Tucker's House, Culver City, Los Angeles County
"I think its time to get up," announced Tucker Holmes as he prodded the woman nuzzled against him in bed, working hard to take a mental photo of her that way as he did as she extremely attractive, even when asleep. Tasia Spiro, the gorgeous Greek with the power to stop time at will, moaned and rubbed her newly-blonde head against Tucker's arm. The other day Tasia had gone to visit her friend Erika Stone and when she'd gotten back she was a blonde, having started checking out all kinds of colors. Tucker liked seeing her blonde, though he did miss her naturally red-brown hair. Tasia had mentioned before going to sleep the night before that she would probably go back with her natural color in the end, though perhaps highlighted, while also explaining why Erika had failed to tell Tucker she was coming to his birthday party and why she'd failed to show up herself. It turned out Stone Enterprises had recently suffered from some network hacking and Tasia's email had been lost in the panic that followed, identified incorrectly as carrying a virus and deleted. As an apology, Erika had sent a card with Tasia for Tucker that contained details on a travel package she'd gotten him, effectively granting him a free vacation to anywhere in the continental United States. Tucker wasn't sure when he'd use Erika's gift but it would probably be after he'd graduated and Otaku LA was in better shape.
"I guess today's the day," sighed Tasia, as her blue eyes fluttered open and she looked at her lover. "You know... this might never work between us, but its still fun to visit." Tucker smiled as Tasia moved up to kiss him, reflecting on his relationship with the high-ranking agent of the International Temporal Enforcement Agency. Tasia was very sexually active; she enjoying having multiple partners as well as both fooling around with frozen people and being frozen herself. Tucker was a bit worried the woman would eventually burn out but for now it meant they could have these passionate but ultimately directionless sexual encounters.
"Next time, you might not time it when there's no one around to become jealous," pointed out Tucker, referring to his relationship status. The first time Tucker and Tasia had met as they did, Tucker's relationship with Julie had been a bit rocky; she was also going home for the Christmas holidays. This time around, Julie had been permanently frozen by the Stillsville Camera, but today was the day that would change.
"Fair enough," grinned Tasia, reaching under the sheets and touching Tucker's groin. "Just don't forget what these hands feel like." With that, Tasia got out of bed, picking up the swimsuit she'd arrived in days ago and slipped it on while Tucker admired another woman he'd miss as well: Standing in the corner was Yelena Nikitin, the blonde Kazakhstani security guard, posed stiffly with her hands on her hips and a bright white smile on her lips. Unlike Tasia, Yelena had never been unfrozen, thus unaware that she had even left the UK as she'd thought Tasia needed her to be bait for a mission back home. Before going to bed the previous night, Tucker had made sure Yelena was dressed in the one-piece blue bikini she'd arrived in.
"Too bad I can't just use the wand and make sure you'll still unfreeze when you get home," remarked Tucker as Tasia finished dressing and stepped to the small case on Tucker's dresser that contained her Type-7 supply. "I really do worry that long-term exposure to that drug will have consequences..."
"Hey, if there was anything, it really would have come up by now," Tasia assured Tucker, giving him a wink as she took a bottle of Type-7, intending to drink it all, which would freeze her for five days easily if not cause an overdose. "Hopefully I'll see you again sooner rather than later..."
"Yeah... take care," offered Tucker as he watched Tasia down the entire bottle in less than three seconds. Given how fast Type-7 acted, Tasia had just pulled the tip of the bottle away from her lips when she froze in place, her head still tilted back with her eyes looking straight ahead, her left hand holding the bottle while her right was on her hip. Sighing to himself, Tucker moved over to the immobilized woman and pried the bottle from her hands, then leaned her head forward and moved her arm down so her now-empty hand was close to waist height. She continued to stare unblinkingly into the distance.
"Miss you already," admitted Tucker as he kissed Tasia on the forehead, which wasn't easy since he was actually shorter than she. Giving the two human mannequins in his room a pat on their rears, Tucker began to whistle and started getting dressed, pulling on some jeans an a black T-shirt with the Triforce from the Legend of Zelda on it.
Once he felt he was more presentable, though he hadn't shaved or done much with his hair, Tucker carried Yelena downstairs, finding it easiest to carry her sideways as while she was tall, she wasn't that heavy. As Tucker arrived downstairs he heard some mild laughter from the kitchen and, curious, went to investigate.
"Good morning nephew!" called Ryoshi Dawson from the kitchen table, seated with Colette Landry and Haley Leone, all three in dressing gowns. Ryoshi, whose specific use of the word 'nephew' was probably to help her get used to the idea of having one, was wearing a white robe that Tucker and Haley kept in the bathrooms for guests, which made sense since Ryoshi was ideally staying with his Uncle Scott at the Soft Blue Loft Inn. Colette likewise was wearing a white guest robe, Tucker figured it was she who'd had Ryoshi over last night since, while he wasn't certain, he was pretty sure they were into each other, given that Colette seemed bi-curious when it came to Asian women and Ryoshi was flat out bisexual. Still, Tucker knew just having two women being bi- wasn't enough, but given they were both also interested in Scott he figured that might somehow drive it. Tucker was a bit envious that his uncle was able to win over two beautiful women to the point that they had become practically a harem. That was something Tucker himself wished he could pull off, especially now.
Haley Leone had just sat down at the table after pouring more coffee for Ryoshi and Colette, wearing her teal robe today with her hair clearly just down as it shimmered like silk. Haley was Tucker's roommate and ex-girlfriend, but since his birthday the waters had become sullied a bit. While Tucker was officially dating Julie Vaughn, she'd been frozen for nearly a month now and Tucker could only use the pleasures of frozen women to sate his need for a real connection for so long, resulting in his tricking Pamela Flipspatrick not too long ago into being with him due to the belief that she was dreaming. Tucker had also had Tasia, but while there was passion there, the realtionship lacked real love. This was something that Haley had reminded him of when, after getting him a truly great birthday present, they'd slept together for the first time since right before their split.
"You know as interesting as the Chips are, I think I like having real people work for the company a bit more, at least when we know we can trust them or easily keep them in the dark," explained Ryoshi, going back to the earlier conversation as she'd apparently been in the middle of telling Colette and Haley a bit more about Utopia Holdings, a company she ran with Scott. "Besides Parker, we've got this group of very lovely young women who crew our boats; a nice group of Korean girls who might as well be models. I should show you the poster we had them pose for on my phone..."
"I would love to see that," nodded Colette with a smile, then held up her hand for a moment to look at Tucker. "So are Tasia and Yelena about ready to go?" The entire time they'd been there Colette hadn't revealed herself to Tasia, not wanting her team leader to know she knew Tucker and especially Scott. Tasia had thus been frozen for a good part of her stay but Tucker had managed to make it work, occasionally being forced to freeze Colette too so he could effectively hide her at the last minute if needed.
"Just now put Yelena by the door; I’m going to grab Tasia in a second," confirmed Tucker. "Thanks again for dropping them off for me. Box is in the garage."
"What can I say, its kind of fun to have this kind of knowledge about my co-workers," revealed Colette with a grin, Ryoshi chuckling in agreement. Haley meanwhile was giving Tucker a poisonous look but he ignored it, instead heading to go back upstairs.
Tucker soon arrived back at the door with the frozen Tasia in his arms and, in no surprise to him at all, Haley was waiting for him. Letting out a small sigh, Tucker carefully stood Tasia’s statue next to Yelena and waited for Haley to speak. "You need to stop avoiding me," Haley stated to her roommate, her arms crossed.
"There's nothing to discuss," insisted Tucker, turning to go, still needing to retrieve Julie and Rachel. Tasia remained a silent Greek chorus.
"I'm trying to tell you what I've got going on today," explained Haley as Tucker started to leave the room, causing him to stop, sigh, and turn to look at his roommate. Haley's face held a variety of emotions, or so Tucker seemed to perceive: sadness, regret, longing, even pity.
"Okay, what's on your agenda?" asked Tucker, giving up and leaning against the wall, one hand in his wand pocket just in case.
"Lisa's audition with Kathryn is today and I've been invited to be one of the test models," revealed Haley. "The new girl will be there too and after that we might come back to celebrate, if it goes well." Lisa Collins, Tucker's old neighbor, had met Kathryn Summers, Haley's boss, at his birthday and talked up her skills as a photographer, expressing an interest in taking fashion photos since she was interested in artistic photography in a broad sense. Kathryn was looking for new photographers, already looking to hire Charlene Masters more permanently, so she'd offered Lisa an audition and also wanted to do something with her new talent. Tucker didn't know who the new hire with Models Inc was yet, but he'd heard she was an up-and-comer from New York.
"Okay, I do have to work later but if you do end up back here I might meet up with you then," nodded Tucker, turning to go again.
"Now can we talk about-" began Haley, not getting a chance to finish. As soon as Haley had insisted on continuing the conversation Tucker had figured out where it was going and acted first, quickly pulling out his wand and stopping time. Haley stood frozen with her arms crossed, her lips pursed and a frustrated furrow in her brow.
"Sorry," muttered Tucker as he moved to pick up Haley, lifting her up over his shoulder with his right arm around her knees as he headed upstairs. Whistling as he walked Tucker soon arrived in Haley's room and laid her down on her bed. Haley's hair spread out around her head as she was put to rest; with Tucker's old feelings sparking a bit at the sight before he reluctantly walked away, deciding to focus.
Heading back downstairs Tucker retrieved Julie and Rachel from his office, both were dressed back up like they had been when they'd originally been frozen earlier in the month. For ease of transportation, Tucker had just posed both girls to stand at attention in their uniforms; both having smiles on their lips, though Rachel's looked cocky while Julie's seemed sweeter. "Today's the day," Tucker told his long-frozen girlfriend, giving her smiling face a kiss before hoisting her up on one shoulder, managing to get Rachel up on the other.
Back downstairs Tucker placed Julie and Rachel next to Tasia and Yelena, with Rachel nearly toppling over as she was set down. Satisfied, Tucker decided he should go and warm up his car next but needed to unfreeze time since Kat hadn't sent him the all-important text just yet. Hoping Haley's little trip back to her bed would make her stop asking questions, Tucker pulled out his wand again and used it to unfreeze time before moving to open the door. To Tucker's surprise, the doorbell instead rang.
"Hello?" answered Tucker, opening the front door. Standing there was forty-something Asian woman dressed in a yellow flannel shirt, jeans and white running shoes; her hair was swirled in a loose bun and she had aviator sunglasses over her eyes, though they quickly came off. Tucker realized who it was before she began to speak.
"Hello nephew," greeted Tucker's adoptive aunt Naomi Yen. The Yen family had been Tucker's legal guardians for his senior year of high school, though the legal status of it being an adoption was dubious. Tucker never called Maggie or Madison his sisters and treated both Roger and Ling with respect, though never called them his parents. Roger's younger sister Naomi, however, had taken to treating him like a nephew and insisted on being called his aunt. Naomi was a Los Angeles police officer so Tucker had never worked up the courage to argue with her.
"Aunt Naomi, what brings you here?" greeted Tucker, even offering a small bow of sorts.
"I'm off-duty today so I thought I'd come by to talk with you," revealed Naomi, though given her attire Tucker wasn't shocked to hear she was off-duty. "Ling called me yesterday. She's been worried about Maggie lately."
"Worried?" asked Tucker, surprised to hear that about his alienated once-best friend. "What's going on?"
"Well it's kind of complicated, so I was hoping we could sit down to talk about it," explained Naomi, gesturing past Tucker. "I'd like to come in."
"Uh, this isn't the best time Aunt Naomi, I'm just about to..." began Tucker, trying to wave off his aunt.
"It'll only take a couple of minutes, I'd just rather not talk outside like this," insisted Naomi, starting to barge past Tucker.
"Tucker!" then came a yell from upstairs inside the house, the voice being Haley's and her no-doubt fury at being moved while frozen. By now Naomi was hallway in and a head-turn away from seeing the four motionless women Tucker had set up near the door, so Tucker decided it was a good time to use his wand again.
Naomi halted while brushing past Tucker from the right, her head turned slightly to her right with a neutral look on her face, her left arm forward with her hands holding her sunglasses. Naomi's right hand was touching Tucker's chest and the young man was relieved to know that touching someone when they stopped time using the wand didn't mean they were immune. "I was wondering if that was the case," commented Tucker as he waved his wand at Naomi again, freezing her more permanently. Since Naomi had the day off Tucker figured freezing her for a while wouldn't be a bad idea, as it would give Ryoshi and Colette someone to play with before they left and later on he might fool around with her too. Tucker may call Naomi his ‘aunt’ but, unlike Ryoshi, Tucker had no issues fantasizing about her sexually, treating her like he treated Madison.
Dragging Naomi on her heels with her front leaning into his own, Tucker pulled his adoptive aunt into the kitchen where Colette and Ryoshi still were posed, now frozen themselves. Ryoshi had gotten up to open the fridge but Colette was behind her, her arms wrapped around the Japanese woman's waist as both of them smiled with their eyes closed, Colette's chin nestled on Ryoshi's left shoulder while she affectionately reached up with her left hand, her right reaching for the fridge door. "Ladies," nodded Tucker out of habit as he stood Naomi back up in the middle of the kitchen. With a bit of work Tucker adjusted Naomi so she was standing with her hands on her hips, her legs spread and her sunglasses over her eyes.
"I think you'll like my friends over there," Tucker told Naomi as he ran a hand down his adoptive aunt's cheek, then giving her a quick peck on the lips before going to raid the kitchen drawers. Finding a Post-It note, Tucker wrote a message for Ryoshi and Colette before heading out, deciding to just let time remain frozen for a while so he could load his passengers and leave without further incident.
Frozen by wand so feel free to play with
Leave in guest room or basement when done
PS- Don't let Haley call me, but don't freeze her
* * *
Fisher Hall, Decker State College, Malibu
Halfway to Malibu, Tucker had gotten a text from Kat saying that they should be good to go but that there was a complication that she'd explain when he arrived. Taking that as a cue to stop time, Tucker did so and as a result the rest of the trip was far more relaxing. Soon enough Tucker had pulled up to the college, leaving his car by the stadium where he'd have access to the Raptor's Nest, and then walked to Fisher Hall.
Arriving at Kat and Julie's dorm room Tucker was pleased to find it unlocked and headed inside. The room, however, showed what Kat had been trying to warn Tucker about: another woman had joined her. Kat was standing facing the door, her head bowed slightly with her gaze fixed on her phone, her thumbs in the middle of working on a text. Kat was wearing her hair down had put on black jeans with a yellow spaghetti-strap top, one that rode up just a bit above her waist to reveal a hint of her navel. The other woman present looked quite a bit older but was also a knock-out, having lush blonde hair, grayish-blue eyes and a gorgeous white smile that she was flashing as she stood idle near Julie's bed. The woman was wearing designer blue jeans that weren't extremely snug but still looked tight, a teal blouse on her upper body with the top two buttons open to reveal the skin above her chest's features, which looked slightly bigger than Kat's. The older blonde was standing with her right arm resting on the top of her brown leather purse that rested on the same arm, her left hand resting on her leg a bit below her waist but outside her pocket. The second woman he recognized as Cecily Vaughn, Julie and Kat's mother.
"Well this is a surprise," whistled Tucker, moving past Kat to get a look at her mom. Cecily was born in 1961 but her age wasn't the easiest to detect, Tucker thinking she might be able to pass for forty. Julie had briefed Tucker on her mom a while back, since meeting her was possible or so Tucker had been told. Cecily had raised the girls more or less single-handed; their father being a workaholic who none the less was a great provider. Julie never questioned that her father did love them, but didn’t say so often enough. Cecily was a home-maker and Tucker knew she and Julie chatted at least weekly, so he supposed he shouldn't be surprised that she'd turned up here, though her timing was unlucky.
Tucker approached Cecily and couldn't help but grin, moving to pull away her purse. Cecily looked to be a bit shorter than Kat but Tucker had earlier noted the slightly bigger chest area and decided to take a closer look. "I gotta compare; not often you come in from Providence huh?" remarked Tucker as he carefully unbuttoned Cecily's blouse, soon revealing a black sheer bra with a lacy quality to it. "Naughty." Tucker was pleased to see that, like Julie, Cecily's breasts were in proper proportion and well-kept, causing him to quickly finish removing the blouse and cast it aside so he could work on the bra.
"They're nearly perfect, not too big, not too small," realized Tucker as the bra fell away, allowing him to touch the older woman's orbs. Curious just how far the near perfection seemed to go, Tucker found himself unzipping Cecily's jeans and pulled them down, revealing lace panties that matched the bra. The panties too soon descended and Tucker found himself joining in the nudity, getting a bit flustered as he looked at Cecily's groin. The elder Vaughn's lower body hair, besides being blonde and thus showing it was natural, was more or less uniform going from the bottom up, except near the top where it blossomed like a rose, even vaguely looking to be in the shape of one.
“That is artistry,” whistled Tucker, his clothes having all hit the floor as he stared. Getting up, Tucker moved closer and put his hands on Cecily's shoulders, staring into her vacant eyes, the big smile still on her face. “Thank you for being just how I'd hoped you'd be,” whispered Tucker, leaning in to kiss Cecily in the cheek. Tucker's action, however, caused him to fall forward as he was off-balance, pushing Cecily onto Julie's bed with him on top, his aroused member then hitting the sweet spot as they both stopped falling.
“Well, since I'm down here,” gasped Tucker, succumbing to the situation and letting out a soft moan before fully engaging with Cecily. After only a few minutes of kissing and stroking Cecily as he engaged with her, he ended climaxing and ignored any guilt, given the fact that the woman was frozen and that she was a very beautiful mature woman.
“Whew... okay, better get to it,” remarked Tucker after getting off of Cecily, then quickly setting to work cleaning up. Within minutes Cecily was dressed and posed as she had been, Tucker also dressed himself and double-checked the bed he'd used before being satisfied enough to even consider reviving Kat. Cecily, he decided to leave frozen for the time being.
“Ah, there you are,” managed Kat upon seeing Tucker appear before her, quickly pocketing her phone. “I have no idea how Julie gets used to that...”
“The sudden silence usually gives people who know a clue,” offered Tucker, though he knew Julie and Haley still weren't really used to the wand when they were on the receiving end; his friend Maggie the only one who ever seemed to be. “So I see your mother is here...”
“Yeah, she showed up unannounced,” confirmed Kat, frowning as she turned to look at Cecily, posed smiling like a waxwork. “She was always going to come down for the tournament, but I guess after not getting any calls from Julie she got worried and came early.”
“I don't remember Julie mentioning her coming last year,” commented Tucker, recalling how the previous year the Lady Raptors had stunned the tri-state area of California, Nevada and Utah by winning the championship tournament, especially with their B-squad which was now the current A-squad, more or less.
“Well we weren't expected to play much at the time,” pointed out Kat, shrugging. “You really timed it perfectly since I'd told her I was texting Julie.”
“Well that makes sense,” nodded Tucker. “Rachel and Julie are both in my car, so I guess we should zip over to the stadium?”
“Absolutely, and I'll tear up the floor myself if I have to,” agreed Kat, heading out the door with Tucker right behind.
* * *
It took only a few short minutes to reach the stadium, walking arguably not much slower due to the pedestrian shortcuts Kat and Tucker could have taken, but since Rachel and Julie were in the vehicle it made sense to just drive. Soon enough the vehicle had pulled in to a parking spot and Tucker and Kat rushed out, Tucker barely glancing at the remodeling. The stadium had been around for a while but with the recent major spike in the athletics program, in part thanks to how well the Raptors had done the previous year, renovations had been happening. Outside the second floor there were some scaffolds set up to replace the windows for the office space and such, and the main entrance was in the middle of being re-painted. “I still can't believe they dumped all the money into the stadium and nothing for the tour buses,” observed Tucker as he and Kat hurried inside the building.
“Well transportation is traditionally covered by fund-raising,” pointed out Kat as the moved. “Besides, if we hadn't had to fund-raise for bus repairs, would you and Julie have ever hooked up?”
“Good point,” admitted Tucker as the pair quickly headed up the staircase and soon enough burst into The Raptor's Nest. It was in the side office where the magical photo had gotten lost, but with the renovations they could see right into both rooms, the doors being off their hinges, drywall removed, and parts of the floor torn up; all of the space's furniture and equipment was out in the hall. Standing frozen in mid-step near the entrance to the side room was Glenda Peyton, the current coach for the Raptors. Tucker found Glenda quite attractive for being nearly forty, a decently-tanned blonde with an adorable smile. Currently Glenda was wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt, the zipper half-open to reveal a white T-shirt underneath, a school baseball cap on her head with her hair tied low behind her head. Glenda's shorts were red and stopped halfway down her thighs, she had white socks and shoes on her feet. The coach stood with a puzzled look on her face, her ruby red lips pursed as she reached for something with her left hand, her gaze fixed on it.
Next to Glenda was someone Tucker had to raid his memory for before remembering she was Molly Desmond, the college property manager who was in charge of the renovations. Molly had some decent curves but wasn't fat, though Tucker was pretty sure she'd used to be, just not being thin either. Molly had impressive breasts; Tucker figured them for at least D-cups, but also had a nice white complexion and dark brown hair with hints of dark red dye in it, making it shimmer like silk. Molly was wearing a black sweater over what looked like a purple blouse due to the visible collar underneath, a gray skirt stopping at her knees and a pair of violet flat dress shoes on her feet. The property manager was standing with her left hand on her hip, her right holding up a small item that Glenda was looking at, Molly's own gaze was fixed on it with a bemused look on her face. The object was a Polaroid photo of a surprised Julie Vaughn and Rachel Xanders.
“Oh my God!” exclaimed Kat, running over to the frozen women and quickly plucking the image from Molly's hand. “Tucker, this is it! We've got it!” Without any hesitation Kat tore the photo in two, right then and there, with Tucker grinning so hard his cheeks were hurting.
“Yes!” exclaimed Tucker as Kat ran up to him and the pair sharing a big hug, with Kat joining in letting out shouts of happiness. Tucker's whole body felt a surge of excitement, and he knew right then and there he'd need to do something now or not be able to sit still.
“Okay, since time is still frozen they'll still be frozen on the car, so we-” began Kat, only to not finish thanks to Tucker waving his wand at her as she looked away, her arms still wrapped around Tucker's neck. In spite of being frozen Kat felt warm to the touch and as Tucker turned her head to look back at him he saw her lips were pursed, perfect for kissing. Tucker would normally not mess with Kat, not since he'd started dating her twin, but given he'd earlier nailed Cecily and was feeling really in the mood right now he didn't care, he leaned in and kissed the soccer player while silently vowing to never bring it up to Julie.
Thanks to how Kat had been frozen Tucker was able to lift her up by her rear end and carry her while kissing her, both stumbling around the hallway until he found one of the couches that had originally been in the office area. As Tucker lowered Kat onto the couch however, he realized there was space for three and, instead of laying her down horizontally, sat her upright, parting her hands from around his neck and heading back into the office. Glenda was taken first, Tucker grasping her raised hand that had been reaching for the destroyed photo and dancing with the frozen coach as he guided her outside and sat her down next to Kat.
“E-cups, nice,” read off Tucker as he returned for Molly, pulling up her sweater and blouse to check the size of her white bra before taking her next, sweeping her off her feet and even singing some classic lounge music as he delivered her to the couch. “Okay, been a while since I've sat on the couch of hotness, let’s see how she feels!”
* * *
Tucker had easily spent a good hour on the couch with the three women, over that time getting them all naked and letting Glenda's hair down before finally returning them as they had been. Molly and Kat were reposed the least on the couch, so capturing their original positions hadn't been too tricky, but Glenda Tucker he was sure he'd positioned slightly wrong though he didn't care. Although Kat hadn't seemed to notice when he'd revived her, even after returning to the frozen pair to put the now-ripped photo back in Molly's hands, Kat did confide in Tucker that Glenda knew about the Stillsville camera but hoped to deal with that herself later on. Following escapade, Tucker and Kat had gone to Rachel's student apartment and tried their best cover up her absence, Tucker having previously been culling her emails and phone messages but now cleaning up her place to look like it had been lived in. Over her time with Tucker he'd even posed Rachel around LA a few times to make it look like she had gone off to spend time with a record producer before being unceremoniously dumped. That done, Rachel was put to sleep, which confirmed that destroying the photo had unfrozen her and Julie, and now Tucker and Kat were just arriving back at the shared dorm room.
“I think I should move mom outside... better that Julie doesn't see her when you unfreeze her,” commented Kat as they carefully put Julie down, who was still posed to be sitting in a car. Julie was put to rest at the foot of her bed, her gaze remained blank as Tucker touched her face gently while Kat began to drag Cecily out of the room on her heels.
“We've still got a few hours before Rachel will wake up... hopefully it’s enough,” muttered Tucker. Moments later Kat re-entered the room, breathing a bit heavily.
“No time like now Tuck,” breathed Kat, clearly a bit nervous. “Okay, do it.” Nodding, Tucker held aloft his wand and tapped it twice on Julie's head. At first it seemed like nothing had happened, but then Julie blinked, twice, and looked up at Tucker before over at Kat.
“Hey guys,” offered Julie, then focusing on the wand. “Wait... Kat, since when did you know about the wand?”
“Julie!” exclaimed Kat instead, wrapping her arms around her sister and letting out a cry for joy. Tucker himself smiled but decided to politely look away, letting the sisters have their moment, even if Julie wasn't up to speed yet.
“Hey, you're acting like you thought you'd never see me again,” chuckled Julie, patting Kat on the back. Julie then looked up at Tucker and he knew his face was giving it away. Sure enough moments later Julie looked like she'd seen a ghost. “Oh God, what happened?!” exclaimed the cheerleader, still holding her twin.
“Freak accident,” managed Tucker, speaking first while Kat sobbed a bit. “The camera... when you and Rachel were frozen, the photo...”
“You lost it?!” exclaimed Julie, only staying sitting thanks to Kat still clinging to her. “How long were we...?!”
“Nearly a month,” whispered Kat. “We were scared it could be longer... and we didn't even know if we could get you back at all.”
“Oh my God...” breathed Julie, stunned. “Weeks of my life gone because Rachel can't hold her liquor?!”
“Julie, it was a freak accident,” Tucker told his girlfriend, moving to sit next to her and putting an arm around her. “The photo fell under a crack in the floorboards.”
“And it took you weeks to get it?!” exclaimed Julie, suddenly breaking away from her sister and boyfriend to stand up. “Why didn't you just tear it up?!”
“It was too risky!” insisted Kat. “Even with the wand we didn't know how to fix a floor! Or if it was even under there! Even then I nearly did! I even bought a crowbar!”
“What have I missed?” demanded Julie, crossing her arms. “Wait, nearly a month... okay, no exams, a few assignments, but my boyfriend can stop time so I can use that to catch up... Oh shit, my boyfriend!”
“Yeah,” confirmed Tucker, nodding as Julie seemed to realize she'd missed his birthday. “It was only two days ago though. You've got nearly two weeks before finals, plus you didn't miss the tournament. If it had been much longer you can believe we would have done something drastic, but we lucked out, they uncovered it during the remodeling.”
“Well that's... still pretty bad actually, even if not catastrophic,” realized Julie, glancing around. “Tucker I swear as soon as I'm caught up we will do something nice to make up for your birthday, whatever you want...”
“Hey, I watched over you when you were frozen... you were there, even if you weren't aware of it,” insisted Tucker, trying to calm Julie down while at the same time a bit flattered that Julie was so readily thinking of him. Tucker's gut had a large twang of guilt now, not just about Haley but Pamela’s seduction, whom he'd tried to justify to himself by treating it like a dream for her.
“That's sweet, but I still need to make this right,” insisted Julie as she wrapped her arms around Tucker, he doing the same. “How many times did mom call you, Kat?”
“She showed up over a week early,” revealed Kat. “She actually just arrived today and was asking me to get you over here. Talked about wanting to meet your boyfriend and asked why you hadn't called her... I did cover for you with emails and such, but yeah, I think she figured out something was wrong. Tucker showed up in the nick of time and she’s out of it for now.”
“Another reason I'm glad you had that crowbar, just in case,” muttered Julie, rubbing her arms up and down Tucker's back. “How's the squad?”
“Michelle's been running things and honestly, I may not have the highest opinion of her but she's doing alright,” explained Kat.
“Well Michelle does seem to know what she's doing, even if she apparently thinks I'm her rival,” commented Julie. Michelle Gim was Rachel's co-captain and highly respected by the squad, Tucker knew, but lately she'd seemed eager to turn Rachel even more against Julie so she could become captain. Up until that had started happening, Julie had had nothing but kind words to say about her fellow cheerleader.
“But aside from your school stuff and some parties, Tucker's included, I really don't think you missed much,” Kat assured her sister, standing up now as Tucker and Julie had ended their cuddle. “We got lucky. Rachel’s situation might be an issue, but we've staged so she'll hopefully think she went on a bender or something and just can't remember.”
“I'll watch that when I get back into things,” Julie assured her sister, managing to hold back tears. “So did you throw away the camera? I imagine you blamed it for this...”
“No, I still think we can handle it, we just need to not be so impulsive and plan any freezes more,” declared Kat, with Tucker electing to be silent so the sisters could talk. “I mean I get why you wanted to freeze Rachel, but next time ask me to help. Plus it would have been nice to find out about your boyfriend's secret in a different way.”
“Well you know now, and you seem to get getting the hang of it,” pointed out Tucker, the trio sharing smiles. “So you think you're ready to talk to your mom?”
Julie hesitated before nodding. “Yeah, I think so,” she confirmed. “This is still really weird but... I think I can at least manage that. Mom and dad didn't suddenly decide to split up or something while I was gone right?”
“No, but things still aren't great between them,” confessed Kat. Tucker didn't know all the details but it sounded like thanks to the girls' father becoming the owner of a shipping company, he'd spent a lot more time wrapped up in business. While there had never been any dramatic fights or anything, he and Cecily had apparently drifted apart more since the daughters had started going to college. It was why Cecily was there and her husband, Kevin, wasn't; as he was too busy working to get time off for the tournament while she had always been a homemaker.
“Alright, lets set this up right,” commented Tucker glancing around the room. “I believe she was standing near the bed and Kat, you were by the door... so we'll wait a few seconds after I unfreeze time and walk in?”
“Yeah that's fine... maybe just synch me and make sure I'm standing like I was, don't want to freak mom out,” added Kat, pulling out her phone. “No time like the present.”
“Sure thing,” nodded Tucker, giving Kat a moment to take up what looked close to her original pose when he'd found her before synching her up with time, which due to it currently being frozen meant she now was too.
“Is that about right?” asked Julie, glancing at her sister.
“Both hands on her phone, looking down more,” revealed Tucker, letting his girlfriend pose her sister. Kat was then slid a few feet before the couple went outside to retrieve Cecily.
“Wow, feels like forever since I last saw her,” commented Julie as she saw her mother. “Hey, um, Tucker... look this is awkward but we never talked about this kind of thing related to your whole wand situation...”
“What's up?” asked Tucker, not sure what Julie was getting at.
“Look, you freeze time and fool around with women, I can accept that,” Julie told her boyfriend; he looked uncomfortable as she seemed to be building up to something. “As usual I obviously don't want to see it or ever really know... if that includes... that especially includes my mom and sister, okay?”
“What?!” exclaimed Tucker, a bit stunned that Julie had so casually brought up him playing with her mom and sister, though the fact that it had happened just hours ago didn't help either, weighing on him.
“I just don't want to know, especially with them,” emphasized Julie, clearly looking comfortable as she shifted on her feet a lot and couldn't look at Tucker or Cecily. “I mean, mom's attractive and Kat is my twin, but-”
“Lets just stop it there,” breathed Tucker. “I understand, okay? Now lets bring your mom inside and get time moving again.”
“Yeah...” agreed Julie, quickly grabbing her mom to drag her into the dorm room, letting Tucker hold the door open. “Thanks.”
“No worries,” grinned Tucker, covering the churning in his gut. Soon Cecily was in place again and Tucker and Julie exited the room, picking a spot in the hallway where no one would see them when time resumed.
“Hey, before you unfreeze time,” interrupted Julie, stopping Tucker from moving his arm to tap the wand. “I just wanted to say... thank you for watching me.” As Julie had continued to speak her hands slid down Tucker's arm and to his shoulders, the cheerleader then leaning in to kiss him. Overjoyed at the chance to finally share a proper kiss with his girlfriend again Tucker reciprocated, and before long one kiss had become a series of passionate ones.
“Okay, we should probably, uh, yeah, get going,” gasped out Tucker minutes later.
“You sure you don't want to keep going?” asked Julie, glancing down. “The floor may be hard but why not?”
“Look, as game as I am, probably better you focus on getting your life going again, at least for now, and later tonight or something we can focus on us on a more physical level,” suggested Tucker, Julie nodding but not frowning.
“You're right, thanks,” offered Julie, giving Tucker a kiss on the cheek before his raised his wand and tapped it on the wall five times, unfreezing time.
“I guess I'll just tell mom we met up after morning practice,” mused Julie as time continued to flow, a few people who wouldn't have seen them earlier now casually walking by. “I guess after I'm done with mom I'll start getting oriented on what I've missed. Hey, you never said what you did with Rachel...”
“Asleep in her apartment she'll be up in a few hours,” revealed Tucker. “We created a story about her running off with a record executive and even posted photos of her around Hollywood on her social pages. You, we said got a short internship out of town.”
“Who with?” asked Julie as the couple slowly started to move towards the dorm room where Cecily and Kat were waiting.
“Gold Standard; you filled in for a personal assistant while they were recovering from surgery, something to do with getting something removed, we never nailed down what,” explained Tucker. “Gall bladder probably works...”
“That'll do,” nodded Julie, moving to open the dorm room door. After a brief moment of hesitation Julie turned the knob, entering her room and nearly bumping into her sister as her mother looked at her, her face lighting up.
“Julie, there you are!” exclaimed Cecily, quickly running up to hug her daughter. “I know you were doing that internship but no calls? I came down a week early just so we could catch up!” Cecily then glanced behind Julie, where Tucker nervously stood, offering a warm smile. “Oh, is this him?” asked Cecily, letting go of her daughter.
“Mom, this is Tucker,” confirmed Julie, gesturing to Tucker. “Tucker, this is my, well, our mother.”
“A great pleasure to finally meet you,” offered Tucker, extending a hand. To his surprise Tucker found himself getting hugged, then trying to avoid possible arousal since he had seen the woman naked not that long ago.
“The pleasure is mine, I assure you,” Cecily practically giggled, squeezing hard before letting go. “I have so much I need to ask! Julie has told me a lot but I like hearing it from the person themselves!”
“You guys can have the room, I need to talk to Mel about a few things,” Kat told the trio, smiling as she worked her phone again and headed out of the room, Tucker almost wanting to go with her. Cecily seemed to like Tucker, but given his own idiotic decision earlier, he worried that just might be a problem in of itself.
* * *
1 Block from Mel Donavan's Apartment, Malibu
“So when did mom finally leave?” asked Kat, whom Julie had just met up with after a few hours apart. Since the meeting Julie had ditched her uniform for a red plaid skirt and white tank top, putting her hair into a relaxed ponytail. While Mel's apartment was off-campus, it was still close enough for Julie and Kat to walk to, thus why they'd only just met up.
“Noon, she said she needed to handle her accommodations,” revealed Julie, recalling the details of her meeting with her mother. “I can't believe she flew overnight to get here this morning without a hotel booked.”
“I don't think she told dad she was coming, otherwise she'd have a room at the Stilton,” pointed out Kat with a half-smile, Julie mirroring it.
“I really am worried, but I mean, we've kind of seen this coming,” sighed Julie, shaking her head. “Without us around...”
“He's still not home a lot, and she doesn't have anything to do,” nodded Kat. “He could retire but he won't, he loves the job too much.”
“And unfortunately I think mom's had it with that,” sniffed Julie, feeling a slight urge to cry, though the fact that Kat had said they were going to celebrate at Mel's place had lifted her spirits a bit. “So are you going to tell mom about Chris?” asked Julie, changing the subject.
“Won't have to, he can't make the tournament,” reported Kat, grinning a bit. “How bad was her thorough investigation on all things Tucker?”
“Not that bad, she seems happy he owns a store, even if she doesn't seem to get what anime is,” recalled Julie. “We did skip over the part about him living with his ex- though, and of course his magical secret.”
“I'm sure the former will get out,” warned Kat. “I mean, I've always thought Tucker was an okay guy, but I was worried when you started dating, and especially when that move happened. Still I got some face time with Haley at his birthday, I think I'm more comfortable now.”
“Oh I was uneasy too, but it's been fine,” Julie assured her sister. The duo was fast approaching Mel's building but suddenly they were cut off as a friend ran up to join them.
“Hey, I need to ask you both something important,” declared Chrissy Pak, breathing a bit hard as she'd clearly had to sprint to catch up with them. Chrissy was wearing a red T-shirt with an anime logo Julie didn't recognize as well as a pair of light blue jeans, running shoes on her feet. Lately, Chrissy had been spacing out her time between dye sessions, though by ‘lately’ Julie was only thinking the past two months when in fact it was now three, so while the girl's hair was bright red now Julie knew it probably wouldn't be that shade again until the tournament.
“Okay, what's up?” asked Kat for the pair.
“Well first of all, welcome back Julie, congrats on the internship and such a shame it was a last-minute thing but good to have you back,” rattled off Chrissy, giving her friend a quick hug. “Okay, so something's been bugging for a couple of weeks now and Danica just confirmed the story I heard wasn't true, so I gotta ask... did either of you go to Maggie and Cindy's party and bring the camera?”
“Where's this coming from?” asked Julie, completely lost. Julie did remember Cindy was the girl Maggie was living with but they hadn't really spoken since she and Tucker had stopped living together, even ditching the Anime Club that she'd been a prominent member of.
“Look, I swear at this party I was frozen at one point,” insisted Chrissy, looking a bit frustrated. “Were one of you there or did you loan the camera to someone who went?”
“Heh... okay, I'm sorry, but I was there for a bit,” admitted Kat, Julie looking at her sister in surprise. “Got a little drunk and thought it would be funny.”
“That explains it,” sighed Chrissy, shaking her head. “Well, no harm done, but next time tell me sooner. I even had Danica do a check for me to see if the punch I drank was spiked...”
“Well hey, I promise no camera at this party; I didn't bring it with me,” Kat promised Chrissy. “Go on, just want to talk with Julie a bit more before we join everyone upstairs.”
“Okay, thanks,” smiled Chrissy, though furrowing her brow a bit. “There were a couple of cute guys at that one though so you do owe me... we'll figure it out later though.” With that, Chrissy headed into the building. Kat and Julie stepped off to the side for a moment.
“So did you really...?” began Julie.
“No, I'm guessing Tucker did,” revealed Kat, smiling at her sister. “See, I just covered for him! I told you I'm fine with things!”
“Okay, thanks,” grinned Julie, giving her sister a quick hug as an additional thank you. With that the pair headed into the building, promptly entering the elevator.
“Hey girls, Julie!” exclaimed a voice as two blondes joined the twins in the elevator. The speaker was Danica Riley, who gave Julie a hug as she and her friend Payson Quinn joined them on the elevator. Danica, one Julie always thought reminded her a bit of Glenda Peyton, was in a red tube top with white dress shorts that just reached her knees, sandals on her feet and her hair loose, having gotten a bit curly. Payson meanwhile had what was a self-described casual dress on, resembling a black and silk-like knee-length skirt and blouse that was all one item, a leather brown belt around her waist. Like Danica, Payson's hair seemed teased, but rather than being a bit curly it just seemed to have more body.
Danica gave Julie a quick hug before Payson did the same, Kat meanwhile pressing the button for Mel's floor. “Internship good?” asked Payson after her hug. “I hear Gold Standard is a decent place to work for...”
“Well they didn't pay me much, but I got a really good idea of what its like to work at a bank,” lied Julie, trying her best to cover up her disappearance. After parting with her mom and Tucker, Tucker going to work, Julie had spent the last few hours doing her best to adjust, getting a list of assignments she needed to tackle and read up on any major world events she shouldn't have missed just by ‘being out of town’. “So I'm guessing you saw the video of Jessica Alfa hitting Nigel May?” asked Julie, trying to act natural by bringing up a funny news story from a bit over a week ago.
“Oh yeah, the remixes are great,” nodded Danica, grinning. “Oh just to warn you both we may need to bail early, we're both working on possible post-graduation job offers.”
“Nice way to drop that one,” chuckled Kat as the elevator arrived at Mel's floor. “So you want to tell us what the offers are?”
“Well I'm tracking a possible junior position at Stone Drug Labs,” revealed Payson, bouncing a bit as she walked. “Their company hasn't done much lately but rumor has it they're onto something big so I may be getting in just in time.”
“I've been meeting with some law enforcement recruiter,” added Danica, walking ahead of the twins with Payson but not nearly as excited. “He's being secretive about who would be hiring me but it sounds like Interpol.”
“So you're potentially going someplace completely different?” asked Julie, frowning a bit as she did like the pair, being the most likeable of the A-squad girls from last year just in the fact that they didn't act like stuck-up bitches so Julie would be more than a bit sad to see either Payson or Danica leave the greater LA area.
“Sounds like London,” nodded Danica as they reached Mel's door. “But hey, lets worry about that if I actually get the job. For now...” With that Payson knocked and moments later the door opened.
“Girls... Julie!” exclaimed Mel, wrapping her arms around the cheerleader and squeezing hard. Mel, to Julie's surprise, was a full blonde now, currently wearing blue camouflage halter top and beaten up black jeans. The bigger surprise, however, came when Mel moved her lips close to Julie's ear. “Nice to see you're not frozen anymore,” whispered the goalie to a stunned Julie before pulling away, a big grin on her face.
“Okay, Chrissy just got here and it looks like you're the last to arrive!” announced Mel, leading the four blondes into her apartment. It looked like a small gathering, but Julie figured since it was a last-minute party it was no surprise only a few people were present. Mel's place had some decent space to it, there being a large living room that easily connected with a dining area and a kitchen. Due to it being on the top floor of her building, Mel even had a rickety staircase that led up to a tiny loft, which Julie knew was where she usually slept since it was basically her second bedroom. Down a hallway was a bathroom, a small space that Mel apparently used as storage though it could ideally be an office, and finally her main bedroom. The place was pretty good for one person, but Mel did have professional soccer money and it was located near DSC so it was meant to be affordable for a student, albeit typically two.
The first to approach Julie was Diane Cruz, the curvy Latina having been chatting with Diane West near the door. The black-haired Diane was wearing a white sleeveless top with a V-neck, a white skirt below that went past her knees while her hair was in a half-bun. The redheaded Diane was in a pink T-shirt and jeans, with no dumpy sweater today to hide her attractive body. “So good to see you back!” exclaimed Diane Cruz after giving Julie a hug.
“It was a bit weird not having your around for a few weeks,” offered Diane West, offering a hug of her own. After meeting with the pair Julie and Mel moved on to the kitchen while Danica, Payson and Kat hung back to chat with the pair.
Chrissy was at the punch bowl with another girl, both serving themselves some red tropical punch that Mel had prepared to have some pineapple wedges in it. It took Julie a moment to recognize the girl with Chrissy, as while they were friends Julie hadn't seen her much since the winter semester had started. “Oh hey, welcome back!” greeted Mandy Eastwood, the half-Filipino sweeper for the Lady Raptors' B-Squad. “You know I was actually close to asking you for a little extra help on an assignment that's more business than economics before you left...”
“You make do?” asked Julie, smiling at Mandy as the pair didn't hug but instead clinked their plastic cups together after the blonde has handed one. Mandy was wearing a brown T-shirt with a blue vest over it, black pants on her legs and her hair in a left-side ponytail.
“Yeah, managed to work through it,” nodded Mandy, taking a sip of the punch. “Go ahead, mingle, we can catch up later.”
“Alright,” smiled Julie, heading off to see who else was around while Mel stayed to chat with Chrissy. There were four people in the living room and Julie gravitated to the closer two first, two brunettes who both had drink cups in their hands, and it was then that Julie realized Mel hadn't put on any music yet.
“Oh hey, there you are!” exclaimed Veronica Parker in greeting, giving Julie a quick hug. The assistant soccer coach was currently wearing her expected uniform, namely an orange and white jogging suit with the school logo on it, complete with baseball cap, but under her open jacket was a black tube top, while under her hat curled brown hair was spilling out behind her ears.
“We've really missed you!” added Josie Maran, who wasn't as close to Julie so just awkwardly fist-bumped the cheerleader as Veronica ended the hug. Josie had been Julie and Kat's guide around campus their first day at DSC and was a cute brunette, possessing long, straight hair and currently dressed in a mauve long-sleeved shirt and jeans, a camera pouch attached to her two-clip belt. Given Josie was a journalism student and the editor-in-chief of the Raptor Weekly, Julie wasn't shocked she had a camera handy.
“Thanks, both you, I just need to say hi to everyone and we can talk,” Julie assured the pair, not wanting to rush but aware she should probably greet everyone before starting to really get into conversations with people.
Sitting on Mel's couch were a cheerleader and a guy, quite possibly the only guy to show up Julie figured. “Hey hey hey!” greeted Zella Krueger, the German exchange student standing up. Julie was decently tall for a woman but Zella was even taller, being six feet even, so Julie felt a little dwarfed when she was hugged. Zella was really dressed casually, wearing orange sweat pants and white tank top, but her hair and make-up were so perfectly done, in particular her hair's curls, that Julie was certain if Zella were frozen right then she'd just look like a poorly-dressed mannequin. “You look marvelous,” then added Zella, whom at times Julie swore could only speak in TV quotes. None the less Julie had encouraged Rachel to let Zella try out for the cheerleading squad in spite of her bad English and Zella had always appreciated that, Julie in turn finding her foreign perspective on American life a bit refreshing at times.
“You know its been harder to have late-night discussions with customers when you don't show up?” commented Mark Bomer as he got up to shake Julie's hand, not close enough to her for a hug, though Julie was worried if he had gone for it Mel might get jealous. He was the late-shift manager at The Coffee Pot; Julie had sometimes gone there to study at night and, given they were in the same year and both business students, often talked about class, even if he had focused on business management. Julie noted Mel was glancing their way from the table.
“Well it was nice of you to come, I'm sure as we get closer to exams I'll be by more,” Julie told Mark, flashing Mel a smile before heading upstairs, where two more voices could be heard.
“Oh hey!” acknowledged Maxine Reed as Julie made it up the stairs, Max being one of two brunettes up top. Maxine's hair was up in a high ponytail, which seemed to be her favorite way to keep it, and was also wearing one of several dark green tops Julie had seen her wear over the last few months, in this case a tube top that was above a denim skirt and stiletto leather heels. Maxine was, like Julie, a member of the Anime Club, which was how they'd met.
“Good seeing you, missed a few updates on how things are going for the music competition,” remarked Julie, remembering Max was set to perform with some music department students in a competition around the same time as the soccer tournament.
“Nothing really new, though we did find someone to play bass,” revealed Maxine as the other brunette, Casey Jackson, came up to get a hug of her own.
“You may not like how the squad looks when you go to the next practice,” warned Casey, a dance student who'd actually failed to make the cheerleading squad in the fall, but Rachel and Michelle had picked Stephanie Kinloch instead. Undeterred, Casey had still befriended Julie and a few members of the squad, not only Julie but Zella and even Rachel. Julie was confident Casey would make the squad next year if even one person left, and she did tend to watch practices.
“Michelle's that bad huh?” asked Julie, offering a worried smile as the hug was broken.
“Well she's working them alright, but its very textbook, no real substance, or unique style for that matter,” explained Casey, shaking her head and offering Julie a pitying smile. Casey's most striking feature, at least to Julie, was the flat mole on the right side of her face, just to the right of her nose. The brunette did also possess some features that Julie would call elf-like, in particular her seemingly narrow mouth that was capable of a big smile and her sharp brown eyes. Casey looked to be fresh from a dance class as she was wearing black sweat pants and a loose matching T-shirt that looked a bit too big for her, the logo for the TV series Savior on it in yellow lettering.
“Come on down!” Zella suddenly exclaimed, coming up behind Julie and putting her arm around her. “There is zo much I must tell you about-” whatever else Zella was about to say was cut-off as the blonde suddenly went rock-hard, surprising Julie a bit. Zella was frozen looking straight ahead, her mouth open with a big smile on her lips, her left arm around Julie's shoulders while her right was reaching forward, her fingers spread in the middle of a sweeping gesture. True to her earlier thought Julie was amazed at just how mannequin-like Zella looked, even in such an odd pose.
“I'm going to guess that's you, Tucker?” called Julie, having noticed how quiet it was as she stepped forward to be free of the German girl's grip.
“Actually, no,” revealed a surprising voice, making Julie turn around. Maxine had her arms crossed and a half-smile on her lips as she looked at where Zella and Julie were standing while Casey and her right hand on her hip with her left arm raised at the elbow, her index finger extended and her lips just parted enough to indicate she was about to say something when time had stopped. The surprise voice, as it turned out, had come from Haley Leone, who was standing between the frozen brunettes with a red drink cup, the one Julie had been holding since hers was missing.
“What are you doing here?” asked Julie, now a bit annoyed that her boyfriend's ex- had shown up to interrupt a party in her name. Haley was wearing white pants and a blue spaghetti-strap top, the top exposing her navel as it seemed a bit short for the model, whose hair was free and loose, even obscuring her ears.
“We really need to talk,” explained Haley, handing the cup back to Julie who, after hesitating for a moment, took it. “Living in the same house as you for a few weeks, even if you were frozen... it made me realize a few things.”
“Like what?” asked Julie, quickly finishing her drink and then dropping the cup on the ground, her voice cool as she spoke.
“Lets maybe go somewhere with less prying eyes, even if they're frozen ones,” suggested Haley, glancing around.
“Fine, there's a storage space downstairs,” agreed Julie, leading the way. As she headed downstairs Julie saw just how everyone had been when Haley had stopped time. On the couch with Mark was now Mel, hopefully finally making her move. The Irish goalie was apparently frozen mid-laugh, even slapping her knee with her left hand while her right held a cup that was clearly about to spill. Veronica and Josie were in mid-conversation, Veronica gesturing slightly towards the other brunette with her left hand while her right was at her side. Josie meanwhile had her arms crossed but was smiling and seemed to be in the middle of a nod. Over at the table, Chrissy held a cup to her lips while glancing at nowhere in particular, her other hand on her hip. Mandy meanwhile had been filling a cup for Kat with a ladle, her left holding the scoop while her right held the cup beneath it, her eyes focused on the task. Kat's right hand was extended towards the cup, her left hand on the back of her neck and a faint smile on her lips as she looked at the punch bowl.
As Julie reached the bottom of the stairs she spotted the rest by the door. Diane West had her hands up with her fingers flicked towards Payson Quinn, her mouth open and clearly describing something funny as Payson's mouth was open in mid-laugh, her eyes shut at the same time. Danica meanwhile was, oddly, touching Diane Cruz's stomach with both hands, as if feeling something. Diane meanwhile had her left arm draped across her chest, her right on her hip and she was smiling. For a moment as Julie looked she wondered if Diane was pregnant and Danica was feeling for movement but then Julie remembered Diane looked the same as the last time she'd seen her, so it was probably just something that Julie couldn't pick up on thanks to time being stopped just as it was.
“If you're wondering how I knew you were here, Tucker told me,” offered Haley as Julie continued to lead her towards the storage space near Mel's bedroom. “I met Mel at his birthday so I was able to check her Stone Networks profile for the address.” Julie bit her lip a bit, again wishing she hadn't missed the party, and now also realizing she needed to join Stone Networks since she didn't want to seem like she was missing out on the current social media craze.
“Okay, in here should be...” announced Julie, opening the door to the storage room, only to quickly close the door.
“What?” asked Haley, raising an eyebrow.
“Mel left something private in there, lets use her room,” explained Julie, leaving out just what she'd seen. The room, as it turned out, contained a currently naked Diane King, who'd been frozen last month to stop her from bothering the Lady Raptors. The blonde former soccer coach had been on her hands and knees, her hair in a French twist with her face looking straight ahead, her mouth hanging open while her blue eyes were blank.
“Fine,” shrugged Haley as Julie led her into Mel's bedroom. The room had a lot of soccer memorabilia on the walls, mostly posters but some medals and other trinkets, the queen-sized bed having a blanket with a soccer ball pattern on it. “Wow, this really is all she has on the mind,” chuckled Haley as she looked around the room.
“Mel is a professional player, more or less,” pointed out Julie as she sat on the foot of the bed, crossing her arms. “So what was so important you had to freeze my party?”
“I'm here about Tucker,” revealed Haley, crossing her arms in turn. “I think you should know just how hard it was on him, with you being frozen for weeks.”
“He ask you to do this?” questioned Julie, a bit suspicious of Haley.
“No, I just know because I've watched him,” answered Haley, shaking her head. “Look, you and I aren't on the best of terms, and that is probably understating it, but we both want Tucker to be happy.”
“Do we, both of us?” asked Julie, looking Haley up and down. It was true that Haley and Tucker had dated for months but she'd ultimately broken up with him, which had led to Julie hooking up with him soon after.
“Even when you were with him, in the house, you weren't really there for him,” declared Haley, moving her hands to her hips from her chest. “It was bad, you were there and yet you weren't... You were more distant than all the times you've but your sister or other things in your life over him.”
“I...” stuttered Julie, starting to feel Haley's words ring true. Julie loved him, but she could never say Tucker was the only one in her heart. The relationship between Kat and herself made it hard for Julie to put anyone else first, and she'd always prioritized her schoolwork, taking pride in being a straight-A student.
“It got to the point, where, and I take no pleasure in saying this, I had to step in and comfort him,” confessed Haley, her face only showing a hint of guilt as the words sunk in. Were it another situation Julie might have stood up and slapped Haley, but given how hard it must have been for Tucker, she instead felt her heart sink.
“I... I love Tucker, I really do,” began Julie, sighing and shaking a bit, her eyes even getting a bit wet. “But to leave him unhappy like that... the one thing I always wished for him, even when we weren't together, was that he be happy...”
“That's what we both want,” insisted Haley, moving in and, gently, touching Julie's shoulders. Surprised, Julie looked up and saw Haley smiling softly at her, and for perhaps the first time really felt she could trust the model. “I broke up with him because I couldn't put him first either... we both love a man we can't commit to...”
“So... so what can we do?” asked Julie, her voice hushed, leaning in and embracing Haley. “There's got to be a way we can ensure he's never alone...”
* * *
Victoria Towers, Malibu
Erika Stone felt happy to be home, having had a long, if still statistically short, day at the Stone Networks office. The hacking problems that had really messed up all of Stone Enterprises, including her personal emails, which had resulted in Tasia's arrival the other day being a surprise, were finally dealt with. However, the person responsible had yet to be tracked, though assurances were made that another hack wouldn't happen the same way again. Erika wasn't the most knowledgeable when it came to computer security, but she'd stuck around to make sure any decisions weren't going to affect their business, which was her main focus. At one point she'd even gotten her hands a bit dirty, helping rewire a few systems in the server room since she was more hardware-inclined. Now the blonde billionaire was looking for some rest and relaxation, but she knew her roommates were going to be absent for at least another two hours as they were still working. “Hell of a day,” muttered Erika as she walked towards the entrance to her apartment complex.
Erika had dressed a bit professionally that day, sporting a white sleeveless blouse and light gray skirt with a big-buckled belt, the skirt just touching the top of her knees while white heels were worn on her feet. Erika's hair was even styled unusually for her, being in a crown braid rather than just loose or in a ponytail, Mary having suggested it since she thought it made her look both regal and professional. Shifting her black purse over her shoulder as she walked, Erika was now eager to just go upstairs and let her hair down. As Erika entered the building lobby however she noted there would be problems.
“That's a competitive rate, we've in Malibu!” exclaimed a voice as Erika walked inside, remembering whom it belonged to even before she looked. Carey Daniels was the property manager for the building, representing Signature Service Real Estate and having a nice apartment on the twenty-ninth floor, just below the floors owned by Stone Enterprises. The brunette, around forty, was standing in the lobby arguing with a blonde woman. Carey's brown hair rested on her shoulders, which were covered by a white collarless V-neck shirt, its sleeves going just part the elbows and the right half seeming to wrap around the left. Carey's gold jewelry was on full display; her hair only covering her right ear so her left had a gold loop on it while a golden diamond necklace was around her neck. Below the waist Carey had on a black knee-length skirt that looked very tight as well as pantyhose, black heels at the ends of her feet. The clipboard at Carey's side made it clear whomever she was talking to was looking to buy an apartment in the building.
“The condo in Boston cost half that!” fired back the older blonde with Carey, who suddenly made Erika forget about work as she got a look at her. The lush hair, the blue eyes, the way the teal top and designer jeans hugged her figure... Erika didn't care how much older the other blonde looked, she knew right then and there she wanted to make sure she lived in the building.
“This isn't Boston, or East Providence, like I said,” insisted Carey, shaking her head. “The only more prime real estate would be further in the hills, on the beach, or a New York penthouse. Quite frankly, half a million is generous.”
“I dunno Carey,” Erika suddenly interjected, causing both women to look at her as she forced her way into the conversation. “You were able to give Stone Enterprises some good deals when we bought the upper floors... Surely you could offer your client some kind of deal.”
“Miss Stone, this is a private discussion,” insisted Carey, looking a bit agitated that Erika had decided to cut in. Erika could understand Carey's frustration; the apartment the blonde was trying to buy most likely one of the two bedroom, two bath units that were facing the coast, in which case Erika knew places like that were well over half a million to buy in Malibu. Still Erika didn't appreciate Carey getting angry with a customer, since it was a rookie mistake, and she also really wanted to make the attractive older woman her new neighbor.
“I know Carey, but as one of your main tenants I feel I should interject,” insisted Erika, putting her arm around Carey and looking at the blonde some more. The older woman looked starstruck, seeming to realize just who Erika was. “Now then... what was your name?” asked Erika.
“C... Cecily Vaughn,” revealed the older woman, clearly trying hard not to grin while Erika saw, out of the corner of her eye, Carey looking annoyed and a bit uncomfortable at Erika's arm being around her.
“Cecily here seems to have dreams about having a beautiful west coast apartment after what I can only guess was living on the east coast most of your life,” observed Erika. “If Stone Travel helps to cover her move in costs, do you think you could get her the corporate deal you gave us?”
“I... suppose that could work,” muttered Carey, clearly deciding it would be unwise to have the owner of the penthouse and top floors mad at her. “That would get her a floor twenty-nine condo at floor fifteen costs...”
“Wow, that's a great offer!” exclaimed Cecily. “You've got a deal!” Carey barely had time to hand the paperwork to Cecily as she grabbed the clipboard and eagerly signed it, right then and there. “I'll need a few weeks before I can start transporting my furniture in but I'll probably be staying a hotel for a while until the payment clears anyhow.”
“That's fine; glad to have you here,” offered Carey, moving out of Erika's grip and taking the clipboard. “I'll take this upstairs and begin processing. Thank you both.” With that Carey headed for the elevator.
“Welcome to the building,” greeted Erika, offering Cecily her hand.
“Thank you so much Miss Stone!” grinned Cecily, clearly fighting the urge to hug Erika. “I can't believe this happened! I had no idea you lived here.”
“The penthouse; you should come visit sometime,” suggested Erika, glancing out of the corner of her eye at Carey, who'd reached the elevator and was now calling it. “So what do you do?”
“Nothing really right now, my husband owns a shipping company out east and we've done very well, at least business wise,” replied Cecily, sighing as she mentioned her husband. “We're... separating. Too soon to say divorce, but ever since our daughters came here for school, its been... empty, at home.”
“So you came here to be closer to your daughters?” asked Erika, curious just how old Cecily was and wanting to gauge it.
“Yes, they've still got a year left each before their get their bachelor degrees,” explained Cecily, giving Erika a much-desired clue, since that easily put Cecily at forty-one if not older. “As long as I don't buy a mansion out here my husband doesn't seem to care, he is happy that one of us will be closer to the girls. They're over at Decker State College and one of them, they're twins, has a boyfriend who is local so I wanted to buy a place they could live with me at while staying close to school. Might not even need to go to the dorms next year.”
“I actually donate to DSC, though I went to UCLA,” revealed Erika, now wanting to see the twin daughters Cecily was talking about. Erika did remember hearing, either from Tucker or Tasia, that the former was dating a cheerleader who had a twin and wondered if, by coincidence of coincidences, Cecily was her mother.
“I remember reading that!” exclaimed Cecily, then looking a bit embarrassed. “I'm sorry, I'm a bit star-struck. You seen taller in person, plus I didn't expect one of the country's more famous CEOs to come to my rescue...” Erika smirked a bit at the height remark, many people being surprised she was five-foot-ten rather than the more commonly-believed five-foot-six.
“Oh not at all, Carey means well but sometimes you need to negotiate,” Erika told the other woman as she heard the elevator chirp. Glancing to her side, Erika saw that the elevator had just opened and Carey was going to enter it. With a smile Erika closed her eyes and concentrated, quickly stopping time.
“Don't think I need the gum, but if we were going farther I would find it harder to concentrate with you around,” chuckled Erika as she looked at Cecily. The older blonde was offering a bright smile, leaning slightly to her left with her hands clasped in front of her, right around her crotch. Feeling herself warm up a bit, Erika moved around behind Cecily and started to drag her, turning so that eventually they slipped past Carey and entered the elevator.
“Since she's in no rush you can join us too,” declared Erika, moving over to Carey. The brunette had a blank look on her face, her eyes naturally making her look a bit surprised while her lips seemed to give off boredom. Carey's right foot was forward along with her left arm, though the arm-swing ratio was low, her right arm holding the clipboard at her side. Reaching under Carey's armpits, Erika managing to lift her that way in spite of Carey being taller than herself or Cecily. With both women in the elevator Erika opened up her purse and produced a water bottle containing Type-7, then quickly pouring some down each woman's throat.
“And away we go,” muttered Erika with barely contained glee as she let time resume, both women next to her freezing in place instantly. Even as she pushed the button for her floor Erika began to stroke Cecily's hair, greatly anticipating the fun that was to come.
* * *
Tucker Holmes and Haley Leone's House
After a somewhat stressful day at work, having had to work on the project to get Otaku LA a second location a bit more while handling the arrival of new merchandise, Tucker had returned home to find that Haley had apparently used the wand to take care of Naomi, which was a plus. Haley's note had explained that she'd found Naomi's address and dropped her off at her townhouse, putting her to sleep. What was a nice surprise was that Haley had also left Tucker a few women for him to fool around with.
“You know I'd have wondered but she's pulling that outfit off,” Tucker told Kathryn Summers, who was frozen and laying on the couch next to him. Haley had apparently hosted a meeting at the house between Kathryn and two of her newest hires and then decided to freeze the trio as a favor to Tucker. Since at his birthday Tucker hadn't played with Kathryn enough, at least in his opinion, he'd decided she'd be his cuddle buddy while he dressed the other guests up in costumes he'd had upstairs. Kathryn's hair was loose and spilled into Tucker's chest, he being in a black T-shirt and green slacks while she had on black cargo pants and a white tank top, a red leather jacket hanging up in the coat closet that also belonged to her. Kathryn's left arm was around Tucker's neck while her right rested on his chest, her face blank with her lips parted.
The first statue Tucker was admiring was Lisa Collins, the newest photographer to work for Models Inc. Tucker had dressed Lisa up like Misa Amane from Death Note, her hair with two small pigtails up on the left and right while the rest let down so it could resemble a hime cut. The outfit's main feature was a thin-strapped black corset dress with a very short skirt, and translucent singlets on her arms and legs. Black leather boots were on Lisa's feet and a black choker was around her neck, Tucker not having the necklace he needed to help complete the look. Lisa was posed with her hands clasped in front of her and had a small smile on her lips, which were given a strong but dark shade of red.
The second statue was Audrey Burke, one of Kathryn's new hires on the model side. The internationally-known Australian supermodel was dressed up in blue medical scrubs, her hair in a dutch braid that rested on her left shoulder. Audrey was posed leaning over about forty-five degrees, a stethoscope on her right hand while her left held an otoscope at her side. A small smile was on Audrey's lips, which were also parted just enough to see a hint of teeth. Tucker noted the top was extremely tight on the model, really showing her sexy curves.
“Oh!” exclaimed Tucker suddenly, hearing the front door to the house start to open. Jumping up from the couch Tucker quickly shook himself a bit and was then surprised to see both Haley and Julie walk in. Glancing around Tucker then realized time was frozen, but thanks to the shield he constantly gave himself roughly once a week he didn't need to be unfrozen.
“Hey there cutie,” grinned Haley, Julie also grinning as Tucker looked at them both with utter confusion on his face.
“Should you really be calling me that?” asked Tucker, then looking at Julie. “You seem fine with it – so what's going on?”
“We had a talk, decided we can share,” revealed Julie.
“Huh?” was Tucker's reply after a short pause, not understanding.
“Well neither one of us can fully commit to a relationship right now and we realized it wasn't fair to you,” explained Haley. “So we've decided we're both fine with dating you at the same time, at least for now.”
“Oh, I mean, down the line, this could change, but for the moment... You've officially got two girlfriends,” Julie told Tucker. Tucker said nothing, too stunned by the announcement to grin like a kid on Christmas Day.
The End - until a new fellowship emerges...
Tucker Holmes – Drake Bell
Tasia Spiro – Doukissa Nomikou
Yelena Nikitin – Adrianne Palicki
Ryoshi Dawson – Maggie Q
Colette Landry – Laura Vandervoort
Haley Leone – Kayley Cuoco
Julie Vaughn – Katrina Bowden
Rachel Xanders – Amber Heard
Naomi Yen – Lucy Liu
Kat Vaughn – Katrina Bowden
Cecily Vaughn – Heather Locklear
Glenda Peyton – Julie Benz
Molly Desmond – Sarah Rue
Chrissy Pak – Jenna Ushkowitz
Danica Riley – Arielle Kebbel
Payson Quinn – Leah Pipes
Mel Donavan – Lena Gercke
Diane Cruz – America Ferrera
Diane West – Elena Satine
Mandy Eastwood – Amanda Westlake
Veronica Parker – Leighton Meester
Josie Maran – Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Zella Krueger – Taylor Swift
Mark Bomer – Aaron Johnson
Maxine Reed – Emma Roberts
Casey Jackson – Jaimie Alexander
Diane King – Uma Thurman
Erika Stone – Blake Lively
Carey Daniels – Bridget Moynahan
Kathryn Summers – Jennifer Morrison
Lisa Collins – Kate Cassidy
Audrey Burke – Nicki Whelan