2010-03-20: The Eye of the Tiger

Starring:

Cody_V4icon.pngErin_V4icon.png

Date: March 20, 2010

Summary:

Who said montages are only for special occasions?


"The Eye of the Tiger"

Top Secret Apartment

"Take a deep breath in and empty your mind…."

The Agent's voice drones in a calm, monotonous tone. She's seated in lotus position on a mat in the exercise room, her eyes closed and hands pressed palm to palm. To the casual observer it may even seem as though she's praying to some eastern prophet or god.

"You're going to want to pick a mantra, something that calms you when you say it." Cody continues, not even paying attention if the starlet is listening or taking advantage of the fact she can't see through her eyelids by making faces at her. "For most people it's Ooohhhhmmmmmm…"

"Oooohhhhhhmmmmmm…."

—-

Meditation. Apparently, it's Cody's answer to her nightmares, and, hey. Erin doesn't have anything to lose by at least trying it, right?

The lotus position is neither comfortable, nor does it look anything like a lotus, which Erin finds infuriating for some reason. As she said before, they should call it the 'person sitting looking stupid' position, because that's what it looks like. Clever. Really. Erin's sitting with her legs crossed much more relaxed and comfortably, just across from Cody.

She has to hold back a laugh when Cody initiates her mantra. Really? Seriously? No, Cody is serious. Erin's not so sure she really needs a mantra, but she does close her eyes, still smirking, and tries to relax. Not happening, though. Cody's whole Ooohmmm thing is conflicting with her relaxation.

When Cody next opens her eyes, Erin's gone. Apparently meditation isn't really Erin's 'thing.' However, when Cody goes to find her, she'll find the actress soundly asleep on the couch. It's a start.

Risin' up, back on the street

Did my time, took my chances

So meditation didn't go as planned. This is Cody's punishment? Cleaning the apartment's windows? Some of those things are really high.

Surely she won't have to reach those.

Sitting on a table with a bucket of soapy water and a chamois, Erin works on scrubbing the dust and dirt off one pane of glass. As she does so, she looks to her left at the few windows she's already done… And then to her right, at the dozen or so more she'll have to do, and those are just the ones in her line of sight. "You could help, Baker," she says irritably, using another cloth to rinse the soap off the window.

—-

Walking by the window that the other woman is currently washing, Cody is (at this moment) munching on the end of an orange popsicle. The purple stain around the inside of her lips indicates that perhaps this isn't her first one of the way. There's a newspaper tucked under her right arm, opened to the crossword section and a pencil behind the blonde's right ear.

"Uh.. I was going to hit the library after I finish this," she says calmly lifting the popsicle back to her mouth and pulling the rest of the icy treat from the stick and swallowing it whole. Since there's no actual library anywhere in the apartment, it's anyone's guess where she actually means.

Taking the steps two at a time, Cody disappears around the corner toward the master bathroom. Before the door is closed her voice can be heard drifting down to where the drama queen is practicing her role of Cinderella. "By the way… you missed a spot!"

Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet

Just a man and his will to survive

The sun is still low in the sky, just high enough to peek annoyingly into the windows of the second floor of the warehouse. The horizontal blinds are closed but the glare of the orange light still sets a glow through the room. Cody bows low to Erin before assuming a classic military 'at ease' stance.

"Copy my movements exactly. We're going to go through this until you're perfect at it, so it might take …. days." The last word is a hope, it's likely going to take years for the other woman to learn to breathe and move in a fluid motion, unless she's had training as a dancer.

Slowly, the agent raises her arms up as she starts to explain her movements as she's demonstrating. "Float your arms up and part the horse's mane…" As though she's holding an invisible ball, she turns her hands around it and then pushes out. "…The white crane spreads his wings…" Crossing her wrists, she lifts the 'ball' and raises her arms, opening them to the ceiling. The liquid motions continue for a good ten minutes as the woman speaks in a soothing manner, obviously quite entranced by the motions themselves. Finally, after approximately ten minutes, she stops and nods to Erin, "That's your first form. Your turn."

—-

Like all good upstart actors, Erin had training of all kinds while being dragged from audition to audition. She's sure there was dance training in there at one point or another Still, this stuff? It's boring, and so, so corny. Erin sighs, rolling her eyes. "Look, I'm not two years old. You don't have to tell me to 'part the horse's mane.'" The name of the manuever is pronounced nasally, irritated.

Cody knew Erin was going to be a problem student from the time she decided to teach her this stuff.

Still, Erin makes some sort of noncommittal grunt, and mimics Cody's positioning. It's awkward and less than stellar, but there's the slightest glimmer of coordination there. Despite her complaints, Erin really does want to learn this stuff, since the idea of going through this is better than suffering a lifetime of being unable to relax.

After the ten minutes, Erin isn't exhausted. A little fatigued, maybe, but not dead tired. She also looks kind of proud of herself, despite the errors. "Yeah? See? Totally got this. Let's go again."

So many times, it happens too fast

You change your passion for glory

Time is going by.

Erin used to run all the time, back before she had an ability - and even at times after. Now, she's wanted, and can't be seen out in the open, so she hasn't exactly been in top physical shape.

It's getting close to dark, and Erin's back in the exercise room, no mat, facing the wall and … just running in place. She warned Cody that this might not be a good idea, since there was a reason she ran outside and not in the comfort of her own apartment on a treadmill. But the ex-agent had insisted.

So it's been .. God, Erin doesn't even know how long. Long enough for the sweat to be running down her face in uncomfortable rivers, while the arches of her feet are in some serious pain. It's okay. She'll keep going, if only because she wants to prove herself right. Eventually, the same section of the wall bouncing up and down in her vision gets to her in the way motion sickness strikes people in cars. It's an odd feeling at first - a slight sense of vertigo - before the room starts spinning and she falls forward, catching herself on both wrists.

A very loud expletive follows, cursing Cody and her family line, probably back down to Adam and Eve. "I told you! I TOLD YOU."

—-

Of course, Cody is somewhere else in the apartment but she does hear the thunk and the shrieking complaint from the self described spoiled starlet. Calmly, she gets up from her own meditations and saunters into the room with a serene smirk on her face.

"Well maybe if you practiced a little more things like that wouldn't happen." The blonde agent quips as she maneuvers close to her room mate and holds out a hand to help her up. When she's seen that the woman isn't actually bruised aside from her ego, the woman nods to the spot where the other woman had been jogging. "Your warm up isn't finished, do another five minutes of lunges and we'll start practicing your forms again."

This time, Erin has supervision.

Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past

You must fight just to keep them alive

Erin looks over her shoulder. No Cody. Finally, a few minutes of peace and quiet! Damn, the past few days have been rough, and Erin more than deserves a little bit of a break. Right? "Hn," she mutters. It's far too quiet at the moment, and if nothing else, Erin's learned to be suspicious really well.

Grabbing the PS2 controller and turning on the system, she heads back to the couch to sit down rubbing her arms as the Neopets title screen appears. She hurts in places she didn't think possible. Also, she's so amazingly tired - mentally - that it's almost becoming comfortable. There's a lot to learn! Grudgingly, Erin accepts that that's probably a good thing, as one thing is certain - she's not bored. There's absolutely no time at all for her to think about what that man did to her back in Building 27.

"So this is what Janet does with her free time," Erin mumbles. The game is cute, but it definitely looks like something a kid would enjoy more than she would. Maybe Cody can pick up something for her that's not so lame.

—-

Up in the exercise room, Cody checks her watch and then begins to warm up. Erin is late. The sound from the television and the game waft through the empty apartment alerting the woman to where the other occupant of the house is. Silently, the agent creeps down the stairs, using all of her training to catch the other woman by surprise.

It's not very difficult, Erin is already engrossed in the game by this point and yelling at the little cartoon on the screen to follow her verbal commands rather than the buttons she's pushing. So, raising a hand, the blonde gives her a swift thwap to the back of the head. Not hard enough to actually hurt, but more to grab her attention. Once again, SARS, herpes, whatever she throws be damned, she's been caught loafing when there's work to be done.

"You're late. Get up to the exercise room, double duty today." Punishment for not sticking to the schedule perhaps?

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight

Risin' up to the challenge of our rival

"Knee up, higher!" The agent commands as she holds a pose that is nearly impossible without some incredible measure of balance. "You're flailing your arms around like you're one of those noodle men outside of a car dealership." Ah yes, the wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man… Nothing like the graceful single whip pose that they are practicing right now.

With minute movements, the woman slowly dips into the rest of the pose before turning to tap the starlet's side to test her focus. "You're never going to get your control if you don't start with your physical self. Your body is the easiest thing you have to control. After that, you'll be able to think more clearly and open up all those little dark places you scream about at night." The nightmares, though abated somewhat, haven't stopped. Maybe it's the fact that Cody only lets Erin rest after she's completely exhausted, maybe not.

"Curl your arm like you're holding a ball against it. Keep your thumb tucked against your flat hand… You can do this." It's not gentle encouragement, but Erin's definitely getting better.

—-

"Thnnnn…" Erin mutters, biting back some snide comment as she grits her teeth. She'd been about to say 'That's because what you're making me do is impossible. It's not, though, because Cody's done it! Maybe it's pride that has Erin trying so hard and not complaining, or maybe it's a genuine interest in making herself less vulnerable. If they ever come after her again, she intends to not be caught.

She raises her knee, relaxing enough so that her weight is on the foot on the floor and she feels centered. Again, it's nowhere near perfect, and if every slight movement can be considered a flail, then Erin's doing that a lot. Her eyes close, brows drawn down into a V-shape as she concentrates— "Hey!" she argues as Cody taps her … and the leg she'd been holding up goes back to the floor.

"Dammit. Damn. Okay, I have it this time." She does it again, watching Cody like a hawk this time. The longer she holds the pose, the more she can feel each muscle working - painfully at times - but it does wonders for her balance. "One day, I'm going to give you rabies," she mutters under her breath. "Invisible… Rabies… Ball. At your head. That's what I'll call it."

And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night

And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

"Let's go soldier! Move it! Move it!" There's a stopwatch in Cody's hand as she yells at Erin to keep going. She's only done nine minutes on the stairs and the rucksack is weighted and ready as soon as the other woman reaches the bottom of the third flight. Erin's not Luke and the backpack isn't Yoda, but it's going to weigh about as heavy as a little person clinging to her back.

Once she places her first foot on the floor, the heavy bag is picked up and tossed easily to the soap queen. The agent is pretty sure that if they keep up this pace, Erin will be ready for action movies by the time they're done. "Put the backpack on and I want ten more, you have twenty minutes. Let's go! There's an AP agent on your tail and you've been shot with solution… You have to run! Let's go go go go go!!"

This time, Cody's taking the stairs two by two, just ahead of Erin. She doesn't have her own backpack, but she's not going to let the other woman have all the fun. And to some sick and sad little people, this is fun.

—-

Erin's mantra has become 'Don't give her SARS, Don't give her SARS,' repeated over and over again in her head, which is strangely calming. Cody's doing all this for Erin's benefit, even if it hurts like so many were-porcupine quills jabbed into her skin. She's not sure she can feel her legs anymore, after a point, which makes them a whole lot harder to lift…

And then? Cody throws a backpack at her, and she very nearly collapses. The look on the actress' face is priceless… If only Cody had a camera. She actually hopes Cody is joking, but when there's no 'just kidding!!!!' after a coupl seconds Erin groans and throws the backpack over her shoulder, and starts climbing again. Halfway up the second flight, she stumbles - tomorrow, she'll have a nasty bruise on her shin.

Glaring at Cody, and before her drill sergeant can come back down the stairs and threaten her, Erin is up again, with a second wind. It doesn't last too long, but it lasts long enough to get her up and down all three flights in decent time. When Erin reaches the requisite twenty ascents and descents, she throws the sack off her shoulder, collapses where she's at, and that's where she sleeps for the remainder of the night.

Face to face, out in the heat

Hangin' tough, stayin' hungry

"Now Needle at the sea bottom… What does that do?" Face to face, Cody and Erin are both dressed in loose cotton clothing that looks a lot like pajamas, but they're not. The button down white shirts have mandarin collars and long loose sleeves. Each participant has his or her outside hand on the elbow of their opponent and the inside hand on the wrist.

Slowly, Cody pushes against Erin, moving her arms and body in unison with the other woman as they attempt a form of standing meditation. "Control my energy, let it flow. When you feel me pushing use it to create your own counterbalance." There's almost no force involved, as the pair move and flow, practicing their poses and forms in a grapple. "Don't force it, it'll come on its own. That's right… just like that." Man, if there was another pair of ears in the apartment, all of it could be taken so out of context.

—-

This is actually getting easier as the days go by. It's funny how she's able to take in all in to a point where she doesn't look like such a neophyte when she tries anything. There's hesitation here and there as Erin tries to get things perfect, but she's so much more controlled than she was before. "It's a stupid name to call something. That's what it does," Erin says. For the first time since they started this training, there might be a half-smile on her face! It only lasts a second before she says "You mean 'Chief-Knee-to-the-Face'? That's what I'm calling it. Needle at the sea bottom sounds like porno."

Erin's spent too much time thinking about these things!

The past couple days have been interesting. Cody might have noticed that Erin's eyes aren't as… visible. The constantly-present shimmer has dulled, which suggests a more relaxed state of mind. At least the former agent will know that what she's doing is actually doing Erin a little bit of good in the long run, even if she complains the entire time.

Still, she wouldn't have been able to do this a week ago. There are occasionally moments when she'll just get tired of all this slow, concentrated, practiced motion and try to knock Cody flat on her ass, but so far, she hasn't managed to even land a hit.

Aspirations. Erin has them.

They stack the odds 'til we take to the street

For we kill with the skill to survive

This is, quite possibly, the heaviest couch in the whole entire world - maybe even the whole universe. Erin's arms already felt like they were falling off before, and now, thanks to this lesson plan, they feel like they're just going to go ahead and shatter. "What's the reason?" Erin asks between grunts. She can't quite get her fingers under the couch and lift at the same time without destroying her back. "I think… I'm sure" she budges the couch a quarter inch to the left, before she manages to lift it a half inch from the floor. "There are better ways I could be using my time!"

She's got the secret now. If she bends her knees and lifts backward, she can get the couch off the ground without having it slide across the floor at the same time. It's still not easy; Erin has the physical prowess of someone who's never actually had to do any heavy lifting like this in her life. She's strong, but really, really undisciplined.

Also, really short. She's trying to make the power available, but she's just not sure where it's going to come from. "You're awfully heavy," she notes - it seems - to the couch itself.

—-

"What's a five letter word for disagreeable? Starts with a W… it ends with N and Y." Cody's laying on said couch, sprawled out very comfortably and working on a crossword puzzle. It should come as absolutely no surprise to Erin, especially by this time, that her words fall on deaf ears.

As she fills in a few more words, she can feel the couch budge but she says nothing, doesn't even acknowledge the other woman's accomplishment. Poor Erin, so under appreciated. In fact, once she's got the heavy piece of furniture lifted, the agent drops one leg over the side and begins swinging it. It's a cruel torture, adding movement to the already awkward lift. Another word or two is filled in before the woman scootches up to a seated position against the arm that Erin is currently holding up. "Oh hey! I think I got it… W-H-I-N-Y! Huh, I can't believe I didn't get that one right away…"

Then there's a small pause.

"Oh hey, while you've got it lifted, can you check to see if the remote is under there? I lost it last night."

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight

Risin' up to the challenge of our rival

By now, Cody will note a marked improvement in both Erin's ability and her need to complain about everything she's put through. She's been silent for most of the day, simply putting up with the torture without a word. Her looks could still kill - literally - if she wanted them to, but so far, Cody will have not experienced any odd diseases.

She actually did manage to do a fair number of pull-ups… Or a number she considers fair, anyway. Apparently it just wasn't enough, though, because she's still hanging on the bar, arms straight, legs dangling in mid-air, glaring at Cody with what could very well be mental daggers. She's tried everything - kicking her legs, getting her elbows over the bar - cheating, essentially - and she still can't manage another one.

A couple minutes pass.

"You know what? FINE."

It takes a lot of pulling and yelling and sheer determination, but Erin finally does manage one more pull-up. As she lowers herself back down, she swings just enough on the bar to aim a kick at her teacher.

—-

Cody hasn't actually said anything in regards to the number of pull ups Erin did, all she received was a look. It's amazing, really, what one look can do for the motivation of the princess. The agent has today's Times opened to the puzzle page and she's quickly filling in a sudoku.

"You know the real trick to these things is memorizing the number patterns. There's only so many combinations that they can put the squares together. Once you recognize that you can do these things in no time flat." Apparently Erin's reation to the idle chatter is to struggle up the bar once again. The accomplishment only receives a raised eyebrow and a small huff from the agent. The starlet doesn't respond to either praise or threat… but she does respond to indifference. Tragic.

Perhaps to Erin's chagrin, the kick goes wide and Cody turns her back and walks away… just in time.

And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night

And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

"Oh I feel giddy like a Catholic schoolboy! And lunge! Lunge! Lunge! That's right! Keep it moving! Go down!"

Richard Simmons' voice is grating to most, but Cody has every Blue Ray, DVD, VHS, Laser Disk, even Betamax that the man has ever put out. Up until recently, they'd been hidden away in a storage unit somewhere in Virginia. Dressed in a dull gray t-shirt and navy blue jersey shorts, her pale blonde ponytail bounces from side to side with each of the chipper fitness guru's instructions.

"Hey, you're a big star, have you ever met Richard Simmons? I bet he'd make a great werepoodle for your show." There's a little bit of a glow on Cody's skin, but she's not exactly breathing heavy with each hop and stretch. The thought of the man as a were poodle does get the agent to snickers though, it's quite probable that he'd be dressed in striped pink shorts and a little tank top… even as an animal.

—-

Erin was ready to complain. Was. But after the whole crossword puzzle 'Whiny' thing and Cody's basic ignorance of everything that's been bothering the girl thus far, Erin just swallowed her pride and went with it. She's going to have to do this anyway, so she might as well enjoy it.

Easier said than done. It is Richard Simmons, which automatically tips Erin's invisible scale (which is much like the invisible ball, only more delicate) into dangerously annoyed territory. For the first time in a very long time, though, she asked herself - is it worth it to complain and use up the energy to do so?

Erin started this exercise quietly. She's since gone completely eighties, complete with legwarmers made out of some of the less-fashionable clothes Cody bought, and a sweat band around her head. It's awesome.

"A big star? Me? Hardly." She looks from the TV, to Cody, and back again. She's just trying to imagine Richard Simmons on the Afterlife set, and her brain kind of dies a little every time she attempts to do so. It's pretty obvious that she's picturing it, though - a were poodle, obnoxiously yappy, saving people from… cellulite? Erin cracks up. She has to pause, one hand on her knee, while the other is held up in a 'just give me a minute' gesture.

Risin' up, straight to the top

Have the guts, got the glory

Amazingly, adding the stick to their normal Tai Chi workout wasn't too terribly hard. It really is just like doing the normal forms, only with something in her hands.

And Erin's stepped it up a bit. Since her easy laugh the day before while they were sweatin' to the oldies, Erin's much more focused. It's no wonder, though… After two weeks of doing this stuff, something had to give. Either it was going to be these exercises, or she was going to quit, and the latter wasn't really an option. There's still the occasional complaint, or hard look aimed at Cody, but overall, she's more open to learning than she was in the past.

"When do I get to smack people over the head with this?" she asks, taking a breather after some time, and hefting the stick in one hand. All these slow, controlled motions are fine and dandy, but it seems like it'd be more efficient to just take a few swings at someone and pray. Chances are, they wouldn't see it coming every time, and since most of the AP agents carry firearms, it'd be hard to block an incoming stick. …Okay, so maybe not. Wishful thinking? Perhaps.

—-

Erin's given only a minute or two to catch her breath before Cody takes up a defensive stance and waves her in with one hand.

They start the way they always do, with the ordered routine of poses, but then the blonde begins to switch them around, trying to catch the redhead by surprise. Tapping Erin's stick to deflect the slow blows, Cody gives Erin a little smile and shakes her head. "When you're ready, you'll get me. You're not there yet though." The measured movements are easy but soon the grasshopper might find that they've sped up slowly until the taps come at at least two per second.

The swifter clip of the forms has a glow slowly starting to appear on the agent's skin. The amazing part is Erin's focus, actually. With nothing much else to bide her time with, the internal study has progressed unnaturally fast. Then there's the biggest surprise of all.

"Good job, McCarty, take five."

Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop

Just a man and his will to survive

Going from regular push-ups to … this has been an amazingly difficult transition. You'd think if you could master it with two arms, you could pretty easily do it with one, but it's just not the case. Apparently, physics plays a part here. It's the whole transference of weight thing - or something. Whatever. It's just hard.

This is also the fifth day in a row she's been trying to accomplish this. Even with the Sweatin' to the Oldies and sparring with sticks and everything else, she still hasn't been able to do it. There's one difference today, though. Yesterday, Cody actually gave her a compliment. It meant something. Like, maybe she can do more besides act on TV and bitch at things that bother her.

It's early morning, and Erin actually dragged herself out of bed to the exercise room. By 'early,' that's seven o'clock. Anything earlier than that is like a crime, especially when she doesn't have to wake up. Still, she's here, and she thinks that just maybe she's found a good compromise between strength and balance to actually do this. Being well-rested from the day before helps, too. At the moment, she's still resting on her knees.

"Right. So." Hands go to the mat, and she slides them forward until she's in the classic military front-leaning rest position. She does a couple normal push-ups this way, before her right arm slides closer to her centre of mass, and she pulls the left arm off the floor…

She accomplishes exactly one before her arm gives out and she smacks her face on the mat.

—-

There's a scream and another scream and yet another scream.

With a sigh, Cody pulls herself out of bed and wanders to the exercise room to see what's going on. Unlike most nights, she hasn't had a good one. Their warehouse apartment has suddenly turned from a peaceful repose for two into a circus of evolved people who haven't quite conformed to the schedule the two room mates had been following before.

"Ugh… what's going on…" Then she sees the blood. "Holy titty <expletive> mother of Christ! Erin!"

The agent races to the bathroom to get a towel and runs it under the cold water. Upon her return, she lift's the starlet's chin and inspects the famous face as she cleans away the red stuff. "Uh… I don't think it's broken. Hang on…" The agent was lying, the woman's nose is a little disjointed but it hasn't had time to actually set, so Cody grabs it between her thumb and her forefinger and jerks it in the opposite direction, putting it back in place. With any luck, Erin won't even get a bump.

"Here, get some ice, you're done for the day."

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight

Risin' up to the challenge of our rival

5:00am

It's too early for even the birds to be awake. Creeping into Erin's room, Cody has the worst torture imaginable in one hand. An air horn.

FWEEEEEEEAAAAAAARRRRRRP!!

The noise is enough to wake up everyone in the house, but the target for the rude awakening is lying in the bed in front of the agent. "Get up McCarty! It's do or die time! Move it! Move it!" Her respite from the day before is over, there's no rest for the wicked, not with the entire world threatening to loom at their doorstep with tasers and guns.

With that, Cody pivots on her heel and marches out of the room. She's already dressed in her cream colored cotton outfit. Her hair is pulled up into a knot at the top of her head and today's color is brown. Just like Erin's used to be.

—-

Erin actually didn't get much sleep. A broken nose will do that. Still, it feels better in joint than out of joint. It wasn't really a bad break, either, according to Janet, who paid a visit to check things over and make sure Erin's nose bones weren't all going to fall into her brain. Erin saw that in a movie once, so she felt she actually had a valid fear.

Her dreams still centre around Bad Things, and so when Cody airhorns her awake, she's… pretty much awake instantly, wide blue eyes flaring in the dark room. The panic is replaced by calm, rational thinking - to a point - when she realises she's still safe in their apartment, and Cody's just being a dick again.

"God dammit," Erin swears, grabbing her clock and eying the time. TOO EARLY FOR THIS SHIT. Do or die time? Is the once-agent trying to give her student a god-damned heart attack? It sure seems like it sometimes. Still, the fact of the matter is that if she doesn't get out of bed now, there's going to be a whole lot worse to face than an airhorn.

Surprisingly for Cody, though, Erin isn't in a terrible mood, and that can only mean one thing.

The plan for revenge has begun.

And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night

And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

There he is in that flannel shirt and jeans. Really, the large man makes anything he wears look good. "Don't worry, little bird." He says softly as he reaches out to scoop her up close to his body, twirling with her in his arms around on the top of a giant sand dune in the middle of the desert. There's nothing around but the two of them. Surprisingly, even with the heat, the bearded man looks quite comfortable.

"Don't talk, just kiss." Cody responds, looking up at him. She's dressed in a white airy sundress, the kind you expect a woman to be wearing while running through a field of flowers in an allergy medication commercial.

Lowering his face to hers, Max parts his lips slightly only to twist into an angry expression of nightmares before…

—-

It's an hour earlier than it was the day prior. Erin is standing next to Cody's bed, watching the agent's bedside clock as it ticks its way from 3:59 to 4:00. As soon as the numbers change, the airhorn is right next to Cody, though not close enough to deafen the girl - Erin isn't that vindictive - and the loud FWEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRHHhhhh!! lasts this time until the torturous can is depleted of all its air.

Erin is standing there with a stick.

"All right! Rise and shine! Here's the deal. You better start fucking running, or I'm going to break all your ribs."

Pause.

"MOVE."

—-

The jolt almost had the agent wetting the bed, seriously. Word to the wise, don't drink two cans of beer before bed and not expect to have consequences in the morning. This time, the grasshopper has surpassed the master and Cody is leaping out of the bed and racing down the hall.

Right to the bathroom.

The eye of the tiger…

"Think I dozed off," Erin mutters, opening her eyes. She rolls them upward, tilting her head back just enough so she can see Cody… Who's also lying on the floor of the exercise room.

It's been quite a month. Somehow, Erin's managed to go from a spoiled woman who couldn't defend herself at all to… A slightly less spoiled woman who can hit someone with a stick if she really wants to. Again, it's the principle that counts here. She's set up for learning more now, at least.

"Hey, remember that time I totally hit you with the stick?" she asks, not bothering to move at all, because she's too tired to bother. Everything hurts. Erin does smile, though, at the memory, which she's been rubbing in ever since it happened. Despite the fact that Cody reneged on a promise, the achievement was major. Besides, it's been a couple days now, and the grudge has diminished to simple reminders now and then.

The actress is quiet for awhile, folding her arms behind her head and yawning. Her eyes close again… The afternoon sun is warming the room comfortably, and it could easily lead to another nap. After dozing off yet again, she asks, "Hey, you wanna have chicken salad sammiches for lunch again?"

—-

"Yeah, remember that time I rebroke your nose?" Cody retorts in just as light a tone. Their familiar camaraderie makes everything better somehow. The fact that they can drive each other to breaking points only to bounce back and be able to lay on the floor side by side (kind of), it's something quite different for the agent.

"Really though, you're getting a lot better. Just remember, when you get into fights for real, the stick can be anything you put your hands on. You just have to remember to flow with the energy." The small lesson is a little too late, as Erin's already drifted off again for a second exhausted nap. It's nice though, very peaceful as the nightmares are almost gone.

When both women wake up and the mention of lunch is made, Cody's stomach complains rather loudly. Yes, it's really that time again….

"Chicken salad sounds great, the kind with the grapes in it? I don't think Parkman inhaled all of it…"

Pause.

"What kind of bread?"

The rye or the kaiser…..

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License