rhiannon_lee: (magazine bw)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
It had been years since Rhiannon stepped foot in an actual gym, the kind that regular fitness buffs frequented. She got her exercise at night on patrol and in sparring sessions with Cian. A major reason why she avoided gyms was that nobody her size should be capable of lifting what she could, and so it became an exercise in false straining. But she liked the places, especially old ones where the punching bags were cracked and the mats smelled like old sweat. They reminded her of the first days of training, way before things got fucked up. Those were good memories.

The gym had a help wanted sign. Rhiannon was doing okay on money, not great but able to pay the rent, based on temp work as a bartender. It couldn’t hurt to go inside though and ask, even if her primary purpose was the questionable ambiance. She pulled open the door and stepped inside, perhaps looking a bit different than the typical gym bunny, pale and tattooed and in too much make-up.

[Takes place before 'What Happens When?']
v_harkryder: (Default)
[personal profile] v_harkryder
Virgil had been in a bit of a mood since Dean's funeral service. Not angry so much as a little blue. He went to work the next day and taught classes, which lifted his spirits somewhat, then decided to treat himself to dinner out that night. He showered, then shaved carefully before putting on some fresh clothes.

He lived in a convenient area to get to shopping and places to eat on foot, so he left the car behind and walked. His neighborhood was made up of young families and people who'd just graduated from college, so he was almost the only single man on the block. Sparse grass was beginning to sprout as the season warmed up.

He should call Mattie tomorrow. She knew his moods, having dealt with them first-hand when he first got back. They'd come to a comfortable understanding since the divorce. He was just glad there'd been no kids to get caught in the middle when they split up.

A dog was barking crazily in a back yard where he couldn't see it. Virgil crossed the street, using the pedestrian crossing. There was a buffet place he liked to frequent four blocks down. He was looking forward to shredded pork.
dori_bell: (oh!)
[personal profile] dori_bell
The blonde girl sat on the top step outside the Guardian Angel cathedral. She wore mourning blue, dark and conservative: a pleated skirt, a clean blouse with a tailored jacket buttoned too high, a wide-brimmed hat. She had pinned a wilted mum to her lapel. She tilted her face to the church with its stained glass windows illuminated from within. A night service carried on. She heard singing, an organ. It was a place of grief strangely juxtaposed against a celebratory city. On the high stone steps, people often remarked about the general lack of respect shown by tourists as they motored past the sanctuary. Dori smoked a cigarette and watched traffic crawl by. Her knees were pressed together but there was a view up her skirt if you got the right angle. White panties worn with no hose. Someone honked. Her gaze darted and flickered like a bird’s, but she didn’t adjust her ankles.

Sometimes she came to these things. People asked her how she knew so-and-such and vague answers sufficed. Dori knew them from the neighborhood, from school, from volunteering at the hospital… she could pick up all sorts of life details from an obit. She looked nonthreatening and half the time, people tuned out her answers because they had only asked to be polite, to show some semblance of proper decorum.

It was warm tonight. She considered peeling off her jacket and blouse and sitting there in a thin undershirt, where she would be mistaken for a half-dressed drunk. Someone would offer to walk her home, and maybe they’d be decent and do so, or maybe they’d steer her into a gritty corner to take advantage. Once she had taken a life that way… let him feel her up, exclaim over her innocence, and then –


– she crumpled her fist and his life sifted away like dirt through her fingers. Quietly.

Dori scraped her shoe against the concrete and listened to the music from a car's open windows.

[Thread: Open to Anyone]
v_harkryder: (Default)
[personal profile] v_harkryder
It turned out that Virgil didn't have any more cards from the shelter when he opened his desk drawer, so he wrote the phone number down and gave it to Tanya after their conversation. He hoped she left before the hitting happened again rather than after. 'After' might be a relative word, but it could also prove to be too late.

He pulled his late-model Chevy into the shelter's lot and killed the engine. It was just past noon, which meant they'd be serving lunch. He'd been on good terms with the staff since he started referring people for everything from drug counseling to psychiatric help. Becoming community-minded had been a way to take his mind off of what happened to him before he turned in his gun and badge, and he actually liked helping people.

The air had a definite chill in it, even though the snow had melted, and the warmth indoors was a welcome change. Virgil looked around for Stephanie, the day supervisor, then started towards the kitchen. If she wasn't in there, the people preparing lunch would know where she was.
v_harkryder: (Hat)
[personal profile] v_harkryder
Harkryder's Gym was a squat building located in what passed for Las Vegas' industrial district. It was open during regular business hours on weekdays, and on Thursday nights and some weekends self-defense classes for women and teenagers were hosted. Those classes were free. It was good PR, for one thing, and Virgil was of the opinion that women and kids needed to learn how to take care of themselves if they lived in a city of any size. Las Vegas wasn't cold like Chicago could be, but urban life always held dangers.

"Now remember, folks, the easiest way to disable an attacker is to hit them in their weak spots," the veteran said as he stood in front of that night's class. It was mostly females on this particular occasion, ranging in age from twenty to fifty. There was one woman who'd stood out from the rest, the one with the fading black eye. Virgil was planning to take her aside after the lesson and ask her if she was having trouble at home. He still had connections with the police department despite having quit the force, and he had some cards from the local women's shelter in his desk, which he gave out in emergencies.

"The eyes, the bridge of the nose, the throat," he said, pointing to each spot as he talked. "The groin if you have to. Don't be worried about being lady-like. If someone comes at you in the street, hurt them before they can hurt you. Then get away as fast as you can."

There was a smattering of laughter at his advice about the groin-shot, and white teeth displayed themselves in Virgil's dark face. He'd bought the gym after he and Mattie got divorced, and she'd been the one to suggest he offer self-defense training. They were much better friends now than they ever had been as husband and wife. When she remarried, he danced at her wedding.

Class broke up, and the women talked among themselves as they gathered their jackets and other belongings. Virgil filled a plastic cup with water from the cooler, then sipped at it as people left. The woman with the old shiner was lingering, reading the flyers pinned to the corkboard near where the boxing ring was set up. She'd said her name was Tanya. He saw the way she was re-reading the bright blue flyer that said 'Are You Afraid To Go Home?'

"Ma'am? Are you all right?"

She started a little. She was about thirty, but the haunted look made her seem older. "I...can I...I need to talk to somebody."

"I guessed as much," Virgil said, and he pointed towards his office, which was located in the back of the gym. "Come on. We'll talk. If you need help, I can give you a number to call."

They headed back towards the smaller space. Just because he wasn't a cop anymore, that didn't mean he couldn't protect people.



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