Enter Battleground (Player vs. Player) (part 4)
Posted on Sat Jul 11th, 2015 @ 4:48pm by Unawakened Melissa Wilson
Location: Shady Side - Mae's Burgers
Timeline: June 21st, 2010
Tags: Devon, Dev, Deo, Kyle, Valerie, Jeff, Mae, Spencer, Wilson
Jeff blinked again.
At his side, Valerie frowned worriedly. "This is not worth a fight, Jeff. You do not need to prove..."
"No, y'know what?" Jeff shook his head, pulling away from Valerie. "Yeah. Fine. Let's do that. Outside, then." He stormed out of the door as Valerie stood at the side of the table, dumbfounded.
"I... apologize for him." Valerie began.
"No need, Val... he's being a tool." Kyle frowned, moving to stand up from the table.
“Kyle, here,” the college boy handed over his credit card. “Pay for lunch and give Mae an extra-nice tip for the trouble. This won’t take long. Oh, and here,” he gave over his delicate bluetooth ring, smartphone and sunglasses. “I don’t want to break these. You might want to get this on phonecam.”
"Deo, what...?" Kyle protested, clearly wanting to get in on the fight. He didn't take Deo's things, letting the older boy drop them on the table between them. "No way. Come on, you can't shut me out of this!"
“Kyle, I’m responsible for you,” Deo took a stern tone with his cousin, but then softened, “Stay out of it. You might have to call home for me.”
"But..." Kyle sighed, his shoulders slouching. His tone verged on pouting. "I want to kick his ass. She's MY sister..."
At that the Greek boy made his way outside, careful to lead Jeff away from other patrons.
It didn't matter. The teenaged kids in Mae's knew when a fight was brewing. As if by instinct, they moved toward the windows, peering out with curious voyeurism as Deo and Jeff stepped outside.
How do I get into these things, Deo took a quick assessment of the situation. The shop sat on a small lot with a wraparound parking lot. He saw a short, flat concrete patio in front of the shop where a few sturdy tables sat for customers. Deo took note of a lone light pole at the corner of the lot near the road as well as parking dividers in a few empty spaces. Trash receptacles sat at strategic locations on the patio. The only visible obstacles were parked cars, tables and chairs. It reminded Deo of pictures of McDonald’s taken way back when. Given how the place looked that might have been when this place opened. The Greek boy turned his attention to his potential opponent.
Jeff stood taller and possessed superior reach but otherwise, he seemed to pose little physical threat. Much the same could be said about Deo. At a slender 5’9” Deo knew a timid pooch might have pissed itself had he growled menacingly, but not Jeff. That said, Deo knew he was strong as hell from a lifetime of parkour. The drawback, he was still recovering from his recent brush with death. He could not count on how long he could hold out in a prolonged contest. The Greek youth weighed a few more pros and cons and felt confident he could handle things if Jeff chose get physical, but there was more to consider.
The artist was legally an adult. To Deo’s knowledge Jeff was still a minor. No matter who started what, the law would most likely come down hard against Deo as the adult present. The smart thing would have been to let Mae shoo Jeff away before he started trouble but then, there was no guarantee that Jeff would have stayed away. Worse, other kids would very likely have joined in the harassment, smelling blood like pubescent sharks.
If I don’t do something about it here and now, things will get worse for Kyle if and when he chooses to come out. Deo realized grimly.
They are my family, He clenched his fists with firm resolve. I’m in a position to end this here, now, before it gets worse.
The athletic artist turned to face Jeff at the edge of the lot, near the light pole. He affected the ‘bored now’ look teenagers and college kids affected with aplomb. “Sorry, I forgot my lines. Is this the part where I beg for mercy?”
Jeff gave a primal roar as he rushed toward Deo, lunging awkwardly at the artist with his fists. It was clear to everyone present that Jeff hadn't been in many fights.
Adrenaline hit and time appeared to crawl for the Greek boy. His heart beat hard, once, and then all awareness fixed on danger. He caught sight of a fist rushing toward his face and froze.
Steaming hot water scalded the tender skin on Deo’s face. It burned as it ran into his eyes and mouth. Searing heat tore screams of pain from his gut as it flowed across his gums and his tongue. The water blistered his throat. He sucked in a desperate gasp for air and, unfortunately, inhaled water. He coughed harshly, fitfully, and lost what precious little air he stole. A crack of light then caught his eye. He saw a shadow, a fist, just before it drove into his cheek like a pile driver.
Jeff’s fist clipped the artist’s left cheek, driving the college boy to the ground. Instinct spurred Deo and he rolled quickly back onto his feet. He blinked, momentarily stunned both from the force of Jeff’s blow and from how the world shifted chaotically back and forth between immediate danger and the past that scarred his soul.
Stay in the moment! Deo admonished to himself. He licked his teeth and tasted blood.
Jeff's second punch met Deo's gut with even more force than the swing at his cheek. The young man's face was the picture of shamed fury, agony and heartbreak tied in to a teenaged package.
The artist stumbled back, hugging his gut, “STOP!”
"Fuck this shit."
With a loud crack, Jeff went down, clutching at his jaw. Behind him, Kyle clutched his hand in pain groaning. "Damn it, that hurts!"
Jeff groaned in agreement, climbing to his feet with a deadly look in his eyes. He turned on Kyle. "Should have stayed out of this, Wilson."
"So should all of you!" Valerie protested anxiously. "Stop this!"
Jeff ignored her as he took a swing at Kyle, eager for revenge.
Kyle ducked easily, his reflexes quicker than the musician's. His fist lashed out, connecting with Jeff's stomach and making him double over as he tried to catch his breath. Jeff's eyes flashed with murderous rage.
The boys fought and Deo’s darkness dragged him screaming under the waves of the past. He collapsed onto his side, drawing into a fetal position and covering his face with his arms. His body jerked with blows that landed over three years ago and he cried out as phantom water scalded his skin. All thought about the moment vanished. Deo no longer existed in the same place as the others. He relived a nightmare he could never escape, a terrifying dream thrust back on him by the familiar sight of a fist leveled at him in anger.
Jeff looked up from the ground, blood trickling from the edge of his lip. Deo's anguish was all but forgotten in the heat of the moment. "Melissa's nothing but an ugly whore, and I'm glad I destroyed her reputation. I'm glad I..."
Jeff's words were cut short as, with a quick hit, he fell back on the the pavement.
Kyle blinked with surprise. Valerie's eyes burned as she stepped between them, limbs slowly moving into a typically kung-fu pose. Jeff lay unconscious behind her, clearly her handiwork. "You will both leave this place." She said calmly. "Jeff shall be sent to apologize for his rudeness, and this will end, here and now - provided you do not wish to be in a similar position to Jeff. Gather your cousin, Kyle, for he seems unwell and I will not have more casualties this day. I should make you both aware that I have achieved a black belt in both karate and kung-fu, and I will not hesitate to defend a friend who, despite bringing this on with his bad choices, entered a fight outnumbered and forgot to bring his wits with him."
Kyle, suddenly aware that Deo wasn't standing at his side, looked down at his cousin in shock. "Holy shit, what did you do to him?"
"Nothing!" Jeff protested from the ground. "What the fuck, Valerie?!"
"Depart." Valerie repeated firmly.
Kyle said nothing, but nodded and helped his struggling cousin to his feet. "C'mon, Deo... let's get you home."