Veronica stared into the cup of lifeless brown liquid Maxine had dropped onto her table with a rather bemused expression. She saw something there, a face that wasn't her own. The bone structure was the same; pointed chin and high cheekbones emphasising an exotic beauty, but there was one monumental difference. The eyes. Where the model's were an icy grey filled with nothing but bitterness, these eyes were happy and full of life. There was a smile, too, and it didn't look like the fake one Veronica used in photo-shoots.
"Oh, stop that," Veronica snapped at the cup, disturbing the liquid with a shake of the handle. "Coffee. You're just coffee." The few other customers in the cafe chose to stare at the beautiful, flustered woman as though she were some kind of exhibit at a zoo. She couldn't help but pull an ugly, childish face right back at them. 'Maybe they're just staring at the pregnancy glow,' the woman thought bitterly, 'nosy idiots.' There was no glow whatsoever about 'Anya,' regardless of the bundle of cells implanting itself in her undoubtedly dusty womb. Her mother had told her all about her own pregnancy, how happy she had felt; how content and fulfilled, like she was giving back to the world.
"You okay there, hon?" Maxine came bustling past her table, four plates balanced expertly across her arms. She was a very warm, kind woman and every inch of her petite frame seemed to radiate childish innocence. Veronica found herself beginning to stare at her old friend, caught up in a daydream in which it was she who was burdened with a tiny, squealing baby. That was they way things should have been. Maxine was born to be a mother, but sadly that would never happen. Months ago, on one of the rare days when they were both off at the same time the two of them had gone to an expensive day-spa, courtesy of Veronica's wealthy agent, of course. In the warmth of the sauna, Maxine had broken down. She spilled every last little detail of her break up with her latest boyfriend - she never had a shortage of men waiting for her, but Veronica didn't hold that against her. The news that the whole thing happened just because of Maxine's discovery of being barren hadn't suited the man. Were she not just a pretty face on a body made of stone, Veronica might have felt pity.
"Fine," the model murmured shortly, narrowing her eyes in frustration. She just didn't understand it, why some people got all the luck. She would have given anything in the world to be in Maxine's position, to not have to deal with her pro-life mother. One stupid little mistake would ruin her. Permanently. "Just dandy."
Maxine dropped herself into the seat opposite with an exasperated sigh. "Then why were you staring, silly? Are you trying to frighten away my customers?"
Mascara. That was what Maxine needed to use, and maybe a little lip-gloss. Veronica couldn't help but sit and internally pick at the little things she hated about the other girl's appearance. She was far too monotonous and her nose was too large for her face. Maxine was pretty enough, but the model found it necessary to identify the things which made her lesser. Another of Mother's tricks; look for the flaws and your own will disappear. It didn't work, of course, nothing could detract from the fact that Veronica's ears stuck out a little too much under her hair, but it made her feel better.
"You're staring again."
"No I'm not, now shut up," Veronica hushed, raising a finger to her pink-painted lips. Her grey eyes scanned every detail, then returned to her cup. She was nudging at the chipped mug for five minutes until Maxine confiscated it, preventing her from trying to find her doppelganger once more. "What was that for?"
"I don't really want coffee all over my floors." The woman raised a strawberry brow, the corners of her mouth faulting a little in her ever-present smile. "The mop's out back and I can't be bothered to go and get it. Now, are you gonna tell me what the problem is?"