Long Lunch

June 19, 2015:

Columbia has the misfortune of having to take an early lunch. Betsy Braddock intervenes on her behalf.

The Jade Garden, Queensland Park, Metropolis, and Niche Park, Queensland Park, Metropolis

The Jade Garden, Queensland Park, Metropolis

The Jade Garden is an Asian cuisine restaurant that's a bit worn
around the edges, and clearly the money is put into the food. The afternoon
buffet is also very good for those that are trying to pack a lot of calories
on a very tight budget. The wait staff is an elderly couple who haggle over
bills in a fashion familiar to some Asiatic cultures.

They've been thriving under rumors that some of the powered elite of
Metropolis hang out here, though they firmly discourage any paparazzi
through unknown means…

Niche Park, Queensland Park, Metropolis

A road abruptly turns into a lovely little park nestled between three
buildings- more courtyard than recreation area, but marked for common use
with all the familiar signs. There are low hedges separating all the tables
from one another, enough that two people can sit and talk in relative
isolation without being wholly walled off from the world.

Characters

NPCs: Elderly couple --Owners of the Jade Garden, Drive-by paparazzi

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

For people who want 'real' Asian food, it's hard to beat the Jade Garden. They use fresh ingredients and even a lot of home-style techniques, giving the place a rich smell and ensuring it stays almost constantly packed with a clientele who are looking for a truly authentic Asian dining experience.

Betsy has a small two-person table to herself, the seats as near together as they can be while still giving a modicum of personal space to the dining staff. The restaurant is rapidly filling up, though, with the lunch rush hitting. She sips from a giant bowl of pork bone soup, using the large porcelain spoon provided to peck away at it. It's fairly challenging to do a 'low carb' meal there, but some inspired ordering has given her a small tray that's mostly fat and protein, with just a handful of noodles and some rice for a starch to give it volume. Her cell phone sits in her left hand, thumb flying over the touchscreen while she sends message after message over text to various people.

***

Cameron Tenoaks would not *quite* be a fixture at the Jade Garden. In fact, of late she hasn't been by QUITE as much, what with extended duties, showing a couple of the other JL:A members around, and doing her typical 'good samaritan route' on her off -time. This leaves even someone with the most robust of fortitude exhausted and not very willing to go out to deal with the public. When one factors in that Columbia is one of the most notoriously reclusive heroines in Metropolis the odds of her being out during a lunch rush would typically be less than nil, if such a thing were possible.

Normally when she drops by, she drops by *after* the lunch rush, and the couple that owns the place give her a bit of a break on 'cleaning up' the buffet. Today, though, she has to eat earlier because her shift-partner Eric decided he needed to drop by his apartment to pick up a few things.

She'd forgotten what eating out during an actual lunch rush was like, and she's reeling a bit as she walks in.

That's a bit odd, one would expect the statuesque woman to be full of poise and verve given her few public appearances on behalf of various charities — but inwardly, she's cringing.

And then her eyes alight upon 'her' spot. Some woman is speed-texting and eating soup there. Part of her just wants to flee now, come back later when it isn't busy. But the other part of her, that ever-present nagging Mom-voice insists that she defend what is hers, not be a push-over…

She gives the old man and woman a glance of slight irritation, and they motion to the table in question. There's really no other good spot for the paramedic to sit… and those two seats have been reinforced for her…

***

Betsy looks up when Cameron inevitably moves to the tables. And up. There aren't many people who can make the leggy woman with purple hair have to crane her neck, but Cameron certainly fits the bill. Even while texting, her posture is impeccable- one ankle crossed behind the other, back upright, arm holding her phone aloft without resorting to resting an elbow (scandalous!) on the tabletop. She clears her throat and sets her spoon in the bowl, tilting her head a fraction to the side and looking a bit of askance at Cameron. Her Asian features are positively glacial, impossible to get a read on, but her brilliantly amethyst eyes speak of a tremendous life and vivacity behind that carefully composed frame.

"Yes? Can I help you?" Betsy says, looking at the athletic, tall woman who moves to her temporary dining spot.

***

The relatively giant woman glances at the empty spot, and then to Betsy.

"Owner sent me to this table. Mind?"

Her motion to the chair not taken seems to indicate that Cameron isn't trying to provide some sort of customer service, nor is she trying to evict the Asiatic woman from the spot she has already taken. The posture is appreciated on an empathic level — after all, it is what Cam's mom is always preaching to her about, remaining firm, resolute, but… classy.

A few of the patrons are starting to stare, and a few murmurs are starting to waft about.

Is this going to be the day that Columbia loses it in public, proves that she's not that shining paragon that all the media hype plays her up to be? Is it going to be some sort of cat-fight? Or… even better, is it some sort of unannounced relationship that the tabloids can cash in on?

Cameron's face reddens slightly as she glances hopefully to the empty chair, then back to Betsy.

***

If the tabloids get wind of /this/ relationship, Betsy might just die of embarassment, though at least her funeral pictures won't show her blushing. The woman's face seems incapable of expression emotion on its own. Anyone familiar with Cosmo might find Betsy vaguely familiar, given her cover picture on it last year. But this woman is Asian, with remarkably amethyst eyes, despite her cultured, posh British accent that just smacks of the aristocracy.

"Of course not," Betsy says calmly, gesturing with a free hand at the seat across from her. "Please do join me- I do despise eating in solitude." She gives Cameron the sort of smile one might offer a familiar face, something about her posture helping to dismiss some of the curious stares going Cameron's direction (also, a low-level telepathic field, but Cameron doesn't need to know that). "My name is Betsy, and you're quite welcome," she assures Cameron. "I'm just having a snack, but if you're here for lunch, I wouldn't mind joining you. Tea?" she offers, reaching for the little china pot that's steeping near her elbow, and offering to pour a small cup for the athletic super-heroine across from her.

***

It's the faintest of smiles and a slight thankful nod that presage the orange-haired woman sitting down. Despite the irregularities, Cameron is not thrown off by looks. She grew up in Queensland Park, and after she graduated from college she stuck around. Appearance doesn't mean as much to her as character, though she's not as good a judge of it as some others she associates with might be.

The seat is taken swiftly, and with that feeling of not quite as many people staring at her she relaxes slightly.

"Cameron. Thank you. Yes, please."

The cup is held with expert precision, almost as if she had trained for many hours on how to hold a tea cup 'just so'. Not in the formality sort of sense, but rather in the 'not crushing it into powder' sense.

Each word she emits is a volume of work compared to another person, and about as hard to bring into the public eye despite the lessened scrutiny.

"General Tsao is good. Should try it."

The elderly woman from the couple that owns the place comes over with menus despite Cameron not waving them over, with a winning smile on her face and an eagerness to provide the best food for her customers.

***

Betsy pours with both hands, something of a ritual about the motion- controlled and precise, as if pouring the tea momentarily consumes all of her focus.

"It's nice to meet you, Cameron." She lifts her teacup in both hands, lifting it in a salute to the woman, and takes a short sip. It's then that the business owner approaches and Betsy looks to her, her arresting eyes speaking volumes to the woman. A brief exchange is shared- Betsy speaks a few words of Japanese, then switches to almost flawless Cantonese, their exchange short and to the point. The older woman bows twice and shuffles off, leaving Betsy and Cameron to their devices.

"It seems the owners know you fairly well. She said you're one of her favorite customers. Do you eat here frequently?" she asks, taking a small sip of her tea again. "Or do you know the proprietors personally?"

***

The focus on the pouring of tea gets a brief nod of approval from the taller woman.

"Likewise, Betsy."

The sipping of the tea is mirrored, and then Cameron tilts her head at the exchange. It's not quite the same words she's heard the owners using amongst themselves, but she shrugs it off. The brief respite leaves her a bit more at ease, then the conversation shifts to a bit more personal of a stance and she winces.

"Used to come in all the time after the lunch rush. Been busy lately."

She takes another small sip of her tea. If there wasn't the rush here right now, she'd probably be drinking from a much larger cup.

"I… we.. have a working relationship."

There's a bit of a pained smile from Cameron as a young man of indeterminate ancestry brings out a massive dish of egg rolls and places it on the table, then skedaddles out of sight.

The dish gives her pause, then she lets out a slow sigh.

"Haven't seen you here before. Lunch crowd, or new?"

***

"I used to come around here some time ago," Betsy replies with easy poise, hands resting on the edge of the table. "It's one of my favorite places- they make it here in a way you can't get anywhere else in the city unless you're willing to brave some vermin in the process."

"You seem a bit uneasy," Betsy says, looking at Cameron curiously. She takes in the woman's extremely athletic form with a minutely appreciative eye- Betsy, being a professional fitness fanatic, certainly looks as if she could squat no small amount of weight herself. "I really don't mind the company. Eating by oneself seems… well. Very lonesome and a bit sad, doesn't it?" she says, her unreadable face regarding Cameron's evenly. After a moment, she forces a small but sincere smile, as if having to remind herself that using expressions is part of having real, human conversations.

***

"I've tried others…" Sometimes, the worst vermin at them wasn't bugs or rodents, but the more two-legged variety. Especially within the last year or so. "This is the best one, including New York and Gotham."

She takes another sip from the cup and downs an egg roll in two bites.

"Easier to dine alone, usually. Less risk.."

"…well, media… gets crazy."

It's not quite #FirstWorldProblems. Cameron's situation is rather… unusual, to say the least. And… it's hard for her to express herself, especially in public. The smile is met with an awkward return smile, sort of like the one that a child might give their grandparents at their parent's admonition to 'be nice' or 'be respectful'.R
"Dining out? Hard when you're struggling."

She takes two more of the eggrolls and snarfs them down in the blink of an eye, before looking left to right to see if anyone is watching her from other tables.

***

"Very true," Betsy agrees. She picks up a pair of chopsticks and with an effortless motion, picks up an egg roll and sets it on her little appetizer plate. She cuts it neatly in half with a knife, breaking it down to a more manageable portion, and chews thoughtfully. She handles the chopsticks like… well, like a native.

After a long silence where she doesn't say anything at all, Betsy pads the corners of her dark-cherry stained lips with a napkin. "Cameron," she says quietly. "You seem extremely nervous and uncomfortable," the British woman points out, her tone polite and non-judgemental. "Would you like to get a plate 'to go'? If you'd prefer some company, I'd be willing to go with you somewhere- even if there's a different restaurant with a less open seating arrangement?" she suggests in a coolly controlled monotone, looking at Cameron's face curiously.

***

The skill and fluidity of the chopstick usage isn't lost on the giant woman. She gives an approving nod and makes a couple more eggrolls disappear.

"I'm not a very good people person 'off the job'." It's blunt and to the point, but another thing she's been raised on is to confront a thing and own it, though she's constantly having issues with that.

"If I got a plate 'to go' it'd wipe out a third of the buffet and my wallet for the rest of the month. Lunch rush just started, that's not cool, either."

At least she's trying to be considerate of others.

"The only other place I can think of you're… probably not cleared for. No offense?"

She's probably referring to something dealing with the Justice League.

Cameron's expressions are a veritable montage of concern, frustration, consideration, hunger, polite respect, distracted meanderings for a brief moment, then back to not quite 'game face'.

***

"Nor am I," Betsy says with a tone vaguely filled with wry self-deprecation. She picks up another tiny piece of eggroll and takes a ladylike bite. "My friend, Jean- she's always been much better with people than I am."

"I've got a strong feeling that the owners here like you a lot," Betsy says, touching her tongue to her upper lip in thought. "They seem to genuinely appreciate your presence. I have a feeling that they'd certainly accommodate you if you needed to take a meal on the road very suddenly," she suggests delicately- avoiding mention of a rare precognitive flash of the towering orange-haired woman leaving with a large box over one athletic shoulder. "For them it's actually good business. You can sit here taking up a table for an hour while you eat, or they can load you up with food and you can take off and they can bring in another customer." She shrugs idly and picks up another bite of egg roll, dipping it in some sauce. "Do whatever you like. If you don't want company, I won't bother you."

***

Cameron nods quietly and nibbles on an egg roll thoughtfully. How does one quite explain that one is effectively the 'human garbage disposal' without totally embarrassing one's self, on top of any other public attention? Answer: One doesn't.

Anotehr sip of the tea as she considers how to explain or evacuate the scene. It doesn't reek of a set-up, but there's definitely some comfort-zone issues with just being here with so many people. So many opportunities for someone to take a picture, or tweet some innocent *cough* one-liner…

The elderly woman comes back and looks to Betsy with a wide smile, bowing slightly and presenting her with a slip of paper. A bill, already, when the meal hasn't even been ordered?

The orange-haired woman blinks at that, then shrugs. Might be one of those 'trying to move some people along during the lunch rush' things that Betsy had already mentioned.

"While they would accommodate I…don't… know… Are you going to head out?"

***

"Only if you are," Betsy says calmly, producing a credit card before the woman can walk away and handing it- and the bill- back to the owner without looking at it, touching the older woman's arm respectfully to get her attention. <My friend is quite uncomfortable with the crowd, but she is very hungry for your wonderful food. Would you please pack a to-go box for her?> Betsy says, chattering in excellent Cantonese.

<She eats quite a bit,> the older lady says, glancing briefly at Cameron. <Even buffet price will be expensive.>

<I understand. Please charge me whatever you think is appropriate,> Betsy says. The two women offer exchange polite little bows, then Betsy turns back to Cameron.

"And I'll leave only if you would prefer some company. I know a bit of how it feels to be ducking a crowd of people. There's a park not far from here with relatively isolated tables anyone can eat at," she offers, her tone unassuming and polite. "If you'd rather be alone with your thoughts, I of course understand completely."

***

The elderly woman takes the card and the bill with a slight nod of a bow, smiling for all the world like the cat that got the canary. Despite that, she doesn't seem to be deceptive in any sort of malicious way. If anything, it's akin to the grandparent that's pulling off the mother of all jokes on one of their grandchildren.

Of course, a lot of the conversation is lost on Cameron, who's just sort of sitting there trying to blend in and not stick out… until Betsy offers to take it to an isolated park. While a bit forward, it'd be nice to have lunch with someone for a change that isn't her partner on the ambulance. There's a momentary look of concern, the hesitation of doubt even as a massive box is wheeled out to the table on a service cart — it's far too heavy for the elderly couple to carry and they don't DARE trust the precious cargo with the new kid.

<Thank you! She doesn't eat enough! Make sure she eats!> The elderly woman says to Betsy, even as the bill is handed back with the previously noted price paid in full.

Cameron points to the woman, then to Betsy, then sits there with her mouth hanging open in confusion and surprise even as the old woman starts laughing brightly at the reaction.

<Thank you, see you next week!>

Does she know something that Betsy doesn't?

At any rate, the entourage leaves the two a few moments to gather their things and their thoughts.

"Ummm."

***

If there's someone who can beat Betsy for playing the silence game, they aren't going to come to Cameron's rescue. The woman lifts an eyebrow at Cameron, as if reminding her of the question and offer she'd posed to the tall, orange-haired mutant. From her composed, glacial features, it would seem her offer was both quite sincere and quite seriously intended- she rests her chopsticks on her plate to signal that she's done eating and waits, patiently, for Cameron to mull the offer over and get to the decision on her own time. On top of being a ninja, Betsy must be a Zen master.

***

The Metropolis paramedic raises her hand to her forehead to squeeze or rub out the headache that would have been forming there months ago. And then she cracks her neck and straightens up.

"Like you said, it's crowded, we're freeing up a table."

Okay, she's a bit clumsy about attempting to be graceful in defeat. "Let's go check out this park of yours… and then you can tell me how exactly you know the owners?"

As she stands up, she slips a couple of twenty dollar bills under the plate with the egg rolls, giving sneaky looks to the kitchen and the servers. Seems it's almost a game between her and the staff? 'Tip' left, she picks up the box with one hand, not even straining even as the cart rises a bit from the releasing of the load…

***

Betsy slings a black patent leather purse over her shoulder and rises too, slipping her cell phone into it casually. Wearing her heels, the Asian woman is of a height with Cameron, and the two of them- one with blaze orange hair, the other purple, and both with enough muscle to model fitness apparel- get plenty of curious eyes as they leave the restaurant together.

"I don't know them personally. I've eaten here a time or two in the past," Betsy says, holding the door politely for Cameron so she's not juggling the box. She starts stepping out with a long-legged stride, glancing over her shoulder to make sure Cameron can keep up. "I speak some Cantonese, and they understand it well enough- it was only polite."

She leads Cameron about a block, going deeper into the neighborhood, and then abruptly takes a left down a narrow one-lane street, the sort of thoroughfare only a local would use to get around town. "And you? Do you eat there a lot?"

***

There are no pictures taken within the confines of the restaurant or within a block of it. Whatever clout the owner has, or whatever connections seem to ensure privacy well and beyond the 'Somebody Else's Problem' effect that Betsy is radiating. The height with the heels makes Cameron wince a bit. I could NEVER wear heels like that. I'd be bashing my head on every door frame in Metropolis!

She walks along quietly, and the box doesn't appear to be a strain… if anything… the OPPOSITE would seem to be the case, like she's straining to not send the bulky container hurtling over the horizon by mistake. And as far as keeping up? Much the same. All that power, wound down and tightly held back because even relaxing her guard for a moment could mean a rain of Asiatic proportions.

"I used to eat there two or three times a week, but after the Atlantean invasion attempt, the Tomorrow Center bombing, the HYDRA attacks… I don't go there as much. I"m afraid if I hang out there TOO much someone might see it as a good way to make a statement… not just against me but meta-human folks in general? That's why when I go there I go after lunch… usually."

About two blocks away from the eatery a couple of cyclists zip by on the street, pictures flashing as they zip by on motorcycles.

Cameron FREEZES like a deer in the headlights.

***

Betsy doesn't even break stride. In fact, she doesn't seem to notice the cyclists. It takes her a few paces to realize that Cameron's even stopped in her tracks. She turns, a curious frown on her face, and walks back a few steps.

It takes perhaps a little longer than it /should/ for Betsy to suss out the reason for Cameron's fears, and a soft 'ahh' escapes her lips. "Cameron," she begins, trying to get the woman's attention. "There's a saying I like: 'A woman without enemies is a woman who never stood up for anything.'" Awkward pause. Damnit, Jean!

"What I mean to say is that you shouldn't hide who you are. What you are," she tells the woman, her elegant poise a bit at odds with her athletic frame. "And you shouldn't apologize for it or excuse it… or be afraid of it. Trust me when I say the damage would be far, far worse if you…" she exhales. "If /we/," she says, finally confiding in the woman a bit, "hid ourselves from the world." Her amethyst eyes glow with an inner light all their own, a momentary display of the talents Betsy possesses.

***

It took nice words and someone talking to her to shake Cameron out of the fugue. Heat of battle? She's fine. Multi-car collision on a highway with multiple fatalities and critically injured patients? Also fine. Getting punched by someone as strong as the Hulk or Superman? Hurt like hell… but fine. The media, though? The hole in Cameron's armor.

She straightens up a bit. Betsy is talking JUST like her Mom, which just ADDS to the moment of awkward. She straightens up a bit, cracking her neck and noting the glowing eyes.

"It's not as hard in the heat of the moment. When there's action, when you're doing SOMETHING to make things better, it… it's not that important? But… when I'm on lunch, or trying to get a soda or something?" She prattles a bit. "So, how long have you been on the job?"

There's that shift to make it familiar… she's with the JL:A, she's a paramedic… someone being classy and then dropping the hint… obviously much better at social things than her… so fall back to the things she knows.

***

"A few years, now," Betsy responds, stepping back on track to try and keep Cameron moving. Not far away, the road abruptly turns into a lovely little park nestled between three buildings- more courtyard than recreation area, but marked for common use with all the familiar signs. Sure enough, low hedges separate all the tables from one another, enough that two people can sit and talk in relative isolation without being wholly walled off from the world.

"I don't like expressing my talents in public, either," Betsy admits. "Mine run a bit more subtle for the most part. But I spent ten years in modelling, so I'm much more used to paparazzi and amateur photographers. Going to night clubs used to be an ordeal unless I went through VIP entrances." #1stworldproblems, right? "But when there's a threat- lives on the line- I tend to forget all about that," she agrees, settling onto a bench and carefully lifting her long legs to awkwardly fit under the tabletop. "In the moment, all the media and attention feels just so… so… /petty/."

***

One of the little hidden gems of Queensland Park and Cameron, who's lived here most of her life, didn't even know about it. Huh. Learn something new every day. She keeps moving, keeping pace beyond 'just keeping up' with Betsy Again, that feeling of 'holding back'.

The food is carefully deposited on the table, along with plates, napkins, a disposable carafe of tea, and enough food to feed an army. Or Cameron's lunch.

She pulls all the different dishes out and sets them up so Betsy can have a crack at them too, even as she starts to mow through it, pausing briefly to offer comments after having finished a mouthful. She's not one of the 'coarse' Americans — her mom raised her far better than that. Almost like nobility, but not quite.

"I could never get into 'modeling'. I mean, sure, aesthetically it can be appealing but some of the extremes… they aren't much better than pornography. Art should speak to a person, show what the Muse was getting at. Not some abrupt advertisement for… well."

She pauses. "Sorry, liberal arts degree." There's a bit of a wry smirk — oh, hey, Cam DOES have a sense of humor and she's unwinding a lot now that the conversation is isolated somewhat.

"It's why I handle all the emergencies first, and then the media, if I have to. Folks seem to appreciate it more, too."

If the recent trends are correct they don't just appreciate it, they love it to death. She's a hero most can agree on, even if they don't care much for her lack of politics or such.

***

"Mmm." Betsy lifts a shoulder in the sort of shrug that says she disagrees, but is too polite to say so. Moving with precise gestures from her chopsticks she transports a small collection of morsels to her plate, avoiding noodles and focusing on higher protein-content food.

"You are a step up on me with a degree. I only did two years at Oxford before I came back to America. I decided uni wasn't how I wanted to spend my twenties. I have several friends with multiple degrees, but…" She shakes her head, brushing that teased purple hair back from her face. "I'd rather be /doing/ than /studying/. Yes?"

***

The taller orange-haired woman deftly manages a pair of her own chopsticks. The story behind her learning that particular skill is both amusing and a bit disturbing, though perhaps left for another time. A few more mouthfuls of food vanish into the omnivorous appetite before she pauses. "Up until recently, the little bit of talent I had… well, let's just put it this way… ever hear the phrase 'don't quit your day job'?" There's a bit of a wince and a momentary retrospective thought or two as she takes in a few more doses of nutrient, using the food as cover for any awkward silences. There may or may not have been some shifty-eyes there briefly.

***

Betsy is the /queen/ of awkward silence. It's perhaps even worse because she's the kind of person who stays silent in the face of silence, rather than try to broach a new topic to keep a conversation moving forward.

Finally it /does/ dawn on her to say something, though. "I have, but I'm not sure I follow your train of thought," Betsy informs Cameron coolly, picking up a polite bite of ham and chewing on it delicately. She looks at the redhead with a slightly up-ticked eyebrow.

***

"Up until about a year or so ago, I… wasn't this" That's a bit of an awkward fumbling as she tries to think of a good term, a few coming to mind and quickly discarded. "Gifted. There we go. And the circumstances were ah… kind of ah… dramatic. Lot of press, lot of media, lot of" Cameron sort of fugues out for a second. Is it possible to get PTSD from getting useful super-powers even if everything goes right? A couple stick-fulls of food are shoved into her mouth as her hands sort of continue on auto-pilot.

***

"It's a transition," the other woman agrees, shifting on the bench slightly. Betsy looks distantly across the park, emotions unreadable. "I came into my gifts when I was sixteen or so. It was a complex time. Fortunately, my family was quite discreet about it, though we were in the news for… other reasons."

"If you could find a place to help you grow your gifts- to give you relative quietude and isolation while you harnessed your potential- is that somewhere you would consider visiting?" Betsy inquires, turning her amethyst eyes to Cameron.

***

The response sort of shakes the paramedic out of her fugue as the words filter in. Place to train relative isolation harnessed… yes… wait… she's already got that… She nods a bit vigorously. She knows the 'family of connections' thing, all too well.

"I… that's very kind of you to offer! But… ah… I—" She looks at her food for a second then back up. "My mom… Maria Tenoaks, she's been helping me with the whole 'bull in the china shop' thing…. I kind of insisted on it after I nearly cratered some bank robber. I want to save lives, not end them. That's… that's also why I'm with the Justice League."

Huh. Most folks would probably push that first on their resume, or make a big splashy deal about it… not so our Cameron, it would seem. "I can help with really big things with the League, do my normal job as a paramedic, and if I somehow have energy left between the two of those… I go on walks."

Walks?

***

"The League, perhaps, a bit high-profile for my taste," Betsy says, pushing the last bite of her food into a neat pile, deftly plucked up and consumed. She swallows the bite. "Walking is a good exercise. Relieves stress, eases boredom." She reaches for a napkin and wipes her fingers down with deliberate motions. Rising, she carefully folds her plate up and moving to a nearby trash can, places it in the receptacle.

"Before I go, if you'll accept some advice… health and happiness are contingent upon accepting your strengths and weaknesses. If you have a talent, then you should use it and be proud of such. If you have a weakness, then strive to overcome it. But don't let your strengths hinder you, either. Your public image is a reflection of anyone with a talent or gift or power- if you project a positive image, you do us more good than trying to hide yourself from the world."

***

"If you want me to drop a number or something… I mean, I'm not super-connected or anything but.. if you've got skills and you're willing to use them to help people then the Justice League might be able to use your help, even if in only an advisory capacity, or on the side?" Suddenly Cameron's blinking because she didn't quite realize that her appetite was not that typical. There's a quick downing of an entire bowl of fried rice before she waggles her chopsticks! "Oh, yes. Walks—I use them to help the injured. And sometimes even breaks up gang fights. No one ever wants to tag a healer… the last time someone shot at me on one of my walks that wasn't power-related? Guy turned himself in to the police department and apologized to me within six hours."

Metropolis IS a bit weird that way sometimes. She takes the remainder of the food and packs it up, taking the waste to the can to dispose of it.

"Thank you. Though… if the paparazzi come after you… be careful? They sometimes get themselves into accidents and such when they're chasing me around. And… do you need a lift anywhere?"

***

"I'm quite well versed in handling those vultures," Betsy says with a slight tick at the corner of her mouth that suggests a smile. "But I'm certainly not opposed to making a professional relationship with an aspiring heroic champion. "In our… more public roles, I'm known as Psylocke. But please call me Betsy," she suggests to the redhead. "My number is…" she rattles off a ten-digit series to Cameron, automatically reaching for the sPhone tucked in her back pocket and unlocking it with a flicker of her thumb. "If you'll text me quickly, I'll add you now before I leave. Smile," she deadpans, already taking a photograph of Cameron's face before the other woman can protest.

***

"Alright, Betsy. I go by Cam, field handle 'Columbia'. No. Not like the country… like the spirit of American exploration. Long story." And while she is somewhat isolated, she is tech-savvy enough to enter the numbers onto her phone and zip a text off to the purple-haired noblewoman.

The picture, though, catches a thoughtful Cameron typing in the numbers and smiling a bit as she's distracted by the effort. There's a few blinks. "Please don't sell or share that? You can have the picture, just… please?"

It's not like the paramedic was nude or anything, yet the tone of her voice would seem to imply that. Her grey-green eyes look worriedly at Betsy, and then her phone.

***

"Why would I?" Betsy asks, genuinely puzzled. She turns the phone around- Cam's picture is saved with her number under Cam 'Columbia'. "I'm not good with faces. The pictures help me keep track of numbers." Her fingers tap on the screen for a few seconds and she tucks the phone into her back pocket.

"It was nice to meet you, Cam. I'm also on Facebook, both privately and professionally, if you're an Internet fiend like I am. Do be careful, and remember to be proud of who you are- as a hero and as a woman."

***

The worried expression fades like mist in the morning sun. "Oh. OH! Damn. I'm sorry, I…" She's clearly had the rough experience, which might be why she's so paranoid about the media. "If you need me, call me. If it's not illegal and someone needs a hand, let me know, okay? I can't always break free from everything I'm doing, but I'll try."

"Likewise, Betsy… I'm not on Facebook, though the League is insisting I at least start a basic page so folks know I'm affiliated. I'm always careful, and… thank you. For both the chat and.. the lunch spot. That's worth more than gold to me."

She straightens up a bit under the effects of the 'pep talk'. "You sure you don't need a lift anywhere? I can get you anywhere in the Tri-Cities area within ten minutes, twenty if you don't want your hair messed up."

***

"No, thanks- my apartment's only a block away, and it's a nice day for walking. Goodbye, Cam." Betsy starts walking away with a long-legged stride, hips swinging loosely as she leaves the privacy of the tiny park and heads back out to join civilization.

***

Cameron quietly appraises Betsy as she departs, pondering before her phone goes off. Eric. Wondering where the heck she's at. Well, then.

With a hop, step, and a leap she's airborne, zipping through the streets to catch up with her shift-partner. The rest of the food will have to be eaten on her next break. Still, she's got a smile she's not had in a while, and the rest of the day for her will go… amazingly well.

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