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Six: Lilith Moves In!

Lilith Pleasant was a practical girl.

She didn't like school, and she didn't like her family. She preferred not to deal with either. And so, when the opportunity presented itself to be indefinitely free of both, she took it. It was the only practical choice.

Her practical choice had a name. Coda Experiment.

Coda was a nice girl. Too nice. Absurdly nice, Lilith thought, kind of like a Girl Scout and a candy striper and a stewardess all at once. It was creepy, how nice. And trusting, too, which was a shock. Lilith wasn't used to being trusted, it was kind of alarming. Most people knew better. But that was never even an issue with Coda. And what Coda DID decide to worry about was usually pretty damn stupid.

The day she made her very practical choice, Lilith had answered her phone and Coda had mumbled something about coming over to "dance." The mumbling, that was unusual. Coda didn't mumble, Coda chirped. She didn't know she did it, it made her easy to read. It turned out Coda was mumbling in embarrassment; Lilith walked past the Experiment house twice that afternoon, wondering if she'd somehow turned down the wrong street. In the end, she'd had to read the numbers on the mailbox to be sure. The house was completely different, the little Experiment family had clearly come into some money. Ridiculous money.

And that's what was embarrassing Coda. Can you even believe it? Oh dear. I'm rich. How embarrassing. Some fuckin' people.

Coda had sat stiff as a board in the new parlor and refused to make eye contact for a full ten minutes before Lilith made that quip about never having screwed on an antique couch, before. She was looking forward to it, she said.

Turns out that's what Coda had needed to hear.

Lilith had kissed other girls before, but not while sober, and not without an audience. So really, she considered this her first time. It was, in a way. And it was very sweet. It was the kind of kiss lovers are compelled give one another when their eyes meet for just a moment too long, or the kind of kiss you saw saints bestowing on the Christ child in gilded Gothic paintings. Interesting. She could get used to it, though. She could get used to those kinds of kisses pretty damn quick. Coda was quite a gentleman. Or... whatever. You know.

Lilith had tried to dance with her after that, but Coda begged off to do homework. Homework. Incredible. And not just her own, either, her little sister's, too. Turned out that Aria would be applying to Pleasantview Prep soon, and Coda reasoned that she'd need better grades than she was getting on her own. It was admirably selfless and abominably naive at the same time, but Codie wanted her kid sister in that Harry Potter get-up bad enough to be sly about it. Lilith valued that kind of loyalty. It was a useful thing.

Codie probably got it from her mother. Hannah Experiment was loyal, if nothing else, although it was probably a lot easier to dedicate yourself to your husband and kids if you didn't know your man was breaking a piece of ass off anything he could catch, including Lil's own mom.

Mary-Sue had never admitted to the affair with Basil Experiment, but Lilith wasn't a moron. The marked increase in the silk-to-cotton ratio of Mom's panty collection was kinda hard to ignore when it was Lil's turn to do the laundry, and sometimes the phone rang just twice, then stopped. Mom always got on the horn real fast after that, and she took the phone into the toilet with her, where no one could hear.

They probably thought they were so goddamn secret agent slick, with their fucking codes and signals and everything. Lilith rolled her eyes.

She should totally tell this woman everything. It would be funny.

Lilith slept over, that night. Coda asked her too, and she had accepted. Sleeping over meant no school, no homework, and no parents, at least for a day or so. No one was around to make her do anything she wasn't up for. It would be a welcome vacation. She even kissed Codie on her way out the door, like a wife seeing her husband off to work. It was incredibly corny, Coda fucking loved it. Lil knew she would. She even whistled on her way out to the school bus. High maintenance, Coda was most definitely not.

Lilith decided to give her new digs a once-over. Had to make sure it was worth the trouble.

The Experiments kept their money tree in the kitchen, which was incredibly stupid. You could see it right through the window. Lilith lightened its load a bit before breakfast. It wasn't a malicious thing, it was educational. Maybe they'd learn to be a little more careful in the future. Hell, better her than Hannah's pinhead friends.

Hannah knew everybody. She was home all day, so there was always someone dropping in to eat the woman's food and compliment her stupid paintings. She'd roast a turkey, turn on the stereo, and settle in front of her easel; the guests would have the run of the house. One or two tried to chat it up with Lilith, but they were both boys, and one was brown, which was, like, absolutely NO. C'mon, please. The POOR came off of him in WAVES. Like she was into trading down.

Lil had a good deal going. She was gonna ride this dyke thing out, see where it took her.

The food passed inspection. The Experiments had come a long way from Coda's pitiful little cheese sandwiches. Hannah could cook, and didn't bat an eye at serving her turkey dinners alongside cereal and chocolate cake. It was that self-sacrificing, bent-over-backwards MOM stuff that only seems plausible in sitcoms and cleaning fluid commercials. The woman shoulda been decked out on a strand of pearls and a party dress.

Lilith almost told Hannah that her husband was a whore over dessert, but it was harder than she thought it would be. Not because she really cared about Hannah or anything crazy like that, though. She just kinda suspected Hannah would forget. On purpose. Or just sort of blink and smile. She seemed like the type. Not really an airhead, just ignorant through sheer force of will. She didn't know because she didn't WANT to know, not because her husband was an infidelity ninja or something. Telling Hannah wouldn't make her turn on Basil. There probably wouldn't even be an entertaining fight. Pointless.

Codie was home at one o'clock, and Lilith did the affection thing long enough to get a second sleepover invitation. There would be a third, she knew, and a fourth, if she wanted it. And why wouldn't she? The house was nice. The beds were comfortable, and the food was all right. She could even learn to like the family who lived here, given enough time. Coda was a package deal, but the perks outweighed the drawbacks, and three years of high school were quickly convincing Lil that cocks weren't everything.

Lilith though of her family's reaction, and smiled. Maybe the news would give her old man that heart attack she'd been hoping for.


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