2021-05-21 Friday 09:10 – Central Park
The muscles in Logan’s legs cried out for relief, but he ignored the pain and continued to press onwards, as he passed a group of fellow joggers. Sure it was tiring, exhausting actually, but when he ran, Logan’s mind would clear and after the last few weeks, an empty mind was a bit of a relief. Balthazar was on edge since the shooting at ‘The Graveyard’ and was taking it out on everyone, and Logan was no exception. When Romano found out that he had lost track of the Grathoki earlier this week, the mage screamed until his face turned blue. There was more to Balthazar’s rage than just losing the Grathoki though, but damnit if Logan could figure it out. Lots of whispered calls and meetings packed his boss’s schedule these days and more often than not, he didn’t want Logan around for them. What good is having a body guard when he’s not allowed anywhere near the body he’s guarding? Things didn’t add up, but Logan wasn’t paid to question. Hell, as much as his instincts were warning him that there was weirdness afoot, his couldn’t help but enjoy the extra free time he was now allowed. Before his job was pretty much 24/7, but now he had whole afternoons free. He even managed to take Cadee for a coffee on the Wednesday morning.
Chiedra glanced up surreptitiously from her stretch as Logan approached on the path. *Bout time.* She'd been waiting nearly a half an hour in this spot.
The research that Niall had done had turned up some of Logan's regular habits, particularly that he enjoyed jogging through Central park a few afternoons a week. Chiedra had staked out the park the last couple of days, hoping to "stumble upon" him. Today, apparently, her luck had finally come in. Chiedra waited until Logan passed her, and then dropped into a loping stride that soon brought her beside him. Casually, Chiedra turned her head towards Logan as they jogged in unison. "Hey, don't I know you?" she asked the young man.
The man snapped out of his reverie, caught off guard by the fellow jogger. Without slowing his pace, he turned, smiling politely until he noticed the strange tattooes on her face. His mind instantly raced back to the shooting at the Graveyard. He remembered seeing the same markings on a girl that night and something told him, you didn’t find more than one lady with geometric shapes on her cheeks. Strangely, even with the tats, she was attractive in a bad chick kinda way.
“You were at the Graveyard that night, weren’t you?”
Chiedra had known from the moment she'd agreed to this scheme with Niall that she'd have to tread carefully. After their first meeting, Logan was naturally suspicious. So, with that in mind, she nodded and smiled her most disarming smile. "Yeah," she replied. "I thought you looked familiar. I think maybe you and that older guy were having some sort of disagreement. Weren't you hurt or something?"
“It wasn’t anything serious,” he answered dismissively. If she had seen the extent of his wound, she would probably question how he was able to run less than a week later and Logan did not want to have that conversation. “and the old guy was my boss. I think he was just frazzled by what happened. Was pretty crazy wasn’t it”.
Chiedra snorted. "Pretty crazy is an understatement," she replied. "I was there with my boss too actually. Never thought work would turn into a," she made air quotes around the next words, "'massacre at a popular nightclub'. That's not my normal nights work. Although when you work as a bodyguard, you do see all sorts of things, right?"
“You’re a bodyguard?” Logan answered in disbelief. “That’s crazy, I’m a bodyguard also.” The second the words were out of his mouth, he regretted them. He was usually good at being discreet, but the coincidence was so surprising that discretion went to the wind. There was that word again ‘coincidence’. Something in the pit of his stomach was doing flips. Was it warning him or was he just excited to have found someone with something in common with him. “So which big wig were you watching?”
"Ricky Chiang," Chiedra answered. There was no reason to lie about that. It was too easy for him to check. Besides, this was definitely an in. "You know him? His family are a big deal in and around Chinatown. Although, honestly, he's a total creep."
Bodyguard for a one of the Obsidian Blades, this girl must be one serious badass, he thought. This time, he knew playing dumb was a better plan. If he acknowledged having more knowledge than he should on seedy crime families, it may cast a suspicious light on his boss. “Can’t say I’ve heard of him. I work for a big Wall Street hot shot,” he half lied, thinking it better to answer the question before she got nosey. “Don’t really see much action, but it pays decently. So I gotta ask,” he said, as he flashed his devastating smile, “how does someone like you end up in being some guys bodyguard. Seems like an odd career choice”.
"Someone like me?" Chiedra asked, a hint of danger in her voice. "I'm not sure what you mean? Is it that I'm a woman that is giving your pause? Or could it be...how did Ricky put it?...that I'm smokin' hot?"
The man couldn’t hide his smile. He was known to be cocky and it seemed this girl was cast from the same mold. “How about a bit of both,” he answered playfully. There was just something so damn attractive about confident, fiery women – maybe it had something to do with the strange exhilaration he got from fighting, who knew. “I’m Logan by the way.”
"A pleasure, Logan," Chiedra responded, grinning at him. She let her gaze wander his form deliberately before continuing. "My name's Chiedra, but my friends call me Kiki. I hope you will too."
“Then Kiki it is,” he winked. “You really are a walking contradiction,” the man chuckled as he upped the pace of his jog, Chiendra easily following suit. “Kiki has got to be the least fear inspiring name in the history of the body-guarding profession, which means you’ve got to be one serious bad-ass to have gained any credibility. Should I be worried?” Logan wore that arrogant smirk that fit him so well as the two briefly locked eyes.
"Worried? About whether or not I can kick your ass, as you so eloquently put it?" Chiedra teased. "I don't know. Guess that depends what you're into. Personally, I'm more of a drinks and dinner kind of girl...although, I'd be okay with sparring sometime."
Chiedra once more let her gaze roam over him in frank approval. "We could get a little close and...sweaty," she all but purred. It was no hardship to flirt with this guy, and it would make Niall's day as well. Sometimes Chiedra loved her life.
“I have a bit of a rule that I don’t hit women, so drinks are probably a better idea than sparring. And I think we can consider this our first close and sweaty encounter,” he said, as he used his wrist band to wipe his forehead. Putting the jog on hold, he came to a stop and pulled out his mobile. “Fancy meeting up again, I promise I can clean up nice.” For a moment, he wondered if he had played his cards right. He’d been out with Cadee a few times and things were going well with her. Don’t think she’d take it well to find out I’m going out with other girls…. Then again, they weren’t really serious yet, and Logan’s red blood was definitely getting the better of him. Pushing the thoughts from his mind, he smiled, “So, going to give me your number?”
"Was there ever any doubt?" Chiedra asked. Cocking her head to one side and smirking, Chiedra rattled off her digits. "Call me, anytime. I like drinks. I like dancing too. And I'm pretty sure I'm gonna like you."
Chiedra reached out and trailed one hand down Logan's sweaty bicep. She stepped closer to him, brushing her body against his as she invaded his personal space right there on the busy jogging path. "And I'm usually real good about recognizing what I like when I see it."
Logan’s heart was racing and he wasn’t completely convinced it was from the workout. He slipped his phone back into his pocket and shot Chiendra a final grin before he started to jog away. Only a few steps away, Logan looked back, and called over his shoulder. “Enjoy this view then”.