27. Beautiful
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Content warning: mention of death

After mom went to work, me and Melissa watched some TV and just tried to sort of chill out. It didn't really work, we were both still uptight. After dealing with her folks in the morning then my dad in the afternoon, it was just too much stress and tension.

We wound up going to bed early, like around ten o'clock. She actually came and joined me in my room but we didn't fool around or anything. We cuddled and sort of kept each other company, that was it. I wore one of my nightshirts and she was in track-pants and a t-shirt, even though they were way too loose on her.

We were both asleep long before my mom got home.

When I woke in the morning I was almost scared to open my eyes, like scared to let myself wake up. I was afraid to find myself in a great mood.

You can't really fool yourself into believing you're still asleep though and after a few seconds I gave up. I opened my eyes and slowly sat up. There was no massive energy boost, no mood boost. It was just any normal Wednesday morning.

I honestly couldn't tell if I was relieved or disappointed. Maybe I was both.

One thing stood out of course, making this morning unlike any other Wednesday. My best friend was in bed with me, still asleep as she lay next to me. I couldn't help but stare.

She wasn't kidding about the changes speeding up. I was starting to feel like every day she was getting more and more beautiful.

According to her estimate she had between three and six more days till it was all over. From what I could see though, she could almost get work as a fashion model right now.

She was tall and skinny, but her face was gorgeous. Her lips were full and red and had a slight pout to them. Her cheekbones were high, her eyebrows thin and slightly arched, and her nose was small with a slight upturn. Her skin was clear, fair, and flawless. It looked soft and smooth.

Yesterday was the first time I noticed she had boobs, they were small enough that they were lost under her baggy shirt. This morning she was laying on her back and I could tell by how her t-shirt lay across her chest that they'd grown since yesterday. Tomorrow they'd probably be as big as mine. And she figured there were at least three more days to go.

A thought occurred to me and I felt a little pang of surprise.

The last time we hung out before I died, when I admitted I'd be ok with getting isekaied into a girl, she teased about me turning into a busty blonde bimbo. Then she told me pink was her favourite colour, and said if we were both isekaied she'd be the one in a skirt. Now I couldn't help wonder if that bimbo tease was actually what she wanted for herself.

The thought left me feeling a little uncomfortable.

Between the two of us, I was the one who got the bad grades at school. I was clever in other ways, just not the ways they gave you credit for in class. Melissa was the smart one with the high test scores, and I couldn't imagine she'd want that to change. Or maybe it was about looking like a bimbo rather than acting like one. Or maybe I was completely off-base and worrying for no reason.

I still didn't know what she'd asked Lily to do for her. And I wouldn't ask, I'd just wait and see what happened over the next week.

After staring at her for a few more minutes I finally got up out of bed. I tried to move quietly so I wouldn't disturb her, but my weight shifting on the bed must have done it. Her eyelids fluttered open and she took a moment to focus on me.

"G'mornin' Mara," she mumbled. "What time is it?"

I glanced at the clock, "Hey Melissa, sorry to wake you. It's almost eight thirty."

She stretched, then flashed me a sleepy smile and asked "If you're going to the kitchen could you put the coffee on for me?"

Something about her expression, how she looked with her wavy golden hair resting messily over her face, and even how she moved was just too adorable.

I gulped but nodded "Sure."

"Thanks," she grinned.

I stayed as quiet as I could as I opened the bedroom door and slipped out into the hall, then closed the door behind me. I got the coffee machine started first, then poured myself a glass of juice.

As I sat down at the table I finally got my mind off my best friend and back onto what was troubling me when I first woke up. I wasn't feeling that huge energy mood boost this morning, so I knew Lily didn't feed last night.

I sipped my juice and wondered what was going to happen tomorrow. Would she do it tonight? Or would dad show up here again tomorrow, maybe with a few of his cop buddies, and get me and my mom arrested on some fake bullshit charges?

The whole thing was annoying and frustrating. I hated that I was actually related to that guy, and I was incredibly grateful for the fact that I didn't look like him anymore. Thinking about him and all his threats and his smug attitude got me uptight again, but a minute later Melissa joined me in the kitchen and I was able to forget about my dad and just stared at my best friend instead.

Two weeks ago I noticed she didn't walk like most guys. Now I thought she was moving like a dancer or something. Maybe it was the way her hips swayed. And normally I wasn't really into the skinny-model look, but something about her just sort of drew my attention to her. Like she just looked really good, but I couldn't really define it.

She smiled when she saw the full pot of coffee, "Mara you're the best!"

I just watched as she moved to it and started fixing herself a mug. She had to keep pulling up her track-pants every half minute or so which was clearly annoying her.

When she finally sat down with me at the table she sighed, "Maybe I do need to go do a bit of shopping after all? I could get some stretchy things that are at least fitted a little better than this stuff. Maybe some leggings and a couple tunic tops? And a nightshirt, or maybe a satin teddy?"

I just nodded slowly "Ok."

She sipped her coffee then grinned at me, "Mara are you ok this morning? You keep staring at me."

I blinked then blushed as I realized she was right. "Sorry Melissa. You just look really beautiful this morning. Like, you could get a modelling job right now if you wanted."

That got a blush out of her, "That's nice of you to say, but c'mon. There's at least a few more days left, I don't look that good."

Rather than argue with her I just nodded and had another sip of juice.

Mom got up around nine and joined the two of us in the kitchen, she got herself some coffee as well. When I finished my juice I got up and made the three of us breakfast. I did omelettes this time, and they turned out pretty good even though it was tricky making three of them at once.

Afterwards, when the dishes were done and the kitchen tidied up me and Melissa both got dressed then we hopped in her car and she drove us over to the big mall on highway nine. I hadn't really done any shopping since Lily changed all my clothes for me, but it turned out to be way more fun than it was when I was a guy.

Me and Melissa went to a dozen different stores and tried on lots of clothes, though neither of us spent much money. In the end she picked up three casual outfits to get her through this week, and we both bought some lingerie. She got a cute pink satin teddy, and I got a really sexy black lace bra and panty set.

I noticed as we walked around the mall that the two of us were getting a fair number of stares from various guys. That was a new experience for me, and it sort of hit me that I hadn't actually been out in crowded places since I died. Or when I had been out in public, I'd been too wrapped up in my own thoughts to pay attention to folks staring at me.

Melissa seemed to notice the stares too, but from what I could tell it didn't bother her at all. I felt a bit awkward about strangers gawking at my butt, but she didn't seem to mind.

There was also a high-end camera place in the mall and the two of us spent some time in there looking at different makes and models. We talked to one of the sales guys, and mentioned the course we were going to take. We didn't actually buy anything yet but I took notes on my phone, and took the guy's business card.

By the time we were done I had a fairly good idea what I wanted, and Melissa pointed out if we went with the same brand for our cameras then we could share all the accessories, lenses and stuff like that. I liked that idea, and it meant we could get some more stuff without breaking our budget.

It was mid afternoon by the time we finally got home. Mom was getting ready for work, and Melissa changed out of her ill-fitting guy clothes and put on one of her new outfits. She went with some pastel-green leggings and a large pink top. It looked really cute on her, and the tight leggings really highlighted her long slim shapely legs.

Before I got too lost staring at her, mom called me from her bedroom. "Mara could you come here please?"

"Hi mom, what's up?" I asked as I joined her in her room.

She was ready for work, but sitting on her bed with her laptop. She turned the computer so I could see the screen, and in a quiet serious tone she asked "Mara did Lily to anything to your father yesterday? Is she responsible for this?"

I moved closer and looked at the laptop. The browser was on a news website, on an article from this morning about a single-vehicle car accident down in the city. The headline stated there was one fatality.

My blood ran cold as I read the text. At around one o'clock this morning, a BMW drove over a curb and across a parking lot then wound up in the lake at the Quay West marina. Police divers recovered one body from the vehicle. Later this morning the victim was identified as Michael Warner. My dad. The article mentioned that the BMW had been seen driving erratically, and the police suspected alcohol was a factor. But they hadn't ruled out foul play yet, and they were continuing their investigation.

By the time I got to the end of the article my hands were shaking slightly and I felt numb.

"Well?" mom asked. "Could Lily have been responsible?"

I shook my head, "No. Not possible."

Mom frowned at me, "How can you be so sure?"

For a moment my mind was racing. I wasn't going to tell her about the energy boost thing, that would mean telling her Lily ate people's souls, which would probably mean telling her she was a demon.

Instead I said, "Like I told you yesterday, she can't do anything permanent with her magic? It's only temporary. It wears off in an hour or two. And the article said that happened at one this morning? Me and Melissa were here together all night last night. Lily couldn't have had anything to do with it."

Mom watched me for a few moments, then finally she nodded "Ok Mara. I'm sorry I had to question you like that."

"It's ok mom," I replied quietly. "I get it."

I still felt numb, and there were some guilty thoughts in the back of my mind. I basically asked Lily to kill my dad, now he was dead. I was confident Lily didn't do it, but I still wanted it and now it happened.

Mom sighed, "The police might come and question us. If he told anyone he was coming here yesterday and the police find out, they'll probably be retracing his steps."

I frowned, "We haven't done anything wrong. They can question us but they won't find anything."

Mom nodded, "I know Mara. It would be difficult though regardless."

She added, "He probably got himself drunk then crashed on his way home from a bar. Last I heard he had a condo in that part of the city, and he was always a drinker."

I sighed, "Are you going to be ok mom? Are you sure you want to go to work tonight? I know you didn't like the guy but this is another huge thing ontop of all the other huge things in the last month."

This was exactly the kind of thing mom didn't want any more of. Less than a month after I died in a car accident, her ex-husband was also killed in a car accident.

Mom was silent for a minute or two, then she just shrugged. "I don't even know right now. I guess I'm just numb."

I still felt that way myself, but I worried about her. Especially if the numb wore off at work and she was hit with a bunch of other emotions.

I suggested, "Maybe you should call in sick? Or if you want, I'll call for you?"

She thought for another minute or so then shook her head, "I'll be ok. I've only got four nights left before I'm finished."

I sighed but moved closer and gave her a hug. "Just be careful ok? Do you want me to wait up for you tonight?"

Mom hugged me back and shook her head again, "It's ok Mara. Thank you for offering."

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