How Stella Got Her Groove On


stella_icon.gif victor_icon.gif

Scene Title How Stella Got Her Groove On
Synopsis Vic and Stella have a date after she's off work. Psychic discomfort!
Date February 17, 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.

About five minutes after Stella's shift was supposed to end, Vic calls. Phonering. Ringring.

Stella jumps a little as her pocket begins to vibrate, and fishes around in it for her phone, extracting it and opening it. She presses it to her ear. "Hullo?"

"It's Vic. How would you like me to get you dinner at a simple little diner called the Nite Owl? Nothing fancy. But you'd sure make the place prettier." He must've been working on that line.

Stella nods into the phone, before realizing she can't be seen. "Sure. I'll be right there." She obtained directions and a few minutes later was standing in front of the diner, looking up at the neon owl and grinning a little giddily.

Vic's quite visible inside, sitting in a booth with a couple of menus, tinkering with an MP3 player. He's got a glass of water that he's sipped about half empty, but other than that is waiting for his date.

Naturally once she enters, he looks up. He's been looking at everyone coming in just to see if they were her. When she finally is the one, he grins and tries to make eye contact to signal her over.

Stella notices Vic right away, and lifts her hand to wave. /Wow, he's cute./ She thinks to herself, grinning big as she walks over to him and slides into the seat across from him. "Whatcha got there?" Stella nods towards the MP3 player.

"It's this new fangled thing called an iPod? Trying to figure out whether I should eat it or pound it on the table until it works." replies Vic with playful sarcasm, sliding the thing across the table so Stella can check it out if she wants. It's one of the newer iPod Touch models. "I scraped together my spare cash for one a few weeks ago. So, any word from your boss yet? Do you get to keep your job?"

Stella chuckles. "Fancy. What kind of music do you like to listen to?" She begins to scroll through the artists, curious to see who will pop up. "And no - she wasn't there when I left. She and Brenda will talk and then get back to me on their decision. Not sure exactly when."

There's a lot of punk and metal on there, and hip-hop, but most of it turns out to actually be classic rock. Vic's tastes are old school. "Cool. I really hope you get it." he says with a grin. And a shade of something passes over his expression before he sounds a little serious, "So Stella, I know we just met but I wanna get something out of the way and everything before you know…this is anything." There's a twinge of nervous to Vic at this, but he's done it enough times with enough different people that it gets easier every time, really.

Stella stops perusing the iPod and places it on the tabletop, glancing up to meet Vic's eyes. His voice sounded serious, and so she gave him all her attention, undivided. She folded her hands on the table and smiled into his face. "Go ahead. I'm listening."

True to form, Vic just dives right into it. He's not one for skirting the subject long, if at all. "You know how the Evolved have been all over the news and stuff? I'm one of those." Shifting where he sits, he gets his wallet out and produces a Registration card for Linderman Act compliance. Then sets it on the tabletop for Stella to see. "I know some people are kind of freaked about it, so I like to be upfront."

Stella picks up the card and turns it over in her fingers. "I'm not freaked out. My mom is a technopath. And.. and." She takes a deep breath. "And I can read minds." She peers up at Vic through her lashes to see his reaction, biting down on her lower lip.

Vic's only reaction really is relief. At first. Because hey, he knows plenty of Evolved people and of course they tend to not be freaked out about their particular talents. But then it processes that Stella just said she can read minds. So he mentally cringes and thinks: Really? So you heard me checking out your boobs?

Stella chuckles a little, and thinks firmly, staring at Vic, projecting the thought into his head: /Yes. Also, I can do this. If it helps, I was checking you out, too./ Aloud, she says, "I realize that having a.. relationship, of any kind, with a telepath can be difficult. But there are techniques of clearing your mind that I can teach you, and I would never intentionally spy. I just can't turn it off, so I can't help hearing some things, especially if you think them really strongly."

"Oh. My. God." moans Victor, utterly embarassed. He crosses his arms on the tabletop and hides his face there, all at once wanting to laugh about it because it IS funny, but also very much wanting to disappear. His voice comes muffled, "Oh…I was thinking pretty strongly…"

Stella is also torn between awkwardness and laughter, and gently pats his head. "It's certainly not the worst thought I've ever heard, Vic. Don't feel bad. What can I say to make it better?" She's blushing bright pink, her lower lip still caught between her teeth.

Face still tucked away, Vic waves a hand as if to signal he'll be all right. "Just gimme a minute. I'll be okay." He peeks out and says, "I have superspeed. You probably already figured it all out, huh?" In fact, "How much DO you know about me already?" That might save time.

Stella shakes her head. "I wasn't actively listening. When I'm not trying to listen, I more sense emotions and concepts than actual details. I knew you were upset about something when you came in.. something about someone close to you. And I knew you found me attractive. I didn't know you had superspeed - that's very cool." There's a smile in her voice.

Extracting himself from self-imposed embarassment, Vic rubs his face and takes his registration card back. It goes back in the wallet. "I guess I do spend a lot of time thinking about that. My sister was murdered about a month and a half ago. Almost two months. It's why I came back here from California." Not really. It was an excuse. "Well…" he shrugs, censoring himself for the lie of omission. "Really I guess that's more an excuse. But it's really kinda bad karma all around, you know?"

Stella nods, her face softening at this news. "I'm so sorry, Vic. That must be so hard for you." She reaches over to pat his hand, an impulsive move. "Is there anything I can do to make it better?"

Find Sylar. Vic mentally blurts that before reflexively saying, "Not really." But he smiles at the concern and puts a hand over Stella's. "You're really nice. Are you sure you didn't just end up in New York by mistake?" Clearing his throat, he goes for a subject change. "So, you hungry?"

Stella nods vigorously. "I would kill for some curly fries and a burger. Ooh, and a strawberry milkshake. Or a chocolate milkshake. Oh man, I can't choose! Help me choose?"

With gravitas Vic wiggles fingers at Stella like a Jedi Mind Trick and says, "You want chocolate. And two straws." He grins and picks up the menu in front of him to pore over what he wants. "Seriously? Thanks for agreeing to meet me. I need real human contact. It's like everybody I talk to is involved in all kinds of insane plots and heavy things. I just want someone to laugh with for a change."

Stella smiles at Vic. "Chocolate it is! I was happy to come. You're my first friend here. Real human contact is so necessary in life. I could never understand people who are always alone, with no friends at all. And there's this album I saw in a store once, that stuck with me.. it was called, "Only With Laughter Can You Win." Deep, huh? What do you think you'll be getting? Am I talking too much?"

The grin is back on Vic's face. "No. Please. I like talking." He doesn't take long to decide, "I want a patty melt with seasoned fries. And by the way that is totally deep. It's like I read this quote once by Mark Twain and it said something like 'the true source of laughter is not joy but sorrow'. And seriously, I need to laugh and get rid of some of the spiritual badness that's just bothering me. But it all just builds up, you know?"

Stella nods her agreement. Signaling the waitress, she tells the woman her order, and lets Vic do the same. "So, how 'bout you play something for me on this fancy music machine?" She suggested, sliding the device over to Vic. "I think I have mine, too. We can each wear an earbud and take turns playing songs. You first. What's your iPod's name?"

"Uh…I suck. I named it iPod." Somehow Vic finds this embarassing. "I'm like the opposite of creative, really. Which is kind of sad because you seem like you're really creative." The good news is that food's on the way. That's one thing out of the way. He turns on the iPod and scoots out of his side of the booth, then joins Stella on her side. Because you have to be close to share earbuds, right? Right.

Stella chuckles. "Maybe I'll rub off on you. First things first, we need to come up with a name for your poor identityless iPod. How about.. hmm. Well, is it a boy iPod or a girl iPod?" The waitress arrived with their milkshake just in time to hear this sentence, and gave the pair a very strange look before giving them two straws from her apron and leaving. "Oooh, chocolate!"

Rub off on…THANKS STELLA. Vic puts a hand over his eyes and sighs for a moment. Thank god for the waitress! Vic gleefully tells her, "We had an iPod!" Then puts his arm around Stella, playing the role of a proud parent of a little Apple product. Sometimes it's just best to embrace weirdness. "Lemme try?" he asks for the milkshake.

Stella nods, offering him the other straw. She misses the innuendo in her words and the effect it has on him, at least for the moment, because the milkshake is just /that good/. Stella sucks it through the straw, then licks her lips, leaning back. "So? Boy or gi - ahh, brain freeze!" She holds her head with both hands and winces.

The move to get an arm around Stella may have worked, but Vic doesn't make a big thing of it. He takes his arm back and winces in sympathy with Stella. "You gotta slow down. Take it from me." He watches her for a second because even though there really isn't much you can do for a brainfreeze, it'd be rude to pretend nothing was going on. "You okay?" he asks, before tapping the iPod and saying, "It's gonna have to be a boy. Because I just don't put chick music on it."

Stella rubs her temples until the brainfreeze subsides, and then smiles. She only notices that Vic had managed to get his arm around her when he removes it, and is a little regretful when he does. Then she turns her mind to boy names. "Steve.. Stuart.. Sherlock? Thomas? Dmititri?"

"That's a lotta names." replies Vic, eyeing the iPod critically and helping himself to the milkshake because Stella must be protected from its brainfreezing powers. "I'm gonna have to veto Stuart and Steve. And Dmitri. And Thomas sounds kinda like something I'd call a chauffeur or a butler. So I'm thinking Sherlock." He holds it up for his date to look at and asks, "Sherlock?" Then sucks a lil milkshake.

Stella takes a suck of the milkshake then nods. "He looks like a Sherlock. Now, what should we listen to on little ol' Sherlock? Pick anything." She finds the earbud and tucks it into the ear closest to Vic, smiling at him and scooting a little closer. Just so the cord wouldn't yank out, of course. Only that.

Vic breaks down a little and asks quietly, "So how'm I supposed to keep my thoughts private, so you don't think I'm a raging pervert?" He doesn't seem to have problems getting well within cuddling distance of Stella, and starts flipping through what he's installed on Sherlock the iPod. Scrolls past The Bad Touch by Bloodhound Gang and groans internally. Keep. Going. Okay. There's something better, Closer by Nine Inch Nai-NO! That's not better! How is that better?? "You know what? You pick a song."

"Maybe this will help. Close your eyes.. and just listen." Stella touched his temples, and unleashed a torrent of her thoughts into his head. /Oh god he smells so -good- and he's warm I can feel his body heat from here how do I not lean in and kiss him oh wow we just brushed arms did he feel what I just felt that tingle was that just me lord he has a really cute ass and look at that mouth and when will he put his arm around me again will it be soon I hope it's soon I can barely think with him this close../

The torrent of female excitement washing through Vic's head makes him slackjawed for a moment. And he clenches his teeth together and says, "…nope! Doesn't much help…" But lest she think he's toying with her or something he adds, "Though I totally admit, I like it. I just don't want any of this to be cheap. You know? I swear to you I'm not gay." As if he has to. iPod forgotten for the moment, he looks to make eye contact with Stella and asks, "Have you had any boyfriends?"

Stella nods, "A handful, in Woodstock. I've always been a bit very comfortable around guys, had lots of guy friends as well as boyfriends. Nothing particularly serious.. nothing really recent, either. And how can what you just heard me think not help? If you know I'm thinking the same things, you know I'm not sitting here thinking you're a big old perv. Quite the opposite. You have to trust me, like I just trusted you. Anyway. Have you had any girlfriends?"

"Plenty. I've had my share." admits Vic easily. He scooches in the seat to better face Stella and says, "I mean, what I'm saying is the whole guy experience? I dunno, this is kinda new to me to be explaining it at all. But it's like, guys have to learn to slow this down up here." He makes a waving gesture to his head. "Knowing for a fact that you're like, eager to get a move-on? Wow." He laughs a little. "Exciting…trust me. But it doesn't help me slow anything down."

"Lots of girls think like I do, more than you'd imagine. Lustful thoughts are some of the hardest to ignore. Not that I don't want to take this slow. There's a difference between.." Stella pauses, searching for words, "Impulses, sheer desire, and what truly makes sense, what's right to do. What you heard was the former. I want to do this right." Her turquiose eyes lift to meet his, and she sighs. "It sounds like it's going to be hard."

That's Vic's cue to laugh. And laugh he does. "Okay!" Yes, naturally upbeat. "Here." he says, offering an earbud to Stella. "Let's pretend we're doing this for the music." He tries again to go through the playlist on the iPod and happens across his playlist for Tool's Lateralus album. Aha. Now this will fly. And immediately he thinks of downloading more songs by Dream Theater later because that'd work too. "You like Tool?"

Stella brushes her fingertips over his when she takes the earbud from him, and smiles into his face. Oh, what a face. He was going to be the death of her. "Sure," she says, distracting herself by focusing on the little lit screen. "I haven't heard a lot of it, though. Oh, look, here comes our food!"

Finally, food. For once Vic is glad for the broadcast thoughts, because he seriously is hungry. And that thought follows just as briefly with a notion that it might actually be pretty cool being with a girl who literally can read your mind. "Oh man I'm so ready for food." he mutters mostly to himself, beaming at the waitress who no doubt has witnessed the evolution of this. Guy sitting here by himself. Guy sitting here across from girl. Guy and girl sitting next to each other. Now guy and girl practically cuddling in the booth together. Aren't they cute!

Stella shakes the ketchup bottle and then squirts a bit on her plate and then a bit more on her burger, before handing the bottle to Vic. She dips a curly fry in ketchup and takes a bite, giving a little groan of pleasure. "Soo good," she said once she swallowed, taking a sip of the milkshake. Stella's knee bumps against his under the table, and she leaves it there.

The kneebump is met with a return pressure that is every bit encouragement. "So. Walk you home?" Vic asks as he starts to dig in. He dollops ketchup on his plate for the fries, but leaves his patty melt exactly as it arrives.

Stella nods with a smile. "Count on it. I'd love to have your company. Yours, and Sherlock's, that is." She grins cheekily before taking a big bite of her burger, chewing, and swallowing, then chasing it with some more milkshake.

February 17th: Pick-Up Chicks
February 17th: Submitted For Your Approval
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