By the time the light crept under my eyelids Lola was out of bed. Groaning, I pulled myself up to see her sat cross-legged in her underwear and surrounded by cosmetics. She laughed when she saw me.
"Your morning hair's worse than mine, honey!" With a fluid fling of her arm a hairbrush soared through the air and thudded in my lap. "Sleep well?"
"What time is it?"
"Time to wake up, some of us have stuff to do," she chuckled. "You snore worse than my little gal, you know. And hell, does she snore."
"I don't snore!"
"Must've been someone outside with a machetti, then. C'mere, I'll make your face up for you."
The floor under my feet was dusty and cold. How could she sit on it without shivering? "Aren't you cold?"
"Hardly, it's only September. You think this is cold, you should try it outside at three in the morning," she replied, picking my chin up as though my face was just a lit garden gnome she was painting. "I remember once my mom was fighting with some guy, don't remember his name, and it got so bad I ran three streets to my nonna's without stopping to put my shoes on. My toes looked like blueberries by the time I got there. Shut your eyes, please?" A soft line was dabbed over my eyelids. I wondered if she realised I knew how to use makeup. I didn't say anything, so maybe she didn't. Why spoil her fun?
"Was your mom okay?" I asked.
"Pretty much. That one was a while back. He left pretty quick, see. Think he's in Happy Volts now. You know there's a new diner in town, right?"
"I didn't, no."
"It's near the hairdresser's, you know there?"
She grinned her candy-kiss grin.
"You don't know much, do ya, baby-doll? Ah well, I'll look after you. Come on, we're going for ice cream."
It was a nice little place really, considering the area. Old chairs, a few red flowers in jam jars. Fridge magnets along the metal bit of the bar. Quite cute, really. The ice cream came three scoops each with a little wafer in light blue bowls; chocolate, strawberry, banana.
"Ew, not banana. I'm not wasting all those calories for banana. You can have that," Lola told me, tipping it out of her bowl and into mine. "You like banana right?"
"You don't, do you?" she smiled.
"To be honest, no."
"Ah well. You still haven't told me anything about why you moved. What happened?"
"Um..." I glanced around, looking for help. "There were a lot of reasons," I tried, hoping that would put her off. "All very boring."
"I'm your friend," she countered, scooping up a sliver of pink ice cream. "It's my job to care about boring stuff. Come on, or I'll make something up. Now let me see..." Leaning forward, she fixed her cat's eyes on me, propping her cheek up on her hand. "I think you robbed a bank."
"You killed a man with a stocking."
"No..." I found myself starting to giggle a bit.
"You hijacked an ice cream van and went all grand theft auto with it. Then you were chased by the police and threw popsicles at innocent pedestrians."
"Now you're just being stupid."
"Well tell me what did happen. I think you were in an orgy with - you're so red! Aww, poor baby. Come on, then, spill it."
I drew a breath. Lola was my friend, so I could trust her - right? She wasn't going to think badly of me, I hoped. She was so nice, so laid back... Surely she wouldn't...
"Well, you see-"
"Wait." She halted me with her hand and mouthed something with her pretty, pink pout: "Behind you."
Behind me was a boy, the same one that gave Lola chocolates a few days before. On his table sat a beam cola and when I looked at his eyes, they were the same colour as the can. He didn't say anything, but I knew that look in his eye. Everyone knows that look: the one a spider gives a fly. As Lola rose from her chair I nudged her shin with my foot under the table.
"Wait here." She sauntered over and took a spare seat at his table. "Hey there, sweetie. How you doin'?"
"Exquisitely," he replied with a smile. His eye's glistened like the wing of a fly. "And you?"
"Well I'm much better for seeing you. I'm out with my friend, as you can see. You remember Emily?" she smiled, gesturing to me. "Doesn't she look sweet? Come on, honey, say hello."
His face fell into a look of shock vs contempt when I stood up. Had I done something wrong? Smoothing out my sleep-crumpled dress I realised with a jolt. The dress! Lola's dress! She got it from him, and as I start to spew sorries she swooped in and saved me.
"Doesn't she look nice in that colour? It's like it was made for her."
"It looks very familiar," he muttered, turning his head.
"Oh, sweetie, is that what you're mad at?" she asked, rolling her eyes. Sweetly, swiftly, she fell into his lap and looped her arms around his neck. "Well I could have worn it myself, but you didn't get my measurements right! My little Em's a bit more delicate than me, so it fits her nicely, but I have a couple more inches here and there. You should know that, honey." She leaned in and whispered in a voice that made both me and him squirm for different reasons. "Maybe you should check my measurements next time, huh?"
He gulped like a fish and nodded looking very, very red.
"Good boy." In a flash she was up with her arm linked through mine. "Well, I wish we could stop and chit-chat, but Em and I have stuff to do. See ya around," she drawled, blowing a kiss as she led me through the exit. "Like a fucking puppy-dog. Em, be a sweetheart and don't tell Johnny about this."
"I wasn't going to."
"Didn't think so, really, just thought I should say. Funny, isn't it? These guys," she said as she clacked along the street. "They think they can buy everything. Take that dress. Not even my style, and he thinks I'll roll over. They think I'm some whore, ya know."
"I wouldn't say that..."
"They wouldn't say it either, not to my face, but they think it. Well screw them," she sneered, tossing her hair. "Screw Tad, screw Gord - double-screw Pinky, the little- what are you laughing at?"
"N-nothing," I chuckled behind my mouth. "It's just... I don't know."
"Well... you change so quick. A few minutes ago he was sweetie and honey and..." I watched her lip curl and stopped.
"And?" she prodded.
"And now you hate him. I don't get it."
"Oh, I hated him ten minutes ago too, sweetie, I just don't show it to his face. Acting, baby-doll. I'm gonna go to Broadway one day. Then I can do that all day and get paid for it. You could come with me," she added, smiling at me. "We'd be a team."
"What would I do?"
"You'd act too. I could teach you."
"I'm not very good. I get stage fright."
"Have you tried?"
"Once, in elementary school. I forgot my line and burst into tears."
"Aww!" She slung an arm around me in a half-hug. "Poor baby." Glancing up at the salmon sky, she squeaked. "Crap, we better get back to the Tenements before the fellas start missing us. Well, missing you."
"They won't miss me, that's for sure. Well, Lefty might."
"I'm sure that's not true."
"You'll learn. Come on. Actually, let's go to nonna's first and freshen up. You can walk in heels, right?"
"Good," she smiled, a hint of mischief winking in her big, brown eyes. What was going on in her head? "Come on, then. There's something I want you to try out for me."
I literally just banged this chapter out, so I don't expect it to be much good. Please be harsh in any feedback you give if you can be. Anyway, a few quick questions:
1) What parts of the greaser gang would you like me to explore more of?
2) What do you think of the friendship between Lola and Emily so far?
3) How can I improve this a bit?