“No,” I sighed, turning to face her. “No, I won’t. The truth is, Molly, that I need your help.” Molly raised an eyebrow and sat down on the stool by her vanity. She toyed with the brushes she had bunched in a pencil cup and glanced at me through the rounded mirror that was attached.
“Mina, I don’t see why I should help you.” She adjusted her makeup, making sure all the labels were clearly visible before picking up her phone. She glanced down and started texting someone, not bothering to look at me anymore. “I mean, honestly. What can you give me? If I want something from you, I just have Cassandra give it to me. You’re offering nothing in exchange for something you want.”
“I’ll give you a ‘get out of jail free card’,” I said hopefully. Her fingers stopped tapping and she glanced back up, intrigued. “Next time you get me in trouble, I won’t object. I’ll let Mom think that whatever happened was my fault and I promise that I won’t try to correct her if you give me a heads up. Your name won’t even be mentioned, if you don’t want it to be.” I closed my eyes and held my breath, hoping she took the offer.
She smirked and looked down at the vibrating phone in her hand before beginning her texting tirade again. “You must really need my help,” she said, still smiling evilly. “I can tell you now, it’ll cost more than one little slide.”
“Ten slides?” I asked, opening one eye, and she giggled.
“More than any amount of slides you could offer me. I want five thousand dollars.”
“You can’t be serious,” I said, letting my eyes fly open in shock and staring at her bewilderedly. “Five thousand dollars? That’s…that’s a used car. That’s rent. That’s a tenth of what I pay for a year at school! I can’t afford that.”
“Well, it’s the only thing I need,” she said. “And as far as you’re concerned, it’s the only thing I want. Five thousand dollars, in cash, or you don’t get my help.”
“Two thousand and not a penny less.” I frowned and bit down hard on my knuckle, bringing up a habit that I’d picked up from when I was a kid and I had wanted to smack Molly. I was a college student and my mother expected me to pay for every debt without her help. I didn’t have two thousand dollars just lying around to blow. I didn’t have fifty cents lying around to blow. All I had was debt and more debt, just accruing interest in the Everground Municipal Bank.
“It’s not worth it,” I muttered, stalking angrily out of my room and back down the hall to my own. It wasn’t nearly as nice as Molly’s, but I liked it. My bed was simple oak, with no carvings or varnish for me to worry about screwing up. The walls were painted bright yellow, my favorite color when I was ten. A couple of paintings hung on the wall, most of them created by Simon, and next to my bed was a picture in a hand decorated frame that I’d made when I was six.