The Platinum Chef : A Tale of Delacroix Part XIX

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Chapter 65

Faye was home early from the bakery that night, with Bobbie and Nick nowhere to be found. She looked around at the empty place. The energy was so different now with all the tension between herself, Bobbie, and Nick.

She was cleaning up some dishes when Bobbie finally came in.

“Hey.” She said, sounding down. “I’m just gonna go to bed. Phone died.” There was a heavy sigh.

“Hmmm, goodnight.” Faye said, looking at Bobbie with a thinly veiled intensity.

Bobbie slowly walked down the hallway.

Faye stared after Bobbie. It’s getting worse. When’s this moment supposed to happen, Justice?

She continued cleaning for a few moments before deciding to turn in. Faye wanted to help Bobbie. Man, I’ve been in this body for too long.

And you’ve been enjoying it, haven’t you?

Shut up.


Sylvia had come to pick up Kim. When she emerged from the house, there was a huge surprise.

Kim was wearing a dress. And makeup, and Heather must have done her hair. She wanted to cry a little. Seeing her daughter dressed as a young lady for the first time did her heart good.

“Hi, mom.” Kim said, showing embarrassment on her face. “What’s wrong.”

Sylvia wiped away a single tear. “Nothing. You look beautiful.”

Kim blushed. “That’s what Heather said.”

“What’s going on with her?”

“She’s gay, mom.” Kim said.


“Yeah.” Kim nodded. “I didn’t see it either. Turns out she’s been crushing on me for a while. Like since we met, she’s hidden it for a long time.”

Sylvia smiled. When Kim had first come out to her, she was convinced it was a phase. Now, two years later? She was convinced that it was not. Sylvia liked Heather.

“Well, I’m glad you two finally found each other.”


“I just want you to be happy. If being with Heather is where you find it, then grab it and hold on.”

“Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I learned that from your father.”

Kim was taken aback. Her mom never mentioned Jeff anymore.

As they pulled into the driveway of the Pointe home, Sylvia cut the engine.

“If you find someone to love that loves you, you hang on. No matter what, every time you get that feeling, grab on.”

“If,” Tears leaked a little more frequently. “You lose it, there’s no way to know if you’ll ever find it again.”

“I’m just happy to see you not with Roxx. Happy is good, healthy is more important.”

Kim smiled. “I love you, mom.”

Sylvia came in to hug. “I love you, too.”


Bobbie woke up quickly. Annoyed, she wrenched her hands from their nighttime home. She got her clothes together and turned her phone back on. The message from Kim was mostly unintelligible.

I’ll see her today.

She entered the living room to find Faye there, drinking coffee and doing her makeup.

“Morning, Bobbie.” Faye said, dragging an eye shadow brush across her left eye.

“Hey.” She said quietly, pouring coffee into a cup.

“You okay? You look like shit. Did you even sleep?”

Bobbie shrugged. “Maybe. I’m gonna walk to school today.”


“Got a lot on my mind.”

Faye continued doing her makeup without showing concern. Don’t force it, Justice said you’ll know.

Bobbie quickly readied herself and left. Faye looked at the door after she left.

She just hoped that that moment would come soon.


Kim was sitting in her English Class. She could feel it starting again. Excusing herself, she got to the bathroom. She sat secreted in a stall as the waves of tingly pleasure overtook her.


Click, click. Click, click.

She knew that sound. Roxx’s heels. Kim stood and opened the door.

To find Bobbie standing there, cigarette in her mouth. She was staring at the mirror, toying with her bangs. She lit the cigarette when she decided that there was nothing she could do.


She turned around.

“Thought you were… We have to talk about Roxx.”

“I got your message.” Bobbie said, inhaling on the cylinder. “I couldn’t understand it, then my phone…”

“It’s Melanie.”

Bobbie’s skin became albinized.


Kim started to cry. “It was her all along. The drugs, the sex… everything. She has it out for you.”

“She told me. She became Roxx to get back at you. It was Lust.”

Suddenly everything made sense. The low voltage she had felt when they touched. The birthday card, Roberta? How did I not catch that?

Bobbie pressed her teeth together. There was sadness. None of this should have ever happened to Kim. And now that all three of them had been Marked, Bobbie was worried. She took a deep drag on the cigarette and offered it to Kim.

Kim accepted the smoke and tasted at it pensively.

“I wanted to be her friend when she was with you… Robb… you know what I mean.”

Bobbie turned to leave.

“Where are you going?”

“I need to have a talk with my ex girlfriend.”

“I’ll come…”

“No, you stay here at school. Mom doesn’t need to worry about you anymore…”

“I’ve got this.” Bobbie said. And, for the first time in days.

She believed what she was thinking.


Mary was so high.

She spent so much time hanging out with Roxx that anything else seemed an annoyance. She was just happy to have someone who wanted to have her around.

The loud knock on the door startled her.

She could hear the shower running, Roxx must be in there.

Mary stumbled her way to the door. Opening it, she saw Faye standing there. No smile, just a look of steely determination. Her eyes narrowed so far that it brought out the rest of her semi Asian features.

“Hi.” Mary giggled. “You’re cute.”

“Save it.” Bobbie put on her resting bitchface. “Where is she?”

“Roxx? Shower.” She pointed lazily.

Faye pushed her way in. “I’ll wait.”

“Wanna smoke a bowl?”

“No.” Faye said with finality.

Mary shrugged and made her preparations with the pipe and started breathing in the pungent  smoke.

My god. Faye looked around. It’s almost exactly the same. How did I ever think that this was a good idea? There were some memories at the different places. The oven where she had burned a birthday cake so badly…

The couch they’d made love on countless times. The table where she had pierced his ear, then later did her makeup. That hole in the wall from when they tried to move the newer old couch in….

The reverie continued long enough for Faye to hear the water shut off.

Faye stood and stared down the hallway.


Roxx had wrung all the water out of her hair and had wrapped a towel around herself before exiting the bathroom. Entering the hall, she turned to see Faye. The girl rose and looked down the hallway, into forever. She grinned knowingly, reading the look on her face. The one that told her that the girl had finally put it all together.

For a moment, Bobbie saw the girl with the multicolored hair that had entranced Robb. But, she disappeared into the sharp curves and red hair that the world had come to know as Roxx.

“Melanie, you fucking bitch.” Faye started down the hallway. "Faye?" Roxx didn't falter, despite the burning resolve in her eyes. "If I'd known you wanted a threesome, I'd have run it by Mary." She, too started down the hallway. She scooped a cigarette and her zippo from the end table.

 "Are you fucking kidding?" Bobbie hissed through clenched teeth.

 "Well,” Roxx rolled her eyes up and to the left, as if picturing something. “I agree there's logistics to consider, I mean how are we all going to fit? How many times did we fall off the bed?" The cigarette bobbed up and down as she spoke.

 "Save it." Bobbie sneered. "I know who you are. I know what you are."

Clink, clink, clink.

“Dammit.” Roxx said, shaking her Zippo by her ear. “Mary, honey?”

“Mmmm?” She coughed.

“Be a doll and get me some lighter fluid. Thought I’d make it until tomorrow, but...”

“Sure.” Mary grinned and walked a mostly straight line to the door. “Be right back.” She blew a kiss. Bobbie fought down an urge to gag. Once she was gone, Bobbie turned back to the redhead.

Clink. The wick caught fire, igniting her cigarette. “We can talk now.”

 Bobbie watched her leave, when she turned back to Roxx… no, Melanie… A look of bemusement fall across her smoldering features. She shot Mel a disdainful look. "I knew you had no self respect when we were together...but this...this is a new low."

"Is that a fact?" Wisps of smoke rose between them, dancing among the dust motes.

 "We did some horrible things. Things I regret, will regret forever. But that...that was nothing compared to this." Roxx remained calm, simply folding her arms beneath her breasts as she listened to Bobbie talk.

 "Go on."

Bobbie moved closer to her, voice pained with emotion. "I died for you, don't you get that? I got shot trying to get money so we could score. My life, Robb’s life ended because of you!" The beginnings of tears glistened in her eyes. “I loved you, you were the only person who ever cared about me. At least I thought so. Now it just looks like you needed someone to be miserable with.”

Roxx's face dropped a little as Bobbie's words sank in. "So? Two Hail Marys?"

Bobbie pressed, steamrolling the quip. “You hurt Kim. Why? Just to get at me? All she ever wanted was to be your friend.

The rictus continued as the redhead interrupted. “Wasn’t I?”

Bobbie didn’t even pause to breathe. “My mom was right all along.” Bobbie shut her eyes tight and shook her head. "I was given an opportunity to turn things around.” Bobbie jabbed herself repeatedly in the chest with a thumb. “I took it, and ever since that day I've been helping people. I've been making people's lives better. But that's not enough for you is it?" Bobbie was standing in front of Roxx, daring her to react. "You just can't accept that I went and did something with my life while you just hid in the basement of the world, afraid of the light."

Roxx stubbed out the cigarette by way of response, and Bobbie took it as a sign that her words had struck a chord. She reared her shoulders back, holding her face inches from Roxx, summoning every bit of courage as she sought to deliver a message Roxx would not soon forget. "Don't you ever come near me, or my family again Mel. You get me? I've indulged this "gift" as much as you have, and if you cross me again, I swear by my little lace panties, I will end you." Roxx lowered her head completely, staring at the floor wordlessly. Bobbie took a step back, trembling slightly, but confident that her message had been received loud and clear.

Bobbie turned about, taking a deep breath to calm her nerves as she walked toward the door. She felt more accomplished than she had in a while. Roxx’s low , throaty laugh went unheard.

Coming here was risky, sure. But worth it just to get the message across to Ro…

Bobbie didn't get to finish that thought as a pair of hands with a steely grip threw her against the wall with a violent force so strong it knocked the wind out of her lungs and spun the world lazily sideways. Reeling, she tried to move but was devastated by a hand shooting out and wrapping around her throat, clenching so tightly she could barely choke down a mouthful of air. Roxx was holding her against the wall with a strength that seemed unreal for a girl her size. But all it took was one look in her eyes to see that the source of that power was a inferno of rage roaring to life inside of her. Those eyes showed no remorse. No compassion or regret. They betrayed nothing but contempt.

"That was a beautiful speech, Robb." Roxx said, deciding to drop all pretence of false personas. "But the truth is you're no threat to me. You're no threat to anyone anymore. Except maybe yourself." Bobbie could only struggle to breathe, fighting to try and remove Roxx's vice-like grip from her throat.

“Died for me?” She snorted, tossing her still wet locks. “Jesus much?”

"Do you want to know why I'm doing this to you?" Without waiting for an answer, she leant in, whispering into Bobbie's ear. "You're weak because you lack...hatred. That's why you can't protect anyone. Not even yourself..." She let go of Bobbie, who fell to the ground, coughing and cluttering as she fought to get her first breath of air in the last few minutes. Tears rolled down her cheeks as Roxx walked toward her bedroom, letting the towel drop to the floor. "You've always been weak, clinging to your beliefs and hopes for a better life." She looked Bobbie in the eyes, offering an expression of mock pity.

“Run away, Bobbie.” The way she said ‘Bobbie’ had a mocking tone. “Run until your throat is stripped bare and your lungs bleed. Mercy is for the weak.” She sucked hard at the filtered end of the cigarette as she relit it.

“And we do not train to be merciful here, remember?" Melanie said.

Bobbie got uneasily to her feet. She realized that Melanie… Roxx… whatever she was, she was right. She couldn’t help anyone anymore.  She had failed to save Kim, Bobbie had seemingly dropped out of the world carrying an anvil.

“You should go. Don’t need you sucking all the fun out of everything.”

Dazed, Bobbie took one last look around and realized with finality that that really wasn’t who she was anymore.

She left and retreated into her mind on the walk home. School just seemed irrelevant. Everything did.

Roxx has been handing my ass to me since the beginning.

Now she’s handing me someone else’s ass.




Faye was passing through the gym, she needed to talk to Bella and let her know that the first sound check would be that night.  She heard a thump from the bleachers. Looking over there was a glimpse of a tall, gawky Asian boy that Faye recognized as Rick Tan. His real name was Wu Fu, but a couple of years in American public schools put an end to that quickly.

There was another shape there. Stopping to look closer, she saw Kim. Making out with him like it was a hot, forbidden activity. Which it was, school conduct code prohibited such contact.

Didn’t Bobbie tell me she was gay?

It’s Lust, stupid.

Maybe she’s just experimenting?

Do you even know what you sound like?

Faye made a note to mention it to Bobbie and ambled off to see if her friend had any new uses for fuck to show her today.


Sylvia was ‘cleaning’ Kim’s room. At least that’s what she told herself. What she was really doing was looking for anything that could be considered paraphernalia.  She was worried about Kim. The sounds coming from her room at night persisted. She would have chalked it up to hormones, but it was so frequent.

Sylvia eventually gave up. Nothing here. She wanted to believe that Kim was done with all that now. But previous experience with Robert had made her cautious.


A thought struck her. Bobbie…

Sylvia pulled out her phone and selected Bobbie from her contacts.

The phone rang four times, then went to voicemail.

“Hi, Bobbie. It’s Sylvia. Uh… I was wondering if you could call me? Just want to make sure Kim is okay. Things have been, a little strange. I just want to make sure she’s alright.”

She looked at the Bettie Page poster that used to hang in Robert’s room.

Look, God. I don’t care if she’s gay. I just want her to be healthy and happy. Just let her be okay, please? I know we haven’t talked since Jeff died, but…


Faye was listening to Bella wax ecstatic about playing for people again.

“I fuckin’ miss playing. Really gonna fuckin’ miss my fuckin’ kit when I’m gone.”

Faye smiled, she liked Bella. She would miss her when this was over.

She would miss all of them. You could make friends with them, you know.

Faye did. But she knew they wouldn’t treat her the same way.

What must they think of me now that Bobbie’s been me?

Her phone vibrated in her pocket. Opening it, she saw the message from Sylvia.

The message played, her words combined with the event she had just seen. Something was wrong. You need to call Bobbie about this.

Bella continued talking about how much she’d fuckin’ miss fuckin’ Delacroix, while Faye let part of her mind wander. Whatever was going on with Kim, it portended bad things.

Lust, it portends Lust.



Kim had done it again… made out with a boy. Why had she done it? She wasn’t sure, but knew that it was a good idea at the time. The urges weren’t leaving her alone, if anything they only woke further. Running to the bathroom every couple of hours with her wallet in her mouth embarrassed her. She didn’t want to think about it.

Because in a weird way, it turned her on. Almost everything did, it was getting harder and harder to be careful. Like with Rick. Something about his smooth skin and bristly hair just called to her. She wanted to feel his warmth, live in his smell and taste.

Needed to.

Which begged the question of what would she should do about Brandon.

Or Heather…. She could not find out. Kim cared about Heather, a lot. If it wasn’t for her, she never would have been comfortable being who she was. A momentary smile allowed her to savor the irony, considering that she harbored the same secret. Given the recent radical change, Kim wondered if Heather had been living vicariously through her all this time. And what happened as soon as she had a chance?

   She stuck me in a dress. That’s Heather.

Kim looked at the setlist that she had received earlier that day, the thought of playing music for people again was exciting…

   Keep calm and rock on!

Unfortunately, Keeping calm was becoming the hardest thing in the world

 Chapter 66

Why haven’t I done laundry yet? Bobbie looked at the piles that were separated in the manner a man would. This pile is dirty, that pile is funky…

And that pile… she stopped to sniff a random shirt.

“Okay to wear again.” She pulled the shirt on and slid the ponytail out of the back as she shrugged it on. School was becoming so tedious. At the end of the day, Bobbie just wanted an order of Fish and Chips with Tartar sauce, and some shitty horror film. Bobbie jumped as she felt the phone vibrate, she looked down at her phone. There were a couple messages waiting. What concerned her was one from Faye: “saw Kim making out with Rick Tan behind the bleachers. Mom is worried about her. CALL ME” Bobbie furrowed her brow. What had gotten into Kim lately? She’d really taken to being a Thrall much faster than Bobbie had…or at least it seemed that way. At the rate she was going, Kim’s behavior was going to outpace her own pretty quickly.

Well, Bobbie thought. At least I’m not the only one worried.

She sighed as she made the call.

“Yeah, you called?”

“It’s Kim. I just caught her…”

“I got the message.”

“I thought you said she was gay?”


“Then what’s going on?”

“I don’t know.”

“Could you talk to her?”

Bobbie was still feeling the negative effects of dealing with Roxx… Melanie.

“Yes.” Bobbie said, suddenly serious.

Just because she wasn’t able to protect Kim before…

Doesn’t mean I have to let this continue.

“I’ll call her now. And, Faye.”


Bobbie’s voice wavered.

“I’ve got this.”


Kim was in the shower, which in retrospect was a mistake. She couldn’t keep her hands off of herself, all she could think of was that time she had heard Bobbie in the shower all those months ago.

By the time she had toweled off and dressed, it was nearly dinnertime. Entering the living room, Kim was surprised to see Faye.

No, Bobbie.

She had been talking to Sylvia, and doing some laughing.

“Kim,” Sylvia said, still smiling. “Faye’s here to see you.”

“Oh, hi…” Kim hesitated. “Faye.”

“Just wondered how you’re doing.”

Kim shrugged. “Breathing.”

Bobbie smiled.

“Mom, we’re gonna take off. I’ll be back.”

Sylvia looked at Kim cautiously.

“It’s okay, Mom. Faye’s a friend.”

“Alright, be back soon.”

“No probs, mom.”


Kim was lighting a cigarette as they walked. She drew deeply as if the nicotine was the antidote to the poison she just drank.

“Think I can get one of those?”

Kim smiled. “So, her body can handle it huh?”

Bobbie looked down. “Yeah.” She said quietly.

Bobbie accepted the cigarette and lit it. She puffed and inhaled.

“What’s going on, Kim? Faye told me you were making out with a boy?”

Kim’s face suddenly showed fear. “She saw that? Oh, god.”


Kim held up a hand. “That’s just it. I don’t know. Yesterday it was Brandon, I could see these colors. I knew what they meant. Does that make sense to you?”

Bobbie nodded. “I see them, too.” The confession played some relief on Kim’s face.

“I just… needed to feel him. Does that make sense?”

It did. Bobbie had learned what the colors meant, mostly through trial and error.

Lots of error.

“It’s almost like I could see what he wanted.”

“This is scary, Bobbie.” Kim’s voice cracked. “I’ve been….. horny isn’t the right word. It just keeps happening. I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”

Bobbie dragged on the cigarette again. “Look, don’t do anything.”

“I don’t think She’ll let me do that.”



Bobbie winced at the mention of the name.

“I can’t help it. If I don’t, then it just happens on its own.” She flung herself forward and embraced Bobbie.

Bobbie hugged back, she could both feel and hear Kim smelling her and absorbing her warmth.

“I’m scared, Bobbie. Like really scared. God, you smell so good.”Kim shook her head so hard, her neck popped. She jumped away like Bobbie was a hot stove.

I have to help her now. It’s my fault this all happened anyway. With all the simulations her mind could muster, Bobbie’s brain kept landing in the exact same place.

I need to see Melanie again. Her throat still a little sore from their last encounter

No more Mr. Nice Girl.

“Just try and keep it together. Go visit Heather or something.”

“I don’t think you can help me.” Kim admitted, stepping on her cigarette.

Bobbie inflated her chest and stated with mock arrogance.

“I can help anybody, and I won’t let this happen to you. I will fix this.”


Kim was near tears, from frustration and a million other things. “Bobbie?”

“I understand now, what happened with you. With Melanie.” She laughed through the beginnings of tears. “We both fell for the same girl.”

The crying started in earnest. ‘Choosing Melanie’ suddenly started playing in her head…

What’d that fucker do?         
With his negligence?
Turned you into a victim
of your innocence

It was odd thinking about that song now. It seemed to take on new dimensions that she hadn’t noticed while writing it. I bet Heather noticed it.

And he’ll never know
‘Cause he don’t look back
He’ll never know…

Kim gasped. “Beth… her leg…” She put her forehead on her hand. “I feel so bad.”

“I’m so sorry, Bobbie. I fucked everyone’s life up a little, didn’t I?”

“We’re just happy that you’re getting better.”

“Am I?”Kim asked. Bobbie felt the heat from the burning tobacco on her fingers. She dropped the butt and ground it out with the Chuck Taylors she was wearing.

Bobbie didn’t have an answer.


Sylvia offered Bobbie dinner. Bobbie was thankful for it. It was nice to have dinner with her family again, even if she was only tangentially related. She offered to help with the dishes, Sylvia refused and thanked her for being concerned about Kim.

“Hey, we girls have to stick together.”

Sylvia laughed.

“I’ll see you later, Mo…Miss Pointe.”

Bobbie left and resigned herself to heading back into the lion’s den.

This time, I’ll have a chair and a whip.

Watch out, Melanie…

Fuckin’ Robb’s coming home.

Chapter 67

Tim and Beth were running around like headless chickens. There was so much work to do. Sound checks, making sure the inventory was up. Faye could see the bags under his eyes, he confessed that he hadn’t had much sleep.

“I’ll sleep on Saturday…after the bakery closes. This night has to be a success. I’m not too worried. We’ll be okay.”

Faye smiled. She had never seen dedication on this level. Nick’s defeat of Resident Evil with only a knife was the only thing that came close. Everything was coming together, Tim was worrying too much.

But that’s his thing. Faye smiled.

“So.” Tim started. “We have all the prep work done. Tomorrow is going to be hell, literally. All these ovens going?”

The thought of getting hot and sweaty with Tim was appealing to her. But, that would have to wait. As they finished for the night. Beth left with her dad, leaving Tim and Faye alone. He came up behind Faye and grabbed around her waist. Faye smiled as he kissed at her neck.

Tim and Faye looked out the window for a long time, enjoying each other’s warmth and silence.

She wondered how Bobbie was going to handle the Kim situation.

Hopefully better than everything else she’s done so far.


Bobbie was walking faster now, the determination making her bring her feet down harder. For the first time while walking like this, she had a destination in mind. Melanie may have won the battle.

But, I’m gonna win the war.

The apartments loomed closer. She laughed derisively. I guess you can’t go home again.

Bobbie looked up at the two story building. She imagined a movie poster of her staring at the structure, back to the camera.  Yeah, the guy that turns into a teenaged baking genius that gets bodyswapped with sex demon in training. Sell that to Hollywood.

No Harry Gregson-Williams score. No John Williams symphony, nor Tangerine Dream’s heavily synthesized tones in the background. No sense of what was going to happen. But, one thing was certain.

She had had up to her left eyebrow with all of it. The sex, the drugs. Roxx, Melanie, and Kim. The bullshit. It just needed to end.

When she knocked on the door, she felt herself flush with adrenaline. Her legs became shaky.

Roxx opened the door. The surprise on her face was immediate. As she smiled and opened her mouth to speak.

That’s when Bobbie let her right fist fly. It was a fist of flesh, backed with the full faith and credit of Bobbie’s rage. It caught the redhead on her left cheekbone, making her cry out in surprise as she fell backwards. Bobbie screamed in anguish as she leapt forward, pinning the girl to the ground.

“I’ve fucking had it…” Bobbie readied to strike again.

Roxx cocked her head to the side, narrowly missing the second punch. She took the opportunity to knock Bobbie off while she was off balance. She got up and raised her fists. Bobbie got to her feet and did the same. There they stood, like two great samurai. They sensed each other’s energy, sizing each other up.

“You’re not mad at just me, are you?” Roxx smiled. “Punch all you want. Looks like everything you really wanna punch just can’t be punched.”

“Am I right?”

Bobbie lowered her fists slightly. Fuck, she needs to stop being right. “Come on Roxx, can’t you see we’re just hurting each other? All this fighting between us is meaningless.” Roxx’s eyes lit up, her resolve suddenly fuelled by a fire of raging indignation as she snarled at Bobbie. “Meaningless? What do you know about meaningless!?” Bobbie recoiled slightly, as if burnt by those flames.

“I just meant…”

“Watch your life crumble about you!”

“I did, remember?” Bobbie said, reminding Roxx that the girl before her that she once was her boyfriend.

Roxx’s mouth became a tight line. “Ever see the only man you ever loved disappear without a single fucking word?” She stepped forward, closing the gap. Roxx clenched her fist tightly, right in front of Bobbie’s face. “No? Then tell me, what could possibly hold more meaning than revenge?”

Bobbie saw what she had done in that moment.

 While she had made her own life…

She had unmade Melanie’s. She thought about what was really happening when she was getting her ID from Frank. How she must have felt. When she was laughing with Bella, Heather and Amber, what was Melanie doing?

Or was she already Roxx?

Green fire burned at Bobbie as she continued.

"You don't know what I've been through. How I've suffered.” Her purple eyes became diamond hard, her fists dropped. “Imagine for a second that it was me. Then, you come out of the shower. Only to find me gone, disappeared. With all the money, just a big ‘Fuck you, Mel’.” Bobbie swore that her voice cracked ever so slightly, large chunks of permafrost separating under the immense weight of aeons of steady, unmoving existence. “You died for me?” She laughed condescendingly.

A flash of empathy. My god, she did love me. Confused way of showing it. What would Robb have done? Well, the webcam show would have been out. After everything that had happened between them. She felt that she had failed to save Melanie, both as Robb, and again as Bobbie.

There was Robb, feeling sorry for Melanie.

There was Bobbie, wanting to help her. Roxx saw the flash of compassion. It only made her smile even harder. 

“From where I sit, you look miserable enough, Bobbie. Maybe watching you suffer like this is revenge enough. Scoring is so much easier now anyway.”

“Watching you squirm? Priceless.”

Bobbie screamed in confused frustration.

“Just go.” Roxx said, touching her slightly swollen cheek. It looked like this was as far as it would go

Bobbie looked at Roxx, she just saw the confused and scared girl that Melanie used to be. The fight left Bobbie all at once.

“I got what I wanted, I guess. There’s no reason to talk again.”

Bobbie agreed tacitly as she turned to leave.

“I did love you, Mel. I never meant for any of this to happen. I…”

“I’m sorry. I never meant for anything to happen to…” Melanie mocked. “Save it. Something did.”  The exasperation was obvious in her voice.

“I don’t need this anymore. Go away.”

Bobbie turned and left silently. She could feel the tears starting. With all the help she had given people, those who had been closest to her seemed shielded from the assistance.

I hope something got through.


Faye was checking her bank account and paying bills. Well, that’s how it started. Logging into her bank account, her face went white. Somehow, there was over fifteen thousand dollars in her account. She spluttered coffee on the screen.

Where in the hell?

Bobbie. Those shoots. Faye had never made that much before. Her mind started filling with the things she needed to buy.

First thing’s first. Faye thought as she finished paying the cable, rent, and electricity.

Ice cream. Some Awww, Fudge sounded really good right now.

Continuing the check of her inbox yielded a message from Allegra. Faye’s face paled as the message was read. Allegra was very unhappy about her taking the magazine shoots. According to the message, she was no longer being represented by the agency.

Dammit, Bobbie.


            Bobbie was walking home, lost in thought. This last encounter with Roxx was different. Especially now that he knew it was Melanie, her words echoed in Bobbie’s head. The only man I ever loved?

She did love me, she couldn’t express it very well, but still.

She thought about how Kim had suffered and was suffering.

And how it was all her fault.

Just like everything else.

            While leaving Melanie was the right thing to do for herself, it only made her see that it was a horrible thing to do to the girl.

            If I had only stayed…

            Her phone vibrated. She looked at the number and answered the unfamiliar number.


            “Faye, baby. It’s Leonard. There’s another party on Tuesday, and some of the higher ups want to meet you. I’ll send a car for you. Say fourish?”

Oh, great. Another of those things. She distractedly wondered if she’d see Luka again.

“Sure, sounds great.” Bobbie said. She hoped that Leonard believed it.

Because she sure didn’t.


            She waited in the space between the atoms. The molecules of interstellar hydrogen blew both past and through her. Living on the bare minimum of energy was irritating. None of her thralls had been performing up to standards.

            Lust regretted not being able to finish Amy, and that trick that Faye pulled? It was unexpected to say the least.

            Roxx, she had been performing better than all of the others. And now that Justice had dropped Bobbie in her lap…

            A point of arousal flashed off to one side of her immense peripheral vision.



            Kim had fallen asleep early. She didn’t understand what was going on, she only hoped that Bobbie could help…

            It was in the dream where things started to dim and decay.

            Kim felt rather than saw the black ichor slithering over the sky, leaving the sun to burn in crimson ribbons.

            Lust appeared before her, wearing a much more form fitting version of Kim’s outfit.

            “Why are you doing this to me?” Kim cried, scared.

            Not Kim smiled.

            “To you? I’ve given you the ability to own whomever you want. They will fall at your feet. All you have to do is let go. Fighting just makes it stronger.”

            “I don’t want this.”

            Lust crossed over to Kim, she put an arm around her doppelganger.

            “Really? Seems like you want this more than anything.”

            “Look at Robb, look at what he became. Bobbie? He needed what Justice had to offer.” Lust looked to the darkened sky. “If only I could have got to him first…”

            Kim looked at Lust. “And Melanie?”

            “Melanie? Oh, right… her. She wanted to get back at him. Told you I like helping.”

            “Then make it stop.” Kim hugged her arms around herself.

            “Stop? Why? You’ll do fine. Just take what you want. No one will stop you.”

            Kim suddenly felt calm, the waves of relaxation radiating out from where Lust touched her shoulder.

            “All thralls are a little different.” Lust chuckled. “That body of Faye’s? She only gains weight in her curves…. And Roxx? You didn’t think that those drugs were naturally that strong, did you?”

            Kim realized that she didn’t have a frame of reference. Roxx’s drugs were just drugs to her. Something to be taken or smoked, Roxx having something to do with its potency surprised Kim.

            “You… well. I had to do something different. You’re going to make them better.”


            “The other thralls, silly.”

            “I know you’re a little scared. This is all new to you. Just trust me. Have I ever lied to you?”

            Kim felt so good. Trust, sure. Trusting Lust seemed like the natural thing to do.

            She hasn’t done me wrong yet.

            “When you wake up, you’ll feel just fine.”

            Kim looked within. She’s right you know? Maybe you should just enjoy it, resisting isn’t getting you anywhere.

            She felt a new contentment as she rose through the levels of sleep.


            The next day saw Bobbie wandering aimlessly at lunch. Tired of being by herself, she went to the one place she’d never really gone… except once.

            Slacker’s Cove, to see Tim. She remembered his unkempt clothes and overgrown hair.

            Bobbie thought back to Robb’s days at Delacroix. He was never cool enough to hang out down there. Even after getting together with Melanie, it just didn’t feel like a comfortable place.

            There were looks, of course. The boys were all looking, with some of the girls smacking said boys for looking. She stopped and listened. There were so many conversations going on at once.

            “No way, dude… Batman.”

            “…fuckin’ failed that test.”

            “Gonna have to talk to Kurt later.”

            “…party tonight? I’m gonna get so wasted.”

            Party? Bobbie heard, remembering how Faye had taken her to that party back before they swapped. She remembered that the music and general atmosphere had taken what was an incredibly shitty day into a decent one. She moved in the direction of the speaker.

            “Did you say party?” Bobbie asked the boy, taking note of his Flogging Molly shirt.

            “Um… yeah.” He stammered.

            “Where?” Bobbie put on her best sweet smile.

            “The Johnson place. Kathy’s birthday is today, so is her sister’s. The parents are gone, so big birthday bash.”

            “Mmm. Sounds fun. Maybe I’ll see you there.” Bobbie’s voice was dripping seduction, She winked and kept walking.

            Loud music and no stress sounded like a great evening to her.


            Faye had gotten through the day and got to the bakery. Tim was right, it was way too hot in there. His green shirt was sticking to him, clinging in ways that would be impossible without the sweat. She propped open the door. “You’re gonna die of heatstroke in here.”

            Tim smiled, his face shiny with perspiration. “Nah. Almost done. I’m gonna have to be back in here early.”

            “I swear, you work too hard.”

            “Yeah, well.” Tim shrugged. “You’re worth it.”

            Faye blushed.

            “I’ve got some stuff to do tonight. Gilda is offering to give us some coffee, I need to pick it up. And then…” He sighed. “Can’t wait for this to be over.”

            Faye took in the sight of the bakery, and its smells. “I can help.”

            Tim came to her and pressed his damp shirt against her as they hugged.

            “It’s okay, Bobbie. I have to carry stuff on the Vespa. No room.” He pouted.

            Faye mirrored the pout, causing them to both laugh.

            They sat outside and shared a bottle of Coke while waiting for the symphony of dinging timers to start. His sweaty hand gripped hers.

            Faye drank in the silence as easily as she sipped the dark, bubbly drink. Sitting here, with Tim…

            She envied Bobbie, to have someone like Tim in your life was just…


            When the dinging began, Tim was up and running first. Sounds like a Pink Floyd album in here. Getting all the trays out of all the ovens took a minute, but the work was simple. They almost made it look like a game of tag, or a messed up relay race. The baked goods were piled onto the tables and racks. After they were allowed to cool, plastic wrap was gingerly placed around each tray and put into the walk in.

            “You should go to bed early tonight. Tomorrow’s gonna be a hell of a day.” Tim said, replacing the sentence’s period with a kiss.

            Faye smiled. Whatever kind of day it was, she knew it would be better as long as Tim was there.


            The loud music chased away Bobbie’s blues as she walked around. She looked down at the red Solo cup that held the mixture of juice and alcohol that she had been assured tasted like fruit punch.

            It didn’t, well maybe if someone had mixed some NyQuil into it…

            The music was pumping. Looking through the fist raising, jumping up and down crowd, she saw something.

            Something that shouldn’t be there.

            It was Kim.

            Her top was so low cut that her cleavage seemed to point directly in front of her. There were boys and girls standing close to her. She had a smile so large, that it seemed like her head would split open. Her fist up in the air, pumping in time to the beat.

            Confused, Bobbie moved closer. Dammit, the idea was to forget about all this. She sipped at the astringent beverage in the cup. The jumping stopped as the keyboard loops changed, and Bobbie lost sight of Kim. She studied the bottom of the cup. Refill, good god, refill.

            When she got to the trash can that the ‘punch’ had been mixed in, she grabbed a ladle and started to fill the cup.

            “Bro!” a voice boomed behind her.

            “Kim? What are you doing here? What about…”

            “Shhh. Don’t be a fuddy duddy.” Kim cautioned. “Jeez, did I really just say that? Hanging around Heather too long.” She laughed. “Mom thinks I’m asleep.”

            “You snuck out?”

            “Hey,” Kim began. “I had to. So much sexual energy here. Mmm. Don’t you feel it?”

            She did, but she’d been trying to tune it out. Bobbie quirked an eyebrow and turned to Kim.

            “You okay?” Kim’s voice had a different timbre now. The scared, confused girl she’d seen yesterday was gone. Replaced by…

            Something else.

            “Okay? Never been better. We had a little talk, and now I get it. It was so simple, don’t know why I didn’t get it before.”

            Bobbie felt a sinking feeling of unnamable dread.


            “Yeah, Lust. Boy, did I read her wrong…”

            Her stomach wrenched in half, Jack and Rose hanging on for dear life. Oh, no… Bobbie felt tears burn behind her eyes.

"Bobbie...why are you doing this to yourself?"

Bobbie wiped away the tears that were stinging her eyes. "What do you mean?"

Kim rolled her eyes lightly, finding the need to explain the blatantly obvious just a bit tedious.

 "Why torture yourself? I'd have thought Roxx finally revealing the truth to you would have meant we could all be one happy family again. You get Melanie back, and everything goes back to… well, normal, I guess. But here you are, bawling your eyes out like a big girl, wondering why you can't have your old life back." Bobbie narrowed her eyes, looking at her sister with apprehension.

"How did you know all that?"

Kim's lips split into a beaming smile."Perks of the job. Every Thrall is a little different, right? You...well, at least your body has the most amazing reaction to junk food. Roxx can make even the most banal drugs trip like pure grade heroin. Me? I'm the new model. New and improved, fully loaded with everything from walnut neck to a mother of pearl inlay. Aren’t you enjoying this at least a little?”

“Robb would have.”

Bobbie bit back the sting of future tears. “I’m not Robb! I can't do this anymore, Kim. I...I've hurt too many people." Bobbie shook her head. "Can't you see what Lust has done to us?" Kim looked at Bobbie dubiously. "She's corrupted us! You, me...especially Roxx. We were good people before she fucked us up! " Bobbie choked back tears. "I never would have done anything like this...I've caused everyone so much pain because  I was selfish." Kim stared at her sister, each moment before she spoke hanging in the air for what felt like an eternity.

"Do you honestly believe that?"  Kim said sideways.

Bobbie scowled, defiance bubbling to the surface of her emotions. “You've only been a thrall for a little while. Give it a couple of weeks. It's like a cancer, corrupting every action that you take. Every thought that fills your pretty little head."

"That's where you're wrong." Kim’s mouth took on the same malevolent quality she had seen on Roxx’s face so many times.

 Bobbie balked. "How the hell do you figure that?"

Kim smiled. "This gift, this power that we have. It's a tool. A means to an end. I mean, when someone gets shot, do you blame the gun, or the person who pulled the trigger?"

 "that's not the sam…"

"It is the same." Kim cut her off smoothly. "Think about it: You and Roxx? You were not good people. You did drugs. You lied. You cheated. Hell, you died because you tried to rob a store just to get more drugs." Bobbie was speechless. "Someone like you needs Justice. You need the limitations she puts on your life. The constraints and borders that force you to become a better person. That's the truth. You can't handle the freedom to do anything else."

Bobbie opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. Kim was right, as much as she hated to admit it. She only stopped smoking and drinking because of what it did to her body. How long was it before you were doing it again? Hmmm?

Bobbie was taken aback by Kim's revelation. Was she a bad person? Was the only thing keeping her from sinking to darkness the stern hand of Justice's guidance? "No..." She muttered. "I refuse to believe that. It's not that simple."

Kim rolled her eyes dramatically. "You're hung up on the idea that this is some epic struggle between good and evil. That one must triumph in order for you to get any closure."

Bobbie's lip was trembling, finding herself on the verge of tears. How did Kim know all this about her? Had Lust been whispering in her ear, or was this one of those "quirks" she talked about in action?

 "I just want things to go back to the way they were!" Bobbie clenched her hands at her sides, looking at her sister with a pained expression. "Nothing I do makes anything better now! All I do is fuck up people's lives, especially my own..." Bobbie felt tears roll down her cheeks, speaking her makeup. "...At least with Justice, I didn't have a choice but to help." Kim smiles softly, shaking her head.

"It doesn't have to be like that. You just made some mistakes. You let the power go to your head, like a newbie taking way too big a hit." Bobbie was so strung out, so exhausted, she would have believed anything at that point.

"No, you don't understand. I really tried...I really did!"

"Shhh..." Kim whispered soothingly. "I can help you. I promise. I know how to make all the pain go away. I know how to make all the problems disappear. We can be a family again. Isn't that what you want?" Bobbie nodded wordlessly, trying to control her choked sobs as Kim placed her hand to Bobbie's cheek, and she felt a warm, soft tingle spread out from her touch...


 Bobbie’s smile would not go away. She looked at Kim’s face, both shared the same infectious grin as they bounced in time to the music. She couldn’t figure out what had vexed her so.

“Woooo!” Kim yelled, shimmying her body with her arms raised.

Bobbie was gyrating and moving when she saw a very familiar flat top haircut.


Closer inspection proved that it wasn’t, this guy had glasses.

The music changed a few more times that night. Bobbie swore she had seen Tim a few times , each viewing rubbed off the giddy excited feeling that had started when Kim touched her cheek. She had seen Kim wander off with a random boy, only to see her emerge later with a random girl. Bobbie felt stirrings that she rebelled against. Every time she thought she saw Tim, the stirrings began anew, causing the cycle to repeat.

The giddy feeling was fading into slight drunkenness.

Morose feelings followed, Like a crash after a high. She mused.

As the party wound down, Kim had put in a beaming, smiling appearance to inform Bobbie that she’d be sneaking back into the house soon, and that she’d see Bobbie the next day.

Bobbie started to amble aimlessly, wanting to be alone with her thoughts. Kim on her mind, she wondered what had happened. She was so scared yesterday.

She knew it was Lust. Bobbie remembered her first meeting with Justice.

Nasty piece of work, indeed.

Bobbie’s sanity was being taken from her piece by piece, it was so frustrating to be unable to help people. Help people. Sure, going back would allow her that again, but what she wanted more than anything was to be in Tim’s arms again.

“Gorramit.” A voice called, followed by a slam.

Bobbie snapped her head up to the left. A hunched figure was slamming closed the hatch on…

            …a Vespa.

Bobbie’s heart leapt. The dark, morose curtain fell. “Tim.” She cried, nearly tripping over her own feet.

He turned, surprised. Tim jumped to his feet.“Hi, Faye.” He looked down. “Don’t… don’t tell Bobbie I was here. Picked up some extra orders. Got a big night planned for her. Man, didn’t think Prom would be so expensive.”

Bobbie smiled wanly. She wanted to be his prom date.

More than anything; thoughts of being pressed against him while Alpahville sang about being Forever Young, standing out of the limo sunroof to see Orion in all its heavenly glory. Watching each other swing from such great heights.

Fuck it.

“So, what’s wrong?” Bobbie asked, pointing at the moped. “Voltage regulator again?” She said, remembering how it had rendered the bike.

Tim looked at her, puzzled. Then his expression changed.  His mouth issued forth an explosion that was sure to register a seismic event. “Fuck, Faye. How many times do I have to tell you. Now you’re following me around? What the hell is it with you girls? Seriously. First Roxx is all up on my nuts, then you. Does Bobbie know you two are jealous? I swear you two are almost alike.”

“For the… ah, hell. I don’t know how many times. I love Bobbie. “ His voice got louder. “I don’t think anything can change that. She is an angel.” His colors shifted into a big ball of stress and lack of sleep.

He pointed a thumb at himself. “She’s my angel.”

Bobbie was stunned, she’d never heard him yell before. Anger looked strange on his face. To see him be so vociferous about his love for…

Me. Bobbie’s tears came closer to her eyes.

Her face crumpled into a sob. “It’s me, Tim.” Seeing the aggravated look on his face made Bobbie let the dam go. Scale sized gallons of tears rolled lazily down her face. “It’s Bobbie. I can’t take this anymore…” She flung herself to him. “I miss you.” She cried, fingers making purchase and wrinkling his shirt. Tim looked at Bobbie skeptically after they separated.

“’I’m sorry, Faye.” Tim surveyed the damage on her face. “Look, while it’s nice to have a girl throw herself at you. You can’t really expect me to believe that you’re my girlfriend? C’mon Faye…I know that you’ve been trying to steal me away, but this is laying it on a little thick.”

Bobbie rolled her eyes tediously. “Oh god, you’re really gonna make me do it, aren’t you?” She wiped tears away with a sarcastic chuckle.

“Make you do what?” Bobbie looked him straight in the eyes.

 “Whenever this shit happens in a movie….”

“This isn’t a fucking movie, Faye. I almost lost her once.”

Bobbie continued, Tim unheard “What’s the first thing the hero does to test whether they’re lying or not?”

Tim slumped, realizing there would be no reasoning with her. Shrugged his shoulders. “Simple. Ask questions only Bobbie would know.” He sighed. Well, should be simple. Some cooking questions, some movie questions… There’s no way she can get that many right.

That’ll put an end to this.

“Bingo.” Bobbie smirked. “So let’s drop the foreplay and get on with it. Remember when the voltage regulator died? It was the same day that the pastry case got smashed.”

Tim raised an eyebrow. Even if Bobbie had told Faye, that level of detail was really good.

“Why is there a watermelon there?”

Bobbie sniffled. “They never say.”

“What’s in Egg Shen’s five demon bag?”

Bobbie wrinkled her nose, showing a tiny upturn to the corners of her mouth. “Six, trick questions won’t work.”

Tim smiled a little. “What kind of parsley did you use in the Christmas stuffing?”

Bobbie’s turn to smile. “None, cilantro.” Tim’s face softened imperceptibly.

Tim’s veritable onslaught of questions continued.  He stood in silence, studying “Faye” quizzically. Sure she’s answered every one flawlessly. Even mentioning that she preferred slow zombies.

“Faye’s the one that likes the fast zombies. I’m a Romero girl.” She saw part of the solution click in Tim’s mind. He still wasn’t completely convinced it was Bobbie in there. It was just too much for a person to expect to handle at once. Tim shook his head.

“Look Faye, it was a hell of a pitch, and you had me going for a se…” Bobbie didn’t let him finish, instead she rushed in and planted her lips against his. But it wasn’t a kiss of passion or seduction, designed to tempt a man into bed like she had been used to so recently. It was one of longing and desperation, a need for her to be back in his arms once again, where she truly belonged.

Tim felt her tongue circle to the left, not the right like she had on their movie date. The familiarity of the kiss refocused his thoughts.

Finally Bobbie broke the kiss, the familiar taste of him still lingering on her lips as she looked up at him hopefully, praying to whatever deity that might listen that she’d somehow gotten through. Tim nodded slowly, pondering for a moment before reaching a conclusion.

“Oel ngati kameie.” Bobbie looked up into those brown eyes, the smile in her eyes mirroring his own.”

Tim broke into a wide grin. “I…I guess I see you, Bobbie. Which leaves the question of how? This isn’t like Freaky Friday… It’s that fucked up one with Judge Reinhold.”

Bobbie laughed. “Or Kirk Cameron.”

Tim laughed. “Oh, jeez. You have to be Bobbie. Only you could come up with a worse one. Well, I do need to get home. Huge day tomorrow. Oh, god. You don’t know. The Grand Opening is tomorrow.”

Bobbie had forgotten about it. Faye had been taking care of everything this last couple of weeks

“Walk with me?”

Bobbie smiled and jumped up and down. “YES!” All the feelings of dread and fear slipped away. When their hands touched, Bobbie felt electric. Like nothing happened.

“Ummm. I kinda need some help with these bags. Gilda gave us some coffee for tomorrow night.

The way he said us was like coming home. Us.

Leaving the Vespa shaped paperweight, they headed off into the night, sealed bags of Daily Grind’s special roast in one hand each. The last gasps of the waning light retreated to allow the night’s starry curtain to descend over Delacroix. He offered his hand, she took it so excitedly that he thought he’d have to learn to bake one handed.

Tim kept stealing glances at Bobbie. His colors were confused, red, pink, green, yellow, all in constant motion. He smiled, looking at Bobbie with a mixture of wonder and amazement as they began their slow descent down the hill toward town.

"Stop that." Bobbie blushed, looking away. "You keep giving me that look. What is it?"

"I just can't believe it's you in there."

Bobbie felt a smile curl her lips. "Took me a while to believe it, trust me."

"So are you going to tell me how it happened?"

 Bobbie let out a dramatic moan. "Oh come on...can't we just enjoy the moment?"

"Are you kidding me?" Tim chuckled. "What would you do if the situation was reversed?"

"Does that mean I'd be you and you're the Asian sex-bomb? Pretty sure this situation is confusing enough, thanks."

Tim gave her a playful nudge. "You know what I mean.” His face drained of color. “Wait a minute. How long have you been…”

“Since a couple of days after the Roxx thing…”

His face turned whiter, his hand suddenly grew slack. “Oh shit. Then that means…”

“I know.” Bobbie said solemnly. “She told me.”

“I… I thought it was…” She could sense a multitude of clumsy apologies.

Bobbie shook her head. “I understand. How could you know?”

“I’m so sorry, Bobbie.” Flashes of Roxx invaded his thoughts

“Forget about it. We’ve all made mistakes. They’re not always completely our fault.”

The lights started coming on as the moon began its rise. The streetlights were first, followed by the first salvo of the interior lighting of individual domiciles. Tim’s hand felt so good in hers again. Just being there with him seemed to soothe her psyche.

“The grand opening? How’s that supposed to work?”

“I don’t know. If that’s Faye, girl can bake.”

“Don’t tell her I told you.”

“That’s gonna be awkward.”

“Look, Tim. I think she fell for you during this. No one ever treats her like that.” Bobbie smiled. “She’s spoiled now.”

And let you treat another girl like this?  Bobbie’s…no, Faye’s words from their date echoed.

“Looks like you helped her.”

Tim smiled. “Hey, I learned from the best.”

They continued walking, Cheepskates loomed ahead of them.

“Wanna come in?” Tim said, dropping the sack of coffee.

“Angel.” That smile.

The webcam video no longer bothered her. Hell, she had done more and worse things since inheriting Faye’s Tits of Destruction. Tim entered the building and started flipping breakers.

Bobbie stood at the threshold and laughed. Sorry. “I just have this picture of you holding up a boombox and…”

“That was Faye, too, wasn’t it?”

“You’re kidding. You did that?”

Tim looked flock of sheepish. “I…Look, all my sweetness and romantic stuff I learned from watching movies. What else was I gonna do? I got drunk and…”

“Really? You went the full Dobler? You never go the full Dobler.” Tim  gave a trepidatious look as he launched into the story of the meltdown with Faye. It got the treatment of an oral tradition, an epic tale of a spurned lover. Tragically separated by cruel fate. Shrinking away from his Sisyphean tasks.  Telling her about his role in the deaths of his family members got a reaction of pity that he shrugged off.

“…and it was New Order, not Peter Gabriel. I mean it worked, she agreed to a date, and…”

“I heard about that. I was up in the mountains.” Bobbie interrupted. “You really got to her.

He pointed at her for a second. “Photo shoot right? You’re a model…er…Faye…”

“Yes. I did a snowboard ad, then…” She trailed off.

“One thing led to another and next thing I know I’m in a corset, then I’m naked covered in books.”

“Hot.” Tim put on a stoner accent, the unspoken dude heard as clearly as though he had spoken it.

Bobbie laughed.

“Hey, you read The Man Who Never Missed. Do you have any idea what finding out that you know that book did to me? Reading is sexy.” He smiled. “Just like you.”

“And the baking? And, well… everything. Bobbie,  the last couple of weeks have been really crazy… and…”

She cut him off. “You slept with someone, I slept with someone.” He opened his mouth.

“Rach, had to… God it sounds crazy.”

Tim got quiet. “Rach? What was that like?”

“Shut up.” Bobbie grabbed a hand and spun herself into a minor variation of her favorite cuddle position, her back to him. She breathed it in, drank it in. That feeling of being guarded. Closing her eyes, she felt his arms tighten around her.

Faye’s body, my body. Home is here, Mr. Burton.

 Tearing up for a completely different reason was cathartic. The breath on her ear wasn’t nearly as strong.  But, close enough.

“I guess those movies had to get it from somewhere. Steve Martin isn’t in there with you, is he?”

The casual movie reference only made her smile further.

“As long as you come back to me, it just doesn’t matter.”

Letting the honesty continue. “I ummm… kinda did a shoot for Playboy, too.”

Tim’s arms slackened a little. “P…playboy?”

She turned to face him, then stretched open her top and looked into it.

“Wanna see what July looks like?” Bobbie teased.

Tim guffawed. “I can imagine the interview… Measurements: Unearthly. Turn ons, helping people, being amazing."

"Will you stop it?" Bobbie said, her blush starting to look like a light sunburn.

"What? You are the best thing to ever happen to a guy like me. I'm just sorry I didn't realize earlier."

"That makes two of us." Bobbie said softly, looking at Tim with silent adoration. “But how could you?”

Tim smiled; flush with confidence as he delved into a mock interview. "So, Miss Valentine-Sharpe...what would you say is your best feature?" He used his thumb as a microphone.

Without hesitation Bobbie flashed an impish smile. "My breasts."

Tim couldn't help but lower his eyes down to Bobbie's chest as she mentioned that. He'd been avoiding doing it the whole evening out of respect, but now that she'd opened the door, he couldn't help but stare at the enormous, pert and shapely orbs that alluringly swelled out from her chest. They were far too large for her tiny frame, but like Jessica Rabbit, seemed to look perfect all the same.

He blinked a few times, feeling that same flush of confidence drain away as the momentum clearly shifted in Bobbie's favor. She trailed her hands up her hips slowly, over her abdomen before finally coming to rest on her breasts, squeezing them together to emphasize their size.

"Ohh...yeah, it's kinda part of being Faye.”  Bobbie wobbled the top half of her body, her breasts oscillating oppositely. “Her whole body seems made for pleasure...and for teasing that same pleasure out of others."

Tim's jaw now hung completely agape at the sight on display before him. "Are you serious...?"

"Mhmm..."Bobbie nodded. "I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried."

"And you like that...?"

“Hmmm?” Bobbie said dreamily, thinking about the things she could do to him.

"Being in that body..." He chuckled nervously. "I mean no offense, but it's kinda different from how I'm used to seeing you."

"Oh, right!" She blushed. "It's amazing...and terrifying all at the same time. Like being on a rollercoaster I can't get off." It took some getting used to, believe me." Bobbie purred, watching how Tim grew ever more mesmerized with each passing second. "But I have to admit, I'm kinda proud of my girls now; and they feel amazing to touch..." She arched her back towards him.

And just back like in the graveyard, Tim had to be encouraged to grab and squeeze.

The feeling of being fondled and caressed was familiar. But it took on another dimension; a dimension of fullness, one that had been heretofore unexplored.

Only because she had never explored it with Tim.

He stooped to kiss her. With his eyes closed, he felt her bend quickly from side to side. Bobbie abruptly broke the kiss.

“What?” Tim said.

Bobbie smiled, pulling her top over head. “Making up for lost time. Faye got to see under the hood.”

“It’s my turn.” The kissing became frenzied, hands probed and explored, Bobbie allowing herself to run a hand under his shirt, feeling the tight musculature underneath.

“Mmm… wait. Let’s go upstairs. I’m sure my mom’s asleep. With a hand trailing behind him, Tim led Bobbie up the stairwell.  He was right. Myka had indeed gone to bed, leaving the apartment’s living room dark and quiet. Stealing away into his room, Bobbie had wrapped herself around Tim. It was awkward being this much shorter with him, but he bent down to accept her kisses with an almost practiced motion.

The kissing and petting grew heavier, past the intensity shown down in the bakery. Tim responding unlike he had during her other attempts. It really is me.

He loves me. For the first time since they had switched, Bobbie understood Justice’s reasoning.

Being free from Justice only made her realize the truth.

Bobbie was never jealous of Faye's freedom as a Thrall.

She was afraid to give herself completely to Tim. It seemed ridiculous now, but looking back on those first few months as Bobbie, everything he had done for her.

 That fear, the fear to commit to that relationship fully was now gone. Standing across the bar, she saw that earlier version of herself hoisting a drink. She knew what she needed to do.

“I love you, Tim.” It was such a relief to say it, as if she’d known all along.

Tim’s heart leapt, just like it had at the graveyard. Only more so, having his true love back in his arms did him just as much good as it did her.

The blur of hands and lips continued as Bobbie goaded Tim into manic, frenzied lovemaking.

It wasn’t as romantic or slow tempo like the party had been. That had all been thrown out the window. It didn’t matter what was happening.

As long as Bobbie was there.

He held her, his warmth radiating into her. He began to sing softly. Bobbie was taken aback, she had never heard that before. His voice was clear and smooth.

If you had not have fallen
            I would not have found you
            Angel flying too close to the ground.

Bobbie turned her head to look at him, surprised.

“I used to smoke pot, Bobbie. Of course I know a Willie Nelson song.” He smiled as he hugged her closer. She fell asleep next to him, feeling his breath tickle the back of her neck. Her hands holding his arms close, not allowing him to let her go.




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