eight

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"maya meihui wu!"

maya held the phone a distance away from her ear so that her sister's raging voice wasn't too damaging to her ear drums. she had been expecting an irritated phone call for around the past twenty minutes now, and couldn't say she was surprised when it came with the signal of her outdated, arctic monkeys ringtone.

maya could hear the huff of annoyance in melanie's voice. "i have been waiting in this booth for nearly forty minutes, munching on fries and generally looking like a damn lonely idiot all because you haven't shown up yet."

maya sighed lightly, picking at the seam of her grey sweatpants. although her and her sister had made plans to meet at their usual booth at 'the tipsy tortoise', she didn't necessarily have plans of getting off her couch that night. she had never truly meant to follow through with the meeting, but she couldn't find it in herself to cancel it either. so she dealt with it in the best way she could- ignore the issue until it dealt with itself and went away.

maya feigned a shocked tone. "oh, sorry. guess i just lost track of time. why don't we just reschedule."

"there is no way you're getting out of this, you've already bailed on me two times in the last two weeks and i will not let this be your third strike."

maya sighed as what seemed like the eighth commercial in the last twenty minutes shot across her screen, advertising some genre of toaster with slots specifically made for cooking hot dogs. couldn't she simply watch her baking show without being bombarded by kitchen utensil telemarketers?

"look mel, i'm really not feeling up to it today. plus, tortellini hasn't been acting himself."

"i know for a fact that mangy runt is happy and healthy living a posh life on your couch right now."

well, she hadn't been wrong. her british shorthair cat was snuggled tightly against her left leg, his belly full of a meal of leftover chicken and tuna. he was nearly bordering on overweight, and was becoming more lazy than expected for a cat in his older age, but maya couldn't help but smile fondly.

when she had seen him at the shelter, abandoned by his owners in favour of a younger, more spry kitten, her heart ached for the grey ball of fur. she had adopted him that very day, even against the warning that in his old age his life expectancy could waver. none of that mattered, she had simply wanted to give the old guy a loving home in his last few years.

"we're watching great british bake-off, he needs me here for emotional support."

"what about my emotional support? i'm here scouting out men all on my lonesome in a dingy bar in new york. it would be too easy for a bigger, stronger individual to take advantage of me and do god knows what!"

maya rolled her eyes, scratching tortellini between his ears, his big grey ears folding back against his skull. with years of experience practicing tai chi relentlessly, and even assisting as an instructor in multiple self-defence classes throughout the city, melanie wu was far from what she would call helpless.

"if someone comes up to you, we both know you could drop him and his buddies on their asses before they could blink."

melanie laughed fervently. "and look damn good doing it, yes. not the point though. plus, it's time for you to redeem yourself."

"redeem myself from what, exactly?"

she could practically hear melanie's exasperated expression. "from what happened at that guys house! damn, what was his name... colin? caleb?"

"calum." maya muttered, more to herself than to her sister. she held back a sigh, melanie had been attempting to get her back on the bar scene for the past few weeks, but maya couldn't seem to find the energy to. the last thing she wanted was a repeat of what had occurred in calum's apartment.

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