Freeze Frame

by EMW

Part 2

Chapter 4

I woke up with a fairly bad hangover. My head was pounding, I remembered the events of the previous day with shock and confusion. I had been sitting in the student bar openly kissing a guy and girl and enjoying it. Then Nat had gone and arranged for the four of us to meet for coffee on Sunday. As a result of this strange incident my dreams had been interesting, to say the least. Strangely, most had involved little Caitlyn, rather than as I might have thought, the muscular Shaun. Maybe my subconscious was trying to tell me something.

I tried to get up, and groaned as my head felt like it was going to split open. “Take two of the pills on your bedside table Em,” Nat said from her desk.

I rolled over and tried to sort out my random arrangement of limbs that were getting in the way. I picked up the pack of anti hangover meds, checked the dosage, and knocked them back with water, then lay there for a bit waiting for the meds to kick in. Eventually I began to feel a bit better and levered myself up in bed.

“Hey there, how do you feel?” asked an altogether too perky Nat.

“I'm OK, I guess,” I grumbled. Apart from the headache I wasn't too bad. I didn't feel ill or anything, a little thirsty, but otherwise alright. I paused, checking over the events of yesterday in my head, “Was I in the union bar kissing a girl and a guy yesterday?”

“Were you ever! I practically had to pry you off those two.” Nat grinned at me.

“Oh ... part of me was hoping that was a dream,” I said thoughtfully. “I'm going to get some tea, want any?”

“I'm good.”

I grabbed my mug and slipped on enough that I was decent, then padded out of the room and down to the kitchen to make some tea. As I got nearer I heard voices in the kitchen.

“No way!” said Laura.

“I swear! Sandy told me she was in the union bar with her friend and saw a six armed silver haired girl kissing the faces off both a girl and a guy!” said Jenny.

“What, and you think that was shy little Emily?” Laura said unbelievingly.

“Hello, earth to Laura, how many other six armed girls with silver hair do you know? Besides, apparently Nat came along and took the girl away,” Jenny replied.

“Wow! Our Emily doing that, it's hard to believe. I wonder if MORFS super charged her sex drive or something?” said Laura.

“Well it made her look very pretty, maybe that was more than enough. She always struck me as someone who deserved better luck in love. I guess she got it.”

“But Emily, after both guys and girls,” said Laura, “I mean ... Wow!”

Great! Now I’m was going to get a reputation .I guess it’s better than being known as a dull boring nerd girl.’ I padded on into the kitchen.

“Morning,” I said.

“EMILY!” shrieked Laura, practically leaping out of her seat.

“Er ... yes?”, I said.

“Ah ... we heard that ... well um,” said Laura.

“That I was kissing a guy and a girl in the union bar? I was,” I confirmed.

“I didn't know you liked girls Em,” said Jenny.

“I wasn't sure I did, that's how it got started. The guy Shaun suggested I try kissing him, then Caitlyn to see which I preferred, and well, it sort of progressed from there. They'd just rescued me from Mark, I was a little drunk and ... well it was an interesting evening,” I said.

“Did you figure it out then, whether you like girls that is?” Laura asked.

“Still working it out.” I went back to making tea, putting the kettle on.

“What happened with Mark?” asked Jenny.

“He grabbed me in the library started ranting about how Nat was brain-washing me. I pushed him off and then a load of people saw him off. Shaun and Caitlyn were two of them and came with me as witnesses to make a complaint, then they bought me drinks.” I put a tea bag in my mug and covered it in boiling water, giving it a while to brew.

“I hope they lock that bastard up,” said Jenny.

“Yeah, I'm glad you complained against him,” Laura said. “That Caitlyn, wouldn't be Caitlyn Summers would it?”

I dumped out the tea bag and poured in a little milk and sipped my tea.

“Dunno, didn't catch her last name,” I said.

To which Laura burst into a smile, “You are awful. Smallish red head, partial cat hybrid with tail and ears,” said a scandalised Laura.

“Yeah that sounds like her.,”

“Wow! You get rid of that creepy stalker and then move right along to snogging super hot little Caitlyn Summers, and some guy at the same time. You are my hero!” said Laura.

I blushed, not sure what to say to that.

"Oh quit embarrassing her Laura!" said Jenny smiling at me.

I gave her a shy smile back took another sip of tea then made my excuses, "Well I gotta get going. My Mum's coming to take me out to get new clothes, see you later."

I wandered back up to my room drinking my tea and got out my clothes for the day, going for one of my new outfits jeans with my sparkly t shirt. I downed the rest of my tea, grabbed my wash kit, and went to clean up.

After that I put on my clothes and brushed my hair, making me look vaguely presentable. While I waited for Mum, I decided to work on my coordination of my new arms. I tried simple things first, basic control of my new limbs. I got them to copy my original arms at first, as this seemed easiest. After some concentration, I managed to move them independently. I still lacked any fine control, but my brain seemed to be gradually working out how to move my new limbs. After an hour of practising I could move my new arms more consciously and the amount of involuntary movement was much reduced. I was just trying to pick things up with my new hands when there was a knock on the door.

“I'll get it.” Nat raced over and opened the door, “Hello,” she said.

“Hello dear, I'm here to see Emily. Is she in?” said my mothers voice from the door.

“Sure, I'm her roommate, Natalie, come in,” said Nat.

I turned towards the door, fairly nervous and saw my mother walk in dressed in a running suit and light t shirt. She looked over at me, gasped, and stood stock, still covering her mouth with her hand. This caused my sister, wearing a nearly identical outfit who was following Mum, to nearly walk into her. Both stood looking at me a little shocked.

“Wow, Emily, you look really different,” said my sister Alice.

“Indeed, stand up sweetie! Let's take a look at the rest of you,” said Mum.

I stood up and fidgeted fiddled with my hair. My mum and sister came over and began examining me. They turned me this way and that looking at me from various angles, prodded me and touched me, and made me a little uncomfortable.

“Where are your glasses dear? Did you get contacts?” asked Mum.

“No, I don't need them any more.”

“I love your new irises the way they go with your wonderful new hair.” Mum moved my hair out of the way of my eyes for a better look.

“You're taller than me now!” said Alice, then she began pulling on my arms, “Do these work?”

“Sort of, they still don't always do what I say yet, but they are starting to.”

“This is a lovely t shirt dear. How on earth did you manage to get it with six sleeves?” Mum asked.

“I had it made at a little shop called Wings and Tails. They have a machine that will custom make clothes so it's fairly cheap. I had this and this shirt made,” I said picking my crumpled shirt from yesterday out of my to wash box and showing it to them.

“Is that lipstick on your collar there?” asked Alice with a frown, pointing at the shirt.

“Er ... No,” I said, tossing the shirt under my bed, maybe a little too fast.

They stood looking at me for a bit, then mum said, “Well then, we better get on. We have a lot to do.”

“See you later Em,” Nat called out.

I waved as I was led out the door by my sister and mother, each taking one of my arms. They Interestingly, they each picked arms from different sets, my smaller mother grabbed my bottom left arm, my taller sister the middle right. It felt very odd being pulled along by two different sets of arms. We went down the stairs and out the door and were soon walking down the street into town.

“So what do we need to get you, Emily?” asked Mum.

“Quite a bit, none of my old clothes fit. I'm taller, and well, bigger in parts, and that's without the issues of extra arms,” I said.

“Cool we get to dress you up loads, like a six armed doll!” squealed my sister.

“Calm down dear. now the arms will be an issue. You say this place that made the t shirt can make stuff on demand and fairly cheaply?” Mum asked.

“Yeah, they don't do much in the way of range, but they can do tops that will fit me OK
“Well we'll have to head over there and get a bulk order in. I doubt conventional shops will cope with your new limbs. Once we have that done we'll be able to get the rest of your wardrobe at the normal shops I should think. Right then, lead the way to this specialist shop,” Mum directed.

I headed straight over to Wings and Tails. On the way I noticed we were turning a few heads as we walked by. Being out with my Mum and Sister had always been a depressing experience, their attractive toned bodies drawing all the stares, while I was either ignored, or in some cases, laughed at. Now I was drawing as many looks as they were. I was sure that was partly down to my extra arms, but even then there were some looks that couldn't be mistake for anything but lust. This was a totally new sensation for me. No one had ever looked at me with lust before my change, not even creepy stalker guy.

We wandered into the store, which was busy with the weekend trade. My multiple limbs drew stares among the other customers most of whom also sported something extra. They didn't stare for too long, probably knowing how much it annoyed them to be stared at. I found the salesgirl, from the day before, and attracted her attention.

“Hello, there good to see you back, the top looks good on you. Are you here for some more?” she asked.

“Yes, is Charlie in?” I asked.

“I will see if she's free,” she said and dived off into the back, returning a moment later and gesturing for me to come over, “Go on through, you know the way.”

I wandered into the back, followed by my mother and sister, making my way into Charlie's workshop. She was sitting at a workbench, tinkering with some object or other.

On seeing me coming she broke into a broad grin, stood up, and walked over. She surprised me with a hug, “Welcome back, Emily, come for some more stuff?”

“Yes. Charlie, this is my mother and my sister, Alice. Mum, Alice, this is Charlie, the genius behind making custom stuff for people like ... like me, ” I finished

“Pleased to meet you,” said Mum.

“Hi,” said my sister, who was looking around at all the machinery with a fairly disinterested look on her face. Technology was not really her thing. If she couldn't run on it, or climb it, or throw it, she wasn't interested.

“We are here to get my daughter sorted out with a new wardrobe, and after seeing the splendid work you did with this t shirt. I thought it was best to start here,” said Mum.

“Great stuff! A full wardrobe you say, could cost a fair amount,” said Charlie.

“She's unlikely to find good clothes that fit her unique shape elsewhere. So I'm willing to pay more for the more tailored fit you are able to provide,” said Mum.

“Well jolly good. Let's get started. I have Emily's measurements already keyed in. What sort of designs are we talking about?” asked Charlie, indicating we should take a seat around her terminal.

“A range would be good, she needs all new things. So a selection of styles so she can have some choice would be ideal,” said Mum.

“And she needs some sexy tops to show of her new boobs!” blurted Alice.

“Alice!” After a hard look at my sister, Mum went on, “While I wouldn't quite put it in those words, something along those lines would be useful so she can look her best when out.”

“Right ho,” said Charlie, tapping away with a grin, bringing up my measurements.

She soon had the default six armed shirt, as well as the six armed t shirt she had done for me before, up on screen. Mum ordered a few of the shirts and then she and Alice chose a few variants on the t shirts, with different neck lines and fits. Then Charlie cooked up some more fancy wear, some sleeveless shirts with a fairly scandalous neckline which my sister chose, and some less racy things that still showed off my assets a bit. Once the styles were picked, Mum and Alice began picking out materials, I was made to stand up while they compared various fabric swatches, and debated what colours went best with my eyes. tried to give some feedback, though most of it was ignored. I did managed to prevent Alice having all my more clubbing tops made in skin tight gold and silver lamé. I think she still sneaked one in there, it did kind of go with my eyes and hair, but it was a bit odd to think of myself wearing it.

After a few hours of this, Charlie had a huge order to fill and my mother hit her credit card for the first time of the day. She seemed pleasantly surprised by the cost, I was aghast.

“This is nothing compared to prices for up market fashion brands, dear. You are getting a pretty good bargain for essentially custom tailored clothes,” Mum said. I took her word for it.

In the end I was getting a week or two worth of every day clothing (shirts, t shirts, and normal looking tops), as well as a few items of more fancy wear I could go out in.

We left Charlie franticly fabricating away. She said that we had basically bought up her time for most of the day, just running the machines to take care of our order. I don't think she was unhappy about that, I would guess very few people came in and ordered a whole new set of clothing. Usually they could make do with what they had, or get most items off the shelves and modify them.

As we headed into town proper, I was a little more nervous, as I didn't have my coat, so my arms were uncovered. Earlier my brain had still been fuzzy from the hangover, so I hadn't really been aware enough to feel self-conscious. Then in the shop, most people had at least some differences, so I hadn't felt too exposed. Now we were out in the main thoroughfare, it was a lot busier, and I was feeling just a tad anxious.

I tried to conceal my new arms somehow, make them appear as just one set by careful arrangement and standing close to my mother and sister.

Alice, eyeing my attempts to make my arms look more normal, asked,  “What are you doing, Emily?”
“Trying not to look so different,” I said quietly.

“Why? You look cool with load of arms. You stand out, not like you were before, all plain and stuff,” Alice said poking me.

“Oh leave her alone. I’m sure she is just a little nervous,” Mum told her, putting her arm around me and rubbing my back reassuringly. “It's tough being different, but you'll manage it, sweetie.”

Alice regarded me speculatively, "So besides growing extra limbs, what have you been up to, Sis?"

"Well I ..." I started.

"I've been doing loads," my sister jumped in before I could even really answer, "We had the school netball finals, which we won. I got a trophy. I was in the girls football and the hockey also, but we didn't do as well."

"I did a ..."

"My friend Sally competed in the local 400 meters, I was in the relay with her. She reckoned our team wasn't strong enough this year. Hopefully next year we'll get a stronger line-up. I'm hoping to get higher up in the teams, maybe captain some of them."

“That sounds ...”

“I was looking at doing some work over the summer, maybe some sort of voluntary work. They say that sort of experience looks good on your application to university. My friend Heather did a load of working with some kids or something. It looked like a lot of hard work, so I might just work at Mum's or something, but she said it's worth some extra credit's or some such.”

“I heard it can help but mostly, grades are what they ...”

“I might just go on a holiday. I know you just worked, but that's just boring. Might as well enjoy the time while you can. My friend Erika's family own a canal boat. We thought we might take that out. Or maybe go to France. Becky's family rent a French holiday home, a gîte, from an old friend of theirs and we might go down with them.”

“It would be ...”

“Although Mum said we might go to the states this year, isn't that right Mum.”

“We'll see dear, nothing’s decided yet and it depends how busy your father is,” Mum said.

“Daddy's been really busy recently, lots of big meetings, always rushing off. He took me up to London with him when he was up there. We saw a show in the day and then Mum joined us for dinner it was great fun.”

“I ...”, I managed a single letter before she cut me of again.

“For my birthday this year I quite fancy a trip to London, not sure if I invite my friends, or if I just have it with the family. You'd come along if we had a day out wouldn't you? I like going up to the city there's always loads to do and see, you always liked the museums but they're boring. There are loads of great shops up there. I got these shoes in London, I would have had to order them at home. The shops at home are fairly rubbish, here is better but not as good as the city. Still I guess you don't do a lot of shopping normally, it's not your thing.”

“Not ...”

“So what have you been up to, you're very quiet are you alright,” she said, her machine gun monologue of the life and times of Alice Owen finally seeming to come to an end.

I paused and waited to see if she was truly done. When she didn't launch into her plans for a party or her latest sporting achievements or something else I said, “I'm doing OK.”

I was about to talk about what I had been up to, but by that point she had turned away, seeming to loose interest. We were approaching the clothing bit of the shopping centre, so I guess she was distracted by the shiny outfits.

I was taken into various shops and treated like their very own dress up doll. They picked stuff out for me to wear. Almost all of my choices were thrown back by my sister, who said that they were granny clothing. This, from the girl who wore a track suit almost all the time. She wanted me to wear a load of incredibly revealing clothing, from skimpy thongs, to tiny bikinis, to skirts so short they were practically belts.

Luckily my mother was more reserved in her selections and reined my sister in, making sure I would at least have some skin covered. She also tended to go for things that showed my new body off, but not so much that I would freeze to death at the first breeze, or that made me feel like I was some sort of cheap tart.

We had a brief break for lunch. My appetite was still a little touchy from the booze. Alice interpreted this in her own special way, “I see now you've got a figure to watch you're already watching it by taking it easy on the food. You got the hang of that quickly, Sis,” she said, grinning brightly.

After lunch we did some more shopping. We couldn't do much in the way of jumpers. Charlie was producing a couple more, thick materialed tops to serve the job some of the time, but anything else would have to go over my new limbs. I got a couple of extra baggy jumpers and cardigans so I would have something warm to wear. I looked through jackets but any that would fit me well would not accommodate my new limbs. I even gazed longingly at this swish long leather coat, but I guess such speciality items are beyond me now.

In the end I had loads of bags of clothing, which was one of the few times my new arms came in useful. After some persuasion I managed to get my additional hands to grip the shopping bags and leave my normal hands free.

I told Mum about Nat wanting to take me to the gym to test myself and she thought it was a great idea. Since she was an exercise fanatic and ran a gym, I wasn't that surprised at that. We went to a sporting shop and my sister was off like a shot to look at all the new trainers and sporting equipment.

Mum took me over to the rows of various workout outfits and went through them. She whipped out a measuring tape and began sizing me up to work out what sort of clothes to go for, looking for ones that would fit me and accommodate my extra limbs. She got me a few sports bras, something I had never imagined myself needing before. Then we went in search of tops to wear over them, Mum found some little tops that would cover just my chest and leave my tummy uncovered. They made me a little uncomfortable, since my lower two sets of arms would be completely uncovered, which bothered me a bit. She also got some vest like arrangements that I could cut some holes in for my new arms. Once we had that, some shorts, and one track suit, I was more or less done.

I was weighed down by shopping, even with my new limbs, and feeling a little worn down. Mum guided me to a coffee shop for a break. Alice followed with a look of distaste on her face, she hated coffee. Even the smell drove her mad. Mum took her aside, handed her something, and she ran off.

“What was that about?” I asked.

“Oh I just gave her some money so she can go and get herself some new makeup while we have a nice coffee. Knowing her and choosing colours, we will be finished long before she has even chosen one lipstick,” Mum said with a smile.

We each got a coffee then sat down. After a little convincing, my hands let go and I was able to put the bags down and relax.

Once we were both settled, Mum leaned across the table and looked deep into my eyes using her serious expression, “The other reason I wanted to get rid of Alice, was so we could have a little time alone to talk. I wanted to see that you were really alright.”

I sipped my coffee a little and tried to work out what to say. “I don't know yet,” I said quietly.

“Well, how have people treated you? Have you had many problems with how you look now?” Mum asked.

“Some better, some worse. There were some jerks who had a go at me, and some people who have been really, really nice.” Images of Caitlyn and Shaun sprang unbidden to my mind’s eye, making me shiver thinking about just how nice they'd been to me. “Plus, Nat's been great. A wonderful friend and roommate.”

“People have been unkind to you though.”

“Yeah, these two guys in hall right after I got back from the hospital, made a big thing about my arms. Called me a freak.”

“What happened?”

“Nat kicked their arses. I guess I helped a bit. They tried to accuse us of attacking them, but we had loads of witnesses.”

“Well I'm glad you didn't take it lying down. I know you have never been one to be out there and announce yourself. You are more into sitting quietly in the background.”

“I was boring and dull.”

“No, I wouldn't say that. You were you're own person, regardless of what others might want. Now ... well it must be hard for you to find your new place.”

“Yeah, I've always just blended in with the wall paper. I was the ugly plain girl who hid away.”

“You were never ugly, sweetie.”

“Well, maybe ... I always felt it, at least a little. I hid in the background. No one looked at me, and for the most part that was fine with me. Now I stand out. Even without my extra arms, I stand out. It's tough to adjust. I went from someone the only person showing an interest in was some creepy stalker guy, to getting looks all the time.”

“There was someone stalking you?”

“Yeah, he was weird. We went on one date, I decided I didn't like him, and told him so in a friendly way. I didn't hate him, I just didn't feel he was someone I could get along with, but he wouldn't leave me alone and started following me around. He would hang around outside the house. It was nasty. I reported him, so hopefully he's not going to bother me any more.”

“Hmm,” Mum said sipping her coffee.

“Now, I'm pretty, people have been noticing me more. I still look a little plain next to Nat, but I guess being a bit freakish makes me more noticeable.”

“Well, don't sell yourself short. You are a beautiful young woman. You always were, just lacking in a little confidence," Mum said.

I shrugged noncommittally and drank my coffee.

“I know we were never really that close when you were growing up. I guess I tended to spend more time with your sister. As you two got older, she started to have similar interests and you went your own way. I sometimes wish I'd made more of an effort so we were close. I still love you very much and want to be your friend. I really want you to be happy, so if you need anything, please call me,” she said.

We sat talking about nothing much after that, just chit chat. It was nice to just sit there with my Mum and just talk, like I was still the same Emily as before. Eventually we finished our coffee and then went to find Alice. We had taken quite a while and I was a little surprised that Alice hadn't returned already.

She was still trying to work out what shade of eye shadow went with the lipstick she had chosen. At Mum’s insistence, I got a few new bits of make-up too. I decided if I was going to go out and look nice, I might as well go the whole hog. I got a few colours of lipstick and eye shadow that went nicely with my new eye and hair colour. I also got some nail polish and it occurred to me that I would need to buy the stuff in bulk now, seeing as I had 30 nails to colour.

We wandered back over to the Wings and Tails shop to see if my tops were finished yet. We were met by a fairly frazzled looking Charlie, who cheerfully informed us that my stuff was all ready. Cue yet another session of dress up for Mum and Alice.

I had to admit though, Charlie had certainly delivered. I now had a stack of new tops that would fit me, and they all looked pretty good. I had enough clothes that I could get by again. When I had done enough trying on of things to satisfy Mum and Alice, we bid Charlie a fond farewell. Then, weighed down by packages, we headed back to the hall so I could put away some of these new purchases.

It had been a funny sort of day. I had waked up confused and in no small amount of pain from my hangover, but now I felt pretty good and had gotten comfort from talking with Mum. We hung up my new clothes and bagged up the old ones that no longer fitted. Mum knew a charity shop that we could donate them to so they wouldn't go to waste. I kept a few items that were special, the odd souvenir from trips and the like or present from a loved relative. Even if I couldn't wear them any more, I didn't want to get rid of them, as they were a small link to the old me. Besides, I might be able to modify them.

After that Mum invited me and Nat out to dinner with her and Alice. Naturally we accepted. Mum drove us to a reasonably swanky restaurant. We got there and as we waited to be seated, I noticed that Alice was now wearing a coat and acting a little odd, holding her hands behind her. Maybe it was some random exercise she decided she needed to do all the time, but it was strange even for her.

Eventually the head waiter turned up, he was a fairly smartly dressed man with slicked back hair who seemed to regard everyone as inferior to himself just by his bearing, “You have reservations?” he asked.

“Yes, Mrs Owen, table for four,” Mum said.

“Yes I see you, I will just see if your table is ... ready,” he had suddenly paused his eyes locking on my extra limbs, “Oh, this will not do!”

“What will not do,” asked my Mum a touch confused.

“You are not in the er ... er ... proper dress code!” he said, reaching for a reason all the while staring at my limbs.

My mother followed his gaze and then stiffened, “As of when? Just a moment ago we were fine. Now suddenly we are not in the proper dress code?” Mum said icily.

“I do not make the rules, madam, these are the rules of the establishment. You will have to take your business else where,” he said, sneering.

Nat began looking daggers at him, and crossed her arms in front of her. She looked pretty pissed off. The body language seemed to ruffle his feathers a bit, so I decided to give it a go. I decided to make the most of my multiple limbs and with a lot of concentration, I managed to cross my

top set of arms and then cradle my fists with the middle set and then stand hands on hips with the lower set. All manner of eyebrow raising went on from the waiter, and several tables near the door began taking an interest in our little party.

“I wish to speak to your manager!” said Mum.

“That is not possible. Please vacate the premises immediately, or I will have to have you ejected,” said the head waiter.

By now, even Alice looked pissed off at this guy. That might just have been because he was holding up her eating though.

The raised voices must have attracted attention as a well dressed woman came walking briskly over from somewhere deeper in the restaurant.

“I'm the manager here, what seems to be the problem?” she said looking a little concerned.

“These th... customers lack the proper dress code so I was asking them to leave. They refused!” the waiter said.

The woman frowned and looked at the waiter seemingly confused, “What dress code? We don't have one,” she said.

“I posted the dress code I require in this restaurant prominently. That you are too lazy to read it is not my problem!” the waiter spouted.

The woman's demeanour changed entirely, “Now look here Frank. YOU do not run this restaurant, I do. You may have had sway when my father ran the place, but I pay your wages. There is no dress code! Even if there were, there is a customer over there in a track suit just like these ladies. Why let him in?”

“He is a long time customer, Mr Anderson. He is an upstanding member of the community and a clean individual. The same standards do not apply to the elite over the common animals!” the waiter shouted.

By now most of the restaurant was watching. “That is the last straw! I will not stand for your racist and bigoted standards and your attempts to take control of the restaurant any longer. You are fired! Get out of here now!” the woman shouted.

The Waiter turned bright red and began spluttering like a pot on a stove, “F ... Fired! FIRED! You have the nerve, the gall, the insolence, to suggest that you could fire me! I made this restaurant what it is. I made it the award winning fine dining experience that made your father his money. Then you and your sister take over and begin all manner of outrages, stepping on my authority, employing those beasts in the kitchen, eventually even forcing me to accept their filthy presence as serving staff! You won't last five minutes without my running this place. You are a clueless idiot, just like your father was! At least he had the good sense to stay out of the running of MY restaurant!” He was practically screaming.

“Leave now or I will have you thrown from the building. I will have your final money forwarded to you. I don't want to see you in my restaurant ever again or I will have you arrested for trespassing!” the woman said in a very cold dangerous voice.

The shouting had brought a stocky woman dressed in a white kitchen uniform, with facial features similar to the manager’s, out front. She was holding a meat cleaver in a not too unsubtle intimidating gesture.

The waiter took one look at her and then turned made for the exit of the building. Pushing past us, he made to shove me out the way. Nat moved like a blur and interspersed herself between him and me. His shove hit her instead, and he just bounced off her like she was a wall, toppling to the floor.

“Watch where you're going, jerk!” Nat shouted at his prostrate form.

He made more angry noises, but got up and was out the door in a far more dishevelled state than when we first saw him.

The manager let out a sigh and the other woman with the cleaver vanished back into the kitchen again.

“I'm very sorry about that,” said the Manager. “I do hope that unpleasant incident hasn't put you off eating here. I'm happy to say that our EX-head waiter's views are not shared by the rest of the staff here.”

“Well, I'm certainly still hungry,” said Mum. “Girls?”

We all nodded. Quite frankly I was famished. My appetite had returned with a vengeance after its hangover induced retreat, and the small amount I’d had at lunch meant I was even hungrier than usual.

“Well then, I will show you to your table and have one of my best girls take care of you,” she said with a smile.

She led us into the gradually quieting restaurant. Some eyes followed us to our table, but mostly people got back to their meals. Despite the ex-waiters pretensions, inside it seemed to be a friendly family restaurant. It looked like good quality, but it was not the sort of place where there was undue ritual or stuffy rules to follow.

We were seated at a nice round table with Mum sitting opposite me, Nat on my left, Alice on my right. The manager gave us all menus and said, “I'll see about sending over your waitress to get you some drinks. If you need anything at all, please ask her or any of the rest of our staff. I hope you enjoy your meal.”  She smiled and went off through some swinging doors, (I presume to the kitchen), and returned a short while later and began manning the entry area.

We sat perusing the menu for a bit. It all looked good. I was going to have trouble deciding what to have for my starter, let alone the rest of the meal. A short while later a young brown haired waitress came out of the back and up to our table. She was a partial hybrid with scales on her hands and down the sides of her face. She was quite tall, at least six feet if not taller, but she looked as though she was fairly young, maybe still in school.

“Hello,” she said with a warm smile, “I'm Amanda. I'll be your waitress for this evening. Angela said I should take special care of you, so if you need anything, give me a shout. Now, can I get you some drinks to start off with?”

“Would you girls like some wine?” asked Mum.

“I don't like alcohol!” said Alice, making a face.

“Not you dear. You're too young anyway,” Mum said. “Natalie, Emily?”

The very thought of alcohol made my stomach churn, "I think I'll just have a soft drink," I said.

"Good idea Sis. Alcohol is very bad for you. I'm glad you don't drink," Alice said.

"Oh she drinks," grinned Nat. "She was out late last night drinking, which I guess is why she is abstaining today."

"Are you sure dear?" Mum asked.

"Well, maybe I'll have a small glass," I said.

Mum ordered us a bottle and our waitress dashed off to get our drinks.

Mum turned to Nat with a grin and said, "So was Emily acting outrageously yesterday, drinking singing, and seducing the boys?"

"I was at home for most of it, but when I came to collect her, the seduction part was right, she was kissing the face off someone when I showed up," Nat said grinning.

I squirmed uncomfortably, "My, my, Emily out cavorting with young gentlemen and having her way with them. Well I never," Mum said.

"Girls, too," said Nat, then clapped her hand over her mouth eyes wide, realising what she had said.

"You were kissing girls?" asked Alice.

"A little," I said quietly.

"Oh!" said Alice looking very pleased with herself, "that explains the lipstick on your collar!"

"I was just trying to work out which I liked better, kissing girls or kissing guys," I said.

"What did you decide?" Mum asked seemingly not bothered in the least that I had been out kissing girls in public.

"Not sure yet," I said.

"Well no need to rush these things," said Mum with a smile. "I was similar at university, exploring all the options to see what worked for me. It's part of what being at university is about."

"You were a lesbian at uni?" said Alice.

"Not as such dear. I had some lesbian friends. and after an evening out one convinced me to try kissing her. It didn't do anything for me. but we became best friends and ended up sharing a house together. Also. through her I met your father, her brother," Mum said.

"Auntie Mary is a lesbian!" said Alice.

"Of course she is dear. She introduced us to her girlfriend, Amy, at last Christmas," Mum said looking at Alice quizzically.

"Oh ... When she said she was her partner, I thought she meant like a business partner." Alice looked confused.

"Well I've never seen Dad kissing any of his business partners under the mistletoe the way Auntie Mary was kissing hers," I said. We all giggled a little at that, even Alice joined in after a while.

I never knew my Mum was that open minded. I guess I should have, what with Auntie Mary. This new information about the two of them was hard to wrap my mind around. I found it hard to picture mum and Auntie Mary snogging when they were in university. It was a very strange image.

Our waitress Amanda returned with our drinks, we sat sipping them as we considered what to eat. After much deliberation I went for a soup to start, followed by blackened swordfish with pasta. I was getting quite hungry by this point. Amanda was over to take our order very promptly. The manager obviously wanted to leave us with a good impression, given what had happened. She took our orders, focussing on us each in turn. I noticed she and Nat shared a strange look when she was taking her order.

“What was that about?” I asked Nat.

“Huh?” she said seemingly distracted.

“With you and our waitress,” I prompted.

“Oh, dunno I think she might be empathic, too. I got a sort of feedback off her,” she said with a shrug.

"So what have you two been studying?" asked Mum.

"Some programming; some maths, s-plane stuff; a few basic control courses," I said.

My sister made a face to indicate she was already bored with this topic, "How about you Natalie?" Mum asked.

"I do the same stuff as Em. we are on the same course. It's why they made us roommates," she said.

"Are you both enjoying it?" Mum asked.

I nodded Nat said, "Oh yes. The theories and implications are fascinating! Every day there is new stuff to get to grips with. All the new ways of approaching problems are mind blowing, I mean, using Laplace to shift things to s-plane and thereby simplify integration and differentiation was a revelation," she gushed. Despite her sexy outer shell, Nat really was a geek at heart.

Alice was now making even more bored faces, "Alice! Stop that!" Mum said in a slightly stern tone, "it is frightfully rude, and very childish."

Alice could be a little childish and self centred sometimes. She pouted and then looked away sullenly. she.

"Anyway I'm glad you two are having a good time. You know what they say, these are some of the best years of your lives, so make the most of them," Mum said with a smile.

"So what do you do for a living, Mrs Owen?" asked Nat.

"I run a gym, I also run various fitness classes when I'm not weighed down with paperwork."

"Any sort of classes in particular?"

"No, I usually fill in the gaps or take over when people are away and the like. I occasionally run a women's self defence class, but recently one of the martial arts people had the time to take it over." She paused in thought, then continued, "You girls should consider going to a class. It's a skill worth knowing."

Now we were back in vaguely sport areas, Alice was perking up again, "I did one at Mums gym. It was good, and we got to throw around some guy in a padded suit. I thought about taking some martial arts up properly, but I was too busy with other sports."

Further discussion was cut off by our starters arriving. We tucked in with gusto and said very little. My soup was leek and potato, it was very thick and creamy, real rib sticking food. As an experiment, I tried using my lower hands to hold a napkin. It was still a little bit death grip but I could use it to dab my mouth, albeit slightly robotically. It left my more dexterous hands free for spoon and bread dunking duties.

We swiftly polished off our starters and I saw satisfied smiles round the table. Amanda appeared from somewhere out back and swiftly cleared away our dirty dishes.

As we sat waiting for our next course, Mum commented on my use of my new limbs, “I noticed you using one of your new hands to hold your napkin. You seem to be getting the hang of them.”

“They seem to be responding more the  I want them to do, but they’re still a little more independent than I'd like. Not as bad as when I first had them when they were flapping about all over the place. They still don't feel part of me as such.”

“It will probably take your body a while to adapt to them, sort out your new body image. I expect they'll be as good as your regular arms before long, especially if you keep on trying to use them,” Mum said.

“What's it like having six arms?” asked Alice leaning her arms on the table and supporting her head in hands as she leant towards me staring at my new arms.

“It's a pain, I can't get normal clothes, they move about on their own making mischief, and I have no idea what to do with them when I go to sleep,” I said.

“But I mean, can you feel with them?”

“Yes, they are just like normal arms only there are more of them.”

“Cool, and they can do everything your normal arms can do?”

I moved and mimicked her position with elbows on the table head held in hand but with all 6 of my arms, “Everything, more or less. I've not got very fine control over them yet, I can make them pick up big things but they are sort of an all or nothing grip and their motion is a little uncoordinated.”

“Girls!” said Mum with a smirk, “that's very bad manners, elbows off the table. Can't take you two anywhere.”

We all had a laugh at that and with some effort I folded my arms back out of the way.

“She was being way more rude that me,” giggled Alice.

“Three times as rude,” said Nat.

Nat turned to Alice after our giggles had died down and said, “What courses are you studying at school?”

“Oh a few things, English, Drama, French, and Economics and Politics,” she said.

“Wow, quite a mix,” said Nat.

“Yeah, I thought about doing history or some such, but it clashed with French. So I took the politics and economics instead. I was never good at maths and sciences though, so the economics is a little tough for me.”

“I did economics when I was at school, I found its maths fairly easy. It seemed to have just the one sort of graph and then depending which way round you drew it depended on what it meant. I was always good at maths though. Physics, maths, and further maths were my other subjects.”

“How did you do at Economics?” I asked.

“I got an E,” grinned Nat, “It didn't really gel well with my other subjects. It was all about memorising loads of stuff, whereas maths and science is more learn the basic formulas and how to apply them and you are good for any situation.”

“Two different skill sets, I guess,” I said, to which Nat nodded.

“Where you always interested in science and maths Natalie?” asked Mum.

“Pretty much. I would drive my parents crazy by taking all my toys apart to figure out how they worked. After a while I worked out how to put them all back together again afterwards, but for a while there were bits of toys everywhere in my room.”

“What do your parents do?”

“Mum's a piano teacher, and Dad's a lawyer. I guess you could say I don't really take after either of them.”

“Much the same could be said of Emily. Any brothers and sisters?”

“I have an older brother, but he is a lot older than I am. He was really out on his own by the time I was old enough to talk.”

"How are you finding being roommates, having to share space with someone."

"It was a little scary at first. I had heard some horror stories so was a little apprehensive, but Emily and I got on really well. It's been great fun living with her. We are best of friends."

"I'm glad, I'm sure having a great friend as a roommate has done wonders for Emily's confidence."

"She's always dragging me out on double dates with guys she's snared," I said with a grin.

"Well you managed to snare the most recent two people, although you only managed the one guy. I just made the date happen," she said sticking her tongue out at me.

"So you're seeing your new friends again?" Mum queried.

"Yeah, for coffee on Sunday," I said a little uncomfortably.

"Well that's nice, I'm glad you're not the sort of girl who is out for one night stands," mum grinned.

I sat there blushing, "She's so red she looks like a tomato," giggled Alice. "So did you get any powers?"

"Not that I'm aware of," I said.

"Did you have a post MORFS exam and a telepath check?" asked Mum.

"No, I'd had enough of tests and doctors. Besides, telepaths freak me out a little." I shuddered.

“Well I understand your reluctance to have someone else looking inside your head, but it may be worth getting checked. Better to know about some ability so you are not surprised by it later. Some of them can be quite dangerous,” Mum said.

“OK, I'll think about it.” She had a point. I still didn't like the idea of having some telepath rifling through my mind, though, it was creepy.

Our waitress Amanda returned carrying the main course. She quickly handed out the dishes and after a few trips back to the kitchen we all had plates in front of us.

Conversation was once again silenced due to food. It was wonderful, a really great tasting meal. The sauce on my swordfish was delicious. I completely cleaned my plate of every morsel and mopped up with a piece of bread to get all the remaining sauce. Judging by the appreciative noises, everyone else seemed to feel their food was as good as mine.

We finished up and sat back, sated. I felt more or less full by this point and was thinking it unwise to have anything more, but then Mum said, “So, does anyone want desert? I hear they do a wonderful chocolate cake, award winning, no less.”

Ah the magic words! I loved chocolate cake, and an award winning one sounded good. Of course it could have won an award for the worst ever chocolate cake in the world, but my cake addiction overrode my will to inquire further.

“Cake!” Alice and I said almost in unison. It was one of the few things as sisters we had in common, a near obsessive level of love of chocolate cake.

“Well, I don't know,” said Mum with a grin, “Maybe a sorbet would be better for you two.”

Alice snatched up her knife and fork and held them in front of her on the table, tapping them against the table.

“Chocolate Cake!” she said, grinning.

Not to be outdone, I gripped as many pieces of cutlery as I could lay my hands on in all my many hands, “Chocolate Cake with Cream on it!” I added.

“Some things never change,” Mum said with a conspiring grin. “Will you join us in some chocolate cake, Natalie?”

“No thanks, I don't like chocolate cake. I'm afraid I think it tastes horrible,” she said with a shrug.

“Blasphemy!” exclaimed Alice with a look of mock shock on her face.

I did my best to play along by opening my mouth wide and clapping my top hands on my cheeks. Nat took one look at the two of us and burst out laughing, nearly falling off her chair. I didn't think it was that funny, but maybe she'd had more wine than I had or something.

Her giggles had just calmed down when Amanda returned to clear the table. She took orders of 3 cakes, a vanilla ice cream for Nat, and coffees for all of us bar Alice. She returned a short while later with the coffee and the desserts. Alice devoured her cake like it was some powerful recreational drug in sponge form, I took my time a little, savouring the flavour.

It was good cake, probably in my all time top ten of chocolate cakes, though not at the top of the list. One summer we had travelled to the south of France, driving all the way. We stopped overnight at a little cheap hotel in the middle of the country, where they did the most fabulous chocolate cake. Nothing yet had equalled it, I was beginning to think nothing would. I had two theories to explain this: one was that it was down to the failings of human memory, in that the memory was now so hopelessly entrenched as the best cake ever, no real cake could compare. The second theory was that the hotel and restaurant were one of those mystic places that appear once every 100 years out of the mists. It served up the best chocolate cake ever made to those weary travellers who happened upon it and then, come morning, vanished for another age. Those who had tasted its wares were then doomed never again to experience its wonderful produce. They would live their lives constantly in search of that elusive perfect chocolate cake that had once been theirs.

The second theory didn't have many subscribers. Admittedly, I had only told Alice who had looked at me funny and said I was weird. We were in our early teens at the time and already very different people. I think the only reason she listened at all was because the sentence included the words 'chocolate cake' in it.

Soon all but a few crumbs of cake were gone and we sat drinking our coffee. I was feeling just a little ill now, but happy.

I noticed Alice look over at my Mum and say, “Now?”

“Yes dear,” said Mum.

Alice reached under the table and after a few moments rummaging returned with a parcel of some description wrapped in brown paper.

“Surprise!” she said and thrust the package at me.

I took it off her and examined it carefully, wondering what it could be.

“This is just a little something extra we kept back as a special treat,” said Mum.

I turned the package over a few times, it was vaguely squidgy. I undid the sticky tape holding the package shut and then teased it open. There was something black inside, it seemed to be leather or something very much like it. I pulled it out and it unfurled into a long black coat, complete with six arms. It had the tell tale label that read Wings and Tails on it, so was no doubt Charlie’s handiwork.

“Well try it on!” said Nat excited.

I stood up and carefully slipped on the coat, navigating my arms into their respective sleeves, it fit really well. It fell down to about knee level and I suspected it would billow fairly dramatically, as was part of the point of such coats. I fastened it up and found it had more pockets that you would normally expect, built to accommodate my extra hands. It was nice, comfy, and I suspected, fairly warm. It felt like it was lined with something to make it more insulating. The design was such that with my lower four arms tucked away the lines of the coat made me look more or less normal, unless you examined things carefully. Charlie really was a genius.

“Do you like it,” said Alice.

“It's wonderful,” I said, twirling a bit, feeling the coat twist around me.

“I'm glad you like it. It's not real leather of course. It's a synthetic fabric that is easier to process by machine but with leather-like properties. Very new, young Charlie had just got it in she showed us it but we didn't really have any garments that needed it, when I saw you looking at coats it gave me an idea and I negotiated a special run. It took her more work than normal, as she had to actually do some of it by hand, but it was worth it. It should keep you warm, dry, and looking your best. I thought we had given the game away when I sent Alice off with additional measurements while we were at the coffee shop,” Mum said.

“I did wonder, even my dearest sister can't spend that long looking for lipsticks,” I said with a smirk, which caused Alice to stick her tongue out at me.

I slipped the coat off and sat feeling it. It felt like leather on the outside, the inside silken. There were all manner of pockets and compartments on the inner bits of the coat, I think Charlie really went to town on the design. I looked forward to exploring it later.

As we were finishing up our coffee the manager from earlier came over to see us, “So how was everything?”  she asked.

“Wonderful, thank you,” said Mum, the rest of us nodding in agreement.

“Excellent, was the service good?”

“Yes, very swift, and our waitress was very polite and helpful.”

“Yes, Amanda is one of my favourite employee's. Can I offer you anything further?”

“No, I think that would be unwise,” Mum said with a grin, “One can have too much of a good thing. Can we have the bill please?”

“Certainly, I'll see to it right away.” she bustled off to fetch our bill.

I knew we were getting somewhat special treatment due to what had happened earlier, but I suspected even without that this would be a great place to eat. The food had been wonderful, good solid food with great taste and reasonable portions. It was also without a lot of the pretension that you got in these sort of places. I would have to remember it in the future. Even if it was probably a little out of my usual price bracket, it would be good for really special occasions.

The manager returned with small tablet containing the bill and a plate of chocolate mints. We all had a mint and then mum examined the bill. She swiped her card through and then keyed in a tip for Amanda. After authorising the payment she handed the unit back to the manager.

“I hope we see you again some time,” said the manager with a nice smile.

“Yes, I'm sure we'll be back,” said Mum.

We got up and made our way out of the door. I pulled on my new coat, leaving it unfastened in the relatively warm night air. There was a nice breeze that allowed me to get some nice billowing action going on. Because of my extra arms it wasn’t quite as dramatic as a long coat would have been, but it still looked pretty cool.

Nat was walking along giggling at my strutting, I stopped, arms akimbo side on and tossed my hair into the breeze, “What?” I said trying to suppress a smile.

We both stood there for a bit trying not to crack up. I was the first to break and then both Nat and I were roaring with laughter. Alice eyed us with confusion, “You two are weird!” she said.

We were giggling practically the whole way back to the hall. When we got there, Nat said her goodbyes and scampered up to the room, while I lingered saying goodbye to my Mum and Sister.

I gave them both a hug and wished them a pleasant trip back home.

Mum gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, “Try to see this new shape as a chance to start fresh, a blessing, not a curse. Go out and get what it is you really want. Don’t be too concerned with what other people think is best for you. You make your own path, be with who you want to be with. Your Father and I love you, no matter what.”

She smiled and then she and Alice got in the car and headed off. I turned round and headed back up to the house. As I was headed up the stairs, I passed Tom on the way back down. “Hey Emily, nice coat,” he said, “Oh, I owe you a thank you.”

“What for?” I asked.

“Dave got kicked out cos of attacking you and Nat. I got the room to myself now, no longer have to listen to that guy moan and boast about the women he’s had. I tell you, Em, it was driving me to drink!” he said. I gave him a look, “Well, more so than usual,” he shrugged.

He wished me a good night and rushed off, probably to the hall bar. I headed up to our room and hung up my cool new coat, then got changed for bed. It had been a tough day, and tomorrow I had the thing with Shaun and Caitlyn, which was going to be interesting to say the least.

I snuggled up in bed and was out like a light.


 

Chapter 5

I woke up feeling pretty nervous, today was the date with Shaun and Caitlyn. I was still not sure exactly what my feelings on the matter were. I didn’t want to lead anybody on, so I resolved to make my mind up. I got up and got on with the business of prettifying myself. I had a quick shower then returned to the room, passing a sleepy looking Nat on the way. After dealing with my hair I went through my outfits. My mother’s advice fresh in my mind, I resolved to dress to impress, picking a fairly racy outfit. I stopped short of outright club wear, not wanting to go overboard, but the top I selected was reasonably low cut, and the trousers, playfully tight.

I was just putting on some light make-up when Nat wandered back into the room, “Wow!” she said. “You look amazing.”

“Thanks,” I blushed a little at her praise.

She picked out her own outfit while I was working out what to do with my hair. I sat there fiddling about for quite a while until Nat held out her hand and said, “Here.” She handed me a silver scrunchy. “It goes with your eyes.”

I pulled my hair into a pony tail that kept it from getting in the way too much. Suitably attired I sat reading while Nat got herself ready. She went along similar lines as I had, but seemed to make a concerted effort to tone her charms down a little. She looked less like the drop dead gorgeous girl, more like the attractive girl next door. I guessed she was trying not to steal my thunder too much. We sat there waiting for a bit, till a short while later there was a knock on our door. It was Shaun and Caitlyn.

Shaun was dressed pretty much the way he was the last time I had seen him, in a rugby shirt and jeans. Caitlyn, on the other hand, had on a tight low cut top and a shortish just above knee length skirt. I felt my heart pound faster at the sight of them.

“Good morning, Ladies,” said Shaun. “You both are looking lovely this morning. Shall we?”

We nodded and headed off. When we got out onto the street, Shaun took Nat’s arm. Caitlyn slinked up next to me and tentatively took mine. Her tail wrapped itself around my additional arms, as if claiming me. I was a little uncomfortable with this at first but made myself relax. Eventually we got into the pedestrianised bits of town and walked four abreast, Shaun taking a grip on my other side.

As we made our way through the centre of town to a nearby coffee shop the four of us attracted quite a few stares.

Once inside Shaun took our orders and the three of us girls retired to the comfy sofas in the back of the coffee shop. Caitlyn sat next to me with Nat opposite her, leaving a space for Shaun opposite me. Caitlyn's tail kept tickling my behind, perhaps a more subconscious action than anything else, as she didn’t make too much of a move on me. She was probably waiting for me to make it clear what I wanted now I was thinking more clearly, not addled by booze and a little fear from Mark’s attack.

Shaun returned bearing coffee I took mine and sipped it in thought. Eventually Shaun prompted, “So now you’ve had time to think which of us did you prefer?”

I sat there, still not sure what to say. I could spend ages agonising and overanalysing what I felt, but I was pretty sure none of us would enjoy that option, so I went with my gut feeling. Which of these two would I prefer to wake up next to, “Caitlyn,” I said, rather surprised at how sure I felt about that.

Caitlyn was beaming, her tail whipping about like nobody’s business. “Time for me to claim my prize,” she said excitedly and practically leapt on me, kissing me with more strength than I would have credited her small frame with.

“Don’t I get a consolation prize?” asked an amused looking Shaun.

“Sure,” said Nat, leaping in with a kiss of her own.

“Wow, I should lose contests like this more often,” Shaun chuckled.

With that over, we relaxed a bit and Caitlyn snuggled a little closer to me while Nat moved in on Shaun.

“Your outfit is great,” said Caitlyn, eyeing me approvingly, “Where did you get it?”

“Most is just from regular department and clothing shops in town, but the shirt is from this little place off down a side alley that specialises in MORFS adapted clothing.”

“You’ll have to give me the address, sweetie. Finding stuff to fit my tail isn’t that hard, but this is some really good quality work rather than the usual hack jobs I end up with. The usual tail friendly outfits are just normal ones that someone’s spent 5 minutes butchering with some scissors and a needle and thread. Then they have the gall to charge twice what it would cost me to buy the same thing that hadn’t had a large hole cut in it!” Caitlyn ranted.

“Easy tiger,” said Shaun chuckling.

Caitlyn stuck her tongue out at him. “You just don’t know how hard it is to suddenly have a body that is even harder to find good clothes for than a normal one.”

“Maybe he’ll get MORFS and grow a tail of his own, or maybe another head, or maybe turn into a girl,” I said.

“Well it might be a start,” grinned Caitlyn.
                                    
“Help me,” pleaded Shaun to Nat, “I’ve got militant MORFS girls ganging up on me.”

“Oh I can’t help you,” said Nat leaning in closer, “You see, I’m one of them too.”

“Oh no, I’m surrounded!” said Shaun.

“Yes, it’s far too late for you to escape now,” said Nat pulling him into a kiss. He didn’t seem to be trying too hard to escape from what I could see.

After Nat had finished “subduing” Shaun, Caitlyn asked, “So you’ve been through MORFS too?”

“Yeah, I used to be a lanky fairly plain redhead. Then over the course of a week I became a sexy little blonde empath. After that I was much more popular at school, but it was a bit of a shock to my family, when despite that, I insisted on still being studious and going off to study engineering rather than the arts or some such.”

“My parents took my becoming a hybrid hard,” Caitlyn told us. “Made me move out. I lived with one of my aunts till I was old enough to go to uni. They still won’t talk to me at all. One of my sisters even crossed the road not to have to walk past me. We used to be so close, too.” There was the suggestion of tears in her eyes.

“That’s horrible,” I pulled her into a hug, stroking her head with my main hands and carefully wrapping my lower arms around her.

She relaxed in my arms and even began purring. I found I could manage to hold on to Caitlyn and drink my coffee at the same time with a little concentration.

“Your new girlfriend’s very handy, Caitlyn,” Shaun smirked. I used one of my hands to give him the finger while still holding Caitlyn and drinking my coffee. Maybe there were some good sides to being a six armed freak.

“Shut it, rugby boy!” Caitlyn replied, “Imagine the Chinese burns she could give you if she wanted. One set of arms for each of yours, and a spare in case she wants to really hurt you.”

She shifted forward to get her coffee, so I let her go; she grabbed it, then lay back against me pulling my arms back around her, smiling up at me.

We sat there for a bit just drinking our coffee, talking about the weather, TV, and other idle chit chat. Pretty soon we were down to dregs.

“So ladies, what would you like to do now? Another coffee or maybe something else?” Shaun asked.

“Well, it’s a nice day, how about a walk in the park?” suggested Nat.

“Sounds good,” said Caitlyn.

We tidied our table and headed out, walking over to a nearby park, enjoying the sunshine.

When we got to the entrance, Nat pulled me aside to whisper, “Why don’t you and Caitlyn spend some time without us two hangers on in the way?”

I nodded, thinking it would be a good idea to get to know her a bit, to see where our somewhat sudden relationship was going. Nat whispered in my ear again, “Just so you know, she’s crazy about you.”

She gave me a wink and grabbed Shaun’s hand, “Come on you, let’s go have a wander round the lake. See you two a bit later,” she bounded off, Shaun in tow.

Caitlyn took my hand and led me in the opposite direction into a small walled garden. We sat down on a bench and took in the view. It was mostly spring flowers still, with the summer stuff not yet in bloom, but it was still quite pretty.

“So,” as Caitlyn turned to me, she looked just a little unsure of herself, “I know this thing with you and me is a bit sudden. You’re probably still a little disoriented from your change, and you’re new to dating girls.” She paused and looked at me very intently, “I like you a lot and want you to like me too. We can take things slow and get to know each other, see how things go. If you decide later on that I’m not the girl for you, then I hope we can still be friends.”

As I smiled and took her hand, she leaned over and kissed me briefly on the lips.

“Disgusting!”  said a woman’s voice. I looked round and saw an older woman standing across from us. She was brandishing a walking stick, and looking at us with undisguised loathing.

“Can’t you freaks read? It says no animals in the garden! I won’t have you filthy beasts pawing each other in plain view. This is a park where children might be playing!” she spat.

Caitlyn looked at her eyes narrowed, “Fuck off, you crazy old bat! We have as much right to be here as anyone, now sod off”

“Well I never! You foul mouthed little beast I’ll give you what for,” she shouted and made to swing her stick at Caitlyn.

I moved without thinking about it, catching the incoming stick with two of my hands. The woman struggled for a bit, but I pulled the stick out of her grip. I snapped the thing in half and tossed the bits back at her.

She picked up the two bits of stick in a daze, staring at the broken ends for a few minutes before she hurried off.

“I probably shouldn’t have done that,” I said.

“Nonsense! You were protecting your girl. I think it’s very sweet,” said Caitlyn, giving me another kiss.

“Do you think we should leave?” I asked warily.

“No, I’m not going to let some crazy old lady force me to leave just because of her prejudices.” She put her arm around me.

We sat there enjoying the pleasant weather and the flowers. The peace and quiet was lovely just sat there with Caitlyn feeling relaxed.

Unfortunately the peace and quiet didn’t last, “Here they are officer! These are the two that attacked me,” The woman had returned this time with a very flustered looking policeman in tow.

“Look what they did to my walking stick!” she said waving the thing in his face. “Arrest them immediately!”

“That’s rubbish,” said Caitlyn leaping to her feet, placing herself between me and the woman tail whipping about behind her indicating her agitation, “This woman came over and verbally abused us, then tried to hit me with her stick. My friend stopped her, inadvertently snapping her stick in the struggle.”

“I see,” said the police man. There was an odd look in his eyes I didn’t like it.

“Don’t listen to that beast!” screamed the woman, “I could have been killed when it set its pet freak on me!”

“Please Ma’am calm down. You two better come down to the police station for questioning. Attacking a member of the public is a serious matter,” he said grimly, reaching for his radio.

“You can’t be serious,” said Caitlyn, “This crazy old bag attacked us.”

“Don’t make this any worse for yourself!” said the policeman. The woman looked at us smugly.

The officer pulled out some cuffs, and moved to put them on Caitlyn.

“There’s no need for this,” said an exasperated Caitlyn

“I don’t want you two running off,” He snapped the cuffs on her then pulled out a second set and made to snap them on me. He looked at my multiple sets of arms and snapped the cuffs on my top set.

He led the two of us and the woman to the park exit. On the way Nat and Shaun saw us and came running over.

“What’s going on?” asked Nat.

“Step aside, Miss. Official police business,” the officer said.

“I demand to know where you are taking my friends and why!” insisted Nat, hands on hips.

“I’m taking them to the local police station for assaulting this woman,” he said.

“I want to see your warrant card.”

“What! Why?”

“Because how do I know whether you are a real policeman unless I see that? You could be some thug in a costume, abducting my friends.”

The office grumbled, but eventually produced his warrant card. Nat pulled out a pad and noted down the copper’s name and number. She turned to me and Caitlyn, and said, “Don’t worry I’ll have you out of there in no time.”

The cop continued to prod us out of the park and pulled us over to where a police car had turned up. Two other police officers got out, one man and one woman with pink hair.

“What’s this about, Frank?” asked the woman.

“These two attacked this woman,” he said, pushing us towards the car.

“No we didn’t. That crazy old bigot attacked us,” said an indignant Caitlyn.

“Quiet you! They’ll be plenty of time for your ranting when you’re safely behind bars,” The policeman who’d arrested us said.

He shoved us into the back of the car, “Take them down to the station. I’ll escort the victim in myself,” he said and escorted the woman off who looked very pleased with herself.

The officers driving the car got back in and then drove off. I couldn’t believe this was happening after the day had started off so well.

Once we were going, the wpc looked back at us and asked, “Did you really attack that woman?”

“No,” I said. “She tried to hit Caitlyn with her stick, so I stopped it. I snapped the thing in half in the process, but that was all. I never touched her.”

“Hmm,” said the office, looking thoughtful. “Well if she’s telling the truth, what is Frank thinking?”

“I don’t know. That guy’s trouble,” said the other officer.

They drove us to the police station. When we got out the female officer uncuffed us making disapproving noises, then escorted us into the station.

Soon I was sitting in a cell on my own while they worked out what to do with us. It was a bit scary to be locked up like this. I had never been in trouble before, so this was the first time I had seen the inside of a cell. Eventually I was taken into an interrogation room with Officer Frank and another man.

“What’s going on? Am I being charged with anything?” I asked.

“We are going to question you about the attack to determine your involvement,” said Officer Frank.

“Which attack? The one where that old lady tried to hit Caitlyn with her stick?”

This seemed to fluster Officer Frank a bit, and the other man looked at him a little perturbed.

They went through this whole rigmarole I had seen on TV of turning on the recording devices, telling me my rights, and then they began to question me. They had got past some preliminaries of who I was etc when there was a knock on the door and another officer entered.

There was some animated discussion between the officers and then a few moments later a large man in a nice suit entered.

“I’d like a few minutes with my client, please,” he said. As the officers left, Frank seemed to be grinding his teeth. I wondered if he was somehow hoping to force me to confess or some such.

“Hello, it’s Emily, right?” said the suited man.

“Yes. Who are you, and what do you mean by I’m your client?”

“I’m Natalie’s brother, Phil, I’m a lawyer so she called me to get this business sorted out. Now tell me what happened and we’ll get you out of here as quickly as possible?”

I quickly related the events of the day to him and then he sat there for a moment in thought. “OK. Would you be willing to have a telepath verify your statement? You wouldn’t be able to lie, so it’s important that you are being completely truthful.”

“I’m telling the truth. I don’t like the idea of telepaths but if it’s the easiest way of clearing this up, then I guess it’s OK,” I replied.

“OK, let me do all the talking unless I tell you otherwise.”

He walked up to the door and knocked on it. The policemen re-entered, and everyone sat down again. They restarted the recorder and were about to begin the questioning again when Phil held up his hand.

“Before you ask anything further, we are requesting to have a telepath present to establish my client’s innocence.” Frank scowled at that and seemed about to argue, but the other man in the room nodded and went out of the room.

He returned a few moments later with the female officer from the car. She sat down in front of me and said, “Hi I’m, Officer Williams, a police officer and police telepath. I’m going to take a brief look in your head, OK?”

I nodded a little nervously, “Give me your hands,” she requested.

I held out all six hands, which caused a brief chuckle from Officer Williams, “Just the top set is fine.” She grasped my hands, “OK, now just relax.”

I did my best to relax, I didn’t like the idea of someone poking around my head but it seemed there was no better way to get out of this. I felt an odd sensation in my head and I found myself recalling the events of earlier.
                                                                                                                             
When she was done, Officer Williams let go of my hands and turned to the other officers. “She’s telling the truth. The woman verbally abused them and then tried to hit the other girl with her stick. This young lady grasped the stick, taking it from her grip then snapping it. She didn’t do anything to harm the woman at all.”

“But they … that’s not … both of them deserve jail time!” shouted Officer Frank, seemingly losing his cool.

“That’s quite enough of that,” said the other officer, “Miss, you and your friend will be released immediately without charge.” the other officer said.

“We wish to make a formal complaint against Officer Frank Brown for his actions and unacceptable behaviour,” said Phil. The officer nodded and then there was a lot of mucking about, during which Officer Frank stormed off, seemingly in a huff.

Some time later I was reunited with Caitlyn outside the police station. She leapt at me, covering my face in kisses and nearly knocking me to the ground.

When Caitlyn released me from her enthusiastic greeting, I turned to our rescuer, “Thank you for helping us, Phil.”

“No problem. Any friend of Natalie is a friend of mine,” he said with a smile, “And speak of the devil, there she is.”

Nat came rushing over to meet us, with Shaun following, desperately trying to keep up with her. “Em, Caitlyn, are you guys OK?” asked Nat rushing up. She hugged the two of us in a death grip.

“We’re OK. Your brother sorted it out,” I told her.

“Thank you Bro. You’re the best,” said Nat, still squeezing the life out of us.

“No problem, see you around,” he said, and with a wave, left.

“I could use a drink,” I said.

“Yeah and maybe something to eat,” said Caitlyn.

“I know a great pizza place round here,” said Shaun, “What about it Natalie? I’m buying?”

“Ok, let’s go.” Nat let the two of us go and then Caitlyn and I walked arm in arm following Shaun and Nat.

“How are you doing?” I asked Caitlyn

“I’m still a little angry. I’ve never been arrested before, and to be falsely accused by some old crazy lady was beyond the pale. I was a little worried when they put me in a cell. I knew we had done nothing wrong, but still it was a little scary in there.”

“Well thanks to Nat, we are free again,” I said, putting my arms around her.

“Yep,” she said, threading her arm around me.

We walked along enjoying the feeling of being free and together after our brief spell in captivity. We arrived at the pizza place a short while later. It was a small non-chain restaurant that seemed quite welcoming. We walked in and were shown to a table fairly quickly, as it was not too busy. I guess it being Sunday, they had a lot less custom than usual. We ordered some drinks and then considered what to eat. I was pretty hungry and since there was four of us we decide to go for two of the large pizza’s between the four of us.

As We sat sipping our drinks, Nat spoke up. “So I leave you alone five minutes and you go and get yourselves arrested!” she said jokingly. “She was never in trouble before she met you Caitlyn. From snogging in the union bar to being arrested by the police in two days! You’re a bad influence on her.”

“Maybe it’s the other way around,” said Caitlyn with a grin, “I was never in trouble before I met her.”

“Maybe it’s the two of you together,” chipped in Shaun, “Like two chemicals that are harmless apart, but mixed, explode or something.”

“They have been doing a lot of mixing,” giggled Nat.

“You never said your brother was a lawyer,” I said, attempting to move the conversation in a less embarrassing direction.

“Yeah, he takes after my Dad who is a lawyer from a long line of lawyers. My mum's family are more arts and music. I'm the black sheep for not being either a lawyer or an artist.”
“Bit like me then,” I said.

“Yeah, it's one of the many things we have in common, that and our taste in men,” she said, kissing Shaun.

“What about her taste in girls, do you share that too?” asked Caitlyn with a raised eyebrow.

“Fraid not, that's uniquely Em,” replied Nat.

“Shame,” said Caitlyn with a mock pout, then with a wicked grin continued, “We could have ditched lughead over there and gone back to your room for a little fun.”

“Maybe I could watch?” Shaun suggested.

Caitlyn threw a paper napkin at him, which caused him to laugh. "Erotic leanings aside, what else do you two like to do for fun?" he asked.

"Reading sci-fi, thrillers, horror, and the occasional detective story," answered Nat.

"I like photography," I said.

"What sort of things do you photograph?" asked Caitlyn.

"Oh this and that. I only have a fairly cheap compact camera. I go and take pictures in the park, or out in the country, or even about on campus," I said, sipping my beer.

"Cool," said Shaun.

"She's shown me a few of her pictures. They're pretty good," said Nat.

"Can I take a look at some of them sometime?" asked Caitlyn.

"Sure, I have a web gallery I can give you the link for," I answered. "One of these days I'd like to get a proper SLR camera, the lens on the compacts tend not to be up to much. They're quite pricey though."

"At least now you don't have to wait around for the pictures to develop. Mum told me when she was a kid cameras took cartridges of film that you took pictures on and then had to get developed. There used to be shops that did it, took an hour or even days before you got the pictures," Shaun said.

"How backward," said Caitlyn, "Why did it take an hour? What if the thing you are taking a picture of is gone before the camera spits out the pictures and you find they're no good?"

"No it was worse than that. It was an hour from the time you took the film in to get it developed at the shop. The camera itself couldn't develop the film, well there were some that could but they were special. Usually you took a load of pictures like on holiday then you waited till you got back home to see if they were good. You see, it used to be a chemical process, the camera just exposed the film, which had chemicals that react to light. Then it needed to be chemically processed to make a negative. The negative was then projected through an enlarger onto photo paper which was also chemical based. That was then fixed with a different set of chemicals and you got your photos. It used to be a real art making photos look good, my granddad had the kit to do it and showed me one time. It was how I got into photography in the first place," I said.

"It seems a really inefficient way of doing it," said Shaun.

"This was before modern imager arrays based on CCD's or CMOS circuits became good enough or cheap enough," said Nat.

"Plus storage and battery technology was not really up to the job initially," I chipped in.

"Similarly the processing technology took a while to get there," said Nat.

"You two are such geeks," Caitlyn grinned to show us she was teasing, even as she grinned.

Nat and I grinned at each other. At this point our pizza was brought over and we all tucked in. Nat and I ended up eating the lion’s share of the food, much to the shock and disgust of our companions. Fairly stuffed with pizza, we jokingly talked about getting some dessert. The merest mention of more food made Caitlyn look quite green.

We decided to have a walk to let our lunch settle, so the four of us wandered along the banks of a nearby canal, arm in arm. We enjoyed the odd peaceful country feel to the small tract of water running through the heart of town, seemingly disconnected from the urban environment around it. Coming to a lock we sat on a bench and watched the brightly painted narrow boats come and go, content to just sit there in relative silence and enjoy the afternoon till the sun was getting low in the sky.

I was thinking we would probably be headed home now it was getting late, but Nat had other ideas. "How about we go see a film together?" she suggested.

This seemed like a good idea to all concerned and we headed over to a local multiplex. There we began the serious business of deciding what film to watch, and naturally, we all fancied different things. Shaun was interested in some historic flick about a famous civil rights campaigner from the early days of MORFS. Nat was after some action film with large doses of car chases and explosions, while Caitlyn was interested in a spy thriller, and I was more up for something a bit lighter, like the comedy showing. Shaun seemed fairly amused that none of us ladies had gone for the obvious “chick flick” but shut up quickly when fixed with three sets of annoyed eyes and given a offer to remove vital parts of his anatomy.

“Should we toss a coin or something,” I suggested.

“I've seen you try to toss coins before, we'd be lucky if no one loses an eye,” retorted Nat, I responded by sticking my tongue out.

“I suppose I wouldn't mind seeing either of our two films,” Caitlyn said to Nat.

“Yeah, I'm fairly OK with either,” Nat replied.

“What do you think, Emily? Fancy seeing a historical film, or are you with carnage and mayhem over there?” asked Shaun.

I was about to respond that I didn't really mind what we saw, when Caitlyn sidled up to me with a wicked grin and whispered in my ear, “Vote with us and I'll make it more than worth your while. sweetie,” She licked her lips sensuously as she pulled away.

“THEM! I'M VOTING WITH THEM!!” I blurted quite loudly, causing a few passers by to glance over at us.

“Bah, no fair! You're using your feminine wiles on her,” Shaun said grumpily.

“You could have tried countering with your manly appeal on her,” grinned Nat.

“I saw earlier how well my manly appeal stacked up against her feminine wiles as far as Emily is concerned. Besides, I'd be trying to talk three girls out of going to see an action film of their own free will. If the rugby team found out I'd be out on my ear,” he said jokingly.

It was then just down to Caitlyn and Nat to agree which of their choices to choose. After they had argued about this for a good five minutes (taking us precariously close to the start times for one of the films and almost making the choice moot), they came to an agreement ... by playing rock, paper, scissors. We went to see Nat's film , which was the one just about to start. after scissors cut paper.

We bundled into the cinema, finding it was dark as the trailers had already started, so we quickly found our seats. Caitlyn sat next to me holding my hand. When the film proper started she lifted up the arm rest between us and slid over, snuggling up against me, pulling my arms around her. We sat like that for a bit just enjoying the movie, her warm body pressed into me her tail wrapping its way behind me. As the film got going and it became more than apparent that it's plot could be neatly accommodated on the back of a postage stamp and still have room for a fair sized shopping list, Caitlyn's attention moved from the screen and she began gently kissing my neck. I turned to face her and we began kissing, much like we had at the union bar. There in the darkened cinema I lost myself in Caitlyn’s soft lips and her gentle caresses.

I was so involved I was a little surprised to notice Shaun and Nat stand up as the end credits were rolling. We stole one final kiss, then made our way out of the screen arm in arm, following our two friends, blinking in the lights of the cinema's foyer.

“That was incredible!” raved Nat practically jumping up and down, “The climatic fight on top of the huge wind turbine that the bad guy was using to take over the world was incredible! I've never seen so many exploding golf carts! And the twist that the bad guy is actually the hero’s twin brother, kidnapped at birth by an evil clan of cleaning women was a master stroke! What did you think, Em? Great, wasn't it?”

“Er ... Yeah, it was ... gripping,” I said.

Shaun grinned, “They didn't see much of it.”

“How come?” asked Nat.

“They were too busy trying to suck each others tonsils out,” he replied.

I turned bright red, which caused Caitlyn to giggle. She planted a kiss on my cheek, “You are so cute when you blush. I can barely keep my hands off you!” she said, pinching my behind, causing me to let out a squeak sound.

“Well I'm glad you two enjoyed the trip, even if it had nothing to do with the film,” Nat grinned.

It was getting pretty late now and we'd had a full day, so we wandered back to the hall. We said goodbye to Caitlyn and Shaun at the door and arranged to meet the two of them Monday for lunch. With a goodbye kiss, we headed up to our room.

We were met by Laura, who was just leaving the kitchen cuppa in hand, “Hey guys!”

“Hiya,” we replied.

“So Emily, I saw you and Caitlyn Summers kissing at the gate just now. Are you two an item now?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” I blushed once more.

“Good for you! She's a lovely lady from all I've heard. You two looked good together.”

I just shrugged a little, not sure what to say.

"I saw you had a new boy toy as well, Natalie," Laura went on.

"Yeah, he seems nice and is easy on the eyes. I'll have to see how it goes. Course I'm not used to taking Emily's cast-offs," Nat said with a grin.

"That's the guy she was in the union with?" Laura responded.

Nat laughed, "The same, she ate him up and then spat him out for Caitlyn, poor lad."

Laura laughed and put a hand on my shoulder, "You are my hero."

I smiled a little. It was interesting how my relationships with people had been altered by my change and subsequent actions. Before, I had been on fairly good terms with everyone, but had been mostly sat quiet  shyly in the background. People had treated me as a sort of honorary little sister, being very protective and yet a touch dismissive. Nat had taken it upon herself to help me find dates and get out to parties, a bit like I was some project she was working on, like I was some wide eyed innocent who needed educating in the way of things. I had played the roles to some extent. I was fairly shy and it was usually nice to have people look after me, yet sometimes the very slightly condescending nature of the help I got had grated.

This was never the case with Nat who had always seemed fairly well attuned to how I was feeling, never pushing too far or upsetting me, for reasons I now understood. But some people took reluctance on my part to make a decision, to be inability to make a decision, and would try and run things for me, as if I was incapable of running my own life. This was often with the best of intentions, but could be hurtful none the less, making me out as some idiot child, not an adult out in the world.

Now I stood out more, I didn't blend in to the background, so people noticed me. The events of the last few days had forced me to be more in charge of myself, and because I was more conspicuous, people noticed what I did, where before they might not have. People saw me as an attractive, if somewhat weird shaped girl, someone who was being slightly outrageous and having fun, enjoying the attentions at least somewhat. Someone who was at the helm of their destiny, not some shy geek girl hidden away at the back who had to be led by the hand.

It was like the previous me had just been a dull shell or a cocoon I had burst out of. That thought was ironic, really, since I knew often MORFS kids would refer to their normal counterparts as caterpillars. People saw me more for who I was, less who they thought I should be, or maybe it was more they saw my new shape and assumed I was someone different, allowing me to be a more open version of me and not shatter any preconceptions.

Either way it seemed this change had very positive side effects. Nat and I were closer than ever, better friends than before, guardians of each others secrets. I had begun dating Caitlyn. Where that would go I didn't know, but so far the ride had been wild. I had made new friends and hopefully got shut of that pain in the arse, Mark. Yep, things seemed to be going OK.

I crashed, dreaming of happy times out on a date with Caitlyn ... while sailing a wardrobe to the moon, not sure where that last part came from. My subconscious can be weird sometimes.

   

 

 

The entire MORFS  Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/

 


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