Friends Like These part 1

New story for all of you lovely readers!
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Omari sneered disdainfully at the wide, shaking hips of the cleaning woman. She had a pair of large headphones clamped over her ears, as usual, and was using the plastic broom handle as a microphone as she swept the floor. He cleared his throat, loudly and painfully, but she could not hear him over the music being pumped into her brain. Omari could only fume in silence and wait for the unkempt, sloppy creature to notice his face displayed on the telescreen in the room she was allegedly cleaning.

His head throbbed under the weight of his weekly load of questions. For the life of him, he could not figure out why this person breathed the same air as his beloved boss. Why did Parista! – international singing sensation, runway model and stage actress – keep a person like this close to her?

“Friendship,” his boss, Parista! had answered. Omari suspected something more sinister – nude photos, blackmail, an eyewitness account of a crime, perhaps? – but was unable to weasel a different response out of the woman, regardless of however many times he asked.

Using the tips of his fingers to massage his aching temples, he returned his gaze to the telescreen just as that horrid woman deigned to notice the lit “call connected” button on the console. She lifted her eyes and gasped once she sighted him waiting. The broom clattered to the tiled floor as she eased the leather and metal contraption off her head and down to her neck.

“Omari!” she exclaimed with a chuckle. “Sorry about that. I didn’t notice you were on.”

“Obviously,” Omari sniffed. He pursed his lips. “Kristina-”

“Kissenah,” the woman muttered automatically.

“- though I haven’t the slightest idea why, Parista! expects you to meet her for dinner at seven,” Omari continued, completely ignoring her correction. His narrow, green eyes snapped up and down her fleshy frame, taking in the faded, bleach-stained sweat pants and ripped gray shirt she was wearing. “Do, however, clean up and dress appropriately, hmm, Kristina?” He smiled insincerely and ended the call, leaving behind one teeth-clenching, angry woman.

“Kiss. E. Nah!” she yelled at the dark screen. She kicked the broom, catching it on the tip of her worn-down slipper, and sending it spinning across the dusty floor. She considered finding a heavier object to throw at the screen, something that would connect with the after image of the surly secretary with a satisfying crunch. Her pocket buzzed and vibrated, signaling an incoming call and distracting her from her revenge scheme.

Eyebrows drawn together in a frown, she fished the small device from its hiding place in her voluminous pants. Pausing the music, she ran her finger across the small screen, allowing herself a look at the phone function. A huge grin bathed her face beautiful, dust-streaked face in light when she saw the name scrolling across the display. Touching a button, she answered.

“Yeah?” she croaked. Aware that she sounded cranky, she cleared her throat and tried again. “Hello.”

“Girl! What’s up?” squealed the voice of her best – and only – friend. “You don’t sound too good!”

Kissenah Jeffries chuckled with relief at the exclamatory tone. “Girl,” she said to Patton – Parista! to her fans, “it’s Omari. Dude is still calling me ‘Kristina’ and it just irked me a bit.”

Patton groaned. “I warned him about that. You know, he asked me again why I ‘insist on befriending the lower class help’ as it is ‘beneath’ me and ‘a travesty’ to my image?” She laughed heartily. “He seems to think there’s some dark and malicious reason forcing me into your arms.”

“But there is, remember?” Kissenah teased the woman with whom she shared a birthday and most of her childhood. “I saved your life-”

“-and I saved your soul.” Both women were silent for a few seconds, reflecting on their shared past.

“Anyway,” Patton pressed on, “did he tell you about dinner?”

“Yep. Said it’s at seven, and implied he would be most appreciative if I deigned to wear something other than my work clothes.” Kissenah made a noise of displeasure. “What’s the occasion, anyway?”

“There’s someone you have to meet.”

Concerned by the serious tone, she floated a questioning “Patton?” over the wireless line.

“Just come, okay? And don’t worry about Omari; I’ll take care of him.” Abruptly, her tone changed again. “See you at seven?” she asked hopefully.

“Sure,” Kissenah confirmed. “I’ll pull on a clean pair of sweats. Might even change my shirt and run a comb through my hair.”

“Cool,” Patton answered, mind already miles away. “Later, babe.”

“Later.” Kissenah ended the call and shoved the fat rectangle back in her pocket, tapping the “resume” command for the music. She pulled the headphones from around her neck and clamped them back over her ears. As she bobbed head in time with the heavy bass line, she wondered if this dinner would be like the others.

Several floors above the cleaning in progress, the former Patton Anderson tapped her ruby tipped acrylic nails against her chrome desktop. She rocked back and forth in her soft, red leather, vibrating massage chair, letting it work its magic on her tired and sore muscles.

Damn that Omari, she griped silently. He had, once again, overbooked her morning schedule, forcing her to cut engagements short in order to arrive fresh and on time for the next. To make matters worse, he scheduled a photo shoot immediately after her morning weight training, barely giving her enough time to shower and change. And now, to hear from Kissneh, her best friend in the world, that that man was intentionally baiting her?

A slight squeak and a soft rush of air brought her rocking to a halt. She turned to face the front of her private thinking chamber and, without opening her makeup encrusted eyes, snarled, “You should have knocked.”

The pale skinned, curly haired male raised his arched eyebrows in astonishment. “You must not have heard me.”

“You must not have knocked, then.”

“My apologies, Parista!, for my lapse of etiquette.” Patton could tell from Omari’s tone that he was rolling his eyes and making a mental note of her surliness.

She decided that she did not care, and asked, “Are the preparations for tonight done?”

She heard him suck his teeth before saying “I do not see the need to have-”

“Are the preparations for tonight done, Omari? I did not ask for your opinion of my plans; I asked if you had done your job.”

“They’re done,” he snapped. Her eyes flew open and he quickly coughed into his fist. “They are done,” he repeated in a gentler tone.

Lacking a response, Patton instead opened a desk drawer and removed a bottle of white liquid and small packet of tissues. Alarmed, Omari asked her, “What are you doing?”

“Getting this crap off of my eyes,” she replied.

“But,” he stammered, “it’s a work of art!”

“Exactly,” she said. “Art belongs on my walls, not my eyes.” Seeing his expression, she sighed. “Is there anything else, Omari?”

He swallowed the bitter words on his tongue and slowly shook his head. “Nothing.”

“But there must be something,” Patton countered. She squirted a liberal amount of eye make up remover on a tissue and scrubbed her left vigorously. “After all, I’m sure you didn’t just barge in here to say something as simple as ‘hello’, did you?”

“It can wait.”

“Omari..”

“It can wait. I’m sorry to have bothered you.” Omari spun toward the door, the stacked heels on his boots clicking against the wooden floor.

“Omari!”

He froze, shoulders stiffening. Without turning back around, he asked, “Yes?”

“Make sure you wear something nice tonight,” Patton crooned seductively.

With a shiver, Omari exited the office, closing the door with a firm hand. Giggling, Patton threw the used tissue into the wastebasket, and reached for another one. She had a feeling that tonight’s dinner was going to be so much fun.

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Read Part 2 HERE

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