ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came from the February 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "I'm thankful for you" square in my 1-31-15 card for the Valentine's Day Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This is really a romance, but it includes some serious (consensual) roughhousing in the gym. Consider your tastes and headspace before clicking through.


"She's a Knockout"


Cuoio had never expected
to come to the attention
of a Family as important
as the Marionettes, but
he had unwittingly rescued
one of theirs and in return
they made him an offer.

So he'd gone from being
muscle to minor fighter boss
and found that it fit him well.

Now he was sitting in a gym
watching the young comares train,
because the Marionettes were serious
about making sure that nobody could
get at them through their sweethearts

and part of Cuoio's deal had been
that they'd help him find people
who could protect themselves,
because he'd lost a bodyguard
and a girlfriend already, and he
couldn't stand losing anyone else.

The comares were beautiful
and elegant, like wild horses.
Most were brunettes, but there was
one blonde as limber as a willow switch
and one petite redhead with passion gifts.

As Cuoio watched, a beefy man
approached the tallest of the brunettes
to demonstrate a new boxing move.

"It's not ladylike to have
such big muscles," he grumbled.

She punched him in the face.

"New guy," the gym master
hastened to explain.

"Tell me he's fired," she said,
gloved hands on her hips.

"He is so fired," the gym master said.

Cuoio was on his feet before
he quite registered the intent to move.
"May I have a turn?" he asked
the gorgeous brunette.

The last thing he remembered
was her planting her heel
in his solar plexus.

When Cuoio came to,
a rather worried medic
was hovering over him.

"How do you feel?"
the medic asked.

"I think I'm in love,"
he wheezed.

The medic laughed.
"Well, after I clear you,
why don't you ask her out?
She's not spoken for yet."

Now that particular move
was one the Marionettes
were known for, because if
you did it just right then
it didn't leave any damage,
although it was usually done
with a knuckle instead of a heel.

She had, somehow, sized him up and
blasted through his Toughness
with one kick.

There was something sizzling hot
about a woman dressed in
a sport bra and shorts,
who could pretty obviously
rip his balls off if she wanted to.

Cuoio wanted her, and
he wanted to keep his balls
attached to his body,
so he turned on his charm.

"That was a magnificent kick,"
he said. "Nobody has put me down
like that since I was a teenager.
I'm Cuoio. I'd like to get to know you."

She whuffed softly at him,
for all the world like a mare
considering whether or not
he might have sugar on him.

"I'm Chiara," she said,
holding out a gloved hand.

Instead of kissing her boxing glove,
he gently bumped fists with her,
and she flashed her teeth at him.

So Cuoio invited her out to merende
at a lovely Tuscan restaurant that
served crostini piled with cheese
and tomatoes and proscuitto.

They finished an entire loaf
between them, with Chiara
watching him warily throughout.

"Dessert?" he asked, as she
licked sauce from her fingers
with a long pink tongue.

"Delightful," Chiara replied,
and they split a brioche
stuffed with apples and pears.

Cuoio was thankful for a woman
who didn't eat like a bird and
wasn't a casualty waiting to happen
(unless you counted what would happen
to any man fool enough to annoy her).

When Cuoio went to pay the bill,
the man at the counter said,
"New girlfriend?" with
an encouraging lilt.

"Not yet, but I'm hopeful," Cuoio replied.

"Good luck," the clerk said.
"She's a knockout."

Cuoio was still laughing
when he got back to their table.

* * *

Notes:

Cuoio (Francesco De Cello) -- He has olive skin, brown eyes, and wavy dark brown hair with a fancy beard and mustache. He has lost one bodyguard and one (civilian) girlfriend already, and really hates the idea of losing anyone else. Part of his deal joining the Marionettes was that they'd help him find more durable people.
Origin: He was born with his power, although it has gotten stronger over time.
Uniform: Classy Italian men's wear, preferably something he can move and fight in when necessary.
Qualities: Expert (+2) Fighter Boss, Good (+2) Charming, Good (+2) Martial History, Good (+2) Musician
Poor (-2) Losing People
Powers: Good (+2) Tough
Motivation: To protect his own.

Chiara Acquesta -- She has olive skin, brown eyes, and long wavy brown hair. She is tall and sturdy with well-defined muscles. As a hobby, she cuts stone and makes mosaics. She has created several of the landing pads for teleporters that the Marionettes use. Despite her superpower and physique, she's actually good at calming people down in more ways than just hitting them. She is friends with Pomarola.
Origin: She grew up as a tomboy, and then puberty made her pudgy. She hated that, so she joined a gym, began weight training, and started taking supplements. That combined to activate her superpowers.
Uniform: She dresses sporty, instead of the slinky outfits favored by most comares. Her boss Cuoio thinks muscles are sexy enough.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Comare, Good (+2) Beautiful, Good (+2) Determination, Good (+2) Mosaic Artist
Poor (-2) Tolerating Sexism
Powers: Average (0) Super-Strength
Motivation: To be beautiful. Muscles are beautiful. If you say they are unfeminine I will hurt you.

Pomarola (Martina Busto) -- She has olive skin, brown eyes, and curly auburn hair. She is petite and curvy. Her nickname comes from a Tuscan tomato sauce, implying both "red" and "saucy." She comes from Milan. Pomarola practices Fior di Battaglia, an Italian martial art for comares, specializing in cloak-and-dagger and unarmed combat. She is friends with Chiara Acquesta.
Origin: As a teenager, she dressed up for a masquerade with a mask that turned out to be a super-gizmo. Sent by a rival family, it was meant to disfigure her face, but instead gave her superpowers.
Uniform: High fashions. She loves dressing up in both contemporary and historic Italian clothing.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Social Graces, Good (+2) Exuberant, Good (+2) Fior di Battaglia, Good (+2) Theatrical History
Powers: Average (0) Passion Gifts
Motivation: To live life to the fullest.

* * *

Knockout means both a beautiful woman, and a blow that renders someone unconscious.

The Italian Mafia, originally based in Sicily, has spread outward from there. In Terramagne, the Marionettes rank among the top Families and top supervillain organizations.

A comare is a mob girlfriend, or occasionally, a boyfriend. Among the Marionettes it is a job just like button man or bodyguard, part of the support crew for a boss or other important person. The Family is extremely serious about threats to relatives and determined not to have anyone get fridged. Chiara is therefore typical of Marionette comares in being tough and protective, although not all of them are this BAMF. It's a good thing, because Cuoio hates being alone and worries about losing anyone else after what's already happened to him.

What ensues is similar to a Klingon courtship culminating in a battle couple. Lots of consensual roughhousing, but not intending for anyone to get really hurt.

Love at first sight is a ubiquitous trope, usually not believable because the characters fall in love before they could possibly know anything significant about each other, except for looks. In this case, however, it's a bit closer to love at first punch although Cuoio is actually a terrific guy and not a jerk. What captures his interest is not just Chiara's beauty but her strength -- and the way her actions reveal a personality that suits what he's seeking very well indeed.

Within the Italian meal structure, merende is a mid-afternoon snack. Crostini and prosciutto are popular foods. Brioche is a sweet stuffed bread, often made with apples and pears.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-26 06:02 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
<3 tough women... :)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-04-26 03:54 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Yup.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-26 12:16 pm (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
<3 <3 <3

So cute. I love so much about this, from the first meeting to the date, it's all so good.

I like romances.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-04-30 06:01 pm (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
So how exactly are comares chosen or recruited? What if a Marionette already has someone when they're recruited -- is that person required to take the comare training? And I'm guessing that there are separate classes for children?

I'm almost getting a crossover vibe to Lady Sally's Place here.

YAY

Date: 2015-04-27 07:02 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Strong women and men who can appreciate them-- GREAT combination!

LOVE this. Full stop.

Re: YAY

Date: 2015-08-06 04:32 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Yes indeed!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-26 10:17 pm (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
You know... someone like that would make a good match for Bulwark. Although I'm boggling how exactly that would happen, and I can't help thinking it would read a lot like Romo & Juliette, with muscles and superpowers.

If I forget for the next goldfish bowl, take this as an early prompt.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-27 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] westrider.livejournal.com
Ha! Now that's my kind of woman! Honestly, if I were still in shape and not so broken down, "sparring partner" would definitely be an aspect I would be looking for in a romantic partner.

Yay!

Date: 2015-04-27 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm glad you enjoyed this. Tough women are hawt.

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