#55: Day Three

Three hours working Alicia's booth on Saturday had been a blur of noise, colors, and more bare skin than Whitley expected or cared to see. She would have liked to be stoned for the ordeal, but her commitment to game-day sobriety made her short day at Coastside Comic-Con forgettable. Dressed in the 'New' Power Girl Tanya Spears cosplay, she patiently powered through a barrage of photograph requests, defaulting to the neutral non-smile she'd honed from her limited modeling experience.

Whitley departed at 4:00 for her nearby volleyball game. Without a buffer, Alicia and Krysta snapped at each other for the remainder of the afternoon. By the 6:00 PM closing of the Exhibitor Hall they had stopped speaking altogether. Alicia left promptly, and Krysta double-checked the inventory numbers. Picking up a poke salad from a food vendor, Krysta returned to an empty hotel suite. Alicia texted she was having dinner with some cosplay friends and would not be back until 'late.'

Letting the alcohol alone, Krysta brewed a pot of green tea and enjoyed the live stream from a NASA robotics event. Over a box (or two) of Pocky, she planned ahead for her Throwback Thursday photo and shared an Instagram story of her disheveled bed and food remains—her discarded 34K bra conspicuously on display. She received a message from Whitley as she posted the picture:

Her evening wrapping up and morning agenda set, Krysta adjusted the neckline of her robe and recorded a short video for Instagram:

"Hey, all! Thank you soooooo much to everyone who dropped by the table today! I was quite flattered a few fans of my own even came to visit, and I hope to see you tomorrow at around...maybe a little later. Whew! I'm exhausted. Check back in for an ETA update tomorrow morning!"

Krysta smirked, letting the camera drift downward, bringing her cleavage into frame and giving her chest a light shake.

"Good night, everyone!"

Ending the video, Krysta took a deep, satisfied breath and set down her phone. She double-checked it was charging before nodding off.

A series of text message notifications woke Krysta from her morning doze.

Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and grey pajama pants, Krysta headed down to the VIP breakfast buffet to meet Whitley, who caught her up on the previous evening's volleyball game. Krysta had an egg white omelet and a spelt scone while Whitley polished off six boiled eggs and a pile of turkey sausage links and got cut off at the pancake bar.

After breakfast, the pair headed back up to Julie's suite to get dressed. Donning her custom-tailored 90s-era Power [Wo]Man cosplay, Whitley frowned at the open chest and plunging neckline. She fished out a black tank top and held it up for Krysta.

"Undershirt or no undershirt?"

"Did Power Man wear an undershirt?"

"No, but Power Man didn't have titties."

"He was not seven-foot-two either, but that is not the point. Alicia clearly designed it with no undershirt in mind. Provided you are comfortable with it, I would recommend none." Krysta reached into her bag, producing a small envelope of costume tape. "I would also recommend taping yourself in."

Whitley accepted the tape with a grin. "We aiming to tantalize?"

"Not necessarily," said Krysta, squeezing into an overmatched and undersized demi-cup bra. "Yes, the fans will love it, and you certainly have the figure to pull it off. But it is the little details that make a big difference in cosplay. You can mail order a costume on Amazon and pass for the character. Great cosplay, like most art forms, relies on attention to detail. It is the little things that make your costume hit home."

Whitley nodded, impressed. "Wow."

"I have been to Alicia's 'Cosplay 101: Essential Tips' panel enough I could present it myself. Also, it is a fairly consistent concept across most *oof* art forms." Krysta grunted, struggling to pack her bountiful bosom into the Coastside Con mini-tee Alicia had modded and tailored for 'maximum cleavage.'  Straightening up, she gave her shoulders a shimmy, sending shockwaves billowing through her exposed flesh.

Whitley's eyebrows nearly hit her hairline. "Damn! Tantalize level ten!"

Krysta rolled her eyes. "Duh."

In their short walk from the room to the Exhibitor Hall, the two—particularly Whitley—were stopped several times for photos. Rested, fed, and feeling the full effects of a post-brunch pot brownie, Whitley graciously acquiesced. She noticed a trend of requests from young women, many of whom gazing up at her with the sort of awe she recognized from the volleyball players she coached.

Despite covering herself with a sweater for the walk over, Krysta fielded a few photo requests herself—all male. Most were Instagram followers she'd told to be on the lookout for her, and a few others had seen her working at Alicia's booth but didn't want to wait in line. She obliged, though always managed to fit in her plug:

"Be sure to drop by and see me at Queen Alici's booth 1515. I will be there from 1:00 PM until closing."

With thirty minutes until they joined Alicia in the exhibitor hall, Whitley stepped away to redeem her VIP lunch voucher and Krysta sat down at a table outside the food court. She checked her messages since she wouldn't have time to touch her phone once the madness started. Just as she'd begun pondering the feasibility of a power nap, a pale, college-aged girl with short, dark brown hair approached her. She wore a black Overwatch t-shirt, knit hat, and dark blue jeans, her smile growing brighter as she drew closer.

"I'm really sorry to bother you, but I'm a fan of yours and I didn't want to miss out on even the possibility of meeting you."

"Oh!" Krysta said, with more surprise than she intended.

"I'm Candice Rose," she said, extending her hand. "I go by 'RoseWren' online, but you can call me Candice."

Krysta accepted the handshake. "Nice to meet you, Candice. I don't hear nearly enough from my female fans."

"I guess I should be specific. I'm a fan of yours artistically and professionally."

Krysta struggled with how to respond. Candice took Krysta's silence as a blessing to continue.

"My first...exposure to you was in high school. I'll be honest: it wasn't pleasant and my first reaction was resentment and disgust. It probably has to do with seeing you on my brother's monitor while he was—"

"Oh my God," Krysta said.

"...doing his math homework."

"Oh! Okay."

"...with a sock on his dick."


"Imagine how I felt! Anyways, despite my greatest efforts to forget what I'd seen, your image stuck with me. It was a video, and you were sitting at a desk with your boobs just—BAM!—out there. In most cases, the topless girl would be dancing, or posing, or rolling around on a bed, but you were sitting at a desk helping people with calculus homework! I had a hard time accepting you do what you do when you're as smart as you are."

Did my mom send you? Krysta thought, nodding for Candice to continue.

"I was so fascinated by you that I endured an excruciatingly awkward conversation with my brother in order to get your name so I could follow you on Instagram. The more I watched—and I watched quite a bit—the more I respected you. I mean, it takes a lot of courage to willingly put your body out there for that kind of scrutiny. You totally blew away my preconceptions of topless models. I even wrote a paper about you for my Gender, Sexuality, and Society course. I considered reaching out for an interview, but I thought it would be weird."

"It would have been weird but I absolutely would have done it."

Candice laughed. "Good to know, but that's not even it. I was so excited when I found out you would be here because I wanted you to know you inspired me to become a pinup model myself."

Krysta gasped. "What?"

"Now, before you say anything, I definitely gave it plenty of thought and consideration. Your video Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Diving into Web Modeling was my bible for a month." Candice started counting on her fingers. "Body, know thyself. Enter with an exit strategy. Consistency is queen. Set clear boundaries."

"Wow!" Krysta blurted, overwhelmed. "That is...a lot to take in."

"You're telling me! I've only got an Instagram and OnlyFans right now, but I'm doing better than I expected after three months. I have paying subscribers!" Candice leaned in, gesturing with her head to her backside. "I'm getting a lot of traffic from the P-A-W-G lovers. Do you know if it's pronounced 'pog' or 'pahwug'?"

"I'm not sure."

"Me neither. Hey, maybe I'll use it as a prompt in one of my cam shows."

"You do live shows too?"

"Yeah, it came pretty naturally to me. The live interaction is really cool and I've learned so much about myself. I'm way naughtier than I—"

"I am so flattered you look up to me! Would you like to take a photo together?"

"Absolutely!" Candice replied, elated.

"I'll take it for you guys," Whitley said, appearing with a corn dog in her mouth and two in her hand. "All right you two, squeeze together."

Candice pulled Krysta in and Whitley took several pictures on each of their phones. While Candice looked over the pictures, Krysta took the opportunity for a quick visual reassessment of her new protégé. Candice's dark blue stretch jeans flattered her remarkably—but not absurdly—full hips, further emphasized by her trim waist. Her breasts were modest—a large B or small C at most—and could be played up if necessary. Her short black hair combined with her round face and grey eyes would look outstanding highlighted with the proper blush, lipstick, and eyeshadow.

Candice smiled at the photos before pocketing her phone. "Thank you for letting me talk at you. You're super nice."

"Thank you, and good luck. I'll be following you!" Krysta held up her phone with Instagram open. "'RoseWren,' you said?"

"Yes! 'Rose' like the flower 'wren' like the bird." Candice's phone notified her of her new follow and she pulled Krysta in for another hug. "Thank you so much, for everything. See you online!" she said, before shuffling away.

Whitley stepped up next to Krysta, polishing off her second corn dog. "Damn, girl's definitely got some hips on her. She's got my follow."

"She is going to end up doing porn, and it will be on my conscience."

"Whoa! Listen to you, Miss Judgy."

"I can deal with 'let me suck your boobs,' and 'you are the ultimate Asian fertility goddess' and '$10,000 cash to join me on my yacht for a week' but—"

"Wait, $10K cash?"

"But I am not ready for 'I want to be just like you.' I do not even know if I want to be just like me!"

"Krysta, stop!" Whitley shouted, putting a hand up. "You are over-thinking this, and it is neither the time nor the place."


"No. I want you to take whatever misguided confusion and shame you're feeling right now, dig deep down within yourself and compartmentalize it between your anger and your sex drive."

Krysta tightened her lips, closed her eyes and took a long breath. As she exhaled, a smile appeared on her face. "She wrote a paper about me!"

"There ya' go," Whitley said, trashing her three corn dog sticks. "Now, let's go make a bunch more geek dreams come true.

The insoles in Alicia's boots were not doing their job—her arches were killing her. Running on her third straight night of fewer than four hours of sleep, she felt sluggish, not to mention lazy from not having hit the weights since Thursday. On top of it all, it was almost 1:00 PM and she'd only eaten a bran muffin and a granola bar. She'd intended to have breakfast, but her friend Mari needed emergency armor repairs. The Sunday crowd was bigger than expected, and while the con-assigned volunteer was helpful, they equaled about half a Krysta.

Whitley and Krysta approached, noting Alicia's uncharacteristic restraint.

"Wow," Whitley said. "It's as if she's a normal, outgoing person."

Krysta chuckled. "It is day three, and she is running out of steam. What you are witnessing is Alicia at her wit's end."

A fan presented Alicia with a drawing of her, and she expressed her sincere gratitude in a clear, measured tone, giving them a gentle hug.

"God, this is hard to watch," Whitley said. "She's reminding me of my sister on her best days. Whitley waved, holding a bag of breakfast burritos in her other hand. "Hey, Queen Alici, take a breather!"

Alicia beamed with excitement at the sight of Whitley towering head, shoulders, and elbows above the crowd and Krysta stuffed into a t-shirt she'd likely have to cut her way out of.

"LOOK, EVERYBODY!" Alicia shouted, gesturing towards Krysta and Whitley who elicited audible gasps from the line of fans. "My friends are here! Let's dance them on over!" Alicia queued up her JPop playlist and cranked the volume on her Bluetooth speaker.

Whitley nodded approvingly. "Nice, I'll get down to some GARNiDELiA."

Krysta had already started bobbing on her toes. "Aikotoba. Good choice."

"It certainly beats Demi Lovato," Whitley said, Cabbage Patching towards Alicia's booth.

Despite the seven-foot, female Power Man dancing towards them, a number of expectant eyes remained locked on Krysta. Thinking about it only for a moment, Krysta pulled out her phone and captured a few seconds of Whitley's dance as well as a crouching Alicia attempting to discreetly devour a large burrito. Krysta snickered as she ended the recording and switched to Instagram, where she started a live video.

"I am live on day three of Coastside Comic-Con!" Krysta said to the camera. "We hope to go out with a bang today," she said, punctuating with a bounce of her chest. "Are you all having fun?" She angled the camera outward, and the crowd responded with applause and cheers. Krysta turned the camera back on herself.

"Sorry to cut it short everyone, but it's time to go to work!"