Prompt by CrazyforKate
Lisbeth wasn't one for class. In her short academic history, she'd seen them all. There were the old ones barely clinging onto their tenure and hearing aids (nursery school); the burnt out ones that took their frustration on all forms of life that were unlucky enough be in the same room (primary school); and then their were the young ones that had all the enthusiasm but no sense of discipline (her one year of secondary school).
Today she found a new category. Drop dead boring, monotone, and possibly stoned. Tertiary education at its finest. It didn't help that she had no fucking clue what the woman was saying, she just kept droning on in Spanish, not even looking up from her computer where she was failing at starting a power point presentation. She was pretty sure half the class of one hundred and fifty seven was either asleep or on their smartphones playing Farmville, just as uneager as she was for the next four weeks of hell.
But if the unintelligible babbling wasn't enough, she also had an unexpected classmate that seemed to take more sideways glances at her than at the instructor.
Lisbeth had created a mental game: count how many times the words God, Jesus, and missionary work came out of her mouth. So far she was at fifty-one and that wasn't even counting the other seven girls with gold crosses hanging around their necks.
Lisbeth did the most reasonable thing she could think of that didn't involve possible prosecution for a hate crime. She shut down the power to the campus.
All the missionary girls surrounding her screamed when the lights cut off and Lisbeth sniggered to herself all the way back to her car before bursting out into hysterics once a safe distance away. She would have to tell Trinity about it later.
The keypad to Fiskargatan just flashed all zeroes when she walked up to the door. Great. She was locked out of her own apartment and it was really fucking hot outside.
She sat down on the curb and thought about what to do. No work for the rest of the week. That was a bonus. Mimmi was still in Paris for another week, so that meant Kvarnen wouldn't be any fun and since it was Sunday so she couldn't take out her annoyance on Blomkvist over at Millennium.
But she could always annoy him at home.
Lisbeth wondered if the journalist saw the stupidity behind leaving his door unlocked as she walked into the familiar studio apartment. The difference between inside and outside temperatures might have been one degree. The apartment was just as sweltering as the streets below. Blomkvist sat on one of the kitchen island barstools, playing a very old, beat-up guitar.
"Why don't you have any fans running?" She asked, taking the packaging off the pack of cigarettes she'd bought on the way over. Blomkvist gave her a disapproving look and she realized was only wearing a grey t-shirt and a pair of boxers behind the guitar. Classy, Mikael.
"Open a window if you want to smoke. Actually, open them all." Blomkvist didn't miss a beat and continued strumming away at his guitar. "Power's out all over the county."
So that's why the keypad to Fiskargatan wasn't working. "Oops." She said aloud, lighting up on the couch.
"You didn't…what am I saying? Of course you did."
"Someone will manually figure out how to restore the power grid eventually."
"Eventually," he echoed, "Why did you knock out the power grid in the first place? It's ninety degrees outside!"
"I may have underestimated the intricacy of the power grid. The extensiveness of the blackout wasn't planned."
Blomkvist stopped playing and dangled him arms of the body of the guitar. "If that's the best I'm going to get out of you, then apology accepted. There's kind of cold beer in the fridge."
She smirked, hopping off the sofa and heading towards the kitchen. "Nice noise."
"Noise? I just sat here and played probably my best rendition of Wild Horses yet and you call it noise?"
"I said was noise. It is noise. Doesn't mean I didn't like it," she said, shutting the fridge with a foot and popping the bottle top off on the edge of the counter. "Best rendition? Play it often for other people?"
"I do have a life and hobbies outside of Millennium," he said, "How about this song? You should probably know it."
"It's dangerous to have that kind of hope."
Blomkvist snorted, starting to pluck at the top three strings. The sound was deep and bassy with the distinct sound of nineties rock, but that didn't give her much.
He looked up at her blank face. "Nothing?"
"Do I have to sing it for you?"
"Go ahead," she said, taking another drag off her cigarette, "I still probably won't get it."
He stopped playing, pressing the palm of his hand across the strings to silence them. "From the top then. She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak."
"I've been locked inside your…" Blomkvist stopped playing, looking at her expectantly. She looked back, deadpan as usual. "I've been locked inside your..? Come on, Lisbeth! What's the one American band that was any good in the 90s!"
No clue. At all. Not one. But she decided just to guess something. If she was wrong her goal of annoying him would be complete. "Tupac?"
"Oh." She said lamely. Blomkvist must have though she was pretty damn pathetic.
Oh well. He'd been warned. Now she just had one more mystery to solve. "Who's Tupac?"
Blomkvist opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by the doorbell.
He held up his hands, making a strangling gesture at her as he got up to answer the door, sitting the guitar down on the bed next to her. Yep. She was musically hopeless. What else was new?
Blomkvist couldn't believe his eyes when he opened the door. Pernilla. He hadn't seen her in at least two years. Some parent he was.
"Pernilla. Hi." It was lame, he knew, but what was he supposed to say?
"Hi dad," she hugged him but withdrew quickly, wrinkling her nose, "When did you start smoking again?"
"Sorry, that's not me-"
"Oh. Should I come back later then..?"
"No, no, no!" He shifted in the doorway, allowing her room to pass through if she wished, "Come in!"
"Dad. It's fine."
"Of course it's fine. Why wouldn't it be? Please, come in."
"Dad, don't worry! You don't have to ask me in if you're busy. I'll come back tomorrow, okay?"
As soon as Pernilla turned to leave, the light bulb went off, but it was too late. "Nilla? It's not what it looks like!"
She turned and smiled in an understanding way, "Bye dad."
"That was incredibly awkward," he said once the door was shut behind him. A hand drifted up to rub the back of his neck as she played nonsense notes on his guitar.
"I'm taking an advanced Spanish course with her and a bunch of her missionary people for the next four weeks," Blomkvist flinched at what could have passed for a mutated G chord, "Shouldn't be awkward at all."
He ignored her, instead falling on the bed next to her, pressing his face into the pillow. "I'm fairly sure my twenty-one year old nun of a daughter just walked away assuming we were having sex."
"You do look pretty sexed up."
Blomkvist just groaned.