Vol 3 Act 13

~…~

The line was too long. And by too long, Ruriko of course meant that there was even a single person in front of her. And in this case, there were three people. All of them girls. Which meant her usual methods of inching to the front of the line would be, sadly, in vain. Or at least, not worth the effort.

She should not have come here. She should not have had to come here. She should have been a famous musician by now, with people bringing fashionable clothes to her. If it had not been for that random, stupid, flashy, scavenger seducing her way into what should have been Ruriko's place…

There were some things Ruriko could not forgive. Underhanded thieves were at the top of the list.

The woman two places ahead of her was having a conversation on her cell phone. It was driving Ruriko crazy.

"I don't care how much you have to pay them. Do it." A brief pause. "Then I'll ask my father for more money. You know he'll give it to me." Another pause and the girl gave a nasally laugh. "You know how I can make him do what I want."

Ruriko gritted her teeth. The blonde girl appeared to have nothing in her arms to purchase, which confused Ruriko. Why come to a clothing store, and stand in the line, if you weren't going to buy anything?

A constant scribbling was sounding from the girl directly in front of Ruriko made her agitated enough to start playing with the beaded necklaces she was wearing. She flexed onto her tiptoes to try and catch a peek over the girl's shoulder. Ruriko caught sight of a notebook, filled with hasty, violent scribbles that made her shudder. She could not make out any specific words, but she could feel an aura of violence from the female in front of her.

"Next customer," came a voice from behind the desk in front of the line. Ruriko shifted the shirts she was holding and rolled her eyes as the first girl in line stepped forward. This one was cheerful, if a bit ditsy. She kept tucking her short hair behind her ear, chattering at the clerk. It reminded Ruriko of a hamster.

"I know, I know," came an irritated voice from behind Ruriko. "But I'm not charging it to your card. I don't even carry that thing."

Ruriko looked back to see a young woman entering the store, standing by the open door as she finished her phone call. The new girl sighed as she hung up the phone, cutting off a voice that seemed to be lecturing her. Ruriko could not quite tell, but the voice she could barely make out seemed masculine. A boyfriend. Ruriko sniffed. There was something wrong with the world when just any old girl could have a boyfriend and Ruriko did not. This one barely stood out at all.

The new girl looked up suddenly and met Ruriko's gaze. Her look was almost inquisitive, her gold eyes more vibrant than Ruriko expected. Ruriko's own expression narrowed as she tried to appear disinterested and disdainful at the same time. This new girl was a waste.

"Kyoko-san?" came the questioning voice of the girl just ahead of Ruriko. "What are you doing here?"

"Ah, Amamiya-san. It's good to see you. I'm here to pick up a dress. Mok- Kotonami-san recommended this place."

"Wah! What are you doing here?" came a shout from the girl in front of this Amamiya-san. "And what did that beggar think, recommending you to a place like this?"

Amamiya and Kyoko shared a look before Kyoko smiled in a way that made Ruriko's flesh crawl.

"Koenji-san, you're here too," Kyoko greeted with a cold cheerfulness. "It's so nice to see you. Again."

The Koenji girl swallowed, then beckoned a man that was standing by the wall. He bowed deeply when he approached, a sapphire earring glinting and catching Ruriko's attention. Really, what kind of rich young princess was this?

"If you're here to buy a dress," Koenji said with a tight voice, "I would recommend this one." She pulled an article from the pile in the man's arms. Ruriko had expected it to be a joke suggestion, but from the look on the Kyoko girl's face, she was seriously considering it.

"Didn't you want to buy this dress, Koenji-san? I can find my own."

"Take it!" Koenji insisted suddenly. "Consider it repayment for... for our disagreement."

Kyoko's smile turned bright. "Well, if you insist. It is a nice dress after all. I'm sure Ren will like it."

Koenji's expression went from nervous to sour faster than Ruriko could blink, but the rich young lady did not make any additional comments as Kyoko came forward and took the dress. To further Ruriko's surprise, Koenji then volunteered her place in line to this Kyoko girl.

"Go ahead," Koenji insisted, leaning away as she gestured with her arm.

"But the others in line might object," Kyoko hesitated, looking back at Amamiya and Ruriko. Ruriko pulled another disdainful look, glad that this girl had some idea of her place, but was shocked when Amamiya agreed.

"It's fine, Kyoko-san. I don't mind. I'm not in a hurry. And I'm sure this girl doesn't care," Amamiya stated, waving her hand in Ruriko's direction. Ruriko, about to furiously protest, froze as the girl in front of her turned around. "Right?"

"O-of course not," Ruriko gulped, trying to figure what it was exactly in those eyes that made her tremble. Why had she come to this store today?

"If you're sure," Kyoko hesitated, eyeing Ruriko skeptically.

"Absolutely," Ruriko insisted with a shake of her head. "Go ahead. The last girl is finished."

The Kyoko girl bowed a quick thanks, strode to the front desk and quickly finished her purchase. It appeared to Ruriko that she winced at the total that was rung up, but she handed over payment with a smile and exited the store quickly. Ruriko shuddered and turned her attention back to the line where the Koenji princess was having her servant place her items on the counter. Ruriko contemplated making a sarcastic comment to the remaining line, but reconsidered quickly. She waited in line silently, making her way out of the store as quickly as she could when she was finished.

She exited just in time to see that Kyoko female being handed into a car by the most attractive man that Ruriko had ever seen. She swallowed convulsively, cursing all carnivorous females that walked around in such deceptive innocence, stealing things like a ravenous hyena.


Because, of course, the moment November starts and I'm supposed to be focusing on NaNoWriMo, I can't help but write more fanfiction. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks again to Will who helped me figure out what was so wrong with this chapter.