DISCLAIMER: The L Word belong to Ilene Chaiken and Showtime, Grey's Anatomy is the property of Shonda Rhimes and ABC. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 24 Hours Challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Shane's Not Likely to Change
"Shane, have you ever thought about... well, changing your style?"
Alice knew as soon as the words left her mouth that Shane would go all prickly and defensive. What she wasn't expecting was the spray of mango smoothie that spewed from Shane's mouth. The sticky stuff landed squarely on Alice's new sunglasses- and a few other places as well.
"For God's sake, Shane-- it was just a suggestion!"
Indignantly, Alice wiped the offending substance from her lenses. To make things worse, Shane was laughing, slouching back in her seat, her long legs stretched out in front of her.
"Changing my what?"
"Style," Alice persisted, moving out of range, fearing another mango attack. "Like your hair! As long as I've known you, you've kept it exactly the way it is right now. Don't you ever want to try anything different? I mean-- it's been years!"
Shane leaned in and lowered her voice: the smoothie spew had already attracted the attention of several Planet customers and she didn't want their conversation to be the afternoon's entertainment du jour.
"Alice-- every day, someone asks me to change them. 'I hate my hair, I'm tired of my look, I want something new...' The last thing I feel like doing is changing my own hair. It's easy, it's convenient, it's..."
"Rather sexy... in a scruffy street urchin sort of way. And I mean that as a compliment." Helena had just pulled up a chair. "Alice, darling--you have something a bit orange on your earlobe."
Shane jumped up and licked it off. Alice pushed her away, refusing to let the topic go. "And there's your relationship problem. What are you going to do about that?"
Shane shrugged. "No relationship, no problem." She lit a cigarette, trying to distract Alice and Helena. "Can we talk about something else? Like what the fuck is going on with Jenny?"
"Something is always going on with Jenny," Helena murmured.
"But when you and Carmen," Alice began.
"Don't mention Carmen, Alice. I mean it. Don't go there. No Carmen, no Shay, no Paige---"
Helena tactfully jumped in, knowing quite well that the entire wedding incident-- or any of Shane's more recent adventures in Relationship Land was not something Shane wanted to discuss at the moment.
"Well, then, Papi...," Helena tried changing the subject. It was Alice's turn to interrupt.
"We are so not talking about her, either."
Shane stood up. "I've got to go."
The two women watched their friend walk off. Heads turned as Shane strode by.
Helena smiled. "I doubt she needs to change a thing. Look-- she could have any number of women in her bed tonight."
Alice frowned. "I still think it's time she thought a little more about the way she handles things. She's got the morals of an alley cat and the wardrobe of a sixteen-year-old boy. We can't act like kids forever. Change is healthy!"
Helena patted Alice's hand. "When she's ready, I'm sure she will. She has her own timetable, and you can't change that." She pulled her hand away.
"Alice--did you bathe in that smoothie?"
Wearily, Alice gazed at her fingers. "Oh, fuck!"
"This is perfect-- I love it!"
The redhead in the chair turned to Shane. "I am so glad I decided to do this."
"Well, it really brings out your eyes." Shane felt pretty good about the haircut she'd given the woman-- a referral from another customer. "Let me just..."
She reached closer, her hand brushing the redhead's breast so lightly that it might have been accidental. Shane was rewarded with a smile.
"Did you just... fondle me?"
"Didn't you want me to?" Shane fussed with random strands of red hair. Her tone was light, but her face was serious.
She also very much wanted to do more than fondle. Blue eyes remained steadily on Shane's face. Finally, she broke the silence, dipping in her bag. She took out a business card.
"I'm new in town, and here on my own. I'd love it if you'd think about showing me around... if you've got the time-- and the inclination?"
Shane kissed the woman lightly on the lips.
"I don't really need to think about it. How's tonight?"
"Great. Here-- this is the address of my office." Shane stifled the impulse to push the redhead back in the chair.
"Is eight o'clock good for you?" The woman stood up to go.
Shane nodded. "It's fine. Hey-- can I ask you something? Is that your real hair color?"
"Why don't you find out for yourself tonight?" The woman held out her hand.
"It was nice meeting you, Shane."
"Yeah, you, too, Addison."
Alice was concerned. She hadn't seen or heard from Shane in more than a week. After leaving countless messages, she was beginning to think she'd gone too far in her criticism. She was relieved when her cell rang and Shane was on the line.
"Have you got some time? Want to get coffee?"
"Damn you, Shane! I was beginning to wonder if you'd been hit by a car, or killed, or..."
"I'm fine. I'll meet you at The Planet in about, say, thirty minutes."
"Great. See you." Alice shut her phone. Something was going on. She could always tell...
Alice gazed around. Shane was nowhere in sight.
All the outside tables were taken, but she worried that Shane might assume she hadn't shown, so she hovered near the entrance. She checked her watch, growing more irritated by the minute. A slender dark-haired woman sat alone at one of the outdoor tables. She was alone, and the table was clearly meant for three or four people.
After another ten minutes had passed, she decided to ask the woman if she'd mind taking a seat inside. Marching right up to the table, she tapped the woman's shoulder.
"Excuse me, but I'm waiting for friends and I was hoping you'd ---"
The woman turned around.
"I was wondering how many times you were going to look over here before you'd decide to say something."
"What the... your hair!"
"Like it?" Shane tossed her waist length curls.
"Oh my God, it's horrible, take it off before someone we know sees us!"
Shane pulled the wig off and stuffed it in a shopping bag. She finger-combed her wild locks, grinning.
Alice smiled. "OK, I was wrong. I admit it. But were you so pissed that you couldn't even return my calls? I'm sorry, but c'mon, that's kind of extreme..."
"I've been busy." Shane craned her neck, surveying the busy crowd.
"Who are you looking for?"
Shane jumped up and waved. "Here she comes."
"Here who comes?" Alice followed Shane's eyes. "Wow, she's hot. How do you know her?"
The tall redhead walked up to Shane and kissed her. Shane affectionately kissed her back. Alice knew her friend well enough to figure out that this was no one night stand.
"You must be Alice; Shane talks about you all the time."
Alice reached out and shook the woman's hand.
"I'm so glad to finally meet you. I'm Addison. Addison Montgomery."
"Doctor," added Shane.
Alice was momentarily speechless.
"I wouldn't order a mango smoothie if I were you, Alice. We've been seeing each other exclusively for a while, right, Addie?"
Addison seemed confused. "Mango smoothie? Is this one of those insider jokes?"
Alice sat down with a thud. "I guess you could say that..."
The Chart was going to need updating.
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