Chapter Three of “Lie”: “Two Tribes”

For only $1.99, you can pick up “Lie” wherever eBooks are sold. For a few minutes of your time, here are chapters one, two, and four. Thanks for reading.

The goils finish their Earl Grey, Fantine doing her best to hide her sour face. She hates the smell of it but doesn’t want to make a fuss. From the group sitting at the corner of the counter, Idette is the only one who notices. Being Quinevere’s hetero life-mate, she’s learned to see through the mirages of the meek. She helps the younger Karoly with the dishes and whispers in her ear, “…I know your secret.”

“Do you mind my smoking in here?” Quinevere yawns and replies, “No, but my father might and I wouldn’t want to upset him.”
“Shit. Outward I go, then.” Veronique gets up and slides her stool in place with her hips. “Oh, and don’t worry about what I leave behind. I don’t use filters and I’ve seen leftovers carried away by rain, wind, and mice.” Idette laughs at the idea of a mouse having a nicotine fit, constantly thumping its head into a wall and wailing. She doesn’t share her mental image, so the others think she’s mental while she washes cups. Veronique walks a bit quicker to the front.

“Idette?”
“Quinnie?”
“What do you think we should get?” Idette shakes her hands dry, then playfully wipes them on Fantine’s shirt. Its owner, not knowing what to do, frantically dries the china. “Hmm…” Idette bursts out of the kitchen through the velvet rope. Quinevere helps a perplexed Fantine put the cups back into their places.
A minute or so passes, then they hear a loud thud and a faint “FUCK!!” come from the main room.
Quinevere sighs, takes out a frozen pizza, and hands it to the limping Idette entering from the curtain. Placing it on her thigh, she says, “Meat’s ok. Unless.” She glares at Fantine.
“I… I like chicken.”

The interior goils join the exterior one as she sits on one of the steps under the late-afternoon sky. “I was wondering who died,” Veronique says to the frozen pizza. “I thought Mrs. Soffe’s class was supposed to make you better on your feet.”
“It was th— We made a list.”
Veronique hops up, with an embarrassed skid. “Not a word, Idette.” The ginger raises a hand peacefully… but imagines things with stifled laughter. She then takes an arrogant stance and says, “What a genious. I mean, genius. Genius!” But it’s too late. Something you don’t do when you’re smug is make a mistake because you’re not allowed to live it down. Ever.
Quinevere starts walking to the Mini Coop. Its owner is about to join her, but looks at her goosebumped arms. “Fantine, be kind and get my gray jumper I came in with, please.”
Her niece complies. “Thank you, dear.”

When the younger Karoly comes back to the front door, the three are standing by the speck. Her aunt waves her over and quickly goes back to rubbing her arms. “Now, it’s important that you get everything on that list, Quinnie. Fantine and I spent some time on it.” Veronique’s ears perk up as she puts on her sweater, “Oh? Well, we’ll have to scour the village if it comes to that.” She kisses her niece’s forehead, “Don’t fret, Quinevere, I’ll pay for our things,” and pops the locks of her car.
Quinevere slides the list into a pocket of her still-buttoned coat. She’s about to slide into the car, when she catches a whiff of her mess. “Um, Idette. Could you, while we’re gone?” Her eyes dart to that special spot on the ground.
“Yeah, yeah. Where’s a bucket?”
“Under the sink.” She gets in the car and closes the door, then reverses. “Thanks.” And reverses again. Veronique playfully hangs over her car door and tells Fantine, “We shouldn’t be gone for more than two hours.”
To Idette, “No Alafamly, please.”
The ginger salutes her and the elder Karoly waves goodbye with her pinky. The two drive off and Idette grins mischievously at her new, young accomplice.

Fantine stands in the kitchen with an empty tin bucket while Idette ponders. “If we spill water anywhere inside, the Ainsworths will, at the very least, fuckin’ behead us. Why didn’t the ol’ guv build a back door… Ok. It shouldn’t take much water to clean up Quinnie’s sick. But that floor’s slick.”
If Idette sounds different it’s because she tries to speak more properly when she’s around her friend or Veronique. In any case, she changes pizzas.
“Bloody slick.” Fantine starts to say something but stops. “No, go ahead.”
“What if we used water from the river?”

Bunkerton Bridge is in full view. A kissed album from Quinevere’s collection, Jesca Hoop’s “Hunting My Dress”, drifts in the interior. A faint beep was heard at the beginning of their journey. It’s still there, but they’ve since gotten used to it. However, if they searched out the sound, they would’ve found that it’s from Quinevere’s cell phone in the glove compartment. Melissa left a voicemail, you see. “—’re kidding,” Veronique states. “Please tell me you’re kidding.”
“No, when she was a little girl, she used to put on her father’s clothes and pretend she was a robot.” Veronique laughs, but gathers herself before it’s time to cross the bridge. “How did she get that into her head?”
“I haven’t a clue. She grew out of it. Eventually.”
“How eventually?”
“…when she was 14.” Horror overrides comedy. “Does her father ever bring it up?”
“Idette never told you?”
“No, she doesn’t say much of her parents. She mentioned something about her mum, Baibin, once but I don’t remember anything of it.”
“Oh. Mr. Rodelle’s dead. He was assaulted by a careless driver.”
“Fuck… What was his name?”
“Tabbart. The car kept on so they weren’t ever caught.”
“How old was she?”
“14.”
“Oh… What of her mum?”
“She wasn’t involved but as hard as Idette took it, her mum took it far worse. She doesn’t do much save for mourn and sleep. Tabbart had a respectful job and everyone loved him there so, coupled with his insurance, the Rudelles wanted for nothing.”
“At least… at least they have that.”
“Yeah. Turn left once we’re off Bunkerton.”

Back in Dragonspire, Fantine helps Idette unpack in her room. Well, it’s Harold and Janice’s room but they’re obviously not using it now. It’s closest to the bathroom and Idette likes the idea of not having to climb over Quinnie to take a bath. The younger Karoly stands by the door taking things out of Idette’s knapsack. The ginger’s bed-bound and sorting through what’s handed to her, stealing the odd snapshot. Yes, the pizza’s still on her leg. “—ospital?” Fantine replies, “She needs her appendix taken out.”
“Oh, that’s no biggie. What’s she look like, then?”
“Hmm?”
“Your mum.”
Fantine describes Marietta, who’s essentially a raven-haired Heather Graham. “You must look a lot like her, then.”
“Yeah…” Fantine hands Idette the last bundle of clothes, but something falls onto the floor. She picks it up, then quickly drops it. Idette thinks there’s a nicotine-addled mouse around and asks, “What?!”
“It’s… it’s a…” Preparing herself, she leans over and sees… her black and pink thong. She slowly brings her brown eyes to the Karoly blue. “Blimey, you’ve worn a pair before.” The thing by the door turns a bright red. “…I’m gonna pop your thong cherry. I’m gonna— I’m gonna pop your thong cherry! We’re the same body type, so your bum won’t stretch it out.”
Fantine’s too frozen with fear to move. She manages to squeak out, “They look so… look so uncomfort…” She starts tearing up and continues, “No! I’m not wearing that!” Idette is bemused and a little annoyed with her childish reaction, then sees that she’ll have to try a different tactic with her. “Let’s play a game. If I can read your mind—” she picks up her thong with a bare foot “—you have to wear this. I don’t have to see you in it, but you have to wear it for at least… ten seconds. Then you can give it back to me.”
“You can’t read minds…”
“Then you’ve got fuck-all to worry about, right?” Fantine untenses.
Barely.
Idette proceeds to do a logic puzzle. One Quinevere always gets her with. She manages to “read” the younger Karoly’s mind with math and elephants. Victoriously, she kicks the prize onto Fantine’s shoulder and points with her foot to the bathroom door. The bashful gal trudges to her linoleum and porcelain tomb, closing the door behind her. Idette waits to hear the distant sound of dropped trou, then continues sorting.
A minute or so passes until Fantine finally opens the door and quietly helps arrange things. Noticing that the younger Karoly tugs at the seat of her pants occasionally, Idette pats herself on the back.

Veronique and Quinevere rummage around Rumpled Bags. Their cart is reasonably full, with half the list taken care of. Including a box of tea that isn’t Earl Grey. “—ode with our friend, Toni, because she was the only one with a vehicle and knew where the club was.” Veronique picks up a box of crackers and asks, “They have clubs for teenagers now? Where were they 25 years ago…”
“I don’t think Absolute Zero could be considered a genuine club. Even at 16, I thought it was rather bland. But it was a club and we were there.” She checks the list. “We need to find preserves.”
They round the corner to find the right, fruit-scented aisle. “So. Absolute Zero.”
“Oh. Well, there isn’t much to say about it. It was the first club Idette and I went to and she fared better than I on the dance floor. I was coping with wallflowerisms and potentially overdosing on energy drinks.”
“Unlike at… what was that other club you mentioned?”
“Dresden.”
“Right. You know, you’re more verbal than Idette gave you credit for.”
“It’s a bit hard being reserved around someone who’s seen you regurgitate. Ah. There they are.”

The younger Karoly is more comfortable with her floss as she continues to scan Mrs. Ainsworth’s collection. She stands somewhere in the L-section. Idette enters from the kitchen with the can of ginger ale she asked for. She hands it over and plops on the “couch”, feet in the air, and puts a cold can on her bruise. They decided to bake the pizza so she needed to find a new compress. Although Fantine is physically settled into her negligee, her mind is very much focused on it and has the synapses to prove it. Her brain’s like the middle of Chinese New Year. The only time she’s said something since being upstairs has been for the soda she’s drinking. Carefully, lest we forget Idette’s bucket issue. It seems she’ll be this way for a while.
“—ally get to Courtenay Wood. I passed it a lot throughout life and I thought it had an ace trail. When I got there, it crossed my mind that I lost him since I don’t look behind me when I drive. But he parked next to me and everything was brilliant. It was his birthday and the forest was my idea, but we were also aware that my period wasn’t for another week. And there weren’t any other vehicles nearby.” Idette waits for a reaction. It’s a game she’s been “playing” with Fantine. Seeing nothing, she continues, “We walked a ways down the trail. There weren’t anything but trees, and a lone bench a bit of steps before us.
“Anyway, he’d been walking behind me for a while and I could sense he was fed up with looking at my arse. Tight denim does that to strapping young lads, Fantine. If he held on for one more meter, we could’ve at least sat down. But he didn’t and we started snogging standing up. He undid the front of my pants, slid his hand down— I think I was wearing a pink and black thong…”
Fantine, somewhere in the m’s, tenses and lets out a high-pitched “What?!”
Idette laughs outrageously. “About bloody time! Oh, magnificent! Don’t worry, love, I didn’t buy them until yesterday and this happened a few years ago. His hands knew their way around a fanny… Ha! You’re ‘Fanny’ now.”
Fanny— No, that feels odd. Fantine turns around, flustered.
Idette says, “No use fighting it: no one has any say over their nickname.”
Fantine turns back around and focuses harder on DVDs.
“Anywho, he was always a fine tease so, naturally, he stopped when things started feeling fantastic. He zipped me up and we kept walking. Then we come to a beautiful clearing with a gazebo overlooking a pond.” Idette holds her hands up and takes an imaginary photograph. “I don’t need to tell you what we did—” she drops her hands onto her chest, smirking “—but I do need to say what stopped us. Apparently, it was a field trip day and we heard a group of wee ones coming down the way as I was about to cu— Long story short: we straighten up, we break up, and my feet are up.”
She swings her feet around as the youthful Karoly moves to the n’s.

The riders travel around Edithshire looking to accomplish the rest of the list. A detail only a true friend would know about Quinevere is something Idette is currently taking advantage of. If you were to give Ms. Ainsworth a list, she would read it one item at a time instead of all at once. If she was a consummate reader, she would notice that the list gets increasingly absurd. One item, for instance, is a demand for all the world’s right socks. Her eyes haven’t gotten that far. In fact, they’re a bit stuck. She’s having a problem with Idette’s k’s.
She hands the list to Veronique at a red light. A Veronique who does not have a problem with reading everything at once. She sighingly hands the list back and, as the light turns green, heads promptly back to Dragonspire. Quinevere thinks she’s being rude until she sees the demand for a crate full of bukkake (NSFW).

Idette and Fantine sit near the garden with their almost-gone meat-lovers pizza, the latter squirming slightly. The ginger, at last, found a talking point with the clipped one and they’ve been talking about it twixt bites: faeries. Idette’s not nearly as big a fan of them as the other one is, but she’s a much bigger fan than Quinevere, who isn’t at all. So she keeps her love to herself.
The younger Karoly gushes about her collection of Amy Brown art, about her walls in her room covered with pieces, about the wax sculptures she makes in class, about how she still looks out her window at night at a flower patch she planted when she was a child and hopes she’ll see a faerie wave “hello”… when the elder Karoly’s speck is heard approaching.
Idette says something about being found out as they get up and throw pizza remains into the Melody.
The riders exit the car, and Quinevere laughs at the ground again.
Idette gets the bucket and hopes she doesn’t gather any crusts.

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3 Responses to “Chapter Three of “Lie”: “Two Tribes””

  1. […] I Wanna Do Something That Matters « Chapter Three of “Lie”: “Two Tribes” […]

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