Tiffany woke up groggy and disoriented. The throbbing pain in her neck was better than it had been last night, but remained unpleasant and overly distracting. She tenderly touched where it hurt the most, recoiling her hand as a sharp spike of pain screamed through her nerves. She dreaded looking in the mirror. She could only imagine how badly she must have bruised.
She let her awareness spread out to her surroundings and realised that she was nestled between two sleeping bodies. A careful glance to either side showed Alice on her left and Erin on her right. The covers had long been pushed off in the night and were bundled over all of their feet.
Tiffany’s gaze ran over the bodies of her sleeping companions. They both wore a set of Alice’s pyjamas, effectively a vest top and shorts each, and Tiffany found her eyes lingering on the exposed skin she could see. Alice’s legs, Erin’s neck, both of their exposed midriffs. ‘I could get used to this…’ she thought as she lay back, looking up at the ceiling.
A few thoughts insisted their way inside her mind. The first one was a vivid imagery of having Alice and Erin wake up and instantly start kissing her all over. Working together, they could caress her skin, remove her own vest top and panties, then start biting her, teasing her, and touching her all over. One between her legs, one by her breasts and neck.
In the fantasy, her neck didn’t sting like fuck if anyone breathed too heavily on it, so that was nice too. Alice and Erin served her with every sensation she craved from them. Their fingers, their lips, their tongues all working in harmony to elicit such ecstatic pleasure from her. Dripping in sweat, panting affirmations to whatever deity might be perving on them, and then screaming the apartment down as she came harder than ever before…
Yes, that would be a fun way to start her day.
She hadn’t even noticed her hand reach down and slip under her panties until she felt the slick wetness that awaited her fingers. Smiling sleepily, she let her eyes drift closed and stroked herself softly, lost in her fantasy threesome for a spell.
The other waking thoughts had been to do with deciding if she was skipping class today and wondering about how Josh had gotten on with his assignment, but those she dropped in favour of her tender stroking. She’d think about all that boring crap later.
An obnoxious knocking sound snapped Tiffany out of her pleasurable daze, and also caused both Alice and Erin to stir. Tiffany’s hand shot out of her underwear, and she stuffed it under her pillow, closing her eyes and pretending she was fast asleep.
Another loud knock, even more insistent than the last.
“Tiff! Alice! Wake up!” Erin hissed as she sprang up and rubbed her eyes frantically. “That’s someone knocking at the front door.”
Alice groaned in protest, and without opening her eyes, uttered, “So what? Marion will get it…”
“So what if it’s…” Erin scrambled out of the bed and started rummaging through all the discarded clothing on the floor. Finally she found her jeans and fished the switchblade out of her pocket. “What if it’s Dillon?” she whispered urgently. “I thought he might come here to confront Alice, I just thought we’d have more time…”
Alice growled in frustration and buried her head under her pillow. Her irate voice was muffled as she insisted, “It won’t be Dillon, he wouldn’t be up this early!”
Tiffany opened her mouth to contribute, but to her distress, found that no sound came out other than a strained rasp which caused her throat to ache with pain. ‘Well, fuck!’ she thought. ‘I suppose I should be thankful I can still breathe…’
“Well, I don’t—” Erin suddenly stopped abruptly, looking down at the pyjamas she wore. Her head snapped up towards Tiffany, an inferno in her eyes. “—the fuck am I wearing, Tiff?!” she snarled.
Tiffany had been looking forward to Erin’s reaction at wearing Alice’s purple and lilac pyjama set, which she had put on last night while still deep in trance. However, with the more pressing issue of who might be about to barge into the apartment, Tiffany threw her arms up with an exasperated grunt and urgently pointed at the door.
“Right! Fuck, fine!” Erin sulked as she clutched her knife tightly and proceeded to open the bedroom door quietly.
She closed the door to a crack almost immediately.
“Marion is there,” Erin turned back to explain. “She has the door open on the chain.” Erin returned to watching through the bedroom door and Tiffany strained to hear Marion’s voice as it drifted down the corridor.
The door closed and Erin turned to give Tiff a determined glance before she ventured out into the hall.
The door swung closed behind her, leaving Tiffany to look on with burning curiosity and concern. She turned and looked down at Alice incredulously. ‘What would you wake up for I wonder?’ Tiffany thought as she gazed down fondly at the pillow Alice was hiding under. ‘An earthquake? A fire? If I programmed you to jump out of bed and dance the samba when I click my fingers?’
Tiffany grinned with complete mischief as she clicked her fingers. Alice groaned and muttered, “Shut uuuup!” As she took a blind swipe at the space three feet in front of Tiffany’s face. “At least bring me some coffee, god!”
‘Okay, install that trigger for tomorrow morning… I wonder how Erin’s getting on?’
As if summoned by the thought, Erin re-appeared clutching a backpack.
Erin let out a relieved sigh. “It was Ross, Dillon’s gamer addict friend, apparently. Marion wouldn’t let him in, but he said he just wanted to return Alice’s stuff. Left it by the door and fucked off. Says Dillon is pissed but wants to talk. Loser…” She planted the bag by Alice’s desk.
“Fuck that,” Alice groaned from under her pillow. “No more Dillon.”
“Word.” Erin nodded in approval. “Oh yeah, Marion’s making us all coffee as well. Seriously, Alice, your flatmate rules!”
From the kitchen, they heard the sound of water being poured and then some acoustic pop started filling the apartment, lightening the energy in the room somewhat.
“I love my roommate,” Alice murmured in agreement. “But guys, I’m not fit for human consumption today. I’m crashing so hard here…”
Tiffany swallowed hard, then attempted speech again. “It’s alright,” she managed to croak.
“Yeah, Alice, we’re here to help you, don’t sweat it!” Erin agreed. She then turned to Tiffany. “But I have a couple of pressing questions for you first, Tiff.”
Tiffany raised her eyebrows and motioned for Erin to continue.
“One… What the fuck am I wearing!?” She tugged at the purple pyjamas she still wore. “And two, what exactly happened last night? I have memories up until a certain point, then nothing… It’s not hard to realise that’s your doing.”
“I have memory fragments too…” Alice added as her head emerged from under her hiding place. She threw the pillow grumpily at Erin. “I’m not getting back to sleep, am I?”
“Soon,” Tiffany rasped. “I’m staying with you today. Erin’s gonna go get stuff for us. We’re gonna rest, you’re gonna detox.”
Alice and Erin made their own complaining noises at the same time. Tiffany could understand Alice’s moodiness, she had at least three different substances working their way out of her system, but she didn’t understand what Erin was bitching about. She climbed out of bed and marched up to her unruly slave.
Erin took an instinctive step back and smiled up at Tiffany with an innocent cheekiness. “I mean, yay I get to do stuff while you both vegetate all day long…”
“Damn right,” Tiffany said with a smirk, her eyes narrowing slightly, daring Erin to provoke her.
Erin seemed to know she was treading on thin ice, so instead she flashed her trademark toothy grin and took a step towards Alice.
“Good thing she’s sexy when she’s bossy, right?” she remarked to the blonde.
Alice in turn flushed bright pink but said nothing as she glanced between Tiffany and Erin. Eventually she blurted, “I should see if Dillon returned my phone!” and tumbled out of bed to rummage through her backpack.
Erin raised an eyebrow and turned to Tiff, lowering her voice to a whisper that Alice wouldn’t hear over the music. “Uhh, Mistress? Shouldn’t you have made Alice into your sex slave mark 2 by now? What’s going on?”
Tiffany leaned in towards Erin, all the humour banished from her face now. “Okay, so, after you do a bunch of errands I need you to do today, the two of us are going to have a serious talk…”
“Uh oh…” Erin whispered, though her eyes still sparkled with mischief. “Are you sure it can’t be a sexy talk?”
“Well, we’ll see, because it’s going to start with why you’re carrying a knife around without telling me, and it’s going to end with you explaining yourself after what you tried to pull last night.”
Erin’s face scrunched into an expression of guilt, and she bowed her head slightly. “Oh… so really not sexy…” she tried to hide her pout.
Just then, there was a knock at the door. “You all decent in there?” Marion’s voice called through.
“Yeah, decent enough, come in.” Alice called back with her nose still buried in her backpack. “Aha!” she declared half heartedly, plucking her phone out as Marion opened the door.
“How’re you feeling, Alice?” Marion asked, standing in the doorway with a concerned expression.
“Utter crap…” Alice sank back into her bed, phone in hand. “I’m sorry you have to put up with this again.”
Marion paused for a moment, biting back some words. Eventually she shook her head and smiled kindly. “s’okay… don’t worry about it, though I appreciate you saying that.”
“Yeah, sure.” Alice sighed, lying back on the bed and offering a weak thumbs up. “Urgh, this is dead.” She tossed her phone onto her bedside table and muttered. “Erin, could you plug that in for me please, fine motor skills aren’t my thing right now…”
“And it looks like it won’t be just us this time.” Marion said with an upbeat smile. “Erin and Tiff are going to stay with you?”
“Tiff is,” Erin chipped in as she plugged in Alice’s phone. Alice had seemingly lost the will to interact, and had her head buried in her other pillow. “I’m going out to get stuff we need.”
Marion nodded. “Oh good. Oh and Tiff, I almost forgot.” She produced a small bottle of pills and handed them to Tiffany. “How’s the neck feeling this morning?”
Tiffany wobbled her flattened hand in front of her in way of reply and Marion nodded grimly. “Well, there’s enough there to last you the day, take two every four to six hours. Then you’re down to over the counter strength unless you want to see a doctor.”
Tiffany screwed up her face in protest of this and Marion chuckled. “You’re pretty weird, Tiff, but so long as you can breathe, who am I to tell you what to do?”
Erin grinned at this. “Yeah, it doesn’t really work to tell Tiff what to do.”
Marion smiled politely. “Well, anyway, I’m off to class. You all look after yourselves. I’ve left you a pot of coffee on the hot plate, and I’ll be back mid-afternoon to check on you.”
They all waved goodbye to Marion, and as soon as the door clicked shut, Erin loudly declared that she needed the toilet. Tiff realised that she too had to relieve herself, and Alice followed suit. From there, they spilled out into the living room, Tiffany sipping away at her coffee after having downed two of Marion’s pills.
Alice had brought her duvet and pillows from her bedroom and fully intended to make a small nest on the couch from which she would “ride out the storm,” as she put it.
“What if you crave?” Erin asked with concern.
“Tiff is here.” Alice shrugged. “She’s programmed me to literally channel my cravings into wanting cuddles and Disney movies. And if things get out of hand, she has my permission to drop me into trance.”
“So you did program her last night!” Erin pumped her fist into the air as she spun to face Tiffany. “I knew it!”
“Yeah, but it’s not like that,” Alice rebutted moodily.
“Not like what?” Erin asked with a cheeky innocence.
“Whatever you’re thinking, Erin, it’s not like that,” Alice snapped. “I asked Tiff to help me through this crappiness I’m feeling, and to keep me from doing stupid stuff like running off to Dilllon and creeps like him.”
“Hey, whoa, that’s cool.” Erin held her hands up defensively. “I’m sorry, I’ve clearly offended you, I didn’t mean to.”
Tiffany wanted to interject, but instead found herself staring at her feet.
“Well, just—” Alice started before she shook her head and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Erin, I’m just so on edge right now I’d snap at anyone. Like I said, not fit for human consumption...”
While Alice and Erin apologised to each other, and Erin compiled her list of everything she was to pick up, Tiffany took the opportunity to check her phone for messages. There was one from Trev apologising for blowing the group off yesterday afternoon, but no additional details. Then two from Josh, one saying that he’d been in touch with Jan, and that she’d been busy with an assignment that was due on Wednesday, so she would be going around to his place that evening. The next was asking about how her and Erin had gotten on with the Alice situation. Tiff typed out a quick reply, letting him know that they got Alice back and were hunkering down in her flat for a couple of days, and that they’d all come over on Wednesday if Alice was up to that.
When she emerged from her phone, Erin was in front of her, waving a reluctantly scrawled list of things Tiffany had requested from her. She mouthed “thanks” as she took the list to examine it. Spare clothes for her and Erin from their respective flats, lecture notes for all of their classes from Hannah and whoever Erin planned to ask, some fruit for making detox juice, and a whole bunch of unhealthy comfort food for when Alice started getting her appetite back.
Tiffany handed the list back to Erin and gave her a thumbs up.
Erin folded the note away reluctantly. “Alright then, guess I better get dressed and head out… I mean, I should finish my coffee first.”
Tiffany could tell Erin desperately wanted to stay to hang and help out. She was clearly feeling hard done by in being asked to run errands.
Tiffany simply did not have the patience for it though, sighing deeply and trying to contain her frustration at Erin’s attitude. Her throat was still sore, and she was already starting to feel sluggish from the pain pills. “Hurry back,” she whispered curtly.
Before Erin turned to leave with a pout on her face, Alice had retrieved her phone and was chuckling at the screen.
“A handful of missed calls from Dillon, oh and a couple of voicemails! Must’ve taken him a while to realise I left my phone over there! Ha! Wanna listen?”
Tiffany twitched her face in disgust. The last thing she wanted was to hear that asshole’s voice again, but Erin was already clapping her hands excitedly. “Oh, please put it on speaker!” Upon seeing Tiffany’s unimpressed expression, she shrugged and added with a devilish grin, “What? I just wanna see if he remembers me…”
The first message came on and Tiffany sighed, snuggling back into the sofa and sipping more of her coffee. Alice was on the other sofa and rested the phone on her lap.
”Alice what the FUCK!!” Dillon’s voice roared out of the phone. Another voice was in the background, probably Ross, constantly swearing and insisting that Dillon hold still.
“Do you know what your vicious fucking friend just did to me?! Get the fuck back here now or I’ll fucking hunt you all down and—AHHH, FUCK! Ross! Fucking Hell!”
“Vicious?” Erin said as a satisfied smirk spread across her lips. “Yeah, that sounds about right.” She then grinned to both Tiffany and Alice in turn. Tiffany rolled her eyes and tried not to smile at the image of Dillon in a ton of pain, but Alice had gone pale as she stared down at the phone nervously.
The call became mostly incoherent as Dillon and Ross argued, Ross insisting he was cleaning the wound while Dillon kept repeating not to use the scotch. Eventually, Dillon turned his attention back to the phone.
”Alice, we’re fucking done, you hear? Next time you phone me up freaking out and whatever the fuck, you can just rot in hell. Fuck you and your crazy bitch friends. If I ever see you again, I’m going to fucking hurt you”
The call ended, and the automated voice started droning out call information. Erin snorted in derision.
“Wow, what a loss you must feel!” she remarked sarcastically, but then looked surprised to see Alice with glossy eyes and a miserable expression. “Oh shit, Alice look, I’m sorry.”
Alice looked up and shook her head, before forcing a smile. “Don’t be!” she insisted, “you’re right! Good fucking riddance to him… Besides, the second message will be the grovelling apology… I don’t think I need to hear that!” She picked up the phone just as the second message started to play.
Tiffany’s heart jolted in surprise. That was—That sounded like-
“Tiff? That was you,” Erin said in surprise. “I don’t—”
Now Dillon’s voice spoke again, this time calm and composed. ”If Erin is there, pass the phone to her, and tell her to listen to this.”
Tiffany felt like the breath had been kicked out of her. She felt a deathly chill flood through her as she saw Alice’s blank empty eyes and expressionless face. Robotically, Alice held out the phone towards Erin and said in a monotone drone, “Listen to this.”
Erin recoiled from the phone, her own face drained of all colour. “Fuck no, I’m not touching that!” She declared in a shaky voice.
Tiffany dropped all caution in looking after her voice as she frantically rasped, “Erin! Hang up the phone!” Her throat surged with pain, and in the course of trying to calm it, she started coughing uncontrollably.
Erin turned to Tiff like a startled deer and then jolted with understanding. “Right! Fuck! Of course!” she stammered.
“Sleep—Erin—sleep.” The words spoke from the phone in what was unmistakably Tiffany’s voice before Erin could grab it. Tiffany heard it clearly despite choking on her own flem, and she instantly felt dizzy with panic as Erin’s look of confusion and fear drained away to a blank and empty stare.
Tiffany dropped her coffee, untangled herself from the blanket she was under on the sofa, and tumbled onto the ground trying to get off the couch. Feeling like her lungs were on fire, she stumbled towards the phone in a frenzied terror, but couldn’t reach it before Dillon’s voice spoke again.
“Erin, put Tiffany into a trance now.”
Wanting to scream for everyone and everything to stop but still sputtering and choking, Tiffany jabbed her finger at the screen of Alice’s phone with one hand and tried to grab it with her other. The effect knocked the phone from Alice’s grip and it tumbled to the floor several feet away. Tiffany’s heart stopped as her eyes followed it with unblinking focus. It came to an abrupt rest, and the screen showed that the call was still connected.
She had to hang it up! Tensing to dive headlong towards the phone, she-
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Erin said calmly and emotionlessly.
A thousand hands grabbed Tiffany’s mind all at once, and in one instant motion dragged her every last thought into a lagoon of treacle.
Hang up the-
Move quickly before-
She had to-
Her hand that had stretched out towards the phone fell back limply to her side. She could still see, but she wasn’t looking at anything. She was in a lounge, but quickly forgot who’s, or why it mattered. She was barely aware that she was still coughing, and once it subsided, she forgot that she ever had been. On occasion, she would blink. Otherwise, she was still.
Her mind was empty. She couldn’t even think about how empty her mind was because there was no chance of any thoughts forming on their own.
Distantly, she heard a muffled voice, too quiet to understand, too far away to find. Eventually it stopped, and she only heard the sound of deep, even breathing on either side of her.
Time lost all meaning. She stood motionless, breathing calmly. She had no thoughts, and none would grow despite the idleness
And then a buzzing noise. Some part of her was aware it was a phone. She couldn’t form a thought about it. The phone was ringing, and when it stopped, she forgot it ever existed. Time passed, an indeterminable amount.
Her legs started to feel sore, aching with fatigue, but she couldn’t move.
And then a buzzing noise. Some part of her was aware it was a phone. She couldn’t form a thought about it. The phone was ringing, and when it stopped, she forgot it ever existed.
This happened even more times, but she couldn’t count how many, each time forgetting it had happened. She couldn’t comprehend how long she had been standing there, it might have been three seconds. Thoughts wouldn’t form.
Her mind was empty.
And then, there was the sound of a key in a lock, followed by that of a nearby door opening.