|It's Brittany, Bitch | Ερις (eristic) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-08-28 14:22:00
|Entry tags:||eris, uke mochi|
i don't like your little games
Who: Alice & BB.
What: Alice stops by BB's apartment and all hell breaks loose.
When: Aug. 22, evening.
BB lay on the floor of her apartment, the butt end of a bright pink highlighter trailing from one side of her mouth as she thoughtfully examined the blueprints (well, copies of, anyway) Obed had so graciously procured for her. Her outfit matched the highlighter, with a bright pink pullover atop a pink and black plaid skirt, though her feet were left bare as they kicked the air behind her.
She leaned forward on an elbow, moving the hand holding the highlighter to flick hair away from her gaze as she tried to make sense of all the lines criss-crossing over the page. She'd outlined where she thought the closet was (which, of course, conveniently did not show up on the established layout of the blueprints) and was trying to decipher if there might have been more hidden rooms when her attention was diverted by a knock at the door.
She sprang up, staring at the door, wondering if, somehow, someone knew. And then she realized she was being silly; all the same, she capped the highlighter, tossing it to the floor, and quickly rolled up the building blueprints.
"One sec!" She called out, hoping she sounded less harried than she felt. Hurrying across the room, she stuffed the paper tube down behind her TV set, stopped to smooth out her hair and adjust her skirt before she approached the door. For a second, she wondered if it might be Daniel, though that was quickly dispelled by the realization that he probably would've announced himself; she hurried over to the door and pulled it wide, a smile etching itself in the same regard on her mouth as Alice magically appeared.
"Skittles!" Before she could stop herself (even if she'd wanted to), BB thrust herself forward and pulled the redhead into a tight hug. "Long time, no see!"
Alice hugged her friend back, a genuine hug but one that was able to cover the look of guilt that passed over her face. “I know, I’m sorry,” she murmured over BB’s shoulder as she squeezed her tight. And she was sorry, it just happened to be for a number of things. “Life’s gotten in the way but I wanted you to be the first to see something…”
She pulled back from the hug and patted the blue bag that hung from her shoulder with white polkadots. It pressed into the bare skin of Alice’s shoulder, overwhelming the spaghetti strap of her top and leaving angry, red impressions in her pale skin. Whatever was in the bag was heavy but Alice’s smile, both shy and excited, seemed to indicate she didn’t mind the weight of the surprise.
"OK, hold up," BB said, grabbing Alice's hand and tugging her into the apartment. "First thing's first, it's past your birthday and I've had a surprise that I've been trying to give you, but--" she continued in her usual manner, dropping her grasp on Alice's hand to instead disappear toward her bed. She crouched, grasping for something underneath the unmade comforter, and pulled out a green bag with white and navy polka dots.
"Here! Happy belated birthday!" BB grinned, crossing the room and holding out the bag for Alice's acceptance and inspection.
“Oh, you didn’t have to do this…” Alice said, her voice a minor attempt to sound cheerful but a stab of guilt went deep into her gut all the same. She tentatively took the bag from her friend and feigned a smile as she reached inside to withdraw clusters of tissue paper-wrapped items. Moving to Brittany’s living room, Alice sunk down beside the coffee table and placed each wrapped item there before beginning the tidy unwrapping of one item at a time. Each gift, all food related and particularly of the baked good variety, was perfect tiny miniatures of what she so often baked set as jewelry. Earrings, a necklace, a charm bracelet. Looking at the well thought out gift, Alice’s eyes welled with tears. “Thank you, Brit, they’re so perfect,” she said softly, feeling all the worse that she had kept so many secrets from her best friend for so long. Her fingers traced the tiny icing of a tiny cupcake and she smiled. “This is too much, you really didn’t have to.”
"Aw, naw, but I wanted to, so I did!" BB sank to her knees next to Alice, putting a hand on the young woman's shoulder. The redhead's tears did not go unnoticed. "Hey, it's just a present! It's not a big deal! Why're you crying??" She leaned forward to pull Alice into another hug, completely flabbergasted by her reaction. "I mean, I didn't get a receipt, skittles, so I think it's too late to take 'em back... and to be honest, I'd rather wear pizza and doughnuts, the cupcakes will look better on you..."
Alice let out a laugh despite herself and hugged her friend back. “You definitely are more of a pizza girl,” she assured her friend, hoping this was enough to distract Brittany from her show of emotions. Alice quickly wiped at her face, clearing it of any tears and leaned back. “Thank you, they’re adorable and I love them so, so much. And now I have a surprise for you! Well, it’s not a gift so maybe it’s not that much of a surprise…”
She reached for the blue bag and plunged her hand inside, withdrawing a thick collection of glossy paper. Gently, she sat it before her friend. “It’s the proof of my cookbook; just printed pages of how they would look so I can give a final say, which I will, but once this is done they’ll print some ARCs, I guess. I wanted to show you--you’re the first person to see it.”
"Oh my god," BB breathed dramatically, all but snatching the book from Alice's hand. The cover was earthy and muted, the colors swirling together to create a set of cupcakes on an off-white, square plate; rosemary and thyme edged one corner in a simple weave, balancing the pinks and blues of the icing nicely. "Skittles, this looks amazing!" Without further prompting, she started to flip through it, spying several items she'd seen in Alice's bakery and had tasted herself.
"Wow, so, like, this is like, it, right? You're basically done? Wow! Just, wow, I mean, this is awesome!" She stopped on one page where bunny-butt cupcakes were on full display in a section about seasonal treats, well remembering the sleepover that Alice had brought them to; with a grin, she pointed to it and tapped the page knowingly. "You gotta let me know when the publication date is, and I am so doing an interview of you for my blog, no ifs, ands, or buts!"
Alice smiled, her hands knitting together to display her slight discomfort. She was never, ever good at taking compliments. “I just have to tell them I’m happy with it then they’ll publish the ARCs. I’m not sure how long that’ll take. They’ll send the ARCs out and then work on publishing the book. It’s a small publication for now, only a couple thousand copies, but if all those sell out there will be an order for bigger prints.” She reached out and tapped at the pile of papers. “And don’t worry. You’re getting your own copy of the cookbook as soon as I get them in.”
"Damn right I am!" BB flipped back toward the front of the book, leafing through the table of contents before she ended up between the first few pages and the title page. "I can't promise I'll cook from it, or I guess bake? But it'll look very pretty on my kitchen counter..." All of the text therein was covered by multicolored Post-its, which her fingers immediately went to remove so she could peek underneath.
"What's going on here?" She asked with no small amount of mischievousness, glancing up at Alice as she slowly started to peel away one neon green piece of paper.
“No!” Alice replied, lunging forward to stop BB’s hand on the post it, her hands tangling with her friend’s as her brow knit together. “You can’t look at that, that’s a surprise for much later. No peeking!” She looked up at Brittany and glared at her before laughing, the moment of sadness from before temporarily broken and forgotten. “Don’t make me take it away from you. Promise you won’t look.”
BB's smile cracked wide into a grin, but she pulled back her hand, fingers splayed wide in a feigned innocence. "Fine," she whined. "But if you won't show me that, at least let me show you what I've been working on." She passed the book back to Alice and climbed to her feet, moving the short distance to her TV stand where she pulled out the long tube of paper she'd unelegantly hidden there. It slid out with a slight hissing sound of paper against particleboard. She brought it back over to where Alice was kneeling on the floor, and spread it out wide, her hands moving over the blue and white lines to smooth it to the floor completely. The edges still threatened to roll up, but she held it down.
She shot a smile in Alice's direction. "Any guesses as to what this is?"
Alice’s brow furrowed and she leaned forward to look at the large paper. “It’s a layout, I had some for my shop when I was laying everything out…” Touching the white lines that made up the various walls and measurements, she traced along to what would be the grand entrance when she stilled. Blinking and leaning back, looking at her friend with brows risen. “Brittany Bernard, is this the layout of the apartment complex? What are you doing with these??”
"Ding ding, give the lady a prize," BB said, one hand leaving the paper to brush Alice's knee; the roll instantly took its opportunity to close up, which BB quickly reprimanded with a palm.
"I got it from that weird dude who lives on the Deluxe floor," she added. "Don't ask me how, just know it wasn't anything sordid, you know I'd never stoop to that level." She grinned, leaning back to give Alice a better view of the paper. "I figured...that closet thing, since that's kinda hidden, maybe there's other stuff we could find? Or, hell, try and work out how they changed every floor that one time, or how all those fucking animals were getting in here. You know?" BB looked back up at Alice, a slight hesitation cresting on hope written all over her face. "Just...it seemed worth a shot."
Alice stared at her friend then looked back at the paper. “Has anything else gone on?” She asked gently, thinking of her own insane changes but uncertain of what she should tell her friend. In normal circumstances, she told Brittany everything, but since moving to the apartment she began to keep a collection of secrets. Whether they were to keep her friend from being hurt or to stop her friend from going barreling into a situation she was incapable of handling. “You know, with the building and stuff, that you experienced?”
BB fixed Alice with a strange look. "I mean, outside of the weirdass harpy woman that I had to fight to get to my brownies, no, not really. Why? Did something happen, skittles?" She instantly moved forward, sitting nearly in the middle of the blueprints. A hand went to Alice's shoulder, half comforting and half holding the young woman in place as though she might try to escape explanation.
"What happened, Alice," she said, more of a statement than a question. Her eyes flicked back and forth, focus centering completely on the other woman. "Tell me, OK? It's OK to tell me. Please."
Alice watched her friend’s desperation and the passion in her eyes. She had kept so much from BB recently and it had been hard to keep all of this from her as well. A year before if any of this had happened, BB would have been the first person she told. And with the spirit of trying to right her wrongs, to get back to normal, to fully move past the little twinge in her heart that was still there when she thought of Gus, she told her best friend what had happened.
“Uke Mochi, the deity I dream about? The one who has the wheat hair and everything? I turned into her. I became her. My entire body became this grain thing and I could feel myself changing,” she whispered to her friend as she leaned closer. “Then when I was fully made of grain I sort of passed out. Apparently Uke Mochi possessed me. She was in my body, she turned me back to my regular form, and when she left I passed out and woke up later on. It all happened at my apartment, poor Rafael had to deal with it. It… it was terrifying, but Uke Mochi swore she hadn’t wanted to upset me.”
BB listened, quiet for once, her eyes slowly growing rounder as her brows climbed her forehead. By the time Alice was done, her face could not have expanded any further.
"Holy shit, skittles. That... just, holy shit." She pulled Alice into another tight hug, this time her hands precariously low on the other young woman's back. "Look, I know it's....it's been pretty awful being here, and I feel terrible telling you to move to this building. I seriously do. Like, I can't even explain... But I'm not gonna let anything else happen to you, OK? I'm working on fixing this shit, I swear." BB pulled back, slowly, her face in closer proximity than she'd ever truly been to the person she'd nursed a crush on for well over a decade. She could feel her heart beating doubletime in her chest, and now more than ever seemed like the most opportune time.
So she leaned forward and brought her lips to Alice's, hoping against hope that she'd get the reaction she'd so longed for.
Alice hadn’t found the hug strange nor the close proximity of her best friend’s face when she pulled away; but the quick press of Brittany’s soft lips against hers was entirely strange and honestly a surprised. Alice’s eyes went wide and she quickly moved back, scrambling along the floor and nearly crushing the paper copy of her book. A hand rose to her lips, pressing them as if to smudge out the feeling of the kiss. It wasn’t that the kiss disgusted her, but the surprise was too great, as well as a quickly dawning realization. Rafael had suggested Brittany had feelings after all and Alice had brushed that assumption aside but here they were all the same.
“B-Brit… I…” Alice muttered, finding words escaping her.
BB froze, her heart dropping into her chest at Alice's reaction. Her eyes wide, she shook her head.
"Alice, I--" For once, words escaped her. She took a few wobbling, strange steps forward on her knees, closing the distance between them a foot or two. "Look, you can't deny, there's something there; you feel it, don't you?" She pleaded, feeling strung out on a wire that she'd inexplicably felt pushed toward. Her eyes stayed focused, nearly unblinking, on Alice's familiar form, on her face, which looked so strange wrung out with shock.
Alice blinked, her eyes widening once more then narrowing. She shook her head, her fingertips still touching her lips. “No...no, Brittany. That… that something is that I love you as a friend. You’ve been my longest friend,” she attempted, hoping the clarity of what Alice saw in the girl would be clear enough but also soften the blow. She loved Brittany, certainly, but simply not like that. “You know I’m straight; I’ve always been very upfront about that, haven’t I?” She met her friend’s gaze, worried suddenly that perhaps she had led her on without realizing it.
BB groaned softly, rolling her eyes. "You don't know that for sure, skittles. You don't know until you've at least tried, OK? And besides, none of those assholes deserve you." She looked back at Alice, exasperation written in every line of her face. "I did what I could to protect you! Can't you just... you know, just give me a chance?"
Alice shook her head, not catching what Brittany was truly saying but latching onto the bare facts. “I know you’ve always been protective of me, Brit, but I like guys. That’s it. I’ve always liked guys. I wouldn’t ask you to just try to date a guy just to see how you feel; why would you even ask me to do the same?” She was surprised by how offended she felt. It had always been so clear to Alice that Brittany liked girls and she liked guys and there was no gray areas with those two facts. Alice had always told Brittany about the travails of the boys she dated, all except for Lucas and Gus. Gus, who was sweet and kind, awkward but so tentative to treat her well. Picking up the print of her book and slipping it into her bag, she continued. “Britt, there are nice guys out there. I’ve met them, I’ve been with them, and they were great. I just didn’t tell you about them because you’ve always been so protective.”
BB paused, staring at Alice. They remained on separate ends of the room, despite the small distance she'd tried to cover; it felt like a yawning chasm was opening up between them.
"So many, huh? So why are you always alone, huh? Why do I always have to stop something before you get hurt, skittles? Why... why can't you just listen for a second, listen to what I'm saying?!"
Alice furrowed her brow and shook her head. “What are you talking about, you stopped something?” She continued to shake her head as she got to her feet, her bag clutched in her hand as the birthday present was forgotten on the floor. “And I’m not alone, thank you very much. You wouldn’t know that though, would you? I intentionally haven’t talked to you about the guy I liked or, or…” She barely stopped herself from mentioning Gus, but her anger was like a startled bird fluttering in her chest, begging to get out.
BB winced, as though Alice had struck her. She leaned forward a little, beseeching.
"I had to protect you from yourself, OK? Everything I did was because I didn't want what that asshole did to you in high school to happen again. Guys are assholes, Alice. And I was..." She paused, shrugging, everything making perfect sense in her mind. "I was trying to give you time, so you could see. That you belonged with me, not one of them."
Whether or not Alice belonged with Brittany, her words hit Alice’s gut hard. Her mouth opened and closed as if trying to capture air lost from the verbal punch, but quickly she felt her anger boil over. “Protect me from myself? You know, I did just fine when I was in college. I chose to end things with my college boyfriend, it had nothing to do with you. And I had no problem meeting sweet, nice guys since moving in here the moment I stopped involving you in my love life. What did you do exactly, Brittany? What were you doing to ‘protect’ me from myself?”
Shaking her head a little, BB's shoulders rolled in discomfort. She lingered on silence for a moment. "Just little things. A few deleted text messages, missed phone calls, telling them you weren't interested. Obviously if they gave a shit they wouldn't be so easily turned off. And, look, all of those other things didn't work out, didn't they?" One hand lifted, gesturing in the air. "Obviously something wanted us to be together, skittles." She put both hands down, resting lightly on her knees. "Can't you see that? Can't you just give us a chance?"
“You sabotaged my chances,” Alice murmured, shocked that Brittany had gone that far. Blinking rapidly, she found herself shifting on her heels and looking around the apartment at the belated birthday gift, the layout of the apartment. Everything Brittany had done hadn’t been to protect Alice, it had been for her own gain. It was all a ploy to get Alice. She raised her gaze to her friend and shook her head once more. “You don’t know anything. I haven’t said anything to you about any of the guys I’ve met since moving here because I was stupid enough to think you were just overprotective. I thought it was stressing you out, I was more concerned about how you’d react than seeing everything for what it was. No wonder things have been going well with Lucas, no matter I felt in control with Gus, it’s because you didn’t know.”
And there it was, his name slipping right out so easily; and it would be easily, Gus’s name had been so regularly on Alice’s lips during the course of the spring that it was easy to bring back. And for a moment, for a span of a moment, she realized what she had done, but her anger was so great she didn’t care. Things were breaking to pieces anyway; there was no chance to come back from all of this as it was, whether or not Gus was mentioned.
BB's eyes widened incrementally, her fingers curling in on themselves as though to make fists.
"In control? With my brother?" That same gaze narrowed, uncertainty and confusion lining every inch. "You...and Gus?" The words seemed to stumble intoxicatedly from her mouth, just as unsure of their destination as she was of their birth. She blinked, sitting back on her heels as the full weight of everything that had just occurred came down on her. Brittany sat in silence for a long moment, her eyes tracking down to the floor as her chest felt like it might implode. Her next words were soft and strangely out of character.
"I never did any of it to hurt you. I just..." She lifted one hand to wipe away tears she could feel stinging her eyes. Glancing up, she met Alice's eyes as she climbed to her feet, putting her head and shoulders above her former friend. "I think you should leave. Don't forget your shit." She turned her back on Alice, moving toward the bathroom. As she moved, the blueprints on the floor rolled up, no longer obstructed from the one action they were so aching to perform.
“Thanks for your permission,” Alice snapped as Brittany walked away, tears burning her eyes and leaving her hands quivering. She left the apartment though, happy to be escaping from the situation, but after all of that, she left behind the little bag and card filled with birthday treats. It sat on the floor, near the now rolled up blueprints, forgotten.