Description: Jezebel arranges for a semi-private rendezvous with the starry-eyed young fangirl who captured her heart during her last belt defense, leaving Bulleta to figure out how to manipulate a tortured psyche without getting sucked into the tragedy of Jezebel's existence, in her continued bid to capture the million dollar bounty placed on the actress' head.
The email from Jezebel was discreet.
"Dear B. B. Hood.
"I need you. I need you so badly right now, B. B. Hood. Everything isn't going right, and my heart aches without you. ANd I know that your heart aches for me. I sent the emails to the wrong person, I wanted you at the Drive IN Theater where you had that fight with that awful, awful Cassie Cage. You were looking for me, you wanted to see me. I hate her. I once dated her hot cousin, Johnny Cage. We were in love. It didn't work out. He was my Hoedown Dillo. But I was there, and I was going to spend a wonderful evening with you watching movies."
"I am in trouble.
"I am saving America. I was required to. But I am working in a very secure environment. I have given specific instructions to people. You need to come to the Santa Rosalillita harbor. You will be stopped. You need to tell them that Jezebel has requested you, and you need to tell them that you are B. B. Hood. You need to be wearing that beautiful red hood, and have $500 in cash on hand. You can withdraw it from the attached bank account, it is my special account. Once they clear you through them, they will offer to drive you to me. Decline, and explain that you know where I am. I am going to be at the beach not too far away, with a beautiful picnic with us. Bring bottles of red wine, and offer one of them to the guards. We can keep the rest for drinking! Bring anything you want to eat. And a swimsuit! We might want to go swimming. I want to talk to you about so much, I Need you. Please don't go with the guards, whatever you do, don't go with the guards. Come on the last day of July. I need you to come. If you miss the deadline, do not leave the boat.
"Your Lightning Spangles."
Jezebel sat on a beach towel at the shore of the Pacific Ocean. The towel was an American Flag. She did not have her mechanical eye, she had it plucked out. Instead, she had a single, black eyepatch. She was dressed in a two-piece bikini swimsuit, done in the style of the American Flag. Stars on both chests, stripes down below. There was a beach umbrella over her, with several baskets, and a red plastic cooler. She had a beach volleyball net set up, several stands for... for battling. THere was even a hammock nearby. IT was just like Zack Island. Just like that.
Except it didn't have the bad memories.
She gave the directions, and she was.... she has been out here for hours now. Since this morning. She had applied the suntan lotion twice now already, and the bottle was still full. She needed to make sure some was left for her friend. She was waiting for her B. B. Hood. She was waiting for her Baby Bonnie Hood. And she believed she would come. She had to believe it. She hoped she would. She knew she would. So she waited.
A smile always burning on her lips.
SOME TIME AGO
Bulleta has a lot of email addresses and a lot of phones. Not every phone has - /needs/ - every address, but since her match with Cassie Cage a few weeks ago, one has followed her through every phone she's had since.
An abrupt, 'GIDDY UP, PARDNER!' rings from the phone Dahlia's people got for her while she's busy threading monofilament wire through the trees surrounding a ryokan. The girl freezes, weighs the likelihood of having gotten another important notice about ED pills from a foreign prince against the need to beef up security for Dahlia... and keeps threading for a while longer, until she can safely check this sector of the grounds off her list. She then picks out a nice, shady tree to lean against while retrieving her phone so she can see about tweaking her filters--
'Dear B.B. Hood...'
After an initial few seconds of frenetic skimming, blue eyes deliberately scan over every word while her back slides progressively farther down the tree. By the time she's plopped down with her knees pulled to her chest and her nose nearly against the screen, she's smiling wider than she has in weeks.
Jezebel Faiblesse is still alive, she /needs/ her number one fan, and the actress has gone to the trouble of giving her detailed directions to her future whereabouts. Sure, there are guards to bribe and be wary of, and the lingering potential that somewhere along the way, this woman with a tenuous grasp on reality doesn't have things as figured out as she thinks she does, but--
Bulleta makes a mental note to ask Akemi to get a tracker planted on her before she leaves-- /another/ one, for Dahlia.
Just in case.
Most people wouldn't wear a hooded cloak over a red and white one-piece and shorts for a day at the beach. Most people wouldn't be such diehard fans of (the Original) Lighting Spangles that they'd take a trip all the way to a remote village in Baja with $500 in cash in their pocket, a picnic basket dangling from an arm, and a title belt around their waist just to see the woman of whom Roger Ebert once raved, '[Her] line-readings were intelligible, this time', either.
But B.B. Hood isn't most people: she's a ball of nerves and beaming smiles who gamely pushes herself to say the right names at the right times, to bribe the right people - not the first ones to make the implication, the /right/ ones - and politely decline offers to go anywhere but the only place in the world that matters. She's ten liters of Spangles-flavored enthusiasm poured into a five liter bottle, primed to exploide into an effusive torrent of trivia and fond memories at the slightest provocation; hopefully, this suffices to keep her moving briskly through the system instead of getting tangled up with some guard or another who might want to actually-- /talk/ to her.
As her journey draws to a close, she settles into a slow, silent approach towards Jezebel-- sure, the actress emailed her and arranged every detail of the meeting, but that doesn't mean she can't be surprised to see her B.B. Hood, does it?
Besides, this way gives her more time to work up the proper timbre.
"O-oh," she finally whispers once she's near enough to Jezebel's back for her tear-kissed voice to be heard, "oh, god, you're..."
Already soft words are further dampened by the hands over her mouth-- hands which she throws aside after trailing off. As the basket hits the sand and sinks a few inches, the young fangirl LUNGES into a nigh-on crushing hug from behind and touches her chin to her heroine's shoulder.
"You're HERE," she whispers in an ear, reverent and joyful. "I-I saw the car, and I-- I /heard/ about that man ATTACKING you, and I was so, so... worried that I'd LOST you. My Ligh-- my JEZEBEL..."
Bulleta does not become executed, and that's the most important part of this security checkpoint.
Jezebel doesn't even.... notice Bulleta when she comes. She was trapped in her own world, her darkest thoughts spinning and sifting through her mind like living worms, oozing and sinking barbed teeth so deep inside. The children, the screaming children, her fans. All were surging and sweeping around her like a whirlpool. Choking her, grasping her. She even could feel the bullets in her head, the sound of Russians murdering her. When she is grabbed from behind, she actually gasps in horror. It wasn't a nightmare, however.
It was the most beautiful reality in the world.
When she feels B. B. Hood's touch, it is like electricity running through her body. Goosebumps rise across her arms and legs, her body feeling so hot and cold at the same time. Clutching her so tight, Jezebel almost mindlessly brings a hand to her, as she touches on her, the blonde hair, the soft fabric, holding her so tight as those soft words come into hear ear, like the most incredible dream. "I am... I am...."
And Jezebel breaks down, sobbing.
A middle aged woman is crying on the beach, turning and twisting to embrace her teenage riding hood. "You came, oh B. B. Hood, oh baby, you came, you came, you came." She holds her tight back, embracing her so desperately. She turns around, standing up, as she reaches for her hands, trying to clasp them. "Did you use the bank account information? I haven't checked it, I- I'm not allowed to look at it." She explained hastily. "But I can use it for emergencies, and there is no bigger emergency than seeing you. I-"
And her gaze casts downwards.
She looks at the belt. "I... I...." She says, reaching out to touch it so gingerly. "It looks so beautiful, B. B. Hood. It's incredible." She says, in awe. "I couldn't believe it, you came so close to beating me, and you never gave up. You went for the belt, and then that awful, awful wicked Cassie Cage tried to stop you, and you overcame it. I was watching you, so intently." In a rerun on Youtube, she missed the live fight. "You could feel it, right? I was praying for you B. B. Hood. I knew you were proving yourself for me. And now... and now we have matching belts! I didn't- I didn't bring mine." She says nervously. "I left it in my hotel room, but maybe after- maybe after I can take you back there... and show you..." She gets a dazed look on her face.
And she visibly snaps out of whatever thoughts were worming into her head.
"That Cassie bullies me, you know," She begins, looking at B. B. Hood grimly. "She hacks Johnny Cage's DMs and harasses me! She lies about it too, on her tweets. I hate her, I was so... so happy when you cut her, B. B. Hood. You cut her like she was made of paper. And she hurt you." Jezebel touches Bulleta's forehead, shivering. "Did you... did you do it all for me, my baby? Did you do it to prove it to me? You didn't have to do it all to prove it to me..." And a smile explodes over her face.
"But I am so -proud- of you!"
Mindless fingers provoke mindless nudging as B.B. Hood presses her head towards the actress' hand whenever it wanders through her hair.
It pauses when Bulleta catches herself and casts a momentarily bemused glance towards the sand-- then stops entirely when Jezebel's response trails into a sobbing breakdown, bringing wet and frightened blue eyes back to the actress.
Her soft, "J-Jezebel--?" gets cut off and drowned out as she's pulled into a hug and lets the woman babble. Here and there, she gives quick little nods - yes, she used the account; she could definitely feel it; Cassie Cage is an awful bully - instead of trying to interject. She lets the embrace break at Jezebel's pace - begrudgingly, of course - and deftly knots her fingers with the woman's when her hands are taken.
The only time she looks away is when Jezebel mentions her hotel room, leaving the plucky teenager blushing at the sand until a touch to the brow brings her back into eye contact.
"She kept making fun of you," B.B. Hood whispers after a hard swallow. Hands that have been clasped loosely behind her back since Jezebel grazed the belt reach to envelop the actress' hand. "Making up the WORST stories, about you sending... /pictures/... to her cousin, saying you'd hurt me... of COURSE I cut her for you." The blushing B.B. gently traces a finger down Jezebel's cheek, right where she cut Cassie.
"I could feel your eyes in my heart-- in my SOUL, Jezebel! Every time she hit me, I heard you singing in my ear, telling me to keep fighting, for you... I felt your arms wrap around me and lift me back up when she put her disgusting gum on my face..." That finger hooks in a way the knife didn't, brushing over the actress' lips; meanwhile, she guides Jezebel's hand towards the belt, hoping to encourage her to press her hand fully against it instead of touching gingerly.
"I could feel you EVERYWHERE-- I'm a CHAMPION because of you, Jezebel...! This..." She tries to clasp Jezebel's hand flat against the big gold plate with her name on it. "... is all for you, Jezebel. I'm so glad I get to see you again and tell you in PERSON. Have-- have you been... have you been okay...? All those tears, it's-- it must have been so HARD on you, having to save America AND Mexico after being beaten up by that, that BULLY when you came to see me..."
Jezebel's smile quivers, weakening when she sees that blushing, as it is like a mirror. A disgusting, horrible mirror. She thinks about Hei, about the AT&T, about the border. The children. She would never see the children ever again in forever and ever and they trusted her more than even this B. B. Hood. Her Baby Hood. THey might kill the baby. They would, wouldn't they? Or worse, so much worse. Jezebel firmly grips the belt, staring down at it. There is that flicker, just rip it off, force her to the ground. She's yours, she's all yours, like everything else.
Jezebel pulls away from B. B. Hood.
Everything was there. Predator and prey, everything that she imagined would happen has actually happened, the fantasies that she have run into her head over and over and over again has become real. B. B. Hood hurt the person who hurt Jezebel, and even believed in the lies. Jezebel gave Cassie... so much softcore pornography. Not even of Jezebel, but of other, more pretty models, and Jezebel just pasted her face on them. It was all true. And as B. B. Hood so innocently trusts Jezebel, she feel the white hot heat of hellfire licking her body, running it's tongue all over her hot and heavy. She recoils away. Except, except. Jezebel's plastic smile comes as her lips quiver, sounds coming wordlessly as murmurs. "Baby.... Baby Bonnie Hood..." She says, trying hard to keep herself, her mind locked on. "I...." Just pretend. "I..."
"... I'm not... a good... person..."
The words come stilted, jagged like broken glass stretching across the infinity of the beach, shards of molten sand slicing through the very existence of a pounding, beating heart. It was like a scream, it should be scream, it was a ranting scream inside Jezebel soul.A hundred thousand million slivers, cutting like burrowing worms, burrowing in at Bulleta's fingertips into Jezebel very being, writhing and bleating across to the endless horizon forever.
Jezebel sits down on the towel.
"We should eat."
That smile never stops as she pulls out a bucket, a sack of burgers, and open the cooler. "I brought fried chicken, and Baconators." She says brightly. "There is Coca-Cola in the cooler!" Nothing, nothing special, nothing... nothing of the last conversation. Was it gone? It was all gone from her head. It was forced out. There was nothing, Jezebel loved herself. The plastic smile is joined with a bright and chirpy head tilt. No more praises, no more encouragement. Just pretending away the uncomfortable.
"What did you bring to the picnic, B. B. Hood?"
B.B. takes a step back when Jezebel pulls away, eyes wide after pouring a piece of her heart and getting space in return.
She does her very best to ensure that Jezebel catches a glimpse of hurt and surprise in her eyes before she looks away with a deepening blush. The girl starts to open her mouth, to offer an apology, but nothing comes out, so she just chews on her lip and hugs herself. Too fast, too intense; she looks like she knows it and is sorry for when Jezebel deliberately utters--
-- her name--
It's B.B.'s turn to recoil, shifting from contrition to wide-eyed tension in the space of two syllables.
A coincidence, she tells herself. A lucky guess, she assures as she tries to replay her every word from their first meeting.
Thank god and Granny the woman's such a mess, she observes while hastening across the narrow distance between them and meeting that admission with a powerful hug about the waist.
"D-don't say that, Jezebel, /please/," B.B. Hood pleads with a tear in her eye. She sits when Jezebel does, happy to arrange herself in the actress' lap rather than let go. "Even-- even just hearing you say my name reminds me of how SPECIAL you are, how much you've improved my life..."
She leaves it at that for the moment. Her heroine wants to eat, so of course, it's time to eat! Her heroine's smiling and chirping, and-- well, okay, B.B. Hood does not leap right to bright smiles and chirping along with her, because she's a normal teenaged fangirl and not a trained actress. She returns the smile, but it's restrained and the worry shines freely in her eyes. The promise of burgers, more burgers, chicken, and soda earns small nods of acknowledgement, but she's clearly waiting for more as she watches the woman who inspires her. Even the question earns a nod, initially, until she catches herself.
"Oh!" B.B. Hood's smile grows a little, then she crawls over to her basket so it can be dragged closer. By the time she's done twisting it into position, there's a little lump of sand for her to prop one end up on. "I brought wine, like you asked," she says while opening one end and pulling a bottle out. "And cookies... cake..." Rummaging through the basket, she sets each item out shortly after it's name-checked.
"... bananas, rice, chips, crackers..." She shuts the basket after laying out the last of her selections then scoots and stretches out so she can rest her head in Jezebel's lap. "I thought you'd like the basket, since-- since that little doll of me had one, and all, but it kinda limited what I could /bring/..." One of the cookies is offered up to Jezebel.
Big, blue eyes shining with love and trust roll until they're locked onto Jezebel's remaining one.
"You're my /hero/," she whispers. "How-- how could you be anything BUT a good person? I, I'm not a KID, I know-- I know nobody's PERFECT, but... god, Jezebel, if YOU aren't good... I, I mean-- WHY would you say that?" With her other hand, she tries to graze the actress' cheek again, roaming over those wretched scars as she promises, "You can tell me-- whatever it is, you can TELL me, and it won't change anything; I'll still love you as much as I do now."
The boundaries of Jezebel's mind were a flashfire.
The name rushes through her. Her baby, her bonnie baby. Everything was heavy. Baby. Bonnie. Hood. Why was that name so beautiful in her head. Because it was her name, right? B B Hood. Baby Bonnie Hood. How did she know? The actress's mind was in a blazing flame. And she recites back the food she brought. "Wine.... Cookies... Cake.... Bananas are a very healthy fruit! So are rice, and chips, and crackers.... and the basket is... so lovely..." Her attention is adrift at sea, as she looks away for a moment, only for those big blue eyes to surge back at her. Those innocent eyes, not a child, never a child, but an adult who was just like a child, a teenager, a loyal, ever loving woman. "You... you saw the doll." She mumurs, like she was high on the drugs of Bulleta's presence. She leans over, eating the cookie from Bulleta's fingertips, as she chews slowly. She swallows. "Whatever... whatever I tell you.... won't change anything... ... Baby..." She repeats to herself. "Baby...."
And she buries her hands in her face.
"If you... didn't do... if you came in the car with them, if your followed them, Baby, then you would have been stolen away." She rambles. There was no tears, as she confesses. "They would have snatched you away, and cleaned you, cleaned your body, your mind, your soul, and made you into a doll too. A perfect prime little doll, oh god, oh god Baby, what have I done? What am I doing? The children, those poor children, poor you! What have I done?"
There may be a dawning sense of something, rising on the shores of Santa Rosalillita.
"These people are doing bad things, my sweet sweet bonnie baby. My sweet little bonnie hood." She rambles, as she points over at the harbor checkpoint. Guards look onwards at the pair. One even has binoculars. They were too far to hear, right? How did she come across Bulleta's name? "I am not helping people, I am not helping people working for them. I am not helping America, I'm poisoning everything, I'm a monster, Baby, I'm a horrible horrible monster. I'm killing families, and stealing children, and poisoning America. And I can't stop! I won't stop! I love me so much, Baby, but I can't stop! If I stop, I stop loving myself, and I die, I die horribly! But Lightning Spangles would be so ashamed of me, she would kill me baby! They would all kill me. There is nothing, nothing I can do to escape, to run, to flee." She reaches out to the bottle of wine, and begins to fumble with the cork. She stops should of popping it off. A smile returns to her lips. "But- but that can all change, baby!" She exclaims after she explains, in detail, the criminal operations to Bulleta as if she was some kind of confessional, or worse, a leak. Entrapment. How did she know her name? She nods eagerly, as she looks wide-eyed at B. B. Hood. Her voice falls to a whisper.
"That can all change, thanks to you!"
B.B. Hood rolls until she's following Jezebel's gesture, then narrows eyes welling with tears and disbelief.
Witnesses, of course-- witnesses she'd clocked during her trip across the beach, but witnesses just the same.
The binoculars are new. Can they hear? Can they read lips?
She looks up at Jezebel in time to gasp along with the actress' terrible revelation-- that she's /poison/, that helping America was a lie... and then her eyes start to drift towards the harbor.
A swear crosses the girl's mind as she refocuses on the actress.
"Jezebel, /please/," she interjects as the woman begins to talk about dying, too soft to have a real chance at diverting Jezebel's careening train of thought. Gentle, powerful fingers wrap around the wine bottle, pulling it to B.B. after those fumbling attempts with the cork. Sitting up, she flicks a utility knife from-- somewhere-- inside of her cloak, and one soft *pop!* later, those trusting eyes are set on Jezebel's as she tries to maneuver herself into a more permanent seat upon the woman's lap. The whole way, she takes a nice, long drink of wine. It's alright; she's tougher than she looks, as Jezebel ought to know! A little wine won't hurt her.
This isn't the one with the sedatives in it, after all.
The bottle won't come down until she's good and close-- close enough to touch its tip to Jezebel's lips while she curls around to set her own near the woman's right ear. "Jezebel..." The name's wrapped up in a plaintive whisper, just for her. "You saved /me/, is what you did-- you /didn't/ let them take me, because you /wouldn't/." She leans closer still, pauses a tick-- presses her lips to one of those scars.
"Because you," More little pecks punctuate her affirmation in an effort to keep her-- if not /calm/, then non-violent and responsive. "Are. A /hero/. Not a monster...!" Cupping a scarred cheek, she draws back enough to look the actress in the eye as she adds, "A monster wouldn't know she /is/ one, would she? She wouldn't be sorry for the sins she's committed, right? She'd just..."
Wrapping an arm around the actress' shoulder, she drops her head back into place so she can furtively continue, "...kill, and kill, and kill, until some monster /hunter/ came along and put an end to her, for everyone's sake. She wouldn't /want/ to change... and she wouldn't want to /stop/. And you /do/ want to stop... don't you? You just... don't wanna /die/."
Another kiss finds bare flesh amidst the remnants of /another/ fan's love for Spangles.
"And your Baby doesn't /want/ you to die. She wants her Lightning Spangles forever and ever, and she'll do /anything/ to help her out of this, this HOLE she-- augh, y-you, this, this hole that y-YOU have fallen into. You-- you love yourself - you love /everyone/ - so much that you let yourself be used, LIED to... and it's okay, now. Because /I'm/ here... right?" The girl gives her heroine a big, bashful smile and flicks her eyes down.
"I didn't even tell you my NAME, and you still figured it out, that-- that must be a sign, of /something/..."
Did Jezebel - or her handlers - get to her Seijyun records? The forms she filed to sign up for the SNF?
"Just... can you tell me /why/? WHY you're... you're /doing/ this? You sent me to school every morning and sang me to sleep at night, you-- I don't know EVERYTHING that's happened to you between then and /now/, but Jezebel... you're LIGHTNING SPANGLES. I just-- /how/ did you end up with..."
She draws back again to make sure Jezebel can see her gaze shifting towards the harbor, then sets those teary balls of hope upon the actress.
Jezebel felt so numb.
Oh, she was halfway there. She had- she had so much imagination on this. So did Shadaloo. They all could imagine it. Jezebel was just having a liaison. It was just an affair, to burn off some steam, some pressure. If she got bored with B. B. Hood, then they would just throw away the little girl. She was disposable. But Jezebel imagines beach volleyball and trying on swimsuits and her Fishy Friend Naerose eating whole plates of oysters with them. As she touches the eyepatch, the ear, the pure seductive weight, the scars, the horrible scars from her last glorious fan, she wants to just release. She wants to forget.
But at the same time, it was even closer.
The kisses burn, as Jezebel wants to escape. Not from the sheer love and passion of B. B. Hood, no; she wanted to stay in that, and escape from the reality of her horrible situation. To wrap herself around the innocent, pure affection. She just wants to- she just wants to be loved, and feel loved, and experience love, and endure love. She wants the love, any love, every love. She wants to be wanted, no matter what. But she didn't deserve B. B. Hood. She didn't deserve that sweet, innocent purity and trust. Just like she didn't deserve Lightning Spangles purity and trust. Baby wanted Jezebel to be Lightning Spangles forever. And Jezebel wanted that. But... but how could she purify herself? How could she escape the endless pressure of sins. Deep down, she just wanted to make love on the beach, while everyone from Shadaloo watched. But deeper still, Jezebel couldn't escape the withering gaze that has been building, more and more....
The icy cold stare of justice, from Lightning Spangles herself.
"Because I tried to kill myself, Baby." She sputters. "I tried to kill myself because I let a boy die at President... and Donald Trump's rally." Jezebel hits her forehead lightly with the base of the wine bottle. "And they took Lightning Spangles from me, and gave it to Pepper Green. But that's not true. They were planning it for months. They were sick and tired of me burning up. Because I was going out of control. So I tried to kill myself, with old pills and so much whiskey. It didn't work, because it never works. I can't die, Baby. I can't. Not unless I really, really believe in it. SO I was committed, and it was all like last time." Last time? JEzebel gestures at the guards in the distance.
"And they saved me."
They, they pulled me out of the dark pit. Do you know I've been there before? Committed? When I ran over a kid, drunk driving. Because I had a drinking problem. I guess- I guess I still do. They treat you just long enough where they think you aren't a risk to yourself anymore. And then? And then you get let out. And then what do you do? What do you."
Jezebel shivers in the heat.
"What I did, the first time, is that I couldn't work in Hollywood anymore. John Landis wouldn't even return my calls anymore. Nobody wanted to touch me, because I was a child-killer." She gives a heaving whine. "So I went overseas, in Hong Kong. They would touch me, they would do movies with me. My first movie, after I ruined my career, was High Kicking Cowgirls. And I was paid real money, not as much as I did with Disney, but- but I could work. I could do what I did well. It hurt though, ruining my life, it hurt so badly. So I would just drink, because drinking would stop the pain."
And Jezebel gives another chug of wine.
"And then, then I realized that it was so much easier, so much easier to do anything, when you didn't have to feel the pain, the guilt, the shame. That there was no limits to what I could do. So my movies were getting worse and worse, and more and more common, and I would just keep drinking, to keep doing more. At first, it was wearing less and less clothing, you know? Because I didn't really feel shame anymore. Then men... would do things to me. And then more things. Soon it wasn't men. Soon it wasn't even people. I was a canvas for their artwork, for whatever they wanted to do to me. I don't even think I needed to be paid in the end, just liquored up, and dumped on stage. And this is what I was good at! This is what I could do without Lightning Spangles, without any shame or pain."
"And then, Baby?"
"And then, Baby, she died."
Jezebel falls silent, cradling the bottle. "She died. Jessie. She was one of the people that- that helped me work through Hong Kong. I don't remember a whole lot then, but I remember when she died. We couldn't get Naloxone to her in time, it- it was an overdose, that was a medicine for an overdose, baby. And I realized something. That was my ending. That was the ending to my story, if I kept... if I kept loving life, and avoiding the pain. I had to change. I had to clean up. And I did, for a while. But that wasn't my natural state."
"And you know what, Baby?"
"That was what was going to happen again, if Shadaloo didn't save me."
"I wasn't going to ever be Lightning SPangles again. Not really. I was just going to dress up as her. Maybe not even movies, just middle-class louts with barely six figure income, paying for the 'real' Lighting Spangles experience." Jezebel stifles a sob. "Because what else am I good for, when I'm not inspiring children? I... I wanted to live. I thought if I stayed with Shadaloo, I would have a chance to avoid being the shameless, disgusting, self-defiling whore that Lightning Spangles hates, that is everything opposed to Lightning Spangles. They saved me from all that, they even broke me out. They told me not to drink, or do drugs. Nobody else did that. Nobody else would. They wanted to remember me as Lightning Spangles, up until I wasn't. Just like last time."
Jezebel gives a long, pained sigh, before giving another swig.
"I'm so tired of failing to be a hero. I'm so tired of not being the woman who inspire so many children, who inspired you. I try so hard to be it, but it's not real. MAybe.... maybe Shadaloo could let me finally be real. Finally let me have a world where everybody loves me, and they have to love me, and there is no conditions for the love. And all they needed me to do is use my people skills, my charm, my strong personality and talk to people. If anything fell into the cracks, well, I'm just Jezebel, I'm just wacky and zany! And all I had to do is pretend that the woman I was trafficking weren't really there. I just had to pretend the drugs, the people weren't victims. I had to pretend that they didn't have to go anywhere. Just pretend. I'm so good at pretending, Baby, I'm so good at imagining, and wishing, and dying. And... and I'm doing it now. There are so many... so many children now." Jezebel trails off. Her mind, her perception... was she free?
She was never free.
"They have files." Jezebel sputters, as she chokes a sob. "I was- I wasn't supposed to know about them. But I just do my thing, and I read about stuff. I think they are investigating me, Baby. You were supposed to be B. B. Hood, and they had you as Baby Bonnie Hood, and it- it was funny, because I called you my baby, cause B. B. And Bonnie means beautiful, so you were Baby Beautiful Hood. Something about Seijyun High school, the Saturday Night Fight; I did stuff there as Lightning Spangles you know. They are- they are worried about me, Baby. They are worried that I'm going to ruin everything. I don't- I don't know if they are going to keep me around, I think they are going to fire me, like how Disney fired me." Jezebel laughs, and smiles again.
"That's why I have a plan, Baby."
Jezebel twists the bottle of wine into the sand, and crawls towards Bulleta on all fours. "I have a plan, where I don't have to do bad things for Shadaloo, where I save all these kidnapped children and women, and I make them all into Showup Hoedown friends, who work for me, instead of Lord Vega. And- And you can help me. You can be a part of it! We can have a wonderful world; I just steal away some of Shadaloo's people, those poor people that were kidnapped, and I can take them away into a wonderful safe place where they don't have to hurt anymore." Jezebel nods her head, mindlessly, as she looks into Bulleta's blue eyes.
"You can save me, Baby Bonnie Hood!"
The girl in the hood is here for Jezebel; she doesn't let go until the actress extricates herself.
Jezebel admits to trying to kill herself and her Baby Bonnie Hood just clings tighter while letting a gasp fall into her ear. "Faker..." she whispers at the mention of Pepper's name.
"You c-can't die... you /can't/," she tearfully agrees just afterwards.
As Jezebel continues to let her biggest fan peek behind the plastic mask -- lets years of trauma spew forth into a stinking heap between them -- said fan lets herself slide into a somewhat more passive mode of support and encouragement. There's no room to slip even a few words of comfort in, not really; forcing them would be /forcing/ them. Even the questions are rhetorical; instead of forcing, she keeps her eyes locked on and lets the actress see a madly devoted fan roll through the grief, heartbreak, and pity that a long, painful fall from grace like hers can't help but inspire. Until they separate, she squeezes the actress' body, rubs her back; shifts to kiss near that one remaining eye, in case of tears.
And Bulleta listens as a fallen star tells her in vivid detail what happens when a woman forgets what she's worth-- resigns herself to living in filth and darkness because she tripped, and it's easier than getting up and washing off. She hangs on for a beat when they /do/ separate, casts a lingering look towards the utility knife she casually tossed within arm's reach, then snaps her attention back to her wine-guzzling objective.
A million dollars. She saw the accounts with her own eyes. One thousand times one thousand dollars, just to put a period on a cautionary tale that's run far too long for anyone's good, including Jezebel's. One million dollars for one wasted life.
To be the last trap door beneath a woman desperate to crawl out of the dungeon she's made of her sins.
It's a good thing that absolute none of this could be construed as funny, or joyful, because the smile and laugh she reciprocates Jezebel's with are every bit as hollow as one might expect. "Are-- are they investigating /me/?" she can't help but let slip in a fearful whisper. "I-- oh...?"
Jezebel crawls and B.B. Hood leans forward to welcome her with warm hands cupping her scarred visage. After a deep breath, she pushes some of that warmth into her smile and starts to murmur, "Tell--" before Jezebel, well, tells her.
Not the /whole/ plan, but enough to earn a few notes of incredulous laugh from deep within Bulleta, who winds up biting her bottom lip to keep from letting too much relief slip out. "O-oh, oh my god," she stammers through fading laughter and a growing smile, "G-god, you're..."
A /monster/. Deeply wounded, tragically twisted by the darkness of the world, desperate for another taste of light... and willing to do anything, draw anyone into her madness if it'll sate her hunger. Eager to 'save' lives she may have already trafficked, just to taint them further.
"... a genius."
After that breathless sentiment, B.B. Hood gazes into Jezebel's mindless eye as hope dawns in her own. "Of /course/ I can save you-- I /will/ save you! I-- I'm not perfect /either/, Jezebel, but hearing all you've gone through... all the things you've had to suffer and SURVIVE through... hearing that, and knowing you STILL have the will to-- t--"
She chokes back a sob, swallows it, then squeezes scarred cheeks and darts in to give Jezebel the kiss she tried to steal in her mid-fight drug-induced haze, with no masks to get in the way this time.
"I... I saw some of your post-Hollywood movies," she softly admits afterwards. "Not the, the..." Her features scrunch. "... adult... ones. But the others, when I was older. I'd always thought you just... went /away/, but after my parents were..." Her eyes flick away. "I just... I wanted something that reminded me of when I was, just, a kid, you know? When they were, um, when they were a-/alive/..." she shudders out. "So I saw you, just... just doing your best, even though everything was cheap, and strange, and awkward, and I was confused, until I saw the drunk driving story, and-- put it... together. And... I told myself:"
"'If Jezebel Faiblesse,'" her eyes fix upon the actress, "'can reboot her career after making a big mistake, I can reboot my life after losing my parents.' S-so I-- I started checking out FightTube tutorials, spending insurance money and fight money on... /things/. And I rebooted my life, Jezebel; because of YOU, I rebooted my life-- because you INSPIRED me, even when you didn't know you COULD." Tilting forward, she touches her forehead to the actress'.
"I became a bounty hunter, Jezebel, and I PROMISED Mom and Dad I'd get the people who took them from me."
Her eyes slowly roll until they're set pointedly upon their distant audience.
"I'd... I'd heard the rumors, but I d-didn't think they'd be TRUE-- even when I saw those ShadTV cameras... oh, /Jezebel/..." The blonde's gaze doesn't shift from the Shadaloo guards as she trails into a shiver. "I-- I'd have told you in the letter if that WITCH, Pepper Green, hadn't tr-tried to have you /killed/, but I knew that if I just... got /close/ to you... got a chance to see the TRUTH under all those horrible rumors and LIES people tell to make themselves feel better about discarding you... I knew you'd understand. Because we're on the same side, Jezebel: they took EVERYTHING from me... just like they did the women and children they kidnapped. Just like they'll do to YOU, when they're done with you-- when you realize that you're BETTER than them. Just like DISNEY. You saved me, all those years ago, so now I'm gonna save you-- and /WE'RE/ gonna save all those women and children-- from Shadaloo, from Disney. From EVERYONE."
"I'm not... I'm not a genius. I have dreams, Baby. I have the biggest, bestest dreams in the world." She focuses so hard on Baby Hood, as she receives the kiss, letting it flow inside her. She tries to respond with her own kiss; but she cannot reach, she cannot commit. On all fours, she is like an animal, as Bulleta pours in her hope and inspiration back into her.Jezebel... was feeling free. Hopeful. Idealistic. Maybe this nightmare can end.
Maybe she can really begin to live her dream.
"Being... being a bounty hunter is okay. There are bad people in the world, that need to be stopped. You should reboot your life, you are so young, and you have so much future. BUt... don't.... don't revenge on the past. I... that's what I feel happened to so many children who grew up with me. THere was... there was a Mr. Chen, who told me that he... would... touch himself, after he grew up, and so did Lightning Spangles." Jezebel looks a little disgusted at the thought. "But in the end.... he saved a child. From me. And that's what I was, that's the effect I had! I... I showed people how to be good. I was never any good, but I could at least teach." She sits back. "I want to teach girls how to be good, and not make my mistakes." She frowns, looking out to the ocean.
"That's why... I... I am so angry about what happened to Pepper."
She shakes her head. "I wanted to be a mother to Pepper Green. I wanted to grow her and foster her into a beautiful replacement, everything I wanted to be, except without the mistakes. And she wants to kill me now. She wants me dead. I... I know I want to forgive her though. I just can't, because she's rejected me, she's rejected me. And that's wrong, you know it's wrong, I know it's wrong. She's just a child; killing someone for a million dollars? It's... it's sad, sad imagination, for someone's who is so... hurt. And she doesn't realize what she's done. People are taking it seriously. A hideous crossdressing -thing- tried to collect on it already, already tried to kill me for the money, abusing my trust. And it's sad, it's so sad. But I have to do it, I have to allow it. I want to forgive Pepper, and take her away, and force her part of my... of our paradise. She just needs to learn, she has to be taught. "
"All the Spangles do."
Jezebel cracks a smile, a real smile of hope, of innocence. "That's part of my dream, Baby. All the people who wanted to be Lightning Spangles, across the world, coming together and building a paradise out in the desert. Like you know, Salt Lake City. Every day, would be just like an episode of the Showup Hoedown Show. A real wild west place of hope and dreams. You can be a Spangles too, you don't have to be taught to love, you just... you just know in your heart, what is right. That there is an essence of goodness, beyond what people are. That's the spirit of Lightning Spangles. I fail it, but people see it still. And I just... I just need to capture Pepper." She leans in, whispering more into B. B. Hood's ear.
"I've already got Hayley."
She shakes her hands, as she looks so joyfully at her friend. "They- they captured her. We- we already have her daddy, I found out. We already have him. But I'm going to give him back to her, and she'll love me again. She won't be a weapon for Vega, she will be part of our Spangles family. I- I think I figured out how to twist suggestions around! They are letting me help with brainwashing trouble people; I can replace her mother, marry her father, and become a family for her! And you! And for Pepper! And for... everyone. I want to be a mother, and teach children right from wrong, just like with you. And... it doesn't... doesn't have to be children, to be part of the Spangles family.
"Do you know Honoka?"
"She was the Ainu Spangles in the Christmas Special. I... I've been trying to reach her since that awful, awful fight, where I lost everything again. See, she was there at the Trump rally, when the kid died, when I failed that last chance at being Lightning Spangles. She's been... so close to me on my return. I love working with her, she has a brilliant, creative mind. And even when there are things she can improve on, she treats you so much love and respect when you teach her how to be better. I wish Pepper was more like her. Except..."
"She's ashamed of me."
"She... she wants me to respect myself. I know she does, I- I know she saw our fight, between myself, Hayley, and Pepper. I know that's why she wouldn't answer my calls. That's why I stopped. I feel so -strongly- for her. I wish I had what she had. I wish I could have all these people who like me, who believe in me. I wish I could be perfect like her, and not make mistakes. And she doesn't even need to control their minds, she doesn't have to -make- them love her. She doesn't need Shadaloo. She just... she believes in herself. That's why the critics praised her, not me. That's why she didn't return my calls, why she didn't answer me. Because you cut out toxic people in your life. And you move forward." She halts, shuddering. She draws in a deep breath, and sighs a whisper.
"They captured Zach Glenn, you know."
She says softly. "Zach Glenn is Honoka's boyfriend; I know how much they love each other. He is the one who pulled the boy... the boy out of the fire. They captured him. And turned him, I've- I've seen the reports. I don't know if Honoka knows, but... but maybe... maybe I can convince her to come here, and find a way to fix Zach. Maybe make him normal enough, and make her part of it. Or if that doesn't work, let them both be mindwashed together, as part of our new Spangles paradise. She really loves Zach, you know. She even stopped me from.... forcing myself... on her... because of her self-respect, and her love and respect for Zach. There is enough room in the Spangles Paradise for Zach and Honoka. And I don't feel comfortable having a paradise without them in it."
And Jezebel rubs her temples.
"We just need to.... find a place to keep them, Baby. Somewhere remote, far away from Shadaloo, where Shadaloo won't find us. But not too far. We just... out in the desert? Maybe a cave? Some place where we can create our new beautiful society, around Spangles. I know it can be real. We get the SPangles, the real ones, we save them from Shadaloo, and we take them away, right as... right as the heroes come, to stop them. And we get away, and can forget all the bad things. We don't- we don't need revenge. We just need to forget, and pretend it never happened, so we can move on."
"But where can we even go, Baby?"
'But where can we even go?'
It's the rum-soaked cherry atop a sundae, the perfectly crisped onion ring buried in a basket of fries, the seventh mine bundled into a six-pack-- an unexpected treat after Jezebel finishes dishing out intel about fighters in Shadaloo's clutches. And some other stuff about a Chrismas special, and Pepper Green. After bringing her eyes back to Jezebel's so she could give the actress all the undivided love and sympathy she could want from a fangirl, B.B. Hood just smiles big and savors that last, delicious morsel of a question.
Where indeed? If the woman wasn't a walking security risk, Bulleta wouldn't be gazing at her like a lovestruck girl whose sweetie just asked her to go steady, or cooed happily when the actress whispered sweet nothings about kidnapping her rivals. Her own apartment is-- not an option; privacy concerns aside, she isn't about to subject Harry to her. She could check in with the Guild; under the radar safehouses are the kind of thing Kira's breed of contacts could easily accommodate...
"... see?" she exhales once she swallows the sour taste in her mouth and pulls her falling smile back into place. "You've already thought of almost everything; you ARE smart. And you dream so big, and you love so, so much. You even love Pepper enough to want to save her from /herself/." B.B. hops up, takes a couple steps, and squats to rummage through the basket.
"You're already building our family," she dreamily says over rustling metal and glass. "Even now, with all this darkness around you, you still want to give the world a little brightness... oh!"
The beaming girl's got a long, skinny box in the palm of her hand when returns to Jezebel and plops down in front of her. The cover comes off with a thumb-flick, revealing a plain, gold bracelet with a little red star dangling from it. "Honoka sounds like a very nice woman," she murmurs while securing the bracelet around Jezebel's wrist. The juggler's made quite the name for herself, /and/ she showed up all over Bulleta's pre-match research materials.
Ainu Spangles really /was/ a rare bright spot in-- whatever that Christmas Special was.
"She sounds like she loves you, or-- or did, anyway." After a moment of lip-gnawing thought: "Does, probably," she quietly settels on. "Once she sees you doing something brave and selfless, she's /certain/ to wanna talk to you again." Once the bracelet's in place, one of her hands disappears beneath the cloak; the other grazes up Jezebel's thigh.
"We'll rescue the kids, the women, /and/ her boyfriend," she promises in a soft, powerful voice. "Together, for Spangles-- for /us/."
It's punctuated by a jab towards the actress' thigh with an injection device designed to hide a tracker just beneath the skin, near her grazing fingers-- swift enough to leave her cloak fluttering. The heel of her palm presses against the injection site for a couple seconds afterwards. As soon as she's sure there won't be any bleeding - or screaming, or worse - she lets the device hit the sand, seizes Jezebel's shoulders, and tries to push her into sitting up while she leans in to whisper, "And until then, I'll be watching you-- I'll be with my Jezebel, no matter where I am~"
The hood comes down with a few tosses of her head, exposing short, barely styled blonde hair. "I... I don't know where we can /go/," she admits while turning her back to the actress and leaning forward a little. "I've been living in Japan, and-- I mean, I might... I /might/ be able to find /something/, but... I'd have to dig around some, to be absolutely sure. Why... why don't you braid my hair," she reaches back and combs through the ends of it in invitation, "a little, and tell me more about how we're gonna rescue those kids, so they can see Spangles Paradise? We'll save the kids, and Zach, and the parents, and then we'll take them all to Honoka's circus, and she'll join us on the /SPOT/," she bubbles. "And when Pepper sees us, and all our new friends, all together... either she'll realize how wrong she's been and join us too, or we'll MAKE her, for her own good."
Blue eyes almost shut and a dreamy sigh escapes B.B. Hood's lips.
"I can't WAIT 'til we're all together, and I can be a Spangles too~!"
Or until she can get home to Kasukabe to see what the going rate on Shadaloo intel is.
Jezebel didn't even imagine herself as leaking.
The same way she didn't imagine herself becoming a monster, or a traitor. She was redeeming herself, just by kidnapping for selfish reasons than evil reasons. SHe felt cleansed, she felt cleaned. A confession for her soul. There was nothing wrong. She was doing the right thing, whatever she wanted was the right thing. She loved herself again, so strongly, so powerfully. IT's almost like everything she learned was gone. As the bracelet snaps on Jezebel's wrist, she felt herself... shudder. Jewelry. Her boyfriends used to get her jewelry. And in turn, she was expected to reward them. B. B. Hood was just like the best of her producer boyfriends, before they got really bad.
And just like them, B. B. Hood continued to stroke that ego of hers.
Pumping her genius, letting her flow over with her own self-love. It wasn't self-love, it was like it, but so much different. It was all the real love of a teenage girl, as intense and fulfilling as the kind of love that Jezebel could only fantisize about on her back. The guilt was sastified now, and now, it was time for the rest of Jezebel, the woman imagines, that wild smile flashing over her face as the young girl takes initiative. As the hand comes on Jezebel's leg, the woman's instincts are different now. Not shameful, not guilty, but free. And with it, she clasps the back of her hands as well. "Yes! Yes! We will have a beautiful union, all of us! We can go anywhere! So much sweet love, overflowing and gushing and rushing and- oh my Baby Bonnie-"
And the injection comes.
"Oh!" Jezebel says, surprised. Not hurt, not screaming. But an 'oh!' "You injected me!" She said, her skin spasming. She was- she was stunned. What was happening? What was she doing? But the girl demands, no no, asks that Jezebel braid her hair. And Jezebel, like a corpse, like a zombie, nods slowly, her leg swelling up. Moving around, she... inches across the sand, and begins to clutch Baby Bonnie Hood's hair. Denied. Jezebel felt denied, but it was self-denial, it was abstaining. Waiting for marriage, saving herself for a perfect relationship. She could wait.
She would wait.
"They are... they are currently being held in Tijuana. That's where the main holding place is; there are smaller places in Sunshine City and Southtown, but those are no good now. Everything is going back to Mexico. My idea, is that there are cargo transports at the border, that's where most of them are grabbed. When I went to an outpost, I just... I just took command. And they didn't know what to do. So I can do that in Tijuana. I can grab the children there, all in a cargo, and we can... we can drive away, somewhere. Maybe the UNited States. Maybe the desert. Just away from there, before they realize what is happening." Jezebel does a neat french braid. She is very good at this. "Maybe Sunshine City, then we can load a ship, and sail to Japan, and go to the TWilight Star Circus, with all the children. I just... I just don't know how to get Pepper there. She wants to kill me." Jezebel freezes, and gasps. "Baby... you said you were a bounty hunter, right?"
"What if you bounty hunt me, to lure her out!"
B.B. takes a second to collect the injector and slip it into her cloak, lest some unsuspecting beachcomber or highly suspecting guard finds it later. Once that task is handled, her hands settle against and idly stroke the actress' legs while her hair is--
She can't-- /see/ it, but she doesn't /feel/ the awkward tugging and pulling she expected when she-- ~requested~-- that the scarred woman take care of her blonde locks. The plan is-- cogent enough, adjusting for Jezebel's weird version of confidence. Knocking over a sub-facility with sheer bluster and overwhelming energy isn't so unthinkable: Bulleta's vaguely aware that Shadaloo hasn't had the same footprint in the criminal underworld as it once did, so lax security at its auxillary locations feels... plausible, at least in the early phases of whatever last gasp or resurgence the cartel is experiencing now. But the main people-storage operation?
She's pretty sure that Jezebel's overbearing commander act would make her a distraction at /best/, there. Pretty sure, but she refrains from sharing anyway. Filtering tactical concerns through her starry-eyed mask wouldn't be much of a stretch...
... but her hair's being braided so well, and crazy doesn't make a person any warm--
Jezebel asks and answers a question. B.B. Hood briskly sits up - all the way up, rather than the actress-supported slouch she'd slipped into - opens her eyes properly, and turns them up over a shoulder. A beat later, she snaps her hands into her lap so she can wring them together as shaky, nervous laughter tumbles from her lips. "Jezebel!" she rapidly gasps, "Ohmygod, I couldn't, I-I could barely /dream/ of-- I-- oh, Jezebel..."
Biting her lip, she looks out over the ocean, dips her head, and gives herself a couple seconds to let some of the profane incredulity bubbling around her brain fall to a mere simmer. One deep breath later, she turns a thoughtful, conflicted look upon that scarred face.
"I-- I suppose I /could/ try to contact her... tell her I know where you /are/, or maybe even that I already k-killed... you. And then-- then I ask her to meet me, and..." A smile dawns as she reaches the inevitable conclusion. The girl hops to her feet and spins around to seize Jezebel's shoulders. "We do it after the kids," she whispers, leaning in close, "before the circus-- she's American, right? So we, we just drive the Spangles Express to her mansion, or, or /bungalow/, or-- oh, gosh, where do third-rate child star USURPERS even LIVE?"
Oklahoma, still, Bulleta hopes; more time and space for a warning, that way. Letting her client get kidnapped by her quarry would probably put a crimp in getting paid.
Little hands climb Jezebel's neck until the watery-eyed teen's got her fingers poised against ragged whip marks. "And you're wearing a tracking device, and there's another one under your skin... it won't even be a lie, see? I really WILL know where you are!" she gleefully whispers. Her forehead touches the actress' and the smile drops off.
"But Jezebel... we're gonna have to do a little more /planning/ before we... I, I mean, their /main base/, it's... it's DIFFERENT from taking over some little outpost. It's /important/-- maybe they'll believe you, but-- but I think we oughtta be ready for when-- if-- if they /don't/." Blue eyes briefly flick harborwards, then the smile returns, touched with a little bit of mischief.
"I-I need to see you without /them/, Jezebel," she whispers. "So we can /really/ plan, and, and be /together/, alone, j-just-- just /us/... so I brought you something /else/. When you told me there were gonna be guards, and that they liked wine..."
B.B. Hood's hands fall and she quickly paces to the basket, where she retrieves another bottle of wine. It is-- identical to the one screwed into the sand, and the one she bribed the guards with: same label, same red sloshing...
"... I spiked one with all kinds of sedatives!" she proudly announces while pushing the wine towards Jezebel. She sets a foot forward and turns her attention to the cuff of her shorts as she tugs, pulls-- "In case they got... scary..."
-- and rips--
"... or so /you/ could give it to them... next time."
-- a narrow strip of material free, leaving one side a little shorter than the other. Tying the makeshift ribbon around the bottle neck, she captures Jezebel's gaze and leans in 'til their faces almost meet again.
"Since... since there's /gonna/ be a next time, right?" she expectantly whispers.
Jezebel's scarred face still has the cracks and fissures.
Emotionally torn apart, physically torn apart. Jezebel was fall apart, mentally and physically. Was she even going to live long enough? But as her braiding is interrupted by Bulleta's sudden movements, she watches the strange performance unfold. Was there something off with her Baby Bonnie Hood? Jezebel perceptions couldn't tell anymore. But the shock at her brilliant plan... Jezebel just forces a smile, touching the braclet again, and then the injection point. She was tracked. That was.... that was good, right? They could all come together then.
She would never lose track with -two- trackers, after all.
She remembered where fake Spangles liked living. "She's with... with Disney. So she has a little mansion, where she can stay all alone, and have all the wonderful fantasies a teenage girl can have, as long as they are the same dreams and fantasies of Disney." Jezebel remembered her time doing work for the Disney Channel well. "She has a handler.. butler... maid... no boys though, never boys. Girls like you would be... would be okay." She shakes her head, rubbing her own face, on the scars, B. B. Hood's touch melting her at the fingertips. She needed to think harder.
But how could she?
"It's so... so hard. The security is so strong, but so weak, but so strong. You are here because.... They think- they think you are a moll, like, a- a sexy thing." Jezebel sputters. How would they ever get that idea. "They allow some- some tolerance for... distractions. To release stress. "I think... I think I could.... give it to them next time... and then... then we could be... could be.... alone... alone...."
Jezebel transfixes on that smooth thigh, that little bit of revealed territory. More suppressed desires, more shadows of guilt, more shadows of shame, more shadows of love, love, love. "I... I hope so..." Jezebel says, quickly, staring at the bare skin, clutching the bottle of drugged wine. "That... that we could... have a few hours... alone.... to pl-pl... pl-pl-plan....." JEzebel swallows hard, her chest pounding.
".... But when?"
A- a sexy thing? A stress-relieving distraction?
With her thumbs nestled in the lovingly worn grooves criss-crossing Jezebel's face, B.B. Hood looks utterly scandalized at the suggestion. The girl gapes and gasps-- then nods, slowly, pressing her lips into a thin line as she makes her peace with having to play pretend for the sake of the kids. "I'm your... moll, then," she quietly agrees. "Here to... help you, with whatever you need helping with..." After a heavy sigh comes a bright smile. "That's not /so/ different, right? I can... I can do that, for you. For Spangles Paradise."
Her hands fall and an index finger taps the cork a couple times. Her gaze turns grave and serious on a dime. Urgency suffuses her whispers:
"You /have/ to make sure you save /all/ of it for them... okay? I know you will, because you don't /need/ booze and sedatives now; you have /me/, and Spangles Paradise. So you just have to make sure you keep it where it can't be stolen, or broken..." Deft hands worm around Jezebel's and clasp them around the bottles. "... somewhere safe, so it's there when we /need/ it..."
She'll need to check in with Dahlia before she can make any firm plans with her sputtering, sad, pitiful windfall.
"We'll touch base in a few days, maybe a week," B.B. Hood thoughtfully murmurs, "and that'll give us time to arrange for a Spangles Express and figure out what supplies we'll need for everyone on our big trip to Pepper's mansion. We... might have to wait a /few/ weeks to see each other, though: you've gotta keep learning what you can about what Shadaloo's up to, and you've gotta... build up lots of, of stress for me to... /relieve/, right?" She lets the question hang between them for a moment before adding, "So the guards don't get suspicious when you ask."
After a chaste kiss and a small smile, the bounty hunter and her carefully ripped shorts hustle over to the food. Her hand briefly hovers over the bananas, but she dumps an armload of cookie and cracker packages, as well as the tupperware of rice atop the cooler and nudges it all towards Jezebel's flank.
"Let's not worry about /that/, though," she says with her sole propped against the junk food bounty, "let's... let's worry about /now/. We're here now, with all this food!" A final thrust shoves the cooler into position beside the actress, freeing B.B. to drop down in front of her and tilt her head back.
"And-- and I can't stay /forever/, so... why don't you finish my hair while we eat lunch? Just you and me, together, on this beautiful beach... we can make a nice little memory together, and just... edit the harbor, and the guards out of it later, so it's /perfect/."
The miasmic pressure and madness of Jezebel suddenly snaps. How it snaps, well, comes as she grips B. B. Hood. Was this it? Did she see through the ruse? Was the trap triggered? Everything Bulleta said at this point, the wine, the scheming, seemed to be fine… but from the moment of that very first response from B B Hood, there is a thousand yard stare from the actress. Just like the mascot of Neo Bread-Kun, she was just staring, her thoughts stirring. And when she talks about a sweet memory, Jezebel spits it out. The stop it. What was happening? ANd Jezebel turns on B. B. Hood, her physical presence as she seizes her, just like in the Spangles.
"You are not my -moll-"
"You are not some toy for me to play with. You are a beautiful, sweet girl, who has hopes, and dreams. You are a wonderful young lady, and- and you should never, ever let yourself become that.” Jezebel’s words surge out, as the shadows of desires, the haunting lusts are smothered for now, the unchecked wild passions buried so deep at the single golden light of purity that manages to breach the swirling, consuming despair that locked on Jezebel in a vicegrip. That in the end, in the bottom line? Hearing it out loud?
She didn’t want -anybody- to be like her.
She didn’t want Baby Bonnie Hood to be a disgusting sex doll. She did, deep down, because she wants everything to be her doll that she could project herself on. But hearing it out loud, so real and transparent? It disgusted her. B. B. Hood didn’t disgust her, no. She was just a child, just a canvas of innocent purity to smear Baconators on into whatever smutty urges and desires you could imagine. So even if it meant that she would give everything up for Spangles Paradise?
Out loud, Jezebel couldn’t choose anything else.
“I don’t need to drink it, for your sake. I will make sure- I will make this all right for -you- Baby Bonnie Hood. I’ll make this right.” Jezebel nods her head. “You need to be very careful. I will… I will try and make a scene. Maybe if they think I am unstable, they will try and give me more time off! I don’t know how I can convince them of that, but I will try. And we can see each other, and make- and make plans…. But lets… but lets..” And Jezebel smiles real.
“Lets eat, and play volleyball!”
Too far, Bulleta calculates as the actress seizes her and she stiffens. Too many jabs-- too clever, too arrogant, too locked into playing with the mark to prove she's got it over just-- /getting/ it.
At least /this/ time, there's no gas and she's... she's /pretty/ sure she can puppy-dog her way out of the hole.
"N-no, no--" B.B. Hood stammers while rapidly nodding along and looking up frightfully at the actress' abrupt shift. One minute, she was sharing a dream, getting ready to settle into a memory. The next... her hero's grabbing her, again. Because she said-- did something Jezebel didn't like, again.
"I'm, I'm /not/ your moll," she softly agrees. She tries to let Jezebel see the conflict - between wincing away from a ceiling-busting kick and lunging into a nerve-settling hug - in her eyes before she drops them to the sand. "Jezebel, I was-- it's all... it's all pretend, right? It's a /game/, I-- they think I'm, I'm-- /that/, so I'm just... trying to get used to the idea of pretending it... because I /have/ to. To help you."
She softly sniffles, then manages a little smile.
"G-gosh," she murmurs with a little levity, looking back up at that singular eye, "if-- if I was /that/ convincing... we won't have anything to worry about at all, huh?" The sentiment/joke is capped with a little quavering laughter. "Thank you for looking out for me, though; I'm so, so glad I've got someone like /you/ to guide me, watch out for me..." As her muscles unclench, she reaches back to get an idea of just how unfinished her hair is. Gears start to turn--
"Let's play volleyball!" she brightly agrees as her fingers comb through the loose parts of her hair then drop. "You'll think of /something/ good to get those awful men their wine, and then we'll be that much closer to Spangles Paradise! I can't wait to meet all my new brothers and sisters~"
The best Bulleta can tell, reaching back there, is that she would fit in as one of Jezebel's inmates at the happy home.
At the very least, only the guards could see her. As Jezebel reaches the net, she... actually manages to have a volleyball. "Yeah! I will... I will think of... think of something!" Jezebel babbles. She didn't know what she would think. She just lines up the ball, with a volleyball, a real volleyball. Her mind was wild, but she clung so desperately on the shadows of justice, of righteousness. Shadows that would kill her, if she lets them. She holds it out. "It's all pretend though. But- I hate... love... hate... I just want to play volleyball!"
The intellectual rigors of Jezebel are awe-inspiring.
"I can just... get them all drunk, and lure them out, and we can get them there. I can use- use the special blend that Mr. Cosby used to teach me. You know that Mr. Cosby and I used to be friends!" Jezebel gives out a quick giggle. "Don't make yourself dirty. I want you- I don't want you to pretend you are a slut, Baby Bonnie Hood. I don't want you to pretend you are a desperate, horny teenage girl ready to let me massage you, rub my hands on you, to kiss you and kiss you and you just let me kiss you non-stop. I don't want you to be that. Never be that!" And she draws back her hand, ready to serve. "Can you promise me that, my Baby Bonnie Hood?
"But you /do/ want to kiss me," a bemused B.B Hood replies with scrunching features. Setting herself up to return the serve, she peers through the mesh and chews on her lip nervously. "Don't you?" The question sounds utterly innocent and bewildered; after the chain of events leading to the conclusion of their match, it'd be hard for her to reach any /other/ conclusion. "I, I'm not some, some--" More scrunching, in abject distaste, "-- /slut/, or, or..."
She walks right up to the net so she won't have to say it quite so loudly.
"Horny... sex... moll... /thing/, I /promise/," she stage-whispers, "a Showup Hoedown Deputy's WAY too good for /that/. I'm your beautiful Baby Hood... I just wanna be with you. Learn from you... help you show all those awful, awful people who hate you how WRONG they are about you. Be clean and pure and good, for you... okay?"
After a smile through the net, she jogs back into position and drops into a readied posture. "Just, please be careful about adding TOO much extra stuff to that bottle. We wanna save innocent families, not make a bunch of guards overdose! Overdosing could make people ask too many questions."
A Showup Hoedown Deputy is way too good for that.
Her beautiful, beautiful, Baby Hood. So sweet and innocent with soft flesh who loves and supports Jezebel unconditionally, who would never let her purity be taken by filthy, hideous ugly people. Not even by Jezebel. And yet, there was all that mischief stirring underneath; Jezebel remembered when she was her age, when she started drinking, what kind of nice boys, and girls, she would meet in secret Disney meetings. The thought swims and surges inside her, as she feels drunk off the alluring presence of B. B. Hood.
What if she gave her some drugged wine?
Jezebel tries to claw the throught from her brain, as she launches the ball into the air. IT was actually quite a competent serve; Jezebel did win the Trouble In Paradise tournament after all, and her athletic background never really forgot itself in her very bones. "There is... so much you can give, you can even hide the taste with sweet, sweet drinks. But people -die- from overdoses.... beautiful people... I could hold a party, and everyone is invited. And everyone would come, even Vega...." It could be a game, a delicate, sweet game. "But then..."
"When do we show the children to Honoka?"
Bulleta barely attends school and rarely has time for beach getaways; she's not had many opportunities to practice her volleyball technique. Tracking fast-moving objects and figuring out just the right time to hit them, though?
She's a /pro/ at that.
The ball flies wildly out of bounds after B.B. Hood /hammers/ it. She claps and giggles excitedly until she realizes just /how/ far off it is... and then she just giggles, no doubt surprised and pleased with herself for having gotten to show off a little for her esteemed heroine.
"S-sorry!" she exclaims before sliding her hands over her mouth and letting the rest of the giggles fill them. "I don't really get to /do/ this much!" The tip of her index finger lingers against her lips when her hands slide away, tapping thoughtfully as she waits for Jezebel to get the ball. "We need to have everyone /else/ first - maybe even /Zach/, if we can - so that when we come to pick her up, she can see you with all the people you've rescued-- including Pepper! That way, she'll be /super/ proud of you, and she'll /definitely/ talk to you again, and wanna join us!"
A slight pause.
"-- also, just-- like-- logically," she adds, a bit more subdued, "it'd probably be easier to drive from Mexico, to California, then fly to Japan, right? So we just-- do it all in a row, once we get the kids. 'cause there'll probably be people /looking/ for us, so we can't waste time. So, in a few weeks, you'll... bribe the guards with the wine I gave you, or... well, you'll have a party, and they'll drink it there. Then we'll meet, we'll plan some more... and then it'll be /time/."
She sighs dreamily, anticipating the other side of her most rewarding mission ever.
"We'll be on our way to Paradise!"
Utopia is something that is never, ever real. And yet, Jezebel believed it could be. She didn't believe. But she did. Jezebel is uniquely capable of both believing in the impossible, and realizing it as the impossible. As B B Hood knocks away the ball, she knew she couldn't reach it in time to return it. She knew it was out of bounds. But just like her life in Shadaloo, she didn't care. She wanted it to be real.
Because the alternative was so much worse.
"Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!" Jezebel laughs out loud, almost mechanical in it. She still tries to go for it, leaping into the sand, sending it up into a puff as she manages to hit it with the base of her fists. It just goes further out. Scrambling up, Jezebel chases after it. Picking it up, she holds it her chest, embracing it like the little baby she was going to rescue now at Tijuana. She was going to rescue them all.
Except that one boy.
Jezebel strides back over the hot sand, as she babbles out loud. "We'll trick the guards, and then, we will take them from Mexico, to Sunshine City, and board a ship, and take them to the Twilight Star Circus, and while they are playing at the Circus, we can find Honoka, and she can- she can see how wonderful everything is. We will even have Zach there, and they will run at each other, and embrace, and k-k-kiss! Kiss so deeply, my baby bonnie hood. And she will see how we are saving the children, and she will- she will finally forgive me. And we will be happy in our new paradise. Maybe in the circus itself. But we will come there." She places the ball firmly in Bulleta's hands. The smile was burning on her lips, stretching the scars open, as her only good eye almost burns blue with joy.
Log created on 17:51:22 07/31/2018 by Bulleta, and last modified on 21:56:47 08/03/2018.