Strangely feeling a little better, Jules lifted her head from the sink and glanced over at Joseppi. Huh, what do you know-- he did
follow her into the women’s bathroom. This day was getting more and more bizarre; she had manure thrown at her earlier, had been in an excruciating amount of pain only a few moments before and her breathing had been off only to have it fade away moments after, and now had to deal with a man in her private space-- the same man that had almost caved her face in a few minutes before. What was his deal?”Hold on now,”
Jules remained calm as she wiped the water from her face, careful not to blemish her bruised features any further, ”you can’t just waltz in here all nonchalant and crack a wise joke. Tell me what you want or get the hell away from me.”
The consternation was clear on her face and he couldn’t really blame her given the situation. His smile faded as his composure grew more serious. ”Now thats no way to be talking to a man of the law now is it? Seems to me you’re a bit famous round here parts.”
Annie half wanted to leave, half wanted to stay, if only to interact with someone that wasn't Neon. Besides, Neon did most of the talking for her. "Famous huh? What for?"
Annie thought about what this oh so popular woman could be know for? She didn't exactly seem like the person to be a chef, so, a musician maybe? She didn't have an instrument on her, though she could guess why with all the tumbling about she's been doing. But then Annie briefly remembered something: those green balls she had on her. They didn't exactly seem like they were used in any sport she knew of. They looked pretty heavy, probably not ideal for baseball or tennis. "Oh wait lemme guess… uh, an athlete, right? That's what those green balls are for right? Some kinda sport?"
Annie's southern accent got slightly thicker as she grew more excited. She never really got to meet a famous person so… up close. She's been to concerts before with famous musicians, and her father even once knew a renowned cook at one point, but they haven't spoken in a while. But now she gets to meet a famous athlete!”Man of law?”
Jules stood stalwart in Joseppi’s presence and focused on not letting her fear trace her expression. If she looked guilty, she might as well be giving a confession right there and then. For a moment, her eyes wavered towards the girl as she spoke. Did she really think that she was an athlete? Damn, did she lie? Did she tell the truth? Or… ”Oh? I didn’t know I was famous, especially for something sports-related. Tell me Mr. Man of the Law, what exactly am I famous for?”
His gaze shifted to Annie in her childlike wonder in his mention of infamy. While she did have reason to believe Jules was one due to those balls strapped to her body, he knew they were something more. His knowledge in stands was limited, but he most likely knew more than any of the party in question. “Well Annie I’ll tell you what, it’s kind of like a sport. She’s a real good runner, so good she ran all the way to the other side of the world to escape her family. Have you ever heard of the sport called TREASON?”"Uh…, No, I can't say I have. Is it new? Or some kinda Italian sport?"
Annie emphasized the "I" in Italian, in an attempt to play stupid. Annie was of course, fully aware of what treason was, and the consequences it could bring. Not wanting get herself mixed up in all this criminal activity, she decided to just play dumb. After all, Lawman here could probably arrest her for something stupid, like Obstruction of Justice or something. That wouldn't be good. This is probably why Neon does all the talking, to keep her out of messes like this.
Crap, so he did know about it. Had Jules finally been caught? It was bound to happen eventually, wasn’t it? There wasn’t anything that she could do, just hope that the officer would turn a blind eye. Then again, if she was for some reason famous, that probably meant that there would be other people after her. At least this other woman was trying to play it off in a smart-but-stupid way. ”Treason? Is that what they call it?”
she muttered, shrugging. Turning to Annie, she answered her. ”Apparently, standing up for what’s right is considered treasonous behavior.”
Denying it would only make things harder. ”Now, officer,”
she turned back to Joseppi, ”I’d greatly appreciate it if you could turn a blind eye. I can’t really afford getting arrested, especially since I still have to win the race. Tell you what. Once I get the prize money, I’ll pay you whatever bounty they put on my head. Deal?”
Joseppi wished people were more oblivious to how the world worked, much like Annie was. Whether or not it was a clever ruse she was putting on, Neon was definitely the smarter of the two. “Definitely a European sport that we perfected in the revolution” he said before turning his attention back to Jules. “I’m not in the market on why you chose to turn coat and hide out here. I’m only interested in turning you in.”
He pressed on while airbag continued to funnel air into jules lungs, giving Joseppi a look with when head cocked to the side. “Did you just try to bribe me? A bounty hunter of the law?!”
He guffawed in response while Airbag rolled her eyes. “I’ll tell you what, you got grit I’ll give you that. I don’t want your money or even the money on the bounty. Now why don’t you do me a favor and turn around.”
She didn't know why, but Annie didn't quite trust Joseppi. Maybe not having Neon around was getting to her, but considering he had just attacked two people, she sensed that he wasn't entirely truthful, and things might turn violent quickly, and she didn't stand a chance without Neon around. It was time to pull out her secret weapon. "Actually, I have an idea. What if- now hear me out on this one- I paid off her bounty?"
Annie reached into her back pocket, revealing a black leather checkbook. She looked directly into Joseppi's eyes."I have the money. Take me down to wherever you need me to, and I'll pay it off. And you,
she turned to Jules. "I'll have you work it off. Hope ya like dusty old tombs and getting your hands dirty."
Annie leaned forward and placed a hand on both Jules and Joseppi's shoulders. "I think we've all had a lot going on for us today. Let's all try to end this on a good note, yeah?"
Despite her condition steadily becoming better, Jules didn’t like the direction this was going. That ghost that the officer had looked less than amused, unlike Joseppi, who had laughed at her proposal. Oh, so he was one of those “goody-two-shoes” officers. Those types of people that don’t work for the money, only for righteousness. That was something she admired, though it wasn’t currently working out for her. Jesus Almighty, did she really have to submit to this guy? She only hoped that she would be able to escape him before he had the chance of turning her into one of his higher-ups. She blinked when the other woman spoke up, once again offering to pay off her bounty-- at the expense of her labor. Tombs? Dirty hands? It was certainly better than rotting away in a jail cell… or worse
. ”Clever girl, this one! I have no problem with paying my sins off with hard labor! And,”
she gave Joseppi a sly glance. ”If you really want to be sure I won’t get into more trouble, officer, you can accompany us through the desert. That way, you can keep a close eye on me. I promise I’ll be a good girl~”
Annie looked quizzically at Jules as she spoke that last sentence. Gross. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
Maybe bringing her to the females bathroom hadn’t been such a great idea. What Annie lacked in awareness she made up for in persistence. It was quite charming, it’s probably why she was the first one he met once he joined the race. And while they’re story was still left unfinished, he had to pause it for now. His eyes deviated from her gaze for a second capturing Airbags instead. Her eyes burning her will into his, shaking her head knowing what he was planning. His word was bond and he planned on keeping it that way. So with a snap of his fingers small blades of wind sliced up the leather checkbook. “I’ll make that one up to you later, Hell I’ll even dust off those tombs with you.”
Jules wasn’t so useless after all, her tongue might have served to work on weaker men, but Joseppi was above carnal desires. He unstrapped the button attaching the rope to his waist, slowly he unbundled the rope in his hand waiting for another sly reply. “Now why should I accompany you in the desert and finish the race instead of tying you up and taking you in right now?”
It seemed like no matter what they did or what they offered, the officer wouldn't back down. The checkbook that Annie held was sliced up by some invisible source within seconds, leaving Jules more bitter than before. This guy had a stick up his ass that was for sure. She watched him with an annoyed glower, clenching and unclenching her hand. Should she do this?”Because once the race is over, I'll gladly let you take me in,"
Jules retorted. ”Just give me a chance, officer. You know, God said that even the most vile of people can be redeemed! Hopefully you'll see the good person I am by the end of the race. If you're not convinced by then, I'll gladly let you arrest me!"
Annie was slightly annoyed at the fact this monster on a leash sliced up her checkbook, but wasn't exactly worried. "Well, good thing I have a spare."
she emphasized by reaching into her pocket and pulling out a second, identical checkbook, but quickly putting it away for fear of it being sliced up. "Well, since we all seem to be going to the same place, if you're really considering watching 9ver her for the time being, I could come along, too. Neon's real good at keeping an eye out for things, if it weren't for him, who knows how many pits I would've fallen in, or how many people would've tried to mug me. And besides...
Annie leaned closer to Joseppi's ear and put her hand up to the side of her mouth, before whispering "She's also probably more inclined to listen to what another woman has to say. Especially one who just tried to pay off her bounty."
Annie stepped back to her original position and put her hand back down. "But if not, there's not a whole lot I can do to stop you.
Just then, there was a knock at the door. A heavy knock. One that could only be made by someone wearing some heavy metal gauntlets. "Hey Annie, you've been in there for a little while now, you alright?"
Annie tensed up slightly at the sound of Neon's voice. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just uh… discussing some things."
Neon's voice came from the other side of the door once more. "Well, alright. I'll wait by the door for you if you need me."
Annoyance was being to manifest inside of JoJo, he was wrong about whatever preconceived notions he held about this broad. There was something so fake about her that she wasn't letting permeate to the surface. Perhaps if she was genuine and told the truth instead of trap herself in a corner Joseppi would have been more lenient to listen. Just before he could press harder and break jules’ facade Annie presses herself against him. Remember when he wasn’t a man of carnal desires? Well Annie sure was testing his limits. She was right and maybe what he thought of Annie originally was wrong too. The idea wrestled in his mind when a knock was heard on the door, Neon.
Nodding to Airbag she vanished before reappearing by neons side. “Your master is safe with me you big tin can. Let’s just keep what happened outside between you and me, JoJo doesn’t need to know he lost his grip. It would kill him you know? Anyways they’re just powdering their noses so it shouldn’t be too much longer.” With airbag dealing with Neon he bought just enough time to finish his transaction. The rope going back onto his belt clip. “I guess you’re right, you’ll be coming with me after the race but your head is mine no questions asked. For now I’ll be your guardian but don’t forget I’ll cancel our contract the moment I feel you turning tail again.”“Oh and one more thing thank Airbag for helping you breathe. But I’ll leave you breathless”
he said turning off his powers which inevitably would bring her pain back. “For you madam”
retrieving the flower from inside his vest and turning it over to Annie.
There was something strange going on between the two. Jules could see that from a mile away. She watched as Annie pressed against the officer, raising a brow in response. She couldn't hear what she said, but there was nothing else she could do but wait until they were done. Until the ghost suddenly disappeared and left the three by themselves. Finally, the officer agreed; at least she'd have enough time to change his mind before the end of the race. Before she could speak, whatever comfort that had been enveloping her disappeared and left her breathless-- just as the officer said. Gasping with newfound pain, she leaned against the sink a slight amount, still fighting to stay on her feet as she watched the two. ”Since we're to be traveling together, I might as well introduce myself. My name's Jules,"
her features were strained with pain as she glanced between them. ”And you two are..?"
Annie gracefully plucked the flower from Joseppi's hand, which he magically pulled out of his ass, or vest, in this case, much like the sack of coins earlier. She then turned to Jules. "Jules, huh? Well my name's Annie. And just like lawman over here, I got a spirit feller too."
Annie turned her head to the door. "Hey Neon, come on in and introduce yerself!"
Outside the door, Neon looked at Airbag, then the door, then back at Airbag. "So long as no rash decisions are made, I think we'll be fine."
Annie's muffled voice came from behind the door. Something about introducing himself. He glanced over at Airbag one more time as he opened the door. Ducking his head, his large red plume off of the back of his helm still brushed the top of the door's frame. Annie gestured ambiguously at Jules in a "this is who you need to introduce yourself to" manner. Neon's large plated form approached the new woman. "Greetings. I am Neon Knight, and I serve as Annie's protector as a Stand. I'm going to assume you can see and hear me if Annie is going to have me introduce myself to you."
Neon stuck out an enormous plate gauntlet covered hand towards Jules.
Spirit feller was one odd way to describe the nomenclature behind them. That did remind him though, that many of them might have only just recently obtained their stands. “As for myself the names Joestar. Joseppi Joestar, but you can call me JoJo for short if you want. Airbag over there is my stand, that’s what you call them there ‘spirit fellers’ and I reckon that big dufus outside has one too. You might have one yourself missy lest my eyes are mistaken with them balls of yours”
Joseppi said in Jules direction.
Airbag nodded at Neon before evaporating once more and reappeared beside Joseppi, she noticed immediately that jules was having difficulty breathing again so she slapped him in the back of the head. Wincing in pain joseppi sighed, “Yare Yare Daze….Anyways good to have you here Neon now what?”
So the other woman was named Annie, the sheriff was named Jojo, and the two spirits-- called Stands, apparently-- were named Neon Knight and Airbag respectively? The fact that the spirits could actually speak to her was interesting, and for a moment she wondered if she was truly going crazy. But when she reached out to shake Neon’s hand, she was surprised to discover that he certainly did
feel real. And cold, too. ”Pleasure,”
she grumbled before shooting a glance at Jojo’s Stand. Airbag-- wasn’t that the one that had been helping her out before? ”Yes, it’s a pleasure to meet both of you ghos… I mean, Stands.”
Finally, Jojo asked the important question. ”I think we should get back on the road. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re already behind,”
she suggested. Jules really didn’t feel like getting on Greasy Sand, but she had no other choice. The pain would fade away eventually, anyway. "Right, well, you're probably right, we should probably get going. I'm sure there's a penalty or something for starting late. I'll meet you guys by the exit of town. Neon and I shouldn't be too hard to miss."
With a small bow, Annie opened the door to the bathroom, and Neon followed closely behind. Annie took one last look behind her at the people around the bar, before walking through the doorway and off towards Slow Ride.
Joseppi was of the mind of rigging Jules to his horse right there and then before they took off just so she couldn’t escape. While they spoke their pleasantries he was more concerned with something else. “You two go on I’ll be outside shortly I just need to take care of something first…”
he said making his way out of the powder room and once more emerging into the bar. Joseppi took a glass of water off from the side and poured it on top of Donny’s head. “Wake up jackass you’re gonna walk with me to my horse.”