Shopping with the Girls

January 27, 2016:

Peter spends some time with Betsy, Meggan, and Lunair

//Times Square - New York City //

Times Square is possibly THE iconic image of New York. The pedestrian plaza stretches from the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Ave to West 42nd Street. It is one of the worlds most toured attractions, with some estimated 39 million visitors a year and of course one of the most famous New Years Countdown ceremonies in the United States.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's a Tuesday, and our friendly neighbourhood photographer is out on the town. He's living it up. He took some public transport, changed into his costume to get across town, and then back again so that he could buy his favourite aunt, and only aunt, a birthday present. He'd been saving up for a while, and finally had enough to get something nice. But what to pick? He's no fashionista.

And so, our hero stands in front of a wall of bags, each hanging from a hook, looking from one to another, trying to figure out why some are more expensive than others, and which one would suit his Aunt May. Being a single guy, he sticks out like a sore thumb, wearing his blue and grey horizontally striped jumper, blue jeans, and looking as if he doesn't have a clue in the world. Maybe someone could help him out. But the clerks don't seem too interested. Probably because he doesn't look like he can afford anything in this store. If there's no commission, there's no point, right?


Lunair's not allowed shopping by herself. It's not a hard and fast rule, but more of a guideline, of course. Not because she's not a grown woman, but A) because she does tend to get in shootouts when unsupervised, and B) loligoth isn't the most fashion-forward of choices for American girls. Japan, sure, but this isn't Tokyo.

With Meggan along for moral supp- er, companionship, the three women descended on the same shopping center that Peter had picked. Unbeknownst to him, he'd done all right. It wasn't Bergdorff's, but it was the sort of place where you could sometimes find designer apparel at a reasonable price. Or on sale! And if there's one thing Betsy loves more than exercise, it's fashion.

"I think you should stick with green, Meggan," Betsy advises the other woman from across the pond, entering into the store with her designer bag hanging from her forearm. "It's a solid color and you look stunning in it. I think blue would work, though, too." She holds the door open for Lunair too, and they stop a few paces inside, looking around. "Okay, Lunair, here we are. Handbags. Now do you want something for hauling things like a tablet in, dear?" she asks, hefting her mid-size purse. "Or something smaller like a clutch for the essentials? Or a little handbag?" she asks, gesturing vaguely in Peter's direction at the rack of purses.


Meggan has not yet gotten over the charms of the sheer scale of American shopping. Especially in New York! Oh, it's terribly scenic. "— Oh!" she says with a laugh, sticking the paisley-orange-y wrap she'd been examining in a clearance rack back where it was. "Well… Still, sometimes it does get a bit repetitive."

IN MEGGAN'S CLOSET

A squirrel looks greatly confused. He thought he was in a shady tree.

BACK HERE AGAIN, Meggan looks over as the bags get approached. "Those little ones are so terribly cute, aren't they, even if you can barely pack a -" She falters for a moment, looking at Peter.


Poor fellow. Lunair is - fairly girly, but purse buying not on the internet is novel to her. Let alone in groups. And apparently at least one person is slowly gloming on to the fact that Lunair can and does tend to kill or get into shootouts when not supervised. Damnable dart drones. She is a bit puzzled, but she'll figure out how they find out. Still, she seems to like doing her own thing fashionwise. And sometimes she does Elegant Lolita style! Ruffle monster.

She is observing people, though Lunair really seems to have trouble managing keeping up facial emotions. Her stare seems distant at times. "Thanks. And um. Sure, a tablet is fine." Nod. She can keep a gun in that if she needs to! Or hide weapons. Yes. "Hey. I think I've seen that guy around. Um…" She taps her chin. And then a wry smile at Megan.


Sometimes it would nice if that old spider-sense could give Peter advice. If he picks out that black and gold one over there, will Aunt May like it, or politely accept it, while quietly despising it? Maybe the burgundy one would suit her. Or how about that mint green one? So many choices, he doesn't know where to begin. As he looks on at the display, he peers out of the corner of his peripherical vision, trying to see if there's any sort of reference to gift cards? He'd have to get a gift card. If he just gave Aunt May the cash, or bought a Temporary Credit Card, she'd probably use it on paying for the electricity or something else that was useful. Once in a while, it's nice to get something for the one you love.

His palms are a letter sweaty as he contemplates the choices laid out before him. He finds his lips are parse, so licks them gently. But then he hears a group of women talking behind him, and he deftly moves, making sure that he's out of the way. He'll let them pick out what they want, while observing from afar. Perhaps he might even study them, what they go for. Of the three, Aunt May doesn't really seem like them. Completely different demographic, but it's something to go on.


Betsy smiles at Meggan affectionately, and pauses to examine the scarves on display. "I'm not sure orange is your best color, darling," she says, tactfully. "A few more months in New York we might start seeing tanning weather, but Ireland doesn't lend itself to a weathered complexion. …ah, here we go." She reaches for a pink scarf with a floral pattern in white, and drapes it over Meggan's shoulders. "There, take a look in the mirror and see if you like that."

She stands back and admires her handiwork, then moves along with Lunair in her proximity, like a leggy mother hen with purple hair. "All right, let's find you a nice messenger purse," Betsy advises Lunair. She looks down at her with a critical frown, thinking. "I wish you had some more pastels in your wardrobe, it'd make this easier… how do you feel about purple?" she asks, eyeing a bag on display. "My favorite color, of course, and it goes well with blacks and bold prints."

She looks to Lunair when the petite mutant waves at Peter, eyeing the scrawny fellow. "A friend of yours?" she murmurs, one eyebrow lifting.


Meggan accepts the scarf when proffered and gives it a quick look in the mirror. She seems to like it. She doesn't take it off, though she looks at Lunair as if for confirmation. But then, after giving it a rather elegant toss to loop over her neck…

She leans round the corner of the rack and looks /right at/ Mr. Parker. Fortunately it is a completely guileless look. "Oh I don't want to butt in," she says, even though she is doing that very thing. "Shopping for someone?"


Feeling a tingle in the back of his head, but a minor one at that, Peter is nevertheless caught off guard. He gulps and struggles to find the words, "oh… yeah, I'm looking for a new purse for my aunt." Looking at the triumvirate, he recognizes Lunair, but he's not sure where from. Something about her, but what would the context be. Oh, that one's going to bother him until he figures it out.

In the meantime, he introduces himself, "my name's Peter Parker, and I'd be very open to suggestion. I really don't understand what makes a good purse or a bad one. Why is that one so much more than this one?" And he idly gestures to two purses, one yellow, and one purple, that he had already peeked at the price tags of.


Betsy leaves Lunair to look for handbags- albeit under a watchful eye- and approaches Peter, eyeing him curiously. "I'm Betsy," she tells him, her head dipping in something that might be a hint of a curtsey. "This is my friend Meggan," she says, gesturing at the curvy blonde next to her. "And I think you know Lunair?" she says, looking back at the incipient disaster in a dress.

She glances at the purses he picked and takes one down in her hands, looking at them. "This is a Kors, and this is Coach," she tells Peter. "Frankly, I think Kors is overpriced for the quality," she says, peering at the two bags with an expert eye. "The stitching's sloppier here, you can see— and the leather's of a lower quality. And if you look at the liner, it's a single-layer cheap synthetic silk. This will come apart in a few weeks of regular use," she says. "Coach makes excellent purses, in my opinion. I think they're probably better than even a Louis Vuitton, though you would pay three times more for the latter. For your Aunt, you say?" she asks. "How old is she?"


"I'm Meggan Puceanu," Meggan says guilelessly while smiling again. She proffers a hand briefly, before looking at the selection.

"She's terribly expert at these things," Meggan asides to Peter. "D'you know if she likes to keep a lot of things in hers now? I mean if it's a gift for every day, you want to make sure it'll really be useful…"


Peter extends a hand to shake, first Meggan, since she offered, and then Betsy. His grip is firm, but gentle, and he has surprisingly soft skin. He must not be a labourer, probably has some kind of a cushy office job. There is a little dirt under the nail of his index finger. He really should scrub better. "Pleased to meet you." Listening to Betsy is quite informative. He's learned more about purses in five minutes with her than he had in the rest of his life. But when she asks about Aunt May's age, he hesitates, and then says, "Oh, she's firmly in the quinquagenarian category, but if you ask me, she still looks like a quadragenarian." Quinquagenarian, quadragenarian, who's this guy trying to impress, or does he not want to say his Aunt's real age.

"Yeah, most of the time I have a backpack," it's actually hidden right now, stuck to the rooftop of a nearby building. "There's always something you need but don't have. As for the purse, uh, it's not for any special occasion, just a, you know, because I care, gift." And he finally has some money for it. He actually missed her birthday. He got her a card. It had a Penguin on it.


"She's somewhere between fourty and sixty?" Betsy asks with an upticked eyebrow, shaking Peter's hand with a polite diffidence. "I… all right, I can work with that, but I hope you can narrow it down a bit. Writing the wrong number on the birthday card is a bit gauche."

She gives Peter another sidelong look, but puts the Coach bag in his hands. "It's a sweet gesture, anyway. I'd get this one, but in that shade of blue," she suggests, gesturing at a satin-tone purse the color of the underside of clouds. "It's a bit more demure and it'll go well with any outfit. Yellow is difficult to coordinate colours properly without some practice."


Meggan looks silently relieved when Betsy translates the figures.

"Do you study Greek?" she asks Peter afterwards, hands coming up to toy with the ends of that pink scarf.


"It's Latin, darling," Betsy tells Meggan with a quick smile. "I know. Tedious and it all sounds the same." She tugs on the other end of the scarf, then absently arrays it on Meggan's shoulders for best effect. "I really do like it," she admires. "You should pick it up. It's almost time for spring and pastel weather."


Peter responds to Betsy with, "she'd probably say she was somewhere between forty and fifty-nine, but that works." When he's directed to go for the blue one, he picks it up, giving it a good feel against his skin, examining it as if he were going to find a flaw or something. "This works," he says, meaning, it's as good as every other purse in this store as far as he can tell. Before he can answer Meggan's question, Betsy answers it, but Peter, for some reason feeling like opening up, says, "close, I study particle physics, but it's all Greek to most people."


Meggan beams at Betsy at the arraying of the scarf. "Ohh, I feel like I'm six, don't do that so much -" She's laughing as she says it, though.

Then to Peter, she says thoughtfully, "Is that so? What sort? I was having a wonderful chat with someone in physics the other day about worm holes! Anyway, if we have a seal of approval, /I/ want to get this scarf before I have second thoughts…"


"Sorry, dear. Habit," Betsy tells Meggan, with a small and vastly insincere smile. "And you don't have to lie on my account. Brian's unspeakably dull when he gets on the topic of … physics and… quasars," she says, dismissing the entire field with a wave of her hand. "He's studying for his doctorate in … I want to say theoretical physics. I can't keep it straight," she admits with an airy tone of dismissal.


That was over quickly. For the briefest of moments, Peter was about to bore the entire store with science talk, but Meggan switches back to talk about the scarf that he nearly gets whiplash. The clerk could even see it on his face, the way his lips pursed as if to speak, then clenched shut, and remained so until the smile had turned into more of a neutral expression. And if that didn't kill it, Betsy sure did.

"Sounds like this guy's a little ahead of me. I'm still working on my masters, but I won't bore you two ladies about it." He really would like to. He's so good at it. Clutching the bag, which he fully intends to pay for, he asks, "is there any way I can thank you two for the help with this?"


"I thought it made perfect sense," Meggan says loyally. She then takes a deep breath - and beams at Peter.

"Oh, it's our good deed for the day! Well mine anyway, Betsy got up very early," she then says, clasping her hands together. And glancing at Betsy, in case she /did/ do other good deeds earlier.


"Five AM, every day," Betsy confirms with a graceful gesture. "The gym calls, Meggan," she says, mimicking a whispering voice from afar. She smiles at the smaller blonde and looks back to Peter.

"Thank you for refraining," the leggy kunoichi tells him. And she actually sounds sincere. "It'd be an awkward conversation with you telling me about particle fields and me pretending to follow along. There's really no need for thanks, however," she tells Peter in those cool British tonals, as glacial as Meggan's tend towards warm. "It was a small thing, after all."


Wow, five AM. Peter's seen it before, he knows it well. But for him, five AM means that a yellow ball is in the sky as he's trying to get to sleep after waging a multi-hour supervillain fight. He loathes sunrises, the way the orange and the yellow just seems to pierce his eyelids, forcing their way in when he'd just like to sleep. Somehow, it makes the aches from the bruises hurt even more. He's getting tired even thinking about it.

But Betsy is a beautiful woman, and so he says, "which gym is that?" Not that he could afford a gym membership. Once you sign up, they have you for life. And besides, he's already a subscriber to the webslinger of the month club. "Still, it was appreciated. And I'll be sure to pay it forward, Meggan."


Betsy smiles at Peter vaguely apologetically. "It's a private gym, I'm sorry," she tells him. "And it's located some way from town." She spots Lunair waving at her from an uncomfortable distance away. "I should really be going— my friends seem to, er, need my help," she says, as Lunair examines something potentially very flammable. "But it was nice to meet you, Peter," she says, offering a limp-fingered handshake. "Do wish your Auntie a happy birthday and… perhaps make her a nice meal, too," she suggests. "Some time off might be even more welcoemd than a nice handbag."

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