Tucker’s Wand XVII – The Split

by Zero

The next installment in the 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 Tucker's tales from the beginning, or catch up on the latest chapter before continuing; the lead characters are introduced in the first story. [Ed.]

Note from the Authors: After deliberation we've decided that yes, the Clockwork series and the Tucker stories are set in the same world. This world is currently being dubbed the Tuckerverse by the authors, since Tucker currently has the most stories that revolve around him though the Clockwork stories are quite large by comparison. We hope you've enjoyed the Clockwork and Tucker series' so far and hope you will continue to do so in the Tuckerverse!



            "What time is it?" muttered Haley Leone to Tucker Holmes as they both laid in her bed completely relaxed, her voice thick with sleep.

            Next to her, Tucker rolled over and looked at the clock. "Nine thirty," remarked Tucker, rubbing his eyes. "It feels good to me on a Sunday morning.” Want to get up or just loaf for a bit?"

            "I should probably get up, I have a meeting at eleven," remarked Haley, rubbing her eyes and sitting up. The blond Italian was now working full-time with Miss Zoe, one of the region's biggest fashion experts who repeatedly traveled to New York, Paris and London, thus Haley had been taking quite a few trips to New York lately as well. Miss Zoe tended to work exclusively with young models and Haley was now one of her best after months of hard work. The money Haley was making allowed her to quit her job with her Uncle Mario, though she still went by now and then to help out for free. Still, her career was fresh and in spite of doing several shoots in both LA and New York she hadn't appeared in any nation-wide ads, let alone international. She was in talks with Universal Pictures however to appear is a minor role in a film that would require four days of work; she only had a couple of lines. Tucker was very proud of her and glad to have met her before she hit it big.

            "Need me to stop some clocks?" asked Tucker, holding up his prized authentic Wand of Kronos, a magical artifact that could freeze time.

            "No, if you let me shower alone and instead make me some coffee and a bagel like a gentleman I won't need to," declared Haley, smiling as she stood up and pranced out of her room, walking past Hitomi. Hitomi was one of Tucker's ex-girlfriends that he'd frozen in time permanently and given to Haley as a sort of human doll or mannequin. Today Hitomi was dressed in a yellow leotard and nothing else, looking like a fitness guru that had gotten stranded on a beach, her hands on her hips and her face contorted into a look that seemed to say 'come hither.' Tucker was tempted to stop time and join Haley’s shower anyway but figured that would make him too clingy and he wanted to prove he wasn't just interested in the sex, as wonderful as it was. He had attended four out of every five of Haley's LA commitments, from photo shoots to fashion shows, which had been tricky given he was now juggling college and an assistant manager job at Persephone's Books. As if that weren't enough, he was also a core member of the Decker State College Anime Club and had to keep his roommate Maggie Yen in line. Maggie had recently built a clock that worked magically almost like a fat brother to his own wand and Maggie was a bit more wild and trigger-happy than Tucker. Even worse, Maggie was currently dating their boss at the store while cheating on her with another local model and a soccer player at the college. Needless to say with all the complications Tucker was glad he had his wand.

            By the time Haley had exited the shower Tucker had brewed some Columbian coffee and toasted a bagel for Haley, which was coated with sugar-free raspberry jam. Haley emerged from the shower with her hair perfect and only a hint of dampness, having mastered her special blow-dryer that prevented her hair from splitting at the end. "Oh, how thoughtful, how can I repay you?" asked Haley with a grin, walking forward and then snapping her finger, promptly losing the white tower that had been around her body. "Will this do?" Haley asked playfully, giving Tucker a kiss before taking a cup of coffee from him.

            "I guess," shrugged Tucker, pretending not to care and which point both of them laughed. It was then that the bliss was interrupted by a phone call, which Haley took.

            "Hello?" she said in a sing-song voice, winking at Tucker. "Oh, hi Miss Zoe... wait, what?!" Tucker promptly almost dropped his own coffee and ended up pouring his cup down the drain to avoid scalding himself. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry! Yes, yes I understand completely! Okay, this afternoon, no problem. I promise you, it won't happen again!" Haley clicked off her phone and let out a large sigh. "The meeting was rescheduled for nine today... I missed it."

            "Son of bitch!" exclaimed Tucker, putting his hands to his face. "Dammit, if I'd known..."

            "Whoa, what?!" Haley suddenly burst out, looking at Tucker like he was insane. "If you had known what?! This is my career, Tucker! This is my dream! You're a book clerk, not my manager!"

            "Well excuse me trying to be supportive!" fired back Tucker, now angry himself. "I only came to more of your shows and shoots than any of the other models' boyfriends, or even their actual managers!"

            "Hmph..." Haley said nothing more for a moment, pouting, looking at Tucker with a serious expression, and then sighing again. "God, I can't believe I'm going to say this... Tucker, I... I think you should leave... for a while."

            "What?!" exclaimed Tucker, his eyes wide. "What do you mean, 'for a while?!'"

            "Tucker, I've been coasting along with no real focus because we've spent so much time together these past few months," declared Haley, clearly hating herself for saying the words she spoke. "I need a manager; I need to get my career on the right track. Whenever I'm not working these days I'm almost always hanging out with you and today... today it lost me major points with my boss. I need some time to get my life in order, and you being around won't help."

            "So I'm a bad influence?" asked Tucker, letting out several long breaths and finding it hard to meet Haley's gaze.

            "No, it’s just... I don't know!" exclaimed Haley, throwing her hands up in the air. "I really want to get my career going, and it seems like I can't do that and be with you at the same time, at least not right now... I just can't have everything I want."

            "What really sucks here is I think I get what you mean," sighed Tucker, running his hands through his hair. "Okay, for a week... for one week I won't stop by. At all, I won't even stop time to sneak a visit."

            "Good, even then it might distract me," agreed Haley, clearly fighting back tears. "Look, I love you, but... if it'll help, maybe... I dunno, try seeing someone else?"

            "What?!" exclaimed Tucker, almost falling backwards in shock. "I thought we were just talking about a week of abstinence or something! It sounds like you want to split up!"

            "I don't want that at all!" insisted Haley, now having moved to wrap her arms around Tucker, but did so with hesitation. "Just... I might need more than a week, and I don't want you just thinking about me all the time. You're going to have some free time, go out and make new friends. I'll be attending more socials and it isn't fair for me to expect you to not do something similar."

            "Alright, I don't like it, but alright," grumbled Tucker, giving Haley a soft kiss on the forehead before walking back into the bedroom to get his pants. He emerged a couple of minutes later, fully dressed, to see Haley had moved Hitomi to the door. "Hey, but I gave her to you," objected Tucker, realizing what Haley meant by the gesture.

            "No, I can't look at her, it'll just make this harder," insisted Haley, motioning towards the door. Bowing his head, Tucker silently walked over, wrapped his arms around Hitomi, and tapped his wand against the wall five times. Immediately time froze, and Haley stood by the door with her head facing away from Tucker, her arms crossed. Tucker contemplated walking over and getting a good look at her at that moment but decided he should just leave.

            Arriving back at his apartment, Tucker unfroze time and placed Hitomi in the living room. Tucker's roommate Maggie was nowhere to be seen, though three other live-in mannequins were all present and dressed in green Japanese schoolgirl outfits. Tatiana, Rebecca and Candice all stood with their hands on their hips in the kitchen, smiles on their faces. The previous night Maggie had mentioned something about an Inuyasha tribute and guessed it had to do with that. Grabbing a glass of orange juice, Tucker casually wandered into the apartment's office room. Maggie was sitting at the PC and didn't even look up. "What's up, big guy?" asked the cute Chinese girl, in the middle of cropping a photo of Tatiana in the schoolgirl outfit she was wearing now.

            "Well, the good news is Hitomi is going to be staying with us, at least for a while," declared Tucker with a sigh.

            "Oh...?" asked Maggie, turning to face Tucker. "Oh! Oh Tuck!" Upon seeing her friend's face Maggie clued in and rushed to hug Tucker, the pair embracing tightly. "What happened?"

            "She needs some time to get her career back in track, she got in trouble today and thinks time away from me will help fix things," revealed Tucker, then getting a sympathetic kiss by the ear from his friend. "Now she says I should try going out with some new people to help fill the void since this will be for at least a week."

            "Well, welcome back to singlehood!" exclaimed Maggie, offering Tucker open arms.

            "You're dating two women at once and banging a girl you're supposed to be tutoring on the side," pointed out Tucker with a raised eyebrow. Maggie was not only dating their boss Jamie, but also a model she'd worked with named Cindy and had tutoring sessions with Decker State soccer champ Britney Summers that usually ended in her bed.

            "I didn't mean I was single!" snapped Maggie, punching her friend in the arm. "Still, this is good news, sort of! You'll get to ask out those girls who've been throwing themselves at you!"

            "What the hell are you talking about?" asked Tucker, shaking his head. "I'm an anime club member who works at a book store and owns every Gundam DVD there is! What women want me?"

            "Oh, just off the top of my head..." began Maggie, raising her left hand in a fist.” One, our neighbor Lisa, whom you actually kissed but she felt guilty since she knew you were dating Haley," Maggie extended one finger as she said the name.

            "That was to make sure she didn't see Candice in my trunk!" insisted Tucker, but Maggie shook her head.

            "Two, Calista from work," continued Maggie, extending a second finger. "She's a bitch but she likes you, though it might just be because you're in a position of power. Three, there’s Chrissy Pak. She knows you're an anime freak and likes you for it. Four, Bianca, though I could be reading into that wrongly and she could just think of you as a brother like I do."

            "Come on; of those last three Calista's the only one who I would even buy that likes me," insisted Tucker, shaking his head.

            "Hey, I've got a pinky here too," insisted Maggie, raising the finger to add emphasis. "Five, Julie, freaking, Vaughn. She's a damn cheerleader, Tucker! I shouldn't even have to point out how much she likes you!"

            "Really?" asked Tucker, skeptical.

            "She joined the anime club in spite of not even knowing how old Sailor Moon is," pointed out Maggie. "I know she's straight, too, and she keeps on wanting to study with you even though she's on the Dean's List! Clue the hell in, Tucker! She's practically in love with you!"

            "All the more reason to not go out with her; I can't love anyone else," declared Tucker dramatically.

            "Nice, you been waiting to use that one?" asked Maggie, shaking her head. "Look – at least take Lisa out. She's a great girl, if a little boring. I've seen the guys she dates; she's a total geek lover. You'd be an idiot to not at least try and play the field given this golden opportunity!"

            "Eh... maybe I'll just talk to Lisa," shrugged Tucker, causing Maggie to shake her head and sigh.

            "Coward," spat Maggie with a grin.

            "That's me, see you shortly," fired back Tucker, taking a bow before leaving.



            Tucker was already regretting his decision as he stood in line to The Nickel Parrot, a currently trendy LA club that would probably not exist in two years. All around him were people dressed in what was being called the latest fashions, which currently seemed to be mainly red and black for women with silver and white and black for guys, usually with no shirt buttons done up. Tucker himself was wearing a basic white T-shirt, a nice brown leather belt, black pants and cleaned black leather shoes, a silver watch on his wrist. Lisa was at his side, clad in a red and black outfit that consisted of a red tube top that had a Silver Star pattern, a black mini-skirt with silver lining and red heels, and a white purse slung over her shoulder. Tucker remembered once hearing that color with black made the color look cheap, but he was no fashion expert so maybe that wasn't true.

            "Are you sure you're fine with this place?" asked Lisa, giving Tucker a concerned smile. "I don't remember you ever mentioning you like clubs..."

            "Hey, there's a lot you still don't know about me," declared Tucker, giving Lisa a forced grin. The truth was that Tucker hated clubs, but he figured he'd go for an hour or so before faking a headache or something. He had tastefully avoided mentioning that his split with Haley was temporary as he was fairly sure Lisa would be pissed at him if he did.

            After the bouncer let the pair into the club, Tucker immediately realized staying would be a nightmare.  The Nickel Parrot was a typical singles club: music so loud you couldn't talk, greatly overpriced drinks, overly-attractive bartenders with giant tip jars and hardly any seats. Additionally Tucker and Lisa were certain at least half of the people there were underage and only using fake Ids. The dance floor was alive with what were mostly women while groups of men hung back casually sipping watered-down beer. It was enough to make Tucker sick. Nonetheless Lisa dragged him over to the bar where he paid for her Vodka cocktail and he got a Corona, being a fan of Mexican beer because they purposely tested the water for feces. Some criticized Tucker for his choice in the past, pointing out that they had to test the water as feces was a likely possibility in Mexican water, but since they did Tucker felt certain the water was purer than with most other beers.

            Tucker and Lisa proceeded to spend a good five minutes drinking at a table on the second level of the club, which overlooked the dance floor, before ditching their empty beverage containers to head down themselves. Tucker couldn't really dance but it seemed no other guy in the club could either thus he just danced what his friends called 'The Safety Zone,' which was where you did a casual shuffle with your arms up almost like you were getting ready to box save they were closer to your chest. Tucker tried his best to smile and did enjoy seeing Lisa cut-loose but knew the night was going to be painful.

            Finally after being at the club for half an hour Tucker had had enough. Excusing himself with the real excuse of needing to use the bathroom, Tucker went off and found the facilities, at which point he knew he was done. Producing his wand subtly Tucker casually tapped it against the wall as he entered the bathroom, freezing time.

            The restroom was disgusting to say the least: one giant urinal trough that ran along the wall, a couple of actual toilets with no doors hiding them or toilet paper, paper towels and water on the floor and a beaten-up condom machine in the back. Three guys who all looked like they only listened to songs about cutting themselves were standing around; two seemingly chatting of all things while another was at the urinal. Tucker never got why bathrooms at clubs were so nasty as people at clubs need to use them all the time if they're there to drink, given how fast beer goes through a person. Sadly The Nickel Parrot must have missed that but luckily now time was frozen and Tucker was free to listen to his own thoughts without another Techno songs making his ears bleed.

            After pissing on the floor by the condom machine on purpose as a form of protest, Tucker decided urine in the bathroom wouldn't be enough to get the horrible but shockingly popular club shut down and went to work, deciding to turn his date with Lisa into a form of protest. It was tempting to drag the guy at the urinal out into the club itself but Tucker felt that was too easy, plus he didn't want to man-handle a guy whose junk was out for all to see. Instead Tucker wandered back into the club and hit the dance floor, which was, as wallet checks confirmed, almost entirely college freshmen and high schoolers with fake Ids. Among the crowd Tucker was even surprised to see a few familiar faces: Kelly, the dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty from the local cell phone store; Faith, another dark-haired girl with brown-eyes who was one of his co-workers; and Michelle, the blond bitch who'd tried to sabotage Haley's big fashion show a while back which had resulted in Tucker claiming Candice as one of his live-in mannequins. Grinning, Tucker went to work.

            Not wanting to add pedophilia to the incident he was creating, Tucker purposely avoided any girl who had a fake ID. Instead Tucker ended up dropping off several girls in the middle of the dance floor and moved others out of the way so there was a circle around them. The only familiar face Tucker had included in the dozen girls he'd left in the center was Michelle, who was under twenty-one but still nineteen so she was the exception to the rule. Tucker had been tempted to include Kelly and Faith but the incident could include arrests and Tucker was above doing that to his co-workers and a girl who'd suffered through at least one robbery. The dozen girls in the center all stood frozen in mid-dance, Michelle for example with her arms bent at the elbows and her hands loose, her eyes closed as her head was tilted down somewhat, apparently her body in mid-shuffle to the left. The would-be model's red tube top and white mini-skirt quickly hit the floor, followed by her leopard bra and G-string a moment later. The same quickly occurred with every other girl, most of them fake blonds or redheads. Finally when he was done, Tucker found Lisa and came up behind her, tapping the wand on his leg to unfreeze time before quickly hiding it.

            * * *

            "It hasn't been over an hour and this is already the weirdest date I've ever had," laughed Lisa, sitting across from Tucker at Bean There. As predicted when a dozen women had exposed themselves in public the club had shut down, the police arriving and most everyone leaving before then. It was now close to midnight and Tucker was enjoying a nice cup of coffee with his date, liking Lisa more when she wasn't dragging him to places he hated.

            "I guess that's a compliment," shrugged Tucker, grinning back at Lisa. "So how goes work? I saw Variety had some of your pictures printed last week."

            "Yeah, I'm still a freelance photographer but I've been getting lucky lately," revealed Lisa, giving Tucker a warm smile. "I think the coverage I got at Miss Zoe's show really helped..."

            "Hey, it was no problem," declared Tucker, winking. "I'm just glad I could help..." Tucker wanted to continue, as it seemed the topic might get him a little action, but then a distraction arrived at the table.

            "Oh, hi there Tucker!" greeted the mature and sexy voice of Madison Yen, who'd walked right up to the table. "I don't see you here often..." Madison was wearing a light-green blazer and a gray skirt with a white blouse underneath the jacket, her hair perfect as usual. She stood with a Prada bag at her side, offering an authentic smile to both Tucker and Lisa.

            "Oh, hi Madison," offered Tucker, smiling and nodding. "Lisa, this is Madison, Maggie's sister. Madison, this is Lisa."

            "Nice to meet you," offered Lisa, though neither woman attempted to shake hands or anything of the sort.

            "And you," offered Madison. "Sorry to interrupt, but I actually wanted to speak with you, I just didn't think I'd run into you. Mind if I steal you for a minute?"

            "I suppose," shrugged Tucker, Lisa nodding. Since Lisa knew Madison was Maggie's sister and she'd heard a few stories Tucker doubted she'd care if he talked to Madison privately for a few minutes. The pair headed over to a more secluded spot near the coffee house's restrooms.

            "I called Maggie earlier and she told me what happened," revealed Madison, offering Tucker an apologetic smile, which caught him completely off-guard. "I'm sorry about you and Haley. I know we don't really talk, but Maggie told me about you two."

            "Thanks, though it is just temporary," insisted Tucker, completely shocked. Tucker had never really spoken with Madison at all in spite of them almost being legal siblings. After Tucker's parents had died during a tsunami while trying to save people Maggie's mother, his god-mother due to her friendship with his own mom, had taken him in and legally been his guardian for a year. Madison was already at Georgetown when that had occurred thus while he'd lived with Maggie for a year that time was never with Madison. Even during the summer Madison had never returned to San Francisco, only moving to LA shortly after Tucker and Maggie began going to Decker State College.

            "Well, she said it still came out of the blue," continued Madison, seeming genuinely concerned. "Look, if you and Lisa aren't doing anything tomorrow, why don't you join my friends and me for dinner? They're single and not much older than you. Plus I doubt they'll care if you tell them the exact circumstances of your sudden return to bachelorhood."

            "Ah..." muttered Tucker, a bit flabbergasted. “You know what? That sounds great. Thanks Madison."

            "Hey, the least I can do," insisted Madison, offering him a smile. Tucker wasn't the best at reading people, but he could swear Madison was tempted to hug him just then. Instead she merely nodded and walked away, heading to the counter to order a drink. Still stunned, Tucker returned to the table.

            "What was that about?" asked Lisa with curiosity, fingering her own cup.

            "Her mom's birthday is coming up, wanted to go over details with me," Tucker lied, quickly finishing his own cup of coffee.



            "My sister asked you out?!" exclaimed Maggie in shock, sitting at the kitchen table and nursing a bowl of Fruit Loops.

            "Technically she invited me to meet her single friends," insisted Tucker, sitting across from Maggie and munching on some bacon, having already finished his toast and hash browns.

            "She's single too, you know," pointed out Maggie with a grin. "You know she's noticed how much Haley changed you? Last night when she called to catch-up she commented that she'd seen the newest pictures of you on Facebook and thought you looked 'cute.'"

            "I guess that blackmail of yours really messed her up," chuckled Tucker, shaking his head. "Calling you, inviting me to dinner... last spring we barely ever saw her."

            "Oh God, I think my sister's becoming... human!" gasped Maggie, causing both of them to burst out laughing. "So how was your date with Lisa? You never finished the story."

            "After the coffee we came back to her place and just made out for a bit on her couch," revealed Tucker, taking a swig of orange juice. "She fell asleep not too long afterwards. I guess caffeine withdrawal hit her hard. I tucked her into bed and came back here."

            "No action then?" asked Maggie, taking another spoonful of cereal. "Good idea. Haley did insist this was temporary."

            "Exactly, I'm not sleeping with anyone unless time's frozen along with them," declared Tucker adamantly. The phone suddenly rang and Tucker, being closer, picked it up. "Hello?" he said into the receiver.

            "Hi Tucker, it's Maddie, I was wondering if you were free to come shopping with me before dinner?" asked Madison Yen over the line. "I, uh, don't know what you have to wear for tonight so I thought I'd help you out a little. You know, dress to impress?"

            "I... guess that works," shrugged Tucker, a little worried. "When do you want to be picked up?"

            "Oh, I was going to..." began Madison, trailing off. “You know what, that's fine. I'm leaving the office at four today, so could you come by around then? Dinner isn't until six-thirty."

            "Great," agreed Tucker. "I'll see you tonight." After hanging up, Tucker noticed Maggie was staring at him. "Apparently, Madison’s taking me shopping tomorrow.”

             Maggie said nothing, looking at her friend with a strange fusion of a grin and shock. "I think my sister wants to sleep with you."

            "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I hope not," sighed Tucker, shaking his head.

* * *

            "What do you think about this one?" Tucker asked Madison, holding up a light blue dress shirt. In an attempt to impress Madison, Tucker had chosen to wear a white polo shirt with black pants as well as his pure silver watch but she was a lawyer and suggested a new shirt as well as a Rolex. Naturally Tucker couldn't afford a Rolex, even with all the extra money he had, but had agreed to get a new shirt with a tie. Madison herself was wearing a dusty rose business dress today with her usual white blouse, pantyhose and black leather heels, her hair combed with the left side behind her ear and the right hanging loose with a curl near the top.

            “Too light, you need something darker,” declared Madison, looking at the collection of finely folded shirts. The pair wondered in the men’s section of the fashion outlet TrŹs Chic, a pretentious store run by a woman who didn’t seem to be French at all. Nonetheless, Madison insisted it was one of the best stores around, offering full suits, watches, ties, women's business wear, briefcases, jewelry and the like.

            “Oh, I think he'd look darling in orange,” remarked the store's owner, whose tag named her as Marie. Marie was a short curvy blond with a giant smile in a red turtleneck and Capri pants, her hair in a wrapped ponytail bun that Madison had insisted was the latest style when they'd walked in.

            “Oh, you might be right, but what shade...?” asked Madison, looking at a series of shirts that all looked ugly to Tucker. He was becoming increasingly worried, but luckily he had an idea. It was surprising that the store’s owner was helping them while her assistants all worked with other, probably lesser, customers. Madison had mentioned she was friends with Marie.

            “How about I try one on first to be sure we've got the right size?” suggested Tucker, and both women agreed. Madison handed Tucker a basic white shirt, giving him a shake indicating it wouldn't work, and went back to eying the orange with Marie. Slipping away, Tucker arrived in the changing rooms where he produced his wand and tapped it against the wall five times.

            Welcoming the silence, Tucker exited the tiny room and walked over to Madison and Marie; they were standing like statues in the timeless limbo. The shirt rack was near the back of the store and the pair was obscured from outside vision by several mannequins. Marie was looking off to the left, towards the store entrance as well while Madison was holding up a dark purple shirt, of all colors. “Yeah, no,” muttered Tucker, removing it from Madison's frozen grasp. “I know you mean well, but this is for your own good,” hissed Tucker, wrapping his arms around Madison's waist and dragging her back into the changing room where he made the shirt swap as she'd suggested before waving the wand twice in her direction and tapping it five more times. Time unfroze but Madison remained rigid, leaning against the upholstered room wall with her hands up at eye level, examining something that was no longer there.

            “Ah, I see it fits well,” remarked Marie, coming up to see Tucker as he exited, unaware of the wand in his pants. “Did you see where Madison went? I was going to show her one I think you'll like.”

            “She ducked into another change room with some pantyhose,”  Tucker lied. “Look, um, while she's gone, could you help me find a good shirt that isn't some less... radiant color? Orange and purple really isn’t me.”

            “And of course, you can't say it in front of your girlfriend,” smiled Marie knowingly, shaking her head. “Don't worry, it happens a lot. Madison brought her last boyfriend here too and he ended up in teal. She likes strange colors but I think it’s only because she thinks I do.”

            “I'm not her boyfriend; she's my best friend's sister,” insisted Tucker quickly.

            “Ah, but are you not Tucker Holmes?” asked Marie with sincerity. “She's mentioned you, you know. Said you were a diamond in the rough but had a kind of charm to you. She couldn't stop mentioning you the last time she was here, saying how cute you'd become.”

            “...unbelievable,” muttered Tucker under his breath. “So, uh, seriously, what's a good color – more me – that doesn't hurt the eyes with bloom?” Tucker then asked, much louder.

            “You seem like a blue guy, or maybe a crimson one,” remarked Marie, leading Tucker over to the shirt table again. “Red make you seem hostile, however, which really only works if you're a manly man. I'm not saying that isn't you, it just might not be the image you want. Green's possible, it tends to be favored by those who have strong opinions and is generally associated with the military thus you could come off seeming very brave, but is that what you want to project? Blue's a nice color as it’s a more calming sensation, one of ease. It can be paled by green though if you're next to it.”

            “I think you sold me on blue,” remarked Tucker, at which point Marie handed him a darker blue shirt than he'd been holding earlier. “Nice, I'll go try it on.” Tucker moved fast, suddenly realizing he'd left the changing room unlocked with Madison frozen inside, but luckily no one else had gone in. Slipping inside, Tucker tapped his wand again.

            As he removed the white dress shirt Tucker eyed Madison in the mirror and turned after the shirt was off, leaning against her and touching her face. “So you think I'm cute now?” asked Tucker with a smile as he looked at Madison's neutral face. “You know... we're almost siblings in a way, given that your mom was my guardian for a year, but that's never stopped me from liking you in some ways. Maggie always called you a bitch, but you're not as bad as that. I guess... I see you for who you are.” Stroking Madison's face, Tucker proceeded to lean in and kiss her a few times. Afterwards he returned to putting on his new shirt and, when that was done, pulled Madison away from the wall.

            After placing Madison in an empty changing room with a random blouse Tucker tapped her on the head once and then waved the wand at her once, casting a new spell he'd found online that synced her with normal time, thus he wouldn't have to rapidly unfreeze and then refreeze her like he'd done in the past. Following this he returned to his own changing room and unfroze time.

* * *

            Tucker sat at a table in Tony's Bistro, helping Madison, along with Belinda Frazier and Connie Soyer, get started on their third bottle of red wine. After convincing the older Yen sister she'd been trying some things out while he'd been paying for the shirt Tucker had left the store and driven her to the restaurant without incident. They'd met up with Madison's fellow lawyers and were now eating, if you could call it that. Tucker had ordered a half-order of lasagna and eaten a few pieces of complimentary garlic bread while his companions had all gone with salad. The three women were also dressed very similarly, all three wearing white blouses as well as pantyhose and black pumps. Belinda, however, was wearing a dark yellow business dress, her blond hair in a low ponytail, while the younger Connie was in purple with her dark hair in a low bun. The three women were all had slightly red faces, indicating their level of intoxication thanks to the wine. The four sat in a corner booth at a table with a rose in the middle and a silk tablecloth. The restaurant alone was quite a step up from Tucker's usual choices; he was just glad Madison had promised earlier to cover his bill.

            “So... I hear you're... single,” giggled Belinda, making Tucker want to pale right then and there. Belinda was hot, but she was still a lot older than him and he's been under the impression that Madison was trying to set him up with Connie.

            “His ex is one of Miss Zoe's models!” exclaimed Madison, flashing a lop-sided grin.

            “Wow, that could be a tough act to follow,” slurred Belinda, clearly extremely drunk now. Tucker had his wand under his legs, ready to go as a sort of panic button if needed. He was next to Madison with Connie across from him and Belinda next to her, unfortunately stuck against the window since Madison had the outside seat.

            “Oh, I think I could top her,” grinned Connie, winking at Tucker.

            “Please, when were you last with a man?” shot Belinda, and it was right then that Tucker knew he had to stop everything. As Belinda stared down Connie she raised her glass at which point Tucker quickly tapped his wand, stopping time. Breathing a sigh of relief, Tucker quickly looked around. Madison was firmly denying him an exit, fingering her own glass as she gazed at what was left of her salad. Connie was giving Belinda the stink eye and her own hands touched the base of her glass.

            “Sorry, but I guess I'm going home alone tonight,” Tucker whispered to Connie, casually tipping her glass towards her. Tucker then reached over and lowered Belinda's wine arm. Once he was done he quickly unfroze time and hid the wand under his legs again.

            “Ack!” exclaimed Belinda as red wine ran down her blouse.

            “Whoops!” cried out Connie, getting wine on her lap. Both women looked down in embarrassment as Madison couldn't help but start laughing, Tucker joining in.

            “Oh, such a coordinated mistake!” laughed Madison, holding her stomach.

            “Shit; I need to run home or I'll never get this stain out,” cursed Belinda, seemingly sobering up. “Maddie, if you cover the check for me I'll pay you back tomorrow.” Not waiting for an answer, Belinda practically sprinted away. Connie didn't say anything, merely sliding Tucker a napkin before bolting as well.

            “Well, that was a shame,” sighed Tucker, casually pocketing the napkin, which he saw had Connie's number scrawled on it.

            “Ah well, they're both annoying drinks,” offered Madison, nudging Tucker with her shoulder. “I'm done, we might as well just pay the check and then you can drive me home.”

            “Yeah, I'm glad I drove now,” agreed Tucker.

            “Mmm... I'm sorry,” Madison then said, flashing him a soft smile.

            “For what?” asked Tucker, but the answer eluded him as the waiter arrived with the bill. Madison left some cash and then silently slid out of the booth; Tucker reluctantly doing the same. Madison, in spite of the redness in her face, seemed fairly together and didn't need help walking out of the restaurant.

            Once in Tucker's car it was a short trip to Madison's apartment. “Thanks for inviting me,” Tucker said as he drove.

            “Ah, you're practically part of the family it’s the least I could do,” replied Madison, now sounding a bit intoxicated. “I know we don't really talk, but you're a great guy. I just wish Belinda hadn't insisted on coming again. She's a good friend, but a bit of a...”

            “Third wheel?” suggested Tucker, causing Madison to crack up. Tucker should his head as his best friend's sister continued to laugh, unable to help but notice how cute the laugh was. “So uh, what were you sorry about earlier?”

            “Oh that...” sigh Madison, leaning back in her seat and looking at Tucker. “Nothing I said so much as I just... when I called you this morning I'd wanted to drive since I didn't think your car was that nice. I was being materialistic. I don't mean to be, it’s just... I'm surrounded by rich people all the time; they make you act like that.”

            “Fair enough; it probably doesn't help that, being the older sister, your parents spent all that time giving their attention to you,” remarked Tucker.

            “Yeah, that's so true...” agreed Madison, shaking her head. “Poor Maggie... I tease her a lot, but I think it’s good for her. She was always jealous that mom and dad spoiled me, but really, she got to do stuff on her own without them worrying about every detail. I'm jealous of her, really, for being so free...”

            “In more ways than one,” Tucker muttered under his breath, thinking about Maggie's sexual identity.

            “Hmm?” asked Madison, not having heard Tucker's words exactly.

            “I said, here we are,” lied Tucker indicating they were pulling into Madison's building. Arriving in the guest parking lot, Tucker stopped the car. “Well, thanks again for the invite.”

            “Hey, um...” stuttered Madison as she unbuckled her seatbelt, “I could use... some help getting upstairs.” Madison seemed extremely embarrassed to say so, thus Tucker assumed there was no hidden meaning.

            “Sure, no problem,” shrugged Tucker, hopping out. Indeed, Madison had problems getting her keys into the holes, thus Tucker helped. The pair stumbled into the elevator and quickly headed for the top floor.

            “He he...” giggled Madison suddenly reaching over; touching Tucker’s face.  “I almost thought you didn't get it.” Immediately Tucker clued in but it was too late, Madison's lips were already touching his. The elevator ride was over before he knew it, surrendering himself to Madison's soft and surprisingly passionate kiss. Even when the doors opened neither of them parted lips for a moment.

            “Come on,” Madison then whispered, taking Tucker's hands and dragging them to her door. Tucker grinned and used Madison's keys to open the apartment while she casually touched his rear, seemingly sizing him up. Inside the door closed and Madison was upon Tucker again, the pair collapsing onto the floor in a passionate make-out session.

            “This is...” gasped Tucker in between lip-locks, but he never got to finish the sentence. Madison was now fiddling with his belt as they leaned against the couch, and soon both his pants and wand were on the floor, not that Maddie noticed the latter.

            “Tucker, I want you to fuck me like there's no tomorrow!” declared Madison, reaching into Tucker's underwear and almost making him climax right then and there. Even though he'd done similar stuff with Haley and, before her, Hitomi, Tucker still found the idea of having proper sex with Madison incredibly exciting.

            “I aim to please,” grinned Tucker, kissing Madison again and reaching down to feel her cheeks. “Meet me in the bedroom,” he then said, and Madison quickly moved towards the said room, ditching her clothing as she moved. Tucker watched her go and weighed his options: he could sleep with her, properly, and risk betraying Haley or not and miss out on his possible only chance. As much as Tucker loved Haley, the idea of sleeping with Madison was too great to pass up. Unfortunately Tucker could not find the condom he usually carried in his wallet, but he did find his wand. Deciding he might need it, Tucker headed for the sexual encounter.

            “Why, hello there Mister Holmes,” Madison almost purred as she say on the bed, her arms draped over the back rail while clad in absolutely nothing, her almost perfect naked body there for him to bask in the glory of. Tucker smiled and moved in, leaving the wand at the foot of the bed.

            “Let’s do this,” Tucker almost purred, climbing on top of Madison and proceeding with the encounter. However as they got going Tucker suddenly leaned back, realizing a potential problem. “Hang on; you take birth control, right?” Tucked asked, kicking himself for not knowing earlier.

            “I can't stand those things, your condom will be fine,” insisted Madison, and immediately Tucker panicked. Madison was clearly drunk enough to not notice he wasn't wearing a condom, and without the pills Tucker wasn't even sure if there was any protection left that was in place.

            “Ow, cramp!” Tucker suddenly faked, pulling out and rolling towards the edge of the bed. He quickly grasped the wand as Madison looked at Tucker in concern. Tucker, however, tapped his wand in a panic and froze time, Madison with it. “Damn, that was close,” breathed Tucker.



            "And you're sure nothing happened?” demanded Maggie as she sat on the couch with Tucker, who was nursing a Bloody Mary and touching his sore crotch with an ice-pack. His dramatic pull-back from Madison the previous night had actually caused a cramp, plus when he'd gotten home he'd drank most of the vodka and amaretto, thus his hang-over. Luckily after freezing time he'd remembered to cast the sleep spell on Madison and posed her comfortably on her bed.

            “We just made out, I got out of there before anything more happened,” insisted Tucker, technically lying. “I'm telling you Mags, she was like a tiger or something! Your sister carries herself well, but she's a wild animal when she wants something primal.”

            “Eh, not a big shock,” coughed Maggie, looking uncomfortable. “So who's the lucky girl that's going out with you tonight?”

            “No one, I've got to work,” replied Tucker, rubbing his temples. “Plus I've got a paper I need to finish for Friday.”

            “Oh come on, the paper can be done anytime!” complained Maggie, bouncing up and down on the couch. “Go ask Julie out! I know she's free today!”

            “No, I'm going to work in an hour and that's it,” insisted Tucker, standing and removing the ice pack. “Lisa's awkward enough, Julie I'll see at every club meeting!”

            “You can't keep thinking like this, it's-” continued Maggie, jumping up in front of Tucker. Tucker however wasn't about to hear it so he waved his wand and froze Maggie in place. The petite Chinese girl stood in a pink robe, her arms raised in frustration with her face contorted to show the same. Tucker then sighed and leaned back, happy to be free of the nagging for a while. Maggie didn't have anything planned for the rest of the day so Tucker figured leaving her like that for a few hours would teach her. She did have her magic clock, but Maggie wouldn't dare use the clock on Tucker again, especially since he'd managed to learn a spell which, when cast once a week, made him immune to the clock's powers to an extent. Maggie had stopped time in the same room as him and he'd not been frozen, but it seemed after a certain distance was traveled he froze with time, thus there was a strange proximity defense to the spell that he hadn't figured out. All the same it meant Tucker couldn't one-up him, since her bell freeze couldn't free him no matter how far away he was.

            “I'll bring you back a present to make up for this,” Tucker promised, smiling at his frozen friend and heading to his room to get himself together.

* * *

            Tucker's workday had been fairly uneventful. After leaving the apartment he'd made it in and spent most of the day working the floor while Jamie handled paperwork. It was now six and he was off, his shift over. Joy was filling in the staff gap, having come in at four and scheduled to work until nine, plus by now Jamie was free to help out front as well. Additionally there was Josh, the high school part-timer they'd taken on, who would work until closing since Faith would be leaving in another hour.

            Tucker fished through his locker, hunting for a clean shirt as he'd been sweating most of the day thanks to a recent heat wave and poor air conditioning, when he heard someone come up behind him. Turning, Tucker saw Calista standing there with what she probably thought was a soft smile, though it came off a bit more like a leer. “Hey ‘Lista, what's up?” asked Tucker. He wasn't surprised since she'd started before him and was scheduled to finish at six, just like him.

            “Not much, just finishing up and trying to make plans for dinner,” revealed Calista, sliding beside Tucker and reaching for her own locker. Her movements were a bit slower than usual and she turned so that her chest was in Tucker's face. It didn't take a genius to get what Calista was up to. “I haven't had time to get groceries, so...”

            “Well, you know, I don't have anything special for dinner,” admitted Tucker, wanting to sigh but holding it in. “Would you like to have dinner with me?”

            “Oh, I don't want to impose,” Calista immediately lied, blatant in all counts. Tucker could tell she was trying to be sexy and, admittedly, not doing that bad of a job. She was quite attractive in spite of spending very little money on herself, but Tucker figured it was because she was an avid jogger.

            “I get it, you don't need to sell me,” chuckled Tucker, shaking his head. “And please, either get some acting lessons or just stop beating around the bush. That was painful, if cute.”

            “Alright, I'm sorry,” laughed Calista, looking relieved. Tucker was glad she could give up once in a while, but that seemed to only be when he or Jamie called her on something. Maggie had plenty of stories and Tucker believed almost all of them. Grinning, Calista moved up to Tucker's side and hooked her arm under his. “Lead on!”

            “Sure thing,” grinned Tucker, still worried he was on a rocking chair on the edge of a cliff and Calista was a tickle-causing feather. The pair took the back entrance out of Persephone's Books, heading through the back alleys and arriving on the street. Tucker had abandoned his locker with his clean shirt, instead merely closing it since Calista had been so eager to leave, and now was leading her to a quiet restaurant he knew.

            A few minutes later the reluctant (on Tucker's side) couple arrived at Shenanigans and headed inside, where a bored-looking waiter who had to be a college dropout led them to a booth near the back which still wasn't bad placement due to it being a window booth. The seats were red leather and the table was particle-board but the food in the place was nice, though granted a window seat was nothing to be happy about and the waiters looked like they worked at fast food rather than a restaurant. Tucker picked up a laminated green-colored menu and began to flip through it. “The chicken here is pretty good, if you've never been,” remarked Tucker.

            “Thanks, but I'm more of a salad and seafood person,” nodded Calista, offering a half-smile. Tucker was confused for a moment until he felt Calista's shoe rubbing his shin underneath the table.

            “Uhm...” Tucker stuttered, but Calista merely winked at him. Letting out a breath and deciding to try and enjoy himself, Tucker went back to the menu.

            “Hi, can I start you off with some drinks?” asked a waitress, arriving moments later. Her tacky pink striped blouse and dark red pants didn't really look good on her as she looked like Tonya Cash's dumpier little sister, possessing breasts that were clearly not the same size, the left bigger than the right, and a partial sunburn that was peeling right on her face. Her nametag said she went by Gwen, and Tucker was a bit uneasy as he saw her face. There was true beauty underneath but the burn ruined it for him.

            “Yeah, two waters,” requested Tucker.

            “And a Sea Breeze,” added Calista, looking up. Gwen nodded and headed away, leaving Tucker to note her back view was much better than her front. Luckily, Calista didn't seem to notice where Tucker was looking even as she casually continued to rub his leg, never having really stopped.

            “So... um, how's your family?” asked Tucker.

            “They're good, dad got a new job so between the two of us they should be able to move here within a couple of months,” revealed Calista, focused on a page Tucker saw was that for seafood. “Still, I'd like to be able to see them before Christmas...”

            “You've earned some vacation time, I'm sure with some of your savings you could arrange a visit or something,” remarked Tucker.

            “But that'll just make their move get delayed,” moaned Calista, giving Tucker a sad puppy look. “Isn't there something else?” Calista proceeded to lean forward, flashing Tucker a hint of breast from the collar of the black V-neck she was wearing. Tucker suddenly knew why Calista had invited him out.

            “We could probably give you an advance, but you'd need to sign a contract on that,” suggested Tucker. “That way you'll get the money faster.”

            “Didn't Jamie talk to you about the new position?” asked Calista, being as subtle as a chainsaw cutting a stick. Tucker hadn't heard of a new position, and now it seemed clear she wanted a promotion that he couldn't give. However, he was concerned about Calista's Christmas wish, though annoyed she want to do things the hard way.

            “Well, I suppose I could look into that,” agreed Tucker as Gwen arrived with their drinks. After sliding Calista the Sea Breeze she whipped out a waitress pad.

            “What are you having?” asked Gwen, clearly a bit bored and tired.

            “I'll have the... Jerk Chicken,” announced Tucker. “That'll be with half and half.”

            “I think I'll have the King Crab,” Calista then said, getting Tucker's eyes to quickly widen. Gwen nodded and took their menus, a very quiet waitress indeed. However as she walked away Tucker pulled his wand from his pants.

            “Big appetite?” asked Tucker, casually placing his empty left hand on the table and grinning. Calista practically lept on it with her own, taking it and quickly kissing each finger. Tucker grinned and leaned in, Calista doing the same. Their lips met, but it was brief from the girl's point of view as Tucker tapped his wand five times, freezing time.

            “What a fucking bitch,” sighed Tucker, leaning back while Calista remained as she was, kissing the air. “The King Crab, are you serious? It'll be a happy Christmas, but I hope you like vacation.” Furious, Tucker got out of the booth and waved his wand twice in Calista's face, freezing her properly. Next he reached into the booth and pulled her out, cradling her in his arms and leaving with her stiff form firmly in his grasp, passing up an opportunity to feel up Gwen.

            Outside, Tucker navigated the two frozen blocks and found the Lancer in his store parking space. After putting her down for a minute to unfreeze the car, Tucker placed Calista in the passenger seat and then got in, driving home without bothering to unfreeze time.

            Back at his apartment Tucker awkwardly carried Calista inside, walking past the still frozen Maggie and placing his 'date' on the couch. After reshaping her face so it wasn't a blatant kiss, Tucker sighed in tapped Maggie on the head, twice.

            “-like a bad sitcom... you bastard!” exclaimed Maggie, finishing her sentence and realizing what had happened. “How long?!”

            “Just my shift,” revealed Tucker, then pointing at the couch. “I'm sorry; I just wasn't in the mood earlier. He's my peace offering, plus I've stopped the clock for a bit.”

            “What happened?” asked Maggie, looking like she'd explode with glee.

            “She bitched about money and then ordered Alaskan King Crab for dinner,” sighed Tucker, shaking his head. “I think she thinks I make a lot more money than I do. Anyhow, I'm going to book her a week's worth of vacation and let you keep her until its up, or you're sick of her.”

            “No catch?” asked Maggie, humorously squeezing the frozen Calista's breasts.

            “Well, I would like you to make some sexy poster photos of her,” admitted Tucker. “I do plan on helping her out, but she's also going to pay for giving me that crap.”

            “Nice, I guess I forgive you then, as long as you didn't try Jamie on for size,” shrugged Maggie, walking over and giving Tucker a quick hug.

            “No worries, my junk is still sore,” admitted Tucker. “Say, um, do we have any food for dinner?”



             Tucker had gone through a full day of class, work and homework, thus he was looking for some relief. He did get a call from Madison saying she was glad he'd left when he did, admitting alcohol had been the cause. Tucker was fine with that in the end, though a bit disappointed after the way she'd come onto him. Lisa had also stopped by to see if he was up for anything but he'd decided to finish his homework in real time, needing the Internet for it, thus he'd had to blow her off.

            Later, however, Tucker finished his assignment and found the napkin Connie had given him a couple of nights ago. Tucker fingered it as he sat at his desk in his room, Tatiana was laying on her right hip whilst on top of his bed, naked and posed sexually with her arm propping up her head and the other playfully touching her lower body. “What do you think, should I call her?” Tucker asked the frozen blond, and then chuckled to himself as he reached for his phone.

            “Hello?” said Connie a few moments later, answering her phone.

            “Hey Connie, its Tucker,” greeted the college student. “Look, I know its last-minute, but are you free tonight? I thought I was going to busy but I finished my work early.”

            “Oh, well...” trailed of Connie. “Actually, I was going to go with a function at this boutique, Vicky's, to meet and greet with some clients as well as potential ones. I don't have a date... unless you're interested that is.”

            “Sure, works for me,” agreed Tucker, glancing at the clock ant seeing it was six in the afternoon. “Do you want me to pick you up? When is it?”

            “An hour and a half, I'll text you my address,” declared Connie. “Looking forward to it Tucker!” Connie promptly hung up and Tucker did as well. Tucker was going to dig out a nice shirt when there was a knock at the door.

            “Hey, I'm getting ready for the Calista shoot, can I use Tatiana?” asked Maggie, wearing a pink monokini with several iconic anime logos on it for some unknown reason.

            “Sure, I'm heading out anyhow,” revealed Tucker. “Maddie's friend Connie and I are going to do a meet and greet at Vicky's.

            “Ugh, not that Sandrosi bitch,” groaned Maggie, remembering the boutique. “Do me a favor and zap her, will you?”

            “Sorry, she's the hostess so I can't have her disappearing,” shrugged Tucker, shaking his head. “I might give her something to think about though if I get the chance.”

            “That'll do I guess,” shrugged Maggie, lifting up Tatiana and dragging her out of the room.

* * *

            Tucker and Connie arrived at the boutique and slowly exited the car, a man in a valet uniform taking his keys. Connie had sent a text message to Tucker, telling him to wear a suit so he had, taking his nice gray one with a black shirt and a white tie, also taking his best watch and slicking back his hair. Connie meanwhile was on fire in a red strapless dress with virtually no back and leg slits that stopped right near her hips, the material shimmering under the glow of the boutique's neon sign. Connie's hair was also done up in an elaborate bun that looked fairly sexy. At the door, Vicky Sandrosi's annoying assistant Wanda greeted them, checking off Connie's name as they went in. “She seems less annoying when her barnacle friend isn't around,” remarked Tucker, recalling Wanda was known for spending her work hours chatting with her best friend Carla Gomez, who was no where in sight.

            “Makes sense, since Vicky probably spent a fortune on this,” remarked Connie as the pair glanced around the boutique. The store was mostly empty now, tables with food and drink pushed against the back walls while anything fashion-related was near the window displays or most likely in the back. A DJ in a tux was playing some soothing jazz on his laptop as several LA big shots mingled. Tucker immediately noticed three notable actresses who were chatting in a corner: Ally Landers, Thelma Hait and Jennifer Lone Fluit. Ally was an athletic-looking brunette whose skin wasn't that tan, her most notorious claim to fame being a chip commercial that aired during the Super Bowl years ago. Thelma meanwhile was a Mexican-American actress who was very short and known of being in several blockbusters that had poor reviews as well as critically-loved cult films. Jennifer was the youngest of the three, barely thirty, with a decent tan and silky dark brown hair, notable for doing movies, TV and music. Tucker silently hoped at some point that Connie would guide them over that way.

            No such luck for Tucker, sadly. Soon after arriving Connie was quick to latch on to people whom she claimed were producers, studio executives and the like, paying no attention to the most famous trio in the room. If that wasn't bad enough, Tucker was playing a complete second fiddle to everyone else, Connie having barely said anything to him since they'd arrived. It was expected, granted, given that she was technically doing her job, but Tucker was quickly getting annoyed. It was almost an hour before she took a break and the pair went into a corner with some champagne. “Whew, I had no idea there would be so many possible clients here,” breathed Connie, her mouth clearly a bit sore.

            “Well, it’s a private party, most of the big shots don't attend public ones unless they're giant charity ones,” pointed out Tucker, downing most of his drink fairly quickly.

            “So you never did really go into what it is you do for a living,” pointed out Connie. “I know you're a business major and you're set to graduate soon, but where do you work?”

            “I'm the assistant manager at Persephone's Books, plus I help do spreads for T & M Productions,” revealed Tucker, not sure if mentioning the latter was wise to one of Madison's co-workers but he was already a bit too buzzed to care. “The store specializes in old Greek and Roman classics, while the art are meant to appeal to those with a Japanese fixation. Live women in costume, but its family-friendly.”

            “Ancient Greek books?” asked Connie with a raised eyebrow. “Wow, I'm impressed you guys are still around. As for the art, I'm more of a traditional girl. But hey, to each his own...”

            Tucker nearly uttered an annoyed curse out loud. Any spark Tucker had created with Connie on Tuesday was gone, now replaced with frustration and anger at her effectively insulting his job and hobby. “Hey, isn't that Jessica Alfa?” asked Tucker, pointing towards a group away from them. It wasn't the actress, but Connie was now distracted, leaving Tucker free to produce his wand and tap it five times, which he did.

            “I never ditch a date, but this doesn't count,” declared Tucker as Connie stood frozen while looking to her right, the champagne in her left hand and held near her chest while her right as at her side. Tucker quickly removed her glass as well as his own and lifted Connie up by her rear, pressing her against the wall and kissing her passionately until he'd gotten rid of any immediate sexual desire he had for the woman. Tucker was tempted to strip Connie down and go full at it but he was still mildly sore and he didn't think it would be prudent as he'd have to redress her at some point and that might be awkward. Instead when he was done, Tucker lifted up Connie’s rigid body over his shoulder and carried her towards the window display, setting her down between two fairly realistic mannequins. A while back Maggie had frozen the boutique's employees for days on end in the window and Tucker guessed it was some kind of response to the props they'd received for it.  Connie was posed to be looking down and to her left, her right hand on her hip while her left arm reached across her body, her wrist right in front of the opposite hip, her arm bent at the elbow. Finally Tucker undid Connie's bun, letting her hair down like the rest of the mannequins and hiding the greater detail of her face. After waving his wand over her twice, Tucker returned to his corner and let time resume.

            If anyone had seen Connie vanish, they didn't care. No one had really seemed that interested in her as a lawyer and even though she was extremely good looking she still wasn't going to rival the three older but sexier actresses that were present. Tucker himself had a list of at least a dozen women he knew that were better looking than Connie so it was no big loss for him either. Instead after drinking enough liquid courage, Tucker built up the nerve to wander over and greet the three starlets. Thelma was wearing white, specifically a low-cut thin-strapped dress that stopped well above her knees with her hair in a high ponytail. Jennifer's hair carried hints of curl but was otherwise straight, obscuring her ears entirely while she wore a light purple strapless dress that reached well down to the floor, showing almost nothing above her breasts front or back. Ally was wearing the most colorful dress of the three, a neck-strap rice-grain patterned dress that was red, yellow, green, blue, violet and orange while her hair was straight and behind her ears. All three women stopped talking when Tucker came up to them, no doubt curious as to whom he was.

            “I'm sorry to interrupt, and I know you don't know me, but I just wanted to say, you three all look so lovely this evening,” offered Tucker, glad he wasn't holding a drink anymore as he was a little on the drunk side now.

            “Thank you, ah mister...?” asked Ally clearly attempting to be polite as she could muster.

            “Tucker Holmes, Esquire,” follow an instinctive lie. “I work with Foster & McBride. They have myself and a few of my coworkers on tonight’s guest list as appreciation for our work.”

            “I've heard of your firm; you represent Erika Stone,” Jennifer noted, nodding.

            “Ah right, Chico Martin is also with you guys!” exclaimed Thelma. “I've worked with him a few times.”

            “You're not hoping to sell us, are you?” asked Ally in concern.

            “Of course not, I'm here to have a little fun and unwind, not talk business,” Tucker assured the trio. “However, if its not too much trouble... would asking for autographs be inappropriate?”

* * *

            It was late when Tucker returned home and upon entering the apartment he saw Maggie was asleep on the couch, wearing her favorite Japanese schoolgirl outfit. Tucker smiled at his friend and carefully walked over, leaning down and kissing her on the forehead. The act caused her eyes to open and she smiled weakly. “How was the party?” she asked.

            “I got you some autographs for your collection,” revealed Tucker with a grin. “I doubt I'll be seeing Connie again though.  She’s going to be a display figure for at least a week, and won’t appreciate that one bit after I revive her.”

            “Well, they can't all be winners,” noted Maggie as Tucker helped her up and led her to her room. Flanking Maggie's bed were all five of the current mannequins in their possession, each one naked and standing with their arms above their heads.



            Thursday had come and gone and Tucker was glad for it, wanting to get his mind off of his failed 'date' with Connie. The lawyer had been fairly sexy and had some charm but didn't seem that interested in doing things traditionally, which was the main reason Tucker had ruined her plans for that night.

            Now Tucker was sitting in Management III, finishing up some notes as Dr. Packlin wrapped up the lecture for the day. There were ten minutes left in class and Tucker was listening to the professor drone on about Japanese business practices versus American ones. A bit bored, Tucker had earlier logged on to DSC Student Chat, a college freeware program from the same vein as MSN Messenger and the like. Student Chat, however, automatically had every student and teacher who shared classes and other college programs linked, allowing them to easily message each other as well as post bulletins, send emails and video chat. A programming student from MIT named Charlie Dawson had distributed the software to colleges a couple of years ago as a part of his thesis work. Tucker was sitting there bored when a message came up.

Nina Nichols writes: She's really drawing it out today, isn't she?

Tucker Holmes writes: I know, I think she's trying to make sure she doesn't let us leave early.

Nina Nichols writes: Lol, probably. So what's new?

Tucker Holmes Writes: Nothing much.

Nina Nichols writes: Really? Because yesterday in Annual Accounting Maggie said you and Haley were on a break.

Tucker Holmes writes: She told you that?!

Nina Nichols writes: Yeah, she really likes talking about it. Look, um, I don't want to seem like some kind of tiger jumping on prey, but are you free tonight?

Tucker Holmes writes: Oh! Err... yeah! My meeting was canceled this week so I've got nothing. You have something in mind?

Nina Nichols writes: There's a new Rollin Terrell movie playing at the Breezy Bay. How about that?

Tucker Holmes writes: Sounds good. He's an okay actor and there will probably be something in it I can enjoy.

            Tucker finished typing and glanced up and over at Nina, who was looking at him with a soft smile. She was a fairly attractive woman, Tucker knew, having previously admired her body which wasn't too small or too large, plus the natural beauty in her lush brown hair. Today Tucker saw she was wearing a white T-shirt with green sleeves and the college logo on the front as well as a pair of black shorts that hugged in the right areas. Tucker's imagination caused him to miss the last words of the lecture.

* * *

            “Now I know you said he was okay, but wasn't that a great movie?!” exclaimed Nina as Tucker walked with her down the Reagan Hall 2nd floor hallway that led to her studio. The hall had been named after the famous actor turned president, one of his advisors having gone to work at the college after his time in the office having been up. After retiring, the advisor-turned-professor had donated money to getting the new housing facility built, one which consisted primarily of private single-student studios. The rooms were less pricey than the student apartments but had less room and Fisher Hall was still quite a bit cheaper.

            “I have to admit, I had Alex Butcher's character pegged as the traitor, not Jimmy Wolff's,” admitted Tucker, actually having had a decent time. The movie was fairly solid, though not likely to win any acting awards. Unfortunately Nina had been so caught up in the movie any impressions that the night had been a date were washed away; Tucker not being able to even put his arm around her. The closes the pair had had to physical contact the entire night was when she'd eaten from his popcorn bag.

            Having left for the movie after the evening classes it was now nearly eleven and Tucker was tired, as was Nina. When they arrived at 242 Nina even yawned, though to her credit if it was an act it was a good one. “Well, this was fun, we should do this again sometime,” remarked Nina.

            “Yeah, sounds good,” agreed Tucker, nodding. There was a brief moment where they both moved, Tucker going for just a hug while Nina went for what seemed like a kiss, and after a couple of chuckles Nina had the ultimate move, touching Tucker's face and giving him a quick peck on the lips.

            “Take care driving home,” whispered Nina, smiling as she exited the hall, entering her studio. When she was gone Tucker sighed and leaned back, feeling his pants bulge. He'd recovered from the cramp he'd received earlier in the week and now found himself longing for some physical contact. It was the longest he'd gone without sexual contact since he'd gotten the wand, as he didn't count his near adventure with Madison.

            Letting out another sigh, Tucker then recalled that Nina had earlier mentioned she liked to take a bath before going to sleep. Getting an idea, Tucker produced his wand from his pants and tapped it five times, freezing time once again. When this was done Tucker tested Nina's door and found, much to his happiness, she hadn't locked it yet. Opening the door Tucker quietly moved into Nina's room.

            The studios were a decent level up from shared rooms, featuring the full bathroom as well as a mini-fridge, table for up to three unless it was moved, a counter, a desk, a bookshelf plus two small closets, one for clothing and the other for coats. Nina was standing a short ways inside, her purse on the counter with her hands fishing inside, most likely looking for her cell phone as the charger was in an outlet above the counter. “Surprise,” chuckled Tucker, carefully stepping past the still Nina and moving to her clothing closet. It was a tight fit, but Tucker managed to squeeze inside and then tap his wand again, unfreezing time.

            After hearing some shuffling for another minute, which ended with the front door's lock being shut, Nina suddenly spoke. “Hi Fiona, sorry I couldn't call earlier but I was out,” Nina said, most likely into her phone. “... I went to the new Terrell movie with Tucker Holmes... I guess it was a date, but we didn't do much... no, just a classy peck on the lips before saying goodnight... He's kind of cute, but he's just so nice... I don't know, his roommate said he was only on a temporary split with his girlfriend, so it might end up being nothing... A model who works for Miss Zoe, isn't that nuts?!... Right, I'll chat with you in a bit, I want to take a bath first.” Tucker grinned in spite of himself, pleased that Nina hadn't outright dismissed him, though her shock at thinking of him being with Haley still annoyed him.

            After another couple of minutes Tucker heard the bathwater start to run and, a good five minutes after that, it stopped. When he heard the distinct sound of a body entering the tub Tucker knew it was time to move and tapped his wand again. Exiting the closet, Tucker moved to the bathroom, noting the discarded clothing on the bed.

            Nina sat in the bathtub, which was full of bubbles, leaning back with a bad romance novel in her hands. Her hair wasn't wet and most of her body was hidden by the bubbles, but the element of surprise nudity made Nina all the sexier to Tucker. After waving his wand in her face he tapped it to unfreeze time, having found frozen water hard to maneuver in. Water began to audibly drip as Nina remained in the tub, unaware of Tucker's presence. “You shouldn't read this smut,” chided Tucker, taking away the book and throwing it by the toilet. Grinning, Tucker then stripped down and joined Nina in the water.

            “You know, this is pretty nice,” remarked Tucker, squeezing in beside Nina and wrapping his arm around her, lowering her empty hands and turning her head so it was facing his. “So... do you want to talk or do you want to have some fun?” Tucker then asked, smiling at the frozen visage of Nina, then leaning in and kissing her. “Right, the latter it is!” laughed Tucker, flipping over so he was on top and dipped down into the water, letting the excess spill out onto the floor. It was going to be a good night after all.



            “So after all that you end up doing Nina in the bathtub?!” exclaimed Maggie, relaxing on the couch with Rebecca and Calista in her arms. “So much for standards, Tucker.”

            “I'm not counting time stop sex,” Tucker insisted, who was on the second couch with Hitomi. The three frozen women were all naked, as was Maggie, the latter having decided long ago against hiding her body if the only person around was Tucker since he'd seen everything a few times already. “I like Nina. Only thing that bugs me is that she doesn't think I should have been able to get Haley in the first place.”

            “Most people don't know you two started to date before she got her big break, when she worked for her uncle at a freaking paper stand,” pointed out Maggie, moving Rebecca’s pose so she was groping Calista. “By the way, I posted the poster orders on the website today. Calista in a schoolgirl outfit will probably get us some good money. It really suited her.”

            “Yeah, but don't forget that money is going to be put towards her 'bonus,'” Tucker reminded his friend. Unfortunately due to the bonus concept Tucker would now have to earn more money to give everyone a bonus, save of course Maggie, Jamie and himself. That meant he might need to get a few more posters made.

            “I guess nothing is on today but work, right?” asked Maggie, noting the time and Tucker's lack of motivation. The pair had been sitting there for half an hour, Tucker retelling his most recent date and neither even considering turning on the TV.

            “Yeah, our night shift is going to kill any chance I had of seeing someone again,” confirmed Tucker, casually rubbing his hands along Hitomi's smooth body. “Oh well, probably for the best. Tomorrow I'm going to see Haley again.”

            “And if she wants more time to focus on her career?” asked Maggie, getting a glare for that remark.

            “Then that's how it's going to be,” sighed Tucker, hoping Maggie's fear wouldn't be realized.

* * *

            It was now two in the afternoon and Tucker wanted a break. Jamie was once again doing paperwork thus Tucker was working the floor while Maggie handled the register and Gloria did her barista thing. Unfortunately the afternoon rush had begun, thus Tucker couldn't get a breather until Josh and Faith showed up in half an hour.

            “I need a book on Aphrodite,” declared currently off-duty blond police officer Regina, a woman Tucker had seen many times in the past.

            “Well we have plenty; could you narrow it down?” asked Tucker, leading the officer to a section on Greek gods. Tucker thought Regina was quite sexy, currently wearing a white tank top and jeans with her hair behind her ears, but hitting on her would be awkward as not only was she older than him she was both a customer and a cop.

            “I don't know... do you have any that include the origin of Cupid?” Regina asked next.

            “Cupid's the Roman name; in Greek it’s Eros,” Tucker declared, correcting his customer.

            “Okay, fine, how about one on her and Eros then?” sniffed Regina, clearly not caring much. Tucker sighed internally and pointed out a pair of books. Regina picked one up and examined it. “I've never heard of this author,” remarked the policewoman as she flipped though the book.

            “Well, if you're interested in either one Maggie can run you through at the counter,” offered Tucker, indicating his friend at the cash register. “If you'll excuse me, I need to go handle something.”

            “Whatever.” remarked Regina as Tucker walked away, heading for the bathroom. He didn't need to go but he needed a break. No sooner than did he enter the private male employee bathroom Tucker dug this wand out of his waistband and tapped it five times, stopping time.

            “Ugh... I need some coffee,” groaned Tucker, exiting the bathroom and sighing in relief at the silence that now dominated the world around him. Tucker headed back through the aisles, passing Regina who stood still, examining the back of the book with a remotely interested expression and noting Maggie at the till, smiling and handing a customer some change. Gloria was likewise handing a customer a paper cup containing an unknown drink, which Tucker quickly unfroze and consumed, discovering it to be a Colombian cappuccino. Feeling refreshed, Tucker let out a held-in sigh and considered what to do next. He could unfreeze Maggie and the pair could hang out, but that might be awkward giving how much she was into things. Tucker couldn't really play with any of the women around either, as returning them to their normal poses might be tricky and it could cause business to suffer, something Tucker didn't want. In the end after squeezing Regina's rear and kissing her neck Tucker decided to check on Jamie before deciding on something.

            Jamie was frozen in front of her computer, her right hand on her mouse but her left hand hanging free, not touching the keyboard at all. His redheaded boss looked a bit sad about something, so Tucker walked around and casually sat on Jamie's lap, examining the computer. On the screen was a website advertising the Lindsay Yari concert which would be happening in less than an hour according to the page. Tucker grinned and leaned back, wrapping an arm around his stiff boss. “Into American J-Pop are you?” chuckle Tucker. Lindsay Yari had exploded onto the music scene at eighteen, a Japanese-American blond pop singer who mixed American and Japanese varieties together. Tucker knew a lot of girls were secretly fans, and a bunch of men, including himself, would be excited if they would be the first to sleep with her as there was a long-standing rumor that she was a virgin. Tucker couldn't believe that such a sexy woman had never had sex by the age of twenty-four.

            “I bet you're not the only one who wishes they could go to that,” chuckled Tucker, rubbing Jamie's shoulder and giving her a quick peck on the cheek. Tucker liked Jamie but refused to mess with her since Maggie had long ago called dibs, plus now they were dating though granted she wasn't the most faithful. Tucker then recalled another that was a big Lindsay Yari fan but who couldn't go due to other commitments. However, Tucker then realized she'd be the perfect one to help make his 'break' go by, and that Maggie would be happy with his decision.

            “Sorry boss, I need to get to Malibu,” Tucker told Jamie, getting up and exiting the office. With a new drive in mind Tucker didn't even stop to feel up any of the attractive women on his way out to his car, which he promptly unfroze.

* * *

            It took Tucker almost an hour from his perspective to get to Decker State College, having to avoid Saturday afternoon traffic with care, but eventually he arrived and parked near the stadium. Since it was Saturday most of the school teams would be practicing, and that included the cheerleaders.

            Walking past the statue that was Cliff the stadium security guy, Tucker walked down the main tunnel and arrived on the field. Soccer season was currently off since it would be getting cold soon but the Lady Raptors were drilling all the same, the team frozen in the middle of a scrimmage. Tucker saw that Kat Vaughn currently had the ball and was getting ready to kick towards the goal but Britney Summers was in her way. The girls were practicing in their uniforms though Britney a few of the others were wearing yellow tops over them so they stood out, most likely a team thing. Not far away Rachel Xanders was leading the cheerleaders, all the girls in their orange and white uniforms that showed their lower bellies with their color-matching pom-poms currently raised in a V-shape. Tucker grinned and walked past Kelli McAdams and Pamela Flipspatrick, blond and redhead respectively and roommates, before coming to Julie Vaughn, who was between Pamela and Brianne Walsh. Tucker smiled as she stared at the girl, truly admiring her physique as well as being well aware of her perfect grades. A while back Tucker had revealed to Julie his magical secret thus there was no hesitation when he tapped her on the head, unfreezing her.

            “Huh?” blinked Julie, then turning around to see Tucker standing there. “Oh, hi Tucker!” exclaimed Julie with a grin, quickly dropping her props to give him a quick hug. “I wasn't expecting you, especially not so...”

            “Fast?” chuckled Tucker, shrugging. “I'm technically supposed to be at work, but I needed a break and figured it was a good chance to visit.”

            “Well, if you mean hang out and not do something that requires time to be unfrozen,” giggled Julie, shaking her head. “Its fine I guess. Rachel's been her usually bitch of a self today so a breather is nice.” Turning to look at the head cheerleader, Julie then snapped her fingers. “Hey, could you...?”

            “I'd better not, one of the girls might get suspicious,” warned Tucker, indicating the other eleven girls that made up the squad. “I actually do I have an idea though. You know Lindsay Yari?”

            “Oh come on Tucker, I raved about her at the last club meeting,” chided Julie, her eyes then widening. “Today's concert! Oh, Tucker, no!”

            “Yes!” exclaimed Tucker as Julie slapped her hands to her face, promptly jumping and screaming like she was six. Tucker laughed and accepted a second hug from the cheerleader before calming her down. “Now bear in mind you still have to be at practice so we can't stay for it, but we could pay a little visit before the show...”

            “Oh Tucker, you are the best!” Julie almost screamed, squeezing Tucker so tight he though his developing arousal might be felt by Julie's thighs though luckily she didn't seem weirded out if she did notice.

            “Come on, I parked over by Cliff,” indicated Tucker.

            “Hang on, let me just do one thing,” insisted Julie, holding up her hands. Tucker watched as Julie hurried over to where Kat and Britney were, Britney in an excellent position to steal the ball. Julie winked at Tucker and wrapped her arms around Brit's waist, lifting her up and turning her slightly so she'd miss entirely.

            “Nice one,” remarked Tucker with a nod of approval, offering his arm to Julie when she returned.

            “Why thank you, Mister Holmes,” smiled Julie, hooking her arm inside Tucker's as they strolled off of the field.

* * *

            Typically backstage at a concert, even before the show, was a screaming mess when the performer was popular enough. Several big men, some more girth than muscle, guarded doors while wearing backstage passes. At this particular concert dozens of teenage girls were crowded outside a private area that Tucker and Julie had to very carefully squeeze by. “We don't have any passes, can we go in?” Tucker asked a massive but time-stopped bald man who stood silently guarding the backstage door.

            “Oh, you're terrible,” giggled Julie, walking past Tucker and pushing open the door. Tucker grinned sheepishly and followed.

            The backstage hallway was empty save for local field reporter Kim Corrigan from P! News, who was wore a tight black dress on her tanned body that went with her dark brown hair. A slightly chubby cameraman with what Tucker considered being a Jewish afro was right behind her, and both were frozen in mid-step. Further down the hall was a large white pair of doors that led to the main dressing room. “How'd she ever become a reporter again?” asked Tucker as he casually removed the camera from the man's hands.

            “Reality shows popularity, ask Rachel sometime if you have all week,” shrugged Julie, taking the microphone from Kim. Tucker proceeded to tap both the camera and microphone twice, unfreezing them so they could be used. “I love this idea, by the way.”

            “Well, I can't get you the concert but at least I can do this,” shrugged Tucker. “We're just lucky these two were here. I can't believe we didn't see another journalist around.”

            “I guess a concert in the afternoon isn't a big deal for them,” remarked Julie as Tucker led the way. Opening the wide doors, the pair entered to find a decent collection of people standing around. Another pair of large men stood by the doors, dressed entirely in black. At the counter in front of a large mirror were four women, three dressed in yellow tube tops and red shorts and all with dark hair in high ponytails, tanned bodies and most likely false breasts. A greasy-looking guy in a suit with a cell phone up to his ear stood near the corner. The fourth girl in the lineup was Lindsay Yari herself, clad in a red turtleneck and black pants that looked like they were made from the same Lycra material as leotards. Unlike her dancers, Lindsay's hair was hanging loose and free, short bangs with everything else long and perfectly blond. Lindsay was holding a blush applier to her face while the trio of other girls were doing lipstick, eyelashes and rouge. “This is too cool!” Julie almost squealed.

            “Cool it lets do this,” insisted Tucker walking over with his wand.

            “Wait!” insisted Julie, moving over to stand next to Lindsay. “Get a shot of this first. If I'm going to keep this tape I want to have a little fun.” Winking as she had earlier with Britney, Julie bent over and, with the camera on her, kissed the singer full on the lips.

            “Whoa!” exclaimed Tucker, a bit surprised. “I didn't know you loved her that much!”

            “Relax, I'm just having fun, I'm not literally in love with her,” chided Julie, shaking her head. “What, do you think every girl's like Brit?”

            “Okay, sorry for the weak joke,” offered Tucker. “Right, here we go.” Moving carefully, Tucker raised the wand and tapped Lindsay twice on the head.

            “What!” exclaimed Lindsay almost immediately, seeing Julie in her mirror. “What in the heck? Who the hell are you?”

            “I'm Julie Vaughn with P! News!” exclaimed Julie, indicating Tucker.

            “What am I, a ditz?” asked Lindsay, glancing around. “What is hell is going on?! They don't have a cheerleader reporter! Joel!” Lindsay yelled at the man in the suit, but he didn't respond.

            “Okay, you've got us, you're dreaming,” Julie lied. “I'm here to interview your inner thoughts. Stuff you couldn't normally say. Time is also frozen so no one else will hear your deepest confessions to yourself.”

            “Wow, this is really wild,” breathed Lindsay, spinning in her chair, looking around at the frozen scene that surrounded her. “Okay, I guess you're some kind of reminder of how I gave up college to be a singer and he represents those diamonds in the rough I ignored. Nice. So what do you want to know?”

            “What are your most and least favorite parts of being a performer...?”

* * *

            The entire ride back to the college Julie watched the video in the car, having decided to keep the camera they'd stolen. Tucker and Julie had agreed Kim Corrigan failing to get an interview wouldn't be a real problem. Eventually they arrived back at the stadium, at which point Julie went to hide the camera in her locker while Tucker drifted back over to the cheerleaders.

            “I guess that's it?” asked Julie, returning a few moments later, a sad look on her face.

            “Stopping time is fine and all, but it gets tiring, and we really should start it again,” nodded Tucker, raising his wand. “You should get back in formation.”

            “Right...” sighed Julie, clearly a bit disappointed. As she moved to where she'd been before, however, Julie suddenly stopped. “Wait. Tucker, look... today was amazing. I don't just mean because of the magic, I mean... you did all this for me, and I really appreciate it.”

            “It was nothing,” shrugged Tucker, but Julie was looking him dead in the eyes. It was then that Tucker, after all this time, finally clued in to what Maggie had been going on about. For the first time Tucker could see how Julie really felt. Dropping his wand, Tucker moved in and wrapped his arms around Julie, she doing the same with him. Their faces connected, cheek with cheek, before they faced one another and leaned in, locking their lips together.

            Tucker was usually good at figuring out how much time was passing during long kisses, but with Julie he didn't care. Before long they'd collapsed onto the grass, passionately unleashing their raw feelings. Surprisingly it was Julie who stopped first. “Tucker...” whispered Julie, her eyes almost damp. “I've waited a long time to be able to say this... I love you.”

            “I...” mumble Tucker, then realizing a simple truth. “I love you too,” Tucker admitted, and the passion continued.

            Minutes became hours as Tucker and Julie let out a long period of withheld affection for one another, heedless of the fact that they were technically doing this in front of the prying eyes of the cheerleaders. Finally however Tucker knew it had to end and stopped. “Look, I really should get back to work,” breathed Tucker, feeling flushed while Julie appeared the same. “Let’s... give this a little time. I just...”

            “I know, I understand,” nodded Julie, standing. “Love's a tricky thing. You think it'll only be for one person, and then it just surprises you.”

            “Yeah...” nodded Tucker, sighing as he reached over and felt Tucker's skin with his hand, massaging her cheek.

            “I know you care about Haley, and I'm fine with that,” admitted Julie. “I want you to be happy, Tucker. Take your time, but even if this is all we can ever do... it was worth it.”

            “It was,” agreed Tucker, wiping away the soft tears that had begun to tumble from Julie's face. The pair kissed a bit more before Julie bravely moved back to stand in a row with the frozen cheerleaders and Tucker waved his wand, returning his newfound love to normal time.

            “Fuck me,” sighed Tucker; his heart aching like it had just been torn in two.



            Maggie stood in the kitchen, wiping the oil off of Tatiana's naked body. For a little erotic fun the night before she'd covered the tall European in cooking oil and put her in the bathtub, proceeding to have some wild fun and fall asleep there. After work Tucker had gone straight to bed, puzzling Maggie immensely. She hadn't asked but was fairly certain he'd stopped time at some point to do something, she just didn't know what. Now he was downstairs with Haley, having the fateful talk that could determine how his social life was shaped for the next while.

            “If I had realized how hard this was to get off, I would have just used bath water,” grumbled Maggie was she bent over to clean the tall blonde’s crotch. Tatiana was naked, standing with her arms raised above her head and a basic expression on her face, her eyes plain but her lips slightly parted for breathing, or in Maggie's case, kissing, purposes. Maggie herself was wearing a white Sailor Moon robe she'd bought from her friend Bianca a while back.

            As Maggie put Tatiana back in her room she heard the front door open and close. Coming out into the living room Maggie saw Tucker sitting on the couch, his head in his hands. “Tuck?” asked Maggie softly, moving to sit next to him.

            “She said...” moaned Tucker, water dripping from in between his fingers, clearly tears, “She said she needed more time to get off of Miss Zoe's crap list. I just... I just don't get it...”

            “Hey, come here,” offered Maggie, putting her arms around her best friend. Tucker continued to sob and returned the gesture, holding Maggie close as she offered her sleeve as a way to absorb the tears. Maggie then pulled Tucker's head to her shoulder and rubbed his head. “It'll be okay. It isn't over; it’s just... on hold.”

            “I know, but...” sniffed Tucker, his eyes red. “I just... I don't know...” Maggie continued to stroke Tucker's hair and they sat in silence for a few minutes. Eventually Tucker's tears stopped and he sat up, his arms still around Maggie however. The pair looked at one another with sorrowful expressions. It was a bit awkward, but not as much as it was when both of them suddenly shifted, leaning in. Before either could stop their lips met for the first time ever and then they were lost.

            A soft kiss became several; a stroking of the hair became the removal of clothing. Before long Tucker and Maggie were naked, Tucker on top and caressing Maggie as they went far beyond anything they'd ever done before. Maggie moaned in pleasure and Tucker did a grunt of a similar nature. Passion had exploded on the couch for the first time in a while and with two people many no doubt thought would ever have such a relation.

            Some time later Maggie opened her eyes and really took stake of the situation. She was lying on the couch, naked, with a naked Tucker on top of her, sound asleep. She had the telltale feeling that she'd recently slept with someone and it didn't take long for her memories, which had been jarred by the almost incestuous nature of her recent acts, came to light. “Holy crap!” Maggie exclaimed, pushing Tucker off her as he quickly moved to the other couch.

            “Hmm?” asked Tucker, rubbing his eyes and sitting up. “Wait... holy crap!”

            “We... Uhm, we...well” gasped Maggie, looking at her best friend like he was a giant snake. “Dear God, what did we do?!”

            “Hold on, lets just take this one step at a time,” insisted Tucker, waving his hands. “I came back, I was crushed, then we...”

            “Yeah,” nodded Maggie.

            “This led to…”


            “Wow,” breathed Tucker, leaning back. “Do you feel as weird as I do?”

            “Tucker, I sleep with women,” Maggie adamantly declared, rubbing her eyes. “Whatever... that... was, it wasn't who we are. I think we were just confused.”

            “Definitely,” agreed Tucker. “I mean, we've been joined at the hip for years. You came out to me before your family. We're about as close to brother and sister as you can get without biology or a legal document. It's just too... weird.”

            “Well actually,” Maggie then said, “The second part, yeah, it was. But the first part...”

            “This kiss?” confirmed Tucker, nodding. “Yeah, something about that... felt fine.”

            “Maybe that’s...” continued Maggie, standing, “Maybe that’s fine for us. I mean, we see each other naked a lot, we know we love each other... we just aren't in love, that's all. And what is a kiss but just a more intimate hug?”

            “Right...” agreed Tucker, getting up and walking over to Maggie. The pair locked eyes again and proceeded to do the first part a second time.

            “Yeah, see, that didn't feel weird beyond the usual, 'Wow, I'm doing something I haven't done before!'” commented Maggie after parting lips with Tucker.

            “I guess we just got lost in the idea of new things,” sighed Tucker, shaking his head. “I'm sorry Mags.”

            “You know what, its okay, let’s just not mention this to anyone,” suggested Maggie, squeezing Tucker's hand. “We're friends, intimate friends... but definitely not, nor will we ever be, lovers.”

            “Yeah, the thought of that isn't a good one,” agreed Tucker, squeezing back. “Well, I'm still single though...”

            “You never did tell me what you did yesterday,” pointed out Maggie.

            “That's another story for another time,” insisted Tucker, shaking his head. “But seriously, maybe I should call your sister again...”

            “TUCKER!” exclaimed Maggie.



Continued with... Curious Fiona

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