Chapter 1 – Carmilla
It was 11 O'clock p.m. when Carmilla started her shift at the 24Hs drugstore. She was naturally a nocturne person, so this was one of the best jobs for her. And it was just a 10 minute walk from her home. She got the job indication from her friend Kirsch, a lovable twenty something tall guy Carmilla met at college. Even though Kirsh was a loyal and upbeat person, he was a little bit shallow and not very much smart. He was still stuck at college after 5 years. His and Carmilla’s history had a rough start (Kirsch tried to hit on Carmilla several times before realized she was not in to him or any other men therefore) but after sharing stories about an unpleasant experience, they became the best buddies.
After 4 years, she left the university with a philosophy undergraduate degree and a huge debt in her pocket. So much for the dream to finish college. Even though she was not a fan of social interactions, her plan after college was to be a philosophy professor. In some way Carmilla thought she could do some good to the world making teenagers yet-to-be-adults use their brains to do something useful, like thinking about the origins of their own agony. It is an unusual way to help the world, but that was exactly what Carmilla was, an unusual person, tired of her attempts to make sense of the ordinary things of life.
What Carmilla did not expect, was getting so much trouble in her budget, ruining her bank account and the opportunity to fulfill her dream (or her destiny). Anyway, after college her plans had to change, in order to pursuit her master degree and possibly to apply for a position in a respectful university. Her plan now was to gain enough money to pay for her debts, her rent and other monthly bills, in 3 or fewer years, and then she could finally go to grad school.
The job at the drugstore didn't seem like a good deal at first. She had to deal with people (sick people, hypochondriac people, lost parents, drunk old men, horny teenagers, and all you can imagine) and her patience with people in general was not her forte. But the plus side was the endless minutes, some nights even hours, when Carmilla didn't has to deal with one single costumer. This idle moments was reserved for another activity that helped (and even more every day) Carmilla increase her income and make her more optimistic about her goal to vanish her debts. When no one was around, Carmilla used her free time to write lesbians femslash novels to sell them in the form of e-books at the Amazon store. An activity she mastered very well, only known for her roommate and former college friend, Lafontaine.
Carmilla liked to have her adventures with all the different kind of women, she didn't have really a specific type. Somewhere in her mind, she thought this encounters made her a better writer, which gave her to not a good, but great stories to be tell. Which led her to bigger sales numbers and thereafter more money. And more money meant less debt, less remaining days working at the drugstore. And all of that logic was enough for Carmilla to feel good about her short term relationships and one night stands. She never promised anything serious. It was all in the description of her profile at a random dating app. Carmilla was lucky to have a breathtaking look, making it easy for her to find what she wanted for the week. Unfortunately, she had had her heart broke once, but even that was useful in her side job. That was, at least, how she would like to label that dark moment of her life. Another (bad) experience.
When Carmilla was distracted by deep thoughts about her future, the door of the store was open. Carmilla let out a relieved sigh when she saw who was coming into the store. Tonight, Carmilla was working on the cash register, on a station across from the prescription counter, where Kirsch, her only other co-work was attending.
In a fast speed through the aisles, Carmilla saw the golden hair of a tiny costumer. She seemed to be in her mid 20s. Her name was a mystery to Carmilla. She had noticed the girl in the store for a couple of times, and every time Carmilla sees her, somehow her heart seems to beat a little bit faster. That scared Carmilla at first. Never a girl had caught her attention like that, what was kind of a discomfort. Not that Carmilla was against to be in a serious relationship. Deep down, she did want to have someone by her side of the bed in a daily basis. But the problem is that Carmilla never felt any kind of feeling or connection to anyone at that level. And this girl, this costumer she has only seen by the third time and barely traded two words, was the first person ever to intrigue Carmilla in a more complex way.
Even though Carmilla didn’t know the girl’s name, she gave her a nickname: Cupcake. The reason was simple, the first time Carmilla saw the girl, she was holding a cupcake, given it some bites and telling to the person on her phone how much that thing was good. She usually wears pencil skirt suits and a pair of heels. The Cupcake girl goes straight to the snack aisles and after a few moments she is in front of Carmilla with a pack of chocolate chips cookies. Just like the last time. “This girl have a serious craving for cookies” – Carmilla thought to herself while she registered the girl’s purchase. The closeness of the girl before her, made Carmilla’s heart beat in a frenetic rhythm, given her the resolution to say something this time, something more than the usual register talk.
“This is the best brand of cookies, right?” Carmilla said still looking at her monitor.
“It’s not better than my friends homemade cookies, but this is the best thing next” the other girl responded with a bright smile. Carmilla couldn’t be happier with the positive reaction to her comment.
“Oh, now you’re gonna make me wonder about your friends cookies. It’s not fair, Cupcake”. It’s was not her intention to call the girl by her secret nickname, but since it was out there anyway, Carmilla just let it be. “It’s 3,45”.
Carmilla did not notice the girl’s lightly blush as she reached for the money in her pocket. “Well, maybe someday I could bring you a sample. Cookies are Perry’s master piece” the girl said while handing Carmilla the money. Their hands touched for a split second and Carmilla swallowed dry. She had a bit of a difficult time getting the change.
“I think I might like that very much.” Carmilla responded giving the girl’s change, using a sort of innocent tone in her voice and keeping a kind of shy smile. The Cupcake girl grinned again and Carmilla felt warmth in her heart. Another new thing to add to her list of unknown feelings. The girl reached for her change, touching Carmilla again in the process. As the girls turned and left the store, Carmilla felt a little bit empty again. As though as a cloud had covered the sun in a winter day.
Carmilla was happy about her Friday. It was her day off, and her usual date night. Or, like she would like to call sometimes, her day for relax and research. Her date of the week was with a girl named Elsie, a hot blond a few inches taller than Carmilla. Elsie could be a gold mine material to Carmilla tales. For the last year Carmilla was working on a series called Mircalla’s Nights, narrating the adventures of a waitress traveling the world and having sex with the most gorgeous women. Carmilla knew how lazy was to use an anagram for some names. Even her writer name was another anagram - C.M. Arcillma. But she also knew nobody would pay enough attention to that, or would simply care about the real name of a c-list femslash author.
So, Elsie. She was a striper. Not a little bit ashamed of her profession. In fact, she was very proud of it. Even though most of her clients were men, the act of make them craving for her, brought her a kind of satisfaction she would not find any other way. She had a lot of similarities with Carmilla, which was exactly what Carmilla was thinking after the first 30 minutes she and Elsie talked at a very crowded club. The place was Carmilla choice. If things would not get well with her woman of the week, Carmilla could simply dismiss the lady and find someone else right there. She didn’t like to waste her efforts to look fierce and sexy.
But this time things seemed perfect with Elsie. After a few moves on the dance floor, Elsie asked Carmilla to go to somewhere quiet. “Bingo!” Carmilla thought. Usually Carmilla would goes to her date place or some cheap hotel room. She was afraid someone would be clingy and eventually return to her place unwanted (it happened once). But she decided to take a chance this time. If Elsie was really like her, Carmilla would not have any problem with awkward mornings. She would even be her to-go girl, something Carmilla always wanted to have. A girl to please her at a random moment with no strings attached. And only some God would know what Elsie would have up in her sleeve.
“As much as like to talk” Elsie said pulling Carmilla by her shirt “I think we have better things to do, huh?”
Carmilla only had the time to close the door to her bedroom before surrender herself entirely to Elsie. She knew when was the time to be a top girl or a bottom one (she hated those terms, but they were in her mind often anyway). Most of the time she was the one in control. But this was one of those moments she knew she just needed to let things go. It was always a little bit scared for her to let someone else touch her like that. Maybe it was some reminiscence from a bad experience. Maybe not.
She was not sure how many hours had passed, or the number of orgasms Elsie gave to her. What she knew is that her decision to take the passenger sit was very wise. She did touch Elsie, sure, after all she was not a pillow princess. But all the new things she has learned was like to open a door to a brand new world. A world full of subtle touches, dirty whispers and the right amount of tongue.
In the next morning (but it was really afternoon), Carmilla found herself alone in her bed, but not completely forgotten. In her cell phone an unread message was on.
Elsie (10:15a.m.): Good morning Kitty Cat, hope you had a great night. If you want to go for a round 2 just call me.
The text was enough to put a pleasant smile upon Carmilla’s face. As she bit her lower lip, her mind wandered to the best moments of the night. With a satisfied sigh she rushed to her shower. After dressing herself in something comfortable (an old rock t-shirt and sweat pants), she went to her kitchen for an early (in her usual hours) breakfast.
“Please, tell me you were just watching a very loudly and very realistic porn movie last night” urged Lafontaine, Carmilla’s roommate.
Carmilla let out a chuckle, pouring some milk and cereal in a bowl, sitting across from LaFontaine at the table. Her red hair friend, who considered themselves a non binary gender person, was eating a Chinese takeout.
“That would make you feel any better, gingersnap?” Carmilla said with a snarky smile “Sure, it was just my computer.”
“Why do you that? Seriously, I thought after Ell you would never bring any other random girl to our place” they replied annoyed.
“Don’t go there” Carmilla said pointing her finger to her friend. Lafontaine just raised their hands in surrender. “It’s not my fault your sex life sucks.”
“Yeah, so just rub it on my face, vampire. Unlike some people, my sex life is directly connected to my love life, so it just how it is.”
“You should just enjoy life a little bit more. You’re young, full of charm and have a successful career in front of you.”
“Tell that to all of the girls that had avoided me in the last decade, maybe if they hear it from you will make a difference.” They said in a sad tone. Carmilla swallow her last spoon looking more serious at her friend.
“Don’t throw yourself a pity party Lafontaine. You’re better than that.”
“Easy for you to say, Karnstein. Or should I say, Miss Arcillma?”
“Knock it off, Laf! You’re not the only one doing things for science.”
“Yeah, right. But that doesn’t explain why you brought someone home, and in the process gave me a month worth of the freakiest nightmares.”
“You know, you should consider yourself a very lucky person. Do you have any idea how many of my fans would like to have a chance to peek to a teeny-tiny part of my sex life?”
“I’m sure wouldn’t be enough people to fill my bedroom” they said in a very amusing mood. “But okay, I get it. Sex is part of your money maker and all, but that doesn’t explain why you brought that blonde over here”.
“So, you saw her” Carmilla said in a tease tone, arching one brow.
“Don’t sweat, geek lab. That girl is a pro, she won’t be a problem, I swear.”
“Gee, Vampira! You got a prostitute? Oh Gosh, my nightmares will have no end.”
“Don’t be such a whine prude, Gingersnap!” Carmilla replied angry. “You should have no prejudice against a prostitute. And besides, Elsie it’s just a stripper.”
“Yeah, I feel much better now.” They said finishing their food. “I think that explain all the old tunes coming from your room” they shrug “you were getting a lap dance, weren’t you?”
“I’m not going to answer that. If you want to know more, you have to buy my next book.”
“No, thanks” they said leading to their room “not even all the advertising in the world could pull that off”.
“Such a prude” Carmilla ramble under her breath.
After some hours of true sleeping, Carmilla was up and eagerly typing on her laptop. Her night with Elsie was enough for at least 3 brand new chapters in Mircalla’s Night 3rd book. Carmilla could easily write an entire book just about that girl. Her content with Elsie gave space to a new line of thoughts. Instead the blonde stripper, Carmilla imagined the Cupcake girl over her lap, moving slowing over Carmilla, keeping her intense gaze the entire time. Then the fantasy changed, now Carmilla was the one hovering over the girl, making her blush to a scandalized shade of red. “Just stop it, Karstein. A nice girl like her would never even take someone like you serious”. And then the sensation of emptiness was back again. Carmilla should do something about it. And she would.
In her next shift, Carmilla was again at the register station. Her preference was for the prescription counter, because that corner of the store was like an oasis of tranquility at the night shift. But Kirsch was there lately, using the free time to study for his finals, and Carmilla would have no argument about that. Also, Kirsch was there longer and he called dibs.
The door hanged open and for Carmilla’s surprise, the Cupcake girl was in. She went straight to the prescription counter, handing Kirsch a piece of paper. After a few minutes the girl was in front of Carmilla with a receipt, showing her remarkable smile. While Carmilla was processing the amount of the prescription (seemed to be some kind of vitamin pills) the girl opened her bag and took off a small see-through plastic container with a pile of cookies, placing them over Carmilla’s counter.
“You didn’t have to” Carmilla said caught off guard by the girl’s gesture “I was just been nosy”.
“Of course I had to” the girl said with a sheer smile “I’m not a tease. And, of course, you should know this amazing cookies exists, it was not only me blabbing about my friend skills. So, see, it’s a real thing.”
“Thanks, Cupcake” Carmilla said returning the same smile.
“Laura” the other girl announced. “My name is Laura. I’m not mad about the nickname, it’s kind of cute, but I think you should know my real name.”
“Okay” Carmilla said with a nod. “Thanks, Laura”. They looked at each other in an awkward silence until Carmilla realized what she was supposed to do. “Oh, it is 15,37”.
“Right” Laura reached for her wallet and handed a 20 dollar bill to Carmilla. After getting her change and her receipt back, she turned to leave, but stopped a little after, facing Carmilla again. “I’ll be back to get your feedback on the cookies. And for my tupperware too…” she was holding this apprehensive expression, like waiting for something from Carmilla.
“Carmilla. Yeah, sure.” Laura nodded to Carmilla.
“That’s a beautiful name.” Laura said while her cheeks got warm.
“Well... bye, Carmilla!” And before Carmilla had a chance to respond Laura, the girl was already by the door, leaving the store behind her, and letting in her place the familiar emptiness in Carmilla’s heart.
Laura was right. Her friend cookies was the best Carmilla ever had. Crisp on the outside, fluffy and melting in the inside. It felt like heaven in Carmilla’s mouth. She ate one after the other, finishing the small pile in less than a minute. She was looking forward to tell Laura how she loved the cookies (it was really nice to have actually something to talk about with Laura) and washed the plastic container, who was now ready to be returned inside her bag.
After a week of her brief talk with Laura, Carmilla was back to the prescription counter. It was Kirsch day off, and Carmilla took advantage of the opportunity to work on her book. It was a quiet day at the store so far. Her boss Vordenberg was snoring and drooling over the register station, what required Carmilla to eventually wake him up to serve a costumer. “Christ, why this man is not retired yet?”
The process of organizing her thoughts into the story to type later at her computer was making Carmilla a little bit horny, one of the down sides of writing erotica in public places. She was concentrating really hard in a particularly part about Elsie’s lap dance when she felt a shadow above her. But it took a few more seconds for her to realize that a costumer was in front of her. Carmilla was caught off guard by the noise of fingers taping against the counter. She looked up to an annoyed but beautiful face of a very tall red haired girl around her age.
“Huh, may I help you?” Carmilla asked, shaking her head a bit to move away the sex cloud of thoughts from her mind.
“I’m here to take some prescription pills” the tall girl said waving a piece of paper in front of Carmilla’s face. Carmilla pulled the paper from the girl, looking for the number code of the prescription. She went to the back of the store, moving her index finger around the paper bags with medications, looking for the right number. When her eyes laid over the exactly combination, she checked for the name of patience and the drug to confirm her match.
“Folic acid – Laura Hollis” Holy shit!
Carmilla looked at the receipt again, confirming one more time it was indeed what the red hair girl was there to take.
“Are you Laura Hollis?” Carmilla said to tall girl, back at the counter.
“No. She is my girlfriend. Why?” answered the other girl in a harsh tone, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Tell her to take one pill every day after the main meal” Carmilla answered at the huffy tone in the other girl’s voice, delivering her the bag and a folded sheet.
“Right. Thanks” the tall girl said in a more neutral tone, taking the medication and turning to leave the store.
Carmilla was left with a million thoughts about what just happened. So Laura had a girlfriend? Why she needed those pills? Why that girl was mad? She has nothing to do with Laura. Not that she knew Laura, but, really?
And with the certainty that she indeed knew nothing about anything, Carmilla logged in the drugstore system and typed the name of Laura Hollis in the prescription tab. And there it was, all the information about her prescription. The date was the same Laura went to the store and paid for her medication. Everything else checked. Carmilla even tried to see if any other Laura has had left any prescription at that very same day. No. So, yeah, this Laura Hollis was her Laura, the Cupcake girl. “She was not flirting… was she just being nice? Damn, Karnstein.”
The realization of the obvious conclusion gave her a timid but fast growing head ache. She wasn’t in the mood to work on her book anymore. In fact, nothing else was appealing in that moment. The more she thought about the girl the more she got angry to herself. Why she let her expectations for a stranger get so high? Okay, Laura was beautiful, nice, has the smile worth of a thousand of sunshines, warm golden eyes that could melt any stone heart… but even then, no, no, no. She should just stop thinking about the girl, period. Fairytales and happy endings was not in the stars for Carmilla.
Still wondering about her angst, Carmilla’s mind led to another thread of questions. Why Laura needed folic acid? Carmilla had been working at the drugstore for a few months now, but never really paid attention to some of the medication use. When a costumer needed some advice she would call Vordenberg, who was a trained pharmacist. And he practically lived there anyway. Now she wished she would have paid more attention. “Or I could just use the internet, like most people do. Duh.”
Typing in the drugstore computer, Carmilla just googled the name of the med, then…holy shit! So, folic acid was something women generally uses as a pre-natal med to avoid the fetal malformation. Of course, this was not the only use of the substance, but Carmilla’s mind went to the worst case scenario. Was Laura trying to get pregnant? Or was she actually already pregnant?
The best medicine Carmilla could take for her (kind of) broken heart was a date night with Elsie. Carmilla didn’t has the strength to start something new with another girl. It was time to see if Elsie could really be a good to-go girl. She decided to save LaFontaine from her lustful noises, meeting Elsie in her place this time. The blonde was more than happy to see Carmilla, offering her a chance to play with some of the toys from her extensive collection. Carmilla was fascinated with the variety and extravagance of Elsie’s erotic gear. And after every orgasm of that night, she thought about what she would have lost if she had engaged in any serious romantic relationship. Because, even though Carmilla didn’t have what some people would call a moral compass, she had her own principles. She was not a cheater. Be a cheater would mean to be a hypocrite, and Carmilla really hated hypocrite people. With all of her forces. So, if she would go for something serious, she would go for good. No doubt about it.
The night was amazing and Carmilla was able to clear her mind for most of the time. By the time she was woke up, she reached to her side of the bed and found it empty. Elsie left a post-it right on her alarm clock. It was 3 in the afternoon.
Out to work. Feel free to assault my fridge - was on the square piece of paper.
Carmilla stretched her arms and legs, leaving the bed. The good sensation of last night was fading slowly. She didn’t want to think about it. So she concentrated in her surroundings. Elsie apartment was a nice place. It was a small studio with navy blue walls and stainless steel appliances, with dark brown and black furniture. It was a bit dark, but somehow very cozy. Carmilla served herself with a bowl of cereal and milk. It was no trouble to prepare and easy and fast to get the dishes done. Carmilla liked to be practical.
Back in her apartment she went straight to the shower. The hot water helped her to feel a little bit better about everything. Like she would usually do, she sat at her desk and typed the highlights of her night. Then she would take her notebook and mount new chapters over her notes, using some drafts from her computer document. So she did it, like every other regular day.
An entire month has passed since Carmilla heard the name Laura Hollis. She would be happy if the same thing could be said about her mind. Laura Hollis echoed in her thoughts more than Carmilla would like to admit. The good news was that in the last 3 days or so that familiar ache in her stomach was gone. And she had finally finished her third book of Mircalla’s Night. She named it Lap Dances and Handcuffs. Yeah, she knew it was a corny name, but it was corny and obvious things like this that caught the eyes of her readers. Her regular slang for erotica worked so much better than anything else she had tried. Like her big sunken ship, The Distance Between Two Hearts.
The Distance, like Carmilla would like to call it, was a single shot novel about a deep relationship between two soul mates. Carmilla had put her mind and soul in that work, talking about how love and sex would complement each other in a perfect relationship. Her writing was seductive but not explicit. She used some of her own experiences and brought them to a new level, to a place she had never been and could only dream of. It was her master piece. The Mona Lisa to her Da Vinci. The very first time she was really proud about her work. But it was not what her fans had expected. It was the favorite of all time of a few tasteful bastards, sure. But it didn’t matter in the end. What the mass wanted, what could really help her pay her bills, was the cliché experiences, the old dirty slang and wild adventures. Like she did for her first series, The Vampira’s Conquers, about the tales of a century old lesbian vampire sucking blood and eating women (pun intended).
It was easy now to compile a book with what people wanted. She learned that the hardest way. In spite of everything, The Distance had a special place in her heart and in her bookshelf. It was the only book Carmilla had in physical form. A single copy printed on demand, proudly lying between The Stranger (from her favorite philosopher Albert Camus) and The Bell Jar (from her favorite author Sylvia Plath).
The sound of the door opening caught Carmilla’s attention. From her position behind the register she saw the familiar golden hair running through the store. Carmilla swore under her breath at the sight of the tiny ball of sunshine and happiness. She went straight to the snacks aisle, and then moved beyond a few more shelves to the women’s health session, hovering in a corner for a while. If Carmilla had paid the right attention to her work, she would know exactly what Laura was looking for. The girl took some boxes and looked at the labels, undecided of what she would choose. Carmilla almost left her station to help her costumer. It was what she should do at her work. She noticed Kirsch throwing sights at her, gesturing for Carmilla to do the obvious thing: help the girl. But Carmilla was frozen in her place. And when her foot moved a few inches from the ground, Laura was already in her way to the register station.
Carmilla took a deep breath and tried to plaster a smile on her face. The I’m-just-doing-my-work-in-the-most-helpful-way smile, at least. Laura showed a mix of content and nervous expression while placing her purchase at the counter.
“Hey” Laura said with a light hand wave.
“Hey” Carmilla said it back keeping a sober smile, eyes trained at Laura.
“So, I know I have disappeared for a while, you know the craziness of life and everything, but I hope you liked the cookies I brought you the other day”.
“Yes. Yes, sure. You were not kidding Cupcake… I mean, Laura. That was the best cookies I have ever had”.
“Aha! Told you!” Laura said pointing her index finger to Carmilla.
“I forgot your tupperware at home, I’m sorry”. After 2 weeks with that thing in her bag, Carmilla just threw the container in one of her cupboards.
“Not a problem, really.” Laura said with a delightful laugh. “You can keep it, I was just messing with you, I have a ton of them.”
“Oh thanks”. Carmilla nodded to Laura, feeling that was nothing else to talk about. After the awkward moment of silence Carmilla downed her eyes to the products Laura had just put there. The big one was a pack of her usual cookie. The other was a… pregnancy test. Carmilla was not able to avoid the shock look on her face whilst holding the purple and white carton box.
“Yeah, like I said, the craziness of life” Laura looked at Carmilla face still processing what she just saw “I didn’t know if this is a good brand or not, and I have never needed one before, obviously cause I’m gay and I never had a pregnancy scare so this is new to me, but since I have decided to start a family and this is part of the process, you know, and I was feeling a little bit dizzy and tired” while Laura was rambling, Carmilla composed her face to an artificial smile in a desperate attempt to look indifferent.
“Laura.” Carmilla said waiting for the other girl to take a breath. Laura sighed and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.
“I have to be honest with you” Carmilla gave Laura an apologetic smile “I was supposed to know more about those things, it is part of my job, but, well… I’m also had never needed before one cause I’m gay too”.
“Oh” was all Laura could manage to say “Right, so…”
“But I’m pretty sure this is a good brand. See…” Carmilla pointed to the box “it says it’s the most used in the country, that means people trust it”.
“I think you’re right. That was why I chose this one. But I don’t know…” Laura shrugged.
Carmilla scanned the two products and said the total amount to Laura. After the final exchange was done, with a painful effort, Carmilla put on her best smile to Laura.
“Good luck with your test”.
“Yeaaah!” Laura giggled raising her hand showing her two fingers “Fingers crossed! Thanks!”
When the door of the store was finally closed after Laura was left, Carmilla let out a heavy sigh. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I really, really need to get this girl out of my mind”.
In the next morning, Carmilla woke up with an arm over her stomach. She groaned at the memory of her dream. The arm was not the problem, no. It was part of the solution. At least, it was suppose to be. She dreamt about what happened last night, but with a totally different approach. Or, with a totally different person. In a desperate way to take Laura out of her system once and for all, Carmilla called Elsie to a last minute to-go night. Elsie was worried Carmilla was getting too attached to her, but it was not really the case. Carmilla opened up about her insanely crush on Laura, earning Elsie’s sympathy and a very special treat for the night. For a few hours Carmilla was able to completely forget the golden hair girl with the brightest smile on earth. But her oblivious moment didn’t last long. Her night with Elsie was reprised in her dreams, but it was Laura seducing her instead, whispering all the things she wanted to hear and giving her a pleasure she never felt in her entire life. It was so frustrating.
How a stranger, a tiny human she barely knew, caused so much trouble? It was beyond all she could ever understand. Carmilla scooped out of her bed, going to her bathroom for a long shower. Elsie was still sound asleep. Carmilla didn’t want to disturb her, Elsie was always a decent host in regard to her. So she just got herself out of her apartment and went for a walk. She took the opportunity to hit her favorite bookstore where she found a used philosophy book she has never read before. It was a good purchase for her shift in the register station in a few hours.
Carmilla had spent a good amount of hours reading her new old book. There was something about karma and how all that shit could be the reason she was going through hell for her innocent crush. That was the only reasonable conclusion Carmilla could find about her affliction. Not able to really find a way to coping with it, all that was left was to wait time to pass and eventually everything would be back to the way it was.
Her shift was about to finish, but Betty, her co-worker who usually takes the morning shift at the register station, was not there yet. Carmilla was getting mad at the morning rush that was taking all the aisles of the drugstore. It was not a big store, but also not small, but for Carmilla 3 people was enough to form a crowd. The line for the cash register was getting long (4 people was a nightmare for Carmilla) while at the prescription counter Vordenberg was taking forever to enter data on the computer, forming another line of peeved costumers.
Carmilla looked furiously at her watch, making her best to scan the products at a fast pace. There was even a woman with a drooling baby waiting patiently behind an old man who was struggling to find his coin in a very worn out wallet. “That dime is here somewhere” he assured to Carmilla. The baby insisted in keep his big blue eyes on Carmilla for some reason, and the kid just turned all the experience a bit more chaotic for her. She loved children, even though she usually ignored them around other people (specially their parents), but this particular one was a living reminding of the undeniable reason Laura was out of her league. “Where the hell is Betty?” . Carmilla thought
The door opened again and Carmilla almost cursed under her breath at the sight of a new costumer, when her stomach did that thing she loved and hated. Laura was there. Carmilla barely caught the expression of the girl, but she could know right away something was not right.
“Sorry! I’m just so sorry Carmilla” it was Betty getting all apologetic towards Carmilla.
“Just, let me finish a couple of costumers” Carmilla said hoping to get a better view of Laura.
“Okay” Betty said uneasy. She was expecting a storming of broodiness from her co-worker, not a minor look of annoyance. In the past Carmilla had given Betty the killer eyes and some other ways of displeasure treatment because of a simple 5 minutes delay. After 20 minutes, she thought Carmilla could kill her for real.
Laura was back to the front, caring a small basket with some pills. And no cookies. Carmilla noticed her face and almost froze at the sight. Laura’s face was puffed, like she had spent the night crying. She was not wearing her business attire, but a pair of sweatpants and a Doctor Who t-shirt. Her hair was up in a messy bun. Something was really wrong. The old man was finally done and the lady with the kid was next. Carmilla was barely paying attention to the woman purchase when she noticed Laura eye’s meeting her own. It was for a brief second, Carmilla could see the pain in them. And then, Laura gaze went to a different direction, not much far from Carmilla. She was looking at the baby over the woman shoulder. Carmilla was only able to see the kid’s back. Laura’s façade went to a crash, her cheeks turned to red, her eyes filled with tears about to break.
“Excuse me” Carmilla heard from the lady with the kid. She had stopped her work and all of her attention was on Laura. Carmilla gave the woman an apologetic smile looking at her screen to see the total amount. She heard the door again, and noticed that Laura was gone. Carmilla turned to Betty before leaving her station.
“Take care of this” she said going to the direction of the door. She saw Laura’s basket with Tylenol and Aspirin laying on a shampoo pile. Carmilla took the basket and went out looking at any sight of Laura. Walking at the parking lot around the store (where there was other small business) she could notice a red Mazda not too far from the entrance. Getting closer to the car, Carmilla was able to recognize it was Laura indeed sitting at the driver’s seat. Laura eyes were lost somewhere in her steering wheel. Carmilla knocked on the window, gaining Laura’s attention.
“You forget this” Carmilla showed Laura her basket with the medication left behind. Laura scrolled down her window.
“You didn’t have to” her voice was shaking and fragile.
“Of course I had to” Laura reached the basket and held it on her lap.
“I didn’t intend to buy the basket too.” She said trying to sound funny.
“You can have it, we have a ton of those” Carmilla said trying to follow Laura’s lead.
“Let me pay for the pills, at least” Laura was reaching for her wallet and Carmilla touched Laura’s hands at the movement.
“No. It’s my pay back for the cookies. And I still owe you.”
Laura looked at Carmilla’s hands over her own. Tears came back in her eyes.
“Hey…” Carmilla hold one of the Laura’s hands and gave it a squeeze. “May I…?” Carmilla pointed to the passenger sit with her other hand. Laura gave her a nod, so Carmilla released Laura’s hand and turned around the car, opening the door and sitting by Laura’s side. Laura’s hands were now covering her face, a stream of tears rolling down her arms. Carmilla placed her hand over Laura’s shoulder patting lightly. After a few minutes of raw crying, Laura let her hands back to her lap. By that moment, Carmilla was already holding a tissue she had found at Laura’s glove compartment. Laura took the tissue and dried her tears carefully.
“Is everything okay?” Carmilla asked, regretting right after. What a stupid question.
“No. There is nothing okay”. Laura voice was almost a whisper.
“Well, you can talk to me. If you want to.”
“I don’t even know where to begin.”
“I have all the time in the world, Cupcake”.
“Not here” Laura said after a deep breath.
“I think I know the right place for this conversation. If you want to, I can drive us there”.
“That would be very nice of you”.
“So, let’s go”. Carmilla grabbed Laura’s free hand and gave it another sympathetic squeeze, before she left her sit to take Laura’s place. She was not sure what to do about that whole situation, but one thing was clear for her. She would do everything to bring Laura’s angelical smile back.