Paisley frowned when she saw Vahka and Vincent leave. Part of her, the shy little imp, worried that Vahka's leaving had something to do with her pseudo-conversation with Vincent. But rationality soon saw to that nonsense. Vahka would not be so crass as to leave over something like that
. Logic blamed Pia, or, rather, Pia and Vahka, kissing. Paisley was no peeping tom. That sort of thing was sick! So when Vahka realized Paisley was there to see them.
So it was still Paisley's fault. Technically.
Paisley didn't let that bother her though. What's done was done. Once it was all over, Pia spoke again. No squishy stuff? Paisley snorted.
"Eww, Pia!" She squealed. "Gross! I don't want to hear about that
Her eyes quickly darted to her feet. Paisley considered for a moment. Then she smiled, sadly, save for an uplifting hint.
"... Tch. Whatever, just don't tell Tucker, okay?"
Paisley didn't have any stories to tell. Merely the loosest threads of stories and nothing more. She talked about her first kiss, a dare at summer camp. She mentioned Marcus, briefly, then the other boys. There were a couple, none of whom were soccer players and sweet and kind. It was funny, how she kept coming back to Marcus.
Pia told her about Dougie. And Vahka. Pia wasn't shy, either, though she left out the 'squishy' details. As much as it left a bad taste in her mouth, Paisley always appreciated her candor. She didn't judge Pia. She just listened.
They talked for awhile. Paisley smiled so much, then. It was nice to smile. Pia and Vahka, they had that effect on her.
She stopped smiling.
Much later, when Pia was safely asleep, Paisley got up and walked out of the room. She felt the choker around her neck, feeling the smooth metal and tiny indentations. Paisley pulled at her bandanna gently.
"... Wait, never mind. I'll talk to you later."
She wasn't about to waste her only lifeline on trivial matters. Stupid conspiracies. It was stupid, incredibly stupid, and she needed to stop thinking. Paisley knew what she was going to do. With Pia by her side.. Pia was her only hope. Pia was also her only friend.
So, really, what was there to question? Clear cut. Crystal. No questions.
That's what she told herself. And so Paisley Hopkins pretended to believe Paisley Hopkins.
... Her brain was a stubborn mule though.
(Paisley Hopkins continued in The Devil You Know