Riches to Rags

Chapter 19

There. Rex makes a mighty fine robot, and stands staunchly upon his mighty robotic feet. I stand him onto the table with his arms folded to his hips, and I smile to myself. A few moments later I’m itching to turn him back into a dinosaur again, but I’m interrupted when I hear a loud whump from Korra’s room, followed by a groan.

There’s nothing but silence for a minute or two afterwards, and I’m almost tempted to investigate; but thankfully there’s no need. I hear a bustle of movement, the creak of a bed. Drawers being slid open, then closed, and some nearly-tuneless whistling.

I’m wondering why my heart’s beating so fast. Sure, I’m looking forwards to my bacon, and yeah, I guess I like Korra. But I can’t explain this kind of excitement, it’s caught me totally off-guard.

The bedroom door suddenly opens and a tall, tan figure stretches out before me, with a completely exposed torso. I stare… heaven help me, I stare. I can’t turn away. My face feels hot, and I’m glad I’m sat down because I’m feeling a little weak at the knees.

Then, Korra looks at me, bleary-eyed. It seems to take her a few moments to register that I’m here, in her living room. Then she gasps, and quickly retreats back into her room, pushing the door closed.

“Shit, sorry! Sorry!” I hear, muffled behind the door, followed by a few frantic bumps.

She returns, and I’m somewhat relieved that the top half is covered with a loose, pale tee this time around.

“Good morning,” I say, politely. I figure it’s best to skim over the rather awkward half-naked scenario.

“Um, morning. Sorry, I’m just used to parading around the house like that when I wake up…” Korra says, grinning awkwardly and stroking a hand into the back of her hair. It’s so damn adorable, I feel like I could watch her all day.

I cough, shaking the strange thought away, “So, what’s the plan? I saw something about bacon?”

Korra’s expression turns sombre at my words. “Ah, so you were at the door? You thought about leaving?”

I look to the floor, and say nothing more.

“It’s fine, I would have done the same, you know. But then again, I would also stay for bacon. Maybe we have more in comm-“ Korra pauses mid-sentence, and I look up to see her staring at Rex. “You transformed him into a robot? I’ve been trying to figure that out for weeks! How? How!?” Korra says, rusing forwards, picking up the figure and staring at it as though completely amazed.

“Uh, well… bring him here, I’ll show you,” I say, and she quickly sits on the sofa next to me, passing him over. I carefully unfold the tiny t-rex arms back out of the shoulder flaps, begin to bend his thicker robot arms away, and before long, he’s back to his mighty tyrannosaurus self.

“Wow,” Korra says.

“You know, they show you how to do all this in the instruction books,” I say, chuckling.

“But I rescued him from a yard sale! There wasn’t a book. You’re obviously a lot smarter than me,” Korra laughs, then stands up, “anyway, a promise is a promise. How do you like it?”

I stare and blink, unsure as to what, exactly, is being asked of me.

“The bacon?” Korra continues, and I laugh nervously, wondering what on earth is wrong with my mind all of a sudden.

“Well… I like it crispy around the edges, if that makes sense?”

Korra smirks, and heads into her kitchen. I find myself drooling the second that I can smell the food cooking. I haven’t eaten home cooked food in so long, other than hotdogs, the thought of which reminds me of Earl. I wonder how he’s doing; I make a mental note that I need to go to the street, check he’s okay, and soon.

Whilst I’m lost in thought, I hear Korra humming to herself again, this time over the sound of sizzling animal fat. Unlike earlier, I can actually make out the tune of this one – It’s Guns n’ Roses, Paradise City. It was one of my mother’s favourites.

I smile, sit back and close my eyes, content to listen to her for a while.

Then, Korra starts to actually sing, and her voice isn’t bad – rough around the edges, but melodic, and in tune. I grin at the sound, and the tops of my cheeks feel sore within seconds, so I rub at them with my thumbs. It’s weird, who would have thought that smiling can make your jaw feel sore? Is it really that long since I smiled, since I laughed?

“Okay, grub’s up!” Korra announces, entering the room wearing an apron… an apron with-

-I laugh, and this time my jaw really does ache, “What on earth are you wear… ahahah!” I can’t finish the sentence, and instead, point to Korra’s chest. There are two very large, watermelon-shaped breasts, bouncing around with each movement that she makes.

“Oh this?” Korra says, standing upright with serious expression, “Bolin bought me it one Christmas. Do you like it?” She bounces on her heels, causing the pink balloons to jiggle, “Hey, it protects me from spitting bacon fat, so I’m happy.”

It shouldn’t be funny, it’s downright immature, but I can’t stop myself from laughing, laughing hard - until there’s tears on my cheeks and my jaw hurts so much it’s actually turning numb. I don’t even know why it’s so funny. Maybe it’s because it’s so darned inappropriate, so random; but in either case it takes me a few moments to recover. And when I do, I tuck into my bacon sandwich hungrily.

It’s good. Salty, crispy at the edges, and the fat’s golden brown, crumbling into my mouth. Even the bread’s soft, like pillows in my mouth, and the butter is just salty enough to not overpower anything whilst adding to the overall flavour.

“Do you want ketchup?” Korra asks, but I shake my head. I don’t mind sauce, but I want to enjoy this just as it is.

When my plate is empty, I find myself surprised by how at ease I feel compared to moments ago; it’s hard to believe I’d been so close to leaving. I notice that Korra’s looking at me, almost eagerly.

“Was it good?” she asks.

I nod my head vigorously.

“Want another?”

Of course I do, but I feel it’d be rude to say yes, “Erm, no, it-“

“You do, don’t you? I’m having seconds anyway.”

I smile, slightly sucking in my lower lip, and nod my head again. I’m glad I stayed. I have no idea what’ll happen next, or how I’m going to move my life forwards, but for now, I’m happy; and that’s an achievement in itself.

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