Aaliyah, “tell me your tale of woe, kitten.”
Penny, “my tale of woe?”
Aaliyah rolls her eyes playfully, “sure.. all homeless girls have a tale of woe. I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
Penny leans against the counter, “I used to have quite a lot of money, well at least my parents do. My parents live at the top of CherryHill Rd, it’s near here..”
“Your parents own the CherryHill mansion?”
Aaliyah’s is in awe of that home. You can see it from all angles of the valley, “you’re rich. why are you homeless?”
“Four years ago, on my seventeenth birthday, I told them that I had a secret. I was in love, and I wanted them to meet her. I wanted her to be my wife.”
Aaliyah’s eyebrows light up, “you’re a lesbian?” Penny searches Aaliyah’s face for approval or judgement, but she doesn’t let on how she feels about that. Penny shrugs her shoulders and continues,, “yes. My parents kicked me out and I moved in with my girlfriend for a little while, but she didn’t want to come out to her parents. She saw what I went though, she was terrified. When her parents told me I had to go back then I stayed with friends.”
Aaliyah leans forward in interest.
Penny, “I tried to find work but you know how it is in this small town, everyone knows everyone, and my dad has so much influence in this community, he wouldn’t let anyone hire me. So I found a new home, I stayed in an abandoned motor home that had art supplies in it, lots of pretty glass beads and elastic string. I lived there for three years and I fixed it up so nice. I made a living making these bracelets at art festivals, and street corners” [she shows Aaliyah her bracelets]
Aaliyah smiles, “pretty.”
“Thanks, but then my parents found out where I was staying, they had my home towed away. I had enough cash saved to rent a room for six months, and now here I am.. I’ve been sleeping outside and it’s so hot, and I’m so tired.”
Aaliyah,”so why didn’t you just leave town?”
“The love of my life lives here. She’s married now, and that’s a whole different story, but we’re still friends.. someday she will love me again.”
Aaliyah feels deeply for Penny, she puts her hand on her chest, “that’s some tale of woe.”
Penny shrugs, “since you’re letting me stay here. I’m going to start selling my bracelets again, buy more supplies, I’m going to make a lot of jewelry and go to the trade show in New York City. Daddy doesn’t control the whole United States, so maybe I can make a decent living with my jewelry business. I could buy a house, show my girlfriend that I’m not a loser, that I could support her.”
Aaliyah’s sympathy for Penny’s situation knocks her breath away, “Oh, kitten.”
Penny changes the subject, “How long have you been here?”
“Daddy just joined Mom on a mission, and it was on of their missions when they met me I was in the foster care system last year and because I was eighteen, they were going to kick me out. I was an angry girl, my foster parents were not kind, they just adopted kids on for the government bonus money. One of the foster girls told me she takes medicine when she’s mad, and she shared that medicine with me. It was amazing! The medicine made the world look beautiful and kind, and I felt loved, until it wore off and then I needed more, more, and more of it to feel the same level of happiness as the first time. I didn’t know I was sick until I met our Mom.”
Penny scrunches her brow in confusion, “our mom?”
Aaliyah nods, “Bridgette, Daddy’s wife,” she huffs with a little annoyance, “you should call her Mommy too.”
“So they took you to a rehab?” Aaliyah continues, “no they took me here and rehabilitated me with true love. I never felt kindness.. genuine, pure kindness that doesn’t ask for anything in return, until I met Mommy.”
“Sounds lovely”, she smiles warmly as she sits down.
Aaliyah’s eyes light up in shock, she yells,, “STAND UP!”
Penny quickly stands, swallows and looks frightened.
Aaliyah shakes off the tense mood, “take off your clothes.,” she orders Penny in a stern tone.
Penny looks confused.
“If you want to stay here I have to check you.”
Penny, “check me?”
Aaliyah rolls her eyes at Penny’s stupidity, “If you bring a stray dog in you have to check for fleas, it’s the same with girls.”
Penny asks naively, “fleas?”
Aaliyah nods, “lice, mites, humans can even carry some strains of mange.”
Penny looks down embarrassed.
“Of course.. I could always drive you to the homeless shelter on Broadway and 4th.”
Penny, “Oh please no.. I stayed there once, it’s absolutely terrifying.”
Aaliyah shrugs indifferently.
Penny begins to take her clothes off with obedience. Aaliyah watches in interest as more inches of her porcelain skin are revealed. Penny brushes off the dirt on her stomach. She unhooks her bra and hesitates. Aaliyah looks at her and nods in approval. The bra falls to the floor and her voluptuous breasts pour out, her perfectly pink nipples are one of the few areas on Penny that is clean. Aaliyah smiles in approval. She grabs the wash basin and cloth. Penny swallows with tension as she wonders, is she really going to clean me?