Riches to Rags

Chapter 29 (Korra)

Damn it! Damn it damn it damn it. I cross my arms across my chest as we head to Kai’s, and continue to curse myself for having such a big mouth. Calling her beautiful, just like that. Way to go, Korra. Super smooth. Thankfully, Asami didn’t seem to mind at all, but I’ll have to be more careful. It was only a few days ago she was on the streets, and anything could trigger her nerves, send her into a panic attack or worse. I should know, I’ve been there, and I need to dial it back a notch, otherwise-

“So… you think I’m beautiful?” Asami interrupts my internal dilemma, her lips curving slightly as she speaks, and I almost choke in response. Yeah, I’m real smooth today.

“I – uh, well…” I grab the back of my hair, a stress response I’ve had for as long as I can remember.

Asami starts to laugh as I fumble my words, and I can feel myself starting to blush. She stops in her tracks and rests her hands against her hips, looking me squarely in the eye, “For what it’s worth, you’re pretty easy on the eyes yourself.”

Is she flirting with me? Is this happening because I accidentally complimented her? “Uh… thanks,” I say, managing to grin awkwardly, “Anyway, we’re here. Looks like he’s open.” I decide to change the subject quickly, feeling a little light-headed at the sudden twist of events.

We walk into the shop, and my mind is still spinning. Maybe Asami’s just playing with me, it’d make sense that she’d enjoy decent human interaction after all this time. Perhaps she’s just flexing her flirt-muscles, practising them on me. Yeah, it’s not like she’d actually like me that way, not, you know, like-like.

“Hey Korra. Long-time no see. Laptop broken again?” Kai waves me over from the end of the store, and I smile as we approach him. He’s still trying to grow a beard, though all he ever seems to manage is a square-shaped stubble on his chin. Still, it’s kind of cute.

“Hey Kai. Nope. We’re here about the job,” I say, waving back at him.

“The... oh! I’d almost given up. No offence, Korra, but I don’t think I’d trust you near any of these machines. Is Tenzin not paying you enough?”

“Not me, you dork. Her!” I laugh, gesturing to Asami who’s looking nervous all of a sudden, and rubbing her hands together. I guess the streak of confidence back there was short-lived, though I have to admit, I think I actually liked it.

“Oh? Hmm.” Kai squints, “Where do I know you from?”

“I’m Asami Sato, daughter of the crazy guy who sold weapons to terrorists. Pleased to meet you,” Asami steps forward, holding out a hand which Kai shakes a little too vigorously.

“Hah! I knew I recognized you. I mean, sorry about your Dad and stuff…”

“It’s no problem. Is your position still available? I’m very good with machines.”

Asami’s being very formal, and taking this very seriously. I can see Kai’s a little confused at the interaction, though.

“Aren’t you like, mega-rich? No offense, but I doubt I can afford you!” he laughs.

“Kai, she lost it all when her father was-“

“I can talk for myself, thank you Korra.” Asami interrupts me, sounding a little irritated. Whoa. I wasn’t expecting that. I suppose it serves me right, butting in, flapping my lips without thinking, and I feel really shitty now, like I’ve royally screwed up and annoyed her. “Korra’s right. I have literally nothing, I don’t even have a place to stay. I can do the job, it really depends if you’d be willing to have my face in your store,” Asami says, stealing a glance at me, her face softening into a warm smile. Does that mean I’m forgiven? I hope so.

“Uh no, that’s not a problem. I really doubt you had anything to do with… well, any of that. You seem to be really nice,” Kai grins, and a small blush forms at his cheeks. He’s flirting with her! I can’t help but feel a sudden pang of jealousy, and it surprises me. Man, today is a rollercoaster of emotions, I’m not sure what’s going on anymore.

“So, are you interested?” Asami asks, pushing a few loose strands of hair behind her ear. Is she flirting back? My head burns a little with anxiety at the thought.

“Sure. And I have a room if you need someplace to stay. Cheap rent, too! I can take it out of your wage, so you’ll dodge some tax. Win-win situation.”

Asami puts a hand out, “Deal. When can I start?”

“Uh… I need to clean the room out. But you can move in tomorrow if you like – and start the day after?”

Well, I suppose this went better than expected. Perhaps it even went a little too well, they’re certainly getting on. Yup. Getting on really well. They’ll probably start dating, have kids, and grow old together. Oh well, at least I didn’t fall for her, that would have been disastrous.

I idly browse the slightly-dusty shelves around the shop whilst Asami and Kai finalise the finer details. I don’t understand what half of these things are. There’s some old mice, with cords wrapped around them. Used keyboards – some of which clearly need a clean if Kai’s ever going to sell them - yuck! And then there’s loose cards with chips and stuff on them, I guess computer parts of some sort.

I keep glancing back at the two of them, hearing the occasional chuckle from Asami, and feeling my stomach lurch each time. Why am I so jealous? Hell, maybe this is exactly what she needs, and I should be happy for her. Not to mention Kai’s probably been really lonely.

As for me, I’m a famous movie star. I can get myself a nice girl or boyfriend any time I want to… It’s just… whoever they are, they won’t be her.

I sigh, picking up an empty box and pretending to read the label – some bullshit about cache. What the hell is cache anyway? Kai suddenly laughs loudly, and I turn to see them both smiling away at each other. How disgustingly cute – I fight off the urge to grimace.

I’ll have to arrange a night out with Kuvira after Asami moves out, so that I can drown my sorrows. Yeah, that’s right, isn’t it? Asami’s moving out, and the thought depresses me more than I’d care to admit. To think that I’ve grown this fond of her, so soon, and I’m already this used to having her around.

I need to stop being so selfish, and grow the hell up. If I truly care about her, I’ll help her with whatever she needs, like I have been doing all along.

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