To The Wolves 2 (Part 1)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Part 1 of 2. A televised cage fighting League run by Commissioner Denton Wolfe, centering around the women's division.

Submitted: February 04, 2015

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Submitted: February 04, 2015

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One Year Later

 

“So I say Bill, you the one who made me move out here to live in these mountains, so you don’t get to complain about my legs being prickly. It’s so gosh dang cold, you want to feel smooth legs, you’re gonna have to feel them when I’m in the shower ‘cause the second I step out, I sprout a fur coat like a hibernatin’ bear!”

The two girls conversing in southern twang giggle as they sit relaxed in the lounge chairs of the waiting room. Next to them, Gillianna is trying to block out their inane chatter so she can focus. How can they be so calm about this?!

The large room is filled with dozens of interviewees each waiting their turn to meet one on one with the Heads of the two Packs of the League. Though an eclectic group, Gillianna notices that everyone seems to have sectioned off into clicks of similar ethnicities and cultures. Several are sitting alone like Gillianna, meditating on their plans for making their first impressions on League management. Others seem less concerned, chatting idly or listening to music with headphones. Maybe they’re just trying to distract themselves, Gillianna thinks.

Another loud conversation suddenly pulls Gillianna out of her thought process yet again. She looks across to the other side of the room and sees a group of young men chortling as one of the more animated individuals recounts his story.

“His friend says to the girl,” The man puts on a face like he just smelled bad cheese and says in a caricaturesque French accent, “Noh! Zey are not French fries! Zees are just fries! Nuzzing about zem ees French!” The boys around him laugh again. “And the other French dude next to him, he says Ferrand, zey do not know your poleeteecs ‘ere. The waitress is like freaked out and tries to calm the guy down by asking him all casual like, Oh, are you from France? And the guy’s face turns bright red like a tomato. He pounds on the table and yells, YES! AND I’M TRYING FORGET IT!”

Another outburst of laughter rings out across the room. Some of the other men and women near the noisy group turn to give annoyed looks. Gillianna wishes they would all quiet down so she could think. Their easygoing temperaments are making Gillianna uneasy. Usually she is very good at making friends in new places, but right now she has something more important to focus on. Besides, her trainer told her not to talk to anyone unless she knows their worth.

As unpleasant as her trainer had been over the last ten or so months, Gillianna had to admit the advice she received was always correct, even if it was buried beneath an array of insulting jibes and gripes about shotty work ethic. It didn’t take Gillianna long to realize that her trainer is bitter about the business. She lost count of how many times she had to listen to complaints about how painful the injuries are and how League physical therapists and medics ‘just want to hurt you’.

Suddenly realizing that she’s slouching, Gillianna straightens up in her seat and shakes her head to flip her hair over her shoulder away from her face. She isn’t used to hern new body yet, so she has to keep reminding herself to remain poised. The last few months have been a whirlwind of transformation. Gillianna has always been athletic, but growing up imitating her brother’s voracious eating habits, she had never heard a body this toned - or this feminine in general.

Looking around the room, no one seems to have a clear idea of how formal they should be dressing for this interview. Everyone who works here is in League uniform at all times, so it’s not as if the interviewees could try to dress like them. Instead, some are wearing jeans and t-shirts, others are in slacks or dresses. Gillianna intentionally dressed somewhere in between in a simple black and white dress with peep toe ankle boots.

As she runs her hand smoothly along her bare thigh past her skirt line, she is relieved that the spray tan seems to have taken quite well. She is glad her trainer thought to make her get one. Now she can look at her left hand without the infuriating tan line reminder of her ex-husband. Admiring the French tip manicure job on her hand still resting on her thigh, she tries to recall the various details she rehearsed before she arrived. This has to work. It has to!

From somewhere through the double doors to Gillianna’s right, a woman’s indignant voice and the sounds of a struggle become louder and louder. The doors swing open and two large security men emerge, each holding onto one arm of the hostile interviewee between them. They stop just inside the doorway and the woman jerks herself violently out of their grip and turns around.

“You know what? Fuck you guys! Fuck this whole goddamned League!” Her hair is messy and her eyes wild as she screams. “What do you want? You want me to suck your cocks?! Get down on my knees and kiss your asses?!”

The two guards roll their eyes and leave back the way they came, the double doors closing behind them. Their departure does not derail the woman’s tantrum.

“Fuck you! And fuck Lennyn and fuck Shy and fuck this whole fucking...ahh!”

Having exhausted her vocabulary of profanity, she reaches for one of the empty lounge chairs. Underestimating its weight, she grunts loudly as she roughly overturns the chair onto its side. She stares at her work for a moment, her chest heaving as she catches her breath, then turns and walks out in a huff through the exit at the opposite end of the room. A number of men and women quietly chuckle at the angry girl’s embarrassing scene.

She’ll probably be hired, Gillianna thinks to herself. As ridiculous and unprofessional as that woman’s behavior seems, Gillianna’s trainer told her that sort of raw behavior exactly what the League wants. They want people who can do what they feel without being inhibited. ‘That’s the whole point of the cameras,’ her trainer says,  ‘to catch the sides of you that normal people are afraid to expose. You can’t be afraid to go there.’

It is still hard for Gillianna to wrap her mind around the idea of being monitored 24/7. She had spent months running simulations and practicing for the preliminary intelligence tests, physical challenges, and mental evaluations, but even her trainer admitted that nothing can prepare for the emotional pressure of having critical eyes on you at all times.

As Gillianna sits in well practiced sangfroid, she can hear her trainer’s vehement voice in her head, ‘Everything you say is heard. Everything you do is seen.’


 

Music blaring, Roxy dances around the empty sleeping quarters of the Artemius Den as she unpacks her belongings from her bags into her designated closet and shelves. The laptop on her night table has open the website of the same pop radio station where Roxy spent her summer working as a special guest DJ. As the song fades out, Roxy takes a break from her dancing and stops in place, hands full of folded unmentionables. Her own bubbly voice comes over the laptop speakers.

“Alright all you rockers and studs, you’re listening to Foxy Roxy on the soundboards and we’ll be right back after this commercial break with another non-stop block of party rock.”

Roxy grins, relishing her moment, but then as the commercial begins, she plops the clothes in her arms down on the bed next to her and quickly reaches for the radio’s volume dial. Why are the commercial breaks always louder than the music?

The volume now low, Roxy realizes that there are voices coming from the Den common room. Aren’t Saville and I the only ones here? She walks over to the adjoining door and pulls it open quietly. The voices are instantly magnified and she can clearly hear two people arguing. Saville is loudly overpowering the second woman who is attempting to get a word in edgewise. Roxy lets out a short laugh. Good luck with that, girlfriend. After a few seconds, Roxy hears a door slam and the trailing off of Saville’s aggrivated cursing.

Roxy opens the door all the way and strides out into the common room. Saville hears her coming and spins around.

“Can you believe that?” Saville says to Roxy, gesturing with one arm in the direction the other woman left.

“Believe what? Who was that?”

“Whitney!”

Roxy laughs, understanding now why Saville is so agitated.

Saville goes on, “Can you believe her? She wanted to hang up some bulletin. She thinks she has some right to come in here just because Shy said she could? Shy can fucking hang it up herself, not send some dumb Bruntain girl.”

Roxy wanted to correct Saville’s description of Whitney as ‘dumb’ but decided against it.

“And she actually said ‘I didn’t think you guys were here yet.’ Like that’s some excuse for her to break in! That’s like...robbing a bank and saying...you know...I-I don’t know. Whatever.”

Roxy notices a crumpled up paper in Saville’s clenched fist. “What’s that? Is that the bulletin?”

Saville looks down at her hand, smooths out the paper and reads it. “Yeah. It’s the schedule.”

Sarcastically, Roxy responds “That bitch.”

Saville looks pointedly at Roxy. “You know that’s not the point.” Saville sits down on one of the sofas in the room and Roxy follows suit. “She’s such a joke. She never should’ve been hired back here. I don’t know what the hell Shy sees in her, she was always completely pathetic.” As an afterthought, she added, “Desty would’ve never stood for that.”

At the mention of Desty’s name, Roxy instinctively cringed. Saville noticed.

“Did you just flinch?”

Embarrassed, Roxy says meekly, “You know Shy doesn’t like...the ‘D’ word.”

Saville crosses her arms and answers gruffly, “Yeah? Well ‘F’ word her.”

After a moment, Roxy wonders out loud, “Do you think Whitney will tell her? What you just did?”

Saville thinks about that for only a second, then shakes it off. “I didn’t do anything. Besides, who cares? I’m not scared of Shy. I’ve scrapped with her a hundred times.”

Roxy chortles at this comment and Saville throws her another dirty look. Roxy smiles back. “Saville, you and I both know there is a huge difference between messing with Shy and messing with something that belongs to Shy.” Sarcastically, she adds, “I don’t know if you noticed, but she can be little bit possessive.”

Saville opens her mouth to argue, but then closes it again. Suddenly, a new thought occurs to Saville and a wry grin spreads across her face. “Fine. She probably is safe from all of us while she’s under Shy’s thumb, but there’s still one person here who Shy never so much as made flinch. As long as Shy’s little lap dog is in Bruntian, she’s not going to get away with jack shit.”

Roxy’s brow furrows as she tries to think of who Saville could possibly be referring to. Who wasn’t afraid of Shy? She has calmed down a lot now, but in Shy’s peak, no one in the entire League was safe from her insane---

“Ohhh.” Roxy sees Saville roll her eyes at Roxy’s delayed understanding.

Lennyn.

 

In a private office a stretch of hallway away from the interviewee waiting room, Shy sits in a rolling office chair behind a wide, black desk. To her left, sitting in an identical chair and sharing the space on the same side of the desk, is Lennyn. Shy watches Lennyn scribble down line after line of notes inside the statistic folders of their last applicant. I’m not doing it. I’m not taking down notes just to look busy. She’s probably not even writing anything important.

Curious, Shy leans over to try make out the fresh writing. Lennyn shifts her body, covering up the bulk of the words with her arm. Shy gives up. A few more seconds go by. Annoyed at the silence punctuated only by the speedy scrawl of Lennyn’s pen, Shy speaks up, “Can you try to tone down the gibberish with the next girl?”

Without a break in her penwork, Lennyn dryly responds, “Just because a word is not part of your oh so extensive lexicon, that does not make said word gibberish.”

Shy’s eyes narrowed as she continued to watch Lennyn write. “You want me to ask what lexicon means, don’t you?” Even from the side, she could see Lennyn roll her eyes, but then just keep writing. Shy pushed, “You do. You want to make me look stupid like you did with that elephant word earlier.”

Lennyn puts her pen down and turns to Shy, irritated with her interruptions. “What elephant word?”

Relieved to have gotten her full attention, Shy explains, “The one you said before when you were telling the girl about you, me, and Abel being the three Heads she’d be answering to. You called us elephants or some shit and--”

Firmly, Lennyn interrupts, “I said triumvirate not tri-elephant, you moron. It means three. Three people in charge.”

“Why didn’t you just say that?”

Irritated, Lennyn says in feigned sweetness, “I’ll tell you what, if you manage to keep it in your pants during our next interview, I’ll make sure to use only small words so you understand. In the meantime, why don’t you eat another Jolly Rancher so you don’t get fussy.” Lennyn picks up her pen once more and finishes her notes.

With a frown, and keeping her eyes fixed on Lennyn, Shy slowly reaches with one hand to the small bowl of candy sitting on the corner of the desk, picks out a random piece, unwraps the plastic, and slips it in her mouth. Shy thinks she can almost see a tiny smile on Lennyn’s lips, but before she can be sure, the office door opens and a security man steps inside.

Shy and Lennyn both stand up. The security man gives them both a polite nod as he sets a new statistics folder down on their desk. He then steps to the side allowing the woman behind him through.

As Shy lays eyes on the next interviewee, her throat immediately goes dry. Shy is utterly mesmerized as she takes in the glamourous stranger. The woman’s robust, yet delicate frame is perfectly contoured by a short, but elegant black and white dress. Her coal black curls cascade around her shoulders like a waterfall, and just above her low cut bustline on a silver chain hangs a beautiful shining pendant. The woman’s fierce, penetrating green eyes meet Shy’s for the first time and a shudder runs through Shy’s body through each of her limbs. An breathy whisper involuntarily escapes her, “Wow…


 

Shit, Lennyn thinks, as she watches Shy ogling this poor, unsuspecting girl. Lennyn has seen this launch sequence before.

Right on queue, Shy moves in. Stepping around the desk she walks up to the woman and says, “Oh my God, I’m sorry, but I have to say you are absolutely beautiful.” The girl smiles. Shy smiles back and continues, “Your hair is gorgeous. I love the color.”

In a thick italian accent, the woman replies, “Oh thank you. The color is natural, but I just had a treatment done to make it softer. Here, feel.” She turns her head to the side inviting Shy to reach up and touch her.

Shy runs her fingers gently through the girl’s silky smooth hair and, again, can only manage to say, again, “Wow.”

“I know.” The woman chuckles softly. “I cannot stop touching myself.”A second later, the woman corrects herself, realizing how that sounded, “I mean my hair! Not ‘myself.’”

The woman’s lilting laugh causes Shy’s smile to widen. Shy laughs too, then asks interestedly, “Where are you from?”

Lennyn watches the two of them engage in their mild flirtation. She’s got to be the tenth woman today to try this sleazy play. All day long, every girl that walks in here seems to think that just because Shy likes women, all they have to do is indulge her for one meeting and they’ll get the job. Not as long as I’m here.

Lennyn wants to believe that Shy has matured over the last year. She’s been playful and loose with the interviewees all day, but up until now she seemed to at least be in control of herself. Aside from her recurrent, crude innuendos and constant sugar snacking, over the past year Shy has become almost...professional. Although, this girl’s accent seems like it might finally push Shy over the edge.

Great, now she’s got her speaking italian.

“...sensuale e bella di tutte le lingue romantiche, come una pennellata di colore su una tela in bianco e nero.”

Shy’s mouth is open slightly with her tongue pressed gently into her top teeth as she listens transfixed to the woman’s every word.

The woman continues, “Of course, I do not think Italian is the most beautiful language. Francese is the language I am most fond. Like as they speak in, uh, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.”

Shy’s eyebrows raise in surprise. Released from her stupor, she looks over her shoulder to Lennyn and says, “Oh. Lenn, didn’t you do your college thesis on Les Miserables?” Shy turns back to the woman. “It’s all she talks about. I mean, outside of the lectures about what sugar does to your teeth.”

Lennyn speaks up, “I only say that to you, Shy. ...And never call me Lenn.”

The woman steps forward past Shy to speak to Lennyn directly. “Les Miserables is one of my favorite books. I have seen the play a dozen times.” Looking down, the woman’s tone becomes very serious. “The idea of running away from trouble and mistakes from past life is something I have thought about many, many times.” She looks up again into Lennyn’s eyes. “But there is a line from the story that always reminds me of the reality that...that it is so much harder - impossible - to move on and grow when you have not faced your past. He says in the book, it is... ‘There is a way of avoiding a person which resembles a search.’” Sadly, she concludes, “I know exactly what that feeling is like.”

Lennyn studies the woman’s face trying to gauge her sincerity. Neither the woman nor Lennyn continuing the conversation, Shy shifts uncomfortably, then breaks the silence.

“Oh my God, I’m sorry, I just realized we never even asked your name. How rude of us.”

The woman appears surprised as well, “Oh, I apologize as well. I already know who both of you are, it did not occur to me to introduce myself.” She takes a step back over to Shy and extends her hand. “Salve. I am Gillianna.”

Shy smiles at her, holding onto the woman’s hand just a bit longer than appropriate. Gillianna does not seem bothered. Instead she looks down at her hand and smiles. Shy lets go and Gillianna in turn introduces herself to Lennyn. As Lennyn shakes her hand, she notices that the strong, confident grasp the woman has on Lennyn’s hand is visibly firmer than the gentle, coquettish handshake she gave to Shy. With a knowing countenance, Lennyn confirms to herself, this girl knows exactly what she’s doing.


 

Several floor below, the youngest member of the League stands alone in the empty Training Den. The vast room is separated into several different sections for the different aspects of training. Some areas are filled with exercise machines and weights, other areas have punching bags and gear, and several large floor mats like the one Drewee is standing on are spread over the cement. The normally hectic training space is dead silent, and the air is stale from the lack of inhabitants over the summer.

Drewee stands with her eyes closed and both hands down at her sides. She takes in a long, deep breath and the vivid memory of hundreds of thousands of voices surrounding her fills her senses. She recalls the intoxicating thrill of the moments just before her bronze medal winning floor routine.

Summoning all of her concentration, she opens her eyes and walks briskly several steps forward. Maneuvering into a graceful, switch split leap, she spins around mid-air and lands bouncily in a sitting split.

“Wow, that looked like hurt.”

Realizing she’s not alone anymore, Drewee twists around to the source of the voice. When she sees who is there, she jumps up happily to her feet.

“Whitney!” Drewee quickly jogs over and envelops her friend in a hug. “Oh my God! How are you?”

“I’m good,” Whitney replies. “Gregory told me you came early, so I thought I’d see what you were up to. How are you?”

“Great!” Drewee beams at Whitney who smiles back.

“Well, what are you up to?” Whitney asks.

“Oh, I’m just...you know, trying to get some time in on the mat before the newbies take everything over.”

Whitney laughs. “Yeah, that’s a good idea. I was having a good time being alone up there,” she points to the floors above them, “until the Artemius girls started arriving.”

Concerned, Drewee asks, “Are they being mean to you already?”

Whitney laughs. “Oh, it’s fine. They’re just being...typical wolves.” Drewee nods understandingly. “Not everyone can be as friendly as you.”

“Aww, you’re sweet. Where’s Shy?” Drewee asks.

“Doing interviews,” replies Whitney, frankly.

“Oh, right. Duh.”

Whitney takes a look around the empty room. Drewee can tell what she’s thinking. It’s very strange to see the Training Den not fully inhabited with rowdy trainees. Usually, it’s the loudest, most chaotic room in the whole League.

Casually, Whitney goes on, “Yeah, she’s super busy. And I’m sure it’s only going to get worse with the Bid coming up.”

Drewee replies, “Yeah, definitely.”

“Actually…” Whitney suddenly looks a bit uncomfortable. “ I actually came down here for a reason. I have to tell you something.”

“Oh, yeah? What is it?” Drewee asks. Whitney doesn’t answer right away. Noticing her hesitation, Drewee adds, “Is something wrong?”

“No, no. Nothing’s wrong. I just...Shy sent me to ask you a question.”

“Shy did?” Drewee asks, a little bit nervously.

“Yeah.” Whitney looks at a loss for words again.

Drewee smiles and says playfully, “Well, go on. We don’t want to keep Shy waiting.” She then makes a fake whip sound.

Whitney laughs. “Oh, shut up. I’m trying to give you a message here.”

Drewee nods, urging Whitney on.

“Drewee...Shy likes you.” The expression of concern must have shown on Drewee’s face at those words because Whitney quickly clarified, “No, not in that way. I mean...Shy just said that...well, everybody agrees pretty much that i you had joined at the beginning of last season instead of the middle, you would’ve been picked in the Bid for sure. She thinks you’re good.”

“Oh,” says Drewee, still a little confused. “Thank you.”

Whitney goes on, “Shy thinks that Artemius is going to Bid on you this year. She heard something from the executives. They want you. And Shy said if that happens, she wants to know if you’d have any interest in being…” Whitney pauses before finishing her thought.

So close, Drewee thinks. Prodding her on, Drewee says, “In being…?”

Whitney coughs and finishes, “in being her assistant.”

Drewee was not expecting that offer. “Oh,” she says as she sweeps her platinum blond bangs out of her face with her hand. “Um...well, I don’t know…” Whitney waits patiently. Buying some time, Drewee asks, “Aren’t...aren’t you kind of her assistant?”

Whitney considers that question. “Well, no...not really. I’ll do stuff if she asks me to, but...I can’t...I’d do it, but she needs someone who’s actually in her Pack. Like even just today, I offered to put up the schedule in the Artemius Den--”

Drewee interrupts, “You went in the Artemius Den? What were you thinking?!”

Whitney gets suddenly defensive. “What? Why is that such a big deal?! It’s not like it’s the--” Whitney notices Drewee smiling and realizes that Drewee is messing with her. Whitney sighs. “Anyway...I just came to check and see if you had any interest in that. Shy’s really nice when you get to know her, so don’t believe everything you--”

“I know,” says Drewee. “I don’t.” Drewee knows Whitney gets ragged on persistently for the trust she puts in Shy. It’s not as if Drewee doesn’t trust Shy. She doesn’t really know her personally at all...just hear-say. Being her assistant could really jump-start her career - Whitney is living proof of that - but even so...it’s a really risky alliance to make considering Drewee’s personal circumstances. Not to mention the fact that Lennyn has been keeping a hawkeye vigil over Drewee since the moment she arrived last season. She’d have an opinion on this, for sure.

“Um, tell you what, Whit,” Drewee quickly thinks of a way to postpone making this decision. “...tell her I’ll think about it.”

(Continued in "To The Wolves 2" Part 2)


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