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Of Gall And Grangers / Re: Ye Old OOC Thread
« Last post by Jonathan Granger on January 25, 2021, 03:14:50 PM »
A little late with this, but hope everyone had a nice holiday season and wishing everyone a better 2021!
Kings & Courts / Re: The Actual OOC Thread
« Last post by Charles Beauforte on January 25, 2021, 03:13:09 PM »
We've been pretty busy lately, but we'll be back to this folder with more soon! :)
Crash and Burn / Re: The Obligatory OOC Thread
« Last post by Johnny Storm on January 25, 2021, 03:11:56 PM »
Working on a little scene for this folder, to be posted soon. :)
Motley Menagerie of Myriad Marvels / Re: Pizza and Kisses
« Last post by Derek Reese on January 25, 2021, 02:53:59 PM »

"Are you kidding?" he asked, chuckling a little. They hadn't quite gone so far that they couldn't turn back, but he seemed more amused by her question than annoyed by it.

She laughed at his answer. "Had to check, right? Consent is everything." Her lips found his again, a little more insistent, a little more passionate, offering more if he wanted to reach out and take it.

"Do I look like ..." He trailed off as her lips found his again. It didn't seem to him like either of them wasn't consenting. His hands found their way beneath her sweater and up her back, fingers lingering on the clasp of her bra, almost as if silently asking permission as his lips deepened that kiss.

She arched into his touch, more than answering that unspoken question with her unspoken assent, letting her own hands slip down to tease their way up beneath his own shirt. It had been a long time since she had wanted anything like this, with anyone. She wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

He wore a t-shirt beneath his sweater, but beneath that was nothing but corded muscle that proved he did more than just run to stay fit. His fingers lingered over the clasp of her bra a moment longer before deciding to divest her of her sweater first, hands sliding up her sides to push the thing up and over her head. Unfortunately, he had to stop kissing her, but only momentarily.

She raised her arms for him, pulling her glasses from her nose before the sweater swept over her head, one hand groping to set the spectacles down as her hair cascaded back down onto her shoulders. She gripped the hem of his sweater, pulling it upward in turn, growling a little in frustration at finding the t-shirt there beneath.

In his haste, he'd forgotten about her glasses, which were probably steamed up by now anyway. Just as well she'd taken them off so he didn't have to. He chuckled at her growl, his gaze shifting to admire the view. It was a good thing he'd decided to take her sweater off before he worked on her bra or he would have missed the scarlet and lace confection she was wearing beneath her clothes. "Did you wear that for me?" he asked as his finger traced one lacy strap.

She glanced down at her bra, letting out a husky chuckle. "A girl can hope, can't she?" she asked, almost managing to sound innocent but for her obviously lusty tone. "Gotta make the goods look worth unpacking."

"Oh, I'm sure they're worth unpacking," he assured her. He'd seen enough to know that, even before he'd stripped her of her sweater. He'd never understood the need for fancy lingerie really when it was just going to come off, but he supposed it was no different than pretty wrapping paper on a gift, meant to entice and intrigue.

Giggling, she took the opportunity to pull his t-shirt up and over his head, tossing it aside as her fingers began to skim and tease his skin hungrily. "God, you're built."

"Mm, so are you," he murmured as he leaned close, his lips leaving a trail of soft kisses against her neck. "I mean, in a female sort of way," he added, obviously distracted.

She bit the curve of his ear gently, soothing the sting with kisses. "Nice save," she murmured, catching her breath as he kissed along her neck, her hips rolling almost of their own accord to tease them both with currently unattainable closeness.

As his kisses trailed slowly lower, he noticed something he hadn't noticed before. Frowning with concern, his fingers traced the bruise that was coloring her right side. "You really did collide with a railing."

She shivered at the tender stroke of his fingers, looking down at her side as he did. "Yeah," she admitted. "That railing saved my life, though. I'd have been a smear on the floor ten storeys down without it."

"You really do need someone to watch over you, don't you?" he asked, not entirely in jest. And he was just the guy to do it.

"One against six is hardly a fair fight," she pointed out. "I'm just lucky I'm quick." Her nose circled his, fingertips tracing patterns down over his sides as she teased him. "You offering to be my bodyguard, handsome?"

"Not exactly," he replied, brushing his nose against hers, an amused expression on his face. He didn't bother to tell her what he was offering though, as the time for talk was over. "You have a bedroom or do you prefer the couch?"

"I've got a bedroom," she assured him, reluctantly easing back to stand up and lead the way. It was a small room, might almost have seemed cramped, but right now, that could only be a blessing. The less distance to walk, the better.

He figured she did, and it probably wouldn't have been very hard to find in her little apartment, but the question he was really asking was where did she want to end up? He chuckled again as she showed him into the room. "I could almost fit your entire apartment in my living room," he told her, not that it mattered really. She lived alone, and she had all the essentials, but thank God it wasn't a single bed!

She rolled her eyes at him. "I like my little apartment, thank you," was her amused response. "I mean, if you want somewhere bigger, we could always get dressed and get a hotel ..."

"Shhh," he said, pressing a finger against her lips to quiet her. "No more talking." And with that said, he eased her onto her back on the bed, intending to finish what they'd started, no matter how long it took.

She giggled once again as he eased her down, reaching for him to loom over her, arching her neck to claim yet more kisses as the snow fell outside the window. They'd had the cocoa; the movie might happen later. Right now ... they were making their own entertainment.
Motley Menagerie of Myriad Marvels / Re: Pizza and Kisses
« Last post by Derek Reese on January 25, 2021, 02:53:45 PM »
Holli eyed him thoughtfully. "Are you sure you want to be that deeply involved with someone the most powerful people in the city want smeared over the asphalt?"

He chuckled, seemingly returning to his senses now that the initial shock had worn off. "I'm not exactly their favorite person either, you know."

"Yeah, but you're a public persona," she said, her expression relaxing into a smile as he seemed to relax into what he now knew. "They can't touch you without inviting public scrutiny. I'm just a nobody assistant."

"Who else knows about your alias?" he asked. Because if no one else did, then Holli Carr didn't have anything to worry about. Only her alias was in danger.

"Just you," she said, her smile fading once again. "I lied a bit, when I said I had friends. I really don't."

"You have me," he said, reaching for her hand, though he seemed he had just become more than a friend. Not quite a lover just yet either. An ally, maybe? He wouldn't go quite so far as to call her a partner. There was a lot she still didn't know about him.

She sighed softly, tangling her fingers with his. "The last thing I want is to put you in direct danger because of what I do," she told him. "But it feels good not to be all alone with this."

"I can take care of myself," he assured her, giving her hand a light squeeze, that smile returning to his face. "Can't say you don't believe in Fate now, can you?"

"You think this is Fate, huh?" she asked, a faint smile touching her face. "I guess it might be, after all. Who'd have thought one hot coffee straight to the chest would end up like this?"

"Would you prefer to call is serendipity?" he asked. Fate, Destiny, Serendipity - they all meant the same thing. There were far too many weird similarities for it to be merely coincidence.

"But are you safe, knowing this?" she asked, unable to hide her concern for him.

"Why wouldn't I be?" he countered. He was investigating the same things that she was, after all, though they both seemed to use slightly different methods. "So, what did you find out?"

She sighed, letting out her breath in a slow huff. "I got a load of encrypted files from deep in their system," she told him. "I'm decrypting them right now, but it won't be done until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest."

"Would you mind if I have a look?" he asked. It seemed reasonable that if they were both researching the same thing, they might as well pool their resources and information, rather than work individually.

It took a moment for her to answer. "Sure," she said eventually. "I can trust you with a location, right? It's not like you could get in without me, anyway."

"You can trust me, Holli, but I understand if you're not sure," he told her with a serious frown. After all, they had only met a day ago, and they didn't really know each other very well, despite the obviously mutual attraction.

"Honestly? I trust you," she said firmly. "I don't quite know why I do, but I do trust you. And, uh ... well, if you're going to be in on this secret, I kind of want to know for myself if you're up to it. So we'll spar."

"Spar?" he echoed, brows arching upwards for a moment, before a roguish grin spread across his face. "Do you mean in the gym or under the sheets?"

She raised a teasing brow, her lips quirking into a wicked little smirk. "Both?" she suggested. "Probably not at the same time, but it all depends how worked up you get me."

"Oh, really? Is that a challenge?" he said, matching her smile with one of his own. He really was enjoying this way too much.

"Maaaaybe," she drawled, shrugging lightly. She couldn't help her relief at seeing his initial reaction relax back into comfortable flirtation, engaging with it all too easily herself.

"I seem to recall someone saying sex was off the table until after the third date," he reminded her, not for the first time. It was flattering really, but as much as he wanted the same thing, he didn't want her to feel pressured.

She rolled her eyes. "Derek ... shut up." With a grin, she eased up onto her knees, throwing one leg over his to capture his face between her hands and kiss him.

He grinned as she made her feelings clear, all too happy to let her take advantage of him, if that's what she wanted. His arms automatically went around her waist to draw her close as his lips savored her kiss, insisting on more than one. She had said something about heavy petting, after all.

There would definitely be more than one, if Holli had anything to say about it. She relaxed bonelessly into his arms, sliding snug against him to trade kisses back and forth - deep and slow, quick and soft, teasing, tantalising, sharing her smile through touch alone.

it had been a long time - or at least, it seemed like a long time - since he'd been with a woman, but he hadn't lost his touch. His lips still knew how to sweeten a kiss, his hands still knew how to find their way around a woman's curves. His body reminded him what it felt like to want someone, as though he might have forgotten - and want her, he did. He could not deny that.

People often talked about the spark, the special connection some couples shared, but Holli had never really believed it was real. Not until today, when she had shared the deepest secret she had, and not been rejected for it; not until these kisses lit a fire that hadn't been touched inside her for years.

She'd taken a chance in telling him, somehow knowing she could trust him. He knew how much that must have meant to her, and he had no intentions of letting her down, but that wasn't what this was about. This was about a longing deep inside, not only to make a connection, but to share something special with another human being - mind, heart, and soul.

It took a monumental effort of will to draw back even far enough to whisper, "Are you sure?" against his lips, her hands eager to uncover him, to discover the firm planes she could feel beneath his clothing.
Motley Menagerie of Myriad Marvels / Re: Pizza and Kisses
« Last post by Derek Reese on January 25, 2021, 02:53:28 PM »
He arched a brow, wondering why it was she was asking him that. It was kind of a loaded question, considering who he was and what he did both for a living and afterhours, but he could not imagine himself ever deliberately causing her harm. "If you don't think you can trust me, then why am I here?"

"All right, let me put it another way," she said, struggling to find the right way to phrase this. "If you had information that would absolutely make your name as an investigative reporter, but revealing it would put me in danger, what would you do with that information?"

He furrowed his brows this time, a little puzzled or maybe troubled by her question. "Holli, I'm not interested in fame or fortune. What interests me - what motivates me - is seeing people pay for their crimes, for their evil deeds. The truth is important, but what's more important is justice." He wasn't sure if that answered her question, but hopefully it would help her understand him a little bit better.

She was silent for a long moment, her expression almost stern as she considered the sheer power she was about to give him over her. But she'd done her digging; he was a good man, and his actions upheld that impression. Slowly, she raised her eyes to his, calm and quiet and absolutely serious.

"You're right about the Shadow," she said softly. "She is a woman. She's me."

He blinked slowly and then blinked again, as his mind tried to process what she was telling him. It wasn't just a confession, as if that wasn't shocking enough. By telling him this, she was not only putting her fate in his hands, she was trusting him with her secret. For a moment, he thought she must be teasing him again and he almost chuckled, but the look on her face told him different. Either she was a very good liar, or she was telling him the truth.

"You?" he said. "You're the Shadow."

"I'm the Shadow," she confirmed quietly. "I was late to our date because Kenneth Tomlinson's personal security was a little more than I was expecting to have to handle when I dropped into Logitech."

"Kenneth Tomlinson, right," he murmured, as he got to his feet. It didn't look like he was going anywhere; he was just suddenly feeling too anxious to sit calmly on her couch and take this all in. "I was there last night, you know. I dropped in after I left your place. Poked around a little. That place was buttoned up pretty tight," he said, as he paced the floor beside her couch. The room suddenly felt too small for him, too closed in. "If you're the Shadow, how'd you get in?" he asked, halting his pacing to hear her answer.

"It's amazing how many people don't look at you if you walk fast wearing a high-vis coat and carrying a clipboard," she said simply. "Walked straight in through the front door."

"I saw the security footage," he told her. He had decided last night that it was definitely a woman; a man just didn't move the same way. He looked her over again, as if seeing her for the first time. She didn't look the part, not on the surface, but if you looked a little harder ... Yes, he could see how it might be her. "Why?"

It said a lot for her confidence in her own ability that she didn't seem intimidated or concerned that he was standing over her where she sat. "I needed access to the CEO's security clearance," she said with a shrug. "I'm putting together the evidence of what they did to my family, and to a lot of other families. When I've got it, I fully intend to scare the lot of them into getting out of Horizon City."

He blinked again at her answer, his face turning a shade paler than normal. "What? So, they can go pull the same bulls*** on someone else? Ruin someone else's life? Someone else's city? No, they deserve more than exile," he said, realizing he'd probably said too much.

"I'm not them," she said simply. "I won't kill them. But if they don't go, they'll go down. I'm gathering as much verifiable information as I can. I have been for the last two years."

"You have," he echoed, blue eyes flashing like steel, though he had no reason to be angry with her. He dropped onto the couch at last and started to laugh at the irony of it all.

Holli watched him warily, waiting to see what his ultimate reaction would be. She didn't quite understand why she had told him her truth so fast, but perhaps it was better this way. She could cut all ties without breaking her own heart if she had to.

"Jesus Christ," he murmured as his laughter subsided. He shoved his fingers back through his hair, a sign of nervousness or agitation. "You've been gathering information." He chuckled again. It was just too funny. Here he was - a man who'd devoted his entire adult life to bringing down people like Kenneth Tomlinson - and here she was, doing the same damned thing.

"What do you think I've been doing for the last, oh, I don't know, half a decade or so? Investigating crooked car dealers and politicians who can't keep it in their pants?" he said, with a touch of sarcasm. He had been investigating those things, but they were just the stories that helped paid the bills. His real goal was to catch far bigger fish.

"You do it legally," she pointed out, still wary of his reaction. "I'm done with playing nice with these people. They've destroyed so many families in this city just for their greed, they need to go."

"What they need is to get locked up for life with no chance of parole," he told her. "Or better yet, to see what it feels like to suffer like they've made others suffer," he added under his breath.

"I'm not them," she said sharply once again. "You're not them. Don't give them the satisfaction of becoming like them in pursuit of revenge. Why do you think I've been going after evidence, and not just killing them on sight? You think I couldn't kill them if I wanted to?"

"I'm sure you could," he murmured, before catching himself. He really wasn't handling this very well, and he knew it. They were on the same side; they wanted the same thing. He drew a deep breath before turning to face her again. "Holli, these people are dangerous. Really dangerous."

"I know," she told him in a softer tone. "I'm very good at covering my tracks. I need to know if you're going to be able to keep my secret, though."

"Of course, I'll keep your secret," he was quick to reply. Did she really think he'd cash in on her secret just for a good scoop, when he wanted the same thing that she did? But maybe he hadn't made that quite clear. "Maybe we should share what we know."
Motley Menagerie of Myriad Marvels / Re: Pizza and Kisses
« Last post by Derek Reese on January 25, 2021, 02:53:10 PM »
"But what if you had to only choose one?" he asked, lifting his index finger and leaning toward her for emphasis.

"Is it one colour, but all the shades of that colour, or do you mean one shade of one colour?" she asked, apparently engaging quite seriously in this attempt to pin her down on an opinion.

"One color, doesn't matter what the shade is," he replied, wondering if she was purposely over-complicating the question.

"Aww, man ..." She'd never really had to think about her preferences so deeply before, but he was putting her on the spot. "I guess ... if I had to choose ... it would be purple? Maybe?"

"Purple," he echoed. "Okay. Good. Was that so hard?" he asked, a small smirk on his face. "Now, you said your favorite musical is Wicked, so what's your favorite movie?" he asked, pressing her a little bit harder.

"Yeah, it was hard!" she protested laughingly. "Movies is harder, too. Because it all depends on mood whether a movie will make you feel good or bad, or bored."

"I'm pretty sure you wouldn't pick one that was boring," he said. He understood what she was saying, but he was pretty sure she wouldn't pick a movie that bored her for a favorite.

"Narrow it down for me," she suggested, a part of her thoroughly enjoying making this simple thing as complicated as possible just to see how far he would let himself be pushed before she forced herself to come up with an answer.

"Pick a favorite genre," he countered, unwilling to make it too easy for her. "What do you like to watch? Mysteries, thrillers, romance, comedy, science fiction?" He could have asked that same question regarding books.

"That's hard," she whined, still laughing. "I like comedy, but I like romance, too. And sometimes I like science fiction and action, and occasionally I'll watch a mystery or a thriller."

"Okay, fine," he said, turning back to the TV and flicking through the channels on her remote. "Tell me when to stop," he said, going slow enough that she got a peek at what was on before he moved on.

"Aren't you supposed to wait until you've got your hand up my top to say that?" Holli asked playfully, obediently turning her eyes to the screen to watch the images go by. Nothing was really catching her eye, mostly because she was more focused on the man at her side.

"I can't very well do that and sip hot cocoa at the same time," he was quick to point out, a hint of a smirk on his face. He turned the TV off and set the remote back down. "You don't really want to watch a movie, do you?"

She smiled. "I'm enjoying your company," she admitted. "I just figured you might want something to watch while you're drinking your cocoa, that's all."

"What if I'm perfectly content watching you?" he asked, before taking another sip of his cocoa, before it wasn't hot anymore.

"I'm okay with that. So long as you're not, you know, just staring like a stalker," she added with a grin over the top of her own mug. A flicker outside the window caught her attention, drawing a smile to her face once again as large flakes of snow began to fall outside.

"Just how does a stalker stare?" he asked, with a little accidental alliteration. He was teasing, of course, but it seemed to amuse him to hear her answers to these pointless questions.

"With evil intent and without blinking," she answered, sticking her tongue out at him. "And mostly through binoculars, but those would just make you super obvious when you're in my apartment."

He laughed. "Yeah, I don't think you have to worry about that," he said. What did he have to stalk her for when he was already sort of dating her?

"So what does a typical day look like for you, Derek?" she asked, letting curiosity out once again now he had prodded her into making a decision on her favourite colour.

"I'm not sure I have any typical days," he replied, pausing to sip his cocoa before continuing. "I mean, I'm an investigative reporter, so I don't really keep regular hours."

"That makes sense," she mused. "But you must have some kind of routine, right? Everyone does, even people who don't have a predictable lifestyle."

"Sort of," he replied with a shrug. "I mean, I get up around the same time every day, eat breakfast, go for a run, take a shower and go to work," he said, his answer still somewhat vague.

"You work out in the mornings, huh?" She smiled, tucking that little tidbit away for later. "What's your usual route? And time?"

"Planning on stalking me?" he asked, an amused expression on his face. "Or joining me?"

"Why would I stalk you when I can just ... happen to be running in the same direction at the same time?" she asked innocently. "I mean, I would probably be safer running with you than alone, right?"

"Holli, if you want to run with me, all you have to do is ask," he told her, wondering why she might feel unsafe or that in need of protection.

"Maybe it feels a little forward to ask to run with you when we've only really known each other for twenty-four hours," she suggested with a half shrug, finishing off her cocoa with a last tip of the mug. She leaned forward, setting the empty mug on the coffee table before resuming her comfortable position on the couch beside him. "But then, I did kinda offer you sex with catering, so forward might just be my calling card."

"You did promise me some heavy petting," he reminded her with another smirk. "I could be wrong, but asking to run with me seems a little less forward than that." He, too, finished off his cocoa and set the mug on the table beside hers. "What's going on, Holli? Are in some kind of trouble?"

"I'm not in trouble," she promised him, but hesitated. "I ... Can I trust you? And I don't mean trust you as in letting you in my home, or anything like that. I mean ... can I trust you with my life?"

Motley Menagerie of Myriad Marvels / Re: Pizza and Kisses
« Last post by Derek Reese on January 25, 2021, 02:52:52 PM »
Glancing over at him, she laughed at his chosen mug. "That one, I may have bought for myself," she admitted impishly. "What can I say? I like mugs that make me smile."

"Everything should make you smile, Holli," Derek remarked, as he choose a more nondescript mug for himself. She deserved that much.

"What about you?" she asked, lowering the heat under the pan as she whisked just a little caramel syrup into the mixture. "Don't you deserve to be surrounded by things that make you smile?"

He shrugged as he retook his lean against the cupboard. "I suppose," he replied, without much fanfare. It wasn't so much whether he deserved it as whether that was practical. "In every life, a little rain must fall," he murmured to himself.

"A little," she pointed out, carefully pouring the cocoa into the two mugs. "Not a monsoon daily. There's marshmallows in the cupboard next to your hip, by the way."

"I've got no complaints," he told her, which was mostly true. At least, he had a purpose in life, which was more than could be said for some. He shifted so that he could open the cupboard to find the marshmallows. "What about you? Are you happy?"

"Honestly?" She sighed softly, rinsing the pan in the sink before setting it aside to wash properly later. "I don't think happy is a word I can apply to myself. I'm not unhappy, I'm just ... moving along, I guess."

Maybe that wasn't quite the right way to word that question. "Let me put it another way ... What do you think would make you happier?" he asked, as he opened the bag of marshmallows and held one up to her lips.

She gave him a playful look as she bit down on the marshmallow, taking her time to chew and swallow and let him fill in the silly gaps before she offered him a more serious answer. "Justice and stability?"

"Justice and stability are good, but I mean personally," he said, brows furrowing a moment as he realized something. "Or do you mean that personally?"

She hesitated, aware she was skating very close to a line that could not be uncrossed here. "Little of column A, little of column B?" she suggested.

He knew he was pushing his luck, but he had a feeling there was something she wasn't telling him. Then again, there was a lot he had left unsaid. "Justice for who or what?" he asked, deciding to take a chance.

"You can't guess?" she asked, raising a brow. "My father. My family." This came out a little more vehement than she had intended, her eyes quickly turning away from his to watch as she dropped marshmallows into the cocoa.

"I thought as much," he said, his voice turning quiet. He turned quiet a moment, thoughtful even, as if searching for the right words. "I won't ask, but if you want to talk about it, I'm a pretty good listener," he told her.

She shook her head. "It isn't ... it isn't something I can talk about, not yet," she told him. "It's complicated, but what isn't complicated these days, right?"

He smiled, letting the subject drop as quickly as it had been brought up. She had opened up by the tiniest crack, and he didn't want to make her slam shut again by asking too many questions. "Hot cocoa isn't complicated ... Unless you make it from scratch."

"Are you saying that life is better when it's complicated?" she asked, her smile turning a little incredulous as she handed him his chosen mug.

He shrugged again, before taking the mug from her. "It's more interesting anyway," he replied, making no judgment one way or the other. Some people lived their whole lives without any complications and were happy, but he had a feeling the two of them weren't like those people.

"Taste the cocoa before you make any decisions on that," she warned with a flicker of a grin, sipping her own as she turned to lead the way into the living room.

"I don't have to taste it. I already know it's leagues ahead of the powdered stuff just from the smell," he told her, breathing in the aroma of chocolate before taking a sip with a murmur of approval.

Chuckling quietly to herself, Holli lead the way to the couch, pushing a very thick knit blanket out of the way before easing down comfortably onto the cushions. "Come and pick a movie, handsome."

"As you wish, Beautiful," he replied, following her into the small, but cozy living room, the cup of hot cocoa warming his hand.

She laughed at the compliment, but that laugh seemed almost shy for a moment as she patted the couch beside her, reaching for the remote. Apparently Holli Carr was not as confident when it came to receiving compliments as she was at giving them out.

"What kind of movies do you like to watch?" he asked. Now that Thanksgiving was over, the TV was going to be full of sappy Christmas movies he always managed to avoid.

"Have you learned nothing from my conversation?" she said teasingly. "Asking me to make a decision or name a favourite thing is like asking me to invent teleportation - it ain't gonna happen."

"And you complain about me," he said, snagging the remote from the coffee table and flipping the TV on. He didn't much care what they watched, to be honest. He was just happy to be there, spending some time alone with her.

"Yeah, but you actually answer the question eventually, with a lot of prodding," she pointed out in amusement, drawing her feet up onto the couch as she leaned into him comfortably.

"Come on. It's not that hard a question," he said, ignoring the TV to focus his attention on her. "How about we start slow? What's your favorite color?" he asked, mimicking the voice of the Bridgekeeper from that silly Holy Grail movie.

"I told you, I like a lot of colours," she said, holding his gaze with a grin. "I like rich dark colours, and I like pretty pinks and blues and greens, and I like glitter and rainbows. I am pretty much a unicorn who occasionally has a goth phase."
Motley Menagerie of Myriad Marvels / Re: Pizza and Kisses
« Last post by Derek Reese on January 25, 2021, 02:52:37 PM »
"What's the matter with Temple? Too much screaming or too much sidekick?" he asked as he stepped inside and paused a minute to unzip his jacket.

"Both," she said, pulling her own jacket off to hang it up. "It's uncomfortable to watch these days, too. Way too much negative stereotyping."

He laughed. "Like there's no stereotyping in the other two," he said. He didn't bother to ask this time whether she wanted him to take his shoes off, but went ahead and did so, leaving them near the door, along with his jacket.

"You know what I mean," she countered. "The whole Indo-Asian sheeps' eyeballs stuff and all that - it's a bit much these days." As she spoke, she was bent over, undoing her boots to pull them off as well.

He couldn't help but admire the view, clearing his throat and forcing himself to look away while she removed her boots. "Okay, so what do we know about each other so far? You like Indiana Jones movies and motorcycles," he said, for starters.

"I can also make cocoa from scratch, like meaty pizza, and have a definite weakness for anyone who takes me to the zoo," she added, grinning over at him as she slipped into the kitchen to make a start on the promised cocoa.

"And you can toss a pizza platter to rival Captain America," he added, for good measure, a he followed her into the kitchen. "Nice place, by the way. Cozy," he said of her apartment, though this was the second time he'd been here.

"It suits me." She was pulling a pan off the rack above the sink as he entered, the kitchen small enough that she could also open the fridge to grab the milk almost in the same motion. "So what is it you like to do, Derek? Seems like today has been mostly about me, apart from the whole ... forgetting the time thing earlier."

He shrugged his shoulders. "A little of this and a little of that," he said. "Honestly, I don't have much time for hobbies." He'd told her this before, but it was kind of a cop-out. There were things he used to do anyway.

"All right, so let's take your tack on that question then," she said, determined to get something out of him. "What did you used to enjoy doing, before you adulted so hard you forgot what fun was?"

"Sports, mostly," he said. That was one way of putting it anyway. Martial arts training took up a good portion of his time, even now, but he'd once had other hobbies. "I wanted a career in the theater, once upon a time." As evidenced by his aforementioned role in a musical. "But that was a long time ago."

"What drew you to the theater?" she asked, pouring milk into the pan to slowly heat up. She wasn't going to ask him what happened; she had a feeling that it was as painful a story as her own in many ways.

"I like going to the movies, when I have time, or reading a good book," he added, with a shrug. He chuckled a little at her question. "Girls," he replied, honestly. "To start with anyway. But I found it was a good way to ... I'm not sure how to describe it. To get outside of my own head."

"It's a good way to do it," she agreed. "And you must have been good at it, too, getting a lead role in Les Mis." She smiled gently, trying to encourage him to open up a little without putting pressure on him.

"Well, not the lead role," he said, pausing a moment before deciding to let something else slip. "It came at a time when I really needed it. It gave me a place to vent all my teenage angst. I guess I can thank my music teacher for that."

"It's good to have a way to express the worst of it." As they spoke, she was carefully grating rich Belgian milk chocolate into the warming milk in the pan, stirring it with a whisk until it was the consistency she wanted it.

He took a lean against the counter, while she stirred the chocolate in the pan. "Yeah, well, we have something in common there, too." He thought he might as well tell her the worst of it; she was bound to find out sooner or later anyway.

She glanced up at him, her eyes soft with sympathy. "You don't have to tell me," she assured him. "But, for what it's worth, I'm sorry. It sucks to go through that."

"Yeah, it does," he said, letting it go at that. She was giving him an out in allowing him not to have to go into any detail. For now, it was enough for her to know that he'd suffered a loss not unlike her own.

"I'd give you a hug, but if I do, this cocoa is going to suck balls," she then informed him with a smile. "Could you open up that cupboard behind your head and grab the sugar for me?"

He smiled. "You can hug me later," he assured her. And probably a little more. "Sure," he said, turning to open the cupboard and look for the sugar.

"And cups," she added. The cupboard in front of him was neatly divided between dry goods and a small amount of crockery, including a few novelty mugs of the kind bought as gifts by people who don't know you very well.

"And cups," he echoed, grabbing the sugar first. "Spoon?" he asked, hesitant to rummage through her kitchen.

"First drawer on your right," she answered, still whisking the mixture in the pan as it thickened and started to fill the little space with the rich smell of warm chocolate.

"That smells amazing," he remarked as he pulled open the drawer to withdraw a spoon before handing her both spoon and sugar.

She smiled, pleased he seemed to approve of her efforts. "Told you it'd be good," she said, carefully measuring three spoons of sugar into the steaming mixture before whisking it in. "It's almost done."

It sure didn't smell like the powdered stuff that came from a package. He turned again to peruse her collection of mugs. "Umm ... " He chuckled at one in particular. "This one's cute," he said, pulling out a mug with a cartooned avocado saying "I avocardon't know what I'm doing."
Motley Menagerie of Myriad Marvels / Re: Pizza and Kisses
« Last post by Derek Reese on January 25, 2021, 02:52:05 PM »

"You're not dating me for that, Holli, but fair enough. You can pay for the next date, okay?" he said, agreeably enough now that she'd argued her case.

"Thank you." She leaned over to kiss his cheek, smiling at his answer. "See, this is how I know you're a gentleman. You give in gracefully. Eventually."

"I'm a pushover, I guess," he said, smiling at the kiss. Whether he was or he wasn't, he didn't seem too upset about it. He put his foot back on the gas, as the light turned green. "Almost there," he said, though if she was paying attention, she knew that already.

"You're adorable," she teased, settling back against her seat comfortably. Her apartment building wasn't exactly luxurious, but neither was it low-brow. It was a comfortable red-brick building rising five storeys, and the apartments within were spacious enough not to feel constricting. It was home.

He chuckled again. "No one has called me that in a long time," he told her. He'd been called a lot of things, but he couldn't remember having been called adorable since he'd been a boy.

"Get used to it," she suggested impishly. "I'm going to call you a lot of things, and I'll probably be sincere, like, ninety percent of the time." She reached out to point toward a turning. "If you turn down here, you can get into the parking lot."

"So long as you don't call me late for dinner," he said, with a cheesy grin. It was an old joke, and she'd left herself completely open for it. He did as she suggested, turning down a side street until he reached a parking lot and then pulled in.

She laughed as he turned it around on her, directing him to her secondary parking spot. "Let me jump out and move the bike, and you can slide in there."

He blinked as he pressed on the brake, pulling the car to a halt. "The bike?" he echoed. He'd thought she'd meant a bicycle.

She flashed him a grin, stepping out of the car to move over to where a sleek Honda CB500 was parked in her secondary spot. Pulling the tarp off, she kicked the stand, carefully wheeling the motorcycle right up against the wall, leaving plenty of room for him to pull in safely to the space while she covered her bike up again.

"She has a bike," he murmured to himself while she moved said bike so he could park his car. "I think I'm in love." Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly love yet, but he'd never met a woman he'd found so intriguing before.

Waving a hand, she directed him to pull in, her bike safely stowed against the wall and covered over once again. She leaned against it, smirking at the look on his face through the windscreen.

He schooled his expression as quickly as possible, but probably not quick enough for her not to have noticed the surprise on his face. He parked the car and climbed out, pocketing his keys. "When you said bike, I thought you meant a bicycle," he told her.

"I thought so." Holli's smirk widened to a playful grin. "Most people can't imagine me on a motorbike, so I go out of my way not to make it clear."

"I just ..." He shrugged. "You don't seem the type. I mean ..." He sighed, knowing he was just digging himself a deeper grave.

She chuckled, pushing out of her lean to reach up and gently pat his cheek. "Quit while you're ahead, handsome."

"That's probably good advice," he admitted, a slightly awkward smile on his face. It wasn't every day someone left him tongue-tied.

"C'mon," she said, taking his hand. "Let's go inside and warm up your composure." She drew him with her into the apartment building, leading the way to the stairs to start the trek up to the third floor. "So you're into bikes, huh?"

"I don't know if I'd go that far, but I have one," he said, as he followed her up the stairs, hand in hand, still a little bit stunned. "I just wasn't expecting that."

"Sometimes it pays to be small, cute, and blonde," she said teasingly, offering him a half-shrug. "You okay there? You look like I just slugged you."

"You are definitely that," he said, in regard to her description of herself. "Uh, yeah ... I'm just ... What's the word? Gobsmacked?"

She laughed. "Oh, man, I am definitely going to have to spar with you sometime," she said in amusement. "If this is how you react to just knowing I have a bike."

"You really are a little too eager to kick my ass," he said, chuckling. He'd seen a hint of what she was capable of at the pizzeria, but only a hint.

"I do solemnly swear to pull my punches," she promised. "Besides, maybe a guy who needs taking care of is my kink."

"What do you mean by that?" he asked, looking puzzled. He wasn't a wuss by any means; he'd proved that much in the pizzeria. What did she mean by a guy who needs taking care of?

"Watched Raiders?" she asked over her shoulder. "The kiss it better scene with Indy and Marian?" She flashed him a grin, letting him put the pieces together.

"Oh, that!" He chuckled, realizing what she meant by her comment. Indiana Jones was definitely not a wuss! That was one hero he didn't mind being compared to.

"What, did you think I was going to call you a wimp or something?" she asked, rolling her eyes at this assumption. Digging into her pocket as they reached the third landing, she lead the way over to her apartment door, unlocking it to allow them access inside.

"Good to know you are fond of the classics," he remarked, grinning again. Indiana Jones was a classic in his opinion anyway.

"Not so hot on Temple, and definitely not on Crystal, but Raiders and Crusade are top notch," she agreed, drawing him inside to close the door and lock it behind them. It wasn't a rough area, but it never hurt to be secure. "Make yourself comfortable."

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