Some pictures I did of Tao.
RIDE TO DINNER : Kindness and You - how to make someone's day, MY FIRST REAL FRIEND By Watercolorheart

She ran her hands through her hair, grumbling. Nina hated tangles. Her fine white tresses ensured she almost always had some. Taokex glanced at her with a lopsided smile, and quickly looked away again.

She didn’t know what was going on, but her roommate was treating her differently over the past few days. Nina wondered if Tao had a secret she was hiding from her, or if she had done something wrong.

Taokex seemed to appear instantaneously next to her with a hairbrush. “Need this?”

“Ahah! You startled me,” the bunny said, panting in surprise.

“Sorry.” Tao looked appropriately apologetic.

“How soon do we need to leave to make our reservation?” Nina asked.

Taokex glanced at the automatic sundial. 

“Now.”

“Crap.”

“You look fantastic. Just take the brush and brush your way on the way in the wagon.”

Nina was surprised. “You ordered a vehicle for us?”

“It’s too far for walking,” Tao said. “I didn’t want you spoiling your brand new shoes we just got picked out for you.”

“Now I am worried what the driver will think of my hair…”

“Oh, Losus, girl! You are more than your pretty head of hair! If I’m telling you that you already look fine, you do, okay? Trust Tao.”

“I do, it’s just…”

Taokex put a finger toward her lips, not quite touching. “Sshhh.”

There was a bell ring from outside the dormitory, then again.

“That’s our ride. We need to hustle.”

Nina swore loudly. She gathered up her jacket, put on her belt, her hat, and ran out the door behind her roommate who, of course, was already prepared and ready. Nina felt the sting of comparison and not measuring up.

Taokex made a hurrying motion with her hands and Nina broke into a jog. Her roommate was already standing next to the steam-powered wagon, where the driver waited, holding the door open for them.

Nina stumbled in her hurry, as the edge of the dress caught on the steamwagon door. She fell into the soft seat as she missed a step.

She looked up and Tao’s hands were reached out towards her in alarm or to help her back up.

“Are you alright?”

“Yep, I’m fine.”

Nina readjusted the lower portion of her long purple dress, making sure nothing was ripped or torn as she inspected it. Then she sat down properly, with her knees together.

Her roommate sat down next to her after she slid over to make room.

“Maybe the bottom is a little long…” she mused. 

The driver held his tongue as he got into the front portion of the vehicle. This conversation was clearly female-dominated territory he had no part in, after all.

“I’m just not used to wearing dresses or walking in them,” Nina explained, “farmgirl. So I wore pants most of the day.”

“I get that. Do you think it’s the shoes?”

“No, I don’t. It’s not the shoes, it’s me. Trust me.”

Big Tao made a big frown.

“It’s not you. I’ll take a look at tailoring it when we get back.”

“You tailor stuff?” 

Nina looked surprised. She had no idea that her party-loving roommate did things like sew.

“No, but I have someone who does it for me,” Tao said, managing to look a little insulted. “ I’ll make sure it fits right. I do have a cloth tape measure for that reason.”

“Thanks… you’re always doing all this stuff for me. I feel like I’m not doing enough in return.”

Taokex’s face brightened like a sunbeam.

“Just seeing you happy is return enough. We’re friends!”

We’re friends, Nina echoed. My first real friend, not approved by my family. She found herself smiling back too, feeling a little silly but also happy.

Published by Watercolorheart

Artist, animator, painter, writer, aspiring musician. Working on short stories for an animated series called Sparse. Pen name Lyn Mitre.

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