It's Not Charity


jaiden_icon.gif tess_icon.gif

Scene Title It's Not Charity
Synopsis Tess visits Jaiden, and gets an offer of help for more than photography.
Date November 29, 2010

Jaiden's Garage

In the heart of Red Hook, most buildings are powered down, a few burned out, and few more have been looted. Jaiden's place, though, seems to be relatively untouched thanks to the chain link fence and empty land around it. Deemed as too much trouble by most rioters, aside from a bit of burned fencing and one burnt car pulled up against the outside fence that was used as an impromptu ladder before the people were halted by the razor wire. Even now, the lights blazing forth show that this is an island of power in the middle of a sea of darkness.

Sitting on the porch like everything is normal is Jaiden. A radio plays in the garage - NPR's playing classical right now. Soothing, and on the workbench in front of him is a carburetor that's in bits. Working on mechanical things is relaxing, and when he's worrying about Delia, the people downstairs, and other odd things, something to take your mind off the world is a good thing.

Last time Tess was here she leaped over the fence to get into Jaiden's back yard. This time she's moving a bit more normally. Sedately, even, at least for her. So it's right up through the front, walking even, and offering a smile when she spots Jaiden. "Hey, long time no see, photographer boy who can't parkour to save his life."

"Hey there, Tess." Jaiden looks up from his carburetor, the gate still half open, before giving the girl a grin. "Same to you, Photographer girl who was supposed to teach me parkour before the world went straight to hell." He motions her over into the light. "You okay? Want a bite to eat or a drink?"

"Yeah, well, world going to hell isn't that much of a stretch," Tess says dryly. "Long story short, I'm now a manifested orphan with an unsightly scar. But yeah, I could go for a drink. Whatever you've got that's handy. I'm not picky." She pauses, considers, "Something sweet would be nice though?"

"Soda, tea, water, or booze. I can do just about anything in the kitchen." Jaiden gets to his feet and shuffles the workbench back into the garage, hitting a button to swing the gate closed and lock it. It's not like she can't get past the fences - she's done it before - and even so, he'll let her out if she can't. The comment about being a manifested orphan gets his attention, though. "you okay?"

"Soda works," Tess says, following him, hands in her coat pockets. The question has her shrugging. "Getting there. Sure you don't wanna hear the whole story anyway. How you been? You seen Delia around? Been calling her for a few weeks but haven't gotten an answer."

Jaiden heads down to the apartment below, lights on, music playing. It's like nothing went on outside. A little slice of normal in the middle of a war zone, and as he heads for the fridge he catches the rest of her statement. "Well, therein lies a tale…" He puts a bottle of soda - one of the good mexican cokes made with real sugar - on the bar and takes a seat on one of the stools. "She's….out." A quaint way to put it, but there it is, Jaiden actually giving a small chuckle before continuing. "What do you know about Delia?"

"Well, not much, really, I guess. We've only met a couple times, but she's totally one of my BFFs, with Quinn," Tess admits with a shrug as she sits down and opens the coke, sipping at it. "What do you mean out though? She leave town for the riots? I heard a lot of people were doing that. Hell, I got shipped off to Atlantic City myself."

How to put it….lord. "Well, brace yourself then. Delia's evolved. Like me, like you, apparently too. Keep an eye out in your dreams for a redhead in a white dress, because that might be her wandering through." Jaiden sighs and grabs for an apple, a little wilted, but otherwise fine, taking a bite and chewing thoughtfully for a moment before continuing. "Delia, somehow, on one of her little dream journeys got…lost. Her spirit, the best way I can put it, got disconnected from her body and now she's wandering around dreamland, trying to find her way home. She's been 'out' for almost a week and a half now…"

Eyes narrow the moment he mentions Delia in dreams. "Wait, wait. Are you sayin' that that was really Delia? I was just dreamin' 'bout her?" Tess asks. "I had a dream about her last week or somethin'. She did say somethin' about bein' lost I think…Had me freaked though, 'cause she said somethin' 'bout bein' in me. I swear I stood in the mirror for a freakin' hour waitin' for my hair to turn red or somethin'."

Then she frowns. "Is she gonna be alright? How does she get back home? Or, to her body. Whatever? She'll be okay, right?"

"That really was Delia. She's been in my head, in the middle of a battlefield, and in a friend of mine, Elisabeth's head, watching her put together a puzzle on a sea of black water." Jaiden takes another bite of his apple, tossing it half-eaten into the trash, appetite gone thanks to the worry. It's like he was forcing himself to eat, which he probably was. "She was just visiting, and when she came to me, we kind of worked out what it was she needed to find." He gets to his feet, making his way to the fridge to see if anything reaches out to embrace him. "Apparently when she dreams, she has an anchor point that she brings with her, and someone caused her to lose that connection. It manifests as a crucifix around her neck, and we figured out that's what was missing." He turns to look at Tess after a moment. "So you're evolved, yeah? You been registered yet?"

"I'll keep an eye out for a crucifix in my dreams?" Tess suggests, though she doesn't sound too hopeful. But then she moves on, at least verbally, and nods. "Yeah. Been registered since the day it was required. But I thought I was an empath and I…wasn't. I manifested for real about a week before the riots. Actually got out of the hospital just in time to get sent out of the city for the riots. But I'm registered correctly now."

Jaiden shakes his head, closing the fridge door with a thump. "Not that easy…needs to be _her_ crucifix. She dropped it in someone's dream two sundays ago, and now she needs to find that particular person…a ghost girl, apparently, to get it back. It's a long, complicated story, kind of like yours, which I'm sure you don't want to hear about." Jaiden looks over his shoulder with a small smile. "Serious question time for you, Tess. You okay? You got a place to go, food on your plate, clean clothes and the like?"

The question has Tess going very quiet and very still. "I have a place to go. My dad…I'd only known him for a month or so when he was killed, but his best friend arranged for me to have his place in Dorchester Towers. Got clothes, too, and a bit of savings. But I haven't been able to work since before the riots." There's a long hesitation, then the front of her shirt is tugged up, just enough to show the healing gunshot wound on her stomach. "Hard to be a stripper when this happens."

Jaiden winces at the healed wound and at the loss of income due to that injury, nodding a little, motioning for her to put her shirt down before fixing her with his expressive olive gaze. "Okay…part of what I do is help people. I don't just fix cars…I help fix other things too, when they need a little massaging in the right direction. If you need anything at all. Anything. A place to stay. A job. A change of clothes. Anything. You come to me, night or day. You call me if you can't come and I'll come get you or send someone to pick you up. I know where you're coming from right now. Injured, unable to work in your profession. It's bloody hard." He smiles. "I just want you to know you don't have to go it alone."

"I like where I'm staying. It's one of only two things I have to remember my dad," Tess says quickly. "And yeah, it's hard. I've started lookin' for other jobs to hold me over, but I'm not sure I'll be able to go back to strippin'. Who wants a stripper with scars, yanno?" She shrugs a little. "Thanks though. I don't wanna take any charity, but if it gets bad…I'll give ya a call."

"Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh. It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars. Leonard Cohen said that in one of his songs." Jaiden muses for a moment. It's kind of fitting now.

He nods to the polite decline of his help but he's put it out there and she knows that, if things get bad, she's got a place to go and hopefully Delia'll be back in time to welcome her if she does need a pick me up. "I'm not offering charity, Tess, just so you know. I know folk who could use a few pictures taken, now and again and I'm willing to show you a few things on action shots and things like that. how to frame up a photo. Mabye get you a few bucks selling photos of tourists before you get into the big stuff of selling stories."

"I don't have a good camera yet, but Quinn's gonna invest in one, since I'm gonna do shots for her and her band. Did try to sell some shots, but…didn't work out," Tess says with a sigh and a shrug, slumping a bit. "I do wanna learn more about photography though. I really do. Been focusin' on it for a while now."

"well….You've got to learn how. it's not just point and shoot, as you may have guessed." Jaiden grins and gets to his feet, heading to a bookshelf in the back hall, scanning the titles for a moment before grabbing a big book with a yellow symbol on the spine of a hollow rectangle and another, smaller one, before returning and laying them on the bar. The first is a National Geographic book of photos. Hundreds of them, landscapes, people, all published with locations and scenes to let the reader know where it's been taken. The second is a book by Ansel Adams: "Basic Techniques in Photography." These are slid across the bar to rest right in front of Tess. "Study those and bring me….hrm…your five best photos when you have a chance after reading these. I'll critique and point you in the right direction - even might loan you some equipment until QUinn gets you your own camera." He pauses. "If you want, of course."

"Oh, I know it's not just point and shoot. I may have crap equipment, but I've been takin' pictures for years now," Tess says, nodding and opening the Ansel Adams book and starting to flip through. "I think we're goin' soon to get the camera. She's been tryin' to keep me cheered up since my dad."

The adams book is almost a textbook, with history and techniques from black and white to color. There are a few handwritten annotations in there, too, notes about what worked for Jaiden and what didn't. "if you need me to point you toward the right kinds, let me know, or get Quinn in contact with me so I can steer you away from the crap brands."

Tess glances up and smiles a bit. "Thanks, I appreciate it. Was thinkin' about takin' some classes too, but right now don't think I can manage it. But I'll manage it sometime. Then there'll be books with my name on 'em. People'll be talkin' 'bout Tess Winslow-Zarek fifty years from now!"

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