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 Early Morning Jog (open!)

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PostSubject: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:37 am

Four-thirty AM. Not too early, not too late. Louis had already gotten himself up and dressed (heavy basketball shorts and Underarmor leggings, his only pair of sneakers and a Chicago Bears jacket), although he had, for the time being, foregone a shower and breakfast. They had to wait.

Right now was running time. First workout of the day. Nothing to wake a guy up better than a three-mile run in the fog and rain, before there were too many cars and before anyone else in the Hideout woke up. (If he timed it right, he would be back at just the right time to shower up while everyone else had breakfast)

He knelt down at the doorway, lacing up his shoes and trying to get the bad taste of protein drink off his tongue. Louis rooted through his duffel bag for a short time to make sure he wasn't missing anything he needed.

Music (check, in his pocket and playlist selected), photo ID (check, a guy can never be too careful), leg weights (check, already on), cell phone...

Check. Just a precaution, because only three people had his cell number. Roxy, of course, for emergencies only, his boss at work, though he never called, and... well, Amelia.

Amelia. Again Amelia.

He made sure to grab a few dollars out of the duffel bag on a second thought: if he lengthened the run he could pick up some flowers before coming back to the Hideout. It had been a while, and even if nobody noticed the flowers in the (mostly) empty field, it was a calming thought, as well as his only way of coping.

Louis gently kicked the duffel bag off to the side of the entryway, cringing as his welding mask and heavy steel-toed work boots clinked inside. It was actually pretty odd as far as duffel bags go: he didn't even know for sure it was a duffel bag in the first place. From each end hung two straps with side release buckles (one kind on each side). Two were attached, the top right and bottom left, while the other two hung awkwardly down over the reinforced leather (or was it even leather?) end capping. Most strange of all was the lettering on the side: a foreign language that nobody seemed able to place, accented by Irish subtitles: unfortunately, Louis wasn't Irish enough to know what it said, should it even be in Irish and not Gaelic or something else (he hoped to God that it wasn't Welsh).

With the final observation of his strange life (how could a life be so strange and yet so bare?), he opened the door, clenching his teeth against the cold, and took his running steps off into the lightening world.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:26 pm

It was early, so fog hung in the air. I took the elevator down to the bottom of the building and pushed open the door. I was wearing a light sweatshirt, originally thinking I wasn't going far. But what I hadn't realized was that it was actually five blocks away. I was immediately shivering, but I wasn't going to go past the doorman again. I briefly considered consulting a map, but decided against it. It was a weakness, people saw you didn't know your way and took advantage of you. J.M. had always warned me about that. J.M. had- please! Stop thinking about her! I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. Then, quietly, I recited from heart. "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss future. JFK." When I was composed enough to carry on down the street, I kept my head up and my shoulders back. Anyone who looked out their apartment windows this early would only see a confident young woman striding along with a stack of thick folders tucked under one arm.

I wondered suspiciously if it was just a coincidence. But I wasn't going to look back. Oh, why did I go out in the city so early, and alone, too? I had spotted the runner out of the corner of my eye. Male, muscled, and tall. I had had so many people following me lately. Was he following me? I told myself not to speed up. Act calm and collected. You're just holding some boring old folders with papers in them for work. Yes, that's it. They are not very important documents that need to be delivered to my lawyer immediately.

I felt like running as he neared, but he was bigger than me, and faster too. I tried to remember some self defense, but I knew it was useless. All he wanted was the will now. Just the will. Later, if there were complications, I would be killed. It was a fact, one that I reminded myself everyday.

Oh, why hadn't I taken the cab that my lawyer had offered to send? 'It's not far,' he had said, 'But a cab is the safest way.' But no, I had turned down the offer of a cab, because I "liked walking." How did they find out about our meeting, anyway? The time and date was confidential. We had decided on 4:30 in the morning. Maybe they were watching the apartment building day and night. So they really were serious about the money. I wondered why they didn't just kill me now, save the drama.

Maybe they were going to kill me right now. Maybe this guy running up behind me was an assassin, readying his gun even as my back was turned now? My hands were shaking. Quit it, Jane. You're brave. Calm down. Remember, forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. JFK. Really? How was I supposed to forgive someone that was about to kill me?
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:36 pm

Louis cursed inwardly. There was someone already out. Did he have to have his run at 2 AM and go back to bed to stay away from everyone? 4:30 was early enough... he tried to scoot off to one side to get away from the girl, but it wasn't going to do any good, really. He could always move to the other side of the street, but that was just a little rude, and should she be the confrontational type, he'd be in trouble then. He decided to try and run around her as best he could, then, but as he passed he bumped her elbow fairly hard (it was always hard to navigate around people on these narrow sidewalks, being as big as he was)

((Should he knock her papers over?))
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:57 pm

}good plan.

I almost screamed when something hit my elbow, launching me sideways. He actually did shoot me! Oh my god I was dying! I was-not dying. I picked myself out of the flower bed and stood tall. All of my dignity was not going away. I prepared to confront the guy, crossing my arms over my chest. But my angry expression froze on my face as I saw my papers scattered across the sidewalk and falling into the street. Then I knew. He had meant to knock me over, so he could steal the folders and run. I felt like sitting down and bursting into tears. But I brushed that childish thought away. I knelt and started scooping up the fallen papers. If he wanted the stupid will, he could have it for all I cared. I didn't ask for money! All I wanted was a mother! I was furious. He could have it. The least I could do was help collect them, and then he could be on his way and none of this could have ever happened!
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:35 am

Oh gods, this was bad. Louis swore inwardly: this, of course, meant interaction, and interaction was never good. Reluctantly, after standing around awkwardly and wringing his hands for a few seconds, he leaned down to help her pick up the papers, letting the earbuds he had been listening to fall onto his shoulders. His hands shook as he picked them up: they looked like legal notices but the words were big and confusing and he couldn't tell what half of them said, so he just made sure they were all facing the right way as he gathered them from the pavement. She seemed just as nervous as he, so that was good enough: maybe she wouldn't try to speak.

Then he realized that he, being as big as he was, had actually knocked her into the flowerbed. That was completely unacceptable. Amelia, if she were here, would have been slapping him about the ears and forcing him to apologize, and he determined that he would, if he could get the words out. Slowly he opened his mouth, but nothing voiced, not even a croaking noise, so he shut it again. Louis would try later. There was still paper to pick up.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:57 pm

I felt my face heating up again as I chased another paper. Once I had collected all of them, I calmly stacked and placed them into their folders. Then I stuck out my hand in a jagged motion towards the guy, who was (not surprisingly) collecting papers himself. "Give them here," my voice sounded flustered, not at all confident like the way I felt only five minutes ago. "I'll put them in the folder and you can have them and be on your way, just like you wanted." That was when I really started getting angry. "You know what?" I asked, my voice creeping into a crescendo. "Why don't you just kill me, already? Get it over with! Then you can have the stupid will and I will be dead, too! No longer able to bother you, you, you stupid, greedy, evil tyrant!" Next I said a few choice swear words and stood, glaring at him.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:32 pm

This was certainly embarrassing. Louis was being yelled at by a small, teenage girl and he was actually scared by it. He nearly dropped the papers and stood up uncertainly, glancing around in confusion. The papers were in a messy stack in his hands: with shaking fingers he tried to organize them into a neat pile (to no avail) before handing them back to her. Then he stepped back, wringing his hands in front of his stomach and shifting his weight. A noise rose from the back of his throat: something that sounded vaguely like a person trying to talk after a long silent spell.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:34 pm

I took the papers he gave me and stuffed them in with the rest. But by then I was still riding on an invisible wave of grief and anger. "Here you go!" I promptly pushed the folders at him. "Just like you wanted. Don't you understand?" I heard my voice crack on understand and only got more furious at the tears clouding my vision. "I DON'T CARE ABOUT A STUPID INHERITANCE!" I screamed and flailed away from him, stumbling down the sidewalk. And of course, I had to make more of a fool of myself by slipping on the pavement and falling.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:02 pm

His brain was frantically screaming 'run away, run away!', but once he saw her trip and fall, he knew that he had to man up and go calm her down. Gingerly he stepped towards her, holding the papers close to his chest, before kneeling down beside the girl and reaching out a tenative hand. It had been so long since he last actually touched a person that he was afraid to, so he pulled it back and stared at her. After a moment, though, he offered the hand back to her, leaving the folders sitting on the concrete beside his knees.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:38 pm

I looked up at his hand like it was a tentacle, my mouth ajar. "Wha-" I started, closing my mouth. My eyes traveled from the tentacle to the papers to his uncertain face. He hadn't tried to kill me. He hadn't tried to steal the will. Once I came to this realization my eyes widened, and I took his hand and let him pull me up to a standing position.

"I-I-I..." my face was turning red. "You-I-I-you." I continued to stare. "Ohmygod!" I yelped finally. "I'm sorry, I thought-I thought you were someone else..." I wanted a hole to open in the ground and swallow me up. He'd seen the insecure Jane, the scared Jane. Not what I wanted him to see. I was supposed to be confident. Didn't J.M. always tell me that? I was such an....idiot. This guy probably thought I was a nutcase. A total nutcase, screaming about murder and screaming profanities at him.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:33 pm

As soon as he could Louis pulled his hand back, face glowing with a shade of red. He shrugged in answer to her question, glancing down at their feet. Eventually he bent over to puck the papers up again, then looked back up to give them to her.

At that moment he noticed something: her eyes glowed softly with some unnatural light. It was captivating, almost like...

... he had seen that light before. He knew it. Louis may not interact with the people he lived with, but he still recognized that light. His head tilted to one side, a quizzical look on his face, as he mouthed a word without sound. Slowly he handed the papers back, keeping a curious eye on her face.

It definitely wasn't safe to let her walk on her own, not at this hour. They could still be out and about very easily in the low light. He knew he should follow her and make sure she made it to her destination safely, maybe even try to get a contact number to give to Roxy, but he was so nervous... there was no way he could do it.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:38 pm

Oh dear. Now he was looking at me with this confused expression on his face. Probably trying to decide which mental asylum he should take me to. Or whether or not he should call the police. I took the papers he handed me, grimacing. Why did I freak out like that? How could I freak out like that?

"I-I have to go," I said. One thing I noticed about this guy, he didn't talk. It could be either extremely comforting that he wasn't yelling at me or being too pushy about what exactly those papers were.....but then again, it was a little infuriating. Why wasn't he talking? Was he mute? Maybe he was so mad at me he was refusing to talk.

Well, he still wasn't saying anything. "Sorry, again," I attempted. "I....I have family problems right now, and I guess I was just keeping it all in like a volcano. I'm sorry you were around when I finally erupted?" The last part came out sounding like a question. Family problems. That was the understatement of the century. "So, bye." I glanced at him once more, and set off down the sidewalk.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:05 pm

Louis hesitated for a minute, then started off behind her and caught up to the girl in a few short strides, walking beside her. He cleared his throat a few times before murmuring, almost too low for her to hear, "Walk with you," in his thick Irish accent. His face turned red over the freckles and he twisted a short lock of hair around his finger as he kept his eyes down to avoid contact.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:06 pm

I heard his whisper and looked up, surprised, but fearful. "Okay?" I replied. I supposed he didn't kill me right there because he wanted to do it in an alley, or something. But he hadn't stolen the papers. Who was he? I was confused. Why did he insist on following me? But I continued walking, noticing that I took several steps while he easily kept up with his long legs.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:18 pm

He let go of the loose lock of hair and shoved both his hands into his pockets, still looking at his feet. Even glancing down, he could see the glow coming off her. There was no doubt about it. He turned his eyes slightly to glance at her face from his higher vantage point, studying her eyes and praying to whatever gods he could remember that she didn't meet his gaze. Louis glanced back down and rooted through his pocket for his cell phone. Once his finger touched it he pulled it out and flicked it open: it was old and ratty, but it still worked for what little calls and texts he had to make: usually to tell Roxy when he got paid or ask a question to his boss at work. Once more he opened up the contacts list: sure enough, only three. Roxy, Boss, and Amelia. His lips thinned at the sight of Amelia's name, but he quickly found the menu to add a new contact. He paused at the name field before adding 'Girl From Town' and tabbing down to the number field. His face reddened and he felt the jitters setting in as he wrestled with himself to ask her for her number.

((He's going to give it to Roxy once she's done transforming <D))
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:10 pm

Idiot. Idiot. What was I doing? I should have been running. I shouldn't be walking next to a total stranger who might kill me when my back was turned. Then why did I feel so comfortable next to this person? Like he was related, but not. What that meant, I had no idea.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:12 pm

The tall man bit down hard on his lower lip, ears burning, as he handed the cell phone to the girl beside him. There was a good chance she would deny him the number, and if that were the case he would have to... regrettably.. speak with her. With his words. Out loud. God, how he dreaded it. If she did give him the number, of course, it would go to Roxy once she was done with her transformation, and then his part would be through, wordlessly. Louis licked his lips, chapped from the cool weather.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:14 pm

My mouth was very dry on the inside, I noted as he held out his phone. It was obvious he wanted my number. But the only thing that was running through my head was that I had wanted that kind of cell phone for a while. What the? I stared blankly down at the buttons. I knew I wasn't going to give him my number. He wasn't trustworthy. So why did I just punch in my number and snap the phone closed, handing it back to him? Was it just that I was tired of being predictable? That I had no idea. Nice job, Jane.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:37 pm

Surprisingly enough, she had given him the number. Louis was thoroughly surprised as she handed him the phone, which he slipped back into the pocket of his hoodie. Later, after he finished his run, he would change the title to 'call this number' and give his phone to Roxy, assuming she was done transforming by now. The girl who had given him the number, however, looked nervous about it. Louis glanced down at her quickly, clearing his throat softly. "Sorry about knocking you over..." he mumbled, trailing off as he studied his feet.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:36 am

I coughed, uncomfortable. Why did I keep getting the feeling that I could trust this person? It certainly wasn't logical. Not at all. I was related to no one, even before when I pretended otherwise. The days of security were over. But this....I shrugged in reply. "It was nothing," I said, pleased that the confident tone of my voice had returned.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:22 pm

Louis nodded slowly and reached a hand up to scratch his jaw. His muscles had begun to get cold again: it would be painful when he started running again, but he wanted to make sure the girl made it safely to her destination, with how nervous she was. He glanced up at the tall building before him, a few doors away, with a sign out front proclaiming it as a legal office.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:29 pm

I saw the office up ahead. My lawyer would be worried, I was at least ten minutes late. I took a sidelong glance at the stranger. "This is where I'm going," I admitted. I paused at the doors, mostly curious. "Maybe we should go somewhere sometime. And...talk?" I didn't wait for his reply, after all he did have my number. I waved and entered the revolving door.
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PostSubject: Re: Early Morning Jog (open!)   Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:45 pm

Louis shrugged slightly at her offer: he didn't plan on talking again any time soon, but he did wave to her as she left before turning, replacing his headphones, and starting back off on his three-mile jog to the flower shop.
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