ACT 1: MOTHS BURN IN THE CANDLE'S FLAMES
Grace was bored.
It had been five whole days since she started working at the pastry shop, and yet they barely had any customers. She would have been more than happy to waste some time by snuggling with her crush, but at the moment they were still just friendly acquaintances at best. She still had a long way to go.
"...Is business always this slow?" Grace asked, shifting her attention over to Riley.
The statuesque blonde shrugged her shoulders. "Usually, but sometimes we get alot of customers in a single day if we're lucky. This place already has a bit of a bad reputation, since it was once used as a gang hideout. Some claim that the drugs they used to smuggle are still stashed somewhere within the very walls of this building..."
"Oh, dear. That's, uh, kinda bad..." Grace winced.
"Yeah, and there's even a small rumor going around that the drugs are being used in the pastries to enhance their flavor and texture in an attempt to outdo the competition..."
Suddenly, Damien poked his sweat-covered face through the kitchen door. "You talkin' about the drugs again, Riley?"
Riley hesitated for a moment. "Err...yes?"
"Oh, okay," Damien's eyes glanced left to right in a nervous fashion, "I just wanted to make sure...carry on with your bad selves." he then ducked back into the kitchen without another word, leaving both Grace and Riley thoroughly confused.
"Anyway," Grace decided to continue their conversation after a few minutes of silence, "Since there doesn't seem to be any customers today, do we really have to stay here?"
"Of course not! What if a customer comes while we're away?!" Riley cried back, giving Grace an incredulous look.
Grace just rolled her eyes and sighed, replying, "Sorry, sorry...geez..."
The two girls stared distantly in opposite directions for about half an hour. Riley had her arms crossed, while Grace was playing with a dangling lock of her hair. They were both feeling incredibly spiritless, but they weren't willing to do anything about it. Suddenly, while looking around the room, Grace had an idea to alleviate their boredom.
"Yeah? What is it, Grace?"
"...What's up with that weird-looking door over there?" Grace raised her hand and pointed over to the small metal door located off in the upper-right corner. This was the first time she had ever taken notice of it. Riley immediately tensed up when she saw what the shorter girl was talking about. She nervously gave her shirt collar a tug.
"Umm...the manager says we're not supposed to go in there, Grace," she replied.
"Why the hell should that whipped-cream-snorting fatass decide what we should and shouldn't do, anyway?!" Grace snapped, slamming her knuckles on the counter, "We have nothing better to do right now, so take what you can get...!"
"We don't have the key to open the door..."
Grace smirked mischievously. "Didn't you once say that the manager entrusted you with the master key? It's supposed to be able to open all of the doors in this building...including that delightfully ominous metal one tucked away in the corner over there...isn't that right?"
"Uh...y-yeah..." Riley gulped; she had hoped Grace would have forgotten about the master key. She could practically feel the girl's beautiful azure-blue eyes singe the very center of her soul.
"Then what's the hold-up, girl?!"
"I went down there before...it's j-just the b-basement...there's n-nothing there..." Riley appeared visibly shaken as she spoke, which made Grace all the more curious about whatever was concealed behind that door. With a speedy swipe of her hand, Grace reached into the pocket of Riley's apron and took out the master key. Riley's mouth fell agape in utter shock at the girl's unnatural agility. Had she once been a pick-pocket in the past?
"Let's go, Riley!! There's nothing to be afraid of!"
The steel-enforced door let out a loud squeak as Grace gently pushed it open. She gasped.
The creaky steps of a wooden staircase began at the foot of the door, and it descended into inky-black darkness. Particles of dust lingered heavily in the air, and there was a strong, wretched stench drifting up from somewhere deep within the cellar. Spiderwebs and rotting insect carcasses covered nearly every inch of the ceiling.
All of the color drained from Riley's face when she heard the faint sound of a rat's tiny feet scurrying along the floor. "Eee..."
Grace reached out and ran her hand along the brick wall, groping for a light-switch. Eventually, she found it, and the basement immediately filled with light. The cockroaches hastily ran for cover as the two girls slowly, gingerly walked down the stairs. The flimsy steps creaked underneath their feet. Riley kept close to Grace, her large breasts inadvertently rubbing against the shorter blonde's back. It gave Grace a major case of the goosebumps, the good kind, but she said nothing of it.
"Wow...this place is a total dump..."
What Grace said was no lie; The walls and floor were caked with dust and grime, and there were piles upon piles of wooden boxes just lying about in a disorganized manner. In a sad sort of way, it was very similar to the kitchen back upstairs. Grace could feel Riley's hot, shaky breath brushing against the nape of her neck. She liked it.
"Grace...I really think we should just head back upstairs...I don't like it down here at all..." Riley murmured quietly.
"C'mon, Riley," Grace rolled her eyes, "Don't be such a wuss...you're the biggest thing down here in terms of height!! You have nothing to be afraid of!"
Suddenly, there was a loud thump. Riley let out a scream and, without even thinking clearly, grabbed hold of her fellow employee and shoved the girl's head directly into the thin crevice between her bulging D-cup breasts. It was a tight squeeze, but Grace had never felt such excitement broiling up inside of her like this. Being a lowly B-cup herself, this was the first time that Grace had ever been in contact with such fluffy tits. A trail of blood slowly began to trickle out of Grace's left nostril; she never wanted this wonderful sensation to end, even if it was just an accident.
"...Ah!" When Riley finally realized what she was doing, she released Grace and brought her hands to her flushed face.
"Oh, I'm so sorry for doing that! I...I wasn't thinking straight! I'm sorry!!"
Grace had a dazed look in her eyes as she stood there, her posture slightly off-balance. She could still feel the comforting warmth of Riley's breasts on her brightly-colored cheeks. In fact, she was about to ask (albeit jokingly) to be held again when another booming thump interrupted her thoughts. Riley did not scream this time, but she turned around in the direction of the noise. What the two girls saw right then was the last thing they ever needed to see.
Standing atop a clump of fallen boxes was an incredibly large rat, much larger than any rat Riley or Grace had ever seen before. It had mangy gray fur all over its body, and round charcoal-black eyes the size of grapes. It was nibbling on what appeared to be a small chunk of eclair, holding it daintily between its sharp, pink fingers. Riley's teeth began to clatter as she and the rat continued to stare at one another. The rat dropped its food, and suddenly began making its way towards Riley. Seeing this as a way to possibly impress the tall girl with a small act of heroism, Grace decided to step in.
"YAAAH! GET OUT OF HERE, YOU MANGY LITTLE BASTARD!!" Grace picked up a small pebble by her feet and threw it directly at the rat's head. The rat shrieked in fear as expected, and quickly vanished into the shadows, the rock just barely grazing its left ear. Riley breathed a sigh of relief, pressing her hands against her ample bosom. Grace smirked proudly to herself.
"Th...Thank you so much, Grace...I just can't help but freeze up whenever I see that horrible rat...that's why I dislike coming down here so much. I'm pretty skilled at martial arts, but I always freak out when it comes to rodents!" Riley bashfully admitted with a weak grin. She was still shaking with fright over what had just happened.
"It's no problem at all!" Grace beamed. This little endeavor of hers had worked out perfectly; she had definitely scored a few points in Riley's book.
"I've been terribly afraid of rodents ever since I was a little girl..." Riley paused for a moment, thinking to herself, "...I saw some movie or something about giant rats taking over the world, but I can't remember for the life of me what it was called..."
"Huh." Grace couldn't think of anything more to say in reply but this.
"I'm kind of ashamed you had to see me act so pathetic like that," Riley's pale cheeks were overlapped with a pretty shade of pink. She nervously tugged on the hem of her apron. Grace couldn't help but grin at how adorable Riley truly was.
"Don't worry, it's fine." Grace waved it off.
Riley coughed into her fist, still blushing, and said, "Anyway...I think we should head back up; there's nothing interesting here, Grace."
The next day, an exterminator was brought in by Grace's request (she threatened Tony that she'd dump all the whipped cream down the drain), and Riley was finally able to breath easy again...
ACT 2: The Messenger From Hell And The Messenger From Heaven Clash
"Hey, Grace...mind if I ask something?"
"Huh? What is it, Riley?"
"...Why did you get a job here, at a pastry shop of all places, anyway?"
For a very brief moment, Grace's heart completely stopped. The broom she held tightly in between her hands crashed to the tiled floor with a loud thud. Her fair complexion became a deathly pale, and sweat slowly trickled down the sides of her face. Riley simply tilted her head slightly to the right, looking confused.
"You okay?" The tall girl inquired, her words laced with concern.
Grace gave a sharp nod, but was still unable to say a word. Her throat felt like it was on fire. There was no way she could tell Riley that she took this job solely for the reason of being close to her. Well, she could tell her, but not yet. Not until they were finally together.
Suddenly, as Grace continued to stammer helplessly, Damien came rushing out of the kitchen at a speed rather unnatural for someone who was usually so sluggish.
"D-Damien!!" Riley gasped.
"Grace," Damien grabbed ahold of Grace's sleeve and began pulling her into the kitchen, "Important phone call for you!"
"Huh? Why would they call directly to this place? I have a cell-"
"Just c'mon already! They say it's urgent!!"
Grace finally broke free of the raven-haired boy's mighty grip once they were alone in the kitchen together. Damien patted some dust off of his apron and sat down on a small stool. He stared intensely at his sweaty, calloused palms for several seconds before looking over at the bewildered Grace. The bright fluorescent lighting made it a tad difficult to see properly.
"...I thought you would have at least planned a fake answer to cover up the truth by now," he remarked out of the blue.
Grace's eyes nearly bulged out of her skull. "You...you..."
"Stop stammering already!" Damien rolled his eyes, and crossed his bony arms over his chest, "You're surprised I know the fact that you are infatuated with my fellow employee? Don't you remember how I mentioned on your first day at work that my gaydarcouldread your lustful intentions from a mile away? Well, it's true! I know that you got a job here so you could be with Riley!!"
Grace just stared straight ahead with a stupeified look on her face. Damien almost had the urge to smack his palm against his face out of sheer amazement at the girl's idiocy.
"...You're not going to tell her, are you?" Grace held her breath, afraid to hear Damien's response.
Much to her relief, Damien shook his head, sighing. "Of course not...that's something you two have to deal with. Not my problem."
"Huh? But...but you interjected to save me when I couldn't come up with a good excuse to explain why I took a job here..."
"Well, even someone like me couldn't simply stand by and watch you fail like that! I'm going to help you come up with a valid excuse to pass Riley's suspicions!!"
"That totally contradicts what you said just seconds ago-"
"BE QUIET AND LET ME THINK!"
Grace was taken aback by Damien's outburst, but she willingly remained silent as the strange boy pondered to himself. She swiftly sniffed her armpit to make sure the rancid smell pouring into her nostrils wasn't coming from her.
"You can just tell her that you took the job because you enjoy the scent of freshly-baked pastries...!" Damien suggested.
It was Grace's turn to sigh now. "How can I say that when not once have I ever smelled the scent of freshly-baked pastries in this dump?!"
"You're such a gay bitch..." Damien growled.
"And you're such an asexual emo!!!" Grace snapped back. She wasn't exactly in the best of moods at the moment.
"Can't you think of anything better?"
"How about...you're actually a member of a powerful organization of psychic warriors called the HiVEMiND, and you are working here as an alibi to hide the fact that you're investigating some mysterious occurrences that have taken place all over the city caused by the super computer that actually controls all of humanity-"
"Go to hell."
After several minutes of heated debate between the two, they finally settled on a good cover story.
Riley had just returned from using the restroom when she saw Grace and Damien standing at the counter, both of them grinning profusely. They looked like they were trying to hide something.
"Uh...hi, guys," Riley said. "Is everything alright? What was the call about, Grace?"
"Oh, it was nothing!! Nothing at all!" Grace chuckled rather loudly.
"Well, if it was nothing, then I guess you wouldn't mind if I asked again why it is you took a job here..."
Grace glanced over to Damien, who nodded back at her. It was time to put their plan into motion.
"Riley...the reason I took a job here...is because..." Grace took in a deep breath.
For some reason, Riley felt a sense of discomfort rise up within the pit of her stomach. She was afraid to hear the rest.
"You see...my mom was a very skilled chef, very popular but not well-known out of the general area. She passed away several years ago after choking on one of her very own original dishes. She was particularly talented in making pastries, and I wanted to try and learn the art of the trade myself by getting a job at a pastry shop, like this one...I want to make my mom proud while she's looking down at me from heaven..."
As Damien and Grace had expected, tears began to fill Riley's eyes. The shimmering orbs of water slowly trickled down the young woman's cheeks as she suddenly pulled Grace into a tight hug. Although the smaller blondeenjoyed getting to shove her face in between those luscious breasts again, it still knocked the breath out of her lungs. Damien smirked inwardly to himself; he hadn't felt this satisfied since he won the annual cosplay con last year for his Big Daddy outfit.
"Oh god...oh, Grace..." Riley whimpered softly, "I...I didn't know...I didn't know...oh lord, I'm so sorry for bringing up such painful memories...I'm so sorry, Grace...please...please forgive me..."
"It's...it's fine..." Grace breathed in Riley's scent; it was so incredibly intoxicating. She smelled like a cinnamon bun.
'I'm not doing this for you, Grace,' Damien thought calmly as he watched the two girls, 'I'm doing this for Riley's sake...she's my first friend, after all....she's the one who saved me...'
And thus, any incident involving Grace's true, perverted intentions for joining the pastry shop had been averted...
ACT 3: Inglorious Bitches And The Asexuals Who Stare At Goats
As far back as he could remember, Damien never recalled having a good life. The boys viciously beat on him, the girls made fun of him behind his back, and his father was constantly badgering him to settle down withsomedumb rich whore and start a family. His mother died of a massive blood clot when he was only two years old, so he's unable to form an image of her face in his mind even now. His father had destroyed all evidence of her existence in their house after she passed away, possibly out of being unable to accept her death. Nearly all of Damien's smiles were forced, and he experimented withmanytypes of drugs. He had even begun to contemplate suicide by the time he finished high school.
Damien might not have made it through the summer of 2008 had it not been for Riley...
"Hey...? You alright?"
Damien first met Riley while lying face-down in a trash heap in the back alley of the local arcade. A long, thin needle was dangling out of the side of his right arm, and his nose was bleeding profusely. He had no idea how he ended up there. The rain was pouring down hard, and with the street lamp's rays bouncing off of her back, along with the large white umbrella she held, the tall girl carried an almost ethereal presence. Damien could do nothing at that moment but stare at her, speechless with awe.
"Umm..." Riley gently chewed on her bottom lip, "Are you...okay?"
Damien tore the needle out of his arm, and carelessly tossed it over his shoulder. "Yeah...I'm...I'm fine..." He couldn't take his eyes off of this girl, but it definitely wasn't love at first sight. He was a hardcore asexual, after all.
"You look really trashed though, no pun intended." The girl chuckled. She had such a sweet, sweet laugh. Of course, Damien took no notice of this. Instead, he simply pushed himself up to his feet, and was about to walk away, when she stopped him. She pressed her palm against his chest; it sent a sharp chill flowing throughout his wet, lanky body. He didn't like being touched, but she just didn't get the hint from his pained facial expressions.
"You don't look too good," she said, "Why don't you come back to my place for a bit so you can get cleaned up? My name's Riley, by the way."
Damien raised an eyebrow in suspicion. "Huh? But...but I'm a total stranger...and a heroin addict, to boot! I'm not someone you should trust...g-got it?!"
"Heh...that's fine withme! You seem like a decent person. Besides, if you try anything, I'm more than capable of taking you down withafew quick jabs to your ribs!" The girl said it with a grin, but her words struck fear into Damien's heart. She wasn't joking around.
The long walk back to Riley's apartment was an awkward one, to say the least. Damien kept his eyes glued to his feet, trying to avoid making any eye contact with his apparent savior. Their shoulders touched several times, but that was about it. Riley was a bit surprised by this, though.
'Wow...he's probably the first guy I've ever met who hasn't stared at my boobs at least once...that's kind of a relief...' The blonde thought.
Upon reaching the blonde's room on the fifth floor of the old apartment building, the first thing Damien had to do was take a shower. The painful aching in his back muscles seemed to vanish the moment the steamy hot water splashed against his bare skin. He still had no idea what the hell he was doing, washing himself down in some stranger's bathroom. He could hear her walking past the door, and it was terribly unsettling for him. He was afraid this woman might actually be some kind of homicidal maniac or something. Just to be safe, he slipped on a condom as he dried himself off.
Stepping out of the bathroom, Damien was instantly hit by the heavenly scent of freshly brewed coffee.
"I hope you like your coffee black...I don't have any milk or anything..." Riley remarked with a half-hearted grin. Fortunately for Damien, he dared touch no other kind of coffee but black. He also listened to no other band but Korn or Nine Inch Nails, except that's a story for another day.
The two young adults sat in total silence for a good three minutes. Damien's eyes attempted to keep from matching with Riley's intense gaze as he casually sipped his drink. The coffee tasted like dirt, but he resided to keep that comment to himself. A stack of travel magazines sat neatly in the upper-right-hand corner of the small living room table, along with a copy of TIME magazine that featured a head-shot of Jay Leno on the front cover. The dirt-brown rug smelled very similar to cat nip.
"So...nice...uh, nice coffee...it's really good..."
"...Yeah...thanks...it's imported from Europe, apparently..."
"...It sure is..."
Damien suddenly remembered just what it was he wanted to ask. "Oh yeah, why did you bring me here?"
"What do you mean?" Riley placed her cup gently down on the table. She suddenly looked very weary.
"I mean...I'm just a drug junkie, like I told you back in the alleyway. Why are you helping me like this?!" Damien was getting excited.
"Well," Riley flashed a soft smile, as if she had all the answers to life's problems tucked away in her brain, "You remind me alot of my older brother..."
Damien took this chance to put down his own cup of putrid black liquid. "Your older brother?"
Riley nodded, saying, "Yeah...he looked alot like you...and he was a drug junkie like you too..."
Damien furrowed his brow; he didn't know what to say in response. Riley chuckled to herself; her eyes seemed to shimmer brightly in the light. She took in a deep breath before continuing to speak.
"He died two years ago. How old are you?"
"He was your age when he passed away, too...it's almost like you ARE him..."
For some reason, Damien felt a heavy wave of guilt crash down upon his head. This girl had helped him solely because he reminded her so much of her dead brother. It all made sense now. He was truly at a loss for words by this girl's amazing integrity.
"Also, I'm generally a very helpful person. I was just returning from the homeless shelter when I found you, to tell the truth..." Riley added in rather quickly. This statement forced Damien to do a double-take. The wave of guilt was immediately pulled back into the ocean of sympathy to be saved for another day. Damien sipped the coffee again, remembered that it tasted terrible, and cursed under his breath.
From that point on, Damien and Riley became very close friends. While Damien still took drugs to help ease his nerves every now and then, he no longer abused them irresponsibly thanks to Riley's help. Damien was also one of the few people Riley had confided in regarding her homosexuality. The raven-haired emowasgreatly relieved to learn this, so now he didn't have to fear about her flirting with him. She was his very first true friend.
Although at first Tony attempted to talk Riley into marrying his son, he eventually gave up on it after learning he was just wasting his time. As an apology, he offered her a part-time job at the small pastry shop he was planning on opening. Since she had no definite source of income at the time, Riley was more than happy to accept the job. There had been another employee working with the duo as well at the time, but she eventually quit due to what she had deemed as 'unfair working rights'.
A few months after that, Grace entered the shop for the first time...
ACT 4: A Lecture From The God Of Ambers
The day had started out like any other. Grace had decided to change things up a bit by wearing her hair in a pigtail, which Riley personally thought made the shorter blondelookeven more adorable than usual. Damien was cooped up in the kitchen as usual, as was Tony with sniffing whipped cream in his office. Only three customers had visited so far to make purchases, and they were all regulars. It just seemed like yet another boring old day at the bakery.
At least, it appeared to be that way for a little while.
"Grace?! Is that you...?!!"
A young woman, probably about 18 years old, suddenly came dashing through the front door. The massive amounts of blingshewore on her wrists and neck jingled loudly as she stormed up to the counter. She was a Latino girl, with light-brown skin and long, braided hair the color of charcoal. Her glossy lips reflected the beams of sunlight that poured in through the front window. She had large D-cup breasts and an incredibly thin waist.
"Oh fuck! S...Selena?!" Grace nearly choked on the cinnamon roll she was helping herself to.
"Grace!" The girl named Selena exclaimed, her face transfigured with joy, "Oh my god! It really IS you!! Oh, I think this is the first time I've seen you since we broke up! I've missed you so much!!"
Grace forced a weak grin. "Y-Yeah...heh heh...I'm GLAD to see you too...?"
"Oh, you're so cute when you're nervous...I just love the way your soft pink skin flushes so brightly like that...mmm..." Selena cooed softly. She had a hungry look in her eyes, as if she were staring down a potential meal.
Riley, who had been standing beside Grace the entire time, decided to interject. "Umm, excuse me, but just who are you, miss?"
Selena let out a shrill laugh, and replied, "Oh, you're Grace's fellow employee, I guess, right? Wow...you're really hot, too. You look like an incredibly handsome young man, but you're actually a woman! Damn...I bet having sex with you in bed would be like fucking a feral cat, huh? Ooh, I'm getting so wet just thinking about it...hold me, please!"
"Grace! Just who is this girl?!" Riley cried, both greatly disturbed and embarrassed by the girl's absurd comments.
"She's...she's my ex-girlfriend. Selena Antonez." The shorter blonde looked away as if ashamed. Selena was either too giddy or too thick-headed to notice the the distress on Grace's face. Riley sighed into her palm, feeling like today was going to be alot longer than she had expected.
"So, Grace...how've you been? I hope you've been thinking about me just as much as I've been thinking about you..."
"That's great!! Wonderful! I'm glad to hear you're well!" Selena suddenly cut Grace off, "I've been trying to live my life without you, baby, but it's just SO HARD...!"
"Oh...I'm s-sorry," Grace stammered back.
"You should be! I cry so hard every time I return home to OUR apartment and walk into OUR bedroom and see OUR bed completely empty...! I'm SOOO lonely! You even changed your cellphone number just so you wouldn't get my calls! That was really mean of you!! My life's been a living hell without you, baby!!"
"If you were really sorry you would come back to me!"
Riley was bewildered at what was happening right before her very eyes; Grace, who was usually so loud and headstrong, was having trouble just trying to form a sentence in front of this crazy, chattering bitch. In fact, she looked like she might actually start crying at any moment. Riley couldn't stand seeing a sweet, lovely young woman such as Grace being treated this way. It made her blood boil.
"Uh, will you excuse us for a moment?!"
Without even bothering to wait for Selena's reply, Riley grabbed Grace by the hand and pulled her into the kitchen. Damien was busy lighting a cigarette in the corner. He wanted nothing to do with the conflicting personal lives of his two lesbian friends.
Riley had to take several deep breaths before she could even begin to speak. Her fingernails dug into Grace's shoulders as she held the girl in position, their eyes unwavering from each other. Grace's beautiful eyes shimmered with tears. The silence needed to be broken at some point.
"Grace...are you okay?" Riley spoke in the softest whisper.
Grace shook her head wildly from side to side. "I...I can't go back out there...I can't face that woman again...I can't!"
"Grace," Riley gasped, "Why are you acting like this? I've never seen you look so...so vulnerable before! What did she do to you?!"
"She didn't do anything..." Grace mumbled.
"She must have done SOMETHING! You were almost about to burst into tears...!"
Grace shook her head again, saying, "It's all my fault. We had lived together for a while in the same apartment room as lovers, and we even once spoke about getting married, although I was really just joking around, except Selena took it seriously. She had actually set up the wedding reception by the time I found out. I definitely couldn't go through with it, especially since I was finding myself less and less emotionally attracted to her with every passing day. She kept trying to guilt me into doing it, but I just couldn't. I broke off all ties with her after a rather upsetting argument between us, and I had never felt so relieved to walk out of that door, to finally be away from her. I did everything I could so that she would be out of my life for good. I just get so upset thinking about her, and now that she's found me again...I...I just can't even look her in the eye..."
"Grace..." Riley had nearly every inclination to pull the weeping girl into a passionate, loving embrace, but all she could do was stand there, looking completely dumbfounded. Grace's face became twisted with anguish as tears rolled down her pale cheeks. That horrible woman out in front of the counter had actually made Grace cry.
There was no way Riley could ever forgive her for that.
"Grace...just wait here for a moment."
"Riley? What're you-"
Riley spun around on the ends of her heels and stormed out the door. Grace started to follow after her, but Damien suddenly grabbed her by the wrist.
"Don't." he whispered.
"But...Riley..." Grace had no idea what was going on.
"Whenever someone or something she really cares about is in pain, Riley...well, she becomes a completely different person," Damien explained. His cigarette, which was dangling out of the corner of his mouth, was still unlit.
Grace narrowed her eyes in disbelief. "...What?"
"Even someone like Riley can't simply stand by and be quiet all the time..."
"She also has a bit of an anger problem, so whenever she gets ticked off...she gets TICKED OFF."
"SHE DOES...?!!! I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED!"
"Neither would have I...until I accidentally made fun of the fact that she had recorded nearly every episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno..."
The resonating thump of Riley's fist slamming onto the counter-top could be heard throughout the entire bakery. Selena shrieked, her tiny, oval chocolate-brown eyes bulging wide. Never had the towering blonde felt such contempt towards another human being before. The muscles in her body tensed up, and her breathing grew heavy and uneven. The image of Grace weeping was thoroughly etched into her mind now.
"You...you...." Riley balled both of her hands into fists.
"Hey, where's my future wife? What'd you do with her?!" Selena snapped in an obnoxious, whiny voice, "I was busy talking to her when you so rudely interrupted us earlier-"
"SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU HEARTLESS BITCH!!!!"
Grace and Damien had exited the kitchen just in time to see Riley's fist collide with Selena's face. There was a loud crack, and a screech as the young woman was sent flying across the room with ease. Riley's hand was drenched in the blood that was flowing out of Selena's shattered nostrils. Her purse clattered to the floor, and its bulging contents poured out in every direction. Selena's head banged against the wall, and she slumped to the ground, twitching. Even Damien, who had witnessed Riley's hidden rage before, was amazed by the amount of power the blonde had put into that punch.
"Oh...oh my god...Riley..." Grace covered her mouth with her hands. Riley had a look in her eyes that Grace had never seen before. It was like...she was a totally different person. The insane grin she wore, and the way her eyes brightened up seeing Selena's crumpled body, made her appear more animal than human. There was no way that this beast was actually the sweet, timid Riley that Grace had fallen in love with.
Things only grew worse when Riley brought her bloodied hand up to her mouth, and began to lick it as if she were a cat. She smirked pleasantly at the taste of her victim's inner fluids. Grace let out a hollow gasp.
"Well," Damien blinked, "That's...that's new..."
Grace couldn't stand it anymore. She snatched up a muffin from off of the floor, and threw it at Riley's head. The pastry simply bounced off of Riley's neck, but it seemed to have fulfilled its purpose quite well. Riley blinked a few times before she realized just exactly what it was she was doing. She stared at Selena, then at Grace, then at her own hands, stained scarlet with the Latino girl's blood. The urge to vomit rose up from deep inside her.
"...Oh my god..."
The rest of the day passed by like a blur. The police were called in due to a passerby witnessing the attack, but the officer was bribed to keep quiet with an entire case of whipped cream. Riley and Grace had a very long talk, most of it being Riley sobbing loudly and apologizing, but Grace was very thankful for what Riley did, even if it was a bit too much. The two girls were even closer now than ever before. Damien stayed by Selena's side as instructed, and took her back home before she had a chance to remember everything that had just happened.
The next day, Selena returned to the bakery, but this time she asked for Damien's hand in marriage, to which he curtly refused. Apparently, she was actually bisexual.
ACT 5: The Golden Door Hidden Behind The Silver Lining
Riley let out a refreshed sigh as she pulled the now-empty bottle of Poland Spring Water away from her glistening, wet lips.
She was wearing a black T-shirt, a bright-blue leather jacket over it, light-brown jeans and a pair of brown unlaced shoes. Grace couldn't help but hungrily stare back at her from behind the counter, wetting her own lips with her tongue. She wanted to taste those lips, to squeeze those breasts, to tap that deliciously tight ass.
Life was just so unfair sometimes, the smaller blonde thought to herself.
"Do you REALLY have to take your break today, Riley...?"
The towering blonde chuckled sheepishly, genuinely apologetic for getting the day off. "Yeah...sorry...it's the boss's orders. He doesn't want to risk being accused of mistreating his employees again like last time with the girl who worked here before me...it was kind of a traumatic experience for him."
Oh...I see...I guess you really have to go, then..." Grace bowed her head slightly. She drooped her eyes and furrowed her brow just enough to make it appear as if she were about to weep.
"Ah! D-Don't worry," Riley quickly interjected, "I'll make sure to stop by here again later today to say 'hi'! I promise!"
Grace immediately perked up. "Thanks!!"
Damien, who had been listening in on the conversation the entire time from inside the kitchen, rolled his eyes. 'God...that Grace girl knows all the right ways to coerce Riley into doing things, like they're already dating or something...then again, that's not a very hard thing to accomplish...' he thought.
"See you guys later!" Riley waved good-bye as she walked out the door, leaving Grace feeling rather empty inside. The pastry shop suddenly seemed very cold and bleak.
"...I should have asked for her number or something. That way we can stay in contact more often..." Grace buried her head in her hands, sighing. She took out her cellphone and checked to see if she had any new messages; she had none.
Damien poked his head out from the kitchen. "Actually," he explained, "Riley doesn't have a cellphone."
"She doesn't?!! But...but even child molesters have cellphones! They usually use them to call up other child molesters or their future victims they met via the Internet, but still...!! Riley doesn't own a phone?!"
"Nope, she's never owned a cellphone before. She was never able to save up enough cash to purchase one."
Grace made sure to keep that little fact in mind for when Riley's birthday (May 8th) finally rolled around...
Riley's first stop for the day was at the local whorehouse in the residential downtown area, the 'Golden Showers'. She wasn't there to sell off her body, nor to buy a few hours of a STD-riddled prostitute's time. Her real reason for coming to this filthy brothel was to pay a personal visit to a close childhood friend of hers. Riley knew that she was the only true companion the poor girl even had anymore.
"Umm...excuse me, but...is...is Stephanie in today?" Riley asked meekly, unable to stare directly into the manager's misty hazel eyes. The manager, who was a rather rotund man with a wide forehead and a thin moustache, pulled out a small black book from his back pocket and flipped through it. His eyes calmly glanced up and down every page in search for the name of the aforementioned prostitute. Riley waited patiently.
"Ah, yeah..." the manager raised his head, and spoke in a soft tone, "I am very sorry, ma'am, but that specific employee of ours will only accept male clients. I can direct you to the LGBT whorehouse two blocks from here, if you'd like..."
"I'm only here to talk to her, not to have sex with her!" Riley snapped back, blushing heavily from head to toe.
The manager paused. "Oh...just go down that hall over there, and she'll most likely be in the third room to your right..."
"If she's busy with a client at the moment, please don't disrupt the flow...or you may join in if you wish to."
No matter how many times she had gone down this hallway before, Riley could never grow accustomed to it. It was a rather plain-looking corridor, with white wallpaper and dark-brown carpeting, obvious signs of wear and tear all over the place. She could clearly hear the loud thumping and moaning of voracious love-making coming from behind the locked doors. It made her feel slightly discomforted, but she continued to tread along regardless. Eventually, she arrived at the room where Stephanie was supposedly "working".
She waited a few minutes, and after a rather thin-looking Asian man stepped out of the room, Riley hastily shuffled inside. The room was completely dark except for a few rays of light that pierced through the tiny holes in the dirt-brown curtains. A young woman of about 23 years sat upright on the large bed that was located in the center of the room. She had short, curly red hair and large, DD-cup breasts. She was dressed in only a bra and panties. A long, thin cigarette was clenched tightly between her plump lips.
"Stephanie..." Riley called out to the woman with a soft whisper.
The buxom redhead immediately jumped to attention. "RILEY! IT'S YOU...!! YOU CAME JUST LIKE YOU SAID YOU WOULD!"
Despite being the older one, Stephanie was still at least a whole foot shorter than the towering blonde. Her azure-blue eyes sparkled with childish delight as she led Riley over to the bed for a place to sit. As usual with all of their prior meetings, Stephanie offered Riley a cigarette, to which she politely refused. After exchanging a few details on how things had been lately, the two women eventually decided to get down to business.
"You don't usually come and visit me at work like this, Riley." Stephanie pointed out jokingly, "I was pretty sure you despised places like this..."
"I do." Riley nodded her head.
"Then why come here? You know you can just call me up on my cell when I'm done with client and I'll meet up with you at the local coffee shop..."
Riley paused, unsure if she should really speak her mind. Then, she closed her eyes, and said, "...I'm in love with my fellow employee at the bakery."
"Ooooooooooh...!! Is this some puppy love, or wait, it isn't?! That is just so adorable, that I can barely contain myself! Riley, you are just too much! Too much!! So give me the goods, girl! Is she cute...or sexy...or both?! Tell me everything!" Stephanie still seemed to love gossip as much as ever. She wasn't any less hyper, either. Riley sighed.
Since this was Stephanie's first time hearing about Grace, Riley had to go and describe the shorter blonde in full detail. The more she spoke about Grace, the redder her face became. And the redder Riley's face became, the wider Stephanie's smile grew.
"You must really like this Grace girl, huh?" The redhead mused with a misty look in her eyes. She crossed her legs one over the other.
"I-I really do..." Riley bashfully brushed a few stray hairs out of her face.
"You even nearly knocked the girl's ex into a coma just to make her happy again..."
"Uh...yeah...that's not something I'm especially proud of..."
Stephanie snuffed out her cigarette by rubbing it against the sole of her shoe, and she threw it away into the nearby trashcan. "Riley, honey, if you're really in love with this girl...you should tell her. From what I've heard, it sounds like she really likes you back..."
"...You really think so?" Riley's face lit up.
"Yeah. Plus, she's a lesbian, too; you've got this thing in the bag, babe."
"I'm still too nervous to even try to bring up that sort of subject with her, though," Riley stared off into the distance, "I might come off as trying to rush things, you know?"
"Riley...I'm pretty sure she won't mind if you rush things a bit!" Stephanie giggled with a melancholic expression on her pale face.
"You can do it, Riley. You need to do it...for yourself."
"Stephanie...I...I still don't know..."
Her eyes suddenly swelling with tears, Stephanie jumped up and grasped tightly onto both of Riley's broad shoulders. Riley was caught completely off-guard by this abrupt motion.
"Listen to me right now, okay?! Don't let this chance for real, unconditional love slip on by, Riley, or else you'll regret it for the rest of your life!" she exclaimed as if issuing an order, "You'll regret it...just like I regret having turned down the request for my hand in marriage from the only man who ever truly gave a damn about me..."
Riley sniffled, close to weeping herself. "Oh...oh, Stephanie..."
"Riley...I know you can do this...you need to tell that girl that you love her...if you don't, I'll never forgive you! SHE...WILL...LOVE YOU!!!"
Stephanie's words echoed like thunder in Riley's ears. She was right; Stephanie was right, to be exact. Riley knew without a doubt that her feelings for Grace were as real as her own two hands in front of her, but she had been too afraid of being rejected to truly believe it before. She had been hurt once before by someone she thought she loved, and she never wanted it to happen again. But Grace...but Grace...she loved her for who she is, body and soul. Maybe she loved the body a bit more than soul, but in any case...Grace loved her.
Grace loved her. She loved Grace. It was so goddamn obvious. She wanted to laugh out loud at her own stupidity for never having noticed, but...there was no time to do so. She had to go straight back to the bakery, confront Grace, and tell her how she really felt. It was finally time to do it.
The short blonde spun around on her heel to see Riley standing in the bakery's doorway, hunched over as she tried to catch her breath. She had just ran all the way back from the whorehouse in a matter of less than half an hour, which was quite an impressive feat. Her feet felt like they would shatter apart if she took even so much as three more steps. Her face, usually a light pale, was as bright and shiny as a glistening wet tomato. Damien and Grace exchanged nervous glances; what was going on, they wondered.
"Riley, you're...you're back early!" Grace remarked with a forced grin.
"Grace..." Riley opened her arms and lunged towards Grace, eyes reflecting the look of shock frozen on her face. In a matter of seconds, her hands were gripped tightly around the astonished blonde's frame, wrapping herself around her like a serpentine goddess. She then leaned in, took a small breath, and locked her lips around Grace's in what was to be the best moment of her life. Grace merely mewed in response and gave way, her entire body going limp as her mind lapsed into a frail state of wonder and passion.
Damien immediately tore his eyes away from the scene, and watched in contemplative silence as a small man wearing a robe of white feathers walked past. It appeared to be wearing some sort of bird's skull over its face.
"Grace," Riley whispered in small, harsh breaths, "I...I love you..."
Grace's eyebrows knit closely together as she tried to keep the tears of joy from leaking out. "Oh Riley...I love you too..."
Riley smiled. Grace smiled. Damien thought he was going insane. Blonde hair brushed against blonde hair as the two girls embraced once more. It was like they were both floating effortlessly through the skies. They were high on each other's saliva, in a way. They just couldn't get enough of each other. Riley slid one hand up and ran her lithe fingers through Grace's soft locks. They were finally together.
'Geez...it took too damn long for this to happen...or was it too damn soon?' Damien pondered this as he stepped outside to help himself to a cigarette. The little man in feathered robes had vanished. This was not the first time the raven-haired man had seen such odd apparitions; he once even witnessed a naked man without a head walking past the store. Damien took another look at the two girls making out in front of the counter.
'Now what happens, I wonder...' Damien shrugged.
"Grace...will you...go out with me?"
"...Of course...of course I will, Riley..."
Their first date together was scheduled for later that very same day. It was the beginning of the rest of their lives.