An Ivy Popsicle


jennifer_icon.gif maria_icon.gif

Scene Title An Ivy Popsicle
Synopsis Jennifer won't become one.
Date December 31, 2008

Morningside Heights

Morningside Heights was and is still known for its high density of educational institutions. Most of the neighborhood is owned by Columbia University; the rest is shared with Barnard College, the Manhattan School of Music, the Teachers College, Columbia Greenhouse nursery school, and a variety of religious seminaries.

In addition to places like the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Morningside Park, the neighborhood boasts a variety of restaurants and clubs, excellent bookstores, and Mondel Chocolates, selling handmade chocolate candies even today.

Before the bomb, Morningside Heights was dominated by students. That is still the case today, but their majority is now far smaller — with Morningside being one of the neighborhoods least affected by the explosion, it has become a very popular place to live. Housing is extremely expensive, but people are willing to pay through the nose for a place they know is safe and sound — at least in structural terms. Population density is high; like everywhere else in the city, so is crime, although Morningside's biggest problems are theft and embezzlement. Along with the consequences of college parties and/or pranks.

It's the year's last day, and as such she has just a few things left to do at work. Most people aren't even coming in today at Biomere. This being the case, she slept in and didn't leave the apartment until nearly ten a. m.. A handful of minutes later she's passing a small coffee kiosk near the Columbia University campus. A decision is made, to obtain hot caffeine, and her course is adjusted to accomplish this minor mission.

The result is a five feet and three inch short female wearing a winter coat, gloves, athletic shoes, jeans, and a sweatshirt stopping in mid-air about thirty feet above the ground.

She drifts to the ground and touches down gently, her feet moving soon as they're on solid pavement and messenger bag being shifted to rest in front of her.

Well, THAT isn't something you see every day. Even with registration and that. Jennifer doesn't have class today (holiday), but that doesn't mean that she has nothing to do. In this case, it was dropping off some paperwork into one of her professor's mailboxes. She stares at the woman who just casually flies in and lands near her.

Oh, look, someone's staring. That's not new to Maria. She pauses a few steps later, a bit closer to the coffee kiosk, and looks the younger woman over. "What?" she asks. "You never saw a woman fly before?" One gloved hand slips into the messenger bag and comes up with a few dollars and some change to pay with when she has her caffeine source. "Damn, it's cold this morning. Feels close to freezing."

Jennifer blushes a bit. "Can't say I have. Sorry, I didn't mean to stare. Just…wow. That's got to be pretty cool." There's some power envy going on there.

"It is," the Naval veteran replies with a grin. "And, I have to admit, getting reactions when I do it is fun too." She starts walking toward the kiosk again, then looks back over her shoulder. "Want coffee?" Maria digs into the messenger bag again and comes up with cash to buy a second cup. Maybe she's feeling generous today.

Jennifer chuckles. "I can pick up my own, but sure…" She doesn't have anything on her agenda right now. She moves to follow. "What does it feel like?"

"Like being totally free," Maria answers. "Wind in the hair, soaring up over buildings and people, able to see it all for miles around. High in the clouds, or low over the ocean's waves. But I usually stay low enough to not run into helicopters or planes. That would be really bad." She steps up to the kiosk and tells whoever works there "I'll have a vanilla mocha cappucino." Then she looks to the Jennifer side and lifts a brow to ask what her choice is so she can relay it.

Jennifer smiles just a bit wistfully, and then blinks out of it, looking to the barista. "Chai, please." She takes out her money and passes it over. "Oxygen and pressure an issue if you go too high?"

"It hasn't been yet," she answers. "But, it does make me hungrier. If I have to endure environmental stuff a lot, I get serious cravings for steak, and fish, fruit… basically all the protein rich foods." Maria doesn't notice Jen moving to pay for hers until it's already happened, so shakes her head a bit and puts the cash she intended for that purpose away. "Chai. You're a tea drinker. Me, I've always been a coffee woman. I usually drink it black, the Navy way, now that was some strong stuff."

Jennifer nods. "Never much cared for coffee." She admits. "Now, if it tasted like it smelled? I'd be all over it. But coffee is pretty much the biggest culinary bait-and-switch ever."

"I got a taste for it in college and while I was in the Navy. Those early mornings having to get up for class and duty, they could be rough sometimes. Coffee became a serious need. And that Red Bull stuff is too cold for winter mornings, really." Maria's drink comes and she picks it up, then steps away from the kiosk. "You're what, twenty-two? Probably a senior in college now."

Jennifer laughs. "You're a little on the high side. Twenty. And just turned that." She takes her own cup. "Besides, chai has caffiene. And it tastes a LOT better."

"Maybe." Maria isn't ready to admit any deficiency in coffee. "But you didn't deny being a student." She lifts the cup and blows on it a bit to cool the liquid down. "This is one benefit of frosty mornings. Drinks don't say so hot they'll burn the mouth very long."

Jennifer looks dubious. "Of course, if the days were warmer, we could just drink cooler things. I'm not a fan of this kind of cold. I don't mind cold. This is just…excessive."

"It's survivable," Maria answers with a laugh. "You won't," she glances over at the campus, "turn into an Ivy popsicle." Moments later, judging her beverage cool enough, she drinks carefully. "College was fun," she reminisces. Her voice takes on a conspiratorial tone. "In your dorm, do you ever retaliate against the RAs if they get too strict by freezing their bras?" It's a nearly whispered 'you can tell me all your college pranks, I've been there' kind of vibe.

The brunette collegiate girl blinks in surprise. "…I don't. Call it sympathy if nothing else." She shivers, imagining it.

"Wow," she murmurs. "College with no pranks. What fun is that?" Maria drinks more of her coffee, watching the younger one. "It can't be all study, you've got to let loose sometime, somehow." There's a light laugh, and she states "One time, my roommate had a boyfriend who cheated on her. Three days after she caught him, there was a crowd around a flagpole. Laughing, pointing, and staring. Somebody ran his boxers up there with a note attached, announcing his transgression to the whole campus."

Jennifer laughs at that. "Well, I guess I'm just too busy with school and extracurriculars. They keep me pretty busy. Columbia isn't exactly a cakewalk, after all."

"I know," Maria answers. "I had to be serious too, just not too serious. The pressures had to come out somehow, we found creative ways. My school was UVA. It's about an hour south of here, in the mountains of Virginia." What? New York to Virginia in an hour?

Jennifer nods. She's bright enough to figure out that the other woman means flying. Which, once again, damned cook. She looks to her. "So how long have you been able to fly?"

"Ten years," she reminisces. "It was the summer after graduation, I went hiking up in the mountains with some friends and we got separated. I discovered soon afterward I was at the edge of a cliff and the ground gave out when I was trying to get back onto the path. Carried me right over the edge." Maria lets out a quiet chuckle. "I laugh about it now, but it was one of those life flashing before the eyes moments."

Jennifer nods. "That's pretty cool." she says. "I mean, not the falling part. But the whole not-dying part. Heights make me woogy."

"The ultimate adrenaline rush. I mean, there I was, falling toward some nasty looking rocks, screaming my head off, a kind of holycrapIcan'tbeabouttodieandnevergetfoundateighteenpleasenonono! kind of scream, and suddenly I wasn't falling anymore." More coffee is taken in, Maria smiling a bit as she remembers that day, it seeming so much less scary now than it was. "Awww. I was going to offer you a ride."

Jennifer laughs. "Probably would be a bad idea. I get airsick. Of course, I'm known to get carsick too. I'm definitely a mass-transit, keep my eyes closed sort of person."

Jennifer is studied carefully for a time, Maria calculating in her head they're about the same height, and she probably is light enough to carry aloft, but… the motion sickness thing is entirely of the bad. Her nose wrinkles a bit. "Maybe not the best idea," she concedes. "Is it an inner ear thing, or just fear so bad it makes you ill?"

But time is short, she realizes, and Jennifer may not want to answer that. "Sorry," Maria offers. "Too many questions, and I should be on my way. Happy New Year!" With her coffee cup in hand, she rises easily up into the air and directs herself toward the Biomere facility elsewhere in Morningside Heights.

December 31st: Getting a Jump on the Day
December 31st: Let's Make a Deal
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