A British 1803 pattern Light Infantry Officer’s sword by J J Runkel, Solingen:, the curved blade with engraved armorial and militia to one side, the other with crown and ‘GR’ cypher, signed to the top of ricasso as per title, over a gilt brass open hilt and guard, wire bound chequered ivory grip and lions head pommel, together in a gilt brass mounted black leather scabbard with sunburst decoration suspension loop mounts, blade length 81 cm.
“The thing with Taehyung is that he use his hands a lot while drawing and get his fingers stained with charcoal, a lot. But when I come back home later, I love to see the same black prints all over my body.”
+Pairing: Taehyung x femlale MC ft Seokjin +Genre: College!AU, Artist!kth +Warnings: sexual assault victim +Note: GUYS! This is an adaptation of the book “Easy” by Tammara Webber. I decided to start like this because im not sure of my writing skill yet, so enjoy!
Y/N Son: ”I’ve attached an outline of my research paper. If you have a chance, could you make sure it’s not too broad, or too focused? I’m not sure how many economies outside the US to include. Also, the J-curve is a little confusing. I get that we can see it after the fact, but isn’t economics based on prediction, like the weather? I mean, who cares if we can only see what happened after the fact - if the weather guy can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow, he’s probably going to get fired, right?
I did the worksheets, too. Sorry I’m sending you so much at once, and on a Monday. I should have sent it earlier, but I went out with some friends Saturday and didn’t get it done.”
KIM T: “No problem. I’m either working, studying or in class practically every waking hour. I hardly notice what day it is. I hope you enjoyed your night out. I know I initially said I didn’t need details of your breakup (if that was rude, I didn’t mean it that way); it must have been bad to make you ditch class for two weeks. I can tell skipping is atypical for you.
I’ve attached a WSJ article that explains the J-curve better than the text. You’re exactly right, without the ability to predict, economics isn’t economics, it’s history. And while history has its place in the predictable probabilities of both economics and meteorology (clever analogy, btw), it’s hardly useful if you need to know whether or not to invest in foreign currency or bring your umbrella to school.”
I stared at the email, trying and failing to compare my tuto, Kim to Taehyung. They seemed as opposite as night and day, but I only knew half of each of them. I didn’t know much about Taehyung beyond his striking looks and his ability to beat the shit out of someone. During art history, I’d found myself wondering what would have happened in that interaction with Junmin, if Taehyung had been with me. I wondered if Junmin would have dared to look at me like that. To say what he’d said: Lookin’ good. The thought of Junmin’s cold eyes examining me made my stomach turn.
Feeling shallow for caring, I speculated again what Kim T might look like, and how much impact that might have on what I thought of him. His compliments made me stare at my laptop and smile. He’d said my ex was a moron, and now he seemed to be interested in our breakup. In me. That, or I was reading too much into it.
Y/N Son: “Hey KimT (It seems like Im cxchanging emails with some secret agent) We were together almost three years. I never saw it coming. I followed him here to school, instead of trying for a performing arts school. My orchestra teacher nearly had a stroke when I told him.
He pleaded with me to audition at Oberlin or Julliard, but I didn’t. I can’t blame anyone but myself. I trusted my future to my boyfriend, like an idiot. Now I’m stuck somewhere I’m not supposed to be. I don’t know if I just believed that much in him, or that little in myself. Either way, pretty fucking stupid, huh? So there’s my weepy little story.Thank you for the article.”
Kim T: “Not stupid. Overly trusting, maybe, but that reflects on his lack of trustworthiness, not on your intelligence. As for being somewhere you’re not supposed to be – maybe you’re here for a reason, or there is no reason. As a scientist, I lean toward the latter. Either way, you’re off the hook. You made a decision; now you make the best of it. That’s all you can do, right? On that note, I’m off to study for a statistical mechanics quiz. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to prove scientifically that your ex isn’t worthy of you, and you’re exactly where you should be.”
When Elee came through the door, I was half-asleep and surrounded by conjugated Spanish verbs printed on colored index cards. I scooped most of them up just before she bounced onto the edge of my bed.
“So? Did you call him or text him? Did you use the stuff we went over? What did he say?”
I sighed. “Neither.”
She lay back on the bed, flinging her arms wide dramatically as I snatched up cards before she creased them. “You chickened out.”
I stared at the cards in my hand. Yo habré, tú habrás, él habrá, nosotros habremos… “Yeah, maybe.”
“Hmm. You know, this is better. Don’t call. Make him chase you.” She laughed at my creased brow.
I thought about Seokjin. About what kind of guy he was. He’d chased me in the beginning, but he didn’t have to try very hard to catch me. I was swept off my feet by him, swept along in his dreams and plans, because he’d made me part of them. Until a few weeks ago.
“Aw, shit, y/n. I know what you’re doing. Don’t think about him. I’m gonna make some cocoa. Get back to—” she sat up, picking up a card I’d not grabbed hastily enough, “—ugh, Spanish verbs.”
Wednesday, I got to the classroom before the 8:00 class let out. As soon as most of the students had filed out the door, I slipped in and took my seat, determined not to pay attention to Taehyung when he came in. To that end, I flipped through my index cards, though I was more than ready to ace the quiz in Spanish.
When Jungkook slid into his seat on my left, I didn’t pause in my review. I refused to be distracted from not paying attention to Taehyung’s seat, and whether or not he was in it.
“Hey, Y/N.” That wasn’t Jungkook’s voice.
The seats were bolted to the floor, with right-handed desktops. Taehyung leaned slightly over the side of Jungkook’s, pushing into the very margin of my space. My breath caught, and I focused on letting it out, appearing unaffected. “Oh, hi.”
He bit his lower lip once, briefly. “I guess you didn’t notice the note on your coffee cup.”
I glanced at my phone, sitting on the edge of my textbook. “I noticed.” I watched his reaction.
He smiled, his light eyes crinkling slightly at the corners, and I tried not to swoon visibly. “Mmm I see, so how ’bout you give me yours?”
I arched a brow at him. “Why? Do you need help in economics?”
He bit his lip in earnest that time, stifling a laugh. “Hardly. What makes you think that?”
I frowned. Could I be attracted to a guy who cared so little about doing well in class? “I guess it’s not my business.”
He leaned his chin into the palm of his hand. The tips of his fingers were tinged with gray, probably from drawing with that pencil sitting over his ear. “I appreciate your concern, but I want your number for reasons completely unrelated to economics.”
I picked up my phone and found his number, and sent him a text that said: Hi.
“Dude, you’re in my seat.” Jungkook’s tone was matter-of-fact, but unperturbed.
Taehyung’s phone vibrated in his hand, and he smiled as my text popped up, giving him my number. “Thanks.” He unfolded himself from the chair and addressed Jungkook. “Sorry, man.”
“No prob.” Jungkook was one of the most easygoing people I’d ever met. His attitude said slacker, but I’d gotten a look at the midterm crammed into his notebook—he’d made a high B, and for all his talk about skipping class and sleeping in, he’d yet to miss one. After Taehyung sauntered back to his seat, Jungkook leaned over the edge of his desktop, closer than Taehyung had. “So what was that about?” His eyebrows rocked up and down and I tried not to grin.
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” I replied, fluttering my lashes in my best Southern belle impersonation.
“Careful, little lady,” he drawled. “That fella seems a bit dangerous.” He shook a too-long curl out of his eyes, smiling. “Not that there’s anything wrong with a bit of danger.”
I congratulated myself for taking a singular peek over my shoulder, halfway through the fifty-minute class. Taehyung wasn’t looking at me, so I couldn’t help staring. Pencil in hand, he was sketching intently, first shading and then carefully smearing with his thumb. His hair fell around his face as he concentrated on his work, the lecture and the classroom disregarded as though he was alone in his room. I imagined him sitting on his bed, knees up, pad balanced on his thighs. I wondered what he was sketching. Or who.
He glanced up and caught my gaze. Held it.
His mouth pulled into that ghost of a smile and he stretched his neck and rolled his shoulders, returning my stare. Glancing at the pad, he tapped the end of his pencil against it and sprawled back in his seat, lashes fanning down as he examined his work.
Dr. Park finished the chart he was free-handing onto the whiteboard, and the lecture resumed. Taehyung tucked the pencil over his ear and picked up a pen. Before shifting his attention to our professor, he smiled at me again, and a jolt of excitement shot through me.
At the end of class, a different girl than last week intercepted him on his way out the door, and I bolted without a backward look. My adrenaline kicked in, my body sensing my need to escape and giving wings to it.
I texted Elee that I’d be getting crap coffee in the cafeteria before my afternoon class instead of going by the Coffe. She texted back: GENIUS. I’ll meet you there. Sisters in solidarity and all that shit.
From the end of my bed, my laptop dinged an email alert, and an answering flutter came from my stomach. It was probably nothing—a notice about flu shots from the health center, or another note from one of my old high school friends, who were all “so devastated” that Seokjin and I were over (which they all figured out when he changed his Facebook relationship status—twenty minutes after he’d broken up with me).
I’d disabled my account immediately, and had yet to reinstate it. The thought of seeing his glib status updates and having photos of him pop up in my feed was demoralizing. Even if I hid him, we knew too many of the same people. There’d be no hiding his activities completely. I began getting sympathetic and condescending emails and texts the next day, so I was justifiably apprehensive whenever I checked my inbox.
Cringing, I pulled it up… and smiled.
Kim T: “Are you going to make it to the session tomorrow (Thursday)? In case you won’t, I’ve attached the worksheet I’m planning to go over. It’s new, separate stuff, and you needn’t be completely caught up to get it. (Speaking of, you should be all caught up within a week or so.)
PS – I’ve been thinking about that proof I spoke of last time – that you’re where you’re supposed to be. And it occurred to me, can you prove you’d be better off somewhere else? If you’d have left the state, your relationship would have ended still. Maybe you’d have even blamed yourself, not knowing that it was doomed because of him, either way. Instead, you’re here. You got dumped, skipped class, and met the best econ tutor at the university! Who knows, maybe I’ll make you fall in love with economics. (What’s your major, btw?)”
Y/N Son: “I’m a music education major. I hate that saying: “Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach.” As a tutor, I know that’s BS. Still. I wanted to do. I imagined joining a symphony orchestra, or a progressive jazz band… And instead, I’m going to teach.
I won’t be at your session – I have lessons with my middle school boys tomorrow. (I think I’d be more impressive to them if I could fart the scales instead of plucking them on the bass.)
Sorry to inform you, but I plan to make it through this class and be done with econ. No reflection on your genius tutoring skills, I swear. Thank you for the worksheet. You’re too kind.”
Kim T: “If you want to do, then do. What’s stopping you?
So I’m kind, huh? Never heard that before. People usually think I’m a pretentious a-hole. I must admit, I tend to encourage that estimation. So please promise to keep your opinion to yourself. Reputations can be ruined so easily, you know. ;)
PS – Do the worksheet. Before Friday. I’m giving you a very serious look through this screen. DO THE WORKSHEET. If you have problems with any of the material, let me know.”
Y/N Son: “What’s stopping me? Well, I’ve blown the chance to go to a serious music school. And I’m stuck in a state that doesn’t always foster the arts (something I’ll probably spend my entire teaching career fighting). It seems impossible to go out now and “do.” I guess I should rethink that.
Your secret geniality is safe. My lips are sealed.
PS – I’m DOING the worksheet, but I’m giving you a very petulant look through my screen. Slave driver.”
I was grinning when I clicked send. Maybe I was playing an entirely different game of chase, and Taehyung and his infuriatingly enigmatic smile could take a flying leap. Elee and Mina could keep their make-him-chase-you advice and use it themselves, because I, apparently, sucked at it in real life. Through email, though… My happy expression slid away as I realized the stark truth—I was flirting with someone online. I had no idea what he looked like, or what type of person he was.
That wasn’t exactly true. I knew exactly what type of person he was, even though I’d never laid eyes on him. He was kind. And intelligent. And straightforward.
Of course, he hadn’t beaten a would-be rapist to a bloody pulp for me. Or made my insides melt when he put his hands on my waist. He probably didn’t have tattoos on his arms or deep brown eyes and a liquefying stare.
At 10:00 pm, my phone trilled a text alert.
Taehyung: Hi :)
Me: Hi :)
Taehyung: What’s up?
Me: Nothing. Homework.
Taehyung: I wanted to talk to you after class, but you disappeared.
Me: I have another class right after. One of those profs who stops talking, stares at you and waits until you get to your seat if you’re late.
Taehyung: I would probably just walk to my seat even slower. ;)
Taehyung: You should come by the Coffe Friday. It’s usually dead. Americano, on the house?
Me: Free coffee? I can’t pass that up. I’ll try to stop by. When do you work?
Taehyung: All afternoon. Til 5.
Taehyung: See you Friday, Y/N.
Taehyung was fifteen minutes late to class on Friday, and we had a pop quiz first thing—which he missed. My first thought was how irresponsible it was to miss a quiz… and then I remembered that I missed the midterm. I couldn’t exactly point any fingers.
He slipped through the back door as Dr. Park walked up the center aisle, collecting quizzes. He took the stacks from the left row and then turned to the right, where Taehyung sat. “I need to see you after class,” he said, his voice low.
Inclining his head once, Taehyung pulled his text from his backpack and replied in the same subdued tone. “Yes, sir.”
I didn’t look back at him during the remainder of class, and when it was over, he packed up his backpack and walked down the outside aisle to the front. While waiting for Dr. Park to finish his conversation with another student, Taehyung’s eyes lifted and found me. His smile was as unreadable as always, scarcely there at all. But his gaze was focused, pegging me like a dart to a board.
Turning his attention to our professor, he broke the stare. I released the breath I’d not realized I was holding and escaped the classroom, undecided on whether or not to follow through with stopping by the Coffe that afternoon.
I considered the quiz I’d just aced, thanks to Kim’s insistence that I complete the worksheet he sent two nights ago. Doing that worksheet had been all sorts of help—on a quiz he must have known about. I didn’t think he’d crossed a line and told me something he shouldn’t have, but his toe was definitely on the line. For me. Swept along and invisible among thousands of other students on this enormous campus, I was struck by the fact that for some reason, he’d gone out of his way to help me. For some reason, I mattered to him.
Elee: Jongkyung and I are leaving soon. You gonna be ok this weekend? You’re going to the coffe this afternoon, RIGHT? If he asks you out, GO FOR IT HOE. Clear the palate! Don’t forget you’ll have the room to yourself all weekend.
Me: You kids have fun. I’ll be fine! I’ll keep you posted.
Elee: You’d better! I’ll be back Sunday afternoon. Or evening, depending on the level of hangover Sunday morning. lmao. TEXT ME LATER.
I’d forgotten Elee’s road trip with Jongkyung was this weekend. His brother was in a band, and they were playing at a festival tomorrow near Busan, so they had reservations at a bed and breakfast for the weekend. Elee told Mina and me about it last month while we waited to look at Mercury and Venus through a telescope during an evening astronomy lab.
The coffee smell invaded my senses before the Coffe came into view. Rounding the corner, my eyes went to the counter, where two employees stood talking. When I didn’t see Taehyung, I wondered if he’d switched shifts and forgot to text me.
There were only a handful of customers—one of whom was Dr. Park, reading the paper in the corner. I had nothing against my professor, but I didn’t exactly want him witnessing my attempts to flirt with the guy who skipped the quiz and got called out for it just this morning. I stood just behind a display of coffee mugs and travel cups.
Just as he had Monday, Taehyung pushed through the door to the back as my eyes brushed over it. My fingers and toes tingled at the sight of him. Underneath the green apron, he wore an orange long-sleeved tshirt, not the university-branded sweatshirt he’d worn this morning in class. His shirtsleeves were pushed past his elbows again, leaving the tattoos visible. I moved to the counter, my eyes skimming from his forearms to his face. He hadn’t seen me yet.
One of the girls at the register straightened. “Can I help you?” Her voice held a bite of annoyance, as though she was snapping her fingers to get my attention.
“I’ve got it, Eun ” Taehyung said, and she shrugged and returned to her conversation with her coworker, but they both eyed me with even more hostility than a moment before. “Hey, y/n.”
He glanced toward the corner where Dr. Park sat. “What can I get for you?”
His tone wasn’t the tone of a guy who’d specifically asked me to come by. Maybe he was behaving circumspectly for his coworkers’ benefit.
“Um, a grande Americano, I guess.”
He grabbed the cup from the stack and made the drink. I tried to hand him my card, but he shook his head once. “That’s okay. I’ve got it.”
His coworkers exchanged a look I pretended not to see.
I thanked him and retreated to the opposite side of the shop from Dr. Park, setting up my laptop to work on my econ project.
After an hour, I’d bookmarked a dozen sources on current international economic happenings, my coffee was gone, and Taehyung hadn’t come over once. I was expected at the high school for my weekly Friday afternoon bass lessons in half an hour. Shutting down my laptop, I turned to unplug the power cord from the wall.
“Ms. Son.” At Dr. Park’s unexpected greeting, I jumped, knocking over my thankfully-empty cup. “Oh! So sorry to have startled you!”
“Oh, that’s okay. I’m a little jumpy—from, uh, the coffee.” And from thinking for one split second that you were Taehyung.
“I just wanted to let you know that Mr. Kim tells me you’re almost caught up, and making headway on the project. I’m glad to hear it.” He lowered his voice and glanced around conspiratorially. “My colleagues and I don’t actually want to fail anyone, you know. Our goal is to frighten—I mean encourage—the less, er, serious students to produce. Not that I believe you’re one of those.”
I returned his smile. “I understand.”
He straightened and cleared his throat. “Good, good. Well, on that note—have a productive weekend.” He chuckled at his joke and I managed to avoid rolling my eyes.
“Thank you, Dr. Park.”
He walked to the counter and spoke to Taehyung as I wound the power cord and stowed the laptop in my backpack. The conversation between them was earnest, and I was concerned when Dr. Park seemed to gesture toward me at least once. I wondered if our professor believed that Taehyung was one of those less serious students he could intimidate into becoming more dedicated. If so, I didn’t want to be used as some sort of example.
As I walked out, I looked over my shoulder, but Taehyung didn’t shift his gaze my way at all, and his expression was tense. His coworker, wiping down a counter a few feet away, smirked at me.
When I left the high school two hours later, I switched on my phone, endeavoring to look forward to a weekend alone while it powered up. Clearly, the trip to Coffe was a bust. Taehyung had been, if possible, even more puzzling and cagey than he was before.
While working on the project, I’d emailed Kim to thank him for sending the worksheet Wednesday, and for insisting that I do it. I hadn’t heard from him since Wednesday, but maybe he would email this afternoon or tonight. Maybe he’d be free this weekend, and we could finally meet.
I had one text from Elee that she and Jongkyung had arrived in Busan—along with lots of insinuation about what I could do with a room to myself, and Mom had texted to ask about my
Ch’usok days plans. Seokjin and I had alternated spending the day at his house or mine the past three years. Somehow, this translated into confusion about whether or not I was coming home this year. When I texted her back that yes, breaking up with a guy generally means no more shared holidays, I expected an apology to follow. I should have known better.
Mom: Don’t be snippy. Your dad and I planned and paid for a trip to Jeju that weekend, because we thought you could stay at the Kim’s. I guess we’ll have to cancel.
Me: Go ahead and go. I’ll go home with Elee or something.
Mom: Ok. If you’re sure.
Me: I’m sure.
I tossed my phone in an empty cup-holder and drove back to campus, prepared to watch reality TV and work on economics all weekend.
When I got to my room, I saw that Taehyung had texted while I was driving back.
Taehyung: Sorry I didn’t say goodbye Me: It was awkward with Dr. Park there I guess. Taehyung: Yeah. Taehyung: So, I’d like to sketch you. Me: Oh? Taehyung: Yeah Me: Okay. Not, like, sans clothes or anything right? Taehyung: Haha no. Unless you’re up for that. Taehyung: Jk. Is tonight ok? Or tomorrow night? Me: Tonight is good. Taehyung: Cool. I can be there in a couple of hours. Me: Ok. Taehyung: What’s your room number? Me: 362. I’ll need to let you into the building. Taehyung: I can probably get in. I’ll text you if I can’t.
You clenched your eyes tight, hearing the sniffles and tears of the woman beside you as you got down on the floor with the rest of the hostages.
The one day you’d decided to visit Gotham. The one day. It had just been for a paper, yes you’d heard the rumors of the city, but you’d been excited and it was just so intriguing and maybe you’d even get to see Batman-
What a fool.
It just so happened to be the day the bank you visited got held up. By none other then the Joker himself.
You’d heard of him, wondered about the infamous so called ‘clown prince’. But nothing would’ve prepared you for what this…this…monster actually looked like.
Slicked back green hair. Burgundy jacket showing pasty white, gleaming skin enunciated by gold. His shoes clicked on the tiles, slowly, tauntingly, the noise teasing behind your ears.
The whole atmosphere around him screamed power. It gnawed at your insides, made your heart beat so hard against your chest you wondered how he hadn’t heard it yet.
The woman beside you tried to choke a sob, holding onto the shaking little boy in her arms. He couldn’t have been more than eight, his face buried into her blouse. You frowned, managing to calm your fear for a second and reached for her hand. She looked at you as you squeezed her fingers, your mouth quivering into a tiny smile. A little tug was returned to your palm.
At the movement it seemed the man’s attention was drawn. His piercing blue eyes roamed over the crowd before the two of you suddenly made eye contact. You froze, the smile melting as fear caused the blood to roar in your ears. It was only the warmth of the woman’s hand in yours that snapped you out of it. What kind of monster would cause this?
Your eyes hardened, inspired by a sudden rush of bravery as you glared, holding his intimidating stare. His eyebrow rose, as if surprised, before the expression shifted slowly, changing his whole face as he smiled.
His smile was tilted, broken, wide and silvery with his grill, outlined by thin lips painted red. He laughed, holding his stomach in joy, the sound echoing through the room.
“Boss?” One of his goons spoke up, pausing from stuffing money into a duffel bag. Joker just waved him off as if telling them to continue and not mind him.
There was something in his movements as he walked up to you that made shivers sweep up your spine. His entire body language was graceful but jerky at the same time. It sent you off the edge with how wrong he was.
But that wasn’t just it. It was predatory, his eyes, the way he moved. It was like he wanted to…wanted to…
You swallowed dryly but kept your ground as he stopped right in front of you.
“What are such pretty eyes doing, casting such a venomous glare?” He asked. You’d expected his voice to be nasty, greasy, but your eyes widened at the smooth charismatic coo that exited his mouth. Shaking off the surprise, you looked away.
Joker frowned, bending slightly and roughly grabbing your chin. He forced your face up, narrowing his eyes.
“Ah, ah, I don’t like to be kept waiting,” he tutted, tilting his head and tapping a finger mockingly over your lips. You clenched your fists, wanting to slap away his hand and recoil at the feeling. “So drop the silent act and talk.”
“You want to know what I think?” You spoke, surprising both you and him with the amount of anger in your tone. “I think that you’re a monster, a monster that deserves to be put in jail. You disgust me.”
You cringed the moment the words left your tongue as you realized what you did. Did you want to die? What was wrong with you??
Instead of hurting you, or getting mad like you’d expected he just laughed again, cheekbones stretching up, curving the ‘J’ tattoo underneath his eye.
“You’re a feisty one!” He said. In a split second you were dragged up, pulled to him so that you could feel that clothed muscled body against yours. Your breath hitched, and you could sense everyone’s eyes on you. Joker leaned in further so that his mouth was by your ear.
“I like it,” he growled, persona switching in an instant as his voice dropped significantly. You couldn’t deny the tingles that rushed through your abdomen at the low, gravelly vibration through his chest.
Your lips opened, sucking in a gasping breath. Before you could retort he backhanded you across the face, so hard that you skid back a few feet, a yelp escaping you as you held your cheek.
Joker tapped his cheek, tongue licking over the grill as his smile darkened. “But careful, don’t speak to me like that ever again suga’.”
You wiped blood from your mouth, shaking with anger.
You were sick of it.
The week just hadn’t been going well for you. And the one before that. And the one before that. In fact the whole year had been a bust. Lost jobs, failed relationships, betrayal, fights, false blames, secret scars. You could slowly feel yourself being unraveled thread by thread as your life crashed down around you. And now this? You were absolutely done with it all.
You smiled back at him, sure your teeth were covered with blood. “I speak however I want to whoever I want.”
Joker’s mouth slid up as his eyes widened with glee. “Is that so? What’s your name, little girl?”
You grit your teeth at the name. “I really don’t feel like telling you.”
He pouted childishly. “Fine. Next question. Or statement if you will.” He stretched out a palm.
“Come with me.”
You blinked. If you were expecting anything, it certainly wasn’t that.
What the heck? Why would he want you? Why was he bothering to ask?
You stuttered a second before catching yourself, breathing in deeply.
“Over my dead body.”
You watched as the joker sighed dramatically. “Well if you say so.”
In a flash he had flipped out a gun, pointing it at you. You felt your heart stop.
“Nice talking to ya.”
You had no time to think, shutting your eyes instinctively as he pulled the trigger. Oh my god he actually shot youweregoingtodie-
A deafening blast.
Then silence, ringing and loud.
There was no bullet ripping through you.
You opened an eye to see that he had the gun aimed at the ceiling, where dust and pieces of granite were now falling from. Relief and pain washed over you as you covered your raw ears. You’d never heard a gun shot, especially not in such close distance. From all the movies and shows you’d seen, you still didn’t expect it to be so…loud. It felt like a bomb had just gone off inside your skull.
“No, no, no, no, no!” He whined, swinging the rifle around lazily, making all the victims hold their breath and cringe when it faced their direction. “That’s too easy! Too easy, too boring.”
He gave you another look over as if he was searing those tantalizing eyes into your soul, giving you more unwelcome tingles. “How about this eh?”
The woman you’d been comforting earlier gasped raggedly as the cold metal of the barrel of the gun was pressed to her head. Her kid wailed, bursting into the same tears that were streaming heavily down her face.
“Momma!” He screeched. You stepped forward instantly.
“Stop that right now!”
He tutted again. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. I like you doll, I really do, but you have to be punished for rejecting my offer.” He tilted his head, pursing his lips. “Which one dies? Mama, or the boy?”
You felt your stomach churn. Was he really asking you to pick one of them to live?
“N-None!” All the false bravado you’d gathered up before was gone, leaving you shaking in your boots at the sight of this innocent mother with a gun to her head. A real gun. “I’ll go with you!”
“But doll,” Joker rolled his neck, hissing as if your submission gave him actual pleasure. “You didn’t listen.” His pitch was playful, but deep and growly again and you felt your knees weaken.
“You have five seconds,” He began. “Five…”
Your stomach leapt into your throat.
Your eyes went from mom to child in horror. The woman’s eyes were pleading with you through glassy liquid. You knew what she was trying to say. ’Please save my son’
But how could you make a choice like that? What right did you have to value one life over another’s? Your mouth opened but nothing came out.
Everything seemed to slow down. The woman’s eyes met yours again, disheveled red locks sticking to her face from the salty tears.
You reached out. “The-”
Your knees buckled as you vaguely heard someone scream in the background, one of the hostages sobbing at what they’d just seen. You dropped to the floor, hand over your mouth as you felt tears drip down your cheeks.
You could do nothing but stare at the body lumped on the ground, head in a pool of red that darkened her already crimson locks, the hair covering her face.
Where was Batman? (The so called hero?) Where were the police? (Hah, everything in Gotham was twisted and corrupt.) Did no one know what was going on? (But did anyone care?) Was there no one to save you? You called out for help from deep within, tongue heavy in your mouth.
The joker rolled his eyes languidly. “Too late, doll. Had to pick the default.” He laughed at your face. “What? Did you really think I was that crazy to shoot a child?”
He hummed as if thinking, before suddenly gripping the boy’s hair and dragging his head back, making him cry out as the green haired man pressed the bloodied rifle to his forehead. “Or maybe I am?”
“No! Spare him, spare him,” you shouted. “I’m so sorry. S-so…sorry…” You couldn’t speak as you descended into tears once more.
Joker leaned his head back, closing his eyes and licking his lips once more. “That’s not enough. Mm, say it. Say it.”
You hiccuped. When your voice came out it was a broken, husky whisper. “Please.”
With that one word it was like the last string holding you together snapped. Everything came apart, all the stress gathered over the months, all the sleepless nights, all the internal debates and cries. Broken. Something broke inside you.
The joker physically shivered, hanging his mouth as he fluttered his eyes open. “That’s it, doll.”
“Sir, we’ve got it all loaded in the truck!” Frost’s voice echoed from outside.
Joker perked up, grabbing you by the arm in two fast strides. You went without protest, eyes glazed over as you were thrown into the car. Joker slid in with you, reaching to buckle the seatbelt over you.
He hummed crazily. “Safety first!”
Your chest heaved up and down, panting as you observed this man in front of you. Your mind blanked. The panic, the utter fear, the anger, everything stopped as one thing became prominent. “You’re insane.”
His eyes caught yours again, a grin lighting up those handsome features. He leaned in as if whispering a secret, lips brushing by your neck, heating the skin at his touch.
“So are you, my dear.”
And as you shivered at his voice, smell, the splatter of blood on his cheek, and the breathy smile lifted your lips, you realized he was right.
I meet all sorts working in the gym - from the ultra-buff, to the semi-fit, to the people who have no real intention of making any real life changes to get healthy.
The woman I’m about to tell you about falls into that last category.
At my gym anybody signing up has the option to meet with a trainer for free. You get one free session which is basically a big sales pitch and we show you a few exercises and let you decide whether to give us money or not.
I’m waiting on my client to come in after my morning shift (that I foolishly scheduled for an hour after I finished said shift…) when in walks a woman who looks like Tumblr’s butt blew a bubble. To give you the whole picture:
Orange and blue hair. Orange. And. Blue.
No visible neck, just a fat roll underneath what I surmise used to be a chin
A white “impeach Trump” T-shirt, about 4 sizes too small (mentioned to give you the picture, not because I agree/disagree with it) and a belly drooping out in front
A pair of pants that were so many sizes too small that her ass didn’t fit all the way into them
Sandals. At the fucking gym
Now that you picture what she looks like, please bear in mind that I didn’t give a shit about her appearance until AFTER she’d opened her gaping maw.
Unbeknownst to me, my manager was in the kid’s play area and listened to every word. If you ask yourself why she didn’t intervene/interfere/step in, it’s because she lets me handle things as I see fit and in exchange I do my absolute best for her. (I have an attitude here that arouses most retail managers - I consider it MY gym, and I take responsibility accordingly.) Besides, there was a baby in the other room she wanted to interact with.
**For those of you who haven’t been reading my blog very long (you lucky reader) understand that sentences in italics are ones that I didn’t say out loud.**
Her: I want to talk to a trainer.
Me: You’re in luck! I am a trainer.
Her: No, a female trainer. You wouldn’t understand how a woman’s body works.
I wonder if I should tell my other clients [ALL FEMALE] that I couldn’t possibly understand how their body works and despite the results they’re getting they have to find a new trainer?
Me: OK then. Here’s the signup sheet for [female trainer] she’ll get back to you in a week or two when she gets back from her cruise.
Her: I was promised a free session with a trainer!
Me: And you’ll get it. When she gets back from her vacation.
Her: Well let me see your other female trainer then.
Me: There is no other female trainer. There’s just me and her.
Her: Well what do we do then?
Me: Well we wait for [the female trainer] to come back from vacation. Just put your name down on the sheet and she’ll call you when she gets back.
Her: *sigh* I guess I could do the session with you. You can set me up with a workout routine until she gets back and can help me do it right.
You bitch. You can fuck right off.
**Note** I understand having a gender preference with a trainer. And I encourage it because I’d rather somebody be comfortable. But to be nasty about it? Unacceptable.
Me: Ooooooooh noooooooo! I couldn’t possibly!
Her: But I was promised a free session!
Me: And you’ll get it. When she gets back from vacation. And not before.
Her: YOU WILL GIVE ME MY FREE SESSION!
She really did yell. And for those of you who perhaps don’t work with the general public and are instead just a member of said general public let me give you the best tip of all to get what you want: Just be a decent human.
But since this walking asteroid wanted to yell and pitch a fit and just generally be a nasty hag, I wasn’t going to bend a bit.
Me: Nope! I couldn’t possibly even begin to fathom how a woman’s body works. No understanding here! Can’t help you! But if you put your name down on the signup -
At this point I believe I awoke the beast. She slammed her hands down on the counter, then grabbed a stack of business cards and chucked them at me - or so she tried but she missed horribly because she managed to catch her arm on something and they fluttered past me.
I’ve had enough, and Jokin’ John has gone away.
Me: Out. Leave.
Her: You can’t kick me out.
I absolutely can.
I picked up the phone, dialed the police non-emergency number while she stood there glaring at me. I’m not going to fight with her, I’ll just have her removed if she won’t go on her own.
Me, to the police: Hello, I’ve got a young lady here by the name of [Hammus Obeastialis] that I’ve asked to leave after she decided to throw things at me. Would you send somebody over to help her go? Thanks.
She didn’t believe that I’d called.
So she stood there glaring at me until an officer (who is also a member) arrived. The officer informed her that yes, I could ask her to leave and that yes, she did have to go. I was kind enough to say she could come back tomorrow when she’d calmed down.
It’s about the only kindness she’ll get from me. I don’t have to accept anybody as a client, even for the free session. This is the first retail job where I don’t have to eat shit every time somebody gets uppity.
And that makes me want to do even better for the place.
Picking up Lords of Magic on Steam for $4.99 was not a bad choice. Not a bad game, just kind of a steep learning curve. -J