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The Cards of Fate

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The Fool representing beginnings, innocence, spontaneity, and a free spirit.

 

            Mary watched as the twins and Sayaka Igarashi disappeared down the hallway. She hesitated not sure what to do, she wanted to go home but she also wanted to know what Kirari was talking about. What had she meant by taking care of things with Rei Batsubami? And what happened last night? She made a decision and followed the other girls to the doors of the academy. Making sure they were already a ways away she opened the door just enough to be able to hear the conversation.

            Mary strained her ears but couldn’t hear anything, at least until Ririka started yelling. Mary recoiled; she had never heard the other girl so angry. She let the door close, hesitating to open it again. Waiting a minute or two after hearing only silence, she decided the twins had probably gone home for the day.

            She opened up the doors ready to start her walk home when she froze. “Ririka?” The older girl looked up seemingly startled, expression covered by her mask. Mary walked over to the bench and sat down, “I thought you had gone home for the day.” Mary could hear faint sniffling coming from the other girl, “Wait are you crying?”

            The blonde wasn’t sure what to do. She had a feeling this was Kirari’s doing but she couldn’t say anything as it would give away her listening in. Mary slowly and gently reached out grasping Ririka’s hand, gaining confidence only when the other girl squeezed her hand tightly. “Do you want to stay at my house tonight?” She blurted out. The blonde began to panic at what she had said pulling her hand back, already regretting her stupid words. 

            But Ririka immediately relaxed next to her, “I would love to.” Mary breathed a sigh of relief maybe her words weren’t so stupid, “But what about your parents? I don’t want to impose.” 

            “Don’t worry they’re both away on business trips right now.” Mary replied with a small smile and shrug. 

            “Are you really sure Mary? It’s no trouble to get a hotel room for tonight. Or if I really wish I could go to another one of the other estates.”

            “Other estates? You have multiple?” Mary looked at the older girl exasperatedly, “Of course you do.” She sighed, “I’m sure you’d be more comfortable at one of your homes but if you want to have company, you’re more than welcome to stay with me. Honestly I wouldn’t really mind the company myself.” Mary got up with a shrug, “Though there’s no fancy transportation, it’s just a short walk from here.” She began walking towards the gates of the academy turning when she didn’t hear Ririka following. “So, are you coming or what?” 

            Ririka looked down at her feet, nervously fiddling her hands, “I can’t just walk down the street, Mary.” 

            “What are you too good for it?” Mary sneered.

            Ririka flinched at the comment, “No, it’s just dangerous. At least for a Momobami, there are a lot of people who want to hurt us. I’m sorry Mary please don’t be angry.”

            Mary let out a large sigh, “Of course I’m not angry. I guess it wouldn’t be too bad to indulge in your Momobami privileges and get a ride home for once.” She said with a wave of her hand. The blonde walked over and sat back down next to the masked girl.

            Ririka took her phone out to text her driver and reached out to squeeze Mary’s wrist appreciatively. The blonde girl blushed and looked away. Almost immediately after sending the text Mary heard the phone buzz in response. “Oh,” Ririka breathed in surprise, “the car is going to be here in just a minute. Apparently Kirari already called one.”

            “What’s up with you and Kirari anyways? Are you two in a fight or something?” 

            Ririka whipped her head around to look at Mary at the sudden question. “I- I mean no. I’m just a bit upset with her at the moment.”

            Mary scoffed, “Jeez, you Momobamis. Almost getting a hotel room just because you’re upset tsch.” 

            The older girl looked away in embarrassment not knowing what to say. Thankfully she was spared when the sleek black vehicle pulled up to the front of the school. Mary got up stretching her hands behind her head with a sigh, Ririka wordlessly got up and followed her. Mary silently glanced at Ririka studying the side of her face, the mask giving no emotion away. The driver opened the door for the girls to get in, Ririka gesturing for Mary to go first. Mary scoffed in disbelief as she sat down, sliding to the other end of the bench. The back of the sleek car was furnished with an assortment of drinks and small snacks. “So, this is how the rich live.” Mary said with a whistle. Ririka looked down in embarrassment as Mary told the driver her address. As the car began to pull away her attention shifted back to the masked girl, “How many times do I have to tell you not to wear that thing when it’s just the two of us.” The blonde girl leaned over into Ririka’s space ready to snatch the mask away.

            “Mary stop it!” she leaned as far back as she could from Mary, back pressed against the car door. 

            “Just take it off yourself then!” Mary grumbled, stretching her arm up to Ririka’s face as the other girl tried to lean away. Finally, her hand found its destination and she plucked the mask off in triumph. Holding up her prize Mary finally surveyed Ririka’s face. She couldn’t tell if her face was red from blush or the crying she had done earlier. Dark circles rimmed her eyes, she looked exhausted. “Jeez, is your twin keeping you up all night or something? Is that why you’re upset?”

            “Something like that.” Ririka murmured quietly, staring at her lap.

            Mary glanced around awkwardly, “Don’t worry, even though I don’t live in a palace my bed’s pretty comfortable, I’ll let you have it tonight.” Mary said with a flick of her wrist.

            “Mary, it’s quite alright you can have your own bed. I’m already inconveniencing you enough as it is.”

            “Hey, I already told you I wanted the company anyway. If it bothers you that much how about we gamble for it? If I win, I get the bed, if you win you get the bed?”

            Ririka looked at her skeptically, “Fine, but if I win, I’m buying us dinner tonight.”

            Mary grinned like a Cheshire cat, “Deal, coin toss?” Ririka nodded, producing a coin from a pocket in her blazer. With a dramatic flourish she snapped the coin in the air. The two girls watched as it spun fluidly through the air, waiting for their fate to be decided for tonight. Ririka moved her arm out ready to catch it when suddenly both girls gently rocked forward. They had finally made it to Mary’s house, the quick stop causing Ririka to lose concentration and miss the coin. Both girls bent over, looking for the coin on the floor, “Oh…” Mary found the coin first.

            “Where is it- oh.” Both girls looked at the coin stuck in the carpet perfectly on its side between the two faces.

            “Well I guess that means we’re sharing and you’re buying dinner,” Mary said with a shrug causing Ririka’s face to light up like a tomato. 

            “Sharing?”

            “Yea you do know what that is right? I’m sure it’s a hard concept for a Momobami to grasp. You don’t have to if you don’t want to though, I can still sleep on the couch.”

            “No!” Ririka’s blush intensified, “I- I mean it’s fine I don’t mind sharing a bed if you don’t mind.” The older girl couldn’t even look the blonde in the eyes out of embarrassment.

            “Of course,” Mary blushed her heart beating faster in her chest, “Yea it’s totally fine.” 

            It wasn’t fine.  

[]

            “Welcome to my humble abode.” Mary said with a wave of her hand as she unlocked the door to her apartment. “I know it’s no Momobami palace but it’s still pretty nice.” Mary shrugged.

            “Is the whole floor your apartment?”

            “The whole what?! No! It’s just this!”

            “Oh,” Ririka blushed with her error, “It’s really cute Mary. It feels… Like a home.” 

            Mary frowned and squinted her eyes at Ririka mumbling, “Momobamis are so weird.” Mary and Ririka slipped their shoes off, both leaving their briefcases by the door. Mary sighed walking into the open concept living room connected to the kitchen. She unceremoniously tossed Ririka’s mask behind her onto the couch much to Ririka’s panic. “You won’t be needing that for a while,” Mary smirked, “Go ahead and get comfortable, I’ll get us some drinks, what do you want?”

            “Just water please,” Ririka asked politely.

            Mary grunted in response leaving Ririka to sit daintily on the couch in the living room. Mary paused in the kitchen to unbutton her blazer leaving it over a chair, also rolling up the sleeves of her shirt and taking off her bow to open up the top button. Mary sighed finally more comfortable. She returned with the two glasses of water in her hands. Ririka blushed when she took her glass from the blonde. “Th- Thank you.” 

            Mary scowled as she sat down next to the older girl, “What are you blushing at this time? I swear you blush so much your face is going to turn permanently red.”

            Ririka’s blush deepened and reaching all the way to the tips of her ears, “N- Nothing.”

            Mary rolled her eyes, “Okay whatever. Did you want to order take out tonight? Or I can cook for us?”

            “You can cook?” Ririka asked wide eyed.

            “Of course I can! Can’t everyone?”

            “Oh. Kirari and I were never allowed to go into the kitchen as kids and we’ve never needed to really.”

            “Of course you have chefs cooking for you every night, why wouldn’t you.” Mary said sarcastically with a roll of her eyes flopping onto the back of the couch slouching. Ririka looked down unable to look the blonde in the eye. “Listen, I’ll show you to cook sometime okay? We seriously gotta teach you how to do normal people stuff.”

            Ririka’s eyes lit up with excitement, “Really? Thank you Mary.” A sweet smile broke out across her face.

            Mary blushed, Ririka really was beautiful especially with her eyes practically sparkling with excitement. Whenever Ririka looked at her like that she always had this warm feeling spreading through her body. Jeez, she couldn’t be wrapped around a Momobami’s finger, they all lived up to their family name. They were the Devourers and Mary feared she too would one day be devoured by these feelings or maybe by the girl herself. But Ririka was different right? She was sweet and shy, and even though she shared a face with her twin, the two couldn’t possibly be any more different. Kirari was all hard edges and haughty smirks while Ririka was all soft edges and sad neutral expressions. “Mary?” Ririka giggled her hand coming up to cover her mouth, “What are you thinking about? You just had the sweetest smile on your face.”

            Mary blushed deeply, “Nothing! J- Just thinking about the food we’re gonna have tonight! What do you want since it’s on you?”

            Ririka paused for a moment looking thoughtful, “What about pizza?” Her eyes lit up brightly at the thought.

            Mary laughed, “I didn’t take you as someone who enjoys fast food. Or are you thinking of some fancy kind of pizza I don’t know about?”

            Ririka giggled in return smiling happily, “Nope just some good old-fashioned greasy pizza!” 

            Mary blushed, why did she think the older girl’s giggle was so cute? She had the same face as Kirari, nothing about that was cute. But somehow with her hair down and without that signature smirk that came with the other twin her features managed to be softened. Not to mention the light blush that seemed to constantly inhabit her cheeks took away all the sharpness that was Kirari, leaving only Ririka behind. In theory they shared the same face, but if you looked at each long enough you could see they were completely different.

Mary jumped to her feet suddenly, causing the girl next to her to flinch, “Okay! It’s settled then! I’ll call for pizza and you can take a quick bath. I’ll take mine before school tomorrow morning. I’ll go grab some clothes for you to borrow.” With that she quickly darted over to her room not waiting for a response.

            Mary shut the door behind her with a bang leaning back against it breathing heavily. What was wrong with her, why did she have all of these thoughts all of the sudden? No. It wasn’t all of the sudden. Those feelings had always been there. She had just ignored them because in her mind since the twins shared the same face, she related all of Kirari’s actions onto Ririka as well. But now having Ririka around all the time she was beginning to see the twin as her own person without her sister. And wow , she was really starting to like that person. 

[]

            Mary had been sitting at the kitchen table for a few minutes now. She had already finished calling for the pizza and was now waiting for Ririka to get out of the bath. If she listened hard enough, she could hear the faint humming of the girl in the other room. Mary sighed and dropped her head on the table. She had no idea what she was going to do, she had all of these sudden feelings coming to the surface for the other girl. What a confusing headache, Mary huffed in annoyance. She stood up to grab her briefcase from the entryway. She might as well get some work done while waiting. 

            Mary opened up her schoolwork with a sigh. All this gambling had her so behind on her schoolwork she didn’t know what to do. She looked at the math equations swimming on the page. They were in a different language, she decided. She dropped her head back down onto the table in defeat. She needed to do this work to bring up her grade so she could keep her scholarship; but it was hopeless, this was impossible. Maybe she could pay tuition if she gambled more, she thought, no then she would have even less time for school and would just get kicked out for her low grades. She closed her eyes letting her misery consume her for the moment. 

            Mary jumped when she felt a warm hand on her back. “Hey,” Ririka said warmly, “Working on homework?”

            Mary sighed a deep sigh she didn’t even hear the other girl’s approach, “Trying to at least. I’m really behind in my classes. I have no idea what’s going on.” Mary sighed, laying her forehead on the table again. Ririka rubbed soothing circles on her back only making her more flustered. Mary sat up abruptly causing Ririka to flinch back and snatch her hand away. 

            “Do you want some help studying?” Ririka asked gently.

            “Psh, I don’t need any help, it's fine!” Mary stubbornly replied.

            “Mary,” Ririka gave her a pointed look, neutral expression back on her face, “Let me help you.”

            Mary looked up into Ririka’s crystalline blue eyes. She could look into those eyes every day and never get tired of them. She could see the sincerity in them, relenting with a sigh and light blush, “Yea okay fine.”

            Ririka cracked a small smile still standing behind her, “Okay what are you going over in class now?”

            Mary explained what the lessons had gone over and what she needed to do for her work. “I swear this stuff is in a different language! I don’t understand it at all!” Throwing her hands up in defeat.

            Ririka giggled, “No it’s not, it’s easy don’t worry.” Ririka leaned over Mary resting on the back of her chair. Ririka pointed at something on the worksheet, hair falling forward onto Mary’s arm. The blonde blushed, the older girl’s hair was as soft as it looked. “Mary?” Ririka tapped on the table to get her attention back, “Are paying attention?”

            Mary blushed, “Yes! Of course!”

            “Okay then show me how you do the problem.”

            “Um, you just,” Mary blushed even harder and sighed, “Okay fine I missed what you said.”

            Ririka smiled and put a hand on Mary’s back so she could lean down farther to look her in the eyes. The older girl took the pencil out of her hand so she could explain the problem again. This time Mary actually listened or at least tried to anyway.

            By the time Mary had finished all of her work the doorbell rang signaling their food had arrived. Surprisingly through the whole ordeal Ririka was actually a really good teacher. She was patient and was able to explain things easily. The only problem was Mary was constantly distracted by her close proximity. She could practically feel the warmth of her body next to her and she struggled to pay attention to the older girl’s words. 

            Mary watched her leave the room to go pay for the food, finally getting a look at the older girl. Ririka was wearing the clothes she left her, she never paid attention to the height difference before but Ririka’s legs were definitely too long for her shorts. Mary blushed at the sight, finally tearing her eyes away as she disappeared around the corner to the entryway. A few minutes later she appeared again, a large grin splitting her face and holding the pizza box up as if it was Simba. Mary laughed at the sight, “Well someone’s excited.” An endearing smile slowly made its way onto her face. 

            “Of course, I have two of favorite things now!” Ririka blushed at her own comment realizing what she said.

            “Sh- Shut up.” Mary mirrored the other girls blush, “Whatever let’s just dig in.”

[]

            They had finished dinner a while ago and already cleaned up, both girls eating their fill of pizza. Ririka ate more than enough, practically scaring Mary with her appetite. Both now in Mary’s room getting ready for bed. The blonde had forgotten the gamble earlier that day until now, panicking at the thought of sharing a bed. Especially when it seemed she was developing a small crush on the other girl. “Hey,” Mary started, “I’m just going to sleep on the couch tonight. I don’t want to make you share a bed. You’re my guest I don’t think my parents would ever forgive me if they found out I didn’t insist.” 

            Ririka had a thoughtful look in her eye, “Oh, okay.” The blonde turned around for the door, about to say goodnight when she felt the other girl grab her hand, “Wait, Mary, you told me I should do what I want more.” Ririka blushed, quickly losing her nerve, “I want you to stay.”

            Mary blushed a deep red looking downward while scratching the back of her neck nervously, “I mean I guess if you want me to that bad I will.” Ririka smiled timidly tugging Mary towards the bed. The two of them got under the covers facing each other on their sides. The older girl still held the blonde’s hand. 

            “Hey Mary?”

            “Hm?”

            The older girl was quiet for a minute, “I- I would never hurt you.”

            “What?” Mary’s eyebrows scrunched together in confusion, “What made you say that?”

            Ririka paused again, “Sometimes,” she breathed out barely a whisper, “I just need to make sure I’m not my sister.”