stella_icon.gif carter_icon.gif

Scene Title Feedback
Synopsis Guy meets Girl. Girl propositions Guy. Guy gets girl's number. Who ever said guys can't play hard to get?
Date February 20, 2009

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

For all the ways a man might find pleasure on Staten Island, the hot bed of sin and all things scandalous lacks a place to get a decent slice of pie.

For that, the man who carries identification labeling himself as Jesse Carter, has crossed the Narrows and come to the Nite Owl, though it is already past noon when he sits down and orders a Beef Manhattan and a slice of the delectable apple pie al a mode. He's dressed not unlike many of the diner's patrons. A leather motorcycle jacket (street, not cruiser style) lies on the booth next to him, and the sleeves of his gray thermal shirt have been pushed halfway up his forearm. His black hair is mussed, though it is probably due to the stocking cap that now lays on the table.

It's funny, really, because with a different face and name, Carter would have been given top notch service in the diner, more due to the badge that rested in his coat pocket than anything else. But now, the man eats like a relative commoner. But at least the food still tastes good.
Like any New Yorker, Stella can appreciate a good diner. And the Nite Owl is definitely up there. She had been settling in to her new apartment when the craving for a milkshake and some curly fries hit her, and so she began the trek to the diner, just arriving. Waving to the neon owl, she pushed open the glass door and inhaled that familiar diner scent.

Immediately, Stella made a beeline for the counter, with the delightful spinny vinyl seats, and picked up a menu. "I'll have a black and white milkshake, a burger, and an order of curly fries, please." Stella smiled warmly at the waitress, putting down the menu and giving a twirl on her seat, gazing at the occupants of the diner as she did.

Even with as moderately busy as the Nite Owl is for the lunch rush, Carter is too used to skimming the top of the ocean of thought around him to stop. Like a fish-eating bird, he only has to fly a smidgen higher to be misted by the water rather than swimming on the surface.

But when Stella joins the ranks at the proverbial feeding trough and takes that childish spin, Carter's curiosity gets the better of him. He squints, tilting his head ever so slightly to one side as he focuses in on the blonde woman's brains. There are quite a few comparisons that can be made between a telepath and a Kingfisher, provided that the brains are seen as fish. Carter doesn't move his head once he's in the position to concentrate on his 'prey.' He 'hovers' over that ocean of thought, exuding a significant amount of energy to zero-in.

But this fish is the sort that bites back, as it were. The feedback-like screech that tears through his own brain is enough punishment for his unassuming foolishness. Carter drops his silverware with a clatter, lifting both hands to his temples as he deals with the residual pain that throbs there.

Stella is in mid-sip of her milkshake, and at first mistakes the pain for a brain freeze. But as it grows far, far worse, she squawks and pulls her head back, the glass wobbling but remaining upright. Stella, too, wobbles, her gestures mimicking "Carter"'s: hands to temples, shoulders hunches, eyes squinched shut. What the hell had just happened?

A quick look around the diner might clue Stella in to just that, as Carter braces his head in one hand, fingers and thumb squeezing his forehead as he attempts to return to his pie. The other patrons don't seem to notice the simultaneous pain, but the waitress behind the counter does. She smirks, somewhat annoyed by Carter's peskiness. But it's nothing so new to the Owl that she can't figure out what happened to some degree.

"Hey hon," she says as she sets a basket of curly fries in front of Stella. "Don't look now, but somebody's playin' witchoo." Her accent is thick and dotted with the smack of her gum as she looks from Stella to the man in the booth almost directly behind her. "You be careful now, okay?" One incident involving the Evolved are enough for the Nite Owl to deal with in a day.

Stella smiles at the waitress. "Okay. Thank you." She doesn't look right away at the source of the waitress's gaze, but after she's eaten a few curly fries and taken another sip of her milkshake, she pushes off against the counter so her seat rotates and she's facing the man in the booth. "So. What was that about?" Stella asks, forgoing any kind of segueing or tact.

Even though that proverbial Kingfisher has given up on any sort of food for thought today, Carter still winces when he looks sidelong at Stella, as if simply seeing her was enough to bring that pain echoing back. He looks to his pie for a moment before he gives it a ruthless stab with his fork and brings the hand at his head away to gesture at the other side of his booth.

"There's no need to yell," he points out, his own voice hushed and tense.

Stella brings her food and shake over to the booth and slides in, smearing a fry with ketchup and popping it in her mouth, chewing, swallowing, and then raising an eyebrow at the man across from her. "Well?" She asks in quieter tones. "What did you /do/? And don't even try to pretend you didn't do something."

Carter's assault on his pie becomes a great deal more violent when Stella actually takes his invitation and sits down across from him. "I did," he says, using the clink of his fork on the plate to emphasize his muttered words, "the exact same thing that you do."

Both eyebrows go up now. "That I do? You mean.." She wiggles her fingers at her temples, then tilts her head at him. "You can do /that/? Like me?" She could not have been more shocked if he had told her he morphed into a hedgehog every new moon.

With an exasperated sigh, Carter lets his fork clank back onto his plate again, and he fixes the girl with a borderline scowl. "When did you find out?" he asks, but then Carter doesn't wait for an answer. "When you realized you could cheat by plucking answers out of other people's heads? When you found out what people really thought of you? Yeah, I can do that." But by the way he says it, Carter sees that as something as easy as breathing.

Stella scowls right back at this cranky man. "Since I was 16. I'm 21 now. What about you? How long?" Her tone is curious, her eyes searching his, for she certainly couldn't search his mind.

"Three years in October." Carter's back to his pie then, paying more attention to it than to the girl. He almost has to, in order to still enjoy it. Maybe being older and being put in so many strange and life-threatening situations is the reason behind his progression. It's not worth it to try and test the more advanced aspects of his abilities. It might just mean a bigger headache.

Stella turns her attention to her curly fries for a while, munching quietly, with intermittent sips from her milkshake. Then she speaks up. "Have you met anyone else like us? What else can you do, besides just read minds?" She is rather bright-eyed and bushytailed.

Carter licks his teeth, sitting silently for a moment as he looks across the table at the girl. He's registered, so he's really nothing to worry about as far as that goes. And he's done his time. "I can make a band of bank robbers look like the FDIC so that they can walk in and out of a vault with the tellers rollin' out the red carpet." He reaches for his glass of soda then, letting that be the end of that topic.

Stella's eyes go big. Clearly she doesn't want to let the subject drop. "Can you teach me to do that? I barely knew what I had most of the time I had it. I can hardly do anything with it. I didn't even know I could do /that/." She bounces a little in the booth.

His eyes narrow a bit, and Carter licks his teeth again before he beckons lazily with two fingers. "Lemme see your card." He glances around the diner for a moment, the quick, suspicious glance of a man who doesn't want to be seen stepping too close to a line he's not supposed to cross.

Stella pulls out her wallet, extracts the card, and slides it across the table towards him, her turquoise gaze expectant. She keeps two fingers on the card as she shows it to him, not releasing it. Then she has a flashback of sitting here with another man, exchanging cards with him in just this very diner, maybe even the same booth. "There you go."

But Carter's own registration doesn't come out of his wallet. He presses his fork to Stella's, just as he fingers are on it, in order to hold it in place for his inspection. When he's satisfied, he returns to his pie. "Why do you want to know stuff like that, anyway? Thinkin' of knocking over a couple'uh stores? Banks? 'Cause I can tell you right now, it's not worth it."

Stella shakes her head. "No, of course not. I just don't see the point in having this power and not using it for all it can be used for. Seems wasteful. If it can be used for what you said, couldn't it be used for completely different things? Like giving a dying woman a vision of her dead husband standing next to her, or helping a child with really bad nightmares think of a happy place? I know it sounds really cheesy, but I want to use my powers for.. good." She ducks her head and turns a shade of pink. "You probably think I'm really naive."

"You show any one any body who's dead, and you're only going to make it harder for them." Carter polishes off his pie and scrapes his plate for all the last little bits of apple filling. "You show a kid who has nightmares some sort of dream, and he'll start thinking that the nightmares are just as real as whatever it is you show him." Carter takes a moment to lick his teeth and shake his head, lifting his fork to twirl it by his temples as he adds, "You can't play around with people's heads, kid. It gets messy. Fast."

Stella frowns, biting her lip. "That all does make sense. What kinds of things /can/ I use it for, then?" She asks, finishing off her curly fries. "I covered some big no-nos. What are some correct things?" That classic headtilt comes into play, and her eyes focus on Carter.

That fork comes back up again, and Carter points it at Stella as if it will protect him from her. "Watch it, kid. I don't need another headache." He squints, then lets the fork rest on his plate as he leans back in the booth. "Hell, I don't know. You think I can give you moral advice?"

Stella sighs a bit. "Apparently not. Are you going to show me how to do it, or not?" She queries, taking a sip of her dwindling milkshake and then stirring it with her straw, raising an eyebrow at him.

"How about you let me think about it some, and give me your number?" Carter smiles half-heartedly, tilting his head to one side. "Then I can tell you when I make my decision, and if it's a yes, we can find a nice little spot to hold class in. Deal?"

Stella ponders this, then nods, "Deal." She pulls out an index card from her wallet and a pen, and scrawls her cell phone number on it, then hands it to him. "I'm Stella, by the way. Here you go." She also takes the opportunity to put her registration card back in her wallet, and extracts money for the check and the tip, tossing it on the tabletop.

Carter licks his teeth once more as he looks at the card, curling it against his palm. "Carter," he responds in kind, but he doesn't make any move to leave. Letting her go first seems to be the idea. "I'll be in touch."

Stella smiles down at him as she stands up. "Looking forward to it." Stella lifts her fingers in a wave and slides out of the booth, waving to the waitress that had helped her earlier, and then exiting the diner.

February 20th: Women Don't Perspire. They Glow.
February 20th: Paranoia Choo Choo Train
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