October 14, 2013 (Monday)
About two weeks have passed since the events with the Fomor and things are seemingly back to normal for Brianna (at least as normal as they get). With some of her new funds, Brianna buys another used car so she and Joey can each have a vehicle. She also shares cautionary information about the Formor presence in Portland with Sydney and Nerise. With Nerise, Brianna also describes the note that she found in the warehouse as it concerns the White Court.
The only thing out of the usual is that Joey seems to spending time with one particular woman, rather than his usual “love them and leave them” approach. Brianna had previously noticed the woman, Angie, hanging around the fighters as a groupie. An attractive blonde, Angie appears to be a little bit older than Joey, but not significantly so. Brianna also gets a very possessive vibe off Angie, which makes her take some notice. Brianna has never been good about sharing. Joey is spending a lot of time at Angie’s place, but as he never made a habit of bringing his “dates” home, that fact doesn’t necessarily surprise Brianna.
Tonight is a fight night at the pits. Brianna can tell that Joey’s performance isn’t his best: he seems tired. He loses his fight, which pisses him off. Brianna isn’t particularly pleased either. They head to a back corner so he can collect himself.
“You seem like you’re a bit off today. You look tired.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Joey says a bit sullenly.
Brianna just looks at him. “I do know what I’m talking about, Joey. Do you feel fine? Or are you just bullshitting me?”
“I’m fine,” he repeats, but Brianna gets the impression that he’s not “fine” … and that Joey knows it.
“I don’t think you’re fooling anyone.”
“Oh. So you know best, huh?”
“We’re been working together for quite some time and I can tell when you’re shitting me.” Brianna’s voice is blunt. “Are you getting sick? Did you just stay up too late?”
“Not any later than usual.”
“How long have you been feeling off?”
“I’m fine.” Joey won’t give her anything else.
The crowd is starting to disperse. Angie comes bouncing up and puts her arm around Joey. He looks at Brianna, “Angie and I are going to go get some waffles. Want to come?”
Angie speaks up, “I’m sure that she has something to take care of.”
“Actually, no I don’t,” Brianna smiles. “I’d love to.”
As Joey came in Angie’s car, he gives Brianna directions to the restaurant. Once everyone arrives, the group sits down at a table. Joey is still brooding from his loss from the fight and Angie puts her arm around him in a comforting manner.
Brianna starts up a conversation with Angie. Has she lived in Portland long? About a year. Before that, Angie lived in San Francisco.
“How did you get interested in watching the fights?”
“An ex-boyfriend got me into it.”
“Was he a fighter?”
“No.” Angie corrects herself, “Well, not like Joey.”
Brianna raises an eyebrow. “So, he was a fighter, but just not a professional?”
“He liked to get in fights.”
“Sometimes with me,” Angie adds.
“I guess it’s good that he’s out of the picture then,” Brianna says.
“Yeah. He’s definitely an ex.”
Joey mutters darkly, “If he shows up around here, I’ll put two exes over his eyes.”
Brianna continues asking Angie questions to get to know her better. She’s a waitress at a McMenamin’s downtown.
“Seems like a thankless job,” Brianna comments.
“Oh, it has its ups and downs.”
The two women chat some more. Angie lives in Sellwood. She mentions sisters at one point, but Brianna gets the impression that they’re dead. Although she’s happy to talk about her job or her relationship with Joey, Angie doesn’t go into a lot of detail about her past. Strangely enough, the weather brought her originally to Portland. It suits her. During the entire conversation, Brianna reads Angie’s body language as being very possessive of Joey. She physically holds onto him and is always very close.
When the meal is over, everyone rises to leave. Brianna sticks out her hand, smiles, and says, “It’s was nice getting to chat with you.”
“Likewise,” Angie responds.
“I like to know who my man’s hanging around.”
Brianna chooses her words intentionally and notices Angie twitch a little.
“Your man?” She still doesn’t reach for Brianna’s outstretched hand.
“Yeah.” Brianna slowly lowers her hand. She’s still smiling, but it’s grown a bit more toothy.
“Joey’s well taken care of.”
“That’s good to know. I look out for his interests. We’ve been together for quite some time.” Brianna can tell that although she’s trying to hold it back, Angie is quite angry. Joey has picked up on the mood shift between the two women and he puts a protective arm around Angie.
“Come on Angie,” Joey says, “Let’s go. She’s been in a mood all night.”
Brianna gives Joey an unfriendly look, but just says, “Watch out for yourself. I’ll see you at Sibley’s in the morning.” Joey and Angie leave the restaurant. Brianna follows behind at a short distance to get a good look at Angie’s vehicle, a late 90s Ford Mustang, then she heads home.
October 15, 2013 (Tuesday)
Brianna arrives at Sibley’s a little bit earlier than normal so she can hit a bag for a while. It feels good to punch the shit of something. When Joey shows up, she eyes him and asks “You ready?”
Brianna runs Joey hard through his training routine. As she observes him, it is very apparent to her that his stamina is down. She turns to him. “Your stamina is shit today. If you try to open your damn mouth and tell me that you’re feeling fine, we’re doing this again.”
“Then are we done?” Joey’s voice is flat.
“Go hit the showers.” He does. Brianna decides to take a quick shower as well to cool herself off. By the time she’s finished, Joey’s left the gym. She swings back by the apartment to see if Joey’s there. He isn’t. Most of his stuff is still there. Since he’s been staying at Angie’s there has been a slow disappearance of some items: toothbrush, toiletries, changes of clothes, etc.
She searches Joey’s room for any information about Angie or where she lives and comes across a McMenamin’s matchbook with a phone number written on the inside. Brianna leaves the matchbook where she finds it, but jots down the number. She calls Roy Dale to see if he can find an address connected to this phone number. She also offers to double his payment if he can get her the information today.
Brianna wanders back into the apartment’s small living room and calls Joey’s cell phone. He picks up.
“Hey,” Brianna says, in way of greeting.
“This morning didn’t go as planned.”
“I guess that depends on what the plan was,” Joey comments.
“Not to be so much of a bitch.”
“Then, this morning didn’t go as planned.”
“I’d like a chance to talk.”
“Are you available now?”
Brianna suggests Barry’s Drafthouse and Joey agrees to meet her there. By the time that he arrives, Brianna already has his usual drink waiting for him. They each drink in silence for a moment or two.
“I’m not sure what to think about this Angie situation,” Brianna says, finally.
“I also don’t know how much I’m reacting in horribly suspicious ways.”
“What are you talking about?” Joey looks confused.
“I’m worried that you seem off. I know that I don’t always have a clear view when it comes to people I protect. I can get reactionary. But there has also been an immense amount of shit that has come our way over the past year, and it keeps getting worse.”
“So, let me get this straight. What you’re trying to say, in some convoluted way, is that I’m off my game because Angie is some sort of monster.” His voice is edged with anger.
“Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m saying.”
Joey rolls his eyes. “Well, I guess we’re done here.” He stands up. “Angie’s not a monster.”
“Okay,” Brianna says, her voice earnest. “If you’re off your game and not doing well because you’re staying up all night and having crazy monkey sex that’s fine, but say something to me. I bring it up. I look at things. And you don’t want to talk about it.”
“Because some things are … mine,” Joey replies, running his hands through his hair.
“They are.” Brianna’s voice is softer. “Will you please sit back down?” Joey sits. She half-smiles at him. “It won’t be easy for you. Now you have two possessive women in your life.”
“I have a feeling that Angie’s going to be part of my life for a long time, so you’re going to have to get used to it.”
“So, you’re serious about her then?”
“I can throw no stones on the relationship front. It’s been an interesting year for me, too.” The two sit in silence for a while, sipping on their drinks. “I guess I’ve not been around much lately either.”
“Well, we’ve both got shit to do,” Joey remarks.
“Well, you’ve been also involved in all of the big supernatural crap that’s been going on this past year. Are you wanting to back out?
“The stuff that hits us, tends to bleed over to those around us,” Brianna warns gently.
“I can protect Angie,” Joey says stubbornly.
“It’s going to take all of us looking out for each other to make things work. Not any one of us could have dealt with this stuff alone. You know the monsters that are out there.”
“So, what are you saying?”
“Does she know? Does she have a clue?”
“It’s not something we talk about.”
“It’s something to think on,” Brianna tells Joey. “It’s not the kind of thing you want catching someone unawares.” She shakes her head slightly, changing topics. “From a sheer practical nature, for us and for our business, whatever you do in your spare time is your own, but when you’re in the ring, you need to be good.”
“I’m doing the best that I can,” Joeys says with gritted teeth.
“You’ve always done the best that you can,” Brianna replies evenly. “What I’m saying is that whatever you’re doing outside the fights, you just need to get your sleep. To take care of yourself so you can be good when you get to the ring.”
“Alright.” Joey still seems a bit sullen and Brianna doesn’t get the impression that he still fully understands what she’s talking about.
“I’m getting the impression that you still think I’m just bullshitting and making this up. Do you realize that you’re not at your full potential? Because maybe that’s why this entire conversation has been going wrong.”
“I’ve just never had you react this way after me losing a fight.”
“It has nothing to do with you losing a fight,” Brianna says with some heat. “You’ve lost fights before. Sometimes you get out there and crap happens. Sometimes you have a better opponent. That is not the issue, so I’m going repeat this again very slowly so I know we’re on target with this. I was upset because you came into that fight drained. You came in not being at full speed. And I could tell that was the same this morning. I don’t know if it’s just you’re feeling tired, or if you’re getting sick, or something else. You. Are. Drained. If you really can’t tell that, then that’s also part of why I’ve been concerned. Because to me, with my background and the communities we run in, that’s a red flag. So, I need you to be very clear with your next words, Joey. Are you aware that you’re not operating at 100%?”
“I don’t feel any different.”
“I can tell you, as I’ve been your manager for many years now, that you are not the same. I can tell that you don’t have the energy that you normally carry with you.”
“I don’t know what to tell you. I feel normal. I’m fighting as hard as I can. Angie is not a monster.”
“Then let’s start with making sure that you’re getting plenty of rest, that you’re getting the diet you need, and we’ll see if that makes any difference.”
“If not, you need to go get yourself checked out.”
The two finish up their drinks and go their separate ways. Brianna heads to Powell’s to do research on anything else in the supernatural community that can drain a person’s energy or stamina. While Brianna is in the stacks, she gets a phone call. It’s Roy Dale. He gives her an address and name for the phone number: Angelina Petravos. Brianna continues to research for the rest of the day. She finds that some spirits, vampires, demons, or spells can drain a person’s essence. However, based on her research, the chance of this being caused by a spirit is probably a long-shot. The vampire angle, except for maybe Black Court vampires, is also fairly unlikely due to their habits of feeding at a faster and more significant rate that what Brianna is observing. Black Court vampires or demons would be more likely to string their victim along. A sorcerer using a spell of some sort could also cause a slower rate of drain.
Brianna thinks back to her observations of Angie and whether or not she wore any particular jewelry on her person. She suddenly remembers that Angie wore a necklace that bore a strange symbol. Brianna hits the books again to see if she can find a reference to it.