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Simon's lips curved into a slight smile at the next question. Madison must have misheard him...

"Well... when I say slump. I'm referring to this... phase, if you like, that I went through after what happened. I was in my room all day long, living on the internet and on games - sometimes both, what with the kinda stuff you can get nowadays. I started smoking, which I still haven't been able to kick, and that really sucks. Sometimes, things happen that affect you further down the road. It gets you down, but there's not a thing you can do about it except try and make it right in the here and now. I'm down to one every other day now, I think I'll be able to stop dead soon... it's just terrible... cuz sometimes I feel myself reaching for a ciggarette on automatic..." Simon coughed in a slightly embarassed fashion - almost trying to mask it. "Sorry, that wasn't entirely relevant. Well, to cut a long story short, I noticed how unhealthy I was getting, and put a stop to it, I took up running, and now I'm not a recluse any longer," Simon winked at Madison. "Looks as if I had an apititude for being nice all along eh?"

Smooth jackass...

After a moment or two of consideration, Simon handed the ice pack over. Madison would know better where it was hurting after all... Still, he was heartened by the way she reacted to his story - not a lot of people would have responded like that. They were all 'shock! horror! Poor you!' it was nice to have somebody who looked on the good side of things for once. Not everybody loved getting sympathy, in fact, for Simon, it was rather irritating.

Well... one thing is fairly certain... either you bring out a positive reaction in her, or Madison is a lot more cheerful than was apparent by first apperences. Take your pick, both of them are fairly nice options, for once.

Simon thought about her question briefly, it didn't take too long to arrive at the answer.
"'Bout a year and a half. I moved in about six months after the accident. That was when I dragged myself out of the slump I'd fallen into. It has a computer... so I'm pretty much sorted, and it's easy to go out running to be honest. Those two things together and I'm set up,"

Simon rummaged around in the freezer for a while, noting with some dismay that there was very little for the ice he was looking for to hide behind. It looked as if a shopping excursion might be required in the near future... but that was not to be worried about now. After all, Simon, fortunately, would not have to burden Madison with the nightmare that could come of his attempts to cook a meal. At length he extracted just what he was looking for - an ice pack. Sometimes, after a run, he needed to make use of it. When he reemerged, Madison spoke up, this time concerning his arm. Just a brief shadow passed across his face.

Hey... don't let it get you down, it was years back that it happened, it's all in the past... Besides, she did the backtracking thing again, it's kinda cute when she does that...

"It's okay, I'm not that sore about it... Well, I uh, got into an accident when I was younger, riding on the back of one of my old buddy's motorbikes... things screwed up a little. My arm got seriously mangled in the crash, and it never set right - there was too much damage. If I recall... I believe the doctor said I managed to break one of the bones into several pieces. Luckily I passed out. Since then... it's been cast and sling, but it's sometimes pretty novel to have one sleeve unfilled. Makes you look like a video game character or something..."

"Well... if there is anybody who wouldn't help you out... they gotta be pretty messed up. I just can't understand the psychology of somebody who would take advantage of a hurt person. I guess I'm kinda naive..."

Simon considered this, and decided that he would rather be innocent to the ways of the world than cynical. Of course... a lot of his thoughts were often such, but Simon kept those locked away inside, that was more personal stuff, plus, some of the things that his mind was likely to come up with were kinda offensive.

"Uh-uh," Simon shook his head. "This is no discussion, and it's no trouble. I'm not letting you kip on the couch with a banged up leg - it can't be good for it. Now sit tight, and I'll go get some ice,"

Madison had picked a good moment to let a tear out. Well, at least, a good moment to let a tear out and conceal it from Simon. Not only was he busy finding the right key for his own front door, a somewhat tirseome process, as Simon locked quite a lot of stuff, but he was looking in complete the opposite direction, in order to hold up the keys to the dim light cast by the lamp in the hallway. Simon adjusted his glasses a little, then picked out the right key.

Finally... it's not rocket science...

Simon turned back just as Madison giggled, right on time for her to pay him a heartfelt compliment. Indeed, it swept him right off of his feet, and he had to catch himself at the last second to not let his jaw drop open. Simon was momentarily speechless - it wasn't every day that somebody called you a true friend, especially when you'd only just met them earlier that day. Still... it was altogether a plesant feeling. Still a little stunned, Simon merely said the natural thing.

"I'm not all that great... I'm sure anybody else would have gone to you there. It's... the right thing to do,"

Simon's cynical inner voice registered surprise.

Looks like you finally did something right Sime-O, my figurative hat is off to you. But can you keep up the score? Madison, you'll notice, has frozen up a little...

Simon deliberately ignored the stare that she was giving him and concentrated on opening the door. Once it was ajar, he looked back to her.

"Alrighty... I guess you can sit yourself down on the sofa for now. I can get some ice for your leg if you like. Depending on whether or not you think you can make it home, I can change my bedsheets and let you sleep there, and I'll bunk out in the living room,"

Simon's little appartment had only three rooms - one of them a tiny bathroom. The entering one was a peculiarly segregated room, half kitchen, half living area, another room hinted that it was Simon's bedromo.

Simon chuckled a little when Madison spoke again. She seemed to be going almost out of her way to be polite, most likely due to anxiety on her part.

You're not doing much better... you're just as nervous as she is... to be fair... she's just taken a hell of a fall in a rough neighbourhood at night, why wouldn't she be relieved?

"I live just over here," Simon said, turning onto the path, gently guiding Madison along. "It's got a computer... so I'm pretty much sorted out in here," He fumbled in a pocket for his keys, and unlocked the door into the corridor. Fortunately, he lived on the ground floor, so there wasn't any stairs for Madison to tackle - he wasn't sure her injured leg would be up to it. "Here we are," Simon murmured. "Home sweet home..."

Simon winced inwardly as Madison spoke up. It was plain to see that her answer was a little awkward, it looked as if he might have touched on a difficult subject. But he listened nonetheless, and as she spoke, his heart went out to her. No wonder she seemed so lonely all of the time... she'd had to leave all of her friends behind. In truth, he was just as glad as she was to change the subject.

Another lucky escape... you should have considered that... it isn't exactly tactful to bring up that kinda subject. She isn't exactly going to be having the time of her life...

Simon wasn't offended when Madison spoke about the slums, although that seemed to be what she was expecting as she slowed down in her speech, almost as if she want to retract her words. But it didn't really matter... Simon's appartment, like he had told her, wasn't top of the range, but it wasn't a dump either.
"Don't worry, I don't live here. It must suck if you do... But I guess some people aren't as well off. My place isn't far from here... looks as if we're out of the roughest areas now, that's a relief,"

Well reasurred moron...

Simon wasn't too put out that Madison was a little surprised he had his own place. Not many people their age did have a pad of their own. Simon was just lucky he had a stereotypical benevolent uncle, either that, or he was lucky to have a cousin who would turn his nose up at a perfectly good apartment... Then again, maybe it was because there was no mirror, Sean was a narcissist.

"Hey, it's no problem. I couldn't just let you struggle along, it's just annoying I can't support you on the side with the hurt leg. Damn arm..." Simon looked at her as they walked along, then swallowed and turned away again.

Stupid, stupid! Stop thinking about her looks! Say something to take your mind off it...

"So Madison, I don't think you ever said... what brought you to Southridge?"

Well... it could have been worse I guess...

Simon nodded.
"It's no problem. I have to warn you though, it's not exactly luxurious, just a little apartment that my uncle stood me, because his son doesn't want it..."

Bloody Sean... are you supposed to hate your own cousin? Eh... I guess it's some sort of universal law that you have to be at odds with at least one relative...

At least the place wasn't too far away... his uncle had been nice to let him use it, but like he had told Madison, it wasn't the greatest place in the world, but Simon made sure to keep it clean. He was no slob, just a little scruffy when it came to appearences... Still, there was a marked difference between being a little scruffy and being unhygenic.

Just keep moving, and ignore the fact that this girl is really hot... *gulp*

Simon was surprised to see Madison so jumpy - earlier she had seemed far more composed. On the other hand... it was late at night, she had an injured ankle, and somebody had come up behind her and grabbed hold of her. Why wouldn't she be jumpy?

Possibly. Simon added wryly. She caught sight of your ugly mug and froze in terror...

As she spoke, Simon merely listened - after all, Madison had taken a nasty fall, and babbling a little was perfectly normal in this kind of situation. He frowned a little when she lied about feeling okay, but nodded sympathetically as she told him what actually happened. When she asked him why he was here, Simon winked rougishly.

"Why, to save the damsel in distress of course," he chuckled and shrugged awkwardly with his bad arm. "To tell you the truth, I was out walking and wasn't paying much attention to where I was going. But... I'm not sure that matters. Is your house near here? Or would you rather come to my place?"

Simon paused for a moment, puzzled. For one or two seconds there, he could have sworn that his were not the only footsteps echoing through the night air... Then he heard it again, and frowned. It wasn't the regular clip-clop sound of ordinary shoes... it sounded like a flip-flop sound, soft and steady. Could that be... somebody in bare feet? Simon smirked when he considered the idea, but as he thought on it he realised that it was the most likely explaination. That or an animal.

Simon almost jumped out of his skin when he heard a loud crash, more of less right next to him. He whirled round, and spied a trash can, fallen onto the concrete. He must have brushed against it... Feeling slightly guilty, Simon did his best to pick it back up and set it stable. As he was preparing to move on, he heard something strange, and he cocked his head to one side, to better pick it up. There was definitely a sound, and this time it was increasing, almost as if somebody was moving faster.

Then, the footsteps ceased, and Simon's brow furrowed.

Well... either this is a clever trick Sime-O, or something's gone wrong. Help or use it as an excuse to get the heck out of dodge? ... That question isn't even worthy of you.

Simon hurried forward at a brisk jog, and before long, not too far in front of him, he spied a peculiar shape, lying close to ground, soon rising to its feet. As he grew closer, he saw that it was a girl, not only that, but one that he knew personally.
"Madi?" he called softly. "Are you okay? What happened?" immediately Simon dashed over to her side, and attempted to support her, looping her arm over his good shoulder - as she was obviously limping.

((Continued from Out on the Town and Out of the Closet))

Simon was glad that his departure from the Bowling alley had gone so unnoticed. Regardless of appearences, he really hadn't felt like trying to play. He just knew that he was going to screw up...

Just hope Katie accepts that Sime-O, by all accounts she can be a right firebrand... hopefully she'll have forgotten you were ever there. Plenty of her friends were already about the place after all...

Distracted, Simon allowed his feet to just keep walking along, and before long, he found himself in one of the rougher areas of town. As soon as he realised where he had wsndered, Simon swore under his breath. It was pretty late, this wasn't the kind of place you wanted to be, especially with one arm. Good thing he was confident he could outrun most people who might care to go after him...

Okaay, what are your options? Been dawdling for a while, so not entirely sure where you are. Best bet would be to just turn back right now... better do that.

Simon immediately did a 180 turn, and walked at an increased pace back up the street, his footsteps sounding loud and clear in the night, giving him cause to wince. It just went to show that not concentrating could get you in trouble...

This is a reprive dude... be more careful in the future...

Out on the Town and Out of the Closet
As the door opened, Simon glanced across from where he was leaning and spotted a slacker. He smiled, then looked back.

Ah screw it, bolwing ain't for you. Time to ditch this joint. Simon walked to the door and murmured a greeting.
"Hey Nutbrown, see you around," then moved on past him, he had plenty to think about right now, and he really didn't feel like bowling. He was sure Katie would understand.

Outta here...

Simon walked out of the Bowl-A-Rama and headed out into the streets.

((Simon continued in Melancholy))

Round one, fight four; Bobby vs. Darnell
Bobby looked across at Darnell, and felt the warning twinge of pain in his arm.

Fuck this. A chance at 200 dollars is not worth a broken arm.

Bobby looked over at Darnell and smiled.
"Alright man, you got me. I'd appreciate it if you didn't snap my arm in half. Still... you'd better win after this man, I won't look as bad," Bobby tipped him a wink at this last - he didn't really care about his reputation. For the sake of appearences, Bobby raised his other arm and tapped on the ground a couple of times, signifying submission.

Round one, fight four; Bobby vs. Darnell

Bobby was put into a little difficulty when Darnell managed to snag his punch in mid flight, especially as he then proceeded to attack with a hold of sorts. But... Bobby was by no means just going to let Darnell pull him every which way, and immediately began to push his arm outwards, even whilst Darnell was bringing his arm across. Although his position meant that the arm would be brought across in time, it would be slowed as Bobby struggled against it.

Meanwhile, Darnell was up to tricks on the other side as well, evidently this move was made with a procession in mind - he appeared to be going for something big, and Bobby guessed that it wouldn't be in his best interests to let that happen. With Darnell going to grab Bobby's left arm, the boxer had a little time, since the hand had to reassert its position after being parried earlier. Darnell took hold of the arm, but Bobby twisted, wincing at the discomfort caused by moving through Darnell's tight grip, then grasped Darnell's own wrist.

With Darnell's left hand still trying to pull Bobby's right across, Bobby gave a tug on Darnell's opposite hand (which was set to pinning down Bobby's left hand) this would have the effect of pulling Darnell slightly forwards, leaning closer in to Bobby. At the same time, Bobby brought up both of his knees and slammed them at Darnell's back. Since to effectively mount and get a good hold on Bobby's arms, Darnell would have to be on top of Bobby around his abdomen. As this attack drove Darnell further forward again, Bobby would bring his head into play and attempt to drive it into Darnell's face as he was pushed towards him.

By this point, Bobby's right arm was pinned down by Darnell, but it would be a little difficult to concentrate on holding on when you had a headbutt on an appointment with your face.

Well Ace, if I understood quite what you were saying I'd probably reply... *cough*

I was referring to the length of my posts in general. I can't make 'em big when I'm fighting, or at least, decent sized for me you know? I'm not quite as pessimistic a sI come across.

Though only slightly.

Round one, fight four; Bobby vs. Darnell
Bobby realised that he should have been expecting Darnell to go for a grapple, and before he knew it - bam, he was down on the ground. That wasn't exactly a postive start to the fight, but Bobby was far from out of this little brawl. Bobby knew enough to realise when he was going down, so he had the foresight to throw back a hand, which cushioned his fall a little, at the expense of some strain to his wrist.

As such, Bobby wasn't quite as stunned as he might have been if he had just fallen. He couldn't quite react to stop Darnell from getting on top of him, but if there was one thing Bobby did have, it was an instinct for punches. As Darnell tried to punch him, Bobby's arms snapped up into a defensive position, cushioning his head from the first of the blows. Bobby then shifted his left arm slightly, and when the second punch came down, he parried it with his hand. With Darnell momentarily open, Bobby snapped forward his right arm with a jab, which would hit Darnell's chin from this angle. Of course, the position meant he couldn't throw a proper punch, but all he needed to do was get Darnell off.

((I'm kinda sucky at fighting posts, sorry))

Round one, fight four; Bobby vs. Darnell
Bobby flashed Darnell a smile as he entered the fighting area, and noted that he took up a compact stance, low to the ground. The lower you were, the harder you were to knock down, and Darnell certainly knew his stuff as regards to those matters... If Bobby wasn't careful, the wrestler would knock him from his feet. Not to mention that it was the stuff of Southridge football legend that Darnell had once picked up and slammed an opposing player about half a foot bigger than even Bobby.

Pushing these thoughts from his mind, Bobby asumed a fighting posture, that being a standard boxing one, fists close in, and feet set. It was a little uncomfortable - Bobby usually danced around the ring, with speed in mind, but with the extra weight, that wasn't really an option. Good thing he knew the general idea of fighting with power.

Bobby stepped forward, towards Darnell, then lashed out with a kick at his left leg, figuring that he wouldn't expect it. He was supposed to be good at punching after all.

He really didn't have anything against Darnell, but he wasn't going to go easy on him either. After all, this had started a while ago, this was an appropriate face to finish it, or at least write the next chapter... That though, was getting a little overdramtic, it was just a unique fight - probably one of the few Bobby would ever have that weren't boxing.

Round one, fight four; Bobby vs. Darnell
((Continued from The Mind of Angelic Ones))

It was funny, considered Bobby Jacks, that the first time he ever walked in through the doors of Shooter was to participate in a tournament which was decidedly under the table - and that wasn't just because it was being held in the basement. Hell... why had he even bothered to sign up once he had gotten wind of it? He could end up breaking an arm, and where would that leave his boxing?

By the wayside... right where it is now. A small voice replied to him. Let's face it, I'm stagnating, I haven't had a match for more than two months. Goddamn agent, he just wants his ten percent to amount to more. Moron...

The guy standing at the basement stairs took one look at Bobby and stood aside to let him past. Bobby had been packing on the muscle over the past few months, and in all honesty, he wasn't exactly tiny in the first place. Still, he wasn't as fast as he had been either... the punches slowed down, even if there was more power behind them. Bobby grunted as he walked down the stairs, looking at each bicep. Too big, he needed to get a little leaner, too much weightlifting, not enough working on his quickness, and his agility. Did it really matter if you could lay somebody out with a punch or two if you couldn't catch them in the first place?

In the basement, it was hot, muggy, and the atmosphere was electric -just as Bobby had been anticipating. There was a brief ceasatation to the clamour when Bobby entered, but it soon started up again. Bobby pushed his way through the throng and absentmindedly looked at the large sheet of paper, affixed to a bulletin board, which held the fixtures. Bobby's eyes travelled across the sheet until he saw his name. It looked as if he was facing Darnell 'The Bull' Butler. A small smile touched his lips. Wasn't it just earlier that year that he and Darnell were squaring off, with a backdrop of the sea and a bonfire. Now that was cinematic... but so was having a fight which was rather scetchy on the legality and held in a below ground club.

Bobby smiled again, add a damsel in distress and an interesting sub-plot and you had yourself a movie. He settled back against a wall, and waited for Darnell to show.

Lunch Broken
Ric stood up to his full height (which, compared to that of Boxer, was not all that much) and proceeded to lose his cool, resulting in an even worse redux of his stammer.


Ric broke down then and there, heaving and gulping huge amounts of air, tears spilling from his eyes and down his misshapen cheeks crazily.
Ms. Bland looked as if she was torn between comforting him and roaring at him.