YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 22 (CHAPTER 169)

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134 Days Until Normality And the Uncertain End (part 1)  

Heia sat in the room listening to the sleeping sounds of those around her. Peaceful, she thought, this is why Evester could not sleep alone. It was comforting. However, with less voices the room felt more vast. She missed the bus and the confined spaces that she’d grown used to with them all. She missed being so close, so safe, despite how much danger they were in. One did not miss something until it was gone, and now it hit her as it had when she had lost her first home.

All she could think of was the Catastrophe and the Night of Darkness. She was there again, fearful and saddened. She worried of what was to come and what was to be. She was afraid of making the wrong move and dooming everyone. She was just a city girl whose life was not meant to mean anything. She’d always wanted power to change things, and now that she had it…

“You okay?” Kim asked her, reaching to her under the blankets and resting her chin on Heia’s shoulder. As Kim wrapped her arms around Heia’s body, Heia felt her worries slip away.

“I’m doing my best.” The video posted tomorrow and they had gotten no response from the X Prime Minister. If things went the way they had planned, it would be a mess. Heia did not want a mess, she wanted things to be easy and for people to get their heads out of their asses.

“Everything is going to be okay.” Kim rubbed circles with her fingers against Heia’s side.

“So says you.” Heia hugged Kim.

“So says me.” Kim propped herself up to look down at Heia in the moonlight. Their eyes met. “What worries you?”

“That we put the video out and no one responds.” Heia admitted part of the truth.

“They won’t. Not at first. It’s why we have to get them to listen.” It was why they had to have a plan in place to rally the people. Heia was prepared for it, while being unconfident. She was not made for this task. She was just a… just a city girl.

“And then what?” Heia asked her. What happened after? Would the governments realize the errors of their ways? Would they save humanity instead of pretending nothing was wrong?

“Then we keep going.” Kim smiled at her.

“So optimistic?”

“I grew up with Uly and Evester. You learn to be.” Kim traced Heia’s eyebrows with her fingertips ever so lightly that it made Heia shiver.

Heia saw the contemplation in Kim’s eyes. She too was worried, even if she did not say it? “Are you okay?”

“Me?” Kim balked at first surprised that Heia had said anything at all.

“You’ve been through a lot.” She was in the Tower when it began to collapse. She was the first one to see what the people were doing to their captives. Kim was stronger than anyone else Heia had ever met, but that didn’t mean she was impenetrable. “Are you okay?”

“I’m as good as I can be. We all have our horrors Heia. I just…” Kim stopped talking. Her hands lingered against a scar on Heia’s neck that she had gotten in the Night of Darkness. “We were sheltered. Celebrities online. Able to get away with anything because of Evester’s name. I thought I knew, but I didn’t. I thought I cared but…”

“It’s Tax Season.” Heia knew that Kim understood the wrongness of it now. Knew of the horror of it now. Knew how wrong she was with the joke. It had been a game to them, until when Heia was not sure. However there was a gravity to it now that Kim understood as well as Heia.

“We need something better. The project never meant for it to be this way.” Kim pulled back her hand completely, withdrawing a bit, and sitting up completely.

“But humans are greedy and it is what it became.” Heia sat up with her.

“It is.”

Heia took Kim’s hand, feeling that it was only right to do so. “I never hated you.”

“I would have.” Kim tightened her fingers around Heia’s. She looked up to Heia and Heia saw a look in Kim’s eyes that she hadn’t before. There was a desire as well as an anger. Kim was angry at herself, but she also wanted Heia. There was a reconciliation happening there that Heia was not fully privy to, and she wanted Kim all the same. “But I’m happy you never did.”

“You were always my favorite.” Heia looked over Kim’s hair that had long grown out. It was not the flaming red that Heia had grown up knowing and instead a solemn brown with red undertones. It was beautiful and natural, and ultimately not what Heia would have ever thought for her to have. “I never could have hated you.”

“Me? Why me?”

“Kim The Talented. The amazing Kim who could do anything. Your hair.” Heia reached out with her free hand to touch Kim’s hair and then rubbed her thumb against Heia’s cheek bones. “Your eyes. Everything was just so…” Perfect. Because she was a Circle. Heia had long understood. She’d been so jealous of Kim for such a long time, because of how pretty Kim was and Heia had never felt like that. She’d never felt that she matched the Circle celebrities in anyway shape or form. Kim had always been her favorite despite the jealousy, because there was no way anyone could have been that perfect. That was, until she met Kim and realized it was true. “Perfect. You know? How can’t you love perfection?”

Kim stared at Heia for a moment too long before Kim was reaching up to move Heia’s hair out of  her face. “Do you want me to do your hair for you in a different way? I think we could easily get hair extensions.” Heia touched her hair knowing it was a mess, especially after what they had gone through. No amount of preventative measures could help it stay well. 

“That would be nice.” Heia felt Kim’s touch linger for a moment too long and that was when she was certain. A part of Heia always wanted to be a Circle. A part of her always wanted to be Kim. A part of her was always jealous. It was what she had told herself and it was true. However, she always liked Kim, and was jealous of those who knew her. It was a fantasy, nothing more until it became real before her in this moment.

EverDanger rules said that there could be no relationships between members and the members took it very seriously. But Zeydar and Heia weren’t official members. 

When Heia dreamed of love she always thought of it like stories: full of flashing lights and fireworks. She knew she loved Shawn, as a friend, as family. She’d die for him, but she didn’t love him in any other way and for the longest time she thought she was broken. For she and Shawn were perfect, everyone said, yet he didn’t love her either. In a world where the Catastrophe never came, they probably would have gotten married. They would have married because they had no one better and because it was comfortable. Because they understood it. Because they wouldn’t need more.

There weren’t fireworks now. There wasn’t a thumping of her heart that told her that she needed this more than anything. There was little more than a twisting in her stomach that told her to try, a giddiness in her blood that made her nervous for the smallest of seconds. Heia wasn’t sure if she loved Kim, the real Kim and not the versions she’d made up in her head. Heia did know that she wanted to kiss Kim. So she leaned in closer and asked. “Can I kiss you?”

Kim was caught off guard and for a moment Heia was not certain she had read the signs properly. She’d never felt romance. She had little experience with relationships outside her family and Shawn, but she’d seen enough and heard enough stories. She’d always known when others liked her.

“Okay.” Kim whispered back, leaning closer first and when their lips met Heia felt nothing like explosions or bursts of joy. Instead she felt safe, certain, and pulled deeper into the kiss with every moment not wanting to take another breath.

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