Chapter 3: Diva , Tae

03 ] Diva , Tae

The last time Tae had been to visit her parents, they had just got a dog to replace her. Apparently, wealthy people owning poodles was officially ‘out of fashion’. Their new West Highland White Terrier looked mightily comfortable sleeping in her bed. Yes. I said in.

The worst part about it was that Tae had begged them for a pink poodle for years. Now, of course, she shared her current lodgings with the Kiss Kiss Bandits and our docile Bombay cat Sierra, whose vacant copper eyes bore into her with every movement she made, watching and judging. What a kick in the face – to want a dog for so long, end up with a cat, and discover that the place she’d just left now has a dog.

Queenie, the new princess of the household, haughtily trotted out of her special kennel to meet her with its little nose in the air. To be honest, why they let it sleep in Tae’s bed if it had a kennel, I have no idea. The small canine sniffed her with suspicion, and then proceeded to ignore her.

“Mutt.” Tae muttered, fiddling with the ends of her hair uneasily. In her family, reunions were never pleasant. For her.

Suddenly, her mother flung open the front door wearing a dress too fancy for indoors and shrieked, “Chaaaaawntaaaae!” for the whole road to hear, rushing across too-perfect-to-be-real grass in pink fluffy slippers. Tae no longer tried to escape the bone-crushing hug, instead she stood stiffly and accepted it. As infuriating as her mother was, she had that special, comforting smell of home-baked cookies, the type that were warm and gooey in texture.

“Sweetheart.” came her father’s calm voice.

He stood on the doorstep with a hand outstretched, motioning impatiently for them to come inside. His hug was lumbering and awkward; Tae was used to this. She once told me her parents were too up their own asses to behave like proper parents. At the time, I’d just exchanged a quiet look with Carmela and said nothing. Coming from generally loving families, we always felt awkward when other people dissed their parents.

“We obviously have a lot to talk about,” her father continued, leading her into the enormous sitting room. “Come on then, don’t be so glum. Sit down.” he urged, sitting down himself and pulling her mother to sit beside him.

Anyone who saw the state of Tae’s house would think she was completely insane to leave at all. A large, cream coloured manor with a mint green roof and a front yard the size of a football pitch. Even Queenie’s kennel was one of those custom-made things that was an exact replica of the house. I didn’t know people still bought those.

“Look, I’m not here to kiss and cuddle, sorry to burst your bubble.” Tae told them, struggling to keep her irritation under control, which was always ten times harder in the face of her prudish parents. “Why did you cut off my allowance?”

Hiatus Explanation.

I have not forgotten about this. I never do.

When I post, I post the rewritten version of the original, but I usually do directly before I post as I can rarely seem to make time for it. Whenever I open the document, I do a bit of rewriting, but the moment I get to the reordering part (as the story DVTJ is a retelling, it's rarely sequential) I always get so confused that I end up either getting a headache or my eyes hurting from staring at the screen for so long, and so I have to stop.

This story hasn't been forgotten and I won't be giving up. The full story might take a while to get here, but stories have a habit of doing that.

Thanks for stickin' around.

Star xx

Chapter 2: Thugette , Carmela

02 ] Thugette , Carmela

Welcome to the Kiss Kiss Bandits apartment!

Step beyond the front door onto our Ikea mat – that feels so nice, you’ll want to roll on it – and you’ll see the three-seater and widescreen TV staring at each other in the petite living area to the left. The TV was courtesy of our lovely Diva Tae, the doll. Oh, and over there in the corner is the desk where little Shaire does her school homework. The apartment is barely big enough for it. See the glossy black statuette on the window sill? Yeah, that’s our cat.

We got an open plan kitchen to the right. It’s surprisingly big, actually; we could get a table in there, shove four chairs around it and still have space to walk around it without having to shuffle sideways.

Just beyond the kitchen is the only bathroom. Do not, ever, underestimate the savagery that can arise in a girl who has to share a bathroom with three other girls. Shit, with anyone. It is war. And war is not the fucking playground.

Opposite the front door is the door master bedroom – I don’t know who in hell designed this apartment – which is the bedroom of the vibrant Kaidyn and Tae. We call it the Red Room. Standing ineffectually between the Red Room door and Shaire’s desk is the creaky Blue Room door, bedroom of the relatively quieter Carmela and Shaire. Despite that the Red Room is bigger, Kaidyn and Tae fight over the space like Amazonians. I knew they were used to having their own space of a certain size, but it took a stern word from me to get them to ‘make do’.

I want you to realise that it is not, nor has it ever been a ‘smooth ride’.

I want you to understand how much we had to work and strive and sweat and bleed to get this place. Look at it. So small, so neat and cosy, so homely; smelling of Tae’s fancy Nag Champa incense and Kaidyn’s perfume; Sierra’s black fur all over our favourite blanket that we drape over like legs when we watch a movie together; Shaire’s scraps of paper containing lyrics and poetry and homework covering every flat surface; Carmela not leaving a trace of her existence apart from a hi-tech laptop that Tae gave her, which always remained open on her latest music project. Literally everything they – we... have worked for, is contained within those four walls, the value dispersed between shampoos and big value packets of pasta and rice in the cupboards, our clothes, the furniture, the little pieces of decoration that we had.

Me, Tally and Kaidyn had managed okay when we were there. The New Bandits – as I didn’t discover for a long time – were seriously struggling. Besides Kaidyn’s job and the extra Carmela earned doing ‘confidential’ jobs with Redeye, most of the finances were being covered by Tae until her hideously wealthy parents cut off her allowance. Shaire was still at school and earnestly looking for work, joining the ranks of thousands of frustrated graduates. And each month when the rent was due... the fear of losing this sweet little place, and everything in it, hung over them all.

So that’s why I wasted five, six hundred words on it.

Chapter 1: Vixen , Kaidyn

01 ] Vixen , Kaidyn

This is what a vixen is. A female fox; a scandalous, seductive, succubus-like female; a dominant, clever and overtly sexual female.

Her name is Kaidyn.

The definition of a vixen is the definition of Kaidyn, and vixens that are not Kaidyn should not be called vixens unless they have four legs and like to make a fucking racket in the alley outside when I'm trying to sleep.

They call her Lipstick Assassin. Actually, they don’t. I named her that. I named her that because I was naïve, bored, and kind of sad, but I admired her, and she was flattered with the title. What a strange relationship we had. I had always felt tame next to her outrageous charm, her outrageous flirting, her outrageous drinking, her irresistible allure when it came to guys. As it happened, she worshipped my eclectic tenancies, my sporadic sensibilities, my meek intellect – for the majority of my college life, we were inseparable.

Then Tally, Playgirl Savage, joined Kaidyn and myself, the Kiss Kiss Bandit. My adoration encompassed both of them, so I let them share my name as well. So the three of us became the KKB, like those adorable, dumb little girl gangs you make up at school. It was meant to be a joke. Of course, it didn’t stay that way for long.

No. Before long, we didn’t have much college friends left, because Kaidyn fully embraced and flaunted our new identity, becoming the face of the Kiss Kiss Bandits and projecting her traits onto all of us. So while various boys and men were flirting or taking the piss, other girls began to think we were either too much of a threat, too pretentious, or too damn weird. That’s how the drama began – it never really ended.

So... where shall I start telling my story?

Shall I start when misfits Kaidyn, Tally and I got our tattoos, and realised that with tattoos, comes great responsibility? Perhaps when suddenly, everywhere we turned, other ‘special people’ appeared, bringing chaos with them? Or maybe when my life was in peril, forcing me to step down from my own group and become the quiet mastermind behind the KKB, while Kaidyn and three new girls were at the forefront?

Well, it makes sense to start with the one girl who was there from the start and is determined to see it through to the end; Kaidyn.


00] Introduction

“Ahem.” Kaidyn stood up.

“There’s only one set of bitches in this town and they proudly carry the title ‘Bandit’ – whether they be divas, vixens, ‘thugettes’,” She made quote marks with fingers, “Or...”

“... ‘juliets’.” I said finally.

“Juliets.” Kaidyn said approvingly, looking down at our young but nubile – yes, I said nubile - bodies sprawled across the grassy front courtyard of our college. The wind was persistent in playing with our skirts and we’d given up trying to shield our legs from the world. We squinted up at her.

“What made Kiss Kiss Bandits something of a legend was their notorious reputation of playing men like dummies. Virgin or vixen, all they need are kisses soft enough to make a man’s knees weak, and then it’s all over. OVERR!”

Tally burst out laughing, cheering and clapping her hands as Kaidyn bowed.

I looked from Kaidyn to her Vixen partner in crime, Tally, their musical laughter echoing like a siren’s song, turning every head within a mile radius. They were actually proud of this silly thing I’d created. Humbly, silently, I lowered my eyes to my lap. It would be funny if she wasn’t actually serious.

But it’s true – that’s how we are seen now.

I think, if I am not wrong, that was the precise day it began. We got our tattoos on that very same day, and within a month, Kaidyn was making books fly across the room and Tally was making her crushes and enemies plead to be near her at the bat of an eyelid, against their will.

There’s no end to it to the gossip, from the home-wrecking to the supernatural. I have truly heard it all, all of the stupid talk that ignorant, uneducated, unethical, stupid, bullshit women – for want of much, much better words – proclaim in public places to keep the Kiss Kiss Bandit morale low.

It’s okay. The Bandits can handle it. The Bandits can keep their emotions ‘on lock’, as Kaidyn is particularly fond of saying. We are, apparently, the ‘Bitches At Work’, a dumb way of euphemising that we ‘run things’, which basically just means that some people think we are cool.

I didn’t understand it. Surely Kaidyn and Tally would have preferred to be popular and actually have friends than copy my misfit status and shun the world via scorn. It was beyond me how fast our little group became lunchtime talk at college, and then neighbourhood talk after we left. We seemed to have the Twilight effect on people; we were either loved or hated. Some adored us and were eager to be a part of what they thought was a lavish, promiscuous, bachelorette lifestyle. I would have been okay if everybody else thought we were childish and not worth the attention, but instead those ones were insanely jealous, spiteful and hateful. It escalated. I think Tally’s ability had a big part in making people feel awed or apprehensive about us.

I wish this was a normal story.

If it was, I could just lose myself in telling you the adventures of my Kiss Kiss Bandits, all of the things that Kaidyn, Tally and I got up to at college, including an incredibly amusing and fiery flirting-scorning game we played with CT, this infamous guys-only clique who were often viewed as our male counterparts. I could tell you about what happened after I stepped down and Tally also decided to leave, leaving the four current members of the Kiss Kiss Bandits:

Vixen Kaidyn, who was trying to put her promiscuous past behind her – while her shopping addiction had her chasing better paid jobs as determinedly as men chased her.

Then we had Diva Tae, who slyly caused chaos to get the attention of the guy she was trying to steal from his stuck-up girlfriend, all while striving to outsmart her somewhat conceited parents with conniving tricks and deceit, so she could get up to no good with the KKB.

The Thugette, Carmela, who sought protection and financial stability from another secret gang, but was also struggling to keep her family together as her mother became an alcoholic, her older brother a gangster, and her younger brother the class outcast.

And Juliet Shaire, whose fascination with a crush led to a complicated and dangerous involvement with a mischievous group of boys – that’s right, CT – who had a reputation for stealing, womanising, heartbreaking and generally being assholes.

But our new-found ‘special powers’ was something else to deal with, and then of course, some lunatic tried to kill me with their abilities, so goodbye ‘Normal Story’.

If I didn’t think this story was worth telling, I wouldn’t bother to waste your time. But I can’t let this story die, and I cannot let our legend go. After all we have been through and all that we have discovered, I can’t let myself forget any of this. After all, I started this. I am the cause of a series of irrelevant and mundane lives becoming tangled up in each other, in the most ungodly mess that has ever been.

I am about to tell you everything. I will tell you the whole thing, because I want to, because I can, and because it is important. I will tell you about my all-female legion, the Kiss Kiss Bandits, why it’s a dead-dumb move to mess with them, how the four ‘diva’, ‘vixen’, ‘thugette’ and ‘juliet’ classifications I naively made up at college became the worshipping  sub-groups of the KKB, and the full tale of our tug-of-war with wealth, influence, rivalry and power. Now, you can listen...

...or you can go about your shit as usual, in ignorance.

So… are you ready?