Buying Tinsel and Arsenic | By: Britanee Segura | | Category: Short Story - Friendship Bookmark and Share

Buying Tinsel and Arsenic


Her

A clock keeps time with the drops of water falling from the faucet.   My eyes snap open as the bell rings. I get up and answer the door feeling at ease, peaceful. A gun is shoved in my face, I blink and take a half step back. The door is shoved open and a voice speaks.

            -Don't make a sound.-

I blink again and shift my gaze from the gun to the person holding it. I observe the man with the gun for a moment then stare at his face. I open my mouth to speak and he waves the gun in my face.

            - I mean it. Not a sound or I'll shoot you.-

I raise an eyebrow and shrug.

            -You should come in before the neighbors see you and call the cops.-

I turn away from him and walk down the hall, not looking back. He didn't bother me since I knew he couldn't hurt me unless I let him. I knew the man had lowered the gun and come in when he shut the door. I entered the living room to close the drapes.

Him

I wasn't so sure about what I was doing anymore. Maybe I should have chosen differently. She didn't seem the least bit worried that I had a gun I had threatened to kill her with. She had even invited me in so the neighbors wouldn't call the cops. Anyway I looked at it, it wasn't normal. Was she insane? Did she have some kind of trap she was trying to get me caught in? She was so calm. Any normal person would have let me stay out there and hoped one of her neighbors had seen me. I felt uneasy, nervous. This girl was creeping me out. I entered the living room and saw her at the curtains. I paused and began to bring the gun back up thinking she was trying to escape but when she pulled them shut I lowered it again, puzzled. She turned and looked at me and pointed at the sofa, opening her mouth to speak.

            -Sit there. I'll be back with some tea.-

I sat. I don't know why but I did. She made me feel like a little kid who was in trouble. It made me feel weird. I began to wonder if she was going to poison me with the tea she was making. I heard the microwave beep. A few moments later she was back with two cups of tea. She pressed one into my hand and spoke again.

            -Drink.-

I took the cup from her and drank, worrying more than before that I was going to end up dead from poison in the tea. She made me feel like it would be worse if I didn't do as she asked. I obeyed her because she made me feel like young child.  The tea was minty, refreshing. I stopped worrying about poison . I felt relaxed, until she spoke again.

            -Tell me why you're here.-

Her

I asked my question as I sat down across from my visitor. I drank my tea and watched him over it. I saw him tense again when he heard me speak. He put down his cup and opened his mouth as if to speak, shut it, opened it again then gulped. He was nervous, unsettled. I made a lot of people feel that way. I leaned back in my seat and watched him. He tensed more and lifted his cup, taking another drink of it, stalling, trying not to answer.  I thought he was strange; he didn't seem to know what to do. He was just going along with whatever I did. I lean forward and set my cup down before speaking again.

            -I'm waiting.-

Him

Her eyes bore into me waiting for what I would say.  The grey color made me feel like she was examining me for some sort of experiment. I was scared of her now. Not sure why. She was strange. I had made a mistake. What I had come to do was wrong, I knew it, she knew it. I had a gun, I should be the one in control, but I wasn't. She was. I didn't want to answer her but I felt I had to. She didn't simply want an explanation for my presence here, she demanded it. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights. I could take control of the situation if I used the gun, but that would draw attention and she had already shown that she wasn't afraid of me when I had tried to force my way in. She had let me in, showing me that I wasn't in charge. She had made me sit, then given me tea, showing me once again that I wasn't in control. Now she wanted an answer and I didn't know what to say. I fidgeted with the cup a bit more before speaking.

            -I don't know anymore. Everything,... All this,... it's a mistake. It's wrong. I'm not here for anything anymore.-

Her

I sat back and let out a sigh. I let my eyes slide from him. The boy was being used of that much I was sure.

            -I want to know why you came, what brought you here. Not why you're sitting here now.-

I looked back at him. He didn't answer. He looked confused, like he didn't know what was going on anymore. He also looked scared of me. I didn't blame him for either expression in his face. I tilted my head and looked at him. I felt a bit of sympathy for him. I decided to be nice.

            -What's your name?-

Him

I blinked. She was trying to coax my reason out of me. I didn't even know why I had decided to do something so stupid in the first place. Since it didn't look like anything was going to happen to me I answered her.

            -Tinsel.-

Her

            -Tinsel, it's very unique.-

I looked at Tinsel. He seemed a little bit more relaxed, just a tiny bit, but it was enough for me. He still had the gun in his hand but he was holding it limply, like it would fall from his hand any moment without notice.

            -I'm Arsenic.-

Tinsel

I laughed. Early I had worried she would put poison in my tea and it turned out she was named after a poison. I put the gun down and smiled. I wasn't scared of her anymore, well that's not true. I was still scared of her but now I was interested in what kind of person she was. She hadn't even made fun of my name. I was slowly feeling more relaxed. Something about her made me lower my guard.

            -That's an odd name to give someone. Did your parents name you or did you change it to that?-

Arsenic

I smile. I had gotten him to relax. I felt happy that he was no longer maintaining his silence. I took a strand of my hair and twirled it around my finger.

            -I changed it after they died. My relatives said I was poison so I changed my name to reflect that. Will you answer my original question yet?-

Tinsel

I nod and take a deep breath.

            -My dad took out a loan with a loan shark. He took off and I got stuck with the debt. I couldn't pay them right away so they told me I could do them a favor instead. One favor was all they needed and they would clear my debt. They gave me a gun, a phone and this address. They told me to come here and keep the girl who answered the door here until they called.-

Arsenic

I laugh.

            -A loan shark asked you to detain me to clear your debt? He must really want to talk to me then.-

His phone rang. I looked at him and nodded,

            -Answer it.-

Tinsel

I answered the phone.

            -H...Hello?-

I look at Arsenic and she smiles and mimes putting it on speaker. I do and she moves closer to me.

            -Tinsel is she there?-

I take a deep breath and answer as I exhale.

            -You're looking for Arsenic right? She's right here and listening.-

Arsenic

I recognized the voice and smile.

            -Turtle! I didn't know you missed me so much. Had I known I would have set a pack of wild, rabid dogs on you.-

Turtle

I sigh, Arsenic hadn't changed at all. She was as cruel and uncaring as ever.

            -I need you to take a job. You'll be paid well. You're the only one who can do this since you look so harmless. People think your beautiful and won't suspect you of being a killer for hire. They'll assume you're a call girl.-

Arsenic

            -Awe Turtle you haven't changed a bit have you. No Hello, just straight to work. What makes you think I'll do a favor for you?-

Turtle

I hadn't thought of that. I had offered to pay her but money didn't always mean much when it came to Arsenic. It depended on her whims. I tried to think of something to convince her to take the job and came up with...nothing. There wasn't anything that made this job really special. I just had to hope she was in the mood to work.

            -Because I took the time to find you?-

Tinsel

I watched Arsenic with interest. She knew the loan shark who threatened me. She called him Turtle. I wondered if that was his real name and what he wanted her to do. For the first time I wondered who Arsenic was, what she did for a living.

Arsenic

            -You didn't think it was important enough to come talk to me in person.-

Turtle

Shit. She had me there. I hadn't gone to find her in person. That was because I was afraid of her though. I sent some fool to approach her knowing she wouldn't kill him right away. Even if she did kill him before I had called she would have answered the phone. I decided to tell her the truth; it wasn't like she didn't know it anyways.

            -I didn't come because you scare me. I sent that kid because I figured even if you killed him you would answer the phone call. It's his luck that you where in a good mood when he came around.-

Tinsel

I drop the phone, Arsenic catches it. I hadn't known that he had offered this to me as a way out because he had expected her to kill me. I move back from her feeling a bit nervous and uncertain again.

Arsenic

It annoyed me that Turtle treated Tinsel with so little regard. Judging from his reaction to what Turtle had said Tinsel hadn't known how dangerous it was to mess with me. His behavior made perfect sense if he had no experience with this type of thing and hadn't been briefed on me. He wouldn't have been so careless if he had been even slightly prepared for this.

            -Why would I kill him? It's not like he would have been able to hurt me.  You just like bullying weak little prey. I won't take any job you ask me to take. Aside from that are you really going to let Tinsel go debt free?-

Turtle

            -Damn it Arsenic. I need you to do this for me and no I wasn't. If he died I would have cleared the debt. He still owes the original sum borrowed. Is he still there?-

Arsenic

            -Asshole, He's here.-

Tinsel

I snatch the phone from Arsenic.

            -Bastard, you said I would clear my debt if I kept her here until you called!-

Turtle

            -I lied. Tell you what kid, if she accepts the job I want her to do you'll be clear for good.-

Tinsel

            -Like Hell I'll believe that!-

Arsenic

            -You never even said what the job was.-

 Turtle

            -It's a two part job; A hack and an accident.-

Arsenic

The job seemed easy enough and this would be an easy and convenient way to clear Tinsel's debt to Turtle.

            -You take what he owes out of my pay and give the rest to Tinsel.  He'll hire me.-

Tinsel

I stare at Arsenic. She had just refused to do anything for Turtle and then said that I'd hire her to do the job. I didn't know what was going on. I felt edgy but it seemed she was on my side. I bit my lower lip and listened to the conversation.

Turtle

Arsenic would have puzzled me if I hadn't known her for so long. Everything she did, she did on whims. I was used to her saying one thing and doing another without breaking her word on whatever she said originally. I was still curious to what reason had brought about her decision though.

            -Why?-

Arsenic

            -Simple, I like Tinsel more than I hate your methods of asking for a favor.-

Tinsel

She liked me? That didn't make sense. She didn't even know me. Did she feel sorry for me or was she just saying that to try to upset Turtle? My thoughts started going over everything, examining it to try to make sense of everything.

Turtle

Her reasoning made a lot more sense this time than it had in the past. She was doing what I wanted so I saw no reason to object. It just meant that she was paying off Tinsel's debt.

            -It's a deal then. Promise not to kill me and I'll come by with everything in an hour. Keep Tinsel there with you.-

Arsenic

            -You have my word. We'll be waiting.-

I hang up the phone and smile at Tinsel.      

            -Well Boss, How about some more tea and some snacks?-

Tinsel

I stare at Arsenic and then smile. I understood that she hadn't intended to hurt me at all. She was helping me, trying to make me feel better. I smiled cautiously at her.

            -Sure.-

She got up and went to the kitchen taking her cup. I grabbed mine and followed her. I left the gun; it would never have helped me if she had meant to kill me.

Turtle

She had taken the job. I hadn't known who else I could trust with it if she had turned it down. Arsenic may have been a terror but she was the best in the business. I grabbed the briefcase with the target objectives in it and got in my car. As I drove to Arsenic's house I realized I had only made her promise not to kill me. She said nothing about not hurting me or letting her security system do it for her. I hoped she was in a good mood.

Arsenic

I made some more tea and cut us each a slice of cake. We sat down at the counter to eat. I took out my phone and armed the security system. I put it on the lowest setting. It was just enough to harass Turtle. As we waited for Turtle I talked with Tinsel about non-consequential things, making him more at ease. The tea was a special blend that made people relaxed.

About an hour later

Turtle

I got out of my car and stared at Arsenic's house nervously. Briefcase in hand I walked towards her house. I stopped there was a little red dot on my shirt. I put my hands up and took a step backwards. The dot disappeared; I put my hands down and moved forward. I made it five steps before it appeared again.

            -Arsenic, this isn't funny!-

Arsenic

I smile at my phone screen as I watch Turtle try to walk to my door. It was just a dot but he wouldn't do anything for fear that he would be shot. I left the dot on him and went to open the front door.

            -Hey Turtle. Long time no see.-

He looked pissed.

Turtle

            -Get this damn dot off of me. Now.-

I glare at Arsenic as she approaches me. The dot moves from me to her and then turns off. I hand her the briefcase and follow her inside.

Arsenic

As I enter the house I go through Turtle's briefcase. I pulled out the files I need for the hack. We go to the kitchen where I put down the briefcase next to Tinsel. I skim through the files I pulled out and go to get my laptop.

Turtle

I look at Tinsel. He didn't seem bothered to be around me this time. Considering that I had sent him here to die he didn't seem concerned that I was here.

Tinsel

I looked at Turtle. He didn't scare me anymore. Arsenic had pretty much assured me he wouldn't touch me.  I think the tea also helped. It made me feel floaty. I vaguely wondered what was in it that made me feel so much at ease. I had to ask about his name though.

            -Is your real name Turtle?-

Turtle

I blinked. Of all the things I'd ever been asked this was the strangest. Who the Hell has a name like Turtle?

            -No, my name's Claus.-

Tinsel

I nodded; it made perfect sense that his name wasn't Turtle. Most people didn't have such abstract names, I was a special case and Arsenic had changed hers. I wondered what her original name was and decided I'd ask her later.

            -Turtle is an odd name for a loan shark. Why does she call you Turtle then?-

Turtle

            -One time she set a really vicious dog on me. I couldn't out run him and he mauled me.-

I point to one of the scars on my face.

            -This one is one of the scars that I still have. She's called me Turtle since then. I'm just thankful she decided to pull the dog off of me before he got me any worse.-

Arsenic

I come back into the kitchen with my laptop. I smirk as Turtle finishes his story. I sit down next to Tinsel and power up the laptop. I open up the programs I use to hack and get to work. Turtle moves behind me to look over my shoulders. As I hack into the computer Turtle watches me, tense. Once I get in Turtle lets out a breath of relief. I quickly retrieve the files he asked for and leave a Trojan horse behind. I put the files on a flash drive and hand it to Turtle.

            -Alright, I got your files, now for the accident.-
I take the rest of the files and read them while Turtle holds the flash drive starring at it. I snort.

            -Do you just not like this person or something? -

Turtle

I snap out of it and slip the flash drive into my pocket.

            -That's part of it. The other part is that if they don't go I'll get into serious trouble.-

Arsenic nods before asking me another question.

            -Do you want any particular type of accident?-

I shake my head,

            -No whatever you want is fine. As long as they can't get me into trouble I'm good.-

Tinsel

I was curious. Arsenic wasn't even trying to hide anything from me. I had a couple of friends who where a bit shady sometimes but nothing like this.

            -You kill people for a living?-

Arsenic

I shrug.

            -It's more of a hobby type thing; just like hacking. I just happen to be very good at this kind of stuff. Officially I'm an author and a painter.-

Tinsel

            -How did you get into this sort of work?-

Arsenic

            -Don't really know; it just sort of happened.-

I finish going through the files and start formulating a plan.

            -Alright, I'll have it done by this time tomorrow."

Turtle

I smile in relief. Things would get taken care of a lot faster than I had anticipated.

            -I'll be back tomorrow with your payment then.-

I leave the information with Arsenic. She would destroy it later. I wasn't worried about Tinsel knowing about this. Before I'm out the door Arsenic calls out to me,

            -No, pay Tinsel not me. I work for him, not you. It's like a commission type thing.-

I laugh. She had just decided to force Tinsel to be involved in her life. I felt sorry for the poor kid now. He'd have to put up with her until she got bored of him.

            -That's right I almost forgot. I hired Tinsel to hire you. Alright then, I'll be back tomorrow with Tinsel's money.-

She nods and smiles, I leave.

Arsenic

I turn to Tinsel after Turtle live.

            -Where do you live?-

Tinsel

            -I live in an apartment with a roommate near the University. I'm a film major. You would make a really good character in a movie that I've been working on.-

Arsenic

            -What kind of movie?-

Tinsel

            -An action one. I haven't gotten the script done yet but from the brief outline I've been doing you would be perfect as the lead actress. She seems a lot like you. What was your original name?-

Arsenic

            -It was Seraph. It totally didn't suit my personality though. I write under it still but I paint under Arsenic now.-

Tinsel

            -That's a pretty name, it suits your appearance. You look sweet and angelic. It's really at odds with your personality and what you do for a living. I've read some of your books and I'd wondered how someone with such a beautiful name could write such horrific works. After meeting you though it's no surprise. My roommate is a huge fan of yours, would you come by and meet him. I want to see him freak out.-

Arsenic

I laugh. I couldn't help it. This guy was interesting. I talk about committing murder tonight and he asked me over to meet his roommate.

            -Sure. We can go after I arrange the accident.-

I hesitate a bit but continue on.

            -It won't take long, this way I can see where you live, and we can be friends. I'd also like to read your script.-

Tinsel

I blink taken aback, she was going to commit murder and make me an accomplice. I should have been concerned but I wasn't. I was beginning to think that she had put something in the tea that was making me so easy going. I wouldn't mind being friends with her though. It would actually be cool if I ignored the whole killing people thing.

            -I guess that's fine. I won't ..., you know...witness the crime or anything will I?-

Arsenic

I shake my head.

            -Just some more hacking. It'll be an elevator malfunction. I just have to set up a program. It'll wait for him to enter the elevator then activate. It uses facial recognition before it activates.-

Tinsel

I shrug.

            -I guess that's fine. I mean if it's only the program you are messing with. I can deal with that.-

Arsenic

I smiled and giggled. I didn't really have friends. The few I did have were people like Turtle. More acquaintances or business associates than friends. I felt giddy, like a little girl. I was happy. I closed my laptop and jumped up. I pulled Tinsel to his feet, tucked my laptop under my arm and pulled him after me.

Tinsel

Arsenic pulled me after her. She let go of my hand when she put her laptop to charge then grabbed my hand again and pulled me after her again. We went up the stairs and into a room. It was a bedroom.

Arsenic

I shoved Tinsel towards the bed so he could sit down and flung my closet door open.

            -Help me pick something to wear. If we're going to surprise your friend we may as well go all out. What do you think he imagines me to be like?-

Tinsel

I sit down on the edge of the bed and stare at all the cloths in the walk in closet.

            -Uh,... Go with something that gives off a creepy vibe, dress in a way that matches your writing style. You'll be stunning and he'll freak out that I bring someone back with me that looks so out of place.-

Arsenic

I pull out a black and red shirt made of velvet. It had buckles along the sides and full sleeves that were tight until the elbow where it opened up and flowed. I then grabbed a long black velvet skirt with a slit running up most of its length. I changed into these and began hunting for shoes.

Tinsel

My jaw dropped open when Arsenic started changing in front of me. I turned my head and stared at the wall.

Arsenic

I pulled out some black high heeled boots that reached just above my knees. I pull  them on then stepped out of the closet and twirled around. I noticed that Tinsel was starring at the wall.

            -How do I look?-

Tinsel

I turned to look at Arsenic. My face was still a bit flushed. My jaw dropped,

            -You look amazing. He'll freak out for sure.-

She giggled as she spun around again and unbraided her hair, letting it fall in waves.

Arsenic

My hair was wavy after being in a braid all day. All I need now was a bit of makeup. I walked over to the dresser and rooted around for my eye shadows and black lipstick. I pulled them out and applied them before throwing them back in my top drawer. I noticed some fake vampire teeth I used for events sometimes and popped them in. I grabbed my laptop bag and put in my Mac book and its charger before heading out the door for my laptop. Tinsel got up and followed me. I put my laptop and it's charger in it and went back to the kitchen. I grabbed my keys to lock up.

            -Ready to go?-

Tinsel

I smile at Arsenic she was acting like a girl getting ready for a first date. She really seemed to be enjoying herself.

            -If you're through getting ready then sure.-

Arsenic locked the front door then went into the garage. She unlocked her car and I go into the passenger's seat. She got in putting her laptop bag in the back.

Arsenic

I opened the garage and backed out into the drive way before stopping. I waited until the garage door closed before enabling my security system with my phone. I typed in the address I need into my GPS then drove off. Traffic was practically nonexistent so we made good time and where at the target destination within ten minutes. I found a spot to park and got out to switch spots with Tinsel. He slide over and I went around getting back in. I pulled out my laptop and hacked into the elevator's operating system in my target's building. I installed the program setting it to delete itself after activating. This took several minutes. After completion of the task I put away the laptop and smiled at Tinsel.

            -All done. You drive us to your place.-

I began looking for black nail polish. I knew I had some in the car someplace. I found it in the side of the door and painted my nails with it as Tinsel drove back to his apartment.

Tinsel

I had watched Arsenic as she worked. What she had done didn't look the least bit sinister.  I was a bit surprised she was letting me drive her car. It was a luxury vehicle and was fully outfitted with all the latest technology. I felt more nervous about driving an expensive car than from the fact that she had just installed a program to kill someone in an elevator.

Tinsel's Apartment

Tinsel

I pulled into my apartment's parking lot and found a space in front of my block. We parked and got out making our way to my apartment. Arsenic had her laptop bag with her; she said it was proof of who she was. My roommate wasn't here yet which was perfect. Arsenic settled onto the sofa and pulled out her Mac book, she started working on something. I went to the kitchen to get us something to drink.

Tinsel's roommate

I opened the door to my apartment and saw a chick sitting on the sofa. She was dressed strangely and had a Mac book out. She looked completely out of place and completely at home in my apartment. She looked up at me when I walked in. She didn't say anything just stared at me.

            -Tinsel!-

She smiled at me showing teeth. I dropped my bag and stared at her, a bit scared now. She was one of those freaks that wore fake vampire teeth in her mouth. Tinsel walked in with two drinks and handed one to the strange chick. She took it from him without letting her eyes leave me. I cleared my throat,

            -Who is our...guest?"

Tinsel

I heard Nori call out my name and smiled to myself. The timing was perfect; I kept myself from smiling and went back to the living room with drinks. I handed one to Arsenic and turned to look at Nori as he asked me to tell him who Arsenic was. I couldn't resist giving him a hard time.

            -Come on Nori, you can't tell me you don't even recognize your favorite author?-

Nori

My favorite author? My favorite author was Seraph but none of her fans knew what she looked like; it was impossible for Tinsel to go out find her and convince her to come here. There was no way someone like her would ever take the time to come to a university student's apartment. I shook my head in disbelief.

            -You have got to be kidding. Not only is that impossible, since nobody knows what Seraph looks like but the likely hood of her being in the city and you convincing her to hang out with you is practically nonexistent.-

Arsenic

I chuckle and take a sip of my drink before setting it down.

                -Are you so disbelieving? What would it take for you to believe that I'm your Seraph?-

Nori

I stared at her. She was maintaining Tinsel's lie. I wondered what he had promised her to put up this act. I smirked knowing how to put an end to their teasing.

                -Show me your next book.

Arsenic

I laugh at Nori. I had his proof. I pulled out my external hard drive from my bag and plugged it in. I had a copy on my laptop but I didn't feel like getting it out. I opened up the drive and navigated to the next book. I opened it and showed Nori the Mac book's screen.

                -Is this proof enough?-

Nori

My smirk slide off my face after I heard her laugh; it reminded me of bells. I had watched her pull up something on her Mac and walked closer to her. When she showed me the screen I started reading it. I breathe caught. It looked like it was Seraph's next book. It meant one of three things, she had stolen it from Seraph, someone who worked with Seraph, or someone who knew Seraph, she knew Seraph and had gotten it from her or she was Seraph herself. Each possibility was difficult to believe in.

                -What about the book's cover art? Seraph works closely with Arsenic to design the cover. After the first few books she decided to find someone who would do them the way she wanted them. If you are really Seraph then you should have something you sent to Arsenic about the cover.-

Tinsel

I snicker at this.

                -What if I told you Seraph and Arsenic are the same person?-

Nori

                -If they were the same person then wouldn't Seraph just use her name for both the cover artist and the book?-

Arsenic

                -No because I write under the name my parents gave me and paint under my legal name.-

Nori

                -That doesn't even make sense. Your legal name is the one you're given at birth unless you get it cha... you got your name changed to Arsenic? Why would you do that?-

Arsenic

I pull up the cover art for the book. It still wasn't finished but it was good enough to be proof.

                -It suits my personality better. My family thought I was poison so I changed my name to reflect it. I wasn't the little angel my parents wanted me to be but  I had already written a few books under that name and gotten them published. I decided just to use Seraph as my pen name and do my own cover art under my new one.-

Tinsel

                -Believe me now?-

Nori

I stare at the cover art for that Seraph had pulled up.

                -No way....you really are her. You are my favorite person in the world. How the hell did my roommate track you down and get you to come here?-

Arsenic

I purr a bit and glance sideways at Tinsel.

                -Should I tell him?-

Tinsel

I shifted a bit, not sure if anything should be said. There was a lot that I defiantly didn't want my roommate to know and that Arsenic and Turtle wouldn't be cool with him knowing either.

Arsenic

                -He rang my doorbell and when I answered shoved a gun in my face. An old acquaintance of mine put him up to it. He didn't much have a choice about the matter. Turtle is one of those people who make you afraid you'll be killed if he stares at you too long.-

Nori

My jaw dropped, I couldn't believe Tinsel had done such a thing. I hadn't known he'd fallen into a crowd of bad people. I shut my mouth and turned to glare at Tinsel. I couldn't believe he had treated her this way. Had he threatened to kill her if she hadn't come over? Was she a hostage?

Tinsel

I started to protest when I saw Nori glaring at me but I didn't have time to do more than wave my hands before Arsenic said something else.

Arsenic

I smiled watching Tinsel out of the corner of my eye.

                -After he came in we sat down and had tea until my friend called. He came over and we talked business after he apologized for getting my attention so rudely but it was an urgent matter so we can over look it. We got to talking and I found out you liked my books. I thought it would be great fun to distress you so I bullied Tinsel to letting me come over. I'll be coming over quite a bit now that I'm friends with Tinsel, perhaps you could help me come up with ideas when I get stuck on my plot and help me design some new merchandise?-

Nori

Tinsel had threatened her and she declared him a friend? I thought it was a bit odd but almost all of us fans thought she had to be a bit eccentric to come up with the stories she did and have cover art that looked so innocent and fit the story so perfectly. Not only that but she was asking me to help her with her story, that in itself was so amazing that I didn't really know what to say to the offer.

                -Me? I help you? If your sure then,...wow.. I don't know what to say. This is so amazing. I...I...-

Tinsel

Nori passed out. Maybe it was a bit much for him. I walked over to him and hauled him onto the sofa. I stuck a pillow under his head.

Arsenic

I closed the open programs and put away my Mac Book. I chewed my lower lip. I think I had sent poor Nori into shock.

                -Is he okay?-

Tinsel nodded and I let out a breath of relief. It would have sucked if I had caused the first fan to meet me in person to get seriously injured.

                -I'm going to go write on all the copies of my books that he has then. Where does he keep them?-

Tinsel

                -The shelf in his room. Down the hall, second door on the left. You'll see the shelf.-

I grinned; he was going to be ecstatic about this when he came to his senses.

Arsenic

I followed Tinsel's directions and laughed. He had a complete collection of my books, including the reprints of the first few. I took them down one by one and autographed them to him. By the time I finished my hand hurt.

Dinner

Arsenic

After I had finished sighing all of Nori's books it was almost dinner time. I decided to wait another half hour to see if Nori would wake up so we could go out to eat.

Nori

I groaned, keeping my eyes tightly shut. The back of my head hurt so I rubbed it, grimacing as the pain laced through my head. I took a few seconds for everything to come back to me, after it did my eyes flashed open and I sat straight up. This caused my head to hurt even more. A hand offered my some aspirin; I took it and reached for the water set on the table next to the sofa. I looked up at the person how was hovering near me and blinked. I had almost thought it was a hallucination. I smiled sheepishly and Seraph smiled back at me.

Arsenic

                -I took the liberty of scribbling on all the copies of my books you had. Anyways since It's dinner time why don't the three of us go out to eat?-

Nori

I panicked. She had written on my books! Those were sacred! Then I realized she meant she had signed them and I calmed down. After that I realized that I was hungry and dinner sounded good. I nodded.

                -I'd love to have dinner with you.-

Arsenic

                -Great then I'll drive. Tinsel went to go do some homework. I'll go get him.-

I went to Tinsel's room pausing to knock on his open He looked up and I smiled.

                -Nori's awake. We can go eat dinner now. _

Tinsel

I saved my work and closed my computer. Meeting Arsenic had inspired me. She had the ideal personality for the main character in the script I was working on. I had gotten a good portion done after Nori had passed out.

                -Alright, did you have a place in mind?-

Arsenic

                -Yep. It's a surprise. -

I turned and walked out to grab my keys and bag. I had already checked to make sure I had everything; my editor would have been fuming if I'd lost any of my work.

Nori

Tinsel followed Seraph back into the living room; he had the keys to lock the apartment. I wondered where we would be eating but I didn't ask in case Seraph thought I was rude. We walked out pausing for Tinsel to lock the door then went down to her car. It was the really expensive one I'd seen when I'd got here. We got in and took off. I waited eagerly to find out where we were going.

Dinner

Arsenic

I took them to s small Italian restaurant that I liked to eat at; they where the kind of place who got business by word of mouth. They had large servings and the food was fantastic. Normally people needed reservations but they made an acceptation for me since I gave them some art work to decorate with.  I wanted Tinsel and Nori to be surprised. We pulled in to the parking lot and entered the restaurant. It didn't look very grand on the outside and once inside there was only a simple elegance to it but to me it was nicer than any big five star restaurant.

Tinsel

I'd never heard of the place Arsenic took us. It looked simple and elegant. The hostess seemed familiar with Arsenic and sat us done at a table towards the back corner under a picture. I looked up at it and smiled seeing the signature on it. It seemed Arsenic painted really beautiful pictures. It would have been better if she had painted under the name Seraph and written under Arsenic because her paintings eased the soul.

Nori

I was excited the restaurant hadn't looked fancy but I was sure it was. Just like Seraph hadn't seemed like the kind of person to introduce herself to fans I was sure there was more to this place than I thought I saw. I noticed the paining on the wall and saw the name on it, Arsenic. Seraph ad said she painted under that name. It looked otherworldly, just like the cover art for her books. I looked at the menu; they didn't have prices on them. I looked for something that sounded good.

Arsenic

The boys quickly decided on what they wanted and we ordered. I ordered Osso Buco, Tinsel ordered Braciole, and Nori ordered Chicken Marsala. While we awaited the food we talked.

                -Nori what's your major? Tinsel said he was a film major.-

Nori

                -I'm a psychology major. I wanted to learn about what makes people do the things they do.-

Arsenic

                -Any luck figuring people out?-

Nori

I laugh. People were impossible to understand completely. Seraph was living proof that people weren't what they seemed or portrayed. She had shown up out of nowhere, dressed really creepily, scared the hell out of me, announced herself to be a famous writer and painter, and declared herself my friend before taking us out for dinner.

                -No such luck. Anything I thought I knew was proven wrong when I meet you.-

Arsenic

I laughed. I had won Nori over as a friend. I now had two people I could call friends, it made me feel warm; something I wasn't used to feeling. The meal arrived and we began eating dinner.

After dinner

Arsenic

I dropped Tinsel and Nori off at home. They had enjoyed the restaurant, which pleased me. I told Tinsel I would come by tomorrow to pick him up. He promised to have some of the script for me to read when I came to get him.

Nori

Once Seraph had left I tackled Tinsel with a hug.

                -That was the coolest thing in the world. I can't believe she's coming by again tomorrow and that she wants to read your script.-

Tinsel

                -Hey, are you trying to say I can't write?-

Nori

I release Tinsel and shake my head.

                -Not what I was saying. It's just sort of surreal that a famous author and painter wants to read a college students script. I wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow. Speaking of work I need to get my homework done-

Tinsel

I laugh.

                -I know what you meant. I better go get some more of that script done while the idea is still fresh.-

Both Nori and I retreat to our rooms to get our work done.

The Next Day

Arsenic

I uncurled from the nest of blankets and pillows I had made on the floor last night. I got up and yanked something out of the closet to wear. I got ready for the day and waited around the house until it was time to get Tinsel.

Nori

I woke up in the morning and got ready for work. I went to wake Tinsel up and found him asleep at his computer. The script was up and I skimmed through it before waking him. It was interesting. I shook Tinsel awake. He looked a bit lost for a few moments.

Tinsel

When Nori woke me up I could figure out why I felt sore. After the first few moments the grogginess faded and I realized I'd fallen asleep at my desk. I saved the script, and then packed up the laptop. Nori took off for work and I showered and got dressed.

Arsenic

I watched the clock; it was close enough to the time I told Tinsel I'd pick him up. It was early but I was tired of waiting. I took off to get him.

Tinsel

The doorbell rang. It was a bit early to be Arsenic. I answered the door to find her leaning against the wall. She was dressed in a black halter top and had flowing sleeves tied to her arms matched with red jeans. I was just in a T-shirt and jeans.

                -Hi Arsenic. You're early. I'll grab my laptop and we can leave.-

She nodded and I went to grab my stuff. I locked the door and went down to the car with her. We drove back to her house. On the way she asked about my life.

Arsenic

I learned a lot about Tinsel on the way back. We got home and Turtle was waiting on the sidewalk. I pulled in and we got out. Turtle walked up to Tinsel and handed him a brief case.

Turtle

                -Here's your payment. What you owe has already been subtracted. Arsenic, thanks.-

Tinsel

I took the brief case and starred at it.

Arsenic

I nod.

                -Not a problem.-

Turtle leaves and Tinsel and I go inside.

Tinsel

I put the brief case down on the coffee table and pull out my laptop. I pull up the script and show it Arsenic.

Arsenic

I read Tinsel's script. It sounded fun.

Tinsel

I wait for Arsenic to finish reading the script before asking her,

                -Would you be the main character when I film it?-

Arsenic

I blink and smile at Tinsel,

                -I'd love to.-

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