Amanda admired herself in a full-length mirror, sucking in her cheeks and liking the way a black velvet fedora sat on her head. She liked the slight shadow it cast over her face.
She laughed, as Rebecca pulled back a curtain and came out of a changing room in a pair of red hot-pants and a purple tank-top.
“You look ridiculous!” Amanda said, her laughter turning into a fit of giggles.
“Oh, gee, thanks!” Rebecca said.
“All you need is a blooming cape and you'd look like Super Girl!”
“Alright, alright!” Rebecca chuckled, “It was kind of the point.”
“Sure it was!”
“Stop it,” Rebecca slapped Amanda's arm, “It's been a while... I'm not sure how these things are even supposed to go with each other. Years stuck behind a computer has made me colour-blind or something.”
“Let me pick something out for you,” Amanda offered and went up to a rack of clothes.
“Nice hat,” Rebecca commented, sitting down next to their bags of groceries and supplies.
“Thanks,” Amanda said, sliding a hanger aside and examining a dress, “I always wanted one like this.”
“Really? A hat?”
“Yeah,” she took the dress off the rack. It was a little black number, “Try this one on,” Amanda said, handing the garment to Rebecca.
“I don't know...” said Rebecca, wrinkling her nose.
“You're wearing red hot-pants. Hot-pants,” Amanda said, “I will hear no excuses.”
Rebecca rolled her eyes and took the dress, heading back into the changing room. The attendant behind the counter was looking at them funny. This was a little clothing store that nobody really visited, so she was shocked to find two grown women come in to just try on clothes.
Amanda almost felt bad about it.
“Would it be totally unacceptable if I actually purchased this hat?” Amanda asked.
“What? No, of course not. Assuming that you're paying for it,” Rebecca replied.
“Great,” Amanda said, taking off the hat and putting it on the counter. She took out her purse and put her card next to it. The attendant smiled, visibly relieved, and scanned the card. Amanda took the receipt and put the hat back on her head.
Rebecca stepped out of the changing room and looked in the mirror.
“Woah...” she said.
Amanda smiled, “Told you.”
Rebecca looked stunning, the dress flattering her pear-shaped figure.
“Amanda,” Rebecca said, turning around, “I could kill someone in this outfit. I'm that hot right now.”
“Yeah, I guess you are,” Amanda said.
Rebecca raised a brow, “Jealous?”
“Extremely,” Amanda said, pushing Rebecca back into the changing room, “Take it off! You're making me look like a hag!”
Rebecca changed back into her old clothes and looked at the time, “We should probably head back. Else Shaun will... be Shaun,” she looked at Amanda, “You buy the hat?”
“Yep,” Amanda said happily, helping Rebecca with some of the grocery bags, “Why don't you get something?”
“Because we walked into this store, tried everything on, and messed everything up.”
“What should I get?” Rebecca asked.
“The dress, obviously,” Amanda said.
“Amanda, that dress costs $73. I only brought cash.”
Amanda shrugged, “I'll put it on my card,” she said, getting the dress out of the changing room, “Consider it a gift. Or you can pay me back. Whichever.”
“You don't have to do that,” Rebecca said.
“I'm allowing you to be sexier than me, just go with it.”
Rebecca laughed. After Amanda paid for the dress they left the store.
“I don't say this enough, but... you guys are protecting me,” Amanda said, “Thanks for that,” she paused, “I should have picked up a sweater for Shaun.”
“One covered in blue stars and red stripes,” Rebecca snorted.
“Oh, that would have been a right laugh,” Amanda agreed.
The headed back up the street to where they had left the caravan. Shaun was waiting outside, arms folded and foot tapping impatiently on the pavement.
“It's been two hours and thirty minutes,” he said when they came within earshot.
Amanda and Rebecca both rolled their eyes and went into the caravan and began unpacking all the supplies. Rebecca took all her technical computer material to the rear, while Amanda put away the groceries. She took her hat off her head and brushed a bit of lint off of the brim.
“Had fun?” Shaun asked.
Amanda looked at him, “I thought you would be more upset about it.”
“I am, except that that doesn't seem to matter to either of you, and the fact remains that nothing negative happened. So I suppose there isn't much of a point in expressing how mind-blowingly worried I might have-”
“Yes,” Amanda said, putting her hat back on her head, “Yes, Shaun, I had fun.”
Shaun smiled, “Good.”
“Is there... anything else?”
“There is, I'm just not sure how to approach the subject.”
Amanda scoffed, “No. I will not go out with you.”
Shaun rolled his eyes, “The size of your ego is astounding.”
Amanda hissed through her teeth, feigning disappointment, “And yet still not as big as yours.”
“Oh. Are we competing?”
“God, I hope not,” Amanda said, “I'd hate to outdo you.”
Shaun laughed, “You are in a brighter mood!”
“What did you want to talk about?”
“It's quite sensitive,” Shaun hesitated, “It's about the footage we all watched.”
“Shaun...” Rebecca warned from behind her desk.
“It's... been a few days,” Amanda said, her mood dampening immediately, “I think I can handle it.”
“You're sure?” Shaun asked.
“Well, I re-watched the video clips and it occurred to me that Cross had an episode every time he met Desmond. Did he have that many episodes when he was around you?”
“He had some vivid nightmares,” Amanda said, trying to remember, “but not episodes. He had some hallucinations but they didn't drive him batshit insane like in the clips. Except for one time, in a bar. That was how we met, actually.”
“It baffles me, as to what might have triggered them...” Shaun said, leaning against the counter, “It was as if some force wanted Desmond to succeed.”
“Well, duh,” Rebecca said, “Couldn't that easily be Juno?”
“Juno?” Amanda asked.
Shaun sighed, explaining to Amanda that one member of the Precursor Race had survived, imprisoned in what they referred to as a Temple. She had been released last year, when Desmond had saved the world - and that meant anything but good, seeing as Juno wanted to enslave all of humanity into her service.
“I'll give you all the information, as soon as I dig it up,” Shaun said, “It would mean going through some of Desmond's ancestoral memories though and boring old American history.”
“So Juno can trigger the Bleeding Effect?” Amanda asked.
“You're still stuck on that point- Ow!” Shaun rubbed his arm where Amanda had decided to punch him, “Easy! Yes, apparently she can. The Precursor Race made us, remember?”