NFG Season One - The Puzzle of the Pendant

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Description: Following his fight with Chevy, Hawksley was given a mysterious pendant by a NFG employee, said to be a gift from Djamila...but one he'd have to return. Looking for answers the Irishman meets the Iraqi for lunch in the hope he can solve The Puzzle of the Pendant!

It's the day after Hawksley's battle with Chevy and he's just about managed to wash the mud off him. He's left Coco at his apartment watching reality televison whilst doped up on painkillers. He's also provided the purple haired posh girl with a fresh supply of grape sodas and fashion magazines in the hope that it would lessen the blow that he's leaving her alone for the afternoon.

He's come along to Little Italy to meet Djamila for a meal at Vito's Restaurant and to ask her about the mysterious pendant the girl asked to be handed to him after his fight at the scrapyard. The Metal member suggested the restaurant as a place for the rendezvous, following her match against Buford here. She and the sword fighter had intitially planned to dine together following their tussle but after things got heated, Djamila had chosen to decline the date. As such, she never got to try the food.

Hawksley has been here on a couple of occasions, so has no hesitation in acting upon her suggestion. The food is fantastic and as he browses the menu, he's struggling to choose what to eat. Maybe he'll go for the full three courses, since he burned off so much energy yesterday.

He's dressed casually in a pine green 'Metro City' sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers and a dark grey woolen beanie hat covers all but the front of his hair. It also obscures the gash to the crown he'd received in his combat with Chevy. Djamila may recognise it as the freebie he got from 'Drippin' Style' on the day he encountered her shopping there.

Catching the attention of a passing waiter, Hawksley orders "A bottle of whatever your cheapest and strongest white wine is, fella" and then sits back to await the arrival of the liquid and his lunch companion.

Djamila took the time to heal herself with a lot of meditation. She also took some time to calm her mind. She realized some injustice was still triggered. Like Buford being an ass about women. Like other things too. She had to stay calmer for her sake. Something to work on later. Although anger channeled the right way is helpful too. She just needs control of that too.

Djamila gets out of the car in front of the restaurant. She's dressed in a nice black dress. She couldn't wear the outfit she had in her previous fight as it had been ruined. Such is life.

She comes inside the restaurant and she looks around for Hawksley. When she sees him, she tells the hostess she is with him and makes her way to the Table. "Hawksley." She smiles. "I hope I didn't get you in trouble or anything."

She pulls a chair and sits herself down. "I am happy to be here. You will be a better-friendly date than Buford would have been. That's for sure." She made sure to say friendly, as she didn't want to get in the way of the woman in his life.

She giggles. "You have a shirt. I don't see you often with one. Well, it's more of a sweatshirt, but it covers your upper body." She laughs. "How are you, Hawksley? I heard you lost your fight. I am sorry."

There's a big smile for Djamila as she sits herself down at the table but of course she won't see that, so Hawksley is quick to follow it up with some words. "Good to see you, cailin. I'm glad you could make it. I've got some wine on the way. It isn't the expensive shite but it will wash our food down and might get us scuttered if we're lucky."

He waves off her worries about getting him into trouble. "Now who would I be getting into bother with, just for coming for some food with a friend? Besides, even if I did, then I'm used to it, so I am. The bad books is where I belong."

He laughs lightheartedly and looks down at his sweater. "Ah yeah, it's not usually the done deal to be coming out for a meal topless. My mammy would fecking freak if she knew I did. I'm not quite as dressed up as you though. That's a mighty fancy dress you're wearing."

He passes a menu to her before his brown eyes move back to scanning his own. "I did lose my fight, aye. Chevy more than deserved her win though, so fair play to her. I think I'm gonna have the mozarella with tomato and basil, the pepite di gnocchi and then probably a big fecking bowl of ice cream. What looks good to you?"

Djamila admits to Hawksley, "I like you Hawksley, a lot. Not trying to get you as a boyfriend, mind you. I know there has been drama already. I don't know everything, but I don't need to be added to it. I also have my eyes on someone else. But you're a nice man. Thank you for the wine/ It sounds lovely."

She just nods her head. She was going to say Coco can be nasty at times. It's not her fight anymore. Was it ever? It sucks what happened with Chevy, but that's between her and Coco. With Hawksley stuck in the middle.

"I wanted to feel pretty. Wounds have a tendency sometimes to make a woman feel uglier. I did it for myself." She smiles. "As for you, you needed to have your chest covered to not distract anyone else from their meal." She kids.

Chevy is a great fighter. She's been doing well this round. She does deserve her wins. I can say that honestly about her. Not everyone, but her for sure."

She gets the menu, but there is no braille on it. "Hawksley, can I ask you a big favor? Could I bother you by reading me the menu? They don't have braille on this. It makes things a little difficult. Sorry for giving you some extra work." She does nod at Hawksley when he announces his choices. "Those sounds like great choices. Thank you for agreeing to come here to meet. It felt like a nice place to be."

Hawksley is a little taken aback by Djamila's declaration. "I didn't think you were after snogging my face off" he laughs. "I'm glad to hear you like me though, that's a grand thing. I like you too, you know, as a friend and all" he quickly adds, a hint of teasing in his tone.

"I've asked you before who you were interested in, so I won't be troubling you again for the information" the Irishman claims with an impish grin. "As for the drama, I don't know what you're talking about, cailin. I've got a simple life, so I have."

The waiter brings the wine over, making a show of uncorking it and pouring Hawksley a little into his glass to taste. "Fill the fecker up" the Blaze brawler tells him. "I'll be wanting more than that to wet my whistle."

"Certainly, sir" the waiter obliges, being polite enough not to point out the younger man's mistake.

"Give her a proper glass full too" Hawksley suggests. "We plan to get through this whole bottle."

He nods as Djamila reveals her motive for dressing up, seeming to follow her line of thinking fine. "Feck yeah. Doing it for yourself is a good thing. I've told you before though, that day when we were hanging out with Coco at yoga, women don't need to be worrying themselves about a few cuts and bruises ruining their beauty. You girls going at it and giving it your all is a beautiful thing, so it is."

He seems amused by her mention of his chest being distracting. "Well it might be right now, with it being black and blue I suppose but it wouldn't bother me. I'm just trying to show some class and manners, so I am."

He hadn't thought about the fact that Djamila might not be able to read the menu. It's amazing how many things he takes for granted have to be considered for someone who has a disability. He counts himself lucky he's still fit and well, despite his many attempts to put himself in danger.

"Of course I'll be reading it for you" he readily agrees. "I can't guarantee to get the Italian accent though, so you're just gonna have to make do with my own voice."

The Cork lad clears his throat and then starts to recite what's on offer. "For starters, you've got the thing I'm having, an avacado bruschetta or some antipasto, which is like cheese, fancy ham, olives and peppers. For your mains, there's the gnocchi I chose and then veal or pork chops, chicken parmigiana, linguine and clams, four cheese or pepperoni pizza and a feck load of pastas. Is there any particular type of those you like or don't like? Dessert wise, you're looking at the icecream or gelato as they call it, tiramisu or vanilla panacotta."

"Yeah, I mentioned a lot of things before. Buford pissed me off, and my mind is a bit on things. Bad things, but not all bad. I am working on it." Djamila laughs. "You did ask before. I swing both ways. So it leaves all the population. They don't know. That's why I am not saying. I don't know if I can hook up with a teammate and a friend. I am in no hurry."

Djamila giggles at the wine 'incident', but she does not say anything. "Thank you, Hawksley. You are very thoughtful." Referring to the full glass he requested the waiter for her.

"Things that affect you should be done for yourself, and then you extend the kindness to others. Just as long as you don't screw someone else for your benefit. I was going to dine with Buford, give him a chance, but he screwed himself out of that all by himself." She shrugs. Then she adds. "I remember Yoga. That was a nice time, Coco and you teasing one another." She grins. She can't help it. "You are nice."

"I have scars that need healing on my body." He mentioned after he said he had some black and blue. "You have more manners and class than a lot of people, Hawksley. Even trying gets you points."

She smiles when he agrees to read the menu. "Thank you, Hawksley." Then she giggles. "I will settle for the Irish accent. It's fine with me." She would wink if she could. Then she listens. He's so sweet. How could she still want revenge against him? She just wants another match to settle who is the best now. "I will make it simple. I will be having what you are having. Thank you for enumerating things. I appreciate it. I also know you won't try putting anything in my glass." She then takes a sip of wine. "it's nice.

"Well that makes it easy" the fella from Eire laughs, handing both menus back to the waiter and placing the order. "I'm paying by the way" Hawksley insists. "It's not because I'm a man either. It's because Lucky's Fiery Ale has just given me a pretty payout."

There's a raising of his thick, dark eyebrows as Djamila mentions putting something in her glass, even if it's to say she didn't think he would do it. "Jesus, no" he says, shaking his head sadly. "I'm sorry you even have to worry about something like that but I get why people do. It can be a sick fecking world at times."

He sits back in his chair, stretching out slightly. He's still feeling the aches and pains from his fight with his friend and the chairs are pretty hard, despite the efforts that have been made to add cushioning. He looks across at the booths longingly, wishing they'd been seated there.

"So what exactly did big Buford do to bother you?" he asks, gulping from his glass. "I mean, I can probably have a pretty good guess but was there anything specific?"

It's not gone unnoticed that she basically just told the boxer that the person she's interested in is one of her teammates. That narrows it down to a field of four unless she's autosexual. Iris, Kenzo, John Doe or Sarah. John Doe seems the most likely candidate given his many fans and followers but all of them have their charms. If Tom and Lou get wind of this or whoever else is presenting the New Fighting Generation broadcast these days, then they'll have a field day. They won't be hearing it from him though.

The yoga class back in Southtown now seems so long ago. It'd been a laugh up to and including him getting the trio banned for pushing Coco over and causing chaos. Good times.

Djamila repeats that's he's nice which bemuses him a little. It's certainly not what he's heard from some people in his life but he thinks he's a pretty decent fella most of the time, so he'll take it. She continues on with the compliments and he can't let her go on without a comeback. "Ah, you're hanging with the wrong kind of people then, if you're impressed by my manners and class. You must know some right shady characters."

"Oh, nice." Djamila laughs but happily for him. "I am not hurting for money, but I also keep some for hard days if they come. I don't expect Metal to pay for everything.

She then brings her head down. "Not sure if Buford would be a gentleman. He was so nasty, and I became nasty too though, but I can't trust him. I wouldn't.

She feels her damage from the fight but seems unaware of how uncomfortable Hawksley is. Though she would move if he moved. She wouldn't be bothered.

He was so nasty toward women in general. I think he's gay. I am not trying to be mean about it. I just haven't come out of the closet yet. You know. I mean he is what he is, but he doesn't need to be so nasty. Like women shouldn't fight and such things. He just got to me.

"So, are you happy with your life outside of the fights? You have it good?" She asks her friend because she cares for him. She just wants to make sure he's happy where he is in life.

She didn't think about what she said. She did say teammate, so it narrows it down a lot. But it slipped out of her. It's ok. She might realize it later but... She has to talk to Hawksley again now.

Oh, as a stripper, you meet all kinds of characters. The people I would see come in. Some nice guys and girls. Yes, some women enjoy seeing women strip... And then the shady people. Ugh." She smiles. It is what it is, though. You just look shady, but you are nice." It should be obvious she is kidding about his look. Hopefully. Because she is.

"Feck, I'm sorry you had a rough time with Buford" Hawksley sighs. "Obviously I've heard and seen some stuff with him but I've not had any one on one time with the fella. I mean, do you think he's for real or is he just playing the heel? I fecking hope it's an act of some sort."

He makes no comments on the man's sexuality. How would he know? He definitely has some stuff to say about women not fighting though. "If he really thinks you lasses shouldn't be going up against us then he's an eejit. You can fight just as fast and hard as us lads. Faster and harder in some cases" he adds with a grimace, feeling his muscles groan again.

"If he got to you in the heat of the moment, then I wouldn't worry about it too much. You won't be the first or the last out of the genners to be riled by him. He's got a way of getting under people's skin, so he has."

A bread basket is brought to the table along with some butter and the brawler gets to work on it, thickly slathering his slice and taking a bite. "Yeah, I'm very happy" he says after swallowing. "Life is good. I'm getting paid for fighting and drinking and I've met some fecking amazing people lately. Everything is just lovely."

Okay, so there could be a few complaints he could make. He would like it if Coco and Chevy could get along and he'd love to see his mammy more. All in all though, he's a very lucky lad.

"How about you, Djamila? Are you satisfied with the way things are working out for you with all this?" He leans foward, resting his elbows on the table as he listens to her response.

"Do you know I used to work in a strip club myself?" he asks her. "Not as a dancer but behind the bar and in security. It's where I met my ex actually, which is why I made that joke about having enough of strippers in the interview I did before the tournament. It was never meant as a personal dig at you. She'd just broken my heart, so she had, so I was kinda joking about that."

Her diss, albeit not a serious one has him guffawing with laughter. "Gawd, I am a dodgy looking fella, so I am. I probably seem like some kind of hooligan sat here in my casual clothes while you're all dressed for dinner at lunch time."

"I wanted to give him a chance. It was the first time I would meet him." Djamila shrugs. "But he ruined it all. It's ok. We don't have to like everyone in the tournament. Some people just manage to get you under your skin." She smiles.

"Thank you. Men and women are equally great in this tournament and in life, too." She smiles. "But I knew you didn't think less of us women." She smiles even more.

I am not too worried. And the Haikus talk was fun. I even got mad in Haiku too." She chuckles. "I am weird."

She also takes a slice when it comes, and it gets butter too. She doesn't seem to worry too much about it. Just enjoying some good food. "I am happy life is good and lovely. You deserve it." She smiles with her mouth closed because she's eating a bit now.

Everyone has problems though. Even if small ones, nothing is ever perfect. "I am happy. Things are going well. I showed how good I can be in this tournament, I have nice friends. I don't know what could be better" She smiles. Oh. there could be a few things, but yes, no one has it perfect.

I figured you made the joke because you knew the business. I didn't know most of the story, however. If you want to say more, you can.

Then she laughs. "You're a dodgy teddy bear, and I just want to hug you." She grins. "But seriously, I am happy we are friends."

Hawksley thinks through the other competitors he's encountered in the New Fighting Generation and can't honestly find any real problem he's had with any of them on a personal level. Sure, there's been hassle surrounding some situations but there's nobody he actively dislikes.

"Those haiku things go way over my head, so they do. I'm not sure what the rules of them are exactly and it all sounds kinda vague to me. I'm sure it's really clever though, if you understand what you're doing. It's a bit like a rap battle, yeah?"

Another slice of bread and butter gone and it's soon time for their starters to arrive. The combination of the cheese, tomato and basil gets Hawksley's stomach grumbling and he tucks in gleefully.

"It's grand to hear you're happy too, cailin" the brawler beams at Djamila. "You're doing well for yourself and I'm glad you're making plenty of friends and all. Do you ever miss your old work at the club?" he asks curiously. "As for my time at the place I worked at with Tiffany? Ah, it's not such an interesting tale. One of the customers got too hands on with her when she was dancing for him and I attacked him. It only turns out he's some high powered business fella though and he threatened to sue the club if I wasn't fired. So there I am out of a job and then Tiff goes and gives me the elbow too. She apparently cared more about keeping her bosses on side than me, so you know..."

He trails off to eat some more of his food. Whilst he's telling the tale he realises how much less emotion he feels about it than he did when he told Coco about his woes a few months ago in the bar of the Hotel Southtown. It seems the Irish lad is well and truly over his first love.

"A teddy bear you say? Jesus, I've heard it all now" he chuckles cheerily. "I'm pleased we're friends too and you're welcome to a hug whenever you want. I don't charge for those."

Once he's finished his starter and the waiter has removed the empty plate to make way for the main course, Hawksley takes the time to get something from the pocket of his jeans. "So the real reason I asked if you'd like to meet up with me is because I've been wondering about this."

He holds out the pendant Djamila asked the New Fighting Generation worker to give him at the end of his fight with Chevy. "I mean, it's sweet of you and all but what the feck is it for?"

Buford is one. Perhaps there is another. Djamila doesn't say. But the dislike of Buford is very apparent.

"it's easy. The base, anyway. Three sentences. Five, Seven, and Five syllables in that order." She chuckles. "it's ok, it's not important, but it's like a rap battle. It's a good analysis.

She smiles and digs in lightly when the starters arrive.

"Yeah, I fit well in here for the most part, but my family is the girls. I will go back one day. It's who I am. I am a stripper. I am not ashamed of it. Not at all." The smile turns into a frown when he explains what happened to him. "This is bullshit. Money or not, a good boss protects his girls. You did the job of the bouncer. You didn't deserve all that happened. I am sorry Hawksley." She frowns. Girls' security means a lot to her and anyone in the business. At least she figures as much.

She eats a bit as things go silent for a moment. She does enjoy the food. "This is good." She has to say.

"You're so sweet. I love hugs with the right people. I just have to tease you, but you are very huggable though. For sure. Thank you.

Her plates are taken away as well. She can hold her own against Hawksley in the eating department. "Did they tell you you had to give it back?" She chuckles and listens to his question.

"Oh, what it is for? I want to fight you again. See once and for all who is the best. Maybe we could do so before the tournament after all. If you would be willing. A sort of spar that would train us both. We both win. Hell if you wanted to involve more people, I wouldn't even mind. Blaze with Metal maybe. Not sure how many people I could get, but why not? Would that interest you?" She wonders.

"Just know I don't want revenge anymore with you. I am way past that. It's more for fun."

"Three sentences" he repeats, making the number sound like tree. "Five, seven and five. I mean, I could pretend to take it in but truth be told, I'm not really arsed. I tell you what though, if I ever have to fight Buford, I'll come find you for some lessons."

Hawksley listens to Djamila talking about her family of girls and appreciates the indignation she feels on his behalf. "Ah, it's all grand now. It worked out for the best. If I hadn't been fired and finished with, I'd probably never have gone looking for something else to do with my time. It would have been terrible if I'd missed out on my chance at being a member of The New Fighting Generation."

He agrees with the dancer on the quality of the food. "I've been here three times now and ordered different every time. All of it is lovely. I'm eating much better now than I did in Sunshine City. Other than the times Chevy cooked for me anyway."

He seems fine about both physical affection and teasing. "Hugs and banter are the best. I'm happy to have a bit of both."

Back to the matter of the pendant he responds "She did, yeah. Which made me realise it wasn't a gift. Which confused me even more, so it did. I thought maybe it's some kind of lucky charm but then why give it to me -after- the match?"

He looks down at the silver pendant and then back to Djamila. "You don't need no necklace to get to fight me again. That's dependent on the draw in the tournament or whatever. I mean maybe we could before but I can't make any promises. It depends what else I've got on. I've already said I'd stop by The Thunderdome and pay them a visit."

He sets the jewelry down on the table between them. "So that's the whole story? It's kinda a safe keeping thing, so you know we'll meet up in a match again? It doesn't have sentimental value or something does it? I'd be fecking gutted if I lost it and it did."

He thanks the waiter as he delivers the main courses and then when he's gone adds "It's good to know you're not plotting my imminent demise though. I'll sleep better knowing you're not out for revenge, so I will."

"Yeah, I might have made some mistakes during the fight, I am not sure. but if you need haiku lessons, I will do my best to help you." Djamila laughs she was having fun.

"If you hadn't been part of NFG, things would have been terrible. You are an important part of it." She means it too

"I don't go to restaurants a lot, but when I do, I have good company, or I am fighting." She grins and smiles. "Now it's the former."

"Good good, you will get a hug before we are done with our friendly meeting, that's for sure. Maybe it will even help us both heal better from our respective fights." She would give a wink again here if she could.

"This is just something important to me. It was my mother. I trusted you with it all. I knew you would give it back in time. NFG Season is ending... I want you to remember me." Then, she moves to another subject. She shrugs. "I don't think I would want to go to the Thunderdome, but since you're close to Chevy, it makes sense for you. I did go to the scrapyard, and that was fun."

You can hold your own against me, but it's funny. You won against me, I won against Chevy, and Chevy has won against you." She chuckles. "I won against all the current team members of Thunder on the team." She grins. "I never faced Hated, though I would like to meet him and Buck. Buck would be a force." She nods and eats a bit.

"So anyway, does it answer your question about the pendant? It's precious to me, it was from my mother. Last thing I have from her."

"Aw, you say the sweetest things, Djamila" Hawksley grins. "If I wasn't involved, I'm sure you'd have had some other fella or lass who'd have done a grand job in the competition too but I'm glad it's me who's here having the time of my life."

He tucks in to the gnocchi, his face lighting up as he tastes it. "I'm not too much of a one for restaurants either really" the Irishman admits. "I'm more of a pub goer, as you might have guessed. I'm all for a good roast dinner by a fire with a few pints on a Sunday afternoon when the weather gets cold. Nothing is better than a meal at mammy's though."

The talk about mothers leads to the lad pushing the pendant across the table towards Djamila, placing her hand on it if she lets him do so.

"It's a wonderful gesture to give me something so precious to you but I really can't take it from you. I'm not gonna forget you, so you don't have to worry about that. I'll remember all of us who've been through this incredible experience together." The Irishman seems somewhat emotional about the prospect of things coming to an end. He has no idea what's planned after the tournament. He doesn't let himself dwell too much on the past or future if he can help it.

"I saw you at the scrapyard, so I know you were there. That's how I got the jewelry from you. Or have you been visiting there some other time? I'm looking forward to seeing inside The Thunderdome. That'll make Metal the only one I haven't visited in Metro. Isn't it all super secure and such?"

Talk of who has won and lost in different matchups doesn't mean much to the man. "Ah, you can never go off all that shite. It doesn't work that way. There's so many different variables involved in whether you get a victory or not and anyone who goes into a fight assuming a win is an eejit. You're right about Buck though. He's a beast, so he is. Really fun to brawl too. I've got a lot of time for the lad."

"I mean I wouldn't have known I wasn't missing you if you hadn't been there, but I would have. Maybe when the season ends, we get a break, and we watch a new group trying to rise. Then we get a second season. NFG the big comeback." She grins. "That would be amazing.Or LIke NFG old Generation versus new Generation, once a second NFG would be done. You might think I have weird ideas, but it would be a good pub. Let some new people have the spotlight before we get it back." She laughs. But I am not in charge. I am just a contestant."

She eats more. "This is good, but I need a special person to go to a restaurant. Can't be just any idiot." She sighs. "The pub, I get why it calls to you as for your mam, it's probably the best food because it tastes like home." She lets out a bit of a sigh.

She allows him to put her hand on the pendant. "Alright. But if I need to see you, the pendant will be involved maybe. It worked in seeing you now. Though it wasn't a trap or anything." She smiles. She will miss a lot of people, but she's not sure if she needs a break or not. She doesn't even know what is planned for them.

"I was there another time, in the scrapyard." That makes her smile bigger. "I destroyed a car and might even have won the contest. I am not sure yet." She giggles. "Who would have thought I was a good car destroyer." She then nods her head. "Metal is very secure, but I could get you a guest pass if you wanted to visit with me. I would only bother with you and Ayala ,I think. As my teammates don't need a pass."

"A lot of things happened that we have seen, a lot of things happened that we haven't seen." She chuckles. "Look at me. I sound like a conspiracy theorist. Watch your back in the tournament. If I am not having my match in the tournament at the same time as yours, I will watch your back." She might sound weird about that.

"Thank you, for today anyway.

"Wow, you've really been thinking about this haven't you?" Hawksley laughs along. "I'll go with the flow. Let's see what they have in store for us. I'm mostly about making the most of my time in Metro at the minute."

He's just about done with his gnocchi and his glass is empty. He pours out some more for himself and Djamila, should she be ready for a refill. "My mammy's food -does- taste like home" he admits. "You're dead right there."

He's relieved when she takes the pendant back. "You could just call or message me you know. You don't need to be playing around with any precious pendants. I don't need much of an excuse to come out and have fun with a friend."

The story of the scrapyard sounds fabulous. "I missed out on fecking cars up? Now that's a time you should have called me? Was the big fella running it or something?" he asks, referring to Abigail. "How did it feel to do? I know some of our lot had a go back in Japan but we were still busy in the tournament at the time."

He finishes his last forkful. "Maybe I'll make it to Metal sometime then with Ayala. Is it right that you've got yourselves a pool there?" He shifts in his chair, causing it to creak. "What do you mean about watching my back? Is there somebody looking to put a knife in it or something?"

She smiles at Hawksley. "if you knew how much my mind thinks when I don't meditate. Yes, I have thought about it and a lot of other things. I just don't share a lot of them. But now the tournament is coming, and after that, we don't know. So just some theories. It wouldn't be too shabby though, right?" She laughs.

She is almost done too, sneaking bites here and there, while still talking. She thanks Hawksley when he refills her glass. "That's what I imagine it would feel like. it makes the most sense. I am not afraid to speak my mind on things. If I am wrong, I am wrong. The world doesn't end." She laughs.

"It was a nice way to get your attention though, right? OK, next time I will call you, promise. Might make it easier." She laughs again. It shows she is having a good time.

"You missed fucking up a car, yeah. Sorry, I didn't call you. I just dropped by the place after hearing things, and Abigail, the big guy, was really nice. I enjoyed my time there a lot. It was really fun to destroy a car. Usually, I prioritize speed, but that time, I prioritize power because a car doesn't move. It was fun to unleash myself." She is excited as she speaks. "Back at the tournament, the people who didn't deliver got to beat a car." She grins. "Now my time was just for fun, no strings attached."

She finishes as well. "Yeah, Ayala is Blaze too. It would so totally work. A guess pass for both of you, and we can train together or whatever the hell we end up doing."

She looks at Hawksley. "I just noticed security for even the crowd is lacking sometimes in NFG during fights. If someone wanted to try something nasty, the tournament would be the best place. Because that's the last time we get to shine. I just want to have the backs of those who matter to me. Just in case. Call me paranoid. But hell, what's to say there won't be money involved or some people willing to do anything to get a win, even screw someone else over?" She sighs. "Yeah, I think too much, but better safe than sorry. Maybe NFG will up their security for the tournament. Then it can be truly may the best win." She touches his hand. "I want to win this Hawksley, but if it's not me, My vote goes to you."

"I'm not sure" is Hawksley's response, pausing to give the waiter his order for ice cream. "I'll have three scoops, fella. A coffee, a vanilla and a mint choc chip. What you having, Djamila?"

Once the waiter is gone he will continue to chat about what comes next for the New Fighting Generation members. "All that toing and froing seems a bit mad to me. I'd rather just stick around or feck off. I'm hoping to make a living as a fighter though whatever is next. I've got the bug now and I don't wanna go back to being a bartender or bouncer."

If Djamila could see Hawksley now, she'd know he was giving her a bit of a strange look. "I suppose it did get my attention, yeah. Like I said though, there's no need. Just call me up and say hello there Hawksley, how would you fancy a nice bit of food with me? Then I'd say that sounds grand, Djamila. What time will you be wanting me?"

He moves to run a hand through his hair but realising he's wearing the beanie, he settles for straightening that instead. "I'd love to smash some cars up. Abigail said I could stop by there when I want to though, so maybe I'll still get to have a go."

The ice cream arrives and Hawksley has no hesitation in sticking his spoon in and slipping some of the cold creamy dessert into his mouth. "Mmmm" is the only sound he makes for a a good couple of minutes until he finally manages to find his voice again. "Jesus, I hope nothing like that happens. I always thought we were more dangerous than the crowd. I suppose you've had experience of being on edge though, you know, with what happened with your da and all."

His expression darkens a little as he mentions the man who attacked her. "I was sorry to hear about all that horrible shite. You're alright now though, aren't you? I mean, as well as you could be."

He's genuinely touched by Djamila offering her support, should she not be successful herself. He says simply "Thanks, Djamila. I appreciate that."

"She nods her head, then orders the same as Hawksley. In doing so, she learns another facet of him. She does not feel icky about food, not so far anyway, maybe she will find something she really hates one day.

"I hear you. But I want to strip again, be with my family. I will definitely fight, but I am not too good at stripping now. I am not saying that's what you meant either. I am just proud of being a stripper." It's probably not the best place to talk about stripping, but what comes next? "I also kept myself pure for the right person. I am proud of that too. It's not because we strip we are easy. Yeah?" She shows she doesn't have a filter. She's not shy about talking about different things.

"Sorry if it was weird though, the pendant. I don't know. It felt like the right thing to do. I am spontaneous at times. You never know what life will give you. I didn't know I would be a professional fighter like three years ago." She smiles.

"Hey, if you go bust a car, call me. I will watch you bust it. Well, or listen to you busting it anyway." She giggles. "That would be a show. Burn car, burn!"

While he eats his desserts, she tastes it as well. She understands Hawksley. She totally does.

"I am also thinking it could even be a fighter. It probably makes me a bad person to think someone in NFG would do anything to win, but like Buford. Thinking we're all harlots and not good to fight or something. What if he snaps? What if someone else has too much pressure? I am just careful is all, you know? Just in case." She nods her head. Her father belongs to the past, but she couldn't tell Hawksley exactly that.

She ponders a moment. "He's part of my past now I think. With all of Metal's security when I am not in a match, I don't think he will dare. I can't live my life in fear forever.

She takes a deep breath. "If there's someone you really want to kick ass with, I hope you can kick its ass. I have a promise to hold to someone." She smiles. "I will hold it, not because I feel hate, but because it's the right thing to do." She rubs her left shoulder. "You're welcome, Hawksley. You've been top through all this."

"There's nothing wrong with being proud of who you are and what you do" Hawksley remarks in repsonse to Djamila's words. "The other thing, that's your business but it's nothing I'm not familiar with. Most of the girls I know were brought up Catholic, so it's a fairly common thing back in Cork. Or at least that's what they claim anyway" he chuckles.

"Who the feck cares though really? Even if you'd shagged fifty lads or lasses I wouldn't think you were easy. As long as you're enjoying yourself, it's all grand."

He's demolished half of his ice cream already, mixing mouthfuls with each other to create different combinations of tastes. "Don't you be worrying about the pendant no more. Just keep it safe somewhere because it was your mammy's and that matters."

The idea of the burning car seems to tickle the Irishman. "It'd be a sight to see, so it would." It wouldn't be the first thing he'd left burning in his time.

"You really reckon Buford would pull a stunt like that? I'd be very surprised if he did. I'm pretty sure the lad has some issues but that would be a step too far. I can't see it myself. I'm glad you're not worrying about your da coming after you again though. I suppose that's one of the upsides of being on a team with such tight security."

His ice cream has all gone now and he lets out a satisfied burp as he completes his meal. "Gawd I'm ready for a nap now" he admits. "What's this promise about then? If you wanna share." He figures she does since she brought the subject up. Her words of praise see him patting her hand. "I appreciate the words, Djamila. You're flattering me a lot, so you are."

"You know what's up Hawksley. But, like us women, to a lot of people, we're either sluts or prudes. You know what I mean. That's not to say only us women have problems. Both sides have theirs. But yeah, I am proud, and I just wait for the person I want to be with first. It's not for religion in my case. I just want love to be part of the experience. I don't think I need a one-night stand. But if one day that's what happens because I want it, then all the more power to me." She chuckles.

"You're right Hawksley. You have a way with words. You say the truth and nicest things in real words."

She laughs about the pendant, but not at what Hawksley says, but at what it makes her think about her mom. "I think she would have been happy it brought us here today, even if I could have done that better. Material possessions won't leave with you when you die, so use them." She half smiles and half sniffles, getting a bit emotional.

She gets right back to a grin because fire, fire is fun when she's not burning anyway. "It would be a scent to smell." She laughs again.

I didn't expect my father, and I paid for it. This time I am ready, that's all It is. I am not panicking over what I told you, but if someone tries to pull something, I will be ready. Just in case. Be in the right mindset. Be ready for anything, and nothing but my best will be acceptable, you get me?" She smiles.

I told Ichika she would never beat me. That was my first match in NFG, and call me a bitch, but I intended to show her it was true. Besides that, I wish her the best in what she does." She smiles. "If I am having a good time. If I think someone is great, I want them to know. That's all." She is happy right now, and it shows.

"I know that's how some people see it, yeah" Hawksley agrees. "That doesn't make it fecking true though. If waiting for love matters to you, then grand. If you decide you wanna do something with someone then fair play to you."

He tries to speak the truth wherever possible or at least how he sees it. "What was your mammy like, Djamila?" he asks her, noting her emotion as she talks of the woman. "Did she look like you? What things do you remember about her?"

Imagining the idea of one parent being dead and the other being someone who is a danger to you leaves the Irishman horrified. His own childhood back in Ireland seems idyllic in comparison. They may not have had much money and he may have had his fair share of trouble at school but at least he didn't have to fear for his life from his own father and had a mammy to make him food and give him cuddles when he needed comfort.

"I get you" Hawksley assures Djamila. "What you're saying is not to mess with you? I've got the message!" he laughs loudly.

"You and Ichika kinda had a feud or something going for a while, didn't you? I'm glad you're wishing her well now. She's a fecking fierce one. I can't believe she's only fifteen. What a talent."

"It doesn't make it true at all, but it's one thing we have to deal with all. It just doesn't disappear because good people like you get it. It's unfortunate. But we don't have to care about what other people think, as long as they aren't violent. It's our life, after all." Djamila shrugs. "Don't have to care if they are violent either. But you do gotta defend yourself."

Then, on her mother, Djamila can't answer easily, "To be honest, every day it's a bit harder to remember what she looks like. She was much more traditional than me. What I remember best is the feeling when I was in her arms. Like nothing could get to me. I am blessed to keep this memory. I suppose after that, what she looked like is secondary. Yeah?" Asking for his opinion. "You talk about your mam, but is your father around? Not sure if it's ok to talk about him." After all, who knows if Hawksley had a bad father?

Not to mess with me, not to mess with the people I care and love. Be clean in the tournament. A clean loss, a clean draw, is better than a dirty win. Everyone worth their salt will respect you better. It's mostly NFG fights security I don't trust. Keep the crowd safe, too." She chuckles. "We need them."

"I had a feud with Ichika. She didn't appreciate that comment. There has been a phase. But we're ok now. We still want to fight one another." She shrugs and takes more of the ice cream, basically finished with that now. "But in NFG everyone has been amazing. I don't know why Ichika should be considered special because she's 15. She's another fighter in NFG. Like I don't expect anyone to consider me amazing because I am physically blind. We've all been amazing. If we were to single out one person, Nixie before the rumble was something else. Nothing could stop her. Now after the rumble, I think the tournament will show who pulls away from the rest. Or will cement that anyway from what is happening in Metro City? In the end, all I am saying is everyone has been amazing. There is talent all around, and Ichika hasn't done anything remarkable to me fighting-wise compared to anyone else to single herself out. Which doesn't take anything away from her growth. If she wins the tournament I will give her her due. Hell, even if it's Buford who wins the tournament, I will give him his due." She's not upset or anything. She just didn't understand why, and brought up her side of things.

The lad listens, feeling his eyes fill with tears. He's not just on the brink of crying because of Djamila's loss, he just can't help but think how he'd feel if it happened to him. "You remember the important things then" Hawksley comments, swallowing down his own sadness to try and support the girl. "You're right that her looks are secondary of course, I was just curious you know." He rests his hands on the red and white tablecloth, noticing something he's spilled on it.

"My da is a bloody good fella, so he is. I love him to pieces and he's always been grand to me. There just isn't that closeness that there is with mammy. Him and my brother Shane though are as thick as thieves. He's always down the gym helping our old man out. Him and my uncle Liam have had the place for years. They train a lot of the local kids including me for a bit. I lack the discipline to be a boxer though. I was always getting in to trouble about missing training sessions and such. At least it left me with a few moves though along the way" he grins.

Djamila's remarks about the schoolgirl take him somewhat by surprise. "I'm not praising Ichika to take away from anyone else" he affirms. "We've all got our own things, good and bad going on. It just impresses me how she has her act together enough to do something like this while she's still a kid. But yeah, she'd probably be the last one to be after us giving her special treatment. Likely she'd want to be judged on the same terms as the rest of us, which she should be, since she's good enough to take us on in a scrap."

He signals for the bill with the universal symbol of writing on a cheque book with a pen, despite this method of payment being mostly obsolete. When it's brought to him, he uses an app on his phone, being sure to add a generous tip.

She tries to squeeze Hawksley's hand as she feels he gets emotional for different reasons. "Yeah, I am blessed. I shared something with you, but like it's not to be like "Poor Djamila." She sighs. "I had and have a good life, with some obstacles along the way, like everyone else." She smiles. "It's ok to be curious and emotional. You're a good man.

She listens to Hawksley as he talks about his father and his brother. When he is done, she says. "Your family sounds wonderful. I am happy you're close to them in some ways. It's good. You have something to look forward to when you visit and all. Yeah?"

"It's ok. Maybe I am biased against her. We're not the greatest of friends. We're just not at each other's throats anymore."

She is aware now it's pay time. "Thank you for such an interesting dinner. I really appreciate it. If I haven't been too direct and filterless for you, would you be fine with us walking a bit together? I don't want to keep you from anything, but I don't quite want this to end yet. It's not often I can be like this.

"Yeah, it'll be grand to see my family over Christmas" Hawksley says with a smile. "The lads too. It'll be party time when I get back to our local pub in Cork and catch up with them all."

He gets to his feet and brushes some crumbs off his sweatshirt before moving around to stand by Djamila. "You haven't been too direct or filterless for me. I'm not someone who gets easily offended and I'll speak up if I don't agree with you. How about I walk with you back to the Metal base? You know, if that's where you're heading. It'll be good to get the fresh air, so it will."

Despite it being what Americans call 'The Fall' in Metro City, it's still a relatively mild sixteen degrees celsius and the sun is shining in the sky.

"I am happy you will have that for Christmas. Family dinners must be granted." She beams, truly happy for Hawksley.

DJamila stands up. Her dress settles back nicely against her curves. Of course, she doesn't forget her staff. That's something she always carries. It seems to be a part of her. "Thanks, it's good to know. Same." She smiles and then ponders. "Ok, you can walk me back to Metal. You will see the outside. Then one day, I will get you a guest past, and you will come inside with me. Alright?" She takes her arm if he allows her to. They both know she can walk just fine. More like she's fine with letting her guide her.

Djamila will remember this date between two friends of a long time.

Log created on 14:02:23 10/09/2023 by Hawksley, and last modified on 04:48:06 10/11/2023.