Ty Hardison carefully took the hot coffee mug from countertop. The barista smiled flirtatiously but he returned it with a look of discomfort. He never liked it when females flirted with him. Ty ignored her look of confusion and wandered to the couch. He placed the cup carefully on the coffee table, staring at the wisps of steam rising from the dark surface.
It had been a rough two weeks. He sighed, glad to get away from the university, even if it was only for an hour or so.
Ty looked up at the speaker. He recognized the mongoose immediately. The last time he had seen him, the mongoose had been dressed in his blue and black uniform that signified his rank and power. This time he was in a collared white shirt and blue jeans and had a far more relaxed look. He was holding a ceramic coffee cup.
“Hi, Sojo,” Ty replied. He blew his bangs out of his eyes. “What’d you get this time?”
“Triple shot mocha,” the mongoose replied as he sat down. “Long day.”
“Same here,” Ty said, raising his cup.
Sojo returned the cup salute with a smile and threw one arm over the couch. Ty felt his guard come up and he regarded his couch companion with a critical eye.
Sojo Delmar, one of the officers for the university police. He had talked to the mongoose about the out of control party, the underage drinking, the drugs involved, how he hadn’t known someone had spiked his coffee and in the end it had made him drunk. Ty had liked him somewhat but seeing him every time he came to the coffee house was becoming an annoyance. This was the third time this week and Ty couldn’t help but think that Sojo was keeping an eye on him.
“How’ve you been?” the mongoose asked.
Ty didn’t answer immediately. He didn’t like to think back to that night...the night he had gone to the party. He hadn’t left unscathed. He had suffered an allergic reaction to some of the spike ingredients and had spent a few days bedridden. When he had walked into Sojo’s office, he had been pale, ill, and weak, with bloodshot eyes and a faded voice. Although the physical injuries had disappeared, his mental state remained broken by betrayal by his so-called friends.
“Fine,” Ty lied.
“Uh huh,” Sojo said in an unconvinced tone.
Ty pinned his ears back. “Look, Sojo you’ve been hanging around here a lot. What’s going on?”
The mongoose regarded him carefully. “All right. I’ll be blunt. What are you doing here, Ty?”
Ty raised his pierced eyebrow. “What are you talking about?”
“You. Here. At the university. Come on Ty, I’ve seen your records. You’re an undecided major taking easy classes that you aren’t even attending. But you aptitude marks are way higher than the skills you’re studying. You could be in upper division classes right now. So what are you doing here?”
“Why do you care?” Ty growled.
“Because you’re a smart kid,” Sojo replied. “And honestly...you should be in Devenworth or Westside.”
“Oh, I see where this is going
,” Ty thought angrily. Devenworth and Westside had excellent police academies. “Uh huh,” he said aloud, taking a long drink from his cup.
“You’d make a good officer. You’ve-“
“There is no way
I’m joining the force,” Ty interrupted, glaring over the edge of his cup.
Sojo raised an eyebrow. “Why not? You’ve got good instinct and you knew what to do. You were right at home in the department. What’s holding you back?”
Ty took another long drink to give himself time to think up a good answer. “Well, it’s not really my thing. Parents wouldn’t like it. Plus I don’t want them to shave my head,” he added with a cocky grin, scratching the thick hair on the back of his head.
To his surprise, the mongoose stared down at him with an almost angry expression. “Wow,” he said sarcastically. “You really think I’m that
Ty gaped. “I-“
“Don’t speak. Listen,” Sojo said abruptly and the dog shut his mouth. “I don’t know you Ty, but I do know you’re from a police family.”
Ty visibly swallowed and Sojo didn’t give him a chance to cut into his speech. “The way you handled yourself in the office, you’ve been in the setting. Not as a criminal, but you've been in it. Wouldn’t be surprised if you’re related to the Captain Hardison at S.R.D.D Westsi-oh you are, aren’t you?” he added as Ty blanched considerably. “Well, that doesn’t matter. What matters is for the past two weeks; you’ve come to hate yourself.”
“Yes, you do!” Sojo interjected firmly. “Probably why you let your hair turn into a mop and filled your face with lead.” Ty growled and slammed his cup down loud enough that a couple nearby patrons glanced curiously in his direction.
“I didn’t come here to be lectured by you about my life choices!” Ty said, his voice rising slightly.
“You know, if you want to keep the mop, the lead, and the chewing habit-yeah, I know about that too,” he added as Ty’s jaw dropped slightly. “I’ve busted enough underaged species to recognize the signs. If you want to do all that, fine. Do it. But you want my advice-”
“No,” Ty cut in, grabbing his cup and sucking down the rest of it as fast as he could.
“Well you’re getting it anyways. Wise up and get your act together
Ty rolled his eyes. “You know, you really do sound like my old man,” he snarled. “Must be an officer thing.” He stood up and dropped the empty cup harshly on the countertop.
Sojo looked casually over the couch. “I’ll see you next week then.” he called.
“Fat chance!” Ty snapped, slamming the door shut. The last thing he saw was Sojo’s knowing face glancing over the tip of the cup and it made his hair rise even more.
How dare he lecture me, he thought angrily as he walked outside. He paused in the fall air, shivering slightly as Sojo’s words pounded into him. He pinned his ears back as they unwillingly sunk in and made him think. As much as he didn’t want to admit it, he somehow trusted Sojo. He was true-blue to his core and spoke on his level. The mongoose somehow understood his turmoil.
Ty closed his eyes. He hadn’t wanted things to go downhill at university. He had come here to get away from his overbearing family, to start anew. But it had blown up in his face. Now he was on probation, had a black mark on his record, and didn’t know what to do. He didn't have anyone to turn to except Sojo, who represented the very thing he had tried to get away from.
He reached into his pocked and pulled out the can of chewing tobacco that had been his constant companion since high school. He stared down at the polished green surface, thinking about how many times he had dived into it as a distraction anytime someone hit a little too close to home for him. It had been a friend but now...it only reminded him of what had happened over the past two weeks and how he had messed up his life since high school.
It made him sick. He clutched the tin tightly, torn between sticking with his old ways or trying to change them. Sojo's words pounded against his skull and the tin pressed tightly in his palm.
He relaxed his hold on the tin.
“I hate you Sojo,” he muttered in an unconvinced voice. “You dang second conscience.”
He threw the can violently into the trash.
Exploring new character's backstory.
And using it as an excuse to do a quick-write XD
Pencil and Ink. Colored with Prismacolor and Copic Marker.
Ty Hardison and Sojo Delmar ©