Mizi clutched her portfolio tightly to her chest as the rain beat down on her. She marched up the street towards Nat's house. Lousy, stinking art galleries. Who were they to tell her that her work wasn't art? They just didn't understand its meaning, its depth. They were the untrained artists, not her.
A sobering shudder ran through her body and she let out a defeated sigh, slowing down her pace. Perhaps it would just be better if she stopped painting while under the influence of opium and absinthe. Perhaps she was better off waiting for the swirl of colors before her eyes to fade away before she tried to paint them. It certainly might make less of a mess.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she noticed a blonde woman tripping down the stairs to her house. She reached out and grabbed the petite woman's arm, trying to steady her.
"Are you all right?" She yelled over a clap of thunder. In between flashes of lightning, she could faintly make out her face but Mizi didn't recognize her. Her face looked murky and somewhat confused. "Been hitting the bottle?"
Instinctively Josephine reached for the outstretched arm, holding tightly to it so that she wouldn't any more awkward slips down the steps. Within moments she was straightening, and within moments of that she was evening her breath out to something qualifying as a normal pace once. Her eyelashes were still sticky with the dark eyeliner she'd been wearing, as the rain (and her own tears) had changed it into a sort of thick muck. Both blue eyes were haloed by the run-off of this same darkness, so that when they finally looked up at the other woman and widened, they seemed especially white.
For an instant she thought she was Nat. Wasn't a surprise. She was so out of it she'd probably see the Russian in the shadows. Josephine shook her head to clear it of the resemblence, looking down at herself instead. She let out a single, pathetic note of laughter.
"Not enough," she replied grimly.
It was Mizi's turn to laugh, releasing the girl's arm.
"And how, sister." She sighed and shook her head, looking out at the street. "Seems like there isn't enough liquor out there for what this world will throw at you."
She fixed her eyes at the blonde again, noticing the black eyeliner running down her face with the rain. Her face looked sad, in fact, she looked humilated. The only person who lived in that house who could make someone look this sorry was Nat.
"Have a run in with Nat?" She hesitated pointing out her relation to the crime boss, in the event this woman had some vendetta against her.
The question sparked another brief round of bitter laughter. The woman's face settled into a frown again as soon as it was over, her darkly penciled brow furrowing.
"He's got some nerve," she muttered. As she spoke she seemed to remember where she was, and more importantly what she must've looked like. Though she wanted nothing more right now than to crawl under some hole, to look pathetic and worn out and tired, Josephine still found herself smoothing out her rather drab brown dress, and slowly brushing her damp curls back into place. Grooming was a good distraction.
It was a sigh that brought her attention back up to the other woman. "But men, right?" the blonde scoffed.
There was a pause as something clicked in her mind, and her eyes snapped to Mizinovskaia's. A young woman she'd never seen before, here? A young woman she'd never seen before who knew Nat? If there was yet another one in addition to Fiona she was going to tear the whole goddamn building apart.
When she referred to her sister as "he", Mizi bit her tongue to keep from laughing out loud. She forgot how everyone saw her sister as a man, despite how much she resembled one. Still there was something so damn funny about it, knowing that when Nat was small she had actually worn a dress. She smirked, out of personal amusement and in response to the woman.
"They're all a pack of brutes really. And HE is no exception." She motioned with her head to the house. "I've known him for years and it never ceases to amaze me."
She shook her head as she thought of her stubborn sister before looking back at the blonde. "Don't let him get to you, friend. His skull is thicker than coffee." She chuckled to herself.
The reassurances didn't seem to make it through to Josephine. She barely even seemed to be watching the other woman, her gaze was too distracted. It slid from the banister beside her -- which she'd start to hold, rather tightly -- then to the toes of her shoes, then to the steps themselves.
There was some solace to be drawn from this girl referring to Nat as a 'he' -- maybe she didn't know otherwise, which would mean the two of them weren't lovers. Of course, maybe she just did what Jo did, and referred to Nat as a man because everything, everything was much simpler that way.
Despite the flash of anger she felt just thinking about Natasha, the blonde muttered the short, defensive reply of, "He didn't used to be like this." And then she added, in a louder tone (as well as an irritated look at the building above her). "He wasn't always such an asshole."
Clearly this woman had some unpleasant history with Nat. Maybe she was one of her...lovers. The idea of Nat being a lesbian was still a relatively new concept for her, despite how appropriate it was.
"That's true. No one starts out THAT cold," She agreed. She shifted her focus to the house looming over them as memories of a happy childhood flooded her mind. Nat wasn't always like this. Things weren't always like this. They used to get along, Nat was a girl and more importantly, Nat was happy.
"We used to get along when we were young. She was a happier person then..." Mizi mumbled, lost in her mind. She blinked when she realized she had just called Nat a she and basically revealed her relation to her. Not the smartest move in the world seeing as how this woman seemed to hate Nat.
"I mean uh, thats what his mother used to tell me."
Smooth. Now she was going to get caught up in some mob drama. Just what she needed.
The woman on the stairs bristled.
Which is to say she stiffened, almost frozen, and simply stared at Mizinovskaia -- mostly to process what she had just said. Currently her mindset was too far in the realm of jealousy and possessiveness to connect the dots that would make Nat and this girl in front of her sisters. The suspicion rose again. They were lovers. From awhile back. From before her.
Family friends, apparently.
Josephine fought the urge to bare her teeth.
"You live here?"
Mizi felt herself heat up. She avoided making eye contact with the woman, stepping back slowly. Her face looked so angry, she wasn't sure if saying anything was a good idea.
"Um...yes..I do." She admitted slowly. "But only since a few days ago. Nat and I hadn't spoken in years."
"Happy reunion then," Josephine muttered. She gave another tug on the sleeves of her coat, then folded her arms tightly across her middle. The blonde didn't see the point in fixing it when the collar slide off her shoulder, giving her an even more lopsided, tousled appearance.
Stiffly she started down the rest of the stairs, brushing past the other woman as she did so. It was more due to the fact that she was slightly off balance than any direct challenge. "Might want to give it a bit. He's got another girl up there right now."
Mizi tilted her head slightly towards the blonde as she descended the stairs. What the hell was her problem? What did she say that was so wrong? She thought they were getting along so well. She rolled her eyes at the mention of Fiona.
"Oh you mean that idiot Fiona?" She smirked and folded her arms, looking at the blonde.
Josephine paused. She even stalled in the step she was taking, choosing instead to return the outstretched foot back to the stair it had just left. This way she kept her eye level even with the other woman's.
"Yeah." Or at least, she assumed that had been the woman Nat had mentioned being there. The blonde's eyebrows twitched, then slowly furrowed. "You met her?"
"Yes, very recently. Nat's taste in women has certainly gone down. Not that I really knew she had a taste for women until recently."
Mizi glanced up at the house and smirked before looking back at Jo.
"If you ask me, Fiona seems to be something of a rebound. But I have no idea what it's a rebound from. Not talking for years to your sister will do that to you I suppose." Mizi sighed as she pulled out a box of cigarettes. She lit one and offered the box to the woman.
After a moment's hesitation Josephine unfolded her arms, reaching out to gingerly pluck the offered cigarette with two slim fingers. Once it was between her lips, she bent forward a moment to touch it to the other woman's light before it flickered out.
Her words were prefaced by a slow exhale of smoke as she straightened. It was possible this actually was Nat's sister. They sorta looked alike. She spoke like it. The blonde decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, for both their sakes.
"So you're Nat's sister," she arched an eyebrow. "You don't sound like you're fresh off the boat."
She smiled, the first genuine smile in minutes, at the reference to her accent. Finally she could relax, slightly anyway. She was pretty sure this woman was not as likely to murder her as she seemed before.
"No, no I came over here with Nat. I've been here for years. Just been traveling really, getting lost in myself and all of that." She inhaled again and exhaled, swinging her torso back and forth idly. It struck her just then than they had been standing out in the rain for lord knows how long and it wasn't the warmest time of day. She folded her arms over her chest, in case anything started poking out.
Josephine took a drag from her cigarette distractedly. If she were alone she'd likely be spending her agitation in other ways -- biting her nails, or, more likely, throwing things at a wall. She went back to half folding her arms, one crossed over her stomach, the other still closed to her body as she smoked.
"Yeah?" One of the blonde's thin eyebrows arched. Though the other woman was smiling, she still felt a little too out of it to respond in kind. The best she could summon up was a face that didn't look angry anymore -- the result was more sad. Somewhat pathetic. "What's your name?"
Then, added quickly as she pursed her lips and exhaled. "Y'know I didn't know she was a she."
It was true. ... about eight years ago.
"Mizinovskia Koskorov...just call me Mizi. Noone can ever pronounce it right. Hell even I can't when I'm hopped up."
She laughed, reminding herself that it had been hours since she smoked. Too long for her. She pondered if this one smoked as well, as those bars were certainly a little more unsettling at this time of night. She inhaled on her cigarette again, smirking at the woman's comment at her sister's gender.
"Honestly, it's hard see her as anything but a man, she might as well grow one between her legs since she's out to fuck us all. Especially that little moron." She bit on her cigarette, a bitter sneer crossing her face for a moment. She quickly pulled herself out of it and her pleasant smile returned. "And what is your name?"
"Josie," she answer flatly, though it was evident by the fact that she was smiling, just slightly, that she hadn't meant her tone to be so dull. Mizi's last words had reminded her of exactly where she was quite neatly, and with a brief rub of her eyes the blonde crossed her arms and started forward again.
"I gotta go," she murmured, swallowing roughly. Her throat was feeling tight. Still, she managed to find it within herself to turn a little, eyeing the other woman again as she reached the last step. "You got your own place in this dump?"
Mizi scoffed at the thought of having her own place. She really hadn't had her own place in 10 years. Currently, she had Nat's couch to call her own but who knew how long that would last. If she so much looked at Nat the wrong way she would be out. Or until Fiona convinced Nat that she shouldn't stay and threw her out.
"Not exactly. I have a couch, that's it." Mizi might as well have called the dens her home. She pondered for a moment, rubbing the side of her face with her finger. Would it be too forward to ask her to go with her for a smoke? What if she ratted her out to the cops? Despite her anger, Josie didn't strike Mizi as the kind of gal who would sink that low. "But... there are some lovely opium dens around here I like to call home. In fact, I was just thinking this might be the best time to go. Would you care to go with me?"
"Maybe some other time," Josephine responded with the barest hint of a smile. The expression was tired, and to be fair, so was she. Tired of being awake, tired of being in that building, tired of being reminded of who else shared that roof. The idea of adding dope to that mix didn't appeal to much to her. She didn't do that kinda thing. All she needed was to go home and have another drink.
The blonde cast another brief look over her shoulder at Mizi, her chin lifting as she spoke.
"You should ask your sister about the room down the hall from hers, know for a fact it's available."
Damnit, maybe she wasn't that type after all. Mizi smirked at Josie. "Perhaps I will. Maybe she'll actually give it to me. See you around, Josie. Maybe we can get a drink sometime"
She turned away and climbed the stairs, glancing at Josie for a minute as she walked away. What a strange unhappy girl Josie seemed to be. She would have to ask Nat about her sometime, when Fiona wasn't around. She stomped out her cigarette on the welcome mat before walking into the house.