While I threw my clothes in the drier Megan went into her room to get her own outfit together. Once the drier was going I joined her. I sat on her bed and thumbed through the manga on her nightstand while she dressed. I was mostly just looking at the pictures since it was one I had borrowed from her before – Prince Tanaka had accidentally invited Lady Miaka and Lady Hitomi to the same ball. When they realized what had happened, Hitomi and Miaka had both taken offence – and even though they were usually rivals they’d stalked off together to ‘cool off’ with a stroll in the gardens. Then the amazon princess Hilda showed up, and….
“What do you think?” Megan asked.
I frowned. “I bet you could totally ship Hitomi and Miaka if you were into yuri.” I’d never thought about that before. Damnit, Fumiko!
“Well, obviously,” Megan agreed. “But I meant about this.”
I looked up and blinked. Megan had twisted her hair up in a knot held in place by a pair of ornate chopsticks. Her semi-sensible work clothes had been replaced with a slinky, curve-clinging, sleeveless black dress with lacy trim along the neckline, a peek-a-boo cutout over her cleavage, and a hem that barely dropped below her hips. She was wearing the necklace I’d gotten her, but she was also wearing a black ribbon and lace choker and more black ribbons tied decoratively around her arms and wrists. Her legs were bare and she was carrying a pair of very strappy, toeless black heels.
“You are going to freeze to death,” I blurted without thinking.
Megan laughed. “I think I can make it from here to the car,” she assured me. “And the club is always hot, too.” Megan spun around and swung her hips and shoulders to some imaginary music – then paused and looked at me over her shoulder. “So? Really, what do you think?”
I swallowed. It was really hard not to imagine some goth guy with a frightening number of piercings bending her over the club’s bar. Or the way that dress would wrinkle as its hem was thrust up over her hips, or how the music would drown out her moans as he ravished….
“You look ravishable,” I squeaked.
Megan grinned. “Awesome,” she said. “Totally what I was going for,” she added with a wink. “Now go check the dryer. I’ll do my makeup while you’re getting dressed, and then we can do yours and scoot.”
“Okay,” I said weakly. In my head the bartender – a big, punk-rave sort of guy – had come over after he’d realized where the goth guy’s actions had left imaginary Megan’s open, moaning mouth. I bolted out of the bedroom before he could drop his pants and I could start blushing harder.
Even then I spent a couple minutes in the utility room leaning against the dryer with my legs squeezed together and my eyes squeezed shut – trying to blank the scenario playing out in my head. I ended up having to bite down on the inside of my lip – hard – while I was at it. It hurt enough to distract me from my own imagination.
When my head was clear enough for me to get dressed, I did. Admittedly, I was still a little shaky. But that was just because I was getting ready to go out in public dressed up as a porntastic gothic ballerina princess and had nothing to do with whatever I’d just been thinking about.
I was really glad the utility room didn’t have a mirror. I’m pretty sure seeing my face would have proved me a liar to myself – my cheeks still felt hot. But then again, maybe if I could see how badly I was pulling off the whole ‘gothic porn-erina’ style I really would start freaking out about that instead.
I went back to Megan’s room so I could borrow her mirror.
Megan was sitting at her vanity, putting the finishing touches on her makeup. She’d replaced her red lipstick with black, and made some more changes to her eyeshadow and… stuff. Okay! So I don’t know a lot about makeup. We’ve established that already, alright?
Anyway, I had once read – maybe on the internet – that there were two kinds of goth. Hot goth, and scary goth. Megan was definitely pulling off the former.
Megan turned around when I came in. She looked me up and down and pursed her lips in a long, saucy wolf-whistle. “Well, look at you!” Megan said. “You’re going to have wannabe sons of darkness keeling over at your feet,” she teased.
I laughed, but utterly without confidence. “Only if they’re trying to peek up this skirt,” I said.
“Nope,” Megan countered. “Heart attacks, every one. You heartbreaker, you.”
I tried to joke back. “Well, they shouldn’t have gotten their hopes up,” I said. “I have a boy…” I stopped. I didn’t have a boyfriend. I had a Hans, who was a werewolf, and who may have asked me out because he could smell when I was riled up and may or may not be running wingman interference for his creepy vampire buddy. “Uh,” I said. “I’m sure they’ll survive. They’re all undead already anyway.”
Then I blanched. What if they were? I had a horrible instant where I wondered: What if I take Megan to Club L to hide out from Mr. Salvatore, and the whole place turns out to be a huge den of gothic punk rave-pires? I mean… Katherine hangs out there. What did that suggest about the rest of their clientele?
But Megan’s laughter snapped me out of it. “I said wannabe,” she chided. “Now come over here so I can do your face.”
I knelt down next to Megan’s chair and tilted my head up so she could get at my face. I closed my eyes for most of it and focused on deep, slow breaths. The touch of brushes and pencils and whatever else on my cheeks and lips and eyelids felt weird, but on the whole it was a relaxing experience. I was being pampered, and it was by Megan. I could trust Megan not to stab me in the eye and hide my body under the bed in a fit of sociopathic glee.
She made me flutter my lashes through a mascara brush and then studied her work. “Done!” she pronounced. “Let’s get your jewelry and get going.”
In the living room I put on my bangles – a couple of hoop bracelets on my left wrist and a rather empty charm bracelet on my right – and the crescent moon earrings I’d bought. At least if Hans was playing me and we never went out again I’d have gotten to wear them once. Megan swapped her wallet, phone and keys into another purse and smiled at me. “Are you going to be okay driving if I drink in the new year?” she asked.
I nodded. I hate driving, but I’ll suffer through being the DD at times like this. The only other option would be taking a cab, and that freaks me out worse. I’ll refuse to get in a taxi on my own, and if we got one together tonight… Seriously? A hellaciously sexy goth girl to tie up in the basement and a free meal for the guard dogs. What psychotic abductor with a cab license in his right mind would pass that up?
Megan smiled. “Great,” she said. “But remember: we can always cut out early if you’re feeling too crowded, okay?”
I nodded again. I didn’t trust myself to say anything. Megan wanted to have fun – and I wanted her somewhere with lots of witnesses that wasn’t guaranteed to be on Mr. Salvatore’s radar. I was determined to keep my shit together.
And if I did panic, and Megan was drunk, and I had to drive…. I was going to get us a room in some ritzy, well-lit hotel and then I was going to sit up until dawn with the nightstand Bible in one hand and a sharpened number two pencil in the other.