Aida Book 1: Dreaming of the Stars

Transferring from their home on Mars, best friends Isla and Anise arrive on Aida, hopeful and eager. Isla is initially unsure of her direction, but soon meets someone who can help her discover her destiny, and Anise finally feels like she can truly be who she is.

Alongside their new friends and mentors, Lisa and Mira, Aida's latest arrivals quickly adjust to their new lives, beginning their ascent to idolhood. And along the way, they might both find some new and exciting interests on the side...

Aida: An Idol Romance is a sci-fi-themed lesbian romance novel serial with some 10 books planned, and probably more. This is the free version of the full book and includes everything except the explicit ero scenes, those are mentioned but not directly shown.

Like my work? You can support my writing here if you enjoy it: https://www.patreon.com/YurikaSGrant

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22. Chapter 22

  Wandering back to the hotel, navigating the narrower side streets away from the general hustle and bustle of a Saturday afternoon, Anise used the first available moment of privacy to jump Lisa, hugging and smothering her in kisses.

  Lisa had to step a foot back for support under this assault. “I’m never averse to cute girls throwing themselves at me, but this is pretty unusual even for you.”

  “Just realising again how lucky I am to be with you,” Anise muttered.

  “Because I helped Kelly?”

  “Yeah…”

  “I didn’t do much, it was mostly Lily’s plan.”

  “Maybe so, but it’s still really nice that you’ll put this amount of effort in for people.”

  Pulling away from the hug, Lisa pecked Anise’s lips a couple of times for the nice words. “One of the big reasons I became an idol is because I love how close everyone is. Even rivals and girls directly competing for rare opportunities generally stay on good terms and help each other out. I love that.”

  “So do I,” Anise whispered. Disengaging, she took Lisa’s hand and continued walking.

  As they entered the hotel lobby, the young lady behind the reception desk called across. “Miss Lawson? There’s a package for you.”

  Lisa skipped over. “Sweet, right on time. Thanks!” She signed for it and grasped the brown box, some six inches deep and rectangular, approximately a metre on its longest side. In their room, she placed it on the bed. “This is for you, Anise. A little gift for spending your time with me. And all the associated activities, naturally.”

  “For me? Aww, you shouldn’t have!” Anise said, tugging the lid off. Inside, hidden under several layers of soft tissue paper, was an outfit. A blue, black, and orange outfit, in fact, futuristic yet retro. She inhaled as though it were her last. “Is this…?”

  “A Retrolution coord? Yup.”

  “How…?”

  “I placed a special order yesterday when we got back from seeing Suzanne and Aedan. Can’t have you going on stage to sing my latest song without an appropriate outfit, can I?”

  Anise floored her, smothering her in kisses for the second time in the last half-hour. “Aaah, you’re too amazing, Lisa! Thank you, I’ll treasure it!” She stopped. “Wait… that’s your latest song!?”

  “Sure is. Nobody has heard it but you, me, and Aedan.”

  “Jeez, no pressure or anything…”

  “You’ll be fine! I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t confident you could pull it off. I was going to play the studio mix, but I reckon having you up on stage doing it live will cause a much bigger buzz. For both of us.”

  “You said this is for about five thousand people?”

  “At the event? Yeah. It’ll be streamed live on the stellarnet as well, though. To several hundred million people, most likely.”

  Anise shut down. “Several hundred…?”

  “Million.”

  “Haha… haha…”

  “I’m joking, I’m joking, relax!” Lisa said, worrying for her lover’s sanity. “It’ll be broadcast to this region, but apart from certain specialist streams it won’t go much further. Few million people still, but that should be okay, right? You’re an idol, Anise, can’t shy away from exposure.”

  “I know. I just figured I’d be building my exposure a bit more gradually!” Anise said, laughing. “Hang on…”

  “Mm?”

  “How did you get this made for me? You don’t have my measurements!”

  “Your measurements can quite adequately be summed up as perfect, my girl,” Lisa said, pecking Anise’s lips, lingering and nibbling a little.

  “Aaah…”

  Lisa sat back. “Being serious, though… you’re talking to the daughter of Dreamstar Academy’s headmistress, remember? Normally stuff like that is private, but Mum gave me your measurements when I told her what they were for.”

  “You always put so much effort in for others. Inspires me to do more, if I’m honest!”

  “Having more successful idols helps everyone. Though I admit you’re getting preferential treatment for less than altruistic reasons,” Lisa said with a satisfied wink.

  A couple of hours slipped past as they prepared for their evening, Anise burning the lyrics into her mind while Lisa checked over her equipment and rough set list; she generally had a reasonable idea of what she wanted to play, but might end up changing the song list entirely depending on how the audience reacted.

  Dressing in something considerably more swish than the previous evening, Lisa finished first, checking her silver miniskirt and crop top in the bathroom’s full-length mirror. She nodded in satisfaction and sat on the bed to lace her equally silver knee boots up.

  Anise, meanwhile, agonised, holding up the Retrolution coord. “Should I wear this new outfit now? Or change later?”

  “Best wear it for the performance, it’s more of a stage outfit than anything. Plus it’ll have more impact if you’ve not been seen in it already.”

  “Okay!” Anise said, and carefully placed the outfit back in the box. She instead dressed in an orange and white ensemble featuring a knee-length skirt and camisole-style top.

  A knock at the door interrupted them. Lisa wandered over and opened it to see Kelly, inviting her inside. Their princess issued greetings, made a beeline for the bed, and immediately flaked out, face down.

  “Tired, are we?” Lisa asked.

  “Yes,” Kelly said, her voice muffled by the pillow. “The parade has quite taken it out of me.”

  “I distinctly remember you saying ‘don’t be lazy’ earlier, Lisa,” Anise said as they stared at the beautiful girl lying on their hotel bed.

  “Kelly’s always been kind of lazy, but she puts plenty of effort into her idol work. At least when it comes to flower-related idol work. She’s never lazy when it counts, right, Kelly?”

  The lazy princess managed to summon the energy to roll over onto her back. “I am most certainly not lazy, Lisa, I merely enjoy life at a sedate pace.” A degree of primness entered her perfectly enunciated speech, indicating mild annoyance tinged with amusement.

  “Sure, we believe you,” Lisa said, grinning. “Right, are we about ready?”

  They were, so they grabbed their things – including Anise’s precious new outfit – and headed down to the limo.

  Arriving at Central, a black glass-fronted building in the city centre large enough to fit several circuses inside, Kelly dropped her passengers at the rear of the building, then had Nisette drive her around to the front.

  Lisa entered through the rear staff entrance much like the previous evening at Merlin’s, and made her way to a backstage area with Anise. Dropping her bag and equipment off in a small dressing room, she led the way back out, issuing greetings to some of the staff on the way, and walked around to the front of the building.

  “Going in the front way now?” Anise asked.

  “We’re meeting Kelly in the main bar area, it’s actually faster from the front.”

  “Wow, the stage areas are that big?”

  “Yup. Five thousand people, remember. And that’s just the Main Stage, both Side Stages fit a thousand each as well.” Lisa waved at the bouncers and led the way through the front doors, bypassing the already sizeable queue. She checked her phone. “Nothing from Aedan, guess he was too busy to make it. Oh well.”

  Making their way through the grey-carpeted foyer, where Lisa signed in as staff, they headed through a set of glossy black double doors leading them into a bar area, cool and dark, lit by vivid blue and green neon tubes running around the ceiling and above the bar.

  Dead ahead, another set of doors led to the Main Stage where Lisa would be playing later that night. In the left wall, another door revealed a hall leading to the two smaller, specialist stages where upcoming or niche DJs were frequently showcased.

  And sitting at the bar along the right-hand wall, a certain princess primly sipping at a glass of champagne. She caught sight of the new arrivals and called them over, swivelling her stool around to face them. “Hello!”

  Anise stared. Their princess had changed her hair again, this time to a vivacious yellow, but with a sharp gradient effect halfway down changing into a deep orange tone. “Evening! Your hair looks amazing, Kelly.”

  “Thank you,” Kelly said, bowing her head momentarily. “Yellow orange-tipped roses are some of my favourite flowers, so I felt like emulating one this evening.”

  Anise did all she could not to hyperventilate at this vision of beauty; she privately felt she wouldn’t mind pollenating their princess…

  Lisa stepped close and pecked Kelly’s cheek. “Hey. Looking good, Kels.” She bought a bottle of Sex Appeal – another alcopop type drink similar to Immersion, albeit with rather different connotations involved – for herself and Anise, handing one over.

  Looking around the bar, with its stylish black and white leather seats and well-dressed clientele, Anise sipped her drink and sighed. “Wish Isla could be here to see this. Pretty sure Stardew is the most upper class place she’s ever been.”

  “Who is Isla?” Kelly asked.

  Anise explained, finishing up by mentioning that her best friend was likely still being run ragged at the camp. “Can’t help but think she might have the short end of the stick this time.” She laughed, but felt bad about it.

  “She sounds lovely, I’d like to meet her. Alas, I don’t have many friends here yet,” Kelly said in a wistful tone.

  Lisa cleared her throat in a menacing fashion. “And whose fault is that, hmm?”

  Kelly immediately coloured. “Ah, ahaha, yes, whose indeed.”

  Giggling at this exchange, Anise delicately changed subject before her new friend dug herself any deeper. “You’re into flowers, right?”

  “It would be fair to say that flowers are my life,” Kelly replied.

  “I wonder if you could help with something that happened when Isla and I transferred into Dreamstar?”

  “Falconi gave you both a flower?” Kelly asked, apparently reading her mind.

  Anise raised her glass. “Yup. Not really sure why, but it was a nice gesture.”

  “His wife is a well-known botanist,” the princess continued. “He is also quite well versed in flower language himself. If he gave you a flower each, as he did me, it will have had a purpose. Can you describe them?”

  “Uh, sure?” Anise said, her brows creasing up as she tried to bring the flowers to mind. “Mine was white. Really pretty, lots of petals. Um… oh, and yellow in the centre!”

  Pulling her phone out, Kelly spent a moment looking something up. She held the phone out. “Something like this?”

  “That’s it, yep!”

  “White Camellia Japonica, it is a very pretty flower, no? It also has a meaning of ‘perfected loveliness’. It seems you left a positive impression on Falconi.”

  “He’s not wrong, either,” Lisa said.

  Anise blushed at the compliments. “Ahaha… thanks, both of you!”

  “Do you remember Isla’s?” Kelly asked.

  “The flower itself was purple? With, uh, I think yellow-white bits in the petals? Like a five-point star shape?”

  “Possibly Sea Bindweed…” Kelly murmured, tapping her phone’s incredibly thin surface. She owned a particularly high-end style of phone that could be set to rigid mode, like now, or a wrap-around flexible mode allowing it to be worn on the wrist. Anise was already green with envy.

  “Oh, and for some reason he gave her a bit of grass wrapped around the flower’s stem. Green, obviously. It had sort of bushy bits at the end?”

  Nodding a few times, Kelly held the phone up, receiving a confirmation, so she swiped to another picture, again receiving confirmation. “Is Isla indecisive at all?”

  “How the hell did you guess that?” Anise said, aghast.

  Kelly let out a ladylike laugh, a hand held up to her mouth. “Sea Bindweed can represent uncertainty, and Canary Grass represents perseverance. Falconi is quite the eminent judge of character.”

  “Mum probably gave him some idea as well,” Lisa added. “He’s a showman, knowing how to wow the crowd is part of his stock in trade.”

  “Well, he’s pretty much done that!” Anise said.

  Grabbing another round of drinks, the girls chatted, danced, and enjoyed the atmosphere for a couple more hours until Lisa was due on at eleven. She arranged for Anise to head out back to change fifteen minutes before the final song was due to play, and headed off backstage. Anise and Kelly mingled, waiting for the show to start which, in due time, it did.

  Much like the previous evening, Anise found herself getting lost in a trance-like fantasy of great music and sweaty bodies, dancing with Kelly and forgetting for a time that she needed some energy left over for her performance later.

  Later soon arrived and, some fifteen minutes before the end of Lisa’s time behind the decks, Anise went up on the Main Stage in her brand new outfit. Surveying the thousands of people in this enormous hall, she breathed steadily, keeping the nerves under control using techniques studied and practised regularly for two full years before she even suggested trying out for Dreamstar Academy.

  Standing next to her, Lisa held a hand up. “I’d like to introduce Anise Kendall! She’s a new girl here on Aida, all the way from the Red Planet! Let me hear you say hello!” She held a cupped hand up to her ear, the audience screaming a thunderous ‘hello!’ back. “Are you ready for my new song!?” Again she held the hand up, and again the crowd responded.

  Lisa grinned and ran back to her decks, leaving Anise front and centre, nervous as all hell and hyped to high orbit.

  Closing her eyes and smiling, Anise awaited the beat, the melody, the tempo that would boost her to heights past the stratosphere and beyond. She opened her mouth and sang. For the crowd, for Isla, for Lisa, for everyone, but especially for herself.

  The crowd was eerily quiet, dancing and jumping and enjoying the moment, unsure who this sexy and beautiful girl was, only aware that she had a gorgeous voice. Five minutes was all it took, five short minutes for hundreds of new fans to pop up, wondering who this girl was and resolving to find out, figuring that if she was involved with Lisa, she would be something special.

  Fading the song out, Lisa held a hand out for a round of applause, which Anise duly received, then handed the decks off to the next DJ for the evening.

  Anise bowed, then waved to the crowd and backed away, stepping off into the wings and collapsing to her knees. “Haha… that was terrifying…”

  Lisa joined her lover in the wings after packing her things away. She crouched and issued a tight hug. “That was amazing, Anise. Honestly… I’d like to have you sing the real thing, but it’s too late to make changes at this point.”

  “I almost can’t believe I just sang for that many people. I’ve always enjoyed singing, but mostly as a hobby. Thanks, Lisa, I owe you for letting me experience this!”

  “You are more than welcome. Now… I feel like snuggling up in bed, how about you?”

  “Without clothes?”

  “Without clothes.”

  “Let’s go!” Anise said, giggling like mad.

  They hooked up with Kelly on the way out and arranged to see her briefly before heading back to Aida City the next day, then returned to the hotel to relax, snuggle, and maybe kiss. But nothing more on this occasion despite the clothing deficiency; the euphoria of the last several hours had left them both feeling an almost post-coital afterglow in any case…

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