Katherine Elizabeth Margaret Pope, aka “Kit”, she of the ten zillion potential nicknames who’d ended up letting a stranger pick one by accident, was completely unlike anyone in my centuries of experience. Mostly because she wasn’t a Power to be obeyed, a man to be inspired, a rival to be crushed, a pest to be disposed of, a fellow Muse to be tormented, or Aunt Sally, to be figured out real soon now. I was starting to suspect that my understanding of mortals might be just a tad limited by my former lifestyle.
I made it through my first day of school by keeping my eyes on her and my big mouth shut. Which turned out to be a really good idea when one of the fifth-grade rebels said A Naughty Word during recess, and I discovered that getting your mouth washed out with soap was not just an expression. Fuck, that looked nasty. Um, gosh? Golly? Jeepers?
I added “acceptable language” to my long list of future discussion topics with Kit. I’d initially planned to interrogate her over lunch, until I discovered that Sally’s cooking was as good cold as it was hot. I didn’t share. That probably made me a terrible friend.
Sally was waiting for me after school, and she’d brought the car. Oh, right, shopping. Her already-bright smile brightened further when she saw that I wasn’t alone. Kit and I were holding hands; she seemed to like it, and it helped me keep track of her. First law of the jungle: stay with your native guide at all times.
“Oh, you’ve already made a friend! And who is this lovely young lady?” That would have sounded totally phony and condescending if I’d said it, but Aunt Sally was a different breed of cat, and Kit cheerfully introduced herself. This led naturally to an invitation to join our expedition, which suited me just fine; Kit was sure to know her way around children’s stores.
The two women in my life got along like a house on fire. Unfortunately, this meant mutual giggling over the tale of me setting the house on fire, or at least myself and part of the kitchen. I needed them both breathing, though, so I took it gracefully. I just thought about demonstrating the less-recreational uses of cotton rope and hot wax.
Our mutual torture session ended as we arrived at the mall, and we went forth into the land of wash-and-wear and off-the-rack.
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