“Text”= Japanese talking

“/Text/”= English talking

“+Text+”= American talking

“#Text#”= Australian talking

Suffering. Darcy sat by her brother’s bedroom door. He was still trying to fix himself. He had come a long way so far. Too bad the same can’t be said for her parents. Bill and Katie were still trying to keep it together. Bill buried himself in work. But, Katie kept falling to pieces inch by inch. Darcy seemed to be the only stable one in the family at the moment.

Her cell phone ringing interrupted her thoughts. She turned it on and held it up to her ear.

“/Yeah?/” she asked.

“/Hey girl!/” a familiar voice said on the other line.

“/Hey Nadine,/” Darcy said.

“/You doing anything today?/”


“/Want to get out?/”

“/And go where?/”

“/Need an escape?/”

“/Sure, whatever./”

“/Well then, let’s go./”

“/Right./” Darcy hung up the phone. Hey, she couldn’t neglect her own needs and freedom. She was still a person after all.

Subject: Darcy

Darcy headed out towards the town. At the mouth of her neighborhood, she found Nadine standing on the curb, smoking and waiting for her. The British-American girl looked up and grinned at her.

“/Hey girl!/” she said. As usual, Darcy showed no real emotion.

“/Sup?/” she asked.

“/Ready to go?/” her friend asked.

Darcy threw up her hands. “/Whatever./” Nadine grinned at her.

“/Let’s go,/” she said. Her friend nodded and they picked up their walk. Nadine turned to her friend.

“/I need you to help me out with a little business today,/” she said. Darcy eyed her.

“/Really now?/” she asked.

“/A friend of mine is running a small business today,/” Nadine went on. “/He just needs an extra set of hands to help him out. Interested?/”

“/How’s the pay?/” Darcy questioned.

Nadine only grinned. “/Pretty sweet!/” The other girl thought at it for a quick moment. Then, she kept a stoic face.

“/Sure,/” she said. “/It’s better than doing nothing./” The other girl smirked.

“/Sweet!/” she cheered. Darcy only tossed her head about.

Steaming peppers in the air. The girls could smell them before they could open the door. Nadine peeked into the diner.

“/Hello!/” she called. “/Jun, I’m here and I brought help./”

“Back here,” a man’s voice croaked in the back room. The girls quietly walked to the back of the diner. A man with a five o’clock shadow was going over his paperwork when they walked inside. He looked up with a grin. His teeth could scare away the little kids.

“Hey there, Nadine! Who’s your friend?” Jun greeted them. Darcy stepped forward.

“/Darcy Williams,/” she said. Jun grinned at her wider.

“Nice to meet you!” he said.

“/Darcy’s coming to help us today,/” Nadine said.

“Really now?” Jun asked.

“/Yes,/” Darcy replied. The boss licked his lips.

“Good,” he said. “I’m just about to open.”

“/So what do I need to do?/” Darcy asked.

“Nadine will show you the ropes,” he said. Her friend turned to her with a grin on her face.

“/Come with me,/” she said. “/I will show you how it’s done./” Both girls walked back to the front.

The work day began. A young couple walked in and sat down at the table near the front window. Nadine walked over to them.

“/Welcome to the Purple Dragon,/” she said. “/How can I help you today?/” The man and woman looked her up and down. The man made as odd face at her.

“You look really young to be working,” he said. Nadine giggled.

“/I’m just helping a friend out,/” she said. Darcy watched as her friend engaged the customers. In a minute, Nadine walked over to her. She handed her a small piece of paper.

“/Here is what they want,/” she said. Darcy read over the list. She looked at Nadine with her stoic face.

“/An address?/” she asked. Nadine kept her smile.

“/Yes,/” she said.

“/Out of the city,/” Darcy added.

“/Yes,/” Nadine said. Her friend put the note in her pocket.

“/Alright,/” she said.

“/Can you do it?/” Nadine asked.

“/Yes,/” Darcy replied. She headed out of the diner and into the street. The couple, Nadine, and Jun watched her leave.

Darcy looked around at the moving city traffic. No one around at the moment. The girl began her walk to Asher Lane. Nadine and Jun were running a shady business like she had expected. Anything that dealt with Asher Lane, usually involved illegal activity. Drugs, guns, prostitution, stolen merchandise, you name it, they had it. Darcy knew just had to get there.

Hazy, thick perfume greeted her nose. Darcy relied on her inner map for guidance. Come to the stop light, down the sidewalk, past the burger place, through the glass shop, through the doll collection store, and down the stairs. Darcy made it to the destination in under ten minutes. She could feel the music pounding on the other side when she put her hand to the door. Darcy knocked twice as instructed.

“+Enter!+” a low voice croaked. Darcy slid open the door and walked inside. Hazy smoke and perfume swirled around the girl. She took slow steps down to the basement. Brian sat on the couch surrounded by his bitches. He took a smoke as he looked Darcy up and down. He raised an eyebrow at her.

“+You’re not Nadine,+” he said.

“/No,/” she said. “/I’m her friend, Darcy./”

“+Is that so?+”

“/Yes./” Silence. Brian smirked at her as he took another smoke.

“+What did Jun want?+” he asked. Darcy pulled out the piece of paper and handed it to him. The drug dealer read over the paper. He glanced up at the girl, smiling.

“+No problem,+” Brian said. He turned to one of his bitches.

“+Babe,+” he said. “+Could you get Miss Darcy the celebration batch?/”

“Yes Daddy,” the red-head purred in his ear. The curvy hooker slid out the couch and disappeared down the narrow hall. She reappeared with twenty little pink bags of powder.

“Here you go baby,” she said. Darcy took the bags.

“/Thanks,/” she said. Then, she turned back to Brian. “/What’s the price?/” The pimp smirked at her.

“+Perceptive little thing, aren’t you?+” he asked. Darcy smirked at him.

“/I have heard how this works,/” she said. The pimp grinned at her.

“+I see,+” he said. “+I’ll stick it on Jun’s tab.+” Darcy narrowed his eyes at him.

“/Really now?/” she asked. The pimp/drug dealer shrugged at her

“+Hey,+” he said. “+Take it or leave it.+” Darcy smiled and nodded.

“/Nice!/” she said. Brian shoed her away.

“+That’s nice,+” he said. “+Not get out of here before I change my mind.+” Darcy nodded and walked away. Odd man, he was.

Darcy made it back to the diner just about with lunch time. That’s when the day fully kicked in. Nadine greeted her at the door with her cigarette in her hand.

“/Babes! You’re back! What did he say?/” she asked. Darcy smiled as she secretly handed her the drugs.

“/It’s on Jun’s tab,/” she said.

“/I knew it,/” the other girl said. They headed inside to finish the shift. The payments and tabs turned out to be a typical success. Darcy and Nadine made several trips out Asher Lane for more drugs. Not exactly how Darcy wanted to spend her day, but hey, it helped her get out of the house. She needed the break from her struggling family after all.

At the end of the day, Nadine walked Darcy home. The British-American girl turned to her friend as they came to her neighborhood.

“/I’ll take you out to this killer party Saturday,/” she said. Darcy smiled and shook her head as she held up her head.

“/Nah,/” she said. “/I have to take care of Simon./” Nadine shrugged.

“/Cool girl,/” she said. “/Say how is your brother?/”

“/Good,/” Darcy replied. “/He’s still recovering./”

“/Ah,/” her friend said. They came to Darcy’s house. Nadine flicked her used cigarette butt in the grass. She turned to her friend.

“/See ya tomorrow?/” she asked. Darcy grinned a fully grin for a change.

“/Sure,/” she said. Nadine waved a fresh cigarette at her before she left. Darcy went into her house.

When she went inside, Darcy found Simon sitting in the living room with his log journal in front of him. His sister shut the door and smiled.

“/So how was your day?/” she asked. Simon nearly leapt up as he looked up to see Darcy smiling at him. The man took a moment to calm down again.

“/Don’t do that to me!/” he said. She only smiled at him.

“/Well,/” she said. “/How was your day?/” Simon only shrugged.

“/Good,/” he said. “/You?/” Darcy only shrugged at him.

“/Oh,/” she said. “/I got stuff done./” Her brother only nodded. Darcy walked to her, smirking. Not bad for a day of escape.

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