A Whateley Academy Tale
E. E. Nalley
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing alright, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
Timbuk3, The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
September 1st, 2009
2850 Delk Rd, Apartment 55E, Park Knoll Apartments, Marietta, GA 30067
Tansy sighed as she paused in the doorway of the apartment to kick the door shut with her foot and finish bringing the box down the little hallway to the combination living and dining room. It was a spacious town home, three levels, of which, this was the middle and tucked in against the end of the hallway and it's bathroom was the stairwell, going up and down stairs. She put the box on the little mini wet bar that was a part of the 'dining' room and wiped her forehead. “Last one,” she declared to her best friend who was sitting on the couch, deeper in the 'living room' part of the odd little double room.
Off the dining room was this living room, a small deck that opened out onto the alley cove made by rest of the living room and the townhouse next door. Against the one wall of the 'dining room' was a massive cherry wood hutch that Elaine had inherited from her Grandmother, full of what she called the 'good' dishes that Tansy doubted had ever been eaten off of. They were a blue and white fine porcelain in the Wedgwood Chinoiserie pattern that, as the story went, her Grandfather had bought her Grandmother while stationed in Japan after World War II.
How a service man afforded a complete service for twenty from mayonnaise dish to roast carving platter was a question Tansy was too polite to ask. It did, however, require a six foot long china hutch of three levels to display.
From there was the wet bar and the other entrance to the hallway that was posing as the apartments kitchen which led to a breakfast nook solarium that held a maple table and chair set that Tansy realized was the table her family would actually use to eat on. “You lock the Uhaul?” Lanie asked from the box she was sorting through on the couch.
“Yep,” Tansy replied as she left her box on the bar and continued to sit on the couch next to the red head. “and the ramp is back in it too. Though you should have let me hire a moving company.”
“Psh,” Lanie blew through he lips as she removed a DVD from the box and laid it on the coffee table with others. “What do we need or want with movers coming through here?” she demanded. “Besides, you didn't own anything the two of us couldn't move. Useless expense.”
“What are you doing?” Tansy asked her as she leaned back into the softness of the couch and propped her foot up on an open corner of the table.
“Sorting out the movies we don't already have down here from the dupes,” Lanie replied as she casually reached out and shoved Tansy's leg off the table. “Ah figured we store the big collection down here with the TV and the extras we could put up in your room.”
Walcutt giggled at her friend's nesting and subconscious defense of her furniture and put an arm around behind her. “That's fine,” she assured her. “You hungry?”
Elaine shrugged as she pulled a case out and inspected it. “Ran?” she asked. “Ah didn't know you liked Akira Kurosawa...?”
Tansy cocked her head to one side. “Are you serious? You didn't think a film nerd like me wouldn't know about one of the greatest filmmakers of the twentieth century? Next you'll tell me you've never seen Spirited Away.”
“Ah've seen it,” Lanie shot back. “It's...confusing.”
Tansy picked up one of the throw pillows in the corner of the couch and struck her fiancee in the side of the head with it. “Heresy!” she yelled in much put upon mock outrage. “Thou shalt respect Japanese Walt Disney!” Lanie grabbed the other pillow in self defense and the war was on. The two girls giggled as they wrestled, sliding off the couch onto the floor. Lanie ended up on top and pinned Tansy's hands to the floor.
Blue and green eyes locked and the play faded quietly with their breasts pressed together. Lanie lowered her head and their lips joined in what started as an almost chaste kiss, but Tansy open her mouth and wormed her tongue into Elaine's to snake against the red heads. After a timeless eternity, Elaine raised her head and would have risen, but Tansy got her legs around Elaine's waist and held her, using their proximity to rub suggestively against her lover. “God, Ah love you,” Lanie whispered.
“Show me,” Tansy whispered back as she writhed. “Right here on the floor.”
Lanie smirked down at her. “Why should Ah?” she demanded. “When it's so much more fun to deny you and watch you pant.”
“Oh like you don't want to, you red headed vixen!” Walcutt shot back as squirmed up against Lanie's arms and the girls ended up sitting more or less in each other's laps, pinned between the coffee table and the couch, nose to nose and eye to eye. “We are going to fuck like minks,” she whispered. “Aren't we? Together, like this? And when Wyatt gets back from helping his mother...?”
“Ah hope he wants to be a daddy,” Lanie agreed. “We're going to end up giving him a football team and cheer leaders!”
“Oh, tease me with a good time,” Tansy whispered as she let her nose slide off Elaine's and their lips met again. This time it was Elaine's mouth that parted first and their tongues slid off each other as they sat and breathed and kissed. Their lips parted with a soft pop and they were staring into each others eyes again. “Lanie, darling, are you sure...?
The green eyes rolled, but there was a soft expression on her classic, Celtic features. “How long have we already been sharing him, lover? Why stop now?”
“Ah will nurse yours,” Lanie promised her. “You will nurse mine and they will be brother and sister. You are mah wife and he is our husband and Ah'm one hundred percent sure.” Her face drew back, a flash of fear across it. “Unless, you're having second thoughts?”
Tansy smirked at her lover and shook her head. “Second thoughts?” she drawled, over emphasizing Elaine's already thick Southern Accent. “About heaven?” She shook her head and grinned. “Honey childe, please! Besides, what would life be without out a little scandal at our children's debutante ball?”
“Ah. Was. Not. A. Debutante!” Elaine growled, but that only encouraged Tansy and impossibly, her impression of Elaine's accent got thicker.
“Why, Ah won't worry about that now,” she quoted, dripping sass. “Ah'll think about that tomorrow! After all...tomorrow is, another day!” Elaine's eyes narrowed in much feigned outrage.
“That's low quoting O'hara, Blondie!”
“Oh, I'll go low, Red,” Tansy whispered back with heavy innuendo. “Promise.”
“Umm,” smirked Lanie. “Ah do have great fondness of that silver tongue of yours.” The two lovers shared a laugh and held each other for a long moment, Tansy's power letting them hug both in body and mind. It had once freighted Tansy how deeply her power would allow her into someone else's mind, but with every moment spent in close proximity to her love, they both found it easy to deepen and strengthen the bond. So much so, Tansy had found her thoughts drifting to Elaine once when they had been separated where she had been in New York and Elaine had been in Atlanta.
Tansy wasn't a touch telepath, even though her power normally worked best with physical contact. So both of them had been shocked when suddenly they were linked despite being hundreds of miles apart. Now, it wasn't uncommon for Elaine to make a mental note to remember something, only 'hear' Tansy's voice in her mind reminding her at the appropriate time. It was becoming a bit uncanny, in the way that twins could start or finish a sentence for their sibling. Tansy's mind saw a memory Elaine hadn't shared with her yet, and brought it to her lover's attention. “You talked with Wyatt today?”
“Yes, while you were in the restroom at lunch,” Lanie told her. “I meant to tell you...”
“No, it's fine,” Walcutt quickly reassured her. She relived the conversation with Wyatt as though she had had it instead of Elaine. Then she heard him apologize about bad news and her mind was snapped back to the present. “He's going to be an extra day?”
Lanie's mental tone was consoling. “Or two,” she corrected. “It's his mom, baby, you know he hasn't gotten to spend much time with her since she divorced his dad.”
Tansy reverted back to her spoiled rich girl past and pouted. “I know,” she finally allowed. “That doesn't make it easier. We haven't all three gotten to be together since, what?”
“Our honeymoon,” Lanie cooed as her mind went to salacious, pornographic memories that started on her wedding night with her brand new husband and maid of honor that ended with the three of them exchanging vows alone after hours of putting him to stud.
Tansy licked her lips in satisfaction of the memory. “The poor dear, he tried so hard to keep up. He couldn't walk the next day.”
“Oh, Ah think he has nothing to be ashamed about in the stamina department,” Mrs Cody retorted to her sister wife. “Remember that note we found from the hotel's security had slid under the door?” The two women shared a self satisfied laugh as Tansy shook her head.
“Congratulations on your nuptials,” Tansy quoted around her giggles. Then, they finished together, “Please be more mindful of the Hotel's other guests!”
Lanie leaned back against the couch, knowing the pose was provocative and displayed her breasts. “Ah can't ever thank you enough for that wedding, Tans, it was like a fairy tale. All mah dreams come true!”
“Thank you for sharing your fantasy with me,” the blonde assured her. “It was worth every nickle.” She reached down and took a hold of Elaine's T-Shirt and pulled it over her head. “Carmen? Play Killer Queen for us.”
She keeps her Moët et Chandon, In her pretty cabinet...
Elaine smiled as her lover took her breasts in her hands. “You're playing our song,” she whispered as Freddy Mercury's voice purred from the speakers at just the right volume to make love to. Tansy smiled at her as her face descended to her hands.
“Let them eat cake,” she sang along and then her mouth was otherwise occupied. Mrs Cody sighed with pleasure and lay back, wrapping her arms around her lovers head, gently caressing her as she teased the first orgasm of the night from her nipple.
Elaine awoke to the smell of coffee brewing in the California King bed the trio had bought to share. The coverlet was still on the floor and the sheets as much of a mess as her hair was that she brushed out of her eyes. Mostly by feel, she found a pair of shorts and a T-shirt to pull on and padded down stairs, following the smell. In the hallway pretending to be a kitchen, she found Tansy wearing a pair of her jeans and baseball style shirt with the Ford logo across her breasts. She accepted the cup of coffee Tansy held out, pausing to kiss her cheek before proceeding to the not quite Florida room on the front of the apartment by the front door that was dominated by a huge bay window and a sky light above it to sit down at the table.
“Mah jeans look good on you,” she told Tansy after a her first sip of the coffee.
The blonde smiled at her from buttering the toasted bagels she was making. “I do always want in your pants,” she quipped as she brought both bagels and her own cup of coffee to the table.
“Hussy,” Lanie replied around another sip of coffee. Tansy blew her a kiss and took a bite of her bagel. “When is the truck due back?”
“Ten, we've got plenty of time,” she assured her. “I still have no idea how you got me into Georgia Tech.”
“Hey, you aced the SAT on your own,” Lanie protested. “If my knowledge of certain exceptions to the normal enrollment process greased certain gears, you still earned your place.”
“Isn't there a word for those kinds of exceptions?”
“Don't you dare, Blondie...!”
“Loop something...?” Lanies foot shoved at Tansy's leg under the table and they amused themselves for a moment of footsie. After a moment of levity, the two women returned to their breakfast, content to stay in physical contact under the table.
“You decide what you're going to major in?” Lanie asked off hand as she took a bite.
Tansy's blue eyes came up from the course catalog that she'd been thumbing through on the table. “I was actually toying with Naval Architecture,” she admitted as if fearful of being made fun of. “Boating was when I was happiest and I could minor in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on boat power systems.” Lanie's smile was welcome.
“That sounds like it would make you happy,” she told her lover. “Ah think you should. We've got enough money between us, maybe we should start building boats.”
“Walcutt and Cody Shipwrights?” Tansy laughed.
“Wyatt Cody and family,” Lanie corrected. Tansy's radiant smile bloomed on her face to brighten the little breakfast nook. It had been a rare sight in high school, but Mrs. Cody was pleased with herself that it shone through more often now.
“We should call and tell him,” Walcutt shot back. “What about you?”
Elaine stood, collecting her empty plate and Tansy's to take back into the kitchen. “Ah'm going to double major,” she declared. “Aerospace and Electrical Engineering. Maybe a minor in Chemical Engineering.”
Tansy rolled her eyes. “So, what are you doing after lunch?” she drawled as Lanie caught her reflection in the glass door of the microwave oven and quickly began to try and tame her crimson mane. “If I'd known you were such a masochist I'd have gone and gotten a leather bustier and a whip.”
“You do look good in leather,” Lanie shot back from her grooming, refusing to rise to the bait. “Hell, you look good in anything. Or nothing for that matter!” Tansy sent a wave of comfort and reassurance through their link and felt a little knot of jealousy her lover was working very hard to keep from her relax. She gently reminded Elaine of how they'd spent the night, making her lean on the counter and pant softly. “Cheater,” she whispered, obviously enjoying the mental touch.
“Your tits are bigger than mine,” Tansy reminded her. “Beyond that we are exactly the same size, otherwise I wouldn't look as good as you do in your jeans.” She stood and walked over to hug Elaine from behind and began to kiss her neck. “He fell in love with you,” she whispered in her ear. “You did what every girl at that school tried and failed to do, me included. Don't ever consider yourself second best,” she commanded.
Elaine turned in Tansy's arms and hugged her back. She kissed the blonde's cheek and whispered in her ear, “Yes, mistress,” which sent a bit of a thrill through the blond, that the red head immediately noticed. “Oh, she likes it.”
Knowing how sensitive Elaine's nipples were, Tansy reached up and pinched one through her shirt, stopping at the sweet spot between pain, pleasure and arousal. Elaine gasped with the sensation and reflexively shied away, but was trapped at the counter. Tansy felt her nipple engorge under her finger tips and rolled it back and forth between them, always at the exact tipping point. The red head mewed and gasped in the most adorable way that brought a smile to Tansy's face. “We can play whatever games you like,” she commanded, staring deep into her lover's green eyes. “We can dress up in costumes, or play with handcuffs and toys, but at the end of the day, none of that matters. Because I love you, and you love me and we love our husband and that is all that matters.”
Elaine gathered up a handful of her lover's hair and used it to pull her head to the side as she used her free arm and leg to seize her while her lips and tongue took her necking almost to the point a hickey would be left but stopped short. As she knew it would, immediately the tables were turned and it was Tansy's turn to gasp with pleasure as Lanie knew exactly how much Tansy adored necking. The blonde began to pant, but hadn't released Elaine's nipple which was driving her to distraction. Rising from her neck, Elaine put her lips right next to Tansy's ear and slowly drug her tongue over it. “You are mah bitch,” she whispered. “He is our stud and Ah am your whore.”
Tansy's eyes closed and her panting deepened. “Fuck yes,” she whispered. “The truck can be late, I'll pay the fine.”
September 2nd, 2009
U Haul Super Center, 543 Cobb Parkway, Marietta, GA
Despite the torrid start to the morning, the truck was, in fact, returned on time. The yard had come to a stop when the two Exemplars turned in the truck, much to the outrage of a number of wives. Despite the pair of them actively dressing down in simple jeans and T Shirts, but the wardrobe could do little to conceal the beauty of the two. They shared a smile as they climbed back into Elaine's mustang. The growl of the V8 broke the spell and activity returned to the yard as Baby Girl nimbly rolled through a three point turn. It roared out of the lot merging into the traffic and Lanie even got a bit of drift as she turned off US 41 to Georgia 120 Loop towards I-75.
“Well, the day is ours now,” Lanie confided as she shifted gears, slowing for the light at Franklin Road that had changed. “What do you want to do? I can run you down to Tech and give you the nickle tour if you want?”
Tansy freed her blonde mane from the pony tail she'd had it in and let if fall around her shoulders. “No, I'll get that at orientation. Mrs Carson said we should register with the Guardians...”
Tansy looked at her reflection in Elaine's mirrored sunglasses as she turned to look at her. “Ah thought we were going to forget we could do this stuff for a while?” Tansy shrugged and looked out her window, away from her lover.
“I am, we are,” she hedged. “Isn't it a law or something?”
“No,” Lanie replied flatly. “The M.I.D. Is sufficient. What's going on, Tans?” Walcutt shrugged noncommittally and wouldn't meet Elaine's gaze. The light changed and Baby Girl ambled through it, into the turn lane to go south bound onto I75, which was also red and came to a halt again. “Tansy?” Lanie prodded. “Now Ah can't hear your thoughts, what are you keeping from me?”
Tansy's face jerked around, a look of shame on her face and instantly her presence was back in the indescribable way that was telepathic in nature. “I don't mean to keep anything, baby.” For the first time since Elaine and Tansy had returned to the Earth from the Hilton Orbital Casino, Lanie frowned at her. “Honest, Lanie, I swear...!”
“Why are you lying to me, baby?” Mrs Cody asked softly. “Tell me what's wrong.”
The light changed and Baby Girl's Dunlops barked as she rumbled down the ramp, quickly gaining freeway speed. The seconds of silence drug out until Lanie shifted several lanes to the left, bypassing the Delk Road exit and continuing to head south towards Atlanta. “Where are we going?” Tansy asked softly.
“Guardians Tower,” Lanie replied as she up shifted into fifth gear. Tansy opened her mouth to ask why and Lanie added, “Because it's important to you.”
Walcutt whispered, “I...I have a lot to make up for, Lanie.”
“No, ya'll don't,” Mrs Cody declared sharply. “Last month we saved the world, Tansy. The entire fucking world! Ah know you did the math in your head when Ah told Paramount about that god damned rail gun Viridian was making. You saw that pile of war heads Fredrick gathered up to hide! You know what they would have done if he'd used them and Viridian was exactly the psychopath who would have! Whatever red ink you think you've got on your ledger, in mah judgment is it's paid in full.” She stole a glance at her lover and found her head bowed and looking at her feet. Lanie reached out and took her hand. “You're square with the House, Tans. But, if you want to lend Golden Scarab a helping hand every now and then, well, Ah could never let you get into too much trouble without being there to get you out!”
Tansy's fingers interlaced with Elaines and she squeezed them tightly. “Thank you for understanding, Baby.”
“Don't thank me yet,” Lanie told her. “You get to tell Wyatt.”
A smirk pulled at the corner of her lips as she finally looked over to meet Elaine's gaze. “Oh, I'm sure I can arrange things so that he won't mind so much when I tell him.” The red head returned her smirk.
“Don't talk with your mouth full,” she ordered.
Tansy actually blushed and pulled her hand free to shake a finger at her lover. “Oh, like you don't blow him to get your way!”
“Not at all!” Lanie drawled, emphasizing her accent as if butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. “Ah preform fellatio on mah darling husband because he loves it and Tube Steak Tar Tar is mah favorite dish! If he chooses to shower us with gifts that has nothing to do with...”
“Gifts aren't all he showers us with!” Tansy retorted.
Lanie's smile was the cat in the cream. “He does make a mess, doesn't he? But we do love cleaning up after him, don't we?”
The two women looked at each other and grinned. In chorus, they shouted, “Damned Right!”
September 2nd, 2007
Headquarters, The Atlanta Guardians, Midtown, Atlanta
The Guardians of Atlanta worked out of a midtown tower with an attached parking deck. After parking Baby Girl, the two women were even more of a stand out for their casual clothing clashing with the formal business wear of the other tenants of the building, predominately lawyers and CPAs. Though one young and mildly chubby fellow had obviously never seen an Exemplar in person before, The doors opened and he stopped as if he'd been struck in the face such that Tansy rolled her eyes, reached out and gently pulled him into the elevator car by his suit sleeve. “He wants the thirty eighth floor,” she told Elaine, who pushed the button obligingly.
“I...I'm rich,” he squeaked. “Can I buy you a house? I...I mean, dinner?”
Tansy graced him with her smile and straightened his tie for him. “You're sweet, but we're married.”
“I...I...I'm a divorce lawyer,” he managed to get out causing the two exemplars to trade a glance.
“We're married, to each other,” Lanie added knowing at least a little she had just cemented a place for herself and Tansy into the lawyer's fantasy life. The car dinged and the doors opened onto their floor. The doors closed over the blushing lawyer causing them to smile as they went through the door labeled T.A.G. LLC. It was a nice, but otherwise simple lobby, nothing about it decried superheroes, except for a lovely young woman with vibrant chestnut hair and intense blue eyes.
She looked up and started a script, that was instantly replaced with a surprised squeal. “Welcome to...oh my God! It's you!”
“Excuse me?” Lanie asked, but the woman behind the desk was fixed on Tansy.
“Tansy Walcutt, right!” she went on. “Your spread in Vogue was amazing! I...”
Tansy smiled and with the deftest of touches swept up to the desk, hand outstretched. “It's always wonderful to meet a fan,” she declared. The handshake ended just before Tansy began to worry she'd have to forcibly extract her hand.
“I'm deeply honored, Ms Walcutt! I'm Sheila. Sheila Gail.”
“It's wonderful to meet you, Shelia,” Tansy declared in a manner that would have had the most hardened con man believing every word. “This is my wife, Elaine Cody.” Lanie expected to be ignored by someone so star struck, but the girl turned to her and blinked.
“I know you,” she declared. “Yes! You and Ms Walcutt were on the ad for Stephan's of Beverly Hills! Those coats are to die for! I love mine! I just wish it was colder here in Atlanta to wear it more!”
Lanie giggled and shook her head. “That was a long time ago.” She cocked her head to one side. “You're an Exemplar, aren't you?”
The brunette blushed and made a dismissive gesture. “Nowhere near the levels of you two! I...just...wow, this is amazing. How can I help you?”
The two girls produced their M.I.D.s and laid them on the desk. “Is Scarab in?” asked Elaine.
“Elaine Nalley,” Booker 'Golden Scarab' Thomas boomed as he stood from his desk and come around it, hand outstretched. “How the hell are you, young lady?”
Lanie smiled and shook hands with imposing, mountain of black man that towered over both women. She held up her left hand and dittled her fingers to emphasize her wedding set. “Elaine Cody, now, Doctor Thomas. Ah have the pleasure to introduce Tansy Walcutt.”
Booker's dark face split into his bright smile. “Married? If I didn't have the knot tied myself, I'd be jealous. Miss Walcutt, the pleasure is mine. Please, ladies, come in, make yourselves at home. To what do I owe the fortune such lovely visitors?”
Tansy was confused and looked between the two. “How do you two know each other?” she demanded. In a flash Tansy was on a boarding concourse at Hartsfield airport. Some part of her realized it was the end of the Christmas holiday, early January of the most fateful year of her life, 2007. In a blur she relived a horrific terrorist attack, watching in horror as people were machine gunned, felt the deep, blood curdling terror of realizing her lover had made the decision to fight. She watched through Elaine's eyes as she tried first to use disabling shots to counter the terrorists, then realize they were playing for keeps.
She felt her heart race as Elaine made up her mind to kill people. Living through her lover she saw the bullets went home, watched lives end by her hand. Then, horrified, she saw one of the terrorists decide to kill his hostages and then feel Elaine realize she could not stop him and get back into cover. Tansy felt her lover decide to die and ran out, sacrificing herself so that others could live. And when she saved the lives of complete strangers and looked her own death in the face, a pair of strong black arms in gold Egyptian armor come around her and snatched her around as the Golden Scarab made himself a human shield and took the bullets meant for her.
“Lanie,” she whispered, awestruck and full of emotion such that she reached out and hugged her lover tightly.
Booker blinked in confusion. “What just happened?” he asked.
Elaine smiled from comforting the blonde. “Tansy is a telepath, among other skills, I shared the memory of how you and I met.”
The Golden Scarab smiled and shook his head. “That was an explosive introduction, wasn't it?” He finished his motion to sit down behind his and gestured towards a corner that held a small fridge, a coffee pot and other kitchen like odds and ends. “May I interest you ladies in some refreshment?”
“I'm sorry,” Tansy apologized. “That...that was breath taking...”
“Take your time,” Lanie assured her. “Ah'm fine, Doctor Thomas...”
“Booker,” he corrected automatically. He noted Tansy wave her hand in denial and nodded. “Alright, so, what brings you ladies my way this morning?”
Elaine smiled as she fished a handkerchief from her purse and gave it to Tansy. “Tansy and Ah would like to volunteer our assistance, Booker. When needed, we'll be attending Tech, so we'll be in Midtown anyway. Ah'm a Gadgeteer Avatar, and Ah have a power suit. Tansy is a telepath Avatar.”
“Interesting,” the older man drawled. “What types of spirits do you host?”
“Mah spirit is Grizzly,” she replied. “And Tansy's is Mustang. We're both mid to high level combatants with an emphasis on covert operations.”
“Grizzly and mustang,” Booker drawled. “Seems like I've heard whispers of a female bear Avatar working with Lord Paramount. Part of a trio who are likely the reason Class A Wannabe Viridian wasn't captured after Lord Paramount freed the Hilton Orbital.” His dark eyes were intense. “But you girls wouldn't know anything about that, would you?”
“Viridian was caught,” Tansy declared icily. “And he's being punished.”
Booker's eyebrows rose from behind his horn rimmed glasses. “Viridian is alive?”
“No one is really sure he can be killed,” Lanie replied with a glance at her lover. The frown of a super hero is something that is evidently practiced until it's raw intimidation is more effective than any strong arm tactic. Booker Thomas demonstrated he had been a diligent student in the mirror perfecting his own.
“Where is he?”
Tansy's chin rose and she crossed her arms over her breasts. “Give me a moment to do some math and I'll show you if you have a telescope.”
Booker blinked in astonishment. “You spaced him?”
In perfect chorus, the girls replied, “He murdered children and old people.” Booker's expressive face puckered as if he'd bitten down on something sour. He rubbed his chin for a moment, then he opened a drawer in his desk and produced a bottle and three small glasses.
“I know it's early, but this calls for a drink,” he grumbled, unstopping the bottle and pouring a finger in each. “The governor gave me this bottle. It's supposedly the oldest scotch on the market. I'd be honored if you ladies would share a glass with me.”
Lanie looked at the bottle and blinked. “Irish Rover?”
Thomas looked at her. “Do you know the brand?”
“Ah ought to,” Lanie replied with pride. “Mah Great Grandpappy brewed it. It's mah family label.”
“No shit?” Thomas asked with a laugh and presented the girls with a glass each. “Well, I'm even more honored.” He raised his glass and with great formality, toasted, “Justice.”
“Here, here,” Tansy replied, quickly touching her glass to his. She took a sip and closed her eyes to savor the whiskey over her tongue.
Lanie touched her glass and whispered, “Rest in peace, Pappy,” before she took a sip herself. “If ya'll like it, Doctor Thomas, Ah'll see about getting you a bottle from the batch they have fermenting now. For, you know, every day sipp'n.”
Booker put his glass down to re-stopper the bottle and returned it to his desk drawer. “Just so we're clear, The Atlanta Guardians leave punishment to the proper authorities.”
Walcutt blinked in surprise. “You're not going to arrest us...?”
“I wasn't there,” Booker replied evenly. “And whatever happened, most assuredly didn't happen in Georgia, so, not my jurisdiction.” A smile pulled at the corner of his lips as he inhaled the aroma from the Scotch. “So, do I get to say, 'Welcome Aboard'?”
Tansy looked at Elaine who chuckled and shook her head. “Yes sir, yes you do.”
September 7th, 2009
Evens Administration Building, GA Institute of Technology, Midtown, Atlanta
“Hey, I'm Mary, are you Tansy?”
Tansy turned to be almost assaulted by a wall of absolute hatred like opening the coal door of a blast furnace as she came face to face with a dark haired young woman of about twenty. She was dressed in a frumpy manner in a sweat shirt that was at least three sizes too big for her, her hair was greasy and lifeless and her face completely free of makeup which put her uneven complexion on display. All of which was a complete shame as the girl could be very attractive if she cared about her appearance and putting her best foot forward. She was almost a complete, textbook example of what not to do.
Her cute face scrunched into a mask of envious fury as her brown eyes met Tansy's and, not being a paranormal in any way, her mind was an open book. Tansy practically felt herself washed away in a tidal wave of envy, and jealousy while, behind her eyes, Tansy saw a parade of pretty and even beautiful girls who Mary had been abused by. Tansy sighed, then smiled her best smile as she reached out and gently mentally encouraged the girl's own shock at how out of place her visceral reaction had been while letting a soothing wave a reassurance chase the green eyed monster away. She put out her hand and said, “Yes, I'm Tansy Walcutt. It's great to meet you, Mary.”
The girls skin against Tansy's palm let her wash the last of the reaction away and let Tansy feel the brightly glowing hope that Mary had, at last, met a real friend. “I...I,” she stammered, trying to sort out her rapidly changing emotions, then managed to return the smile. “I work for Admissions, they, uh, Mr. Miller, he wanted me to give you the tour.”
“Wonderful!” Tansy enthused. “I hope I haven't missed Rush. What Sorority do you belong to, Mary?”
The other girls eyes went to the floor. “Alpha Delta Pi, but you'll want to pledge to Zeta Tau Alpha.”
“Why is that?”
Tansy felt some of the jealousy return, though much less directed at her. “All the really pretty girls pledge to them,” Mary muttered.
“Well, thanks for the heads up on who to avoid,” Tansy told her warmly. That brought Mary's face up, a look of disbelief on it. “Spend all day around a group of vain harpies, preening? No, thanks.”
A shy smile came back to Mary's face. “Well, we take our studies pretty seriously, Tansy. Fair Warning.”
“Just what I need,” Walcutt shot back. “I'm planing on declaring for Naval Architecture on my major, so I'll need sisters who can help me with the math.”
Now Mary's face was just a bit disbelieving. “You want to design boats?”
“I adore boats,” the blonde replied. “And sailing. America's Cup is my jam!” She paused and cocked her head to one side. “Say, did I catch you on a bad day?”
“Just, Monday,” Mary allowed.
“I mean, I hate to see a girl with so much to work with not live up to her full potential.” Tansy saw the doubt behind Mary's eyes and smiled. A beleaguered, conciliatory reaction to radical feminism was at war with the girl's natural desire to be pretty and popular. From that, Tansy acquired her battle plan. “Well, I could cause a fuss about the Male Gaze or the Patriarchy, but where would that get me? There's no sense complaining about the rules if you can't stop playing The Game, am I right? So, two choices, waste time cutting off your nose to spite people who don't and won't ever care about you while telling yourself the lie you're 'changing the world'. Or, learn the rules, and Game the Game. You think I just wake up looking like this?”
“Yes,” Mary admitted, but her tone was now only half angry and there was genuine curiosity behind her eyes. The little glow of hope was brighter now and the spitefulness of the Radical Feminist was already handicapped by Mary's normal personality, before the meat grinder of high school had chewed her up and spit her out.
“Honey, while I have many genetics to be thankful for, my lips are not this shade of red, nor my complexion this even. And it will only get worse if I do nothing. That's the secret, take care of what you have, and put your best foot forward. You know that sweater is doing nothing for you, right?”
Mary's face pulled into a frown. A thousand insecurities about her figure roared back up in her memory, including a particularly vicious prank at her high school prom that had sent her home in tears. “So, what? Just be a house wife? Clean and cook and be pretty?”
Tansy put her arm around Mary's shoulder as they left the admin building, back out into the sun shine. The close contact let her effortlessly recall every flaw of her date at the time to Mary's memory and how better off she was without him, here at college. “Where did you get that notion?” she chided the girl. “I said, put your best foot forward and game The Game. Consider; what are you studying?”
“Aerospace Engineering,” Mary admitted. A complete fascination with flight pushed out all the bad memories in Mary's mind, the clean, flowing lines of metal birds and timeless style and beauty.
“Oh, my girl is gonna be your very best friend,” Tansy replied around a smile. “So, consider, you're going to interview with Lockheed or Northrop, and you're up against some Chad on this campus for your dream job. Who gets it?”
The Radical Feminist saw an opportunity and came roaring out. “He does,” she muttered, angry again.
“Why?” Tansy demanded, closing the trap on this particularly nasty example of one of Mary's mental demons. “You're hitting the books, right?” The other girl nodded. “Your resume is just as good as his. Now imagine you walk into that interview and not only do you blow the old farts away with all that brain power and you look like a million bucks doing it. Send Chad some consolation roses.”
She sighed as if a weight was off her shoulders as the Radical Feminist was caged. “Seriously?” she asked, anger giving way to in-credulousness.
“Absolutely!” Tansy assured her. “Think about it! Unless they're all gay, they like looking at beautiful young women. And this is a gay friendly town, but there aren't that many queer men in the Aerospace Business. Not to mention, you give them diversity points with government. And you have a spotless resume to reassure the investors. You can be the full package, Mary.”
“But...but, isn't that giving in to the Patriarchy?”
“Honey, they're going to look, nothing is going to stop that,” Tansy declared. “The only question is, do you get something out of it or not? Game The Game.” Mary considered that for a long moment, then took Tansy's elbow and changed direction from the class buildings to a series of large houses with banners displaying the Greek Alphabet.
“Let me introduce you to Susan, she's our Chapter President. I think she's gonna want to Rush you right now.”
Tansy smiled to herself. “Lead on, Sister.”
* * *
Susan, after a conversation that was mostly Tansy pointing out small, but solid tips to the sorority girls in attendance to the interview, did indeed want to Rush Tansy right then. The blonde dutiful pledged and spent most of the remainder of the afternoon giving out style and relationship advice. Though the tutoring Lanie had given her in electronics back in high school stood her in excellent stead with the hard core STEAM hold outs on the admissions council of Alpha Delta Pi.
Once she proved there was a brain under those blonde locks, her natural grace, learned charm and exemplar abilities quickly cemented her place in the sorority. If her conscience objected to the use of her empathic powers to quickly understand her new Sisters problems, she consoled herself that she was giving solid advice in the best interest of whomever she was talking to at the time.
It was the foundation of her reputation that would grow to Legend status in her time at Georgia Tech as the friendliest and most beautiful girl to ever attend the school. By the time she left the Sorority House, she had a pamphlet for Lanie and was formulating a plan to convince her lover to join Alpha Delta Pi. “You're looking very pleased with yourself,” a familiar voice announced next to her.
Tansy turned to take in the human form of Mustang, now wearing the shape of a College Chad, long faced, purposefully ugly antique glasses and a GA Tech Letterman's jacket. “If you've been listening, you'd know why,” she replied with a wink in his direction to show her mood was definitely up.
“You spending time in a Sorority House,” the spirit replied drolly. “Why would I not be paying attention? Still, you were quite the problem solver. I imagine you'll be chapter president as soon as the rules allow it. You have an interesting herd forming.”
“Nonsense,” Tansy shot back. “I'm done climbing ladders. I'm building boats and filling them up so the tide I'm rising lifts up everybody.”
“As you say, Madame President.” He let a pregnant pause come to term and then added, “Actions, speak louder than words.”
The look on Tansy's face was an old one, one she was well used to wearing. “Just watch me work.”