Riches to Rags

Chapter 15

It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven… I’m not even sure where to start.

Well, I suppose the obvious thing would be to strip, and I do just that, shedding every layer until I’m stood in the middle of the bathroom, naked. Despite the hospital cleaning me up a little, I still feel like I’m coated in a layers of dirt… and I’d hate to mess up Korra’s spa bath.

Shower it is, then.

The door opens easily, and I clamber inside, stepping back a little from the shower head as I twist the faucet. It doesn’t take me long to find a suitable temperature… hot, but not scalding. I step beneath the forceful spray, immediately overwhelmed with pleasure as the hot moisture seeps into my hair, and my scalp, completely saturating every part of me.

The sheer pleasure forces me to steady myself, flattening my palms out against the cubicle of the glass.

Steady on Sato, it’s only a shower.

That’s what I try to tell myself, but the truth is, it’s like the best damn thing I’ve felt in my life. I close my eyes and tilt my head down, feeling the water drip down my eyelashes and cheeks, and I remember that I used to shy away from powerful showers, preferring a steady drizzle.

Not anymore.

I tilt my head up, open my mouth ajar slightly and allow the water to flood into every nook and cranny… The heat and the pressure of the water is almost painful, but I love every minute of it.

I shampoo at least four times, and condition at least twice. It takes a good five attempts to get most of the knots out of my hair… but Korra uses good, creamy conditioner… it’s a good job, otherwise it might have been impossible, I might even have had to resort to scissors. As it stands though, I’ve only had to tug out a few knots, and as I step out of the shower I quickly discard the matted dead hair into the waste bin, and look at myself in the mirror.

It’s the first time I’ve seen my skin look so clean… I forgot how pale I am.

I consider towelling off, and drying my hair, but the spa in the corner of the room keeps drawing my attention. I grin… Korra did tell me to take my time, after all.

I practically sprint towards it, twisting the tap and sealing the plug. There’s a plastic bottle full of something called ‘Magic Muscle Ease’ which I pour into the water, where it immediately starts to froth. I’m too impatient to wait for the tub to fill, so I climb in and sit in there as the water pours in, toggling the water between hot and cold and swirling it around with my palm, causing a large mass of bubbles to foam.

Eventually, the water’s up to my breasts, so I turn the tap off, and I’m about to lean back when I remember that this thing has jets. I grin again, as I scour around the tap for any tell-tale buttons. I soon find two of them, and quickly press them. One turns on ambient, colourful lights, beneath the water. The other forces the jets into life with a loud purr, and I have to physically stop myself from squealing as I feel the bubbles pulse against my skin.

After recovering from my initial excitement, I find a comfy spot to recline into, folding my arms atop the sides of the tub, and allowing the waters to cascade over most of my frame. I close my eyes, and feel myself almost drift off within seconds… I don’t think it would be the best idea to pass out in a tub of water, so I make the bath a quick one, with some regret. After five minutes of sitting in the tub, smiling to myself, I turn the jets off, climb out and dry myself.

There’s a set of cotton robes hanging besides the doorframe, and I grab one, humming to myself as I feel it’s almost indescribable softness brush against my skin.

Then, I sit in front of the mirror, take a deep breath and brace myself, pushing wet strands from the frame of my face.

I’m surprised to see very few blemishes, and next to no spots. For all intents and purposes, my skin’s completely clear. I smile, barely recognising myself in the mirror as I do so, before looking at the tools before me.

“Alright… you can do this…” I tell myself, knowing that I have a difficult challenge ahead.

My hair’s too thick, and tends to curl itself at odd angles. I learnt at a young age how to tame the beast, style it to my advantage. I was often told I’d lost my calling, that I should be a hairdresser. I chuckle at the thought, and before long I’m finishing off the last touches. Just a touch of hair spray to finish off, here and there. I prefer the natural look.

And then, I stare at myself for a while, and sigh. I look… like me. I’m missing the makeup I used to love to wear, but right now it doesn’t matter. I feel like I can actually face the world, for the first time since… forever.

I feel suddenly emotional, and force the tears back. I don’t want to mess up my face, since it’s the first time I’ve felt remotely attractive in so long.

I tidy up everything that I’ve used, and grab the door handle, preparing myself for whatever comes next. As I open the door, my ears are assaulted by fast paced, loud music, and I’m surprised to feel a waft of cool air… I guess I warmed the bathroom up significantly to feel such a difference in temperature.

Korra said something about a change of clothes, and I’m about to ask her about it, but I find myself a little dazed when I notice the spectacle before me.

Korra’s facing away, stood looking at the TV, as she lifts what appears to be a forty kilogram bar above her head repeatedly. She’s wearing a sports bra and leggings, her arms are pumped, and her back is rigid, with small beads of sweat dripping down her shoulder blades and the slight crevice of her spine.

I want to call her name, but my mouth is dry, and I’m not sure what I’m thinking any more… but it sure as hell isn’t anything clean. And it’s definitely the first time I’ve had those kinds of thoughts in a long time…

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