Dark Mahogany, or Deep Rich Brown?

Kwik Trip 
 As it stood, she supposed she was in the middle of some sort of hair identity crisis - which, would be fine if she wasn't decidedly far from home at three in the morning staring at a shelf of cheap box dyes as if it were a game of Russian roulette and if she picked up the wrong box it was curtains for everyone in a three mile radius.

 She drummed her fingers on her cheeks, looked from one shade of brown that was slightly less red than the shade next to it and puffed out a heavy sigh. Really, she supposed - this was a minor inconvenience in the sense that all it took was a shift and she was back to square one. But the salon incident had reminded her of the stupidity of spending good money on color when - surprise, it was all for nothing in a matter of literal weeks.

And there was a sale. And it was three in the morning - and if there ever was a time to make shoddy aesthetic choices, this was it.

 At first it was eenie meenie moe, then she thought maybe she'd close her eyes and point forward and twist and whatever she ended up jabbing her finger at, that was it. Lastly she considered a group text to like, everyone. Pack, Adam, the whole nine yards- but then ... she grabbed two boxes, acknowledge the figure who'd made the unfortunate choice to turn down the beauty aisle and pressed each box against the side of her face, effectively sandwiching herself in the process.

"If you were my head, which would you want to be?"

She wasn't sure what had compelled her to drive several districts away in the middle of the night. She hadn't even left the apartment with a specific destination in mind, but had just hopped in the car with the intent to end up somewhere she'd never been before. "Magic Hollow" was a quaint name that matched the eclectic little zone it claimed, and Caroline couldn't resist it.

After driving around for some time, she ended up in the parking lot of a small 24-hour pharmacy. What could she possibly need from this place? It's not like vampires need Alka-Seltzer or anti-diarrhea medicine to repair the aftermath of eating too much spicy curry. She could at least go in and browse, maybe she could find an interesting new shade of nail polish for a low price. Sally Hansen was excellent quality for remarkably cheap, and drugstore lipsticks could also end up being amazing finds.

She exited the white Lexus and stepped through the automatic doors, heading for where she intuitively assumed would be the cosmetic section. When she was nearly there, she heard a female voice call from very close by, "If you were my head, which would you want to be?" A fashion dilemma? That was her specialty! Caroline turned and found herself face-to-face with a shorter woman with a plethora of tattoos, two boxes of hair dye pressed against her cheeks. She stepped a bit closer, her eyes narrowing and looking around as a distinctly doggish smell filled her nostrils. "Is that the only brand that's on sale? I don't know if I would choose that one." She glanced over and scanned the offer sheets, determining it was for that specific brand, and turned back to the other woman.

She looked between the boxes and her face some more, studying what the colors were supposed to turn out like and comparing that with her complexion. "Personally, I think the one with a bit more red would look good on you." She stood for a bit longer, hand on her chin, then nodded to prove she was sure of her assertion. Hair color was serious business, and Caroline would never want to lead someone astray in their cosmetic choices. "I do think you should get at least some kind of a hair mask though, since you'll have to lighten your hair a little for the color to show up and that might damage it."


 First of all, it was meant to be a left or right sort of question - the type of thing that if you acknowledged it you might just point to one and smile uncomfortably before going back to finding the best priced foundation that didn't look like total shit. But regardless, she supposed too much help was better than no help at all, and she was about to remark that she appreciate the concern and go on her merry way.


 Present company, for all of her put together appearance, smelt like a corpse left out to rot. And now that she'd lingered on that stench and truly focused on what was in front of her, it struck her that the other woman was missing the thrum of a heartbeat that was so easy to overlook any other time.

 She lowered both boxes and ignored the bristling of wolf, the small lurch of power that suggested the potential for trouble on the horizon. She set one down at random and tapped the other against the side of her thigh, ran her tongue over her teeth. This wasn't Cedar Creek, if she tore into this one - Alina and Trick would have no way of knowing about it.

 "Thanks." The word was tense, said as if it were an insult more than a call to gratitude. A part of her reason that three am or not, it was time to mosey - but another element locked it's knee's in some ingrained sense of pride - occupied most of the isle and stared with a degree of heat.

She’d been ready to move on in her nail polish quest, still lingering nearby in case the woman was inclined to keep talking about cosmetic choices for whatever reason. Instead, she was faced with an unexpected response. After more or less spitting a sarcastic reply at the blonde, her companion fixed her with a hateful glare, her quick change in body language projecting a hostile attitude and someone who was more than ready to resort to violence.

Caroline was perturbed to say the least. She knew some more reserved people tended to find her a little off-putting, but this wasn't the usual discomfort followed by a speedy and awkward extraction from the situation, this was someone being outright pissed at her. She took a couple steps back, her brows furrowing in confusion. "Is there a—problem?" she asked, a slight pause conveying her surprise at the turn of events.

She couldn't let go of that awful animal smell, like she was in a shelter surrounded by unwashed leprous dogs. The smell and her proximity to this woman, plus her feral body language, finally clicked. She cocked an eyebrow, glancing around to make sure no one was in proximity. "You're a wolf," she said softly, eyeing the other woman cautiously.

It was common knowledge that many weres, whether they were alone or cliqued up with others like them, held a deep-seated prejudice against vampires. Personally, Caroline had no qualms with the shifters, but the instinct of self-preservation meant she still wanted to tread cautiously. Something about her still wanted this encounter to end peacefully, to not be hated just because she was undead, though she was doubtful she would change anyone's mind in the middle of the night in a drugstore. "I don't want any trouble," she insisted, turning her palms out in a gesture of peace.


 There was some thrum of a sound that seemed to occupy the air itself, low and steady and a lot like tinnitus. It got louder when the undead bitch had the utter audacity to say what she was out loud - it didn't matter that it was low, it didn't matter that no one was around. She wasn't standing beside the Essie display wailing about Vampires, there was a code in the supernatural world that she followed whenever possible. Carry a big ass stick, make no waves - talking about wolves in the middle of a pharmacy felt like choppy waters.

 It was about then that she realized the noise was a growl, internal and in her mind like some sort of repetitive compulsion. A mental visual of her own beast, tense and bristled and grounded - twitching with it's self-control a taut string that was prepared to snap under the slightest bit of pressure. "Shut the fuck up." It was a low growl, the slightest flash of green in her eyes as she set the second box down and took a couple of small steps closer.

"Don't start no shit and there won't be any shit, got it?"

She wasn't quick to anger, but the seemingly unwarranted spiteful attitude she was receiving made the emotional response seem reasonable. Her jaw tightened slightly and her posture stiffened, and when the other woman stepped toward her, Caroline didn't move away again. She wanted no trouble from this encounter, but she wasn't going to be pushed around by some goth bitch with a stick up her ass. So what, she whispered a fact? It wasn't like she didn't stink like a mongrel to anyone who wasn't a human, and if they weren't, it wasn't exactly a secret in the first place, now was it? She had forgotten how dramatic these shifter types were.

"I didn't plan on it," she said, her voice now hard as she looked down at the were. "I'm not the one starting shit from where I'm standing. You asked a question; I responded and tried to be nice. I don't know what you have against...people like me, but kindly leave me out of whatever pissing contest I've walked in on." She'd taken note of the flash of green iris, how close she'd pushed the woman to exposing herself by simply existing. It brought her a flash of internal satisfaction—it served her right that she might turn into a giant mutt in the middle of a pharmacy. Maybe that could teach her a lesson about anger management and racism (was this racism? species-ism?), though it seemed doubtful at this point,

"If you decide to be civil or to, as you say, start shit, I'll be at the nail polish." She turned on her heel and strode to the other end of the aisle, pointedly avoiding paying much mind to the werewolf at the front of the shop. Turn the other cheek, as Mother used to say.

 Leave me out of the pissing contest, said the literal walking corpse. Except there really was no out when you pretty much had a flashing sign stapled to your forehead that said you were on one team or another. It was a breed of naive that had her assuming this was a young one, maybe actually close to how she looked, age wise.

Don't start no shit, there won't be no shit.

 The words echoed in her head, a reminder to herself as much as anyone else who might have heard it. Were it Cedar Creek, she would have grabbed her by a fistful of hair and taken comfort and strength in the knowledge that Alina and Trick were only a metaphysical ripple away. As it stood, this was not Cedar Creek - it wasn't even secluded. It was a goddamn pharmacy and she didn't want to play in the sandbox with the stinky corpse but she also knew when a check was too big to cash on her own.

 Begrudgingly she rolled her shoulders, tilted her head up towards the fluorescent track lighting overhead and inched her way towards composure. Fine. Everything was fine - fucking peachy. Keeping her breathing shallow and to the mandatory, she headed for the exit. Hair dye could wait, she was trying to not drag anyone down onto the tile of a goddamn Qwick Trip.

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