It was a nice day. The light of the sun brought out brassy highlights in Kira's hair, caught gently by the breeze.
Stephanie, who had been nervously plaiting small pieces of her own hair, once again wished that she hadn't had it cut. It wasn't as nice as Kira's. Shinier, maybe, but various dyes had resulted in a colour that was a sort of reddish brown. Verging on burgundy. It wasn't a good look.
"I wish I'd kept it ginger," she complained aloud, now attempting to physically pull it longer.
"I told you," Kira responded. There was a pause. "Will you stop that?"
Stephanie hastily flicked the strand away. "Sorry."
"Right, Simon's here, I'll see you tonight."
The sisters hugged and Kira departed in Simon's car.
The walk to Leta's wasn't long. Just a quick detour across the park. Stephanie considered calling up and rearranging for them to have coffee or something. It was too lovely outside to be watching horror films indoors all day.
She shook her head. Coffee would look very suspicious. Just stick to the plans, Steph. Plans are good. Change is not.
She momentarily saw her reflection in a passing bus, distorted by the movement, and self-consciously moved her left hand over her arm before crossing the road.
Nobody was looking at her, that was the problem. When she was little, people would stare. 'Oh, what a poor little girl,' their expressions would say, 'getting injured like that.' But now, nobody looked because everybody was far too polite. She was paranoid by it. Sometimes she would notice people making an obvious effort not to see.
She knocked on Leta's door and forced herself to appear casual, even though she neither looked nor felt it. There was no point in being nervous in front of her best friend. What did the date change? Nothing.
Leta opened the door and pretended she hadn't done a double take at at Stephanie's outfit. "You look nice," she covered with a smile.
"It's Valentine's Day," said Stephanie, shrugging. "You look nice too."
And Leta did look nice, and it made Stephanie smile, because Leta always looked nice.