"I'm never decent!" the Muse yelled back. "So you might as well come on in."
I pushed the door the rest of the way open and came in. "I didn't get any drinks," I said. "I figured there was something in your fridge that we could... holy shit." I stopped myself short as I entered the living room. "You two have been busy."
"Whatever do you mean?" Miranda asked, batting her eyelashes at me. In the space of fifteen minutes, both of them had gotten themselves into a pair of black corsets and skirts, and had applied make-up and lipstick. Miranda was in the chair, a book in her lap and her breasts barely contained within the fabric of the corset, while the Muse kneeled on the floor a few feet away from her, snapping photos with her camera.
"I hope you're planning on selling those pictures on the internet," I said. "Because you are hot."
"Thank you," the Muse said, not looking away from the screen on the digital camera.
"I was talking to Miranda. I've seen you dressed up before, Muse."
"Aw," Miranda said. "So sweet."
"Turn your head to the left," the Muse instructed. "Little more. Okay, hold it." She snapped another photo. "Kung Pao chicken, right?" she asked me.
"Yeah, yeah." I put the bag on the kitchen table and began unpacking it. "That's why I had you all write it down for me. Two items is my limit, and then the brain starts to get fuzzy."
"Forks are in the top drawer," Miranda said, pointing.
"Don't move," the Muse commanded. "Don't even breathe."
"I'm in a corset. I'm not doing much breathing."
I rustled a bit more in the bag. "I brought chopsticks. Anybody wants a fork, they're welcome to get one. Civilized diners use the sticks."
The Muse got to her feet. "Wait, before you eat, c'mere." She grabbed my arm and pulled me in front of the chair, then handed me her camera. "Take a couple of us together before we mess our make-up." She flopped in the chair with Miranda, wriggling to make the tight fit.
"You're turning this into a fetish shoot, you know," I said.
The Muse waved her hand at me. "Yeah, whatever. Get to shooting, Helmut. These are for her boyfriend. We figured two hot semi-naked girls wrestling in an easy chair would be just the thing to perk his spirits up."
"It'll probably perk something up," I mumbled under my breath.
"What was that?"
"Nothing." I started shooting, high angles, low angles, the women together, the women individually, and in five minutes had filled the camera's memory card. Finally, I handed the camera back to the Muse. "There you go. All done."
"Excellent," the Muse said. She climbed to her feet. "Serve up the grub, bub, while I go download these off the card." She ran off into the bedroom, taking the camera and my laptop bag.
Miranda got up and draped a shawl over her shoulders and chest. "Is she always like this?"
I shook my head. "Nope. This is actually a little less hyper than usual."
"She's a pocket full of freaky, that's for sure. She hardly waited until you were out the door before she started in with this dress-up idea."
"Plates?" I asked. Miranda pointed to a high cupboard, and I went to gather them. "She's a little extra keyed up today. You got her sort of worked up last night and she's looking for some... release."
Miranda chuckled. "I did sort of put a little hex on her." She sat at the small kitchen table and open the containers of food. I put the plates down in front of her. "I've been reading about her for so long now, I figured a little teasing might be called for."
I began dishing out our meal. "It's driving her insane. She nearly beat me to death this morning from all the angst she was having."
Miranda leaned forward and whispered to me, "I'm going to make it worse before it gets better. I'm going to send you over to the grocery store tonight to pick up a few things, and while you're gone I'm going to start to seduce her again. I figure I can get her awfully worked up before you get back, and then... well, you might want to stay out of her way for a while."
"Or wear a steel codpiece," I said. "You realize that I've got to drive another few thousand miles with her before we get back home, right? I'm glad you're having fun and everything, but I'm the one who is going to have to put up with her bad mood."
"You'll survive. Besides, it'll give you something to write about."
The Muse came around the corner, still in her corset and skirt, camera in hand. "What are you two talking about?"
"How many nails I'm going to need in my coffin when this trip is over," I said.
"And how delicious you look in that outfit," Miranda cooed, running her tongue over her teeth.
I'm doomed, I thought, as I shoveled fried rice into my mouth.