“What the fuck was that?!”
Eli Dresden’s question plunged the SUV’s interior into an uncomfortable silence.
Brian Hollywood merely stared at her with those haunted eyes while the man who accompanied him–a stranger that looked like a lot of the cliches she remembered from Miami Vice but without the charm–regarded her with a blend of surprise and amusement.
It was no surprise that the latter was the one who spoke up, his tone smarmy and saccharine in its fake charm. “Well you see, Eliza–”
“Did I ask you?” There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation when the blond cut the stranger off mid-word without even favoring him with a glance, her gaze remaining intent upon the man who had apparently–finally!–decided to try to be her partner. “Look, Bri-Bri, whatever the Hell this is–”
“Heh. I admire your spitfire enthusiasm but apparently you weren’t given the memo about your current situation.” The stranger cutting her off had Eli setting her jaw, her eyes narrowing in annoyance as she aligned her mental crosshairs. Unaware of how he’d put himself right into the line of fire, he continued. “ Hell, I could really give two lesser of a fucks about you, but apparently you have your partner to thank for my assistance. It’s obvious you don’t know who I am, and it’s probably a good thing that you–”
“Do I look like I give a single, solitary red rat’s ass about who you think you are?” Eli’s head turned sharply, her glare as sharp as her tone as she turned her fury and confusion onto him–not sparing the Chair from the weight of her fury. Sure, she was physically tiny… but her attitude blotted out the sun as she snarled. “I took a literal bite out of a serial killer that’s twice your size. What makes you think I care about what your dumb ass is capable of? Say another word and I’ll Sparta kick your ass through the door.”
The tension in the air between the two strangers was so thick, it was a wonder that anyone could breathe… but ultimately, it was the stranger that averted his eyes, grumbling ‘Mouthy little bitch,’ under his breath. Satisfied that he was done butting into the conversation, Eli’s attention returned to Brian. Pointedly turning her back on the jerk, the blond took a deep breath, forcing her ire down as best as she could.
“So what gives? Between what just happened and what you said the other week, it’s obvious somethin’ big is goin’ on.” A deep breath and she leaned forward, her hands surrounding one of Brian’s own. The way he startled from that simple touch made her want to drive her elbow back into the face of the man behind her, but she made a point to keep her focus on being there, as best as she could, for him. “Act like Mister Bad Movie Cliche ain’t here and give it to me straight. What’s goin’ on here?”
Brian Hollywood took a deep breath… and began to speak.
Well well well… if it ain’t my favorite dumb blond stereotype.
Not you, Bobby–though I’m not gonna lie. I was jealous of how big your tits were before you moved on from your whole Gluttony phase. You were up to what, a double D near the end there? Wonder if you coulda’ walked for Victoria’s Secret or somethin’. Hah, imagine the outrage from the other Bobbi at you actually bein’ a trailblazer as you stomped down that runway in lingerie–the diamond-studded shit, y’know? With the wings and the smirk and the… you get the idea.
(And no, no I don’t think that mental image is weirdly hot or anything. Why would I think that?!)
Anyway, Cancer, sweetie, darlin’… did gettin’ your ass whupped by a woman that’s half your size really do that much damage to your ego that you just can’t go on? Because since your whole gambit to revitalize your career by ambushin’ me out of HOW blew up in your face, you’ve been off your game. I know that the ego of the mediocre white man (scientific name: Cancerus Jileus) is a fragile thing, but Jesus Nonexistent Christ, my guy–you collapsed like a dying star. But that’s been goin’ on since well before I came around, hasn’t it? I’m just the latest knife to bury myself in the heart of your career here.
And ain’t it a bitch that I’m here to ruin your day again to kick you while you’re down?
Yeah, I know the chances of Bri-Bri and I advancin’ past the group stage of the Maurako Cup are nonexistent unless Bobbi and Wing-Ding get annihilated by a sewage truck goin’ ninety–though the jury is still out when it comes to whether the truck or Carey is more full of shit–but that’s no reason for me to take it easy on yinz. The all-seeing eye of the Best family ain’t gonna be lookin’ away from our match, and I’m not about to let Michael Oliver Best catch me nappin’. He might be a snappy dresser, but there’s no such thing as a Best that’ll keep dead weight–and while I know I’ve gotten by by the skin of my teeth under Lee?
I’m not about to risk it when it comes to the notorious M.O.B.
I don’t have any past gold or glories to point to, unlike you and Bri-Bri–and I don’t have the longstanding history beyond that with HOW that Bobby’s got. I’ve only got the here and now to work with, and just like before ol’ Hollywood decided to actually bother pullin’ his own weight?
I’m–no, we’re–gonna make the best of this opportunity, and it doesn’t fuckin’ matter what either of you have to say about it.
…even if I do feel kind of bad for you, Bobby.
Yeah, I know–pity’s the last thing a man wants from a gorgeous woman, but it’s just the way things are. I know how it feels to bust my ass only for it to be for nothin’. What you did with the best of seven series was great… but in the end, you’re the one who came up short at the last possible moment. And being saddled with dead weight in this tournament? Boy fuckin’ howdy, did I know where you were comin’ from the first time I teamed up with Bri. I don’t know if knockin’ on Cancie’s door at three in the morning will set him straight–shit, I don’t know if that’s what made my partner finally shape the fuck up!–but it’s worth a shot, I guess. Anything to keep you around since in spite of the weirdness of before? I actually like havin’ you around, Bobby Dean.
You’re funny–actually funny–and that’s not near as common as a lot of people think.
As much as I’ve laughed my ass off at you, though… that doesn’t mean I’m gonna spare you. I know that you’re just as likely to be a breeze as you are a hurricane, and I’m preparin’ for the latter cuz that’s the only safe bet there is. No matter which Bobby I get, I’m sure that the combined offense of me and Bri-Bri will be more than enough to weather the storm.
At least you’ll enjoy the beatin’ you’ll get, glutton for punishment that you are.