Chapter 8 : An End and a Beginning
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There was the crunch of flesh smashing bone and the horrible, coppery scent of blood seemed to explode in the air. Audrey heard herself give a cry of both shock and fear as Percy and Joseph fell to the floor, fists flying and blood spraying in all directions while the stunned onlookers gawped, laughed or egged it on. Music continued to pound and the rhythmic dancing of the other strippers in the club felt so very far away as she watched one man turn into a beast.
“Percy, stop!” Audrey screamed when she caught the murderous intent behind every punch, the sound of Joseph's grunts and groans making her ill. “Stop it, Percy!” she tried again.
Joseph had managed to wrangle Percy off of him and though he was bleeding copiously from his nose and mouth, he wasn't giving up. A few onlookers that had had enough as well tried to step in, only to be shoved back, the viciousness of it so intense that Audrey thought she had been caught unawares in a horror movie.
For a drunk man, Joseph Wring wasn't as easy to subdue as Audrey would have thought and he got more than a few decent punches to Percy's face, bare knuckles connecting with his jaw. “Someone get the manager!” a man cried when Joseph fell onto his feet after a good kick from Percy left him winded and gasping, his eyes going wide with what looked like terror. “Get the fucking manager over here!”
Audrey distantly heard people moving away from the fight and pushing their way towards Remmington, who was still deep in conversation. The music made the fight hard to hear but the sheer violence of it was drawing more attention from all around and started to get into the fray herself.
“Percy, stop! He's not worth it!” she screamed desperately but Percy seemed like a wild creature and she had never been so terrified. This was what he was always trying to keep under control—and this was why he thought she was better off and that he wasn't good enough for her. Audrey had seen violence, and seen both men and women trying to rip one another to pieces but never...this.
Even some of her boyfriends, who had been rotten to the core had rarely displayed this sort of uncontrollable rage and she felt tremors of genuine fear. “What in the hell is going on?!” Remmington's voice seemed to come out of nowhere and Audrey gasped, coming out of her shock to see him shoving his wide girth over to the battle.
Percy and Joseph were still fighting, even though the actor appeared to be giving up, his stance and punches coming weaker and weaker. “Get that nutter off of him!” it was one of Joseph's friends, looking horrified by the onslaught going on.
Remmington, though perhaps the foulest person to own this club, knew how to handle a fight and she turned to see two familiar bouncers for the club materialize out of nowhere. After giving her a nod of recognition they shoved and pushed their way into the crowd and towards the men, the cracking of knuckles against flesh making her cringe and flinch. It didn't take long to break the men up though and Audrey watched in amazement as the bouncers, who were very large were dealt blows and kicks before managing to roughly yank Percy and Joseph apart, struggling to hold onto them.
“He's crazy—get him away from me!” Joseph said in a drunken panic, not even trying to leap at Percy, and instead holding onto the bouncer's beefy arms for dear life. “He's crazy!”
Audrey heard someone wince but she hardly took in Joseph's bloody, swelling face, too distracted by Percy. He seemed to be vibrating with fury and was struggling to break the bouncer's strong hold on his arms, and from the look of it, he was having a harder time than he was accustomed to. “You apologize to her for what you said!” Percy thundered furiously, a bruise working its way onto his eye, “apologize or I'll pound you into the ground!”
Joseph seemed to fumble for words, spittle and blood forming on his chin and Audrey hardly paying him a glance. “It doesn't matter, Percy!” she tried to explain, walking over and placing a hand on his arm, only to have the bouncer shove her away. “Let him go, he was only doing it for me!”
Remmington enraged and Audrey watched as he sent her a menacing look that made her stiffen defensively. There was such a viciously nasty twist to his mouth before he addressed the gawping, whispering crowd, “Bugger off!” he snarled and they seemed to scatter like roaches. Audrey could see some of them pointing at her and felt her cheeks burning with humiliation and anger just as her manager snarled to her, “Tang, I've had about enough of you and the shit you bring into this club!”
“What about the shit that comes willingly into this club?” Audrey snarled back just as angrily, jerking a finger at Joseph Wring. The actor's friends were consorting with one another just beyond his shoulder, catching her attention and making her wonder if they would just leave him to deal with this on his own.
Though she was more than certain that Joseph could have charges brought up against Percy, it made her furious to think he would dare. Some sick part of her glorified that he wouldn't be allowed on stage with his face in such a battered condition but it made bile rise in her throat when she thought of how it had happened. Seeing Percy attacking him that way...it was too much, “Cut the shit, Tang. You've been nothing but a pain in my ass since I made the mistake of hiring you,”
“Go choke and die, all right? You're just saying that because I won't let you bully me into doing what you want,” Audrey hissed darkly at him, noticing that Percy's eyes had widened a fraction from the corner of her eye. He took in Remmington with a look of revenge and she swallowed hard, “this fight wasn't my fault,”
Remmington raked her and she felt all the things he had said about her going through her mind. “I doubt that, Tang and if you'd been smarter, we could have worked out something to keep that damn mouth of yours closed,” he said, reaching out to touch her and she smacked his hand away.
Percy looked simply murderous and snarled warningly. “Keep your hands off of her if you know what's good for you.”
“Do I know you?” Remmington demanded icily, flexing his hand in a way that made Audrey wonder if he wanted to hit her. She wouldn't doubt it and wished that she had brought her switchblade with her after all, “seen you before, slinking around the club and putting this little bitch in heat.”
Percy's eyebrows shot up and he stared at him so oddly then, as if he were thinking of mutilating him on the spot. “Say that again?” he asked viciously and Audrey saw his eyes flickering with murderous intent, “if she tells me you put your hands on her—”
“He wishes, but he hasn't. Don't let him bait you,” Audrey interjected firmly and Percy shot her a look, running his eyes over her for some sign of a lie. He would murder her boss, she knew that he would if he sensed that she was bluffing or hiding something from and it was so frightening to realize.
The bouncer holding Joseph gave a short laugh at her words, having known her since she had started. Audrey knew that there was nothing he could do of course but she appreciated the little smirk he sent her, even though Remmington was staring at her as if he wanted to crack her neck.
“Get your hands off of me,” Joseph said fiercely to him and at Remmington's curt nod, he was released, though the bouncer stayed just within arm's reach. “I don't give a damn about this shitty place when we all know this is that bitch's fault,” he snarled thickly at Audrey.
Percy let out a furious snarl at the words and luckily wasn't able to leap at him again as his arms were held down by his sides. The bouncer holding him was much larger, though Audrey felt that he was dealing with a wild animal more than a man, “Let go of me,” he snapped at the man holding him and there was a grave warning in the command.
To her surprise, the bouncer released him, looking disturbed but only moving back a few feet in case he was given a signal to grab him again. Remmington's mouth had tightened and she could see that there was an ugly flush working int his face that reminded her of a rotten tomato, “I don't give a damn whose fault this is, nobody comes in my club starting shit. And especially not over the trash I hire,” he said, making a nasty sound in the back of his throat.
Audrey felt a wave of fury engulf her and she clenched her fists but stopped herself from acting as Percy's eyes flashed fire. During his fight with Joseph, he had cracked his glasses a little and it gave him a very mad, and almost deranged quality, “Don't talk about her that way! If you say one more thing, I swear to God I'll—”
“He isn't worth it, Percy!” Audrey interrupted tightly, reaching over to place her hand onto his arm, hating the feral look in his eyes.
Percy flinched at her touch but he didn't brush her away, which was a relief. When he looked at her though, there were so many emotions swirling in his eyes that it hurt her to see them all and she swallowed hard, not sure why she wanted to cry. A wounded, painful feeling was coming off of him along with an urge to pound both Remmington and Joseph Wring into nothing but a bloody pulp and he looked away from her first, his jaw hard.
Audrey stared up at him, wishing that he would tell her what was happening or what had happened to make him this way. They had such a long road ahead of them if this strange relationship were to work...but he wasn't her boyfriend and barely what she would call a friend but she'd never felt this way about anyone.
It was sickening and perhaps the cheesiest thing that she had ever thought but it was true and staring at him, she had to wonder what had changed him. The dangerous aura, the feral animal just lurking beneath the surface...what had gotten him to this point? For a moment, Audrey felt herself tense, knowing that she had known it was there all along.
Though Percy appeared weak and straight-laced, Audrey had sensed the wounded, dangerous animal underneath it all. He had hid it well, had tried to hide it well but she had felt it nonetheless and knew that despite it, she had been attracted to him regardless and could barely understand herself. It wasn't the excitement that had lured her, she had been with plenty of bad men in the past...it was the wounded and dead look in his eyes that had captured her attention.
At a point in her life where things had been falling apart, she had seen the look he'd had on her own face. Some part of her knew that she was being foolish and had been from the beginning but Audrey knew that Percy wasn't and couldn't be evil and that the sort of hurt he had could be fixed.
But these were the sort of thoughts for another time, not when she was about to possibly lose her job. “I'm an actor—do you think I can go on stage with this face?!” Joseph Wring thundered furiously, startling her.
Audrey felt a wave of panic and Percy appeared genuinely alarmed and he made a strange action then, his fingers flexing towards his pant's pocket. She wasn't sure what could possibly be there that he would need but with his arms being held by the bouncer, there was very little that he could do.
“Actor my ass, you're delusional! If your career had meant anything, you should have thought about that before you started bothering her!” Percy said furiously, his eyes narrowed into slits. “I'm not going to stand by and let some pompous ass put his hands on a woman that obviously isn't interested.”
Remmington's face had reddened even further and Audrey felt her cheeks turning pink despite the situation. Music was pumping and pounding along with her scattered heartbeat as Joseph's face paled, though Audrey knew that he was merely feeling distraught on his acting being considered less than fantastic. “I could give a rat's ass about either of you! I've got a business to run,” her manager snarled, shooting her a venomous look.
Splashes of lights were everywhere, illuminating them in a hazy rainbow while chatter and customers continued on without a care. Audrey wondered if Joseph's threats were genuine and if there would be some way to smooth this over. “I'm calling my agent as soon as I get out of this piece of shit club. You'll be seeing me in court,” Joseph snarled threateningly at Percy, whose fingers were flexing towards his trouser pocket again.
Audrey wondered if he had some sort of knife and felt a sting of terror and found herself saying. “That isn't necessary! We all know that you deserved to get your ass kicked, don't be a sore loser,” she snapped at Joseph bitingly. He actually flinched but eyed her with acute distaste, though he kept his swollen jaw tightly shut, “we need to—”
“ Tang!” Remmington snapped furiously at Audrey as she found herself staring at Percy in horrified wonder. While it should have been flattering that he had defending her, the violence in his eyes scared her, “I've been looking for a reason to get rid of you,”
“What?” Audrey asked in a rage, turning her attention back to the hulking man. He looked simply smug as he leered down at her and she gritted her teeth, “how is this falling on my head? He and his friends...” she faltered quickly as she realized that Joseph's friends had indeed left and not come back for him.
The actor was too busy feeling his swelling jaw to notice though and Audrey watched as more blood dribbled down his nose. From the looks of it, it appeared swollen and very bruised, “You should, she's not good at her job,” Joseph murmured thickly, his drunken state making him even bolder despite his beating, “and I'm going to handle this prick in court,” he jerked his head at Percy.
“I'd like to see you try.” Percy said fiercely, something in his eyes flickering that made Audrey desperate to know what he was thinking.
Audrey knew that Joseph Wring's better sense had abandoned him a long time ago. It was what Percy had on his mind that worried her but Remmington was saying in a chilling, precise way, “See what your mouth gets you, Tang? I warned you to watch your attitude and I'm all out of them,” he said with a flash of nasty teeth.
The unfairness of it made her stiffen and Audrey clenched her fists. Percy was staring at her in alarm, flicking his eyes to her both with a dark expression on his face that made her want to nearly bolt, “You can't fire me because of this shit!” she said to her boss.
“I already have.” Remmington said cruelly and at the wide eyed expression of shock and rage on her face, he jerked his head at the two beefy men. The bouncers immediately came back to life from their otherwise stone-like positions and gripped Percy and Joseph by the collars of their shirts, “get them out of here and toss them in the alley.”
Joseph Wring's face had turned redder than his swelling and bruising could allow while Percy struggled, only stopping when he caught Audrey's wounded look. Her life was falling apart around her, “Y-you can't do this! Do you know who I am?!” the young actor spluttered as the two men were led towards the back of the club.
A few curious spectators were staring, laughing and pointing as Audrey stumbled after them, Remmington close behind. There was a smug look on his fat face as he regarded her from the corner of his eye before saying to the bouncers with a loud growl, “Toss them out!”
Percy and Joseph were struggling against the bouncers' hold on them, Audrey following along in quick strides. Various customers and dancers watched them on their way out and she felt herself growing a bit sick in the stomach as she recalled how many men she had seen being tossed out into the alley.
The memories made her wince but there was no way that she would abandon Percy. “This isn't—you can't just do this!” Audrey cried as she stumbled out along with the men, her breath coming in faster than normal.
Although the air was warm and there were a few lights from the neighboring building, the alley was flooded with trash from earlier in the week. The odors made her head spin, rotting meat and curdled milk nearly making her gag as she was roughly pushed aside by the bouncers as Percy and Joseph were shoved a few feet from her.
Cursing furiously, they nearly colliding into the neighboring brick wall, Percy looking simply livid as the men gave a helpless laugh at their mishap. “Back inside, make sure no one else causes any trouble.” Remmington said to the bouncers with a hard look in his eyes.
The men nodded and slipped around his wide girth in the doorway, vanishing inside and out of her sight a few seconds later. Remmington smirked coldly as Audrey tore her eyes away from Percy, who was staring at her with a look of pure and utter regret that beat down his fury.
Joseph Wring had stumbled away from him, bent over the nearest open trashcan and was currently vomiting. The smell wafted in the air, churning her stomach, “You can't do this! I can't lose my job over some asshole that got what was coming to him!” Audrey hissed up at her manager. “Percy was only defending me!”
Remmington seemed more amused than convinced and it caused his face to turn slightly ghoulish. His sour breath had the hints of whiskey and cigar smoke and she had to lean away, though her fists clenched in an automatic instinct to strike, “Too late to change my mind, Tang. If you had been smarter you would have done like all the other girls here and you wouldn't be in this mess with some psycho as your only friend,”
Audrey's upper lip curled in revulsion, wishing that she did have her switchblade on her to show him what real anger was. The thought was a vicious one but it took root like a diseased flower, “Fuck you, you bastard! Where else am I supposed to work?!” she screamed angrily, thinking of the bills that she had to pay and the crumbling knowledge that she didn't have enough saved.
Remmington appeared unforgiving and cold, something that Audrey had seen many times before. She turned bitterly away, looking down the length of the weakly lit alley as if it held all the answers to her problems, seeing the shapes of men standing near a few trash bins a fair distance away. They seemed either drunk or lost as they stumbled to stay in place, their heads inclined towards Percy and Joseph.
There looked to be at least four of them and while they could just be customers from Bare Back that had been kicked out as well, they gave her a bad feeling. This wasn't the nicest part of the city in the first place and Audrey knew that her chances of being robbed after work were high, which was why she never left this way.
“Hey, baby, come down here!” one of the boys hollered drunkenly at her.
Percy turned his head in their direction, eyes narrowing but Joseph's vomiting had stopped, the smell catching his attention. He raised his upper lip as the actor lifted his head from the trashcan, looking down at the group, “Oi! Thought you left me!” he shouted down to the other men, who crowed with laughter.
Audrey fumed, remembering that Joseph's friends had abandoned him earlier and figuring that he might be confused. The thought was a proven useless when one of them called loudly, “Nah, we wouldn't leave you hanging Joseph!” there were a few laughs before the person explained obnoxiously, “Bathrooms were full and we had to take a piss!”
“All together?” Joseph called back in a warbled voice while Percy frowned. The group roared with laughter, “didn't want to take your chances in this shit hole part of town, eh?!” he shouted and they laughed some more.
Something dreadful settled into Audrey's stomach but she was snapped back to reality when Remmington gave a sharp, nasty laugh. His breath fogged over her and she felt his sweaty hand on her arm, which she slapped away with a loud crack, “Tough luck, about you not having a job any more, Tang. I could have helped you out, kept you working.”
Audrey glared into his face, trying not to let the horrible sting of tears overwhelm her just now. “Like hell. I'm never going to stoop so low,” she hissed viciously. The sound of her anger was catching Percy's attention and she looked briefly over her shoulder to see him watching the two of them warily, as if contemplating stepping in.
Knowing that he would take his chances and pound Remmington's face in didn't soothe Audrey and she gave him a curt shake of her head. Percy stepped back, ignoring Joseph as he continued to holler at his group of cronies down the alley, “It figures that you'd have some freak as a friend, Tang.” Remmington said with a sneer down at Audrey and she felt her fists shaking, “you've got a day to come clean up your locker and after that, I don't want to see you sleazing in here again.”
Before Audrey could open her mouth and say anything, he stepped back over the threshold and slammed the door in her face. The resounding thud rang in her ears over and over again as she desperately tried to think of something that would make her head stop spinning...but her life felt as if it were going down the drain.
How was she going to pay her rent? How soon could she get another job? At this rate she wouldn't be able to concentrate on school—would she graduate on time? There were so many questions and she couldn't concentrate... “Joooooseeph, come down here with us!” the actor's companions called from their perch down the alley.
The sound reminded her of crows cawing but it was enough to get Joseph Wring's attention and he stumbled away, Audrey only sparing him a disgusted glance. This was his entire fault and she felt as if she could barely control her fury, though she forced herself not to rip him to shreds.
How was she going to keep going now? Did she have enough food? Would Pamela be able to help her find another job? Did she really find the thought of not working as a stripper daunting?
There was no way in hell that she was going to give up but she was panicking, she didn't have anyone to depend on—“Ms. Tang, we should be getting you home,” Percy's voice seemed to come out of nowhere and she refused to look at him, not wanting him to see her this way.
“Not just yet.” Audrey managed to mutter.
There was the sound of Percy inhaling sharply before he spoke again and she waited patiently, unsure what he would say. “....Audrey, I'm sorry. This is my fault, I shouldn't have lost my temper back there with that actor, I'm really sorry that this had to happen and that—”
“What was that in there?” Audrey interrupted sharply, still forcing herself not to look at him as she heard his footsteps halting just behind her. The heat coming from his body was enough to make her breath stop...but there was that edge of something not quite right, something dangerous that scared her.
Percy heaved a sigh and she felt a silence coming over them and aside from Joseph and his friends crowing there seemed to be not another sound. “I couldn't let that actor talk to you that way, you admired him. You said that he inspired you and the look on your face, I just never want to see you that way again and I snapped, I'm sorry, Audrey, I just—”
“No, Percy, I don't blame you for that.” Audrey interrupted, giving only the slightest turn of her neck. If she looked at him now, he would see how weak she really was and even though he had given her his assurances, the possible rejection frightened her, “I just didn't know that you had that in you.”
There was a silence then and aside from the muffled thump and boom, the laughter and slurred conversation from inside, all was quiet. “I'm sorry, I would never have wanted you to see me that way but I couldn't stand by and let someone insult you.” Percy said softly, the rough edges of his voice making her skin heat. “When I first met you, I was incredibly rude and I've never apologized for it—”
“You don't have to, I wasn't being all that friendly myself. But that was ages ago now, I meant...you scared me, when you were fighting Joseph—I know why you did it, I do but I don't want..just who are you in the first place?” Audrey found herself asking, fumbling repeatedly over the words. She nearly turned around to look at him but stopped herself at the last minute, instead clenching her fists tightly as he reached out and took her hand in his own, a gentle pressure that made her weak.
Before he spoke, there was laughter and crude conversation from down the alley and Audrey was reminded that Joseph and his gang hadn't left. They made her uneasy but Percy tugged gently at her hand to get her attention, “Someone that I don't think you need, like I've said before and if this makes you not want to speak with me any longer, I can understand, Audrey.”
“Why is that the first thing you assume?” Audrey demanded crisply, almost laughing at him. “You haven't hurt me, only freaked me out a little more than usual.”
Percy interrupted her curtly, sounding pained. “Charming, Ms. Tang.” When Audrey didn't react, he softened his tone, “...I've ruined everything that we spoke about, I feel like I've let you down.” She was stunned by this, wondering when he had started to think that her opinion of him mattered, “more than I have already.”
Audrey flinched from the words and she opened her mouth to say something but nothing would come out. There was so much that she didn't know about him but what he had done for her stood out to her as something both scary and enlightening—no one that had ever fought for her.
No one had ever regarded her tears as something to avenge and Audrey swallowed hard, feeling her throat aching. She wasn't sure where these words were coming from or why, but she said them, hoping that he wouldn't run away, “It bothered me, it honestly did and I don't want to see you that way.”
“This was what I was afraid of, I never wanted you to see how I can be. There was a time when that was all that I relied on,” Percy whispered and there was something in his voice that was broken and haunted. “I've done things that make me seem like the worst possible person for you to be around.”
Audrey forced her eyes closed, feeling the sting of tears. She wasn't certain if they were for her or him but they were hard to fight down, “Percy, you told me not to call myself trash. I'd like you not to say shitty things about yourself either, you're not like anyone I've met but that doesn't make you bad for me,” she insisted, feeling that this was true.
Percy was silent for a short time and she thought that he would turn her around but he only held her hand, fingers closing gently over hers. “You have no idea what I've done.”
“And you have no idea what I've done. Percy, I've already said that I've done some bad things in my life, and I've been with bad people but that doesn't and hasn't stopped you from coming to see me, has it?” Audrey asked softly and she felt her heart pounding furiously. It was the truth, “no one has ever talked to me the way you do and we have a ways to go but I don't want you to consider yourself beneath me.”
If there had been any other sound, Audrey wouldn't have heard it as they stood there, her back turned and the emotions on his face a mystery. “You honestly believe that after what you saw me do? I could have seriously hurt that boy,” Percy said after a moment, his voice filled with something she couldn't name.
“I know and it scares me, it really does. I've been able to tell that there was something off about you, something that you were hiding from me but it hasn't mattered because I know that you're not a bad person, I'm sure that you're not,” Audrey said fiercely, feeling her fists clenching.
“You're not sure of that.” Percy said in obvious disbelief, though there was the trace of hope in his voice that nearly shattered her. “You couldn't be, we're not to the point where you would know something like that for sure,”
Audrey knew that he was right and she hated this attraction that they had right now but forced herself to say. “I'll admit right here and now that I'm scared of how I'm feeling about you. We don't know each other and we're trying to get to that point...but it hardly matters in the end when I don't want you to leave me.”
Percy's fingers closed around hers and she wasn't certain why they seemed to tremble but it made her worry that he would tell her goodbye. “Are you certain? I was sure that I was only being hopeful and making our conversations into more than what they could be. But I've never been clear on what I wanted our friendship to be, if I can even say what we have is something so simple.”
Audrey's heart seemed to fly into her throat and for the life of her, her entire face flooded with ridiculous color. Even the sound of Joseph Wring and his friends guffawing drunkenly and making threats to one another couldn't bring her to reality, “What's wrong with being friends?” she asked hastily, trying to calm herself.
Percy let out a laugh that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. Audrey's cheeks were turning redder and redder, making her feel so silly and hopeful and scared out of her mind, “Firstly, I'm pretty sure that friends don't want to screw each other as badly as we do, Ms. Tang.”
Audrey laughed weakly, saying to him around a laugh. “Smooth, prick.”
“I'm doing my best!” Percy defended hotly and Audrey snorted with laughter before he went on, swallowing swiftly and gripping her hand a bit tighter. “I've thought about it these two days and there's so much that I would like to try and tell you, to get you to understand.” He hesitated and she wondered what his life could possibly be like that he felt that he couldn't tell her.
Joseph and his friends were still guffawing, banging around down the alley and she tuned them out. “Are you a circus freak with amnesia?” Audrey asked curiously and he let out a reluctant laugh behind her, nearly making her turn around to see the expression on his face.
Percy hesitated again but when he spoke, there was something in his voice that demanded her attention. It was the voice of someone who was used to speaking confidently and being heard, that thought startling her a little, as she had never quite thought of him that way until now, “Audrey, we're not teenagers and we're not kids. I need to tell you what I want,”
Audrey's breathing was shallow and she felt as if she would turn into a pile of nothing if he didn't do something. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad for a while, if she could rely on him and have his support, “I—could you take me out somewhere to eat before you ravish me senseless, Weeeasley?” she asked lightly.
“Of course, Ms. Tang. I would prefer not to continue talking and pouring my soul out in an alley with a bunch of drunk slobs eyeballing us as we speak.” Percy ended dryly, a note of suspicion entering his tone. “I want to ask you something important.”
The words oddly made her chuckle and she heard footsteps coming towards them and felt her heart pounding. What was she doing? She wasn't ready for this but... “Percy don't be so dramatic, this isn't a crazy person's romance story. Are you trying to say you want me to be your girlfriend—?” Audrey asked weakly, turning around him with a smile.
Percy's blue eyes widened a tad and he blushed a little, causing Audrey to roar with laughter. It mingled strangely in the alley, like a harsh echo, “Bluntness is what you want then, I suppose? Then yes, I need you to be my girlfriend, my friend and someone to get on my last nerves.”
“Th-that's romantic for you?!” Audrey cried furiously, gawping up at him.
Percy shrugged and started pulling her towards him, laughing at her reluctance before managing to wrap an arm around her waist. A warm feeling, mixed in with all the panic and fear coiled in her stomach as he began leading her out of the alley and towards the sidewalk beyond, “You'll get all the romance you can stand if you think you can handle it, Ms. Tang.” Audrey glared up at him, hearing Joseph and his cronies at their back as they walked away, “I thought long and hard about it,”
Audrey snickered, feeling her cheeks flooding with color. “Long and hard, huh?” he blushed and gave her a chiding glance. His cheeks were a little pink though and she wanted to talk about this, she really wanted to talk about this and everything that it might mean but nothing would come out.
“Ms. Tang, we're really going to have to figure out something better to do with that mouth of yours.” Percy said to her softly and Audrey stared up at him in amusement, feeling a shiver. “We'll make a game of it.”
Audrey could only imagine the sort of games he was talking about and her heart nearly burst from her chest. She smiled up at him teasingly, “Will you let me tickle you if I win?”
“You can try, Ms. Tang. After we talk of course,” Percy said seriously, giving her a hopeful glance. Audrey wasn't sure what it was for, really but by the time she opened her mouth, he said, “I need to talk to you seriously, there's so much that I want to say.”
Audrey looked up at him worriedly, sensing that this would be a talk that would shape whatever this was into something powerful. “Percy, I don't mind that you want to talk, I really don't. I want whatever this is to work,” the sincerity of the words weren't truly a surprise, but even as she spoke them, she had a feeling that the night was far from over and that what happened next would either break or bring them together.
Going back to A Force of Wills after this! Stay with me, you all!
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