Quitting the Bloodbox.

"Would you like me to quit?" She wondered seriously thinking of the option. Jamie had opened her eyes; perhaps in the most vicious way but she could now see the sport for what it was; pure brutality.

"Huh?"  He asked, not quite catching the meaning of her question.

"Do you want me to quit the bloodbox?"

"That's up to you... Why would my opinion matter?"

"Because you were the one that made me more open to the 'sport' if you could call it that."

"How did I, just because I run a gym?"

She rolled her eyes. "No," she said rather shortly. "Because you expressed your opinions of it, you made me see what I was doing; you and your brother actually."

"Oh." He nodded, looking back at his half-empty coffee, beginning to realise that his lack of sleep was really going him no good. "It would still be up to you."

"If I do, I would lose everything..." she pondered, "my home, my job... but I might have a chance at rebuilding my life; regaining my soul so to speak." Jamie kept silent; it was her life, it wasn't for him to decide for her. "Oh God, what am I going to do!?" She cried rather loudly, cutting herself short as she noticed people beginning to stare at her; until they realised who she was and began to stare at their coffee's again. He glanced at her as he lifted his coffee to his lips, drinking the remainder of burning liquid down in one.

"How would I know?"

She rubbed her forehead agitatedly, "no. You wouldn't would you?" She almost growled, "Do you have any job openings here?" She asked, trying not to let it get to her.

"Well, Kelly is getting fed up of serving coffee. But cafe work sucks." He said, glancing over at the girl behind the counter.

"Perhaps... I could be good publicity, perhaps a trainer? I could teach self-defence!" She mused and then thought about his views on the bloodbox. ‘Okay, maybe not.' She thought.

"Yeah, you might bring in a few more women - girls take one look at this place and decide there're too many guys. Teach whatever." He shrugged, his fingers still curled around his empty mug. He wondered if he would cope with seeing his brother's killer every day.

"You wouldn't have to pay me for a while; I will have enough to live by for a few years till I'm about twenty-one." She looked at his worried expression. "I will also turn up after you come to work so you won't have to see me!"

"I'm here all day every day," he laughed, "I'd see you. But I'm talking to you over a coffee... I think I'd cope," he nodded, more to himself, as though confirming to himself he would cope.

"Hmm and then what will I do about sleeping accommodation? Perhaps the apartment's downtown..." She pondered for a moment. "Oh! If I quit... will you come with me?" She really had no idea why she asked him, she put it down to a comfort issue.

"Come with you where? Don't you think this needs a little more thinking through?"

She shook her head. "Come with me to the bloodbox to quit. Also, no; it is my life at stake; well not just mine... other peoples too."

"I guess. If you really want me to," he looked around the cafe for a moment, feeling a little awkward.

"Thank you." She beamed. "When do you get off?"

"Whenever I want; it's my gym."

"Oh yeah..." She mumbled. "Well, can you give me a time when you want to get off?"

"When you've found somewhere to live," he frowned, trying to find a reason for why he cared so much... She killed his brother; he should hate her. But he didn't. At least it didn't feel like hate. He blamed the hole she was helping him ignore. "The streets aren't fun to sleep on."

"I'll live I'm sure. But I can't buy an apartment; I won't have enough money to live on."

"Rent one?"

"That's what I mean. Working it out, I wouldn't have enough. Not with the rent of apartments around here. I won't have you paying me either!"

"Well how are you supposed to afford anywhere to live if I'm not paying you for working here?"

"Hmm, perhaps I cut down on food..." she looked down at her slim figure."I don't need much to live, if I only buy what I need."

He rolled his eyes. "Adam is my best mate, and I pay him. I'll pay you."

"Adam didn't kill your brother..." She trailed, trying not to touch too much on the subject.

"You're trying to get out of the stupid bloodbox thing to stop yourself from dying at a stupid age, yes? So starving yourself or sleeping on the streets is hardly a step up from that. You killed my brother, but to be honest, if I can stop other people dying a stupid death there, I guess it's worth it."

She shook her head stubbornly. "I shan't. It wouldn't be right." She continued under her breath, "I don't actually know why I'm quitting..."

"Okay. Well I'm going to get back to sitting in my office pretending to do some work, 'kay? Knock if you want me." He stood up, his hand digging in his pocket for the keys.

"Wait. I won't let me pay you, you won't let me quit until I find somewhere to live what am I supposed to do?" She pleaded standing up in front of him.

"Well who am I to you? It's not like you have to listen to me."

"A..." she thought for a moment, "good question." She thought. "A friend," she concluded.

"A friend?" he repeated uncertainly.

"Yeah; you've done nothing but help me so far."

"Hmm. Doesn't that make me more a benefactor, than a friend?"

"Why do you have to be so pessimistic all the time?" She asked, frowning slightly. "Either way, I want your opinion."

"I'm sorry, I didn't realise I had to be all happy and bouncy for you the day after my brother died." he snapped, beginning to walk away to the stairs.

She was beside him in a second, "Jamie!" She called. "Wait!"

"Lilly," he replied as he started down the stairs.

"Please..." she begged, taking the stairs after him two at a time, although in truth she had no idea why she needed herself to run after him.

"What?" he asked, a little exasperated. Unlocking the door to his office again, he strode in and took his seat at the desk. She closed the door behind her, resting on it as she re-gained her breath. She wasn't as fit as she thought.

"I'm sorry." She told him. The small office became somewhat claustrophobic as she closed them into the confined space together. He shook his head and picked up a pen, shuffling through the papers on the desk aimlessly, looking for something he needed to fill in.

"Is that all I am to you, a distraction?" She asked, "Truly, is it?"

"Yes. And if you choose to work here, then you'll be an employee, too."

"Okay..." she paused. "Then I don't know why you even bothered to follow me. Find some other idiot to become a distraction. I said I'm sorry." She stepped back, opening the door again. "I'll give you your money tomorrow. After that I'll be gone, I promise." She left the door open as she walked away. "You're an idiot, Lilly." She cursed in her head.

"You can start work here whenever you like," he said loudly enough for her to hear, though he didn't look up, having found a form that needed filling.

"I won't be working here, you..." She cut herself off with a low growl.

He looked up at her and nodded. "Okay. It's all up to you, remember? I'll keep the slot open, just in case." He smiled, though there was next to no warmth in the tired expression, and closed the door.

She grinned, opening the door to his office. She pulled her gun from her waist and placed it on his desk. "There, a memento of your brother. Careful it's loaded." She laughed, "But remember; there are better ways of killing yourself. It's called jumping off a block of flats." She smiled, turning her back on him again.

"Great. What am I gonna do with a gun? I run a gym not a shooting range."

She looked over her shoulder, opening her arms wide like she had before. "You'll think of something. Don't shoot anyone else though. That gun has my name on it."

"I'm not gonna be shooting anybody," he said, pushing it away from him.

She let her laughter fill the gym as she left. "Good to hear..." she muttered to herself as she returned to the bloodbox to sign herself out.As she left, he stared at the gun. Despite his words, the temptation was almost too much. The hole that Sam had left throbbed as convincingly painful as a physical wound. Without a second thought, he grabbed his keys and the gun and left the gym.

She placed her card on the desk and then began to fill in the appropriate form. She hand them in with a smile and the man behind the desk simply sighed and filed it. "Sorry to see you're leaving, please hand over your room key. You may collect your belongings later." He moaned in a monotone voice suggesting he said that too many times. She walked away when she reached the door she looked over her shoulder. "Just burn it." She shrugged as she left the box for the last time. The man behind the desk's eyes glowed as he almost saluted her, glad to finally do something interesting.

The End

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