"I'm back!" Blair swept through the front door with a flourish, as if expecting a welcoming committee. She shed her coat, shook the rainwater from it, and hung it in the closet. "Hello? I said, I'm back." She peeked up the staircase, one hand on the banister. Nothing. "Hello?"
Deflated, she sank into the living room sofa and picked up a magazine that sat on the cushion next to her. Popular Mechanics. Jo's magazine. But where was Jo?
The front door opened again, then closed quickly. Jo pulled her jacket down from over her head. "Jeez, that really started coming down out of nowhere." She draped her jacket over the back of a dining chair, then flounced down onto the couch.
"Where were you?"
"Out working on my bike. I was gonna take a ride this afternoon, but that rain's making everything a mess." She nodded to the magazine. "You read that article about the supercomputers, yet?"
Blair glanced down at the periodical in her hands. "No. I did not. You just have a habit of leaving your stuff everywhere."
"Oh, please. This coming from you. One lousy magazine does not equal thirty thousand shoes strewn across the bedroom floor."
"There can't be more than fifty shoes, total. I cut down this year, remember?"
"I remember. You never stop talking about the wardrobe you left behind. What time is it?"
"Around four, I think. Why?"
Jo hopped up and turned on the television. "There's this old vampire movie on, I haven't seen since I was a kid. Scared the heck outta me."
"And you find this entertaining?"
"Of course." Jo pulled off her boots and settled back onto the couch. "Oh, yeah. This is the one. Classic."
"Yes, and I'm sure it won awards for it's artistic merit."
"Not every movie needs subtitles and weird camera angles to be interesting, Blair."
"I'm not saying it's boring. It's just... well, look at it."
"Okay, so it's not the most original. Maybe I'll write my own. Maybe in my movie, the girl with fight back."
"And what is this vampire fighting girl's name?"
"Well, something snooty sounding... you know, someone you wouldn't expect to fight back. Like... Blair."
"Hey!" Blair smacked Jo upside the head with one of the sofa pillows.
"Yeah, okay. Blair's a fighter and a pain in the rear. Um... how about Bunny?"
"Bunny. Who fights the vampires."
"Sure. I'd watch it."
"Actually, it doesn't sound half bad. I have a cousin who works in television. Maybe I'll pass along the idea."
"Okay, but if I see a trailer for Bunny the Vampire Fighter, I expect a check."
A woman screamed on the television, startled Blair so much she latched onto Jo's arm.
Jo laughed. "It's just a movie."
"You're the one who said it scared you."
"When I was a kid. I'm much more resilient, now."
The lights flickered, then dimmed into darkness. The television screen shrank into a blank black box. It was still daylight outside, but the rainy afternoon offered little more than dull gray light. Blair began to rise, but Jo stopped her.
"Where are you going?"
"To get a flashlight. Or a candle. We can't just sit here in the dark." Blair stood up, but Jo this time kept a tight hold on her arm. "Jo, don't tell me you're afraid of the dark. I thought you were resilient. It's not even that dark."
"I'm not afraid. Just... startled."
"Well, well. Check out Jo Polniaczek: Scaredy Cat."
"I am not. Go ahead. Get your stupid candles."
Blair eased back onto the couch. "Maybe I'd rather sit here in the dark."
"Fine. See if I care." Jo leaned back against one of the arms and made herself comfortable.
"Get your feet off me."
"Oh, is that you? Thought it was a cushion."
"Well, it's not. Move."
Blair grabbed Jo's feet and twisted her legs, tumbling the other woman onto the floor. "That was too easy." She stretched out into the spot Jo had just evacuated. "This is nice. It's already warm."
Jo sat up. "Get off my spot."
"Make me," came the faux-innocent reply.
"I could. But I won't stoop to your level." Instead, Jo climbed back up and laid right on the edge of the couch, pushing Blair further up against the back cushions.
"There's not enough room."
"Then you can get up. I was here first."
"Actually, you were outside. So I was here, first."
"I was here first, before that."
"You are ridiculous. I'm not moving."
"Neither am I."
"I'm very comfortable. I could lay like this all night."
"Me too." Jo illustrated her so-called comfort by tucking her arm under her head, which immediately threw off her balance and would have sent her back to the floor if Blair hadn't steadied her by throwing an arm around her.
"Maybe I should hold on. Just in case."
"It's raining out."
"There's no power."
"And where lying on the couch."
"What else has to happen before you just kiss me already?"
"Oh. Um. Nothing."
Later, when Mrs. Garrett returned from her trip to the city, she spied the two bodies fast asleep on the living room couch and did little more than throw an blanket over them. Frankly, she was surprised that it had taken this long.
Even later, years later, Jo Polniaczek received an envelope in the mail, the return address boasting Enemy Mutants or something. Inside was a check, the memo line listing Creative Consultation.
Because, like everything else, Blair always made sure things followed through.