Five boxes isn't too much, right?

@"Adina Russo"

Miranda felt like the place was so much bigger than the picture on the Craigslist ad had suggested. Or maybe it was just, like, seeing it in person made the brick look so much bigger, or something like that...

Anyway she had the stomach trembles, waiting. Adina got the keys last night, as far as she remembered, but Miranda didn't actually have a copy yet. But she was here! With two boxes of clothes, a box of cooking stuff, a box of books and important papers, and her TV and PlayStation. The boxes were piled up on the sidewalk with her, the Uber driver who'd driven her here off on his way to make more money.

She was here to be an adult.

 She'd booked it a couple days ago, just a van - not a technical moving truck, not wanting to deal with that hassle for a poorly painted coffee table, a couple boxes of cheap kitchenware, a mattress, and a three whole boxes of clothes, shoes, and miscellaneous goods collected over the course of the past few months. She left her bass in it's case, kept it in the front and minded the turns and stops all the way to Larkspur.

 When she turned the last corner she almost immediately saw her on the sidewalk, the corner of her mouth twitching upwards though she quickly stopped it. Some adults - ten boxes and a couple pieces of furniture between them. To be fair, that probably was worse for her than it was a girl just starting out on her own.

 At any rate she pulled to a stop close by, killed the engine and pocketed the keys before she hopped out and came round to get the doors. "Hey," Going into her other pocket she pulled out a freshly duplicated key, plain and brass despite the juvenile temptation to get it covered in pictures of kittens or something. "Here you go if you want to head up without me."

Seeing her roll up, Miranda felt some sense of relief. She'd only met her once, only talked to her on the phone less than the fingers of one hand, but still. Seeing Adina here with a van and boxes meant she was at the right place and she was really getting her own grounds to be her own adult.

Terrifying. Gratifying. She offered something that tried to be a smile and was intended to be but her face wasn't used to moving that way enough. She did manage a genuine "Thanks."

And then she took a step, then paused, looking back. "Do you need help or anything? I'm pretty strong, so."

For a girl. Or so she'd been told.

 "Uh ..." She exhaled as she looked to the back of the truck, rubbed her hands together and thought about the contents of each box in turn. It wasn't anything terribly heavy, certainly not from her standards and probably not even to Miranda.

 "If you want to help me shove this mattress up all those stares, that'd be helpful, I'll even push - you just have to try to keep it from falling over." Something she could hopefully feel accomplished over that wouldn't slow them both down unnecessarily.

For a second she wondered if it was awkward to have said what she did, if she'd come across boastful, and how she felt about that. But that second evaporated when it seemed like Adina did want her help.

Pull a mattress up the stairs? Okay. Miranda nodded, certain she'd fuck that up somehow but willing to try to get further on new roommate's good side. They didn't have to be best friends, but she... she just really didn't want to fuck this shit up. So help a little bit and then call it quits for interaction for the day, right?

She'd leave her boxes, moving to make sure the necessary doors were open before she'd get into position.

 Not only did Miranda stick to her guns about helping, she seemed happy to neglect her own things in order to do it. A personal sacrifice that was both surprising and appreciated. Still, she looked around, made sure no one seemed to be lingering before she crawled over the bagged mattress and helped get it out of the back of the van.

 Half the challenge was trying to find the balance between too strong and not at all helpful. Different world, different time, she would hardly have been able to get it to the front door of the building without her chest getting tight and needing her inhaler. But now it was like ... well - she wasn't sure as she glanced over her shoulder and crouched to grab both ends and start up the stairs.

"You good? Tell me if you need a pause."

"I'm okay," she assured through breathing that was kinda labored. She did manage to find a rhythm of a sort, but her muscles were tiring quick. Turned out taking a bed up stairs was kinda awful.

She promised herself she would never, ever, ever say she needed a pause. Adina didn't even seem to break a sweat. She probably actually worked out or something. Puh.

She'd be okay once they got to the door. Probably would just go into her room under the guise of checking it out so she could plop onto the floor for a second.

 As they got to the home stretch, she started to take a bit more of the burden, pulled harder to take some of the strain from Miranda when it seemed to be take a toll. Quiet about it, she set the mattress down when they were in the apartment properly, balanced it and nodded to the hallway. "If you want to start on your boxes I can just slide it from here."

Honestly that would be rad.

Miranda nodded, giving a slow exhale, and moved to... sit in her room for a bit first, acclimating to the setup. It was clean but kind of dusty as far as she could see in the sunlight, needed a sweep. She'd have to get a Swiffer or something.

Anyway, in a minute, she'd head down for her stuff, not wanting it to get stolen. She'd actually focus on bringing the boxes through the front door first, just so they started off safe. "Do you want me to get your stuff too?" she called up, hoping her voice would carry because projecting that much felt super unnatural to her.

 By the time she half pushed and half kicked her mattress into the room and gotten the plastic off of it, she pushed the heel of her palms against her closed eyes and sighed. A slow breath in and out to make sure they were nice and brown and not gold before she started out the apartment and back down the stairs.

"I'll get it, don't sweat it if you want to start getting your stuff unpacked ... where's like, your furniture?"

Okay, so the answer on that was no, so... Miranda blinked at the other question, feeling slightly self conscious about it.

"Uh... I just ordered new stuff for the bedroom. Should be here in a week or so."

The truth was she had not ordered it and her inevitable story was that her furniture had shipping delays or... something. The other truth was that she had to save up some money for a bed and a dresser and all that. The third truth was she was just going to airbed it in the meantime until she managed to get the money together.

It wasn't like Macy's paid real well.

 She frowned up until she rounded the corner, masked it for the sake of the girl and nodded, forced even a sort of smile as she went to go grab her crummy little coffee table. A gentle reminder to self: she was not this girl's momma, not her aunt, not anything that gave her any right or claim to dote. So, her things were on the way - simple.

"I got us a table so we don't have to just use paper plates and our laps, that's about as far as I got."

Oh, right. Somehow she hadn't even like, thought about the whole living room situation. Okay — new plan. She was going to airbed it until she'd saved up enough after she'd helped contribute money to living room furniture.

"Nice," she said of the table that decidedly wasn't. "Are you picturing like a couch for the living room? Futon?"

Please nothing extraordinarily expensive... please.

 "I was thinking urban farmhouse? I saw a really bitchin' credenza on the Anthropologie. And then we should get a tapestry, maybe see about a ship lap wall." Throwing together a bunch of words with little personal meaning that she had seen when she was googling the phrase 'cheap decent couch'.

 Once she was on their floor she stopped, sighed as she pushed her hair from her face and looked at Miranda properly. "I'm thinking a couch that could function as a bed, that's about all I was thinking."

Maybe Adina heard Miranda's heartrate spiking. Maybe she saw her eyes widening. Maybe she knew, for a moment, that Miranda was about three seconds from death. What the fuck did all those words mean.

Three seconds later, she gave a big exhale.

"Fuck, I was like — I can't afford all those words," she huffed with hands on her hips as she bent over like a dying old person. She wasn't that old but she felt like she had just aged twenty years. Which was big. Because she was twenty.

 "You and me both, girl." She laughed, set the table down in the middle of their relatively small living space and laughed again at the bare bones sight of it. "It's not much but as long the utilities stay on ... not bad, huh?" Progress was progress after all - and most good things had terribly small beginnings.

It was stupid, but that was really comforting. That they were both definitely gonna be struggling to get by and... there was some kinda comfort in it really. Being able to connect with someone over something so mundane, especially since they were gonna be living together.

"Not bad," she agreed. "We could start with pizza and figure out the budget from there maybe."

More words than she was used to saying, but the moment felt worth it.

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