Stubborn And Vulnerable


dante_icon.gif lynette2_icon.gif

Scene Title Stubborn and Vulnerable
Synopsis Taking him up on a previous offer, Lynette calls Dante to help with this whole… self-defense issue.
Date September 11, 2010

Phone call and the local Y.

It's somewhat late, although before curfew, when Dante's phone rings. An unfamiliar number comes up, but it is local at least.

Dante stops chewing to fish around in his coat pocket for his cellphone, letting his messy philly cheese steak sandwich dangle from his other hand. Curiously, he pulls out his phone and peers at the screen, dark brows knitted together. Who the hell would be calling him? There's a click as he flips the phone up to his ear and mumbles out a muffled, "Hewwo?" around his mouthful of food.

"Well, my goodness. I do hope I'm not interrupting something important," Lynette's voice comes over the phone, amused and delightfully feminine. "This is Dante, isn't it?"

"Mmmm? Mmmm hmmm… *munch munch munch*" Dante just frowns further, becoming even more bemused. The hell? It's a woman? She sounds like she might be very cute, too. This is a fucking mystery…

"I seem to remember last time we spoke, you were somewhat more articulate…" Lynette's smirk is practically audible in that voice. There's a thud as her feet lift to rest on the table in front of her. "Only a little, though, granted."

"Mmmmm… 'm eatim," Dante mutters, and it's hard to tell if her audible smirk is earning any ire from him. Maybe he's just too busy enjoying his sandwich. "Whoze zis?" At least he's slowly finishing his mouthful.

There's a slight pause for that question before Lynette actually speaks again, and all the more amused. "Well, now… that is a telling question, isn't it? You must pass your number out like candy, not to be able to guess just which woman it is calling you. I have to say, I'm shocked. You didn't seem the type."

Dante gives a low, annoyed grunt at her remark. No, that isn't just what he sounds like with his mouth full. That's definitely annoyance. After a brief swallow, he says clearly and forcefully, "Who is this?" His low tone is gruff and commanding, and one can just imagine him glaring at nothing in particular on the other end.

"Not even one little guess?" Lynette seems to be playing a little there, but just a little. "Well. You certainly know how to make a girl feel special, don't you? It's Lynette. We met over sushi? There was some discussion about… learning better self defense." See? She can play nice, too.

Dante's gruff command is followed by a gruff sigh as Lynette continues to tease him. "Look, I don't…" But he stops as she gives her name, and there's a moment of stunned silence. "…oh, hi." A woman being straightforward and non-bitchy with him? This is something he's not prepared for. "Oh, yes. Yeah. Yeah, yes. Um, hi." He clears his throat. "Yeah, I did, didn't I? You're, uh, interested?"

"Oh hi, he says," Lynette says, still teasing! But she does seem good humored about it. "Well, I'm not calling to listen to you eat, hun," she says in reply to his question, "If you had some time… I had some time and I thought… why not fill it?"

"You called at a bad time then," Dante deadpans, though there's a hint of humor in that remark, "Well…" There's a pause, and the sound of a car honking hints at where Dante is at the moment. "I'm not exactly busy, for once… Where are you right now?"

"The curse of bad timing. It plagues comedians and me, apparently," Lynette says with a slight chuckle. "Right now, I'm at home, but I'm mobile. My apartment isn't exactly a sparring zone."

"You don't fancy yourself a comedienne? I would have guessed otherwise… Well, I'm out on Main Street at the moment, grabbing a hot dog. Does your apartment happen to have a gym mat and a first aid kit?"

"I never did rank comedy as one of my top skills, no." Lynette can be heard standing and walking along a wooden floor. "Mine is not so fortunate. There's a lovely garden, but that's hardly helpful. Does your apartment have a gym mat and a first aid kit?"

"Unfortunately, no. My landlord hasn't decided to let me knock out that wall to make space, yet." A car horn honks dangerously close, and Dante growls something indistinguishable at the passing driver. Likely not very gentlemanly. "Sorry about that. Come to the Y, I have a membership there."

"Haven't you heard the old adage, it's better to ask forgiveness than permission?" Lynette pauses at the honking and she sounds a little dryer when she speaks next, "Just don't get yourself run over before I get there, darling. I'll meet you there." She doesn't wait very long before she hangs up, but! She'll be on her way shortly.

"Too many times. And it's not true, anyways," Dante says, speaking (what he's sure is) undeniable truth. Her "concern" gets a mild chuckle from him. "I'll do what I can. I'll see…" Huh, she hung up. Once again, Dante frowns at his phone before tucking it in his pocket. Crossing the street, disregarding traffic, he takes another huge bite of his sandwich.

Lynette is late. After all, she had to pick the right shoes and the right outfit and it was difficult! Her wardrobe wasn't built for working out! But she makes it eventually, stepping out of a cab and shouldering a bag with a far more socially acceptable set of clothes within. But for now, she's in a pair of shorts and a tank top. And a jacket, for the moment. It's starting to get chilly, especially for the California girl.

Dante was on time, but that doesn't mean he was ready. Not expecting to be out for some exercise, he's still in work clothes when she arrives, hanging out by the service desk at the YMCA. Business slacks, and a trenchcoat over a casual, navy blue suit jacket, button up shirt, and loosened tie. He's even got a briefcase dangling from one hand. He's checking his watch when she arrives, and the man glances up right when she comes into view… And his eyes linger somewhere below her chin before fixing quickly on her eyes. Dante clears his throat, giving Lynette a tight smile. "Hello again. I was wondering if you'd make it." More deadpan, possibly more teasing.

"Oh hush," Lynette says with a crooked smile. "A girl has to dress for the occasion." Her glance travels over his work clothes then, though, an eyebrow lifting, "…even if a man doesn't." The good news is… she seems a lot more together this time around.

And less bandaged too, Dante notices, his eyes falling to her arms and exposed skin as he scans her for those missing wounds. He looks pleased. "I'm ready. I'll just have to wrinkle my work pants a little. No big deal." Turning to the redheaded receptionist idly checking her texts behind the front desk, Dante fishes his wallet out of his pants and slides a membership card across the counter to her. "She's with me."
Without even looking up, the receptionist takes the card and buzzes Dante and Lynette in, still tapping away at her cellphone with one hand. Nice security, eh?

Yep! Unwounded and with a ready smile and even a little jaunt in her step. Imagine that. "Hopefully you have an iron, or I might start to feel bad," she says with that teasing tone that's beginning to get very familiar. She moves to follow him in, not wasting a smile for the receptionist on the way. She adjusts the bag on her shoulder for a moment, a passing dance with paranoia (it was too easy) pushed away from the forefront of her mind. For the moment.

"I do," Dante says simply, sparing a glance for Lynette over his shoulder to make sure she's following through the turnstile and down the hallways. Plenty of men and women pass them, many of them looking sweaty, flushed and damp from recent showers. The hallway smells of perspiration and disinfected vinyl, a heady mix that only gyms seem to manage. "Anyways, I need to get changed," he says, gaze still lingering curiously on her, watching the girl's eyes, "If you want to warm up a little first, go right ahead. I'll be a while. Or shower. Whatever you want… I'll meet you at room B when you're done," he says, taking a sharp right into a small, tiled hallway. The men's locker room doesn't really have a door, it seems. Just a sharp corner.

"Warming up. If I recall, that's a good idea before exercise." Lynette looks over to catch that lingering look, and she shifts her expression into a more amused one. "Room B. I'll be there." She doesn't move off toward the locker rooms herself, she appears to be doing a little exploring before anything else. But she ends up in the room, choosing to do her warming up there, which seems to consist of some stretching. At least, by the time he gets there.

When she gets to the room, the first thing Lynette will notice is just how unremarkable the room is. Double doors at the front, a blue gym mat completely covering the floor, along with blue mats that go most of the way up the walls. However, she's not alone.
When Lynette first peeks her head in, it's to a resounding THUMP! of a body hitting the mat and a low groan from a man in his early twenties laying out on the mat, his buddy standing above him. Both of them are wearing judo gis, the dirty blond guy blinking into the fluorescent lights above, while his dark-haired army-cropped friend laughs and offers him a hand up.
"Gotta watch your base. See how easily I got you off balance?"
"Yeah yeah," the blond groans, levering himself up, "Just do it again, I'll be ready this time…. woah, dude. Babe at 4 o'clock." Two sets of eyes swivel towards Lynette, and Army guy gives her a curious frown, while Blond Dude flashes a winning smile as he adjusts his gi. "Hey there! Looking for the weight room?"

"No, actually. I'd hate to get too muscle-bound. This is room B, isn't it?" Lynette brings her legs into a lazy cross there on the floor. She's not moving, apparently. "Don't let me interrupt. There's nothing quite like watching a couple guys beating the crap out of each other." She seems to mean that, too, as a smile comes to her face.

"Too right," Blond says, his grin getting even bigger, "You look perfect the way you are, babe."
"Joe," Army sighs, smacking his friend hard in the shoulder, "Don't be crude. We'll try not to bother you, miss. I'm just showing my friend here what the exercise mat tastes like. Ow!"
Joe smirks at his friend, shaking his fist after punching Army hard in the shoulder. "Don't flatter yourself. I told you, come at me again. I got you this time!" A wink gets flashed to Lynette there. "Just watch, he's going do—OOF!" Tackled around the middle, Joe's slammed back against the wall before he gets suplexed facefirst into the floor.

"Please, it's no bother. I'll try not to get in the way." Lynette keeps up that smile as the two start up again, and while she doesn't return the wink, Joe getting tackled does get a chuckle. And a gentle round of applause, even. It maaaay just be a tactic to make Joe feel like he's got something to prove, now that there's an audience. Or maybe she really is just a fan of matches. It's hard to say.

It seems to be working, as although Army seems to have things more than well in hand, Joe fights like a dying rabbit as he goes down, flailing and twisting and trying to get out of Army's grip. "Dude! C'mon, not in front of the hottie! OW!" Eventually, he gets an arm pinned behind his back, and his cheek is pressed forcefully to the mat. Blowing a lock of blond hair out of his eyes, he strains to look at Lynette from where he's kissing the floor, giving her a sheepish smile. "See? Impressed, yet?"
"Oh yeah, very impressed," comes Dante's dry, familiar voice from behind Lynette. He stands behind her, arms folded over his broad chest and eyeing the other two guys in the room with bemusement. His dark hair is damp, though quickly drying, and he's stripped down to just his work pants and a white undershirt. "These guys been giving you any trouble, Lynette?" he asks, narrowing his eyes at Joe.

Before she can answer, Dante cuts in and Lynette tilts her head to look up at him for a moment before she looks back toward the two strangers. "These, two? Not at all. They've been fantastic." She pulls herself to her feet then, her hands going to her hips. "If I knew this place was this good at keeping a girl entertained, I would have come sooner."

Pleased, Brian lets Joe go, who merely grumbles when Lynette's chaperone appears. Dante, on the other hand, seems less than amused as he watches the two men stand and find a corner a little farther away from the severe looking ex-Company Agent.
"Maybe. If you like being ogled. Just don't go by the weight room. Those guys can be disgusting. So…" Finally, he unfolds his arms and comes around to Lynette's front, offering a hand down to her. "Where do you want to start?"

"Sometimes being ogled isn't so bad, if a guy knows how to do it right. Disgusting is, of course, right out." Up on her feet, the other two might be disappointed that her attention seems to have gone to Dante now, but that's how it is. "I'm not sure. Um… how not to get grabbed in an alley would be a wonderful beginning. I'm not sure if lessons work quite like that, however…"

Her attention shift lets Joe get a better look at Lynette, a lecherous grin spreading over his face as his eyes trail down over his tanktop…and the distraction is costly as he's grabbed and thrown facefirst onto the mat. Oof!
Dante puts his hands on his hips and smiles, certainly pleased. "Ah, that's a good place to start actually. So…" He starts to walk around her, ticking off a count on his fingers, "There are several ways you can be confronted in an alley. We'll focus on sudden contact first. You can be grabbed…" His hand snaps out and grabs her around the wrist, pulling her towards him with surprising force. Dante's physique isn't just for show.

And that's what happens to boys who ogle improperly! Let that be a lesson.

Lynette watches him as he starts to walk, listening. She was never a very good student, except when then subject matter was of personal interest and 'how not to get grabbed in an alley' is pretty much the most interesting thing right now. Next to 'how not to get grabbed by the government' and 'how not to get grabbed out in the open in front of your own damn building'.

But she really must never have been in a self defense class before, because when he grabs her and yanks her about, she really isn't ready for it and she stumbles a little before her shoulder bumps up against him. And that's real fear, too, as she looks up at him, however quickly it passes. "Jesus christ, Dante," she says, covering that flash of 'oh dear god' with anger instead. But he can still feel her trembling by that hold on her wrist.

The bump against Dante's shoulder barely pushes him, and he has a rather sardonic smile for the angry look in Lynette's eyes. After all, he's dealt with psychopathic rage from Isabella over especially annoying commercials. "Sorry. I couldn't resist. So." He lifts her trembling wrist, his grip growing more gentle. "I have your wrist. Your first goal should be to make sure I can't do anything with it, so you want to try and move to my side, preferably the side with the arm I'm grabbing you with." Instead of waiting for her to move, Dante turns his body, the motion making his grip on her wrist awkward. "Next, you'll want to twist your wrist out of my grip. Make me twist my arm, and try and twist in the direction my thumb is going around your arm. That's a good way to weaken the hold."

"A little warning next time," Lynette says, her free hand brushing through her hair. She knows a warning would go against the whole purpose, but hey. She's been through some Stuff. Not that Dante knows that. Semantics. But when he shifts into that awkward hold, she grimaces just a little. Sure, she can throw a punch in self defense, and can catfight like nobody's business, but all in all she'd rather be out shopping or something. But she does try to twist her way out of Dante's hold as he explains. "What if you're stronger than me? 'You' being… the attacker."

"Sure, a warning," Dante says with a small snort of a laugh. Yeah, she's not going to be getting anything like that. As she starts to twist away, his grip tightens and the tugs seem fruitless. "There are two options there. One is the get the attacker into a position where he can't use his full strength on you. The rule of thumb is, the more awkward it is for him to grab you, the easier it is to break his hold. Try…" Taking her hand, Dante helps her twist her hand in his grip, and she can feel her wrist pulling out of his fingers. "There. Like that."

"Okay, I see that. How much practice does it take before you just do it without thinking?" Lynette brings her wrist to her chest for a moment when it's free, as if thankful to find it so. But it's only a moment before it drops back to her side again.

"Definitely more than one session," Dante says, hands going to his hips again with a small smirk spreading over his face as he looks over Lynette once more, thoughtfully, "Hmmm…we'll practice later. There are other ways someone can capture you, anyways." Raising a finger, he gestures for her to turn around. There's not a lick of sympathy in those cool, blue eyes for her nervousness.

"Well, of course." His lack of real answer brings a frown to Lynette's lips, and there's a pause when he gestures for her to turn. It is possible this was a bad idea. Maybe she should have gotten therapy first, but physical safety seemed more important. Seems. But. She does turn around, trying not to let herself shake too much.

For being a super attentive man, Dante definitely seems to be missing all the signals Lynette is giving off. That is, right up until she turns away from him. Instead of a hard grab, heavy hands rest on her shoulder and she can feel Dante's presence behind her. "Are you alright?" he asks in a quiet, husky voice, low enough for the two men sparring at the other end of the room to not overhear. "If you'd prefer other exercises…"

Lynette waves a hand dismissively first, before she turns her head just a bit, not quite looking at him, but more toward him vaguely. "No no, this is fine. I'm fine. I'm just not very good at the whole… fighting thing." While she's clearly not fine, it's just as clear she's not a woman who easily admits a weakness. At least, not one she's embarrassed of.

Dante bites his lip, looking lost for a brief moment, his hands still resting on Lynette's shoulders. Stubborn women, he's used to dealing with. But a stubborn and vulnerable one? That's new. "…alright. That's what this is for. Ready for the next lesson?" His hands fall away from her shoulders for a moment… Only for his arms to go around her suddenly, trapping her arms against her sides and pulling her back against his chest. "The bear hug. Try and twist out before I get a good grip."

"Oh, I'm ready, hun. Believe me." Lynette turns back to face forward as his hand falls away, and when he grabs her this time, there's less of a surprise… but she still seems to get a flash of panic before she actually processes his words. But she does try to twist and squirm her way out, it just may be a bit late.

Dante is not a forgiving teacher, and Lynette's hesitation means his arms manage to completely wrap her up, trapping her against his body. "It's hard to react quick enough even when you're prepared. You still have options, however, never forget that. There's always a way to get away. Right now, try stomping hard on my instep." He must have a very low opinion of her fighting prowess. He's barefoot!

Unfortunately… Lynette has shoes on. And she's got that panic simmering just below the surface which funnels into a rather sharp stomp to the inside of his foot. It's not the move of a practiced fighter, that much is clear, but it is a little more forceful than might be expected.

"Aaahhh!" For a brief moment, Dante's grip on Lynette tightens hard. Maybe she hit too hard, and now she's going to pay for it… But no, her blow to his foot has him hopping back, releasing her so he can put a hand against the wall, wincing. "Yeouch! I gotta say, I pity any guy who tries to abduct you in a dark alley. Good stomp."

There's the barest of whimpers from Lynette when his grip tightens and she might stumble a few steps away when he lets her go. But just a few. She turns back to look at him, shaking off her panic as she asks, "Are you okay? Did I hurt you?" And it's even real concern there, too!

Dante waves away Lynette's concern, even as he keeps wincing, slowly putting weight back on his foot. "It's alright. But maybe it's best if we both go shoeless, hmmm? That way, you can…um…feel what it is you're doing." He gives her the best comforting smile he can manage, gesturing her closer. "You seem to be skittish today."

"Skittish, me?" Lynette makes a playful scoff there, although as far as denials go, it isn't the most convincing. But she does come closer, her hand even coming out to help steady him. Even though he doesn't need it. "To tell you the truth, I didn't notice you weren't wearing shoes."

When her hand touches him, Dante's lisp curl up in an unbidden smile, and she can feel him relax as he straightens up. "Well, let's be a little more careful, yeah? How about you take those off and…have you stretched yet?" He's looking down her body now, eyeing her with a certain intensity that she's likely only received from lecherous guys before. But Dante seems to be trying to memorize her, rather than ogle her. It's like being under a microscope.

"I stretched, I swear," Lynette says, her smile a little more genuinely there. But when he looks her over, she gives him a sort of odd look. "You know, guys have checked me out before, but I can't say anyone's ever inspected me before," and there, that smile quirks back to the more familiar, crooked one.

Dante's eyes slide up to Lynette's once more, and he looks briefly guilty for having been caught staring. His chin tips up, challenging her crooked smile with the narrowing of his eyes and a tilt of his eyebrows. "Just making sure you're not still hurt," he says, reaching for her wrists again to grab and hold them. Time for another lesson, perhaps.

"I'm not hurt, I promise. Believe it or not, I found out that I don't like feeling hurt very much." Not hurt, but she does have these odd little scars here and there. Looks like from surgery. Lynette watches as he grabs her wrists, but she seems to be willing for another lesson and this time, if she feels that panic, she's able to control it and twists her arms out of his hands. Or, well, tries to.

From the front, it's harder to pull out of Dante's grip, and he moves with her tugs, coming away from the wall. A smile slowly spreads more and more across his face as she tugs, curling his lips. "You've got the right idea. Don't hesitate to kick or punch. Aim for sensitive spots."

"Well… but I don't want to actually hurt you, Dante…" Lynette frowns a little there, and looks up at him, giving those wrists a little, ineffectual tug that seems a little more playful than anything.

"You won't," Dante replies with a smirk, holding tighter as Lynette half-heartedly pulls at his grasp. He pulls her close then, pinning her wrists down against her sides, and he has to look down at her. His eyes are deadly serious, despite the smile on his face. "Now, what would you do to get out of a grip like this?"

"Says the guy with a bruise forming on his foot," Lynette teases a little bit there. Until he's pinning her again, that is, then she looks more serious. A lot more serious. She closes her eyes there, tilting her head down some as she shakes her head. It doesn't really seem to be in response to his question, though.

There's that moment of very clear pause before she speaks in a soft, quiet voice, "Can we call it a day?" It seems that vulnerability is pushing to the front at this point.

As her head tilts down, Dante's does as well, fixing his cool eyes on hers for as long as he can. He's not pulling her or pushing her just yet, letting her pause and think. When she makes that request however, he blinks in surprise…and give a small nod. "Sure." And just like that, he's releasing her wrists, instead giving them some brief rubbing. "Feel free to try the exercise equipment or the weight machines. If you need guidance on how to use them, let me know."

"Thanks… I think… I can figure it out." Lynette lifts her head, but she doesn't quite look at him. Her wrists pull gently from his hands, and she smiles quite briefly before she moves to grab her bag again. "I'll see you later." And that seems to be the extent of her farewell, as she moves to head out of the room. And if he pays attention, she's not sticking around, but rather swiftly heading for the exit. She doesn't seem to be trying to be rude or insulting… it's just when is a good time in a relationship to note that there was this one time a guy with four arms chased you through a stairwell and you couldn't get away and sometimes you get a little twitchy over it?

It's probably not on the second meeting, that's for sure.

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