"Hello." She turns abruptly at the sound of his voice. Eyeing him warily she turns back to her customer. "Hello, Levi."
He waits for her to conclude her business before speaking again, instead taking a moment to just gaze at her.
He can see the childhood version of her there still. At least, what his late night memories have told him.
The light dusting of freckles on her nose, the amused tilt at the corner of her mouth that seems perpetual and that big jolly laugh! Just listen to it! There is nothing lady like about that sound, and fuck does he love it!
Finally, he has her attention, and he realizes he doesn't know where to start. "Okay, please let me talk. Do you want to know what happened to me when I went away?"
She doesn't answer, instead giving a tiny nod and taking a seat behind her booth. He follows suit, and takes her hands in his. Taking a deep breath, he begins to talk........
20 minutes later:
She looks at him wide-eyed, trying to process everything he just told her. A million questions crowd her head and all she can do is just sigh, too full of emotion to begin.
"Kenny?" "Yes." "As in Kenny the Ripper?" "The one and only."
"But why? Why would he take you away, of all people?" He shrugs. "Beats me. Probably tired of being a miserable shit all by his lonesome."
"Oh Levi..." She begins, reaching out to cup his face in her hand. He reaches out and clasps her hand gratefully, kissing the palm briefly before continuing.
Embarrassed by his own affection, he clears his throat and glances away for a moment before turning back to her earnestly.
"What I'm trying to say Heather, is all my life I thought misery and shit were all I was worth and all I deserved. I thought the only purpose for me was dealing death and being alone.
Then you came along. You reminded me that isn't true. There was a time in my life that I was happy, that I had some value to somebody. Other than mom, the only person I ever cared about was you.
Well, Farlan and Isabel, but at any rate is it wrong of me to want that back? Don't I have a right to be happy, too?"
"Of course you do." She responds in a small voice, looking down at the ground. He tilts her chin, so he can look in her eyes.
"I have a hard time connecting with people because of this. I'd like to think I'm self-aware enough to know this, and the shitty way I tend to make people feel because of it isn't okay.
But yet, I continue. It's who I am. It's not who I can be though, and I feel like the chance to be happy isn't something I should turn away from. It would be downright foolish, in fact. That is one thing I most definitely am not.
It's been three weeks since you brought that box, and I haven't gone through the whole thing yet. Honestly, I'm a bit scared to. Not just because the memories of my mom are so painful, but because I'm scared of how I feel.
Downright terrified. But yet, here I am. I can't stay away. I don't want to stay away. We both know what living down here means. Why won't you come with me?"
"Levi, if you being happy means I have to give up everything I have here that makes ME happy is that really fair? I don't have to leave my life behind for both of us to be happy." "But you don't! I-"
"What's this Heather, making time with scouts? Do you really think that's wise?" A fat, slovenly man leers over them; reeking of alchohol.
"Is this do-gooder bothering you? Maybe I should send him on his way." Several of his buddies stand in a semi circle around them, laughing.
"Joseph Eadley, enough!" She says, standing up to meet him. "You're drunk, as usual. Go home!"
Levi bursts into gales of laughter. "Joseph Eadley? Oh I remember you. Bully, and a miserable piece of shit. You're looking a little worse for wear these days...." He snorts laughter and stands up, looking at the man in contempt.
"Who the fuck are you, half pint?" He no more than gets the sentence out, and he's face first on the ground; several teeth in a puddle of blood and saliva before him. His friends approach menacingly.
"Levi, stop! This isn't helping!" They hesitate, looking at each other with growing unease.
"C-c-captain Levi? THE Captain Levi?" One of them stammers, and they all back away. Apparently defending their friends' honor isn't all too important.
Joseph gets shakily to his feet, loses his balance and falls smartly onto his rump. His second attempt fares better, and he slowly backs away.
"Yeah, how could I forget a pipsqueak like you? What Heather ever saw in you, I will never know." With that, he shamefully stumbles away. "Damn it Levi!"
He turns to look at her, and immediately away. The anger on her face hurts him, especially as he knows he deserves it. Vegetables lie smashed all over the ground. He backs away, unable to deal with the look on her face.
He slams the door to his quarters, throwing himself into his chair; hands covering his face. "Fuck!" He groans into his hands and looks up at the ceiling. He has never felt so much like an idiot in his damn life!
"I just want her to be safe, for fuck sake and that little incident proves she's not." Slamming his fist on his desk, he gets up to make tea.
"You're the dumbass that went down there in the first place. Now those assholes are going to spread word. What the fuck are you going to do about that you selfish asshole?" Taking his tea back to his desk, he sits and contemplates the situation.
"I guess I'm going to have to make myself a permanent fixture, let the underground thugs know making her a mark will be their worse possible decision..."
Looking up, he realizes he had never finished going through the box. Needing to take his mind off the problem for a while he gets up and starts rummaging through the remainder of his mom's possessions.
He pulls out some clothes, a small jewelry box and a letter. 'Was mom ever married?' he wonders and immediately dismisses the thought, setting the box aside. Opening the letter, he begins reading it and the blood drains from his face.
'You have got to be kidding me....'