Riches to Rags

Chapter 28

The next morning, I awake to a bright glare, and squint my eyes towards the source – Korra, peering out of the window, curtains open wide and bright sunlight streaming into the room. She’s wearing a pair of baggy, blue jogging pants, and a black sports top. I can see the definition of her shoulder blades, slightly tense as she leans forwards, and there’s a crevice down the curve of her spine, all the way down towards her…

“Hey, you’re awake!” Korra exclaims, her voice melodic as I blink away my mind-haze.

“Yeah…” I sit up and stretch out, closing my eyes and yawning loudly. When I next open them, Korra’s stood right in front of me, bent over with her hands on her knees and smirking.

“Wanna join me? It’ll be slippy but I think the snow’s thawed enough.”

“Join you?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.

“For a morning jog! I have some spare running shoes that’ll fit. And we can see if Kai’s is open whilst we’re out there, too.”

Before I can answer, I’m yanked off the couch with my hand captured in Korra’s, a pile of clothes and underwear are thrust towards me and I’m shoved into her bedroom. Looks like most of this stuff is new, so I’m guessing Korra just over-buys clothes and forgets about them. I used to do that all the time, in fact I’m fairly sure I’d never even worn half of my jeans, or my boots. I sigh quietly, remorseful about the fact I’ll likely never see my wardrobe again.

I quickly change into the fresh underwear, sports bra, crimson hoodie and black jogging pants, discarding my old stuff into a pile. Everything seems to fit like a glove, except that the pants are perhaps a little on the short side – not that Korra’s short, but I was always a little taller than most girls.

Now that I think about it, this is the second time I’ve been in Korra’s room, and this time I take a good look around. It seems like blue is definitely Korra’s favourite colour, since all four walls are painted in a pastel shade of it. There’s lots of pictures and posters up, and it’s mostly of women again, just like in the living room.

One thing’s different though - some of these are definitely a little more erotic. I hum to myself curiously, feeling sure there’s no way Korra isn’t at least a little gay, or more likely bi. I mean there’s a signed painting right above her bed of two women making love, although you can’t see any explicit details. One of them has her head tilted back, mouth open in a gasp of pleasure as the other trails a hand down her torso, and kisses her exposed neck. I think it’s by far my favourite.

“Ready yet?” I hear Korra’s muffled voice through the door, and it startles me so much that I almost trip up over a pair of her shoes.

“Almost… you can come in!” I shout back, quickly sitting on the end of her double bed and casually tying my shoelaces. Even the running shoes are new –– I can tell because they still have pristine-white price labels beneath them. The door creaks open and Korra stands there, grinning widely at me.

“Shall we?” Korra asks.

“Uh yeah, but what about...” I grab my dirty laundry, feeling suddenly embarrassed.

“Just chuck it on that pile, the maid will take care of it later” Korra says, pointing to a mound of clothes in the corner of the room, and I throw the bundle on top. A maid. I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to have a paid worker take care of things for me, but here’s Korra, reminding me of the things I’ll never have again. I’m not saddened by the fact; if anything, I’m grateful that I might end up with a roof over my head. That’s honestly all that I could ever ask for.

The salt and grit crunches beneath my heels, and my feet flop again and again into the slushy ground. I’m exhausted. The only thing keeping me going is Korra, who’s running slightly ahead. Her pants may be baggy, but they don’t quite disguise the firmness of her posterior, and I have to admit I’ve caught myself looking more than once – then quickly looking away each time Korra checks back on me.

We’ve jogged for at least a mile, and this is definitely harder than I remember. To think that I used to be fit! My heart is pounding in my ears, I feel like my lungs are fit to burst, and my legs are wobbling, threatening to buckle beneath me.

“Wanna stop for a bit?” Korra asks, stopping mid-pace to look over her shoulder again. I almost crash into her, and she holds a hand on my arm to steady me. I can only mutely nod, wheezing and unable to speak as Korra guides me to a nearby wooden bench.

I collapse onto the seat, leaning forwards and gulping in deep breaths of air. Then I sit back, wipe at my brow, and greedily drink from the flask of water that Korra offers me. It takes a good minute or so for me to recover the ability to speak, when I suddenly remember something.

“By the way, what about Kuvira?” I ask, wondering why she didn’t get to join the torture.

“Oh, she’s like a snorlax. Won’t wake up for another two hours.”

I chuckle at the reference. “So you’re a pokemon fan?”

“Yup. Gotta catch em all!” Korra chuckles, and leans backwards, folding her arms behind her head.

“I never did manage to capture a legendary…” I say wistfully, suddenly realising I haven’t thought about gaming for a long time. It used to be my favourite way to relax, when I wasn’t busy reading or surfing the web.

“Me neither. I raised a magikarp army once, though,” Korra says with a smirk.

I burst into laughter at the thought, but Korra’s mobile starts to buzz before I can question her motives. Korra gives me an apologetic glance, “Sorry, gotta take this. It’s Tenzin.” I nod, smiling at her.

“Hi Tenzin. Yup, it’s pretty clear here. Today? Uh…” Korra looks at me and hesitates, “yeah, okay,” she says, standing up and pacing in front of me, answering her boss in brief sentences.

“Yeah. Kuv’s at my place…”

“Should be. I need to bring a friend.”

“No, no. Look, just trust me. It’ll be fine.”

“Okay. Okay! Yup, see you then. Bye.” Korra flips her phone case shut and pushes it back into her pocket. “Sorry about that. Since the snow’s melting we’re shooting later today. Do you want to come along?”

“I… uh…”

“It’s no trouble. But it’s up to you – I just thought you might enjoy seeing a superstar in action,” Korra says, grinning widely.

“Won’t you get into trouble?”

“Only if you run around telling everyone secrets about the movie,” Korra wiggles her eyebrows and folds her arms. She’s such a dork, and I almost tell her as much, but manage to stop myself.

“Okay then, sounds fun!”

“But first, Kai’s is around the corner, so let’s do this!” she says, jogging on the spot. I groan, wondering where on earth she gets her energy from, as she helps me stand up.

Unfortunately, my legs still haven’t forgiven me for abusing them, the ground is slippery as hell, and I fall forwards, desperately trying to stop myself but crashing face-first into Korra’s chest. “Shit, sorry,” I mutter, trying to back away, my hands slipping down to Korra’s waist as I try to correct myself. I’m feeling incredibly flustered - it’s like I’m in one of those damn cheesy anime scenes where a boy falls on top of a girl, except Korra’s way too strong to actually fall over. She holds me up, gently placing palms beneath my upper arms, and I’m sure there’s a slight blush against her tan skin.

“Steady on, are you okay? Maybe we should walk the rest of the way,” she says, smiling sympathetically.

“Yeah, maybe we should. Sorry…” I apologise again, looking towards the slush-covered ground from sheer embarrassment.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ve had worse things happen than a beautiful woman falling onto me,” Korra chuckles heartily. I feel a sudden wave of heat rush to my cheeks at the words, and there’s a spring into my step as we walk the rest of the distance, the pain in my legs is momentarily forgotten.

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