To The Wolves 2 (Part 2)

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

Submitted: February 07, 2015

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Submitted: February 07, 2015

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Gillianna sits one leg crossed over the other in a cushy armchair talking in relaxed fashion with the two Heads opposite the interview room desk.

“The other girls I met while going through the preliminary testing, they all seem to like the Whitney woman. They say things like she is a ‘real’ person while other girls here seem like phonies because they are over the top or too loud or too arrogant, but I disagree.”

Lennyn glances quickly over at Shy who doesn’t budge at the mention of Whitney’s name.

“She is very solid technique-wise, I think, but that’s really a testament to her trainer. That she could go from someone who could not make it through a single fight her first run here and be turned into this completely new woman… The basics are so very important to master and she did learn those well. You must have a very equipped and competent training system here.”

Lennyn appeared a tad piqued at hearing that praise. Shy, on the other hand, seemed pleased. Of course she is, Gillianna thinks. Everyone knows Whitney trains privately with Shy. Not wanting too lose too much favor with Shy all at once, GIllianna has some prepared Italian phrases she can slip into the conversation. I’ll save that for later.

“What I disagree with is the way she carries herself. I do not think she is ‘real’ just because she appears normal. That, to me, makes me think she has something to hide. Or that she is ashamed or insecure about herself, so she masks herself with politeness. She is holding back, I think. And that...drive...that thing that all of the League fighters that are legends have had...she just does not have it. Or she does not want to show it. I see her fight and she is good, but I hear her speak and she is...sad.”

Shy looks to be in deep thought about Gillianna’s words. Gillianna cannot, however, draw any information from Lennyn’s inimitable poker face.

“Is that wrong?” Gillianna asks. “I do not mean to insult her, I am simply thinking of when I myself find the League show to be the most exciting. It is when you can look at a fighter and feel what they feel and know that they are being sincere and that they need to be here and need to win. That is what I think is important. Even an unathletic individual could win here if it was to save their own life.” Gillianna pauses. “Do you agree?”

She posed this question to Lennyn, but just as Lennyn’s mouth opens to answer, someone knocks on the office door.

Who the hell is interrupting our interviews?

“Come in,”Shy says.

Lennyn’s first instinct was to say go away, but it’s too late now.  The door opens and a thin, curly haired woman pops her face inside. Lennyn thinks to herself, of course it’s her.

“Sorry, I don’t mean to butt in, but do you guys have a minute?”

Simultaneously, Shy and Lennyn both speak.

“Sure.”

No!

The thin woman ignores Lennyn’s ‘no’ and walks inside. “I just wanted to let you both know that the numbers for the new season are in.”

Shy’s face perks up at this news. “Oh, that’s great!” Shy stands up and addresses Gillianna. “Gillianna, this is Fawn. You probably recognize her from Bruntain, but she’s also our Pop Foreman for our popularity numbers.

Gillianna stands up and shakes the new woman’s hand and says hello. She then asks, “What does a Pop Foreman do?”

Fawn smiles and explains, “Well, I’m in charge of the popularity stats for the women.” She holds up the folder in her hands. “All throughout the year we gather data and statistics from the fans and rank everyone’s popularity. It’s my job to crunch the numbers--” Lennyn audibly scoffs at that phrasing. “and figure out how to improve people’s stats.”

“Oh,” says Gillianna, “That is very, very interesting.” Gillianna’s pandering tone gives Lennyn the feeling that Gillianna already knew exactly what the Pop Numbers are. What’s your game, woman?

Fawn turns to Shy and says, “I wanted to come give you these personally because there’s some exciting news.” She opens the folder and pulls out the first page. Still talking to Shy, Fawn says, “You topped the Artemius charts, of course, and also the overall women’s numbers--”

“Oh, cool.” Shy interjects.

“Yes, congratulations - not that anyone’s surprised.” Fawn looks to Gillianna, “With the year Shy had last season, you’d be a fool to bet against her hitting number one.” Shy smiles modestly at her praise. Fawn turns the paper over and continues, “And on the Bruntain side of things, I ranked number one--”

“Congratulations! That’s great!” Shy says enthusiastically.

“Thank you,” Fawn says, “but that’s not the news either. Here,” Fawn hands the paper over to Shy and points to a particular section, “Look at who’s number two.”

Shy gasps. “Oh my God, Whitney! That’s amazing!”

Lennyn rolls her eyes. That’s what you came in to tell us? Doesn’t anyone have anything worthwhile to do around here?

“I know. Her and I were pretty close, too,” Fawn adds. “Pretty big jump for her from her return last year.”

Huge jump,” Shy agrees, grinning wide.

And there’s more...” Fawn opens the folder again and pulls out another paper. She looks again at Gillianna, “This is the men’s chart. For Artemius, we all know who the chart topper is there--”

Lennyn and Shy speak simultaneously again, but this time their answer is the same.

“Crew.”

“Of course,” Fawn says. “And on Bruntain, Nicoletti actually managed to tie with Leopold exactly.”

Shy lets out a short laugh and quietly comments, “I’d love to be there when Leopold hears that news.”

Fawn laughs in agreement. “I don’t know why Leopold’s popular at all. He’s such an ass. But the stats say it’s pretty much only men who like him, so I guess that makes sense.”

“Why does that make sense?” Gillianna asks.

“Oh, you know how when boys are young, they always root for the good guys like superheroes like Batman or whoever...but when men get older, they only want to see the villains, like…uh...whoever the Batman villain is.”

“Joker?” Gillianna suggests.

“No, I’m serious.”

Gillianna’s eyebrows furrow in confusion. Lennyn closes her eyes and pinches the bridge of her nose with her thumb and index finger.

“So they topped the guys’ numbers, but on this last chart...” Fawn pulls out yet another paper, “this is the overall numbers for both men and women combined. Crew’s the number one spot here also, and then Chancer made number two, but the number three spot...our very own Artemius Head herself, Miss Shy!” Fawn beams wide as she holds the paper up so they can all see. Her smile fades when she doesn’t receive the reaction she was apparently expecting.

Shy stares at the paper with her mouth slightly open, Lennyn’s poker face remains steady as ever, and Gillianna shows little more than a polite interest.

“Guys...this is a big deal!” Fawn waives the paper around for emphasis.

Shy puts on a weak smile. “No, yeah...that’s...it’s good. Thanks for telling me.” Shy sits back down in her chair, thinking intently.

Gillianna takes a step closer to Fawn and asks, “May I see?” She then takes the paper from Fawn’s hands and studies it.

Fawn shakes her head at their solemn spirits. “Do you all even realize what this means? In the history of the League, there’s only ever been one woman to ever break through to the top five of the overall Pop Numbers.”

“Is that right?” asks Gillianna, still looking over the chart.

Yes. Until right now!” Fawn says, now looking a bit irritated.

“So then…” Gillianna looks up from the paper, “who was the other woman?”

Fawn’s expression immediately turns rigid. “I...what?”

Gillianna clarifies, “The other woman? The one who broke the top five before Shy?”

Shy is still staring off in contemplation, but her face now appears pained. Lennyn watches Gillianna, wondering if that was an innocent faux-pas or if she’s actually trying to feed Shy bait.

Ohhh,” Gillianna says somberly. “It was Desty, wasn’t it?”

Uncomfortable, Fawn licks her lips nervously before answering. “Um...yeah. Yeah, I think it was.”

“You think?” Gillianna asks innocently. “Alright, well...just out of curiousity...when this woman that might have been Desty broke the top five in these charts…was it at a rank higher than Shy’s three?”

Fawn stares back at Gilliannal stunned she’d push such a topic. Unsure of whether she should be answering, she waits a few seconds before responding quietly, “She was...she was two.”

Gillianna looks over to Shy pityingly. “Oh.” She pushes past Fawn, sets the paper down on the desk and kneels down beside Shy’s chair. With a comforting air, Gillianna says to her, “That is okay, Shy. Do not feel bad.”

Shy looks back into Gillianna’s eyes with a frown, but says nothing. Both Lennyn and Fawn watch apprehensively. What the hell is she doing now?

Gillianna continues sincerely, “I’m sure you can break a record another way. Or maybe you will be better next year.” She then places a hand gently on Shy’s thigh. Shy’s eyes widen a small degree, but she does not move. Gillianna finishes, “There is no shame in being second to someone better than you.”

Lennyn is surprised to find her own mouth opening in astonishment at Gillianna’s brazenness. Talk about poking the bear...


 

The ceiling could use a cleaning, Crew thinks as he leans back in the conference room chair. His hands are folded casually behind his head and his legs kicked up onto the table as he waits for the others to join the meeting.

Crew looks sideways to Leopold who is standing in silence with his back against the wall and both arms crossed. He looks like a hawk surveying for prey, Crew thinks. Why does he always look like that? It’s just the two of us here, buddy, relax. Crew looks back up at the ceiling hoping that the girls get here soon.

I wonder what animal I would be?  ...An octopus? No, octopuses don’t have personalities. They just float being weird. Crew chuckles. Pussess.

Leopold looks over at him and Crew drops his grin. Leopold looks away again. Crew goes back to his reverie. Oh, I know...a dog! That’s perfect. I’m totally a dog. I’m big and friendly and fun at the beach. His eyebrows shoot up as a brilliant idea occurs to him. I should get a dog! He could live in my quarters and I could pay someone to feed him for me! A smile creeps back on his face, but only for a moment and then it slides off. No, I should feed him myself. I don’t want Scruffus to think I don’t like him enough to take care of him. Scruffles? Sergeant Scruff. No, that sucks. Just Serg. Rapmaster Serg.

“What did you just say?”

Shaken out of his musing, Crew instinctively replies, “What?”

Leopold is looking at him with unrestrained distaste. “You just said ‘rapmaster.’”

Without skipping a beat, Crew responds, “If you already know what I said, why did you ask?”

Leopold’s eyes narrow and he lets out a vexed growl, then looks away again. Crew nods to himself. That shut him up.

Another minute passes, then the door suddenly bursts opens. In walks Lennyn with Shy hot on her heels.

“Since when do you just make decisions without thinking things through?!”

Lennyn halts when she reaches the conference table and spins on her heel to face Shy. “Not think things through? Are you honestly accusing me of that?”

Shy retorts, “That girl clearly is up to something...i don’t know...bad! You’re just going to hire her. I’m part of this! I get a say!”

Lennyn says, “You do have a say--”

“I say no!” Shy interrupts.

Lennyn turns away from Shy, exasperated. “Oh my God, you’re acting like a child.” Lennyn knocks Crew’s feet of the desk in aggravation and snaps, “Stop sitting like that!”

Startled by her push, Crew steadies himself, then pulls his chair in close to the table. Sitting up extra straight, he bats his eyes playfully at Lennyn who glares back.

Shy goes on, “I just don’t think we can trust her. I don’t want to hire somebody who’s going to cheat her way in here--”

“Alright, stop it!” Lennyn yells. “Yeah, she might be fucking with us, but don’t act like that’s not exactly what you did when you first came here.”

“What? I...I didn’t--” Shy doesn’t know how to finish that thought, but luckily Lennyn cuts her off.

“And I’m not even talking about you breaking in here four years ago and rushing the Dome and attacking me in the middle of my fight with Desty - even though we both know Denton only hired you after that night to cover up word getting out about your little security breach.”

Shy is looking abashed now that Lennyn is in her face. She raises her index finger like she’s about to chime in, but Lennyn keeps going.”

“I’m talking about what you did two months prior to that in the airport in Beijing--”

Suddenly confused, Shy cuts in, “Wait...Beijing? You...you knew about that?”

Lennyn laughs humorlessly. “You think I didn’t recognize you? You came up to me in that airport, asked me for an autograph, knocked my bags over, and then ROBBED ME when I went to pick my things off the ground! Do you think that’s not cheating?!”

From the table, Crew interjects, “What did she steal from you?”

Lennyn turns back to Crew and humors him, “My ID badge. It’s how she got past security the night she raided us.”

“Wow…” Crew says. His amused face falls into a frown. “That’s actually disappointing...like it’s too simple. I liked it better thinking you were a criminal mastermind,” he says to Shy.

“Wait a minute,” Shy says to Lennyn, ignoring Crew’s comment, “If you recognized me from the airport, why didn’t you tell anybody? Denton probably wouldn’t have--”

“Because you earned your spot here. It’ just like Gillianna said. The kinds of fighters we should be hiring aren’t the ones who just want to be here, it’s the ones who need this and who will do anything to get here. I don’t care if she’s cheating! I don’t care how she does it!” Lennyn pauses and takes a breath to calm down from her rant. She then finishes definitively, “I just know I want to know why.”

Shy stays quiet, having nothing left to argue. Well, this is awkward, Crew thinks. He waits patiently for someone to change the subject. When no one does, Lennyn speaks up again.

“Come on, Leopold, we need to talk plans for the season.”

Crew, suddenly worried, says “Wait, Lenn, you just got here! Don’t leave.”

“Yeah,” agrees Shy, “What about the meeting?”

Crew wasn’t thinking about that, but he didn’t want to say out loud that he wanted to spend a little time with Lennyn. No one calls him out on his in your face antics like she does.

“You two can give Tress the report,” Lennyn says. “Even if we stayed, you two would do all the talking anyway. Come on.” She waives Leopold over to follow her out, which he does without a word.

Crew had to admit it was probably for the best. Tress was known for playing favorites and with Shy and Crew being the League’s two most popular, and more importantly, money-generating fighters, Tress was putty in their hands, particularly when they turned on the charm. Lennyn and Leopold, on the other hand...

“Those two are so full of it.” Shy says as she sits down at the table across from Crew.

Crew puts on a phony smile and says, “So you gals have fun at the interviews?”

Shy responds with a crooked smirk, then pulls out another piece of candy out of her pocket and pops it in. Mouth full, she says, “At least that part’s over. Now we can start getting back to what you and I do best.” She kicks her feet up on the desk just like Crew did before Lennyn admonished him. “Those two Einsteins can go off planning and making charts and graphs and whatever else they do, but Artemius is still going to kick their asses again.”

“Damn straight,” Crew agrees, offering up his fist to Shy. She obliges and bumps her own fist against his.

The two of them sit in silence for a few more seconds, then Crew speaks up again, “We’re ditching this meeting, right?”

“Yep.”

Both Artemius Heads stand up and walk out.


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