Akira hadn’t actually meant to catch up with Mimi and Tammy that particular Tuesday. She had gone to the shopping centre by herself, immediately after school and had gone to HiFi Electronics after a new USB for one of her assignments.
Akira didn’t find anything odd about HiFi Electronics, since it was the only big electronics store on the island, but an outsider would probably have identified the place as a knock off of JB HiFi. It was all very yellow.
Mimi and Tammy were looking at USBs themselves, and Akira almost didn’t notice them until Tammy said: ‘Isn’t that the girl from the playground?’
Akira and Mimi looked up at the same time and locked eyes and Akira had no idea what to do for a moment. Then Mimi smiled. ‘Oh, it is. Akira, wasn’t it?’
Tammy and Mimi looked markedly different in the blueish light of the shopping centre than they had in the playground, of course. But Akira couldn’t help but think of the huge swath of blood that had covered Tammy a little over a week earlier.
‘Um, yeah,’ Akira said.
‘Akira, help me out,’ Tammy said, taking a step toward her. ‘Mimi should definitely buy me a phone, right?’
Akira went: ‘Um…’ and blushed. Despite the memory of blood, Tammy was still severely attractive. Still with fine black hair and fine features and dark eyes and blue eyeshadow that matched Mimi’s t-shirt.
Mimi spluttered out a giggle. ‘Wait until Thursday, at least. I don’t have the money.’
‘You do too.’ Tammy whined.
Akira decided that her random thought that these two were together was true, and tried her utmost to stop thinking about how stunningly good looking Tammy was. It didn’t help.
Mimi picked out a USB from a lower shelf, one of the really high storage ones, and scrutinised the price tag. Unknown to Akira, the price on this USB was about thirty dollars lower than it would have been off the island.
‘We can have a look,’ Mimi said. ‘But I would like to eat before our first paycheck, alright?’
‘Our first paycheck? That means I can do what I want with it.’
‘It’ll be in my bank account, so you can not.’
The two of them started away from Akira, toward the checkouts. ‘Oh…’ Akira muttered, watching Tammy go.
Mimi glanced back and smiled again. ‘Nice seeing you, Akira.’
Akira blushed, sure she’d been caught watching Tammy’s exit, and gave a little wave that would haunt her nightmares for the rest of her life. No more school nightmares for Akira. From now on it would be waving to Mimi in an electronics store. And also her classmates being crushed to death by a playground, but that was old news.
On the way to the checkout with a much more reasonably sized USB, Akira passed Tammy and Mimi, who were browsing the collection of handsets in the store. Akira didn’t hang around to catch the conversation, but she overheard a little bit of it.
‘For all I know, it’ll take days for the money to process. Would you rather eat or have a phone?’
‘Honestly? A phone,’ Tammy grinned.
‘Too bad, it’s still my bank account.’
Tammy whined, and it was absolutely adorable.