Devious with Sweaters

Author’s Note: So when I wrote this, I was looking for something light after a bit of darkness, and I surprised myself by writing a bit of Vred and Malina fluff. It was funny, and the first thing I thought of when I looked for today’s theme.

This was, actually, tweaked a bit by Liana Mir, as I do still make mistakes with Vred.

Devious with Sweaters


Vred glanced at the article of clothing she held out to him, taking in the color and garish decoration before he looked back up at Malina’s face. “You are still angry with me?”

She laughed, almost dropping the sweater on the floor. “No, but I don’t think we have anything else around here that would fit you. Just because I have two brothers does not mean that either of them are your size. That was Dad’s. It should fit, and before you say anything, my mother bought it for him.”

Vred took the sweater from her. He was practical enough to know that he needed to change and it would be warm and his size. He did not know that he should object to it. He started to replace his ruined garment, and she flushed red, leaving the room.

After he had changed, he turned his attention back to his phone and the many things he had to do.

It was not until Alik crossed into the room and stopped, staring at him, that Vred looked up. “Something wrong?”

“Oh, no. Simply admiring my sister’s handiwork, that’s all.”

Vred frowned.

“There is a whole box of Dad’s clothes upstairs, and she chose the shirt he hated the most. I think Kale bought that when he was drunk. I also think you might have fit into something of mine.”

Vred looked down at his shirt. “Devious.”

“And she knows how to fool your senses. This should be interesting.”

Vred looked slightly annoyed. “They’re not foolproof. I’m not an empath.”

Alik raised his eyebrows.

Vred sighed and shoved back the computer. “A change of clothes would be nice.”

Malina walked into the kitchen, took a look at Vred and then calmly crossed over and hit Alik. He glanced at her—not the only one to do so.

“You changed him,” she hissed. “I wanted pictures.”

Wordlessly, Alik passed her the cellphone.

She wrapped her arms around him. “You are the best brother ever.”


“Sorry, Enadar, but Alik still wins that contest,” Malina said, smiling as Alik shook his head and walked away. She shrugged, grinning as she ran off with her prize.

The Right Dress

Author’s Note: So once again, I am pulling from the childhood side project. This scene seemed fitting to use for Wednesday Wardrobe, since it has them trying on dresses. It later lead to a whole series of scenes about a school dance, but I am only posting this one today.

The Right Dress

Alik glanced at the two bags sitting on the table, stopping to rub his neck. He was going to have to talk to the foreman about his schedule. The idea of him having a couple hours after school for homework had been nice in theory, but in practice, it did not work. He kept falling asleep the moment he sat down, and that wasn’t helping much.

He checked the clock, missing his ability to wear a watch without destroying it. He only had a few minutes before he needed to go.

He shook his head, walking away from the kitchen. With their father working in other cities and their mother gone most days, the house was a disaster. Enadar ignored it, always in his books, and it wasn’t fair to make Malina do it all, but she was the only one who seemed willing to do it, who was home to do it.

He would have to do something about that, too. If he figured out his schedule, he should be able to make time to do more here, too.

He stopped outside the door to Malina’s room, hearing voices inside—were those two actually arguing? Since when did Lisea argue?

“Malina?” He knocked on the door. It opened, and he found himself staring at his sister, trying to decide if he’d woken up or not. “What are you wearing?”

She laughed, pulling the door open wider, letting him in. “I knew it. I tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen. Can you believe that this is what they expect Lisea to wear to the party her family is having next week? This is terrible. The color is bad, the fabric is itchy, and the design… I told her it was hideous, but she wouldn’t believe me. So I put it on, and she’s still trying to tell me she should wear it. There’s duty, and there’s insanity, and that is insanity.”

He didn’t know or want to know anything about fashion, but he agreed with his sister. He didn’t think he’d seen an uglier dress, and people had tried to give her some terrible ones in the past.

She took hold of his arm. “Tell her that one is a much better fit—in color and style and everything else. That looks good. That is what she should wear. I don’t care if her grandmother got her this one. This is wrong. That is right. Tell her.”

Alik did look, and as his eyes took in the line of the dress that Malina had chosen for her friend, the way it fit and molded her, emphasizing where it should and concealing where there might have been flaws, unpleasantly aware that both of them were becoming women—a fact he did not want to know about his sister—he understood the purpose of the dress the others had chosen for Lisea.

He leaned down to his sister’s ear. “I think the whole point of that dress you’ve taken on is that she’s not supposed to be flattered in it. It’s meant to make her seem more shapeless, less attractive, less noticeable… more dowdy.”

“What?” Malina demanded, shaking her head at him. “Why would anyone do that? That’s not right. Are they trying to humiliate her?”

“Malina,” Lisea said, sounding rather humiliated at that moment. “Please help me get this thing off. I will wear the other one. I don’t want to be embarrassed.”

“This is the dress that would be embarrassing. This one’s meant to make you look—I can’t even say like an old woman because it’s not. It’s worse than that.” Malina crossed over and took her friend’s hands. “I can’t understand why they’d ask you to go looking less than your best, to make you feel so… Why would they make you do that? It would only hurt you, and that is not what I want.”

“I think I’d be more comfortable in it.”

“I am not giving you this hideous thing back. Your grandmother can be as mad at me as she wants. I’m burning it.” Malina looked back at him. “Alik, I know you’re hopeless at this, but help me convince her. That dress is one she looks good in. Pretty. You’d dance with her at the party, wouldn’t you?”

“I don’t dance.”

Malina sighed. “If you did?”

He must be late for work by now. “Yes. If I were the sort that went to parties and if I were the sort that danced, then I would. I have to—”

“Would I get a dance, too?”

He let out a breath. Sometimes he wanted to hate his sister. He stepped forward, giving Malina a kiss on the forehead. “Yes, sister, you would. Now I have to go to work. Will you take care of the kitchen?”

She winced. “Yes, but you owe me a dance.”

“Robots don’t dance.”

Dressing Normally

Author’s Note: I think, as much as I wanted to call these things snippets, that limiting scenes because of length doesn’t really work for me. I wanted to do something for my theme of Wednesday wardrobe with the character whose fashion sense gets the most time on the page (dressing vintage is a huge part of who Effie Lincoln is.) This scene seemed right to use, though there are others I could have picked, but I couldn’t split it in a way I liked, so I’m posting the whole thing.

And I’m going to go back to Monday’s entry and give that whole scene since I think that is a much better way of doing Monday Mayhem/Mystery.

Dressing Normally


Garan knocked on the bathroom door. He had heard that women took a long time in the bathroom, though he’d mercifully never shared one with a woman for any extended amount of time. He didn’t have any sisters, and he’d never had a live-in girlfriend—never had a relationship that lasted more than a few weeks, if that, so it had never been an issue. Still, he’d managed to doze off again waiting for her to come out, and when he woke and she was still in there, he grew rather concerned.

“Lincoln? You still in there?” he asked, leaning against the wall. “You hurt? You’d better answer me, or I’ll have to open the door.”

“Just a second,” he heard her call, and a moment later, the door opened. She stepped out, and he took in her new outfit with disbelief. This woman had no idea how not to draw attention to herself, did she? Sure, the forties dress was gone, and the wave hairstyle with it, but she’d managed to put together something retro—old, whatever. He didn’t know fashion—again, with one of those peasant blouses and a skirt. She’d managed to style her hair up, and he swore he was practically looking at the costume Effie Lincoln had worn in one of her only westerns—not one of her better films, either.

“Do you even know how to dress normally?”

She frowned. “What is wrong with this? It’s a shirt—and I went with a skirt since we didn’t really have the money to get shoes, too, so I was stuck with what I had. I fail to see what the problem is. What is it with men? You just don’t get the need for self-expression, do you?”

He gave her a dark look. “I have nothing against self-expression, but you take it too far for a woman on the run. You need to blend in more, and that is not blending in.”

She looked down at the clothes she wore. “This is… a perfectly normal outfit. Other women must wear stuff like this, or they wouldn’t sell any of them. I suppose if there’s something I can change, it’s the hair, but I figured up and out of my way was best. I am on the run for my life, I’ve lost everything I had—including a store that has been in my family for generations—and now you’re telling me I have to squash my personality, too? I don’t want to be unreasonable, but I think I’d rather let them kill me. I shouldn’t have to look like the idiotic pop driven masses to survive.”

He shook his head. “How is it you managed to find the two most old-fashioned looking things in the store anyway?”

“I picked what appealed to me, and what appeals to me always has a vintage element,” she said with a slight shrug. “Am I really going to have you approve my wardrobe now? Because that is… yeah, not going to happen.”

He shook his head. “At least lose the Breakfast at Tiffany’s hair.”

“You really do like old movies, don’t you?” she asked, reaching up into her hair and taking out a pin. “For the record, this is just a bun, and I don’t have a tiara or a ridiculously long cigarette holder. I don’t actually carry a bunch of ponytails or scrunchies or even clips with me, so I’m kind of limited to what I can do with barrettes or bobby pins, and that can be problematic with my hair because it’s so thick.”

He went back to the bed and sat down again. She continued to mess with her hair. “Okay. Why do you like old movies so much?”

“Never said I did.”

“But you know them.”

“Seen a few.”

She shook her head, almost comical with the bobby pins in her mouth. “You have seen all of the ones by an apparently obscure actress called Effie Lincoln. I think that qualifies as more than a few. I know old movies because I took care of my grandfather as he was dying—which he spent the better part of my late teens and early twenties doing—what’s your excuse?”


“Insomnia?” she repeated, turning her hair into a twist, and he decided that she would just grab attention no matter how she looked. She was one of those people. Put her in a burlap bag or the plainest clothes available, and still something would draw your eye to her. Something in her manner, the way she carried herself—something she had no idea she shared with her predecessor.

“Late nights with nothing but old movies on the channels still running programming,” he explained. He couldn’t afford to keep comparing her to a dead actress. She was not that woman—or any of the characters she’d played. “Better them than infomercials.”

“True.” Lincoln stuck the final pin back in her hair. “There. Better?”

“Not really.”

“Good grief. What do I have to do? Wear a paper bag over my head?”

“Wouldn’t change the clothes.”

“Oh, go to hell,” she snapped as she walked to the door. “I’m not fixing it again.”