Shopping Day Blues

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The Mitchell sisters are helping out a new arrival to the city by giving her an easy job to do.  Do some shopping and keep Kay out of trouble.  That should be easy enough, right?

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"Okay. I have officially died and gone to heaven. I think I actually like this store." Of course, it's going to be a royal pain if she wants to get into the cycle of bringing stuff in, and it would be utterly painful to buy new and sell here, but this is like a big thrift store for the nearly-hip!

But with her top now officially hers (and she's made a mental note not to buy anything for the lower end here, that'll be new only thank you much) she's speed-walking back to where she left Kei, wishing she had her skates. 

Midway there, however... "Oh. Oh that's just perfect, I have to grab that. Kay'll love it, even if it is only three quarter sleeves." She snags the corgi-covered blouse off the rack and continues her quest to collect Kei!

The girl was lingering around the changing rooms, discontently picking through a rack.  Her forlorn search is given a shot in the arm once more when Mari comes back armed with a shirt.  "What?  What is it?  Should I be running?"

She gets a better look at the shirt Mari was weilding and emitted a little squeal and bounced in place.  "Awoohh!  Puppies like Rex!"  She reached out a hand and opened and closed her grasping hand repeatedly.  "Gimmie!"

"Running? No, I just was late getting back." And she didn't want to lose track of Kei, Naomi wouldn't be happy with her! "But look what I found!"

She holds out the corgi shirt with a grin, presenting it with a little half bow. "Thought you might like it. Don't change yet, I think I saw some gold striped pants that should appeal to you, back that way."

She gestures with her thumb back over her shoulder. "I saw some pants I want to look over too."

Kei accepted the shirt reverently, as one would accept an item of religious significance, and with great care smooth it over her arm.  She nodded numbly, still over-awed by the glory that was the corgi puppy shirt.  "...Mm-hm..."

Something about pants was mentioned and all Kei could think of is whether or not they would compliment the shirt.  "Gold stripped.  Yeah."  Mesmerised, Kei giddily followed.

"Yeah Kay, gold striped. I'm trying to work with what you gave me," And that your sister won't murder me over. Corgi shirts and blue jeans aught to pass, and maybe she can sneak something comfortable like her own track pants onto that list. 

Mari hooks her arm through Kei's to lead her toward pants, letting the other woman revel in corgi glory. It's a dark blue shirt with many corgis in different poses, should go nicely with some striped pants, right? Right.

Kei was easily moved this time, but still for a brief moment, her abnormal weight and rigidity could be felt by Mari before she got into motion.  "I'm quite all right with shorts so long as I have my stockings on underneath, you know.  Skirts are also okay.  Especially the ones with a lot of layers and ruffles!" 

She gives it some more thought.  "You know... my sister is right.  I do always dress in things I like, regardless of whether they really match or not, don't I?"  Or what other people think, for that matter.

"Well, I've only seen one outfit of yours, but going on that I'd say that's a fair statement. So how would you feel about, oh, some nice dark leggings, a knee skirt, your corgi shirt. Should be nice, right?"

She points to the different clothes as she mentions each, urging Kei to pick them up. Now, if she could just get her out of those ridiculous long gloves! 

"It... could work."  She had to admit that all the suggested pieces coordinated with one another.  And wouldn't even look bad with her denim jacket.  (She had learned from a friend long ago that denim jackets go with everything.)

She gingerly picked them out of the racks, merely allowing them the graciousness of her associating, because they would go with her corgi outfit.  "I'll have to keep my gloves on, naturally." 

Suddenly doubtful, she deigned to ask permission.  "Should I go change now?"

Mention of those blasted gloves just earns a soft, resigned sigh. will get her out of those gloves, I promise! 

Kei psychs herself up to picking up the indicated pieces while Mari is still poking through the racks. "Yeah, sure, I'll be along in a moment. Do me a favor though, no jacket this time. I want to see how that shirt fits you, not how your jacket fits." 

She'll keep poking after Kei leaves, finally picking out some jeans, a pair of leggings and a skirt of her own to try on. Nothing like an A-line skirt in black with neon light thread in all the seams, right? "I love future fashions!"

Off to the fitting rooms!

Kei just pouted again.  "Phooey."   Having had her displeasure known, she headed once more into the breach. 

After closing the flimsy door to hide herself away from the world, she began anew the process of changing.  She took off her denim jacket and set it aside, removed her armament and set that aside all so she could get around to stripping off her top.  The layers of skirts, the stripped stockings, and her shoes, plus the kiddy tutu would also have to be removed this go around and so the time Kei went about her business just kept compounding. 

For the moment she stood exposed inside the dressing room, save for sporty undergarments which she wore only for the sake of her own self-consciousness, not needing them for comfort or decency.  Perhaps a small amount of decency.  Despite avoiding it, she caught a glimps of herself in the mirror and her artificial body and all the various damages it had suffered.

Again she saw the seams in her flesh, too regular, systematic, and slightly indented and recessed to be scars.  The actual scars were much more readily identifiable as rent synthetic skin had been heavily stitched back together with fishing line forming odd, half puckered mounds that the sutures were partially absorbed into.  Finding the sight distastefull, she still turned towards the mirror to trace the smudges which were once burns or the odd pock-mark that were the result of high caliber munnitions her tough hide hadn't been able to fully shrug off.

What about her hair?  She pulled it in front of herself, bringing her mind to the purple-y tresses and away from negative thoughts and unnecessary ruminations about the past in doing so.  The hair certainly was a big deal.  It was excessively, exorbiantly long by many standards, but it was hers and something she could be proud of.  Such was it's length that she normally kept in a loose, messy bun with an extra long loop of hair just hanging there and it still reach to her mid back. 

It also kept getting in the way of changing.  She should do something about that.  Yes, braiding it would help things along.  So even before bothering to put on the change of clothes, she begain the lengthy undertaking that was giving herself a good solid braid. 

First she'd have to brush it out in front of her, but there was a snag... When a person has hair as long as Kei's it happened.  It was just a matter of course.  Still it was vexing.  "Ohhh... Shoot!"  Erughh!  The stupid tangle would bend to her will and things could again have order in the world.

Kei had plenty of time to get fully involved in braiding her hair while Mari continues poking about for clothes. By the time she finally reaches the dressing rooms she'd circled back three times and gotten off course once, ending up back in sportswear for another top (in neon yellow, this time) and an ended-with-a-glare-not-a-dance scuffle with another patron over some clingy blue warmups in a material she couldn't even name but felt like woven dreams in her fingers. And so light! Probably warm! 

"Kay? Hey, Kay, I found you some other stuff to try. Which one are you in? I think you'll like them, they're long sleeves." Kei could hear her wandering up the aisle between the stalls, as if hunting for her companion/ward, but the reality was that Mari was cheating. Kei didn't need to say a word for the were to find her, that scent of mishmash fashion and hint of gun oil did the trick just fine.

The sound of two garments, one a tight looking sweater dress in grey with purple banding at the cuffs and hem and the other a pair of light khaki pants with a puppy motif embroidered up the legs, coming over the top of the door and thumping against the inside was all the warning Kei recieved. Before the two had even finished settling against the flimsy material, dangling on their hangers, a Mari face appeared above them. "Hey there. I found these two on my way over, hope they're your size because they look pretty cute."

A quick glance proved that somehow that flimsy door was stronger than it looked, supporting Mari's weight. It must be, because her feet weren't quite touching the ground. "Are you- oh whoa. Daaaamn, er, sorry, I thought you were almost dressed." 

That's a hell of a lot of scars. Bet there are more under the gloves, no wonder she wants to cover up...

 

The little cyborg , for yes, that was what she was, heard her new acquantaince call out to her while she was still braiding her hair.  "Yes, yes, just a minute..." 

Then she heard the rustle of clothing and the elevation of Mari's voice behind her and Mari's sudden concern.  Kei slowly turned around, her expression scandalized and annoyed.   Her shoulders tensed and she turned away from Mari, finishing off her braid with a hairtie and reached for her corgi shirt.  "If you're done...?"

"Sorry," She drops back to the floor, cheeks red in absolute embarrassment. There you go, not thinking before doing. You're lucky she didn't scream, that would have been fantastic, get yourself thrown out of the store and lose your only paying opportunity here.

She slips into a nearby empty stall with her own clothes to try on before Kei can change her mind, trying to ignore the familiar voice of her mother telling her how dumb she'd just been. A tall task, for sure.

Returned to privacy, Kei listlessly, perfunctorily went about the process of putting on the rest of the clothing she was going to be modelling for Mari, even going so far as taking the time to put her shoes back on again to cover up her segmented toes. 

The shirt fit snug.   The pants went on next. She left off her jacket, but carefully folded it over her weapons and carried them in her arms.  One could not simply leave them lying around.  You know, capri pants would probably look nice with my stripped stockings.  I should look for some.  Don't they usually have cargo pockets?  Maybe I can put them with rainbow suspenders.  Yes... these are nice thoughts to have.   Much nicer then her more paranoid thoughts.

Kei smoothed out her clothes, examined herself in the mirror to make sure she was presentable, and exited the changing booth.  "I'm properly dressed now."

Mari, ever the mistress of the quick change (what else are you going to do, when you spend your early teens in less than full control of your shape shifting), was quietly waiting outside her own stall for Kei to finish. Where Kei went straight for the corgi shirt and puppy pants Mari had found herself a sweater dress and striped stockings.

The dress was nice, stone grey with violet knit cables up the front, and its stretchy quality makes it especially appealing. With grey/black/white stockings, though... perhaps a little noisy. Or perhaps not. "Yes, you are." Complete with gloves, dammit

She looked Kei over, noting the shirt's fit with a look of approval. "Almost like they cut that shirt for you, do you like it? You like stockings, maybe some shorts or capris and stockings instead of pants for warmer weather, and that shirt would be good with them."

"The temperature doesn't really bother me."  She looked Mari over before looking down at herself.  "Yes, it does fit fine, but... I don't know if I like the tight clinging shirts?"  The tight shirt did help to dispell some misconceptions about her apparent age.  "Is this really me?"  Rather, the question is, is it the me I want to show? But... corgi puppies....  "Tight shirts are more something my sister might wear."  She was waffling, but hurriedly ended in a rush.  "But it has puppies on it, so I'll buy it anyway and treasure it always." 

"All this changing of clothes is starting to wear on me."  Such a polite way of putting things, stepping around the issue.  "If you think you have some necessities, and enough clothes to let you do some laundry, maybe we should head out to lunch?  I know what I want to buy."  The events in the changing room have really sapped her enthusiasm for clothes shopping.  "I still need accessories..."  She pointed over to the side of the store near the registers where headware, handbags, and backpacks were.  "I'm going to be by the hats, if you want to change again."

She looked down at her jacket in her arms carefully folded over and concealing her weapons.  "I just need to put my jacket on first." 

"Well... It suits you. And, um, you won't be mistaken for a high school student?" The taller blonde gave off a nervous vibe; anyone could be forgiven for imagining if she had ears, out a tail, all of them would be limp and low at the moment. 

"Okay. Um, though... Would you try the dress, and the stockings first? You don't have to show me, but I think... I think you'd like how they look too. I'll finish trying my things on too, then meet you in hats." 

Give her a few minutes, Kei, and she'll bounce back to aggressive extroversion for sure!

"Well..." She glanced down at the dress.  It certainly was more mature and understated than what she normally wore.  It was probably something like what her sister wanted her to wear.  Kei had half a mind to refuse it outright just to be contrary.

She looked from the proffered clothes back to Mari who was looking like a chastized puppy, fearful of making another mistake.  "...Yes, all right.  It matches my jacket.  And I saw a hat that would look smashing with it together." 

She took the clothes and went back to change.  Again.  Still taking her time, outfitting herself properly with her weapons harness and making the necessary adjustments, Kei finished and smoothed everything down.  Looking in the mirror, she saw that, yes, she looked good.  She laced up her shoes, pulling them tight, certain that this would be the last change of clothes she would have to endure today. 

Stepping out, she glanced about to see if Mari has once more beaten her with one of her quick-changes.  It was like the girl was under the impression they were racing.  She did have to get that hat...

When she did get to the hat stand she picked out a lovely, big poofy grey lady newsboy hat that would match the dress.  "For maximum hip-ness, I need some shades.  Round ones. Oh!"  And there some were.  She had obviously already seen them before saying that.

When Kei headed back in to change again, Mari did a quick turn through the mirrors, looking herself over... "Blue stockings would be better, but I like these. It's a keeper, maybe with a cap. Good look."

She ducked back into her own stall, peeling out of the clinging dress. A moment to consider her other options, then she slipped into, and almost immediately rejected, a tube top and skirt combo; the skirt was a keeper, but the top pinched far too much. It had to go.

By the time Kei finished, her companion was on her third combination, struggling into jeans that were clearly not meant for anyone with actual thighs, but stubbornness wouldn't allow her to admit defeat in the face of cotton obstinacy. "Okay, hats. I'll be out in a minute, just making these pants admit defeat first!"

Right on the heels of this declaration the floor joined forces with the pants, conspiring to pitch the blonde against the stall door. Was that a yip? No, must have just been a yelp. "Dammit pants!"

It took all of five softly cursing minutes for Mari to finally admit her defeat, peeling the offending garment away and going for the comfy black-and-neon skirt. Bright blue shirt with a mathy looking logo she didn't recognize and a many pocketed tan jacket to complete the look. "Yeah. Skate girl."

Off to find Kei, dress and other chosen clothes over her arm. "Oooh, was there another cap like that? I love those, but I don't know what they're called."

"Nope!  Only one.  They're often referred to as a 'Newsie's Cap,' but, alas, that is the drawback of a second-hand shop.  There is usually only one of something and the size doesn't always fit."  She snugged the hat on top of her head and smiled triumphantly.  "And I got this one first!   ...Unless you want to try to dance me for it."

"Why not try the top hat or the bowler?   Classy." 

"Handbags are next," she said turning to the next section.  "Need a purse?"

"Aww maaaaan." Mari gives Kei the poutiest of pouts, gazing longingly at the cap, but it quickly vanishes at the suggestion that they dance for it.

"Hell no, are you kidding? Do I look like a dancer?" She is awfully top heavy to be a professional dancer. Cheerleader, though... "And no, top hat won't go with the current fashion. A fedora maybe, go for the Ms. Jones look, but they've been preempted by jackhats and condescending jerks."

She runs her eyes over the available hats, shaking her head. "Nah... I don't use a purse, they get in the way on skates. Just a wallet, though if I can find a good courier bag I wouldn't say no to it." 

"Yes.  You do.  You are in good aerobic shape and coordinated.  Dancers come in all shapes and sizes.  Why, my sister used to be a professional dancer and she's roughly similar to you in measurements."  Kei's shopping attention has drifted from the hats and towards the scarfs that were mingled with them.  She started fingering through them, judging by pattern, shape, size, and material.  "She's not as good as me, obviously, but well, let's be honest, nobody is!  ...And that doesn't have anything to do with her bodytype.  Well... Not her 'sizes,' anyway."  She pulled a large square shaped green scard out of the hat rack it was hanging on and wrapped it around her neck. It looked to be rough silk woven into a repeating pattern of some kind that was hard to make out once it decorated Kei's neck.   "Oh, and I won't even try to bore you to death by talking about various dance types or the evolution of Modern dance from ballet and Irish step."

"You're probably out of luck on getting a bag like that in here.  Practical bags good for carrying a lot of stuff don't get traded in often and when they do, they get snatched up quickly.  Might have to buy one new, or look in a pawn shop.  Fanny packs, on the other hand, they have in abundance."

"Fit and coordinated I'll give you, I can even keep pace with the fast boys if any distance running is involved," If I slow my happy butt down, of course. Sprints are too hard to pull. She shrugged, hooking through the hats, trying on a few cast off bowlers just for giggles, and one positively Suessian top hat covered in sequins, but she rejected all contenders for her head. A few kerchiefs though, always utilitarian and fashionable if you don't mind the Cinderella jokes. 

"Oh, I know there's a ton of stuff out there about dancing. I'm just not very good at any of it. Too many other things on my mind. I did more of the country girl stuff, not the surburb after school clubs routine. I like trap shooting, pigeons, I did a couple turns through a junior Forestry Ranger program in middle and high school." Scarves were rejected off hand, unless there were any super basic and sturdy looking ones. In her head she'd already rebuilt the list of necessary items for her hunting go-bag, and sturdy surplus scarves filled a ton of niches in that context. 

"Um, so how painful is it going to be to buy one new? Not super hip, but sturdy, maybe a good ripstop or something? They're super useful, and, well... maybe a backpack too. Crap."

"You would do fine in any club.  There, you'd just have to... How did the kids put it in your century?  'Shake your booty.' "  Kei held up her hands above her head and wiggled her butt to demonstrate.  "See?  Easy."

"A sturdy bag?"  Kei gave the question a moments thought.  "Those are actually going to be more expensive than the strickly fashionable pieces.  To get something a courier might actually use, you're looking at, at least, a hundred dollars.  And that's used.  About double for something new." It sounded like a pretty certain answer.  Which it should be, since Kei had just looked it up on the local City Infonet.

"Ahh, yes. Shake what grandma gave me, because momma don't dance. Grandma Mari did, they tell me." She still looked dubious. "Never liked dances, though."

Kei's bad news bomb regarding bag costs, however, was met with a renewed pout. "Guess this isn't the paradise I thought I'd found. Maybe we can cruise pawn shops after lunch."

Kei dismissed the notion that Mari was stepping on her territory with all this pouting almost before she had it.

"Paradise is what you make out of it."  Kei shrugged lightly and with such a causual grace, it was as if she were still dancing while she moved over to stand in the line for the register.

"So that's that, then.  Let's law down the money and get out of here."  She proceeded to check out, standing in the line just a short while before it was taken care of.  She laid down her old clothes, folded neatly, and had a small conversation with the clerk about what she was purchasing, indicating all the items she was still wearing, save her shoes. 

She stepped aside to let Mari set down her items.  "Mari?  You have the card."

"That sounds like what dad would tell me. Mom would tell me that paradise is an impossible place anyway and to focus on learning about vam- err, work."  Almost slipped up there, didn't you girl? 

She shrugged, putting her own stuff on the counter and like Kei gestured to her outfit. As she's handing over the card Naomi gave her she thought of something. "Um, excuse me. Do you know the best place to get a great burger around here?"

"I didn't think there were a lot of family practiced trades left during the 2000s."  Kei waited idly by, ever the image of delicate poise, while Mari paid and their clothes were parceled out into two different shopping bags.

The clerk behind the counter looked at Marianas Graves like she wasn't from around these parts.  "Ahhh, like, yeah, tootally.  There's this new place five blocks hubbward, or, well, used to be five blocks hubbward when we were two blocks rimward last weeks, so I guess that means it's only three blocks hubbward now?  Anyway, they toootally had the best tofu and veggie burgers, you know?  Completely vegitarian there.  You should toootally check it out.  They called themselves, like, Boc-YEAH Burgers."

Kei was just then giving a master class on hiding her amusement while she waited.

Mari looked at the girl like she'd just sprouted a second head. "No. Hey. Look at me. Do I look like I want a veggie burger? Hamburger. Meat. Grilled. Deliciousness on two buttery buns, woman!"

She said the last as she whirled around to toss her arms in the air. "Augh! What's a girl gotta do to get real food? A cheeseburger!"

She headed for the door, hooking Kei through the arm and bodily hauling the shorter woman behind her. Yes, all cyborg heaviness of her, apparently it meant nothing to her when she's hungry!

"Well, yes, actually!  You totally look like you-" Whatever else the clerk was going to say was cut off as Mari storms out in hunger, dragging Kei along for the ride.

Kei, for her part, looked affronted as she was being dragged around. And surprised!  Surprised enough that she withstood the effrontery until they were both outside, at which point she regained her composure.  She remebered having to go through this not all that long ago at the begining of their shopping venture as she shook Mari off again.

"Do. You. Mind?"

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