“Where's Faith?” Corky settled into her usual seat at the island in the center of the kitchen.
“Probably changing, she hates having to wear a suit.” Buffy swirled her spoon around in a yogurt before tossing the cup onto the counter and returning to the refrigerator. She wasn't in her suit any more, now clad in yoga pants and a t-shirt. “All the clothes she packed were dirty.”
Knocking sounded from the laundry room. Corky checked in to find a half naked Faith snatching clothes out of a duffel bag and stuffing them into the washer with quick jerks of her arm. Corky made to rub her chin, trying to hide the smile she knew was there. “Don't put any bleach in this time.”
Faith shot her a look that spoke volumes, as she flicked a cup of detergent in after the load and slammed the lid down. She pushed herself up on the machine, and folded her arms across her chest.
“You're not going to stay there for a whole cycle?” Corky jammed her hands into her pockets and felt the cold surface of her money clip in her right one. She swiped her fingers against the edge of the crisp bills, and felt, more than heard, the lovely 'swoosh'. “All you brought with you was a duffel?”
Faith rested her head on her knee as she stared at her older sister. She sighed. “I'm on a budget.”
“Buffy likes shopping?” Corky pushed off of the door frame into the small room. She spotted a dark stain in the far corner that looked a lot like mold. The amount of housework she needed to do kept building up, but first she needed to get the girls out. They could take Violet along. “I mean, I've seen her shoe collection. How could she not?”
Faith nodded her head and shook a lock of hair out of her eyes. “Corky-”
She held up her hands. “I know. This is not me trying to be your big sister, okay?”
“Good, so what is this about?” Faith ask as she let the machine shake her body to and fro. Her legs swung over the front.
“We...as in the house...need some essentials.” Corky put up her finger to stall the reply. “Yes, I can ask Violet, but I'm worried. She's been under a lot of stress and while I think getting some air would be good for her, I'd be less stressed if she had company in case something happens.”
“Why do you really want me to go with her?” Faith jumped off with a loud thump. “And don't give me that, shopping for house essentials
. I know when you're hiding something.”
“I'm concerned about Violet.” Corky thought back to the hall; Violet stretched out, scared out of her mind. What could Violet really be so worried about, couldn't she just slip her way back into the mob's good graces? It was Corky with no real connections. No power over men. Corky put her neck out. Now it was bare, perfect for an ax. Corky frowned when she realized she was staring off in space. “I think she needs to have a bit of fun.”
Something she said, or did must have reached Faith. “I don't know what this is about, but don't drag me into it.”
Faith slipped by, but Corky caught her wrist. Then she let go, and pulled a few hundreds loose from the clip. She noticed that Faith was staring at her pocket. But Corky didn't take the clip out, just the three bills and pushed it into her sister's hand. “Violet will let you know what we need. But we'll have to go out when we have more time to walk around to get the rest.”
Faith lifted an eyebrow at the $300 dollars in her grasp. She pouted, and turned to leave.
“You can borrow some of my clothes, I'll put your load in the dryer.” Corky almost thought she saw a smile. It wasn't all forgiving, but it was progress. “...be safe.”
A few minutes later, with the sun fading, Corky watched the trio pull off in Faith's truck. Her eyes immediately scanned the rest of Palmer Rd. Mothers pulled their children indoors. The sprinklers stood lifeless.
Laughter rang from the house behind the gates. Lights blazed through all the windows, the shadows of women danced behind the curtains. Corky wondered if any of them were hiding anything near as bad as her secret. What the hell did she think she would accomplish by moving to lower suburbia? Did she think she could restart?
Corky shook her head and went to lay down in her room. She didn't go to sleep. Her gun rested in her hand, the cold hilt burned into her hand. They'd have to get beds, for the girls. That was, if they didn't find an apartment or anything. Those old sleeping bags had to be killing their backs. The clock on the night stand said it was only 5:00. Corky's eyes began to flutter and she lowered a hand to her thigh and pinched. The street was still lighted by the sun. Had she sent them away for nothing?
The door slammed. Corky rolled off the bed and went to hide behind her dresser. One pair of footsteps barreled into the living room. They were thick, lingering steps. Not the soft clicking of designer footwear. Corky slipped over to the wall beside her door. She aimed and waited for the steps to stop in front of her room. A bead of sweat rolled down from her nose and settled in the corner of her mouth. She licked it away, pulling back the hammer on her gun.
She heard keys jingle. The door cracked open.