BGC Post 2040 File 6 – 12: The Real Me
The Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 Continuation Fanfic Series
by P. Kristen Enos
Most of these stories take place AFTER the TV Series! So DON’T blame me if I ruin the ending for you because you read these stories first!
Lesbian/Yuri/Shoujo Ai Warning! (Non-explicit — at least in the “PG13″/”R” sort of way.) Just not written for children because they probably wouldn’t get half of it.
All rights belong to JVC/AIC, ADV Films and the other creative powers that be. I just want credit for writing the story.
Saturday Night, November 19th
For the hundredth time, Linna wiped her sweaty palms on the hem of her dress as she and Lisa waited in front of the restaurant.
She jumped a bit when Lisa hooked her arm in hers.
“Hey, it’ll be all right,” Lisa said with a reassuring smile.
Linna swallowed and nodded as she clung to the arm. She was glad that her companion didn’t ask why she was so nervous because she didn’t know how she would explain it.
Just then, a red Porsche pulled up into the valet area and the doors on both sides opened.
“Wow!” Lisa uttered in a breath of awe.
Linna had the same reaction despite herself, first at the sight of Sylia appearing, dressed in her most elegant pantsuit with a small purse tucked under her arm. However, Linna’s eyes almost fell out of her head at the sight of Priss, who appeared attired in a stunningly form-fitting maroon mini-dress that could have only come from the Silky Doll. Her hair was stylishly pinned up and it was clear that she was wearing make-up. It almost didn’t matter that the singer still wore braces on her arm and leg.
With a definite blush in her cheeks, Priss stepped out carefully onto the pavement and looked around. When she locked gazes with Linna, she gave a warning glare despite the fact that her face reddened even more. She clearly noticed that the waiting women were standing arm-in-arm, but then seemed to ignore the sight. She gave off the vibe of someone who wanted to be far away and dressed very differently.
Sylia, meanwhile, was grinning from ear to ear as she stepped forward.
Dressed up themselves, Nene and her mother emerged from the car as well.
Sylia bowed deeply to the new face. “Hello, I’m Sylia Stingray. You must be Lisa Vanette.”
Lisa nodded and bowed in response, but blinked in mild surprise.
Sylia gave her a mildly questioning look at the reaction.
“You just have a very distinctive and nice voice,” Lisa explained with a smooth smile.
Sylia’s friends kept their mouths shut, each trying to pretend she wasn’t as tense or interested as she was.
“Yes, I do,” Sylia answered with a wink.
“Mom,” Nene jumped in, “This is my friend Linna Yamazaki! Linna, this is my mom, Nana.”
“It’s nice to finally meet you, Nana,” Linna said with a deep bow. “I’ve heard so many things about you.”
“Same here, Dear,” she answered with a wink and a nod towards Lisa.
Matching Linna’s new blush, Lisa merely cleared her throat and straightened her glasses.
“Shall we go sit down?” Sylia said, walking into the restaurant without waiting for a response.
Recognizing Sylia upon sight, the maitre d’ immediately led the small group to a private room in the posh restaurant.
Nana sat down at the head of the table and said, “Nene, why don’t you sit down at the other end? That way Sylia and Priss can sit on this side, and Lisa and Linna can sit on the other.”
None of them protested as they each took their suggested seats.
Once they had made their menu choices, Lisa looked at the elegant woman sitting directly across from her and said, “So, Sylia, I hear you own a clothing store?”
She nodded. “My parents left me some money when they died. So I opened the store both as a source of income and a hobby.”
“Then how did all of you meet?”
Sylia looked at her friends, who promptly returned the look expectantly.
Priss actually smiled and said, “We just want to hear your version of the events, Babe.”
Both Linna and Nene blinked at the last word, but only Linna narrowed her eyes critically at something that didn’t feel quite right.
“Ah, I see,” Sylia said as she leaned back and put her arm across the back of Priss’s chair, causing a little visible tightness to appear in the singer’s bare shoulders. “Well, I had met Nene through the Internet since we both had some interest in computers. And she occasionally helps me with my computer system at the store… As for how Priss and I met, well, it was definitely a chance encounter on the street. I didn’t even know she was a singer. She just looked so fetching in her little biker outfit… And Linna here followed Priss to my home like a hungry little kitten.”
Priss kept her jaw clamped shut and Linna’s face was completely red as both Nana and Lisa glanced at them with amused smiles.
“That’s why I was very intrigued with meeting you, Lisa,” Sylia added. She winked and said, “Especially since you got rid of my competition for me.”
“So, are you and Priss dating?” Nene asked in a small, unsure voice.
Priss showed no reaction but Sylia smiled at her and said, “Sorry, we didn’t have a chance to tell you or Linna, but we recently realized we had quite a bit in common. And sometimes chemistry is just too strong to be ignored.”
Linna frowned and asked, “But what about, um, — well, are you two serious?”
“Do you mean if we’re ready for marriage yet?” Sylia gave Priss a look, which was returned passively. “I don’t think we’re ready for that kind of talk. We’ve only had a couple of dates. Just like you and Lisa. – Unless you two are far more serious than I thought.” She then winked at her and said, “So don’t plan on Priss moving out right away, even though she does have the most adorable snore.”
Priss turned beet red, which caused both of their friends’ eyes to widen.
Linna then frowned slightly as she looked at both women critically.
Recovering herself, Priss returned her look placidly before stating, “Sylia and I have had some discussions about her helping to finance the band’s next album.”
“I’m glad to hear that!” Nana proclaimed. “So does this mean you’ll be singing soon?”
Sylia sat quietly with a mild smile while Priss answered, “I’m… working on it.”
The singer saw that Nene seemed genuinely impressed while Linna took a sip of her drink as a small hurt look passed across her face.
Priss frowned at the reaction, but was pulled into a discussion by Nana and Lisa about her band’s past level of moderate success and extended “world tour”.
Linna suddenly let out a squeak and jumped up from her chair, startling almost everybody at the table.
“Um, sorry,” she blustered as she sat back down and tried to recompose herself. “Muscle cramp.”
She gave Sylia a pointed look, since the latter woman’s smirk was the obvious clue to whose foot had just caressed hers under the table. Well, she thought, two can play at this game.
Linna tried to pretend focused interest in the discussion of places in the world the others had been to, most of the input coming from Lisa and Sylia. However, after a few under-the-table caresses of her own, Linna frowned, seeing that Sylia didn’t seem to miss a beat in the conversation.
Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw Priss looking around sharply, showing whose leg Linna was really caressing.
Linna jerked her leg back and tried to drop her gaze before their eyes locked but it was too late.
Even though she sat at their end of the table, Nene was thankfully oblivious to anything that was going on, her attention genuinely on the conversation at the other end of the table.
Her face now completely red, Linna started to mouth an apology when Priss’s eyes widened even more, her own face flushing red. At first Linna thought it was a reaction to the situation she had created, but then she saw that Sylia was caressing the back of Priss’s neck while she chatted smoothly with the other dinner guests.
Just then the waitress came to take their orders, providing a much-needed distraction for everyone.
* * * * *
Sylia looked around the table as everyone seemed to be engrossed in the meal and conversation, some obviously more comfortably than others. She took a sip of wine and smiled at Lisa, who sat across from her.
Lisa noticed the attention and met her gaze.
“I’ve read a lot of your articles in the Sun, Lisa,” Sylia said. “It seems you’ve been having some interesting adventures recently.”
The comment caused the entire table to hush.
Noticing that she was now the center of everyone’s attention, Lisa nodded and said, “A lot has certainly happened in the past couple of months. I’m gladly doing just press conferences and low-key profiles these days.”
“I would think that you’re quite the envy of your peers with those eyewitness stories about the NTCU and the Knight Sabers. I can’t imagine you’d settle on back-page stories for too long. How do you think you will top yourself?”
Lisa paused, narrowing her eyes slightly at Sylia, who merely continued to smile back. She took a sip of wine before stating, “I think the obvious way would be to discover who the Knight Sabers really are. I know a lot of people who would give their first-born son to write or publish that kind of story.”
“Would you?” Priss asked pointedly.
Lisa stared back at her. “No, I don’t think the story is worth it. I didn’t become a reporter to write stories that don’t have any social value.”
Linna was now confused. “You don’t think writing about the Knight Sabers would have social value?”
Lisa smiled softly at her and said, “I think everyone agrees that the Knight Sabers provide a certain type of help that is needed on occasion. If losing their privacy means they stop doing the things that they do, then I don’t believe that benefits anyone besides selfishly curious people and the people who become rich off copies sold.”
There was a hush as everyone absorbed Lisa’s words as the woman in question took another bite of her dinner.
“That’s certainly an interesting stance,” Nana commented, seriously mulling over everything that had been said. “I had planned next week to discuss the Knight Sabers in my class about vigilante justice.”
“Mom?” Nene said, her curiosity and hesitancy clearly evident in her tone. “Do you think the Knight Sabers are good people?”
Nana thought about it for a moment and answered, “I may not agree with or understand their real reasons for being Knight Sabers, or the sometimes brutal methods they use. However, I respect that they’re good at what they do. And then there’s the fact that they’re risking their own lives for others in the process, which is always an admirable trait in my book.”
Her daughter smiled happily and said simply, “Thanks, Mom.”
After allowing a moment of silence to pass, Sylia smiled broadly and said, “Perhaps because fashion is my business and hobby, but I personally love the fact that their suits are so uniquely designed and colored, as if reflecting the personality of the wearer.”
Her friends stared at her with slightly alarmed expressions. Nana maintained her focused attentiveness while Lisa started to look a bit bewildered.
“I even think a couple of them are rather sexy,” Sylia said with an impish giggle. “Don’t you think so, Linna?”
“I — I — I guess,” Linna managed to reply as she tried to fight down a horrified expression and avoid eye contact with anyone. She couldn’t believe that this conversation was actually happening.
“My personal favorite is the white one. There’s just something so commanding about her,” Sylia declared with a smile. “Priss, who do you think is the sexiest? The green one?”
Priss’s eyes widened as she held her steak knife with a white-knuckled grip. She stated through gritted teeth, “I don’t notice such things, Babe!”
“Well, I think the red one’s pretty cool!” Nene stated defensively, for which she immediately received a kick under the table. “Ow! — Uh, muscle cramp!”
“Well, who do you like the most, Linna?” Sylia asked.
Linna looked around the table in clear discomfort at the question. “Um, I — I’m not sure I –”
Suddenly the chirp of a cell phone came from Sylia’s purse, which caused all conversation to hush.
“Excuse me for a moment,” Sylia said as she stood up to take her call in private.
After she disappeared into the hallway, her three friends exchanged a wary look.
“So, who is your favorite Knight Saber, Linna?” Lisa asked, apparently curious to know the answer herself.
Linna blushed again as she managed to sputter, “I — I think they each have their own different appeal but I don’t know if I can — ”
Sylia stepped back into the room, looking both apologetic and serious. “I’m sorry about this but I have to go back home. Something has come up that I have to take care of. Please continue the dinner without me. I’ve already made arrangements for the bill to be covered. I’ll come back if I can handle it quickly.”
Clearly concerned, Priss snagged her hand before she could leave. “Wait, Sylia! I’ll go with you.”
The woman paused and looked at her, then at her other friends. She smiled at them and said, “It’ll be all right. I can take care of this.”
“Promise you’ll call if you can’t?” Priss insisted.
Sylia opened her mouth as if to protest again. But then she gave the other woman a gentle kiss and said, “Of course, I will, Priss Darling…”
— End Chapter 44 —
* * *
Saturday Night, November 19th
Nene flashed everyone a stiff smile as she sat down, grateful that most attention was centered on Nana, Lisa and Linna as they chatted about random subjects.
Priss leaned over and whispered, “Well?”
Nene shook her head in bewilderment. “Nothing. Since Daley and Leon didn’t hear of anything, I called Dispatch just in case, and got the same story. Everything is really quiet right now. So I tried calling Sylia and Nigel, and neither of them are answering. Henderson isn’t even picking up the phone.”
Priss frowned briefly but then forced a pleasant smile as she returned her attention to the conversation.
Just then, Linna’s phone rang in her purse, causing her to jump in surprise. She then flashed a weak smile as she stood and said, “Excuse me.”
A few minutes later, she returned and announced with a relieved expression, “That was Sylia — she called me since Priss didn’t have her phone on her. She said she took care of everything and is heading back to pick you guys up. She said to go ahead and order dessert since it’ll take her at least another half hour.”
“Did she say what it was that happened?” Priss asked.
Linna shook her head. “She said she would explain later.”
“Well, I’m glad it was nothing major to worry about,” Nana declared with a broad smile as she looked at the dessert menu. “Now, who’s game for splitting tiramisu?…”
* * * * *
“I am sooo stuffed!” Nene declared as they exited the restaurant. “But it was sooo good!”
“Given how much they charged, it better have been,” Priss muttered.
“It seems Sylia still hasn’t arrived,” Nana murmured as she glanced around the valet area.
“Well, I’ve got my own car anyway,” Lisa remarked. “Linna, did you want to wait for her, or should I take you home now?”
Linna stared at Priss for a moment and then smiled at Lisa. “I don’t think we need to wait for Sylia. I’ll just call her tomorrow. But I’m not tired either. Do you want to go to a bar for a bit?”
“All right,” Lisa said with a pleased smile.
The two women said their goodbyes and walked down the sidewalk.
Priss watched them leave, with slightly narrowed eyes.
“She’ll be all right, Priss,” Nana said softly. “Lisa really cares for her.”
Priss looked at the woman in response but kept quiet.
“I think they’re right in that it’s too early to call it an evening!” Nene said as she stretched her arms. “Maybe we should go to a bar and hang out a bit when Sylia finally – ”
At that moment, two long arms wrapped themselves around her waist as she was hugged from behind. Nene let out a squeal of surprise as she reflexively stomped on her attacker’s foot and then spun and kicked him in the crotch. A loud “thunk” was heard at the contact.
“OWWW!” Nene hopped around in pain as she clutched her foot. She then looked down at whom her attacker was. “MACKEY?!”
Dressed in a suit and tie, her taller and older boyfriend was collapsed on the ground, clutching his privates in agony.
Even though she was thrilled, a concerned Nana tried to tend to her daughter as she asked, “Nene, what happened to your foot?!”
“I think she kicked his belt buckle,” Priss commented dryly. “Or something similar.”
Standing nearby, Sylia pressed her fingertips to the bridge of her nose and sighed.
* * * * *
A Little Later…
Lisa took a sip of sake and said with a chuckle, “Well, you were certainly right about Sylia being a little different.”
Linna giggled from her seat across the booth. “She’s definitely one in a billion. Do you like her?”
She nodded. “She’s extremely intelligent and charismatic. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s drop-dead beautiful to boot.”
“I think the same, too.”
“And Priss was certainly an eyeful tonight. I almost didn’t recognize her.”
Linna’s smile faltered a bit as she murmured, “That was definitely unexpected. I feel like I should be surprised too, but ever since she’s been staying at Sylia’s, she’s… different.”
“Is that bad?” Lisa asked carefully.
She blushed and shook her head. “I think I’m just a little stunned. I mean, I had heard she and Sylia were getting involved romantically. And I couldn’t believe it until I saw them tonight. It’s kind of bringing closure to some things for me regarding… past things with Priss. That’s all…”
Lisa didn’t say anything as she stared down at her cup.
Linna watched her for a moment. She reached over and took Lisa’s hand. “Hey, are you available to go to a hot spring next weekend?”
Surprised, Lisa looked up and broke out into a soft smile. “If I’m not, I’ll make myself available…”
* * * * *
Drying her hair with a towel, Priss collapsed on the couch, glad to be dressed in jeans and a tank top and free of make-up and hairspray. She had her braces nearby in case Nana should reappear from spending some quality time with Nene and Mackey at a bar.
Sylia appeared from the stairs, dressed in her bathrobe. She paused at the sight of Priss and said, “Would you like something to drink?”
“A beer. But only if you really are going to allow me to drink it,” Priss replied. “I have to hand it to you. You’ve proven that you really are the queen of mind games.”
“Coming from you, I’ll consider that a compliment,” Sylia remarked as she walked towards the bar.
“Did you know Mackey would emerge tonight?”
She shook her head as she pulled out a bottle of beer from the mini-fridge. “It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.”
There was a moment of silence as Sylia fixed her own drink.
“So, what did you think of Vanette?” Priss asked softly.
Sylia remained quiet as she brought both drinks over and sat down on the couch with Priss. She finally said, “I like her. I think she would be good for Linna.”
Taking her beer, Priss frowned slightly. “So, does that mean you believe her little speech about respecting our privacy?”
Priss snorted but said nothing as she opened the bottle.
Sylia arched her eyebrow and said, “You’ve got to learn to be more trusting of people, Priss.”
“That’s rich coming from you.”
“So does that mean it’s any less valid? Didn’t Linna basically say the same thing?” she countered, her tone very mild. Then she took a deep breath and said, “I would’ve thought that you would have listened to her, of all people. But I guess I was wrong about you two. Or perhaps it was just because you two were discussing Lisa.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?!” Priss demanded with a glare.
Sylia merely smiled back and took a sip from her glass.
Priss narrowed her eyes at her and said, “Why did you kiss Linna back then? Were you just taking advantage of the fact that she was unsure of herself?
“She was already headed down that path. I just made it clearer for her. After all, she kissed me back, and quite well at that.”
Priss reddened and took a sip of beer. She stared ahead and muttered, “Then why did you stop when you got as far as you did with her?”
Sylia broke out into a very pleased smirk. “Linna didn’t tell you?”
Priss shook her head. “She just said you wanted to remain faithful to Nigel. I just want to know if that was your real reason.”
“I knew she really wanted someone else… And I think it’s incredibly ironic timing that the person in question would mutter her name in her sleep years later.”
As the words sunk in, Priss’s eyes widened as the blood drained out of her face.
She looked at Sylia and demanded, “Is that true?!”
Sylia stared back at her with her mild smirk. After a pause, she stated, “I’m lying.”
The two women stared at each other for another moment.
Priss then took a long swig of beer, emptying the bottle. She slammed it down on the table and stood. With quick strides, she ran up the stairs.
Sylia settled back on the couch and took another sip of her drink as she stared out at the Tokyo night sky. She wasn’t at all surprised when minutes later, Priss rushed down the stairs with her boots and jacket on, disappearing into the elevator.
In the new silence, Sylia smiled to herself.
— End Chapter 45 —
* * *
Saturday Late Night, November 19th
Even though she had unlocked the door, Priss stood outside in the hallway with her hand on the knob. She pressed her forehead against the wood and took a deep breath. After a pause, she turned the knob and pulled the door open.
Priss was still holding her breath when she flicked on the light, her gaze focused on the floor. When she saw only familiar shoes before her, she finally felt herself breathe again.
But then she found herself frozen at the sight of Linna’s slippered feet before her. She looked up to find her roommate dressed in pajamas and poised to attack a would-be burglar with a guitar.
The women stared at each other for a moment of stunned silence.
Then it sunk in on Priss just whose guitar Linna had almost used to hit her.
“What the hell are you doing?!” she snarled as she seized her prized possession.
“It was the handiest thing that I could grab!” Linna declared defensively.
“Then use a vase next time! Or one of your computer books!” the other woman snarled as she stormed into the apartment to put her guitar back on its stand in the living room.
Closing the front door, Linna was more distracted by something else. “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be in a brace or two?”
“I’m boomer-healed,” Priss answered briskly. “It’s too complicated for anyone but Sylia or Nene to explain…. So Vanette didn’t stay the night?”
Linna blinked and blushed. “Um, no. We called it a night after hanging out for another hour. But we’re making plans to go away together next weekend.”
Priss straightened and stared at her for a moment. She then said softly, “It sounds like things are going well for you two.”
“Um, yeah, it does,” Linna said with a shrug as she sat down on the arm of the couch. She swallowed and forced a smile, “By the way, congratulations on you and Sylia. You two make an incredible couple.”
Priss narrowed her eyes and frowned. “What makes us so incredible?”
Linna blinked in surprise at the question. “Well, I admit I didn’t believe the rumor until I saw you two interact tonight. You’ve changed so much in the past week.”
Now Priss looked surprised. “I have?”
Her best friend nodded and explained, “I was afraid that you were going through a depression after everything that happened with Leon and Sylvie. And I admit I didn’t know how to pull you out of it, so I just waited to see if you somehow wanted my help, even though I had never felt more helpless. But when I saw you tonight, you had your old fire back in your eyes.” She paused and shrugged sheepishly, “I’m glad but I have to admit there’s a part of me that’s just a little jealous that Sylia was able to do something I couldn’t.”
Priss pressed her hand against her chest for a moment. She took a strengthening breath and said, “It’s not, um, true. About me and Sylia. It’s all a charade to keep Nana from asking too many questions.”
Linna simply stared at her in response, her face devoid of expression.
“At first it was a joke Sylia played without telling me,” Priss explained, her tone a bit anxious and rushed. “And I – I was pissed when I found out but then I realized that playing along was probably the best thing. For while Nana was staying here, anyway.”
After another long pause, Linna’s gaze dropped to the ground. She finally cleared her throat. “Well,” she said with a soft, shaky voice, “I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, you never officially told me about Leon either. It’s times like these that I feel like being your friend is just something for your convenience.”
Linna immediately stood and rushed to her room.
“Wait!” a reddening Priss called after her, “Where are you going?!”
Linna stopped at her doorway and looked at Priss with angry tears in her eyes, “I’m going to bed! It’s late and I’m tired. Good night!”
It wasn’t until the door slammed shut that Priss finally moved. She knocked on the door. “Look, Linna, I’m really sorry about this. It was my call not to tell you because I didn’t think you could lie well enough to fool Nana or Vanette!”
“Her name is Lisa!” Linna’s voice yelled through the door. “And good night!”
Now angry, Priss tried to open the locked door as she yelled, “Look, I said I’m sorry! And we’re not done talking yet, damnit! Let me in!”
Taking advantage of the fact that she was still wearing her boots, Priss kicked the door in, to find a startled Linna sitting on the edge of the bed, blowing her nose with tissue.
“Are you insane?!” a now very angry Linna blurted as she jumped to her feet. “Get out!”
She rushed over and tried to push Priss backwards, but the singer clung to the doorframe.
“I’m not leaving until we finish this!” she blurted angrily as she struggled to keep her ground.
It was then Linna finally smelled the beer on Priss’s breath. “Oh my God! You’re drunk! I definitely don’t want to talk to you now!”
“You don’t have a choice!”
“I certainly do!” Linna yelled back, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I’m not going to come when you snap your fingers anymore! I’m tired of being your fool!”
A pounding on the wall showed that a neighbor was less than pleased at the commotion at the late hour.
“Knock it off!” Priss yelled angrily at the wall. “This is the first time we’ve made this much noise! Do it again and I’ll come kick your ass!”
The neighbor had clearly heard since the pounding stopped.
Not wanting this to escalate into a call to the police, Linna threw up her hands and sat down on the edge of the bed. She grabbed another tissue and blew her nose. She stared at Priss and said evenly, “Why are you even here? Shouldn’t you be back at the Silky Doll so Sylia can feel you up in front of Nana?”
Priss winced and wearily leaned against the doorway. “Look, I am so very very sorry about that. But that’s not why I’m here….” Priss opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. She cleared her throat and tried again, forcing the words out. “Sylia and I were talking tonight. And the subject of your make-out session with her came up. She told me why you didn’t -”
“Stop right there!” Linna blurted. She jumped from the bed again and tried again to push Priss out. “That’s old news! Now get out and let me sleep!”
Priss braced herself against the doorway again and stated stubbornly, “I’m not leaving until you tell me what’s true!”
With new tears streaming down her face, Linna clenched her fists and said, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to hit you!”
Priss looked at the warning fist and then into Linna’s eyes. She didn’t move but she relaxed her stance. “Go ahead.”
Linna stared back at the passive and waiting face before her. She dropped her gaze and took a step back, relaxing her hands at her sides.
To her amazement, she saw Priss’s feet step backwards and the door close behind her. Linna wiped the tears from her face and wearily pressed her forehead against the door.
“Why didn’t you say anything before?” Priss softly asked from the other side. “About your… feelings for me?”
Startled at the question, Linna couldn’t answer right away, feeling dread and turmoil churn through her chest.
She finally cleared her throat and answered, “By the time I figured out how I felt, you were already starting things with Leon. What was I supposed to do then? And when Galatea was all over, you went off with Leon. When you came back, Sylvie came into the picture… But I’ll admit that after all that, the most jealousy I felt was when I saw you and Sylia together tonight.”
“But you were with Va – Lisa. Are you saying you don’t have feelings for her?”
“No!” Linna declared immediately, but then caught herself. “I do have feelings for her… But I have to admit I’ve been holding a part of myself back. And it wasn’t until I thought you had moved on to Sylia that I was finally free to give Lisa an honest chance.”
There was a long pause that followed, so long that Linna wondered if Priss was still on the other side.
Finally, Priss asked softly through the wood, “Is it too late for me to ask for an honest chance? I’m not telling you to dump Lisa. But give me a chance to make my case before you make up your mind…. Please?”
Linna could feel her heart pounding so hard that her entire body rattled. Feeling as if she was on autopilot, she swallowed and stepped back. She pulled at the broken handle, revealing an anxious Priss on the other side.
A look of relief appeared across the singer’s face, and then immediately gave way to nerves and awkwardness. With a shaky hand, she reached over and began to wipe the tears away from the cheeks before her.
Linna stood passively as she felt the unfamiliar caress, her gaze off to the side and her breaths coming in ragged pants. However, as Priss hugged her, she finally felt herself relax, relishing the touch and scent from a dream she had thought long since buried.
— End Chapter 46 —
* * *
Sunday Morning, November 20th
Nana walked into the dining room to find Sylia already fully dressed and eating her breakfast while reading the newspaper.
Sylia looked up and gave her a genuine smile. “Good morning, Nana.”
“Good morning, Sylia,” The older woman blinked at the empty chair on the other end of the table as she sat down. “Is Priss sleeping in?”
Her hostess shook her head. “No, I believe she’s out on an errand. She could be coming back at any moment. When did you finally get home last night?”
“Not until one, I’m afraid,” Nana responded while trying to suppress a yawn. “But it was time well-spent. I can’t believe how much Mackey has changed since last I saw him when Nene brought him home about three years ago.”
“Well, he did go through a growth spurt recently,” Sylia commented with a smirk.
“But he’s so handsome, and I’m glad to see that he clearly adores Ne-chan. They make such a darling couple!”
Henderson appeared from the kitchen door, carrying a pot of coffee. “Ah, Mistress Romanova, what may I get you this morning?”
Nana asked for some toast and marmalade. Taking a sip from her fresh cup of coffee, she asked, “So, Sylia, what are you up to today?”
“Working in the store. And you?”
“Ne-chan and Mackey want to do some tourist things with me today. I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Sylia smiled. “Glad to hear that.”
* * * * *
Nene’s eyes fluttered open and she looked up at the unfamiliar but handsome face staring down at her. Then he smiled at her and recognition fell into place and she smiled back.
Mackey sat up on the futon mattress, ignoring the fact that his hair and clothes were quite rumpled.
Nene stretched and then glanced down at her own dress which had substituted for her nightgown for the previous night. “Wow, I can’t believe I slept so well in something I was barely comfortable wearing at dinner.”
“Tell me about it. At least I took off the tie,” Mackey murmured. “Sylia practically wrestled me into it. I didn’t want to wear a monkey suit after being in a sensory deprivation tank for a few weeks.”
“Oh, um, sorry about the greeting,” Nene said with a blush as she looked at the large bruise on her shin.
He chuckled and said, “It’s what I deserve for surprising a cop and a Knight Saber.”
Nene laughed and rolled over and snuggled against him.
Mackey was startled but then smiled as he wrapped his arms around her. “Miss me that much, did you? You weren’t this affectionate before. – I mean, not that you weren’t. But – ”
“I know what you mean,” Nene interrupted softly. “I admit that when you had your fifteen-year old shell, I always felt a little uncomfortable being physically affectionate with you.”
“And now that I look twenty years old?”
She grinned with a blush. “I think you’re actually kinda sexy.”
He grinned back and said, “Enough that you want to get married?”
Nene blinked in surprise but then tackled him with a huggle as she declared, “I think that’s quite possible!”
* * * * *
Linna stood out on the balcony and stared out at the neighborhood below her in its Sunday morning laziness. With her phone clutched in her hand, she had been dreading making the necessary call, knowing that the earlier she called, the greater the chance that she would talk to Lisa live.
She finally took a deep breath and started dialing.
Sure enough, Lisa answered. Dressed in her own pajamas and stretched out on her futon, she appeared quite awake with the tip of a cat’s ear at the corner of the screen. She broke out into a surprised but happy smile. “Hi. What’s up?”
Linna gave her a pleased smile but then remembered why she was calling, causing her expression to fade. “Hi, um, I need to tell you that I – something came up last night.”
“Oh?” Lisa responded, already concerned by the change in Linna’s demeanor.
“Well, it means that I shouldn’t commit to going away with you next weekend. And in fact, we need to talk about this before we make any new plans together.”
Lisa was quiet for a moment and then asked, “Are you saying that you don’t want to?”
“No, no! I really do!” Linna insisted. She paused and frowned to herself. “You might not though. As I said, we need to talk about it. And I’d like to do it in person.”
“Oh, okay,” Lisa said, reaching for her datapad nearby. “I’m doing family visits today. But I’m open for dinner as early as Tuesday. Unless you feel we need to talk sooner.”
“Tuesday’s fine. It’s not that urgent, I don’t think.”
“Tuesday it is, then… And, Linna,” Lisa added softly, “everything will be all right.”
Linna nodded and they ended the call.
Now alone again, Linna folded her arms on the railing and buried her face in them as she let out a deep sigh.
* * * * *
Priss stood on the pier and watched the rolling waves across the top of the bay. She had her hand pressed against her chest, feeling the rhythm of her heartbeat.
While there was a part of her that definitely felt like she had conquered the world, there was a nagging uncertainty and fear churning within as well. It created an emotional and mental buzz, a restlessness that felt as good as it felt dangerous. It was this combination that was an addiction she was glad to have back.
She pulled out her phone and punched a pre-programmed number.
She wasn’t at all surprised to get the message service.
She stated loudly into the phone, “Maxon, you better get your ass out of bed and be at the storage place by noon or you’re out of the band.”
She hung up and left the exact same messages for her two other band mates, knowing that all three men were probably trying to recover from too much partying the night before.
Priss then returned her attention to the waves before her, the slightest hint of a smile curling her lips.
— The End Chapter 47 —
— The end of Part 4 —