My Girl Blue

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jay_icon.gif mandy_icon.gif

Scene Title My Girl Blue
Synopsis Jay's "lucky" streak continues, as he meets a strange girl coming down from the effects of Refrain
Date September 15, 2009

Harlem

Harlem stretches from the East River all the way to the Hudson, miles of tpacked residential districts filled with refugees and vagrants, a neighborhood stricken with crime and poverty. Harlem was, and has been for generations, one of the urban hearts of New York City. Before the bomb, this borough of Manhattan was the center of the Afircan American community in New York City. Now after the destruction of Midtown and the wake of social devastation brought in by the bomb, the borough has seen better days. Much of Harlem suffers from the same plight as much of New York — Overpopulation and crime in the wake of the collapse of infrastructure in 2006. With major traffic arteries cut off, power and water only recently restored, the area was in chaos for those first few terrifying weeks after the blast.

Before the bomb, Harlem had been shaping up, cleaning up its crime rate and working towards becoming a safe place for its residents. All of that hard work was laid to waste in a single night. Many of the buildings on the southern side of the neighrhood bordering on Central Park were gutted by arson in the chaotic weeks following the bomb, and the vast majority of them haven't been torn down yet, leaving the southern edge of the neighborhood a burned out and dangerous ruin. Even if it wasn't for the fires, the looting, vandalism and crime that spiked shortly after the bomb only made things worse for the Harlem residents, followed by the electricity and water stoppage from the damage done to the city's infrastructure.

With the major highways mostly repaired, Harlem is in a process of reconstruction and revitalization. Most of the neighborhood's historic landmarks still remain, and the region surrounding 125th street continues to be the urban pulse of Harlem as a whole, and from that street it's hard to tell anything has changes. It is the center of the reconstruction movement, constantly packed with repair crews, construction workers and maintence teams.


Eleven PM. Outside Rapture nightclub. Closing time, of course; you don't need to go home but you can't stay here, and similar cliches about bars and clubs. Of course here, when they close, they close at 11, thanks to the curfew in effect. Come early, party hard, go home early. The Harlem sidewalks swell and hemorrhage with the discharged club goers, as the bass and lights spilling out from the club interior cut off. Most of them are tipsy, and more than a few of them continue their lewd grinding and sexy fun out into the cool late night/early morning air. All of them look…positively sated, wandering off into the street in all directions as they return home.

The dissipating crowd seems to leave a few stragglers though. Among them appears to be a girl who looks like she has no business at all at Rapture. She's a little blonde thing, no taller than 5'3" or 5'4", very slender, barely-there curves, and blonde hair down to her butt. One tiny arm clings to a micro mini dress, blue but featureless as it's much too large for her body, holding the fabric over her body possessively, defensively. Her free hand clings to a small silver purse, and the straps of chunky silver stripper heels. A metal choker with a flower on the throat is around her neck, but again is cartoonishly large for a girl that looks maybe 13 or 14. She's wandering around in small circles outside the club, eyes big and faraway, mumbling to herself and looking bewildered.

This is early as hell. Early means Jake couldn't sleep, which means he had no access to beer or Valium or any of the similar relaxants he usually tokes, which means he's running. He's getting to know this city, slowly but surely; he's visited before, but now he's living here and getting the chance to actually run its veins and arteries like an infection looking for a vulnerable cell. The mob of departing clubgoers is noted, and rather than run through it or disrupt the gathering with his passage, Jay crosses the street without a pause, fearless in the light early morning traffic. Down the sidewalk he goes, idly watching the dispersing mob as he approaches.

By the time he moves parallel to the club, the whole place is about cleared. The parking lot looks like a great way to cut through and start on over towards Queens, and so he veers off the sidewalk, crosses the street again, and bounds around the corner of the building at an easy, ground-eating lope. He's exhausted - it's been a long damn day. No need to go sprinting and wasting his strength, given how far he is from home. He circles the lot, comes out onto another sidewalk… and comes across a /kid/. What the hell? Heavy footfalls slow and stumble to a near-halt; his breathing is fast and deep and very controlled. "Hey, you all right?" he calls from about twenty feet away, now slowed to a plodding walk, flushed from the exercise.

He seems to be the first person she…pays much attention to, out of all the other departing club goers. His approach seems to shake her a little out of her bewildered state. Her circling stops for a moment, and she turns her attention toward him, bringing those pale greenish-bluish eyes about to face you. "I…I think so…" she replies, meekly. She clearly isn't though, as she steps back away from him, not even seeming to care the way the stones and rocks in the pavement bite into her shoeless feet. What's with that dress? And why is she carrying heels way too big for her?

"Shit," Jay says. He's fairly familiar with the state of being which comes with being very high. A look snakes over the kid, hunting for bruises and marks, and then he tosses a look at the club. "Your parents are gonna have a fucking fit, kid, you need to get outta here." One illicit party-goer to another - though how the fuck someone this young got past the guy at the door, he's got no clue. Might have to try this place later, see if he can slip a briefly-waved ID past them. "You got a ride here?"

"I…" she gasps out, spinning and looking around the lot before looking back at you. "…walked. Yeah, walked. Hotel somewhere." Parents and punishment seem to be the last thing on her
mind, which is odd, since that usually scares any kid when threatened with it, high or not. "I…I need to get home. Sleep…I'm really tired. Help me Mister?" She's looking right at him now, looking up at him, those eyes a little more lucid, and seeming to recognize a few things; she seems to realize how out of it she is, that she needs help, and that she has no idea where her hotel is.

"Yeah, okay." Jay stops about three feet away, looks down. "You got any other shoes than those? Maybe you'd better put them on." This is Harlem. You don't go wandering Harlem shoeless. One hand dips into his pocket and… he winces, because he left his cellphone behind, because he'd been planning to visit Max, if he could get his nerve up for it, and that guy tends to explode electronics on pure accident.

She shakes her head…but only after looking around to make sure that they are in fact her only shoes. "N-nope, only ones I got…" Why the heck would she go out with those on? But, she tries to get them on. She plops her butt down on one of those concrete parking space blocks, stretching out skinny, long legs. With shaky fingers, she attempts to work the straps on, tightening them as far as they'll go…which is hardly tight enough to hold her ankles securely. When she stands…she's wobbly, at best, and her toes can barely cling to the front of the shoes to lift them up. Walking will be difficult at best.

But at least there won't be a bloody foot injury to worry about? Jake offers over a hand. "Come on. Which way is your hotel?" He flashes another look at the club, nearly wishes a curse at it - they should know better than to let kids in. This one's barely older than his kid sister. The only thing that restrains him is the knowledge that his unpredictable gift might result in a lot worse for innocent bystanders nearby. Or something completely random might go wrong. He's yet to really get a handle on how that all works.

Once more, she looks bewildered. "I…can't recall. But maybe…" She sets her purse down on the pavement, and squats down over it, beginning to go through the contents. With hardly a care, she starts to shove the contents out onto the street: some makeup, a silver cell phone, a small ID wallet with what seems to be a driver's license from another state, a few condoms, and a paper slip cover where a hotel keycard once was. "Rats" she mumbles, holding the paper slip, turning it upside down, looking amazed that the card isn't in there. "I guess I lost it" she says dejectedly.

"Hey, at least it's got the name on it." Jake crouches down to have a closer look without actually invading the young woman's personal space. "I think I saw that place a few streets back, maybe. Could've been some other building, though. You wanna call a cab? They'll know where it is for sure and then you won't have to walk in those clunkers." He's keeping his voice very calm, quite friendly. It'd be an odd thing for those who know him to see him now - his shirt proudly proclaims "TOOL - Not the band. I'm just a tool." Apparently the extra vulnerability worked, at least on him. Either that, or there really is a conscience somewhere under there.

"Y-yeah, that's a good idea. I don't know any cab companies though." She has a phone of course, and a money clip with what appears to be at least a few hundred bucks. More and more is seems that things aren't adding up here. "D-do you know one?" she asks, looking up at you; you're still taller than her, even when crouching down.

"Sure, it's called 411." Jake flashes a smile, which fades at the sight of all that cash. Time to get this girl off the street. "You want me to handle it?" He shifts his stance just a little, changing the way he's crouched to mostly shield the girl from view from the street.

When you offer to do it for her, she smiles and nods. Happily, she forks over the silver cell phone from her purse, and lets you do all the dialing and talking. "I uh…I guess I can pay" she says, holding up the money clip with an astounded little smile on her face. "I just hope I can get a new key for the hotel."

"Sure, probably," Jake says, then pulls the phone out. Forgive him if he does a little snooping. If the first numbers in the list include "Mom" or "Dad" this might go a little awkwardly. He spends a moment fiddling with the phone. "Sorry, I'm not that great with tech, my brother's the computer genius." But he is a great liar, and the first five contacts on Mandy's phone list will get glanced at, plus, if she's willing to sit still for a few moments and doesn't catch on, the last five numbers dialed. Numerics won't mean much to him, but labeled contacts will.

She doesn't seem to be in any rush. Rather, she just sits on the same parking block, looking around, letting him handle things. She seems a bit more comfortable knowing that he's taking care of it, and whether it's the drugs or her age, seems pleasantly naive that he's looking through her contacts and numbers dialed. In fact, it's the second time this evening since her adventures with Refrain began that someone other than her has looked through this information. There's a number for mom, but the area code definitely isn't NYC. There's a bunch of friends with female names, more than a few with male names, a few clubs, then some without labels…just random numbers there that weren't given any more info. The area codes are all the same
though all not NYC. Where is she from, exactly?

Well… crap. Hm. Decision time: help the little delinquent get home, or try calling her mother, maybe get the out-of-town message or wake Mommy Dearest from a sound sleep to a flying rage to find out who might be molesting her daughter. Jake winces. After a moment of indecision, he just clears the list and punches in 411. "Hi, can I get the number for a cab company that drives Harlem?" Pause. "No, don't connect me, just read it off." And then he hangs up and punches the number fast, before he forgets it. "Hey. I've got a pickup in front of…" Glance over shoulder. "Rapture. Two people, to the Mariott in Harlem." Pause. "Yeah, thanks." And then he hangs up, hands over the phone with a twitching conscience. "They'll be here in fifteen minutes. Where're you from?"

"Florida" she replies. Well, that would explain all the strange area codes, for sure! But how did a girl this young get all the way up here by herself? How'd she get into this club? How'd she
manage to score drugs? And where the heck did all that cash come from? Who is this girl? Things are clearly not what they seem here (and that's only the surface, given her abilities). The thought of a cab coming shortly and picking her up, taking her back to the hotel where she can sleep off the rest of this come-down from the drug seems to have settled her more, but you did say pickup for two…is he going to go back with her?

By herself? For all he knows that's Mom's cell number and Mom's in the hotel. The club and the drugs, those are a lot tougher. "What'd you get toked on?" That's important, see, just in case the little innocent overdid it. "Looks like X, maybe?" Jake leans down to peer into those stoned young eyes. Then again, she's not touchy enough. He's been the subject of many an X-groping, and this girl isn't quite as friendly as she should be.

"I…don't know. Blue…in a syringe." She's…just as pleasant as can be as she confesses that she's been high on Refrain. Of course, the stuff's supposed to incapacitate you for the whole
trip, right? But she's up and about, lucid enough to communicate, but still clearly high on something. Maybe it was cut with something, stuff to elongate the high, stuff to make it a bad trip, whatever. "It was gooood. I was almost flying, then a man in a dark suit came in and watched…"

"Shit," says Jake quietly, "You know, that stuff only works on Evos. You should be careful." Yeah, like that'll impact the little stoned chick. "Okay. Damn, that had to be some good fake ID to get past the bouncers." And… this is her own fault, she left all her stuff sitting there, let him see what her wallet looked like and he watched where she put it, and now, permission or no, he's grabbing for it to flip it open and have a look. He should totally be calling the cops about now - but the truant in his own blood can't conscience it, so instead he'll see about making sure this doesn't end up bad, and part of that involves getting a name, the whole thing, and an age, and from there deciding what to go do about it. …Ulterior motive not mentioned: he needs an ID that good, dammit.

The ID you pull from her wallet is in a flat little ID case, along with a credit card and a bank card, not much else. It's a Florida driver's license…and it's not a very good one. It's issued
to Amanda Elizabeth Caulfield, aged 21; the name on the bank and credit card agree with that same name. She certainly didn't get into the club with this ID, since this girl is clearly no older than 14. The face is…similar though, more matured in the license photo, and the hair a little more bleachy than natural. It's like…this girl could grow up to be the woman on that ID, but she hasn't yet. Weird, to say the least. Just how did she get in there?

Well, no protest, and no answers. Jake puts the ID back, puts the wallet back in the purse, starts picking up the leftover items she dumped and hasn't put back yet. "So you're on the blue fairy and you're probably an Evo. How'd you get into the club? Where're your parents?" Might as well be blunt - see just how bad the drug is. He was thinking of trying it - better to resist if it turns him into a blithering idiot. "Is your name really Amanda?" Because his sister's name is actually Amanda, bizarrely enough, and he's having that moment of pure weirdness at this realization.

"Mom's in Florida…back home. She didn't come with me. And…I just walked in the door. They didn't even charge me a cover!" she says with a little grin, like it's something special. "Yeah…I'm Amanda? So what?" Sitting there on the parking block, she starts to wrap her arms around herself, finally cooled down enough after the heat of the club and the heat of the drug to get a chill. She clings tight to the too-big dress, and curls her legs up as well, for some additional warmth.

"My sister's name is Amanda." Creepy. Jake shifts his posture and drops down to sit directly on the sidewalk, folding his legs in front of him. "I'm Jake, by the way, pleased to meet you." He pauses for a moment, restrained and thoughtful, then… "What do you do? If you know."

"I…" she starts, before pausing. "I'm a dancer. Or…was a dancer. Maybe I still am. I haven't been here very long though." She seems to be…clearing up a little more, more and more capable of normal conversation as the time passes.

"You don't look old enough to dance," Jake notes critically, performing another of those head-to-toe scans. "No way you're 21. So how old are you really?" He manages to make this question social, curious rather than insulting, though the words themselves are pointed; there's no recrimination behind them.

"I'm…twen….I mean I'm fourteen." Whoops, almost got caught there, telling her real age. This isn't the first time she's pulled this trick, but it is the first time it's happened as a reaction and defense against a bad trip.

Jake snorts. "If the bouncer at the door bought that first number, he needs his ass kicked. What the hell are you doing in New York alone, Amanda?" The hilarious thing is that he's probably younger than she is.

"Vacation…sightseeing." No sense in giving up that she came to check out the ruins of midtown, to see for herself the destruction that the bomb wrought…or that she's an Evo who, following the revealation of others with powers, has come to NYC looking for answers to questions she has.

The 'Evo' bit has already become obvious by the nature of the drug, unfortunately - it worked. Of course, the dealer might've been lying to him, but Jake's not inclined to think so given what happened next. "Okay," he says quietly, and, "You take anything else besides the fairy? That's Schedule 1, you know. Major bad juju and anyone who sees you taking it knows you're an Evo. Humanis First is all over the place and the cops are pretty damn bad at investigating them. Not something you can trust - I hate to ruin your buzz, but you're seriously gonna get burned, maybe hurt for real, if you aren't careful."

When he takes on a serious tone like that, it really seems to get and keep her attention. As he lays it all out there, about the drug, about the consequences, about the growing threat of Humanis First (heck, even an out of towner knows about them from reading the papers or watching the news), she does what little girls do best: she starts to cry. It's the defense of the form she's taken for defense, a turtle within a turtle, or whatever other obscure analogy you want to put to it. "I…know. I just wanted to feel like back at home for one night."

"Yeah, well," Jake says softly, "That stuff is addictive. Do you wanna skip the hotel and go to the hospital instead? Are you already registered?" God, what a bizarre hope. At least then he can get her treated, maybe find out just how bad the crash is gonna be. Finally, though, he reaches out to put a hand on one shoulder, very gently. It's a gesture of sympathy; he's been there, he knows, though maybe he doesn't know all the details.

"No. No hospital. I just need to sleep it off. I'll be fine." Registration is still…an iffy subject for her. "L-look" she says, turning away from his hand a bit. "T-there's the cab, I think. I just
need to go back to the hotel." And indeed, the cab is sitting there, driver looking at you, sitting with a clearly underage girl, hand on her bare shoulder. That…can't look good.

Yeah, well. She was crying, man! It's not his fault! Jake takes that hand away and shoves to his feet, his face deadly serious for once. Right over to the cab he goes. "You here for the pickup?" The guy indicates a yes. He has no problem at all projecting serious ire for a moment as he opens the door and holds it there, turning to face the girl. "C'mon, Mandy." He's going to pretend she's his sister for now. Safer as far as that goes. "Mom's gonna kill you."

She's smart enough to play along, at least. Hauling herself up, clopping over to the cab in too-big shoes, acting sulky and pouty before sliding herself into the backseat. "Why do you have to be so mean?" she huffs, swatting at you with her purse, conveniently enough so that you can grab it and hold it with all that cash inside for the trip.

"Yeah, yeah," growls Jake. Into the car he goes right after, subtly stealing the purse beneath the seat. "Maybe because you had us worried sick, all right? That club needs to burn the fuck down for letting a kid your age in." The cabbie throws a look into the rearview and confirms, "Marriot?" Jake gestures him forward. "Yeah, go on." And the vehicle pulls away from the curb quietly, while Jake surreptitiously fishes a twenty out of the purse and passes the purse back under the cabbie's radar.

Under the seat, she takes it back, putting it in her lap. For the ride, she just sits back, arms crossed (both holding that dress up and continuing the illusion that she's sulking), looking out the windows and looking cross for having her 'fun spoiled.' To her surprise, the hotel is maybe 6 blocks up, walkable when sober, but in her state, she wouldn't have even found the right direction to walk.

That close is good - and it saves Jake a walk. "Thanks man," he says, passing up the twenty as the car pulls up to their destination. "Good luck," says the cabbie, and the change gets handed back. There isn't much. Jake flicks his 'sister' a look, then passes over a dollar or two as tip. The cabbie tips his head in a nod, and then Jake reaches in to help the poor dosed girl out. "C'mon. You're not getting out of it this time."

With a sigh, she holds her hand out and slides herself out of the creaky, sticky cab seat. She seems all too happy to let him help her out. Maybe fortunate to this whole little act is that the two look enough alike to actually pass as brother and sister. Additionally, it helps that she can act like a sulky miserable child well enough for this all to work. It's…definitely enough to evoke the thought that she's done this before.

Yeah, it is, and that bothers Jake on some level. Might just be pissing into the wind here. Regardless, what remains of the change is pressed into her hand as he leads her in towards the hotel's front desk. "She lost her roomkey," he says, the tone somewhat irate.

Whether it's just good luck, or an apathetic clerk in a hotel lobby that has no other souls in it, the only thing they ask for is the room number. Fortuitously, she's able to procure that cardboard slip from her purse AND it happens to be a completely different clerk than the one who checked her in. They have no idea that this room key originally went to an older, sexier 21 year old from Florida, rather than a tired little teen who looks sallow-eyed and flushed. Shaking his head, the clerk just pulls up the room number in the computer and runs a new card through the reader. "There you are" he replies with a frown. "Try not to lose this one while…" he starts, eying her up and down. "…out partying."

"Eyes off my sister, fucker," Jake growls, and grabs Mandy's shoulder, turns to steer her straight for the elevators. "Goddammit. What got into you anyway?" And yeah, if this were his sister, he'd be having serious conniptions just like this - or stronger.

No attempt is made to shrug off the hand on her shoulder. She just…lets him steer her toward the elevators. The room number starts with a 15, so…way up on the 15th floor. Pretty ritzy places up that high, of course by the wad of cash in her tiny purse, it's pretty evident that she can afford it.

Yeah. Bizarre. Jake's still got questions. He lets go and slouches against the wall, shoving his hands into his pockets as soon as the elevator doors are closed. "I'll drop you off in your room. I'm seriously tempted to call your folks. I dunno. You got anyone who can help you with this habit thing?"

"Habit? I've never tried the stuff before. First time with a needled, in fact!" She protests, of course, and it's true (though you have no way of knowing). This WAS her first time with Refrain, and it WAS her first time using from a needle. Maybe fortunately for her, it's seeming more and more like the drug was cut with something, or poorly imitated. The pure high appeared to be missing, so, maybe the addiction will be too. His suggestion of calling her folks gets a little scoff from her though. "Go for it…she's probably drunk off her rocker. And telling her I got caught using drugs…well, that wouldn't be the first time."

"Well, it's your habit now." Jake studies the girl for a moment, then grumbles, "Great. So you're not registered and you're about to be dealing with the comedown. At least you can afford the next dose, though anyone who sells to you needs to be shot." He rolls his eyes, then frowns. "I dunno. Maybe I can think of someone who can help you." The crazy guy, maybe, he said he knew something about chemistry, but that doesn't make him a doctor. Hmm. Jake's green eyes go distant with thought.

"I'm fine…really" she says with a grin in his direction. She is, of course, on the other side of the elevator from him. When it stops on the 15th floor, and the doors open silently, she steps out. "Now let's see" she offers, checking out the arrows pointing to certain groups of numbers. Finding the one she's on, she clops awkwardly down the hall a few steps, before stopping to take off the too-big heels.

For the moment, Jake follows. He's going to have to sneak out of this building, wouldn't do to have the clerk see him abandoning his "sister" to a room by herself. Fortunately, that's pretty easy. "How did you get in?" It's bothering him. He looks left, looks right, staring at the doors, reading numbers without comment; it's a disguise for the actual thinking going on behind those bright eyes of his.

Now, back at the hotel, well…there's really no need for her to be in the defense mode, is there? As she walks away from him, down the hall, not seeming to care much if you follow, he gets the answer to his question. Walking along, the girl starts to, seems to pick up inches of height. The dress that she was clinging to hold onto and up to her body seems to…fill out from behind. Womanly curves seem to appear from nowhere. The hair that was down to her butt shortens, combined with her gain of 3 or 4" up to 5'7". The choker collar around her neck seems to rise up on her thicker neck, setting comfortably just where it should. When she reaches her room, she turns at the door, key card in hand. Quite evident is how the front of the dress has filled out as well. The face there in front of the door is now the one on the license picture, the woman that the girl could grow up to be. "Thanks for helping me back" she says with a smile. "I
was…pretty out of it for a while."

It'll take a moment for Jake to notice. Truthfully, he wasn't looking, wasn't really paying attention - so when he looks at a door, then glances ahead, he doubletakes. The changes are subtle, but to any human being used to looking at women, they scream a warning to certain subconscious senses. He misses a step, catches the wall, then… it hits, and his jaw drops just an inch or so. He comes to a halt about ten feet away rather than three, and spends a moment getting his wits about him and his sanity back in order. "Christ," he says after a few heartbeats, "That explains it. How old are you really?" Crap. He's never going to buy the 'I'm eighteen!' argument again.

"Twenty-one, just like my license says. You don't think they would've let a fourteen year old into that place, do you?" She winks a little, and slides the card in the lock. With a thunk, the lock disengages, and she opens the door, stepping inside. It…doesn't shut all the way though; the glittering silver of a chunky heel can be seen blocking the door from shutting.

"I had a guess." At least now he's not going to try to visit Rapture without a fake ID. "Hey, you lost your shoe." Up to the door goes Jay, kicking the shoe out of the doorway and into the room. "You gonna be all right?" Damn, this is awkward. He's got no idea how to deal with this entire business.

"Yeah…I should be alright. Just need some sleep." Peeking into the room, she's at the bed, digging through a big duffel bag she brought for her trip up here. "If you want a night cap for all your troubles, come on in and have it" she states.

The door gets pushed open, and finally Jay dares take a look at the girl, head to toe, surreptitiously taking it all in. "I dunno. You're stoned as hell. I got no clue what that shit does - you could flip out and start clawing me up if you got the urge." But it's not likely. It's hard to be wary of someone who showed up as a kid and now looks like some kinda wet dream.

"Ok…dad" she says, admonishingly. "If you want to stay here with me for the night to make sure I don't go crazy, go for it. But you're staying on the couch." With a little huff, and a flip of her hair, she stalks off to the bathroom to clean herself up after that night. Now the effects are definitely coming to an end, as she seems more like a catty stripper type and less like a defenseless little kid.

"Frankly, after that face, I think it'd be a bit creepy." But Jake pushes the door open and steps inside, kicking the shoe out of the way and shutting the door behind him. "So you can look younger - what else do you do?" A cautious look flicks around the room, and he glides over to take a seat, picking at his sweat-stained shirt.

"Older…skinny…fat…black…white…whatever. How about you? You seem to know a lot about what I can do already, but how about you? Is there some secret to what you can do?" In the bathroom, the sound of water running into the basin can be heard, though the door is shut tightly.

The young man pauses for a moment, then drops onto one of those nice couches they put in the better rooms. "What, run across little lost teenagers in the middle of the night?" Jake smirks, just a little. "Yeah, I've got a talent bad men would die for." Sheer sardonic humor in that last. "You're lucky someone else didn't trip over you first."

"Why's that?" she calls out from the bathroom. The splashing of water can be heard as she cleans up in there.

"C'mon, don't you read the news?" Jake makes a face, not that anyone's there to see it. "Just because all the drama with the Evos is taking front page doesn't mean murder and rape doesn't still happen. There are guys out there who'd have killed you just for the chance that you might've had money." This is probably not precisely what he ought to be doing, but he can't quite help himself. Damn instincts say protect the girl, and if he can't, the least he can do is repeat thewarning.

"Hmmm, I guess it's rather lucky for me that you were the one to find me first, huh?" Yep, you can pretty much tell she's from Florida, with that kind of laid back attitude, even in the face of what might've been really bad for her. Of course, she has no idea how lucky she is; heck, maybe even he doesn't know for sure how lucky it was. "I guess that's what I was hoping would happen when I…uh…changed."

"Huh." A pause, and, "So can you at least defend yourself, if someone had just decided to grab you and make off with the rich kid could you have stopped them?" Now he's curious, despite himself. Maybe that luck wasn't all luck… but he sure didn't consciously wish for it. Weird things do seem to happen around Jake, and sometimes they're good.

"I can…do some stuff, yeah." One typically doesn't work as a stripper anywhere without learning some self-defense somewhere. "What about you? What would you do, Mr. Big Tough Frat Guy?"

"Me?" Jake slouches back, frowning, then shrugs. "Probably take a swing and start yelling. Or run. Running's safer." Big and tough doesn't really describe him, with that attitude. "I know my limits. I try not to get myself into that sort of situation." Even as the moralizing words pop out, he has a twinge of guilt; he's put himself into worse situations and gotten out just fine. This must be how his dad felt trying to convince him to stop doing crazy, stupid shit.

"Sounds like a hell of a plan to me. Just about the same thing that I'd do, really. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to shower off real quick. Minibar's all free, so…help yourself or whatever." She hasn't asked him to leave or anything, which is a good sign. But neither has she asked him to come get in the shower with her, which is the typically college dream. Seems there's a lot more to this stripper sort, and definitely more than meets the eye.

Smart strippers keep men at at least arm's length. Jake looks around, then rises and goes dropping down to investigate the minibar. Poke, poke… shrug. Vodka tastes all right going down straight and cold. He's not planning on driving anywhere. He steals one of the miniature bottles and kicks the little fridge shut, then heads back on over to the couch to sit, already thinking about the contents of the shower and… yeah. The bottle gets uncapped and drained down to start burning his empty belly and spreading a subtle buzz through his limbs. There. No need to be so paranoid, right? It's hard to get out of that mindset once it's been invoked, though, and he eyes the minibar again. "Thanks," gets called after a moment. Alcohol helps him relax. Maybe
he'll have another.

The minibar's so…mini. And she's in the shower for so long. How many has he had while she's in there? One? Three? Seven? Does it matter? By the time the water shuts off and she's gotten herself dried off, it's pretty much a given that he's got a good buzz going. When she comes out of the bathroom, she's in short, short black cotton shorts (barely more than a full-coverage panty), and a similar black tanktop, the sort with thin spaghetti straps. "You're welcome" she answers, belatedly, with a smile. "Make yourself at home. Guess it's my turn to repay the favor, hm, and keep you off of the streets for the night?" She's…rather tall. Has she always been that tall? Or is it because he's lying down on the couch and she's standing. Who knows?

Three will do it, and the last won't be finished all the way; by the time he gets two and a half in him, Jake's pretty mellow. He's working on a tiny bottle of scotch now. Equally tiny sips, see. "Damn," he murmurs at the sight, and, "You know, you're gonna get in trouble if you keep that up." And something makes him smirk, but it's more bemused than outright aggressive. "I should probably run home. Just don't want the clerk thinking your loving brother left you to suffer by yourself." A grin flashes bright and suddenly wicked. "This place got a back door or do I get to jump out the window?" Of the fifteenth floor, yes. He'd survive. Somehow.

"There's a fire stair at the end of the hall. I bet you could go down that without anyone noticing. Comes out in a corner of the lobby, away from the desk." Perfect, right? And just his luck!

"Sure, that'll work." Jake pauses, lifts the scotch speculatively…and then drains the last of it and sets the bottle down next to the other two. "One of these days I swear I'm going hang gliding," he notes randomly. "It looks too damn fun not to. Expensive, though." And then he checks his watch and winces.

"Expensive huh?" she asks, maybe a bit too playfully. She…shimmies over to the shiny silver purse, and fishes out two hundred dollar bills. "Here…for the trouble of bringing me all the
way back here. And to start your hang-gliding fund." With the bills in hand, she personally delivers them to him on the couch, kneeling down beside him. His rougher, bigger hand is taken in hers, and she pushes the bills inside, while putting a kiss on his cheek. You're a good man. Thanks for your help tonight."

The entire production of this is watched with slightly wide eyes. Don't look into Jay's head right now; a hundred varied pornos are replaying themselves in his mind and being pushed frantically aside before they show up on his face - or worse, in his pants. The kiss, though, and the words, cause a bright blush to spread suddenly out from under the cheek she kissed, and Jake clears his throat fast. "Um. Thanks." His voice is just a bit rough and his brows are climbing towards his hairline. "I mean, you're welcome. I mean…" Right, money. He wasn't expecting it, but given what he just said he can't very well refuse it - and cash is always welcome in the college student's life. The bills get accepted and, after a moment of hesitation, shoved into his pocket. "I should go." Right. Get up. Forgive him if this takes a minute. "Hey, um. You got a pen and paper?" There, a distraction.

"Uhhh…yeah. Just a second." She hops up, using those toned legs, and jog-walks to the desk in the hotel room. A second later she comes bounding back with a pad and pen with the hotel logo on there. "I know there was a reason they put these things in here."

Totally, utterly distracted Jake. Staring, blushing Jake. The paper arrives and he steals the notepad and pencil quickly, then braces that on his knee and leans forward. It might take him a few long, long seconds to scribble his number out - probably longer than it ought to. He even tags it with his name in block letters. Then the pad of paper gets handed back. "Call me if you get lost again." He didn't see any non-Florida numbers in her phone. To be fair, he didn't check all the named numbers. …Of course, this has nothing whatsoever to do with her looks. Really. Honest. And we're selling bridges in Brooklyn if you'd like to buy that one.

"Heh…yeah. If I ever need a pickup again, I'll give you a call, how's that sound?" She winks a little, taking the paper and making sure she can read it. "But for now…maybe you should get
going." Yeah…a good idea. Before anything can happen with a total stranger. A stranger who can make herself look like a teenager (and more, or so she says). Who knows if that's all she can do? For now though, she seems to be…tired, but done with the high, able to think clearly enough to get in bed and sleep it off the rest of the way.

Yeah. But it wasn't the teenager who got Jake staring. The boy heaves to his feet and flashes a weary grin. "Have a good night." God, for a phone. He's going to need a ride himself at this point. He heads for the door anyway; if nothing else he'll flag a cab at some busier, not so dangerous corner. Just need to make it somewhere closer to downtown- either that or cut through Central Park at two or three in the morning. It can't be so bad anymore, can it?

"Anybody you want to call before you leave? Cab or something?" she asks, picking up the room phone and waving it a bit. Can she read minds too? Or maybe…she just knows it's not smart to leave a hotel at this hour without a ride in mind.

"Hm." Jake pauses, tosses that phone a look. "Yeah, sure, okay. …I don't remember the number anymore, though." He abandons the quest for the door and comes trudging back to take the phone. "Are you sure you don't mind? The charges for these things are insane." Not like she's hurting for money, though.

"Well…you can use this, or my cell. Whatever. What wasit…411? That worked pretty well?" She winks, and lets you chose.

"Yeah… um." Jake pauses, then shrugs. "I dunno which is cheaper. Better use the cell, if you've got a good plan it should be okay." He rolls his eyes. "God, I sound like my fucking brother." A wry smile flashes. "Swear to god I'm not a fucking goody two shoes, and I said fuck there just to make it clear."

Mandy says, "Yeah…yeah. I got it. You're one tough bad ass." She's smirking as she tosses the little phone over to you. "Number should probably be in there, just hit redial or whatever.""

"Hey, good point." Jake breaks into a grin. The phone is caught easily and he starts poking at it. Note how little trouble he has figuring out how to redial? Yeah, that earlier not-good-with-technology thing was a sham, but it's all good, right? Punch. Numbers dial. A voice says something on the other end. "Pickup at the Marriot in Harlem. One." Babble babble, says the other end. "Thanks." And he hangs up and tosses the phone back. "Twenty minutes."


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