Best I Can Do is Five Bucks


 It was nine at night and halfway across Mountainside from anything remotely close to home and she was taking her sweet time trying to decide which one looked more like it could come to life at any given moment and eat the face off of a person. In the left most corner, a porcelain doll posed like a baby that was just beginning to crawl. It's head lulled sideways, a stupid shit-for-brains grin on it's face that made her squint as she kept her hands in her pockets.

 She shuffled a bit closer, kept fiddling with the small velvet box that she had lifted from the corner of a display case that someone had locked without latching it into place. Leaving right away felt stupid so this was a good time waster - an internalized debate as she pursed her lips and ran the nail of her thumb along the groove of the jewelry boxes opening. It felt like something was in there - hopefully it was worth it - she didn't take the gamble to check.

 Instead she rocked back on her heels and balanced there for a second before she went back onto her feet fully and bumped her nose against the glass, counted to two hundred in her mind. Her eyes wondered down the line of the glass shelf to the other side, a ceramic statue of a basset hound all droopy and with crystals for eyes. People were fucking weird.

Outfit ignore this kind of fancy handbag

She was so walking outta here with a whole new set of clothes for summer.

Katya was fresh out of the changing room and had draped all the items she wanted over one arm. NOW onto other goodies! Really, had mostly intended to just browse, until she walked over to a section with sculptures and shit?? Most were weird and she acknowledged they were weird, but there was one on the shelf which reminded her of Wilhelmmm.


Ok, smurf painter, so maybe 50% Wilhelm 50% her. She flipped it over in her hand, huffing a breath of a laugh to herself. Maybe she could keep it and just stow it away until his birthday.

Katya's gaze briefly, and very slowly, shifted to the girl next to her who had her face to the glass. "You good there," she half-asked the chick, before looking back to her smurf, still smiling.

 She slipped her thumb from the seam of the box when she heard the slight shift in pitch, a clear cut question that sounded like it was directed at her. Almost immediately she pulled her hand from her pocket, perhaps just shy of discreet as she took a moment to assess the situation. Younger woman, pretty, handful of shit and a little blue and white figurine in hand that she couldn't exactly make out.

 Briefly she thought about just fucking off or saying something casual - excusing herself for zoning out. Instead she nodded to the case when she realized that she had lost track of her counting. "Just thinking - which is creepier?"

Katya took a breath, squinting between the options in the case.

"Dolls are always the fucking weirdest," she told her shortly after, gaze shifting between the crawling doll and the dog. Droopy basset hounds with crystals for eyes were nowhere near as weird as dolls. Any doll. Literally.

She hated dolls. Even Barbie could get fucked. You see that Barbie Girl video?? Like... no?? Stop????

"They should keep a client list because whoever ends up buying it is probs a murderer." Katya pulled her lips back, making a face of discomfort and faking tenseness as she glanced to the girl.

 "Not a fan?". Actual fingers and such, far more likely to wield a kitchen knife in the middle of the night - fair play, stranger. "I just don't really know what the fuck that is about." She tapped her nail against the glass, over the dog before she inched back and turned herself towards the other. Content with having snatched anything for the night, a fix met - still her brain considered the other woman and decided it wasn't worth it. Thrifting, didn't have anything on her that screamed money at full volume.

Double dipping was a rookie mistake.

 Briefly she considered whatever was in her hand, scratched at a cheek and sniffed. "What's that?" No apology, just genuine curiosity at his point.

Katya shrugged gently. Some creepy DIY project where the person used whatever was on hand?? She had no idea.

Oh, attention was on her.

"Smurf," Katya said a little childishly, grinning as she brought the little dude up to face the girl. She wiggled him a little. "I called one of my friends a smurf once. I dunno. Might be funny." She glanced down to it uncertainly, pouting and wondering if Wilhelm would really appreciate such a gift.

 Oh ... that thing was ugly cute. She managed the faintest hint of a smile, nodded along as if it had been obvious and she'd been in the wrong for not realizing. Her knowledge of Smurf's began with the fact that they were blue and ended with the fact that there was like - one female amongst them. Pretty much like how she knew the Care Bear's lived on a rainbow or some shit and that was about what it boiled down to at the end of the day.

"Cute." Maybe it wasn't - she didn't really ... whatever, it filled the silence.

 These sort of things were always strained, like trying to break through a block of ice with her bare hands - unsure how to proceed where ... people, were concerned. Not a genuine lack of interest, just ... whatever. "But I really think the murder-baby would leave the biggest impression." Briefly she considered the armful of clothes she had in hand and shuffled backwards a step - flinched as her boots squeaked a bit on the tile.

The girl had to have pretty low standards to think this was cute, no offence to the dude who made it.

Katya gave a single, sudden laugh at her suggestion. "Hell no - he'd start reconsidering how mentally stable I am," she explained with raised cheeks, smiling. She looked back to the doll, holding back a genuine shiver of her shoulders.

"Do you go to school around here or something??" Katya asked the girl, for once feeling like the mature one. She began towards the register on the other side of the store, glancing to her to encourage her to come with.

 And like a part in the clouds that let in a sudden and steady stream of sunlight, she found a Trojan horse and climbed on without hesitation. Shuffling along behind the other woman, content to linger until the exit at least - a little less notable than a single party just outright leaving alone. "No, not right now at least - still trying to sort my shit." The idea came and went in waves of brief optimism, the thought of pursuing a degree in something lucrative. It was just a matter of drumming the funds and the dedication and deciding what and - not right now, at least.

 "Are you in school?" Felt like a normal development as she glanced over and made some slight internal note of the fine details of Smuf-Girl's profile. Best guess, she was anywhere from twenty to ... twenty-three? Maybe a young twenty-four if she was lucky. Definitely in the realm of possible college age, at least.

"Nope. Skipped college," she shook her head, awkwardly leaning forward to deposit all the goods at the register. Katya fished her wallet out as the lady across the counter scanned the items.

"I work for myself. Like, illustrating. You know what you wanna do?"

 There was some impulsive desire to shove her hands back into her pockets but she resisted, stole curious glances to each item as the cashier rang them up one after the other. "Yeah? Commercial or straight up freelance?" It was a whole depth of an ocean that was more or less unfamiliar to her, but she had some loose baseline understanding from friends and the like.

 The question as to what she wanted to do made her raise her shoulders, balancing her weight on one foot and then the other absently. "Don't really know - something independent, probably. But my skills where art is concerned begin and end at stick figures." She was quiet for a moment, rocking again as she considered the things she liked to do that were normal and universal. "I'm a pretty good at baking, actually."

"Straight up freelance," she said, deciding she liked how the girl talked. Because Katya used the same phrase, so obviously she was gonna like it. It elicited a small, random smile as the lady kept going through the hangers of clothes.

"I like tasting food, so if you ever need a taste tester or wanna just slide me some cookies on the side..." Katya half-teased. "What's your name anyways? I'm Katya," she said with a glance to the girl, zipping up her wallet once she'd paid by cash.

 "Katya." She said it with a degree of finality, like it was officially committed to memory as far as she was concerned. There was a moment in which she wasn't sure if she wanted to go sincere or not, weighed the impulse to ere towards paranoia with the fact that the conversation had been favorable. "I'm Hollis." Ah well, it was out then.

 She shuffled a bit closer towards the exit, sidestepped around Katya to lead the way towards the door and chuckled at the idea of inviting anyone over for cookies or pound cake. "Maybe. Do you live around here? I'm a bit of a drive, actually."

Hollyyy nOPE HOLLIS.

Katya had never heard that name. Sounded kinda low-key angelic. As she looked at Hollis she grew imaginary wings and a halo until Katya made them both vanish from her brain.

So if Katya looked like she'd just seen an angel, that was why.


Hi yep she took the bag with her clothes and smurf dude. "Up in Cedar Creek actually. But I like getting around." Yes let's ignore the fact that phrase had two meanings, one which didn't apply to you at all. "It's cool, but one day when I save up enough I wanna get a really nice place. That's the dream. Do you live alone??" Katya asked as she moved through the exit.

 Pretty sure that didn't mean what Katya seemed to think that meant. All the same she chuckled, nodded along and turned round to shuffle backwards so that she could look at who she was speaking to. "Same, stick around too long in one spot, I get bored" Still, she stopped for a minute, shut her eyes and tried to draw some vague mental map of the area. "Wait -" Cedar Creek, like the brewery, right?

 "Small world, I'm North Glenn right now - that's absolutely close enough that I could bring cookies." Just, you know, in theory. "Lone wolf, haven't really been here all that long so ... I thought about wanted ads and stuff but knowing my luck I'll find a murderer, or someone obsessed with clowns, or .." She dismissed the thought with a wave.

Could she please not suddenly think lone wolf meant something.

Katya instead tried to focus on cookies. Being brought cookies. Alina would be like 'Katya you're very beneficial to the Pack getting us all cookies.'

She stopped at the start of the parking lot, pulling out her phone. "Here, we should exchange numbers. I dunno, if you're serious about letting me be a taste tester or if you just wanna grab food sometime," Katya smiled teasingly, offering Hollis her phone with the new contact page open. "I'm not like great at job searching at all but if I see or hear anything from friends I can hit you up."

This reminded her of meeting Chloe but Katya had been the new one to town then, so. She knew the feeling.

 "Mostly serious, actually." Which, may or may not have been a comforting response but it was a sincere way anyway you sliced it. "But I can also do a burger if we'd prefer it." Sure, the whole Smurf thing was a little peculiar but in the scheme of the things she'd seen, the shit she could do - maybe this would be nice. The tiniest bit of something mundane and relatively uneventful.

 So she pulled the outdated monster of a phone from her other pocket, pulled up her contact list and tapped the plus sign before she held out her phone with one hand and took Katya's with the other. "I'd appreciate it." A little suspicious, a lot stunned at the idea of wondering into anyone who seemed to be genuinely nice without any outright motive behind it. For a second her fingers lingered over the screen as she still thought about changing a number, making one up entirely - just ...

 She entered her phone number anyway, tapped save and committed before she could get too far into her own head about it. "For the record? If you manage to stumble upon anything that leads anywhere - I'm just going to resign myself to being your sugar dealer indefinitely."

She wondered if Hollis was a Were or Vampire. Distantly. It wasn't something she thought about as much these days because she realised she'd find out after the full moon herself. So she didn't ask.

Burgers were one of her favourites just below pizza, so the grinned stayed in place as she took her phone in turn. Contact name: Katya. Typed in her number. She saved it and handed it back, extending a hand to take her own phone.

"Um, then I'm gonna have to help you find something," she teased, sticking her tongue out jokingly.

Katya didn't know Hollis' qualities beyond baking but she was willing to guess the girl was just looking for some normal work people their age did. Like waitressing, but something with more spice. No one liked waitressing, ok. Your wrists broke carrying plates.

"I'll text you sometime and shit," Katya said, finger gunning as she took a few steps back. The real question now was WHERE on earth had Katya parked again.

Good thing the lot was mostly empty. (☞゚∀゚)☞

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