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Home for the Holidays (IC)


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Megan Howell brought her red BMW X-5 to a stop in front of the three car garage of her parent's large home in one of the upscale neighborhoods of North Bay. Looking up at the home for a moment, the young blonde found it somewhat hard to believe it had only been a little over three years since she had left for college. While many might look back on that same time period and wonder how so much time could seem to have passed so quickly, Megan was certainly not one of those. In fact, Megan's perspective on the passage of time was a bit skewed.

Following an accident during a fieldtrip to STAR Labs during her sophomore year in high school, Megan had developed superspeed, making her among the fastest people in the world. While zooming around as Velocity was exciting, it certainly made it difficult to not feel at times as if everyday life proceeded at a snail’s pace.

Megan was pulled from her thoughts as she saw her mother come out of a side entrance of the house to greet her. The broad smile on her mom’s face cause the young blonde to smile herself as she climbed out of the SUV.

"Welcome home honey." Erin Howell said in greeting as she wrapped her youngest daughter in a tight hug. "I hope the drive from Connecticut was not too painful?"

"It wasn't too bad, but I am glad it's over and I am home." Megan replied, hugging her mom in return.

Megan's mother stepped back slightly, but held on to Megan's upper arms and studied the young woman for a few moments. "So, how were finals?" She then asked as she released Megan's arms and started towards the back of the SUV to start helping to bring in Megan's luggage.

"They went well, though I still have a take home exam that my professor gave us a little longer to work on." Megan replied, moving after her mother as the two began unloading the SUV.

"Well, don't procrastinate on that dear." Her mother said as she took out a suitcase.

"Don't worry mom, I am almost done, only a few things to finish up." The blonde young woman replied, rolling her eyes slightly.

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Megan set the box she had been carrying down on some of the other boxes she had unloaded from her SUV. Letting out a brief sigh of relief, she went over by the computer table in her room and picked up her smartphone. Earlier, she had sent a text off to her two best friends from high school, Janet and Lisa, to let them know she had arrived back in town. Both of the other girls had replied, Lisa indicating she was out shopping with her mom, while Janet was currently stuck waiting on a connecting flight in St. Louis.

Megan typed in a response indicating she would see them both later that night and sent it off. Setting the phone back down on the table, she looked up just as her mother came in the door with another suitcase.

"I think that is the last of them." Her mother said, setting the suitcase down near some of the others lined up in front of the closet in the room.

Megan glanced around at the various suitcases and boxes that were now crowding her room. "Yeah, I think that's it." She confirmed moving over towards one of the suitcases on her bed. "Thanks for the help mom."

"Of course dear." Her mother said, as she picked up one of the suitcases in front of the closet and moved over to set it on the bed. "I can help you start with the unpacking as well."

Megan felt a slight feeling of panic grip her as she saw the suitcase her mom had selected. Inside, underneath a layer of workout clothes, were her Velocity costumes.

"No need mom." The blonde stated, a little quicker than she meant too as she reached over to take the suitcase. She then added, "I'm a big girl now, besides, I need to think about what all I actually need to unpack right now. No point in unpacking it all when I will probably be moving most of it into a new apartment downtown soon."

Her mother stopped for a moment, and nodded in agreement, letting go of the suitcase and sitting down on the bed as she looked up at Megan. "Are you sure about the apartment Megan? Your father and I would be perfectly happy with you staying with us."

Megan gave her mother a warm smile. "I know mom, but I could easily end up working some odd hours during my externship. You and dad don't need to deal with me possibly coming and going at weird hours. But I won't be far, so we should see each other regularly enough."

Erin Howell let out a small sigh as she stood up. "I know dear." She said as gave Megan another hug. "It is still just so hard to believe you are all grown up." Stepping back, she gave Megan a broad smile. "Your father and I are so very proud of you."

There was a few moments pause before her mother continued, "well, I'll let you get started then. Let me know if you need my help with anything."

After her mother has left the room, Megan let out another small sigh of relief. Glancing around the room, the blonde young woman knew that if she wanted, she could have everything unpacked and put away in little more than a blink of an eye. But as she had mentioned to her mother, there was little reason to unpack everything just to have to repack it again soon (even if that also would also only take a few seconds for her).

No, the hard part was going to be to try to think of what she might want or need over the next few weeks. At the very least, the suitcase with her costume needed to be put out of sight.

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The door of the dark room opening created an echo from within the darkness. A lone figure was silhouetted in the doorway by the light from the hallway beyond. The figure reached up inside the right side of the doorway to a light switch. Suddenly the room was bathed in light, which reflected off several fully length mirrors which almost completely covered three of the walls in the room.

Dressed in a pair of yoga pants and a sports bra, Megan blinked slightly as her eyes adjusted to the light before she looked around the small dance studio that her parents had set up for her nearly ten years ago. The room was sound proofed, its floor all wood. In addition to the mirrors that covered three of the room’s walls, the two side walls each had a permanent barre set along them at just about waist height. A small table was on the left side of the doorway, on which the blonde young woman sat down a water bottle and a towel as she walked into the room, shutting the door behind her.

Moving further into the room, Megan made her way towards the left hand side of the room, where there was a door that was part of the mirrored wall. Stopping there, the blonde lifted her right leg up onto the handrail of the barre to begin some stretching and warm up exercises. The warm up continued for well over ten minutes, with Megan switching the leg on the handrail several times throughout.

Stepping back from the barre, Megan shifted her weight onto her left leg as she brought both arms straight above her head. As she started leaning forward, she bent her right leg up behind her before starting to straighten it out once more as she continued to lift it up behind her. When Megan finally came to a stop, her torso and arms were parallel to the floor, her hands grasping the barre’s handrail. Her right leg was completely vertical to the floor, her right foot pointed up towards the ceiling. Holding the position for about ten seconds, Megan then began lowering her right leg while standing back upright. Shifting her weight to her right foot, she again leaned forward towards the barre, this time lifting her left leg up until it was vertical to the floor as well.

After standing back up, Megan felt satisfied that she had sufficiently warmed up and moved over to the nearby door, opening it. Inside the small closet was stereo system for the room, connected to a computer that was networked with the one up in Megan’s room and contained thousands of songs and various other music she had downloaded from CDs and I-Tunes over the years. As she started to scroll through the various playlists that she had in the system, the young woman realized she seriously needed to put some work into organizing things a bit better. Not really feeling like focusing on any one thing, Megan set the program for random shuffling through the various playlists.

Shutting the door, the blonde moved towards the center of the room as the first song was selected. It was Try by Pink. The generally slow tempo of the song allowed Megan to start off with slow, flowing movements as she began to dance to the music, speeding up slightly during the chorus. When the song came to an end, Megan froze, her last movements, waiting to see what she would get next.

The next song turned out to be Shut up and Drive by Rihanna, and Megan immediately went into the dance routine she had choreographed to the song for the cheerleading squad during her Senior year at North Bay Academy. The fast paced moves to the routine came back with relative easy as Megan let the music guide her.

Megan regularly found herself having to adjust as the program continued to shuffle through songs from a wide variety of playlists. At times she was gracefully gliding around the room to a waltz with an imaginary partner. There were others where she again performed old cheerleading dance routines from her time on the North Bay squad, to songs such as Sexyback by Justin Timberlake and Temperature by Sean Paul. Yet others had her salsa dancing. And of course there were a number of dance songs which she had to improvise to, such as Don’t Stop the Party by Pitbull; I Fell in Love With the DJ by Cha'Nelle; Scream and Shout by Will.i.am (with Britney Spears); Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO; and one of Annice Avebury's songs..

After about an hour and a half, Megan had worked up quite a sweat. Stopping as the music continued to play, she made her way back over towards the barre near the door where the sounds system was located. After ten minutes of cool down stretching, Megan shut off the sound system and made her way towards the exit, grabbing her water and towel as she did. Glancing at the clock in the room, she saw she still had plenty of time to take a shower before going out to dinner with her parents. Turning off the lights, Megan closed the door behind her, blanketing the room in darkness once again.

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Megan awoke with a start as her alarm clock went off next to her bed. Reaching out to hit the snooze button, the blonde lay there for a moment, contemplating going back to sleep for a little while longer. After having dinner with her parents last night, Megan had met up with her friends Janet and Lisa, and the three young women had gone out to a bar. While Megan had only had a couple of drinks, she had not gotten back home until well after midnight.

As inviting as another hour or so of sleep was, Megan still had to finish the take home final for one of her classes. Sighing slightly, she sat up and climbed out of bed, turning off her alarm as she made her way to the bathroom for a shower.

A short while later, Megan was back in her room, considering some of the clothes she had unpacked yesterday. Deciding to go with the more casual look she tended to wear around campus, Megan picked out a simple white V neck t-shirt, a navy blue hoodie with "YALE" across the front, a pair of dark grey yoga pants and a pair of black Ugg boots.

Once dressed, Megan gathered her purse and computer bag, putting her text book and notes in with her laptop. She was just about to leave her room when she stopped for a moment, and looked over at her closet door, her mind on the suitcase inside that held her Velocity costumes.

Megan almost never carried her costume around with her on campus. But, she was back in Freedom City, and one could never be sure when something might happen that she would feel the need to help with.

When Megan made her way downstairs, one of her costumes was down in her computer bag.

The house was very quiet, and while Megan was not surprised that her father was not home, she did wonder where her mother might be. Stopping by the kitchen, Megan saw a note from her mother about having to go to a meeting for the board of a charity foundation she was on. Taking out her smartphone, Megan sent her mother a short text indicating she was going out to finish her exam.

After setting the alarm for the house and locking up, Megan made her way to her SUV to head to her favorite coffee shop in Kingston for some coffee, a little breakfast, and to work on finishing her take home exam.

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