Friday, 11 A.M
As soon as the alarm went off, Fiona Diaz sprung from her bed, eagerly heading into the shower to start her day. As the young Latina woman washed herself, she couldn’t help but feel lucky at all the things going for her; she was living in a penthouse for one, her roommate was a rich Asian girl who randomly bought her expensive clothes that she liked, she was going to intern soon for Erika Stone, and now she seemed to have finally found some dirt on a one Tucker Holmes.
After some weird events that had happened at Decker State College, she decided to look into Tucker’s history and see what she could come up with. What seemed odd was it appeared that at half the events that occurred, Tucker Holmes was mysteriously involved. In fact, he seemed to be the only real connection between those events. Fiona was brought back to reality when her roommate, Chloe Noi, a rich Asian punk girl who was openly lesbian shouted through the door she was going out.
“Whatever,” Fiona thought, as she didn’t care; she was almost done living there and once she finished this semester she was free. Free of school, from her parents, and especially free from Chloe, who made a passes at her from time to time. That girl couldn’t get it through her head that Fiona didn’t swing that way. “Thank you, Stone Enterprises.” she whispered and smiled as she continued her shower.
12 P.M. L A Chinatown
“This bites,” Chloe Noi thought, running her hand through her short spiked hair. If one was to look at her, they would be slightly confused to see a 5’ 3” tall woman, wearing a baby doll tee, proudly displaying her favorite American band, AC/DC, and also her nice melon size breasts. This theme continued with a black, slightly faded jean skirt over knee high military-style boots; her arms adorned with many wristbands and rings on her fingers. A dusty looking black leather jacket completed the unique ensemble. Black shadowy makeup complimented her almond-shaped eyes.
The young Korean woman placed her hands on her hips, almost pouting; in fact she seemed disappointed with the Chinatown area. Not as awesome as she was told; she thought the district looked mostly run-down. “Fiona fucking lied to me again. Why are American women so damn complicated?” she grumbled as she starting walking again. She wandered a little more, until something caught her eye…
12:30 P.M. Decker State College
Fiona knew that Tucker was heading to class and decided to tail him for the day. Arriving first, she hid from sight, making sure that Tucker couldn’t see her as he walked in the Erwin Mitchell general education building. At first all seemed normal, even boring, until he pulled out what seemed like a foot-long stick. Taking out her camera, she took a quick snapshot as he tapped the wand against the building.
“What the…” was all she could say; a split second later to her, Tucker was gone and she heard women start screaming from inside the building. “What the hell is going on?” she asked herself while going into the building. Where the hell is Tucker? she wondered. Walking in the direction of the screams she came across some naked girls panicking and trying to cover themselves. The men milling around just seemed confused and aroused – mostly aroused.
“WHAT THE HELL!” she barked as the men turned their attention to Fiona, “Why are YOU still here!? Get out!” she ordered as she picked up a paperweight and threw it to the ground in front of one of the men. They turned away, laughing, but they left the area while the women took the time to sort out their clothes and re-dress themselves; most of them were in tears and anguished at what had just happened.
Fiona approached one of the women and asked if she had seen Tucker Holmes come in. Her reply was “no”; thinking some more, Fiona then asked what Tucker Holmes was supposed to come in for. The lady, still trying to pull her clothes back on, replied by saying just for a text book that he had forgotten, not really thinking about the confidential part as that was taking a back seat to the crisis at hand.
Walking over to the lost and found, Fiona searched for Tucker’s book. After a few minutes of digging she gave up looking for it. “He was here…” she muttered, getting up, Maybe that stick had something to do with it?
Eager to find out more, she took off to place call to Persephone’s, a bookstore that Tucker worked at. Maybe she could find out more clues there. Then she’d go to Tucker’s apartment, the devious Fiona thought as she read some notes she had jotted down earlier in the week as she had dug through Tucker’s personal student file.
Chinatown - The antique shop
It was weird, first the shop wasn’t there, then ‘poof’ – like magic – the store was; no one seemed to notice the change as a woman in her early forties calmly entered the store, probably for the same reason as Chloe, to look for unique things. In her case it was rings. She loved rings, even as a little girl. Her father would bring her all kinds of rings from his many travels as a businessman, sort of to make up for missing the many events he should have been there for his lovely daughter. She loved the presents.
It’s been years however since he had done so; she had gotten older. Still it didn’t stop her from looking around herself the prized collectables. Walking into the shop, she looks around, marveling at the many wonders in the store.
“What the hell kind of shop is this?” She wondered looking at a lot of the very valuable and very breakable items spread out across the dusty-smelling small shop. It even had the generic and very stereotypical old shopkeeper to boot. Looking around, she wondered about finding all sorts of unusual junk; some items didn’t even look like they belonged there but rather at a museum or something.
She came across a rather odd and very old Chinese enameled jewelry box, which was opened displaying all the unusual rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces within it. Weird for some reason, the design was Chinese, yet it seems like the inlaid writing was from multiple languages. She read one phrase from the box in Kanji script:
“Find the one, and time will bow at thy will, Master the one and even the scythe shall bow at thy might. Be wary, should thy find the one, perils will surely follow…”
“The fuck…?” whispered Chloe as she recited the line of text to herself; she could only make out that much, as the rest of it seemed to be worn out by time; this was unusual, considering she had no idea what passage meant. Shrugging her shoulders, she looked around, as the shopkeeper seemed to look away while the other woman that entered was still browsing around.
After checking around, she decided to dig into the jewelry box and see what she could fish out, after a few minutes she produced a ring; it didn’t look too bad, nothing that made it stand out nor did it look too ugly or too pretty, but for some reason she felt drawn to it – almost as if it was calling her.
*Bump* was the next thing she felt as the browsing lady had accidentally bumped into her with her purse; turning to look at the lady, they both apologized for the accident. Turning her attention back to the ring, she marveled at how good of shape it was in for the fact it was sitting in a box full of junk trinkets.
Smiling to herself, she decided this would be the one she would add to her collection, not really knowing what she was getting herself into. She approached the counter where the old man sat, more asleep then awake. Were it not for his chest rising and falling slowly one would think he was a dead, since his skin was waxy pale white, the remaining hair on his head was barely visible. He wore roughed-up tattered old clothing, looking as if it hadn’t been washed in years, yet strangely didn’t smell horrible.
“Hey old man!” she barked as she slammed a fist on the counter to wake the aged storekeeper, putting on the best poker face she could muster. He stirred slowly and looked around at first, then rubbing his eyes and finally squinting to see Chloe standing before him. She was a pleasant sight, indeed.
“OLD MAN?” he shot back, with a look of distain, “I’ll have u know I’m a young healthily lad of 100; why, I’m still a cub just like you, Missy!” he said, pointing his finger at her, breaking out into cackling laughter that could only be described as borderline evil.
Trying to refrain herself from laughing back at the old man, she leaned on the counter holding up the ring she had found for the old man to look at: “How much?
“Eh?” the old man said, now taking a closer look at the ring; he tried to take it from her, only to grab air as she pulled it away.
“Old man I asked how much, not ‘lady here you dropped something’,” she said in a stern voice, trying to keep the old man from thinking too hard.
“Not for sale.” he replied curtly, reaching for the ring again.
“Not for sale?” she mocked, “ Seriously? Then why put it out with the rest of this junk if you weren’t going to sell it???” she demanded, her stare burning into the elderly keeper. He only repeated his answer, which caused Chloe respond with more anger. “I’ll give you twice what the piece of junk is worth.” He replied “no” once again.
The more he said no the madder she got, until the point her blood was starting to boil. “LOOK HERE OLD MAN! YOU LEFT THE DAMN THING IN THE CASE THAT SAID FOR FUCKING SALE, NOW I WANT TO BUY IT – YOU’RE BEING SUCH AN ASSHOLE THAT I WISH YOU WOULD JUST FUCKING CHILL OUT!!!” She snapped her fingers, and like a rocket, she felt something unusual flow through her, something she couldn’t describe, but felt almost…freezing? It had gotten very quiet.
Coming back to her senses, she noticed right away that something was wrong, as the old man seemed to be stuck in mid sentence. “Um, old man?” she asked hesitantly, getting stony silence in response. Now he really did look like a wax figure sitting there. Looking around, Chloe noticed the other customer in the shop was also stiff as a board.
“Talk about boring…” thought Fiona as she lazily climbed the fire escape up the side of Tucker’s building, not wanting to get caught trying to break into his place through the front door. She had looked up the plans on her laptop in her car. Unfortunately for you Mr. Holmes, you’re not home. Persephone’s may have been a bust, as she doubted that revealing Maggie was a lesbian was news. Tucker’s ability, however, was a huge mystery that needed to be solved or revealed.
She smiled wickedly as the window she was about to break into was for some dumb reason unlocked; she pried it open enough to squeeze in, thanks to her petite frame she had no problems fitting through the small window. The hallway was shadowy, mostly from no lights being on in the apartment, that and the fact that almost every window had a shutter or blinds on it.
Taking out the mini flashlight she always carried, she turned it on only to be greeted by an eerie sight directly in front of her. She yelped, taken aback by the still form of a blond European girl who she guessed was maybe of Russian origin. The statue-like tall slender blond was at the moment dressed only in a sexy French maid outfit with her hand held out stiffly as if she was expecting to be tipped for something. The young woman’s inviting lips were molded into a very forced, but still pleasant, smile as she stared off into nothingness. Her smooth skin had a very shiny waxy look to it.
“The fuck; it’s some kind of fucking love doll!,” she exclaimed. What kind of perv leaves something like this in the middle of the fucking hall? she thought, turning on the hall light to get a better view of the live-in mannequin. The figure was amazingly posh.
“Well mister Tucker, I got to hand it to you, she sure does look real; pretty even. I bet you two have all-niters, with that fucking lesbo living with ya, huh?” she said while feeling up the doll standing before her, not realizing she was fondling a living person. She tried moving the dolls hands, only to discover…”It’s poseable! Must be made in Japan,” she gasped as she began to toy with blond doll’s arms, trying different positions.
Satisfied, Fiona moved on from the sexy mannequin and into the living room; there she was treated to discovering even more dirt on Tucker. What the fuck? More dolls? she thought to herself as she turned on the lights, to reveal the five additional artificial-looking young women sitting at the table and at the couch. “I’m glad I decided to skip classes to investigate you, Tucker; you’re going to be the scum of the universe by the end of the week!”
She walked over to the table first and bent over to the first doll, which was of a beautiful black woman sitting at the table. The woman was staring off into the beyond, with a forced smile on her own lips. Dressed in only a pair of lacy stockings and a garter belt, her back was arched just enough to let her breasts poke out with confidence, despite the table covering her toned tummy. Her shiny black hair was slicked back and cascaded down her neck, while her hands held a file folder filled with photos in it.
Next to her was a redheaded doll. Unlike the African American doll, the redhead was standing up, dressed in a similar French maid’s outfit like the other figure in the hallway; also like the other two she had a forced smile spread across her face. Her rigid arms were bent at the elbows, holding a silver platter tray, which held a rather expensive camera; she was turned facing the couch that had a green screen in front of it.
Deciding she’d look at the three by the couch in a bit, Fiona first went over to the table, getting a closer look at the black doll sitting by herself, not wanting to disturb her pose, she carefully touched the doll’s arm, feeling the waxy-textured skin on her as well. Fiona noticed how detailed the doll was, from the painted fingernails, to the makeup, down to the Barbie-doll mound the doll had, “Wow, you must have been expensive to make?!” she whispered while feeling the doll’s mound, “How does Tucker afford you girls?” she thought as she took the file out of the doll’s still hands, reminding herself to put them back when she was done.
Looking at the file as she walked to the dolls by the couch, Fiona noticed it read photo op spring on the cover, she was about to open it, when she did a double take at one of the dolls posed before her. “What the hell? Ginger Cladwell?” she observed out loud as she stared in awe at the perfect likeness of the dazzlingly beautiful reality TV star. Ginger was a world-class dancer who starred on a contest show that featured stars and starlets performing with professional dancers. “Shit, you must have cost more than all of the rest here! Where is Tuck getting you pretty things from?” she asked the air as she walked over to the 5’9-tall redheaded doll.
The two other dolls, another blond-haired girl and a cute Asian girl flanked the Ginger figure. Both girls were naked and sat smiling at nothing with eyes glazed over, oblivious to their nakedness. The blond girl looked to be Mediterranean while the Asian girl looked to be Japanese, Fiona guessed. She ignored them though; her focus was on the reality star as she was a familiar face. Looking the sleek redhead up and down, she noticed that they indeed captured a precise likeness of the gorgeous Ms. Cladwell, from her emerald green eyes to the coppery red hair both on her head and pubic mound, to the firmly toned body that any dancer of her caliber would have. Why are they all naked? Fiona thought as she used one hand to feel the first redhead’s body then the other two; the Asian girl felt like the others while the redhead and the blond felt different. “That’s weird? You two don’t feel like the other four?” Fiona noted, looking closely at the blond and the Ginger look-alike.
And that’s when she noticed some clothes neatly folded and stacked on the couch, next to them a single purse, “What do we have here?” she wondered, setting down the folder next to the purse, ignoring the gorgeous trio for the moment. She dug through the purse, finding a small wallet in it. Opening it, she saw Ms. Cladwell’s driver license, gold card, and other personal items. “What? Is this real? It can’t be?” she pulled the card out, turning it around, looking for anything that would otherwise mark it as a fake.
To her dismay, she couldn’t find any blemishes; as if on cue, she heard a phone ring, startling her. Falling back, she drops both the license and the file, spilling out the photos. Getting up she knew the sound was coming from the purse, “No way…” she looked inside the purse and sure enough, it was a cell phone; the caller’s name read Kayla. Fiona looked back at the Ginger ‘doll’, smiling away at nothingness, seeing the exquisite statue in a new light. “This is too weird, you would have to be real…”
It was then she saw something else that caught her attention. Bending down, with a shaking hand, she picked up a picture of a girl stiffly posed in a costume, then dropped the cell phone as she recognized the girl in the photo…as herself! She had no memory of that picture being taken. In a sudden panic, she picked up everything, placing the photos back in the file folder and into the hand of the black woman, replacing the cell and wallet back in the purse, thinking about all the places she had touched. Before she lost control completely, she paused and took a deep breath, “Ok girl, clam down, Tuck did something to you girl; figure it out.” The photo’s time and date didn’t make any sense, she was in class that day, he would have to had frozen time…
“Holy crap…” she looked at Ginger again and then back to the other motionless girls, taking into account the photo date and her appearance in the picture; it wasn’t long until the incredible answer came out of her mouth: “Tucker Holmes can freeze time at will… and from the looks of it, he can freeze people as well,” she concluded as she took out her camera again. This time she took her own pictures as she started snapping away, getting all the frozen women she had first thought were dolls, the green screen, the photos, everything.
She had figured out that the stick he had in his hands earlier had something to do with the freezing; take the stick away and he shouldn’t be able to freeze anyone, she thought looking for it in the apartment for a few minutes before giving up. “Damn; he must keep it on him, well with these,” she held up her camera to Ginger, “I’ll nail your sorry ass, Tucker Holmes. But if I try to do it now, you can just freeze things again and make it all disappear,” she reasoned, feeling a chill run down her spine. If Tucker found out what she was up to, Fiona had no doubt she’d soon be standing here paralyzed like these other living dolls, either stark naked or dressed up in some ridiculous costume.
Wanting to buy herself some time, she decided to head back to the penthouse to make a composite of everything she had on Tucker. She would be the one to expose the truth and make herself famous at Tucker’s expense; he was up to no good anyways.
It didn’t take Chloe long to realize that the ring she had on her finger could freeze people, if the jewelry box is correct, then she just frozen time for the old man and the woman inside the shop, they seemed to be really out of it as she shifted their positions and removed certain items of clothing. Stepping out of the store, she stretched her arms; with a big o-smile on her face, she turned and started walking back as she did…
On cue, there was a large amount of screaming from inside the shop, as no doubt the lady suddenly found herself giving the ancient shopkeeper a deal he couldn’t refuse. Strangely enough, embarrassed laughter broke out inside, followed by the lady running out in shame, Chloe snickered as the woman tried to compose herself, then went on her way, while the old man smiled from the shop window
…and just like that the shop disappeared….
A Few Hours Later…
It had gotten dark, still Chloe had some fun between here and there. Pulling pranks and even saving the day in a few emergencies; she had no idea this ring could be so fun. Still she was a bit more interested in the fact the ring could freeze people stiff at the snap of her fingers, even then they could still be moved as she had tested out earlier with the poor woman from the shop.
Giddy, she thought she could test out her new powers on Fiona, maybe even take a peek or two under her skirt. Upon entering the penthouse, she could overhear Fiona talking to someone.
“Hey you, how’s it going girl?” The Latina greeted, speaking into her phone, then listened. “Tucker Holmes, you mean like a date?” she paused for a second, thinking about today, “Seriously?“ Nothing feels outta place, girl?” She did remember seeing some photos of Nina in that file too, so it was safe to say Nina couldn’t tell the difference if Tucker froze her, she thought, “Nice? Wasn’t he already dating someone? “Who is he dating?” She scratched her head on that one, maybe the girlfriend is in on it, and finally cracks to the secret, “Yeah, nuts chica…” Fiona sat back down at her computer.
Chloe could see the concern on the Latina’s face, “No it’s alright Nina, I have some important work to do; you take care and good night girl.”
Hanging up the phone, she looked back at her flatscreen, with all the photos from her digital camera, going through everything she had found, writing notes on a notepad and in the photo descriptions. She thought she would have to keep quiet till she got more proof that Tucker was indeed freezing time and not fucking with her mind in some other way. Just then she heard a noise; before she could do anything besides starting to turn…
In an instant the once mobile Fiona Diaz was now magically frozen in time, although this time not by Tucker himself, but an unsuspected rival with her own powers. Chloe Noi walked into the bedroom, briefly caressing Fiona’s cheek before looking at what was up on her roommate’s computer screen.
“Well, well, well,” smiled Chloe, “Looks like I’m not the only one with powers here,” she said as she started looking through the photo files, “Such a nice collection of cute girls Tucker Holmes; you even have me in here…” Chloe noted, not that surprised. She looked back at Fiona, her attractively posed body and her frozen expression, “You look so damn cute in your outfit too, Fiona; it’s a shame I can’t keep you like this…”
Looking at the notes, Chloe knew if Fiona exposed Tucker, she would expose her too. That wouldn’t do, she thought. She decided to confront Tucker on her own terms later. Especially for that crappy costume he had chosen for her picture.
“On second thought, I think you need to stay this way, love,” Chloe whispered to her, lifting Fiona’s rigid but poseable body from the chair and dragging the frozen woman into her room. “I think it’s time you and me had a little private show tonight.”
To be Continued in: Match Maker