After five days of the royal treatment (after a fashion), Arana was starting to get antsy. After a week and a half, she’d piss her sudden roommates off by trying random things… like going for walks outside. Only to get dragged back and forced to sit down and usually eat something. After two weeks, her stir-craziness was making them crazy, and finally she couldn’t take it anymore.
“Christoph!” she yelled (as she and Svorak were Not Talking after her recent stint on the rocks). She stalked into the kitchen where he was poking around (well, the best she could), and frowned at him. “I need clothes. I cannot continue wearing yours or… his. We need to shop. I’m willing to take you with me, provided you don’t fret too much and treat me like a five-year-old.” She shifted, uncomfortably, then upon consideration, softened and added, “Please. I miss pants.”
Straightening up from his perusal of the fridge, the blond sighed taking in the sight of their friend. She did look a little ridiculous dressed only in a long short-sleeved shirt and a pair of socks, both of which were obviously too big for her. She probably misses having decent underwear as well.
Svorak had been adamant about keeping her around until she was completely healed, and while her bones were knitting at an amazing rate, the torn ligaments were taking an understandable time to mend. Then again, bed rest was never a good thing for muscles, nor the mind.
“We’re all going a little cabin-feverish,” he admitted. Svorak excluded as he was the only one out taking random jobs. “Hmm, get ready to go in five? I’ll call Tiger to let him know we’re out.” He flashed her a grin. “Sound good?”
She brightened. “Yes! I’m stealing your blue shorts by the way.” She smirked, winked and sashayed away.
“Steal as in for this adventure or literally for good?” he called after her anxiously. He liked those shorts…
“Relax, just the adventure,” she called back, followed by the sound of her going through drawers.
Shaking his head, the tall male stretched an arm out and snagged his phone. A few buttons later and he was listening to Svorak’s line connect.
“Svorak here, what’s up?”
“We’re going out!” the blond announced grandly.
“We? Out?” Tiger’s voice rose.
“Yes, me and the Lady are going out and buying unmentionables as well as mentionables,” Christoph supplied as he walked over to the bedroom and knocked on his own door. Leaning close to the door jamb, he spoke to the woman on the other side, “Can you grab me a shirt as well? Button down please.”
The lover on the line paused, and the chemist could almost hear the wheels ticking in his head. “Without me?” Svorak finally said.
The blond laughed.
“Hey, nice underwear. Do you ever bother wearing them though?” Arana asked through the door, and tugged it open. She had tightened up the over-sized shirt she wore, and put on his blue shorts. In one hand, she held a plain red button down shirt for him, and the other… Tweety Bird boxers. “Or are they his?”
“Oh definitely mine,” the tall man admitted. “Lover-boy is the one that owns the reptile paraphernalia.” Hearing the growling on the phone, he smirked and held out a hand for the shirt as he spoke into the phone. “No, you are not coming along. You are still sulking, remember?”
“Alright fine. But turn your GPS on; I want to know where you two are.”
“Besides, I’ll dump him into the ocean if he shows up,” Arana muttered darkly, stalking past the blond. “Let’s go!”
They eventually managed to find a decent clothes shop, and Arana was delighted to note that it had a booth to try things on. The first thing she looked into was a pair of pants. Into the booth she went, and then stepped out in said pants to show it off to Christoph. “Whaddya think, kiddo?”
The blond man sitting on the floor, leaning against a tall mirror tilted his head and pursed his lips. “I like the cut,” he nodded, “but I think you could go a little tighter. Maybe a size down?”
She looked down, and shrugged. “Let’s see,” she replied, and went back to the pants rack. She shifted through them, grabbed a couple different sizes, and started back for the mirror. But she paused, eyes caught by a pretty little red number on a hook. It was displayed, and a bit old-fashioned, but… She shook her head and returned to the changing booth.
“I think you’re right,” she said, stepping out in the new size.
But Christoph wasn’t there. In fact, he was several racks away, perusing the area where she had paused. Turning his head, he quirked a brow at the new pair of pants and nodded grinning. “Much better!” he called over to her.
Her brows lifted at his change of location, but what he was looking at was blocked by other racks. She shook her head. “I’m going to be getting them, then.” She turned back into the booth to change out of the pants. She’d get a few more in the same size.
When she emerged again, the male was back in the change-room area smiling slightly. “May want to grab a few tops as well,” he advised.
She snorted. “Duh.” She smiled at him to take the sting out, and moved over to the shirt racks and started going through them.
A few feet away from her, an attractive male with dark hair long enough to touch his belt turned towards her. His lips pulled into a smirk when his gaze landed on her. “Well, well, Arana Bella. Fancy meeting you here,” he drawled, letting long fingers trail away from the rack he was eying.
She blinked and turned, brows arching upwards. “Oh. Drai Nehn.” A frown followed. “And here I’d been having a pretty good day.”
“Ouch. That hurt,” Drai Nehn said, pressing a hand to his heart, reddish-brown eyes widening in mock pain.
And how likely is it for the Lady to have friends, hmm? Christoph mused as he watched the interaction with narrow eyes. The two mercenaries still hadn’t found Rookie and it rankled. It also raised suspicion on anyone who approached Arana. Rookie could have friends, allies. He definitely had an employer who had been cheated the death of a certain brunette.
Frowning slightly, the blond picked up a few of the discarded items and walked out onto the floor, slotting the pants into racks as he went.
“So what?” she snapped, frowning more.
Drai waved a hand. “Calm down, mm? So, you have a partner?” The Arab nodded to indicate the obviously observing blond.
Arana huffed. “No. He’s a friend.”
The tall Arab actually looked taken aback by that. “Your’s?” he scoffed. “But I thought Arana Bella doesn’t have friends? I thought they were just… oh what was the phrase you used…? Ah. ‘Deadweight baggage’. What happened to that, mm?”
The English woman scowled outright at him. “People change, kid.”
He laughed. “You don’t. Seven years, and not one extra wrinkle. How ‘bout that. Though you haven’t been sleeping again, by the looks of it.” He tapped his forehead. “I could take care of that for you.”
“And let you steal my victim again? Right.” But somehow, she looked almost tempted. “What do you want with me, boyo?”
“Was just saying hi,” he replied with a shrug.
The target flashed teeth, blew smoke, spouted half-threats, but from Lady’s reactions, the man seemed to be nothing but a rather sharp annoyance. The blond hummed and added the last pair of pants to a rack it actually belonged to. He stood for a moment, thumbing through the selection, noting the textures and stitching. Women’s clothing, so strange.
He blinked down at a simpering peroxide blonde at his side. “Hello,” he said amused.
“Do you work here? I’m trying to find a skirt.”
Drai eyed Arana, brows lifting when her eyes darted over toward her companion… and narrowed. Oh-ho-ho! Jealousy? Or protection? He couldn’t tell for sure, but he’d almost pegged the blond as a homosexual.
The brunette snatched up the shirts in her size and seemed to stomp all the way over to the changing booths. The Arab smirked and trailed after her curiously, eying the two blonds over by the rack with amusement.
Catching sight of Arana charging through the racks in his direction, Christoph could only smile a little wider. “Sorry, don’t work here. Though, the skirt section is over by that wall,” he told the young woman, pointing in the correct direction, which happened to be away from the encroaching storm. “Does that help?”
The girl in front of him shook her head, peering up at him with dark brown eyes with a shock of fried white bangs. “I think I need a male’s perspective,” she hedged, with a bright red smile.
Any male’s, apparently, the blond snorted mentally. His eyes flicked up over her head. Uh oh.
“Knock off, brat,” Arana snapped, stepping over and grabbing Christoph’s arm. “He’s taken.”
Drai Nehn stifled a snicker. Well, this was interesting. He couldn’t remember ever seeing Arana so… jealous.
The bleached pixe blinked and scowled at the woman clamped onto his arm. Then she turned her eyes back up to him.
Chuckling, and a little embarrassed at being caught out, Christoph allowed himself a sheepish grin. Coughing, he pointed to the wall again. “Skirts. That a way.””
It was hilarious how much darker the girl’s scowl went. He could see why the need for the heavy make up. After a moment though, she shook her head, smoothed out her expression and sniffed. And walked right out of the store.
“My goodness woman. Pull back the fangs,” he murmured to Lady.
She snapped her teeth at him in response, prompting not-quite-stifled laughter from behind them. She turned a baleful glare onto the brat, whom was covering his mouth with a hand. “Shut up, you twit!”
Drai just laughed harder. “You’re like a cat!” he gasped out. “A very territorial cat!”
“Jump off a bridge,” she snarled irately, and stalked for the register.
“Kitty!” Drai called after her, grinning outright. He winked at Christoph. “Good luck with that woman. She’s Fate’s favorite play toy!” He waved and turned away to go back to shopping. Ah, life was good.
“Hmm,” the tall man mused. “I’d say she’s more like a snake. She seems to be shedding layers every time we find her.” He shook his head and smiled. “One feline is good enough, thank you.”
Drai laughed. “Ask her about Russia!”
“SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” she yelled, now standing in line, and got laughter as her reply.
Christoph blinked and gave her an amused look as he watched the employees of the store take executive action, fast tracking her through a previously closed cashier. Within minutes, they were making their way to a different store; the blond bemused and the brunette fuming.