CLAIMER: Yadda, yadda. It all belongs to me.

notes: This part is on crack. I love this part to death. I love my brain sometimes. Please, if you comment...I can take criticism but only within reason. Kay? Thanks!
Isn't Kris a bitch?! (readon to understand)

part 2

He had been writing for nearly 4 hours. His head ached from staring at the screen, his hands hurt from being held in the same position as he thought. He felt wonderful. This story was a completely new concept for him. He'd never written any books related to eachother, and usually got ideas from strange places. This one had come from a dream, induced by not enough sleep and eating badly. The dream was vague and distant, now, but the story was clear and in perspective.
He stretched, and decided to have something to eat. He'd skipped breakfast and just plain forgotten lunch, and was now paying the price. He opened his fridge, which was depressingly empty, and saw the jello. As if on que, a knock sounded at the door. Landon answered it, in a good mood and sure he would be able to tolerate anything that strange girl may present to him then.
She was wearing a T-Shirt that looked custom made for a sumo wrestler, the sleeves reaching below her elbows and the bottom at her knees. Jeans could be seen past there, and bright pink socks peeked out from under the baggy excess.
"Hello! I came to ask you a question." Her smile was bright, and the two sections of hair on eaither side of her face were in many tiny braids.
"Which do you prefer- Orange or red?" He was dumbstruck, but tried his best to answer truthfully. A memory hit him, his father coughing violently, blood staining his hands as he covered his mouth.
"Orange." Kalila nodded sagely.
"Good choice. Did you finish the jello?"
"Actually, no. I've been writing all day." She pushed past him and looked in his fridge.
"I don't know HOW you live! Look at your fridge, all you've got is olives and soya sauce!" Landon sighed at the exaggeration. He had a few other things, but the two mentioned were the most edible.
"I'm going shopping now." he lied.
"Good, I'll go with you!"
"I- um, okay..." she ran from his kitchen, returning a moment later with a purse.
"Come on, let's go before you die of mal-nourishment." Landon found himself following, and soon they were walking along the now busy streets. Kalila was rude. Not to him, but everyone else. She pushed through the throng, never saying excuse me and glad to yell at anyone who pushed her.
"Kalila-" he began.
"Kali. My full name really bothers me." she said irritably.
"Kali, then. Where exactly are we going?"
"To the store."
"Which store?"
"I dunno, which one do you want to go to?" she giggled. Landon sighed.
"Follow me." They walked less dangerously, after that, for Landon didn't push and yell the way Kali did. The store was filled with people when they arrived, and Kali demonstrated more of her people skills when she yelled at a woman to quit hoarding the butter. Landon tried to look apologetic while steering her away.
"You didn't need to yell like that," he murmured to her as they walked away. Kali shrugged.
"That girl shouldn't buy so much butter at once. You'd think she just sits at home eating toast or something!" Landon smiled slightly, and Kali looked positively triumphant. After buying their groceries, they left, loaded down with bags. Kali struggled along with bags, although Landon had more than her, and gave him a sharp look when he opened his mouth. He shrugged.
She can carry too much if she wants to.
"Don't you have a car?" she asked.
"Yep." Landon replied, supressing a smile.
"Agh! Why are we carrying all these stupid bags, then?"
"So I won't die of mal-nutrition. Besides, you never gave me a chance to get it." Kali grumbled something under her breath and stayed silent until they reached the building, where Landon found Dean outside his door.
"Hey, Lan!," he greeted, and then his eyes fell on Kali. "Who's your friend?" he asked suggestively. Landon would have screamed, but it would have been too out of character.
"Dean, this is Kali. My neighbour. Kali, this is Dean, my publisher." Kali narrowed her eyes, studying Dean to the point of discomfort. She shrugged.
"Oh." Dean was perturbed, but answered politely,
"Pleased to meet you." Seeing Kali was obviously not pleased to meet Dean, Landon started talking.
"What brings you here, Dean?" he asked, trying trying to sound like he was actually _glad_ to see him.
"Oh, just business. Did I come at a bad time?" Landon opened his mouth to say no, and then realized he'd just been offered a perfect excuse to get rid of the man.
"Actually, yes. I've got some things to do today."
"No problem. I'll see ya on Sunday, then." He left, and Kali began her interrogation.
"What's on Sunday?"
"My birthday."
"Really? That guy seems like a total jerk."
"You're making a jump, but it's true. He _is_ a jerk." Kali grinned.
"I happen to think I'm a great judge of character. Does it bother you?"
"That he calls you Lan." Landon shrugged.
"No, it's just a nickname." Kali nodded, and Landon unlocked the door before they entered the apartement. Soon, the fridge and cupboards were sufficiently full. Kali took this opportunity to finish off the jello.
"You know, you really should do something with this place. Buy some furniture. Paint, do _something_." Lan frowned.
"I'm fine with it the way it is. Besides, in my profession, you never know when you'll be making money next. I get paid for all my books that are sold, but over time they get sold less. I need to get out something new, then maybe I'll follow your advice." Kali looked at him strangely, shrugged, and said _she_ was going to go paint _her_ apartement.
"What do you do?" he asked curiously. She glanced up at him.
"Whatever I want. See ya, Lan!" she said evasively, and disappeared out the door.

Kali stood in her apartement, roller in hand, smiling at the wall. White. Perfect, absolutely perfect. Her small hands were smeared with paint, and her formerly black T-Shirt was now an unrecognizable shade of grey.(Note: Kali absent-mindedly leans against freshly painted walls...a lot!) She put away the painting supplies before taking a shower, and then sat down on her couch. It was blue. It was very, very blue, with very green pillows. The chair was yellow, with very orange pillows. Her friend would be arriving soon, and Kali knew she would love the furniture. A knock sounded at the door.
"Coming!" yelled Kali, dashing to the door. In the hallway she found Heidi, wearing a jester outfit and relieved expression.

Landon sat in front of the computer, eyes gritty and barely open. It was 3 am, and he was half asleep in his chair. He forced himself out of his clothes and into bed, and for once, he fell asleep easily. The next morning he did not, however, wake up easily. After only 4 hours of sleep a constant noise woke him. Bang, bang, bang.
He moaned, opening one eye. Bang, bang, bang.
Suddenly, the noise stopped. He buried his head underneath his pillow, but after 15 inutes of _trying_ to sleep, he gave up and took a shower. Halfway into his shower, someone began knocking on his door. He put on a towel and opened the door a crack. A girl with VERY bright orange hair stood in the hallway. Her eyes were purple, obviously contacts. She frowned.
"Shit. Wrong apartement. Sorry." Landon muttered something non-commital before returning to his shower. Afterward, he sat at his table and ate breakfast. Somewhere inside, his conscience was awakened and he just knew he'd be cajoled into eating breakfast from then on. There was, surprisingly, much noise from next door.
He could hear feminine laughter and voices, which scared him. There were others of her kind! Lan smiled at the thought. Trying to read the paper, his wet bangs kept clinging to his forehead and hung in his eyes. His hair was getting unruly and shaggy, needed to be cut. He restlessly did his dishes in the sink, uncertain of what he wanted to do. He could write, but just didn't feel like it. He found himself leaving his apartement, and when he entered the hallway there stood Kali. Kali, and two girls, both of which he recognized.
One was the girl who had knocked on his door earlier, and the other he couldn't quite place. She had shoulder length blond hair and blue eyes, and was wearing jeans and a sweater. Suddenly, he remembered her standing in the street wearing a jester hat.
"Good morning," he said. They didn't hear him. They were too busy arguing amongst themselves to even notice him.
"We really should-" began the blond, before Kali cut her off.
"Heidi, we CAN'T." The girl with orange hair sighed.
"Dammit, _listen_, Kali. We have to help him out. You know what a-"
"A naive idiot? A doormat?" supplied an angry Kali. "Kris, please, let's not do this. I don't wanna argue on your first day here." Landon cleared his throat, and they all jumped.
"What the-" began Kris.
"Oh, my-" whimpered Heidi, recognizing him as well.
"Hey, Lan!" said Kali brightly.
"Good morning," he repeated. Kali looked tired. She wore the orange pants again, this time with a light blue shirt. Her hair messy, and she didn't seem to have the spirit that had been with her shopping the day before.
"Where are you headed?" she asked nonchalantly. He shrugged.
"Just out for a walk." She pounced on his arm.
"Can I come with you?!?" she asked desperately. He glanced at her friends, who were glaring at Kali.
"Ummm...what about your friends?" he asked. Kali deflated.
"Oh. Yeah." she turned to her friends, smiling."You guys wanna come, too?" Landon did a mental facefault.

Heidi, he discovered, was the least....imposing. She wasn't loud, or obnoxious. Kris was amazingly so, while Kali was displaying her skills full blast. Kris, who had a cigarette in her mouth, looked extremely on edge. Heidi looked meek, and Kali looked falsely cheerful. Landon, who knew he had stumbled into something, was searching desperately for an out. They walked in uncomfortable silence for nearly 15 minutes before Landon made an attempt at coversation.
"So, are you guys visiting Kali?" Kris snorted, and Heidi sighed before answering.
"Actually, we came to ask her to do us a favor. Which she won't."
"That's not fair, you guys. It's an unfair thing to ask!" Kris crushed her cigarette with the heel of her boot. She looked...tough, like someone you'd expect to be in a gang. He only noticed then she had a pierced eyebrow.
"Kali! It's no big deal, we really need your help!"
"Why, exactly, is it her help you need?" asked Landon. Kali's head snapped up from staring at the ground and she glared at Heidi, who was already answering.
"She can..."she caught the look, faltered, and continued," She can drive...?" Kris laughed out loud. Kali grimaced.
"Nope. I've given up on my license, I've tried 5 times since I was 16." Landon was getting annoyed. This conversation was one that he couldn't be a part of unless they began to explain a few things, which they didn't seem willing to do.
"Kali, listen up. You have an apartement, away from _it all_. You can help us!" Kris growled. Landon decided to make his exit.
"It was nice meeting you guys, but I gotta go," he said. Kali's eyes widened.
"What? Where?"
"To meet Dean."
"Dean?! You're ditching me to go see the JERK?!" she hissed.
"I'm sorry, I've gotta go. See you later, Kali." he turned and ran in the opposite direction.

Later that night, Landon was writing in his room when someone knocked frantically on his door. He answered cautiously, and found Kali in the hallway. With a chair.
"Huh?" she smiled, a slightly frazzled smile.
"This, " she announced, "is your birthday present."
"My birthday's not until tomorrow," he reminded her.
"Well," she bit off,"I won't BE here tomorrow. I'll be with Kris and Heidi, doing them a DAMN favor!" Landon resisted the urge to hide behind the door.
"It's a chair?" he asked uncertainly. She nodded, her false smile returning.
"Look!" she turned it to face him, and it looked relatively less...backwards.
"Thanks. Now when you come over, we can sit on chairs. Not the floor." he smiled slightly, overwhelmed by the strangeness of it all. Kali seemed genuinely pleased, now. She brought it in the apartement and stood for a moment, staring at it.
"Where are you going tomorrow?" he asked. Kali frowned at the chair.
"Back to my old neighbourhood. Just for a day or so, but still, I hate to miss you turning...?"
"Twenty-two...?" he offered.
"Twenty-two!" She then sat in the chair, so Landon closed the door and sat as well. She was stalling for time, he noted, and didn't care how obviously she did it.
"Are you're friends....bugging you?" he asked. Kali shrugged.
"They're so adamant that I _have_ to come help. Why can't Brody get out of his own trouble? I say we all just let him go, but NO. *We can't abandon him, he's our friend!* " Landon sighed.
"Um, what exactly _is_ going on?" Kali blinked, and stood. Then, she sat.
"I'll tell you, just don't tell those guys I did." she jerked a thumb towards the wall. He nodded.
"Brody is a friend of our's from highschool."
"How old are you?"
"Shouldn't you still be IN highschool?"
"Shut up and listen!" she commanded, and he shut up.
"Brody get's himself mixed up with a bad crowd. It's amazing, really, he's the nicest person you'd ever meet, and the rotten guys are the ones he gets involved with!" Lan nodded, hoping she would continue.
"Anyhoo, I think that Heidi and Kris just don't have what it takes to get him out of it, this time. So, they're bringin in the big guns. Me."