Epilogue


A little after midnight, Whitley, stoned and shivering, followed a hiccupping Krysta inside from the porch to find Alicia sitting on the coffee table, painting her toenails. Krysta sighed. "Alicia, must you do that on the table?"

"Not mustly, but come on, it's the perfect height. Would you rather I put my foot on the table?"

"I respect that answer," Whitley said, sniggering as Krysta shot her a look of disapproval. 

Krysta seemed to let an entire argument quickly run its course in her head before sighing. "Do not make me *hic* regret this."

Whitley shrugged. "No promises."

"We do not make those around here. Now, please excuse me, I need to check my analytics." She emptied the wine bottle into her glass as she settled onto the couch with her laptop. 

Whitley stood awkwardly in the middle of the room as Krysta and Alicia worked quietly on their respective projects. "So, should I leave?"

"Do whatever you want," Alicia said. "You live here now."

Whitley took a moment to consider her options. "I'm going to order three pizzas."

"Order from Northshore Pizza Company. I'm not picky, but I like mushrooms. Krysta likes plain ol' cheese, but she'll be fine as long as it doesn't have meat."

"She a vegetarian?" Whitley said, pulling up the menu on her phone.

"No, she's just weird."

"I do not *hic* care for meat on pizza. What is wrong with that?"

"It's just weird.” Whitley said. "So, does seafood supreme count as vegetarian?"

Krysta groaned. "Not at all."

"Ugh, fine. I'll get one cheese. I was just starting to like you."

Whitley placed the order and lit a new joint, dropping the remains of the old one into the empty wine bottle on the coffee table. Pleasantly stoned, she found herself entranced by the size of Krysta's breasts, which filled most of the space between her laptop and her chin. Whitley also found herself glancing at the muscle-bound eccentric, painting emojis on her toenails. She searched her brain for something to break the cycle. "So, are there other house rules I should know about? Apparently, clothing is optional."

Krysta looked down to find her breast had slipped out of her robe again. "Shit," she muttered, spilling on herself as she stuffed it back in. "I apologize. I’m fond of this robe, but I am getting too big for it."

"Her boobs grew three sizes since I moved in," Alicia whispered loudly. "I checked her bra!"

"So, you're saying I could take my pants off right now and y'all would be cool?"

Krysta shrugged, but kept her focus on her laptop screen. "As long as you pay rent on time, keep the place *hic* reasonably clean, and respect our schedules, your business is your business."

"Nice. On that note, you mind if I crash here tonight? As baked as I am, I'm sure as hell not driving anywhere."

"Of course." Alicia said. "You can sleep in the webcam room."

"Why is it called the webcam room?"

"We film in there sometimes." Alicia said.

"Together or separately?"

"I mean, I've been saying we should try—"

"Separately." Krysta interjected, her tone strikingly sober. "Regardless, I can assure you the sheets are clean."

"The bed might be a little small for you, though," Alicia said, taking pictures of her toes. "It's only a full-size mattress and you are really big." 

Before Whitley could take issue with Alicia's phrasing, there was a knock at the door. "Pizza's here!" Alicia shouted.

"I got it," Whitley said, popping up from the couch. She answered the door, crouching slightly to fit in the door frame. 

"Jesus!" A young man shouted, up to Whitley before sputtering, "Oh! Hey, I-I'm sorry I just wasn't expecting—"

"What were you expecting?"

"Excuse me," Krysta said, tapping Whitley on the side and moving in front of her. She accepted the delivery, offering the driver a generous tip. "Thank you and have a *hic* good evening." 

"Y-you too!" the young man said. With his eyes fastened on Krysta and Whitley, he managed to turn at the last second so as not to trip down the porch steps. Whitley snagged two slices from the top box before Krysta had even shut the door. "Well, that was awkward." 

"We have a *hic* reputation among delivery drivers."

"Ah imahine," Whitley said, her mouth already stuffed with pizza. "Yo bih tihs."
 
"I do tip generously. Yes, sometimes they get monumental cleavage, other times they get Alicia—what are you doing?"

Whitley turned in time to see Alicia hurdling the coffee table and plopping down onto the couch. "Don't worry about it! Get that pizza over here!"

"She is trying to sneak a picture of us," Krysta said, sitting down. "Because we are both wasted and less likely to *hic* protest."

Whitley cursed when she dropped a slice on the carpet. "Hurry up then, so I can keep eating."

"Already done," Alicia said, darting back over to check the results. "Eh, this'll do."

Whitley tilted her head, peering at Alicia through reddening eyes. "What're you gonna use that picture for?"

"Cliffhanger!"

"What does that mean?" Whitley said.

"It's a get-to-know-you game and I don't care what Krysta says, we are playing it right now."

Krysta sighed. "You tell a story about yourself that ends on a cliffhanger."

Whitley retrieved another pizza slice. "Example?"

Krysta took a sip of wine as she thought for a moment. "Okay, I paid the down payment of this house with College Jeopardy prize money. The episodes never aired on TV for *hic* reasons."

"What kind of 'reasons'?"

"Cliffhanger," Krysta said, with a grin.

"She still hasn't told me," Alicia said, pouting.

"Okay," Whitley said. "How 'bout you, Muscles?"

Alicia drummed her fingers on her face. "Ooh, you'll have to give me a sec."

"That's cool. I think I have one. I lost my mom when I was in eighth grade, but I honestly wish it had been my Dad." Whitley grabbed another slice of pizza, then noticed the two of them staring at her in stunned silence. 

"Holy shit!" Alicia said.

Krysta frowned. "That is kind of messed up. My mom has *hic* gotten on my last nerve plenty of times, but I have never wished her dead."

Whitley pulled another slice from the box. "Y'all are crazy. I didn't say that."

"But you said you lost your mom," Alicia said.

"I did, to mandatory minimum sentencing for drug felonies. When people think of drug smugglers, it's always slimy dudes with sunglasses and too many buttons open on their shirt. In her case, it turns out an Italian women's volleyball club was moving cocaine like it was nobody's business...until it became AISE's business."

Alicia tugged on the cat ears of her hood. "What's that?"

"Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza *hic* Esterna. The Italian FBI." Krysta said. She finished her wine, set it down, and raised her hands. "College Jeopardy, bitches!"

"Anyways, she's been holed up in Regina Coeli in Rome for the last ten years. She's not a bad lady, but her ass definitely had it coming. It'll be at least another ten before I have a prayer of seeing her again." 

"That's crazy," Alicia said. "So, what's your beef with your dad?"

"Cliffhanger."

"Aaaaaahhhh!" Alicia shouted; her face scrunched with excitement. "You're too good!"

"I figured I screwed it all up by telling the story." Whitley paused. "Wow, I've never told that to anyone and I just blabbed to you two like it was nothing."

"We did ask for non-judgy," said Alicia.

Krysta patted Whitley on the leg. "This is a safe place," she slurred, drunkenness colliding with fatigue. A minute later, she was asleep, her head hanging forward as she drooled onto her cleavage. Alicia laid her down on the couch, tossed a blanket over her. 

Whitley chuckled. "Are you two close?"

Alicia shoved a pillow under Krysta's head. "Not exactly. We've lived together for a few years and she's even helped me at a con, but it's more a business relationship. Outside of online modelling, we don't have much in common, so we give each other as much space as possible while dealing with roommates who hate us. This is probably the most fun we've had together." 

"Coulda fooled me," Whitley said, her thoughts growing cloudy. "Yeah, I think living here's gonna be alright."

"So, we're 'coooool' then?" Alicia asked, with bouncy air quotes.

"Y'all don't bullshit. You're just you. I can definitely take that."

"I dunno. That one's always plotting something." Alicia pointed at Krysta who was snoring with both breasts hanging out of her robe. 

Whitley scoffed. "I'm not afraid."

"Why not?"

"First law of robotics. Anyways, I'm about to crash too. Don't suppose you'd carry me up to your smutty guest room?"

Alicia glowed with excitement. "Absolutely! But first, I have one more for you." 

"Whassat?" Whitley drawled, her eyes glazing over.

Alicia cleared her throat and raised a finger. "I'm the only one who's going to remember what happened to your pants."

Whitley looked down, her long bare legs stretching out below her. "Shit. When did I take off my pants?"

"Cliffhanger!"

"You suck," Whitley said, snickering as she drifted off.

◄#accomplishments