I step around the curtain. She isn't there. I hear the shower running from her bathroom. I turn around to shut the door and press the lock button. It flashes red but doesn't turn yellow. The hell is this? Is the lock broken? It's hard to imagine they wouldn't fix that right away.

Lime's room is icy white. She has a tall dresser with drawers that look like crystal clear glass. They appear completely empty from the outside, since you can see the grey wall behind. However, each drawer is hanging open with clothing spilling out. The closet door is slightly ajar, and a heavy sparkling blue boot is falling out. The floor is littered with clothes, party fliers, and empty bags from food and juice packs. Her bed is a pile of white blankets with an oversized green plushie rabbit on a crystal platform in the corner of the room. I clear a space on the floor by the bed and sit down with my back against the platform. I gulp down a swig of cold water. It tastes great.

"Hey Lime!" I yell at the bathroom door next to me. "I'm here, you know!"

I hear nothing but the sound of running water. There is a hot pink acrylic vanity next to the bathroom door. Among the usual pile of cosmetics and spray bottles, lays a glossy white wand. I get up to look at it. The mirror of the vanity has special blue lights on it to reveal sun spots and blemishes. My face and arms look speckled with countless marks. I press the button next to the mirror to switch it over to a more pleasant pink light. All my blemishes disappear and my warm skin glows even warmer.

The bathroom door zips open and a huge cloud of steam pours out. The blue light of the bathroom looks dark compared to the diffused white light of the bedroom. Lime steps out of the vapor into the glow of the room. Her long braided hair is wrapped up into a giant bun on top of her head, and she is wearing a fuzzy towel tube. I look back to the device on the vanity so she doesn't think I'm looking at her body.

"It's a complexion smoother..." she says, reaching for the shiny steel device in my hand. "I can show you how to use it, if you want. It's done wonders to my face. Look! All the discoloration on my cheek is gone." She pushes her face close to mine. Her reddish brown eyes burning bright into me. She smells like pineapple.

"Wow..." I say, trying to remember what discoloration she is talking about.

"Here! Sit down! I'll do it to you right now!" She pushes my shoulders down and I fall into the clear pink vanity chair. She turns on the machine and presses a few buttons before telling me to hold still and then pressing the tiny end against my face. I haven't washed my face. She's probably zapping bits of air pollution for all I know. "It's actually Nozzle's but she's letting me borrow it. I'm done with it though so you caught me just in time." After a few minutes she stops and stretches her arms, her muscles pulling back across her strong shoulders. "You'll have to turn on the blue light to get the rest," she says. I look into the pink mirror and switch it over to the regular white light. My face does look more even. The mole on my jaw is gone.

"If you can't see any spots unless the blue light is on, then when would I need it? I mean, when am I ever in this blue light unless I'm sitting here?" I ask, flipping the blue light on and off and watching my invisible freckles appear and disappear.

"Because that blue light is your future! You can zap em now and then you won't have to have those show up later. You're in the sun all the time, Sugar. Your skin is going to get awful in a few years."

"I'll deal with it then," I say, turning the blue light off again for the last time and switching off the machine.

"Good luck getting a hold of one! You know how much one of those things costs?" she asks, pulling silver underwear over her knees.

I shrug.

"Like $300,000!" she squeals. "The only reason Nozzle has it is kuz her modeling agency rented it to her." She snaps a silver bra out of the dresser. "They are charging her like 3 weeks of work just to use it, but didn't give her the choice to opt out. Ridiculous. They have been pulling this crap with her for months! I don't think she has gotten any actual credit dollars since she's started."

Nozzle is one of Lime's roommates. She moved to LA after J found her on some independent modeling directory. He paid for her to send him some photos and a story to include in his magazine. She was so thrilled to get featured in such a popular publication that she accepted J's invitation to move across the county to live in his apartment while she developed her "has worked with" list and joined an agency under the condition that she would work for him if he needed her to. A lot of girls have moved in and out of J's apartment under similar circumstances. Lime, on the other hand, is just addicted to the luxury and not having to find her own place. "She's never going to get away from J at this rate," Lime says.

"It's not like you're in a rush to get away from him," I groan, leaving the chair, and plop back down onto the floor. I don't know why Lime is so critical of the other girls who move into J's apartment but she'll live here until the end of time.

"He's not taking advantage of me like he's taking advantage of them. It's not like I have some dream of becoming a actress or a model that he is stringing me along with. These girls think moving here will help them meet the right people but they end up doing less work than they were getting back home online." Lime snatches up her coral lipstick and paints it onto her mouth.

"So what's your dream, Lime?" I ask, taking a bite out of the bobble fruit. She lets down her long blonde braids and stares at her face in the mirror. The silence grows.

"I don't know. I mean... if I told everyone my dreams, I would be just as easy to scam as Nozzle." She laughs. "Can't we just do something nice tonight?" She spins around and leans on her knees towards me. "I just want to do something real nice like go on a nice date, you know? Like a dinner and a movie but not a movie because they're terrible." She flings opens her closet and moves the hangers around. "But at least go out to eat at a nice restaurant. Like one that has real animal meat and attractive servers to make me feel pretty." She pulls a dress out of the closet and then shoves it back in. "Eating animal meat just really makes me feel like a lady, you know?"

I open my backpack and pull out the Quicksilver flier.

"You want to go to this party afterwards? It seems up your alley." Lime is an amateur Turn of the Millennium historian.

©2018 by Zita