The wonderful, fabulous and ever-patient romantiscue beta-ed this chapter. Any mistakes remaining are my own because I'm unable to leave a chapter alone right up to the posting date.
Chapter One - The Ceryneian Hind
There was a stranger in her home.
Melanie's fingers curled reflexively around her keys while she eyed the intruder warily. He was standing in the centre of the room and turned from his perusal of her bookcase to look at her head-on.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Holt." The man almost smiled. "Won't you come in?"
Melanie lingered in the living room doorway, fervently wishing that she hadn't already closed her front door. "Who are you and what are you doing in my apartment?"
The man's expression continued to perch on the cusp between amused and nonchalant. "Who I am is not important, what I represent is. My agency would like to ask you a few questions."
The blonde resisted the urge to scream for help, run, or even just pinch the bridge of her nose. "Fine, whatever. I'm going to change my shoes." Then she stalked off to her bedroom, closely followed by the man in the dark suit. If he was surprised at her easy acceptance of the situation, he did not show it.
Turning her back on him was prideful and probably stupid, but if he wanted to shoot her he would have already done so with that gun-shaped bulge in his jacket. Even his suit's ill-fitted tailoring did nothing to hide a shoulder holster from people who knew what to look for.
In the next room, Melanie sat on her bed while she unzipped her low heeled boots and slipped on a pair of running shoes. She was already wearing comfortable leggings (flexible, even if the material offered little protection) and the rest of her attire fell easily under the category 'sports casual'.
She crossed her legs and stared up at the intruder. "I take it this is more than a house call, yes? You would have asked me your questions outright if you wanted simple answers." She narrowed her eyes at him. "I'm going to get carted off to some government facility away from civilian eyes and ears, aren't I?"
"As dramatic as you make it sound... Yes, I do need you to come with me now." He held the door open for her, an incredibly mocking gesture to employ in someone else's home. "I assure you however, you will come to no harm in my custody." He glanced pointedly at her hands, knuckle-white and shaking slightly even as they tightly gripped her knees.
Melanie was sitting with her back to the window, a very stupid position now she thought about it. "Mister..." He gave no response. Creeper then. "Mr. Man in Black, what exactly do you know about me?"
At last, there was a flicker of uncertainty, but still he did not reach for his gun. Pride, she could use that. "Enough, Ms. Holt."
"Hmm." Melanie hummed, trying not to let her gleeful realisation show in her expression."I don't think you do." If you had been smart you would have shot me as soon as I stepped through that door.
Writers have given much flair to the idea of time travel, turned it into poetry and verse with a million different nuances, all entrenched in wonder and possibility. They have made it appear nothing short of awe-inspiring and unattainable.
For Melanie it is like skipping a step while descending a staircase, a momentary jolt before she is righted again. She Jumps now, throwing herself as far back in time as she presently can (three hours, nine minutes and seventeen seconds) and finds herself sitting on her bed, still clutching her knees in a death-grip, with her heartbeat thundering in her ears.
Her heart continued to beat like a rabbit's for a good long while after she Jumped.
True, her escape plan hadn't been the best, she hadn't counted on anyone being in her apartment so soon before she was due home from work. Unfortunately, after she had gathered herself, Melanie heard the sounds of someone pacing the living room floorboards and rummaging through her things. Given she hadn't seen anything out of place earlier, Creeper must have put things back where he found them.
At least, she thought, he wasn't snooping though here when I decided to Jump. A small consolation for the violation she felt at having her space invaded.
Melanie tried not to let frustration get to her but she should have had a couple of hours to spare. After all, Melanie got home from work the same time every Tuesday and any self respecting government agency should know better than to waste their human resources or overtime pay on this lil' old Melanie Holt when there was another perfectly good Melanie Holt still working away at the clinic like she did every Tuesday afternoon.
Unfortunately, it seemed that this self-respecting government agency was prudent enough to station the agent she had seen earlier (well, later) at a time traveller's home hours before she was supposed to show. You know, in case she took offence to the agent waiting for her and quickly back-pedalled through the sands of time.
Except they don't know I can Jump. Melanie reminded herself, if they did that man wouldn't have tried to psyche me out before he took me in. They must think my mutation is something else. I have to use that to my advantage.
Melanie had just enough time to open the window wide and retrieve her get-out-fast bag from the bottom of her closet before she heard a tell-tale creak of a floorboard outside her door.
Does this guy have super-hearing!?
The woman flung her bag over her shoulders and lunged for the window just before the door flew open.
"Stop! I mean you no-"
She didn't let him get any further, hoping that the same man who didn't shoot her in the future wouldn't shoot her in the not-so-distant past. Melanie took advantage of the already open window, glad that she had left her escape route clear before she grabbed the supplies, and all but threw herself down the fire escape of her apartment building.
Above her, the agent cursed softly but still didn't take the shot. There was too much metal to ricochet a bullet off of and Melanie might break her neck if she fell from here. "Target is on the move-" Creeper spoke into an earpiece before Melanie jumped the last story, rolling as she hit the asphalt, protecting her head and neck with her arms even as her backpack cushioned her spine before she rolled to her feet.
She didn't have a car which would be a bad idea anyway, given the traffic and how easy it would be for them to set up road blocks. A bike would probably be best but hers was at the shop. Roller skates, which were so fun and gave her a great cardio workout were unfortunately not the best mode of escape from government goons. Even if they were, Melanie had left hers upstairs, along with the rest of her life which she would now have to abandon.
The subway would be her best bet, she thought, as she tightened the straps on her emergency bag and secured the buckle around her front so it wouldn't slip. She was running full pelt now, ducking through the 2pm crowd with no solid destination but a thousand routes in mind to get there. Jostling people as she did her best to weave through them, tempting fate with Manhattan traffic (bicycle messengers are public menaces) and even leaping over roadwork barriers were all methods employed to gain a little extra speed, a little more distance.
Swerve, turn, jump, "sorry!", take that street, those stairs, run like your life depends on it because it really, really does- Melanie's conscious thoughts had narrowed, simplified to simple bodily commands and the running mantra of where can I go, where is it safe, how far will I have to run before they stop following, how long will I have to hide before they stop looking?
When Melanie had gained enough distance to marginally slow her break-neck sprint, she had enough ideas in mind to at least give her some time to make a better plan. Going to the nearest subway station was stupid but one further away might not be so dangerous, provided they didn't have agents waiting at every station. Right?
With a goal in mind, Melanie ducked into a sparsely crowded mall and changed her clothes in the public restroom, pulling up the hood on a grey sweatshirt and slipping on large sunglasses which easily covered half her face.
There were no dark suits when she emerged a minute later, but that didn't stop Melanie from fervently wishing that she could disappear into the timestream again. That was impossible for the next two hours and forty-nine minutes, until her double vanished from the clinic. Melanie could feel the sands of time slipping with deliberate slowness through her fingers and not for the first time she cursed how many rules her mutation enforced.
If they took her double, Melanie wouldn't even know it until their consciousnesses merged and they chose which physical form would remain.
Melanie took the stairs down to the sub-basement, the first level of underground parking that lead out onto the street. It seemed prudent not to go out the same ways she'd come in. Unfortunately, Melanie had forgotten that underground car parks were the worst places to go when you're being followed, as every thriller and horror movie so colourfully showcased. The screech of tires came too late for her to backtrack for the route she came down so Melanie instead ran for the winding pedestrian staircase leading to the car park's upper levels.
Two black sedans followed her at an almost leisurely pace up the languidly circling paths to the fourth level. A third car waited with it's engine running at the basement exit to cut her off there.
It was actually disconcerting that these people weren't shooting at her. Sure, some abilities acted up under stress, injury or sedation, but that had never stopped any abduction Melanie had ever heard about before. She had been prepared for blitz attacks, for utter disregard of potential civilian casualties and extreme prejudice against people like her. They were cornering her, true, but they were also doing their best to catch her out of the public eye and had yet to fire a single shot or even threaten her with violence. Melanie didn't know whether to be grateful or just incredibly suspicious.
By the time Melanie got to the fourth floor her lungs were aching in her chest. It wasn't quite a burn yet, she was incredibly fit, but she was also terrified and that was affecting her breathing pattern more than she'd like. Melanie ran to the platform as the Sedans pulled up from the opposite side and idled a surprisingly reasonable distance away. Not enough to suffocate her, but leaving little room to manoeuvre towards the elevator, or down the winding road she'd been followed up. As it was a Tuesday afternoon, there weren't any other vehicles this far up, there hadn't been since two levels ago. She had no doubt that it was within these people's power to manipulate the cameras.
When it became obvious that Melanie wasn't going any further, the four agents stepped out of their shiny cars and approached. Melanie was bent over her knees, pretending to be more winded when she actually was, when she spotted the distinctive shape of a tranquilliser gun.
"Ju-just give me a minute." Melanie wasn't sure if the stutter was fear or just an extension of her act but the agents -three men and a woman- seemed to buy it. Or they were just assured of their victory. Naturally, one of them was her mysterious Creeper who had invaded her home earlier, but all the others were pretty nondescript as well. All medium build with dark hair and no discerning features. Perfect agent material, Melanie supposed. "I'll come quietly." She lied.
"It would be ill-advised to try running again, Ms. Holt." Creeper spoke, his expression a mix of mild chastisement and unflappable serenity. No government goon should look so approachable, it was unnatural.
"Where on Earth do I have to run?" Melanie gestured to the open sky visible through the monolithic support pillars. "Honestly." She pulled off her sunglasses, tempted to throw them at that fake-comforting smile for all the good that would do, but instead stowed them in one of the mesh pockets at the side of her bag. Melanie pushed the hood off her head and smoothed the inevitable mess of ash blonde snarls, a style which had been born sometime after her mad dash from her Manhattan apartment. "Why are you even chasing me?"
The answer was patently obvious (he told the truth but not the whole truth never trust people like this run run run), but Melanie did so love to stall. Two hours and forty-five minutes until she could Jump again.
"Ms. Holt," Creeper repeated with utmost patience, "I would be more than happy to answer all of your questions as soon as you step away from the barrier."
Melanie had indeed been backing towards the concrete barrier. The low wall was over three and a half feet tall so the blonde topped it by two feet or so and (if she turned) would be able to see right the way down to ground level. The agents on the other hand were further away so even the tallest of them would see only sky.
If they shot her now she might not just slump against the barrier, but topple over it head first.
"Tell me first," she insisted. "Why were you at my home? What do you want with me?" Melanie couldn't even trick herself into believing that those were legitimate questions as she gripped the concrete ledge that she had slowly but surely been backing into.
"Ms. Holt- Melanie," Creeper amended, "please step away from the wall. You are not under arrest-"
"So I'm free to go?" Melanie snorted. "I doubt that somehow."
"-but we ask you to come with us in the interim."
Melanie sighed, turning so that she was only half facing Agent Creeper. It put her on edge, it made her insides squirm, but she needed to see what she was doing. "This place is special for me. It was one of my favourite spots when I was home from college. It doesn't look like much but it has a great view..."
"Melanie, please come away from there." Creeper had raised his hands in a placating gesture but she could feel vibrations through her feet that signalled that one of the other agents was trying to approach from her blind spot.
She turned in his direction sharply and the tall man froze across from her; it would take no time at all to bridge that gap, especially with his arm span. Melanie lashed out with a roundhouse kick as the man made his lunge. It wasn't a heavy blow, but it kept him back just long enough for Melanie to check her positioning and vault over the barrier.
"Shit!" The tall agent cried out unprofessionally, reaching for her, and Melanie felt the ghost of his hand brush her neck before she landed on the jutting concrete protrusion a little below the agent's feet. It was about as thick as a girder and only as long as Melanie's arm from shoulder to fingertips, but running along it while avoiding a reaching hand was comparatively easy. Gaining enough momentum using that short runway to jump almost three metres and land safely on the opposite building was much harder.
It had been years since Melanie had made this jump. She was nineteen the first time, hanging out with a group of adrenaline junkie free-runners who were so different from her usual, (slightly) more safety-conscious parkour crowd.
Melanie had broken both of her legs and a few ribs when she slipped from her landing point onto a dumpster in the alley below. That time, she had been able to Jump and thus never suffered through the long term effects. Today, Melanie couldn't Jump, only jump, and hope that her body remembered how to make the leap.
The free-runners had discovered years ago that the third floor of the car park was a bad place to leap from, the same distance was needed to reach the adjacent building, but the roof was too high up from there. When taking a third-floor leap you needed to scramble up the wall- shredding your fingers if you even managed to find purchase from the crumbling brick. From the fourth floor the wall-to-roof ratio wasn't too bad, but the roof shingles were deadly when slick- as a nineteen year old Melanie had discovered, when she had taken her first leap from there seven years previously.
She was out of practice and had been distracted by the near-grab earlier, she almost didn't make it.
The tiles held under her hands but the edges cut into her palms. She had her old parkour gloves stowed in her emergency bag too, she cursed herself for forgetting them until now. Melanie heaved herself up onto the rooftop, reminding herself that it wasn't any different from a regular pull-up and never mind the deadly or debilitating drop below.
Definitely not thinking about how much it hurt the first time.
She swung a leg up and used that as leverage to get the rest of her body up before someone took a pot-shot at her. Already Melanie could hear her pursuers on their comms, Italian leather shoes hitting the concrete, car doors slamming. Two, three... four? Melanie wasn't sure if they were all accounted for, but she needed to move regardless.
It wasn't really possible to run on a slanted roof, but Melanie made quick work of it anyway, jumping the short distance to another apartment block of the same height. Then she climbed three floors of a low-rise office building, using the outside windowsills and the ugly Art Deco detailing, a feature which made finding finger purchases so much easier. All the while she reminded herself not to look down, no, don't even think about it.
The only person who looked up from their desk to see her scaling the outside of the building blinked sluggishly, looking from her to his computer and then back again. By the time he finished rubbing his eyes Melanie was already gone.
Finally, on the blessed flat roof with no access doors, Melanie allowed herself a small breather.
She cleaned the scrapes on her hands with her bottled water and rationed her parched throat two swallows. Protection next- driving gloves she'd cut the fingers cut off of years ago, a fetching shade of purple with stitching strong enough to make it this far without fraying too badly. The leather was well-worn and still dipped and stretched to every crease of her hands, even after she slapped band aids over the worst effected areas of her skin. Melanie stowed her water, strapped the velcro around her wrists and flexed her hands experimentally.
Then she kept going.
It was surprisingly easy to slip back into the parkour mentality and she made quick work over the rooftops in a route that she had mapped out years ago and which had remained largely unchanged. 'Getting from Point A to Point B in the least amount of time and effort' had been a lifestyle for her when she was younger, not just a sport of hobby. No, the Flight mentality was more than just a pastime; she had lived and breathed this for years, finding new groups wherever she went, whether she was home or at college, in order to keep her instincts sharp. So that she would always be prepared. Melanie had let herself get too complacent and she chastised herself as she dropped to a fire escape and made her way to ground level. The problem with roof hopping was that you had to travel in a relatively straight line and that was problematic for someone who wanted to vanish as well as gaining distance on her pursuers.
Perhaps, if Melanie had thought to pack a flashlight, she could have taken one of the sewer accesses. It would have been disgusting and Melanie would have undoubtedly bumbled about down there, but if she could slip underground without anyone spotting her she would have had a means of travel in which she couldn't be tracked. No flashlight though so no, Melanie was not going to be taking that route. Too dangerous and slow-going without illumination.
Not to mention the rats. If I can avoid rats today that would be super.
With deliberate nonchalance, Melanie crossed the street to a nice café which did delicious filled croissants (she was really going to miss this place). She kept her head down as she wove through the tables to the ladies bathroom then left through the small window; only after Melanie put all her weight into it did it open with stiff reluctance.
Another fire escape, another rooftop and a clear run of closely clustered buildings of similar height, all the way along to the nearest subway station if she decided to take that route after all. Melanie ran the block and leapt the gap to the next, rolling with the momentum because she really, really loved flat roofs. Here there was a small roof access door, the cubicle structure jutting out the otherwise bare expanse. Well, almost bare. Melanie brushed a few cigarette butts from her shoulders in distaste. In the shadow of the roof access door, Melanie crouched and scanned the sky, the streets and other rooftops for pursuers.
There were no helicopters flying overhead, which was always a good sign, no clusters of black cars or suits and no one roof-side except herself. Assured of privacy for at least a little while, Melanie pulled out the two light-weight cellphones from under her sweatshirt. They jangled together on their cord, identical in model and the amount of wear they had received from being hung together around her neck for so long. They were marked with the numbers '1' and '2' in permanent marker and Melanie flipped open '2' which was the phone that she only used to call herself when she was Jumping.
"Pick up..." Melanie begged, crouched on a rooftop in down town Manhattan as the wind buffeted her clothes and the phone marked '1' chimed and vibrated against her chest. After three eternity-long rings someone picked up, but it wasn't her past self.
"Hello, Ms. Holt. Ms. Holt cannot come to the phone right now, would you like me to take a message?"
It wasn't Creeper this time, no, he was probably still on the tail of this Melanie, not her unsuspecting past counterpart whom had expected no more surprises today than a sudden downpour. This voice belonged to a woman with an indiscernible accent. It was crystal clear American, but for the life of her Melanie couldn't tell which state. Either this woman had blurred her accent naturally by moving about a lot or it was another agent thing.
Melanie hung up without responding, going so far as to turn the phone off, though that was probably a useless effort. Her breath was coming faster now and she bit her lip and buried her face in her knees to try and control herself before she hyperventilated.
"Oh god, oh god... no, it's okay, it's going to be okay. Just two hours and thirty-nine minutes. Two hours and thirty-nine minutes and then it'll be fine." Melanie knew that was a lie, knew that she would need a larger buffer than that before Jumping would do her any good. Oh why did Creeper have to catch her leaving her apartment?
She fumbled for the other phone, speed dialling one of the five contacts she had ever bothered to put in her address book (and one of them was the Thai place 'round the corner from her apartment, how depressing was that?).
"Charles!" Melanie had never been so happy to hear the voice she'd been expecting on a phone. "I'm being chased- there was a suit waiting for me at my apartment and there are more tailing me. They have my past counterpart and I can't Jump for another two hours and thirty-eight minutes. Please, please tell me that Kurt is up for teleporting me out of here!"
"Melanie, slow down. Where are you exactly?"
"Manhattan, rooftop of-" Melanie winced, slapping her neck and feeling something harder than a bug on her skin. She shrieked, wrenching the dart out and throwing it as far away as she could. Already her motions were jerkier than they should be and she was shaking. That last symptom probably had very little to do with the drug coursing through her system.
"Melanie! What happened- where are you? Give me your location!"
"Someone tranq'ed me." Melanie changed angle, still maintaining the roof access for cover, slapping her cheeks and blinking heavily. "I- you can't get here in time." The realisation was not an easy one to come to terms with. "Don't come. Stay away."
"Stay away, Charles. Goodbye." She flipped the phone closed, turning it off with more pressure on the button than strictly necessary, and shoved both cells down her shirt. Her fingers were fumbling just from those simple motions and she knew she had to keep moving, get to ground level. If she collapsed around people it would cause a scene and a scene sounded really good right about now.
The shooter had hit her from behind- seven or eight o'clock. She had covered those angles but there were rooftops all around. It wouldn't be hard to come at her from another direction. No sign of the shooter but her observational skills had already failed her today.
Melanie sprinted for the next rooftop and this time her leap fell a little short of 'comfortable distance from the ledge', her roll on the wrong side of sluggish. She jarred her shoulder somehow but barely noticed it as her body was slowly but surely going numb. If there was more than one sniper she was screwed twelve ways to Sunday.
The blonde skid to a halt at the far edge and was about to step off onto the highest platform of the fire escape when her vision blurred and the world teetered on it's axis. Suddenly gravity was tugging her forwards and she couldn't shake it off. What had they hit her with- elephant tranquillisers?
Someone grabbed her hood, yanking her backwards none too gently, until Melanie thought her centre of gravity might flop over the other way entirely. Fear sent her the adrenaline she needed to make herself move, so that after she righted herself her body lashed out practically of its own accord.
The man grunted in pain as she drove her elbow backwards into his nose. Her bad shoulder twinged despite the encroaching numbness but his nose bled regardless; she probably hadn't broken the cartilage but it was a start. She caught a glimpse of him for the first time: Short hair, weathered features set in a youngish (bleeding) face, tanned, a bow and quiver (of all things) slung over his shoulder with a familiar model of tranq' gun strapped to his thigh.
He defended against the next blow, blocking with his forearms as Melanie tried to go for his ear- one solid hit there would have been enough to set him off balance. Strategy thwarted, Melanie went for the solar plexus, feinting with a kick to his knee first. He caught her foot, but with one hand occupied she managed to get her blow in. It wasn't centred, her hands were shaking and her hits were weakening, Melanie went for the eyes next because she wouldn't need much strength to damage them; the archer was forced to let her leg go in order to block.
The next thing Melanie knew, her wrists were being twisted to unnatural angles in his grip and Melanie was forced to her knees to relieve the burn of his hold. He was hyper-extending her body's joints and tendons, an effective strategy for disabling even a stronger opponent, because so long as a hold is maintained it's very hard for someone to break away. To struggle is to work against your own body and pain threshold; Alternatively, moving with the motions of your attacker would leave you pinned and relatively unharmed.
Naturally Melanie struggled, but the archer only sighed and applied more pressure, bending her backwards in a position which would have been awkward had she been less limber. Her knees bent under her, Melanie was stretched out, her arms pinned overhead. "Seriously, chill," he said, "I'm not going to hurt you, I thought you'd drop with the tanq' while you were in a safe position. What was your plan, falling off a roof?"
Melanie was torn between a snarl, a sob, and just giving into the persuasive undertow which was making her vision go dark at the corners. She discovered option number four as she flipped up her feet, screaming as she put weight on her shoulders (jarring her bad one again and making her arms twist alarmingly) and kicking her assailant under the jaw with both feet and all her remaining strength.
She rolled onto her stomach, trying to push herself up with trembling, newly-freed, arms while her assailant rubbed his jaw ruefully. "Huh, I really should know by now: don't piss women off. It never ends well for me." Melanie glared at him banefully but by now he was a dark blur with tanned blobs for his head and arms. The blur crouched down to her level and held up blob arms placatingly. "I know you're scared but we're not going to hurt you-"
Melanie blocked out what he was saying as she flexed her fingers on the concrete and sluggishly considered her options. She couldn't fight any more and her legs wouldn't work to run...
The ledge wasn't far. All she would need was one more burst of speed and adrenaline and she could roll herself off the building; without the ability to land properly or shield her body, the fall would most likely kill her.
But then Melanie would wake up in the body of her younger self, the two sets of memories assimilating to make a single consciousness a couple of hours ahead of schedule. Her other self was captured as well and all Melanie knew of her fate was that she wasn't dead. Suicide would be an empty escape if Melanie woke up still in custody.
Somehow, she doubted the younger Melanie would have the option of escape-by-morgue and even though the thought of killing herself was a horrible, irreversible, option... what was the alternative?
She had seen what government agencies did to mutants like her, particularly ones with powers they didn't understand. It was simple psychology that human beings are capable of terrible things, even more so when their victims are dehumanised, when the dissection of a few might better the well-being of many- those they actually gave a damn about because they weren't freaks.
Melanie didn't want to die, but if she had the choice she would rather go on her own terms, not under a scalpel or stuck behind glass for the rest of her short, joyless, lifespan while people questioned the legitimacy of her existence.
With no strength in her limbs, Melanie didn't even remember when her arms gave way beneath her. Even if she could muster the willpower to roll off the edge, her younger self would still be trapped and this Melanie would merely join her in their shared misery sooner.
The sniper's voice was very soothing. Melanie really wanted to believe that she wouldn't wake up in a lab or cell, but it was an impossible thought and this man was cruel to lie to her like this. "It's okay," he said, "I promise we're not going to hurt you- scout's honour, well, I never was a scout..."
Tears rolled down her cheeks as Melanie's eyes finally closed.
I am so sorry for ending the chapter with protagonist unconsciousness. Not so much for the cliffhanger but just the fade to black thing. I hate it when authors overuse fainting or similar plot devices as a means to end a scene or chapter. Sorry? It couldn't really be avoided.
I will be using Greek Mythological References for all of this story's chapter titles. A homage to Melanie's Olympian spirit, and because she reminds me of the Greek heroes and heroines I read about voraciously as a child. Parallels will become more apparent with each chapter.
IN THIS CHAPTER: The Ceryneian Hind was one of the twelve trials or Hercules, specifically it was a doe he was charged to capture without harming. It was said to posses golden antlers (Melanie is blonde, so that's vaguely a parallel) and could reputedly outrun an arrow in flight- a bit of a poke at Hawkeye.
Reviews are very much appreciated! I welcome any questions (though I won't answer any concerning the plot) and would love to hear about your thoughts, particularly concerning characterisation, narrative and general flow. If there are any glaring mistakes (again, those are mine, not romantiscue's) then feel free to point them out.
Edit (24th of February 2014): Changed one line which implied Melanie can overlap time more than once, hope that clears some stuff up.