Description: After her encounter with Juri, Jezebel drags herself to the Shadaloo safe house. Fortunately, she sent on Hayley ahead. But before she can get the help she needs, Jezebel's boss pays a surprise visit to discuss her incompetence... personally.
Hayley Lethbridge has been practically bursting with excitement lately. First she got into a wonderful fight against a King of Fighters competitor and did rather well. Then, she got to me her childhood hero, Lightning Spangles! From there she set out for Thailand, the birthplace of Muay Thai and one of her goal destinations in her martial arts journey.
But now all has been sunshine and kookaburras for Hayley. To get to Thailand, she found herself embarking on a "Swinging Singles" cruise with Jezebel. While Jezebel may have been looking forward to it, for Hayley it was a lot of awkward conversations with men (and occasionally women) twice her age. Between getting dragged to social events with Jezebel and trying to network, Hayley found herself doing a lot of training. Of course, this is normal for Hayley, but there's only so much one can do on a boat. On the plus side? She only got seasick twice!
And now, Hayley in a small bungalow on the outskirts of Bangkok. With Jez out handling business of some sort, Hayley set herself to cleaning the place up and cooking something for dinner in Jez's absence. She is presently dressed in a long blue "Showup Hoedown) t-shirt and black pajama pants, but not shoes or socks.
Hayley moves a chess set off the kitchen table, moving it underneath a coffee table instead. A pan sizzles on the stove across the room, heating to a reasonable temperature. As Hayley finishes sliding the box under the table, she shifts into a push-up position. Apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence for her.
Jezebel was having a rough day.
Sure, it was one thing to be on a singles cruise, and to be constantly meeting all kinds of men, and women, twice -her- age, and then some her age. That was a thing. And for some reason, they didn't really want to talk to Jezebel all that much. They wanted to talk to Hayley. They wanted her, craved her. Sure, occasionally there would be an offer for Jezebel to come along with Hayley, but never Just Jezebel. Jezebel was even have trouble, staring at Hayley. With her young body, her vital spirit, just how much better she was.
With those incredible, plump hips.
Jezebel wanted to die. Well, kill herself. THere was a distinction there. And she might have tested those waters by throwing her off the cruise if it wasn't for a miracle. See, on the television, all alone while Hayley was meeting people, she got to see it. She got to see Honoka praise her, and give her an international YEE HAW. And that was it. Jezebel knew what she had to do. She would just send Hayley back to the bungalow she want lent from Shadaloo, and she would manage those transported girls, and then it would be fine.
Pity, then, that she ran into Juri.
The door to the bungalow was hammered, a furious knocking nearly caving it in. "HAYLEY!" Jezebel screams hoarsely through the door. "HAYLEY! OPEN THE DOOR- I-" And Jezebel sobs, choking as she collapses against the door. She breathes hard, as the adrenaline floods from her body. She was shivering, bleeding, splintered.
"I'm hurt, Hayley."
Hayley has transitioned from her original push-up position to one-handed, vertical push-ups, her other hand held behind her back. In fact, she's in this position when Jezebel hammers on the bungalow door.
"Just a minute!" Hayley says, nearly falling over when she springs back onto her feet. She bounces backward two-steps before gaining her footing and moving to the answer the door. When she opens it, Hayley's eyes go wide.
"Jezebel! Come here!" Hayley says, reaching to hook one hand around Jez's back and the other under her bottom to hoist her up and literally carry her into the bungalow, provided Jezebel lets her. Hayley, for her youth, has both seen and experienced her share of beatings.
"What happened?! Let's get you in here so I can patch you up!"
Jezebel was bleeding, battered, and bruised.
Struggling to stand back up, she takes Hayley's assistance willingly. Unconsciously, she grips on to Hayley's bottom, a bitterness overtaking her. She tightens the grip, as she is heaved up and over. It wasn't fair. Why was she cursed with this body, and Hayley had those incredible hips. It was disgusting, how all those men at the cruise lusted after her. Completely disgusting. And Hayley just took in the attention, coyly looking away, face turning red- she was flirting with them, teasing them. Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.
She eventually snaps out of it.
"Huh!?" She begins, dazed. "Oh! I- I was-" She thinks. She doesn't want to lose her friend. She never wants to lose her friends. Never ever.
So Jezebel lies.
"I was attacked! At the harbor!" She begins, babbling, face turning red. "There was this girl! She was a Korean girl!" Jezebel quickly identifies the racial identity of the attacker. "And she was Tae Kwon Do! She attack me, she was- she was attacking some girls! And I was protecting them! And she beat me within an inch of my life, and I did whatever I could to protect them! I stood tall, I refused to back down, and she just kept stomping me and stomping me a-a-and she took them, Hayley! She took the girls! She kidnapped them! And..." And Jezebel gets a chill up her spine, as she realizes she just lost all her product.
"And I wasn't strong enough to save them."
"Shhh," Hayley says, bracing Jez against herself to carry her despite the height difference. She moves in, pushing the door closed with the bottom of her foot, then walking Jez through the bungalow. The fabric of her pajama bottoms wrinke around Jez's tight grip, but Hayley doesn't drop her. Hayley trembles as the story unfolds, but she still doesn't drop her.
In one of the bedrooms Hayley sets Jezebel down on the bed, then sits down close to her. She brushes Jez's hair back and hugs her tightly for a moment.
"That's terrible--I'm...I'm sure you did everything you could," she consoles, brushing Jez's hair again. "But for right now we have to get you patched up. Do you think anything is broken? Where do you hurt?"
Hayley takes a moment to look her over, searching for anything that looks out of place: deep cuts, limbs out of position...
Jezebel did do everything she could.
Well, no, she didn't.
She was feeling very, very cold. She lost the girls. She lost all the girls. She lost them all. They were taken away. She hasn't checked in with her superiors in Bangkok yet. Eventually, word would come around. And someone would deal with this. And she didn't know what would happen. She didn't know what the consequences would be. She felt like she wanted to throw up. But she pretends it away. She pretends she isn't that kind of girl. She just needed her friend.
She wanted to be with her friend Hayley.
Jezebel had a mean hairline fracture in her arm and leg; and her ribs were basically cracked all up and down, a compound fracture poking out. She looked like she needed a hospital, not a friend. But Jezebel looks up at Hayley and- and she smiles. She smiles at Hayley, that perfect, natural, Lightning Spangles smile. The mask spreads over her. "I think- I think I'm alright, pardner! Hayley-" Jezebel coughs, wiping the blood from her mouth. "Hayley, can you tell me what your favorite Lightning Spangles episode is? I mean, what is the one you pretended to be in the most?" Tears build in the corner of Jezebel good eye.
"Please tell me, Hayley."
There was a class A fuck-up involving Jezebel, his hire. High command is asking questions. They aren't angry - yet. But Cracker Jack just got through of a breath down from Mike Bison himself, and Cracker Jack is expected to handle this. Or he, as he was told, Bison gives him a face full of Rolls Royce windshield. Tinted. Cracker Jack knows exactly what that means, having dealt with Bison long enough. Particularly when he says it nice and soft, and in your ear, before he gives you a plane ticket.
Cracker Jack opens the door, his baseball bat in hand, propped onto his left shoulder with his left hand. He looks at Jezebel, and then the stranger. Eyes hidden through his choppy brown bangs, he looks at Jezebel's state with a frown, before slowly craning his chin to face Hayley, giving her a slow up and down nod. He moves into the flat, setting down the bat and taking a seat.
Cracker Jack reaches into his jacket and pulls out a battered white and red pack of cigarillos labeled 'El Flamingo' on the surface, pulling one out with his teeth. He shows his teeth with a grimace, tilting the smoke upwards as he slides the pack away. Pulling it out of his mouth and producing a lighter, he crosses his right leg over his left at the ankle.
"First thing I want to say to you, Jez, is that nobody is going to kill anyone over this. We aren't unforgiving, we just have a memory." He looks at Hayley, having stated that. "Hi. I'm Cracker Jack. I'm a terrorist." That finished, he returns his eyes to Jezebel.
"Let's just go through what happened."
Hayley takes several moments to assess everything. It's bad. She can tell it's bad enough that she can't just patch it up and send her on her merry way. Hayley, like Jezebel, is an idealist. Hayley, unlike Jezebel, knows what she can treat with amateur garage medicine picked up from dojo members and stuntmen.
"Oh, of course, my favorite is the episode where you--"
The door comes open and Cracker Jack enters. Hayley is up in an instant, springing to her feet with the full expectation of some crazy Korean Taekwon here to finish off Jezebel. When it's instead a man with a baseball bat, that doesn't help things all that much.
"Bloody hell," Hayley says, "you here to rob the place?" Hayley says, drawing up a leg in a taekwondo stance.
But then he settles down and takes a seat. "O-oh," Hayley says, dropping down onto the bed again. "Kill her? Is that about the--" Hayley looks at Jezebel, then at Cracker Jack, then back at Jezebel.
"I'm...Hayley?" she offers quietly. "Jezebel, do you Cracker Jack from somewhere?"
Jezebel expected something else.
She expected Hayley to comfort her. She expected Hayley to make the fear go away. She loved Hayley, because she loved all her fans. Hayley would comfort her, and nurse her back to health, and be the best friend and fan ever. She wanted to be warm, and safe, and nurtured, and loved, and told how wonderful she was. How beloved she was. And how everything would be okay.
And then Cracker Jack comes in.
Jezebel freezes up as she sees her boss come in. She feels like she wanted to wet herself. Terror seized her again for the second time today. She freezes a smile on her face, as she chokes on tears. The paralysis breaks from the trembling, her body shaking. She waits. She waits for him to beat her into the bed. To do- to do things to Hayley. To defile, and kill, and punish her for what she had done. And- and she wasn't dead yet. And Cracker Jack expected answers, and Hayley expected answers, and fear, fear was running around him.
Jezebel opens her mouth.
"HA HA HA" Say Jezebel, mouth wide.
"AH HA HA. AH HA HA. HA HA HA" She continues to say, eyes locked from Hayley, to Cracker Jack, to back to Hayley. Her eyes were terrified. But laughed forces out. "It's a joke! Joking! Cracker Jack is just making a joke! He's my-" She pauses. What was he? What was Cracker Jack?
"He's my agent!"
Jezebel continues to lie as terror grips her heart. She was sweating everywhere, fighting the nausea. "Cracker Jack is just worried why I didn't check in with him! He's a real terrorist to those producers, you know!" She gives Hayley a wink! She looks at Cracker Jack, pleading, tears running down her cheek. "Ha ha ha. You want a report on what happened!"
"Well, it was the craziest thing!"
"The girls were all there, like we talked about! It was going to be an easy transport, I had no connections! I took the cruise over here! And when I met the girls, they were all there! But then-" She pauses, swallowing hard. "But then this strange Korean girl showed up! And she was a bullying monster! She had a mechanical eye just like mine, and she was Tae Kwon Do, like me! And she stomped on me, violated me and assaulted me! And she made off with one of the girls, and let the rest run out- she scared the rest away! I- I tried to stop them! And then I was confused, and I went back to- to Hayley here at the safehouse here, and-" Jezebel looks deseperate.
"She's a, she's a 'friend'!"
Cracker Jack looked back, and forth, between Hayley and Jezebel. Well, it is common fact that Shadaloo has this effect on women. Something about that Balrog guy wearing such tight pants, and still insisting on eating traditional Spanish cooking. He's never sure on what it is that causes this for their employees.
He lights his cigarillo, before puffing on it and gripping his ankle with his left hand. He knows what turned him into a pimp, at least, being in Shadaloo.
It's Vega's saucy little hat.
"Yeah, I'm Jezebel's agent," he explains noncommitally, looking to the side as he blows out smoke. "So, Hayley, Jezebel, here we find ourselves. You just take care of our girl there, Jezebel's had a hard life, she needs a little comfort." He tilts his head back up, so they can see his brown eyes. They've got the typical glaze of psychopathy they usually do, as he appraises both with a neutral internal dialect. Jezebel got kicked around by Juri. And she's hanging out with women that don't even know what she's into. Unprofessional. That's why Juri got the drop on her. Juri, they'll have to handle. He'll have to feed this back to intelligence. Juri, unlike Jezebel here, is gender-fluid, and is considerably closer to being Cracker Jack than to being Lightning Spangles here. Cracker Jack knows that's a problem.
"Well, I'll put a wrangle on that girlfriend of ours, I've had a little experience with her. You didn't do anything wrong, Jezebel, that chica has got something evil in her motor. She's a little like me, isn't she?" He grins and widens his eyes, showing his aggression mad pupils. The grin fades. "Except she doesn't know when to put it away. Koreans can be like that."
Hayley tenses up. Jezebel is laughing awkwardly and frantically explaining what's going on. The Australian chews on her lip, but she waits for Jezebel's explanation. Once she provides it, Hayley turns to see Cracker Jack's response. She runs the fabric of her pajama pants between her thumb and forefinger, slightly out of sight.
"Oh!" Hayley says, "Your agent. That make sense. Extras, for your comeback, right?" Hayley manages to smile at Jezebel.
"She sounds pretty rough-and-tumble," Hayley says, looking to Cracker Jack. "But you seem pretty tough yourself, err, sir."
Jezebel didn't want to imply that Hayley was her sex object.
She was disgusted by that, girls having sexual attraction to girls. It was filthy, sinful things from mentally ill people. Diseased minds that were desperate for any attention. To imply that someone young and big bottomed, and shapely, and youthless, and utterly devouted to Jezebel as something sexual and depraved like that was utterly sickening. The idea that Jezebel would corrupt her, just choked Jezebel. It was disgusting. Jezebel once again feels the pangs of suicidal urges hammering into her. But she couldn't kill herself.
She had to make sure Cracker Jack didn't kill her or Hayley.
"Cracker Jack saved me, you know." Jezebel says, her mind drifting hard, as she stares into the eyes of the psychopath. "I was at the hospital, after my accident, and I was in a bad place, Hayley. But Cracker Jack was the only man who was willing to help me. He gave me a second lease on life. He helped me get... get this..." She touched her mechanical eye. "If it wasn't for him, I don't know what I would be now. And he is tough, he even beat me in a fair fight!" She turns to Hayley, smiling wide.
"He's good people, Hayley."
"Tough is only a matter of how you walk when you're away from the urinal, in male culture," Cracker Jack muses, the tuburculotic cowboy that he is. He takes another long drag of his cigarillo, coughing. Too many of these, he muses. He'll have to pick up another vice. He puts it out, prematurely, on the table, before he turns it onto its side, the tip snubbed out and blackened with a spread of flat leaf, letting it sit there beside the round black spot.
"Want a little trick, Jez, to deal with the daughter pain?" He's had it to. He uncrosses his legs and leans forward, draping his elbows across his legs, behind his knees. He takes his hat off, balancing it upside down. "I've had it too, I didn't have a great childhood either. You have two choices. You hold onto what you think makes you human, all those tricks of childhood that your parents taught you, and you see them as lessons, or you see it all as battles, that you lost or won, but whatever happened, you fought. You won't be human like you think you are now, but you'll still be human. All a man or woman is is a box of flesh. That's a human. The mind in it, no matter what anyone says, is always human. A human wants to live. So, you just change your outlook to live." He puts his hat back on his head, leaning backwards.
"Not for you, Hayley." He coughs again, into his hand, hacking something up that stays in his throat. "Just take a little time off, Jez, and do just what I told you. You're in a trap that's not real. There are no traps in human affairs besides refusing to move forward."
Hayley continues to rub that bit of fabric from her pants leg in between her thumb and forefinger. It's beside the outside of her thigh, subtle between the bed and the chair. She inhales deeply, then coughs into her fist from the lingering cigarillo smoke.
"Oh," Hayley says, "so he's also sort of an old friend, then. I did kind of wonder where you got the--" She gestures at her eye. "But I didn't want to pry..."
Hayley runs her fingers through her hair. "It sounds like you guys have had a lot rougher time than I have, heh..." She laughs kind of awkwardly.
Jezebel's smile was fading into a natural, manic state.
Time off. Yes, of course, a wonderful time. Cracker Jack would find that awful, awful Korean girl, and beat her up, and get the girl back, or what's left of her. And then everyone can be rounded up. And then everyone can be happy. She doesn't notice that rubbing, that pulling of the fabric. "That's the truth, Cracker Jack. There are no traps. It's a hard life, a real hard life. But today isn't the end all, be all. I am just having one bad day."
"Everyone can have one bad day."
And Jezebel turns back to Hayley, the smile burning her lips. "You can ask anything about me, Hayley, and I will tell you the truth! I am okay with being exposed with you! You can fix me right up, and we will be happy forever!" And Jezebel's smile strains, weakening. She turns back to Cracker Jack.
"We... we can stay here, right?"
Cracker Jack watches Hayley's hand on the outside of her thigh with a quiet shift on his impassive face, a grin forming beneath his mouth. It fades after a moment, as he stands and picks up his bat.
"You can both stay here. I have a friend to visit with a journalist. Just an administrative matter." He smiles from ear to ear, slapping the bat down into his palm. It's a loose gesture, since the bat is in the wrong hand. "You know, some government spook gave me a parking ticket, and I want to dispute it in court. The people's court." He turns about and steps out of the room. "See you both in the Bahamas." He walks down the hall, whistling Jingle Bells.
Hayley shifts to adjust her shirt, tugging on it as though she's too warm. "Yeah, you just gotta keep moving and advancing," Hayley thirds, smiling awkwardly at Cracker Jack. When Jez asks the question, she seems a little more nervous.
"Err...good luck!" she says to him as he gets up to leave. "I hope you get it worked out." She continues to watch him as he goes.
Jezebel was beginning to get high off the change of fate.
It was almost like the richest fantasies in her head. Cracker Jack wasn't going to beat her to death. He wasn't going to push Hayley down, and, and, do things to her right in front of Jezebel. TO make Jezebel watch, as yet another beautiful, young thing gets everything she wanted. ANd Hayley would just let herself be defiled, to be a little toy for Cracker Jack to force himself into again, and again, and again, and again. No, instead, she had a vacation! As Cracker Jack gives a cryptic answer, Jezebel doesn't even think too deeply. She just imagines Cracker Jack in a floral shirt, and in swimsuit, and it is so cute, and funny.
It was the perfect moment to tell Hayley.
As Cracker Jack steps out, Jezebel turns her head at Hayley. The fear was gone. Instead, it was a manic glee replacing it, as tears continue to stream from her eyes. "Hayley, you hear that? A vacation! Oh it's the perfect timing, you know? Something happened on the Swinging Singles Cruise! And I didn't tell you!" Jezebels seems to have forgotten that she needed to be in a body cast, as she sits straight up. Wincing in pain, she gasps. "Something happened on the TV, something happened. A miracle happened, Hayley."
"I need your help with the miracle!"
Hayley takes a long, deep breath. Is that what she was warned about? Is this what her mother told her to look out for? She didn't want to believe, to believe that Lightning Spangles might be--
"Oh, Jezebel, don't strain yourself! You need medical treatment," Hayley interjects, standing up to try and ease Jezebel back onto the bed.
"N-no?" Hayley says, "you didn't tell me about it. What happened?" Hayley asks, still trying to get Jezebel to sit back down.
What is this? Hayley asks herself. How did I get into this? First the thunder god and now this...
"Honoka praised me, Hayley."
Jezebel sobs a bit, so happy, that blood was from her mouth. "Honoka is a girl, who I did fights with. She is the one who worked with me at the trump fight! She is like a rival! But she loves me, she even gave me a Showup Hoedown YeeHaw in her King of Fighters fight! And she spoke to me through the TV, Hayley! With her psychic powers! ANd she kissed me, and she told me, she told me the most amazing thing, Hayley."
"She told me to be Lightning Spangles again."
Jezebel was manic, babbling. "She told me that I should go around the world, to find Lightning Spangles of every race, creed, and color, and make a global Spangles union! And Cracker Jack is okay with it! He can help me! They all can help me! A new reboot of Lightning Spangles! We just have to work with Disney, and, and..." And she looks at Hayley, her smile beginning to fade.
"And you are my Aussie Spangles, aren't you Hayley?"
Honoka? Hayley thinks for a moment. Psychic powers? Hayley remembers psychic powers. She remembers them all too well.
A young man sits in a room staring at a metal spoon with intensity. Art Bretherton speaks to an older gentleman, a bald man with big, coke-bottle glasses. The other man pushes them up onto the bridge of his nose.
"Yes, I know it may seem remarkable, Mr. Bretheron, but Psycho Power is very much real. I train my students here in a variety of psychic techniques that form the core of their fighting style."
"I don't know," Art says, rubbing the back of his neck. "That whole process seems a little...dangerous." He looks over at Hayley.
"Oh, no, the sensory deprivation chamber is entirely safe. It's a one-time process as well, provided the subject--err, student, has psychic potential."
"Right! Her psychic powers," Hayley says, running a hand up her own arm. "That's great! A whole team of Spangles," Hayley smiles, showing her teeth. "But--do you really want *me* as you Aussie Spangles?" Hayley says, "I mean, it's such a big...honor!" Hayley runs a hand through her hair.
Jezebel wanted her Aussie Spangles.
She wanted to make sure Hayley gave herself over completely to Jezebel, to Lightning Spangles. That was the only right thing to do. Staring knives into Hayley, with an incredible smile, she doesn't stop. To have Hayley completely give herself over to SPangles, was all that she needed.
That's all she needed.
"It's not just a great honor, Hayley!" Jezebel rambles, looking at her, touching her with a swelling hand. "It's a great responsibility. You have children looking up at you, believing in you, wanting to be you." She frowns, tilting her head. "And that's important. That's more important than anything else."
"You can never, let your true self out, Hayley."
Jezebel looks with pained effort into Hayley. "You know what I mean, Hayley. I saw how you were acting on the cruise. How... easy you made yourself. You can't do that around the children, Hayley. You have to resist the temptations, the constant temptations. You have to be strong, Hayley, to be a Spangles. So I will ask you again, I need to hear the truth, the real truth about who you are, and what you are Hayley."
"Are you willing to give up your weakness to be Aussie Spangles?"
Hayley seems to practically shrink as Jezebel stares at her. First her friend came in beaten half to death by some crazy lady, then a guy calling himself a terrorist came in with a baseball bat promising to fix everything for her. Now, there's this. This talk of psychic powers and this pressing, unrelenting need for Hayley to play this part for her. To be her Aussie Spangles.
Hayley gives Jez a clenched-teeth, lopsided smile when Jez puts her hand on Hayley's.
"That's such a big responsibility," Hayley says quietly. "I'm not sure I'm ready for that, I'm--"
"Easy?" Hayley asks suddenly taken aback. "How was I acting? I didn't want them creeping on me! That's why I started spending more time in the room."
How was she acting?
Jezebel tries to remember. How Hayley was luring, leading those men into her room with those swaying hips. Those damnable hips, luring men into it's clutches. Jezebel tried so hard to protect Hayley's innocent hips, but Hayley couldn't understand how she was luring them. And now- and now Hayley hated her. She hated her for trying to protect her. Jezebel wanted to show Hayley just how much of a slut- how much of a temptress she was being.
And Jezebel begins to sob.
"I'm- I'm sorry Hayley, I mean, I just- I just want to help you." She sniffles, as tears begin to run down her face. "I don't want you to get hurt, like how I got- like how I got hurt." She leans back down, and rolls over, facing away from Hayley. "I don't want people to wad you up, and just use you, and then just throw you away. To waste your youth on what they want, to have them consume you." Jezebel trembles.
"You don't have to be Aussie Spangles." She says softly.
"You don't have to be anything."
Could someone like this really be that bad?
Hayley bites her lip, her anger sizzling away. Maybe Cracker Jack is her agent. Maybe it was a metaphor. Jezebel doesn't seem like the sort of personality would could survive in the criminal underworld, at least, not as Hayley knows it.
"Look--I'm sorry, I shouldn't have gotten angry. Maybe I didn't know how I was coming across. I don't /want/ to get hurt, of course. And I want your help! Thanks for trying to watch out for me." Hayley reaches to gingerly put a hand on Jezebel's shoulder.
"I want to help you too, but I'm afraid I might be a big disappointment."
Art Bretheron sits at his desk in the dojo. It was his dojo. Not any of the countless ones he had visited, but his school. The one he built on all that experience. The one Hayley helped him to build.
Papers are scattered all over and spreadsheets litter the monitor. A half-empty bottle of bourbon sits on the desk. Hayley, somewhere around thirteen, knocks on the door before she comes in.
"Hey, Dad, why are you still up?"
"Oh, it's you, Hayley," Art says as he recovers from nearly jumping out of his chair. "Just--going over the books, that's all. Why are /you/ still up, baby girl? You've got to get ready for your big match tomorrow!" Art punches Hayley playfully in the shoulder. "You know, that one you're going to win?"
Hayley rubs Jezebel's back gingerly. "You're my friend, so of course I want to help you out, but I also want you to have the best Aussie Spangles you can."
Even Jezebel could be that bad.
Jezebel's manic state falls away into a depression, as she just stares at herself in her mind. Of course she doesn't want to be you. No one does. Jezebel wanted to die. She just wanted Cracker Jack to come back, and hit her with the bat again and again. And run off with Hayley, both of them laughing, while he enjoys that plump, throbbing bottom. She feels a hand on her back. She hopes it comes to her neck.
And she looks over.
"You... you will never disappointment Hayley." Jezebel makes a smile. "You are a true Lightning Spangles fan. You love me, and you never disappoint the people you love." She nods her head along. "You just have to listen to me, Hayley, and do whatever I say, and you'll be a perfect Aussie Spangles. And I know you can listen to me. Please, Hayley."
"I only want what's best for you."
Hayley has no idea just how bad Jezebel can be. Not yet.
Hayley rubs Jezebel's back gently, trying to be comforting as she remains completely unaware of Jezebel's internal struggles. The hand does not go for her throat, even when those words thrust into her heart like a knife.
You never disappoint the people you love.
Hayley has no idea just how bad Jezebel can be. Not yet.
Hayley rubs Jezebel's back gently, trying to be comforting as she remains completely unaware of Jezebel's internal struggles. The hand does not go for her throat, even when those words thrust into her heart like a knife.
You never disappoint the people you love.
Teenage Hayley bounces on the mat in her bare feet, goading her opponent with the curl of her fingers as she drops into a low Tiger Stance that stands in contrast to her slightly baggy karate gi. Her opponent is a tall, teenager with brown hair. His bends his knees and shouts a mighty kiai, throwing a traditional karate punch at her.
Hayley blocks and steps forward into a straight kick for his midsection. He forearm blocks and follows up with another punch. Hayley guards again, but with more difficulty this time. Shaking the soreness from her arm, she snaps back with a palm strike, but he catches it with his forearms. Without a pause, the young man winds up an overhead chop, swinging down with tremendous force.
Hayley attempts a cross-block, but her guard doesn't hold. He slips through it, crushing her defenses and smashing her in the face. Hayley goes down.
"I--" Hayley bites her lip. "Let's get you feeling better, so we can talk more about Aussie Spangles," Hayley suggests. "After all, you need to be in top shape if your rival wants you to make a comeback!"
Hayley wakes up to light shining in her eyes from a penlight.
"Hey, hey. What's your name? How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Hayley. Three. --did I lose?" she asks, sitting up. The medic leans back, giving her a moment. "Don't tell me I lost the match--I can't lose the match, we need--"
Hayley looks over toward an empty seat.
"For your comback..." Hayley says absently. She stares at the far wall blankly.
Jezebel didn't even reflect on her own shadows.
She was too beaten, too in the moment. She was hungry for love, for attention, for support. And if Hayley gave her that, Jezebel wanted to make sure she kept giving that. But Jezebel senses the disturbance, senses the weaknesses. Jezebel was many things. Many awful, awful things.
But she didn't want to see Hayley suffer.
"For our comeback, Hayley." Jezebel says, clasping her swollen fingers in Hayley's hand. "Everyone will know you, and respect you, just like they know me and respect me. You'll never disappoint anyone ever again. We just need to find, we just need to find..." Jezebel lays back in the pillow.
"Our Ainu Spangles..."
And Jezebel shuts her eyes, passing out.
"Right," Hayley says, forcing herself to smile. She clutches Jezebel's hand in turn, gently. She can tell the fingers are swollen, but she doesn't trouble Jezebel further with this. Not at the moment.
%And in a moment, Jezebel has slipped into unconsciousness. Hayley briefly panics, checking to make sure her vitals are still strong. Confident enough in that, she stands to her feet. She turns, looking around.
And catches herself in the mirror.
Hayley wordlessly looks at her reflection for a long moment. She could do many things right now. She could call a doctor and leave. She wouldn't have to call a doctor, she could just go. Maybe Cracker Jack would come back and take her to be patched up.
Hayley looks down at Jezebel. She looks back to the mirror. She sighs deeply, then sobs once.
Catching herself, Hayley wipes her eyes with her knuckles and brushes them off on her shirt. She takes several steps and draws out her phone from her back next to the couch to call emergency services. It's a long conversation in broken Thai and bits of Chinese before she gets an English operator.
Hayley hangs up the phone. She looks at Jezebel for what feels like forever before she steps over, hoists the woman onto her back, and starts walking.
The walk feels even longer.
Log created on 16:51:56 11/08/2017 by Jezebel, and last modified on 16:58:44 11/12/2017.