08-06-2013, 08:28 PM
The slow descent gave him time to think about his errands for the day, idly ticking them off. Take Miss Alice to the conference for Epic of the Ninja later; the movie had been a hit and panels were clamoring to have her on it. Then meet with his sister for lunch at the bistro. Take Miss Alice home. Guard the house. Short nap at breakfast while his temp covers his nap.
The elevator dinged at last and he strode off it, smoothly resting his ward on a chair and arranging her so she’d be comfortable, and he knelt at her side, patting one of her hands warmly and watching her unconscious face rather tiredly. Assassination attempts and threats aside, this was routine for them by now. They’d lost more police chiefs on this one commercial series than any other project she’d agreed to star in and it was starting to take its toll on her delicate sensitivities. The blond man looked up at the director as he walked over and when the barrage of questions began – Did you do it, did he set her off somehow, why do you always have to be around, et cetera – he just shrugged them off and continued gently prodding his ward back into the waking world with carefully light nudges on her face. Her eyes fluttered open and she whimpered, trembling and curling into the chair’s raised back, and he rubbed her spine through her trench coat, glaring at the director. The man backed off at last, leaving the two alone.
“Jakyll?” Another grunt of acknowledgement. “Can you please just take me straight home today? I don’t want to go to the convention. I’m too scared.” A nod. “Thank you.” She curled up again, hands over her ears as she tried to drown out the noise. He sighed through the mask covering the lower half of his face and turned blue eyes to the rest of the room. Panic everywhere, police scouring the lobby and interrogating random patrons. Security was already elevating around the city, the color red shining from every visible monitor in the room, and personnel were already heading into the security office of the building to investigate.
This was getting too tense for his liking and he fixed his scarf, the white paper mask shifting with it, before rising and pulling her to her feet, leading her over to the security desk and gesturing to where her coat was hung up on the rack. The young rookie’s hands shook as he grabbed the Kevlar-lined garment; this was his first time in the rodeo, and all Jakyll could really do was leave a generous tip of a fifty dollar bill on the table as they walked away.
Outside, Chicago was chaos as always, perhaps more so than usual as a result of Marty’s murder. Jakyll guided his ward through the crowded streets, traffic at a standstill even as rush hour peaked, and he eyed each cab as they walked past. Not a single one was void of passengers; they’d have to walk home. With a grimace, he pulled Alicia onto the sidewalk as cars began to creep along.
“Jak?” The tiny voice made him stop and he looked down at her as she lifted her face to look at him in turn; her face was still pale and her skin remained clammy. “Can we stop to eat somewhere, first?” He furrowed his brow, thinking to deny it and insist on cooking when they arrived safely at her apartments, but an added “Please?” was plaintive enough to make him concede. His watchful eyes picked out the fast-food stops as they walked, but none were tickling her fancy. Granted, her stomach simply growled because it had been so abruptly voided, and she’d eat anything at this point, but he wanted her to eat something of substance instead of the gruel-like oatmeal she’d become accustomed to since her schedule had begun to implode.
Some back-alley Chinese restaurant seemed to appeal to her belly’s grumbling. Jakyll found himself presented with a pair of odd drinks. Through the servers’ thick accents, he understood them to be “bubble tea”, and that the odd, clear orbs were tapioca balls. Alicia had removed the lid from her cup and was stabbing the pearls with her straw, eating them calmly as she sipped from the rim of the transparent cup. “M-m-mmm, mango tea. Try it, Jak, it’s good!” She smiled at him and he stared at her instead of his drink. “Look, you’re not the ugliest mug in the city, just take a sip.”
“…no. I’m fine.” He gently pushed his drink away and folded his hands on the table, the linoleum and his gloves squeaking as they rubbed together.
“… No, you are not,” she muttered, being a bit violent with her tea as she stabbed her straw through the next tapioca pearl and shoved it between her teeth with much gusto. This was the Alicia he was used to; rather bossy, but trying to be polite about it and being upset when it didn’t get her the response she wanted. He smiled a bit to himself, minutely shaking his head, and he looked up at the waiter when they returned.
“Spiciest dish you’ve got for me, and she wants wantons with chicken and that fried noodle dish I know you’ve got back there.” The waiter eyed him in annoyance and wrote it all down before walking away with an agitated twitch to his step. Ah, well; Jakyll wasn’t one to be polite to the help.
As Alicia ate, color returned to her cheeks and she didn’t look half so peaky. His own food sat in a brown paper bag, neatly contained in recyclable packaging with its own set of cheap paper-wrapped chopsticks and cellophane-enclosed fortune cookie. Alicia cracked hers open after she paid the tab and she read it aloud as they walked down the sidewalk, “‘Don’t get so cocky; it’s only just begun.’”
“Ominous.” Jakyll carried his takeout tucked under his arm, his other hand lightly wrapped around her waist to keep her close. She didn’t mind the contact, had said once it made her feel less vulnerable and exposed, and in any case, she appreciated his furnace-like body heat. How he didn’t sweat to death under all those layers was incomprehensible.
It was time to go home, and she just wanted a god-be-da.mned nap.
I stare at the girl in the mirror: T-shirt, torn up jeans, no beauty queen.
But the way that you see me, you get underneath me, and all my defenses just fall away, fall away.
I am beautiful with you, even in the darkest part of me. I am beautiful with you;
Make it feel the way it's supposed to be!
You're here with me: Just show me this and I'll believe I am beautiful with you!