Housemates Part 6

Ellie stood in the street, outside her office, and waited. She was wondering what she and Mia ought to do.

She had one last worry she hadn’t quite managed to shake, that she didn’t know exactly what this evening was. She liked labels, especially about things like this. She liked knowing what other people expected of her.

She was almost certain she was meeting Mia for sex, and that they would probably just, have sex. But neither of them had actually said that, and the not saying was worrying Ellie.

Perhaps Mia might not want to be quite that direct. Perhaps she still wanted to pretend they were only meeting as friends, to do something or other together, and that the flirting just happened once they were around each other, like it did every other time, and everything else followed from that. Mia might not want to admit it was quite as thought-out as it was.

If that was so, Ellie didn’t want to just hop into Mia’s car and say, okay let’s fuck, and have Mia be shocked at her being so blunt.

That would be mortifying.

It was probably also a little pushy, just assuming Mia would want her because Mia had every other time.

Ellie didn’t want to be pushy. She didn’t want to get this wrong. Since she didn’t know if they were still supposed to need excuses to see each other, she planned for one anyway.

She stood in the street, and waited for Mia, and tried to think up something they could do together.

It was actually more complicated than it seemed.

Mia didn’t seem to like just sitting around talking, so Ellie wasn’t going to force that on her. She wasn’t going to suggest a bar or dinner, if Mia was just going to get bored. Not until Ellie knew Mia a little better, and knew whether she minded Ellie talking at her. Unfortunately, that meant most of the obvious things were out. There weren’t bands and clubs this early, or things outside this late, and everything else, absolutely everything else Ellie could think of, ended up with them having to talk.

She thought about taking Mia home, to her own room, and her own bed, and not thinking about it any more than that. To just drag Mia there and let her to what she wanted to Ellie. Ellie wanted to do that, except that as well as the worry over needing a plan, she was also still a little worried about home. About Mark being there, and the chance that Mia might stop and hang out with Mark on the way down the hall. Ellie was pretty sure Mia wouldn’t, but she also had the impression Mia was fairly relaxed about sex. Mia might not realize it was a big deal to stop and talk to Mark, since Mark was her friend, and she liked her friends, so she’d just have a chat. Even while Ellie was undressing in the bedroom.

Ellie wasn’t sure how she’d cope with that. She wanted not to have to share Mia’s attention, just for once. Which meant she didn’t want to go home.

She decided it had to be a bar. There wasn’t really anywhere else. A bar, or something Mia suggested, which she probably would since she always had these plans to get Ellie alone.

Ellie waited a little longer, and started to think she was probably taking it all too seriously. Probably none of it was the big deal it seemed, and probably it was silly, too, planning this much just in case, because what she actually wanted was to just take Mia wherever and go right back to exactly where they’d left things yesterday.

She desperately wanted to do that.

She also knew she was too nervous to say so.

She started thinking about Mia again, which at least took her mind off worrying.

She thought some more about Mia’s skin, and how silky it had felt the day before. She thought about the part of Mia’s tummy underneath the zipper of her shorts, and how Ellie had rested her hand there, and just felt her.

Ellie stood where she was, thinking.

She was holding her coat in front of her, over her folded arms. Her hand was already near her tummy. Without quite realizing, she shifted slightly, adjusted her bag, then pressed her fingers against herself, against her tummy, and thought about touching Mia there.

It wasn’t quite the same place, but it was close enough she started daydreaming about Mia. About Mia’s legs, and Mia’s skin, and the smell of Mia and her hair. Then she thought about Mia’s legs some more, and was completely lost.

Standing outside her work, on the side of the road, without a thought for who was around.

She stopped paying attention to the street. She stopped noticing anything.

A car horn beeped.

Ellie jumped, and felt a little silly.


Of course it was Mia, turning up right then.

Ellie had half expected to see the ute again. She was fond of the ute. She’d almost formed an attachment to the ute. She’d never cared about cars before, but for some reason she liked that particular one.

It wasn’t the ute, though. Mia was back in her own car.

Mia had stopped on the yellow lines across the road from Ellie. She wound down her window, waited for a bus to go past, then called, “Do you want to go somewhere? Or should I park?”

“It’s up to you.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Don’t you have a plan already?”

Mia looked across at her for a moment, then shouted, “Not really.”

“I’m coming,” Ellie said, and crossed the road. She went around to the other side of the car, and got in.

“Hi,” Mia said.


Ellie sat there for a moment, wondering if Mia was going to kiss her.

Mia must have been wondering the same. She looked at Ellie, and hesitated, and then said, “Should I?”

Ellie was fairly sure she didn’t need to check what they were talking about. She nodded.

“In front of your work?” Mia said, as if wanting to make sure.

Ellie sat there for a moment then decided to be brave.

She didn’t care.

She did care a little, but she wanted to be kissed by Mia more.

She nodded again.

Mia grinned, and leaned over, and did.

She kissed Ellie’s mouth, with her own mouth open, but she did quickly, only slightly more sexy than kissing a friend.

Ellie sat there, a little disappointed.

Now she was even more confused. If Mia wanted to fuck her, Mia should kiss like she meant it.

If she didn’t, then perhaps they were back to being friends.

Not that friends would last more than a few minutes, but still. Ellie had wanted to know where things stood, and how to act, and whether they were meeting to fuck or meeting to do something as friends.

And now she couldn’t tell.

Because of that completely ambiguous kiss.

She reached back, and found the seatbelt, and did it up. She didn’t know quite what to else to do.


Ellie waited, but Mia didn’t drive away. She was still looking at Ellie.

Ellie assumed she wanted to kiss again, and tugged at the seatbelt until it loosened enough to let her lean over.

Mia kissed her, but that wasn’t it. “So what does that mean, don’t I have a plan?” Mia said, as soon as they’d stopped kissing.

“What?” Ellie said, then realized. What she’d said outside the car. “I don’t know. You always seem to have a plan, that’s all.”

Mia looked a little surprised. “No I don’t.”

Ellie shrugged.

“I don’t,” Mia said.


Mia looked at Ellie for a moment. “Are you all right?” she said. “You seem a little…”

Elli nodded slowly. “Yep.”

Mia didn’t seem sure. She hesitated, then said, “So what should we do?”

“There’s my place,” Ellie said. “If we can’t think of anything else.”

She said it like that was distasteful, trying to make clear she didn’t actually want to. That she’d rather sit in an unlit car-parking building and eat cold takeout than go home. It was almost as a test, to see what Mia thought. To see if Mia agreed. Because Ellie still couldn’t decide if they were pretending they were only friends, and it seemed like if Mia wanted sex, then she’d probably realize that getting past Mark to Ellie’s bed would be awkward for everyone, and would say no to going to Ellie’s.

Either that, or she’d think Ellie wanted to go out but had a really odd way of saying so. Ellie had only just thought of that, and that it might not work as a test after all.

“Going somewhere else’s fine,” Mia said, and Ellie sat there, wondering.

It was a little too ambiguous for her to be sure.

She started wondering if she should just ask about the sex. She’d be embarrassed, but it might be better.

Then Mia said, “It might be tricky at yours. With Mark and everything.”

And Ellie started to smile, without quite meaning to.

She was relieved. Relieved, and very pleased. Far more that she’d expected to be.

She nodded, trying not to look too excited.

She wasn’t sure she was managing.

Because of that, because of the relief, she decided to tease Mia.

Because, obviously she would. Because she was overreacting to being pleased, and some part of her was probably thinking it might help with the seeming too excited. Because Mia was always teasing her, so it only seemed fair. She wouldn’t have done it if she’d thought first, but she didn’t think at all.

Instead she just said, “Um, wait. What might be tricky?”

Mia looked at her.

“What is it you’ve got planned that makes Mark tricky?” Ellie said.

“I don’t have a plan,” Mia said. “I told you.”

“But what do you think we’re going to do that Mark shouldn’t know about?”

Mia kept looking for a moment longer, then just said, “Don’t.”

Ellie grinned. And after a moment Mia did too.

“So where?” Mia said, after a moment of smiling at each other.

“You decide,” Ellie said. “A drink. Food. A walk somewhere. Anything.”

“Do you want a walk?”

“If you do.” Ellie was a little surprised Mia had picked that. Surprised enough she said, “Really? A walk?”:

“If you want to.”

“It’s getting dark.”

“It’s getting dusk, not dark.”

“But…” Ellie said, then, “Do you like doing it outdoors or something?”

Mia started to grin too. “Sure,” she said. “Maybe.” After a moment she added, “Doing what?”

Ellie sat there looking at Mia, and thinking that if Mia wanted to sit here being clever, then that was fine and Ellie would too. Because after all the other teasing she’d got from Mia, Ellie wasn’t going to be the one who stopped first. Even if they were both choosing to do this, rather than just going off having sex.

“I don’t mind,” Ellie said. “We can do whatever you want…”

Mia nodded.

“Although if we do go for a walk,” Ellie said. “We might have to talk.”

“We can talk.”

“With the walking, I mean. For when we aren’t groping each other.”

Mia looked confused. “So we’ll go for a walk and grope each other,” she said. “We don’t have to talk unless you really want to.”

Ellie hesitated. She’d been being silly, but had got herself confused too, now. She decided the joke was getting out of hand.

“No,” she said. “I don’t mind talking.”

Mia seemed bewildered. “I thought… You just said…”

Ellie sighed. “I was teasing. Because you don’t seem to like to talk.”

“I talk.”

“You don’t just talk about nothing.”

“Well yeah,’ Mia said. “I know.”

Ellie almost gave up. “I mean… I was saying….” She stopped. “I would like to talk. I would also like to grope you. I don’t mind which or when or if we do both at once.”

“Okay,” Mia said. “Good.”

“I don’t mind talking,” Ellie said. “So we’re clear. I really don’t.”

“Yep, I got you.”

They looked at each other. Mia still seemed a little puzzled, and Ellie was annoyed at herself for making things worse. She was being silly, kind of giggly without the giggling. They still hadn’t decided where they were going, and Ellie was just complicating things, by being like this.

“Can we start again?” Ellie said. “Please? I think I just…”

Mia looked relieved.

“Start over,” Ellie said. “Please.”

“Okay,” Mia said. “So are we going somewhere or what…?”

Ellie almost screamed. “I really like you,” Ellie said carefully. “I do. But don’t be a smartass right now. Please.”

“I’m not,” Mia said, sounding surprised. “I’m actually asking. Should I be parking, or…”

Ellie looked at Mia for a moment, and decided she meant it. Mia wasn’t starting to grin, like she normally would when she was teasing.

“Oh,” Ellie said, then, “Yeah, anywhere.”

“Maybe if we went and sat under a freeway bridge it might be loud enough we won’t have to talk,” Mia said.

Then she sat there, waiting.

Ellie realized Mia was actually teasing her that time and said, “Fuck. Stop it.”

“Sorry,” Mia said.

“Yeah, just… Stop. Seriously.”

“My place?” Mia said. “You could just come to mine. That might be easier.”

“It might.”

“Just come for a drink,” Mia said.

Ellie nodded slowly.

“It doesn’t have to be anything else,” Mia said. “Not if you don’t want it to…”

“What?” Ellie said startled, and then realized. Mia thought Ellie was reluctant, because she was being quiet.

Reluctant, rather than just utterly confused.

“No,” Ellie said. “Shit. I’ll come to your place. If you want me to. I mean, do you want to? Do you want me there?”

Ellie realized she was talking far too much, and made herself stop.

Mia didn’t seem to have noticed, though. She just nodded, and said, “Yeah, my place is good.”

“You’re sure?” Ellie said.

Mia nodded.

“And also,” Ellie said. “The not being anything? You said it didn’t have to be anything?”


“It’ll be something,” Ellie said. “It’ll so completely be something. Don’t worry about that for a second.”

Suddenly Mia seemed pleased. She grinned.

She kept sitting where she was.

“So your place?” Ellie said, wanting to go now they’d decided.


“Then let’s go,” Ellie said.

Mia didn’t move.

“Um…?” Ellie said, wondering what it was now.

Mia was still looking at her. Mia was just looking at her, and smiling, as if Ellie making her confused, or Ellie being confused, was actually a very good thing.

“What?” Ellie said.

“You’re sure you don’t mind kissing right outside your work?” Mia said.

Ellie started to smile. “Not at all.”

Mia leaned over, and kissed Ellie again. Slowly. Properly now, for as long as the time to take a slow breath, with her mouth open, with her eyes closed. She kissed so by the time she was done, Ellie was wet and desperate and wanting her almost more than she could stand.

Mia sat back. She kept looking at Ellie while she put her seatbelt back on.

“Shit,” Ellie said, without meaning to, then blushed.

Mia grinned. “Yep,” she said. “I thought.”

She put the car in gear, and grinned again, and then looked over her shoulder, and drove away.

She was driving better today, although Ellie didn’t think she should say that.

Instead she kept quiet, and watched Mia drive, and was little stunned by how much one kiss had turned her on.


Mia’s apartment was in a newish building not far from the middle of the city. It wasn’t a tower, just three or four stories in a street full of three or four stories, but it was a nice area and the street had trees.

Ellie was quite impressed.

Mia drove into an underground garage, and parked, and then spent a minute looking for things in her car, finding her phone, getting her bag, and then getting another, a briefcase, from the back seat.

She looked like a completely normal person, doing completely normal things. Not someone Ellie was obsessed with. Not someone who could make Ellie feel what she felt. And also, Ellie suddenly thought, not the video-game playing floor-sitter Ellie was used to seeing at her place.

Just someone getting home from work.

Mia looked up, and caught Ellie watching. She grinned for a moment, then slowly stopped grinning, and just looked at Ellie, terribly seriously.

“What?” Ellie said.

Mia shook her head.

“Tell me,” Ellie said.

Mia shrugged. “Just, we’re here. Finally.”

“Almost here,” Ellie said, and Mia nodded.

Without quite realizing she was, Ellie had been leaning towards Mia. They kissed, and kept kissing.

“Um,” Ellie said, after a moment. “Just so you know. I’m going to right here if we don’t get out the car.”

“Yep,” Mia said.

“I don’t really care right now,” Ellie said. “I’m just saying so you know.”

Still kissing, Mia reached over, and opened Ellie’s door. She pushed it, so it swung.

“Go,” she said. “Because same.”

Ellie was pleased. She liked she could make Mia feel that way too. She turned, and swung her feet out the car, and got out before she changed her mind.

And Mia just watched, unmoving, almost as if she was changing hers too.

Ellie stood beside the car. She was on the side nearest the lifts, so she waited where she was. Mia came around the back of the car, and probably didn’t even mean to, but she walked close to Ellie, so Ellie said, “Hey,” and caught her arm, and kissed her again.

Mia looked surprised, then pleased, then just desperate.

They kissed some more. They kissed a lot more, most of the way to the lift.

They kissed standing beside the car, while Mia pushed on her remote to lock it, and then reached around Ellie and tug the handle to make sure it was done. They kissed behind a concrete pillar halfway to the lift’s door, and even though it was only thirty steps, they stopped to kiss anyway. They kissed as Mia pushed the button to call the lift down, and kissed as they waited.

Mia’s mouth felt hungry on Ellie’s. It was warm, and soft, and her kisses felt as frantic for Ellie as Ellie felt for her.

Mia seemed to be running out of hands, and seemed not to want to have no hands. She kept shifting her briefcase and bag and the keycard for the lift from one hand to the other, and using the free hand to touch Ellie’s face, then seeming to feel something about to slip and letting go of Ellie to grab whatever it was she was about to drop.

All while kissing.

In the end, Ellie took the briefcase away from her, and it worked better after that.

The lift arrived, and a bell chimed, and Mia whispered, “Stop, okay? I will just fuck you here if we don’t stop this now.”

And Ellie, utterly thrilled she’d turned Mia on that much, just grinned. She grinned like Mia was always grinning at her, and Mia seemed to understand.

“Yep,” she said, “That,” and pulled Ellie into the lift.

Mia swiped her access card, and they went up, standing side by side, not touching.

Mia glanced over, and saw Ellie still holding her briefcase, and held out her hand. Ellie shook her head, and said, “I can,” and Mia nodded and smiled.

After that they didn’t look at each other. So they didn’t accidentally start kissing again, Ellie thought. That was why Ellie didn’t look, and from Mia’s careful stare at the lift’s doors, it might have been the same for her, too.

Ellie hoped it was.

They went up to the third floor, and Mia said, “Here,” and got out.

Ellie followed. She stayed back, out of Mia’s reach, just in case.

There was a tidy hallway. There was a clean front door. There was a sunny apartment behind it, with white walls, and ikea furniture, and some clutter, a few things scattered on the coffee table or piled in corners, but not so much as to make it seem messy.

Actually, it seemed expensive, Ellie decided, and given how close they were to the city, it probably was. The rent was probably far more than Ellie’s.

Ellie looked around, almost curious. Desperately horny, but a little curious too. She knew Mia shared with other people, but that was about all. She almost wanted to see who Mia would chose to live with. Some were students, from what Mark had said.

Ellie looked, and then started to smile.

Mia was taking off her coat, hanging it up. She saw Ellie’s face. “What?” she said.

“Mark always makes it sound like your place is full of, like, hippies and with tagging all over the walls.”

Mia seemed confused, rather than anything else.

“Don’t you live with art students?” Ellie said.

“One,” Mia said. “But his girlfriend’s an accountant and she pays the bills.”

“Oh,” Ellie said, and had no idea what else to say.

Mia turned around and looked at her.

“Want a drink?” Mia said.

Ellie nodded.

“Want anything else?” Mia said.

Ellie looked up. “Like what?”

Mia put down her keys and bag and kissed Ellie again. Kissed her like she must have been waiting too all the way up. She slid her hand just inside the back of Ellie’s collar, and stroked her neck, and twisted the fingers of her other hand into Ellie’s fingers, so she was holding Ellie’s hand and somehow stroking too, in a way that was achingly sensual.

That touch meant a lot to Ellie. As if kissing while holding hands was more intimate than just sticking their tongues into each other’s mouths. As if by holding her hand, Mia was saying they were friends and whatever else, something more, not just people about to fuck.

Ellie really liked that idea.

Mia kissed her, and Ellie tingled. She shivered all over. She put her hands on Mia’s arms, and stroked gently, and kissed back.

“Is anyone else home?” Ellie said, after a moment.

“Don’t think so.”

“Could you check?”

“Nope,” Mia said, and kissed her some more.

“I want you,” Ellie whispered, a little later.

“I know,” Mia said, and then suddenly stopped kissing.

Ellie didn’t know why. She looked at Mia, worried.

“We will,” Mia said. “Okay? This time we will, I promise.”

“Now?” Ellie said, despite herself.

“Patience,” Mia said. “Want a drink?”

“Kiss me,” Ellie said. “Please?”

“Drink,” Mia said, grinning slightly, and stepped back far enough she was out of Ellie’s reach.

Ellie nodded, disappointed.


Ellie didn’t really want a drink. She very much didn’t want a drink right then. But if Mia did, if Mia usually had one when she got home from work, then Ellie would wait around and hold a glass until Mia was ready to have sex.

There wasn’t really a better way to put it than that.

Mia kicked off her shoes, and walked in her tights to the kitchen. She got two glasses from the dishwasher, and vodka from the freezer, and started getting everything organized on the counter. Ellie watched, and wanted Mia terribly for everything in that little process. The careless feet, the fetching glasses, the bringing Ellie here for sex. She didn’t know why she cared about any of that, but she did, a lot.

She watched Mia.

She didn’t know why she couldn’t concentrate on anything except Mia. She was still just standing there, stupidly, beside the door.

She should move. She should do something.

She looked at the floor, which was polished wood, and thought about her heels. She had enough of one she might make dents.

“Should I take off my shoes?” Ellie said.

Mia shrugged. “If you like.”

Ellie took them off. She left them next to the door, at the end of a line of others along the wall. She put her bag down too, just so she wasn’t having to carry it around. Beside Mia’s briefcase, leaning against a side-table.

She walked over to the kitchen. It was a side-part of the main room, separated by a waist-high counter. There were three bar-stools on Ellie’s side of it, so she slid onto the nearest one and kept watching Mia.

Mia had lined up the vodka and glasses on the counter. As Ellie sat down, she opened the freezer, got out a tub of ice, and started dropping cubes into the glasses.

Ellie sat and watched.

Mia was still in her work clothes, like Ellie was, which made Ellie feel a little better about having met so early in the evening. If Mia didn’t care what she was wearing, then Ellie shouldn’t either.

She looked at Mia’s clothes. She liked Mia’s clothes. A suit, with the jacket now off, and a button-up shirt undone enough that Ellie could see a little of Mia’s breasts.

Ellie sat there for a moment, wondering how Mia could look sexy, in basically the same clothes as Ellie, when Ellie just looked like she’d been at work.

Maybe it was just Mia, Ellie thought. Maybe she just couldn’t help it.

And maybe Ellie should stick to the not worrying when she’d only just told herself to stop.

Ellie looked at Mia, watched her scooping ice, and suddenly realized.

Mia had her shirt a little further open, that was all. Mia had opened another button or two than she would have had open at work, and that made all the difference.

Ellie wondered why she hadn’t done the same herself. It was such an obvious thing to make a work outfit sexier, and Ellie hadn’t thought of it at all. She’d been flustered, she supposed, and worrying, but it surprised her she hadn’t.

Now she wanted to open another button too. She wanted to do it without Mia noticing.

She put her hand on her neck, very carelessly, and rubbed for a moment. She waited until Mia was looking the other way, looking around for something to whack stuck-together ice with, then tried to undo the topmost button of her shirt.

It was stiff. She couldn’t manage, one-handed.

She waited.

Mia bashed the ice with a wooden spoon, then put a last few cubes into each glass. She turned around, and opened into the fridge, and looked inside.

Ellie reached up, and undid her button with both hands. She was quick. She was pretty sure it worked, that she was sitting there, all innocent again, when Mia glanced over.

“Do you want the vodka mixed with anything?” Mia said.

Ellie shook her head.

“Good,” Mia said. “Because we don’t have anything except water.”

She grinned, and closed the fridge and started pouring vodka into the glasses. She kept tipping, half filling them, putting in what would be two or three drinks-worth at a bar.

Ellie didn’t stop her. Ellie was still thinking about buttons, and wondering if she should undo another. She decided not. One more open than was right for work was all Mia had undone. One was sexy, Ellie thought, two was just showing your bra.

Ellie kept looking at Mia. She’d finished thinking about clothes, and buttons, but she was still looking at Mia’s chest.

Looking inside Mia’s shirt, she realized, while Mia poured the vodka. Looking at the smooth skin of Mia’s cleavage. Staring, without quite understanding why.

Ellie had never really been interested in breasts before, but now she was looking at Mia’s. She was so interested in Mia’s that she couldn’t look away.

Not for the first time, she thought, she was staring really obviously. It didn’t quite make sense to her.

It didn’t make sense, except that they were Mia’s.

Maybe she was just fascinated by Mia’s breasts, Ellie thought, because of who’s they were, and she should just accept that about herself, and stop worrying about every little thing that happened. Maybe she just liked cleavage, Ellie thought. Smooth warm cleavage, breathing slowly inside a shirt.

Or maybe she just liked Mia.

Mia looked up, and noticed Ellie’s stare. She looked at Ellie, and grinned, and kept pouring without looking at the glasses, which impressed Ellie a little.

“Are you okay?” Mia said.

Ellie nodded.

“You’re staring,” Mia said.

“Maybe. Do you mind?”

Mia shook her head. She finished pouring, and put the top back on the vodka bottle. She reached behind herself, and opened the freezer, and put the vodka and the tub of ice back inside, then slammed it closed.

She did all that while looking away from Ellie.

She picked up the two glasses, and came around the counter, and Ellie glanced down at her chest. Again.

Mia noticed. She stopped, and started to grin. “Seriously?” she said.

Ellie blushed again. She looked up, at Mia’s face.

“It’s fine,” Mia said still grinning, and held out one of the glasses.

Ellie reached out for the glass, but before she could take it, Mia moved her hand back, and kissed Ellie instead. Kissed her slowly, pushing forward with her body, pressing all of herself against Ellie, keeping her hands up and away so she didn’t spill either drink. It was a little awkward, with Mia’s hands full of glass, and Ellie stuck on the stool, but that didn’t seem to matter. Mia could kiss more with just her mouth than entire sex had been for Ellie with other people.

Ellie lost her breath. She didn’t really care. She slid forward to the edge of the stool, and put her arms around Mia, slid her hands up Mia’s back.

And Mia stepped back, still holding both glasses carefully, and grinned, and said, “Ready?”

And Ellie slowly nodded.

She was.

She really was, she thought, even if she didn’t completely understand what was going on. She wanted this, even while she was wondering how far she was going to go, and what she would feel as she did. Even while she was wondering whether it would be sexy or terrifying or confusing or something else, something good, she desperately wanted to find out.

She was looking forward to finding out.

“Yep,” Ellie said. “I’m ready.”

Mia smiled.

“Come on,” Mia said, and walked off down the hallway.

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