NFG Season One - Un-Ghosting

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Description: A cake-fuelled Coco goes looking for trouble and finds him drinking at the Dead Squirrel.

It's not difficult to track Hawksley Moore down these days. He's frequently to be found on a bench seat in The Dead Squirrel or failing that, propping up the bar at The Dead Squirrel. By now all the staff know his name, as do all the regulars. The tourists who wander in to the Irish pub soon become his buddies, charmed by his authentic accent and colourful stories. If he had his way he'd probably sleep here, resting his dark head down on the bar and being awakened by the smell of breakfast cooking.

Tonight he's in fine fettle, fresh from a fitness session and thirsty for a bit (a lot) of the black stuff, chased down by some Jamesons. He flashes a smile to the faces he recognises, checks out those he doesn't and then sits his backside down on a bar stool.

"A pint of Guinness and whatever you're drinking" he tells Johnny, who seems to somewhow always be serving here, no matter the day or hour that Hawksley stops by.

The brawler has come dressed in a light grey hoody with a picture of the Cork coat of arms on the front. The design shows a ship with a castle tower either side. Under this are the words 'Cork City' in black lettering, then below that, a black triangular shape with 'Football Club 1984' in white lettering. On his legs are a pair of light grey jogging pants that taper in at the ankles. The look is completed by white Nike Waffle sneakers with mesh sides and black rubber soles.

The bar is busy, in fact the Irishman has never seen it totally empty. It usually seems to have a steady stream of customers during its opening times. He's come here tonight looking for company, conversation and cailins. Not that he's aiming to take anyone back to the Blaze base with him, it's just pleasant to have a pretty face to look at whilst a lad is getting slowly scuttered.

Into the bar comes a feminine figure clad in a pair of baggy-legged blue cargo jeans and a cropped white hoodie with 'METRO CITY' in graffiti-style blue text with a pink outline from one sleeve to the other. The hood is pulled up over a pink and white Rockstar Original ballcap, the bill making the girl's facial features hard to make out other than a pair of glossy pink lips. She doesn't say anything as she approaches what she reckons is likely the only genuine Irishman in this tourist trap. Strangely, she's got a half-eaten slice of cake on a paper plate that she's brought in with her, and as she plonks her badonkadonk down on the stool next to Hawksley's, she sticks her plastic fork into the remains and scoops out a piece, popping it in her mouth.

"Mmm," is all the noise that the girl makes as she savours the dessert.

"Mmm" indeed thinks the Irishman, as he clocks the curvaceous cailin coming to sit by him.

The clothes scream street, the pink lips suggest sex appeal. Hawksley turns his head to get a better look at her. He doesn't think he's seen her in The Dead Squirrel before but somehow she seems familiar.

"How you doing, cailin?" he questions, his tone easy and breezy. "Can I be getting you a drink now to go with your cake?"

It seems strange to him that she's brought her own dessert to a drinking establishment. Although maybe she's just been out for a meal and couldn't manage to munch it all in one go.

"What kind of cake is it?" he continues to chatter. "Do I get to have a bite?"

The girl pauses in the midst of a second frosting-covered bite before slowly dragging the fork through her teeth. The bill remains low over her face as she turns her knees toward Hawksley, the leg of her jeans brushing against his. She reaches down and delicately takes the remaining piece of cake between finger and thumb and lifts it up toward Hawksley's mouth, pushing it toward his lips... before suddenly diverting her aim to shove it into his nose.

"I'll have a strawberry cider, Lucky," she requests in a posh London accent as she wipes her fingers off on his pants leg. "It'll chase the cream cheese frosting nicely."

Setting the plate and fork down on his lap and turning back to the bar, the girl reaches up to pull back her hood with one hand before pulling the cap off with the other, setting it atop the head of a bearcat as it wanders over into the space between them, before shaking out her shoulder-length purple hair.

"I can see exactly where I went wrong with you, Hawksley Moore. Chasing cake off of any random girl wandering in off the street? You're a thirsty bastard."

She pulls her knees together and rests her forearms on the bartop. "Nice to know you like my new look, though."

"What the feck?" Hawksley laughs.

"Well you're a cheeky..."

He stops mid sentence when he realises who his attacker is, wiping the frosting from his nose and adding it to what's already smeared on his jeans.

"Strawberry cider for the cailin, Johnny" he orders before turning back to the Brit and her bearcat. "Morgy, it's been a while. How you doing, fella?"

He reaches out a hand to pet the top of the Captain's head through the cap and then continues on to Coco, ruffling her purple locks roughly. "I haven't seen your face about much either since The Rumble. How have you been? You know, other than coming into a fella's local and thrusting your cake in his face?"

Johnny sets the pink tinged liquid down in front of Coco with an amused expression. "Making friends again I see, Hawkman."

"Something like that" the brawler banters back at the barman. "Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say becoming reacquainted with old ones."

His dark eyes look his former teammate up and down, taking in the full ensemble. "It's different" is as complimentary as he manages to get.

The binturong responds with interest as Hawksley puts his head, pushing up onto the Irishman's leg and chuckling. Coco, on the other hand, frowns with irritation evident in her features at Hawksley's rough treatment of her purple hair.

"You're messing up my hair, Lucky," she whinges, although the cap-and-hood combination had already done a decent job of doing so. She smooths it down as best she can, then lifts her glass. "Cheers."

She takes a long swig from her cider before wiping her lips off with the sleeve of her sweatshirt.

She scoffs at his reaction.

"Yes, Lucky, I do change clothes from time to time, and no, I don't always spend over a thousand pounds on an ensemble. And while this outfit is certainly destined for charity auction, you must admit, my ass does look good in these jeans."

She sets her glass back down, leaning forward and resting her elbows against the bar as she turns her face toward Hawksley's, her posture making their conversation a little more private.

"As for not seeing me since the Rumble, it's not like we saw much of each other for the two weeks before it, either. You hurt me, Lucky, and you were the only person I considered a mate in a five thousand mile radius. Are you really going to hold me needing alone time against me? After that disaster of a drive home?"

Hawksley's handsome face lights up when the binturong responds positively. He'd grown attached to the furry little fella in the time he'd spent with him and his owner and he hasn't seen him since the cuddly creature had sat on his lap after his raucous Rumble exit.

"You suit the whole bedhead look" he compliments Coco. "I was just helping you out with it, so I was."

There's a twinkle in his eyes and a mischievous grin on his face as he finds himself slipping back into his familiar role around the Chelsea girl. "Your arse looks grand as always and there's nothing wrong with your clothes. I'm just used to something a bit more club than street corner."

As soon as the words are out of his mouth, the brawler is backtracking. "I mean, standing on a street corner with a gang, not looking for punters."

He's about to laugh off his loose language when he realises that this might not be the lighthearted visit he thought. Coco wants to confront what's happened between them. Hawksley reaches for his glass and takes a long drink.

"That was a bloody hellish journey, to be sure. I've never meant to hurt you though. I mean, other than the times I pushed you over. That was just for the craic though."

Hawksley's comments about bedhead and her attire only draw looks that need no words to accompany them. Coco does not appear best pleased by any of it. Except the part where he said her arse always looks grand.

"Ah, yes. The 'craic' seems to be quite the driving force in your decision-making process. You do realise you asked the whole of Metro City, with its infamous history of being the most drug crime-ridden metropolis in America, where you could find some 'craic,' don't you, Lucky? On a vlog, of all things. Have Interpol been in touch?"

As derisive and sarcastic as she may sound, Coco appears amused by the situation.

"By the by, is it true what you said on that podcast? About not being involved with Chevy? Or do you just like to keep the 'single and ready to mingle' brand going in case you meet any 'cailins' in a bar?"

"Oh yeah, that has been mentioned in the comments section" Hawksley snickers. "I've not had Interpol or any of the city's finest knocking on my door, so I haven't. I did get some information on exactly where I could find the craic though. I decided to pass on their kind offers."

He gulps some more Guinness and then considers Coco's question regarding Chevy. "I never was involved with her" he claims. "The only thing between the two of us was friendship. You were just getting your knickers in a twist about the whole thing. I would have explained things sooner if you'd answered my bloody messages."

He shakes his head in disbelief, exasperated by the British babe's behaviour.

"As far as I'm concerned I've been single this whole time. I know we were shagging and all but we never made it official. You wanted to keep it all secret, so you did. By the way, if you were trying to fool people about your feelings for me, you weren't doing too grand a job."

Coco smirks as Hawksley comments on his pursuit of craic, then lowers her silver eyes for a moment as he continues by explaining what had happened with Chevy.

"Well, you certainly made it look like you were having a good time with her when I walked in on the two of you. The sexual tension was bloody palpable. Then when I was trying to make it clear that she needed to back off, she started going on like you were sneaking off to see her every time you said you were going to the pub. She was still running her mouth off when she was lying on the ground. So of course I gave her a kicking. Perfectly legal, and appropriate under the circumstances."

Coco takes a sip from her strawberry beverage, her cheeks matching the hue of the cider. Whether for embarrassment or anger, it's hard to tell.

"And then you decided to take her to her hotel. As if she didn't have plenty of other people who could have done that. And you never called. You just let me stew in it. That was totally a play, by the way. She baited me into hurting her so she'd get you alone."

The cake-fuelled delight with which Coco had first entered the bar is all but gone from her features. In fact, she almost looks like she could cry in her cider if she slipped any further into Feelingsville.

"And obviously I wasn't going to be able to compete after all of that. So I thought it best if I gave you some space. I had my own stuff to sort out, anyway."

Hawksley holds his hands up (metaphorically speaking) to what Coco has to say about the way he handled things. "I admit I could have been a bit more sensitive, so I'm sorry about that. I was just enjoying myself though, having a laugh. I like Chevy a lot and if I'm baking with someone then my instinct is to throw flour over them. Unless it's my mammy, 'cause she'd fecking kill me."

"You've got to see it from Chevy's point of view too. She had no clue we'd been fooling around with each other. Nobody did, because that's what you wanted. As far as she was concerned, she had as much freedom to flirt with me as you did. You were acting like I was your property when you hadn't made any purchase."

He stops to take a swig of beer before continuing.

"Maybe it was wrong of her to lie to you and wind you up about the fact I'd been paying her visits but I told her she wasn't innocent in the matter" the Irishman informs Coco. "I took her back to the hotel because I felt responsible for her. It was because of me you put the boot in and I was also bloody well worried about her being alone. Ichika even asked me to take care of her."

His drink is drained dry now, so he signals to Johnny for another, indicating to get Coco one too. Apparently they aren't too strict on checking I.D.s here or maybe the barman is just trusting Hawksley's word on his companion's age.

"I didn't call right away because I was helping her settle and also because I was mad at you, truth be told. My phone then did run out of juice though. I was lying awake while she was sleeping and looking shite up on it. After that, well it was time for my fight and then there you were at the beach. I was gonna talk to you afterwards, I told you as much but then fecking Juri came along and kidnapped you, which led to the rescue, then the ride home and..."

Their drinks are placed in front of them and Hawksley takes a mouthful, licking the foam from his lips.

"It's all just one big fecking misunderstanding and the funny thing is, I don't think any of us did much wrong or are bad people. Everyone was just getting caught up in their emotions, which reminds me, I shouldn't have grabbed your wrist so roughly when we were on the roof of the Frost warehouse. I acted in anger and I'm fecking ashamed of myself."

As his dark eyes seek out Coco's silvery ones, he seems to be sincere in his remorse. "I miss you, Coco Pops. We had a good craic together, so we did. Before you went all crazy on me anyway."

Coco is quick to catch up with Hawksley's pace, her own glass emptied not long after his. She maintains the posture she's been in, watching Hawksley's face closely for any tells that he might be trying to mislead her. She trusts her instincts, though, especially now that she's had her eyes opened to her own sensitivities - metaphorically speaking. She does make a mental note of Ichika's recommendation that Hawksley take care of Chevy. Either the girl is totally innocent, or totally in-on-it. Why else would she have left Chevy's care up to a scruffy bloke like Hawksley? And she'd said something or other that had wound Coco up on the ride home...

"Well, I hope you'll finally take my word that I wasn't in trouble with Juri - at least, not once we were off her motor. She drives like a bloody lunatic, but she didn't have bad intentions, other than looking for a scrap."

She leans a little closer as Hawksley absolves the behaviour of everyone based on emotion. "I can admit that I probably wasn't on top form then. I was bloody cold and I was stuck between wanting to get home, not wanting aught to do with anyone, and following instructions that I thought were a bit boring. But yes, if you're going to grab me roughly, we'd best either be fighting or f-"

The curve of her lips is starting to turn devilish when Hawksley's dropping of the 'c' word registers with her.

"Crazy? You what, mate?"

Suddenly, she's scowling at him. Then, she grabs her freshly-poured pint and splashes it on him before slamming it back down on the bartop indignantly. And without another word, she slides off of the stool and starts half-storming, half-sauntering toward the back exit of the bar, turning her head over her shoulder when she reaches the door to stick her tongue out petulantly at Hawksley before disappearing out of it.

The door cracks open a moment later to let Captain Morgan through as he scratches at the base of it before closing again.

Then, if Hawksley doesn't follow her out, he'll soon get a text.

Hawksley isn't convinced about Juri not meaning trouble. "Whatever you say, Coco" he murmurs as she speaks. "As long as she's treating you right as your sponsor and all."

"Yeah, none of us were at our best on the ride home from the warehouse" he agrees. "We were tired, hungry and in pain. That's without mentioning all the awkwardness."

He's amused by her acceptance of his apology. She's turned it from being something he'd been fretting about to a bit of fun. Maybe there's hope that they can be friends again.

No sooner does he dare to hope this than he feels the cold, pink liquid hitting his hoody and then trickling down to his light grey pants. It kinda looks like he's wet himself.

"Nice job proving you're not crazy, Coco" he calls after her retreating form, having no intention of following her. Johnny hands him a towel to dab himself off but the damage is done.

Figuring he can at least finish his pint off now he's got it, he remains calmly on his stool, sipping at it slowly. The barman gives him a look of sympathy that Hawksley simply shrugs off. "What can you do, Johnny? he remarks. "We've all been there." He reckons he will just put the whole thing behind him and head back to the Blaze base.

Then his phone buzzes and he looks down to see a text.

Coming? - Coco

"Jesus" the Irishman dramatically sighs.

Downing what's left of his pint, he pushes the glass on to the bar and then offers a wave to Johnny. "If I don't come back in a hour, send a search party" he suggests. As he stands up, some cider drips off his hoody. "If this fecking top stains" he mutters. "It's not like I'm likely to find another Cork one in Metro City."

Pulling open the back door to the bar, he steps outside into the alley beyond. It's kept reasonably tidy out here, compared to some boozers he's been in and all that's visible are the bins. Oh, and a British woman and her bearcat.

"Alright, you got me here" Hawksley announces. "Is this where you try and convince me you're not crazy again by attacking me or something?" he wonders. "At least if that's your plan then make sure Morgie it out of the line of fire."

Coco is waiting next to the doorway when Hawksley finally steps out into the cool night air, just out of immediate line of sight. When he emerges, she starts stalking straight up to him, throwing her hands onto his shoulders to establish a clinch.

And then, unless he manages to break free of the grapple, he'll find her pushing up on her tippy-toes, slinging her arms behind his neck, and pressing her glossy lips against his, pulling him into a lively kiss as she leans her body into his. Her lips taste of strawberry and cream frosting.

"You never got a chance to taste the cake," she says with a slight shrug of her shoulders as she breaks it off.

Then, she looks down at her front, noting that there's been transference of cider and cake onto her own jeans.

"And you've made a bit of a mess, Lucky. Good thing I'm not overly attached to these," she says, reaching down for the button at the top of the trousers.

"No, no, no no!"

Now there are many men (and women) who would love to be in this lucky lad's position right now. Coco is a total stunner and it's obvious what she's looking for here. Hawksley has his own sanity to think about though.

Not that he isn't tempted. Before the words of protest come, there's a brief moment where his lips start to move against hers, savouring the sweetness of the strawberry and cream taste.

He steps back from her, putting some distance between himself and the disrobing darling. "Coco, you know I fancy you but I've got to use my brain and not my body for a bit. Otherwise things will get a lot messier than the cake on our clothes."

"Now fasten your pants and let's talk for a a while."

The idea of putting conversation over canoodling would have seemed a crazy concept to the Cork City charmer not so long ago. Maybe he's maturing? Or perhaps he's just in the business of self preservation.

The look on Coco's face as she's left with her hands on her fastener and being told to keep her pants on is one of utter shock, her mouth dropping. Then, she scowls.

"You said you were free, Lucky! You would've jumped a total stranger not half an hour ago!" she protests, stepping back toward Hawksley and trying to grab hold of his shirt for comfort and to keep him from retreating again.

"Come on. You said it. It was all a misunderstanding. We've kissed, now let's make up. Come onnn."

She brings her hands back down to her jeans, making a wiggling motion with the waistband using her thumbs and fingers.

"We can talk after. Promise."

"I am free" Hawksley protests "and I would not have shagged a total stranger. I might have flirted with one, but I wasn't planning on taking anyone home or into this back alley for that matter."

As she grabs at his shirt he is halted in position, his dark eyes pleading with the purple haired girl.

"Coco, please." It would be so easy to give in to her but then that would just put him right back in the same place.

"If I fuck you now, I've no doubt it would be fun and it'll make us both feel fantastic for a while. How about after though? I think I'd rather hear what you have to say first and then I can make an informed decision."

When did the scrapper get so sensible?

Coco gives Hawksley a confused look. She's clearly not accustomed to being denied in this particular department. Especially not twice. If it happens a third time? She'd feel properly crucified.

She lets out a sigh. Best not risk it.

"Fine. But the ball's in your court to do something about it if you change your mind. I'm not going to beg."

How does Hawksley manage to fluster her so badly? She'd almost got shot of this whole mess. It's probably the cake's fault.

"I don't even see what the problem is. You've never been a second guesser before. That's one of the reasons I fancy you. You're like, so don't-give-a-fuck, but also mostly not an arsehole."

She pouts at him pleadingly. "You haven't gone off me, have you? I swear I only poured cider over you so we'd have an excuse to come out here and have angry - you know."

"No, I haven't gone off you, Coco" Hawksley claims, resting his back against the brick wall.

"Is it any wonder that I'm wary though? After all the mixed messages I was getting. You were wanting to keep having sex with me secret like some schoolgirl. Was that out of snobbiness because you think I'm scruffy or did you feel it would be too sinful or something?"

"So I play along with your suggestion and then you get all freaked out when people who think I'm free are flirting with me. So I ask you, if we were to go at it right now in this alley, what would happen afterwards? Is it a one off to get me out of your system? If so, fine, I can live with that. Or do you want it to go somewhere? Because if you are wanting that, then I think it might be better if we're at least honest about it."

Coco folds her arms across her chest as Hawksley speaks, cocking a hip to one side as she waits for him to finish before answering.

"You /are/ scruffy, Lucky. You go topless in the same jeans every fight. You don't bother shaving half the time. You're obsessed with a band who recorded themselves puking in the bog. You don't even have a real fighting style, you just brawl like it's a bad Saturday in your local dive. And you'd probably say that's a good Saturday. You're scruffy in all the right ways."

She huffs, scuffing her (relatively) cheap shoes against the alley floor as she turns her eyes down to it.

"And I don't want to admit to everyone how badly I need that. I don't want to wind up on the Daily Mail's gossip page. And no, if I'm honest, I don't want my parents to know about it, because I'd rather be ignored than condescended upon."

She looks up to Hawksley's face, a vulnerability in her silver eyes that she hasn't shown before.

"And I'm sorry if keeping it secret's been bad for you, but honestly, I love the dirty thrill of it. Which is there because I genuinely don't want to get caught. And I also don't want to just be 'Hawksley's Girlfriend' to everyone who watches the NFG. Not now that I care about competing. You know that sort of thing happens, don't you?"

It's Hawksley's turn to listen now and he can't help but nod along at Coco's assessment of his character, clothing and combat style. When she's finally finished, he gives her a grin and claims "Sick Party is the best hidden track of all time. They don't only vomit either. You can hear them pissing too."

There's a slightly more serious expression on his face as Coco continues and he can't help but hold out a hand to take hold of hers. If she allows it that is.

"Coco Pops. I get it. You're from a world of celebrity columns and people caring who you cuddle up to. Your mammy and da would probably throw a fit if you brought a fella like me home and I want to say feck them all. The thing is though, I wouldn't wanna upset my family with someone I brought home either. I'm just lucky that they'd accept almost anyone, as long as they were lovely."

He seems almost sorry for her situation. She may have more money to spend on a coffee than he would on a car but he wouldn't switch places with her for anything. The Irishman is thrilled that his loved ones don't care about image or income.

"You do realise if we carry on with shenanigans in secret that you can't get mad if someone makes a move on me? People aren't fecking mind readers you know. The girlfriend thing, I hadn't really given any thought to. The New Fighting Generation is dominated by women and they're just as tough and talented as the lads. More so in some cases. I won't deny I've seen it happen in in some sections of the media though and I'm a man, so I'm not gonna totally get it."

The so-called posh princess snorts when Hawksley talks about Sick Party. "I think that I turned it off by the time the pissing started. I listened to the rest of the album, though. While I was in the hotel on my own. It made me think of you." Her expression softens a little as she makes the admission.

Coco does deign to allow Hawksley to take hold of her hand. Her other hand moves up to his shoulder. She draws in a slow inhalation through her nostrils and bites her lower lip as she looks up at his face. She can see the logic in what he's saying, even if she happens to have recently become aware that he's wrong about the mind reading thing. She doesn't fancy getting into that just yet, though. There's a more important subject to broach.

"If we -were- dating, properly, would you still shag me in lifts, bogs, and alleys?" she asks him, eyes meeting his.

Hawksley laughs as he listens to Coco recalling her time spent playing '1977', his favourite album by his favourite band. He's amused by her efforts to endure 'Sick Party' and touched by the fact she wished to be reminded of him.

"Are you going soft on me, Coco?" he teases, holding her hand in his as the two of them talk.

He moves his other hand to under her chin, cupping it and then stroking her cheek with his thumb. As she gazes up at him, he sticks his tongue out at her in retaliation for her giving him the same gesture earlier.

Her question causes his eyes to widen and then light up in delight. "Of course I bloody would. Why change a recipe that works? Although, we haven't actually done it in an alley yet..."

"Well, that's only because you interrupted me," Coco points out with a chastising glare that melts into a sly grin as she leans her lips up again toward Hawksley's.

==*== SOMETIME LATER ==*==

"Well, there's another one off the bucket list," Coco says as she tugs her jeans up over her waist and fastens the clasp back into place before turning around to face Hawksley, leaning back against the wall to catch her breath. After a few seconds, she brushes her hair out of her face and smiles.

"Good to know you missed me after all. I still don't see why we couldn't have done things the other way 'round, though." As she speaks, she runs her hands over her body, fixing the numerous micromalfunctions of her wardrobe in the aftermath.

"I was actually planning to ask you to swear fealty when I had you in a compromising way. I wasn't expecting you to demand it before we got started. At least we're on the same page, aren't we?"

She steps up to Hawksley, looking to pull herself up and plant another smooch on his lips.

"Let's just hope that barman's smoke break wasn't too ruined."

"Do you actually keep a bucket list?" the Irishman marvels.

He's looking a bit disheveled himself, between the stains from the cake and cider earlier and the alley antics with Coco.

"Trust me. It was better this way. Although, while we're on that subject, can I just check the small print? You were all for keeping it secret earlier and then you started asking about us dating properly, which in my mind means we don't have to be sneaking around. So what way do you wanna play this? Privately or publicly? Not that I'm going to start doing promos about us or anything, but just in case anyone asks."

She's joking about the barman on a smoke break but Hawksley does remember that he told Johnny to send out a search party if he was gone for more than an hour. Since it's getting close to that now, he's glad the two fighters are at least fully clothed again.

"I suppose it's really more whatever I fancy," Coco concedes on the question of bucket lists. "But sort of. Like going to a Full Moon Party in Thailand, or meeting Tia Langray, or saving an endangered species."

Or a dirty back-alley shag, apparently.

The purple-haired minx screws up her lips and brows a little as Hawksley seeks clarification on their relationship status.

"Well..." she says, approaching and slinging her arms around his neck, "...I reckon we should maintain an 'unofficial' 'ship. You know, let people make what they will. No comment, winky face sort of thing." She flutters her eyelashes up at him as she makes the proposal.

"But we should definitely be an item. Just not go shooting interviews about our love life or what have you. It might be enough to keep us out of my parents' notice, which would be better for everyone involved, but we can still have fun and spend loads of time together. You can even tell people you're spoken for. Just, you don't have to name names. And nobody in the media needs to know anything firsthand."

She leans her head against his chest and squeezes him.

"But definitely boyfriend and girlfriend, behind closed doors. If you're up for it."

Morgie, who's been having a nap since he was forgotten some time ago, steps out from under a cardboard box and starts climbing up on the pair's pants legs, apparently wanting in on the cuddle.

"You're good at getting what you fancy, aren't you?" Hawksley comments to Coco with a quirk of his eyebrow.

"So we aren't going to be putting on disguises to go out for dinner but we also aren't going to be inviting Hello magazine home with us for a couple's photo shoot either?"

The image of this is hilarious to him and his body starts to vibrate with laughter. "I can just imagine Mammy and Da Coalbridge choking on their caviar and cornflakes while they'd reading their celebrity magazine. At home with Hawksley and Coco. The Irish fella showed us his collection of knackered jeans and stolen beer glasses, while the British beauty let us into the designer delights of her closet."

Morgie moves in to seal the deal in the flirty female's favour. Hawksley gathers him up in his arms and tugs on the baseball cap on his head. "It looks like you're gonna be seeing a lot more of me, little fella."

"I mean, you already know I'm up for fancy dress if you've got something in mind," Coco says with a self-satisfied smirk as she idly plays with the hair at the back of Hawksley's head, winking at him before stealing another kiss. She settles back down on her soles, nibbling on her lower lip. "If only," she mutters about the prospect of her parents choking on their caviar and cornflakes. Then she crinkles her nose.

"Caviar and cornflakes? Hawksley, have you ever had caviar?"

She lets her tongue out for a moment in a look of disgust, pretending to retch.

"I bet that's what Ash had before they recorded Sick Party."

Then, smiling, she looks back up at him.

And a little bit of a guilty expression creeps onto her face.

"So, there's actually something I was hoping I could ask you as a favour," she says, looking slightly sheepish. "And I promise, it's not why I've agreed to be a bit more open about us dating, although it does sort of dovetail nicely with that part."

"Now there's a thought." Hawksley starts to ponder the purple haired princess in fancy dress atire. "I'll make a list of my top choices for you to pick up."

The stroking of his hair soothes him and sends him into a sleepy state. He feels his body slump whilst Coco continues to chatter.

"Have I feck had caviar. Why would I want to eat fish eggs? There's perfectly good chicken eggs in the world. I'm guessing it's gross though, as our American friends would say, from the look on your face."

When she mentions she has a favour to ask, he actually feels his stomach flip. Before she says the words, he's already wondering if that's what all this had been about. Apparently it's not though, so he can at least hear her out.

"What would you be wanting from me then, Coco? he asks curiously. "Do you need your shopping bags carrying or somebody beating up? Because I'm pretty sure you're strong enough to handle either of those yourself."

Coco gives Hawksley a flat look at his comment on caviar that continues with his suggestions of things that she might need assistance with.

"No. If I needed either of those things doing, I'd pay somebody," she says nonchalantly, flicking her hair back. "Look, I want you to keep an eye out for Genie. That's all. And I might need an excuse to come 'round and check on her now and again without arousing suspicion. So, you're going to possibly have to make yourself available for booty calls. Do you think you can handle those responsibilities? Because you're the only one that I trust with either of them."

She wraps her arms around his middle and rests her chin on his chest as she does her best puppy-dog eyes up at him.

Looking down at Coco, the Irish lad frowns for a moment. "I thought you couldn't stand Genie. Something about her stealing your hair or something I heard. Oh hold up. Weren't you supposed to be fighting her today? How did that work out?"

He stops to study her. You aren't looking too messed up, so I'm guessing she got the worst of it. I suppose I should be disappointed with that, since she's my teammate and not you these days."

"Why do you think she needs looking after though? Did you break her legs or something? Or maybe her ribs..."

He sighs at the Frost fighter. "Have you been up to your old tricks again, Constance?"

"What? No!" Coco says with a pout at Hawksley's insinuations. "We had a good time, actually. I mean, I busted her nose a bit, and may have given her a black eye or two, but it was all in good fun. We went out for cake after our match. That's where I brought that slice from. It was leftovers."

She lets out an indignant huff.

"I just think she's a bit... vulnerable, I suppose. I don't know if I trust the sponsors at Blaze to take proper care of her. I mean, I managed under them, but only because I'm so fiercely independent-minded and self-reliant. Genie could probably do with looking after, that's all I'm saying. You're awfully questioning of my motives today, you know."

"Cake? Well I suppose it makes a change from beer or burgers" the Blaze brawler comments, looking relieved.

"She does seem a gentle soul, for a fighter at least. So sure, I don't mind looking out for her. It's funny you mention it actually because I met a woman in the bar who suggested I should train with her. It seems everybody wants me to interact with Genie."

Johnny pops his head out the back door, sending out that search party as requested. When he sees the couple cosying up, he slips back inside, stopping only to give Hawksley a salute on the way.

"We've got some new sponsors now. Kongou and Miss September and Yuri has left. They both seem interesting so far. The set up we have is pretty sweet actually. They've got us training in an old boxing gym that used to belong to M. Bison. You know, him who did the Macarena."

"You mean him who murdered the nelly," Coco says with a disapproving frown. "And I thought we all agreed that that was a gas leak. By the way, what's with your choice of pubs? Of all the places in Metro City, you had to choose the one whose name you must have known would trigger me. I swear you do everything you can to wind me up," she says with a harmless smack of the back of her fingers against Hawksley's chest. "I suppose that I'll have to put up with the Bison thing, seeing as you have no control over it, but surely you could choose a boozer that doesn't affiliate itself with animal harm."

"It's a grand boozer" Hawksley protests. "I'm not stopping coming here. That's non-negotiable."

When Coco smacks her fingers against him, he retailiates with a tug of her hair. "Yes to the booty calls, by the way. If that wasn't a given. We've got our own apartments by the gym, so we should have some privacy from prying eyes."

He yawns loudly in her ear. "Do you wanna get out of here now? We could go get some food if you aren't full up on cake. I hear there's a decent Italian somewhere around here."

"Such a hard line," Coco says with a pout as Hawksley tugs on her hair. "Well, seeing as they serve, I suppose I can look the other way in this instance. And it was totally a given."

She smirks with amusement at the yawn in her ear.

"Sure, we can go for Italian. As long as you're not so knackered that you'll fall asleep and leave me to get kidnapped by the mafia. I'm pretty sure Metro is famous for kidnapped girlfriends."

That wasn't the Mafia, and it was only the one time, really, but the mayor's daughter getting kidnapped really tends to stick in the public's perception of a town.

Log created on 16:26:16 09/16/2023 by Coco, and last modified on 20:08:26 09/18/2023.