Who: Lia and Kamillah What: Post-Midnight Cookie Delivery (toot toot) Where: The lobby When: October 1st, midnight... Just after, really. Warnings: Not a single thing. As innocent as Leave It To Beaver.
Really, Kamillah thought as she left the stairwell and entered the lobby with growing trepidation, it was beyond crazy how a perfectly good, completely sound building could mess with your head. When she signed the lease, she sure as hell didn’t sign up for a social experiment or a drug test or whatever it was that happened when she opened her door ten minutes ago. At least she didn’t remember any clause like that. Maybe she should have read the thing more carefully before handing over her security deposit. If she had, would she have found something in there about the possibility of movie companies taking over the building and building sets?
That actually would have made her sign sooner. A girl can always use a little bit of discovery in her life when she wants to be a star.
Still... Kami frowned down at the paper plate of still-warm chocolate chip cookies in her hands. What kind of place shoots a movie with multiple sets in the same residential building and, come to think of it, how did they get into her apartment to add Doric columns without her noticing? Very weird and almost upsetting. Pretty or not, marble was unexpectedly slippery in stocking feet!
In the end, the strange braziers on either side of the elevator were what made her decide to use the stairs. Kami was not sure if she trusted technology when it was surrounded by burning... something or other. It all smelled a bit funny, too, and her nose twitched in response. It made her curious indeed and she made a point of pausing at each floor as she descended, poking her head in and gaping a bit at the different decors.
She really hoped Lia would be able to offer some kind of insight into the new situation. Otherwise this thinly held calm was going to snap like an old twig and not even her excitement would save it...
Lia made her way out of the forest with little enough difficulty - granted, the enormous tree was in the way, but she with a little flexibility and agility, she made it to what passed as the elevator in good time. When she saw the lobby, she gave a little gasp; her own apartment had its own charm (aside from the smell), but the lobby was just beautiful. Of course, there was the small issue of the fact that she could be hallucinating, but if it was a hallucination, it was a very, very strong one - every sense was engaged with it. Despite this, she moved forward, looking for her new neighbor; the test, she imagined, was seeing if Kami was seeing what she did. She smiled ruefully at the girl carrying the plate of cookies, who looked a little befuddled, if she wasn't mistaken... it was something of a relief. Lia would rather something insane happen than go insane herself.
"Kami?" she asked with a smile. "Hi, I'm Lia."
"Oh!" Face lighting up in a positively gleeful smile, Kami practically skipped across the short distance. All of her attention focused on the new person, it was easy to ignore the sumptuous if strange new decor of the lobby. Her cheap slip-on sandals made a faint scuffing sound as she encountered patches of sand but she held the plate of cookies firmly up as if in worshipful offering. "Hi, Lia! I'm here to make a good impression."
Lia laughed delightedly, reaching out to take a cookie. "Well, I'm sure you know you're doing a great job," she told the other girl with a wink. The girl was lovely, and emanated an energy that Lia couldn't help but find immediately endearing. She took a small bite of the cookie, and then took a second look at it as the buttery treat melted in her mouth. "Oh, even better now," she said with a grin once she'd swallowed. "This is delicious." She grinned. "But aren't those of us who already live here supposed to be the ones to give you baked goods?" She wrinkled her nose ruefully, though her grin didn't fade. "Though if you tried my baking, you'd probably go running for the hills, so maybe this is for the best..." she laughed.
"I'm sure they're fine. It's all just fancy chemistry that you can eat." Kami gave a little, casual one-shouldered shrug but her continued smile was answer enough to the compliment; Lia had scored points with her open admiration. "Anyway, I like to do it. Better I bake pans of cookies and brownies than go get up to real mischief, right?" She gave a soft laugh but then suddenly sobered a bit. Her dark eyebrows drew together and she took a step closer to Lia, voice dropping into a confiding whisper. "And I swear I don't put any special ingredients in these things so you can't blame me for the sudden movie sets going up around here."
There was almost a question in the statement but it was quiet and hesitant as if Kami was afraid of offending.
Lia laughed with relief, her grin now taking on an even more comfortable bent. "Well, thank God you said something; I wasn't sure if I should," she said, looking around at the lobby. Taking another little nibble of her cookie, Lia noticed the hieroglyphs, the strange jars, the unusual - but really attractive - lighting. Lia took a breath and exhaled almost audibly. "I wish I could say this were the strangest thing I've seen here, but..." she looked back at Kami. "I think there's something about this building." She shook her head. Part of her wanted to warn Kami, at least, about the hallucinations they'd all seemed to have experienced about a month ago, but she wasn't sure how her new neighbor would take it. Still, she laughed. "At least it smells better here than on my floor," she remarked. "So, Kami, where are you from?"
"Originally, metaphorically, currently?" Kami disengaged one hand from the plate and pointed upwards. "607 and it's like a a romantic soap commercial up there. All marble and carvings." She shook her head a bit, smile fainter but still clinging to amusement. Things were going well. Everything was okay. Greek columns were the absolute norm. "I can't believe I just moved in and they've already gone and redecorated. Do you think they'll raise the rent?"
Lila laughed again, and shook her head. "I just... I'm not sure they've redecorated," she said thoughtfully. "But... a romantic soap commercial?" she grinned. "I'd like to see that," she smiled. She liked this girl. Her easy smile and social aplomb were refreshing - and genuine. Lia couldn't say she'd quite met anyone like her before. As for the previous question... "I think I'd like to know all of them - metaphorically, though?" she laughed. "I'd love to hear it."
"A romantic soap commercial," the petite brunette repeated with a giggle. "But I think I'm really coming from a place of darkness to a twinkly, kinda wacky world so that's an improvement." Suddenly, she indicated one of the lower sarcophagi with her free hand, other hand still gripping the precious cookie plate. Almost immediately, though, not waiting for Lia's question, Kami padded over to stand beside one. "Do you think it's disrespectful to sit on these?" she asked. "Or put the cookies down? I mean... There really aren't dead bodies in them, are there?"
Lia looked dubiously down at the sarcophagus in question and gave it a little nudge. It was heavy - very heavy. Whoever did this had had an eye for authenticity - or at least a big enough budget to ship very heavy objects. "I don't know about disrespectful," she noted. "But it seems crazy that they'd put a dead body in it." She pushed it again, to no avail. "Or at least against health codes." One more useless push, and she gave up. "Either way, it's not the flattest surface I've ever seen..."
"But it'll do for girls with a sense of balance." Without waiting for her new acquaintance, Kami carefully set the plate of cookies down in a precarious balance atop the stone lid, then neatly hopped up to sit beside it. Her movement was smooth and spritely, a grace that spoke of extreme body familiarity. She grinned at Lia and indicated the other woman join her on the other side of the cookies. "And don't try to argue with me, Lia," she cautioned. "You have a great way of moving. I'd say your balance is something you really worked at, even if a good bit of that grace is natural. I dance. I know these things."
Lia's grin was irrepressible, not that she had any desire to hide it. "Well, thank you. That's a high compliment coming from a dancer. I like to move," she said. Persuaded by Kami's assurances, but more by the solidness of the sarcophagus, she followed Kami's lead and one-handedly boosted herself lithely up onto the painted surface. She crossed her legs, her flip flops dangling a bit, and took another bite of her cookie. "I've never had any dancer's training, but we were always dancing back home, with my family. And you know, I do some yoga, pilates, yogalates, et cetera," she grinned. "So what kind of dancing do you do?"
"Mm, bit of this and bit of that." Kami braced her hands against the cool stone beneath her and leaned into braced arms even as one leg crossed lazily over the other, her own sandals slipping from her feet to land on the dusty stone floor with a faint sound. "I never really understood ballet, though, so that stopped when I was about eight." She looked over at Lia with a cheerful smile and considering eyes. "So it's mostly modern and jazz but, you know," she drawled before leaning closer and dropping her voice teasingly, "there was a brief, passionate affair with belly dancing and a four month stand with ballroom."
"I like that," she laughed. "I took a class in belly dancing when I was an undergrad; also a couple of hip hop dance classes. Those were fun. I still do that - no ballet or modern or jazz." She swung her crossed legs lightly, her flip flops still dangling. "So what do you do now?" She canted her head to one side, thinking about her companion's talents and natural gifts. "Are you a performer?" she asked with a little smile. Given the girl's natural effervescence and charm, as well as her obvious loveliness, it would have made sense. So many girls came to California to be stars, but not many had Kami's kind of presence.
There was a little flicker in the muscle along the side of Kami's jawline that was visible to Lia but the brunette still smiled and shook her head. Why do they always have to ask that, she thought with a mental wail. But she pushed it back with an increasingly practiced ease and reached over for a cookie while her free hand toyed with a loose piece of her dark hair, tucking it behind her ear. "Not at the moment," she admitted warily. "I'm between things." A little tilt of her head indicated a vague direction and she added, "I'm in New Orleans Square at Disney."
Suddenly, the cookie in her hand was pointed at Lia and Kami's smile glowed with renewed pleasure. "And you would be a model, right?" she asked. She had to, really. The other woman was gorgeous.
The tell wasn't the easiest to catch, but Lia rarely ignored little signs like those. Even so, Kami took her off guard with the model question - and Lia couldn't help but laugh.
"I'm afraid not," she said with a half-grin. "But thank you, that's very sweet. I actually work in print and radio." Her cookie was very nearly gone, but she still took another nibble of it rather than finishing it off. "I do a call-in show and write an advice column." Despite Kami's bright smile, Lia put her hand over hers. "Listen, 'between things' happens. This is a big place with tons of opportunities. You've got too much star quality not to find something soon enough," she assured the other girl. With that, she gave Kami's hand a little squeeze, then finally popped the rest of the cookie into her mouth, only to start eyeing the plate for her next conquest.
The plate was immediately lifted and offered to her, Kami having shifted to curl one leg beneath her and sit sideways so she could better watch her new acquaintance as soon as her hand was released. She waited until Lia had chosen her next cookie and then she lowered it to rest between them again. "Thank you," she answered and the momentary shadow was gone from her heart-shaped face as if it had never been there in the first place. She winked. "You're sweet and beautiful and that's got to be breaking a law somewhere but I won't tell." Her head tilted slightly to one side and she again seemed to take in Lia all at once, absorbing her appearance and posture and expression. She nibbled on her own cookie before leaning back on one hand, arm braced, again. "You must be fantastic at your job," she announced. "Be careful, though. If you're too good, you'll end up taking care of us all here in the building and that could probably get messy... Or fun." Her dark eyes twinkled. "Your words, my cookies... How's that for star quality?"
"Thank you," Lia said, for the cookie and the compliments. She laughed and shook her head. "And your cookies are insane. You should have a show on the Food Network. You'd blow Rachael Rae out of the water." She made the declaration with conviction, then paused only to continue. "I like my job. I work pretty hard at it, though it seems frivolous to some," she gave Kami a wry smile, wagging her cookie a little. "It doesn't mean I'm always sweet, though," she confessed. "Sometimes people need tougher love. I try to give what's needed." She took a bite of her fresh cookie and hummed her pleasure at it. She grinned. "That is, when I'm not going about getting my own needs fulfilled. I don't want to give you the impression that I'm strictly a giver." As she enjoyed another thoughtful bite and chew of the cookie, Lia looked back at Kami, returning her regard. "But I am a horrible, horrible meddler. I attribute it to coming from a huge, dramatic family. I was taught by the best," she grinned.
"I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for the warning." Judging by Kami's laugh, though, she did not take Lia's words to heart. In fact, she actually smiled even brighter and added in a lazy voice, "So how are you about meddling people into meeting each other? We all seem kind of spread out in this place. I only have, I think two? No, three other people on my floor. I haven't met any of them face to face. I'm about to start knocking on doors like the world's oldest Girl Scout."
"You know," Lia said thoughtfully, poised to take another bite of her cookie, "I'm actually pretty good at that, normally. I also think this is a brilliant idea," she grinned. "I think we are pretty well-spread out, and while the forum is a great way for us to get sort-of familiar, it's no substitute for meeting people in person." She winked at her new-found cohort. "And our charm is utterly wasted on the internet, if you ask me." Finally, she did take that bite with a happy little sigh, then nodded. "I wonder if anybody has anything planned for Halloween... I do love a good costume party," she said with growing enthusiasm. "I think my apartment might be big enough for everyone - everyone we've seen on the boards, at least," she qualified.
Kami's eyes lit with a matching enthusiasm and she squirmed again atop the sarcophagus to better face Lia. She braced her hands against the cool stone, palm down, and leaned closer. "Would it?" she asked. It was as if she had found her soul sister and her interest was tangible. "Because, you know, my birthday is November 1st and I was actually kind of thinking of throwing a party for it anyway and who doesn't love an excuse to dress up?" She cocked her head, considering, infectious smile quirking the corners of her mouth. "I'd do all the food," she offered casually. "Of course."
"I think it would," Lia laughed at Kami's enthusiasm. "Especially for your birthday!" She grinned then, leaning in as Kami did with a grin. "It'll be fun, and we definitely can't let your birthday pass by without notice, can we?" She winked at her new friend, warming more to the idea the more they talked about it. "I love Halloween to begin with - I think it's always fun to see how people dress up. A lot of a person's true self can come out for a masquerade." Her legs swung back and forth a bit, her enthusiasm seeping into her physically. "So how old are you going to be, Kami?"
The question was greeted by a moment of hesitation but, judging by the amusement on Kami's face, it was less about age-awkwardness and more about teasing out what Lia thought might be her age. In the end, though, she whispered, "Twenty-four." Then she pulled back and pushed the entire plate of cookies towards Lia in offering. "You're amazing," she announced in more normal tones. "Thank goodness you have a weakness for cookies or we'd never have met so quickly and, seriously..." She paused for effect, eyes twinkling. "Have you ever tried to pull a really big bash together in only a couple of days?"
"Of course," Lia replied with a little grin of her own. "It's total hell. Much easier with a friend involved." Giving Kami a wink, she nibbled on her second cookie. Kami's age didn't surprise her terribly, but it pleased her. Four years was no great difference, and they seemed to have such an organic affinity, it was nice to know they'd be able to go out together and be on an even level. "But you're amazing. And so are your cookies," she grinned, then took another bite. "So, why don't we go up to one of our apartments and get to work on our guest list?"
"It would be my pleasure." Judging by Kami's immediate slide from the sarcophagus to land on her feet lightly, she really meant it, too. "I'm hoping you know everyone because I certainly don't." She laughed, good-natured over her shortcoming on that front. "Anyone you like," she added, "I'm sure I'll like. I've already decided to trust your taste and not just about my cookies."
Lia nodded as she hopped down as well, and gave a little laugh. "Well, that's smart of you, because I have excellent taste," she said, then offered Kami a wink. "Let's go see your place - with the new decor, mine seems to be occupied by an odd funk," she confessed. Once Kami had gathered her plate of treats, the two new friends went to the elevator, their minds already a-whirl with plans.