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    The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

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    Serenity
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    The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:03 am



    That woman was here again and Maria had to once again hide her annoyance. She highly disliked Kathryn Hopkins. The woman was tall, thick in the chest, and had long curly blonde hair. She always wore these extremely fancy hats and dresses that were very puffy at the bottom. Her voice was oh so sweet and could make any man bend to her will. She was very feminine and acted lady like. Her posture was perfect, that of  a noble. Her eyes were bright orange, always narrowed, and reminded Maria of evil women in stories she had read. The way she looked at Neil felt so hostile to Maria that she always had this urge to pounce the woman and slide a knife through her throat. There was also always this strange burning feeling in her stomach when this woman was around. She was dangerous.

    Kathryn looked at Maria like she was nothing more than some bug that she could step on at any moment. Because of certain rules, Maria could not act on it. This woman never physically did anything to attempt to harm her or Neil, so she was always forced to hold back. Kathryn was here, again, to go out on the town with Neil. Maria hated that. She was always left behind and he would be gone for hours. He usually seemed to avoid the many tries that most women tossed at him, but a couple of days ago he was caught with a free schedule. When she arrived for their planned outing, Maria had done something to annoy her. Kathryn always tossed her coat over Maria, so Maria intentionally cut her hands, cupped them so the blood would stay, and once the coat was tossed over her, she smiled.

    "Ah! Little girl! You've ruined my coat!" Kathryn shrieked and pulled the coat back. "I'm sorry Ms. Hopkins, but you did not warn me that you were going to throw it over my head like that. I would have told you that I had cut myself sharpening my knives." Maria held up her hands to show the rather deep cuts. "He will be with you soon; he's already been notified of your arrival. Now excuse me while I go clean myself up." Maria hurried off, clenching her fists tightly as she walked through the house toward her bathroom. On her way there, she was playing with the cuts on her hand until she saw two feet in front of her. She looked up, blinked, and then her expression hardened. "That thing is here. She threw her coat at me, I had blood on my hands. She will complain about it being ruined."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:25 am


    Something people didn't know about Neil was that he shaved himself every evening. And never with one of those complex 'everyone-can-use-it-with-no-worries' multi-bladed razors. No, that was too... pedestrian. He used a straight razor. Well, "he" did. His black tentacles that were part of his arsenal used the instrument, to be precise. He just made sure he was turned right and had his skin smoothed. Much easier this way.

    Neil had just finished when he looked at the clock. There was a part of him that wanted to sigh, but instead, Neil just put on his best public face and straightened his shirt. He tugged his coat on and walked out. He almost walked into Maria as he exited his bathroom. "Woah, sorry. Wasn't quite expecting you to be there." Neil listened to what she said, then raised an eyebrow. "Then it's ruined. She's the type to have three or four of the same damn coat. Besides... what were you doing with blood on your hands? Did you hurt yourself?" Neil looked at her with a slightly concerned look.

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:36 am



    "I did." Maria said and held both of her hands up. The cuts were actually very deep and she was going to have to have them wrapped until they healed up. Since she didn't feel pain, as long as she cleaned it and didn't get an infection, this wasn't really a problem for her. She'll do her chores just fine. "I did it to ruin her coat. Every time she comes here, she tosses it over my head like I'm a coat rack and pretends to not see me." Maria explained and then narrowed her eyes uncharacteristically, "I hate that thing and if she complains about her coat being ruined all day, you can hate her too. If you hate her too, you can tell her to go away and never come back instead of going out with her and leaving me home. I am sabotaging her in the only way I can because I have to stay home while you guys are out. If I could come, I would sabotage her then too. Maybe cause her skirt to rip and show her butt to everyone on the street. However, I cannot... because I have to stay home." Maria narrowed her eyes angrily, the emotion being toward him, and then walked passed him, "Be safe, Neil, and don't let her eat you... I know she's going try some day."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:52 am


    Neil had to fight to avoid laughing and smiling. Maria was perhaps the cutest guard he had ever had. He had the impression of a puppy not liking its owner's partner because they took them away. He then had to resist the urge to pat her on the head like a dog. But he didn't. Neil reached over and patted her head as she passed. "Maria... For one, good job at revenge. That's a nice, subtle way to get back at someone that's annoying you. Even though I probably won't hear the end of it, I'm going to say that it's not a bad thing. For two... I will talk to Kathryn about that. You are my employee and confidante. You are not my coatrack. That's what Frankie is for," Neil winked at her to indicate his joke.

    "And I will take your warning to heart, Maria. It takes a bigger mouth than hers to eat me. I'm tough to swallow." Neil straightened his coat and waved at Maria. "Oh, and get those cuts bandaged up. They will need to stay wrapped. I don't want you to lose your hands to an infection." Neil made his way downstairs and greeted Kathryn as he usually did. He did not get down and kiss her ring. She was beneath him, not the other way around. As she started to complain, Neil held a finger up to her lips. "Not now. Let's get this evening out started, shall we?"

    The night out was quite boring. Well, boring in the sense that no one tried to kill them. No one tried to rob Neil or Kathryn. Hell, he thought he saw someone stop robbing their victim because Neil showed up. Kathryn was complaining for most of the night, of course. Mainly about Maria. Either Neil would have to reconcile the two of them (which was no longer seeming possible) or he'd have to make sure they never encountered one another. Neither was a particularly good idea.

    Neil had taken Kathryn out for dinner and a play. He had taken an earlier dinner, so the play would end at a half-decent time. Kathryn had complained about the midnight crowd of Grandview, something Neil only rolled his eyes at. After dropping his mistress at her home, Neil had decided it was time to get to his own bed. He tipped his driver and entered his mansion. To his surprise, Maria was half-asleep on the stairs. She didn't fully seem to acknowledge him at first. He decided not to try to wake her, and he walked over to the small figure. If she didn't notice him still, Neil would put his jacket around her shoulders to keep her warm.

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:09 am



    Maria loved any attention she got from Neil. The moment his hand touched her head, she was able to cheer up and a lot of her annoyance fell. She even smiled when he winked at her for the joke. She didn't like Frankie anymore either. The two avoided each other completely now. Life for Maria was almost perfect. Kathryn Hopkins was her newest problem. Maria waved back to him, careful not to splash any blood anywhere. "I will." she said and hurried off to get her hands bandaged. The hours of Neil's absence made the house feel so dead. There was nothing to do and she didn't want to talk to anyone. Frankie attempted to talk to her, but she ignored him like a deaf person ignores noise.

    When Neil walked into the house, Maria was barely awake. She had been sitting there for quite some time, that time being since thirty minutes after Neil had left. It's not like she wanted to be anywhere else. Her head kept slowly falling forward and quickly being brought up. She did notice Neil, but was trying to force herself awake. As the jacket was put over her shoulders, Maria reached up, hands bandaged, and took a gentle hold of his hand before he could fully stand. She raised her head and took a deep breath, slowly letting it out before she looked to Neil. She stared blankly at him for a moment and he would know that she was still waking up. Maria smiled and tightened her hand around his.

    "You're safe... Good." she said and then let go of him. She grabbed onto the stair railing and pulled herself up. She raised her arms, stretched, and then turned to face him. "Did she try to eat you this time?" a fully awake Maria asked with a childish smile, "You know one of these days, she's gonna try. And because you make me stay home, I am not gonna be able to help. That thing is a demon in disguise, I know it. And I know you can fight, but that's my job and no one else can have it! If you fight on your own, then there's no point to having me! I don't want you to not need me anymore..."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:48 am


    Neil gave Maria a small smile, mostly apologetic. "I did not mean to wake you." He didn't tug away from her, allowing Maria to wake up a bit more. "Thankfully, she did not." Neil returned her smile with one of his own. He popped his knuckles and stretched slightly as he began walking her up the stairs. He looked at her quite seriously.

    Neil then patted her head, just like before. "Maria... I have a certain faith in you. If I am in trouble, truly in trouble, and need your help, somehow, you will sense it. You may think me a fool for being superstitious like that, but this is a world of magic. Humans can do amazing things, and there are things out there that even I can not begin to explain. But why do you think I would ever not need you? If there is so much unknown out there, then why would I not need a bodyguard?" Neil sighed, then shook his head. "Maria, I do have to ask though... why is it that you dislike Kathryn so much? Besides the fact that she treats you like a coatrack. I have talked to her about that, and she says she will try to be more respectful."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:14 am



    Maria joined him as he walked up the stairs. "I just have to make sure you'll always need me. If I'm not useful, there is no reason to keep me around. If I'm a burden, it's worse." Maria explained softly. She pouted a little at his sigh and copied him in the best way she could. It was her way of being playful at the moment. "Why do I hate her?" Maria stopped walking at the top of the stairs and stared at the ground, her bandaged hands clenched tightly into a fist. "She's better than me." Maria whispered just loud enough for him to hear. She kept her head lowered, her bangs hiding her eyes. "Not at fighting or at protecting you... Her voice is prettier, her hair is prettier, she's taller, got those curves by the waist that men like, her breasts are larger, and she's got money, power, influence in Grandview...."

    "That's why I hate her... Because she's better than me." Maria looked at her hands, the honesty she always keeps with Neil leaking out probably a bit too much, "I hate looking this young. I'm an adult, not a sixteen year old kid... She calls me little girl. I'M A YEAR OLDER THAN HER." Maria shouted for that moment, clenched her jaw, closed her eyes, and then calmed down. Maria shot an intense glance in Neil's direction and just stared at him. He would be able to tell that the wheels in that little head of hers are turning and turning fast. "I will not be outdone by that overdressed hussy."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:29 am


    Neil stopped in his tracks. It was all he could do to keep from laughing right now. It would be the kind of raucous laughter that would wake the house. But he didn't. For Maria's sake, he dared not laugh. In fact, he didn't turn around for fear of smiling too widely. It took him a few seconds after she had finished her first rant to calm down. Then she spoke up with one last quip. Neil snickered. That was a good one. "I don't think... I have met someone... who is both jealous and envious of the same person..."

    Neil turned around and knelt down to be at eye level with Maria. His eye was smiling. "Maria... What if I told you that she might be envious of you too? Sure, you don't have her figure. But you do have the one thing she is still having trouble getting. You have my trust. Kathryn? I have to wonder why the hell someone like her is going after me. Sure, I'm handsome, but do you know how much the one-eye thing is a turn-off to women? They like looking into two eyes, not one and a piece of cloth." Then Neil turned serious. "Maria, I am going to ask you one more question. What don't you want to be outdone in? Is it that... you won't be outdone by her in your... time spent with me, so to speak?"
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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:15 am



    Maria pouted slightly at the jealous and envy comment. She stared him directly in the eye as he knelt down. "I don't know why she'd be-... Your trust?" Maria blinked in surprise. She had not thought of it like that. Maria assumed he did trust Kathryn since he would go out on the town with her. Neil then commented on his own appearance and she couldn't help but smile. She knew he was handsome too, but her expression softened to confusion when he said the one-eye was a turn off. "What does it turn off?" Maria asked with her head tilted, slightly confused by that, but then remembered the phrase. She face-palmed herself and shook her head. "Nevermind. I feel stupid. I remember what that means."

    Then Neil was serious. His question left her silent, but her eyes were fixated on his. Maria suddenly stepped forward, placed both of her hands on either side of his face, and pressed her lips against his. It was not a long kiss to that deep of one, but enough to get her point across. When she pulled away, she stayed about an inch from his face and stared directly into his eyes. "Yes." she replied, "I get what has been happening to me and now that I understand it, I'm not letting go. It only happens once and if I lose, it will never happen again." Maria took a deep breath and lowered her head, "I know what I need to do now, otherwise I will lose. I'll get it done, I know I can. I know where I have to go too. I've been saving money so I can. I will just have to leave for a while, but I'll be back. I promise you that."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:25 pm


    Neil froze. Time didn't freeze, but he did. He could hear the tick-tick-tock of the grandfather clock. He could see the sweat beading down Maria's forehead. He could feel the slight breeze in the room. He could smell the crisp apples from her hair. But more, oh much more than that, he tasted her. Just slightly and with focus, he could do it. What water was in his throat seemed to leave through his hands, and he knew he could not stand up right now.

    Neil's wide eye looked at Maria as she pulled away. It wasn't really at the woman in front of him, but the space she occupied. No one had ever pulled a fast one on Neil like that. And out of everyone, he had not expected Maria to be the one to do it. It took Neil quite a few seconds to fully realize what had just happened. He blinked rapidly, then looked at Maria in the same way a man wakes up from a hazy night and sees his closest female friend beside him naked. That same look of awe, confusion, and wonder shone within his single, pale eye.

    "You kissed me." Neil wasn't speaking to Maria, but at her. "You kissed me." Neil's mouth only closed when the syllables required him to. Once Neil finished realizing that their stage as confidants was over, he inhaled deeply. "Give me a moment to process everything." After about twenty seconds of inward thinking, Neil nodded to himself. "Alright, so... you're leaving for... something, then you'll be back, right? Well, this brings up three questions. One, how long will this take? Two, where are you going? Three, when are you going?" Neil was still trying to process the kiss, so he needed to move the conversation elsewhere, even for a fraction of a minute.

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:39 pm



    Maria stood stronger than she had before. She did what she did and his surprised was expected. In fact, she thought he would yell and hit her. That didn't happen. Instead, he stood there in shock, processing what she was saying and what happened, though one was happening slower than the other. Maria gave him the moment he asked for and stayed silent. When he spoke up again, he tossed three questions at her. "I do not know how long it will take." Maria said unhappily and then sighed, "Colburn to visit Rydian. There is someone there that the Vonnera had contact with. I know he can help me. When?" Maria brought a hand to her chin and thought about it. She had been planning this trip for a bit now, ever since Kathryn started showing up more and more often. "When I know that you're safe. And that should happen in two days time. I've hired someone, you know him and so did the Vonnera, Lysander Villis of the Black Cross. I probably should have asked you about this first, but I took my own initiative. He will be here within the week and with that the favor he owes me will be completed."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:17 pm


    Neil gave her a hard expression. She didn't know how long that'd take? Not good. That was reason enough for him to say no. However, Maria didn't ask for much. She didn't ask for time off or vacation. Hell, not even sick days. He furrowed his brow at the mention of the Black Cross as a 'temporary bodyguard.' "Yes, yes you should have talked to me about that." Neil spoke sternly for a moment, then sighed. "I was hoping I would not have to pay him back for another ten years. Either way, he's good for his word so I suppose that's fine."

    "The fact you didn't answer my question of why you're leaving, but I'm not going to press. I told you before, Maria, you have my trust. If you need to go do something, then I won't stop you. But do come back. At the very least, we're going to have a lot to talk about when that happens. Much more than two days can hold, but I won't hold you back. I want you back as soon as you can. I'll lend you some money. Not enough to really cover your trip, but to... upgrade it. Money for better hotels, first class on trains, et cetera. That's what this will be for. If you're going on an adventure... I'm going to at least make sure you do it in style, Maria Drago."
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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:45 pm



    "I'm sorry." she replied as Neil sighed, "No. That's part of our deal. He doesn't ask you for shit while he's taking care of what he owes me. If he asks you for anything, I'll put a knife through his heart for going back on his word." Maria's state of mind had matured quite a lot since she had met Neil. She had learned to read, write, and even make deals in a way that won't screw her over. She wasn't a master, but she knew more than the basics. Not only that, she had learned that she wasn't just a toy. "I didn't answer it because..." Maria stared at the ground and then pointed to herself, "I want to look normal, so I'm going to Colburn to meet one of the members of the Vonnera Family. He's different. He's kind and said if I ever needed his help, he'd give it. It's cause he hated his brother, Mr. Vonnera, but wasn't able to stop that bastard that kept me prisoner. His name is Leonard, or Leo. For me it's Leo."

    There was silence for a while. Maria obviously had something else to say, but every time she went to speak, she hesitated. She'd close her mouth, think a little more, and then try again. After doing that like five times, she closed her eyes. "You have a reputation to hold up." she said with disappointment, "If I looked like an adult... If my chest was larger, I was taller, face was more mature... it wouldn't be bad. Even if you did love me, you couldn't be with me without damaging the reputation you have worked to build. I'm not stupid. I look like a kid. A child being with an adult, even if it is Grandview, people would question you. I don't want that." Maria opened her eyes and looked to him, "That's why I'm leaving. If I can find a way to look like my age, then you don't have to worry about that."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:58 pm


    Neil blinked. A normal person would have said "Damn, that bitch is cold." A normal person would have run away from her. Neil took a moment, then smiled approvingly. He gave her a thumbs up. "Well, it seems as though I taught you well if you're willing do to such a thing to someone going back on their word. Good." Neil was proud of her, and he wanted her to know that. He wanted her to know a lot more things. Right now, it was that he was very confused on what to think.

    Maria's reason for leaving was troubling at first. Leonard Vonnera was someone Neil had heard of. He never did any business with Leonard, mainly because the man was from a time before Neil had influence. "I heard that he was one of the lucky few to leave and not miss the city. I'm glad that you have someone on the outside like that." Neil nodded approvingly, then let her finish. Her real reason for leaving... Neil's expression softened almost enough to match her hair. He ran his hand through it before patting her on the head.

    "Maria, that... God, that is one of the most mature things I've heard you say." Neil's expression saddened slightly, and he looked her in the eyes. "Now, before you go through with this... I'm going to tell you this right here and now. I will not say with one-hundred-percent certainty that you going through with such a change will mean that us two will be an item. It definitely increases the odds, as this was a concern I had, but... Maria, I don't want you to do this only because you want to be with me. Because I can't promise myself to you. So long as you understand that, you have my blessing."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:08 pm



    Maria tensed. She actually tensed at his touch. When he looked into her eyes, she found it hard to look back. She wanted to interrupt him. She wanted to say "I know, I know!" and make him stop telling her something she already thought about. She also wanted to point to the door and say, "I'm older than that bitch!" It did not matter what she said though. She looked like a child. No one really took her seriously and Neil only barely started to. She couldn't do this anymore. Things had to change for her. Instead of saying anything she wanted to say, she held her tongue until he finished. She nodded. "Thank you, Neil." Maria smiled and held up a finger, "I do need one thing from you... A secret between us, something no one else knows. If this works, I may return looking completely different, maybe even sounding different, I don't know. I'll need a way to show you it's me."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:18 pm


    Neil looked inward as he thought of something he could tell. Something only they would know about. There was only one thing he could freely give out, and even that came at a risk. Neil nodded. "There are few things that I know that others do not. But one of them, one of the only things I know that no one else in the world would know..." Neil leaned in and whispered into Maria's ear. "The demon I made my first contract with, his name was Urabraxia." Neil nodded in a way that said that was the only time he would say that. "Do not say that out loud in anything more than a whisper. Do not write that on anything, unless you write it in ink with silver shavings in it. Do not think the name loudly. That thing is powerful, and it will come looking for a soul to prey upon once it thinks its name has been mentioned in a respectful way. He can not see anything written with silver, so that is fine. And whatever—whatever you do... do nod spill blood after even whispering his name for a good hour. That is a surefire way to get him to show up." Neil made sure she understood before speaking to her again. "So... you will be leaving in two days, right? What does... What does that do about our trip to the beach?"

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:36 pm



    That name gave Maria chills. She rubbed her arms, wanting the goosebumps to go down. She listened to all of the rules about that single name and was more frightened of it than anything she had felt in a long time. That name was not going to be their password. "Yes, two days." she said and nodded. Maria tilted her head about the beach trip. She wanted to take it and they hadn't even set a date. "We push it off. We didn't ever make an actual day, so I figured that it wasn't happening for a long time. I don't plan on being gone for months, just a couple of weeks. It'll take me some time to get to a railroad since none come near here..." Maria titled her head the other way, "Also, that word is not going to be our password. It's too scary. Oh, oh, oh! However, that did help me figure one out!"

    Maria motioned for him to kneel down. "Silver Shavings." she whispered into his ear and then stepped back with a smile. That smile dropped very quickly when she realized something important. "Neil. If you get half of that password from someone, assume I'm dead and kill the messenger."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:46 pm


    Neil nodded, as the answer he got was what he expected. "Sounds good. Just know that I haven't, and won't, forget. Haha, if anything, this will make more men stare at you when we do go." Neil winked at her, showing that he was still in an amicable mood. "Silver Shavings. Understood." Neil thought for a moment too. "If something happens to me, I will send someone to where I believe you are. It will be Lysander, Frankie, or a Zakatian I know named Artyom. You have not met him, but... he stands out enough that you will recognize him. Either way, they will give that password. If they use the password 'Silver Ink', even if it is Lysander, kill them. Do not return to Grandview if that happens. I have... certain contingencies in place if I die, and I don't want you to get caught up in them." Neil finally stood up. "Enough of this depressing 'die' talk. I don't want to hear any more of that, okay? Okay. Maria... I do have to ask. Why did you kiss me just now? That has been bugging me. I mean.. why now of all times?"

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:08 pm



    All of this dying talk was depressing as hell! Maria didn't want to hear about his plans! He wasn't going anywhere. He was supposed to be safe. If Lysander fails to protect him, Maria would personally bring down every single thing that Lysander cares about and then kill their damn grandmothers just to get the anger out. Maria was pulled from those thoughts by a question she expected sooner than now. When he asked, Maria could not hide the fear in her eyes. It showed clearly and she knew it. After a moment, she looked away and shook her head. "I... did it... because... I..." she was nervous. She grabbed onto her clothing and fiddled with it a bit, mainly pulling at the part of her shirt over her chest. "Well, I... Mm..." she whimpered shyly and took a few steps back, "I don't... know..." She lied.

    "Mmm!" she turned away from him and stared at the floor, "Because I don't know how long I'll be gone! I don't know how long this is going to take! I don't expect you to wait for me. I don't know if I want you to. How is it fair to tell someone to wait for something that's not even certain? I do n't even know if I am coming back!" Maria turned back to him, fists clenched tightly, "I don't know what could happen. If I die out there, I wanted to at least die knowing that I did what I really wanted for the first time in my life. I didn't hold back. The moment I felt it, I did it. I didn't think or care about the rules. I wanted to do it, so I did. I'm just glad you didn't hit me... I was kind of scared you were going to."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:23 pm


    "I take it back, Maria." Neil spoke, his voice seeming... different. "I wanted to at least die knowing that I did what I really wanted for the first time in my life. That is the most mature thing you've said." Neil patted her head again. "And Maria, you told me. You will come back. So don't talk about not coming back. You said you would. Don't make me put you under a Geis." Neil's Geisa were the strongest promises one could make to him. The fact he only suggested it half-jokingly was proof enough he was serious about wanting her to come back. "Also... if it had been just about anyone else, I probably would have hit them. But I trust you, Maria. That counts for something, I'm sure."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:32 pm



    "It counts for everything, but Neil... Do it." Maria looked him directly in the eye with a very serious expression, "I want you to put me under a Geis. If you do it, you make the terms anything you want as long as it makes it where I return." Maria never wanted to be put under one of those things. She hated the idea of needing to be under contract with him and Neil knew that. It was something she likely told him before. She would never have asked for this, but for the first time since they've know each other... "I'm scared." she said shakily, "I scared, Neil. I've never been out of the city. I don't know how people are out there. I know I don't understand anything on the outside of this place. And I'm scared because of it. I have to go and I have to go alone, but..." She fell silent, staring at a wall.

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:42 pm


    Neil shook his head. "That wasn't me being serious, Maria. I can't safely put a geis on you, especially one... that broad. If I were to do one like that, it'd be when you're leaving. And if you forgot your luggage or something and came back, it'd count as completing the geis. Then we'd have to do it alllllll over again." Neil smiled apologetically at her. "It's also not something I want to do to you. None of my employees have a geis."

    "Maria." Neil turned her towards him. "There is not a damn thing besides maybe a dragon that you have to be scared of out there. You survive in Grandview. That makes you tougher than 97% of the population. People out there might be scared of you, but unless they're shitty people that wouldn't belong in Grandview, you're going to be fine. And even then, you'd probably end up with a cut or two. If it makes you feel any safer, would having a gun help?"
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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:58 am



    "Oh... Mm..." Maria looked down disappointed. She thought that might help her.  If he put her under one of those, she'd have more confidence in leaving. If he did not want to though, she would not ask again. Maria looked up to Neil as he turned her toward him. She listened to his words, but the mention of a damn dragon kinda made things a little worse. He was trying to make her feel better and she could see that, so she didn't budge. When he offered her a gun, she nodded with only an ounce of hesitation. She had never used one of those before, but they might be helpful. "I think... I want to go to bed now." Maria said deep in thought about everything. She looked up to him, smiled, and bowed. "Goodnight, Neil." And with that, Maria ran down the hallway to her room and shut the door behind her.

    The next two days were a little different for both Neil and Maria. Maria did her chores, but was slower than normal. She didn't want to bother Neil right now and was nervous about talking to him anyway. She woke up, did what she was obligated to do, checked on Neil for maybe a five minute conversation, and then returned to her room. When Lysander arrived, he came with a woman that was not originally part of the deal. Lysander vouched for her, but Maria was adamant that this Juline woman was not supposed to be here. She was not paying extra for something she didn't ask for. After some argument, the end deal was that Juline would stay without pay and work on his job with him, or choose to go stay in a hotel by herself. Lysander asked her to stay and said he would just split the money. Deal.

    Neil arrived at the end of the conversation and things were settled. Maria introduced Lysander's friend to Neil and explained the set terms. She turned to Lysander, grabbed his hair to pull him down to her level, and whispered. "If anything happens to him, I will use every resource I have to destroy you, your woman, and your precious Black Cross. That little bar that you meet in will fall to ruin and so will every one you love. Understood?" Lysander just smiled and nodded. He wasn't scared of her threats because unless five dragons attacked, nothing was happening to Neil. Maria dismissed her two hired guns and looked to Neil. She had a small back over her shoulder, her wallet in her pocket, and her knives were all sharpened and ready. "Well... I guess this is it. I will try to keep my promise."

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Tsubine on Sat Oct 01, 2016 4:14 am


    Neil bade her goodnight, though he did not go to his bedroom. He went to his office, locked the door (deadbolt as well), and opened up the liquor cabinet. He had thinking to do—the kind of thinking whisky on the rocks helped. Neil did not approach Maria on his own, and she barely did the same. It was understandable on both ends that they had a lot of thinking to do. Neil had somewhat larger thoughts on his brain, as there was now a chance that his and Maria's future were no longer just parallel. They might end up connected.

    Neil's face went somewhat rigid with Lysander's appearance. He really, really was hoping it was a different Lysander of the Black Cross. "Hmm... makes sense to bring two to make up for your absence," Neil joked. Juline was simply sitting quietly, not particularly liking the feeling Neil gave off. Neil didn't say a word to either of them as they left, and he visibly relaxed when Lysander left the room. "You're forgetting something, Maria." Neil pulled a small wooden box from his jacket, and handed to her. "At the very least, I wanted to reward you for being so... bold, honest, and impressive. Take it."

    The box had a stylized "M" etched into the wood itself. It was a fantastically impressive design and obviously was not cheap. Inside the box sat a steel black revolver. The handle was ivory and silver, giving it an elegantly deadly appearance. It sat in green velvet like a jewel in a museum. "That's a three-fifty-seven magnum revolver. It holds six of," Neil reached into the box and pulled a brass cartridge from beneath the velvet, "these. I have included twenty-four rounds. When you get back, I'll show you how to clean it. I know you don't have much training with firearms... so just remember this." Neil showed her how to load and unload the gun, and how to put her hands around the weapon when she fired it. "And the most important thing... never point a gun at something you are not willing to shoot." Neil patted her head, then leaned over to kiss her forehead. "Be safe and hurry back, okay?"

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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

    Post by Serenity on Sat Oct 01, 2016 4:32 am



    "I am?" Maria looked to the box he handed her. It was pretty and a gift from him. She opened it up and saw the gun. It was even prettier than the box! Neil quickly showed her how to load and reload it. He showed her the safety as well. Maria smiled and put it in her pack. Once she was outside the confines of Grandview, she'll figure out where to put it for quicker access. "Never point a gun at something you are not willing to shoot." Maria repeated and nodded. Maria smiled as her head was pat and blushed as her forehead was kissed. She just smiled and nodded. "I will!" she said excitedly and turned away. She rushed out of the door and vanished into Grandview. It took her a while to get out of Grandview, but once she was out, there was a strange freedom she felt. Finally, she was getting this done.


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    Re: The Hopkins Woman [Closed]

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