PERFECT PAIR by Catharsis - Part 1 - Mirror Images

The doorknob to room 214 rattled loosely as Holly Criswell unlocked it and tried to tiptoe quietly back into her dorm room. She shot a glance at Rachel, her roommate at college, to see if she had woken up. The redhead was still curled up in a lump on her bed, and showed no sign of having been disturbed. Holly smiled sweetly. She paused at the mirror above the sink and checked her hair. Enough morning sunlight was creeping around the edges of the curtain on the window for her to see that, like always, everything was perfect. Her bright blond hair cascaded down past her shoulders in neat, straight lines. Her round, cheery face was unblemished and accented with exactly the right amount of makeup. Her pink jogging suit was still clean after the half hour walk she'd been on and the quick stop for breakfast she had made. Even her white athletic shoes were spotless. She started to smile at the reflection of her 5'3" frame in the mirror, but stopped halfway, as if something she saw there bothered her.

"You can turn on the light if you wanna," mumbled the lump on the bed.

"Oh, Rachel, I'm sorry! Did I wake you? I tried to be quiet," said Holly in a concerned voice.

"Nah, I've been awake for a while," Rachel replied. "I just didn't feel like getting up. What time is it?"

"It's nine-thirty."

"Aw, crap! The dining hall is closed." Rachel sat up and stretched her arms above her head. "Well, who needs breakfast anyway.?

"Everyone does," Holly chided gently. "I can get you something from the store if you'd like."

"No no no, don't bother just for me."

"I've got an apple you can have."

Rachel looked up at Holly and let out one of the throaty laughs that she was renowned for. "Alright, you convinced me." The redhead stood up and took the apple Holly had retrieved from the gift basket her parents had sent. "You're such a nice person, you know that?" Holly blushed.

"Thank you."

"Oh, and that reminds me, how'd you like the party last night? I didn't really get a chance to ask you."

"It was fun, but a bit crowded."

"Yeah, you left at what, quarter to eleven? I don't even remember when I got back here."

"I'm afraid I don't know either."

"But, you got to meet Gina's roommate, Michelle, right?"

"Yes."

"And...?" Rachel leaned her face towards Holly's.

"She's very nice," the blond replied nonchalantly. She turned towards her desk and idly leafed through some notes from Psychology class that were on it. "I can see why you and Gina were friends in high school," she continued, "You both..."

"Wait," Rachel cut her off. "That's it?"

"What's it?" Holly acted puzzled, but she knew full well what her roommate was after.

Rachel let out an exasperated sigh. "I guess I just don't get it. You and Michelle are so alike. I mean, when Gina and I got to comparing notes about our roommates, we were amazed at how similar you two sounded. Since neither of you really did that much partying, and were always so busy with studying and service work, we thought we'd never manage to get you two together. Last night was the first good chance to introduce you, and I was afraid you'd back out at the last minute and I'd have to drag you bodily over to Gina's dorm."

"Well, Michelle and I chatted for a while, but not for very long. We do seem to have quite a few things in common. It was very kind of you to take me out to meet new people."

"Really? You're not mad at all?" Holly shook her head. "Of course not," Rachel chuckled. "You never get irritated at anything. You're the most even-keeled person I know."

Holly blushed cutely.

"Well, I'm gonna get washed up and head out the library," the redhead said. "Got that fuckin' research paper to start on." Rachel caught herself. "Oops, sorry about that," she said apologetically, remembering Holly's dislike of swearing.

"It's OK," said Holly. She could forgive her roommate the fault of foul language. Until last night, Holly had believed that all of her own faults were minor ones like that. But at the party last night, upon meeting Michelle Godwin, she found that she harbored something quite unexpected. Something that made her not as perfect as she had thought.

Rachel gathered some clothes and left to go down the hall to the showers. Holly sat down at her desk, folded her arms beneath her large, heavy breasts, and thought.

All throughout her nineteen years of life, Holly had been told that she was a wonderful person. It wasn't because she was the most attractive or popular girl around. Her short, slightly pudgy figure wasn't the shape that boys always went after, and her light, airy voice lent her a shy aura. Instead, her empathy with other people and her drive to help those in need had made her the most well-liked girl in high school. Outwardly, she adopted a humble demeanor, and as a result, nobody ever accused her of being a glory hog or a goody two shoes. She was just the sweetest, most pleasant person that anyone knew, and was somebody everyone loved being around. Inwardly, however, Holly had grown quite accustomed to the constant stream of accolades, and had come to believe that she was a truly special individual, unique and precious in the world.

That illusion had been shattered last night when she met Gina's roommate. Suddenly, there in front of her was a girl her age who might as well have been her twin. Michelle's blond hair was parted to one side, her eyes were aquamarine instead of blue, and her face was a tad thinner, but otherwise, she looked and acted like she was made from the same mold Holly came from. Michelle stood at the same height, wore a similar style of soft, comfortable clothes, and was self-deprecatingly kind and helpful to everyone around her.

This last quality is what threw Holly for a loop. She wasn't used to sharing the spotlight with anyone else. She felt irked that people had walked up to the cooler that she and Michelle were standing at, and Michelle would be the one to get them a drink instead of her. She knew that she shouldn't feel hurt by someone else getting attention; that was a childish thing to do. Still, a strong resentment began building up deep inside of Holly. As they continued talking with each other about their interests and the community service work each had done, Holly politely offered to help out with the drinks, and began stepping in to refill someone's cup with soda or hand them a beer even when that person had asked Michelle to do it.

As their conversation went on, Holly started to notice a slight edge creep into Michelle's manner of speaking. Though she never came out and said anything the least bit rude or confrontational, it seemed to Holly that Michelle was beginning to feel as irritated at her presence as much as Holly was of hers. Michelle would use certain words that seemed kind and innocuous on the surface, but which also carried a second meaning which had an altogether different intent.

Holly had played this game before when people took advantage of her generosity. Her voice would be quiet and her words sweet-sounding, but she actually meant something quite the opposite of what her targets understood her to be saying. After one too many false compliments, Holly showed Michelle just how adept she was at the same ploy. Michelle smiled calmly in reply, but Holly knew exactly how she felt. She recognized that look from her own use of it. Michelle carried the sin of pride in her heart as strongly as Holly did. She was wearing at the same time both the most outwardly pleasant, and the most witheringly condescending smile she knew how to. Holly bristled at the insult, delivered so well-concealed that it was likely only she could see it for what it was. Holly responded with an identical grin, and saw an icy shadow pass through Michelle's eyes.

Both young women had reached the point where they could no longer stand to be near each other. The idea that Michelle could be her equal in any way was grating on Holly's nerves. But, however hard she searched, she failed to find any obvious faults with which to reassure herself that she was still unique and special, and that Michelle was nothing more than a flawed copy of herself. Michelle had been probing Holly the same way, and had come to a similar conclusion. The two coeds looked around for their roommates, or for some other excuse to part company, but found none. Itching to go, Holly made up an excuse about taking a drink to Rachel.

Michelle easily recognized the fib. "Well, it was so nice getting to meet you finally. Too bad it had to be cut short," she said. The hidden dig at Holly's lie was plain as day to her. "We should continue this some time."

"Yeah," replied Holly. "Sorry, but I don't have anything to write my phone number down on. I'd give it to you if I could." The other meaning of "give it to you" wasn't lost on Michelle.

"Oh, don't worry about it. I can find your number quite easily."

Holly thought, "She thinks she can get under my skin with no problem, hmm? She thinks she's that much better than me? Fat chance." Aloud, Holly said, "If you're sure it's not too much trouble...?"

"It's not," Michelle said. Her eyes narrowed just enough for Holly to notice. They sent a clear message that the other girl wasn't through with her.

"Good," chirped Holly. "The last thing I'd want to be is a burden on you."

Michelle inaudibly ground her molars together. To herself, she thought, "I can take whatever you dish out, honey." Outwardly, she smiled and said, "Thanks. I'll have to repay the favor sometime, if you wouldn't mind me doing so."

Holly smiled. She didn't want the other blond to get the last word in. "Of course not," she said as she turned and walked away. "But there's no need for you to knock yourself out on my account." She heard a chuckle from behind her.

"There's no danger of that."

Holly left the party, seething. Michelle went back to her room soon afterwards. Both were tormented that night by a fitful sleep.

Holly sat and stared at the wall for a long time. She saw no simple way out of the dilemma she was in. Despite the veiled threats she had made at Michelle, she wasn't exactly eager to have any sort of real confrontation with her. She sensed that Michelle felt the same way, and the bluster each had displayed at the party was somewhat defensive in nature.

At the same time, she saw no way of avoiding the other girl. Their roommates were best friends, and were likely to drag them into situations together whether they liked it or not. Holly knew that if she told Rachel that she didn't like Michelle, then that information would eventually make its way to Michelle by way of Gina. Such an admission would be tantamount to throwing in the towel and admitting defeat. Holly adamantly refused to give the other girl victory that easily. The question was, how long could she avoid doing that, and could Michelle keep her feelings hidden for a longer time than she could? It would be torture just sitting and waiting for the other to break.

"So, then," Holly mused, "the better course of action would be to provoke her, to ramp up the pressure until she can't take it any more." She congratulated herself, despite the evil her plan entailed.

She was just starting to brainstorm ways of making Michelle's life irritating when the phone rang. Weeks of living with Rachel told her who was calling without her having to look at the caller ID. She did anyway, and, sure enough, it was Gina. She cleared her head and picked up the receiver.

"Hello!" she said cheerfully.

"Good morning, Holly" came an unexpected voice.

"Michelle," said Holly, careful not to change her happy tone. "How are you today?"

"Fine, thanks. Are you tired out from the party last night?"

Holly could feel her hackles rise. "I'm just fine. What can I do for you?"

"I was wondering if you'd be interested in continuing our conversation?"

"That's such a kind offer. What exactly did you have in mind?"

"Lunch today at the dining hall, around noon. Does that sound OK?"

"Not a problem for me. Is Gina going to be there?"

"No one else. Just a friendly one-on-one chat."

Holly's heart began beating faster. "That sounds delightful to me. Just lunch, then?"

"We'll see where the discussion leads us."

"I'm certainly looking forward to it."

Michelle measured her words slowly into the mouthpiece: "As am I."

Holly hung up, and exhaled all of the emotion that she had pent up during the call. She stood by her phone, her mind racing with adrenaline. It took her a full minute before she noticed that she was panting quickly, like a boxer that had just finished the second round of a bout.

"She wants a confrontation, does she?" Holly thought. "That's good, 'cause I am so ready to have it out with her."

Getting dressed took the rest of the morning. After her shower, Holly took her time picking out her outfit. She wanted to make sure she looked better than Michelle did, both in beauty and sensuality, but not so overtly that she looked like a common sleaze. She finally decided to wear something that made her feel sexy on the inside, but was conservatively pretty on the outside. After slipping into some underwear, hose, and a creamy satin slip, she zipped up a light rose skirt that hugged her waist flatteringly and covered her knees. Then, she pulled on her favorite pink fuzzy sweater and smoothed it out over her torso. The sweater was tight, and drew attention to how her round, full-figured boobs jutted impressively from her chest. After that, she spent nearly half an hour brushing, teasing and spraying her golden blond hair to perfection.

She didn't hold back in the least in the makeup department, either. Foundation, blush, highlighter, and eyelash mascara were all applied with the greatest care and attention to detail as if she was about to attend a photo shoot for Revlon. Her neck was dotted with perfume and encircled with pearls. Matching pearl earrings shone from her earlobes. A pair of gold bracelets were added to her wrists, then removed, and then added again.

When all was said and done, Holly saw herself in the mirror and felt slightly embarrassed. She was glad Rachel was at the library and couldn't see how done up she was. The peppy redhead would have needled her relentlessly until she spilled the beans about why she was dressed like that. She didn't want to have to lie to her roommate. Rachel was nice, and so was her friend Gina. She always wanted to treat them with the utmost kindness and respect.

The same could not be said for Michelle, though. Holly had been a good girl all her life, and the sudden rush of ill intent towards another human being, although disturbing, excited her. It was as if all of the mean things that she had locked up inside of her had found an outlet. Holly reveled in the strong, thrilling emotion that she was about to be horribly naughty, and that she didn't care one bit about what the consequences would be.

The dining hall was only a third full, as was usual on the weekends. Freed from the onslaught of students that lived off-campus, Holly was able to take her time picking out her food, getting her silverware, and wandering around to see if Michelle had arrived before her. She had, and was seated at a table by herself. Holly's heart caught in her throat when she saw her. Michelle was wearing a tight, white fuzzy sweater and a dark blue knee-length skirt in a similar style to what she had chosen. Her blond hair was perfectly parted and lightly curled at the ends, and eye-catching earrings dangled and shone in the midday sun that flooded the open eating area. Holly approached, and pretended that she wasn't affected by her rival's similar choice of clothing.

Michelle grinned invitingly when she saw Holly arrive. "So glad you decided to come. You didn't have any difficulty finding me, did you?"

"You know what they say, 'Birds of a feather flock together'." Michelle ran her tongue roughly over the back of her teeth, stifling a reaction.

"Why don't you sit down over here?" she offered, motioning to the chair across the table from her.

"Don't mind if I do. I haven't kept you waiting, have I?" Holly cooed.

"Not at all. I must say, meeting you at the party last night was quite a surprise."

"I assure you, the feeling is mutual."

The two ate their meals in silence. When she was done, Holly flung her arms out to the sides and stretched. This caused her ample breasts to bulge out at Michelle, and caused longing stares from a group of guys seated a few tables away. Michelle acted like she didn't notice. When she had swallowed the last of her milk, she arched her shoulders back and let out an audible sigh as she put her glass back down. Out of the corner of her eye, Holly watched the other girl's generous tits rise and fall. She was curious just what size they were, but asking Michelle was, of course, out of the question.

Michelle swung her legs idly to stretch them out, and accidentally brushed her hose-covered calf against Holly's. The unanticipated touch shot like electricity through Holly's body, and through Michelle's. She hadn't planned on kicking the other blond, but the pleasant feeling that followed it kept her from regretting it.

Michelle stammered, "Oh, I'm sorry."

Holly refused to let the other girl take the initiative so easily. She reached out with her right leg and ran it teasingly against Michelle's left leg. The faint sound of nylon rubbing against nylon whispered beneath the table as Holly replied, "That's OK." Michelle lifted her leg a bit, holding Holly's leg where it was for a moment before letting it go. Both girls could feel their pulses quicken.

As if nothing had just happened, Michelle said, "You mentioned last night that you were taking some psychology courses, right?"

"Childhood development, yes. Why do you ask?"

"I've been thinking recently -- about twins. About how they grow up doing the same things and sharing so many of the same experiences. Has your professor talked about them much?"

"Not really," Holly said. "Although I must admit the subject fascinates me, too."

"I've been wondering how they could stand being around each other day after day. It would be like being forced to look into a mirror. Constantly."

"An intriguing question. I'm sure I could help you find out the answer if you'd like."

"Tell me what you think, then: wouldn't one twin, knowing herself as well as she does, easily be able to notice the differences, and see the faults in the other twin? Ya' know, like when you look in a mirror that's got dirt on it. You know what you're supposed to look like in it, and that makes the mirror's imperfections stand out that much more."

Holly could see where this was going, and she wasn't about to let Michelle insinuate that Holly was inferior. "But, the first time someone looks in the mirror, how do they know whether the defect is in the mirror, or in what the mirror is reflecting?" Holly countered.

"It's simple. You check the original by another means."

"And, how do you know which image is the reflection, and which one is the original that the reflection is incapable to matching?"

Michelle caught the hidden challenge in Holly's question. She was pleased that the other blond was equally into their little rivalry as she was. "How very philosophical of you. The answer to THAT is easy enough to find out."

Holly's interest was piqued. Michelle did have a plan in mind. "Really? Enlighten me."

"Force the two seemingly identical copies together. The one that shatters is the imitation."

"And how would one go about carrying out such an experiment?"

"I know of a suitable place," Michelle purred, "if you're not afraid of the results..."

"Certainly not. I'm confident, no matter what the test may be."

"Good. Shall we go?"

To the rest of the dining hall, the exchange had looked like a nice, cordial chat between friends. Nobody else had any idea of what the two smiling freshmen had really talked about, and they certainly could never have guessed what they were heading out to do.

To Be Continued