NFG Season One - Public Transit Connections

[Toggle Names]

Description: In the aftermath of the first round of NFG team fights, Chevy and Hawksley find themselves on the same bus together. Only thing is certain -- in the future, fists will fly.

As the bus pulls up to the stop outside the Sunshine City Dragons Football Stadium, three people get off and a dark haired Irishman gets on. Hawksley Moore has been at the stadium for his New Fighting Generation match against Ayala, where he proved to be victorious. As such, there's a spring in his step as he gets on the vehicle and smiles brightly to the driver.

"A ticket to wherever the best bars in the city are" he requests, hitching his leather sports bag further onto his shoulder.

Inside the bag are the jeans and sneakers that serve as his fighting uniform. He's taken the time to shower following his brawl, so he doesn't subject any fellow passengers to a less than fresh post fight fragrance. As such, his hair is damp and drips slightly on his hoody, causing him to push it back from his face.

The light grey hoody has the logo of his hometown football club, Cork City. Other than that he's dressed in some light grey jogging pants and a pair of Nike sneakers.

As he makes his way up the bus, he looks around for any seats that might be going spare. The first few rows seem to be full, so he ventures futher backwards in the hope he will get lucky.

The back of the bus is sparsely populated in comparison to the front; most of the travelers are either sleeping, or looking aimlessly throughout the windows. Some are glued to their cellphone screens, earbuds ensuring that the society of Sunshine City can be kept at a comfortable distance. One such person is a somewhat tallish girl with reddish-brown hair, smiling faintly at the phone she's holding horizontally in her hands. She's wearing a powder blue, over-the-shoulder peasant blouse and khaki-colored capris, with sneakers; she has a medium-sized canvas shopping bag folded in her lap.

If she were a Sunshine City native, she'd be used to people milling about on the bus, and probably would be able to tune out. But this whole 'bus' thing is new to a girl who's been working on bicycles and motorcycles since she was little, and so, it doesn't take long before she looks up from the screen and catches sight of the Irishman in the light grey hoodie.

Excitedly, Chevelle pulls the earbuds out of her ears, raising a hand to wave to Hawksley. Breathlessly, she speaks up: "Hey!"

Once she grabs his attention, she turns the phone around to show him what she'd been watching -- and it's Ayala and Hawksley in the picture! "You did great out there," she comments -- at a tactful volume, though; she's not so giddy that she'd announce it for the whole bus to hear. "That was a close finish!"

And once she realizes -why- he'd be marching to the back of the bus, she scoots over closer to the window with a grin. "Where're ya headed?"

"Chevy. What a lovely surprise, so it is."

It feels good to see a familar face in this foreign place, especially one of someone who's giving him a reminder of his recent victory.

He laughs as he sees her viewing of choice. "We had fun, so we did. Ayala is a good sport. Feckin' Zog though. He showed up to support her rather than me. Would you believe that? I think he's got himself a little crush, or a big one I suppose in his case."

He slips into the seat beside the redhead, smelling of a mix of whiskey and the slightly medicinal scent of Pears Soap. "I reckon you might have helped me by the way. I had that charm you gave me on my belt during the match. Perhaps it's a lucky charm."

He gestures to the bag in her lap. "So what brings you on the bus then? Have you been on a shopping trip?"

Chevy is practically ecstatic to see Hawksley, so soon after his battle. Right outside the venue, at that! "Yeah! Hawksley, wow... It's... all such a blur, I can't believe it just happened!" She grins, glad he could provide a quick highlight summary to refresh her memory. So many things to talk about! "Yeah, I was surprised she was still standing after all that fire, and -all- those punches!"

The mention of Zog, though, draws a bit of a sulk from the Southerner. "... Oh, don't get me started on Zog. I'm still so angry at him for running off with all our stew. We all worked -very- hard on that, you know..." She wrinkles her nose and nods in commisseration. "So yeah. He's on both our not-favored lists, yeah?" Chevy forges a bright grin, hoping her momentary downturn in mood doesn't ruin the moment.

Of course, hearing about the charm helps keep her in good spirits. She'd happened to catch sight of it in the fight footage, which helps too. Chevelle gives a shy smile at that. "Well, it's good to know I was able to help. I was rootin' for ya!" Easy to root for Blaze when it wasn't a fight against her team, anyway.

She pats the bag on her lap as Hawksley mentions it. "Oh. I haven't yet, just off to pick up some supplies. Most of what I need I can get at the bakery but I was hoping to stop by one of the cookware shops for some good utensils. I figure since we're gonna be heres a while, it'd be a good time to get stuff that ain't junk and ain't gonna fall apart when I use it." She snaps her fingers. "And I done forgot to bring any from home."

Chevy grins, looking over at Hawksley as the bus starts rolling on. "... Hey, where's Blaze have y'all stayin', anyway? Are you headed back now?"

"The cavewoman is a tough cailin" Hawksley comments. "I think she might be getting tamer though. She was wearing Converse."

"So Zog's been stealing stew too now? I heard rumours about something going down with Frost too. It seems he's making friends all over the city."

He gives the Southern belle a slow smile as she reveals she was rooting for him. "That's kind of you, Chevy. I appreciate the support. I'll wear it for all my matches from now on, so I will. Although I'm not sure if it will work if we face off in a fight."

He listens as she explains about the cooking supplies. "It seems sensible. What I wouldn't give for some of me mammy's cooking. I don't mind some Taco Bell from time to time, but it's not quite the same. Maybe I should learn to feed myself and the rest of the team. We're all shacking up at some dojo Mitsuru found. It was a bit of a dump when we got there. Dusty and dirty, with loads of leaves. We've cleaned it up grand now though."

He gets a distant expression for a brief moment, but his dark eyes are soon focused back on his fellow fighter.

"I won't be heading back there just yet. I'm gonna have myself a few drinks first to celebrate. Is all calm in the world of Thunder?"

"Converse -is- a solid choice," replies Chevelle with a steady nod. "The bite is somethin' I didn't expect though. Let alone the -shocking- that came after it." Drawing air through her teeth, she adds with a grin: "Hope you're up-to-date on your shots..."

As for the Zog topic, Chevy looks down at her shopping bag, looping her thumbs through the handle. "Mm... well, honestly, it might've been the others." She scratches her cheek. "We were helping out with a soup kitchen. Zog and a bunch of other folks came in at around the same time. I was in the kitchen, I didn't really know for sure who did what an' all." She grins faintly. "Oh yeah, I -heard- about that. Seriously, where did your team find this guy anyway?" She laughs, holding up a hand. "Oh, that was mean, I'm sorry!" With a grin, she tries to look on the bright side. "Zog's a little girl-crazy but at least you know where he stands on stuff, yeah?"

The idea of the charm helping in a fight against one another earns a shake of her head. "I'm pretty sure it'd just come down to just us. You and me, punchin' versus tossin', fire versus water. I'd just make sure to wear somethin' fireproof, I guess!"

Chevy's smile dampers slightly when Hawksley draws a line between Taco Bell and his mammy's home cooking. "Wait, I just... gotta know, before I stuff a foot in my mouth... Taco Bell reminds you o' home?" She fiddles with the handle of her bag a bit more.

The world of Thunder? Chevy seems amused by that turn of phrase. "Oh, it's been... great! Our teachers have been taking us all sorts of places. We've had a few practice bouts against one another. I'm learning more an' more about my -water-, and... " She pats the shopping bag in her lap. "I'm fixin' to make some homemade apple pies, if I can find everythin'."

But then she blinks, leaning a bit closer -- and with a lopsided grin, she asks, "So lemme back up a bit -- out of the eight of you, none of you knows a lick about cookin'? I mean, heck, I could learn you somethin'..."

"Yeah, I'm all set for shots" Hawksley nods, before adding. "Oh, you mean the injections? I thought we were talking tequila."

He gives Chevy a friendly nudge and then shrugs his shoulders regarding Zog. "No feckin' clue. I didn't know any of them, truth be told. I was just happy to be picked for a team and one with such an appropriate sounding name at that. I suppose Zog is a pretty straightforward sort though, aye. Akuma is the real man of mystery."

Swiftly switching subjects he says "Fireproof would be frugal when facing me. Maybe I should switch my denims for some waders."

This image seems to amuse him, almost as much as the idea of Taco Bell reminding him of Ireland. "Oh hell no. It's nothing like me mammy's cooking. I just mean, well it's alright and all, but you get a craving for some home comforts. I never actually bothered to ask any of the Blazin' Squad if they can cook. I just fend for myself. Sunshine City has some good smoothie stands."

He stops to study Chevy, as she makes her offer. "I'd love it if you'd learn me something" he decides. "It sounds like you Thunders have your acts together."

Shots? What do shots have to do with Tequila? There is a moment of confusion in Chevy's expression before she puts two and two together. At which point a non-drinking-age Chevelle Beaumont gives a slightly embarassed laugh. "Yeah. Rabies shots. For the wild, Converse-wearing animal." She snickers at that.

As Akuma is brought up though, she finds cause to laugh. "Akuma ... that means 'devil,' right? I hope that ain't literal. But, like, what about er... Mitsuru and Yuri. They've both been in Neo League a bunch. You gotten to pick their brains at all?"

Now... there are members of the nascent NFG fanbase who might take umbrage to Chevy putting on anything fireproof. Especially considering how many of her FightTube comments poke fun at her shirts always always getting wet. Still -- the idea of Hawksley in waders is enough to bring a smile to her face. "Guess we'll see how the fans react to that, haha."

It -does- bring a measure of relief to know that she'd just misunderstood. "Oh, gosh, thank goodness. Taco Bell shouldn't remind -anyone- of home cookin'." She laughs warmly, finally feeling as if she can let go of the handle of her shopping bag. "Yeah, though, there are some really good Mexican places around us too. Put Taco Bell to shame. I'm still missin' me some of that sushi from Southtown, -that's- not as good here."

She grins, though, as Hawksley shows interest in the cooking lessons she'd offered. "Oh, good!" She pulls up her phone, swiping through the address book -- and pulls up the entry for her own phone number. "Guess it'd be easiest to trade numbers, then, yeah?"

She nods, slowly, continuing the talk about Team Thunder. "It's pretty good, yeah! I haven't gotten to talk with Miss Ichijo yet. She's kind of -our- woman of mystery. I'm hopin' I can find a good time to tug her ear about fighting."

"You're smarter than me, Chevy. I didn't know Akuma meant devil. That's a lovely heartwarming thought, isn't it?" he jests.

"I've mostly been dealing with Mitsuru and Mike Bison. He's a fella Mitsuru got in to help me with my training. He's gonna give me some of his videos to watch too. He's quite the character. He brought like, a dozen or so women with him and a dee jay."

He pulls his own phone out of his pocket and enters the code, before he too lands on his contacts, adding the name Chevy to them and then copying the number carefully from her own cell. Seconds later she'll recieve a text with just the name 'Hawksley' in it, allowing her to access his own digits.

"So you're settling in Sunshine City alright then? It's very different from Southtown and Cork City too, come to think of it."

There's a beat and then he brings a hand to his face, shaking his head. A droplet of water drips on to Chevy from his hair. "What a feckin' eejit I am. I haven't even asked about your match with Djamila. I'm just sat on me arse, lapping up your praise and not asking after you. Shame on me. How did it go, cailin? Did you drown the dancer?"

Smarter? Chevy looks down, shaking her head. "Naw, I just... wanted to know Japanese a little better. Been doin' an app on my phone to practice, it's got a cute lil' owl critter." She laughs at that.

Though, something else Chevy seems to know about is the major fighters. "... Oh. -The- Mike Bison?" The redhead's eyes widen in surprise. "He was, like, the heavyweight boxing champ a few years back! Heh, wow... you train with him, you could probably punch holes in brick walls before long!"

The further comment about bringing women and a deejay along take a bit for Chevy to process, though. "... So he's... staying there? In the old dojo with you? And all those women?" Perhaps she's not as concerned with the deejay.

Chevy is delighted to get the text. As soon as she gets it, she's quick about adding a brand new 'Hawksley' contact to her file.

"Yeah... our hotel's on the border of some of the rougher parts of town, which is one reason for the bus trip. Great hotel though. I -love- the pool." She nods, a bit of smugness creeping into her smile. "-Great- place to work out."

She looks over at Hawksley in the midst of his self-deprecating comments. "Oh, heck, naw, it's okay! It wasn't that long ago, really, and you've been busy!" She laughs, brushing a lock of hair away from the side of her face, revealing a bruise there. "It... well, I had a few learnin' moments." An assuring smile appears, though: "I managed to land a lot more of the cool techniques I've been practicin', but..." The redhead gives a weak shrug, and continues. "I warn't pacin' myself right, and burned out too soon. Lost my focus for a moment, and she managed to plow right through me."

Chevelle grins. "It was close, though! If we have a rematch, I'll probably get her next time."

She pages back to the video app on her phone, scrolling through a few before she remembers. She ends up on a video of her teammate, fighting a green goblin lady. "Oh. And Ichika did a lot better against Nixie, I'd say. Just as close!"

"That's the fella. I heard he was a champ and all." Hawksley grins at the idea of being able to punch holes in brick walls. "I wouldn't mind that. I could get in to the pub when it was past closing time."

As the bus swerves around a corner, he holds on to the seat in front of them with one hand. "The women didn't even get out of the van. I just got a glimpse of them when the door opened. He said he might give me one if I was good or something. I forget the wording."

He rolls his eyes. "I'd rather find women of my own thank you. He seems an alright fella though. Bit of a laugh. I think he might have been doing the macarena at one point."

A confused expression appears on the Cork County man's face. "I don't think I'd been drinking that day."

He listens as Chevy recounts some of the details of her match to him, nodding along at the right parts. "Djamila isn't an easy one to brawl. She's a dodgy sort. Nixie? Well, she cost me the title." He doesn't seem overly dissapointed by this, based on the still present smile on his face as he watches the clip on the cellphone.

"There's no shame in losing to either of them and it seems like you and Ichika are making a lot of progress. Good on you both."

Breaking and entering? "Eh... that'd ruin the atmosphere, though, wouldn't it? And how much fun is it to go drinking alone?"

Chevy isn't as quick to notice the bus cornering; as such, the force of the turn sends her shoulder bumping into Hawksley. So it is probably a good thing he braced, for both of their sakes. Slightly red-faced, she blurts out: "... Oof. Sorry!"

While she's recovering from her momentary brush with anxiety, she does seem happy to hear Hawksley's opinions on Mike Bison's extended party, grinning cheerily. "Yeah... I don't think -I'd- get along with him, but I'm glad you were able to. There's probably a lot to learn about boxing that aren't obvious from just watching!"

Chevy nods in agreement with his assessment of Djamila. "Yeah... once I learned how to keep her in range, I feel like I started to do better..."

The video clip she shares is mercifully quick -- you never want to start off a twenty-minute video to someone you don't know all that well, after all. It was a recap of the final exchange between Ichika and Nixie -- one in which Ichika powers through a glue grenade, only to end up in a veritable minefield of explosions that overpowered her defenses. "Mm-hmm. I feel kinda like I wanna fight her myself, just to see how I'd do with her. She seems tricky!"

Hawksley's assessment seems to check all the right boxes. "Heh, yeah! Thanks! All of the fights I've watched this round show a big improvement from the earlier fights. You seemed, like, totally in the -zone- for most of yours!"

Chevy leans back in her seat, taking a quick look out the window to see where the bus is at. "Okay, so I did have a question for you..." she starts, turning back to face Hawksley. "How long have you known you could start fires? Does it always take, like, alcohol, or...?"

"I don't mind drinking alone so much" Hawksley answers. "I did it a fair bit in the Hotel in Southtown. I got to know the bartenders well and I'll chat to anyone within reason. Of course it's always more fun with friends."

He doesn't seem at all uncomfortable about being shoulder bumped by Chevy. It's all just part of a standard bus journey. "Not your fault, cailin. Let's blame it on the driver or the windy roads."

"I'd be interested to see how you got along against tricksy Nixie. She's for sure the one to beat so far. The only one of us with a flawless record. As for me being in the zone, that's the perfect way to explain it. I feel calmest when I'm riled up for a fight. When it's just me and whoever is there in front of me, I forget everything else and just focus on beating them in a battle. Even if I get myself bruised and bloody along the way. I love it. I always have. Of course that's got me in a fair amount of trouble over the years."

He stops to take a breather, before continuing to chatter on. "The fire thing I discovered by accident really. Me and my mates were playing in the park and I set a tree alight. They all thought I did it for a laugh, but I swear I only touched the thing. Of course after that, I was curious if I could do it again. It turns out I could, but the problem was controlling it. A few failed experiments and a burned down barn later and I was still none the wiser. I think the turning point came when I saw it as something that came from inside of me, rather than an external force. After that it seemed as natural as breathing."

As he finishes explaining as best he can, he turns to look at Chevy's face, curious about her reaction. "Oh and no, I don't need alcohol to produce it. That's just a flashy party trick I like" he adds with a grin. "Now if I could actually learn to breathe fire, that would be insane."

Chevy flashes Hawksley an exasperated look. He... doesn't mind drinking alone so much? The parties thrown by the NFG have been entertaining affairs, of course, and hanging out with friends is something the elder teenager's been able to partake in for years now. Drinking was, to her, just a natural extension of that, a way to lower boundaries and promote interesting conversations. The very thought of it being a -solitary- activity, though... seems to be what gave her pause.

As he talks, of course, her level of alarm drops rather quickly. The bartenders are there. Always more fun with friends. These fit into the 'cailin''s worldview. But before she could voice an objection, there was that darned bump, which had sent her train of thought rolling down yet another path.

"... Oh. Yeah, haha. There's a lot less o' that back home." Chevy scratches the bridge of her nose. "I mean, like, there's jus' about -no- sharp curves, and hardly any big hills to worry about."

As Hawksley talks about being 'in the zone', she meets each point with an enthusiastic nod. "Right... I've -felt- that way. Like, especially in my fight with Tamaki, just... things just -clicked-. I didn't worry about anything else at all."

Chevy gets a wistful look in her eye as Hawksley talks about getting bruised and bloody. Maybe a few weeks ago that would have bothered her more. Now, of course, she just draws her fingers across the bruise she'd received from Djamila. "Maybe... injuries like this are just part of the territory, I guess...?" she offers, with a grin.

If she was interested before, it pales compared to the tale of how Hawksley discovered his powers. Her eyes widen with each revelation -- and she even interjects, "A whole -barn!- Wow!" And when Mr Moore explains that it was like soemthing from inside him, Chevy clasps her hands together and pulls them close to her heart.

"Yeah. -Exactly- that," she confides with a warm glow. "That's how I feel when I'm able to move water around." She grins back. "Well, I'm sure you -can-, but maybe not from Mike Bison," she suggests with a mischievous grin. "Ahhhhh, that's such a cool story. Thanks for sharing it with me. Just... thinking about all the ways we do stuff, it's been on my mind a lot lately."

She looks away from Hawksley, down at her hands. Another thought she'd set aside, reminding her of the topic from before: alcohol... is just a party trick?

"Can I ask another question?"

She stares at her hands, one thumb knurling over the other. Hawksley's already given her so much of a story -- and there's real guilt in her voice at the thought of asking for more. And yet, the thought won't fully go away.

"I don't... mean to criticize. That's not it. But you're just so much like my paw, and... I never got the chance to ask -him-..."

There's pain in her expression. But, as she becomes aware of that, she chases it away, tries to hide it behind a small smile.

"I get 'drinking,' as a concept -- it's fun to be more yourself, with friends, right?" She's gauging her words. Measuring. And she's cognizant of being on a bus with dozens of other people, too.

"But... alone?"

"I've had more bruises, bloody noses and broken bones in my lifetime..." Hawksley laughs. "Me mammy and da were always taking me down to the hospital. It never stopped me throwing myself at something or someone the very next week though. Hell, sometimes the very next day."

"They're just battle scars and badges of honour is how I see it and they mostly heal anyway. I've not done myself any permanent damage so far."

He blows out a breath. "The barn though, that was a whole different situation. It was my granny and granda Murphy's barn and granny swore I set it alight on purpose. "You feckin' little arsonist" she was screaming at me and I swear I couldn't sit down for a week with how much she smacked my arse. Then my mammy got mad at her for hitting me and there was a big family feud for a while. It all blew over eventually, but I'm still to this day not allowed to visit them on their farm."

He matches Chevy's mischevious grin as he tries to picture Mike Bison blowing fire. "Yeah, maybe not from him. Coco said there's some yoga guy who can do it, but I'm pretty sure he won't wanna help me after I got kicked out of his class."

Sensing the more serious tone from the Southern girl, as she asks her question, he rests one of his rough hands on hers. He can tell it's hurting her to speak up and he wants to bring her comfort if he can.

"I'm not offended" he says softly in his Southern Irish brogue. "It's not like I don't know what I'm doing or I'm in denial. I just love the feeling of letting go, of losing myself in something. The freedom of a fight, the buzz of a beer, they make me feel more of me. I'm not trying to escape myself or anything. I think I'm a bloody good fella as it happens" he says with a smile. "I'm sorry if it was hard for you, with your da and all, but if it helps to ask me anything, then please do."

Bruises she gets. Bloody noses she gets. Broken bones? "Oh, wow, I've never actually -broken- anything before..." comments Chevy. She seems fascinated by... honestly, -everything- Hawksley has to tell about his life to date. The idea of wearing injuries as battle scars is a fascinating concept. Though, she does find herself silently mouthing the words 'so far' as an echo.

The anecdote about burning down the bar has Chevy snickering into her hand. Something about his dialect, combined with the idea of a grandmother cursing. "Oh my -gosh-, that's hilarious... I mean, it's tragic, of course, the barn burning down, but looking -back-, I mean." She grins faintly. "Well, I'm sure if they're watchin' you now, they're proud of you," she assures. No one's ever considered Chevy to be a pessimist. ... Though that doesn't stop her from laughing at the next statement. "Yeah, yoga doesn't really seem like it's your thing." Herself, though...? Hmm.

But... the serious question remains. And Chevy is hanging on each and every word. He claims that he goes into this willingly. He claims that, in his words, he thinks he's a 'bloody good fella.' Chevy's expression softens; she nods slowly, acknowledging.

"It's... I mean, I'm sorry for poking at you like this, I mean... we've only ever -talked- a few times. I warn't tryin' to stir anythin' up, but... "

She shuts her eyes, tensing her hands. And takes a big breath of air.

"Thank you, Hawksley. For telling me all this. It's a very, um... -personal- part of your life." Eyelids part; blue eyes focus on her clasped hands. "And... I think it -does- help me understand. Paw was... I mean, the reasons were different." Thumbs slide over one another. "Money was tight for us. And he -was- escaping, I think." She draws in a wistful sigh.

And then, Chevelle turns to Hawksley, her eyes brimming with a mix of emotions.

"I think... I think I get it. For you, it's not an escape, but more like... some extra zing, extra flavor?" She blinks for a moment, self-consciously wondering if she's even making sense. But then she dives into the analogy anyway. "Haha. Like, for you, fighting is just a -topping- on the pizza of life, as opposed to the whole cheese and crust?"

"I'm sure you'll break something at some point" Hawksley says cheerily. "But then you'll mend again. That's kinda how life is for the most part."

"I think granny and granda are probably proud of me in their own way, though granny will be pursing her lips the whole time. It's how I always picture her, with a disapproving expression on her face and a flowered pinny over her dress. My other granny is a darling woman though. Always full of sunshine and sweetness."

"I'm sure your da would be proud of you too. I bet he would be bursting with it. You're shining in this competition, Chevy and I'm not just talking about your fighting. You're a good soul. Little things like those gifts you made us all. It means a lot to people, well me at least."

He smiles at her warmly, giving her hand a squeeze before removing his own hand and placing it back on his lap. "There's no need to thank me for having a honest conversation with you, by the way. I might keep other people's secrets for them, but I've none of my own."

"It's tough when you're broke. There were six of us growing up and while we never had groaning stomachs, we often had shabby clothes. It's a good thing I can pull off the whole scruffy look" he grins.

"The way I see it is that people are just doing the best they can in life at any given time. Now that can vary from person to person and even from day to day, but I bet your Paw loved you just fine. Just maybe he didn't always love his life sometimes. Me, I do love my life. It's going just grand. I'm getting to see the world, meet new people and earn some money doing something I'm passionate about. I'm even gonna learn how to cook. I'm living the dream, so I am. Although after that analogy you made, I think I've got a craving for pizza."

Chevy frowns at first. And protests, mildly, the idea that she'd break a bone at some point: "Never." And the frown gives way to a grin; she knows he's probably right, after all!

She's genuinely pleased at the way Hawksley talks with such joy in his heart about his grandparents -- and shows that with a broad smile. "That's so sweet. Do you get to visit her much?"

From that point on, though, Chevelle finds herself to be the focus of the conversation -- a position which leaves her at a momentary loss for words.

Da would be proud? Chevy purses lips, looking downward shyly.
A good soul? That'd be her cue to turn bright pink.
A squeeze to her hand? Chevy looks at the withdrawing hand.
And then she looks Hawksley in the eye again.
Tough when you're broke? A slow, quiet nod.
Scruffy look? ... Okay, she has to grin there.

She made a promise to her mother, not so long ago, that she wouldn't cry in public. Even if she -wants- to. Even if she wants to share in the emotions that this wonderful man has brought about -- to show him how much his words have -affected- her. Because she's in an internationally-recognized program now -- one in which cameras could conceivably be -anywhere- now, bringing her emotions to the whole wide world. And yet...

When she looks back at Hawksley? When she sees his confidence? -He- gives her strength.

And now that he's used levity as a tool, a way to -restore- confidence in this healing process, she can stand strong. And smile back at him, through eyes that grow more tearful the more he talks about her Paw. Who sees -his- soul, through the unblemished lens of her own shared experiences.

"Well. I'll thank you for saying all of those wonderful things then, Hawksley." She flashes a coquettish grin. "... Because..." She takes a breath -- fearful that she might -lose- that tenuous grip on her emotions otherwise. "Because Mama's been tellin' me somethin' like that... for years." She looks down for a moment, gathering thoughts. "And because she didn't go to the bar... she -wasn't- interested in fightin'... I'd always figured she wouldn't know what he really thought."

She looks back up, folding her hands upon the shopping bag once again. "But you, you've... walked that path. You've seen what he sees. That... light that I haven't found -just- yet, but maybe I'm startin' to." She unfolds her hand, scratching the back of her head. "... And I realized that maybe I just didn't want to hear it from -her-. But from -him-."

Her gaze droops, once more -- but just for a little instant. Her blue eyes seem brighter now. Her will considerably stronger than before.

"I really needed to hear that, Hawksley. From the bottom of my heart... thank you."

"I used to visit granny Moore every Sunday for my lunch back in Ireland" Hawksley explains. "My granda Moore only passed away last year, so she's still grieving him. I am myself too, I suppose. He was a grand old fella. He left me his pocket watch, which is just about the only possession I have that means anything to me."

"Since I left, I've been keeping up with her on Zoom. She's so hilarious. She insists on having a tropical island background. I'm like, I know you're sitting in your little flat in Cork City, granny. So the next time she comes on a call, there she is with her sun hat and shades, sipping on a cocktail." He shakes his head, laughing as he recalls the memory.

Then he looks directly at Chevy and he sees the emotion on her face and the tears welling up in her eyes. He offers her a gentle smile and swallows hard, feeling moved himself by what he imagines she must be feeling.

"You don't have to thank me for that either, Chevy. I'm just speaking from my heart so I am. It sounds like your mama is a wise woman. She knew and loved your paw, so even though she may not have always been able to relate directly to his experience, she will have known something of the man inside."

"I'm honoured you've been able to be so open with me about this and while I can't be him, I'd be happy to lend a listening ear anytime you need one. If you've got room in your life, you can consider yourself having a new friend.

"Don't think it will get you out of being punched in the face with great force if we fight each other though" he adds with a playful nudge.

"It's all magic to me. I mean, it's kinda neat being -able- to put yourself in different places. Especially if they're places that make you happy, right?" Chevy grins -- and then looks askance for a moment. "It might be fun to try! Your granny's a trendsetter!"

Chevelle is definitely in a better place after sharing thoughts with Hawksley. He says he doesn't -have- to thank her... and yet, Chevy gives the smile of someone who really really -wants- to, all the same.

"She is, yeah. I was starting to lose my mind at the party, you know. So much of this and that, trying to talk to Mr Abigail, and make all these connections. And... I just had to step out and call Mama." She raps her knuckles on her phone by way of indication. "And she kinda told me what I needed to hear -- that I needed to remember to live in the moment." She nods her head downward. "And that's when I realized I'd almost forgotten the charms."

She's ecstatic when Hawksley mentions his listening ear. And she'd be just about to comment on that when he talks about punching her in the face.

And Chevy... just... snickers, at first. A moment later, it breaks into full-on laughter, to such a degree she's got to cover her mouth with her hand.

She regains control a few seconds later. "Haha. Yeah. There've been times I've thoughta Paw when I've seen you, but that'd be a key difference."

Chevelle smiles back at Hawksley -- though, as she looks to the window just past him, she draws in her breath. "Yeah. You told me not to thank you but I'm gonna anyway. Just about to roll up on my stop, here. You got any thoughts on what you'd like to try cookin'?"

"I'm sorry to hear you were struggling at the party. It was a strange old night, so it was."

He joins in her laughter, as she absorbs that a friendship with him doesn't mean a free ticket out of violence. "Coco asked me not to punch her in the face before our fight. I didn't listen for a minute. I wouldn't punch my kids if I had them though, obviously" he quickly adds. "Or anyone else who wasn't up for a brawl."

He considers Chevy's question about what to cook, then consults his phone before suggesting "How about chicken fried steak and pimento cheese grits, followed by apple stack cake?"

He stands up to allow her to access the aisle, so she can get off at her stop.

"Strange, yeah..." The American grins at that, brushing a loose lock of hair behind her ear. "Had a blast though. Glad I stuck around, for sure..."

"Of course. Gotta keep the civilians unharmed," she commisserates. "I'll just make a point of not putting my face in the way of your fist." Chevy seems amused at the thought. "... I mean, heck, faces -are- a pretty big target. I don't think there's ever been any -rules- against face shots." Miss Beaumont offers a faint shrug. "Truth be told though, if someone's to take a shot at my face I warn't be upset if it's a friend."

She thinks about that thought, just a moment, tapping her cheek. "... I mean. In a professional setting, an' all." Beat. "But you knew what I meant. I hope." A giddy smile ensues.

As she starts to slip out from her seat, her eyes widen in surprise. "Wow, that was... specific. And quick!" Looping her shopping bag around an arm, she raises her cellphone, but considers against taking the time to type in the entree names. "Never made the apple stack cake, but I'll look it up. Chicken fried steak and pimento cheese grits, though, are right up my alley!"

And now... awkwardness again. As Chevy extends a hand, she hesitates, looking down at Hawksley's hand. Is he a hug person, a handshake person, or a fist-bump person -- or none of the above? She's just resolved to meet him on whichever he prefers, at any rate.

"We'll meet up! Take care, Hawksley. And thanks!"

Hawksley is definitely a hugger and therefore Chevy will find herself enveloped in a pair of strong arms. He pats her on the back lightly with his hand and then pulls back, admitting when he does "I may have googled North Carolina food and picked some of the first things that came up. They do sound delicious though."

This said, he offers her a wave goodbye. "Look after yourself, Chevy. Let me know when it's time for my first lesson."

He slips back into the now vacant seat and watches out the window. It'll be another couple of stops before he gets to the bar he's heading for.

Chevy is, truth be told, a hugger as well. Much like Hawksley, she'd felt compelled to freshen up after her fight, so Hawksley might be able to detect the scent of oranges. (She'll never forgive the company for discontinuing the peach line she'd favored...)

"Oh," she answers with a toothy grin. Now that he's -explained- that he just Googled it, that makes sense. "That'd do it! ... And -I- think they're delicious but I'll let you be the judge." She taps her fingers together, adding quickly "-- and cook."

The bus won't stay stopped forever though. The redhead waves hurriedly, and makes her way off the bus.

And before she forgets... she pulls up the recipe for apple stack cake. No time like the present!

Emerging from the shelter of the bus stop is an unmistakable figure: the titanic form of Zog. He peeks his head in through the front door of the bus. "Hey, is this the bus where Brian is supposed ta be fightin' the sword guy?" he asks. Frowning when he sees that the only familiar face on board is Hawksley, he sighs. "Ah, shucks. I was gonna cheer for that guy!" Shrugging his shoulders, he starts wandering off down the road in search of the fighter he intends to support.

Log created on 15:08:09 06/17/2023 by Chevy, and last modified on 07:26:55 06/20/2023.