For the city that hosts the congress of nations, Deqla looks surprisingly uncrowded to the eye. The streets are all relatively wide, letting in plenty of sunlight and allowing sufficient of room for bicyclists and pedestrians to coexist with public transport and delivery trucks, while only a handful of buildings cap out over ten stories tall. It was a city that was designed by people who knew what the future would look like, and had plenty of budget to make whatever was needed to further Aramaia's status on the world stage to visiting diplomats and dignitaries happen. Further away from the congress and the local universities, the work is rather less extravagantly maintained, but even the side streets are well lit and relatively clean to help keep crime statistics down. What they don't have is a lot of people in them on early weekday afternoons, which makes the fact that her appearance is completely unobserved a bit less unusual.
"The couch does pull out into a bed, but you don't need to sleep there unless you want to since I'm not hosting anyone in the guest bedroom right now. Here, let me show you actually."
It's not the biggest apartment ever, but it's not incredibly cramped. There's a bathroom with shower and tub, a full kitchen with dishwasher, stove, over and fridge, an adorably sized washer and dryer in a walk-in closet, two bedrooms and a living room. The incongruous technology continues to show up here as well; the kitchen stove is a fancy induction model and the apartment has a digital thermostat, but the living room television is an old CRT machine and the wall has a corded landline phone.
"And this here is where you'd be staying; you've got a small closet here for clothes or other storage and the door locks by turning like so, but I only have the ceiling light installed so if you'll want it brighter I'll have to find you a lamp or something."
It's objectively not much, and on loan besides, but the overwhelming feeling she has looking at this small room is relief. She won't have to live on the street. The rest can be sorted out with good sense, skill, and some luck.
"... Thank you so much," she says, a little quaver in her voice as her tear ducts make a bid to start up. She takes a slow breath and exhales. "Sorry, I really don't want to dump out all my emotions on you, it's just been a bad day. You're really a lifesaver, and I'll do my best to pay back your trust."
Honestly, this isn't too different from her family's old place out in Richmond, just a bit smaller. The CRT is familiar, the landline phone is familiar. Almost painfully so.
She folds her hands together and starts to think out loud. "I guess I'll do my best to get settled and figure out my next steps. Karen would be more familiar with the local bureaucracy, but since the local busses are free in off-peak hours I should be able to do some footwork, maybe go to the university campus or a public library and check out some books about the local area to read in the evenings... Karen says my forms should take about two weeks to process so I'm going to do my best to get things lined up so that I can get a job as soon as that's available to me, and from there work on getting my own apartment. We might end up in a sublet situation if the first one is easier than the second? I expect you'll want the room for someone who needs it more at that point, but if apartment hunting goes slowly I will happily pay rent if I can."
"If you end up in a position to move out, I probably will find another person to room with, but I'm not going to kick you out while you still need it; if you feel like you need to get a job right this instant or you'll have to go to a shelter that's the opposite of the point. I wouldn't say I'm rich, but I'm not struggling with my bills or anything. Speaking of next steps, though, what does your clothes and toiletries situation look like? I have some spares if you're feeling overwhelmed and just want to settle in, but more broadly I'm not sure if this is the kind of situation where I should be expecting Karen to come back with your stuff that she somehow got back for you via some completely implausible story that will nevertheless turn out to somehow be true or where I need to take you shopping so you aren't stuck with only the clothes on your back."
"I've got what I'm wearing. The purse has a small hairbrush in it but I've got no other clothes or toiletries. I seriously doubt Karen's going to show up with the rest of my stuff, so I would love to use your spares collection, and if you could cover a decent interview outfit that would be hugely appreciated."
She smiles wryly. "My family was pretty proud about not accepting others' generosity, so each thing I ask weighs, you know? I guess I feel like there are people who need it more than me, even when I'm in a situation like this."
"I guess I kind of feel like if being alone in new country without citizenship or any material items doesn't count, I'm not sure what does? But it's not like I don't get what it's like to be prideful about this kind of thing. We can see about getting you a toothbrush and a couple other essentials in one trip when you feel up for shopping, and I'll valiantly refrain from making you try on a dozen new dresses and shoes to go with your interview clothes."
"Yeah, I'm not saying it's rational at all. I've always had trouble with asking for help."
Hey, Lindsey. Do you need me to switch in?
I think she'll probably notice if you show up all of a sudden.
Then please, at least accept for her to get you enough outfits that you don't have do laundry every other day.
That feels pretty scary. I don't know this woman...
Please do it, or I'll do it for you.
The body's adopted a thinking pose for the two or three seconds that it's taken to have that whole conversation in mindspace.
Lindsey looks up again.
"... It's hard to say this, but... if you press me I probably won't turn down a couple additional outfits. I just... I have this instinct to be small and not take up space and it's not helpful, not really."
"If it's a matter of pride I can always insist on repaying you later once I've found my feet. This instinct's just getting in the way."
You needed to say it.
I was saying it.
Not clearly enough you weren't.
The body blushes and looks away, Lindsey having grabbed it back as soon as Liath said her piece.
Aww that's adora- Bad brain, this woman has just done something really hard for her and asked for help, you aren't going to ruin this. And it's way too soon to offer to hug her anyway, Amara barely even knows her.
"In that case, I think I will insist. Let's pick out one or two things you like the look of now from my stuff, so you have something, and at the store I can make sure to keep getting you to try on clothes until you actually have as many as you want that you like."
Sophie's closet has a lot of pastels, mixed with darker blues and greens and pinks, but there is a few things in white if she wants them and one pretty red dress. The cloth actually feels a little softer than she's used to from earth fabric and the threads closer together, and while they're not tailored to her when she tries them on they fit reasonably well.
"Oh, you like pastels too! That's wonderful, I can get by with a couple of these blouses quite comfortably. One of these floor-length skirts would be lovely as well. I shan't ask for your lovely red dress even though I covet it. All of these are higher quality than I'd have been able to get back home, so I honestly feel a little spoilt."
She holds up one of the deeper pink tops against her upper body. "I think this would go well with my hair, so if you're willing to part with it I'd love to have it."
Sophie gives her a once over.
"Oh that does look nice on you, I approve! And I'm sure we can find you something nice and red if you still want it then, or if not I can use it as an excuse to buy myself something new."
"You're a very giving person, you know that? Letting a stranger raid your wardrobe willy-nilly." She smiles slightly. "I'll take the pink top, the long skirt with the leaf pattern, and one of your white blouses, if that's okay with you."
"I mean, I guess that's not wrong? But it's not so much what it feels like from the inside. It's more like... I live in a rich country, I have scholarships and a part time job and parents, so it's not like I'm at risk of financial problems for covering the basics for someone who needs help. And meanwhile reaching out like this has gotten me a really good friends over the years and it makes me happy to help people. I don't want to belittle your problems by acting like it's no big deal, it's just hard to feel like it, and from my perspective the thing I'm trying not to do is make sure you don't miss out on something you need to thrive because you feel you've asked too much already."
"Er, which is to say yes you can take those."