned a wrathful gaze on Spice, then slapped the redhead's hands away from her shoulder. "You idiot, get away from me!"
Spice clenched her fists. "I've had just about enough of you. This show is about Cola. It's not about you or your stupid tantrums. I don't care how fucking famous you are..."
Currant drew herself up. "Do you know who I am, you insignificant little bitch? Do you know who I was just speaking to on the phone?"
Misty arched an eyebrow and looked at her sister with disdain. "She doesn't know and she doesn't care. In fact, big sister, nobody cares."
"Well!" Currant, too angry to say another word, stripped off the dress and stalked off, completely naked.
"I guess she just quit."
Spice turned to Misty, smiling. "You know, Misty, I suddenly hate you just a little bit less. You want to wear this dress?"
Cherry sighed again as Mango and Poppy started up another round of questioning.
"So, you kissed Rose Shimmer?"
"What was it like?"
"What did she do? Are you guys going out now?"
"Yes, I kissed her, it was amazing, and she hates my fucking guts."
"Uh-oh." Mango patted Cherry's shoulder soothingly. "It's not a really huge loss, Cherry."
"Well, it might have been. For all the sticks up her ass, she was pretty hot."
Mango glared at Poppy. "You don't want to get yourself worked up over it."
"Guys! You two are more worked up over it than I am. I'm worried about Rose. She seemed really upset."
"She can't have been that upset," Poppy scoffed. "She's sitting over there with her little preppy friends right now."
Cherry peered over the runway, finding Rose's strawberry blond hair among the crowd easily. "Is she looking at me?"
"Yeah," Mango nodded. "She's been staring at you for like the last hour. I would have mentioned it, but...you didn't ask."
Cherry rolled her eyes. "I think that's information you can safely volunteer." She looked back over at Rose and the other two popular girls she was sitting with, Sangria and Pomegranate. "I can't talk to her with those two around." She jumped up from her chair and made her way over to the other side of the runway. Rose paled as she noticed her making her way over.
"Hey, what's she doing coming over here?" Sangria asked, her voice disdainful.
"Uh, hey, Rose."
Rose stared at Cherry for a second, the rose from her seat and took off running.
To Be Continued...