Hi Neighbor


devon_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Hi Neighbor
Synopsis Melissa meets one of her neighbors, and ends up offering him a job. Sort of.
Date January 27, 2011

Outside Westview Apartments

At least the snow has stopped for the moment. It may rest in thick drifts on the ground, trails cut through where sidewalks or maybe roads should be by an untold number of pedestrians. Thinner lines that look as though drawn by a child, wobbly and zig-zagging, tell tale of those braver still, using bicycles to get to and from work. But at least it's stopped snowing.

Of those many countless people who use their own two feet for transportation, Devon Clendaniel follows the dimpled path that leads up the walk and to the apartment complex known as Westview. Today in solid boots meant for hiking, blue jeans and a sweater kept under a warm looking black wool overcoat instead of the normal day to day business suit the teenager would normally wear, he has the airs of one coming home from a long day at work. His hands rest in the pockets of his coat, and his head is dipped slightly, tilted toward the ground.

Snow isn't something that Melissa Pierce is as thrilled about as she was the previous year. Southern born meant a lack of it, but after the blizzard in May, she's largely over it. But then, she doesn't seem to be out for her, though she is bundled up in coat, hat and gloves. But she's out more for the baby with her, who's also bundled up, all in black, just like her adopted mother.

Mel is holding onto the child's hands, helping her to walk in the snow, and laughing with her when the little girl tumbles right into it. It's soft, it doesn't hurt, and let's face it. It's fun. But when she hears someone else approaching, she glances up, studying him for a long moment.

Laughter isn't a thing often heard outside, though to be honest, Devon hadn't usually paid attention to the goings on of other people. But when he hears the sound as he comes up the walk, his head lifts a little and eyes seek out the source. A boy he may be, but the sight of parent and child in such simple acts brings a small grin to Dev's face.

As he draws closer, taking notice that he's also being watched, Devon offers a polite nod to Melissa. The small grin, amused at first, turns friendly, though his own attentions don't linger too long. Last time he got caught people watching turned into a very awkward moment, not something he cares to repeat any time soon. However, courtesies win out with an, "Afternoon, ladies," being called out as the teenager draws closer.

At that Melissa smiles before looking down at the baby, who's decided to stay on her rump to smack at the snow, sending it flying in all directions, including right into Mel's face. She blinks as snow drips off of her, before giving her head a brisk shake and plopping down right beside the girl. "Afternoon. Don't tell me you're just getting home from school. Shouldn't they have that closed today, with all the snow?"

"From work, actually," Devon replies with a small shrug. He stops several steps away from Melissa and the baby, close enough for passing conversation but far enough from being intrusive. "I wish work had snow days though, would've been nice to sit at home playing video games and watch movies. But …yeah. Had to work." And to add insult to injury, he's not even a paid.

Melissa laughs and nods, using a finger to flick snow towards the baby in playful retaliation. "Yeah, I get that. I had to work yesterday and went in for a few hours today. I just wanted to be doing…well, what I'm doing now. Or watching movies." She looks back at him and smiles. "I'm Melissa, and this is Junie."

"Hey, Junie," Devon greets the baby first, tilting his head and half tipping himself over to get a better look, hand coming out to finger-waggle. Straightening again, he extends a grin when his attention returns to the woman. "And Melissa. I'm Devon. Live with my aunt on the second floor here. When I'm not working and all that." There's a moment of hesitation, then Dev steps forward and extends his hand to shake.

The finger waggle has Junie waving a fist and giving Devon a largely toothless grin, speaking baby talk. Melissa, on the other hand, grins and takes his hand, shaking and nodding. "Nice to meet you, Devon. Haven't gotten a chance to meet most of the neighbors. Usually too busy with work myself. Or dealing with with little hellion. But video games…Don't tell me you work at a comic book store."

Devon lowers into a crouch, to be on a level with Junie. "Awh, yer not a hellion," he says to the baby, lower lip pouting and voice more pitched like a cartoon character. "Yer too cute, and hellions gots little nubby horns in their heads." Then, shaking his head and standing again, the teenager chuckles. "No ma'am, I'm an intern. Might read comics now and then, or play video games, but.. No, I got goals."

"Oh yes she is. She drives me batty. But I wouldn't trade her for all the movies in the world," Melissa says, grinning and watching as Junie tries to grab this new person. Playmate! "And intern? As in…you do work but don't get paid for it? Because that sounds like it sucks. Though I can't say much. One of my jobs is as a volunteer, which also means no pay."

A smile is directed down at Junie, though Devon again waggles his fingers at her. "As in, I don't get paid and I end up doing the work no one else wants to do. But the trade off is I learn something." Maybe not the fairest of trades, but it's a trade. "See, I was going to school at the university, got into their theatre program. Then this TV host had these adds up for an internship. So I took it."

"Good god. Grunt work too?" Melissa shakes her head as Junie fights with the snow until she can put chubby little hands on one of Devon's knees and pull herself upright, enough to reach for his hand again, babbling away at him. "You want a job where you learn stuff and get paid, lemme know. I run a club on the Lower East Side. Though…you do look a little young for working there. You look about the same age as my brother."

Devon raspberries down at Junie, completely at ease with having the toddler use him for standing. He keeps up the game, dangling fingers just high enough to make grabbing a teeny challenge, but not enough the baby couldn't manage after a try or two. "Yeah, no way," he presses, looking back to Melissa. "What kind of job would do that? Depending on hours, could possibly do both? -And how old do you think I am?" His grin turns slightly cocky with that last question, knowing full well he's not quite an adult.

And Junie seems to love the game, giggling and babbling and when she does grab his finger, she shakes it triumphantly before letting go to begin again. Melissa smiles fondly at the girl before answering, "Seventeen, give or take a year or two. I'm normally crappy with ages, but like I said, you look around the same age as my brother. And the jobs at the club depend. I always need servers, bouncers…just lost my best DJ so I need another good one."

"Seventeen in May," Devon confirms with a broad grin. To him, it's almost as fun a game as the one he's participating in with Junie. "Servers, bouncers, and a DJ. Two of those I know I couldn't pull off. Tips would be sweet, but I'm not able to tie people in knots. And no one'd take me serious as a bouncer." He probably wouldn't even take himself serious, to be honest. "DJing, that …depending on the hours." And if Mister Russo doesn't mind moonlighting. If he could even get a club job. Dev shrugs then grins at Melissa.

"So sixteen?" Melissa nods as her guess is confirmed. "When you turn eighteen, let me know. Since we serve alcohol they're real picky about letting minors work there. The only jobs I know of that guys your age can do are the ones my brother has. Comic book store and at one of my friend's salon." Seems she just can't help trying to mother kids, even if they're clearly not her responsibility. But then she's frowning a little. "Do me a favor though? Don't tell me what TV host you work for. Just in case. I don't even wanna know the studio."

Well, it was worth a shot. Devon nods, without losing his grin. Being young has some perks, but it's also got a number of restrictions. "I'll hold you to it," he states, pausing in the play with Junie long enough to point toward the sky. "Day I turn Eighteen I'm coming looking." Of course, he may have a paying job by then, not that a second wouldn't be bad. His hand drops again, to resume the little game with little grabby hands, the teenager nodding again to Melissa's request. "Yeah, my lips are sealed on that one."

"Good. Because I'd hate to end up disliking you on association alone," Melissa says, satisfied with his agreement, as Junie is more than satisfied to keep playing. "So why work so early? What happened to school? Or are you trying to kill yourself and do both?" she asks curiously, fighting back a laugh as Junie grabs a handful of snow and smooshes it on Devon.

"I graduated already," Devon answers, turning a mischevious grin on to Junie. He makes a big show of bending down and brushing the snow from his leg, the whole time giving the little girl a squinty-eyed, half grinning look. "I was getting ready to start my second semester at the university when I dropped out." The boy 'hmphs' teasingly at Junie before straightening again, looking back to Melissa.

"Smart boy," Melissa says, sounding impressed. "I barely graduated high school, but then, I liked skipping," she says, grinning and flicking a bit of snow at the girl, which has her laughing. Then both arms are lifted to Devon, a clear plea to be picked up. It might even be what her babbling means. "Why not hit Hollywood though if you wanna work in show business?"

"What, and miss the winters?" Devon grins and shakes his head. "No way. Besides, I'm under age and the city has a pretty good market for talent too." With a glance down at Junie, Dev reaches to pick her up, but finds his arms are too short. He makes a big show of trying to reach, shoulders pressed up to his ears and hands straining. "Can't… quite… reeaaach."

With a short, but noisy and exaggerated exhale, Devon peers down at Junie. "Sorry little bug. You gots to grow more." Two pinched fingers are held up to indicate how much. "Just a teeny bit."

That's just not good enough for Junie! She waves her arms insistently, making noises that are the same. Right before she loses her balance and falls on her butt in the snow, blinking owlishly up at Devon. But it means she can play in the snow some more, and kids her age are easily distracted.

"Were you around for the blizzard in May last year?" Melissa asks dryly. "I'm from the south and even I got tired of snow. Besides, Hollywood doesn't have the curfew I don't think. Bet it's easier to deal out there."

Devon chuckles and shakes his head at the child. Silly kid. Tilting his head back and looking to Melissa, his brows lift in question. "Yeah, I was here for it. Glad so far this year isn't too bad." Yet. "And sure, Hollywood might not have a curfew but—" He waves toward the apartment building and grins. "You can try talking my aunt into moving. Or letting me go."

"Oh, I'm not the best one for that. I left without permission. I just really hate the curfew. I mean, curfews are for teens who still live at home, not adults with kids of their own. And the punishment for breaking them should be grounding, not jailtime," Melissa says, shaking her head and sighing.

"I know," Devon replies, actually sounding serious for just a moment. But only just. Then he snaps his fingers and shakes his head. "Darn that curfew. Think I saw the president out on his porch shaking a cane and yelling at those 'damned kids to get off his lawn'. No, but seriously. That curfew thing is a joke, and not a very funny one. What're they going to do next for the 'safety of the people'? Make everyone walk around in laceless shoes and pink sweats?"

That has Melissa's brow arching. "Are you…do you not watch the news? They've done a lot that's supposed to protect people. The curfew. Registration. Moab. Hell, this island is basically a place to shove the Evolved so we're all in one place where they can keep an eye on us. I'll bet your evolved, aren't you? And/or your aunt?"

It's hard to work where Devon does and not watch the news, but the boy tries to make light of the situation. "And martial law, and martial law where they can shoot you on sight if you sneeze out your ass. Plus you have to have a card in order to ride the bus or a cab. Yeah, I'm pretty up to date on current events." The teenager glances toward the apartment building, hands returning to his coat pockets. "Yeah. She is. I'm still deciding."

When he mentions the shooting on sight Melissa's gaze drops to Junie and she looks sad for a moment. "Wait, you're still deciding? How do you decide if you're evolved or not? It's a physical thing. In your blood. Either you are or you aren't. I mean, there's the unmanifested people, but they're still definitely evolved." She looks back up to him. "And for the record, I'm evolved too."

"I'm…" Devon actually frowns for a moment, still watching the apartment complex. "Yeah, I haven't manifested yet." He looks back to Melissa, his grin returned but not quite reaching his eyes. "Sorry, I get what's going on and it sucks. It's not fair that, after all these years of fighting for equality for all people, another race shows up and they shat all over it. Believe me when I say if I could I'd stop it, somehow."

Melissa smiles at him, though it's still a bit sad. "I believe it. And you're not the only one. On any of those counts. I'd love to wave a wand or a hand and make everyone see us as equal to them. I'll be lucky if it happens in her lifetime though," she says, nodding to the baby, still enthralled with the snow.

"When you do manifest…if you need any help, let me know. In addition to just being evolved, I also work at the Suresh Center as a counselor. Part of my job is helping the newly manifested, both with control of their ability and just dealing with it. The emotional stuff, I mean."

Devon looks to the child and can't help but grin, though it's touched lightly with sadness. "Too bad everything we all learned, in history and through history, was all for naught. The lynching and mobs are only going to get worse unless someone steps up and pushes back." He gives a shake of his head. "Thanks for the offer," the teenager continues, sincere though he shrugs. "I'll …think about it."

Melissa smiles and nods. "You certainly don't have to. I'd understand if you didn't want to, since you only just met me. I just have this compulsion, where I have to try and help people." She looks back to Junie, then rises to her feet and scoops up the girl. "And I should get this one in before I have to help a cold get better," she says, kissing the girl's cheek light. "It was nice meeting you though, Devon. I'm up in 303, just in case," she says, smiling.

"Pleasure's mine," Devon replies with a flourish and a bow. Straightening again, he waves a hand to Junie. "Buh-bye little bug. I'll see you 'round, 'kay?" Giving the pair a grin, the teenager jogs ahead to pull open the door, waving the two in first. "Ladies first, of course. My aunt and I are in 205. —If you need anything or, y'know, you decide that you can't find better than me for that job."

Melissa laughs and nods, following him a more sedate pace towards the door. "I will. You take care, Devon. And careful in the snow, especially with the flu going around. Don't want our new friend getting sick." The concern even seems genuine, as is her smile. Then inside she goes, heading up to her apartment.

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