The IT Files: Lucienne's Adjustment

by Zero

These are all tales of hijinks that Tucker has with his magical gizmo, which take place in what will be known from now on as the 'Tuckerverse'. You may want to read more of Tucker's tales from the latest chapter before continuing; the lead characters are introduced in the first story. There is also a chronological Tuckerverse Wiki! [Ed.]


ITEA HQ, London, UK

            Angelita Castillo could practically feel the awkwardness in her mom's new office as Sonia stood there facing Lucienne Christophe, the woman Sonia was replacing as director of the International Temporal Enforcement Agency. The Frenchwoman seemed to be trying to hold back a scowl, or at least that's what Lita thought, while her mom was quickly spewing out a bunch of sweeping changes she'd brainstormed. Angelita wanted to get out of the office fast and did so, having already helped her mom move in. "I'm going to go look around," muttered Lita, quickly exiting.

            Outside of the office, Angelita let out a breath, recalling how the situation had all come about. A few weeks ago Sonia had told Lita that she'd be spending time in London and possibly have a new job there by the end of it, one that might even have a place for her to get some office experience. Since graduating from high school, Lita had been working various simple jobs, most notably at a bakery, so the office setting was a nice change of pace for her. The big thing had been that within two days of finding out Sonia now had the new job, Angelita had been forced to uproot and move to London, living in a hotel until they could get a proper place to live. Lita didn't have a lot of close friends in Madrid but she still disliked having to leave so quickly.

            "Is that a little Angel I see?" came a familiar voice, causing Angelita to perk up. Approaching Lita was Caesar Francisco, the closest thing she'd ever had to a father figure. Sonia had moved around a lot when working for Interpol and while working in Mexico, Lita had met Caesar. The pair did keep in touch, usually by email but with the occasional web chat. Caesar was also one of the few people that Lita allowed to call her 'Angel.'

            "Good to see you!" exclaimed Angelita, embracing the Mexican while noting his hair was fairly unkempt and it seemed like he'd practically slept in his all-black tie-less suit.

            "And you, but what's going on?" asked Caesar, glancing around while holding Lita's shoulders with gentle affection. "Moving boxes? Did your mom just become our permanent Interpol liaison or something?" Lita frowned for a moment, having hoped Caesar would compliment her outfit. Lita, in spite of having barely slept the night before, was proudly wearing a stylish lavender T-shirt with a translucent green, yellow and purple scarf with designer jeans, her hair curled and framing her face with no sign of her ears showing.

            "Her role is a bit bigger than that," admitted Lita, trying to decide best how to deliver the news. "While you guys were doing that mission or thing or whatever in New York... well... mom was chosen to become the new director."

            "What?!" exclaimed Caesar, his eyes going wide. The door to Sonia's new office was closed but Lita could hear muffled shouts, Caesar no doubt noticed too. "Unbelievable..." muttered Caesar, letting go of Lita to rub his face. "Who knows?"

            "Well half of your people are still returning from whatever it was, so aside from pretty much everyone on this floor, that's it," revealed Lita, rubbing the back of her head. "There's a memo going out shortly. Mom needed a bit of time to make sure all the standing changes were listed."

            "This is just loco," groaned Caesar, trying to soften the remarks for Lita's sake, or so she thought, but she could tell he was tired so it was no go. "What changes?"

            "Hiring some more agents, getting medical staff, reorganizing the command structure so its clear who is in charge when someone isn't available..." rattled off Angelita, having helped Sonia edit the memo the previous evening. "Oh yeah, and she has me as her personal assistant, though I guess technically I'm a paid intern..."

            "That's... not so bad," noted Caesar, nodding to himself. "You know what's going to happen to Lucienne?"

            "Assistant Director," recalled Angelita, nodding. "The only one, by the way. I know you used to have three of four but mom wanted to put those positions below Lucienne. Mom does feel guilty about taking the job, you should know that."

            "Hey, I don't blame your mom, I know how she is," offered Caesar, giving Lita a reassuring pat on the shoulders. "We just got back from a major operation so it’s kind of like kicking us while we're down, even if the changes won't really be a bad thing." Caesar then glanced around, focusing on Sonia's door for a moment before looking around the rest of the busy floor. "Look, I should probably be talking to others about this, but I'm guessing there isn't much for you to do right now. You want a tour?"

            "I would love one," nodded Angelita, having heard some stories about what the ITEA did but not having a chance to see anything yet.

            "Like I said I should really be helping clear this whole situation up, otherwise I'd happily do it myself," remarked Caesar, taking Lita by the arm. "I'll escort you down to the labs and find a tour guide for you, that work?"

            "Lead on," agreed Lita, allowing Caesar to escort her to the elevator. A couple of people glanced at Angelita with strange looks as they went by, Lita chalking it up to either curiosity or, worse, distrust due to her being Sonia's daughter. Lita liked having an office job, even if it hadn't really started yet, but the initial atmosphere was not good.

            As the elevator opened, Caesar and Lita encountered a dark-haired woman in white tank top and jeans, her hair styled around the right side of her neck and a CyPad in her hands. "Camille!" exclaimed Caesar, seemingly happier than surprised. "You weren't supposed to be in today. What's on your agenda?"

            "I'm more or less on-call after I deliver this report to Lucienne," revealed Camille, indicating her CyPad while Angelita noted the woman had a French accent. "I'd be better dressed if it was a formal work-day, I can assure you."

            "Don't worry, it isn't about your appearance; I'm not one to judge right now," chuckled Caesar, indicating his worn suit. "I need to speak with Lucienne anyhow, I don't suppose you'd be interested in giving Angelita here a tour of the labs? She's just been hired so technically it’s her orientation."

            "If it'll help you out, of course," agreed Camille, handing the CyPad to Caesar. "I'm Camille Lambert, I work in both reception and human resources," she introduced her self to Angelita.

            "Angelita Castillo, I'll be personal assistant to the director," replied Angelita, shaking Camille's hand.

            "Have fun!" called Caesar as he headed away, Angelita joining Camille in the elevator. The doors slid closed and the elevator began descending to the second floor.

            "I didn't know Lucienne was getting an assistant," remarked Camille. "I guess with all the fallout of Waterloo and New York, some messages aren't being passed around properly."

            "There should be a memo on everything by the end of the day," offered Angelita, electing to not mention Lucienne had been demoted. Angelita wasn't up to speed on the New York thing that had just happened, though it sounded big. Waterloo however Angelita had heard about, the major news networks all reporting on hundreds of people being frozen somehow in the major train station. Lita knew the ITEA was supposed to stop things like that from happening and it was most likely what had prompted Sonia to be chosen to take over.

            "Second floor, science wing and the firing range," announced Camille as the lift reached its destination and the pair stepped off, allowing Angelita to drink it all in. Glass-walled rooms with tables covered in equipment, plus a couple of walled-up areas that looked like they were meant for bigger experiments. "Lets see if anyone is in here," suggested Camille, indicating one room with only a lone window.

            Upon entering the room the pair found an all-white testing chamber on the other side of some glass, said area an observation section of sorts with two glass doors separating the two rooms. A few tables and large pieces of equipment were set up in the observation room but the real excitement was going on beyond the glass. A female brunette in a lab coat, purple T-shirt and black pants was moving a metal pen-like object up and down in front of a blonde woman who was standing still and staring straight ahead with a blank expression on her face. A green light was being emitted from the pen object and the blonde remained utterly motionless, Angelita taking it to mean she'd been frozen since that seemed to be part of what the ITEA handled.

            "That's Katie Grant, one of our lab techs, and the woman with her is Lori Jones, an analyst," explained Camille as the pair moved closer to the glass. Angelita was still trying to figure out the best way to dress, noting that Lori had the hair on top of her hair pinned back and was wearing a blue golf shirt with matching pants. "Katie is testing out a new field gadget if I'm not mistaken," continued Camille, indicating the pen device. "The other side is mirrored so she can't see us by the way. Anyhow that device is a Stasis Scanner, which can analyze a person when they appear to have been frozen."

            "How exactly can people get frozen anyhow?" asked Angelita as she watched Katie put the Scanner away.

            "Lots of ways really, but the most common is coming into contact with a drug known as Type-7, so called since its a new form of sedative," revealed Camille as was fishing into the pockets of her lab coat. "It's versatile as it can be inhaled or ingested as well as injected. Better still, it’s one of the few known sedatives out there that works on anyone regardless of physical variations, so there's no chance of death from overdoing it. Though overdosing can freeze someone permanently unless they're given a counter-agent..."

            "That is quite the drug," noted Angelita, having been a bit of a chemistry and biology fan back in high school. In fact while she hadn't gone to a college or university yet she had taken a couple of post-graduate courses online, one being biology. Katie meanwhile had produced two spray bottles from her coat and aimed one to spray across Lori's nose. Lita then observed with a chuckle as Lori blinked, turned her head to face Katie and raised her left arm to brush her hair, but as the blonde's fingers touched her hair she was sprayed by a second bottle in Katie's hands. Lori froze again, Lita was able to see the blonde's eyes effectively go glassy when she became rigid. Katie nodded to herself before heading out.

            "Oh!" exclaimed Katie upon seeing Camille and Angelita standing in the observation room. "Um, hi! I wasn't expecting anyone..." Katie quickly shifted her hands so she held both spray bottles in on hand, extending her free palm to shake hands with Angelita. "I'm Katie Grant, and you are...?"

            "Angelita Castillo, I was just hired as a PA," offered Lita, shaking hands with the American. "Testing something new?"

            "Yeah, I call it 'Motion Mist!'" exclaimed Katie, holding up one bottle, its contents seeming to have a tint of blue while the other one seemed to be full of water. "Up until now to help folks unfreeze we've had to use liquids or needles to deliver a counter-agent, but this spray should work under most circumstances."

            "So the other spray contains Type-7," observed Camille, indicating the second bottle. "You find out what its limits are?"

            "Not yet, but if you've got a few minutes, I'd love for some help!" announced Katie, indicating a nearby table with some beakers on it. "The left-most one contains Type-7 mixed with water, I want to see how it handles someone who has ingested it."

            "I can handle that," nodded Camille before looking at Angelita. "Do you want to try? Around here it'll probably happen sooner or later..."

            "I'd actually like to just be sprayed first, get a general feel," admitted Angelita, a bit nervous but none the less fascinated by the mere concept of the drugs involved essentially turning people into statues.

            "No problem, I can do that while Camille has a drink," offered Katie, Camille nodding in turn. The Frenchwoman headed over to the table to drink from the beaker, something Lita found somewhat gross though it was probably sterile, while Katie positioned herself in front of Angelita's face.

            "You might feel hazy for a second but otherwise you'll barely notice," Katie told Angelita, raising the sprayer containing Type-7. "A good trick is to constantly check your watch or nearby clocks, helps you get used to the time-skip."

            "Okay," nodded Angelita, deciding to put her hands on her hips for the test. From Angelita's point of few the moment after Katie pressed down on the sprayer she felt a little foggy in her head and she saw she was looking at Katie now holding the other sprayer in her opposite hand, a change so rapid she'd have not noticed if she weren't prepared for it.

            "Wow," breathed Angelita, blinking a few times and looking around. It seemed that a minute had past at most, with Camille now frozen at the table from the looks of things. Camille was holding a half-litre beaker in her right hand at chest level while her left index and middle fingers were touching her lips, possibly an attempt to wipe off the excess drug. Camille's eyes were the big clue, looking glazed over like Lori's since eyes holding that still while looking at nothing always seemed unusual.

            "Bit of a rush isn't it?" remarked Katie, grinning as she indicated Camille and Lori. "That's what you were like. This stuff pretty much turns people into mannequins, except they're not made of plastic, wax, fibreglass or whatever else they use to make them from. We've actually had a case or two where that's what this stuff has been used to do, and not always to voluntary subjects..."

            "Science fiction isn't so fiction-y anymore," realized Angelita, suddenly having a desire. "Hey, before you test that on Camille... mind if I get a little payback for that test? Yeah, I know I volunteered, but I want to really see how fast it works."

            "I guess fair is fair," shrugged Katie, returning to stand in front of Angelita and handing her the two sprayers. "The tinted one is the Motion Mist, the non-tinted one contains Type-7. Simple enough?"

            "Yeah, now you want to pose first?" confirmed Angelita, then grinning with Katie doing so in turn. Katie ended up putting her left hand on her hip but kept her right at her side, putting a bright smile on her face. Satisfied, Angelita sprayed Katie with the Type-7 and noticed the woman's lips stopped quivering, as slight as that was, when she froze.

            "This stuff is awesome," laughed Angelita, leaning in close and waving her hand in front of Katie's blankly staring face. After getting no reaction, Angelita then raised Katie's right arm, surprised to find it possible to pose her. With Katie's arm raised above her head, Angelita moved over to Camille and removed the beaker from her hand, marvelling at how the Frenchwoman continued to hold empty air.

            "Impressive isn't it?" came a new voice that caused Angelita to jump before turning around. Standing in the doorway to the lab were a brunette and a dark-haired brunette, both possessing blue eyes, though the older-looking woman's were paler. "I'm sorry, I'm Cassandra Flick," apologized the woman who'd spoken, who also looked like she worked there given she was in business attire while the other woman was wearing jeans and a spaghetti strap top, though what caught Angelita's eye was that the other woman's scarf that was like her own, except in red instead of yellow.

            "Angelita Castillo," greeted Lita, shaking Cassandra's hand. "I saw your name on a file. Leader of Team Beta, right?"

            "Yes," confirmed Cassandra with a nod. "I'm just giving my sister a tour of the place since we had to bring her here for observation."

            "I had the joy of being frozen at Waterloo like so many others," revealed Cassandra's sister, who then extended her own hand. "Tamera Flick, and I must say I love your scarf." Angelita and Tamera exchanged a bright smile; Lita was now trying to think of a way to get her hands on some Type-7 for personal use as well as wanting to get to know Tamera more, given the pair seemed to have some similar tastes in fashion...


10 Downing Street, City of Westminster, London, UK

One Week Later

            Lucienne had always hoped to meet the Prime Minister, but now that she was finally getting the chance she was no longer in control of the agency she'd created. Needless to say, Lucienne spoke very little to Sonia on the ride over.

            While it had been a week since Sonia had been made Director of the International Temporal Enforcement Agency, and Lucienne bumped down to Assistant Director, Lucienne hadn't really warmed up to the change. Lucienne was glad that Sonia was able to get the agency some much-needed extra hands, namely a medical staff, and find a good replacement for Palmira Tiago within a half-hour of finding out she'd resigned, Lucienne was none the less frustrated. The ITEA now had an Internal Affairs team in the form of Ian and Alex Blake; siblings that were handpicked by Sonia to not only police the agency from within but also to act as her lapdogs. Lucienne wasn't particularly thrilled about Sonia establishing the GRID unit, since Lucienne believed that no agent should be deployed without significant back-up, especially given some of the incidents that had occurred during missions. The only decision Lucienne didn't really have an opinion on yet was Angelita being made Sonia's personal assistant, as the director really should have an aide and using one's own daughter made a decent amount of sense since trust wouldn't be an issue.

            "Here we are," commented Larissa Penbrook, breaking the silence in the limo. Larissa, an Interpol agent assigned directly under London section chief Raymond Bishop, had been requested by Sonia to go along so Interpol would be represented at the meeting with the Prime Minister. Lucienne hadn't known Larissa long and, just last week, had frozen her during their first meeting to keep her out of her hair.

            Barely anyone had said a word the entire trip, with Ian and Alex keeping to themselves on either side of Sonia while Lucienne was seated to the left of Angelita, with Larissa on the other end. Everyone was dressed up: Sonia wearing a dark green business dress with a black blouse underneath; Ian was in a dark grey suit with a red tie and blue shirt; Alexandra was dressed like her brother but with a skirt instead of pants, though she did share the tie, right down to the color; Larissa's business dress was red and her blouse was white, reminding Lucienne of the Canadian flag; Angelita was in a dark purple dress with some stylish gold bracelets on her left arm; and finally Lucienne had picked out a business dress that was white and decided to wear a yellow blouse underneath.

            "One on the minute, pretty good timing," remarked Conrad Kennedy, the Prime Minister's head of security, as he opened the door to the limo. "Isn't this car a bit much?"

            "I covered the extra expense personally, it was cheaper and more fuel efficient than taking two vehicles," revealed Sonia as everyone began to step out of the limo. Ian went first, Sonia next with Alex following before Larissa moved. Lucienne ended up exiting last, something else that annoyed her. It was bad enough, at least in her eyes, that Sonia seemed to be trying to show up Lucienne by getting a meeting with the Prime Minister, but to arrive at 10 Downing Street in a limousine was a bit much for her.

            "Come, the PM is waiting," offered Conrad, leading the group inside. Lucienne promptly lost the chance to hear whatever else Conrad was saying as he began speaking softly to Sonia, who had Angelita beside her, and with the Blake siblings between Sonia and Lucienne that left the Frenchwoman next to Larissa as they headed of the living room.

            "We never did talk about what happened last week," remarked Larissa, referring to when Lucienne had frozen the agent without warning so she could get some time to collect herself after the Waterloo incident. "I just want you to know I understand, it was a stressful day. Ray even suggested it was an initiation of sorts into how your agency works."

            "Ray?" was Lucienne's surprised response, surprised that Larissa would refer to a section chief like Raymond Bishop by a shortened version of his first name so informally.

            "Chief Bishop," confirmed Larissa, not a hint of a fluster in her voice. For a moment Lucienne suspected the young Interpol agent might be a bit closer to her mentor than originally thought, but Lucienne dismissed her petty thoughts as she was preoccupied enough with Sonia. Conrad led the group into the living room where three people, plus some more security, awaited them.

            The first person Lucienne glanced at actually wasn't the prime minister or his family but one of the guards in the room, a very attractive shorter woman with jet-black hair who was wearing a cyan-coloured leather jacket and looked like a somewhat trendy college student more than a bodyguard. The second person Lucienne glanced at was the Prime Minister's daughter Brianna Gladstone, an eighteen-year old brunette, who was the same age as Angelita. Angelita was there not only as Sonia's assistant but as someone for Brianna to make friends with, an idea that amused Lucienne since it was practically a play-date for two young women who were legally adults. The third person was Julianne Gladstone, the prime minister's striking wife, who had gorgeous blue eyes and was a former fashion model. Finally there was Prime Minister Arthur Gladstone, forty-seven and a man who looked very measured in his seat.

            "Director Castillo, it's good to finally meet you," offered the Prime Minister as he stood, extending a hand.

            "Thank you sir, it's an honour," replied Sonia. Lucienne watched Sonia, hoping she might bow or something as she shook Arthur's hand, but much to her disappointment she managed to contain any nerves she had, or so far as Lucienne could tell.

            "Brianna, why don't you and Sonia's daughter adjourn to another room?" suggested Julianne, indicating her daughter and Angelita.

            "An excellent idea mother," agreed Brianna, standing. "Please come with me." Lucienne watched Angelita follow Brianna out of the room, the more casually dressed woman following them.

            The rest of the introductions were a bit of a blur for Lucienne, but by the time she came around she managed to shake Arthur and Julianne's hands without too much enthusiasm. Lucienne was surprised by Sonia when she spoke during the handshakes. "Lucienne is the founder of the agency and now my Assistant Director," announced Sonia as she finished shaking hands with Arthur and was moving on to his wife. Lucienne could feel the hairs on her neck stand up on end and realized it was going to be a long day.

* * *

            "I love how our parents thought grown adults needed to have a bloody play-date," laughed Brianna, who was in her bedroom with Angelita. After leaving the meeting between the ITEA and the Prime Minister they'd gone upstairs and, upon both girls casually remarked on the ridiculous nature of how they'd met. With Brianna's remark the pair then sat down on a couch Brianna had in her room, relaxing while Willow Crewe, Brianna's personal bodyguard, casually hovered just outside the door.

            "It really is great to meet you though, its hard meeting people when my mom moves around as much as she does," noted Angelita, letting out a small sigh while admiring Brianna's basic but attractive ensemble. Brianna's hair was done Ombre style, her brown hair having blond-like highlights, and it was pulled back in a sort of French twist that still had a small ponytail sticking out, giving her a sort of half-bun, half-ponytail. Brianna had been wearing a black formal jacket downstairs but had taken it off to reveal a matching tube top with a bow at chest level, a piece then hanging down to near her waist. Brianna's Capri pants also were a designer label, a pure white that fit very well into her legs.

            "I've had the same problem with my parents, though we have stayed in the UK," replied Brianna, nodding knowingly. "You grew up in quite a few different countries?"

            "Well I was born in Barcelona, but I spent quite a few years in Mexico as well as about a year here in London and in France, though I'd managed to start and finish high school in Madrid," revealed Angelita, recalling her upbringing. Lita knew she was lucky, as quite a few agents' children had ended up in countries a lot different than their own, while she's fortunately managed to spend a good deal of her life in Spanish-speaking countries.

            "But that was Interpol, and your mom's now the head of the ITEA?" asked Brianna, clearly having been briefed at least a bit on the guests the house would be receiving. "I don't actually really understand who they are, just that they were supposed to stop what happened at Waterloo."

            "Essentially the International Temporal Enforcement Agency regulates advanced technology that has to do with the perception of time," explained Angelita. "Basically from what I've read up myself and seen, in the last couple of years a company called Stone Enterprises invented this drug called Type-7 Sedative, or just Type-7 for short. It's a revolutionary tranquilizer that not only makes a person black out more or less instantly but also locks them in place like they're frozen stiff. The revolutionary part isn't just that it does all that but that it, don't ask me how, negates the typical issues of body-size and regulation, so there's very little risk in using it unless a person overdoses."

            "What happens with an overdose?" enquired Brianna, shifting in her seat with a fascinated look on her face.

            "The person is locked in the frozen state until they're given a counter-agent," revealed Angelita, then opening up her yellow leather purse to reveal a pair of spray bottles. "Both the drug and the cure can take spray form, so it has become common for ITEA personnel to carry some with them at all times."

            "Better than pepper spray," noted Brianna with a smile before getting a glint in her eye. "You know, I've always thought Willow was a bit of a tree... could we...?"

            "Any security cameras?" asked Lita, picking up on what Brianna was implying.

            "None in here," grinned Brianna, who then shared a nod with Lita. The Prime Minister's daughter rose from her couch and approached the door, while Lita readied a spray-bottle containing Type-7. "Willow, could you come in please?" called out Brianna. Moments later the door opened and the bodyguard entered, her left hand in her pocket while her right closed the door.

            "What can I do, miss?" asked Willow, focusing on Brianna. With Lita now in the corner of the bodyguard's eye, it was easy for her to spray the older woman and not get a reaction. Willow promptly went completely rigid with her right hand still resting on the knob of the now-closed door, her face blank save for slightly parted lips as she focused on Brianna.

            "Did it work?" questioned Brianna, eyeing Willow curiously. Brianna waved a hand in front of Willow's face but Angelita went a step further, pinching Willow's arm before moving her right hand away from the knob to let it rest in the air.

            "Unbelievable, it’s like in one of those hypnosis shows!" exclaimed Brianna, bursting out laughing. "Looks like Willow's finally become a real tree!"

            "I think you should just call her 'The Tree' from now on," suggested Lita, laughing along with Brianna. "So you interested in going out and having a little fun? I know a charming little clothing store not too far from here."

            "I dunno, I'd kind of like to just hang around here and mess with the Tree a bit more," shrugged Brianna, indicating her frozen bodyguard. "She means well, but she can be a real pain in the neck."

            "You wish she'd just leaf you alone?" quipped Angelita, getting a groan in response. "Well it’s not a very well-known place so we could always..."

            "Always...?" echoed Brianna, not following Angelita's trail of thought.

            "Spray everyone and have the place to ourselves for a bit," suggested Angelita, bracing herself for a possible angry response.

            "Oh, that sounds like something out of an 80s movie!" exclaimed Brianna, clapping her hands together in excitement. "I love those cheesy clothing montages! We've just got to do it now!"

            "All right, just... is it going to be easy to head out?" questioned Angelita, indicating the entire building they were in with an arm’s gesture. "Won't reporters want to follow you in the street or something?"

            "British reporters aren't that hard up, plus there's more than one exit," revealed Brianna, waving aside Lita's worries. "What's the name of the place?"

            "West Ten," answered Lita, digging into her bag for the bottle of Motion Mist she'd stashed. After meeting Katie it had only taken her two days to convince the scientist to get her some Type-7 and Motion Mist for personal use, Katie not fighting because she'd started a bit of a friendship with Angelita, plus a lot of other people in the agency already did it. Raising the Motion Mist bottle up beside Willow's face, Lita sprayed once and quickly hid the item pack in her purse as Willow blinked and seemed unaware that anything had happened.

            "Angelita was just telling me about a clothing store a few blocks away that I'd love to go visit," Brianna told her bodyguard. "Think you can accompany us?"

            "Sure, I'll just pretend to be your cousin again," nodded Willow, shifting her right hand slightly but otherwise not seeming to have noticed any change. "I'll also let someone know before we leave. Do you want to go public or take a special exit?"

            "I think Angelita would enjoy seeing one of the special exits," grinned Brianna, Willow nodding in response with a slight upward curl on the edge of her own mouth.

* * *

            The special exit turned out to be a hidden access tunnel, one that allowed people to come and go from 10 Downing less formally if necessary. Brianna explained to Angelita that the tunnel, along with a few more like it, were ideally intended to help people evacuate in the case of an emergency, one even leading to a special bunker in case of a bomb threat. Some of the tunnels dated back to the World War II era, back when the threat of attacks on the Prime Minister's residence in London were very real. Angelita did note however that some of the tunnels had since been updated to include security cameras and advanced locks, thus ensuring not just anyone could wander in. The tunnel Brianna led Angelita through came out in a London Underground station, which in turn led them out only a block away from West Ten.

            "Here we are," announced Angelita, leading Brianna and Willow up to the store she'd been telling them about. West Ten wasn't well-known in the London fashion scene but did carry many big designer labels at reasonable prices, hence why Angelita liked it, though having Tamera Flick working there helped too. The ITEA was actually one of the store's bigger clients, several women buying their business attire there thanks to Tamera getting them a ten percent discount on top of the standard prices. The only issue was that the owner, Lynda Crosbie, didn't have good business sense and couldn't market well, insisting it wasn't a boutique in spite of the quality of some of her items and how easily it would be to take on the title. For the day, however, West Ten's underground status was a boon for Angelita and Brianna.

            "That's a lot of white," remarked Brianna as the trio stepped inside, the linoleum floors and plastered walls were both white as well as the ceiling. Scanning the store, which featured several shoulder-high racks as well as a few tan-coloured bins and a wall of shoes as well as shoeboxes, Angelita saw that besides Tamera there were three other people in the store. To her relief, Angelita recognized all three, thus knew how to approach them: Anna Sokolov, Monica Stein and Caitlin Trafford. Anna was no doubt at the store to find something new for her business wardrobe as she was looking at the racks that held business dresses and suits. Over by the accessories were Caitlin and Monica, both in town to meet with Sonia since Stone Travel did arrange all of ITEA's flights thus, as the head of the division, Monica would want to meet the new director of one of her bigger clients. Caitlin it seemed was just along for the ride, being a native Brit and Monica's wife.

            "Here we go," whispered Angelita to Brianna as the trio started to move over to where Anna stood. Caitlin and Monica were too busy looking at hats and scarfs to notice anyone else in the store while Tamera just looked bored behind the till, clearly fiddling with her cell phone. Angelita came up to Anna with her spray-bottle palmed, noting the cute blond had her shoulder-length hair perfectly straight and was wearing mostly denim, possessing a dark-blue jacket and light-blue pants, a brownish-tan blouse underneath with a brown leather purse over her right shoulder.

            "Hi Anna, how are you?" greeted Angelita approaching her co-worker at an angle so she could put her arm on the blonde's shoulders, the hand of said arm holding the spray bottle. Brianna also came around to Angelita's left while Willow remained on the right, making Lita's trick easier to set-up.

            "I'm good, nice to see you Angelita," replied Anna, flashing a bright smile. "Doing a little afternoon shopping like me?" Angelita just smiled and quickly started spraying; the Type-7 fumes first hitting Willow behind Anna before being turned to hit her as well. Willow had been acting nonchalant, her hands buried in her pockets and her expression neutral, bordering on bored with her head tilted lightly to the right. Anna meanwhile was holding her purse strap with her left hand while her right rested on one of the racks, a very cute smile now held on her face.

            "I'll distract the shop-keeper," whispered Brianna, slipping away to walk over to Tamera while Angelita would focus on Monica and Caitlin. The girls only had one sprayer but luckily where Lita and Willow were wasn't too distracting.

            Lita casually moved up to where Caitlin and Monica were, the former currently trying on a large yellow sun hat while looking into a small mirror attached to the top of the counter that held he headgear. Caitlin and Monica were both wearing sun dresses, Caitlin's one knee-length with thick straps and a white to dark teal floral pattern on it. Monica's dress meanwhile was pure white and had thin spaghetti straps, the dark-haired woman standing with her back to her wife while looking at other hats. With neither woman facing one another nor facing Lita it was easy for her to slip up behind them and give them both a quick spritz, freezing them both.

            "I do get that a lot," remarked Brianna to Tamera as Lita approached, Lita having missed the first part of the conversation. Tamera's hair was hanging wild today, only cut above her forehead, and she was wearing an unbuttoned white and green plaid blouse over a black tube top with vibrant yellow pants on below.

            "Oh hi Lita, how are you?" greeted Tamera, nodding at Lita as she approached. "I was just telling this woman how much she reminds me of the Prime Minister's daughter. Are you two friends?"

            "I'd say so," commented Brianna, causing Tamera to glance away from Lita. Lita then pounced, spraying Tamera like the others. Tamera turned rigid while leaning on the cashier counter, her hands flat with her eyes glancing to the right at Brianna while she had a soft smile on her face.

            "One to go," declared Lita, indicating a door just past the counter that led into the back of the boutique. Gesturing for Brianna to wait, Lita hurried over and, taking up a position next to the side on which the door would open from, knocked twice.

            "Hello?" came a voice a moment later, the door then opening. The woman who'd answered was Lynda Crosbie, the woman that owned the store. A blonde in her early thirties, Lynda seemed to almost regret owning her shop, dressing in a serious business style rather than trying to be trendy. Lynda had her hair in a French twist and was wearing a red business dress, the red including her shoes and blouse. Lita sprayed Linda as he leaned out from where she'd opened the door, looking out into the store with her hand on the handle of the door.  The Type-7 took effect instantly.

            "Now we're done," announced Lita with a grin, then opening the door the rest of the way. Lynda toppled forward but Lita caught her and carefully stood the immobilized store owner back up.

            "Alright, lets have some fun!" exclaimed Brianna.

* * *

            Arthur Gladstone was a life-long politician, having become a member of his city council while in his early twenties. Brianna had always admired her father's political drive, but it had made having friends as a child difficult for her. It wasn't that Arthur moved around a lot, that wasn't the issue; it was that Brianna's would-be friends were often being influenced by their own parents and, for a long time, Arthur hadn't been the most popular politician. It wasn't until her father managed to become Prime Minister that Brianna's few friends ended up shifting, with many now interested in befriending her on behalf of their parents. After all the grief her father’s being a politician had caused Brianna, she was secretly glad it had led to her becoming friends with Lita. The arranged friendship was clearly a ploy, like most of the others in recent memory, but unlike the rest Brianna actually felt comfortable with Lita.

            "Willow, you've never looked better," commented Brianna, finishing her work with her frozen bodyguard. Having decided that just leaving attractive people frozen around the shop was too boring, Lita and Brianna had elected to first pose the six frozen women as mannequins. West Ten did have a few in its windows, decently realistic ones at that, so the two new friends had gotten to work posing the frozen women.

            Willow's face was contorted slightly; her lips forming a neutral line as to make her look more artificial and vacant. Willow's hands were also removed from her pockets and used to grip the base of her open jacket. Anna was with Willow in the window and had her right hand on her hip, her left down flat at her side with her corresponding leg slightly bent at the knee. Like Willow, Anna's face was left more blank and expressionless. In the other main window, Lita had posed Lynda and Tamera. Lynda had her right hand raised up as if to brush aside a stray hair on the right side of her head, with her left hand supporting her right elbow and her arm hugged tightly against her chest. As a result Lynda looked a bit dismissive, which Brianna thought suited the woman. Tamera meanwhile had her left hand running though her hair at the center, her legs were spread a decent distance apart and her right hand rested on her chest, just above her breasts, her arm mostly bent at the elbow.

            "Too fun," laughed Brianna, exiting from her window to join Lita, who'd just made sure the store's 'closed' sign was posted. The duo decided to not lock the door, just in case of an emergency. Monica and Caitlin had been left as they were, already holding excellent poses and they were just placed near the entrance to the store, their faces left the same. Caitlin's hands her on her hips and she was smiling brightly, having been taking in the large hat on her head. Monica meanwhile was posed similarly to Lynda but with her raised hand on her chin, clearly in deep thought.

            "Okay, there's no cameras, so I think we can get to trying things out," revealed Lita, prompting a quick high-five from Brianna before the girls went to start looking at clothes. Brianna was in heaven, having never had a chance to do just have some good old-fashioned shopping fun with a girl her age.

            After a few minutes of looking at outfits and accessories Lita had gone into the changing room, leaving Brianna alone for the moment. While glancing at a rack full of sunglasses Brianna noticed Lita had left her purse, including the Type-7 and Motion Mist sprayers. Developing a smirk, Brianna took the two sprayers and quietly moved over to the changing room, waiting just behind where the door would open.

            "Hey, what do you think of this-" began Lita, emerging from the room moments later. Without hesitation Brianna blasted her new friend with the drug, freezing Lita solid. Lita had pulled her hair back into a low ponytail and was wearing a smaller-sized red leather jacket over a white tube top and black jeans. Additionally Lita was sporting black heeled shoes and she was wearing silver aviator sunglasses, currently standing with her left index and middle fingers extended to touch the side of the glasses while her right hand rested on her hip. Lita's lips were parted and slightly rounded, most likely about to say 'outfit.'

            "Cute," remarked Brianna, closing the changing room door before getting a better look at her new friend. Coming up behind Angelita Brianna checked the size listing for the jeans she was wearing. "Looks like we're about the same, though these seem looser on you than they'd be on me," noted Brianna, shaking her head. "Be nice to have someone to borrow clothes from though... never had anyone like that."

            Circling around Lita, Brianna reached out and put her left hand on the frozen girl's neck, then using her right to remove the sunglasses and look into Angelita's dark brown eyes. "You're very pretty," sighed Brianna, noting in particular Lita's complexion. Brianna's gaze focused on Lita's lips for a couple of seconds before she backed off, reaching behind the frozen girl's head to let her hair down.

            "I don't even know why you put it up," commented Brianna, spreading Lita's hair out so it spilled over her shoulders. Brianna then put the glasses back over Lita's eyes put moved her left hand away, causing her left arm to take on a sort of V-shape with her fingers pointed away and making it look like Angelita was posing as a teapot.

            "You know I think a little gloss would go well on your lips," suggested Brianna, grabbing her own purse and fishing out a subtle pink version of the product before applying it to Lita's open mouth. During the process Brianna once again focused intensely on Lita's mouth but shook it off, backing off when done.

            "Lets see how you like it," remarked Brianna, finally grabbing the Motion Mist and giving Lita a quick spray.

            "... outfit?" finished Angelita, then lowering her arm and smirking. "You couldn't resist, could you?" Angelita then stopped for a second, rubbing her lips together. "Gloss?" Lita then asked.

            "Thought it would help, also thought the ponytail was a mistake," explained Brianna. "I like your new look."

            "I may just go for it then," decided Angelita, looking in the mirror on the back of the change room door for a moment before spinning back to face Brianna. "I'll explain to Tamera later and she can cash us out. She might even thank us for getting her some easy money."

            "They do have some good stuff though, you were right," observed Brianna glancing around before looking down at the sprayers in her hands. "Hey, you know, it was kind of unfair for me to freeze you like that. You want a little payback?"

            "I suppose, you have something specific in mind?" asked Lita, grinning.

            "Maybe see if you can find me a good outfit, you seem to have a decent eye," suggested Brianna, indicating what Lita was currently wearing. "When you find something you like you can unfreeze me."

            "Deal," agreed Lita, taking the sprayers from Brianna after she was handed them. "Sweet dreams." Brianna smiled as Lita raised up the Type-7 sprayer and then dosed her, quickly causing her to stiffen as she blacked out, her final conscious thoughts being curiosity at what Angelita would find for her.

* * *

            "You are a life-saver," sighed Lucienne as Camille exited the assistant director's BMW M3 out front of 10 Downing Street. After just one hour in the meeting Lucienne had decided she wasn't needed and called Camille to drop off her car. Camille did tend to do a lot of errands for the ITEA upper brass, given she was both an assistant to human resources director Rachel Clarke and a part-time receptionist.

            The younger Frenchwoman smiled at the older one. "It really is no problem, I have an Oyster Card," revealed Camille. Oyster Cards were electronic ticket cards that could be used in London to handle various forms of travel, including buses and various trains. Several members of IT had them but Lucienne usually preferred to drive or take a taxi.

            "All the same, I'll be sure to have David write this up as business costs," Lucienne told Camille, taking her keys from Camille.

            "How is the meeting going?" asked Camille, glancing at the door to the building while a few men and women were glancing at the pair, most likely hoping they'd move along.

            "Good so far, just don't see a need for me to be here," confessed Lucienne, moving around to enter the car. "Come on, I'll drop you off at least."

            "Thank you," offered Camille, clearly having been about to add another word but deciding against it. Lucienne briefly frowned at that, figuring the unsaid word was going to be 'director.'

            A minute later the pair were in traffic, Camille's place luckily only over in Camden. "Mind if I ask what exactly was discussed during the meeting?" enquired Camille, breaking the brief silence.

            "Several things," began Lucienne as she drove. "First there was the Waterloo incident. It was mostly follow-up, Interpol and Scotland Yard were already keeping the PM up to date beforehand. Big thing was he wanted to make it clear that we warn him next time we have to do an exchange like that. Technically that was Kennedy's fault, given he knew it was happening, but from now on we must tell him flat-out."

            "Understandable, given what a debacle that was," noted Camille, nodding.

            "After that, the big thing was his wanting someone to help keep him in the loop, as well as help us follow government protocol, though that in general hasn't been an issue with us so far so it’s more of a precaution than anything," continued Lucienne. "The Police Service was asking about that too and it sounds like he even had candidates in mind. Kim's probably not going to be the only non-IT personnel working out of our building within a few days."

            "Reasonable, though getting new people used to how things work in the office can be a bit rocky," commented Camille, referring to the IT practice of office pranks involving Type-7. Lucienne knew that Camille herself had fallen for the drugged coffee trick at least six times since she'd been recruited.

            "The last part, which was where I decided to head out, they were discussing taking some pressure off of London by getting us more facilities around the globe," explained Lucienne.

            "Field offices?" asked Camille, looking for specifics.

            "More than likely; I doubt we need more than one proper headquarters, at least at this time," confirmed Lucienne, nodding as she drove. "Places where Type-7 was present for a long time were the first cities we considered. Given Ouroboros operated out of New York, that will be one location. Vancouver, thanks to Paradise, will be another. Hong Kong was also brought up given Tamaya Qillaq and her network of smuggling contacts."

            "It is an interesting idea, but we are already working closely with Europol and Interpol," pointed out Camille. "Wouldn't this step on a few toes?"

            "Well, Sonia and the PM were still discussing it, but it wouldn't surprise me if she's brought it before the Oversight Committee in a week or two," noted Lucienne. "Things are going to be changing, Camille." What Lucienne didn't say out loud was that she really didn't like that someone else was the driving force behind the change to her agency.

* * *

            After dropping off Camille, Lucienne was planning to stop by the office but right before parking in Camden Ian ended up calling Camille, asking the woman to pick up Angelita from West Ten. Interested in perhaps doing a little shopping, Lucienne offered to take care of it for Camille and sure enough soon found herself pulling around back of the store, there being much more parking in that area. Since there was no customer entrance out back, Lucienne instead took the small alley to around the front of the store.

            "Closed?" muttered the Frenchwoman to herself as she saw the sign, only to then instantly understand when she saw the occupants of the display windows. Given how long she'd been exposed to Type-7 and the like, seeing a very realistic mannequin posed in a shop window usually tipped off Lucienne that something was wrong, though she was aware that some places did just hire real people to pose in the windows. Lucienne however immediately recognized everyone she saw and knew someone had frozen them, though Lucienne's suspicions were low given West Ten was a place a lot of people from IT liked to shop at. Combined with the fact that Monica Stein and Caitlin Trafford were in town, Lucienne suspected the duo had decided to have a bit of fun. Finding the shop door unlocked, Lucienne shrugged and went inside, readying herself to draw her Taser just in case.

            "Huh," smiled Lucienne, surveying the scene a bit more. Lucienne's initial suspects were out of consideration as they were also frozen, but when she spotted Brianna and Angelita she had a good idea of what had happened. Lita had her arms around Brianna's neck and two sprayers were visible in her hands, one most likely Type-7 and the other probably Motion Mist. Brianna's eyes were open and her arms were bent at the elbows, her hands near Lita's waist. Lita meanwhile had her eyes closed and her lips were pressed against Brianna's. The scene was familiar to Lucienne, having once caught Tasia the same sort of tryst with Ariel. Brianna had been frozen via a sprayer and Lita had then proceeded to immediately kiss her before all of the airborne Type-7 had dissipated, thus she'd inhaled some as well.

            "At least I know there's no criminals around," chuckled Lucienne, walking over to the two young women. Prying the two sprayers from Angelita's rigid grip she quickly figured out which was which but didn't unfreeze either one just yet.

            "Better make sure only one of you unfreezes," remarked Lucienne, raising Lita's arms up above her head before leaning her back on her heels and dragging her away from the Prime Minister's daughter. Satisfied that Lita would be the only one to unfreeze now, Lucienne promptly sprayed her with Motion Mist.

            "Huh?" managed Lita after a brief disorientation, realizing who was in front of her. "What... what happened?"

            "You tell me, though I can surely venture a guess," insisted Lucienne. "Decided to help yourself to some free clothes, or did you merely want to impress the Prime Minister's daughter?"

            "I was going to pay for anything we wanted, I swear!" insisted Lita, panicking for a moment before she seemed to notice Lucienne was smirking. "You... think this is funny?"

            "More adorable actually," confessed Lucienne with a shrug, indicating the store. "I doubt you're the first to do this. I just think it’s funny that the daughter of our new, supposedly straight-laced director would pull something like this, never mind what I found you doing with Brianna Gladstone when I came in..."

            "Oh God..." moaned Angelita, looking incredibly embarrassed. "Please; you're not going to tell my mother, are you?"

            "Hey, a few people lost maybe two hours of their lives, that's it," Lucienne assured Lita, patting her on the shoulder. "We have a prank policy at ITEA, remember? As long as nothing was stolen and anyone innocent doesn't start asking questions, no harm done. Heck, if you hadn't done this, I'm sure Caitlin and Monica would have."

            "Thanks," sighed Lita, looking at Lucienne thoughtfully. "Look, um... since you saw... everything, can I ask you something?"

            "We've maybe had six conversations before this, but go ahead," agreed Lucienne, shrugging as she leaned against a jewellery counter, Lita soon doing the same.

            "Look, this is highly personal, but... well, everyone knows you and agent Spiro are in a relationship," Lita practically spat out, though she did so innocently with no venom soaking her words. "Mom did tell me a lot about you from back when you originally worked together, though. Mom said you had a boyfriend then. I guess my question is... are you a lesbian or bisexual?"

            "Quite the personal question, but I can see what brought this up," nodded Lucienne, a bit embarrassed but more surprised how much Sonia had apparently remembered about her. "I am still interested in men, so if you had to label it I suppose I'm bisexual." Lucienne paused for a moment, glancing at Brianna before looking back at Angelita. "Are you... trying to figure your own orientation out?"

            "I really don't know, I just felt this strong connection with Brianna and after I sprayed her, she looked so adorable unmoving, I just, well..." mumbled Angelita, stumbling over her words.

            "It can be tempting can't it?" remarked Lucienne, nodding knowingly. "But you've never... kissed a woman before?"

            "Never," admitted Angelita, seemingly embarrassed even more in spite of Lucienne’s not seeing why. "I just... I got curious."

            "Well you are at that age where a lot of young people like to experiment, or at least that's how the jokes go," observed Lucienne, nodding knowingly. "Look, I can't tell you what's right and what's wrong; I can just tell you to look for what you want. I want someone I can spend my life with, who will always be there for me and with whom I can be totally honest. Gender doesn't enter into it for me. I can't speak for everyone else like me, but honestly I think a big decider was not being in a hurry to have children and no specific desire to have children that my partner helped create, if you understand me."

            "Quite the decision," mused Angelita, nodding.

            "It isn't a choice though, its what you feel is right," pointed out Lucienne. "I mean, gay relationships are still not treated equally in current society in spite of some wonderful progress. You can't choose who you love."

            "Right," nodded Angelita, looking more relaxed. "Thank you, um..."

            "Just call me Lucienne, its fine," offered Lucienne, giving Lita a reassuring pat on the shoulder once again. "Now, lets get this whole 'store full of frozen people posed as mannequins' situation cleaned up, shall we?"

            "Yeah, mom's probably wondering what's taking so long," agreed Angelita, glancing at the clock.


            Lucienne and Angelita took care of everyone else before reviving Brianna, deciding it would be best if the young woman was kept in the dark about a few details. Lynda and Tamera would awaken a couple of hours later only to instantly fall asleep, Lucienne having started to keep special sleeping pills in her ITEA kit that she had in her car. Tamera and Lynda were also put in the back room, sitting at desks, thus hopefully they'd just think they'd fallen asleep at work. Brianna returned to 10 Downing Street on her own and Lucienne and Lita had driven back to the HQ only then finally reviving Anna, telling her Angelita had accidentally dropped a Type-7 gas canister at the boutique. Anna didn't seem to care too much, she was just happy to meet up with Gregory as he left for the night.

            Lucienne and Angelita were now waiting in the headquarters' lobby, the night shift for building security having just started. Gitana was gone from the reception desk and currently only one guard was in the lobby, namely Christina Merritt, who was seated with an MP-5 strapped to her chest while reading that day's newspaper. Waiting with Lucienne and Lita however was Gaspar Guevara, the head of security during the evening. A handsome and bearded Spaniard, Eduardo had come down to check with Christina and decided to stay so he could talk to Sonia before she left, perhaps help the people she was bringing with her on orientation thanks to a call from Alexandra.

            "There they are," observed Christina, glancing up from her newspaper as, just outside the building, the limo pulled up. Sure enough a minute later the door to the building opened and in walked Sonia, the Blake siblings, as well as two new faces.

            "Good evening director," greeted Gaspar with a nod. "How was your meeting?"

            "Very productive," announced Sonia, beaming a bit. "I'd like you to meet Paula Tate, special adviser to the Prime Minister on matters of law, and Inspector Shiori Yoshida with the Yard."

            "Hello," offered Paula, everyone quickly exchanging greetings with both her and Shiori. Lucienne hadn't had a chance to meet either one before leaving, but she was surprised to see them. Given during the meeting it had been suggested that the ITEA have a liaison with the local police as well as to Gladstone himself.  Lucienne was surprised people had been found so quickly to fill in the roles, though Lucienne then realized the assignments had probably been planned since before the meeting even took place.

            "They'll be our new liaisons to the government and local police, respectively," explained Sonia, confirming Lucienne’s suspicions. Lucienne eyed each woman carefully, getting a good look at them and how they carried themselves. Paula had dark hair, fair skin with freckles, and while a bit curvy could still easily be called pretty, she also looked to be not much older than Lucienne herself, if at all. Paula seemed relaxed, almost at ease, clearly comfortable with the environment. Shiori, meanwhile, did appear to have at least five years on Lucienne and, as the name suggested, was Japanese, her jet-black hair cut to shoulder length and what looked like reading glasses over her eyes. Given the glasses and the way her arms hugged to her sides, Lucienne pegged Shiori to be a bit shy or even nervous, surprising given she was an Inspector with the MPS.

            "I'll be happy to show them around," offered Gaspar, almost bowing a bit as he swept his hand in front of his chest. Lucienne held back a grin and she could see Christina raise an eyebrow from behind her newspaper.

            "Please do, though I'll have Ian and Alexandra go with you," replied Sonia, indicating her two quasi-bodyguards. Nodding, the siblings walked off with Gaspar leading the way and the two new liaisons between them, Shiori looking around as she moved with Paula looked almost bored.

            "That's probably long overdue," remarked Lucienne as she watched the group go.

            "Definitely," agreed Sonia, taking a subtle dig at how Lucienne had run things in doing so. "So, Angelita, how was your day with Brianna? Did you hit it off with her?"

            Lucienne and Lita exchanged a quick glance before Angelita nodded. "I think so," announced the young woman.

Lucienne's Apartment, Dartford

            Lucienne had a surprise waiting for Takahishi when he entered the flat, having been expecting to just find his lover alone or possibly with Tasia. Instead Lucienne got to see confusion mask her lover's face as he entered to see Lucienne standing in a red nightie, with her hair down, in between three other women in their underwear. Monica, Caitlin and Willow were all posed in their undergarments, Lucienne having decided to just take the three home rather than unfreeze them. Monica and Caitlin weren't on a set flight to leave the UK, having left it open just in case a situation like the one they were in occurred, while Brianna had elected to just tell anyone who asked Willow had gone home for the day. Lucienne wasn't sure the plan would work but since she was with Brianna no one seemed to question it, though a few were surprirsed. Returning Willow without suspicion would be tricky, but Lucienne wasn't worried about that at the moment.

            "This is new," observed Tak, walking in with a bottle of wine under his arm while dressed in a loose fitting white with blue-stripes shirt, a bronze locket visible around his neck thanks to some open buttons on his shirt. Tak also wore jeans but it was clear from how he walked he wasn't wearing a belt.

            "I wanted to try something a little different," explained Lucienne, stepping out of the tableau and resting her arms on the shoulders of Willow and Caitlin. Monica was next to the couch and had her right foot up and on it, her hands on top of one another while also on top of her raised knee, her thoughtful look still on her face. Caitlin was bent over slightly and had a big smile on her face, her hands resting on her thighs. Willow was holding a serving tray extended out in front of her with her old look also still on her face, a pair of empty wine glasses on the metal plate. Monica's underwear was tiny, black and silky while Caitlin's was a bit larger up top but practically a thong on the bottom, purple and made of cashmere. Willow was wearing a simple white bra and panties, both of cotton.

            "What exactly were you thinking?" asked Tak, putting the wine bottle down on the tray Willow held, next to the glasses. Lucienne then stepped forward and put her arms around Takahishi, giving him a long kiss.

            "Well, this is something I like doing, namely, fooling around with frozen women," confessed Lucienne, resting her head against Tak's shoulder. "I figure if we have any chance of moving forward I should let you know."

            "I see," mused Tak, stroking Lucienne's hair. "Look, Lucienne..."

            "Is it weird?" asked Lucienne, worried, looking back at her frozen chorus line.

            "No, its fine," Tak assured his lover. "I was going to say, 'anything you want to do I'm fine with, so long as it is with you.' I love you, this isn't going to change that."

            "Well, I was kind of expecting something like, 'what man turns down his girlfriend's suggestion for having more women be involved?'" admitted Lucienne, then giving Tak another kiss.

            "It did cross my mind, but I'm not about to talk like that," grinned Tak, earning himself a quick glare before Lucienne kissed him again.

            "Okay, I think we should start with the wine and spoon with Willow a bit, I've never had the chance to play with her," decided Lucienne as she casually removed her nightie, it falling off her trim figure after she used the thumbs to raise and move the straps. As she heard Tak unzip his pants and looked for a corkscrew, Lucienne realized Tak really was dedicated to him, happily coming by to help comfort her after she’d had a bit of a rough day while Tasia was out somewhere, having gone to Los Angeles for some unknown reason.

Lucienne still wasn't sure if she wanted Tak more than Tasia, but this was an important fact to consider...

The End


Angelita Castillo - Selena Gomez

Sonia Castillo - Catherine Zeta-Jones

Lucienne Christophe - Josie Maran

Caesar Francisco - Jared Leto

Camille Lambert - Minka Kelly

Katie Grant - Autumn Reeser

Lori Jones - Billie Piper

Cassandra Flick - Emily Deschanel

Tamera Flick - Zooey Deschanel

Larissa Penbrook - Sophia Myles

Ian Blake - Alex O'Laughlin

Alexandra Blake - Claire Van Der Boom

Conrad Kennedy - Ray Park

Willow Crewe - Janet Montgomery

Briana Gladstone - Emma Watson

Julianne Gladstone - Elizabeth Hurley

Arthur Gladstone - Ralph Fiennes

Anna Sokolov - Allison Mack

Monica Stein - Shiri Appleby

Caitlin Trafford - Jewel Staite

Lynda Crosbie - Jo Joyner

Christina Merritt - Michelle Ryan

Gaspar Guevara - Eduardo Noriega

Paula Tate - Eve Myles

Shiori Yoshida - Naoko Mori

Takahishi Nakamura - Takuya Kimura

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