Eliza stood in the corner, watching the redhead walking through the rows of clothes as she shook her head.
“No… No… urg… not this one… how could mom put this here? Or lame’s becoming popular now? I’m sorry for the next generations,” Bianca murmured to herself
The girl held her impulse to ask why they were there. Again. I can’t hear her saying ‘buying clothes’ again. Her ‘isn’t this obvious? Can’t you tell?’ face is annoying as hell, Eliza thought, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath.
“Oh, this one looks interesting,” Eliza heard Bianca’s voice and opened her eyes. The redhead came to her with a smile and a dress in her hands. “Try this one.”
Eliza stared into Bianca’s eyes for a long time before sighing and turning her gaze to the dark green and strapless dress. “I don’t know…” Knowing how pushy the redhead was, the girl suppressed her immediate reply—no—and tried imagining her wearing the clothes. It won’t look good. “It’s not me…”
“Have you ever tried something like this before?” Bianca asked, tilting her head, her green eyes full of enthusiasm.
“For my fifteenth old birthday party,” she muttered. Bianca said nothing, just staring the girl. Under that gaze, Eliza sighed and accepted the dress. This was not how I imagined my day would be, she thought, walking to the dressing room.
When Eliza woke, she felt better than usual. Talking about my powers and about what had happened in the past few months to someone, even if it was Bianca, felt good. Still… maybe I should’ve hadn’t said that much. Though the redhead should hardly cause any trouble, for a moment the girl thought about skipping school. But when Eliza imagined her mother’s face, she gave up the idea. Mom and dad are working hard, she thought, getting out of the bed.
Her fears were unfounded, however. When she got to school, everything was just like any other day. The students whispered the same old rumors about her when they saw her and the teachers treated her as if she would have a meltdown at any moment.
Guess it’s… fine… maybe. It could mean Bianca is trustworthy. Or perhaps she’s up to something, Eliza considered. No matter if she’s planning something or not, I can’t hide in the bathroom all day. She headed to her classroom, but stopped at the door, her hands sweating. Why am I nervous? Eliza shook her head and entered.
Bianca wasn’t in the classroom. Guess she doesn’t come early. Come to think of it, I barely get in time, and I don’t remember seeing her before me. Eliza sat on her chair and rested her head on the desk, but instead of closing her eyes and resting, she paid attention. When she heard the door opening and a noise increase coming from the girls, she knew, even without looking, who was the newcomer.
If she talks to me right here, I wonder how much my reputation will go down? I bet people will say something like I’m blackmailing her for money for more drugs. What was it last time? Ah, cocaine, Eliza thought, turning her head towards the door. She was right. It was Bianca all right, but the redhead talked with her friends and sat in her seat, never once turning to Eliza.
Is she ignoring me? For some reason it annoyed her, but she suppressed her feelings. Breathing through her nose, Eliza closed her eyes. Instead of resting, however, the girl opened them almost right away and looked at the redhead.
Coincidence or not, Bianca glanced at Eliza at the same time. When their eyes met, the redhead smiled and turned back to her friends. I’m caring about her too much, she thought, clicking her tongue.
Before Eliza got even more annoyed, the redhead girl pointed down, so discreetly only she noticed. What’s she doing? Eliza wondered for a second, but when Bianca scratched her eye, she realized. Sighing, the girl focused her eyes on Bianca’s desk.
It became transparent and Eliza realized Bianca was pointing between her legs, tapping her thigh with a finger. Eliza breathed through her nose. If I do what she wants, then I’m letting she manipulate me….The idea did annoy her, but since her curiosity was bigger, she focused her eyes a little more. She blushed the instant the skirt became invisible, her vision going back to normal when she lost focused.
Bianca had written on the inside of her thigh. Meet me at the shopping mall for lunch. Damn it, Red. Wasn’t there a better way to ask me that? Eliza thought, her cheeks still burning. The worst was that the redhead noticed it, the sly smile appearing on her lips. Damn…
“It doesn't look good,” Eliza said through the curtains, turning around to look herself in the mirror. “I told you.”
“Let me see,” Bianca said, and barged in before an answer.
“Wait a minu—”
“What are you talking about? It looks great.” Bianca circled Eliza, humming in approval. “Yeah, I have good taste.”
Eliza sighed. “I know it’s hard, borderline impossible, but could stop with the self-compliment for a moment a get out? I'd like to change.”
“What's the matter?” Bianca showed her sly smile, to close to Eliza’s face. “We're both girls, so there’s no problem if you change with me in here… right?”
The girl looked the redhead from top to bottom, eyeing Bianca’s bosom twice before looking away. With a body like that, it's more like I'm a girl and you're a woman, she thought, but never voiced it. “For several reasons, it sounds like sarcasm when you say it.”
Bianca chuckled. “Fine, fine. Someday I’ll make you a woman too,” she whispered while looking Eliza in the eyes.
Don’t react, Eliza thought. Don’t let her know her jokes affect you. After a while without any reaction from her, the redhead sighed.
“But before that day, try this one.” She reached out her hand, grabbing another dress she had picked up and left outside the dressing room.
Eliza sighed in relief. When her racing heart was back to normal, she turned to the dress, ready so say anything to avoid trying any more clothes. But when she stared the clothes, the words of refuse and annoyance never left her mouth. Before she realized it, images of herself wearing the dress filled her mind. Without looking at Bianca, she accepted the clothes and waited until the smiling redhead got out of the dressing room.
I can't believe I'm doing this, she thought again, but before she could stop it, there was a smile on her lips this time. But I guess hanging out with her and doing this isn’t that bad. It’s better than staying home doing nothing.
“Oh,” Bianca exclaimed when Eliza pulled the curtain. The redhead seemed out of words, but she soon was back to normal, and beamed. “It looks—”
“You can start self-complimenting yourself. Even I must admit you deserve some,” Eliza interrupted Bianca, half-joking.
“I would do it without a second thought… if I deserve it. But you look too beautiful for me to start babbling about myself,” she said, showing a true smile.
The lack of hidden meaning behind the redhead’s action got Eliza off guard. She avoided looking Bianca in the eyes and looked down to hide her embarrassment. “This one is fine. Are you satisfied now?” Eliza mumbled, going back to the dressing room.
“For now, yes,” Bianca's voice came from the other side of the curtain.
“Huh? We’re not done yet?” Eliza asked in a muffled voice, talking off the dress and putting back her clothes.
“There’s still a lot for tonight,” Bianca said when the girl finished changing, waiting for her with the sly smile.
“A lot of what? And for what exactly? You still haven’t told me the reason for this.”
Bianca ignored Eliza, pulling the girl towards the register. “Come on, we have no time to waste!” she said, suddenly excited like a child.
She must've spent a small fortune, Eliza thought, looking at her new belongings spread over Bianca's bed. Well, a small fortune to me, that is. She glanced at Bianca’s purchase. What the redhead brought to her didn't compare to what she had bought for herself. I know she said I don’t have to pay, but... actually, I can't even pay if I wanted, but still, it’s too much.
It wasn't just clothes. Bianca also took Eliza to do her nails, bought earrings and heels and even a quick spa to, apparently, relax after a day of shopping. Guess this is what rich people do on daily basis. I wonder if I could do that every day?
After a few seconds imagining, Eliza shook her head. Even if I had the money, it would be too boring do this every week. Once or twice in a year is enough. She glanced at Bianca, sorting her purchases. I didn’t think Bianca would like this kind of stuff. It’s hard to imagine the girl who enjoys beating people up enjoying shopping every day like in the movies. But then again, I got the feeling she liked more having me as a doll than shopping itself. Guess part of the rich girl’s image is true.
Though it was interesting finding out more about the famous Bianca, there was something that did annoy Eliza. Every time she avoided saying why we were shopping and what she’s planning for today.
“It's a surprise,” Bianca said most of the times, making Eliza go between taking a deep breath or sighing.
I should've told her I hate surprises, Eliza thought, going to the bathroom. My life is too full of it after I got my power.
“Finally. I was beginning to think you’d ran away,” Bianca said with a smile when Eliza finished taking the shower.
“Sorry,” she said, looking down. “I like long showers… it clears my head.”
“I’m not complaining. Now sit here.” Bianca tapped the chair before the makeup dresser.
After all day with her, Eliza had given up sighing and just sat on the chair. “Are you finally gonna tell me the reason for all this?”
Bianca laughed. “I thought you were smarter than this. You should’ve realized by now we’re going to a party. All this is so I can bring out all the beauty in you and brag to the world.”
Eliza showed no reaction as the words sank in her. “Brag about what?” she finally asked something.
Bianca leaned closer. “That you’re all mine,” she whispered and then kissed Eliza on the cheek, staring Eliza in the eyes through the mirror, laughing with the girl’s embarrassment.
The girl ignored the redhead’s teasing. A party… She chuckled. Doesn’t sound so bad, she thought, letting Bianca do her hair as she pleased…
Eliza tried to say something as her eyes covered the room. It didn't have to be clever or sarcastic, just something that could show a little of the confusion the girl felt at the moment. But she had no words.
By her side, Bianca tried her best to hold the laugh, but as the girl pressed her lips, Eliza realized it was near impossible for the redhead.
"You can go ahead and laugh," Eliza said, embarrassed by the redhead's expression. It was starting to attract attention. Or maybe she just stands out too much. She eyed the room one more time. Some, both men and women, young and old, looked at them and then whispered something to the people around them. Others simply stared at Bianca as if she was the prettiest girl there. Eliza even saw some boys pushing each other, as if trying to gather courage to talk to the redhead. Yeah... she just stands out, she thought, sighing.
Her tired sigh was too much for Bianca. “You'd not believe the face you made. It was so funny,” the redhead said and then laughed. “It’s like you’ve never been to a party,” she added when she stopped laughing.
“I have been to parties, but after seeing this, I'm pretty sure what our definitions of party is worlds apart.”
Eliza eyed the room one more time. The party she was used too didn't have a banquet, or a band performing a live show. The people were neither in dresses, tuxedos, suits or had fine jewelry. At most, some of the more musicians of them played guitar while the others sung along. They wore from jeans to skirts and shorts, from blouses to t-shirts. And the most jewelry was earrings. It was just friends getting together to talk and maybe dance.
“This is more like the Oscar,” she mumbled.
Bianca chuckled. “It may be hard to believe it, but I get your point. It's too much for our town. But I think it’s expected, given our new mayor."
“Says the girl who hired a limo to bring us here…”
“That was because dad made me, since it’s dangerous… I’m serious… believe in me… stop looking me with those eyes,” Bianca added hastily under Eliza’s doubtful expression.
Eliza chuckled. “Sure, sure,” she said. “But anyway. What kind of party is this? You said it wasn’t a birthday nor any celebration.”
“It’s a bribe party,” Bianca said, uninterested.
Eliza waited, but the redhead didn’t seem inclined to say more. “What that’s supposed to mean?”
Bianca sighed. “It’s just as I said, unfortunately. Do you recognize some of the guests?”
The girl looked around one more time. “I feel like I recognize some faces, but can’t tell from where…”
“You should. All the town council members are here.”
Ah, now that you mention, Eliza thought. “So why is it a bribe party?”
“’cause our new mayor wants to approve the new budget, but he’s meeting some resistance—”
“So this is to convince them,” Eliza completed the redhead’s sentence.
Bianca nodded her head. “Yeah, but that’s not important.” I feel like it is kinda important, Eliza thought as the redhead’s eyes turned around the room. “So that’s your ex-boyfriend, huh?”
“You’re still on that…” Eliza looked at him too.
After Bianca greeted some and introduced Eliza, Bruno came to talk with them. Though there was no need, the girl introduced his ex-boyfriend to the redhead, who for some became more formal.
“What about him?”
“I don’t know. I thought you’d have more to say to him after so long,” the redhead said, twirling a lock of hair with a finger, never looking Eliza in the eyes.
“What did you expect me to do? He broke up with me after my sort of meltdown…”
“Is that all?”
“I’m glad he’s happy… especially after everything that happened.” Bianca hummed loudly. “What?”
“Nothing. It’s just that I didn’t think you were into older guys…”
“Older? Don’t be stupid. He’s just one year older than us.”
“And very popular. Everyone here seemed to know him. Guess having a famous dad helps.”
“That coming from you it’s a little…” Eliza chuckled when Bianca bit her lips and dropped her shoulders in defeat. “But it’s not only his dad. He’s a hard worker and a good person. He was one of the few who got top marks in the composing part of the national exam.” Before the girl realized it, there was a smile on her lips.
“Quite a catch,” Bianca mumbled, crossing her arms. “It sounds like you miss him…”
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.”
“Hey… do you want to get back together with him?”
“Why do you care?”
“Please,” Bianca whispered, looking Eliza in the eyes. “Tell me.”
Eliza noticed the redhead was pressing her lips and held her breath. After a moment of silence, Bianca gulped. The girl took a deep breath, and thought about her ex-boyfriend. “To be honest, I have thought about it. I mean, before everything, we were happy. I… I was in love with him.” Eliza blushed with her words. Bianca seemed to have something to say, but kept quiet. “I was in a pretty bad place when he broke up with me. When I was in rehab, he came to visit me a few times. We talked a lot, but not once about getting back together.”
“But you want to… right?”
“I don’t know. He was a big part of my life…” Bianca averted her gaze, but Eliza could swear she saw the redhead’s eyes watery. “But I don’t think I want to get back,” she added slowly.
Bianca looked back at her with a sudden interest. “Really? Do you really mean it?”
Eliza chuckled. I prefer this Bianca who gets happy out of nowhere like a kid, she thought, but never voiced it. “Yeah. He was a big part of my life… but that was then. I’m not the same person as I used to be. Not only my eyes, but…” she looked at the redhead and trailed off.
Bianca beamed. “I’m happy for that. If not, maybe we’d never have the chance to know each other.”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever,” she said, blushing and looking away. “Changing the topic. You said when we got here the party wasn’t the surprise.”
“Oh yeah.” Bianca opened her mouth and widened her eyes a little. Then a sly smile formed on her lips. “It’s probably starting soon.”
“So you’re still not telling me what is it?”
“Say, do you know how to play poker?”
“Good. Then this will be interesting with your unique ability…”
Eliza opened her mouth, but then she sighed, smiling. I can’t say it won’t…
Never in her life, not even in her wildest dream, had Eliza imagined she would end up playing poker against the mayor in a high society party. Let alone that she would have the chance to win more money than she had ever seen in her life.
Everyone else in the room watched as the unknown girl that the chief of police’s daughter had introduced them stared between the mayor and her cards. Everyone tried to be as quiet as they could; the conversations had died, the sounds of drinks had stopped. Everyone seemed to hold their breaths together as one. But instead of an awkward silence, tension and excitement filled the room.
The game had started with twelve people, including Bianca and Eliza. But after many hands and turns, only the mayor and Eliza still played. Even the redhead had dropped out after winning and losing a few times.
Eliza breathed slowly as she stared the mayor. The pile of chips before her eyes seemed tempting, but the girl knew better. The mayor had betted all he had and pushed his chips into the pile at the center, but he was no fool to bluff at this moment. At least that’s what I could tell from the game, she thought.
The girl had lost count of how many times she had done the same thing, but that didn’t stop her from holding her breath and focusing on the mayor’s hand. From her position and the way he held the cards, Eliza could only see three of his hand. A seven, an eight and a nine. All of the same suit…
Eliza turned her eyes to her own cards, the four ten in the pack and a two of spade. If he has a five and a six of hearts, I’ll lose. Damn it… if he moves his hands just a bit, I could see if he has a straight flush or not!
Only a few moments had passed since the mayor had betted all in, but to her, it felt like an eternity had passed. Though her breathing was calm and slow, Eliza sweated. But she never moved her hands to clean her brow.
The mayor’s a gambler. He tries to play safe, but when he see the chances for the big prize, he’ll start risking more, Eliza heard Bianca’s words once more. Even if you told me that, I can’t tell if he’s risking or not right now.
But I have to choose. To bet or not to bet.
With her heart pounding like crazy, Eliza pushed her pile to the center.
The time and air seemed to stop to the girl as the mayor lowered his cards onto the table.
When she saw the two and four of hearts he had, Eliza almost burst into laugh. Containing her urge, her heartbeats went wild as she showed her cards.
The room was still and then burst into applauses and cheers of happiness. Bianca ran to hug her, laughing louder than anyone else.
The mayor dropped his shoulders for a moment, but then raised his head with a smile. “You’re the first to beat me in a while,” he said in a cordial tone. “I’m impressed. Hope you’ll come for the next game.”
The next moments were like a dream to Eliza. After many congratulations, invitations for other games, inquires about her and her family, Bianca managed to pull her away from the others. When she realized it, she was at the back of the limo with the redhead by her side.
“That was way more awesome than I had imagined!” Bianca said.
Eliza finally seemed to awake. “My heart’s beating like crazy until now!”
“Mine too! I almost laughed when he better all in! And you made the part pretending to consider!”
“I didn’t pretend,” Eliza confessed, still smiling. “I couldn’t see all his cards.”
“What? So you betted all in without knowing you’d win?”
“Yeah. Even with my powers, it’s not like I’m all powerful.”
For an instant Eliza thought Bianca would get mad. I did gamble with all her money, she thought, somewhat guilty for not considering this at the time.
But the next instant, Bianca burst into laugh. “You’re more incredible than I thought!”
Eliza couldn’t help but smile too. But after the laugh died, the guilt filled the girl.
“Here,” she said, pushing almost all the money to Bianca.
Suddenly Bianca became serious. “What’s this?”
“The entry money, the dress and all the rest.”
Bianca took only a part of it, counting the notes until she had a thousand. Then she pushed everything back to Eliza.
“I told you it was all a birthday presents for you,” Bianca said, trying to dismiss the topic. “I just wished we could’ve met before. I’d have loved celebrating your birthday with you.”
“My birthday was over two months ago. And all this isn’t a normal present.”
“You’re not exactly normal. “Bianca turned to her and came closer, staring Eliza in the eyes. “You’re special.”
Eliza tried saying something, but the redhead caught her off guard. Her eyes are too beautiful, the thought crossed her head before she dismiss it. “You’re just changing the subject.”
“You found out?” Bianca chuckled. “But I mean it. Presents mean presents.”
“That much money…”
“It’s my money, so can spend it however I want,” Bianca said, pushing the money onto Eliza.
“Yeah. Didn’t I tell you? Ever since I turned eighteen, I’ve been earning my own money,” Bianca said. “Just so I could spend however I wanted without people giving me crap about it.”
Eliza opened her mouth, but then laughed. It sounds just like her, she thought and then turned her eyes to the pile of money on her lap. It must be over ten thousand here… I have no idea what to do with this much. With the topic about paying Bianca back over, suddenly Eliza felt guilty for the way she won.
At the beginning, she was somewhat against using her powers in the game. But, as she thought at the moment, and later the redhead said the same thing, her powers were a part of her. The supernatural part, but still me. But now that I think about it, it wasn’t right to use my eyes…
“Hey, I can tell what you’re thinking,” Bianca said, looking Eliza in the eyes. There was no smile on her lips this time. “If you’re guilty about the money, then use it for someone other than you.”
“Like whom? You?”
“Your parents,” she whispered.
Eliza widened her eyes. It hadn’t crossed her mind at all. If I use this, I can pay the loan for the rehab… mom and dad won’t have to work overtime anymore. The thought made her guilt go away. In fact, it put a smile on her face. It won’t be like before, but maybe those days before everything could come back.
“That’s a great idea, Bianca. Thanks,” Eliza said with a smile. The redhead blushed and looked away. The girl chuckled with the reaction, but suddenly stopped when she remembered something. “Hey, can you tell me why you sat oppose to me?”
“Isn’t that obvious? So you couldn’t use your powers against me. I wanted to win too, you know? But today wasn’t my day,” Bianca said, puffing her cheeks. Eliza laughed again. That’s cute. “At least it was your day. You won it. Not fair and square, but still counts.”
“It was awkward sitting between that guy and that woman. Every time they could, they’d start flirting. There was so much sexual tension between them I’m surprised they didn’t just go to the bathroom to have sex.”
“I could tell. I thought they’d start rubbing their groins you in the middle.”
Eliza laughed before she realized it. “I can’t believe I’m hearing something like this from you. You’re really too different from your image.”
Bianca tilted her head. “I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
“Me neither,” Eliza said, smiling. “It’s fun hanging out with you.”
Bianca beamed and jumped on the seat to hug Eliza. “Then let’s keep hanging out!”
Eliza chuckled. “Yeah, no problem.”