Pakpao Sparkles! (Attn Pakpao)
Aishe twisted her lips wryly as she looked at the huge mall. Yuck. Shopping. But it was a necessary evil. If one wanted to go to the beach and swim in the ocean, one should probably have a bathing suit. She did, of course, own one already, but she found herself actually feeling somewhat girly for a change... it was the same suit Kiamhaat had seen on her for the past six years. It would be nice to wear something new, maybe something halfway sexy. Not horribly revealing; she wasn't sure if she could get away with that, but still... nice.
She turned to Pak, who wore an equal expression of distaste on her face. It made Aishe laugh; they were probably the two least likely people to get together for an evening of girl-time at the mall. Yay, the mall! Aishe sighed and laughed.
"Come on," she took Pak gently by he wrist and pulled her into the main entrance, looking for a map. "We'll find the stores we want to look in and go to each one in order of proximity to doorways. We can hit the farthest first so with each stop we're closer to the exit."
Personally, she was hoping it didn't take them more than a store or two to find a suit, but you never know... maybe once they started trying them on they might enjoy themselves. Maybe. In the meantime she was going to plan her strategy. Wouldn't Cris be proud.
So she let Aishe lead her to one of those terrible 'you are here' maps. It did not, much as she might hope, say something about an alternate universe or show them on one of the Hawaiian Islands.
"You know if we had planned a head we could have done this on line."
But even if you paid for next day shipping that took time and if you had to return everything and start over it took more time. Nope there was no way around it, sometimes an actual store with instant results was the way to go.
Pak scowled at the map and was briefly reminded of a D&D game or some massive on line game. They had a quest and a map and mobs to kill. Figuratively speaking of course.
"OK if we start... here..." She jabbed a finger at the map, "we can hit two anchor stores and then... these two? And we're half way home. Let's start with that. There's bound to be another one of these maps some where else and there is no point in over planning."
Speaking of over planning, she wondered if she might be able to talk Aishe into a side trip just in case they got bored with florescent lights and exposing themselves to ridicule.
She followed Pak's pointing finger and nodded, giving a shrug as her friend refined their plan. "That seems like as good a plan as any."
Maybe they could stop and get a smoothie. Aishe wasn't sure if there was a smoothie place here, but it was a mall and a huge one at that - wasn't it sort of obligated to have a smoothie place?
They set off walking at a decent pace, as if they had someplace to be. It was definitely not a 'window shopping' pace. The mall was crowded; not as crowded as Aishe imagined it must have been on Christmas, but there were still plenty of people here.
It was like a marathon to reach the first store on their list, but reach it they did. It was a large store and it took them a few minutes to find the section hey were looking for but eventually they succeeded. Aishe lifted a price tag on one of the many suits and swallowed hard.
"They really think a lot of their stuff, huh?" she said, showing it to Pak. "This thing had better slim, lift separate, tone, define, and translate seventeen foreign languages for me."
She wasn't really worried about the price; she was slowly getting used to the fact that Kiamhaat wasn't going to be pressed for money anytime in the 2000's. But still, there was a sticker shock factor there. With a sigh Aishe plucked the suit off the rack; it was kind of cute. She began to look for a few others to try, the better to make one trip and be done with.
"So long as the return policy is half way decent you can buy anything on line."
Just as she was wishing for moving side walks, or roller skates they made it to the first store. After nimbly avoiding a woman with a perfume sample in the area of the store with the worse lighting possible, Pak was of the opinion they designed it like this deliberately, and started browsing.
While not a spend thrift Pak did have a touch of the price tag blindness that affected Kem and any number of vampires who'd been alive more than a few centuries and had a good financial advisor. Pak leaned over to read the tag on the suit Aishe had picked up and grinned.
"Pity it only speaks Spanish. Guess you'll be ruling that one out on general principle then."
Pak was leaning toward the more modest less fashionable suites. She dressed quite well for work and had a mild shoe addiction but was a little hopeless with swim wear. She grab four from the racks almost haphazardly. Not at all happy with her selections but knowing it was her fault she frowned a bit.
"Is it too early in this little outing to suggest we go to a nude beach?"
No, in her opinion it was better to get it all done in one shot. But then, she pulled her band-aids off quickly, too. Or had when she needed band-aids.
She returned the suit she'd picked up to the rack and shrugged, smiling at Pak. "Nothing against Spanish... but it's sixteen languages too shy of my minimum."
She browsed through the selection of one-pieces, drawn to the more modest lines before remembering she had wanted to try something a little more daring for her. Aishe wasn't insecure about her body, but she had grown up with a very modest family and those values had been passed on to her, too. Physically, she was in good shape. She was curvaceous but petite, so she had a fairly pronounced hourglass figure that could be a little difficult to fit things to. She wasn't a bombshell by any means, but she was fit and reasonably well-toned from her active life.
Turning to another rack, she found a cute swimsuit in black with a plunging neckline that dipped below her breasts. She shuffled through until she found one in her size, then moved on to try out a tankini, which seemed like a reasonable compromise between what she would normally buy and what she wanted to buy today.
Turning, she found Pakpao riffling through soem suits that even Aishe would consider grandma-style. She arched her eyebrows at her friend.
"Really Pak? A swim dress? With your body?"
If hat was what Pak wanted, okay, but Aishe thought she may as well buy herself a turtleneck and a pair of sweatpants at that rate.
Pak said somewhat startled that Aishe didn't see the same obvious solution she did. Whether that was a small blind spot due to money or her semi reclusive life and a serious preference for on-line shopping she wasn't sure but there it was.
"Sixteen languages too short and Spanish is a bit too common place to go with your looks what ever suit you should buy should have a more... exotic flair."
Aishe was cute, quite attractive with a near wholesome appeal but it wasn't without a certain flair. She'd never be mistaken for the girl next door, not in this country any way, and she should show it off. So Pak was rather satisfied to see her move to some of the more daring suits. She was, however, completely oblivious to the fact that she was failing on this point.
So she was somewhat startled when Aishe called her on it. Pak looked down at her body, but it looked like it always did nothing had changed. Looking at the suits she was holding though she got it and shook her head trying to dismiss it.
"You're lucky I'm not picking up bloomers and a bathing cap."
She said with a laugh as she hung everything up and started over.
"Besides as near as I can tell everyone who is coming is either taken or not interested in me I think I can afford to be... understated."
Of course, even as she said it Pak started casting a good hard look at the wall of two pieces. She could pull one off and not look like a slut if they could just find the right one.
For once in her life, Aishe would admit she preferred shopping at the mall.
She plucked one or two cute swimsuits from the rack, aside from the first one and the little tankini she liked. Then, with a laugh, she looked up at Pakpao's next statement.
"I should be lucky? You'd be the one in the bloomers and the cap. No one would be looking at me."
She smirked at Pakpao and then went over to the wall of mix and match bikinis, fingering one in a deep eggplant color with brass metal accents. "You could wear this," she said, looking at Pakpao with a little bit of jealousy. Aishe wasn't really sure she could pull it off, but Pak could.
Then she found a suit in white, with a very subtle white lace pattern on it. The white on white was incredibly pretty and might set off Pak's dark skin nicely under the moon.
"Or this," she said. She held them both out to her friend. "Go on, give them a try," she encouraged.
"Trust me they'd be looking at you too. I could make that happen."
All one had had to was create a big enough scene and they would look at everyone in the party and there would be a certain satisfaction in that. After all, if you weren't causing a certain amount of chaos you were being down right boring.
Looking dubiously at the two suits, which were both extremely pretty, Pak reluctantly accepted them. But as she did so Pak found a tiny bikini catching her eye. If Aishe was going to push her a bit, well Pak was going to nudge Aishe. The girl could do hot, Pak had seen the outfit Aishe had worn to the HoP the night she first met Bao.
She plucked the little black bikini with a tie back with a few beads dangling from a chain on the top and more importantly a very sexy bit of chain and bead work on one of the hips of the bottoms, substituting for the actual fabric. It was totally impractical and she was fairly certain you weren't actually supposed to get wet in it but they should at least see how it looked on Aishe.
"I'll try those on if you try this one."
She laughed softly, determined that Pak was not going to get the upper hand this once. She felt a bubble of curiosity from Kiamhaat through their bond as her humor was clearly relayed to him.
[Girl talk,] she sent. [We're having fun.]
She received 'approval' from him, feeling warm at he idea that she could feel what he meant. He was better at that then she was; sending her the impression of how he felt without actually putting it to words. As Pak held a tiny little black and metal-chain bikini out to her Aishe winced. That was so not the kind of thing she'd ever be caught dead in at the beach. It would melt if it got wet. She was a practical girl.
But even practical girls could look even if they didn't intend to buy. She snatched the bikini from Pak, poked her tongue out, and said, "Deal."
[Now she's convinced me to try this little bikini on... if you can call it that. It's a few scraps of fabric held together with some chain, of all things. And it must be platinum or something, if this price tag is any indication.]
As they entered the dressing room, she heard quite plainly, and quite plaintively, in her head, [Take pictures...]
Slithering her way into the white on white Pak eyed herself critically as she turned. It wasn't bad but she just didn't like it. Still she called over the fitting room wall to Aishe.
"OK you were right about the swim dress."
Although not terribly vain Pak had to admit that in this instance being covered up head to to, or in the case of that swim dress knee to shoulder, would have been inappropriate. Ordinarily it wasn't something she'd have given much thought to, especially given the preferences of most of the men who were going to be at this little outing, but But having her long -long- dry spell broken Pak was feeling a more relaxed and a little more inclined to show off her assets.
The white, however, she wasn't sold on it just made her look rather pale. At least in her opinion. Maybe the purple would do better.
"You know I do want to see that black on one you right?"
A quick switch to the egg plant one was rather satisfactory, even under florescent lights. It wasn't a home run but she'd probably buy it and take it with them on the off chance she didn't find anything better.
"See? I told you so!"
Okay, in Aishe's head she politely refrained. In reality she opened her mouth and out it came, with a soft laugh behind it. "I will grant that you're old enough to wear grandma's swim dress but it just doesn't do you justice."
Knowing a viewing would be requested Aishe slipped into the annoyingly nonexistent black bikini first. She wrinkled her nose at the mirror. There was too much ass showing, and far too much breast. She was not made for a bikini this little. Aishe wasn't fat by any stretch; she was well-toned, a little on the muscular side, and fit, but she was damned curvy. She had never fit into little bitty jeans in spite of her diminutive height, and this bikini made her feel bigger than she really was.
Granted, she thought with a little spin in front of the mirror, it wasn't awful. It wasn't like she was spilling out of it or busting the seams. But it was simply too much for her. The little chain was cute though, on another suit that detail might have been perfect.
She pushed open the door to the dressing room, looked both ways, and tiptoed over to Pak's. "Look while you can," she said, "because it's coming off very soon in favor of something a tiny bit more sensible. This thing is going to explode if I so much as breathe heavily."
And then, look out Nachton, breasts everywhere. It would be terrible.
You could just hear Pak's eyes rolling, but in a cheerful sort of way. Aishe had made it on to a relatively short list of people who she would tolerate a certain amount of grief from. It was a good thing though, a very good thing. Slowly but surly Pak was building up a circle of friends, people she could rely on. Kem, Aishe, Eiryk, even Alexander to a certain extend.
"There is no justice in this world or don't you watch the news?"
That was about as political as Pak was ever likely to get. She kept informed, she did her civic duty, other than jury duty. Somehow she thought that two and a half centuries of life experience disqualified her as part of a jury of peers. Not that she thought she was better than humans, she like most vampires though, had a different view of the human experience and it simply wouldn't, to her mind, be fair.
Hearing Aishe outside her little changing room Pak stepped out in her own bit of purple nothing. Although, after seeing the bit of nothing Aishe had on her suit looked considerably more substantial. She eyed it critically and demand a turn but ultimately shook her head and agreed.
"It doesn't look bad on you just not good."
It wasn't a matter of a bigger size either it was just... well everything.
"I think we can do better. In the mean time don't breath heavily I'm sure you break it you bought it applies to swimsuits too."
She did a turn for Pak and caught herself before shrugging her shoulders. "Yes," she said, "it probably does, and it is definitely about to break."
She looked down at herself. "Although it doesn't look as bad as I thought it would. I might consider a two-piece of I could find one I really liked enough. And of course, you-know-who has to like it."
She wiggled her eyebrows at Pak, expecting her friend's signature look of revulsion and disgust at the suggestion that Kiamhaat might actually engage in intimate activities from time to time. You never knew with Pak - sometimes (okay most times) it was an easy freak out, and sometimes she simply ignored the hint. Aishe didn't know why it bothered her so much; she herself wasn't much of a kiss-and-tell person but she didn't quail when she got more information from a friend than she'd hoped for. Pak's threshold just seemed somewhat low.
"I'm going to get out of this thing," she said, trying not to breathe as suggested. It wasn't terribly difficult, not these days. A couple years ago that direction would have been a lot harder to follow.
Pak had no doubt that there were any number of people out there who undoubtedly looked -really- bad in the suit and they would buy it and wear it. Aishe at least looked respectable in it. Well given how close they were coming to spillage respectable might not be quite the right word.
She rolled her eyes at her friends quip and allusion to Kem, but she didn't freak out or protest tonight. It didn't really bother her this time. Not that she was ever in any hurry to hear about her brother's amorous activities.
"You get what you want. We'll take you to a lingerie store on the way out to keep him happy."
It might be nice to get one or two new things herself. Although, it was just as easy to do on line. One of the advantages of being undead was you didn't have to worry about gaining or losing weight. Once you knew your size, you knew your size.
Returning to her dressing room Pak slid out of the purple suit and decided she was happy enough with her decision to get it, just in case. It would look better with silver accents but it didn't look bad with the brass. She hadn't picked out anything else to bring in and so was quite done with this store and settled in to wait for Aishe.
"Any luck or did the chains curse you?"
She'd never really been in one. Not for... well, sexy things. Bras and panties didn't count did they? She briefly wondered if Kiamhaat would like that. The typical guy did, she assumed, but Kem was hardly typical. Sixteen-hundred-year-old vampires didn't fall all over themselves at the sight of a frilly babydoll did they? Well now she had to wonder.
She tried her other two choices on; the one piece she liked was all right bu lacked any kind of 'wow' factor. The tankini was cute, but she wasn't aiming for cute. She wanted to look sexy for once.
Leaving the dressing room she smiled at Pak and held up the tankini. "Yes. I like this one but it isn't exactly what I was looking for. I think I'll get it, but I still kind of wanted something... well, you know."
She shrugged sheepishly; she was sure Pak understood she had wanted to look halfway sexy for once, not just 'cute' or 'pretty.'
"Let's try the next store on the list," she suggested. Then, indicating the eggplant-colored suit in Pak's hand she added, "Are you going to get that one?"
"Just in case, I don't want to -have- to come back. If we find something better, I'll return it."
Shopping once was bad enough, shopping twice was just torture and she was fairly certain it was covered in the Geneva Convention.
They both paid for the suits that were simply OK and started back out into the dreaded, intimidating and totally foreign territory of the mall.
"I do think we should swing you buy the lingerie store. Nothing trashy and it might not work but it isn't going to hurt anything and then you can say you've been. Life experience.."
She trailed off, Aishe was a bright woman she could figure it out, or make up a suitable answer herself.
Leaning hard in the general direction they wanted to go Pak used her small size and weave in and out of something of a crowd. Who went shopping this time of night? Perhaps they just wanted in out of the heat and weren't really looking for anything
The next place was smaller, obviously a seasonal store, only there for the season, and it was full of trendy dance music played just slightly too loud. Ordinarily she might have kipped this place on appearance alone but even on a quick glance it looked less mass market than the anchor store. There was something to be said for boutique shopping after all. Still, Pak being Pak, she couldn't resist muttering a little bit.
"I feel like there should be a bar in here some where."
Besides, that was the sort of suit one hung out on the beach in... Pak should have something appropriate for a more active beach party. Not that any of them were going to be catching rays any time soon, but still - they could enjoy the feel of the wind and the spray from the ocean with or without the sun. At one point Aishe might have thought she'd miss the sun but she hadn't, not yet. Kiamhaat had told her he'd missed it on and off over the years, but mostly he was fine with things the way they were now.
She pulled her attention back to Pak and smiled a little shyly. "Okay. If you want, we can go there too. I'm not promising anything though, and if I try something on you have to, too!"
That seemed only fair. The prospect of deliberately trying on something naughty not meant for swimming in but for other... activities... made her a little nervous. Aishe, being the practical sort, didn't often indulge in frivolities.
The next store over was interesting. Aishe heard Pak mutter as they entered. She laughed and simply hooked her arm with Pak's to propel her friend further into the store. At least the swimsuit offerings here looked less generic and much more unique.
"No bar," she said, "Just better bathing suits. Oooh."
She went right to something that caught her eye, a black one piece suit with some cut-outs on the sides and a neckline that plunged deeply enough to be more of a... belly line. The legs seemed to be cut high and the back was very open, fastening around the neck and the middle of the back and that was all. She lifted it from the rack and held it up, raising her eyebrows.
"Maybe?" she said, inviting Pak's critique. The cut outs would emphasize her curvy hips, and she certainly had the chest to fill out the top. No question there. She was fit enough that the plunging front didn't worry her too much; her stomach was flat and fairly toned.
Pak sighed. She really was more content helping Aishe find something appropriate and a bit sexy than trying to locate something for herself. After all she didn't really have a -need- for any fancy lingerie she wasn't in a relationship. And it was a bit more fun when you had one person to surprise or tantalize with such things.
She still thought there should be a bar, they had obviously tried for a club like atmosphere and they should embrace it. Of course, it was bound to be difficult to get a liquor license for a temporary store in a mall, how would you keep the under twenty one set out and that would cut down on business too. At least that is what her practical side argued.
The suit that Aishe picked was more than a little eye catching. She assessed it critically for a moment before deciding that it probably would show off her curvy friend well.
"You should absolutely try it on. I think maybe... another color though. The red?"
There was a bit of worry that the low neck line might not keep Aishe's chest... er.... under control and supported but it was considerably better than the tiny bikini. She was very probably, however, on the right track with a one piece.
With a bit of poking about Pak found a one shoulder one piece that had extremely high cut legs and given some creative construction a very open back, but would still 'keep the girls in place'. What was most notable though was the combination of ruching and draping would exaggerate the curves of the wearer, even the dang mannequin looked good. She picked it out in a dark lush teal color and held it up for Aishe's inspection.
"What do you think? I don't think this qualifies as a grandma suit."
She looked at the suit Pak held up and compared it to the one she was holding. They were both pretty, although she liked her first pick better. She adored the plunging neckline.
"I don't know about red. It might make me look like a Christmas tree."
Something about red and green, she didn't think it matched. "That blue, however, might be nice."
They picked through the racks a little bit more until each of them had several suits. Then they headed to the dressing room. Once inside Aishe pulled out the first suit, the black one she liked. Slipping into it she felt her heart pound a bit as she looked into the mirror. Her chest looked... really good.
"Pak, what do you think?"
She stepped outside the dressing room to show the suit to Pak when suddenly there was a very loud alarm. The lights dimmed and Aishe felt a sinking feeling as she realized this must be a fire drill.
Or... she caught a whiff of something bitter... a real fire?
The attendant came to the dressing room and said in a slightly panicked voice, "I'm sorry ladies, please come with us! Out the door, to the right, down the hall."
Aishe glanced back at her clothing and gulped. She almost considered maybe just risking it.
Pak rolled her eyes. It was a strange aversion to have. If the suit had been green and red strips or something she would have understood the aversion but as it was the right shade of red would make Aishe's green eyes pop. And she doubted anyone was going to be thinking Christmas looking at her friend. It was all very silly.
This place seemed to agree with her as Pak found several both one and two pieces she liked. She'd settled on two that she liked well enough to buy at first glance. The first one she tried on she loved, it even gave her a bit more of a chest than she usually had. For her second go she was experimenting with something she doubted would ever see the light of day, night... whatever. It was much more along the lines of the one Aishe had tried on in the last store. Tiny reveling, impractical, suggestive it didn't look -bad- but she couldn't see herself wearing it.
Still she popped out of the dressing room in it to see Aishe's. As she opened her mouth to say something there was a grating alarm, Pak cringed. Of all the time for some punk to pull the fire alarm. The sales people seemed less casual about this than you'd have thought for a prank. She made to duck back into the room to grab her purse and more important her clothes when she was told quite firmly,
"No, ma'am we have to go -now-."
Pak vented a bit in her native language but when she polity but firmly quite literally started to push her along Pak didn't have much of a choice but to go. As they followed the insistent store staff to the right down the hall and on Pak kept waiting for someone to meet them and tell them it was a drill and they could go back. But no one ever did. The next thing she knew they were both standing in the parking lot, barley dressed and she, at least was barefoot.
"What the hell are we supposed to do now?"
"...wood fire oven at the pizza restaurant."
"Did you see it?"
"...was already smoking when I left..."
"Can't we go back in? It's not like the whole mall is on fire..."
"I'm sorry ma'am, it's procedure."
Aishe sighed and wrapped her arms around herself, wishing she'd thought to grab one of the beach wraps from a hangar as she'd exited the store... she may as well have worn it out, too, even if she ended up having to buy it.
She moved closer to Pak; maybe they could kind of hide each other? Leaning in toward her friend, she murmured, "This was not what I had in mind. I cannot possibly imagine feeling any less sexy than I do now. And my feet hurt."
In the meantime, the anxiety she felt when in large crowds was growing. She generally had a handle on it, but she wasn't usually half-naked when it happened. Kem was in her head in a heartbeat and she thanked him for it.
[Merit, what's wrong?]
[A little fire at the mall,] she sent back. [Nothing bad but they made us all fire-drill out to the parking lot. In our bathing suits, in some cases... and nothing else.]
There was sympathy from her lover. [Want me to drive over there and get you?]
Aishe made a face; she'd hate to make Kiamhaat come out to get them for a silly thing like this. They lived outside of Nachton, not actually in the city itself. It was a fifteen or twenty minute drive.
[It's okay,] she said, [our purses and clothing are in there anyway. We'll tough it out.]
They lingered around on the edge of the crowd; Aishe didn't much want to be in the thick of it. She watched the mall entrance anxiously, waiting until the moment they were allowed back inside.