The rest of the night, and next morning, Sola keeps a watchful eye on Nix. Making sure the girl was able to do everything on her own, but hovering just behind the terran, trying to tempt her into asking for help and losing one of the challenges for the day.
Nix, seemingly back to her normal stubborn self, insisting on doing everything on her own. Always justifying her refusal of help with the game, this lasts until around lunch when a little jingle rings through the hab. 'Hey cutie! You've got a guest! Should I let them in?'
Nix raises her eyebrow at the hab. Confused on why it was back to using floret mode at all. "Umm… sure?" She looks back at Sola, having a feeling the guest is probably Celosia, meaning it's about time for them to switch out watching over her.
Celosia walks in, grinning as she flicks her cloak of vines back a little bit, to show off her petal dress now mixing in some blue. “Hello Sola, I missed our normal sync time, but it was obviously important.” She gives Sola a hug, both of them having a moment before focusing on Nix. “So, the game is in full swing. I am super excited for our time together.”
"I'd say it's a bit more than in full swing." Nix looks over Celosia’s new form, finding it very pretty, but biting her tongue about commenting on it for now. "I don't know how much Sola told you about yesterday, but we kinda had a fight… well, not really a fight, more like Sola…" she shakes her head, looking up at Sola. "Never mind, the point is Sola, due to what Jason told her, holds the belief, I could become a danger to myself, declaring I will be domesticated if I lose the game. Isn't that right?"
Sola nods. “I was content earlier in the day, to just have this be a little game with every time she loses, whichever side she is on, they will get to have a day to convince her… but after our conversation yesterday, I believe that Nix is not in a great place mentally, and possibly requires domestication. I believe that she will only be able to fulfill the independent win condition, if she can prove that she is in a good place. That is why I told you that we will be cycling out daily, with who's watching Nix. As per the rules, there are a number of things that will add up points. If she keeps the score low enough, she draws a Nix card, if she gets high enough, she draws a card for one of us.”
Celosia nods, and reads over the rules. “Seems simple enough for me, what a fun game.” She smirks. “And whoevers side Nix lands on, gets their one on one time first?”
Sola nods. “That is correct, now to be fair, I will tag out and leave you two to your day. I’ll be running some errands, so if an emergency comes up, just message me… also we will both be going to her eye implant appointment, and that will be a break day from the game, to be perfectly fair, as I am sure she would rack up enough points alone, to instantly give one of us the win.”
"Yuuup, after all I can hardly remember a majority of the time I was in the hospital, after you saved me. I have no doubt that post eye implant, I'll be in the same state." Nix reaches out, grabbing Celosia's hand, starting to gently pull her towards the art room. "I do want to show you the painting I was working on, though."
Celosia smiles, and squeezes Nix’s hand, waving as Sola leaves the hab, grinning at the other affini who looks back over her shoulder with a confident grin at Nix, as the door closes.
Entering the art room, Celosia nods to herself looking around. “It is so clean in here, did you do it yourself, or did Sola do it? Make sure to tell the truth, or I may discover some more points on today's card.”
“I was going to do it with Sola, but she elected to not let me out of her chest, and did all of the cleaning for me.” Nix grumbles, leading the affini over to the painting she’d shown Sola. “This is what I have been working on these past few days.”
Celosia's form shudders in delight. Leaning in to look more closely at the painting. “Oh Nix, that is so pretty!” She grins over at the terran, just a little too wide to be comforting. “I see, based on the colors you used, a little of all three of us in this piece. While I haven’t found my own painting to take up, I already like sketching out outfits, so I’ve been thinking of getting some colored pencils, and adding to our collective art interest in that way.” Celosia stares at the painting, while gently petting Nix. “I really love it, Nix.”
“Thanks, and I think that making clothes is art enough. After all, you've even got a model to try out new designs on now.” Nix wiggles around as Celosia pets her, trying to stop herself from letting out a little squeak. Pulling away to get a moment of relief to think of a distraction. “Soooo, what do you want to do today? I… honestly didn’t have any plans, was just going to binge more shows, maybe finally message Pearl again, I've missed her if I’m being honest… Oh and cleaning up, but Sola as you can tell, kinda did all of that before I could.”
Celosia nods a few times, making it very physically obvious for Nix’s sake that she's considering the question. “Well, why don’t you message Pearl. I believe this is typically a slow day for them, so I can help you get ready for a quick date with her, and I can speak with Resin about an idea I have.” She pulls a small notebook out of her mass beginning to flip through a series of outfit sketches she'd made for Nix. “Also yes, making outfits, and getting them modeled is art for sure, but, well lets just say that watching Sola work on her own piece, inspired me to do more in the way of drawing.”
Nix doesn’t even process anything after the word date is stated, starting to stumble back waving her hands in front of her face. “Not a date! I- I- I-” She stammers, looking around for any distraction from her rapidly flushing cheeks. “She’s my friend! I don’t know her that well yet! What if she doesn’t like me like that, what if I can’t open up to her!?”
Celosia hums, a coy smirk on her face as she leans in. “Well, that is something to work on, and I assumed you both already were dating, given how much Pearl just melts when you are mentioned. But I’m sure you could have a friend date, and just enjoy the day together. Besides, it would do you some good to get out, you’ve been pretty locked in aside from your picnic yesterday. And don’t worry, I know quite well about how much you don’t like being seen, my cloak should work easily enough on that front.”
“I’ve just been waiting for the heat to die down! Ya know, like you and Sola said to do!” Nix forces herself to take a breath, the feeling of Celosia’s gaze beating down on her, causing her to shudder. “And why do I feel like this has twisted from a request, to a demand…” Stars, why did she taunt these two?! It is only making the situation worse! But isn’t that what she wanted? WHY DID SHE WANT THIS!
Nix quickly starts looping in on this question, she’d thought she’d adjusted to the pairs rhythms… maybe that was the issue? Adjusting too much meant giving them control? That makes a level of sense, but if that’s true… the fact she’s now stuck with at least one of them every day for the foreseeable future… “Fuck.”
Celosia shakes her head, giving Nix a light pat. “Language, and also here you go.” She gives Nix her datapad, which is already dialing up Pearl.
Pearl flickers onto the screen. “Hello? OH NIX!” She quickly straightens out her hair a little bit. “Sorry, how are you doing? I’ve been really missing you!” Pearl seems to be suppressing the urge to bounce in her seat, which upon closer inspection is made of vines, that Nix can only assume to be Resin’s lap.
“I… uh… well I’ve discovered I will be having…” Nix glares up at Celosia, slowly walking over to her chair to sit down. Trying not to feel too embarrassed, about still being in her pajamas, half way through the day. “Two affini roommates, for the foreseeable future.” She leans to the side, knocking the half of her face that has her eyepatch on it out of view. “Sola is concerned about my long term health, so we’re playing a game Jason made, to decide if I can be trusted with independence… again. Honestly if I didn’t know better, I’d think my life was a time loop.”
Pearl giggles a little bit, nodding. “To be fair, the trial records will be a big help for reference in situations like your own. However, I may be able to see a little of where they are coming from. Just because you won… well… you know the term ‘egg’ for trans? You are kind of a seed, basically the same thing but for floret. You really do show a lot of floret-esque needs.” She smiles nervously, hoping being told this won't upset Nix. “I’ve been worried about you too.” She pauses for a moment frowning, taking a moment to breath and pull herself back together, she shifts back to grinning at the screen. “However, I’m pretty free today, do you want to hang out? We can talk in person, maybe just have some fun doing whatever, then I can ask Mistress to get us a pizza or something.”
“I was actually going to say, Celosia gave me this, so I could tell you that we’re going to be coming over…” Nix feels a pang of sadness at Pearl’s initial comments. Reminding herself that Pearl is one a floret, and likely believes everyone would be better off as one, and two only has the context of what people have told her. “But… hanging out and eating some lunch together, sounds nice.” She looks away. “And during it, I guess you can explain these, ‘floret-esque’ needs you see in me.”
Pearl nods, looking up at Resin above her, mostly to build her confidence up about what she's about to say. “I’ll just say, I really do see a lot of myself in you. Now get over here, so we can have some fun.” Pearl poses playfully, Resin reaching down to ruffle her hair and hanging up.
Celosia gently takes her datapad back, nodding towards Nix's bedroom. “I want to see what dress you are gonna wear to be cute for Pearl. Also her excitement at just seeing you, the way her voice perked up, was so precious.”
Nix nods, walking into the bedroom and looking over her clothing options. Trying to ignore the implications of the statement. “I don’t have many dresses… and my good ones are all dirty, and the only other one we got that I still have clean is…” She looks at the companion dress, which was designed to match perfectly with Celosia. “You don’t really… Do I have to wear a dress?” She groans, holding the dress up, trying not to give into the embarrassment. Sola is bad sometimes, but the way Celosia words everything, accidental or not, is downright unfair.
Celosia bobs her head from side to side. “Well, that depends on how you want to look for Pearl. I am sure she would love to see you in anything.” She brushes the dress she had given Nix. “But I am sure that a dress would make you look stunning, and help lean into going harder into a ‘date’ angle. However, this is your decision, unless you want to ask for my help.”
“I’m not going to ask for help!” Nix unfolds the dress fully, starting to switch into it. “I’ll wear this… but only because I think Pearl would like it, more than the other options I have that are clean.” After a few minutes Nix is fully dressed, walking into her bathroom to go and brush her hair. Hoping that she wouldn’t get in a feedback loop of hating any style she picks, again.
Celosia follows behind, watching Nix brush her hair, kneeling down next to her, and holding out a little jewelry box. “Here, I won’t count this as helping, especially because I got this as a fun little gift for you, in the first place, I just happen to think it would look good with this outfit.” Upon opening the box, inside is a necklace with 3 flowers together. Red shaped like the ones that form Celosia's 'collar', blue the same multi layered shape as the implant that was Nix’s eye, orange and yellow in a mix that replicates Sola’s many grafts in order. “Just because this is an emotional, and stressful time, doesn’t change the fact that no matter what, you have us behind you.”
Nix looks at the necklace, slowly slipping it on. Biting her lip and taking a deep breath. “Thank you… I think I’ll start feeling better once I’ve gotten my eye implant. Not having one, has made a lot of my insecurities much worse than normal, and…” She flops her head to the side, groaning. “I’ve been a bit rude, to Sola in particular, because of it.”
Celosia nods, and reaches forward, pulling Nix into a hug. “I know she understands, and I understand too. You have been hurt deep down, and while you have done a lot of healing, this is a different type of pain.” She pulls back with a grin. “After this date is done, I’m going to show you some of my sketched designs, and I want you to pick out your top 3 favorites. I'll begin working on them, to give you more of a dress selection. And I promise I’ve made a good few that are not specifically floret inspired.”
"I'll do you a favor, and let one of the ones you made for a floret design be on my list." Nix rubs the necklace lightly, partially to stim, and partially because of how much she likes it. "After all, I've discovered the affini cards, some of them have 'challenges' that involve letting you, or Sola, do a traditionally floret thing with me, in exchange for not going down the mountain. Last night I had to do both, because of how rude I was."
Celosia rustles excitedly, looking over her options again to find her favorite. “Alright then, I’m excited to see what your choices are. But I think you look ready for your date.” She stands up, pulling her cloak partially into position, keeping a bit open for Nix to slip into. “If you get tired, all you need to do is ask for me to carry you, but I’ll do the favor of continuing to hide you from others.”
“Thank you.” Nix grabs her cane, and bag, on the way out, pressing up against Celosia’s side, in order to avoid being seen from as many angles as possible. This, of course, has the inadvertent effect of making Nix look like an anxious clingy floret, who’s being guided by her owner through the ship.
Celosia bounces a little, letting her cloak fall around Nix, helping to protect her from view as much as possible, though she knows most affini paying attention would be able to see Nix’s feet, from near her own, at any time. On their way, there are a couple of groups of sophonts walking by, clearly having a good time, they do give their own waves when they barely spot Nix, continuing on their way.
Soon the pair approaches the plush shop. Being met with an almost entirely new inventory of plushies in the windows, showing off how every plush, and toy, inside is unique. “Here we are Nix.”
Nix looks into the shop, seeing a few tiny groups inside. While Pearl is seated up at the counter, the girl is now dressed in one of her companion dresses, that’s mostly white with blue flowers climbing up it. Rather than just her normal outfit for while they are at the shop, alongside her hair being parted to the right side.
“I can’t do this… nope no no, she’s too pretty.” Nix shakes her head, pressing more behind Celosia’s leg. Suddenly feeling immensely under dressed, and like her hair looks like a trainwreck.
Celosia kneels down, and smiles. “You can do this, you are very pretty and cute.” She reaches inside and pulls out a small comb, starting to brush Nix’s hair. “Pearl got all dolled up… for lack of a better terran expression, just for you. We have come all the way over here, and Pearl is obviously excited for you to be over.” After a short bit, Celosia looks Nix over carefully. “There, your hair is perfect. I will consider this +1 point, on the one of us helping you spectrum. Now come on, you don’t want to keep that beauty waiting.”
Nix nods, slowly walking up to the counter with Celosia. Slowly creeping out from the affini to great Pearl. "Heeeeey, you… look really cool." She squeaks out, looking up at her friend, with a horrible flush across her face. "I still really like the eyepatch you made me…"
Pearl smiles, and motions for Celosia to help her down from her seat. Celosia picks up Pearl, and sets her on the ground next to Nix, where she throws her arms around the girl. “You look fantastic, and I am glad you like it! I wanted to make something that would make you feel better, about being without your eye flower. Even temporarily.” She pulls back looking around, able to tell there’s too many people in front for Nix to feel comfortable. “Come on, let's go to the lounge. That way we can have some privacy from the public.”
"Please, I really don't wanna be seen by anyone, while I look like a floret." Nix takes Pearl's hand, following her into the back room. "Thanks though, I was really worried that I'd look weird like this… Celosia even re-did my hair right outside, because I started panicking about everything."
Pearl grins, and shakes her head, tisking at Nix's behavior. “I know you would have looked great anyway, you are you.” She rubs Nix’s back, pointing out to her giant plush pile… on top of a singular giant affini plush, making it difficult to tell who the smaller plushies are. “Mistress helped me by making this one when she first got me, basically I treat it like a bean bag, but it is a massive plush Resin!” She giggles a little bit, and flops down. “I’m happy to see you in person again.”
Nix squeaks, falling into part of the massive mountain of plushies. “I’m glad to you see-” She clears her throat. “See you! Too… I’ve really missed you, but I’ve been too anxious to come out here myself.”
Pearl nods, rubbing Nix’s cheek, rubbing a thumb under the bottom edge of the eye patch. “I miss the flower, but well… I really do understand not wanting to be seen.” She pulls her hand back, rubbing her prosthetic. “I do let Mistress take off my arm, for some play scenes, and I’ve talked to Mistress about getting it replaced with one that looks like a doll… but, I get nervous and think of what others would think of me.”
Nix simply nods, taking a finger and pushing the eyepatch up. Revealing the closed up wound. "I understand that kinda thing, especially regarding my spine and eye, so I'll never pressure you to show me anything, but I also won’t think less of you."
Pearl smiles, and takes a breath, reaching up to her shoulder, messing around a little bit, wincing slightly as her arm goes limp, and she pops it off very carefully. “Thank you Nix, I want you to also know, I will never pressure you to show me anything, and that I also will never think less of you.” She puts her arm down, and nods at it. “I trust you, and I really… want to get to know you better, more intimately. I want you to trust me, and know that you can confide in me, ask me questions, everything.”
Nix sighs, putting her eyepatch back down. Unsure what to say, and simply hugging Pearl for a few minutes.
"Thanks, so… I still wanna hear your reasons for thinking I should have an owner." She slowly pulls back, snagging a beeple plush to cling to, and stim on, during this conversation.
“Well, I’ve noticed a good number of ex military terrans, tend towards enjoy, or outright need being florets, we thrive under the care of an affini, and even if they say they care about the independence, well… deep down we both know we all don’t care that much, especially with all the benefits of having a caretaker, who can learn your needs, and will do everything in their power to ensure that our needs are completely met.” Pearl gets another beeple plush to stim on herself. “Any form of PTSD can lead to a big… weakness to excessive love, and care, which the affini are more than willing to give. There's also, i don’t want to say it in a way you think is mean… but your autism, you need quiet time, structure, things to stim on, it reminds me of an old friend of mine. One who I wish had gotten to be domesticated before he passed… Mind you a lot of what I’m talking about isn’t 100% for sure, and there are plenty that don’t match this that end up enjoying domestication, but you would be surprised by the sheer number of voluntary domestications that can fit into a lot of these and more categories. If we ever didn’t get as much love and care as children, even if we try to block it out, the walls we put up are surprisingly fragile.”
Nix frowns, shaking her head. "Wow Pearl, call me right on out why don't ya." She laughs to herself, no joy in her voice, simply forcing herself to laugh over the pain in her chest. "But I don't see why I need it. Like Sola thinks I'd try to kill myself, if she leaves me alone! I don't get why…"
Pearl reaches forward, and grabs Nix’s hand. “Nix… be 100% honest with me, I promise, whatever is said in this room will stay between us. If Sola didn’t check on you, after you got your independence, once you were truly in a hab of your own, with knowledge that it would be a while, possibly a week or more, until you would have anyone check on you, what would you do?”
"I'd…" Nix hums, thinking over the question for a minute. "I don't know, I'd probably just… stay home, paint, probably feel lonely, and spend an hour staring at my messages, trying to will myself to send a message." She frowns, looking away. "But I wouldn't hurt myself…"
Pearl nods. “And now, let's say you had your check up, managed to have everything straightened out enough, over a couple weeks of said check ups, that they became monthly, which is the average take on those who get settled in, if you stayed inside like that for one month, without being seen outside at all, then you would probably go back to the weekly’s for a while. Would you seek self improvement?”
"I mean, I'd try and get better at my painting? I don't know, going outside is horrible…" Nix winces, starting to tear up slightly. "But I'd still be able to text, and talk to everyone… I'd still text…"
Pearl pulls Nix into her chest, with a tight hug. “How many texts would you initiate? Or would you wait for others to message you? I know I try to text when I can, but I could personally text more. Would you text anyone asking for someone to come over, and keep you company? Or would you be too nervous, and just say that you were ‘fine’, if anyone were to ask you?”
"I'd say I was fine okay?! But I just, I'm too scared to let go…" Nix curls up, starting to hug her knees, crushing the plushy against her chest. "I've just wanted anyone to make the choice for me okay?! I can't do it myself… every time I consider it, I think of hundreds of bad things that could happen, all because I can't fully let myself trust anyone!" She smacks her head into her knees, whimpering.
Pearl gives Nix a moment, before worming her way back into a hug, pushing Nix’s knees apart so she can get in, and nestling her head into the crook of Nix’s neck. Her one arm wrapping around the girl. “It will all be ok. I am so sorry for pushing like that, but I really needed you to understand. A lot of what you described… that is what happened with Jason… before he… ya know. As for wanting others to make the choice, that is one of the biggest signs in my eyes of a seed.” She rubs Nix’s back carefully. “You are scared, but when left to your own devices, you would let yourself be lonely and hurting. I know it is all scary at first, the affini can be pushy about florets, but I think if you just went along with it more, you would be able to take comfort much more often.” She pulls back a little bit, and looks Nix in the eye. “So, is there anything else you want me to badger down into submission? Or would you like me to decide what we are doing today?”
Nix grits her teeth, closing her eyes, and whimpering. "Damn it…" Sniffling she starts rubbing her eyes, taking deep breaths to stop her racing heart from causing her to panic. "I can't choose, Sola’s amazing and wonderful, she makes me feel safe… but Celosia is what I feel like I need if someone was going to understand how to help me… I know they say it might not need to be a choice, but if it is I'm scared of having to make it."
Pearl giggles, and gives Nix a tiny nose boop. “Then don’t make it. You don’t want to make the choice, so let those two figure out the choice for you. You would be surprised at how much the affini can work out what seems to be an impossibility.”
Pearl shifts around some, pulling Nix into her arms and standing up. “Making choices, especially hard ones, and especially ones that are good for us, is what our affini are great at. Now, I’m going to say we shall have a tea party. I just got some new biscuits, from a nearby bakery that look super yummy, and then I’ll ask Mixtress to get us some food for our date, maybe a pizza.”
Nix nods, letting Pearl pull her up out of the plushies, grabbing the girl's arm, and handing it back to her. "You're totally going to tell your Mistress about this aren't you…" She chuckles, looking over at the door where Resin, and Celosia, are doubtless talking to one another.
“I promised you, I would keep the majority of our conversation private, you are my friend, so I shall keep my promise.” Pearl grins, her expression much more impish in comparison to her normal smile. “I'm not allowed to have secrets or lie, but as long as she doesn’t ask it'll be fine. Besides, this was mostly about getting you to realize, what you need, is what you want.” She has Nix hold her arm, guiding it back in, shuddering and wiggling the fingers on her hand. “But I may give Sola, and Celosia, some encouragement. I know they can do what you need.”
Nix hums a minute, leaning in to hug Pearl again, and whispering to her. Barely working up the courage to do something she's positive she will immediately regret. "Please tell Celosia… I will probably back pedal later if you don't." Pulling back, Nix walks ahead of Pearl over to the project table, which was last being used for sewing.
“Alright, before you leave, I will tell her.” Pearl nods to herself as she grabs Nix’s data pad from the pile of plushies, sliding it into her dress so it doesn't get lost. Walking over and starting to move the sewing equipment, and pulling one of the boxes out of the corner, pulling out tea cups for both of them, and a platter which she puts a pack of biscuits on. “Do you have a tea preference? I know Sola has had you drinking plenty of water, so I at least haven’t noticed you drinking anything else.”
"Sola… never told me about any drinks that are available, other than tea, water, and milk… so I just don't know what else I could get." Nix chuckles a bit to herself. "The only thing I used to drink was a horribly unhealthy energy drink. And I'm positive the affini saw those as harming one's self, with how bad they were for you."
"Well, there has been a ton that has been adapted, getting flavor profiles, while being better for you. I'll try and find out which ones there are for you. I've not been too into them, but I know they exist." Pearl smiles, and walks into the corner of the room. Filling the tea pot with warm water, and putting a few bags of green tea in. "Keeping it to water is better for healing of course, but you can find better versions of just about anything."
"I feel like if Sola ever becomes my owner, she wouldn't be the biggest fan of me being on a constant sugar high. Stars know I spent enough years in college, on one of those." Nix waits for Pearl to return with the tea. Letting Pearl pour it for her, before taking a small sip. Sighing in relief at her own enjoyment. "You did a great job on the tea. Whatever type this is."
"Thank you Nix, and I am pretty sure that Miss Sola would keep some as treats, even if I know she would encourage you to have more water." Pearl sips some of her tea, grabbing a biscuit. "I'm happy you have been enjoying painting, I've found that anything artsy helps me calm down after a stressful day…."
Nix nods, taking a biscuit and starting to snack on it. "So am I, having a way to work out my emotions, while I'm in private is really cathartic." She slowly leans into Pearl's side, taking a deep breath while she sips her tea.
Pearl gently wraps her arm around Nix. “I carry over my sewing into embroidery. It was something my grandma taught me… before she passed. Then my parents got on my case about it being a waste of time in our ‘modern’ day. But since coming here, I’ve really enjoyed just taking some quiet time to make a pattern, when I just need to zone out, and not think about anything… you know, whenever I'm not just Mistress's doll for fun.” She laughs at herself, shaking her head. “It really is surprising just how fucked up the accord made us, military or no.”
"I'd not say surprising terrans have always been like that, honestly the fact of how horrible the accord was, is what made me so willing to give the compact a chance to sway me in the first place." Nix gently rubs the embroidered eyepatch. Not having quite realized how important Pearl making it for her was. "But hey, we're healing!"
Pearl nods, giving Nix a gentle squeeze. “Even now, I still am healing from my past with the accord.” She glances up smiling at the sight of Nix rubbing the eyepatch. “Recognizing and admitting the healing that needs to happen, is important to real progress, even though it is a very long road, and not the easiest one to walk. We get help on it, but in the end, it is our own steps that bring us to its conclusion.”
Nix nods, her head swiveling as she hears the door to the back room open back up. Resin, and Celosia, walking in and looking down at the pair. "Nix, it’s good to see you again. I just got back with you and Pearl's meal, and Celosia has been telling me all about that adorable little game of yours."
Resin walks over, giving Pearl a little pet as she sets down two pizzas, and some different colored drinks. "You two have fun with your date, I'm always just outside if you need anything."
Pearl smiles, and leans into the pets. “Thank you Mixtress, I was about to ask if we could get some pizza.”
Celosia reaches down, and pets Nix with a smile, looking at Pearl. “I overheard your call this morning, and let Resin know, I thought some pizza would be fun, but thank you for being there for Nix.” She slowly removes her hand, grinning as Nix passively tries to lean in after the hand, rather than simply letting her pull back. “You two have fun, I’m gonna help with the front of the store, but I am also available if you need it.”
Pearl looks at Nix for a moment. "Um actually miss Celosia, I have something I reeeeally need to talk to you about privately, before the rest of me and Nix’s date." She slowly pulls away, watching as Nix freezes up, and starts fiddling with one of the new drinks. Clearly trying to distract herself during this part of the conversation.
Resin sits down with Nix, petting her while Pearl walks a little bit away with Celosia. Being led fully out of the back room and closing the door behind them.
Pearl smiles as they step behind the front counter. “So, Nix is having a lot of stress problems, mostly related to decisions. She cannot make decisions for herself, and keeps thinking she needs to choose between you, and Sola. While she has been working on proving that she can be independent, she knows deep down that she would do best domesticated. It is my opinion that while she needs assurances, you and Sola would both get the best results, by being very definitive with choices. Maybe have her make small ones, but try telling her what you are doing each day instead of asking her.”
Celosia nods, putting Pearl into a gentle hug. "Thank you for telling me about this petal, this makes me feel much more comfortable about my plans." She gently runs her hand through Pearl's hair a few times. Enjoying the feeling of the floret nuzzling into her affection. "You are such a good girl."
Pearl smiles, and cuddles into the hug and affection. “Thank you Miss Celosia. I got Nix to open up with a promise of silence, but she admitted that I needed to tell you, because she thinks she will backpedal, before she would be able to admit it to you herself. While I think it would have been better if she could say it to you herself, I will do what I need to, to make sure my friend is getting exactly what she needs.”
"While it would have made things easier, if she'd come to me, and requested to be domesticated. I do have a feeling I know what to do, in order to allow her to ask without asking." Celosia gently pulls back, looking around the very slow shop. "As a matter of fact, once I get you back with her. I need to go do something in her hab."
Pearl bites her lip, and flashes Nix’s Datapad. “I may have been a little naughty on accident bringing this, but I was the one to set this up for her, so I could, you know, ‘accidentally’ share her door code with your pad.” She playfully taps on Nix’s pad a few times, a beep coming across Celosia’s. “Oh silly me, I hope this shared access goes towards a good cause.”
Celosia can't help but appear bemused by Pearl's behavior. Shaking her head while plucking Nix’s tablet out of her hands. "I will have you know, both myself and Sola already have the ability to open her door, given the current rules we have for Nix." She gently places her hand on Pearl's back. "Now let's return you, and it, to Nix before she notices and gets upset. Then I'll tell your owner just how naughty you're being."
Walking back into the break room, Nix is sitting at the table, three of the different drinks empty in front of her, alongside half of the pizza already eaten. She has another slice in her mouth, eating it far too quickly as a form of distraction that doesn't involve Resin helping.
Resin is sitting next to her, trying not to touch Nix too much, given her anxiety. "Oh good, Nix has been very anxious. Pearl, do you know where her data pad is? She tried to pull it out when you left, but it was gone."
“I’m sorry, I grabbed it when we were cuddling, it had fallen out, and I kinda took it out with me.” She hands it to Nix. “I’m sorry Nix, I’ll make it up to you.” She smiles and gives Nix a hug. “Since you are so far through your pizza already, how about we put on a movie, and I’ll brush your hair while we watch.”
Nix nods slightly, pulling Pearl to sit down next to her. "You did it to help with the thing I asked about right?" She nestles into her friend's side, anxious even addressing her request.
"Indeed dear, while what she did with it was harmless, and simply done with the intent of helping me take care of you, like you'd asked, but she still should have asked you before taking that." Celosia smiles softly at the pair, reaching out and gently petting Nix on her cheek. "But I'm sure that's something her, and Resin, can sort out when we head back to our hab. For now you two have fun back here, okay sweetie?"
Nix nods, pressing her head into the pets slightly. A shiver running through her entire body, as she bathes in the feeling of being comforted. Pressing her data pad against her chest, gripping it as if she'd never release it again. "O-okay, I'll message you if I need anything… thank you Cel."
Pearl winces a little bit, and pulls Nix close, waiting for Celosia to finish before beginning to brush Nix’s hair. “I’m still sorry, I should have said something… I tried to play it off, and that was wrong.” She cuddles up to Nix tightly, and looks at Resin. “Mistress, may we put on a movie? Maybe the one I was looking at last night?”
Resin nods, moving the plush pile around to be more comfortable for both Nix, and Pearl, to relax there. "Of course, I'm proud of you for apologizing sweetie, but this is why we have the complete honesty part in your contract." Once she's done there, Resin kneels down in front of Pearl, nuzzling her gently. "Now let's get you fed, then I'll give you both some space to watch your movie."
Nix pulls to the side, as Resin gets a little too close to her. Watching the affini comfort her friend. Not feeling comfortable saying anything openly, but giving Pearl a little thumbs up with her free hand. Trying to show that she's not mad at Pearl in the best way she can manage.
Pearl blushes looking down. “So, I have a problem with stretching the truth, I do try to be more honest now…” She lets herself get distracted by the meal, letting Resin feed her little cuts of pizza, enjoying the taste as the little vines work her jaw. This goes on for a few minutes, Resin making almost a show of how much she is doting on Pearl, before letting her go.
“There we go, why don’t you two cuddle up while I put away the leftovers, then we can get your movies started.” Resin looks over at Nix, giving her a small nod to take the lead this time.
Nix gently takes Pearl's hand, leading the way over to the plushy pile, and pulling her friend into it with her. Finally speaking up once Resin is distracted with working on cleaning up. "Thank you Pearl. Even if you pushed a little far, I know you just wanted to help." She pulls herself into Pearl's chest, looking up at the monitor. "So… uh, what are we watching?"
“Your welcome Nix, Celosia promised that with what I told her, she knows what you need, and will be preparing something special for you.” Pearl pets Nix and smiles. “As for what we are watching, I was looking around and saw a movie about a vampire, and his child, searching for his lost wife. The child makes a couple of friends, and they help work together to find her.”
"Oh… cool!" Nix nods to herself, at least this movie seems like something she'd enjoy. More of an action adventure movie, in comparison to an affini based rom com, which is what she'd expected Pearl to say they'd be watching after the type of date that they've had. "Vampires are cool…"
Pearl chuckles, playfully flashing her teeth at Nix. “Yeah, I've seen pictures of others who have gotten fangs installed for playful ‘vampire’ bites. And I had a feeling that getting to have fun, with something like this, would fit with your tastes!” She sighs, nuzzling Nix lightly. “One of the leads uses a whip, lots of tricks to maneuver with it, the trailer looked so cool!”
"I've actually got a big set of implants that I'm probably going to be getting, after I've got my new flower." Nix turns her head as the movie starts, humming along to the tune. "Mostly lizard stuff… and one thing I made a deal with Cel about."
As the two start talking, Resin has finished up with cleaning up the pair's lunch, walking over to the doorway, and turning off lights. "You two have fun, I'll be right outside, if you need anything."
“Thank you Mistress!” Once the door is closed, Pearl rubs Nix’s back a little. “Also lizard body mods would be so cool! I’m jealous you are already planning that out, so confidently. I wish I could go for what I want, without getting… I don’t know, a really bad fear response similar to after I initially lost my arm.” She exhales, hugging Nix and watching as the movie kicks off, with the mother getting separated from her family, the camera staying with the vampire and their child.
"Honestly I think I'm having the exact opposite reaction. Now that I've lost my eye, I kinda have felt way more dysphoric about… well everything about me. Like I never felt great about myself before, but knowing I have options that would make me genuinely happy in my skin, I just have to do it." Nix runs her fingers down her arms. Shaking her head as she looks back up at the movie. "But tomorrow I get my replacement eye, and hopefully feel a lot better about my looks."
Pearl nods, and hugs Nix a little tighter, enjoying having the movie on, even if it's nothing more than background noise. “I want you to feel good about yourself, Nix. Once you have your mod appointment date set, would you mind letting me know? I want to have something set up for then. I am sure you would appreciate coming out of whatever stupor you will be in, with something fun to accompany it.”
"Of course, I have a feeling it will be a little while. Given I can't get it done until the game with Sola and Cel is over, mostly because Cel insists that if she wins then I will get neck fluff along with the other ones I wanted." Nix snickers a bit to herself. "But after tomorrow, I wouldn't mind waking back up from that surgery to you, and Jason, visiting again. I can finally show off my hab to you!"
Pearl claps lightly, nodding to herself several times. Already starting to plan it in her head, and of course, preparing to beg her Mistress for it. "Oh we can have a group movie day, it will be so fun!" She snuggles up with Nix a little more. "I'll have to ask Miss Sola, or Celosia, when you get out, and when you recover enough for a movie day."
“Absolutely, I’m sure it shouldn’t be too long for the eye implant.” Nix freezes up as Pearl rests her head, against her chest. “I do still feel kinda rude for refusing to come along to the last one.”
"It's alright, we understood. You will make it up to us, and we will have a wonderful night of games, treats, and making sure you are happy!" Pearl stretches a little bit, rubbing her arm. "Hey, do you think me going like… more doll would be cool?"
“I think it’d be cool if it’s what you want.” Nix shrugs, shaking her head. “I mean, it’s not my preference for myself, but I think you’d look beautiful like that…” She gives Pearl a little squeeze, looking away from everything, mostly out of habit, and how flustered she is rather than being disinterested.
"Like I've said, they are body mods I have wanted, but a part of me keeps making me back down from even asking about them. I am hoping this allows me to push through, and ask for what I want." Pearl smiles gently, leaning in and kissing Nix on the cheek for the first time. "Thank you Nix."
Nix’s mouth opens and closes several times, before simply putting her head in her hands, and starting to scream. Being smacked in the face with the fact that Pearl does actually like her in the way all of the affini have been relentlessly teasing her about.
Only to be broken out of her mumbling feedback loop, by Pearl gently putting a hand on her shoulder. "You okay down there?"
Nix peaks up, looking at Pearl's face. Being met with a smile so soft, and warm, she can't help but continue to melt under the pressure of her emotions. "Y-yuh- I'm… I'm great." She blinks a few times, pushing a small shaking smile onto her face. Quickly feeling her ability to form words properly, leaving her.
Pearl grins pausing for a moment as she looks back at the movie, seeing a scene where two of the characters kissing, she leans in to kiss Nix gently on the lips. "I love you Nix, my little dorky lizard." She giggles as she pulls back, basking in the frozen flushed expression on Nix’s face.
Okay, that was the first time being kissed by a girl… on the lips, a pretty girl, a girl who deserves so much better, this is fine. Everything is fine. Nix quietly stims on the back of her datapad, running her fingers over the scales. Making nothing more than the occasional squeak of confusion, too overwhelmed by the florets openness to give much more of a response. Even if she knows what she desperately wants to say.
Pearl smirks, shaking her head. "Dork, do I need to order you to spill what is on your mind?" She yawns a little bit, nestling into Nix's neck. "Although I am pretty sure what you would say, if you were verbal right now. I'll give you time to form the words."
Nix is silent for the remainder of the movie, unable to work up the nerves to speak again, but not daring to let go of Pearl for a single moment. Eventually, as the credits start to roll on by, she leans in next to Pearl’s ear. Her voice is shaking horribly, the words coming out more as squeaks. “I- I- I- Love you… too…” As she finally forces the words out, the last of her walls crack open, causing her to press her head into Pearl’s shoulder. Whimpering and letting tears leak out onto her friend’s shoulder.
Pearl brushes Nix's hair, letting her take all the time she needs, and hugging her tightly. "Thank you Nix, I love you, and I’ve just felt this connection that feels right. I want us to have more dates, plenty of happy times, all the fun stuff, emotional and otherwise. I'll be there for you, and you’ll be there for me." She kisses Nix's ear gently before nuzzling against her girlfriend.
“Right.” Nix nods slightly, closing her eye as she lets herself be held. Questions running through her head the entire time, what if she messes this up, are they actually girlfriends right now, what if she can’t let her walls down.
After another half an hour, Celosia and Resin return. Looking over the cuddling, half asleep duo, noticing that Nix is actually asleep on Pearl’s lap, not looking like she is having particularly good dreams, but being comforted by Pearl petting her.
“Cel is here to pick Nix up for the night, Petal.” Resin walks over, kneeling down and petting Pearl gently. Looking over Nix's clearly exhausted form, knowing her floret is feeling the same. “Did you two have a fun date?”
Pearl yawns and nods, nuzzling the top of Nix’s head. “Officially girlfriends, although Nix seems to be having trouble processing things. I’m doing my best to help her… but I don’t know what more I can do.” She looks a little down as she brushes Nix’s hair. “I feel like Nix’s walls have cracked, but I don’t know how much more will be needed for her to actually let someone in.”
Celosia nods slightly, slowly wrapping her vines around Nix, and picking the sleeping girl up. "Don't worry Petal. I still have my plan to help her, once we go back to her hab." She gently pulls Nix away, giving Resin a chance to swoop in and pick up her floret.
"Indeed, I love that you want to help her, but now you need to trust her future owners to take care of her." Resin gives Pearl a soft reassuring smile, gently picking her up, and starting to walk behind Celosia. "Now who wants to go home, and have some nice quiet time as my little dolly?"
Pearl smiles, squirming around and nestling deeper into her affini’s vines. “Me.” She takes a deep breath, her cheeks starting to burn up. “Umm… I think I’m finally ready to look more at some… body mods to make me more doll-like.” She curls up a little bit. “I want to get past my hang ups… Can we look tomorrow after a good sleep?”
"Of course my precious pet, you've had a big day, and even if you fell back on one of your bad habits. With help you admitted it, and clearly made it up to Nix." Resin pulls out an injector, gently gliding it across Pearl's thigh as they walk. "Now just rest, my precious Lilly." She gently injects Pearl with its favorite mix of class M's. Watching as Pearl's body fully relaxes into her vines, freely flowing with any movement, her eyes getting an adorably glossy distant haze to them, as the pair make their way home.