The teenager standing before me was not pleased by the strange appearance of a poorly dressed and unfamiliar woman in the shop's storeroom. The grin I had donned at the sight of him faded quickly as he pulled me roughly from the room and held me at arm's length.
"Explain yourself," he said, shaking my shoulder a bit. His face was pale and a little scared as he took in the sight of my baggy sweat pants and low tank top. I grimaced, realizing my mistake at once as I noticed the dress of the other inhabitant of the messy shop. A girl - my main character, I thought with a thrill - was standing by the door, watching the proceedings with an air of curious confusion. She was dressed head to foot in a heavy, and ugly, grey gown that let only her face show. I doubted whether Fin, the shop boy, had ever seen as much feminine skin as he was now in his entire existence.
"Explain yourself," the teen repeated. I gave a weak shrug and a half hearted 'um', not knowing what else to do.
"Are you a Golder?" he demanded. I wracked my brain, trying to remember what that meant, long lists of the lingo I had invented blinking at me from a far away computer screen. And then it came to me.
"I am not a prostitute!" I cried aloud, forgetting myself for a moment. He stared at me, incomprehensive. "I mean," I corrected myself, "I'm not a Golder. I... My clothes were stolen."
He raised delicate eyebrows at me and I marveled at how much he looked like he was supposed to. "I don't believe you," he told me. "What's to stop me from hauling you to the Watchers right now?"
"I'm innocent!" I cried. "I was cornered by four guys, they stole everything I had and I barely managed to escape. I came in here to hide."
I watched as Fin continued to glare at me. He's cynical, I reminded myself, and suspicious. He doesn't trust easily. I glanced over towards the door, studying my main character, waiting. Lena's incredibly kind, I recalled, sometimes too kind. Which means...
"Let her go," the girl said suddenly, stepping closer. "Can't you see she's just had a terrible ordeal? We need to help her. You must have some spare clothes in this shop that you can lend her."
I smiled. Being author of the universe had its merits.