The Boxer Read 320 times


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The Boxer
« on: February 06, 2022, 01:03:35 am »
Midnight.  Sane people with money in their pockets didn't get on the New York subway at such an hour, but Beau could only lay claim to one of the two criteria.  It helped that his head was filled with classic rock tunes thanks to the headphones in his ears, and that his feet knew the path from the ticket gate to the track.  He kept his hands in pockets rather than touch the grime of the stair rail as he descended to the platform, eyes straight ahead.  Twenty-four stairs.  And an odd silent count of each, as his worn sneakers kept time with the music.

I am just a poor boy but my story's seldom told...I have squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises....

Beau didn't need to look around to know the number or type of people who joined him on the platform.  The three minutes passed in solitude as he waited for the D train.  There were two homeless men in the corner along with the persistent smell of urine - Beau considered them the regulars and they knew not to ask him for money.  To his left was couple dressed for dinner or a show, completing their evening. Eye contact could keep crime at bay, or invite conversation and honestly he wasn't much interested in either.  A fight might actually be amusing, at least, if it were evenly matched.   His six-foot-four frame, and wide shoulders, tended to narrow the potential brawl pool.  The slightly crooked nose due to two prior breaks tended to signal experience to the faint hearted.  God forbid that anyone ask 'how that happened'.

Desire had him turning his head and gazing longingly down the dark tracks.  The public address system said the train was approaching, but the white light seemed a bit far in the distance.  Just like home was far, and the apartment he was heading to devoid of warmth.

He flexed his fingers, buried deep in the pocket of his leather jacket.  The movement caused his palm to brush the tear in the fabric and the forgotten need to do some mending.   Not that he kept anything important he could lose in those pockets beyond loose change and his music playing phone.  No drivers license.  No cigarettes.

The push of air ruffled his dark hair as the train made its appearance.  Metal and glass.  Random graffiti announcing in yellow that someone named Zepher had recently painted here.   As the doors slid open, Beau waited for the well dressed couple to proceed him, only because he preferred to sit alone.  Opens were many, and he picked a bench that faced away from the direction the train would drive.  He took a seat as the train started and stretched out his legs, wishful thinking the action would deter anyone from encroaching on his space?

La la lie la lie.

The song he was listening to ended in taped applause.  The old concert was a favorite, taped in Central Park not far from where his train was about to go.   However, Beau wasn't eager to hear the tune a second time.  The familiar guitar strum hinted the song was looping.  He pulled his phone out and studied the screen.

All lies and gest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest...

Of course it was only a melody, but the small shiver heightened his senses.  Its manifestation had Beau lifting his gaze away from his phone screen and to the seat across the aisle.  Four hundred stations to chose from.  Four trains each....and you pick this one.


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Re: The Boxer
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2022, 04:25:48 am »
"Dang it! Dang it! DangIT!" She muttered through her teeth as she tried to catch and gather the contents of her bag now the strap was torn and the zipper had popped open from getting stuck in the closing doors. It could have been worse, she could have missed the train all together and that would have posed it own set of problems. Chris being able to catch up to her on the platform being the worse of the two things.

She should have just caught a taxi, or called Lis for a ride like she'd offered a million times, but she hadn't, so here she was.

She huffed after making sure she had a pretty good grip on her junk and dropped, facing the offending doors, into the closest seat she could before she dropped all of her things again. It reallyhadn't been her day.

Hell, it hadn't been her year.

Willafred reached up a slightly shaky hand and drug it down her face and then started to reorganize the shambles of papers and sketchbooks, personal and work related, that hadn't been perfectly organized before being put through the subway door ringer, and were certainly worse for the wear at this point. She shifted her grip to straighten the pile a bit more, and only succeeded in causing the unbalanced mass to once again shift and several things to slip to the floor again.

She took a breath, rolling her eyes at herself behind her lids, but refrained from sighing. She quickly straightened the black accounting book and papers still in her grasp and got them back in her bag easily enough. She shoved at the loose stray strands of dark blond and multi-color streaked hair as she leaned over her own thighs to scoop up a worn sketchbook and a pencil case that had popped open to divest itself of many of the various pencils and sundry trinkets of her everyday life. Her hand paused next to a stub of a pencil that had rolled to a stop in a crevasse near a rather large shoe to her right. Her eyes took a quick travel up the legs long enough to reach nearly across the entire space between the forward and rear facing benches.

She was a little startled to see he was already watching her and she quickly looked away as she snatched up the last few pencils and pens and sat up. Her fingers clenched around the stack of sketchbook and pencil case and implements now on her lap before she forced her fingers to flex a little and she smoothly stowed everything finally back in the bag. She watched the occasional flash of light in the dark of the subway tunnel dash by the windows in the doors she was still facing and she shifted her shoulders inside the jean jacket she had on over one of her favorite hoodies.

Myra grinned wickedly, appearing in the seat next to Beau, turning her perfectly proportioned features from watching the passenger now sitting a little uncomfortably across from him and knowing, whether he acknowledged her or not, he could see and hear her. She answered his unspoken question clearly on his face as he looked at his train mate. "Because she must, whether she knows it or not."

Willa swallowed, still feeling his attention and looked around the train at the other two passengers too engrossed in each other to care about their surroundings. She reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ring bedecked ear again, tugging slightly on the one dangling from her lobe before she dropped her hand back down on her battered bag. She risked a glance at him over her shoulder from the corner of her sea blue eyes again, confirming that he was still looking at her. She worried a nearly two day old swollen and split lip, debating on moving seats. The small sharp pain of her teeth on the tender skin heightened her awareness of her surroundings in case something else was about to hit the fan.

On the one hand, she was already sitting here and she had a right to sit wherever she wanted. On the other, he had nearly a foot and a good many pounds on her and she'd clearly gained his attention, whether she wanted it or not. She forced herself to stop biting her lip and to look down to see if she could do anything about her broken bag strap. She did not need this crap. She swallowed, trying futilely to tie a knot in the two disconnected strap ends.

Myra's petite frame slid from her seat, tall heals trying to give her the height she actually lacked as she stepped a pace closer to study the woman again, her head tilting ever so slightly as she looked over the state of her with a critical eye. The glowing, dimly shimmering aura she could perceive around Willa pulsing slightly in response to her proximity. "Haven't you learned yet? Brightborns always seem to stumble across you." Emerald eyes so bright they really couldn't be real pulled away from looking at the disheveled human woman and to Beau. Her blood red lips dipped into almost a snarling smirk as she looked at him. "If you keep staring at her, she might do something drastic. Certainly if she catches you talking to or looking between us at something she can't see." Her eyes slid between the two of them once more as she blinked slowly and they landed on him again "Aldrich is still looking for you," Her smirk widened enough to flash a bit of her perfectly white and perfectly aligned smile and she stood to her full height again and smoothed a manicured hand across her sable styled locks. "He might forget the whole thing if you somehow brought that" her head tipped toward Willa, "to him."
« Last Edit: February 09, 2022, 03:13:04 am by Peregrine »


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Re: The Boxer
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2022, 06:12:08 am »
He took the earpieces out one at a time, his movements slow and methodical.  But the precision did not ease the noise that buzzed in his head; a female voice, a bit harsh to the mind taken by surprise.  Beau chose not to look towards the window to catch the source of the snark.  Perhaps if he pretended he was deaf the annoyance would vanish?  Myra had been known to have bouts of spite and flirt off at the mildest affront.  He rolled one shoulder casually, like he wanted to shake off a devil whispering in his ear.

His eyes remained trained on the woman in the adjacent seat, even though she had no idea of the conversation in his head, or the questions, no matter how rhetorical.

“Your name wouldn’t happen to be Wendy?” he asked before the impulse could be squashed.  Beau did not consider himself Peter Pan, too many years and sad memories.  Myra, however, reminded him of Tinkerbell, even as she tried to appear grown and in control.  He had always thought Tinkerbell a jealous wench and thus his impulsive question.

His fellow passenger appeared flustered and uncomfortable.  Beau opened his mouth to remind the woman that she chose her seat, not the other way around, then he thought better of it.  His size tended to intimidate.  The woman already seemed too conscious of his presence even if she was avoiding his stare.  He could move his foot or grab the pencil stub near his shoe, and give it to her, but he figured they would probably bump heads.  Such was his skill with flirtation.

Perhaps she was here because he had something she needed?  His fingers brushed the safety pin that was holding together the tear in his coat pocket.  A second later and he would extract the same and bring it into view, held up to see by a ringless hand. 

“Would this help?”  It wasn’t much, but with some force the thin metal might be twisted to hold the purse string long enough to bring service back to the broken strap.  At this hour fashion was hardly the first consideration.  If she didn't want it, he would put it away without argument.

She was carrying enough junk.  No wonder the bag broke.  He’d managed a glimpse of papers, pencils, and items he suspected related to work rather than pleasure given her lack of care as they were stowed.  They might be art there, but he wasn’t close enough to see if there was any skill involved.  More likely an accountant who doodled, and pretended to be avant-guard.  The hair was a blatant attempt at a lifestyle, but the bruised face spoke of more care, then carefree.

Of course Myra was quick to remind on other considerations, opportunities or otherwise.  Beau did manage to hold back the long suffering sigh.  Contrary to popular opinion he didn’t consider himself a magnet.  On a good day the term hunter would serve.  True, occasionally prey would wander into the web but he didn’t use bait.  Skill.  Not luck.

OK.  Maybe some luck.  Bad luck mostly.

It was natural to look at the sable haired woman that was taunting him, rather than the blonde that seemed content to worry over her bag and belongings.  Manners dictate you look at who you were speaking to even if it was not voiced aloud.

Helpful.  As always.  A matching smirk was there in tone, even if he kept it off his face.  He considered adding that he wasn’t worried about Aldrich, but he hated to lie. 

He shifted his attention back to the woman in the seat across – the only one normal people would see.  The next train stop was in a forty-two seconds, but he couldn’t quite tell if she was planning to bolt.  And Myra had a point….

“People call me Beau,” he decided to say.  That was truth, and it made sense to lead with that considering he’d all but asked her name before. 

He knew her facial injury wasn’t fresh, but it paid to make conversation. Appear unintimidating, concerned.  Size could be used for advantage when you wanted to be viewed like a hero.  And if he had any chance of her staying in that seat for the three stops he needed to get to his own destination, he best adopt the mantle.

“I hope you aren’t heading home to whoever gave you that bruise.”
« Last Edit: February 12, 2022, 12:06:13 am by Beau »


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Re: The Boxer
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2022, 03:46:05 am »
Willa's brows rose and then wrinkled incredulously as she turned her head ever so slightly to look at his slightly blurted question. One of her brows stayed up as she looked back to her bag and gave her head a little bit of a shake as she opened one of the front pockets on the messenger bag in her lap. Maybe that was why he was so intent on watching her. She reminded him of someone.

Willa had just pulled out a small sewing kit when she saw him move and heard him ask her another question. This time she turned her head to fully face the offered pin. The lip was even more apparent head on, as was another ear filled with only slightly less holes of mismatched earrings. As the light caught the pin Willa almost thought she caught movement to the right of her in the train car window. A bit of red. She saw his eyes were also looking that direction. Odd. Probably just a safety light in the tunnel or something.

She blinked and mentally shook her head. The last few hours had really done a number on her. She shrugged her mouth a bit and reached out and took the pin bobbing her head in thanks. It would be faster than the sewing kit and would do until she could make real repairs or find another bag. She was about to utter a verbal thank you when the words literally got stuck in her throat and wouldn't come out as a powerful memory of great Aunt Sybil flashed through her thoughts.

"Don't thank strangers Willafred. You never know which ones are faeries or the like trying to extract favors!"

So instead she closed her mouth and swallowed, holding the pin slightly higher and bobbing her head again.

Willa turned back to her bag and started to lay the tattered ends of strap and bag back together in a way that would accommodate the pin to secure it, before her face could show that she felt like she just might be going crazy. She didn't believe in Faeries, or any of the other nonsense Sybil spouted. Well, she believed in some things, she'd seen too much on the streets at night to be completely immune to the idea of the supernatural.

Myra smirked, crossing her arms as she dropped into the seat behind Willa and across from Beau. "I think you're making it worse."

Willa supposed it was too much to ask that he give her a little help and leave it at that. First he offered his name, then his opinion. Her jaw clenched slightly in irritation at his observation and the pin slipped as she was closing it and it stabbed her, pricking into her index finger.

Myra grinned viciously, "Whoops! I think you pissed her off...." Her eyes flashed with glee. Couldn't make things too easy for him.

A bubble of bright red blood bubbled and she brought it to her mouth to suck on it. Fine. He wanted conversation for the gift of his pin. Fine.

Still another memory about offering her name flashed in her thoughts. If she didn't know better she'd think Aunt Syb was 'casting' on her to make sure she didn't forget she'd promised to visit this weekend. There were less than supernatural reasons for not giving her name, mostly the debt collectors that had hounded her childhood as her dad tried to make some semblance of life he was playing with less than all the pieces.

She spoke around her finger, "People call me Angel." Mostly men, so it wasn't a lie. She pulled her finger from her mouth and swapped the sewing kit in the pocket for a small travel first aid kit that she quickly pulled a band-aid from while she answered his next query. "Home? No. Back to the person that gave it to me, possibly. Never know who's going to come in a place. Hazards of the job some times." She shrugged. It was the hazard of two of the three jobs she was currently working, but those details didn't need to be spilled to a stranger on a subway train, no matter the odds of never seeing him again once they both disembarked.

Willa could also take care of herself if the need arose, but he didn't need to know that. Some men took it as a challenge and he was certainly large enough to give one. It didn't offend her exactly that he didn't want her to go back to a situation that was toxic, but she couldn't think of a time when she'd thought of herself as a damsel that needed saving. She'd needed saving plenty of times, but she'd had to save herself.

Myra's eyes had darted to Willa's finger as the blood had welled up, her pupils dilating to pinpricks and her jaw got tense. It wasn't just the blood, but the light that bubbled up with it. A pure molten gold. She looked over at Beau and spoke through her teeth. "Do better or I'll be forced to do something drastic so she doesn't leave."

Green eyes zeroed back over as the blood and light were smothered by a cartoon band-aid. "At least find out what job caused it so someone can track her down again if you let her slip through your fingers." Her eyes still watched the finger as Willa finally managed to close the pin and then gave the repair a test by lifting the bag up by the strap to see if it would hold.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2022, 12:18:08 am by Peregrine »


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Re: The Boxer
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2022, 06:22:39 am »
In his lifetime, Beau had seen a lot of ‘pissed off people’.  Sometimes he was the cause, sometimes he wasn’t.  The emotion was typically shown by a flushed face, clenched fist and aggressive stance; on rare occasions ice, rather than heat would dominate.  Beau wasn’t quite sure he would qualify the demenor of his seat companion as anger.  Exasperated, maybe?  Perplexed? She seemed somewhat in the middle of his hot and cold spectrum.  Myra on the other hand always seemed to flash and fire.

Ironically, his damsel in distress didn’t have that distracted look like most of the people in New York.  Eye contact, all be it fleeting.  It probably wouldn’t be hard to push things into the fight versus flight category.  He sensed there was a switch hidden here somewhere, so he kept his body still to keep from shifting any imaginary scale. 

He studied her hands and noted she was competent enough, pin prick aside.  Not that he would disagree with Myra out loud.  Time and physics would tell if the strap held.  Instead, he was left wondering at the sewing kit in her possession and if she was practical by nature.  The last time Beau had encountered such an item it had been courtesy of a fancy hotel, the type of thing that was found on the bathroom counter and examined with curiosity more than need.  For a moment he pictured her at the Four Seasons, pocketing the trinket for the future like so many women would.

But that image didn’t stick.  Angel was no trophy wife or suburban mother.  Beau couldn’t help the twitch of his lips as she mimicked his words to avoid a proper introduction.  If he had a hat, he likely would have tipped it.  Touché

He sat up a bit straighter, uncrossing his ankles to plant both feet on the ground.  He wasn’t the type to carry band-aids, although the slight clench of anxiety in his stomach muscles has nothing to do with how little he kept on his person.  New York at night wasn’t the best place to spill blood.  Even a drop could attract something undesirable in the right circumstances.  Myra’s reaction was only a hint of what could happen.

The train was slowing.  The station announcement of mumbled jibberish didn’t trigger a need to leave.  Most people rode the train for more than one stop, so he was hopeful he would have time to find out her vocation as Myra suggested.

Strangers in New York were often blunt.  Beau preferred to be more subtle. At the same time, being obvious was about all he could conjure at this hour. 

“And what job is that?”

In his experience if you offered something first, people would counter and give.  So, like the name he lead with some information about himself.  Maybe if she was curious she would stay seated long enough for the train to roll on.

“I’m in construction,” he said.  True in a way.  He built things.  Tore them down. His hands would have a look of one who does manual labor if she cared to look.

But labels were deceiving.


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Re: The Boxer
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2022, 06:27:33 pm »
The bag seemed like it would suffer through the fix, hopefully long enough to not cause her more problems. At least for tonight.

Still, she wasn't going to test her luck and she set the bag back in her lap after only a quick test of the weight and was pulling the strap over her head to sit cross body when he asked what her job was. Her eyes widened as her brow not in his view raised. This guy was persistent, if nothing else.

She let her face settle into a neutral state and finally turned slightly in the seat and set one of her booted feet toward him so one of her legs was now facing him, while the the other was still angled toward the doors straddling the corner of her seat. Willa tilted her head slightly, Myra grinning as she took a deep inhale of her scent and sliding her eyes toward Beau with a smirk, and unabashedly surveyed his now more upright position with her sharp blue eyes.

He wasn't exactly hitting on her, but he wasn't leaving her alone either. She couldn't decide if he was just a less than confident flirt, or if he was one of those 'knight in shining armor' types that just couldn't leave a girl alone if he thought she needed saving or a way out of something. The thought actually caused an image of him in platemale and open helm to flash across her thoughts. She had to nearly shake it away as she turned her eyes toward the door again as the station was announced and they slowed. She seemed to be looking for something that she quickly determined wasn't there and looked back to him again as she started to speak.

"Construction, eh?" She looked him over once more. He was built for it, and he wasn't bad looking if she was honest. Not drop dead gorgeous, but not a schlump by any means. Still she found herself hesitating. If she told him where she was heading currently, he might follow her. It could be a good thing, considering what shift she was pulling tonight, but he didn't look like he could be that big of a tipper so it could also mean a long night of him asking personal questions or spilling his guts if she couldn't shake him. There was rarely any in between when it came to this particular job. She rolled her eyes at herself internally, he probably wouldn't make it past the door anyway if he didn't have the kind of money to tip. She wasn't sure why she was being so cautious.

She crossed her arms on top of her bag and decided to stall anyway, maybe she could drag it out until her stop. "Working on any of the restoration projects in the historic district?" She loved the buildings and was a little tired of the scaffolding and plastic sheets on what she considered the better buildings of the city. She preferred the brick and mortar over the steal and glass sky rises of the modern buildings. She glanced over at the closing doors and the platform again and was looking back to him when they dinged and popped open again. She turned her head slightly but didn't see anyone dashing onto the train in their car or the ones near by and shook her head at the oddity that was quiet often the New York subway late at night.

She wasn't surprised that his answer was short. Even if she'd somehow tapped into some hidden passion for construction work, they were still two stops away from her station, and he was persistent. She refrained from huffing out a sigh and shrugged as she could tell he was still waiting for her to answer where she worked. Fine. It wouldn't kill her. She'd told guys she worked there before.

"I'm employed in various capacities at the Sapphire club. Over on Broadway and 52nd." She tried not to smirk at all as she asked, "Heard of it?" It was one of the more high end 'gentleman's clubs' in the City, she'd be surprised if he hadn't, but there was always the odd duck that hadn't, or didn't visit those kind of places. Or couldn't afford to even if the wanted to. She also didn't have the 'typical' look for someone that worked there she supposed, but times had changed. She wouldn't have been there, but the money was too good to pass up compared to her other jobs and the employees were well taken care of. It was always interesting to see how a man reacted, or what he assumed, once he knew where she worked, even if they didn't know what she did.

Myra on the other hand nearly hissed at the company that had dodged into the train at the last second, causing the doors to react even if none of the mortals knew why. The two burly characters were grinning as they made their way up the train car toward them, one of them grinning, one of them clearly taking a deep inhale of the air. She turned her nearly glowing eyes on Beau, swearing in several languages. "Damned Brightborn. It's bad enough when they know what they are, as clearly this one doesn't. If it's not clear you're claiming her, one of them is sure to report back to whomever they are lap-dogging for while the other keeps track of her." She grinned, her white teeth glinting sharp and dangerous for a moment, "Or I could... deal with them for you. But it could draw attention, and you'd owe me."

« Last Edit: February 24, 2022, 05:14:25 am by Peregrine »