“Look, I gotta go, but maybe we could grab a drink sometime?”
That had been Sarah’s first mistake, a desperate attempt at escaping an awkward run-in with Krystal. She couldn’t have expected she’d be taken up on her offer.
Her second mistake was letting Krystal choose the bar.
She shouldered her way through the crowd, the stink of body spray assaulting her nostrils. She spotted Krystal at the end of the bar, absent-mindedly fiddling with the straw in her drink. The man beside her had leaned in close, practically slobbering in her lap.
“Oi,” Sarah spat as she approached. “You’re in my seat.”
Krystal turned, flashing her a grateful smile.
“Who the hell are you?” the man slurred.
“Sarah,” Krystal answered. “She’s my clone.”
The man swung his head between the two of them, squinting at their faces.
“Piss off already,” Sarah said, impatient. “She’s not interested.”
“Super not interested,” Krystal clarified.
“Whatever,” the man muttered, then stumbled off into the crowd.
“Thanks,” Krystal said.
“Yeah, sure,” Sarah sighed, sliding onto the stool. She quickly flagged down the bartender.
“Bourbon rocks. And keep ‘em comin’.”
After some tedious small talk, the conversation began to slowly morph into something more natural. Then, it happened. Somewhere between the second and third drink, Sarah realized she was actually having a good time with Krystal.
“I just got in his face and I was like… I was like, hey creep, I know all about what goes on at Sephora HQ. I’ve got two hot cops and some science nerds and an angry Australian ready to bring you the fuck down. I mean, I didn’t actually say ‘fuck’, but like, he heard ‘fuck’, you know?”
“Shit,” Sarah chuckled. “What’d he say?”
“He pretended not to know what I was talking about,” Krystal said. “But like, nothing weird’s happened to me since. What, am I supposed to believe that’s a coincidence? No way.”
“Hey,” Sarah said, throwing an arm around Krystal. She leaned in, poking a finger into her shoulder. “You’re bloody impressive, you know that? You went through some shit, but you… you got up and you took control of your life. You don’t let shit happen to you, because you’re a tough bloody bitch.”
“I am,” Krystal whimpered, tearing up. “I am a tough bloody bitch.”
“You’re damn right,” Sarah said, raising her glass.
Krystal raised her own glass of candy-colored whatever-the-fuck, and they both took a drink.
“I still wish I could tell people to ‘piss off’ like you do,” Krystal sighed. “I don’t think anyone takes me seriously.”
“Hey, just stick with me,” Sarah said, and she could hardly believe the words coming out of her mouth. “Think we could both learn a lot from each other.”
“Yeah,” Krystal said, beaming brightly. “Okay.”
Sarah woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar living room. Her head felt like it was being pulled apart. A fluffy white bunny rabbit twitched its nose up at her from across the room, then scampered off.
Hazy memories formed in her mind: a cab ride spent laughing over failed relationships, a curious expedition into Krystal’s closets, dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen of all things.
“Jesus Christ,” Sarah muttered, pulling a pillow over her head.
Just then, the front door opened.
“Heeey,” Krystal sang.
Sarah groaned, pulling the pillow from her face. Krystal looked every bit the opposite of how Sarah felt right now.
“How can you be so…” Sarah said, ending her thought with a vague hand gesture.
Krystal shrugged. She slipped a paper bag and a tall cardboard cup onto the coffee table by Sarah.
“Got you some breakfast,” she said. “And a latte.”
Sarah could hardly move, but managed to graze Krystal’s arm with her foot, hopefully signaling her gratitude.
“I love you,” she croaked.
Krystal offered her a wink and a smile.