Description: Chevy decides to take a trip to Blaze HQ to look for Braun but she's not expecting to run into Hawksley...literally.
It's been something of a hectic week for Chevelle Beaumont. A challenging fight against Braun and an even more challenging welfare visit with Coco were the paramount sources of stress for the North Carolinian -- and it seemed, in many ways, that the more she'd tried to resolve the situation, the worse things had gotten.
So, under trusted advice, she just... stopped trying so hard. It went against every fiber of her being -- and yet, when even her caring mother chimed in with the same advice, it was hard to ignore the allure of simply not giving a damn.
In a way, Chevy has been longing to return to her home garage for a few weeks now. Working with Buck on his truck has been a nice sidebar -- but in a shared space, with someone else's tools, on iron that's -not- Chevrolet... it's not -quite- the same. She wants to get back out on the open road, to feel the wind in her hair, a pleasant rumble resonating throughout her body. It was nice being able to drive the Blazer -- the crossover SUV, to be specific -- in Sunshine City, but she hasn't been able to work up any similar advertising deals here. Particularly after the optics of the fight that put her in a crestfallen mood to begin with.
So... the next best thing is belatedly taking Braun up on his offer to take the Harley CVO out for a spin. Which is why the hayseed makes a turn onto the sidewalk just outside the so-called "Blazin' HQ" in Metro City. Her reddish hair is hidden from view by a knotted hankerchief. She's wearing an old denim jacket, a black AC/DC t-shirt and worn blue jeans -- an echo of her on-stage persona that isn't right out there announcing it with a megaphone.
She has her cellphone in front of her as she walks; it's clear she needs a little GPS assistance to find the place. And, as true for citizens and out-of-towners alike, she's not -really- looking where she's headed that well...
Meanwhile, Hawksley Moore has had something of a sedate week since the confrontation in Coco's hospital room. Of course there's still been stress under the surface. Sitting in a small space with an often sleeping companion can send the mind wandering in all kinds of unwanted directions and the fact he's been sober during these hours makes it extra surreal. Everything feels just that bit sharper without something to take the edge off.
His sparring session with Braun had helped his state of mind, as well as the talk that proceeded it and the drinking that followed it. Being able to talk openly and honestly had lifted some of the burden from the Blaze brawler's shoulders.
Of course his commitments fighting wise are now over, though he has agreed with his agent, Frank that he should stick around to make an appearance at the final of the tournament. Who will be facing off there is still a matter to be decided but his favourite to win now that himself and Coco have been knocked out is still in the running.
This afternoon he's got a few hours to spare with Coco undergoing some tests that he's not able to be present for. He'd chosen to head back to the Blaze base for a session in the gym followed by a hot shower and now he's freshly changed and about to hit the town before returning to the hospital later. He's looking pretty presentable in a new cable knit sweater, freshly washed jeans and a wool coat but his face betrays his profession, given that he's currently got two black eyes and a cut across his nose.
In his eagerness to make it to 'The Highlander' he's almost running as he exits the building. Between this and being preoccupied with thoughts of his first pint, he doesn't see Chevy coming towards him and ends up crashing right into her, risking knocking the redhead over!
Chevy went from a lower-thirds placement in the International Fighting Festival, to a respectable mid-field positioning in the Rumble, to eventual points leader of the NFG. Of the NFG's entire roster, there's only been four people she hasn't traded blows with. There have been no challenges she hasn't risen to face.
Her epitaph will read: "Look Up."
To be fair, the hayseed does look up. It's just that 0.8 seconds doesn't give much time to decide on a productive course of action when it comes to avoiding a rushing Irishman -- it really only gives her enough time to blurt out, "H-hey!" with a look of wild-eyed panic.
Her extended hand is crumpled against her chest; the phone is jarred loose from the impact, sailing off to the side. The collision that follows sends her reeling backwards a few feet. Perhaps -because- of that warning, she's able to twist in such a way that she lands on her keister, sparing her the humiliation of a back or head injury. Her phone hits the pavement a moment later -- the rubber phone case absorbing the bulk of the damage, thankfully.
"Ugh, what in the--" starts the freckled fighter, looking up to her unintentional assailant. Her cheeks are red with embarassment -- she knows she -should- have been paying attention, but she also wasn't counting on someone to make a high-speed exit right at that moment...
The flush in her cheeks intensifies.
She'd known she was in Blaze territory.
But she hadn't expected to find -him- here.
She stammers, at a complete and total loss for words. It's a few seconds before she can even manage to dole out something resembling language.
"... Hi...!" Then a beat. "... In a hurry?"
"Oh Jesus, I'm so fecking sorry" Hawksley calls out, unaware initially that his victim is known to him.
The man has knocked many people over in his lifetime. Some in the course of a fight, others simply because he thought it would be fun, but on this occasion it is a genuine accident.
He looks down at the unlucky lass, holding a hand out to help her back to her feet and its then that he realises it's Chevy. "I was on my way to get a drink" he smiles somewhat bashfully. Since she knows him pretty well, it's likely this needs little more explanation.
"I was a bit excited like but I should have been looking where I was going. I hope your arse isn't too bruised. Did your phone survive?"
His dark eyes travel in that direction and then back to the downed damsel. "And here's us trying to stay out of each other's way and all. It seems like fate is fecking with us."
Not long after the awkward confrontation, Chevy had texted Hawksley just to let him know what was up. She was stressed when she'd written them -- but she had been happy to see that Hawksley's grammar and mental state were considerably better than her own. They'd agreed to... keep distant, so as not to give Coco any more cause for alarm.
She'd joked about joining a convent.
And he'd beseeched her not to cover that hair up.
Which, unfortunately, she's done in a different manner today.
She's quick to accept the hand back to her feet. "Oh, I ain't the least bit surprised..." she answers with a good-natured laugh. She dusts herself off, on that note -- biting her lip as she considers her words for a moment.
"I'll be fine!" she decides, ultimately. "Back at the farm I used to get knocked over all the time..."
It's only then that the scatterbrained Southerner remembers to pick her phone back up. "Ooh, uh..." After brushing the pavement pebbles out of the rubberized case, she gives a few tenative swipes to see if the water- and shock-resistant case did its job.
"Hm, seems so! It's gotta be pretty tough to stand up to my abuse." The hayseed flashes a warm smile.
Her expression does grow a little more strained as Hawksley mentions the elephant on the sidewalk. "... Yeah, I was... checkin' up on Braun, actually -- figurin' you'd be at the hospital." She draws in her breath, kneading her lower back to assess Hawksley's earlier concern.
"How's she doin', Hawksley?"
Hawksley seems relieved when he realises Chevy seems to have survived the fall without any serious damage. Imagine the horror if he'd took the beloved waterbender out of the contest unofficially? He can see the headlines now. Even more importantly, the Irishman wouldn't want to injure her and ruin her dreams, just because he was rushing about.
Once he's sure she's stable and steady, he releases her hand and returns her smile. "Yeah, your phone has probably been through a lot worse than being smacked by a city sidewalk."
Wow! He said sidewalk instead of pavement? Is he adjusting to American expressions after being in the country for months?
"I don't think Braun's about right now but you can come in and wait for him if you want. Is this to do with the whole Chevraun thing?" he teases. "Were you hoping he'd be home alone?"
The smirk stays on his face for a few seconds before he becomes more serious when the talk turns to Coco's state. "She's okay physically, I suppose. She's healing a little but she's still looking at some pretty nasty scarring. Mentally? I think she's worse than ever. She seems suspicious of everyone besides me and Team Frost. She even thinks the hospital staff might try and sabotage her."
Chevy hears the news about Braun -- and seems a bit crestfallen. "Oh... well, shoot! I was out on a walk to clear my head, and thought I might-could see about surprisin' him..."
The word 'Chevraun,' though, breaks her out of her momentary reverie. Chevraun thing? Redness floods back into the hayseed's cheeks.
"I warn't -particularly-, no..." she admits.
But then she remembers: Hawksley likes to tease.
"You're mommickin' me," she chides, giving Hawksley a light nudge to the shoulder. "Nngh. If I'd left my love life up to the Internet it'd be a lot more than my arse hurtin' right now. As it is, I done got enough troubles just tryin' to be good an' proper."
The more somber topic gets Chevy looking a bit downcast, though. "Ew, that's... that's rough. And I'm guessin' the hospital won't even let Morgie come visit. That's a dang shame."
She draws in her breath, her blue eyes shimmering for a moment as she searches for something intelligible to say. "Sheesh. She's so stressed out. I wish there's somethin' I could -do- to help her."
She trails off, glancing aside for a moment. "Hawksley, I cain't stop thinkin' about what she told me. That I was visitin' her to make myself feel better more than her."
She returns her gaze to Hawksley. "I mean, maybe I was, y'know? That kinda shook me."
Hawksley laughs lightly as he gets nudged and returns the gesture in kind. "You know how the internet likes to speculate about us all" he reminds the redhead, as if he needed to. "Why do you wanna be good and proper though? That doesn't seem like much fun."
When Chevy gives her thoughts on Coco he listens, waiting to respond until she's done. "Yeah, no animals allowed" he confirms. "She's been watching videos of Morgy online a lot, ones taken from the footage of her fights and such. At least I think she's mostly focused on him. Maybe she's looking at herself too."
He lets that sobering thought simmer then continues. "I know you want to help her because that's the kind of person you are. I reckon you get a lot of self worth from being of use to the people around you and that's not a crime. So perhaps it would have made you feel better if she'd let you ease her suffering but that doesn't mean it's some sinister motive. Nobody likes to see a person in genuine emotional pain, unless they're some sick fecker or something. I can't speak for physical pain, with how we spend a lot of our time but even then, it's not like we'd wish it on each other outside of matches."
He recalls all the times he's been involved in a ruckus away from the ring. "Well, you wouldn't anyway."
Not very fun? Chevy shrugs her shoulders, cracking a broad grin. "I ain't rulin' out fun! If it happens, it happens. Till then I'm just Little Miss Muffet, sat on her tuffet. I just ain't about to jump someone's bones just 'cause keyboard warriors can smoosh two names together an' make it sound funny."
The hayseed nods as Hawksley helps to rationalize through her moment of self-doubt. But... she lets herself grab for the low-hanging fruit first.
"Well, judgin' from those shiners you ain't really shyin' away from physical pain overmuch." She makes a circular gesture around one of her eyes, in case her coastal slang for a 'black eye' proves to be unfamiliar.
"But yeah. I generally just... want people to be happy, to live their best life. Last week's taught me, sometimes you just cain't force it."
She hooks her thumbs into her belt loops. "Like with Junko. I done messed up talkin' to -her-, an' she took it wrong. I don't think she even made it back to the Thunderdome."
She shrugs slowly. "I shoulda just kept my nose out of it, left the sponsors to deal with her. I'm really sorry for all the ruckus."
"Little Miss Muffet?" That does cause Hawksley to crack a smile. "Let's just hope a spider doesn't come to scare you away."
He moves his hand to his own eyes, mirroring Chevy's motion around each of them in turn. "Self inflicted" he explains. "Unless Braun can be blamed for getting in my way when I was headbutting him repeatedley. Don't worry though, we were just playing. I think we both enjoyed it as much as each other. We had a fair bit of blood to clean up afterwards though. Not to mention the spilled booze."
He nods at the hayseed's words on the happiness of others. "That seems to fit with the girl I know" he admits. "But you're damn right that you can't force things on people sometimes. You know when people go to those self help groups and such? The meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous and the like. Well from what I understand one of the steps, I'm not sure which number, is about making amends but there is an added specification to that. Where if by making them you cause added damage, harm or stress to yourself or the person you're looking to make them to, then it shouldn't be done. Now from what I can see, Junko coming so soon after that match was too stressful for Coco to cope with. Seeing the very person who caused her the pain was bound to have made her feel off balance."
He clears his throat before carrying on. "Now you came with her. Someone who is a pleasant and polite person for the most part and could be seen as somewhat of a peacemaker. The problem is that you and Coco have history. Now some of that is my fault and I hold my hands up to that but she still has negative emotions towards you, so you can see how it all escalated. Plus, she saw you offering to reward the person who harmed her on the footage, so..."
He lets out a loud sigh and links his arms together behind his neck, pushing back against them. "It was like a ticking timebomb in there. Throw in Ariastra acting like a prize bitch and the big fella showing up. I'm surprised the hospital is still standing."
As Chevy explains about Junko not returning to the Thunderdome, Hawksley is not without sympathy. "I feel sorry for the lass in a way and I know there's more shite going on than I'm privy to but Coco has to come first currently."
He reaches out a hand to rub Chevy's back. "I know you didn't mean to make her feel worse though, so if you can stop beating yourself up and focus on beating people up in the tournament, that would be grand. I'm counting on you to win now me and Coco are out of the running."
Chevy laughs. And, thinking on that a moment, she adds: "Well, there -was- a spider that one time, and then we all hopped inta Buck's truck to go squish her."
She can't help but laugh to hear the black eyes described as 'playtime.' "You boys sure play rough," she laughs. "But try to take it easy on the alcohol abuse next time."
If she'd had this talk with Hawksley earlier -- say, -before- she'd had Abigail talk to her -- there'd be a good chance that his words would have caused the hayseed to wither. But, as he spells things out in plain English -- well, his particular flavor of it, anyway -- she's able to keep her composure, nodding and taking the honest criticism for what it is. A suggestion for doing better the next time it comes up.
She can't help but smile, though, as Ariastra is given an unkind name. Again -- something that might have set her off a while back. But she can accept it for what it is, now.
She... just listens. Words are just words -- and she can accept that Hawksley's got the right view of things.
She responds positively to the back rubbing, starting to lean into Hawksley's touch. ... But then she remembers how persistent the paparazzi cameras can be; her hair being hidden is hardly a great disguise for the truly determined and/or perverse. She keeps herself in check for the moment.
"Yeah, I mean, I was so ready to boil over that day, I was just frustrated why y'all couldn't see 'the hospital's still standin' as the great success *I* did." She laughs in spite of herself, there. "I done got the cryin' jag out of the way, Hawksley. I'm good, really." She lifts up her phone by way of explanation: "It's why I ain't blowin' up your messages any more, right?"
She glances over her shoulder. "I'm doin' everythin' I can to keep my head on straight and not stress out -too- much. Was hoping a good drive through the country might help me clear my thoughts. Since Braun ain't around, though... I might see if my agent cain't scare up a rental for me."
Is there even any 'country' here in the heart of Metro City? Maybe it's just a figure of speech...
"That was the biggest and baddest spider I've ever seen" Hawksley recalls with a grimace.
"Don't you be worrying about us Blaze boys playing rough though. We can handle it, bruises and blood aside."
He intended his touch to comfort Chevy but unlike her, he hasn't considered the possibility of any press or camera phones close by. Despite him now having an agent, he's still not used to having to be on alert for any unwanted attention. In his case, Coco would probably be of more concern to him than any chattery commentators. Despite the Irishman being innocent of any illicit behaviour, she'd likely still see it as a betrayal him even being here with her foe.
Chevy's ability to be able to joke about the awkward situation at the hospital is hopeful at least. "I'm glad you're doing good. I reckon a ride on a bike would be grand. It's a shame Braun isn't around. Do you want me to try calling him or something or are you happy to take your chances with what Dev can hook you up with?"
He pulls out his own phone and starts to scroll through it. "Well I know there's parks but if you want real countryside, you're probably gonna have to go a bit further out. I hear there's some gorgeous places elsewhere in the state."
Comedy is tragedy plus time, and Chevy has had -lots- of time to figure out where things had gone wrong. Considering -one- of those was having a candid moment between her and her teammate getting turned into exhibit A in an informal court trial... she's a bit triggershy about giving the shutterbugs anything -more- actionable to publish for Coco's not-benefit. Much as she'd like to just... be her true self, this is a conversation taking place on an easily-surveilled city street.
"He gave me his number, I was just hopin' to surprise him. But you kinda beat me to that." She laughs, looking down at her feet with a coquettish smile.
Looking back up again, she rubs the back of her neck. "Yeah, I know a few places. Just... gettin' out of the city for an hour or two might do me a lot of good." Less worries about the press, for one.
Chevy makes a slight pivot -- her body language effectively clearing the path for Hawksley to continue walking the way he was headed.
"I'll be fine though -- I'll figger somethin' out."
Though she is smiling when she speaks next, it's with a trace, minuscule amount of sadness in her voice: "It was nice runnin' into you, Hawksley -- I mean, maybe -literally- this time." She laughs, distantly. "But... I don't wanna keep you from that pint. You're Irish, you got -needs-," she adds, with a quick wink.
"Right, so you can ring the fella yourself then, if you need to. I mean, he might even be sleeping soundly in his room for all I know. I just haven't run into him in the gym or in my apartment, which would have been a bit fecking weird if I had" Hawksley grins.
The idea of getting out of the city sounds appealing to him too but he's probably gonna have to wait a few weeks for that, when he heads back to Cork for Christmas. He may live in an urban area there but he has plans to visit the countryside and coast too during his visit.
As Chevy steps aside he looks in that direction, torn between the drink and standing around to chat some more. After all, he doesn't know when they will next get a chance. "I'm sure you will be fine" he agrees, smiling back at her. "I'll be on my way now then, so I shall. Unless..."
Hawksley hesitates for a minute then shakes his head. "I was gonna ask if you wanted to join me but that's probably a bit of a mad idea. You look after yourself, Chevy. The next time I see you, you could be the winner of the New Fighting Generation. Now wouldn't that be something?"
With that he wanders off down the street, waving to her as he goes. If he hurries he could be at The Highlander in time for a few drinks, before he's due back at the hospital.
Turning around to find a teammate in her dorm room at the Thunderdome would... definitely be weird. Chevy agrees with a nod and an uneasy smile: "... Right?!"
And really... Chevy would -love- to talk with Hawksley more. She's discussed things with him that she can't even share with Ichika. And she's learning more about her rapport with him every day, even within the brief bit of contact just now.
Coco might just be responding to the truth she hasn't even admitted to herself: that she's not over Hawksley just yet. That she'd like to stay in his orbit just a bit longer, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe... he might change his mind.
As she stuffs her hands in her jacket pockets, she nods back to him in reply. She could spell it out for him -- but he gets it anyway. She'll be gentle.
"It is a little mad, yeah."
Macking on two women at once: it might make Hawksley feel like a stud, but it would make Chevy look like a homewrecker. As far as her personal image is concerned, she feels it'd be safer to have an unequivocal win under her belt and/or Coco out of the hospital first.
She calls out to the receding Irishman as she draws out her phone.
"You take care of yourself, Hawksley. We'll see each other 'round properly afore long!"
And then, not far from the entrance to the Blazin' HQ... she begins placing a call to the other half of the 'Chevraun' pairing.
It's a big rec center and though not all of it was refurbished, enough of it was that it's entirely possible for team members to miss one another very easily, especially the ones that don't even really spend all of their time here to begin with, so it's no surprise that Hawksley hadn't run into Braun again following their heart to heart to fist to claw to fire to ...whatever the hell energy Braun uses, chat. He'd retreated to his own 'den' so to speak and when he opts for solitude and quiet, he pretty much vanishes into it. Not unlike a predator...
..An occasional lazy one at that. When his cellphone begins buzzing he's sprawled out on a couch in one of the offices adjacent to the main gym, legs dangling over the side and light fur probably everywhere on the pillows. At first he doesn't stir but eventually he blinks awake and leans up groggily before scrambling a large arm over to try and get the phone.
He's nearly too slow, massive clawed digits rumbling across the oversized phone clumsily before finally answering it on speaker without bothering to really get a good look at the name being listed .
"Yeah?' he grunts out languidly as he finally snatches the phone up into his hand and sits up to glance over the name listed. Needless to say some surprise comes across him and he leans forward and slowly risses from the couch, phone in hand.
"Heeeey.. Chevy. Aint this a surprise...."
"Oh, hey Braun! Yeah, it's me, Chevy! I... I'm right outside, actually."
The line goes quiet for a moment, though the occasional car can be heard whooshing by in the background.
"Outside of this Blazin' HQ place. Assumin' you're inside an' all."
Another spot of quiet, as Chevy makes her way to the side of the building. "I didn't wake you up did I? Sorry... I was just in the neighborhood, just seein' if you wanted to hang out or somethin'..."
Truth be told, Chevy -would- want to ask about the Harley. It's just super weird to -start- with that, though -- right?
"Hang out?" repeats Braun, sounding mildly confused at first.
He's known for his enhanced senses. His ability to pick up on things. Sight, senses, smell and...voice.. In short, the awkwardness of that question isn't lost on him even if it was simpl.y posed as a preamble to her actual reason for being there. It's just fairly clear to him that she wants something.
And he's not offended. In fact, amusement tinges his gravelly voice as he drawls out, "Hang out." again, followed by, "Yeah, sure sure. I'm here. Yeah I was nappin' but don't worry about that. Hold on a sec.."
The line is kept open but a second later disconnects an instant before Braun opens the main entrance to the refurbished gym and workout center, giving Chevy a big view of the lobby and the gymnasium beyond and immediate access to it as he steps aside to allow her room to make her way in.
"Not exactly the sort of neighborhood I'd expect ya to be just taking a stroll through but it aint the Bay Area I guess. Come on in..." he rumbles out while stepping away from the door for her to close it behind her as she sees fit. "Welcome t'Blazin' HQ. If it smells like pizza and beer in here or like bad electrical wirin', blame Hawksley, Zog and Kongou ."
Chevy realizes, as soon as she hears the hesitation on Braun's end of the line, that... 'hang out' might just not be the words she wanted to place there. Mm... might be a problem, but she'll cross that bridge when she gets to it.
Which appears to be at the other end of that awkward silence, as she looks up to see the door opening up for her.
"Oh. Right," she answers, into dead air. Maybe Braun happens to hear, as he's looking back from a position three meters away. Chevy smiles, slightly embarassed, and steps inside...
Safe with the knowledge that any would-be paparazzi now have an -entirely- new story to tell.
"I mean, is there a -good- part to be runnin' around in Metro City? What the heck are folks like us supposed to do for -fun- here, just find old bombed-out ... " She squints at a wall decoration, before continuing: "... bombed-out Planet Hitness places and just run in place for a few hours?"
She laughs, giving a faint shrug. "I used to work in buildings that constantly reeked of hog poop, warn't gonna matter if you bleached it for days. You ain't gon' hear a complaint from this girl."
She stops to think on the implications of that. And then shakes her head to dismiss the thought.
"Sorry 'bout your nap. I just..." She draws in her breath. "... I'm itchin' to take my mind off some stuff, Braun."
If Braun has any such concerns about the paparazzi....well he doesn't seem to be showing it! His grin is big, broad, slightly fanged with his huge canine and incisor teeth quite prominent as he leads Chevy further in. His back is to her when she begins speaking though, walking away with the expectation that she's following him further into the room.
Her words cause him to frown ever so slightly, grin going away as his nostrils flare a bit.
"Well y'know you probably can't smell the electric junk like I can. Somethin' like Kongou bein' made out of 'invisible fire' despite feelin' pretty flesh and blood. As t'the rest? Well..you already know Hawksley and I guess you don't want to hear me describin' what an Ogre from Outworld smells like t'me.."
He lets that attempt at humor hang in the air and then finally turns slightly, "Hawksley had a lot on his mind th'other day as well.." His smile returns as he raises a massive hand up, displaying his huge claws now and crackling bits of chi between them as his fanged smile returns.
"So I figured I'd try and 'beat' some good sense and cheer into him. It worked. Course I'm the one that ended up layin' on the ground longer then him. Fella got up first despite me layin' so hard into him anyone else woulda been down longer then me. Wild. I'd offer you the same bit o'therapy but we already had our match and I aint had a chance to fight Hawksley b'fore so....just wouldn't be as 'special...."
He makes a big sweeping gesture with his massive arm, "C'mon, you ever been here before? Take a look around. It aint all fancy like what i hear somma the other folk got but it's worth lookin' over. Thre's history t'this place if...ya don't mind the fact that history revolvin' around a guy that killed somebody in th'ri--"
Whoops, maybe a bit too close to home there.
"Well.." he drawls out after a pause. "..Y'know the story I'm sure.."
There's an awkward pause there as he grimaces inwardly and then muses, "Hmm...I can't even offer ya a drink can I. Yer still a bit...below the legal limit aintcha. Wouldn't wanna ruin your girl next door image with you walkin' in here to see me and walkin' out all drunk. Get all the Chevraun folk all outta sorts.." he muses with his humor returning. "How bout a soda instead. Whaddya want? They probably got it."
"... electric junk?"
Chevy sniffs, lightly. "... Mm... I mean, -kinda?-" She shakes her head slowly. "It don't smell any different from any East Bachelorsville I've ever been to..." Maybe Braun's senses are just better than hers, or else the shadetree mechanic just doesn't have good labels to slap on the smells. "... Oh. Well, I mean, I've met Zog before. Could go without, t'be honest."
Chevy hooks her thumbs in her belt loops as she follows Braun around the place. She nods slowly as he talks about Hawksley's 'therapy,' but... she isn't really interested in a -fight- per se. Which is something that would be clear in the way she flashes a half-grin when he claims he'd -offer- said therapy to her. "Fair enough!"
She seems... well, a -little- distraught as he mentions the reason they'd gotten the place for the bargain they had. "Mm... yeah."
Chevy can't fault the guy too much, considering she just woke him up with only a slightly-less childish version of 'I'm bored.'
"Soda's fine. Dr. Pepper if you got it, anythin' else is good so long as it ain't diet."
She looks around. So many sparring rings, so many mats... but...
"So where do you keep the Harley? I ain't quite figured out how parkin' works in this city. Back home, pretty much every buildin' has a lot!"
"I'm teasin' mostly about the smell." confirms Braun, already fishing around in a cooler being kept behind the unused reception desk for quick access during times of training.
"My senses are what ya'd call...supernatural. I smell quite a few things, see quite a few things. I was jokin'. Really the place is probably fine. Laurel and Ayala would start complain' I figure. Hah."
A Dr. Pepper is tossed her way in an unerring flippant gesture, back still turned towards her as he falls silent and listens.
When he rises, it is indeed with a beer of his own and he swings his legs up over the counter to sit and slide over it versus simply walking around it as she reveals what seems to be her actual motivations here.
"Oooh. Come to collect eh?" he muses as he flicks the beercan open with a swift movement of a clawed finger.
"It's in the back in the loadin' areas...."
He makes no move to take her to it yet, still peering at her, mouth set into a close lipped smile as he inclines his head and studies her for awhile longer yet. Finally.
"So what's wrong then? Where's yer pep? I can't beat a smile into you so I guess I should just ask. I didn't see yer last fight but I heard you won. You should be walkin' on clouds right now... Or water at least.."
A pair of keys seems to appear in his hand, obtained from somewhere in his large brown vest. They jingle abit, as he flickers them about with his free hand as he waits for an explanation.
Chevy grins. "I cain't smell what I cain't smell, so... I figgered as much!" She nods back as the cat-man explains his supernatural senses. On that count, too, she probably figured as much.
Chevy lifts a hand to catch the can of Dr. Pepper, but... one thing that happens is that time just seems to slow down as it approaches her hand. From the wide-eyed look she's giving the can, it becomes apparent that the hydromancer is a -bit- more nervous about the contents being under pressure. After all -- in truth, it wasn't time slowing down, but the can itself.
She taps her fingernail on the lid twice.
Then she pops it open.
There is ... no hiss.
Which normally -never- happens with the fizziest drink ever.
"... Honestly, ever since I learned I could keep Dr. Pepper cans from explodin', that's been my favorite trick ever..." explains the hydromancer. "It's saved me from changin' a lot of shirts."
Chevy easily transitions to talking about the bike. Her eyes light up as Braun breaks out the keys -- though it's his hesitation that forces her to address the question that preceded them.
"Oh, -my- fight was just fine." She smiles -- a bit tartly. "Closer than I wanted it to be. But it didn't -start- with me getting run over by the Braun Express, so that was a plus."
Winking back at the cat-man, she continues: "It's... well, honestly, it's my teammate, Junko." She grins faintly. "But you done fought her. You know all about her, yeah?"
It seems that dangling the keys infront of her did the trick though he also guesses she'd open up without the prompt of potentially being able to see the bike if he pressed on the matter.
What draws more of a reaction from him is that trick. His back had been turned during the toss but by the time he'd begun making his way across the counter the can had slowed and he seems to finally grok what just happened even as he balls his fist up and the keys disappear into his meaty paws.
He seems actually quite impressed with the broader utility of her abilities. So many fighters just focus on what they can do within ring but there's just so much more to them than their ability to fight after all.
"Nice trick." he finally acknowledges before taking a drink.
He then bursts out into a laugh, "Yer teammate Junko?? Oh...Yeah I got opinions on that one but I try not to lay it on too thick. Had a bit of a debate with Djamila about her once as well. Yeah I fought 'er. That was my match when she gave the spectators a shower in molten glass. I wager when NFG is over we'll start hearin' about lots of lawsuits..."
He grimaces as if not wishing such a thing on anyone.
Lawyers in the fighting circuit are...something else.
%Ar"Yeah I fought her. She thinks I'm some sorta monster. Bakemono. Yokai. Shapeshifter and not in a fun way. Guess it's just sorta the mood about Darkstalkers around these parts. Guess I count as one.."
He waves a hand dismissively though, "She thinks we dont' belong in the tournament. Or didn't cause I'm out I guess. Ironic... Anyway, this about what happened to Coco?"
The keys jingle again as he tosses them up and down now, "She kicked you when you were down, according to Hawksley. Some might call what happened karma..." His deep voice quiets, studying Chevy as he makes that observation.
Chevy shrugs dispassionately. She's had a week to get over seemingly everyone in her worldview getting upset over Junko, in some fashion or another.
She winces, as Braun retells the tale of molten glass -- something she'd glossed over. "... Oh geez, that's..." Even though she -did- review some of that fight in preparation for her own, it seems like she glossed over that particular detail. Or whichever clipper summarized the fight did...
"I hope people are okay from that," she adds, feeling a little upset that she didn't get upset -before-...
"... Well. I'm not gonna stick my foot in my mouth again: I'm sorry you had to put up with that. She's done give all of us a black eye."
She offers a brief smile. "But I don't think -you're- a monster. Not in here." She balls a fist, and thumps herself just over the heart. "Not after how you fought in ring. Sorry if it ruins your bad boy image, but y'all Blazers are alright in my book."
She's tempted to look toward the loading dock. But for once, she'd like to make it through a conversation without screwing something up -- and that takes focus.
"Eh, I ruined my own image with the last interview I did, even if I even had one. I figured I was gonna come in here and cause a ruckus but it turned out that folk were just super welcomin' and wanted to see what I could do from the jump. It probably helped keep me with a cool head that my fights ended up bein' more uphill climbs then I anticipated. Even against Junko. Buford surprised me first and then o'course Kenzo."
He makes an idle gesture but grins, his gesture seemingly intended as an ironic one as he says, "You."
Braun leans forward, resting a huge elbow on his knee and opening his hand up, letting the keys dangle there once again as he eyes Chevy,
"So no offense taken. I got all the time in the world to build a bad boy image back up again. I'm gonna have to start placin' higher in tournaments first though I reckon..."
His smile slowly fades though as he eyes her, gaze growing more intense and serious.
"...You didn't really give me an answer t'my question though. What's botherin' you. A name aint enough. Everything Junko done did...she done to others. They shoulderin' the burden and hopefully they dealin' with her. I dunno how her most recent fight did mind you but I'd hate to see her walk away from this without some justice done... But what's that got to do with you? Hawksley, I get, as Coco's his girl..."
His voice trails off and he inclines his head abit as if attempting to see if he's honing in on something, "...Is that it? You feelin' some kinda way about all that?"
He lets that hang in the air and then finally shrugs, lifting both hands up and then fully disengages from the counter, "Eh...sorry, I aint tryin' to pry it's just... You didn't come here just to 'hang out'. You got all the hallmarks of someone lookin' for a distraction at any cost."
When Braun lists out his fights... Chevy shakes her head with a grin. "Yeah. I mean, seriously, we're in NFG to learn how to do this, right? Or... at least get some folks to help us learn the ropes of pro fightin'. It shouldn't be about ego, but of course some people gotta -make- it about ego, because... that's what pro fighters -do-."
Chevy grins, sipping her soda.
When she's called out for not fully answering the question, the temptation for Chevy to overexplain has -never- been higher. And yet -- Chevy is trying to learn from her mistakes, and she's afraid of going full maudlin and ruining the mood. Braun is a new friend, and ... well, maybe he's not aware of the rivalry she's had with Coco, or the dynamics of trying to get Coco to acknowledge what Chevy sees as simple truth.
"Well, first off, I didn't say thanks for the soda, which I normally -would- do, because... I'm a little low on pep, like you said. So, first: thanks." She lifts the can as acknowledgement.
"Second, uh... yeah, Braun, I do. I -do- want a distraction." She forges a half-smile, trying not to look like she's -blaming- him for forcing the issue. It's not his fault, and she's not taking it out on him.
"But I do owe you the short version: Coco and I got history. And I'd drug Junko out there to try an' apologize for... y'know, not just knockin' her down, but kickin' her when she's down -- to the point of near 'bout killin' her."
She closes her eyes, undoing the bandana tying back her auburn hair. And then working to smooth the mussed hair back into position as she speaks.
"But, uh... Hawksley and Mr Abigail were so kind and patient in tellin' me how screwed up that was from their side of the hospital bed."
As she pulls the bandana back into position, tying it into place, she gives a half-smile that practically screams: Ready to move on if you are.
"Sorry if that's awkward. It's been a rough week."
He can tell when there's a door that's not ready to be opened yet, even though sometimes a little nudging and a little prying can get a few cracks in it to appear. He's also not without his own burdens, secrets and fears. Few have attempted to really dig into his own past, issues and origins and for that he's thankful. Perhaps that also helped keep him more mellow in comparison to having it dragged out in the open. This is something he's acutely aware of as well.
So he clearly senses Chevy's guarded answer. There is more...and Braun looks at her long and hard, his expression implying that he knows that there is more to be said that isn't being said.
But he then simply snaps his hand up and tosses his extra set of keys her way, expecting her to catch them after the wide long arc he uses so they don't just go hurtling into her.
"Let's go get you distracted then.." he drawls while finally turning and starting towards the garage door.
"If yer gonna borrow the bike I need to know the mood and mind of the one doin' the borrowin'. I can't have you runnin into things or gettin' pulled over on account of having your mind on stuff you can't do nothin' about or stupid mistakes."
He pauses by the hallway leading towards the back of the facility and the loading docks where the bike is parked and other supplies await, looking expectantly her way.
Chevy's weary smile probably gives Braun all the missing context he needs then: she's not currently experiencing an existential crisis, or at risk of hurting herself or others. She doesn't even flinch when the keys are thrown her way: she catches the keys without any fuss. It's not because she's a metalbender, it's because she preferred to spend her lunchtimes playing ball with the boys rather than dishing with the girls.
Though... she -does- find herself going 'Oh.' when he explains -why- he was holding out on her. "... Oh. Well, yeah, -now- it all makes sense."
She fans herself with her hand, grinning. "Gosh, I feel dumb. I warn't even thinkin' about it from -that- point of view."
She twirls the keys around a finger, looking over to the back of the facility, and making her way through the doorway. "Though, truth be told, I jus' wanted to hear the engine up close without a ton of shouty fans."
She makes her way out to the bike, drawing in her breath and smiling at it -- as if it were a Louvre-worthy work of art. She crouches down, taking a closer look at the air-cooled heads, grinning at her reflection in the chromed covers.
"Heck, I mean, I don't blame you one bit -- I wouldn't even -offer- to let someone drive my ride without me ridin' shotgun. And there ain't no second seat on this baby, so I cain't even..."
She trails off for a moment, glancing back over to Braun with a half-smirk on her face.
"Okay, one sec real quick: you done wrung a confession out of me, so now it's your turn! Your honest take on 'Chevraun'."
She holds up her left wrist, tapping herself on it as she winks at Braun.
She'd made it clear from the jump that something was bothering her so he couldn't help but pry a little. Her answers were evasive and not fully committal but it was still enough for him and perhaps simply enough that she trusted him enough to reveal as much as she did.
After all, this is literally only the second time they've met and the frist that she's attempted a normal conversation with him. Not under the lights of a ring or the pressure of needing to put on a show for audience or fans.
So Braun gives her a slight smirk as she clocks part of the angle of his questioning of her and then shrugs lightly. "Was pretty obvious you had a weight on you.." he drawls slowly. "..You got plenty folk better in the know then me to go into the details about it but....er...yeah... Kinda want to make sure you're firin' on all cylinders so to speak.."
As she looks over the bike, now revealed in the back with the...entrance to the loading docks being weirdly damaged by having been forced open by Zog some time ago and never fixed, Braun simply watches.
Until that question is asked.
"..Are you serious? Hahaha..." he runs a hand through his mane like hair and then grins, "I told Hawksley that all this sounds like the makin' of a bad supernatural romance novel turned film or somethin'. The bad biker beast man and the girl next door hydromancer. Social media's eatin' it up but you know... I got a few years on you so I hear some folks been taking shots at me over that possiblity.."
He doesn't seem to mind it at all from the sounds of it though he does look more amused as his mind finally hones in on what she's suggesting and he then simply shakes is head, "If you're thinking about what I think you're thinking about, I'll pass. Cute. But I'd need to do the driving and you the riding and you didn't come to get chamfered around and I gotta keep -some- bad boy cred... If you're trying to have a little fun at Tom and Lou and the gossip columns expense, just being seen on this thing should do the trick."
"Well... yeah," she agrees. She did have a weight upon her shoulders, and she was looking to get away. "Back home when things got too stressful I'd just... go to the workshop. It's kinda a zen thing for me."
She walks around the bike, taking a closer look at how the components are laid out. There are some things that aren't terribly obvious from stills and video online, after all.
"I like engines, because they'll talk to ya, but they won't ever really -backtalk- ya. Some folks treat 'em like crap: they'll rage and sputter. Show them some love and affection and they'll purr like kittens..."
As for social media and this 'Chevraun' hashtag, Chevy can barely hold back her laughter until he's done speaking. "Haha, seriously! They'll roast you on a spit for things you ain't even doin', right?" She shakes her head, grinning about as wide as humanly possible. "Haha, yeah. I mean, fans just jump right into the deep end on ideas like this. We're just -talkin-, here, people, not tradin' vows on center stage."
Chevy belts back a laugh as she remembers something: "Man, that's one thing my agent told me: if you ever ain't sure about somethin', open your yap on social media and there'll be hundreds of hot takes to tell you what -not- to do..."
Of course, Chevy -is- happy to hear that Braun is -- or at least sounds -- completely uninterested in doubling up. The CVO is pretty large, but it looks a little uncomfortable for two, compared to some other bikes.
She nods a bit, sticking out the tip of her tongue. "Seriously, those guys... They weren't so bad in the last podcast, I guess." She can't help but laugh again. "But yeah... yeah. That'll probably get 'em talkin', yeah. I's thinkin' I'd just cruise around the block a few times? I don't wanna keep your baby out -too- late."
Taking a better look at the handlebars and the layout of the controls, she rests her hands on her hips -- still leery of actually laying -hands- on the bike even though she has the spare keys in her hand.
Turning back to Braun, she tilts her head slightly to the side. "Is it cool to fire 'er right here an' now? I don't know what all kinda house rules y'all got here..."
It is indeed a big bike. As big as they come really...and it needs to be given the size of the man. Her assessment is correct, however, them both attempting to ride it, especially with her doing the driving, would just end up with him lurching and swamping over her uncomfortably. It would look more comical then titillating and gossip making and there's obviously an art to this sort of thing.
Braun scoffs though it's a laced with a good natured laugh, indicating he means no ill will by it.
"One sponsor's an ogre. The other one's a gigas that talks in riddles when you try and ask him just -what- he is. Another is just damn terrifying and basically made out of 'evil energy' from what I can tell...and we got a hot one with a lot of money who is a super model. I think you can fire it up."
He watches her while folding his immense arms and leaning back slightly and ponders the rest of her words before noting: "I aint like you and Abigail in this sense. I mean, yeah this is my baby, but..it speaks to me in a different sort of way then it would to someone like you or him. I aint much for tinkering and modding. I wanted a cool bike that spoke to me and sounded like me and looked like me. I was able to get my hands on this and take care of it in my own way but I wouldn' dare suggest I'm capable of things you probably are in terms of tinkering it up , moddin' and all that stuff."
He makes a absent gesture, "Go on. Take it for a spin. Go around the block a few times or down to grab a burger or something, I don't mind..." His grin returns again, "You want paparazzi to catch you on it, yeah? Have a little fun..."
Chevy breaks into a fit of snickering. The locale may be different, but it's still the headquarters of the least restrictive, least disciplined team in the NFG.
"Right, right, what was I thinking?" she adds with a good-natured smile. She spins the keyring around her index finger, nodding as Braun runs through a summary of the sponsors and their respective devil-may-care attitudes. She winks back at the burly bruiser: "... Well, I ain't one to complain if they let you cruise on a beautiful ride like -this- whenever you want." Team Blaze is larger than life -- and if it's a great place for Braun to throw down with similarly-minded bros, more power to him!
Though... as she's a gearhead, and Braun is trying to distance himself from the gearhead life, she holds up both hands: "Ahaha, my bad, my bad! Everyone appreciates a gorgeous piece of machinery on their own terms, I get it." The vehicle sure -looked- stock, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a pretty clean ride. And if he appreciates it clean -- well, that's clean!
Still -- the way Braun's pushing her to take the ride, she can't help but feel like a classroom bully pressuring him to give up his lunch money. To ease her -own- mind in that regard, she grins back charitably. Holding up one hand, and crossing the other over her heart, she grows a little more solemn. "Well. I'll take care of 'er, Braun. Anythin' happens, I'll make it right, you have my word."
Drawing in her breath, the elder teen slings one leg over the center tank, sliding back into the seat. It's true -- the bike -is- much bigger than most. The handlebars are a -bit- far for her to reach -- but it doesn't take her long to find the proper ways to adjust them down for her size.
And then, the moment of truth.
The key is planted into the cylinder.
Chevy takes a breath.
And turns the key.
The engine -roars- to life, its throaty purr resonating throughout the loading bay. And Chevy just draws in her breath, as if the rumble of smoke were the most luxurious fragrance she could imagine. Truth be told: to the gearhead, it's not far off. Grinning ear-to-ear, she checks over the various indicator gauges on the dash, does a quick run-through of the essentials -- and then looks over her shoulder to Braun.
"Mm. Okay, I got my flight plan mapped out in my head. Burgers sound great -- you want me to pick anythin' up for you?"
She shares a feral grin with Braun, as she's possessed by the spirit of legendary Southern hospitality.
"It'll be my treat. For helpin' me get my head clear."
"Mmm...depends on where yer goin'. Tell ya what, surprise me. There's a few joints out there and I don't know where you might be inclined to stop. Just make it big.."
The beastman slowly grins as he watches Chevy rev the bike to life. She might feel like she's pressuring him but in truth, he made the offer back in the ring. Sure it was in the heat of the moment but a deal's a deal and he can hardly complain about the outcome and that she came calling.
And while he never imagined he'd be in a position to help others settle their minds and and troubles in their own way, it seems to be his lot at the moment and despite his best efforts...he doesn't seem to really mind that all that much. It's the sort of thing to make a guy like him want to go get into a bar brawl and tear a place up to hit the reset button eventually less he get abit -too- soft around the edges.
But that's for another time.
"Go on then." he declares, gesturing for the route that'll lead her around the back of the headquarters from the loading area and back towards the main streets.
"Make some noise. Take yer time. I aint going anywhere."
And once she takes off, the thunder of his bike rumbling through the streets and alleys around the structure, he simply stands there for a few additional seconds, looking after her...before finally turning and taking his large frame back into the interior of the building, heading for the couch once again.
Log created on 09:17:27 11/22/2023 by Hawksley, and last modified on 12:02:54 11/24/2023.