An old thing
Crouched behind a flaming, upturned car with my leg all cut up and blood seeping through the pants was really not how I expected a first date to go.
Most people, when they talk about horrible first dates, talk about how they ran into their ex, or made a fool of themselves spilling ice cream down their shirt, or maybe even accidentally bumping into their date’s side and spilling ice cream down their shirt as well. It takes real skill to pull off all three of those and, ‘cause you gotta fill up the free space in ‘bad date bingo’, get shot in the leg while running down the street away from your supervillain ex.
Well, at least he hasn’t noticed me yet. No, instead ‘Domino’ is much too busy duking it out with Neon to so much as glance my way, and meanwhile I’m left casually remembering just an hour or so ago when the biggest worry I had was whether or not my shirt was dry-clean friendly and if strawberry left lasting stains, and not if I was going to be able to get a second date with this guy after Armageddon finishes crashing down around us in a mix of hellfire and metal shrapnel.
“Are you okay?” Neil- I think that was his name- is pale-faced as he stares at the slowly pooling blood now that my jeans have been thoroughly dyed a dark red.
“Oh, you know, I’m… fine.” Neil is a fine name, I think. It’s normal. Unassuming. Just like the guy I’m with. Normal, black hair and green eyes, unassuming, in a grey jacket and red shirt- wait no, white shirt, he’s just bleeding too. I could do a lot worse.
A loud boom, like an explosion, rocks the ground beneath us, and Neil clings to my arm, nails digging into my shirt, an instinctive scream ripped from his lips.
I’ve done a lot worse.
The car that we’d been comfortably hiding behind us is quite casually lifted off the ground- simultaneously our heads swivel to face the green-and-blue-clad Neon, a woman with a long, platinum blonde ponytail and pearly white grin as she easily extends a hand out towards both of us. “You two should get out of here.” Shocking news.
And before Neon can bestow upon us any more nuggets of wisdom, a flash of black and white comes barreling into her, a fist driving its way up her abdomen as the heroine’s face contorts in pain, grunting out air as she’s knocked flying back. Domino steps back, shaking his hand with a cruel, easy smile on his face, dancing back on the pavement until he spots-
“Quinn?” That roguish grin vanishes almost immediately, replaced by shock and more than just a little confusion.
“Uh, hi?” I’m already grabbing Neil’s arm, shooting onto my feet and sprinting down what remains of the cracked concrete, “Great seeing you!” I call over my shoulder as I drag an equally confused date across the wrecked landscape, bobbing and weaving through fallen rebar and upturned slabs of street.
Domino, however, doesn’t pursue us- most likely distracted by Neon’s return from her brief time out of the ring, and honestly I won’t complain. Still, it’s more than a little distracting when Neil continues to yell in panic as I’m trying my best to not let us be crushed by one of the… fairly numerous projectiles dotting the sky. I skid to halt, Neil crashing into my back, as a- was that a mailbox?
Yes, yes it was. A mailbox almost just decapitated me as it now sits lodged into one of the few still-standing buildings in this area.
Now, that would’ve made for an interesting way to go.
“Keep moving,” I tug on Neil’s sleeve again, but he digs his feet into the pavement and jerks me back. I spin on him, eyeing the empty space over his shoulder warily- I can see two figures sprinting after each other in the distance- away from us but… for how long? “What is it?”
“You…” He’s out of breath, the veins straining on his neck as he bends over and pants heavily- no, wait, he’s hyperventilating.
I grab Neil’s shoulders and force him upright, “Breathe.” I’ve seen this kind of panic before. They say there’s fight or flight but this is the third reaction I’ve noticed being in the midst of a hero-and-villain’s battle can evoke in people- a kind of paralyzed, horrified awe. “Breathe,” I repeat, glancing once more down the empty street, “Preferably quickly enough so that you can speak.”
He knocks my hands away, “You knew him?”
Ah. Right. This. “… Yes.”
“Domino. Third on Nickelport’s most wanted list. Man of impeccable luck and stranger strength- yes. Menace to all- friend to none. Yes I know him.” And his many other media-assumed pseudonyms.
Neil backs away a step, fear in his eyes. “H… how do you know him?”
I grind my teeth, because that’s always the kicker. “He’s my ex.”
“Domino is your ex?”
“You dated a villain.”
“Look-” I grab his shoulders once more, “We can stand here and play twenty questions and probably get killed in the crossfire- or you could trust that because I was, indeed, married to a villain I might have some idea of how to get us out of here with all our limbs intact. I mean, it’s your choice what you do but I know where I’m going,” I jerk my head down a relatively quiet alleyway- shielded by what remains of the buildings- out of sight and out of mind, “You coming?”
Neil swallows, eyes flickering hesitantly away. Before, with final, timid reluctance, “Fine.”
“Good.” I shift to grab just his arm, “Then keep up.”
Here’s another fun side fact- ‘Quinn’ is now one of the three main reporters I use when I go in and test the game myself. They’re a bit different now, having evolved as my own character much like the story itself. (Though, one other MC I often use to run my own tests is much like the one you see here- Lenora, as I’ve named her.)
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I really wanted to include something like this and was looking into some way to put it in.
Well… depends on two things mainly- 1. Your first impression (Yolanda is fairly quick to judge). 2. How you treat the relationship from then on. (If you don’t make it clear that you’re looking for more than just ‘fun’ then she certainly won’t be the one to take that step into something more serious.)
Glad to help with the hype.