Bitten by the Queen – Chapters 1-3
Written by lowerbase :: [Sunday, 07 May 2017 18:27] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 07 May 2017 18:46]
Chapter 1: Psychological Changes
My sister was bitten by the queen. Goddamn, how much she would change inside and out? She wasn’t the youngest sibling, but the shortest in the house. Of course, we were boys, it didn’t take longer for Geoffrey to reach and surpass her 5’3 at age twelve, and she didn’t have anyone to boss around anymore.
At dinner, Dad and I usually talked about politics, mainly, the presidential election that year. It was still January. We were all liberals in that home, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t fights.
I fought for Bernie. Dad laughed it off, “who would finance socialism? If he finds money, the party will shoot him down.” I hated dad’s determinism. That’s not how Revolution works.
“Are you going to vote for Hillary, then?” I asked him. He stayed quiet.
Mom fought for Hillary. “Don’t think the first female American president would be important, Nicholas?”
“She’s in bed with Saudis, mom. What sort of female president would be friends with the most misogynist nation in the world? Sorry to tell you, mom, she’s a crook.”
Cindy fought for Jessica Delano, an unknown congresswoman from California who suddenly became a contender in the primaries. Some people joked that she was more progressive than Bernie, more to the right than Hillary. “Jessica Delano promised she would break all political relations with the Saudis,” said Cindy.
I nodded at that. “That’s a female president,” I said.
Mom laughed it off, just as dad did with Bernie, “how old is she? She’s not even married.”
That enerved Cindy, “she’s a single mother.”
“People wouldn’t vote for a single mother, neither for someone so young.”
“Why? Can’t you deal with an American president younger than you, mom?”
And that’s how most dinners ended, with indirect hostilities. At the least, that didn’t change with the new color of Cindy’s eyes.
Cindy was always problematic; I guess my parents, especially mom, neglected her a bit. At those dinner table fights, Cindy once said that she was adopted, so out of place, she felt in the family. Why did she need eyeglasses, and we didn’t? Why did we all, besides her and dad, have brown eyes and dark hair? She had a point there; she was different. Geoffrey and I were somewhat athletic and outgoing; she was a bookworm and watched slow brainy foreign subtitled movies, old sci-fi series, boring video games, reading second-hand books every week. Writing essays and stuff, things for which dad, a sports agent, and mom, a high profile clothing store manager, never cared too much.
No one knows how a queen bee chooses whom to bite. There are many theories, but it seemed to be at random. These new types of bees appearing from the Amazon were stronger and more resilient than the African ones, but not as aggressive if left alone. It was a kind of a Zika virus: they were spreading over all continents, and instead of creating retard babies, they made women unnaturally stronger, and changed their eye color to purple. My sister was one of the first in town to get bitten, while she was asleep reading one of her overcomplicated novels.
Cindy told me that bite right in the middle of her tummy felt like an electric shock. She was pretty overweight then, you know … no one would call her attractive; life was much harder for a short nerdy girl and fat everywhere. Well, that was another reason mom was disappointed with her, I think. Mom used to be a blond cheerleader for a big sports team before becoming pregnant with me. Anyway, we both know all the stories about bitten girls, since it was on TV all the time.
But she didn’t tell me right away. Cindy tried to hide it from everyone, saying that it was just a cold, right in the middle of the summer. But she couldn’t cover up those eerie purple eyes for too long. Mom was pissed, dragged Cindy to a doctor to try to ‘cure’ her, and of course, we all knew that there was little to be done. “I don’t want a monster in my house!” She said to dad like we couldn’t hear her. “She’ll get all deformed with those … muscles.” Cindy, of course, cried alone in her bedroom. At that time, neither my brother nor I were close enough to comfort her. All she had was her shy nerdy friends, with whom Geoffrey and I messed around. Not that we were bullies. We were bullied a lot at school. It was just nice to have someone weaker than us. Of course, they didn’t like us and avoided spending time with her at home. I regret how I treated them.
“How much will she grow?” My brother asked me, afraid to lose his new status as the bigger brother.
“I don’t know … a foot?” I said, and he responded, “she’ll get uglier …” as if it was some compensation. How far from the truth that was. I admit jacking off to those ‘Queens’ every day. They had big, perfect breasts. Some queens had them bigger than my head. It was kind of insane. At first, I didn’t care much about their muscles, their comic book amazon bodies, or checking out their abs. But recently, my tastes were shifting, even if I tried to look away from them, after all, I shouldn’t like … muscles on a girl. Still, every time there was a TV special about them, damn, why did those damn muscles make them look so hot?
After we had noticed her purple irises, she started to develop fast. While she tried to hid her appetite at dinner, everyone could see her craving food like a pregnant woman. At night, I’d found her possessed: eating all leftovers cold, mixing chocolate with chicken and stuff like that. I, of course, went to the other way as she emptied the fridge.
Unlike mom, dad, being dad, started to buy more stuff for her to eat. Filling the refrigerator with all sorts of nutrition that her body would need, which was nice of him since they spoke so little with each other. For a while, we all expected her to become thinner, but she was getting fatter in the first month with her purple eyes.
Geoffrey, knowing what was to come, stopped being such a pest to her, putting bugs in her bed or tearing off the last pages of her books. I stopped my wisecracks at her expense, even letting Cindy use my stuff. Of course, she could see our change in behavior, but she took it that we were pitying her.
Mood swings were pretty common in the first months of becoming a queen, adding more fire to her borderline personality. There were the books from which Geoffrey had removed the last pages, and she still hadn’t read it. Then, something that never happened before, she invaded my bedroom pissed, completely pissed, with eyes on fire. She jumped over Geoffrey’s neck, her teeth locked, swearing at him like she wanted to kill. Of course, I jumped on her too, to pry her arms apart. I noticed that I wasn’t strong enough. She was still fat, but something was building under those loose clothes. Hearing my brother gasping for air, she made me shout for help and mom entered the room, barking at Cindy to stop. Of course, once Cindy saw Geoffrey getting deep red and coughing his lungs out, she ran to her bedroom in regret. Mom just rolled her eyes and asked for more patience from us, that Cindy ‘was sick.’
She was just an inch taller by then. 5’4.
Cindy used to shut in her problems, painfully shy, and her friends were all like her. She never got ‘physical’ before. Never ‘exploded’ before. Witnessing her outburst left us all in yellow alert. On the next day, I tried to talk to her as she crossed me, “Hey Cindy?”
“Why are you calling me by my name?” She said, maybe wary that I didn’t use any of my collection of funny names to call her. We used to be so close as kids, but things got sour in the later years.
“Are you feeling alright?”
“Why do you care now?”
“Don’t need to be aggressive. Believe me, we actually care about you.”
“I care, okay …” then, I did something she always wanted to try, but as big brother, never let it. “ …look what I have here.” I showed her a joint, and I only had two. She looked at me suspiciously, “why now? I asked you a thousand times …”
“You’re heading for some rough times. I thought that it could help you.” It was hard for her to say sorry or thanks, so she just mumbled ‘okay.’ Our home was big and had some parts that we rarely used, on the end of the corridor far from the bedrooms. After locking the door, I sat by her side on an old couch, she was anxious, as usual.
After teaching her to inhale and hold, and we waited a bit for its magic. The room was an unused space, dad’s old gym equipment all dusted, and boxes everywhere with trash like VHS tapes, to which Cindy pointed. “Did you ever saw what’s on those tapes? Dad used to hide them,” she coughed.
“Have no clue. Porn?”
“Bodybuilding contests. Female bodybuilding. Tons of it.”
“Really? Well, he’s a sports agent.”
She looked at me doing a face, “with no dudes? I don’t think female bodybuilding is even a business or a sport. Mom used to be a 90s fitness crazy, remember?”
“Well, rule 34, I guess. Some men like strong women, don’t they … and mom is a strong woman. I bet then he preferred mom to have been bitten, rather than you.” I noticed Cindy sinking in the couch, touch her stomach, circling with the tip of her fingers where the queen bee stung her. Dad used to treat Cindy like the most special kid but ultimately left her aside once she was not a kid anymore. I could always see she had massive daddy issues. “Are you high?” I asked, I was already pretty high, which made me talkative.
“I don’t know. How do you know?”
“You’ll know. And now that the queen bee chose you, what do you think of it?”
Cindy brought an arm, flexing it. Under the layer of fat, I could see a small curvature lifting it. “It is weird. I’m not sure if I like it. Now I can lift my bed, I don’t feel so tired anymore. It feels nice.”
“That’s cool.” Shit, she was stronger than me already. No one at home could lift that bed.
“Cosmo said that I’ll be Wonder Woman, that I will be able to lift cars over my head. That’s so trippy … Can you imagine?”
“Please, don’t kill Geoffrey …” It made her laugh. It has been years since I had made her laugh.
“I don’t care for strength. Men care for it. I care how much it will work on my brain, like a super computer, total recall, photographic memory.”
“Like that movie Limitless …”
“Yeah … I’ll be so fucking smart. Next year I might be in college already, jumping the rest of my grades in school. Bioengineering, robotics, quantum computing, I might be able to do all three, maybe at the same time, won’t that be that awesome?” I just nodded at that, Cindy wasn’t the most ambitious person I knew, until then.
“Have you … heard of the psychological changes?”
“Yes, I read it all. My theory is that it just affects drive positively. I doubt it will change me.” She took the joint from my finger without asking. That was a change. “I think we humans are too linked with appearances, and when someone changes so much, it affects everyone else, whose perception is actually skewed around a super girl?”
“Super girl, eh? That will skew mom’s perception of you …”
“Fuck her.” Shit. I never saw her swearing, even about our mother. Maybe we, as brother and sister, were apart for too long. “Want to see something really creepy?” She said.
She started to scratch her arm and then started pulling off skin of her forearm, “Cindy! That’s fucking gross! What the fuck are you doing!” Cindy widened her smile, watching me her peeling more skin off, like a cobra. I couldn’t watch anymore, and she laughed at me, showing me a long translucent sheet of skin in front of my face.
“Look …” she showed a patch of new velvet skin in her forearm, unblemished like a baby.
“That’s some alien shit ….”
“More alien than having purple eyes? I’m peeling all over, that’s normal, I mean, normal for us. Soon it will be over. It is so weird … I’m starting to feel like it is natural, not that I asked for it, but I’m not freaking out anymore.” She walked to one of those old boxes of dad and started fiddling with his tapes. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“Just curious, does it work?” She turned on an old small tube TV with a tape recorder, or whatever name it had. It sparkled, and the image was all blurry and jumping until after a minute it came to focus a big black female bodybuilder from the early 90’s posing on stage. Cindy sat back on the couch, testing the ancient remote that didn’t work.
“I’m not sure if I want to watch this,” I said.
“She looks pretty …”
“Too muscular for my tastes.”
“Well, be prepared because I’ll have more muscles, just like her. How tall is she? She looks towering …”
“I guess that her proportions make her look tall. Most bodybuilders are short.” I used to say this to compensate my lack of fitness.
“Well, I’ll be well over six feet tall. I’ll look like a giant. Fuck, I’ll be a giant. Everyone else will be the seven dwarfs near me.” I watched her entertained by a dancing female bodybuilder from the 90s. What I’ve read about these ‘psychological changes’ is that girls don’t care about how tall a guy is anymore, that when they become so tall, it doesn’t make a difference. I knew how girls ignored short men, a man that the height starts with a 5’, like me at 5’8.
There are some stories that a monogamous relationship was a thing of the past for the queens. The gossip was that the queens went crazy if one of those guys cheated on them. It is illogical. Well, the press never painted amazons in a good light. Still, it would be the worst kind of girlfriend ever.
Cindy, as far as I knew her, was like countless other girls in school in that she had a definite crush on Thomas, an old friend of mine who was around 6’2. I can say that I envied his scope of choices, all eights and nines. Cindy was a five, being generous. Every time he came to pick me up for a party, Cindy would babble, if she didn’t break down in front of him. He didn’t care, and I bet he would not even know her name.
I looked at some suspicious stains on the couch, and the strange setting of that room, “Cindy, you don’t think dad here …” I made a piston-like gesture to her, and she noticed right away the dried stains near her legs and jumped with the thought. “Ick!” She went to TV and turned it off. “Really? Fuck …” All respect Cindy still had for dad ended right there.
Chapter 2: Stronger than Us
That afternoon felt like those days when we used to conspire against our parents. After that session, Cindy started to ask me for weed every other day, but I had no contacts to buy it from. I only had what Thomas gave me from his stash … if I begged him. He gave me some more.
I don’t know if it was the magic of the weed, but her sudden angry mood and angst changed overnight. Maybe it was also because everyone could see her getting plainly thinner day-by-day. She was looking healthier, and she stopped pretending that we didn’t see how much food she was eating. At dinner, mom watched Cindy with some disgust as she shoved so much food in her mouth, even food that she used to avoid before, like fish. We had to buy three pizzas instead of two. Dad even started to make barbecues in the late afternoon, for her to eat more meat than Geoffrey and me together.
As long as I found some weed, Cindy remained calm about everything, including about mom. Her skin stopped to peel disgustingly, her hair grew faster and shinier, and her clothes went baggier as she was getting fitter for the first time in years. The biggest change was on her face: suddenly she wasn’t a ‘five and below’ anymore. Just a month after that day watching those VHS with dancing bodybuilders, she became a ‘six.’ Maybe a borderline ‘seven.’ Being two inches taller also helped, at 5’6, she was dangerously reaching my height, while Geoffrey saw his ex-boss overtaking his height. She didn’t let him forget. It was then that Cindy started to get pushier towards Geoffrey, like it had been ten years earlier.
“Are you really trying?” She said to him, as he gave all he had to extract his hand from her grip. Cindy dragged him around the house like the old days. Of course, he asked for my help, but I didn’t want to go against her anymore to defend him. Geoffrey kind of deserved it. She invented a punishment for each of her books from which he had torn off the last page, unless he found a book to replace it. That deal was a bit unfair. He had no money, nor did he know where to find them.
Cindy didn’t hurt him. She only wanted to show him who was boss.
Mom threatened Cindy with punishments, but most of the time she was at work at the store, and Geoffrey was too proud to tell mom what Cindy was doing to him. Until then, there was no unrepairable damage, just mild humiliation.
“Are you using contact lenses?” I asked as I noticed her glasses on the kitchen table for several days, forgotten. Cindy took them from my hand and closing her fist, and she crushed the plastic lenses like eggs shells. “No need for them anymore,” and she tossed into the trash bin like a used tissue. “What I need is weed. Do you have any left?”
“I … don’t. It’s over.”
“When you will get some more?” It didn’t feel she was just asking.
“Soon,” I said, trying not to get her any more irritated. Her purple eyes still creeped me out.
“How soon, Nic?”
“I don’t know. I can’t just buy it at a pharmacy, okay?”
I sent a message to Thomas, to which he didn’t reply. I noticed that Cindy that night was in a bit of unrest, turning page after page of her thick Asimov book, and then tossing it aside, bored – bored of reading, bored of playing games, of messaging her nerdy friends, of listening to her tunes, looking around at the walls as if she was jailed, a wild animal in captivity. The weed indeed tamed her new drive, because out of nothing she tossed a heavy couch pillow at the back of my head while I was playing on the console. “Why did you that for?!”
“I felt like it,” she stated.
“Stop. It is not funny.” I tried to play some more, and she threw another pillow, tougher this time. “What’s wrong with you? That bee bite is making you dumb or something?” She didn’t respond to that, looking to the other side. I resumed the game, and this time Cindy threw another pillow with so much force at my head that I nearly fell over. I put the controller away and stood up to her, “what the fuck is your problem”?
Cindy stood up too, while still shorter, there was not much of a difference anymore between us two, and she was in her socks while I was in my sneakers, “what is your problem,” she mocked me with a whiny voice. I pushed her back to the couch, but she grabbed my hand and pushed me into her, I tried to get up, but she held me, “release me” I sounded stern and pissed, but then she started to laugh, like a crazy maniac, “God, you got so weak …” she said between laughs at me trying to break free.
“Do want me to kick your sorry ass?” I seriously threatened her … big mistake. She let me tumble to the carpet.
“Will you?” She stood up, she wasn’t using her baggy jeans, but instead pants under her big sweater. Her legs were starting to look toned. “I’m already stronger than dad, and he lifts … he likes to try me, to see how strong I’m getting, just yesterday I beat him at arm wrestling. Do you even lift, bro?”
“So, that’s what this is all about, to show me you are stronger. Good for you, freak.”
Faster than I could react, she grabbed my shirt pushed me up and locked me on the couch with her body over mine, and said face to face, “don’t ever call me a freak again …” She grabbed my shoulders and started to squeeze … fuck me. She was much stronger than she looked, after five seconds I said, “Okay, okay, I won’t call you ‘FREAK’ anymore,” I had utter the word ‘freak’ with more spite this time. She started squeezing me painfully, like I was a five years old, her purple eyes watching mine, as her grip and embrace only grew harder.
“You are fucking hurting me!” I yelled, and then she came back to her senses releasing my shoulders.
Without guilt or say another sign of remorse, Cindy took her book and left me alone in the room. Beneath my shirt, I saw my shoulders getting red from her fingers. I needed to find more weed, as fast as I could.
Chapter 3: New Skin
After that evening, you might ask if I was scared of her. Of course I was – and even more scared of what she was becoming. There were plenty of horror stories around the net, and there are no prisons designed to hold someone who can bend bars and punch through a concrete wall. Bullets hardly damaged their muscles, and they could recover from a wound in days. Comic book stuff. It was beyond science and common sense. It was supernatural, like her eyes.
I had some few nightmares after that, like lucid dreams, of her choosing which of my bones to crush on a whim, like snacks in a bowl. She’d watch my screams with those strange eyes of hers. It was my subconscious telling me to be afraid.
I tried to meet with Thomas at his home the next day, pleading with him to lend me some more weed. But he wasn’t there. He was probably banging some girl. Inside his home, his dog knew me and let me in. I called out for anyone there, but I was alone with his greyhound wanting my attention. In his bedroom, I opened the plastic Buddha statue in which he hid his stash. I took a fat portion of one little bag. Thomas could give me a bit more that he wouldn’t miss.
At the afternoon, I decided to surprise Cindy with a joint I had just rolled for her. I knocked on her door, and I was going to make her say sorry before firing it up. After the third time knocking, I opened the door. She was on her bed in a curled position, her back to me, with a loud Mick Jagger and Lenny Kravitz tune in her earbuds. Cindy had her pillows squeezed between her thighs … grinding the collar of her shirt between her teeth, sucking on it as she bucked the pillows forcefully with her hips…
I shut my eyes and got out of there … WTF did I just see?
Cindy used to be the most asexual being I ever knew. Now, this.
She had never had a boyfriend. Probably no one had ever kissed her. All that inexperience inside of a sexual volcano ready to explode. There were a few stories, legend or not, of bitten girls practically raping men in public. Their libido is said to be much higher than that of an average woman, which explains the multiple sexual partners they went after. From that day, I never saw Cindy the same way, nor did I enter her bedroom without asking.
Anyway … mom one also caught me once in the act, so I should be above that. After all hormonal changes happening to Cindy, it was surely expected. We were all adults here. Minus Geoffrey, who was still clueless about sex.
With a joint every other day, Cindy became milder and stopped testing me. At times, when everything bored her, instead of coming after me, she went running around the neighborhood to release the excess of energy building inside of her.
She was still chubby. After years being like that, she decided to act on it. I couldn’t see her muscles, but her overall shape was shifting before my eyes. She looked bigger all around, but her flabbiness was vaporizing at each inch of her T-Rex growth while still eating like a madman. Her transformation shifted gears.
It was then that Cindy resolved to ‘eliminate’ the last layers of fat hiding her new form, and she was fast succeeding at that. Her body suddenly changed by the day, after half an hour she would say dripping sweat, “two hundred calories,” reading the running app out loud for anyone to hear, swimming inside of an old shirt that started to look like a hospital gown on her. I didn’t know at the time, but 500 calories per hour were unreal. It was like her newer body wanted to get rid of the older. Later that day, she went for another two hundred calories or more, I could see her running faster than the bikes, perplexing the neighbors, or scaring some drivers. They probably all knew the only thing that would make a girl be so fast. She was getting addicted to the endorphins, runner’s high, I guessed. After an hour-long run, her mood was sunny as a cloudless day. Excellent news for Geoffrey and me.
As long she was happy, we were in peace.
The happiness didn’t long, though. As soon as her new body eliminated the last vestiges of the old one, mom said, “look at your legs … they look disgusting. You should cover them up.” Cindy by then lost any hint of flabbiness, in its place she got vascular. She overdid the whole running bit. It was not very pretty to see an anatomy chart walking around the house. Her pale skin showed blue veins. She was getting definition like I never imagined, and those lithe muscles were already hard as a rock. Cindy had a pair of seasoned marathon runner legs, and her big shorts tied around a small waist looked ridiculous on her, like big dippers. She looked at me, offended. I just ate my cereal. I didn’t want to take any part in their never-ending feud. I looked away.
Cindy probably had a million arguments building inside her head against what mom said, but none came out. Cindy just swallowed that insult, went to her bedroom and locked the door. Mom, turned to me saying, “they should kill all of those bees. Look what it is doing to your sister, she’s a wreck.”
Shit, that was not going to end well.
Because it was strange that mom wouldn’t support Cindy in losing weight. Mom was the ‘aspirational’ yoga master who liked to show off how well-maintained her body was after three children. The purple eyes were throwing more fire into this stupid rivalry.
The support Cindy didn’t find in our home, she found on her Instagram, which had been inactive since 2011. She posted a selfie flexing her thin arm showing clear muscles groups, small blue veins around them, and her face unrecognizable. The ‘OMG’ replies were dozens, and “is that really you?” That single photo had more likes in an hour than the entire history of her old photo feed. It was night and day, Cindy was an ‘eight’ on that photo. How the hell, indeed? At home, Cindy mostly covered herself top to bottom to stop mom of making ‘observations’ every single hour; on her feed, she lifted the rim of her baggy shirt to show some abs, abs that I was seeing for the first time. Abs for another hundred likes. She started posting a photo every other day, then every day, two or three, collecting more followers and comments from strangers. It also made her happy, which was good – for our sake.
I could tell she was reasserting her identity by taking those pictures and publishing. It helped her to understand how other people were perceiving by their reactions. For a girl that was never attractive, to become attractive overnight, even in an odd way, little muscles and all, Cindy was like a patient hearing or seeing for the first time after a procedure. A little overwhelmed, trying to figure out these new sensations.
So, for some time, I could only follow Cindy’s evolution from her photo feed, since she kept her body hid at home, especially from mom. Not that I was stalking her or whatever, I’ve been a follower of her profile since she created it years ago. Actually, I was the only one follower besides other few friends that never showed up. Then I was one in hundreds.
At 5’6 and a half, she suddenly was nearly my height, but she started to look wider than me, at least at the shoulders. Not that I had a wide upper body, but still, I was a guy. Even on her overly saggy hoodie, I could see some hints of her biceps and deltoids touching the sleeves, and she showed me a credit card. “Look what I have here.”
“You stole dad’s card?”
“No, he gave it to me … and you’ll drive me to the mall.” Dad had secret places to guard his cards against Geoffrey spending money on games. It was a surprise that he would let any of us use it freely.
“Only if you buy me some stuff too.”
“Deal,” she said. She needed new clothes desperately, the fat ones she wore made her look like a scarecrow, and her loose pants were showing her ankles like a dork. Of course, we went there with some weed for her, I wanted Cindy on her relaxed mood as I was driving.
She drew on the join so deeply that it would have left me stone-faced. Yet, her eyes never got red, and she never coughed. She was a pro already.
With her now-cute face in a ponytail, the first store we went was for gym apparel. “Won’t you need regular clothes, first?” I asked. She ignored me and entered the store like it was full of her new ‘normal clothes.’ It didn’t take long for her to choose a series of black and purple leggings and lycra tops. “Are you sure you are going to wear these?” I asked, stretching the clothes like elastic bands. Naturally, Cindy checked out other musclegirls feeds and how they dressed. She was buying those for her new ‘fans.’ She never had anything that tight around her body before.
“I’m not disgustingly fat anymore,” she stated taking it out from my fingers, as she kept reading the sizes and prices of everything on the rack. I could tell she was going for the though girl ‘roller derby’ style. With new running sneakers and black leggings under a little purple sports jacket hug to her body, she opened the curtains of the booth, asking me, “How I look?”
The old Cindy was gone, long gone. In front of me was an Olympian athlete, her legs were bigger than I had pictured, her quads were jutting out from all her running, just as her calves. “Okay, I guess,” I mumbled. She could read my surprised eyes crossing her new body head to toe.
Cindy watched herself in the mirror, pleased. She never cared too much about clothes before. Then she removed the small jacket, unwrapping her back full of small muscles dancing with each other, arms that could do hundreds of curls, and abs that you only see in sports magazines. I needed a moment to get the full picture, only then to see her face frowning at me in the reflection of the mirror. In her eyes, I could read ‘would you stop ogling? Get a grip, Nic’ . She walked back to the booth, shaking her head reprovingly at my gawking. Yeah. Her Instagram feed was messing with her head. Before she closed the curtains, I saw her lips holding a smile as if she had some sort of victory.