The Foolish Valentine’s Adventures of Brice Johnson
Also Known As: The three times Brice Johnson and Greer Watson tried to have a perfect Valentine’s Day and one really unsettling April Fool’s Day.
Disclaimers: All characters are mine and mine alone. If they look like anybody you know or think you know, its sheer coincidence. This story does contain violence, foul language, alternative dimensions, and sexual content. If you don't like any of these, please try your call again.
Dedicated to all the people who loved Brice’s Adventures and for those who said they’d love to see more of Brice and company. Special thanks go to LazyLaziel and Threequarterslucid for being my Brice sounding boards over the past few years.
Questions? Comments? Rude remarks? firstname.lastname@example.org
First Valentine’s Day Together
Brice Johnson liked to think she was an ordinary woman. She kept insisting she was an ordinary woman to the sales clerks trying to help her with her purchase. She was hoping they would catch the hint that she wasn’t looking to make an extraordinary buy. All she wanted was something simple and beautiful.
“Oh for the love of ice,” cried her shopping companion. “Pick something already!”
Brice glared at the stunningly beautiful, white-haired woman. “Do I need to remind you how long I spent shopping with you when you were trying to pick out a ring?”
Noel made the noise of a dying woman as she leaned heavily against a glass display case. “It couldn’t have possibly felt this bad.”
“No,” Brice agreed. “It felt much worse. I was dating Amelia at the time if you recall.”
“Vividly,” she muttered. “I still can’t believe you went to her and Trudy’s wedding.”
“Greer insisted, ironically enough.” Brice shook her head as the clerk showed her another ring. She rubbed her temples, trying to fight off the headache she could feel brewing behind them.
“Let’s get some lunch,” Noel decided. “A burger and some fries sounds good right about now.”
Brice visibly cheered at the thought. “A burger does sound nice.”
A few minutes later, they climbed into her ordinary looking SUV. “What are you feeling?”
“The closest Fuddruckers we can find. I want a burger and their cheesy sauce.” Noel was already tapping the console’s monitor and pulling up the GPS. “There should be one somewhere in this state.”
Brice started navigating her vehicle out of the city and took off into the air as soon as possible. Noel happily cried out, “Found one. Putting it in the navigation.”
Brice activated the autopilot and sighed as she leaned back into the seat. She ran her hands through her mousy brown hair. “What if I can’t find a ring?”
Noel reached over and patted her knee. “You’ll find out. You might even recall one you loved while we eat.”
“It has to mean something, Noel. I want it to mean everything because she means everything,” Brice insisted. Noel slowly shook her head. “That was so sweet I think I just got a cavity.”
Brice would have punched the other woman except she was almost certain she had said something similar to Noel once. A beeping sound alerted them to the fact they were almost to their destination. A covert landing and an illegal u-turn later, they were at Fuddruckers. They weren’t the only ones.
“Is that…?” Noel squinted, uncertain of her vision. “Is that John and his mom?”
Brice’s neck whipped around and true enough, John and Judy were walked towards them.
“Hey Brice!” John shouted, closing the distance between them at a run. He gave her a hug and exchanged a fist bump with Noel. “Can we join you for lunch?”
Brice looked at Noel who merely shrugged. “Sure, pal, if it’s okay with your mom.”
“Of course it is,” Judy replied, already heading inside the restaurant.
Brice sighed, already thinking this was going to be a terse lunch. Her relationship with Judy could be described as nonexistent as best and awkward as worst.
The group of four sat together as they waited for their burgers and wedge fries. Noel rocked back and forth for a moment before she asked, “So…what were you two doing in this part of the country?”
“We came here to have lunch with you. Mama and I know you’re proposing to Greer tomorrow,” John gushed. “I think that’s so awesome, Brice. You really will be like my sister then.”
Brice couldn’t help but smile at John. He brought out the best in her at times. She couldn’t say the same about his mother. Her eyes met Judy’s and she could sense an awkward altercation approaching. Noel could sense it approaching too. She said, “Hey, John, I bet I can beat you on that shooter game in the corner.”
John wasn’t fooled. He knew his mother and Brice were going to have a talk. He also knew he didn’t want to stick around for it. “You’re on, Ms. Noel.”
Noel flinched at the honorific but quickly evacuated the table just the same. Brice sighed when she realized she was alone with her soon to be mother-in-law. Hopefully soon to be mother-in-law.
“So you knew I would be proposing?”
Judy gave a brief smile. “You are marrying into a family of psychics, Brice. There will be very few chances to surprise us along the way.”
“It will be an interesting journey I’m sure,” Brice murmured to herself. She then met Judy’s gaze dead on. “I’m proposing to Greer tomorrow.”
Judy arched a brow. “You aren’t going to ask for my blessing?”
“No,” Brice simply answered. “Greer either will or she won’t accept my proposal. Neither of us need your blessing.”
After an awkward pause Brice looked away. “But I wouldn’t mind if you gave it anyway.”
Judy gave a half laugh and brushed her graying blonde hair behind her ear. “You have it. Now that the whole Virus dilemma is taking care of, I no longer worry about my children’s immediate demise. Greer really loves you. She missed you terribly when you were away. I have no doubt that she will say yes.”
Brice felt a tiny chunk of worry fall away from her heart. It was a small piece, but it helped her relax. “I won’t be able to propose if I can’t find a ring today. Shopping is really hard.”
She then laughed. “I don’t suppose you know what ring I’m going to use and save me some hassle?”
“Actually, I do.” Judy picked her purse off the floor and pulled out a box. “You’re going to use this one.”
Brice’s brows furrowed in confusion as she reached for the box. “You went and purchased the ring I’m going to propose to Greer with?”
“I didn’t purchase it,” Judy corrected. She blinked away sudden tears. “Garrison bought it for me with his first superhero paycheck. I’ve worn it every day until today.”
Brice felt her heart clench. “Are you…are you sure? This ring obviously means a lot to you.”
“It does,” Judy agreed. “And it will mean a lot to Greer. Perhaps it will mean a lot to one of your children one day.”
Brice had to swipe away a rogue tear. Stupid emotions. “It’s perfect, Judy. I think she will love it.”
Any further conversation was interrupted by John and Noel returning to the table with trays of food. “They called our number while we were waiting. Let’s tuck in.”
The pairs said their goodbyes after they ate their fill of burgers and fries. Noel bumped into Brice’s shoulder as they walked back to the care, not gently whatsoever. “So? What did she say?”
Brice smiled, not caring about her stinging shoulder. “She helped me find the perfect ring. Now I just got to find a place to propose.”
“I think I can help you with that,” Noel promised.
“Where are we going?” Greer asked for the fifth time. Brice grinned. “I told you it’s a surprise.”
She had reserved a moonlit, rooftop restaurant that was supposed to be one of the most romantic spots in the world according to Noel. She had snuck their favorite classy outfits into the back of her SUV to keep Greer from suspecting anything.
Brice dropped the car into the low atmosphere as part of their descent. Their destination was fifty miles away. Greer peered out the window and gasped when she realized where they were. “We’re going to the fair?”
Brice glanced at the window and saw the lights of the massive fair. It was definitely not where they were going. She opened her mouth to correct her girlfriend, but quickly closed it when she saw the excited look on Greer’s face. She changed her plans on the spot. She laughed, “You guessed it.”
“I haven’t been to a fair since I was kid,” Greer exclaimed. “My father and mother took us to one. This is going to be so much fun, Brice. A perfect Valentine’s date.”
“Absolutely,” Brice agreed. Her mind was racing. Where did one propose at a fair? She lowered the vehicle even closer to the ground to come in for a landing. A large set of spinning lights caught her eye. The Ferris wheel. What could be more romantic then proposing on top of the Ferris wheel?
They pulled into the fairgrounds following dozens of other cars. They were lead to a parking place by people holding flashing lights. Greer hopped out of the car, automatically checking to see that her pager was still attached to her hip. She looped an arm around Brice’s waist when she joined her. “I bet I can beat you at a dozen games.”
Brice scoffed. “You’re on, Blondie.”
Greer laughed as she pulled her girlfriend along. “Come on. Stop pouting.”
“I’m not,” Brice protested, making a conscious effort to tuck her lower lip back in. “He gave you the good gun.”
“You’re such a sore loser.” Greer gave the hand she held a warm squeeze. “Will you stop pouting if I win you your own stuffed monkey?”
Brice pursed her lips in consideration as she looked around. A devious grin crossed her face as she spotted another game. “I want a fuzzy unicorn. From there.”
She pointed at the game in question and watched as a look of determination settled on her lover’s face. Greer squared her shoulders. “Right. Hold my monkey.”
Brice settled the large animal under her arm. “I’ll be here when you fall.”
Greer scoffed, pushing up her long sleeves past her elbows. “I’m not going to fall. Kiss for luck?”
Pleasantly surprised by the question, Brice couldn’t possibly deny the request. She leaned forward and was met halfway for a quick kiss. “Go kick that shaky ladder’s ass. I want my unicorn.”
Greer took a moment to pull her blonde hair back into a ponytail before moving forward to pay the carnie three dollars. She had complete confidence in her ability to succeed at the game. She had, after all, been trained by some of the greatest superheroes in the world. Her daily PE in high school made boot camp look easy and the game looked simplistic enough. A ladder was secured horizontally on either end by a pivot over a giant air mattress. The player had to climb from the bottom of the ladder to the top to ring a bell without falling off. She was certain she would ring that bell the first time and win Brice the fuzzy unicorn from Despicable Me.
She didn’t even make it two rungs from the bottom when she fell off the first time. She gave Brice a stern look, the latter trying to hide a smile, and paid the carnie another three dollars. Twenty four dollars later she still hadn’t rung the bell.
Brice had switched from laughing at her girlfriend’s failure to cheering for her success. She moved forward to pay Greer’s next game herself. “You got this, Greer. You almost had it last time. Win me that unicorn.”
Greer slowly exhaled a long breath as she placed herself back at the bottom of the ladder again. This time she grabbed the rope sides instead of the wooden handles. She could instantly feel a difference in her center of balance. She focused solely on moving up the ladder, shutting out the entire world except for climbing across the rungs. Brice’s cheering distracted her for a moment, causing her to realize she was inches away from ringing the bell. She reached out as carefully as she could to ring it, feeling her feet start to sway.
The shrill of her pager cause Greer to jerk when her hand was mere centimeters from her goal. That was all it took for her to lose her balance and the ladder flipped over, dumping her on her back. She wasted no time getting to her feet.
“One more try?” The carnie tried to entice her. “You almost had it. Don’t you want to win that prize for your lady?”
Greer and Brice ignored him as they moved as one towards the parking lot. They had done this dozens of times before. The superhero still felt the need to apologize for the incident.
“I didn’t mean for our Valentine’s Day to get interrupted. I’ll make it up to you,” Greer pledged.
Brice waved off her apology. “Nonsense. I knew what I was getting into when we started this. I’m very familiar with the requirements of your job. I’m driving by the way.”
Greer didn’t argue. She knew she would have to change in the car. “I sent the GPS location to the SUV’s navigation system. Looks to be New York City.”
“Well this should be interesting. I haven’t been to the Big Apple in forever.”
“Brice…” Greer started to warn as she got into the passenger seat. Brice waved off her comment after she finished fastening her seatbelt. “I know, I know. Stay in the car.”
They didn’t try to get away from the fair crowd given the emergency of the situation. Brice ran a thermal scan of the parking lot. “No live forms in viewing distance. Switching to stealth mode.”
If anyone had been around they would have watched the black SUV completely disappear in the blink of an eye. They wouldn’t have been able to tell the thrusters apart from the late winter’s zephyr blowing the grass. The SUV slowly rose in the air until it was high enough about the fair to take off without being noticed.
Greer was trying to call her operator for more information on the case, but she kept getting a busy signal. She gave a frustrated sigh as she reached into the backseat for the bag that kept her uniform. “Something doesn’t feel right about this.”
Brice took off at full speed. She tried dialing Greer’s operator personally and was once again met by a busy signal. She could never recall getting a busy signal on a superhero line before. An urgent beeping drew her attention away.
“Shit,” Brice swore. She pressed half a dozen buttons to pull up a side screen. “A non-registered plane just popped the hell out of nowhere.”
Greer looked around, spotting the plane at their 7’oclock position. “They’re firing!”
Brice tried to evade, but the SUV was too slow compared to the plane’s superior technology. The whole vehicle rocked back and forth as a green laser hit them.
“Shit,” she swore again, struggling with the steering wheel. “We’re caught in their tractor beam.”
“And they’re jamming our comms!” Greer tossed her phone aside after receiving another busy signal and opened the glove box. She pulled out two guns and handed one to Brice. “I have them set to stun. Next level up is pellets tipped with ununseptium. Hopefully we won’t have to take it to level three.”
Brice frowned at the gun in her hand. She didn’t like guns, having one too many experiences on the wrong side of them. She twisted in her seat to get a better look at the enemy ship. She let out a startled laugh when she realized who was flying it.
“What?” Greer twisted to see what she was laughing at. “What is it?”
“It’s fucking Duster,” Brice answered, shoving the gun back in the glove box. “You better keep your gun out though. There’s no telling what she wants.”
“Duster?” Greer’s fingers twitched to change the setting on her gun to the highest level, but she refrained. “Great. Just great. Doesn’t she know it’s Valentine’s Day? Shouldn’t she be spending it with one of her women?”
“I just don’t see Hyde as a romance type of lady and I’m sure Erin would prefer to be busy in the lab,” The bus driver replied. “I’m sure she’s lonely and that’s why she’s deciding to be a pain in our asses.”
“Great,” Greer repeated. “How much do you want to bet that my hero’s summoning was her doing?”
The couple stayed quiet as the beam finished pulling their vehicle into the cargo hold of Duster’s plane. Once the SUV was safely inside, a woman closed the bay doors. She lifted her aviator glasses on top of her auburn hair as Brice and Greer got out of their car. “Brice, Greer! Hello!”
“Dr. Bradley,” Greer greeted. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”
“Please, call me Erin. I mean there’s no need to…”
“Erin,” Brice interrupted. “What are we doing here?”
Erin grinned. “For a wedding.”
“What?” The couple exclaimed together. They exchanged a startled glance before returning their attention back to the doctor. Erin laughed. “No, not yours.”
“So you and Duster are getting married?” Brice didn’t want to point out that it seemed rather fast. They had only defeated Virus six months before. She had started dating Greer not long after Erin and Duster had started a relationship. The thought of marrying her girlfriend after so short a time was slightly terrifying. She was hoping for a long engagement.
Erin laughed again, mirth filling her green eyes. “Oh, Duster and I aren’t getting married. We just started dating a little over six months ago. It’s fair too soon for such things.”
“Then who…” Greer started. A look of recognition crossed her face. “Oh.”
“That’s right. Hyde and Duster are getting married.”
Greer wanted to point out that it seemed like Erin was also getting married since she and Hyde shared a body. She decided to leave that comment unsaid.
“It’s really been an amusing few weeks. Duster says Hyde caused chaos at some wedding and suddenly realized she wanted one. All of these years she’s mocked me for believing in love and romance and she is the one who wants to get married. And on Valentine’s Day no less. Hyde is such a sap.”
Greer and Brice took a few moments to adjust to the news. Brice was the first to respond. “I’m happy for Duster and Hyde but that doesn’t explain exactly why we’re here for the wedding.”
“Because I wouldn’t be getting married if it wasn’t for you,” Duster answered, walking out of the cockpit after she set the autopilot. “I wouldn’t be with Erin and Hyde if you hadn’t given me my first same-sex kiss.”
Brice’s jaw slightly unhinged. She could not believe that Duster was mentioning their brief kiss in front of their respective others. “Umm…”
Duster flashed an evil grin. “I found the rulebook. It counted.”
Brice’s hazel eyes edged over to look at her girlfriend. Greer looked strangely unfazed by the new information. She wore her standard annoyed ‘Duster’s here’ look. The superhero and supervillian always brought out a certain animosity in each other. It seemed to stem from the fact that Duster tried to kill Greer the first time they met and Greer had the audacity not to die. Most of that was Brice’s fault, but the women decided to blame each other instead.
“We should get going. Hyde is eager to get the wedding started,” Erin stated. She went to Duster’s side and kissed her cheek. “I’ll see you in a few days. Have a wonderful time.”
Duster’s sand-colored eyes stopped glaring at Greer and turned to face her girlfriend. Her features softened as she leaned forward to brush their lips together. “I’m the luckiest woman alive.”
Erin smiled. “No luckier than Hyde and I.”
The doctor disappeared towards the front of the airport, leaving Duster with the kidnapped couple. Brice was already resigned to her fate. She knew it was easier to deal with Duster than argue over something so arbitrary. “So where is the wedding happening?”
“A very private resort on Ni’ihau. It’s going to be a sunset ceremony.” Duster pulled her phone off of her belt to check the time. “Speaking of which, I better hurry this plane along. Strap yourselves to something.”
Greer and Brice mechanically buckled themselves into a couple of jump seats along the wall. Brice tilted her head in confusion. “I still don’t know why we’re here.”
Greer adjusted Brice’s harness for her. “It sounds like Duster wants you to be her maid of honor.”
Brice was so startled she could only blink. Once. Twice. The plane took off into Mach speed. “I’m not doing it. She kept me prisoner for months. She’s not even that nice.”
Greer rolled her eyes. “I doubt you’ll have much of a choice if we want to remember this as a fond Valentine’s Day.”
“I’m sorry,” Brice pledged, turning in her seat to take one of Greer’s hands. “I had no idea our date would turn out like this. I wanted this day to be perfect, our first Valentine’s Day together.”
Her partner chuckled, leaning forward to kiss Brice’s forehead. “This isn’t your fault, Brice. Stop blaming yourself. This date has been fantastic and this hasn’t ruined it. It’s just made it…slightly interesting. But it’s not our first Valentine’s Day together.” She tapped Brice’s nose with her fingertip.
Greer grinned. “Don’t you remember two years ago? John told us on the 13th that he wanted to give all his classmates Valentine’s Day cookies. So we spent all night baking and frosting.”
Brice smiled as the memory returned to her. “That’s right. We made John go to bed at 11pm despite there still being another four dozen cookies to make. You and I stayed up past midnight to finish them. You smeared frosting across my face.”
“And we shared a heart-shaped cookie,” Greer added. She became pensive. “It was kind of obvious wasn’t it? Us, I mean.”
Before Brice could reply, Duster’s voice came over the intercom. “Yes. It was very obvious. We’ll be landing in a minute.”
Greer ground her teeth together. “I really dislike that woman.”
True to the pilot’s word they landed sixty seconds later. They watched the cargo bay doors open to show a sun hovering over the Pacific Ocean. Duster joined them a few moments later. “Come on ladies. Daylight is burning and what Hyde wants, Hyde usually gets.”
The pair followed the supervillian towards the glamorous resort a hundred yards away. Greer let out a low whistle when they walked inside, thoroughly impressed. Brice made a mental note to maybe bring them back for a romantic getaway. The ‘maybe’ entirely depended on whether the resort was supervillian exclusive or if anyone could rent a room.
“I’m going to go get ready. Brice, come with me.” Duster grabbed Brice’s arm and tugged. “Greer, there’s an open bar just through there. I know you’re not old enough to drink but I don’t think they card here.”
Brice interrupted the nasty remark she could see on the tip of Greer’s tongue, “I’ll be okay. I’ll join you soon.”
She allowed herself to be drug away from the lobby before she yanked her arm out of Duster’s grasp. “You’re an ass, you know that right? It’s Valentine’s Day and you kidnap me and my girlfriend. It’s only because it’s your wedding that we haven’t caused a fuss yet.”
Duster rolled her eyes. She used a keycard to let herself and Brice into the honeymoon suite. “It’s an hour of your lives. I think you’ll get over it.”
“I’m just saying you and Erin better pick a non-holiday wedding date if you plan on kidnapping me for that one.”
“Erin and I are nowhere close to getting married,” Duster admitted. “That could even be years off. Did you know she and I broke up for a few months?”
“Really?” Brice asked, collapsing on a nearby loveseat. Duster went into the next room to change but she called back an answer. “Yes. Do you know how hard it is to go to bed with one girlfriend and wakeup next to the one you just separated from?”
“I can’t possibly imagine,” Brice answered honestly. “Obviously you two worked it out.”
“Well it was really hard to avoid working through our issues when we kept waking up naked next to each other. It wasn’t until we woke up chained together in ununseptium handcuffs did we realize that Hyde was trying to get us back together.”
Brice chuckled at the thought of Hyde playing matchmaker. “I’m glad it all worked out. It won’t be horrible attending your wedding as a guest. I was worried you wanted me as your maid of honor or something.”
Duster came back into view. She looked aghast at the thought.
“Maid of honor?” She shook her head as she went back to buttoning up her white shirt. “Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t feel that way about you.”
Brice didn’t bother hiding her sigh of relief.
“I need you to sit on my side of the ceremony.”
Duster sighed. She didn’t want to explain, but she did feel the tiniest bit guilty about kidnapping Brice on Valentine’s Day. “Hyde’s got like two dozen people coming in. Mostly exes, I think. Some coworkers. A few of her family members that share the same gift as she does. I…well…I don’t have anyone. I don’t have friends. Kitty was probably the only coworker who would have come to my wedding but she’s dead.”
Brice gave a sad smile. “She would have loved to cause trouble at your wedding.”
The villain chuckled at the thought. “Yes. She would have. Anyway, I need someone on my side.”
Brice couldn’t help but feel sorry for Duster. “Hellion?”
Duster’s face tightened at the mention of her brother. “A giant homophobe like our father.”
Brice really did feel sorry for the supervillian at that point. One night while she was kept in Virus’s compound, Duster had lost her temper when Kitty flirted with her. Brice had found her in the warehouse later, completely drunk. Duster explained why she was so homophobic after a few probing questions and missed punches. Her father, Dust Demon, hated everyone who wasn't in his family. He especially disliked homosexuals and swore to both Duster and her brother that if he suspected they were gay he would beat them to death. It was one of the few times he threatened his favored son.
Duster never liked her father. He was always disappointed in her and fiercely proud of her older brother. He was the one who threatened to disown her every time she failed to live up to his expectations or abide by his rules. Her father was the reason Duster ran away from home at the age of 17 and didn’t see him again until Virus killed him.
Brice knew better than to apologize for Hellion’s opinion. Instead she said, “Greer and I will be happy to sit on your side.”
Duster cleared her throat. “We should get going if we want that to happen.”
The pair made their way back to the bar area where they found Greer looking very annoyed. She had half a dozen drinks lined up in front of her at the bar. Brice arched a brow as she walked over. “Thirsty?”
Greer accepted a kiss on her cheek before she shook her head. “No. People will not leave me alone. I refuse to accept their drinks. Do you know that two of them were from wanted criminals? It took everything I had not to arrest them. I think this is a villain resort.”
She eyed her surroundings suspiciously. Brice laughed. “I actually think they’re just here for the wedding. Acquaintances of Hyde.”
“Would make sense,” Greer admitted. “Shall we go find our seats?”
“Absolutely, my lady. Duster wants us to sit on her side by the way.” Brice held out her arm which Greer happily linked her arm through. They made their way after other guests heading towards the beach. The sky was beginning to turn pink as the sun started its disappearance. Brice whipped her head around when she spotted one of the guests.
“Was that Miranda? You know the one who makes dresses?”
“Yeah, she’s here. She was the one who sent me the strawberry daiquiri to drink,” Greer replied. She stirred them to sit at the front of the empty half of the ceremony, figuring correctly that it was Duster’s side. “She asked if we were still together since she had expected a call in October for our December wedding.”
Brice didn’t know what to say to that. The ring felt strangely heavier in her pocket than it had a moment before.
“I reassured her that we are still together and she gave me another card. Last minute fittings are not Miranda’s style, but she made an exception for Hyde.”
“Hyde usually gets what Hyde wants,” Brice echoed the phrase she heard earlier. She shot Duster a thumbs up as the supervillian took her place up at the front of the beach party. A white arch framed her, a preacher, and the sun setting behind them. Everyone rose and turned as the bridal song started to play.
Neither Greer nor Brice could deny that Hyde looked stunning in her white dress. It fit perfectly to her body, making her appear like a Greek goddess. She was beaming as she reached Duster’s side. Brice couldn’t recall ever seeing Duster look so happy.
“Duster and Hyde, today you celebrate one of life’s greatest moments and give recognition to the worth and beauties of love, as you join together in vows of marriage. Duster, do you take Hyde to be your wife?”
“I do,” Duster promised.
“Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect her?”
Brice was amused that they took out the part of ‘forsaking all others and holding only onto her’. It made sense really. Duster would be holding onto two women for the rest of her life.
The judge looked at Hyde. “Hyde, do you take Duster to be your wife?”
“Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect her?”
“I promise.” Hyde’s smile didn’t look reassuring to Greer but it made Duster beam all the same.
“Please exchange your rings.”
Greer frowned as she saw their wedding bands. She was almost certain they were stolen a few weeks earlier. She let the thought slip away as she felt Brice’s fingers lace with hers.
“Then by the power invested in me by the United Nations, I now declare you to be Wife and Wife. Congratulations, you may kiss your bride.”
The sun set just as the couple kissed. Simultaneously, hundreds of white candles lit at once all around them. Brice couldn’t help but applaud with the rest of the crowd. Greer didn’t clap, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t impressed.
As most of the wedding party moved to the reception area, Brice and Greer lingered behind to talk to Hyde and Duster. It was hard to get a word in because they were posing for their photographer.
“I think it’s time for us to go,” Brice hedged. “We need to get back to our date before anyone gets annoyed that we’re missing.”
“I was thinking you two could stay,” Hyde smiled as she toyed with the buttons of Duster’s shirt. The top one flicked opened, showing more cleavage than Brice was prepared to see. “Don’t you remember the fun we had together Brice?”
Brice thought it was really unfair how Greer and Duster both leveled glares at her. Hyde ignored the glares. “We could have some drinks; see where the night goes. It could be a very special Valentine’s Day.”
Brice wasn’t sure who looked more shocked/terrified out of the trio: herself, Greer, or Duster. Another button opened.
“Your SUV is parked down the beach. Nice seeing you,” Duster firmly declared, pointing in the general direction. Hyde looked ready to pout, but Duster distracted her with a kiss. Greer and Brice wasted no time hotfooting it away.
Greer started laughing as soon as they were safely in the car.
“What?” Brice asked.
“Hyde doesn’t always get what she wants.”
Brice grinned. “No. No, she didn’t. And I promise I only kissed Duster and Hyde one. Separately, I mean. I kissed Duster when we discovered the cure to save Noel and Hyde was always trying to get me alone. Lamb and Duster usually kept her at bay but one time she got me. It was the scariest kiss I ever had.”
“I wasn’t really mad back there,” Greer confessed. “I was just trying to move our escape along.”
Brice grinned, happy to know she wasn’t in the doghouse for not telling Greer that sooner. “So what shall we do with the rest of our date? Shall we go back to the fair? You still owe me a fuzzy unicorn.”
Greer shook her head. “Honestly? I’m exhausted. It took a lot of energy to not make a dozen arrests back there. Let’s get some food and go home.”
Brice bemoaned the loss of her plan to propose at the top of the Ferris wheel, but agreed. They stopped for Hawaiian food since they were in the area. They got poi, lau lau, purple sweet potatoes, and a few types of desserts. They knew they couldn’t eat all the food they got, but that’s what leftovers were for.
They fell asleep on the couch after stuffing their faces. Brice honestly hadn’t meant to. She had been running over a dozen proposals in her mind, but those thoughts had derailed when Greer cuddled into her side. She was warm, full, and happy so sleep came easily. She jerked awake at 11:56pm. She felt a wave of panic wash over her. She was almost out of time to propose on Valentine’s Day.
Somehow sensing the chaos inside of Brice, Greer woke up from her nap. “What’s wrong?”
Brice rose off the couch so she could pull the ring box from her pocket. “I have something I wanted to do today and we’re almost out of time.”
Suddenly worried, Greer rose off the couch as well. “What are you…”
Her sentence faded as she spotted the ring box. Greer had seen this moment happen years ago. She knew what the ring would look like, she knew Brice would get down on one knee, she knew she would cry, and she knew she would say yes. “Is…is that the engagement ring my father gave my mother?”
“Yes. Your mother gave it to me. There are some advantages marrying into a family of psychics. I wanted this to be in a romantic spot. I wanted to do it at a romantic restaurant. That turned into proposing on the fair’s Ferris wheel. I should have done it at the beach. I could have taken you on a sunset cruise in the car like we’ve done before. Anyway I wanted to do this today, on the most romantic day of the year,” Brice confessed, dropping to one knee. “Greer, I love you. It’s taken me years to realize I was in love with you, but I wouldn’t change a single moment of everything we went through. I’d go through it all over again to spend another day with you. But I don’t want just one more day, I want every day. I want you by my side the rest of our lives. Will you make me the happiest woman in the world by saying you will marry me?”
Greer felt a tear slip down her cheek. She had told herself for years that she wouldn’t cry at such a happy moment. She didn’t care what the vision predicted; she wouldn’t cry. But right there, in the moment, she couldn’t stop herself. She had to shallow back the tightness in her throat to whisper, “Yes.”
Brice let out the breath she didn’t know she was holding. She repeated wanting to make sure she heard her right, “Yes?”
Greer started to smile. “Yes.”
“Yes,” Brice repeated again, more an affirmation then a question. She knew a goofy grin was growing on her face, but she couldn’t stop herself. Greer used their joined hands to pull Brice to her feet and into a kiss. “Yes.”
A few kisses later, Greer laughed. “Brice?”
“I hate to tell you this but your proposal went on so long that you actually proposed on the 15th.”
Brice turned her head to look at the clock on the mantel. She laughed, ruefully, “Well…I tried to make it a perfect Valentine’s Day.”
Greer pulled her close for another kiss. “Don’t be ridiculous. It was a perfect day and if anyone asks, we’ll just say this household celebrates Valentine’s Day on Central Standard Time instead of Eastern Standard Time. That means you did propose on Valentine’s Day and I said yes.”
Second Valentine’s Day Together
“Not bad for an old-timer, huh?” Brice asked between pants. Greer could only nod into Brice’s neck, one hand laced into the woman’s hair. Her legs dropped from around Brice’s hips and she used her free hand to push her wife’s stomach a little. Brice got the message and leaned back on her legs to pull the toy free. It was nearly as erotic as watching the toy go in but she didn’t have the energy to start again just yet.
Unfortunately with great orgasms sometimes comes the urge to pee.
“I’ll be right back,” she stated, kissing Greer’s cheek as she climbed out of bed. Greer fumbled around to gather the twisted, discarded top sheet and pulled it over herself, chilly now that she lost Brice’s body heat.
Brice unbuckled the straps and put the toy in the sink to clean later. She then sat on the toilet for the moment to allow her lower body to relax. An idea struck her before she urinated. She technically knew that she wouldn’t have a 99.9% accurate answer until the first day of her missed period, but she wanted to try anyway. Today’s test result would be pretty close to that accuracy.
She reached into the medicine cabinet and grabbed one of the half of dozen pregnancy tests they had bought for this exact moment. She peed on the end of the strip and set it aside to finish relieving the rest of her bladder. She flushed, washed her hands, and went back into the bedroom. All the technological and medical advances in the world still meant she had to wait five minutes.
“Are you okay?” Brice asked, sliding into bed. She wrapped an arm around Greer’s waist as she laid her head down on the pillow next to the blonde’s. Greer huffed a laugh. “I think I went a little deaf. My ears started ringing and now you sound a little muffled.”
The bus driver couldn’t get the smirk off her face. “That happens sometimes after a really good orgasm. It will fade.”
Brice moved to rest her head on Greer’s chest, her eyes closing when she felt fingers start scratching her scalp. Some minutes passed before Greer could hear normally again. It didn’t bother her. She had other thoughts playing on her mind. She spoke when she could hear again. “Brice?”
“What we just did was one of the visions I saw when we first touched hands.”
Hazel eyes shot open, but she didn’t move from her spot. “Wow. Your visions are something else. It couldn’t have picked a lazy Tuesday or something tame to show you the first time? It had to pick that?”
“Well it showed the last bit of that. Not everything we just did,” Greer conceded.
“That’s good I suppose. Otherwise I would hate to know what kind of trouble I would be in for showing pornography to a 17 year old.” Brice flinched at the not gentle tug on her hair but laughed all the same.
“It’s not pornography. It’s love,” Greer protested. “It was a vision of the future. I also saw nice things like…”
“Children?” she finished when Greer hesitated.
Greer sighed. “Yeah. Do you think it took this time? I know we silently agreed not to talk about it but I really want to know. I really want us to be parents.”
Brice lifted her head to glance at the clock. Seven minutes had passed. She hopped out of bed. “Hold that thought.”
She lifted the pregnancy test off the counter and felt a grin start to grow on her face. She walked back into the bedroom to see Greer sitting upright, holding the sheet to her chest. “What? What is it?”
Brice held up the pregnancy test. “Pregnant. It says pregnant.”
Greer’s eyes grew wide. “Really?”
Brice started laughing. “Yes, really. I’m pregnant.”
Greer threw off the sheet and dashed out of bed to wrap Brice in a hug. “That’s so amazing! We’re going to have a baby!”
She cupped Brice’s face and pulled her into a kiss. “That’s amazing. We’re having a baby.”
Brice felt tears slide down her cheek as she repeated, “We’re having a baby.”
Greer kissed her tears away and then her lips again. This led to Brice setting the test aside and walking them back to the bed. Brice settled on top of Greer, their legs tangling together, as they continued to kiss. The sound of Brice’s phone ringing caused them both to groan.
“Whoever it is used the emergency extension,” Brice grumbled, reaching over to grab her phone off the nightstand. “I put it on silent for a reason. It’s Valentine’s Day. Ugh. It’s Noel.”
She answered, putting the phone to her ear as she placed most of her weight on her other arm. “What?”
“I need you and Greer down here immediately. Mellow Marsh is trying to invade the city with a new army,” Noel informed her. “ASAP.”
“Isn’t this your job? We’re busy,” Brice snapped. “We’re celebrating.”
“Celebrating?” Noel asked. She paused and Brice heard a few shots fire. “Celebrating what?”
Brice paused, looking down at Greer who nodded. “I’m pregnant.”
“What?” Noel froze as she processed the news and then burst. “Alice! We’re going to be aunts! Isn’t that wonderful? Anyway, get your asses down here!”
Brice tossed the phone aside when Noel hung up on her. She pressed her forehead into the bed and groaned. “It was almost a perfect Valentine’s Day.”
Greer stroked her back. “I know. Now get up. It’s your friend in trouble.”
“Shouldn’t you be protective of me? We can’t risk putting me in danger in my delicate condition.”
Her wife let out a loud, belly laugh. “That’s rich. You’d snap at me the minute I tried that. And it’s Mellow Marsh. All of her creations are made from marshmallows. It’s going to be messy; not dangerous. Now get up and dress in some clothes you don’t mind throwing away.”
Fourth Valentine’s Day
Greer glanced at the clock on the mantel and sighed. If Brice didn’t get back soon they would be late for their dinner reservations. She had made the Valentine’s Day dinner reservations two years ago; that’s how long the waiting list was. It had taken even longer to be qualified enough to make a reservation. Every superhero knows they made it when ‘Top of the World’ accepted your request for a reservation. She had literally saved the state of Florida from being severed from the continental USA before they accepted her reservation request.
Brice rushed in the door a second later, out of breath from the dash from the car to the house. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. She knew we were going to dinner and wanted to go with us. It took a few minutes for Ma to peel her off of me.”
Greer smiled at the image that conjured of a desperate Brice and Marge trying to calm her clever daughter.
“Give me two minutes,” Brice requested, rushing to their bedroom. Three minutes later, not that anyone was counting, she reappeared in a silk, red shirt and black slacks. Greer hummed her appreciation. “You clean up nice for an old married lady.”
Brice laughed and grasped Greer’s outreached hand to pull her off the couch. “You look pretty amazing yourself given that you’re a working mother. I bet your wife stays at home all day with the kid.”
“She hardly complains and it’s actually a struggle to get her to do any work around here. Do you know she didn’t paint the house this year for the first time in years?” Greer teased, tugging on Brice’s collar. She rolled her eyes before leaning in for a quick kiss. “Our daughter beat me at ‘rock, paper, scissors’ so we have to paint the house pink. I’m waiting to see if she forgets the bet.”
Greer laughed as they walked to the door. She dusted a piece of white hair off of her own black slacks, muttering the cat’s name, before opening it. “Are we ready?”
“Absolutely. Perfect Valentine’s Day date take three.”
Greer shook her head. “You just jinxed us. Something is going to happen now.”
“Don’t be so negative,” Brice retorted, moving to open the passenger side door for her wife. “I think this is our year to get the day perfect. And remember, we have an extra hour to get it right because this household celebrates Valentine’s Day on Central Standard Time.”
“I can’t believe we’re going to eat at the Top of the World,” Brice gushed as she got in on her side. “They don’t allow children so Michael and I never got to go along with Ma and Dad. But I really wanted to go. It’s the tallest restaurant in the world you can eat at without your food trying to float away.”
“They could have brought you along when you were older,” Greer pointed out. While she was pleased to be the first to take Brice to the restaurant, she couldn’t figure out why her wife had never been before. “Or Noel could have taken you.”
Brice laughed. “No. No, Noel couldn’t have taken me. It’s turned into quite the romantic spot. If you take someone there the entire superhero community assumes you’re dating by the next morning.”
“I guess the entire superhero community will know we’re dating by the morning then,” Greer feigned a sigh. “I don’t know how my wife and daughter will handle the news I’m dating someone.”
“I suppose they will adjust,” Brice solemnly stated. The couple looked at each other and shared a grin. “You know we’re just a couple of goofballs?”
“Of course,” Greer answered. “Why else were we meant to be together?”
Before Brice could answer that, Greer’s pager went off. Both of their faces fell at the sound.
Greer slammed back into the car seat as she started dialing her operator. “Why? Why tonight of all nights…Hey, Brian, what’s the situation? …I’m in Brice’s SUV, forward the location there.”
She tossed her phone onto the dashboard before lowering her seat back. Once lowered, she was able to climb into the back with ease to start changing into her Cobalt Thrust’s uniform. She told Brice, “I’m sorry. There’s a domestic dispute at the incoming location.”
Brice tried not to look disappointed. “Since when do you take domestic dispute cases?”
“Now, I guess. The neighbors called in a noise compliant and potential domestic dispute. The local PD arrived on scene to find out the suspect had superpowers. No other visible weapons, but the suspect is still on site. They forwarded it to my bosses who forwarded it to me since I’m the closest superhero on duty. The local PD then were scared off by something.”
“Aren’t domestic dispute calls very dangerous?” Brice asked, remembering reading something akin in an article somewhere.
“Very,” Greer answered, already setting her suit to the thickest armor level. It would reduce her flexibility and speed, but it was worth the extra protection.
“I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to go in alone on domestic dispute calls,” Brice pointed out, trying not to look as worried as she felt. She was almost certain the article said most of the police officer deaths came from misinformation and the officer not having backup.
Greer paused. She didn’t want to call in backup for something that was probably a misunderstanding. “Let’s just checkout the situation. You can be my backup from the car and I’ll keep a direct line open to you.”
Brice wasn’t so certain that was the best of ideas. Greer leaned forward across the backseat and kissed her cheek. “I promise I won’t enter the house alone and if anything looks out of place you have my permission to call in backup without my say so.”
They stealthily landed in the middle of a field where a lone house stood. The yard was littered with broken down and rusted cars, trucks, and other scrap metal. Brice looked around. “How in the hell did neighbors hear a domestic dispute out here?”
Brice soon received her answer. Even though they were fifty yards away from the house, she could year a man shouting at the top of his lungs. She briefly wondered if his superpower was related to his voice. She had a first cousin once removed with a similar power.
“Stay in the car,” Greer grimly commanded. She took her sidearm and quietly exited the vehicle. If the suspect was this distraught, she knew it would quickly lead to an attack. She hoped she would be able to subdue him before real harm came to anyone.
Brice started googling domestic disputes on her phone as soon as Greer left. A quick skim of the results changed her mild worry into raging terror. She fumbled to open the glove box and pulled out the extra gun Greer kept stored there. She set it to level two which would fire pellets tipped with ununseptium and deactivated the gun’s safety.
Her decision was validated when she caught a glimpse of the suspect in the doorway. Knowing who he was, she called in backup. The operator promised arrival in 4 minutes and thirty seconds. Brice carefully ducked out of the car and made her way to Greer’s side.
“What are you doing here?” Greer hissed. “I told you to stay in the car.”
Brice peered over the hood of the broken truck. “I called for backup.”
Greer gaped at her. “We just got here. I literally left the car 80 seconds ago.”
“It’s been a very revealing 80 seconds,” Brice declaimed. “That’s Duster’s brother, Hellion. I’m pretty sure he’s got a vaster criminal record than she does and he’s a giant homophobe. He wouldn’t come to either of her weddings.”
“I can take Duster and I’m pretty sure I can take her brother,” Greer barked, more than a little annoyed Brice didn’t have faith in her. Brice shook her head. “No. We’re not getting into an argument right now. You said I could call backup whenever I wanted and I did. ETA is 4 minutes.”
Greer grumbled under her breath as she leaned against the truck. “Might as well sit here then.”
A woman’s screamed pierced the air. “Don’t! Hellion! Stop!”
Greer quickly straightened. “Or not. We have to help her.”
“I got your back,” Brice promised. Greer nodded and leveled her sidearm, moving out from behind the truck. “Hellion! This is Cobalt Thrust! Come out where I can see you!”
An angry roar was the only reply, followed by another feminine scream. “Hellion! Please! I won’t leave! Just calm down! Think of…”
The woman’s exclamations were cut off. Fearing the worst, Greer advanced her position. “Hellion! Exit the house and come stand on the porch!”
He didn’t appear on the porch but a large, sand, boulder started to form right in front of her. Greer fired into the form, only to have her pellets pass through untouched.
“Shit,” She cursed as she jumped out of the way. Her body barely cleared the area before the boulder slammed down where she had just stood. It left a two foot hole in the ground. “Hellion! Final warning! Surrender peacefully!”
Greer evaded with a back flip as the boulder flew at her. It missed and slammed into a broken down Mercedes. She grinned. “I can do this all day, boy!”
The boulder morphed into a swarm and moved to envelope her. She telekinetically picked up discarded a car door and slammed it into the swarm. It didn’t stop it, but it cleared a path for her to dash through. “Try again!”
The dust flew back towards the house where it reformed into the shape of a man on the porch. He had Duster’s hair, eyes, and nose and Brice fired at him as soon as he solidified. She missed; the bullets hitting the house beside him. She wasn’t surprised; she was horrible with guns.
The misfires further enraged Hellion. He transformed his hands to anvils and started beating on the side of the house. Greer was so stunned by the action she briefly lowered her own gun. “What are you doing?”
“You’ll never take what’s mine!”
The house started to shake as he continued to beat against it. It was as if he knew the exact mechanical resonance to match the natural frequency of the house. It started to sway violently under his hands.
Greer switched her gun to the final level for piercing rounds. He was trying to destroy himself, the woman inside, and his home before anyone could take it from him. She had to stop him before he succeeded in killing the woman; if she wasn’t dead already.
The four rounds she fired pierced his skin. Three went into his right arm and one into his shoulder. He shouldn’t have been able to continue with that much ununseptium inside of him, but somehow he managed. The onsite investigators would later theorize he turned those areas into pure sand to avoid the ununseptium affecting his body.
Brice felt her jaw drop as the house started to splinter. She had never seen an earthquake in person, but she imagined it created similar destruction. The windows flexed before they burst and bricks started to fall out of the foundation. From her position she could see the entire south wall begin to bow out. She ran forward to catch Greer’s arm in case she had the crazy of idea of running up to stop him.
Hellion let out a mighty roar as he slammed his whole body into the house. The house groaned and the front started to split apart. He ran inside the house as walls and frames collapsed in on themselves. The last thing Brice saw before Greer tackled her out of the way of some falling debris was Hellion’s head getting crushed by a massive wooden timber.
The couple lay on the ground, covering their heads, as they listened for the house to quiet down. Only then did they roll over to check each other and then themselves.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Greer asked, rising to her feet.
“I think so,” Brice answered, feeling her arms and legs. She looked over at the house. “Do you think either of them made it?”
Greer shook her head. “I don’t think so. When backup arrives we’ll start looking through the rubble. We’d cause more damage shifting through it now without proper tools.”
Brice rubbed the back of her neck. “Well…do you think we have time to make it to the Top of the World?”
Greer laughed, reaching down to pull her wife off the ground. “No. I’m afraid not. I guess we’ll have to settle for hamburgers.”
Brice grunted as she was lifted onto her feet. “I’m feeling pizza.”
Greer shook her head as she brushed some rubble off of her shoulder. “We could get a pizza with hamburger toppings.”
She winced from both the suggestion and the sore spots on her body from Greer’s tackle. “That sounds disgusting. Let’s just get burgers. I could really go for a milkshake right now.”
“Wait. Do you hear that?” Greer asked, stopping Brice by placing a hand on her arm. Brice cocked her head to listen. It was a faint sound but an unmistakable one. There was the sound of a crying baby coming from the wreckage.
The mothers shared a horrified look, each picturing their own daughter in that situation. They sprinted back towards the giant pile of rubble that used to be a house.
“Brice, it could be anywhere!” Greer cried as they circled in opposite directions, hoping to get closer to the source of the crying. Brice didn’t reply; she was already on her phone calling to let the impending backup know they needed someone or something capable of finding a body in the wreckage ASAP.
Greer snagged a loose piece of trim in frustration to toss aside, thinking perhaps she could dig her way inside. She gasped as a vision overrode all her senses the moment her fingers touched the board. It was like she was also buried in the rubble but somehow able to clearly see the tiny baby protected in a brick enclosure. She found Brice standing beside her when the vision left. “What did you see?”
The blonde had to call up saliva to wet her mouth before she could speak. Why did visions always leave her dry-mouthed? “He’s in the chimney.”
“He?” Her wife questioned as they sprinted to the back of the house where the tall brick chimney still stood. “It’s in a blue blanket. I made a stereotypical assumption.”
The women slowed as they reached the debris surrounding the chimney. The crying was definitely louder. Brice looked at the debris in dismay. “We can’t get through this. We’ll have to wait for backup. It should be here any minute.”
Greer loathed the thought of leaving the helpless baby alone for any amount of time. She desperately thought of a solution. “I could lift him up through the chimney. It’s a fairly big opening and he should fit.”
Brice nodded after a moment’s consideration. “Use your thrusters to fly up to the top to see if the chimney is entirely clear. Otherwise we wait no matter how hard it is.”
Greer gave a single nod as she activated her thrusters, flying eighteen feet into the air. She held onto the edge of the chimney as she peered inside. It was too dark to make out anything, but the cries were echoing around the brick channel. He was definitely at the bottom. She pulled her gun from her belt, checking the safety, and then activated the flashlight under the barrel.
The high powered beam was able to reach the bottom of the chimney where Greer could see a baby wiggling in a tightly wrapped blue blanket. She swallowed back the tightness in her throat. His mother’s last action had been to put him in a safe spot in case Hellion’s destructive claims came true. Now his parents were dead and he was all alone.
“Can you reach him?” Brice called out. She anxiously shifted from one foot to the other. “They will be here soon if you can’t. Don’t risk anything.”
“I can get him,” Greer called back. She used her telekinetic powers to mentally grasp the baby and carefully rotated him vertical. After that rotation, it was easy to lift him up. She moved two hundred pound bags during her training regiment so a 10 pound baby was nothing in comparison. It was still one of the most terrifying moments of Greer’s life that didn’t end until she was safely on the ground with him in her arms.
Brice was instantly by her side. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?” Greer deflected. Brice wrapped an arm around her and used her other arm to help support the baby. “You’re shaking.”
Greer let out an exhale. There really was no denying the fact she was trembling. “I kept thinking what if it was Rosalie down there? What if I dropped him or made one wrong move that would collapse the chimney on him?”
Brice didn’t answer. She pressed her lips against Greer’s temple and looked down at the baby. “Do you think he’s okay?”
The sound of engines caught Greer’s attention. “We’ll have him checked out. The backup has arrived.”
An investigation of the scene showed that Hellion and his girlfriend, identified as Tess Mason, were dead. Tess had been killed by Hellion; Greer and Brice had heard her dying screams. There was no birth record found for the infant but a portable blood test showed he was biologically Hellion’s and Tess’s.
“What’s going to happen to him?” Greer asked the case manager. The man looked up from his clipboard to gaze at Brice, who was holding the baby. “We’ll have to put him with child services until they find someone willing to adopt him.”
Greer’s jaw tightened at the thought. She glanced at Brice who nodded and turned attention back the manager. “Why can’t he stay with us?”
The manager looked up again. “You two? Why would you want to keep this child?”
“Why not?” Greer demanded to know. “Are you suggesting we wouldn’t want to keep the child of a known murderer? Or are you insinuating that two woman are incapable of watching out for an infant?”
He looked appalled at the thought. “I never said…”
“Because Brice and I are great caretakers. She is a recently retired bus driver for International High and I’m a registered superhero. We are also the mother of a two year old. I think we can watch over one baby while suitable parents are found.”
“Okay, okay. You can take him,” The manager insisted, holding up his hands; one of which still held the clipboard. “Calm down. I never said any of that stuff.”
Greer gave a terse nod before walking away. “Let’s go home, Brice.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Brice was valiantly trying to hold back a smile. She frowned when they got back to their car. “We don’t have a car seat for him.”
Greer came up short. “Huh. I didn’t think this through.”
Brice wanted to snap her fingers as an idea came to her, but her hands were occupied with holding the baby. They had given him a small doze of sleeping medication to examine him without him screaming and flailing. He would wake up soon. “I got it. We have Rosalie’s car seat and it’s adjustable, remember. Best present Noel ever bought me.”
Greer took the baby while Brice fiddled with the seat’s setting. Soon it was converted to hold a four month old; the baby’s estimated age. Greer buckled him into place.
“We’re going to need baby formula and diapers,” she mused, getting into the passenger seat. Brice nodded, clicking her seatbelt into place. “Yes. I’ll drop you two back at the house and go shopping. It won’t take long.”
“You could just have a drone deliver everything,” Greer pointed out, looking at her wife. Brice gave her a sad smile. “I have to call Duster. It’s only right.”
“Ah,” Greer had to agree. “Yeah. You probably should.”
Fifteen minutes later, Brice was alone in her SUV and opened up the emergency, video communication channel Duster had given her. It was a burner channel; Duster would destroy all traces of it once the conversation was done. The supervillian answered on the first ring.
“Duster, I have some news,” Brice said. She didn’t clarify if the news was good or bad, unsure of how Duster would react.
Duster sighed, rubbing her eyes. “I already know, Brice. I had an alert set for news of my brother. I just read what happened ten minutes ago. Stupid bastard. He was worse than our father to do something like that. Are you okay?”
Brice blinked; surprised Duster had mellowed enough to ask about her wellbeing. She suspected the change in Duster’s mannerisms came from being married to two women. “I’m fine. So is Greer. But Duster, there’s something else I have to tell you. Something that probably wasn’t mentioned in the report.”
Duster sat up straighter. “Is he not dead? You should have put him down like a wild dog, Brice. He’s not fit to live.”
“No, no. He’s dead. I can promise you that,” Brice stated. She winced at the memory of the beam crushing him. “Did you know he was living with a woman?”
“I read it in the report, but no, I didn’t know.”
“Then you probably didn’t know that you are a…” Brice hesitated, unsure if she should spit it out. She glanced away, trying to gather her wits.
Duster snapped her fingers. “Hey, Brice. Focus. I’m a what?”
The color faded from Duster’s face. “A what?”
Brice repeated. “An aunt. You’re an aunt, Duster, and you’re his only living relative. The baby is a boy by the way. The mother doesn’t have any known relatives and you’re the only one left on Hellion’s side.”
“I can’t…I don’t want a baby,” Duster exclaimed. She looked ready to sever the communication link and runaway. She forced herself to stay put. “I can’t take care of a baby, Brice. There’s no way in hell it would be good for the kid to stay with me.”
Brice thought it was best she didn’t mention there was no way the government was going to give her custody over the child. Not with her criminal background.
“You should keep him.”
Brice’s head jerked up to meet Duster’s sand-colored eyes. “What?”
Duster firmly nodded. “You should adopt him. You’re a stay-at-home mom. You already have a kid you haven’t managed to destroy. He would have a good life with you and Greer. You two would love him as one of your own and raised right. I can’t keep him, Brice. All three of us are useless with children and no child should be subjected to our company. Please, Brice. I will owe you for the rest of my life if you would do this for me.”
Brice didn’t know how to respond for the longest time. Finally she replied, “I’ll have to talk to Greer about it.”
Duster instantly looked relieved, as if she knew how Greer would respond. “Thank you, Brice. I will never forget this.”
“I can’t make…” Brice let her sentence trail off as Duster had already ended the call. She decided to finish shopping as soon as possible and return to her home.
“That was fast,” Greer called out when she walked back into the house. Brice exhaled a laugh, her hands weighted down with dozens of bags. “Ironically enough, shopping for a baby is like riding a bike. I’ll have a drone ship anything I’ve forgotten. Were you two alright while I was gone?”
“He’s been fussy but I’m pretty sure he’s just hungry.”
“I’ll go make some formula.”
A few minutes later, Brice appeared back in the living room with a warm bottle of formula and a towel for cleanup. Greer offered, “Do you want to feed him?”
“Sure, hand him over. I’m an old hand at this,” Brice laughed. She set the bottle down on the couch between them and took the wiggling baby in her arms. He grunted and whined. “It’s okay, little fellow. Here’s your food.”
The baby grunted again as the nipple was placed on his lips but eagerly took it into his mouth when he realized it was food. He grunted again in satisfaction as he settled down.
Greer admired her wife’s feeding and burping skills before feeling the need to do anything else. She rose from the couch with a groan. “Shall I go order pizza and open a bottle of wine?”
“I thought you wanted burgers.”
Greer shrugged. “It’s been a pizza kind of night.”
Brice laughed and she walked off to call the delivery place. She came back into the living room with two glasses of wine. “It should be here in thirty minutes.”
“I called Duster and told her what happened,” Brice stated, nodding for Greer to set her glass down on a coaster on the side table.
“What did she say?” Greer motioned to take the baby back and Brice handed him over. She knew Greer loved the way babies smelled. She was hoping the smell would keep her calm while she reported all that Duster requested. She told her everything after taking a long sip of her wine.
Greer fell quiet for a long pause. “Duster wants us to watch over her nephew? But this was supposed to be a temporary arrangement. There are several superhero houses that would love to adopt a superhero son.”
Brice refrained from responding, causing Greer to frown at her. “What about you? What do you think?”
“I think…we could adopt him.” Brice shrugged, unable to look at her wife as she fiddled with her wine glass.
Greer gasped, feeling her jaw slightly drop. “What?”
Brice set her glass down and turned towards her wife on the couch. “Hear me out. This has nothing to do with Duster asking us to take him. Well…it’s like 98 percent not about Duster. We’ve been talking about having another child for a while now. You, yourself, said you saw children in your future visions. As in plural. Why can’t we help this child out now? We’re good parents and he’ll probably have super powers. He needs to be raised in a good home that can handle that.”
Greer stared down at the baby asleep in her arms. She tried not to see him as her arch-nemesis’ nephew. She tried not to see him as the son of a demented man who killed the boy’s mother before himself. He was just a baby who didn’t deserve to be seen in either of those lights.
She had always assumed the mousy brown-haired girl and blonde-haired boys she saw in her visions were biologically theirs. It had never crossed her mind that perhaps she and Brice would adopt.
“But one day we’ll have to tell him,” she stated. “We don’t want him finding out on his own. How will we tell him that he’s adopted and his biological father killed his mother?”
“We’ll figure it out. I’m sure there are books and blogs about how to get through that. We can find a psychiatrist to help.”
Greer realized just how serious Brice was at that point. Her wife hated the idea of going back to a psychiatrist after being forced to see one for most of her childhood.
Several moments passed as Greer truly considered what Brice suggested. She tried to imagine embracing the baby into their family. It wasn’t hard to picture. She knew Rosalie would love having a baby brother.
“Do you think they would let us keep him?” Greer whispered, afraid if she asked it louder ‘they’ would take him away. Brice fervently nodded. “Absolutely. Between you and your family and me and mine, we have plenty of credibility and clout. Plus I got Noel and not to mention I could blackmail the US government for keeping my blood secret all these years. We could keep him if we decided this is what we wanted.”
“I could want this,” Greer admitted. A soft look fell across Brice’s face. “I could want this too. Are we doing this for real?”
“I think we are. What would we call him?” she asked, stroking the curve of his cheek. She already knew the name she wanted and hoped Brice felt the same.
“There’s only one name we would call him,” Brice laughed, amused Greer would be shy about stating it. “Garrison. His name would be Garrison Markus Johnson after your father and mine.”
“Garrison Markus,” Greer repeated to the baby in her arms. As if already knowing his name the baby opened his eyes to stare at her before squirming, seeking out a comfortable position. “I think he likes it.”
“Of course he would,” Brice grinned. She picked up her glass of wine and settled back into the couch. “Garrison has good taste. He’s a Johnson after all.”
She started giggling at a thought. Greer arched a brow as she settled back into the cushions with her. “What?”
“I just realized you just got me the best Valentine’s Day present ever and I’ll never be able to get you a better one. I’m never going to be able to top a son.”
Greer laughed while shaking her head. “You’re being ridiculous. If anything, Garrison is a Valentine’s present to the both of us.”
“So you’re saying it’s been the best Valentine’s Day ever?” Brice rolled her head over to look at her wife. Greer laughed. “It’s completely unfair for you to make me choose this as the best Valentine’s Day ever after all the other ones we’ve shared and will share. However, I will say this. This just became a perfect Valentine’s Day.”
Sixth April’s Fools Day Together
“How worried do you think we should be?” Greer asked. She really wished she had taken the time to put on her supersuit, but it felt wrong to be wearing more protection than her wife. She adjusted the gun in her hand as they stopped outside the giant warehouse.
Brice sighed as she scratched the back of her neck. “Given that it’s Lamb, there’s no telling. This could be harmless or potentially world destroying. Do you remember last year’s Saint Patrick’s Day?”
Greer shuddered. “Let’s not talk about that anymore. I still can’t eat anything green and I loved green candy apple Jolly Ranchers.”
Brice gently bumped their shoulders together as they entered the warehouse, following the instructions Lamb left for them. “How do you feel about red M&Ms?”
She grinned. “They’re still my favorite things in the world.”
“Wow. Really?” Brice feigned hurt. “Your favorite things in the world? What about me? What about our children?”
Greer rolled her eyes. “You know what I meant. Red M&Ms are my favorite candy. You, Rosalie, and Garrison are my overall favorite things in the world.”
Brice smiled. “That’s good to know. Speaking of candy, we should pick up some more M&Ms on the way home. Between you and the kids, I hardly get any.”
“Pish posh,” Greer protested. “You eat your fair share of the other colors.”
“What other colors? We only buy red ones.”
Greer rolled her eyes again. The couple fell silent as they walked into a large, white room. It had to be two stories tall and the size of a football field. Greer almost whistled but she worried about the potential hazards of an echo. The room was empty except for Lamb and an intimidating machine.
“Brice! Greer!” He called out. “Thank you for coming. I wanted you to be the first to see this.”
“You should probably call backup,” Brice whispered out of the side of her mouth. Greer nodded, already pressing an emergency beacon on her phone. Little did she know that Lamb was jamming all incoming and outgoing frequencies.
“See what?” Brice asked, turning her attention back to the mad scientist. “What’s this?”
Lamb laughed, sounding quite maniacal. “I have finally fixed the quantum mechanical event generator that your friend Noel broke.”
“You’re what? And when did Noel do that?”
Greer answered before Lamb could. “When you fell into the vat of toxic waste, Noel threw in what looked like a floatation device. I lifted you out of the waste onto it, but wasn’t strong enough to fully pull you out. We had to use a pulley and crane to get you out to do CPR.”
“It wasn’t a floatie!” Lamb shouted, stamping his foot. “She ruined my quantum mechanical event generator.”
Greer held up her hands. “Okay, okay. Calm down. We put Brice on your quant generator.”
Lamb soothed his hands down his white lab coat. “Yes. You actually did more than that. After years of studying the events of that day I realized you actually sent Brice into an alternate dimension. Do you know what that means? My machine worked! It just needed toxic waste as a power source!”
Brice shook her head, unsure she heard him correctly. “Wait, wait. Let’s slow down. What do you mean I went to an alternate dimension? I was here in a coma.”
“No,” Lamb declared. He walked over to a bench to hold up a set of papers that showed complicated diagrams and equations. “My calculations are not wrong. You were transferred to another dimension and that dimension’s Brice was transported here. The other Brice spent all that week in a coma.”
“But I don’t remember being in another dimension,” Brice protested. “And I would remember that.”
It was Greer who spoke again. She looked pensive. “I think Lamb may be right, Brice. You wouldn’t remember because of the anti-radiation drugs they gave you. The common side-effect was memory loss. When you woke up from your coma, you insisted you had a crazy week and had something very important to talk to me about. The drugs put you back to sleep and erased your memory before we got the chance to talk. What if you wanted to tell me about the alternate dimension? Why else would you remember a week that you were supposed to be in a coma for?”
Brice couldn’t argue with her point of view, mainly because she couldn’t remember any of what Greer just mentioned.
“The chemical, Intravitcus, doesn’t have a 100% disruption rate. You do remember some things,” Lamb insisted. “Are there not memories you have that feel real despite the fact they never happened and you never dreamed them?”
There were memories that Brice knew she hadn’t dreamed: a scar across Noel’s face, a giant German shepherd named Fluffy, a female scientist moaning over her perfect DNA, and making out with Greer well before they shared a first kiss.
Lamb gave a satisfied nod after watching her expressions. “I can see you have memories. Sadly, there is no way for me to bring your memories fully back. But we can ask the other dimension exactly what happened.”
“What?” Brice repeated for what she felt was the fifteenth time. “Wait, Lamb. What are you doing?”
Lamb ignored her and started pressing buttons and throwing switches on his machine. Green toxic waste started flowing through tubes going in and out of the machine. He started laughing. “I’m going to be the greatest scientist in the world! Every journal will feature me on the cover! We’re bringing them here.”
“Who?” Greer demanded. She pulled out her phone to directly call for help and cursed when she saw it was jammed. “Brice, I don’t have a signal!”
“Run until you can find one!” Brice urged. The machine was making a god-awful sound.
“I’m not leaving you!” Greer declared, reaching out to grab her hand. “Damnit, Lamb! What are you doing?”
“I’m bringing them to us! I’m bringing US to US!”
There was a large crack of sound and a blinding burst of green light that made everyone cover their eyes.
“Lamb! What did you do?” Brice called out, rubbing her eyes. A feminine voice replied. “I didn’t do anything! Duster and I were having a nice pre-coitus dinner!”
“What?” Lamb asked. His vision was the first to clear given that he had a faint idea he should close his eyes. He blinked as he saw his persona from an alternative dimension. “Are you me?”
The female Lamb brightened as she looked him over. “You must be the Lamb the other Brice told me about! You’re bald and short, just like she said. Did you transport us here?”
He straightened his lab coat. “I’m not that short, and yes I did. Obviously our parents must have decided to adopt an Asian baby instead of doing a local adoption per my universe.”
“Obviously,” she agreed, running over to look at his machine. “It looks just like mine! Except I haven’t played with it in years. How did you…”
Greer and Brice quickly toned out the set of Lambs when they saw who else had come along. It was them. Or, at least, it looked like them. Another Greer and Brice. The second Greer grinned as she looked Brice over from head to toe. “Other Brice? Is that you?”
“Uh, yes?” Brice answered, truly not certain. “I’m sorry. Have we met?”
The second Greer’s face fell. “Tell me we’re not playing this game again. Are you saying you don’t remember me?”
Brice shook her head. “I’m sorry. They gave me drugs when I came home from your dimension that erased my memories. I have a few pieces I think. Does Noel have a scar across her face?”
The second Brice proudly grinned. “Yes, yes she does. She got that from our first fight. She kept it because Alice dugs it.”
Brice felt a little sick. She had scarred Noel’s face?
The second Greer moved forward to shake Greer’s hand. “Hello Greer, I’m you from an alternate dimension.”
“A pleasure,” Greer responded, looking extremely wary. “To make things clear for me, I’m going to call you Coma Greer and Coma Brice because that’s what your Brice did while she was here.”
Coma Greer laughed. “Well I certainly wasn’t in a coma. It’s a shame your Brice can’t remember. Tell me are you two finally together?”
“Yes,” Greer answered, trying to keep Coma Greer’s attention off of her wife. Her earlier comments had set her teeth on edge. “We have been for five years now.”
Coma Brice snorted. “Only five? You guys are slow pokes. We’ve been married for seven.”
Coma Greer shared a wicked grin with her wife before sobering. “It’s not a competition. I’m sure every universe takes their own time. Speaking of time. Lamb! We can’t stay here! Fluffy is waiting for us to let him out.”
“We’re working on it,” Coma Lamb called back. It didn’t sound like they were working on it, but she had no other choice but to believe her.
“Fluffy?” Brice repeated, looking off to the side as she remembered him. “A giant German Shepherd right?”
“Right,” Coma Greer declared, happy she remembered something. “He didn’t like you when you first arrived but he warmed up.”
“I felt so betrayed when I learned that,” Coma Brice confessed. “Where are your animals? I want to make them love me so you can understand what I went through.”
“Uh,” Brice uttered, looking very unsure. She turned to Greer. “Do you think we can be dreaming? I mean, you do know what day it is right?”
Coma Greer reached over to pinch Brice herself. Brice jumped at the pain. “Nope. You’re not dreaming. And today does make for one hell of an April Fool’s Day joke.”
“Incoming,” The female Lamb shouted. “Cover your eyes.”
The machine caused another loud crack and a flash of green light. “What the hell is going on here?”
Brice blinked and rubbed her eyes. “That sounded like Noel.”
“Because it is Noel. Who the hell are you guys?”
Brice did a double take at the Noel in front of her. Behind her was another Brice and male Lamb, identical to the first except for a giant beard. “Uh…”
“It seems we have been teleported into an alternate dimension,” The third Lamb sniffed his nose in disdain. “This is a child’s work. I shall go investigate the matter and return us to our natural time.”
Greer cocked her head at the newest Brice. “Why are you with Noel and not me?”
She only meant to ask why Noel had been teleported instead of herself. She merely assumed Brice had been hanging out with Noel at the time. That was not the answer she received.
“We were out celebrating our anniversary when we arrived here,” Brice replied, looking around. “Love, do you think it’s safe?”
The original and Coma Brice almost fell over. They both exclaimed, “Love?”
The third Brice cast them both wary looks. “Yes. Noel and I are married; thus why I’m calling her love.”
“You married Noel? What in the hell kind of dimension are you from?” Coma Brice shouted. “That’s ridiculous! How did you two wind up together?”
Noel flashed a smile back at her wife. “It started when my mother moved into Brice’s suburb. She wanted us to be friends. All the kids were talking about how Brice was a baron, someone who should have superpowers but was barren, and I realized I could stay away from her to become a cool kid or make my own decisions. It turned out to be the best decision of my life to become her friend. Friendship grew into more. How more right could we be for each other when her DNA is the only reason I’m alive today?”
“We’re calling them ‘Delusional’ Noel and Brice,” Coma Brice declared, visibly shaken by the idea of marrying Noel. Brice firmly nodded her agreement.
Coma Lamb cried out, “Sorry, sorry. This one is my bad!”
“What…” Coma Greer started to ask only to be interrupted by a large crack of sound and green light. “Not again.”
“What’s going on here?” A voice shouted. Brice and Greer exchanged a horrified look. They knew that voice.
“Duster?” They chorused together.
The sand colored-haired woman shot them all an inquisitive look. “This…looks complicated. What happened?”
Her Lamb came forward and placed her lab goggles onto of her curly hair. “It seems we have been transported to an alternate dimension. From the sets of trios I hypothesize that a random dimension’s Lamb, Brice, and Brice’s partner are being transported each time the machine activates. I shall go investigate with my cohort.”
The original Brice grimaced. “Did she say partner? Are you married to Duster?”
Duster’s Brice scoffed. “Don’t be ridiculous. We’re just dating.”
Duster looked mildly hurt. “You said you would consider marrying me one day.”
Delusional Brice waved a hand over Duster. “She’s a supervillain! What were you thinking?”
Duster’s Brice pointed a finger at her. “Hey! You don’t get to judge my life. Duster is a nice woman once you get to know her and she’s amazing in bed.”
“I concur with that statement!” Coma Lamb shouted.
“This is a bad dream,” Brice stated, feeling a little lightheaded. “A really bad dream. I’m going to call those two Bad Dreams.”
“Don’t touch that 3rd Lamb!” The original Lamb shouted. The older trios closed their eyes as soon as they heard the crack. A blinding flash of green light later, only two new people stood before the crowd.
This Brice wore a black, three piece suit. She looked over the scene with cold eyes. A Greer copy stood behind her wearing a lab coat.
“Lamb, report.” The new Brice snapped her fingers and pointed at the floor beside her. The Greer copy moved forward to obey. “Ms. Johnson it appears we have been transported to an alternative dimension.”
“Wait, wait. What in the hell is going on here? Why did you just call her Lamb?” Coma Greer demanded to know.
The new Brice arched a dismissive brow. “Because that’s her name.”
“Bullshit, her name is Greer.”
“Greer is the name my biological parents gave me before they were terminated when I was two years old,” Lamb Greer explained. “My adoptive parents gave me the name Lamb after they alternated my brain to become one of the smartest individuals on the planet. Ms. Johnson is my employer.”
Brice was utterly confused by her alternate’s appearance. “What exactly do you do?”
“I’m a superhero assassin and I really love my job,” The newest Brice answered with a grin. Brice immediately deemed her Evil Brice.
Greer asked Lamb Greer, “Are you really married to her when she’s a killer?”
Evil Brice scoffed. “Married to Lamb? Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t believe in emotions.”
“This is just getting ridiculous,” Coma Lamb sighed. “Incoming!”
Another Brice, Duster, and female Lamb that looked of Indian-descent appeared. Brice interrupted the new arrivals before they could say anything. “Brice, state your wife and your job occupation so we know what to call you.”
The new Brice shared a confused look between her companions. “Duster and Lamb are both my wives. We have a polyamorous relationship. With these two by my side, I became the CEO of the superhero corporation. We call all the shots.”
“Stop touching that button Number 3!” Lamb shouted. Everyone shook their heads and covered their eyes. This time only a lone figure was teleported into the world. Everyone remained quiet as they looked her over. This Brice had seen hard times. Something had happened to her left arm. From the elbow to the shoulder was covered in scars and the bottom half was a metal prosthetic. Her clothes were battle fatigues that had seen lots of wear and tear.
“What happened to you?” Coma Brice asked. “Where are your Greer and Lamb?”
Battle Brice’s jaw tightened. “Greer died in my arms when she was 19 when Virus invaded the high school. He succeeded in taken over the school and war broke out all over the world. As for the one called Lamb, I believe he was murdered by his boss Virus a few years ago.”
Silence fell over the crowd in respect for her loss. This Brice had lived and was still living in hell.
“Incoming!” Bad Dream Lamb warned. A new trio of Lamb, Greer, and Brice appeared and the Brice stepped forward.
“Everyone stand back,” The newest Brice commanded. “I am a registered superhero and I don’t wish to harm you.”
Every other Brice pinned her with a stare. “You have powers?”
“Why yes,” The newest Brice proudly reported. “I can send a wave of projective vomit half a mile. It’s cohesive.”
Every other Brice in the room was immediately grateful they were not born with powers.
“The machine’s acting on its own now,” Delusional Lamb reported.
A loud crack and green light flashed. Only two figures arrived this time: a Brice and Lamb.
The new Brice surveyed the scene with a steady gaze. “Lamb, explanation.”
Her Lamb came forward. He was a tall man who looked to be of middle-eastern descent. “My overlord, I theorize that we have been transported into an alternative dimension.”
“This does not suit my plans whatsoever. I was on my way to take over Egypt. Egypt was on my schedule today right?”
“Yes, my overlord. But you also have to pick up M…”
“Thank you, Lamb. That’s all I wanted to know,” The newest Brice curtly cut him off. She flew into the air to properly get a headcount.
“She has powers too,” Weird Powered Brice exclaimed.
“Actual legit powers,” Coma Brice pointed out, once again grateful that she had no powers over that insanely weird one.
“I have all the powers that anyone in my family tree has ever had,” The newest Brice boasted. “I have super strength, speed, hearing, vision, and voice. I can fly, shapeshift, and so much more. Out of trillions of genetic combinations, I am the perfect selection!”
“I don’t like her,” Greer whispered to her wife. A nearby Delusional Brice and Noel nodded their heads in agreement.
The newest Brice continued to survey the room. “This opens new possibilities for me, Lamb. After I finish taking over our planet, I can take over every other planet.”
“You absolutely could, my overlord. But…won’t that interfere with family nights?”
“I will still be home for family nights. I am taking over the world for my family. There is nothing more important to me than my wife and children. I want them to live in a perfect world and to do so I have to control every single position of power.”
Coma Greer whispered to Bad Dream Brice, “Who do you think she’s married to?”
“I don’t want to know,” she answered. “What are we going to call her?”
“You may call me Overlord,” The newest Brice declared, hearing every word. “I shall be your ruler one day.”
“You’re not going to be my ruler,” Delusional Noel proclaimed. “You don’t control me.”
Evil Brice stepped forward. She looked oddly calm and murderous at the same time. “Nor I.”
Brice said, “Hey now. Let’s not start something we’re going to regret.”
The newest Brice didn’t reply. Instead she created a fireball and hurled it as Evil Brice. Evil Brice quickly dodged and pulled out a wicked looking gun from her suit to start firing.
“No one in our family has fire powers!” Coma Brice shouted, watching Bad Dream Duster, Weird Powered Brice, and Delusional Noel enter the fray. She grabbed her wife by the waist to keep her from joining.
“Great, great grandfather on our mother’s side!” The newest Brice called back.
Brice rubbed her temples, a fierce headache already pounding between them as she watched the growing fight. “I’m going to call her Mega-Jerk!Brice.”
“I don’t care what you call her just move!” Greer shouted, pulling her wife away from the crowd as a set of ice shards slammed into the floor near them. “Do not let go of my hand! I don’t want to lose you in all these Brices.”
“Don’t worry,” Brice replied, tightening her grip. “I’m not letting go for anything.”
Across the room Battle Brice grabbed Lamb Greer’s hand, pulling her out of the way of a wave of projectile vomit. “Hey, Greer! Don’t just stand there. Move.”
She gasped as soon as Battle Brice touched her hand. She froze as a wave of visions washed over her. Battle Brice had to hold her in her arms as she swayed. “Hey, are you okay?”
The metal hand that held her felt cold against her skin, but it was strangely the most reassuring feeling she could recall. Lamb Greer looked up into Battle Brice’s hazel eyes. “I just saw our future.”
Battle Brice morosely smiled. “What? Do we die here? I don’t think I’m that lucky.”
Lamb Greer shook her head. “No. It was all scattered like data values with no correlation. You looked happy. You and I were fighting someone. I saw us laughing, crying, and cohabiting.” She blushed. “And we had sexual intercourse. Profuse amounts.”
The metal hand briefly tightened on her arm, but it wasn’t painful. “My Greer saw these with visions me. We were talking about dating once she graduated. Then Duster killed her and Virus took over the world. How can you see such things with me when I’m from an alternate universe? Your Brice is over there; that crazy assassin trying to kill everyone. Shouldn’t you have seen these visions with her?”
Lamb Greer flinched at the thought. “I don’t want that with her. She’s touched me before and…I hate it. I have nowhere else to go.”
Battle Brice’s heart ached in pain. She wanted nothing more than to walk over and snap Evil Brice’s neck. Instead she pulled Lamb Greer closer. “My world is not the place for you to go. It’s full of war and constant fighting. It’s no place to live.”
“I can manage it if you’re there,” Lamb Greer promised. “I’m returning with you to your dimension.”
In the center of the room Mega-Jerk!Brice easily evaded ice shards, dust blocks, and ununseptium bullets. She quickly grew bored of the scrimmage and flew higher into the air. There she opened and closed her fists. “Freeze.”
Everyone in the room instantly froze in time at her powers. Everyone was able to think, see, and hear everything; they just couldn’t move. The room was completely silent as Mega-Jerk!Brice proudly gazed at her conquest. Her victory was interrupted by a tiny beeping sound.
Mega-Jerk!Brice unclipped her phone from her belt and grimaced when she saw who it was. She pressed a few buttons to project her video feed onto a nearby wall.
Coma Greer was wondering how that Brice could get cellular service across dimensions and she couldn’t get her phone to work in a Wal-Mart.
“Mary, why are you calling me? Shouldn’t you be at soccer practice? Where’s your brother?” Mega-Jerk!Brice questioned.
Mary rolled her eyes. “I knew you would forget. You said you wouldn’t but I knew you would! This is just one of the reasons why I don’t want you to drop me off at school anymore.”
Mega-Jerk!Brice looked insulted. “Now there was no call for that. I certainly remember. I’ve just been busy.”
She muted the conversation and unfroze her Lamb. “What have I forgotten?”
“You were supposed to pick her up from soccer practice for quality mother/daughter time,” Lamb answered with a bow. She paled. “Shit. I did forget. Fix that machine!”
“Yes, my overlord.”
Mega-Jerk!Brice unmuted the conversation to catch the end of her daughter’s tirade. “And that’s why nobody likes you, Mom. It’s not cool to try and take over the world.”
“Mary, you’re ten years old. You can’t possibly understand all the nuances of my plans. I’m trying to make the world a better place.”
“You are not! You are just taking over the world and most of it because you overreact to stupid stuff!”
“I do not,” she stated, positively outraged. She was strongly considering taken away Mary’s Nintendo Switch privileges as soon as she got home.
“God, Mom! Of course you overreact to everything! Remember how me and Garrison wanted to go to Australia for summer break to see kangaroos and koalas and YOU SANK IT????!?”
Mega-Jerk!Brice cleared her throat. “We had to save the Great Coral Reef and the easiest way was to…”
“This is why Mama is the cool one. She doesn’t do things like sink our vacation spots.”
Her jaw dropped. “I am cool! Just because…”
Another beeping caused Mega-Jerk!Brice to pale. “Mary, I will call you back. Your mother is calling. I will pick you up in…”
“Twenty minutes,” Her Lamb called out.
“Twenty minutes. Now I have to talk to your mother.”
Mary started to snicker, “You’re going to get it. Mama is…”
She switched calls to answer her wife. “Hello, honey.”
“Don’t you ‘honey’ me, Brice Johnson!” Mega Greer spat. “Why is our daughter still at soccer practice?”
Mega-Jerk!Brice held up her hands. “Honey, this really wasn’t my fault. I’m in another dimension. Another Lamb created a teleportor that has transported several versions of Lamb, myself, and my significant other to this dimension.”
“If your significant other was teleported with you then why am I still here?”
Mega-Jerk!Brice honestly didn’t have an answer. “I…I don’t know…It’s not because there’s anyone else, honey! You’re the only one for me.”
“I’ll tell you why! One of us has to stay in this dimension because one of us has to make sure the kids have a balanced lifestyle,” Greer snapped, her passive aggression sounding not so passive. “They have to have one stable parent while the other one is out gallivanting around.”
“Our children have a perfectly normal and balanced life, Greer! I’m tired of feeling like you don’t support my career,” Mega-Jerk!Brice complained, running a hand through her short, mousy-brown hair.
“It's always about you, isn’t it? MY plans to take over the world, MY career! And yet I’m the one who had to give up on my plans and my career to watch over our children!”
“No one asked you to give up your dreams,” Mega-Jerk!Brice insisted. “You can still be a medical doctor. No university in the world would deny your admission into their program.”
“I don’t want to get in because my wife has taken over most of the world,” Mega Greer maintained. “And I can’t go back now.”
“Why not? What’s holding you back? And for that matter, this feels like more than our careers. What has you so upset?”
“I’m pregnant and my wife is a mega jerk! That’s what has gotten me so upset!” Mega Greer shouted. Even though no one in the room could make a sound, it grew even quieter.
“What…” Mega-Jerk!Brice looked perplexed. “When? Oh wait! Seven Thursdays ago!”
“Yeah,” Mega Greer answered sarcastically. “Two months ago was the one night you happen to get home on time. We drank a bottle of wine, made love, and talked about having another baby so you used your powers to impregnate me.”
The original Brice thought that was extremely impressive.
Mega-Jerk!Brice visibly brightened. “This is incredible, honey! We’re going to have another baby. I will pick up an amazing dinner as soon as I take over Egypt.”
“Mary,” Her Lamb hissed.
“I mean after I pick up and spend time with Mary.”
“You know what? Don’t bother coming home,” Mega Greer snarled. “You obviously didn’t hear a word I said about you being a mega jerk. That’s because you’re also a self-centered asshole. I’ll go get Mary myself.”
The phone call abruptly ended.
“What?” Mega-Jerk!Brice exclaimed, turning around to face the room. “What did I say?”
She was met with frozen expressions but instinctively knew that half of them would be sympathetic looks and the other half would be insulting her very core. Her face fell as she reflected over her wife’s words and she looked ready to cry. “Lamb, fix the machine.”
“I have, my overlord,” he softly replied. “It will return us in the opposite order we arrived. You must unfreeze everyone so we can send them back.”
Mega-Jerk!Brice dismissively waved a hand and flew over to pout in a corner of the room.
“I guess that means you’re up first Coma Brice, Greer, and Lamb,” Greer stated. Mega Lamb worked with the original Lamb to set their coordinates.
Coma Greer stepped forward and kissed Brice on the cheek. “It was a pleasure seeing you again. I’m glad things turned out so well.”
Greer shook her head when Coma Brice stepped forward for a kiss. She respectively backed off.
“Behave,” Brice called out as the machine began to groan.
“Never!” Coma Brice called out before they vanished in a pop.
Delusional Brice, Noel, and Lamb were the next to go. Brice scuffed her shoe on the ground. “I don’t entirely get why you two are together, but I wish you the best of happiness.”
“The same to you,” Delusional Brice replied before they disappeared.
Bad Dream Brice, Duster, and Lamb stepped forward to return to their own dimension. Greer shook her head. “I just can’t even imagine it. Why are we not together?”
“You don’t exist,” Bad Dream Brice responded.
They, too, vanished in a pop.
Evil Brice moved up next, eager to return home. “Lamb, let’s go.”
Lamb Greer tightened her hold on Battle Brice’s hand. “I’m not going with you.”
Evil Brice whirled around to glare at her. “What?”
“You’re a horrible person and I hate you,” Lamb Greer found the courage to say. “You touch me inappropriately and I never wish to see you again.”
Evil Brice made a motion to pull out her gun but she disappeared with a pop. Lamb congratulated Mega Lamb. “That was nice work sending her back and not both of them. We’ll have to run some differential equations to send her back to Battle Brice’s dimension.”
“Of course. Let’s send back the polyamorous trio first.”
The trio vanished with only enough time to nod goodbye. Brice shook her head. “Also mark that as something I never want to happen. I don’t care if I would end up your boss.”
Battle Brice and Lamb Greer stepped forward because it was their turn. It took a few minutes to run the new figures. Greer didn’t want to ask, but she had to know. “I don’t suppose you had a brother, Greer?”
Lamb Greer looked unsettled with her new, technically, old name. “No. As I said, my parents were killed when I was two. I have no siblings.”
Battle Brice shook her head. “If you come back with me, you will have a sibling in a manner of speaking. My Greer had a younger brother named John. He’s the reason we’re still in the fight. I think…he’ll like meeting you.”
Lamb Greer looked terrified at the thought. “I do hope so.”
“We’re ready,” Lamb stated.
Greer stepped forward to wrap Lamb Greer in a hug. The thought of everything she went through made Greer’s heart ache. “If it gets too bad, you two and John can always come back to this dimension.”
Battle Brice smiled; something she hadn’t done in ages. “I actually think we have a winning chance now that we’ll have Greer and Lamb on our side.”
They disappeared with a pop. Weird Powered Brice’s trio disappeared a second later. Greer snapped her fingers. “Dang it. I wanted to ask what her superhero name was.”
“I never want to know,” Brice stated. She felt like vomiting just at the memory of seeing the other woman vomit.
“And time for the last pair,” Lamb proudly stated. He couldn’t wait to write up the research paper. He wondered where his APA manual was.
“I do apologize for the longevity of our stay.” Mega-Jerk’s Lamb bowed. “I am trying to fix my family. Brice, my overlord, has always been very kind to me; she accepted me into her family when she didn’t have to. I adore her wife and children and would do anything to keep my overlord happy. Unfortunately, my overlord and her family become unhappier the more she takes over the world. I altered the machine to return us last so that a different Brice would talk to my overlord. I was hoping you could talk my overlord out of taking over the entire world and focusing more on her family.”
Brice blinked at the sudden responsibility thrust upon her. She sighed when she realized everyone was staring expectantly at her. “Okay, okay. I’ll go talk to her.”
She walked over to the corner where Mega-Jerk!Brice sulked. She arched her head back to look up at her. “Do you think you can come down from there? It’s hard looking up at you like this.”
“That’s all you’re going to be doing when I take over every world!” Mega-Jerk!Brice snapped. “If she doesn’t want me to return home than all I have is conquering every other world!”
Brice gulped. “Now that’s not exactly what she said.”
“That’s exactly what she said! I have perfect memory recollection!”
“Okay, okay. That’s what she said but that’s not what she meant,” Brice corrected. “You aren’t reading between the lines.”
The other Brice perked up at the thought and lowered herself to the ground. “Between the lines? You mean she does want me to come home?”
Brice firmly told herself that she would not smack the other woman. “Of course she does. She wants you to come home. If she had really wanted you gone she would have been calm and collected. She was just really pissed. You have a chance to fix this, but you’re going to have to work hard for it.”
“How?” Mega-Jerk!Brice demanded to know. “I’ll do anything for my family.”
“You have to stop taking over the world,” Brice simply stated. Mega-Jerk!Brice looked offended. She opened her mouth to protest but Brice interrupted her.
“Look. I’m not saying you have to stop controlling it, though that would help too. Can’t you think of one or two places where you could give control back to a democracy? The fact of the matter is you’re running out of time to spend with your family. I’m a stay-at-home mom and my time with them still feels too short. Rosalie started school this year and I miss her terribly. I’m not saying you can’t have both a career and a family, but it does sound like you need to cut back on your career if you want to spend time with your family.”
Mega-Jerk!Brice rubbed the back of her head. “Perhaps…perhaps you are right. Perhaps I can wait to takeover Egypt and take my family on a proper vacation. Somewhere I’ve already conquered so I don’t have to do it again.”
“You need to give them an apology present,” Brice pointed out. “You really should give up control over one of the places you’ve taken over. Surely there’s at least one place you can give up?”
She rubbed her chin. “I suppose I can give back what’s left of Australia to the Aborigines. That would save me some time on Mondays.”
Brice nodded though she really wanted to shake her head. “I think that’s a wonderful start. You should make a public announcement of your plans, news crew and all so that Greer will hear it before you come home. That would mean a lot to her.”
Mega-Jerk!Brice nodded, standing straighter. “That sounds exactly like what I will do. Thank you, other Brice. You have been helpful. Lamb! Let’s go.”
“As you wish, my overlord,” he bowed as he pressed a button on the machine. They were the last of the alternatives to disappear.
“That was most excellent,” Lamb cried. “Everything was amazing. I recorded the whole thing. I can’t wait…”
“I’m confiscating that machine,” Greer drawled. “You’re not allowed to do this ever again.”
Lamb’s jaw dropped. “What? That’s not fair!”
“Keep it up and you’ll be grounded,” Brice added. They started walking out of the room. Once they were able to get a signal they would call for backup to come collect the machine and dismantle it.
The couple stopped to look at each other as they exited the warehouse. Neither knew what to say. Finally Greer opened her arms wide. “April Fool’s!”
Brice shook her head and started walking away. “We’re never speaking of this again.”
“Oh, come on Brice. We have to process what just happened and all of your different spouses. What about…?”