If she were asked, she would say that all she remembered of the night was that it was rainy. It had been raining all day, the gloomy gray sky never breaking for sunshine. The street ran dark with water flowing over the asphalt in rivulets that splashed when hit by the tires of passing cars. The oppressive feeling of the dreary night had repelled most of the people from the bar and pushed them instead to the safety and comforts of their homes. This was not, however, the case for everyone.
With her fiery orange locks soaked from the rain and weighted down with the water almost to the point of being straight, Morgan had fled to the bar as a refuge, despite having to walk through the rain to get to it. Her ID was fake, the barkeep could tell at a glance, but as he lifted his eyes to deny her the drink she had ordered, he found that he hadn't the heart. Rimming her eye was a dark purple bruise and her lip was split and bloodied. Any misgivings that he might have had that perhaps she was a troublemaker fresh from a fight vanished when he saw the fresh tears welling in her eyes. No one would be the wiser and this girl certainly wasn't about to turn him into the police, he thought sympathetically. And even if she did, he'd blame his failing eyesight and her fake ID. What did he have to lose?
Gratefully, Morgan accepted the rum and coke that the bartender set in front of her. She tried to smile at him, but the split in her lip still hurt too badly to muster more than what she hoped was a friendly grimace. The bar was almost completely empty and she felt like she should start a conversation with him, to try and show her gratitude to him. She didn't know what she would talk about however. Looking through the window to the street outside, she fished for topics.
"Terrible weather, huh?"
She could have kicked herself for such a lame and uncreative statement. She raised the glass to her lips and took a drink of it, enjoying the burning numbness and it went down her throat. With any luck, she would be safe here for at least most of the night. She didn't feel too bad, offering her fake ID up. She was legally allowed to drink in Canada, wasn't she? Not that it was a particularly good comeback. She was just shy of being legally allowed, anyway. Just by a few months.
Once the bar closed at two am, she'd have to go home, she reflected somberly into the drink. She wanted to leave, to move out... she just hadn't been able to muster up the money to attend college and move out of her parent's home. Besides, it wasn't this bad every night. Just, sometimes, things were bad. But they were always better the next day. Sighing into the glass, she emptied it of its contents and glanced around the bar again.
The door swings open an hour or so later, admitting a tall dark looking man, without a word he sits and introduces himself as Soren. Life has not treated this man any easier than you, you can see it plain as day as he orders a stiff whiskey he puts on a pleasent facade that would fool anyone but someone that has been where he is. The man stands about 6'2 maybee 215 lbs and solid muscle but it leads one to wonder. How does a man with his grace and strength end up so abused? The only way to know is to ask but as pleasent as he is he has mannerisms about him. The kind that say"I wont hurt you but if you fucking touch me i will rip your arm off" A sword hangs at his waist, who carries katanas around anymore? The man sips his whiskey quietly.
If it was a mystery how the man had ever been pushed around, then Morgan was his antithesis in nearly every way.
She stood nearly a foot shorter than the man with slender wrists and an angular face. Her bones protruded, leaving it as anyone's guess to whether it was from from genetics or malnourishment. Her entire presence, from an oversized purple sweater and jeans to her lack of makeup spoke volumes about how little she wanted to be noticed in a crowd. Her posture and her look was clear; she wanted to disappear. The one thing that seemed to hinder her lack of presence was her hair - it stood out like a beacon against any background. It made her unique looking and it drew attention to itself.
It was easy to see how someone could push Morgan around, use and abuse her. The real question surrounding her was an opposite one: how had she not yet been broken? Her spirit, one could tell, was still in tact despite the bruises and the scars and that was a wonder to many who knew her. The vitality that she radiated just beneath the surface was astonishing for a girl who clearly did her best not to be noticed. She had, beneath everything, such a bright aura.
When the man walked into the bar, Morgan turned her head a little to look at him. He looked more depressed than she did, though his reasons seemed a little less obvious. The only other patron in the bar had left perhaps ten minutes ago and her conversation with the bar tender had already died. She turned to the man, attempting to look friendly despite how it hurt to smile. She stayed away from making that pained grimace once more and instead opted for something a little more neutral that she hoped looked a bit more welcoming.
"I'm surprised that they let you bring that thing in here" she indicated his side.
He smiles softly, its a real smile and not the false ones everyone else uses."Its a keepsake and birthright, ive been trained since i was young on how to use it. Few would contest me." He smiles and sips his whiskey, his movements sure and gracefull before turning to you."My name is Soren, what would you be known as?" A odd way to ask someones name, his obsidian eyes stare into you. They make you feel as if you couldent tell a lie to this man, he would know in an instant. However he seems to be in the mood to forget some pain as he tells the bartender to give us a private table, your drinks are on him. Soren can see clearly you need something to take the edge off.
Wary of the man and his kindness, Morgan glanced to the bartender, who seemed as confused as she did about the newcomer offering to pay her drinks. Still, it as less money out of her pocket and right now, that was pretty important to her. It was, after all, a well-lit bar with the bartender right there and all of that and she didn't see the harm. The man seemed kind enough, anyway and Morgan felt like the company tonight. She felt terribly lonely tonight.
"My name is Morgan. That's what you mean, right? Haha, Morgan like the storybook character, you know?" the laughter hurt a little bit and she winced. The alcohol was already making her feel a bit giddy and freer with her tongue. She wanted to forget the whole awful night still and everything about it, that was why she wanted the alcohol.
Tugging a strand of her orange hair between her fingertips, Morgan glanced at the makeshift menu on the table. If he was paying for everything, she would at least be courteous enough to get drunk as cheaply as possible. It seemed that her best option was just another rum and coke, so she ordered another of the same.
HE smiles."Morgan, certainly a fine name." At the mention of what brings his here a far away look comes across his face. AS if hes judging should he tell you. You know that look well haveing worn it at hospitals."I would say that the same things that brought you here also drew me. It is a nice bar i can drink in to forget a little pain." His eyes meet yours. They are bright, but tired. As if they have seen too much.
Drinking the next glass a little slower than the first, Morgan propped her head up on her hand with her elbow resting against the table. The man seemed reluctant to tell her and, should he ask, she felt that she would react much the same. For this reason, she decided not to pry too much into his story and instead sipped her drink. She was ginger in where she positioned her face against her hand, feeling the tender pain edging through her when she touched certain places, especially near the cheekbone. Realizing that she hadn't put on makeup before leaving the house, Morgan realized suddenly that her vivid bruises were plainly evident for anyone who looked at her face. This was... embarrassing to her and she tugged at her hair more, as if to cajole it into covering her cheeks for her.
"It is a nice bar. The bartender is a nice man. I've you to talk to as well. This bar has been nothing but good so far" Morgan responded to him lazily, already half-finished with the drink. Her thoughts were still turning beneath the surface, contemplating how she was going to get into the house at two in the morning. Likely everything would still be bad tonight. Things might be better tomorrow, but tonight was still bad and she didn't expect it to get much better than it was. She considered her options, which were few, but when she noticed that she'd been drifting off in a way, she felt bad and brought herself back to the present.
"You seem tired, in a way that reaches through the muscle and straight into the bones and the heart. But, things aren't always going to stay bad. They get better and they get worse... but things get better." She hardly knew what she was saying anymore, trying to comfort the man in front of her. Her words seemed saccharine even to her own ears, let alone to a stranger in a bar. Still, she felt like she had to say them, to at least try to cheer him up.
He smiles at your attempts to cheer him, he extends one arm and gently brushes your cheek."You should get that looked at, leave it any longer and it will really start to hurt. If you wish, i am capable of treating many injuries but i dont expect you to just trust me." He says it in such a way that he makes the point hes WILLING to help you. But only if you trust him enough to let him. He pours his third glass of whiskey and sips again, how he manages to stay perfectly aleart is unknown.
At his words, though she didn't mean to do so, she gave a small, hollow laugh. Smiling weakly to the man, she gave up on hiding the bruising and tucked her hair behind her ear. The man had eased her worries some about him - he didn't seem to want anything in return from her other than the company so she warmed, augmented of course with the help of the alcohol.
"Start to hurt?" her words were teasing but her voice lacked mirth. Realizing that she was sharing a little more than she had meant to, she instead asked the bartender for another rum and coke. The welled tears from earlier seemed to have set the tone for her night, or maybe it was the bruises themselves and her inability to forget their cause. She hadn't meant to cry, she knew that much. She also was fairly certain that she didn't need another drink but, there she was, drinking another rum and coke with the beginnings of tears swelling against her eyelashes and threatening to spill down her face. She didn't even know why she was crying, really. Was it the simple sympathy in the stranger's tone and words? The kindness was indeed unusual, especially from someone she'd just met.
Morgan wiped away the tears as delicately as she could, less to be dainty and more to avoid touching any painful areas with too much force. "Sorry about that; it's all right, really..." she mumbled into her glass, taking a sip. If neither one wanted to talk about their problems, she didn't know what they would talk about. She was reaching for subjects, trying to decide what to say.
"So, you're going to get in trouble with the missus for staying out so late and buying some other girl drinks, huh?" she was trying to joke, after setting such a somber tone, though her heart wasn't really in it.
He looks down slightly at the mention of a missus." No, im a bit young to be married after all, even if i was born to a traditionalist family." He takes a rather large drink and its clear he really wants to stay off the topic."I dont know where you came from or who did this to you but you should stay away from them." He seems to just be one of those souls that wants to help you. Its clear by his tone he dosent imply you cant take care of yourself, but he can see how bad your hurt, not all of it is physical either. He seems to have a rather unique perspective on people.
The topic that she'd touched upon, just a gentle joke considering the place that they were sitting, seemed to be a sensitive one for the man. He appeared to want to move away from it, giving a short but definitive answer to her question. Feeling a bit chastised, Morgan returned to her drink and took another sip from it, surprised to find that it was nearly empty. She'd been drinking more than she thought but she didn't have too much inclination to stop, either.
Any other time, to any other person, his advice might have seemed less sage and more obvious but the unexpected concern for her caused Morgan to tear up a little again. Fighting it back, she tugged down on the hem of her sweater. She didn't want to check the time and appear anxious, but she was worried about the amount of time she was wasting of his. Surely there were better things to do than console someone he'd just met at a bar.
"It's not always so bad, you know? Just... sometimes things are bad. But usually, it's because I did something anyway. I mean, I mess up a lot. And they pay for everything, so I should mess up less." Her words were said with as bright an expression at she could muster, though scrunching her eyes up to smile pulled at her cheeks and caused a sharp twinge of pain.
"Places like this, people like me... they'll only bring you down. Other places might be more upbeat for you, might make that tiredness seem a little less." It was unusual clarity for her to realize that she would probably only pull him down. Sometimes, she didn't really want to exist so she couldn't possibly be a positive influence. That made her feel guilty in and of itself though.
"I should work harder, to be a better influence on you" she said, laughing. He couldn't know her train of thought, but to her, it seemed like a powerful statement. She should be happier.
He seems angry now."Not always so bad? Look at you bruised from head to toe and saying its not so bad today! I would pay to put you up before seeing you go back to such people." The words are said with a driving force that tells you he isnt angry at you, but to the people who made you think so little of yourself."You arnt a burden. You need to think more of yourself...but you dont need me to tell you that do you? You already know in your head what these people are doing. But you stopped careing, That is what you need to do again, draw yourself from apathy and make them pay for this."
The anger in the man's words was not well hidden but she could tell well enough when someone was actually angry with her and when they were upset with something broader, pertaining to another person. Such was the case with him and it eased her tension to know that he wasn't expressing his outrage at her but rather to her. It was an important distinction, one that some did know the gravity. She looked up at him, her eyes wide and her lower lip trembling ever so slightly.
She'd been on the verge of tears at least half the night and every ounce of kindness seemed to drag her closer to the edge. She had been fighting with the way she felt, with the way that she hurt. The bruises were only the surface, though a battered surface it might be. They hardly touched the depth of the wounds, these cuts and bruises. Every word he spoke rebroke something inside of her that, instead of healing, she'd patched over hastily. Yet, they were the words of a stranger. He might have every kind intention, every honorable intent but... he could not be held responsible for her. She had nothing and no one, save her home and the life that she'd known since childhood.
"Apathy numbs the pain. When you can't do anything, hating every moment of it only hurts more. Instead, you pretend like it doesn't get to you and look at it all the way you're supposed to and then... things just seem to blur together" Morgan was shaking a little in her seat from the sobs that she was holding back. Who knew, she thought with a touch of bitterness, that she would end up being such a teary-eyed drunk. She wanted to let him help her. More than anything, she wanted to let those words wash over her like a cleansing bath of absolution.
However, he was just someone she'd met at a bar. She had no right to rely on him and he shouldn't be expected to be a shoulder for her to cry on. She was just some whiny stranger who'd struck up conversation with him. If anything, after paying for her drinks, she should be listening to him vent. If she'd had the money, she thought wistfully, maybe she would have stayed away from her home at least for the night. But she'd have to go back eventually, with nowhere else to go.
He nods agreeing with you."Be carefull how far you sink into apathy, i will be here same time tomorow night. I am in town all week. If you wish to see me again just show up to the bar." With that he takes a small bow."You are better then they."His obsidian eyes show new pain, the pain of failing. With that he leaves a small purse on the counter and pays off his tab before walking out into the rainy night.
Feeling oddly as though she had, in some unfathomable way, disappointed the man, Morgan nestled within her sweater. Her eyes caught the clock, though her gaze was unfocused. It was nearly time that she had to leave, it was just getting on to one in the morning. The pattering of the rain against the windows had stopped without her noticing and she watched the dark street with the oddest feeling of hope. It was foolish, she chided herself, quelling the surge. With her drinks paid for, she didn't have any worries and tucked the money she was holding on to into her wallet once more.
The bartender, whom she had found to be pleasant if a rather dull man, took her glass behind the counter. He was a bear of a man, with a full chestnut beard and a large frame, but he exuded no aggression. He was, rather than a bear as he looked, a teddybear. Morgan drifted from the private table over to the bar once more, still biding her time until two in the morning. He was going about cleaning the glasses left behind in his methodical way.
"You should get a better ID, little miss, if you're going to come back. There might be more people here next time, you know?" He smiled, the corners of his mouth seeming to reach all the way up to his eyes. Morgan laughed nervously, unaware that she had been so easily found out. She made a note to try and acquire a better one tomorrow, if possible.
Resigned, Morgan waited a little longer, until it was really time to go, before heading out into the still wet street. Her house was, maybe for the best and maybe not, fairly close to the bar but there were other bars closer. She had hoped that no one would find her at the bar she'd chosen. It had worked, but now the walk felt like forever as she tried to formulate a plan for sneaking into the house.
As soon as she got home, however, and saw the lights still on she knew that she'd have no opportunity. Timidly, she made her way to the door and opened it. Stepping inside, she knew at once that the lights weren't on for show and that everyone was still awake.
When she woke up the next morning, hurting in ways that a hangover couldn't touch, laying on the couch. Everyone else in the house was still asleep, so quietly she crept around the house. She showered, to lose the stench of stale alcohol, and changed into clean clothes. She almost left without applying makeup, but one glance in the mirror told her than it would be a terrible idea. It hurt to touch the skin even gently with her fingertips to apply the makeup and it took so much of it, but she finally finished. It felt as though she was wearing a fake face, with all the makeup. It was already fairly late in the day, but she figured that she had time to convince one of her friends to help her make a fake ID.
She left the house, closing the door as quietly as she could, and set about finding the people who had helped her make the first. It would take another try, but if they spent the time, they could probably do better.
Unknown to her, Soren didnt leave right away. He followed you home and once you had left for school appeared to your"Loveing" Relatives as a wealthy buisness man that wishes to sponsor a student through college. Ath their blatent attempts to cover up the fact you even exist i smile. I know these peoples game and will tear the curtain off their ugley activities with a few quiet words to trusted people in authority and a small exchange of gold. A low key inspection into their activities to take place. All it takes is asking the neighbors, everyone heard your pained crys however no one was apparently ethical enough to call the police at the obious abuse takeing place.
Having already left the house when Soren showed up to the front door, Morgan had no idea what events had taken place. As far as she was concerned, there was nothing unusual that had taken place and she was busy looking for her group of friends. They weren't the most reputable students (no one would have claimed differently, not even their own mothers) but they were reliable to their own and even sometimes kind. It had always been a marvel to their teachers and parents why the gentle and demure Morgan hung out with the rest of them, but what mattered was that she knew and maybe they did as well.
There was a solace to their lawlessness and a mighty sense of being protected when it came to it, that they would do anything for one of their own. It was dangerous and secure all at once. They'd offered to take care of things at home for her, but where would she go? Besides, she reminded them with her bruised features and bloody lip, it wasn't always bad. Just sometimes.
The first member that she found was Belvedere, so named for his penchant for the booze since before he could drink. She was glad that he was the one that she found, since his love of drinking lent him to being the best at falsifying IDs. He was sitting in the park, one of their old haunts, and he still seemed to be sober. She supposed it was pretty early then, after all. He was tanned with blond hair, taller than her by less than a foot but still several inches. For a man, he was short. Hailing him, they chatted and, seeming to understand her motives for wanting a false ID, he waved her to follow him back to his home.
The process, he warned her, would take several hours but he thought that he could do it better. The last person to help her, Johnny, spent less time on alcohol and more on cars. It explained why his attempt hadn't been great. Morgan cheerfully agree to help him with the work and they sat down to it, taking her picture as a first order of business.
While your getting your fake id sorted out, Soren is busey talking with the gentle bartender and by talking i mean putting over a thousand gold peices into his hands and asking politley if he would mind keeping the bar clear save for me and Morgan when she arrives, that she will come before the week is out he has no doubt. Especially when she finds her oh so loveing family arrested on abuse charges. As i finish my negotiations i casually mention that im quite wealthy and it could benefit his bar greatly to extend this courtessy for the week. At that he sits down with a glass of whiskey. Sipping it softly.
The process did take hours, Belvedere had not been exaggerating on that at all. With his attention to detail, however, they made decent work of it and she helped him out around the small room, running to grab the things that he needed and helping out with minor steps. Part of the process was the overall creation, but most of it was really in the details.
After he was finished with the ID, Morgan gave him a peck on the cheek. He looked quite proud at him handiwork, pointing out minutiae that had taken them quite a lot of time to create. She laughed at him, his boyish pride, and pocketed the still warm plastic rectangle. He walked her back to the door, offered to give her a ride. She eyed his truck warily, a battered old thing that threatened to fall apart at any moment, and declined politely. She did, however, promise to repay him in booze for the ID.
It was growing dark outside when she left Belvedere's cramped space and hit the streets. Checking her watch, it was nearly ten thirty when she finally stepped up to the door of the bar. She hadn't been home yet, so she had no idea that anything might have happened there, and instead, she slid up to the bar. Soren was already sipping his drink and the bartender sidled over to her. She extended the ID proudly and he suppressed a laugh, waving her over.
The bar was almost eerily empty, what with the day having cleared up entirely from the previous night. The air was even pleasantly warm for the time of year. In just baggy cargo pants and a loose tshirt, she hadn't even needed a jacket. There should have been more people around this night and as she stepped tentatively closer to Soren, she worried that his angry expression was in some way her fault.
Upon seeing you the man smiles lightly."Hello Morgan, has your day went well?" He slides a chair out for you and lights a cigarette. He inhales deeply and offers you one." I know its a bad habit, but i have it on good authority that its a rather good stress reliever." He smiles at his own joke and orders a round brought to our table. It seems it wasent you that angered him and has he been anything less than honest?