Chapter 62: Adjustments

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Lex had been surprised, given how exhausted Serena had been once they stopped practicing that morning, that her friend had not only stayed awake for the house meeting, but participated in the section of the meeting during which the group discussed Serena's stay in the house. The majority had declared themselves fine with the idea of Serena staying until such time as her status got ironed out, but Serena interrupted before any consensus could be reached.

"I appreciate all of you being willing to put me up," she said, glancing all around the room. "And I really do mean that, since I know I'm not the easiest person in the world to live with. But, I'm not just going to be a freeloader here. I want to split the bills while I'm here, too."

Lily looked over at her, expression concerned. "Serena, we're happy to have you here. You don't have to pitch in, we know you've been separated from your family and your job-"

"I'm still employed," Serena said, interrupting Lily. "Money's never been a problem for me, anyway, and I want to know I'm contributing as long as I'm here. I can definitely afford it, so don't worry about that."

Lex nodded as she listened to Serena, then looked over at Riss. "How difficult would it be to figure out what Serena's share would be?"

"Not at all," Riss replied. "I've already got it set up where all of our bills are paid out of the general fund. The total amount is divided between all of us in even shares and then debited from the portions of the account that belong to each of us. It wouldn't be too hard to add another person to divide the bills by. Once I get the amount every month I'll let Serena know what it is."

Serena gave a satisfied nod, and after a vote in which the group gave their approval that Serena stay under those circumstances, she rose to leave. Rolf leaned over Lex to murmur to Serena, "Since you're a contributing member of the household now, if you want to stay to listen to the rest, you're welcome to."

Lex watched her friend sit up straighter after Rolf's pronouncement and raise an eyebrow. After a minute, she relaxed back into the corner of the couch, nodding her thanks to Rolf. "I'll stay then," she said just loud enough for Lex and Rolf to hear.

Five minutes later, in the middle of the summary of accounts for the month, Lex couldn't help smiling when she turned her head to see Serena leaning against the couch's headrest with her eyes closed. After they'd finished discussing business, Lex put a hand on Serena's shoulder, surprised her friend hadn't woken as everyone filed out of the room. Serena moaned and opened her eyes a crack.

"Carry me upstairs," she said, closing her eyes again.

"Do you want me to get Casey?" Lex asked, beginning to worry.

"No," Serena replied, and the exaggerated moan of the word made Lex shake her head as she recognized her friend's teasing. "You do it."

"Come on, then," Lex said, slipping an arm under Serena's and along her back, then used that to lift. "If you're awake enough to joke about it, you must have enough energy to walk upstairs yourself."

"You're so mean," Serena said, her face taking on a pout, but she moved to rise from the couch, stumbling into Lex as she did.

"I know, it's true." Lex held her friend close to her side, feeling Serena lean into her. She pulled Serena's shoes off once they reached the redhead's room and pulled the bedspread over her friend. As she turned to go, however, Lex felt her wrist circled by delicate fingers and stopped.

"Before you go, I want you to promise me you'll go shopping with me once more this weekend," Serena said, and Lex could recognize the devilish look even through the weary haze in Serena's eyes.

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