A/N- Hi there, fellow Now You See Me fans! I know this type of fic has been done before, but I decided I'd jump on the bandwagon and write it anyway! NYSM is one of my absolute favourite films, and Jack is my favourite character. He's just so adorable! And Dave Franco…well, need I say more? Anyway, this is my newest and latest fic, and I'm so excited to write it! Actually, I'm gonna shut up now and just let you read. Enjoy!
Chapter One- Soaring, Flying
My whole life, I'd wanted to do this. What was it everyone had told me? Oh yeah, that I was wasting my time. That nobody like me ever made it in the show business industry, not with what I wanted to do. Because I didn't want to act; I just wanted to perform.
Well sucks to them, because here I was.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls," James, the host of Starlight Wonders, the circus-style stage show I was an act in, said into his microphone, projecting his voice throughout the stadium. Well, I said stadium. The place the show was staged was nowhere near as big as a stadium, but it was much bigger than just a hall. "Next up we have one of our hottest acts of the show! She's a beautiful young woman who came to us all the way from London in England! She'll astound you with her death-defying trapeze act that she performs fearlessly without a net! But be careful, because is everything what it seems? I give you…Hunter!"
Lights. Lights everywhere, but at the same time, only in one place. A spotlight, and it was shining directly in my face. It was hot, making it feel like the glitter of my eyeshadow was melding to my face. I sucked in a deep breath and flashed a huge smile at the audience, who were cheering and whistling so loudly I thought my ears would burst.
I waved with both hands, and the audience died down almost instantly. "What's up, New York City!" I shouted into the microphone that was attached behind my ear and came round to my mouth. "How are y'all doing today!" A cheering reply. Normally I said 'tonight' but this was the Sunday afternoon performance, though it was so dark in the stadium it looked like one in the morning rather than one in the afternoon.
"So it probably goes without saying that you should not attempt to copy what I am about to do at home," I announced, gesturing up at the five trapezes twelve metres above me. "I mean, I doubt any of you actually have trapezes casually hanging from your living room ceilings, but I don't really want to get sued for indorsing dangerous behaviour." Cue audience laugh. I'd have probably found it more amusing if I didn't make the same joke every single show.
I laughed anyway and began climbing up the ladder that lead to the sixty centimetre square platform I launched myself off. "So as you can see, I'll be performing all my tricks without the aid of a safety net. I'd like to tell you that it's totally one hundred percent safe…but I would be lying to you. On the plus side, I haven't died or broken any bones yet. I did break a false nail last week but hey, I signed up knowing there were chances of being life-alteringly damaged."
Urgh, these jokes are getting stale, I thought as the audience laughed again. It took another couple of minutes or so to climb to the platform, with me cracking a couple more jokes I'd told about two thousand times over the last year and a half since I'd joined the show.
I clambered gracefully up on to the tiny platform, the lights glinting off the red sequins of my ballet dress-style costume and making the red glitter sprayed into my blonde hair look like I had fire embers nestled in my hair. I looked down at the wooden flooring of the stage. Shit, that's gonna hurt if I do fall, I thought grimly, the same thought I had every time I did this act. So much for being the fearless Hunter. "Well, here we go!" was all I said out loud to the audience, and I leaped from the platform, easily grabbing hold of the trapeze two metres in front of me.
I could hear the audience's gasps and cheers as I performed various backflips and somersaults between the five trapezes, pausing on each one to pull myself up onto the bar to do a handstand or something similar. It looked amazing to anyone else, I'm sure, having the ability to twist my body into the exact positions to grab the trapezes perfectly, to manoeuvre my way around them with ease and avoid falling to my death, but to me it was perfectly normal.
A crowd favourite was when I monkey-barred from the furthest trapeze to the other. This was also the trick where I performed my greatest illusion.
"Ladies and gentlemen," I called to everyone as I landed lightly back on the platform. "One of my favourite tricks to show you is what I like to call 'the monkey bars'. All you kids know what I'm talking about, am I right?" All the children in the crowd made varying noises of agreement. God, I hope I'm not about to mentally scar any of these poor kids…
Because unbeknown to the audience, whilst it looked like I simply had my arms crossed behind my back, I was in fact attaching three near-invisible harnesses to my costume, wires of which could not be seen if you were any further than a metre away from them. Though I really did perform the duration of my act with no wires or net, for this part it really was required so I didn't break my neck or kill myself.
"So let's rock this!" I cried happily once I had attached the wires, and I jumped to the trapeze, grabbing hold of it for a mere second before I launched myself at the second and then third. But as I reached for the fourth…
My fingers failed to grab hold of the bar, and I slipped. To the audience, it looked like I had lost my grip of the bar and was now plummeting face-down towards the stage at an alarming speed. I obviously played up to this, opening my mouth and screaming blue murder. The audience was shrieking and gasping, truly terrified that they were about to watch me meet my untimely demise. But any second now-
There was a blindingly bright flash of light, and I disappeared behind a couple of strategically placed mirrors, the wires attached to me going rigid so I was suspended in the air behind the mirrors. I was hanging there for a few moments, taking in the many confused sounds the audience was making, because the way the mirrors were angled made it look like I'd vanished quite literally into thin air.
Next came the smoke screen; smoke that was so opaque you couldn't see through it at all. This was the trickiest part. I had exactly eleven seconds for the wires to pull me back up to the trapezes so I could sit on one and remove said wires. It should have been like clockwork by now, but it was still pretty bloody hard.
As I was yanked back up towards the ceiling of the stadium, shrouded in dense red smoke, it felt like all the air was being sucked for my lungs. However, I really did not have time to worry about this as the smoke was now getting thinner, risking revealing my survival too early. I wrapped my hands around the middle trapeze and hoisted myself up, arranging myself in a stylistic sitting position with one bare leg delicately crossed over the other. I held on to one of the ropes of the trapeze with one hand and unclipped the wires from my costume with the other. I returned to my pose as the still-relatively-thick smoke dispersed into the air, revealing me to everyone.
The audience went crazy, cheering and whooping and shouting as I was lowered back down to the stage. I laughed heartily at everyone and waved at them. "So that's my little show for you guys! Hey, James said that everything may not be as it seems!" I bowed then did a little curtsey whilst the audience carried on cheering. "Good afternoon, New York!"
As I made my way backstage I could hear the audience chanting my name, "Hun-ter! Hun-ter! Hun-ter!" and it felt so humbling I could barely comprehend it.
My favourite part of the Sunday show was that it was the only show of the day. It was now just past three in the afternoon, and I was able to change out of my tight and spangly costume and into my preferred outfit of ripped white skinny jeans, a tartan tank top and red Converse. As I looked around my dressing room, taking in the red walls, costume rail and theatre-style dressing table, I still couldn't believe that I was here.
I'd moved to New York two years ago at the tender age of eighteen, after I'd gotten totally and utterly sick of my parents back in London telling me that I would never amount to anything in show business. They'd always pushed me towards a business-like career, and were utterly dismayed when I chose my A-Levels to be Gymnastics, Dance and Drama. It nearly killed them. They didn't even care that I got As in all of them; all they wanted me to do was get an apprenticeship at a finance firm in the city centre. So I did the only mature thing.
I told them there was no way in Hell that I was working in finance, scraped together all my savings from working as a waitress in TGI Friday's and any money my parents had been saving since my birth, spent a month looking for cheap apartments in the Big Apple, found one in Brooklyn that appealed greatly and left for NY five weeks later. In my opinion it was the best decision I'd ever made, because a couple of months after arriving I saw that a local stage show were looking for new acts, and I auditioned.
The rest is pretty much history.
The one thing I didn't overly like about being an act in the show was that I had to wear so much makeup under those harsh lights. Looking at myself in the mirror now, I could see my foundation line so clearly it looked like I'd been at some orange face paint, my lips looked dry and cracked under the matte red lipstick and the red glitter over my eyelids was itching like hell. I grabbed about four makeup wipes and got set to scrubbing at my face. I had to scrub so hard it felt like I was removing eight layers of skin, but eventually it did all come off, leaving me to be able to apply much more natural-looking foundation, a swipe of eyeliner and a slick of pink gloss. Much better, I thought, standing up to put my dress back on the costume rail.
I pulled a hanger off the rail, stuck it under the straps of the dress and started flattening down the skirt with my hands so it fit back on the rail. As I made my way along the skirt, my hands suddenly pressed down on something that wasn't net. It was a lot firmer, and I rummaged through the layers of net until my hand closed around whatever it was.
It was a card, and when I pulled it out of the skirt to examine it properly, I saw it was a Tarot card. A Hanged Man Tarot card to be precise. Well this was more than a little bit weird. That card most certainly had not been nestling in the layers of the skirt when I'd dressed earlier, so how the hell did it get there?! I frowned at the card for a moment, then shrugged and put it in my handbag.
I was tired, and really not in the right mindset to look too deeply into this at the moment. I looked at my phone, answered a couple of text messages from my parents and checked the time. Perfect, mid-afternoon. There was time for me to do one of my favourite past times; catching one of the water taxis on the Hudson River and taking an hour out of practicing and performing to just…chill.
I gathered up my bag and cardigan (short-sleeved to show off the live well, love much, laugh often tattoo on my left forearm), which I shrugged over my shoulders, and made my way through the backstage of the stadium and out the back door into the street, quite grateful the next show wasn't until next Friday night. The streets of New York were bustling, as per usual. I thought the London streets were bad in the afternoons, but New York really did take the biscuit when it came to full-on craziness in the city. It had intimidated me when I first moved here- now I was just used to it.
It took twenty minutes for me to reach the river from where the stadium was, but to be honest I was grateful for the walk. It was nearing the end of March, so the sun was out and it was finally starting to get warm after the snow-filled months that had been winter. I relished in the breeze blowing my hair gently around my face, still slightly chilly. Then again, that could have just been the breeze blowing from the river.
I waited in the queue to get on the river taxi for another ten or so minutes, paid the fare to get on and chose a spot by the rails so I could look out over at the New York view; just skyscrapers, skyscrapers, skyscrapers. And I loved it. When I had first arrived in America, I had been probably the biggest tourist the city had ever seen, making sure I visited every single notable landmark there was. I didn't know what it was; perhaps it was just the fact that all things American seemed so much nicer than Britain...including the people.
I turned to face the people on the boat and leaned my head slightly backwards over the railing, my long hair trailing over the side and my eyes closed, allowing the fine mist of river water to spray up over my face, cooling down my still-warm skin. I made the right decision, I thought reassuringly. Moving over here. I did. Two years on, and I still had to reassure myself.
An extra-large splash of water spat up from the river and hit me on the forehead. I opened my eyes, spluttering and wiping my forehead, when I caught sight of what I could only describe as the most gorgeous boy I had ever seen making his way across the deck to the front of the boat. He was the textbook definition of H-O-T. Dressed in a black leather jacket and dark jeans, it was fair to say that DAMN, he was one fine piece of ass. My mouth parted slightly as I took in the sight of him, and to be honest I was feeling more than a little hot under the collar.
He couldn't have been much older than me…twenty-one, twenty-two at a push. I smiled a little when he looked in my direction after turning round to face all the passengers on the boat, a smile which he returned politely. Shit, that smile. I couldn't help myself; I manoeuvred my way down the rail so that I was standing about seven or eight feet away from him without looking like I had intentionally followed him.
From where I was standing, I had a pretty good view of the boy, whoever he was. My God, who is this guy? He looks like a male model. Look at the way his jeans fit him…holy Lord…
"Ladies and gentlemen," he called. Oh my God, his voice. It was all deep and sexy and holy Jesus, was it getting warmer on this boat? "I am the next great magician-" Yeah, right, I thought, grinning slightly. We all think we're the next big thing, sweetheart. "-and I will give a hundred dollars to anyone who can tell me how this trick is done!"
Oh God, here we go. Another amateur about to perform some lame-ass sleight of hand or card trick that he spent the last year of his life perfecting in his mother's basement. Well, you had to admire his guts. And his face. My cheeks flamed with a blush. Earth to Hunter, what is wrong with you?! I was twenty years old, way too old to be getting flustered just because I thought a boy was good-looking!
"I have an ordinary spoon from Mel's Deli right here in Brooklyn!" he continued, holding up a- would you believe it- spoon. "Check it out." He whacked the spoon on a railing a few times as if to prove that the spoon was real. Okay, now I was curious to see where he was going with this. I certainly didn't know any easy tricks involving spoons.
"Now everyone please pay very, very close attention," the boy instructed, holding the spoon horizontally in front of his face and shaking his other hand a few times as he psyched himself up. "Because I am about to bend this spoon with my mind."
I stood up straight now, pushing myself away from the railing and folding my arms, looking intently at the boy. I worked with a relatively successful illusion-based stage show, and I had never seen anyone do anything with their mind before. I was officially very intrigued.
The boy stared intensely at the spoon for a moment or too and then, as he moved his hand down slowly, the handle of the spoon bent with it. I couldn't believe it, and my mouth unintentionally dropped open, a gasp coming out of it. Jesus Christ, he'd actually done it. I knew that what I did on stage probably elicited similar reactions, but I'd never experienced something like it personally. The crowd that had gathered in front of the boy cheered and whooped, myself along with them.
"Hey, do another one!" I called to him, grinning, and he looked at me and smiled back. Or do me, I'm not that fussed about which one…oh my God, Hunter, really!? I needed to get a grip. The boy handed the bent spoon to someone in the crowd when suddenly-
"Hey, what's this?" demanded some random guy who had just pushed himself to the front of the group, and he shoved his hand into the boy's back pocket.
"What are you doing, man?!" the boy asked, sounding panicked.
"Look at this!" the man shouted obnoxiously, suddenly brandishing another spoon and a handle. "Looks like we got a spoon and a stem!" Ah, shit. The poor guy was busted. I felt for him, because that was a really good trick.
The crowd groaned and started cat-calling. The boy look deathly embarrassed, and it took all the restraint I had not to rush over and hug him. "I've got other tricks!" he insisted.
"Or, you can give me my hundred bucks," the obnoxious guy ordered. The boy faltered, and I wondered if he actually had a hundred dollars to give him.
"You said you would," pointed out another crowd-goer. Shut up! I felt like shouting at them all. But the boy admitted defeat and pulled out quite a rich-looking leather wallet, opening it and taking out a hundred dollar bill.
"You have a very good eye, sir," he said dejectedly, handing the man the bill.
"Thanks," the man said infuriatingly, and I had to take two deep breaths to stop myself from punching him. The boy shoved his wallet back into the interior pocket of his leather jacket and headed down the steps to get off the water taxi, which had just docked to allow people to board and exit. I hesitated for a few seconds, then decided that I wanted to properly know how the boy did the trick, so I hurried down the steps after him.
That was when shit appeared to hit the fan above me.
"Stop that guy! Stop that guy in the leather jacket!" Obnoxious Guy suddenly squawked as I pushed my way past someone in a navy hoodie, and I instinctively picked up the pace to catch up to said guy in the leather jacket, who was already on the boarding dock and showing no sign of letting up speed. Ah, so that's the trick. Now I really am impressed.
"He's got my wallet!" Obnoxious Guy was yelling as I jumped from the departing water taxi and onto the dock, barely clearing the watery gap between them. And by 'barely clearing' I mean my heels were an inch off the dock and some randomer had to grab my arm to pull me onto dry land before I went splashing down into the Hudson.
"Hey! Hey!" I shouted, waving my arms as I sprinted after the boy. "Mr Spoon Trick! You in the leather jacket! Wait! Goddamn it, I don't run that fast!" Thank the Lord, the boy turned around, saw me running towards him like a crazy person and actually stopped.
"Er, hi," he said, pulling a face that was a cross between a friendly smile and a frown of confusion.
"Hi," I gasped at him, bending down and bracing myself on my knees. "There's something I want…to ask you but…just let me…regain the use of…my lungs!"
"Um, yeah, sure," he said, smirking at me. "Are you okay?"
"Oh yeah, I'm fine," I blew out. "Just not used to running great distances, that's all."
"Do you want me to get a doctor?" he asked, clearly humouring me. With my breathing returned to normal, I straightened up and raised my eyebrows at him, hands on hips.
"I'm not dying!" I said. "I'm just a little unfit is all. Anyway, it's nice to meet you. I'm Hunter. Hunter Blackwell." I offered my hand to him.
"Jack Wilder," he returned, shaking my offered hand.
"Well, Jack Wilder," I said. "I did have a few questions to ask you about the spoon trick, but being honest, I'm much more curious about your little trick with the wallet."
"Oh yeah?" Jack was grinning at me now. Oh my Lord, his smile was so hot, all crooked and shit. "You don't look like the kind of person interested in magic."
"Yeah? And why's that?" I challenged. "Because I'm a girl? I will have you know that I'm a magician myself. Well, of sorts."
"Oh man," Jack chuckled apologetically. "My bad. What do you do?"
"Well, technically I'm a solo trapeze artist," I explained. "But I'm an illusionist as well. I've lost count of the amount of times I've supposedly almost fallen to my death."
"Wait. Are you the Hunter who does that vanishing act in that Starlight show?"
"Yes, yes I am," I answered. "Have you seen the show?"
"Yeah, I was there about a week ago," he replied. "You were awesome."
"Why thank you, kind sir," I giggled, doing a little curtsey. "I try my best."
"How did you do that thing, when there was that flash of light and you were gone?"
"Uh, uh, uh," I taunted, jabbing my finger at him. "A good magician never reveals her secrets. You should know that, as a fellow master of the art."
"Wasn't the entire reason you got off that boat to ask me how I did my trick?" Jack shot back.
"Touché," I appraised. "You got me with that one. But no, that isn't the only reason. I live in Brooklyn."
"Really? I live in Brooklyn too. But…" Jack stared at me. "You don't sound like you're from New York. Or America, actually."
"Good observation, Sherlock," I said sarcastically. "I'm not from New York or America. I am English and a Londoner, born and bred in the city itself."
"Yeah, not really. England is about as un-exotic as it comes. I think it rains for about eighty percent of the year, no matter where you are in the country. I do not recommend it as a holiday spot."
"I'll remember that advice if I ever think about going, then," he laughed. I liked the sound of his laugh. It was distinctive; low and sexy.
"Do. It'll do you the world of good." I cleared my throat, now kind of unsure what to say. Damn it, I didn't want to have to leave the hot guy because of awkward silences!
So I did what any girl in my position would do; I made an excuse to leave. "Oh, is that the time?" I said, pulling my phone out of my handbag and looking at the lock screen. "I'm, um, supposed, um…supposed to Skype my parents back in London in an hour! So I'd better…get going…" Shittest. Excuse. Ever. It would be nearing half past eleven at night back in London in an hour. My parents would be fast asleep.
"Okay, that's cool," Jack said, flashing me that smile again. I nearly melted then and there. "Hopefully I'll see you around. Hunter."
"Yeah, hopefully," I said faintly, trying to remember how to breathe, smile and talk. In that order. "Catch you later. Jack." I turned on my heel and began walking away, now also trying to remember how to walk.
Nice one Hunter. You're twenty years old, you see a proper hot guy for the first time in two years and you act like you've never seen the male species before in front of him. Congratulations. Well, one thing was for sure; this was New York. There was little to no chance that I would ever see Jack Wilder again. I was quite disappointed by that little fact.
I collapsed against the shut door of my studio apartment. My apartment was beautiful…or at least, it was now. When I had arrived here, the apartment had been in less-than-immaculate condition. I'm talking cracked floorboards, sour cream-coloured walls with water stains decorating every few feet and mould in the corners and round the windows. And so, armed with paint, wallpaper, floor varnish and various flat packs, I spent three days redecorating the whole room- and the adjoining bathroom- until it didn't look like somewhere that had recently housed a convict.
I rubbed at my heavy eyes, accidentally smearing my eye makeup. I got this same feeling every Sunday- exhaustion, achyness and a lot of hunger. Always hunger. So I did the only logical thing: I kicked off my Converse, removed my constricting skinny jeans, wandered over to the tiny little corner kitchen in my little pink heart-print panties and my vest and ended up eating an entire two-person microwave lasagne, plus garlic bread. It really did make me wonder why I still managed to fit in an American size eight when I ate like a horse.
I dozily clicked through the various channels on my TV whilst lounging back on my bed, very nearly asleep. I was absent-mindedly tracing a finger around the tattoo of a scattering of multicoloured stars on my hip when I suddenly remembered the freaky Tarot card that had appeared in my dress. What had that been all about? The card had not been in my skirts when I went off stage, I come off stage and the card has appeared in my skirts, as if by…
A light bulb went off in my head. As if by magic.
I rolled off the bed, landing in a heap on the floorboards. That card meant something. I didn't know what, but after what had happened today- the last show of the week, finding the card, seeing Jack's trick- I knew there was something important about that Tarot card.
I rummaged through my bag, pulling out various tickets and chocolate wrappers that were gathered at the bottom until I grabbed hold of the card that I'd carelessly shoved in here. I held it up in front of my eyes, wanting to get a closer look at the picture on the front. That was when I realised I was looking at the back of the card. I frowned.
It was a simple design; a black print of an Egyptian eye surrounded by cream and teal bursts like sunrays with Celtic-looking print around the top and bottom edges. It wasn't ugly. It also wasn't why I was frowning. Underneath the eye, in heavy yellow print was:
45 EAST EVAN ST
It wasn't just a random Tarot card. "Okay, so that is clearly an address," I mused aloud. "But to where?" It was an invitation. But an invitation to what?
I continued my inspection of the card. I looked at the eye on the back of the card. It was so pretty…I was officially considering getting it as my fourth tattoo, to add to the quote on my arm, the stars on my hip and the five pink hearts linked by black swirls on my right ankle.
The picture of the other side of the card was... morbid, to say the least. It appeared to be what looked like a man, hanging upside down by the neck and ankles from a yellow tree trunk. Well isn't that cheery, I thought, my inner voice dripping with sarcasm. Being a fan of all the hocus pocus of magic and illusions, I couldn't resist pulling out my laptop and Googling the address.
Nothing special came up. As far as I could tell, '45 East Evan St' was just an abandoned apartment that the landlord was desperate to sell. So that really wasn't helpful at all.
Giving up on my quest for information on the destination, I turned my curiosity to the card itself, typing "the hanged man tarot meaning" into the search engine and waiting for the results to load. The first few websites came up short, and were mainly filled by psychics and mediums offering their services, to help me contact my long lost relatives and help me "cleanse my aura." Now, obviously I wasn't doubtful of certain psychics or magic that involved using the mind. I myself was a particularly big fan of mentalism, but these websites all appeared to be from men and women who had bought a Tarot pack and self-teach book and some crystals at a garage sale. I avoided these at all costs.
The fourth website I came across, thankfully, had a bit more to go on. As far as I could tell, the Hanged Man represented letting go, reversal, suspension and sacrifice, which was kind of ironic considering my life story.
Letting go- I had let go of my old life in London and my family to follow my dreams. Reversal- I had done the exact opposite of what my parents wanted me to, and also turned my life around. Suspension- well, that is kind of self-explanatory. I was a successful trapeze artist. Everything about this linked to me. Everything except sacrifice. I mean, I guess it could be said I sacrificed my old life, but I had a feeling it wasn't that at all. I was starting to think that maybe the card finding its way to me wasn't exactly a coincidence.
I had a very large feeling that I was going to find out next week, on March twenty-ninth.
A/N- So that's Chapter One! I'm hoping to bring in some different elements to the other Jack/OC stories that have been written so this isn't as generic. Not that I'm slating any of the fics that have been written, as the ones I have read are really good! But yeah, I'm really interested to know what you all thought of my beginning take! How did you like Hunter as a character? Let me know, I'd love to get a review from you! I always read them and take them into consideration! Xx Gee xX
PS- If you go to my profile, there's a link to who I would want to play Hunter in the movie, and also a link to my new Polyvore collection where you can see Hunter's various outfits, which will be developed as the story goes on, her tattoos, and the inside of her apartment. Check it out!
PPS- Do we have any Kick-Ass or Misfits fans reading? I've recently completed my Misfits Nathan/OC fic, The Art of Abnormality, and I am in the process of writing a Kick-Ass Chris/OC fic called Heart Attack, though that is on hiatus for the moment. Give 'em a read and review, it would mean a lot!