|Augustus Bernard | ᛏ Tīwaz ᛏ (oathretractor) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-05-28 01:17:00
|Entry tags:||hel, tyr|
as if unaffected amid the violence
Who: Augustus and Jocelyn
What: Jocelyn’s looking for the self defense classes, and Gus might be inclined to help her.
Where: Pax Letale’s Gym
When: May 19th, around 12 p.m.
With summer break in full swing, Gus was finding that he had ample time to finally explore his new living area--and it was the type of exploration which was no longer hampered by his educational responsibilities, nor the oddity of the entire apartment complex transforming into another realm overnight. He’d also managed to land himself a part-time job at the closest Trader Joe’s--it was nice to be earning his own money, although he could’ve done without the small talk that local grandmothers and grandfathers insisted was necessary while being assisted to their vehicles. Still, at least now he didn’t have to phone his father for a bit of spending cash.
This morning, he’d finished his half-shift at Trader Joe’s and headed straight for the gym on the ground floor of Pax Letale. Headphones in, blocking the rest of the world out, Gus focused on little more than his weight repetitions--rhythmic, steady, and soothing. He was perfectly content to have the gym to himself, and nearly startled out of his own personal reverie at the sudden appearance of a woman reflected in the row of mirrors opposite him.
She looked lost, if anything. Either that or maybe she was looking for someone. Gus set his weights down and removed his earbuds, turning down the volume on his phone.
“You need something?”
Jocelyn hadn’t really planned to come in to the gym when she had come downstairs, and she certainly wasn’t dressed for exercise in any case. But she had heard Nishka talking on the phone with a friend about her self-defense class, and after a week of playing keep-out-of-sight from Abel (a task that was made much easier now that she wasn’t living on the same floor as him), she thought that a class might be a more productive use of her time.
The mirrors had caught her off guard, though. Why was it that gyms liked to cover walls with floor-to-ceiling mirrors? She was so focused on trying to avoid her reflection while still looking for the notice board that she almost missed the young man who was speaking to her.
“Oh! Hello! Uh...I’m wondering if there’s a bulletin board or something. That would have a list of classes being held here?” she replied, walking over towards him.
“Yeah, I think so,” he said with a one-shouldered shrug. Gus shut his music off with a frown, trying to decide if he recognized this woman or not. After a brief moment of scrutiny, he decided that he didn’t know her--just yet another new neighbor, from the look of it. “I mean, if there isn’t one, then like. Probably it’s easy enough to ask about them on the message boards or whatever.”
Standing from his work-out bench, Gus grabbed a towel draped over the far end of it and quickly wiped down the bench. “I can help you look, I guess. I haven’t actually been to any of the classes. Uh, name’s Augustus, by the way. I go by Gus. Assuming you’re new here, like most of us.” He tilted his head, still assessing the woman; although he had both height and weight on her and shouldn’t have felt uncomfortable in the slightest, something told him to be wary. It was a similar feeling to the one he’d had when he’d helped Nish try to remove the secret placards during the weirdest week of his life.
Jocelyn arched one eyebrow as she looked up at the younger man. “I wasn’t expecting you to stop what you were doing, Gus. I can look on my own, if you want to get back to your weights.” He didn’t seem to be particularly enthusiastic about helping, and the last thing she needed was a sulky kid trying to ‘assist.’
Still, it wouldn’t do to be rude. “Yes, I’m new. I just moved onto the second floor this week.” She put on her best ‘meet-the-neighbors’ smile. “I’m Jocelyn. Jo, if you want something shorter.”
“Nah, it’s no big deal. I’m finished for now, anyway. Probably wouldn’t hurt to see if there’s openings,” he replied, albeit he had no real intentions to sign up for the classes. “I’m on the sixth floor,” Gus added, attempting a casual smile. “Haven’t met too many people here yet. Uh, I think there’s a message board near the locker rooms. I’m heading that way.” He held up his used towel as evidence of his intent, and nodded towards the two doors off to the side from a few rowing machines. Go out and meet people, BB liked to say, it’s easy. Well, he was doing it now, wasn’t he? Sort of.
She let Gus lead the way towards the locker rooms. “So, how long have you lived here, then?” she asked, mild curiosity apparent in her voice.
“A couple of months,” he responded, shrugging again. Gus walked slightly ahead of Jocelyn, the two of them making a beeline for the locker room doors. “A lot of weird shit has happened since I moved in, but I think it’s just coincidental.” Yeah, nothing but coincidence after coincidence. He was lying to himself, and to Jocelyn--but did it really matter? It was likely she wasn’t asking for anything more than smalltalk value, the same as the little grandmas he helped at Trader Joe’s. “My sister lives here, too, on the second floor. Do you know anyone else here, ‘cause that seems to be the case for most of us.”
“I’ve got an old friend who lives up on five,” she replied, seemingly distracted as she mulled over the new bit of information that Gus had provided. Strange occurrences going on in the complex? That might explain the odd feeling she’d had when she’d discussed moving in to Pax with Nishka and other residents. There had almost been a...hesitation, maybe? Nothing actually noticeable, just a sense that there was something that they weren’t saying about the place. Maybe here was an opportunity to learn more…
“‘Weird shit’, huh?” she chuckled. “Don’t tell me this place is haunted - I’ve already signed the lease!”
Gus nodded, completely unsurprised that Jocelyn already had a contact within the building; that seemed par for the course by now--didn’t everyone in this building somehow know everyone else? Or at the very least, an unwavering sense of familiarity cloaked more residents than others. He hadn’t met Nish before their brief encounter, and yet he couldn’t deny that she seemed familiar. And Abel, for however strange he was, seemed the most familiar of all.
“Nah, I doubt it’s haunted, or we’d find the Scooby Gang hanging out here all the time.” Coming from anyone else, the line might have been a joke. “It’s more like. Well. You know when you have a dream that seems real, but there’s no way that it could be? That’s what it’s like living here, except the dreams come true. Sort of. Or maybe we’re all slowly losing it,” he offered by means of explanation, knowing that it wasn’t nearly enough to explain everything.
“We always used to say that everyone in L.A. was losing it…” she thought about that. “But I think that’s mostly sour grapes...well, probably.” The mention of dreams was interesting, but not something she wanted to pursue with a stranger. She made a mental note to talk to Nishka about it sometime… “I’m relieved that there’s no ghosts, though,” she said, smiling.
She continued to look around the area as they talked, and finally she spotted the message board. Or presumably, she did - the board itself was buried under all the flyers posted on it. Jocelyn moved to inspect the contents, hmming softly to herself as she did.
His brows raised in curiosity at her sour grapes expression; he’d have chosen a less...colorful analogy. “Ghosts I could handle,” Gus offered, somewhat dismissively. Ghosts didn’t--or couldn’t--cause an entire building to transform overnight. Ghosts didn’t bring with them bad dreams. Or maybe they did, but only if they were the fictional kind found in a bad horror movie watched with the lights out.
“So, is it up there? The class listings or whatever?” He peered at the overcrowded message board. Someone had gotten way too excited about using their printer and a few push pins, apparently. Gus waited for Jocelyn’s reply, wanting to hit the showers but determined to be at least half polite to his neighbor.
“I haven’t seen anything yet…” she said, lifting a flier to scan through the postings covered by it. “Has this thing ever been cleaned off - ah-ha!” she fished her phone out of her pocket and snapped a quick picture of the class schedule. “There we go!” She turned back to look at Gus. “Thanks for your help! I should get going...maybe I’ll see you down here again some time?”
Seeing that Jocelyn had found her desired list, Gus tried out a smile of approval. "Yeah, yeah, no problem." He started to open the locker room door, then halted, his hand still on the doorknob. "In a place like this, we'll definitely run into each other again. See you around, Jocelyn."