Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a little, but not much! That's the moment I've come to think of as the birth of Lola, but my life as a cross-dressing lounge singer actually didn't begin until the following evening. As my brother explained to me, Yuffie Kisaragi –Seventh Heaven's former lounge singer– had just quit after last night/this morning with no notice, so Tifa Lockhart, the owner, found herself in a bit of a pinch. "Just what am I going to be forced to sing?" I demanded. "Well, since Tifa just swore that she never wants to hear another Disney song this millennium, I reckon it's fair to assume you'll have a choice." Reno smirked. "Trust you to be picky about that but not about doing it all in drag." I lifted one foot off the floor to expose the cute black pumps I had yet to slip out of. "Did you really think I'd be bothered by being on stage in drag? I'm certain I can make a rather convincing female, so long as I'm not forced to sing soprano." Reno chuckled. "You are so gay, little brother. "Oh and you're not." I stuck my tongue out at him childishly. "Well, at least I don't wear heels and dresses." "Well, at least I'm going to make more money than you," I shot back with a grin. He thought about it. "Probably, but only if you can manage to have boobs." "Great! I can stuff one of my corsets," I returned brightly. He snorted. "So gay." "Don't start that again," I cautioned. Rising to my feel. "So how do we do this?" Reno grinned like a madman. "Pick a stage name, little brother." I didn't even have to think about it. "Lola," I replied. The name came from one of my favorite show-tunes. "Great. Let's go see Reeve and he'll hook us up. And then I need to see Tseng, alone, and see if I can't talk him into this." Reeve was one of my brother's friends who absolutely thrived on questionable legalities. Tseng was my brother's boyfriend and the book-keeper and manager at Seventh Heaven. "Well, I suppose that means Tseng will have to know?" Reno glared at me. "Don't you trust him?" I smirked. "Dude, the man practically personifies secrecy. Of course I trust him. But can we tell Tifa?" He thought about it. "Well, we're gonna have to. She checks the books. I figure she'll get a kick out of pulling one over on everyone. Maybe Shinra owes her a favor. Could be a better way to do the books, honestly." I smiled at my criminal mastermind of a brother. "Great. Now, invite Tifa and Tseng over here so we can all talk. Then Tifa and I can leave and you can con Tseng into this."
Tifa thought the whole thing would be a hilarious prank –plus, she really needed a lounge singer. Tseng had needed some... convincing that had left me stranded in a public park for three and a half hours, but he was on-board, too. As it turned out, Rufus Shinra of ShinRa Industries owed Reno a favor –apparently, no one had ever warned Rufus to never gamble with my brother– so he created and filled a faux work-study position. That left playing the part, which I knew would be no trouble. But before we could agree to actually do this, I had to convince two of my brother's closest friends. So I sat down in front of a mirror in my bedroom. My brother had come in to help me lace up my corset a few minutes ago. I put on a garter belt and slipped into my lucky fishnet stockings. Next, I turned my attention to my hair. It was pretty long, actually: it just usually did what it damned well pleased and stuck up in spiky tufts. So I separated out a few tendrils that framed my face, finger combed styling mouse in into my hair, and curled the strands until I had perfect spiral curls. I coaxed the rest of my hair into laying straight down my back –with a heavy-duty flat-iron set on its highest setting, of course. Then I drew the straightened lengths into a ponytail at the base of my neck. Next up was the make-up. I had really been quite fortunate, I supposed. I'd had an older sister that had enjoyed turning me into a make-up mannequin, but she also taught me how to select and apply make-up that suited me. So I put on the concealer that matched my skin tone, brushed blush onto my cheekbones, and then highlighted with a shimmering bronzer. I outlined my eyes with black eyeliner, applying a thicker line to my eyelids. I brushed a bronze-toned eye-shadow lightly over my eyelids and carefully painted my lashes with black mascara. To finish it off, I smoothed a crimson lipstick over my lips. Then I stepped into a shimmering black cocktail dress and slipped my arms through the sleeves before zipping it up the side. My crimson pumps were half under the bed, so I had to pull them out before I could toe into the curve-toed heels. Then I opened the door and smoothly maneuvered my way into the hallway. I took a deep breath and tried to remember how my sister had taught me to walk in heels and how her voice had sounded. Carefully, I walked into the living room and stood before Tifa, Reno, and Tseng. "Holy shit, little brother." "You... you actually make a lovely woman," Tifa gasped out. Tseng looked me over twice and then gave me a half-smile. "I think you actually look nicer this way." I resisted the urge to stick my tongue out at my brother's boyfriend. "Such a wonderful compliment from such a handsome man," I purred out, pitching my voice a bit higher than normal and hoping it wouldn't be that hard to maintain. "I'm Lola, Lola Sinclair, Reno's younger sister. It's so nice to meet you." "That's creepy!" Tifa giggled. "If I didn't know you, Ax, I'd never guess you were male. I gave her a sultry smile. "That's the plan, sugar," I told her, Lola's sugary tone coming easier than I'd dreamed.