Dining at the Tourist Trap

May 25, 2017:

Sloane Albright and Rusalka Stojespal meet for lunch, and discuss futures - and promises.

Midtown Manhattan - New York City

Situated between 14th and 59th Streets, Midtown Manhattan is *the* tourist destination in New York City. It is also the largest central business district in America. Most of the tallest skyscrapers in the city can be found here, from the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings to Stark Tower and the Baxter Building. It's also home to Times Square, Broadway, and Fifth Avenue.

In the day, the traffic is non-stop. In the evening, bright neon lights light up the street such that it looks as if the sun simply doesn't set on the city. But, then, there's a reason New York is called The City that Never Sleeps. This, right here, is it.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Midtown Manhattan: The ultimate tourist trap.

Everyone always talks about the restaurants and great places to eat that are not in the tourist-y areas, shifting the focus around and leading to those places becoming more tourist-y, then the tourism spreads like a contagion, then new places have to be found and— it just turns into one gigantic food-related tourist feedback loop that no one can escape from. And then, lunch hours strike.

Needing to escape from the Triskelion for a time, the rest of Sloane's day includes appointments to meet with staff at Columbia to discuss her future and possibly returning next semester, the status of her classes, credits and lost credits and credit transfers, and all the other horrifically boring, brain-burning paperwork that goes with it. She'd rather have her parents there for that, but…

That's something of a sore subject right now. One she's aggressively trying to not talk about.

"Look, the tourist season is gonna hit soon. We've got a holiday coming. And then the summer. And then everything gets really stupid, so I want to eat here, and then you can drive your flying retro-space car thing back to your /internship/ with /Tony freaking Stark/. Because you work for /Tony-freaking-Stark/," Sloane says, voice driping with no small amount of enviousness and good humor.

She's trying really hard to push the good mood right now.

A SHIELD baseball cap on her head, ponytail threaded through the gap in the back, aviator shades perched on her nose, the sleeves of her longsleeve t-shirt are pulled up to just below the elbows, shoes clicking on the sidewalk as she pulls open the door to one of those It's Stylistically Cool diners.

The most dangerous thing about traps is that it can be so difficult to get OUT of them. Then again, some traps are worth falling into - such as the fantastic kinds of restaurants that dot Midtown. It's admittedly something that Rusalka Stojespal hasn't gotten to very often, partly because it means venturing out a ways away from the college in New York traffic. Pedestrian traffic. Pedestrian traffic that doesn't seem to understand what the pretty colored lights are for, other than year-round christmas from their red and green blinking.

Then there's tourist pedestrian traffic, which rates up there with Nazis, Mongol hordes, and bad teachers-assistants.

Sally is more than happy to provide a rescue to her best friend, even if this means leaving the wonderful technologies and open spaces of the Triskelion and plunging herself AND her beloved Lotus into the darkest heart of mercantile tourism. It's a small sacrifice to see Sloane smile, and she can only imagine what the girl's going through with the bureaucracies of college…and the barriers at home.

"Da, yes, that's right. It's…your Memorial Day, this weekend, correct?" Sally's english is fluent, though still accented in that Sokovian lilt. She's only been here for most of a school year; an anniversary is looming in the distance. "Stupid? What happens at summer? Wait." Wasn't New Jersey supposed to be the big tourist destination? There's confusion for a moment, before she remembers. "…Oh god. Summer, when all the new students start looking around…and when families take their Big Vacation. Bozhe moy, Sloane…why can't you have year-round schools like normal countries!"

Sally's kidding, of course. Dressed like her friend for the most part, though with a shorter sleeved t-shirt and eschewing the baseball hat for her typical hairband. The Stojespal house crest pin still sits on her jacket, though, a little piece of home she's never without. Just a couple college girls out for some grand grub! "Thank you, Miss Albright," she adds in a teasing mock-politeness to the door girl. "And I'll have you know that that car does not fly. …Yet. Although that, well." She's not sure how much she should tell, but screw it, Sloane Albright is her best friend. There are virtually no secrets between them.

"I do work for Mr. Freaking-Stark, yes, and I am working on a flying car. Thing. It's actually an engine design, but I won't bore you with the details." Besides, Sally has much much better stories to bore Sloane with.

"Hey, some places /do/ run classes all year. … Actually a lot of colleges have summer courses. … Maybe I should look at those, too?"

Ah, but— as she holds the door, there's a mock twirl of her hand before a short bow. "Of course, Ms. Stojespal, Heiress of All That Stuff."

Just inside, it's the traditional take on what any diner should be— a long food counter, booths, the jukebox that costs more than anyone would care to admit, the metallic finish on so many things. Pausing briefly by the 'please wait to be seated' sign, she catches the eye of the waitress behind the counter before flashing two fingers and mouthing out 'Two?' before a point at one of the booths.

Despite the look the waitress gives the girl in the huge shades with the weird large pointy ears and the scales, she moves on her way to collect menus.

Sloane ignores it— at least on the surface. She's starting to get used to being stared at, for good or ill. "Oh come on," she says with a toothy grin, "y'mean to tell me you haven't built something like a —"

'yet' 'a flying car' 'engine design'

Sloane's eyes blink rapidly. "Wait, you're actually working on a flying car? /Seriously/? Tony freaking Stark has you working on a /flying car/," she repeats. The waitress arrives to lead the pair to an empty table. Drinks? Ordinarily, Sloane would be ordering coffee. A lot of it. "Iced tea, please."

Once she gets the orders from the pair and gives the girls some time to read their menus, Sloane pulls off her sunglasses to reveal those fiery orange eyes, tipping the brim of her cap up a bit. Leaning a little closer like a conspirator, there's something wholly fascinated and amused about the whole thing. "Are you like— gonna build flying cars for Iron Man? Is that gonna be a /thing/?"

The twirl of the hand and the bow get a laugh, and an imperious answer. "Very good then. I suppose I will use some of my All That Stuff to cover lunch for my dearest employee slave." Wink. And then Sally considers things. "Well…if you did, you'd need to take the later classes, since I understand you're still training in the mornings? But it might not be so bad. To get you caught up a little, and ready for next year."

The look the waitress gives gets a cool arched eyebrow from the Sokovian; a gesture refined into weapons-grade disdain by her mother and something Sally herself has practiced a little. What? You wish to say something of my companion? But the moment passes easily enough, and they're led to a table with no further incident.

Sally settles in with a grin right back, waving one hand at her friend. "Hey! You say it like that like it's the greatest thing in the world, it's…well okay, it is, but still! It's just sort of a thing. He wanted some way to make, uh, the reactor a small enough thing to power a car. Like, a regular one. There's just so much energy in it," she stage-whispers back.

A second iced-tea for herself, then she looks back at Sloane - marveling a little at the girl's eyes. "I don't know if that's what he's going to have me do in the end, but it did seem that way…I was thinking of perhaps a flying ambulance, first, since there's so much energy in it. And well." She straightens up and glances at the horn-and-brake-light parade outside. "You Americans can barely drive cars that don't fly; I shudder to think of the possibilities of that…what was that. Back to the Future movie, with all the flying cars."

She's joking, mostly. But then leans back in, tuning out the world around them. "I guess…sort of. I'm not sure he's entirely forgiven me yet. He took me to the Triskelion the other day, actually…we went to go look at a prototype, something his father built and Tony maintains. Sometimes…I think…" Ahem. Why yes there is definitely a story there…

"I promise I won't order too much, then."

The shades are set on the table closer to the front window. "Well— yeah. I mean, I don't know how much longer I'll be staying there. I'm starting to get a handle on my powers, and I'm not making it rain or just causing puddles and junk everywhere. And I'm actually learning how to kick some ass. I mean I can't use like, swords and stuff, but like. I dunno. Ms. Reichert thought I was gonna enlist or something when I got done."

The waitress returns with the drinks, setting both down. 'Back in a moment!' she says, moving on to deal with other tables. "Still, though. Oh man, that's awesome," Sloane adds, shaking out a few sugar packets before tearing the paper and dumping them in. — This amount of sugar is also something new, as she goes right through one-two-three-four before giving things a stir.

"Hey, don't lump me in with 'you Americans,' I don't even have a liscence. Though I've got like, state ID now, at least. More than just my college ID. Or the totally sick lanyard." A sharp incisor is bared with a grin, 'Sides, you're like, five of them in one driver."

Sally was at the Triskelion the other day? She wasn't aware of that, the scaled Inhuman realizes. "That sounds pretty cool. I mean— like." Her voice pitches lower, the stage whisper an actual whisper now. "Wait, he's /got/ a prototype flying car at the /Triscuit/? That's awesome."

Taking a few deep pulls from the glass through a straw, Sloane shifts in her seat, flipping through the first pages of the menu. "I am gonna wreck /so much/ grease."

Then, her eyes flick up to look at Sally again.

"Forgive what?"

Cobalt blue eyes open wider in surprise, then narrow in amusement. "I've seen you eat. Order your fill. I will simply write Baba a letter explaining the good deed that our family fortune sacrificed itself to fulfill." Snerk.

A grin follows, and Sally reaches a hand over to squeeze Sloane's own. "That's good, then. Now I'm not worried you won't accidentally rain on me or anything. Well, I suppose I probably shouldn't take you to the track again…" Why yes, Sloane, riding with Rusalka is just fine at speeds closer to 200 than 100. It's FUN!

And then Sloane mentions her ass kicking ability, and Sally's impressed. "Alright, alright, that you totally have to show me. And I suppose I could give you some pointers after all with the sword, at least…rapiers and fencing. Old style. It still works, I mean, the pointy end still goes in the other guy," she paraphrases. Why yes, young Antonio Banderas was delicious to watch in that movie.

Mention of Isa gets a nod, and a much quieter whisper. "Ah. Yes, we should talk about that…she's been hospitalized again. A quinjet crash, it seems, but she couldn't talk much about it. Skulduggery afoot and all of that; she did want to see you. And will probably need some help afterward." She'd asked Sally to assist her recovery, and had hoped Sloane was well - besides, it might give the other girl something else to do…when she's not dealing with college, the Triskelion, and whatnot.

"Yes, yes, I forgive you just this once of your lack of a license. But I will teach you that as well, I suppose. And I am not sure if that was a compliment, you!" A poke in Sloane's ribs, before Sally goes for her own tea - unsweetened, just straight flavor. She holds up two fingers, adding a hesitant third after a moment. "I figure I can make you worth…at least two Americans. Three with a proper car."

There's a conspiratorial nod. "Yes, it was a short visit; probably an area I won't see for years if it's that secret. A garage area, but they let Tony Stark right in. And it's a classic, Sloane. A beautiful Corvette, 1962, original interior, but. What's under the hood," she adds in husky, almost salivating tones. "Oh, what is under the hood is fantastic. A dream."

Speaking of dreams, it's time to pick something - yes, that works. When in doubt, Cobb Salad. It's a fair test of a restaurant, and keeps her slim athletic figure just fine. "Wreck it all, Sloane Albright. If I have to buy the restaurant to feed you, I suppose I might as well…er."

She had to ask. Rusalka bites her lip, staring down at her knees - admiring, for a moment, the dense fabric weave of the denim that makes up her jeans. "I uh…sort of won a bet. Accidentally. Mr. Stark had a broken rib, and well…I was going to poke him in the shoulder, but he moved, and I hit him in the rib, and he spilled fruit snacks in the Corvette. It was Agent Coulson's car, apparently…th-the corvette I mean. And Agent Coulson shot him for it. Uh, with an ice-gun. Thing."

"An order of mozzerela sticks, bacon cheeseburger with extra bacon, leuttice, onions, and cheese and can I get the fries like, a full order?"

The waitress gives her a look. Not looking at the girl's scales or her fiery eyes, but just — god /damn/ that's a lot of food. She'll get the sticks out soon, the salad will be up in just a jiff.

"Well it's not like I can just show you asskickin'. I mean unless you want me to like, kick your ass. Or something. They're teaching me a lot of stuff about how to fight and keep myself safe. I bet if I asked they'd teach me how to pick handcuffs or something like that. I mean. Not that I need to know 'cause of the whole like. 'I can lift you, your mom, and your mom's friends' thing."

"Yeah, I still, I d…on't know if I still want to drive in Manhattan, though. It's dangerous enough on foot."

And Isa's down for the count. Sloane rubs at the back of her neck, hand slipping across smooth irridescent blue scales and skin in equal measure. "Yikes. I hope she's alright. The whole … y'know, the thing," the Inhuman says, pointing up at the SHIELD emblem on the front of her cap, "… sounds pretty rough."

But, Sally continues. The 'forgiveness' thing, and the car— the way Sally speaks on about the car that belongs to /Coulson/. Not even she's had the ability to see Coulson's prized car; his baby with wheels. She's seen pictures of the quinjets, at least, but /wait does that mean Coulson has a flying car/.

Mind, blown.

Sloane listens as the story just keeps going on. The fruit, the car, the snacks on the seat, the mess that was made, and /Coulson shot Tony freaking Stark because of it/. Her head shifts to her hand, elbow at rest as she stares at Sally across the table, mouth in a line and eyebrows raised. She isn't angry or disappointed or anything weird, it's just very…

"… /Wow/." She never knew Coulson had it in him. He always seemed so … nice.

Sally gives the waitress a look back. What. Have you never seen a hungry college student before? Granted, it's not three in the morning before finals, but even the lowliest of waitresses should be ready for such things. In fairness, at least, the waitress hasn't said anything, and the Tip Meter in Sally's head is rising a little in respect. Good on her.

"Please, not myself! I surrender before such could happen." Both hands held up in mock-defeat. "No, I just…I would like to see you practice, if you don't mind. Since you said you've got a handle on it…I'll know that if I get wet it's your fault deliberately. Besides, it's been a while since we've played in a pool. Might as well get ready with summer coming."

Ugh, summer. The beaches, she realizes now, are going to be hell. "…You were right about tourist season, I think."

Sally doesn't yet know just how strong Sloane is; the brag about lifting everyone…well, she has seen a little bit, maybe it's not as boastful as it sounds. "I suppose you probably could, at that." And then she bursts out in a sporfle of laughter, quieting it quickly because it's totally undignified as hell. "And I just had to picture you pushing cars out of your way for cutting you off on a bicycle or something. A whole string of them shoved to make way in the bike lane."

There's a nod given to Sloane's assessment. "I think it was something like that. She's at the Triskelion now, healing, but is allowed visitors. Actually…better than Mr. Freaking Stark? You'll never guess was visiting her yesterday." A smirk a mile wide crosses Sally's face, even as she admits to herself that Sloane probably would guess just for how out-there the idea is involving her best friend's not-a-crush on the Star Spangled Man.

There's a slow nod, it is indeed Coulson's car she confirms - and then as Sloane's mind explodes like the houses in those old nuclear-bomb-test films, she just rests her hand on the table, palm down as if to simulate said car - and lifts it up and 'flies' it away with the softest of zoom sounds. Slow, slow nod.

"So he made me take Mr. Stark home and have him watch Supernanny. I'm not sure Agent Coulson was right, I don't think Mr. Stark liked it so much. Ah well. I still have a job! So it's not all bad. I will still have to apologize to them both though…and well, it's strange. They were actually having an…ah, not an argument really, but more like…Tony was goading him on, trying to get him to stun him. …The pool went to almost a thousand dollars, in the end…"

On second thought, SHIELD is very clearly a Camelot-grade silly place.

"It depends, I guess. I know /I/ get access to the gym, but I don't know if I can get you in, or … ugh, it's a little weird. I mean— it's a high-security government place full of, y'know. Cool stuff. But I feel you."

Still, it's good to know that Isa's doing better. If she can go get clearance to visit, she may just do that. Though… she does have access to medical if she needs it. 'Ugh,' she curses inside her own mind. She's constantly worried about being a pain in the ass in the Triskelion, or breaking rules, or just — doing something, anything, to earn the ire of her case worker or Agent Coulson.

"Holy crap, that— wow. I guess I'll have to remember to never get Coulson's car wet," Sloane remarks, sipping the iced tea. Not that she's actually seen what his car is, and not that she can fully understand models and year numbers and editions when Sally starts talking fast about them. Then again, she probably loses her Sokovian friend while discussing musical nuances.

"A'right," she says, "I'll bite. Who is it?"

There's a nod as Sloane explains. "I understand, da. But, I suppose if I am to sign on with SHIELD in the end, perhaps they will be accomodating. It's all in how you ask anyways," she adds with a laugh. "And, cool-stuff indeed. Those Quinjets, for example." Maybe she's not an aviation expert, or big on military hardware, but she will be damned if they're not cool.

And then there's a pensive moment - as Sally taps one finger on the table, then turns to face Sloane. Blue meets orange, as she seeks her friend's opinion. "Should I? I mean…to join SHIELD, that is. Is it something you're okay with?" The Inhuman's feelings towards being a pain are echoed, though simply in different ways. And in the end, Sally puts a lot of faith in her friend's decisions. She knows what Isa feels, but the other Columbia student is someone she knows and trusts that much deeper.

The moment passes, and Sally laughs. A fork gets pointed in Sloane's direction as Rusalka smugly tacks on a warning. "Mine as well. Now that I know what proper SHIELD protocol for such things is," she adds with a laugh. Then an idea hits, and she figures…well, it won't be hard to understandably avoid an old cherry-red sportscar, but. "Here."

Thank goodness for tablets and cameras. She calls up pictures of the car, taken in the halcyon days prior to Coulson's arrival - showing her friend the overall sleek look of the thing as well as the fantastically advanced other bits. It's an amazing mix of retro aesthetic and modern Starkian machinery, though Sally leaves out the technical details. Flying car or not, it's still a gorgeous car.

Sloane takes the bait, and Sally just settles her tablet down, stretches her legs out, reaches her hands behind her head, and assumes the comfortable position of the cat that ate all the canaries. "Captain Steven Rogers, United States Army. In his special America suit. WhopromptlypattedmyshoulderandsaidIwasagoodperson."

…More or less.

Blue eyes meet orange, and for a moment, Sloane isn't sure which way to turn. In that instant, her eyes … shift down, away, toward the counter. She starts to open her mouth to speak, but hesitates— and then she's saved. The waitress arrives at last with the tray, setting down food in front of either girl before checking on drinks and heading on her way. Nodding her thanks, the fish-girl starts eating her burger as though it's the first thing she's had to eat all day.

It might also be that she's looking for a good answer through all that food, using it to buy herself some time before the inevitable question needs responding to.

Then, the tablet is set in front of her. Mouth full, she doesn't quite get out a 'neat' but there's a 'mumhmhf—' before she nods, not quite wanting to touch the tablet screen with greasy fingers. Wiping her hands off, the ginger Inhuman gives a hard nod before clearing her throat behind her fist.

"I met him! I mean, it was just like, for a second, and it was on the street, but I did get to meet him! And it was awesome."

Then, the hard stuff. She looks away again, wiping at the corners of her mouth while resting her elbows on the table. "Look… Sal. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I feel like I could do something with all of this, but… this isn't what I wanted. I didn't … I mean, I /never/ wanted powers or to be different, or … anything like this. I just wanted to do my own thing."

Her head tilts a bit. "Basically I— I just don't want you to do this if it's not what you /want/ to do. I mean… don't like… I… ugh, shit, I sound so selfish. Just don't do it because I'm there, okay? I don't even know what it's gonna be like in a week or a month or whatever, and I don't want to just like. Like, bail out, and then you're hanging out there and I didn't stay."

Food! And just as Sloane is saved from answering a difficult question from Sally, the Sokovian herself is saved from being hungry with the arrival of a fairly large cobb salad. Sloane dives in, and Rusalka laughs a moment and then joins in on her own. Fortunately she has a fork, which leaves her other hand clear to flip through pictures and show her friend the Flying Corvette Of Doom.

Sadly she doesn't have a picture of Tony getting ICER'd. Maybe that's a good thing.

"Oh man! I know, isn't it? He's just got this…" She can't really put her finger on it. He has this Captain America-ness about him; all the legends and stories are true to such an extent that it's almost superhuman. "He was talking to Isa, I think, just going around and greeting people on the medical floors. Like how those guys who go cheer up kids, only…" Only the ones getting cheered up were battered and broken SHIELD agents. Sometimes a costumer isn't enough; sometimes you need a nod from the real thing.

Sloane finally gets her momentary fill, and Sally snags one last bite before settling in to listen. There's a slow nod, as she takes in the girl's words. "Mm…yeah. I mean, I get you - like, even back before all this. You totally wanted to just play your own stuff, start a band…get famous, get rich, you know," she adds with a laugh. "And I know your parents had other plans," she adds in a doom-y voice.

"You never met the family back home, but you remember mother. Y'know, duty over all, respect the family and stuff. I kinda got my wish here, being able to study what I want. But I know if I go back home, I'm gonna be buried in family tradition. Probably married off even if I don't inherit the barony which I utterly do not want." Sally sighs, then turns a gimlet eye on her friend.

"What is this, 'don't do it because you're there' hm? So full of yourself, that I would follow you everywhere!" An aristocratic sniff, followed by a grin at the joke. "You know…you are my best friend. You get me, even if you still don't know what a tensor field is." In fairness, there's plenty of musical black magic that would go over Sally's head like a satellite in orbit. "And I've always trusted you, and well. I don't know what happens in a month."

She picks at the remains of the salad, spearing a tiny tomato with her fork. "Maybe I figured those days would go on, but. College and races and concerts and stuff. But." Shrug. "I think SHIELD will still be a good place to help protect people, to do good - but now I'm going to be selfish. I want to keep you around, and I want to keep concerts and races and college." She fishes out the pendant, half a silver dollar hanging from it that connects to one in Sloane's possession.

"I won't do it because you're there. But I don't want you to not be around, okay?" She holds up a fist for a bump, after tucking the pendant back under her shirt. "Like, no matter what happens, friends forever? Besides, if you do get a band going, you're totally going to need a manager."

Though Sally jokes, Sloane isn't laughing— or smiling. She looks a little more crestfallen as the food goes into her mouth, chewing on the burger and praying it had answers for her. It isn't about her parents, or her parents plans, or her own plans— it's all just … it's a /lot/ to take in. It's a lot to deal with.

"I'm not kiddin' around, Sally, it's like— I'm just … worried. I'm scared. With how my parents reacted, and … some of my old friends from back home, when they found out. I'm scared of being someone's charity case. I just… I don't want everyone I know to rearrange their lives because I'm some part-alien fish girl."

But SHIELD does good, and will be a place to do good. She wants to be selfish. Rusalka worries for her friend, and Sloane lets a flicker of guilt flash through her features for putting that on her. She's gonna need a manager, too.

Sloane hefts her fist, lightly dapping knuckles to Rusalka's with a small grin and a wad of food still puffing out one of her cheeks. Finishing it off, swallowing, and nodding, she shifts her weight in her seat. "Thanks, Sally."

It would be a mistake to say the Sokovian truly understands. She has her own similar issues, perhaps, but they're turned up to eleven and a half when it comes to Sloane's own situation. Rusalka herself can only imagine what it would be like to wake up so…so changed, after being disappeared for months. In all honesty, it's fair to say that life is rolling very well for her, compared to her friend.

And it's that unfairness that hits at the heart of the Sokovian. She doesn't see Sloane as a charity case, but simply as a friend - one of the rare few allowed into her life, and that she'd changed physically doesn't matter. She's still an awesome musician and has great taste in clothes, and is someone that Rusalka just enjoys being around.

When Sloane mentions her fears, Rusalka just reaches up and squeezes Sloane's hand. "I don't care. Part-alien-fish-girl, whatever. You are no different now than you were when you disappeared, you just look a little different. if you had changed then…maybe it would. But you are no charity case, and as far as I am concerned you never will be. Khorosho? Khorosho." Good? Good.

"I don't know why your parents reacted like that, but. You are not permitted to feel guilty, you know." There's a light flick of a finger against Sloane's ear in punishment. "It is what friends do - they are the family you get to choose, as we say back home. And, I choose you. I understand that SHIELD may not be best for you…but know that I will always cheer for you. Besides - I get to tell everyone I was your very first fan."

She means it, too. "I like just visiting. Listening to you play, watching movies, whatever. Family I get to choose, and in places I am not forced to be." That fist is bumped back, and then Sally can't help a laugh. "Now. Chew your food. You are not some nekulturny dragon-squirrel or anything, you know." And then she gets an idea, the grin slowly spreading across her face.

"Saturday afternoon. Are you free? Bah, of course you are," she adds - because what there will be is far too cool for anything else Sloane is up to. If she can just be there on time, if the buses and taxis work out. "There is a science fair in Jersey City, over in Princeton. You should come by. It'll be totally worth it," she adds. And while describing all this, she's deftly maneuvering a fork for a quick lunge at one of Sloane's fries - trusting her fencing practice for the reflexes to get past her friend's defense and gain tasty carbohydrates.

Regardless of how long or pointy her ear is, it's still cartelidge, skin, and scale— it flicks just like any other lobe, though one eye twitches. It's a weird sensation! And, she hasn't had 'oh god they're grabbing my ears' combat training just yet. Rubbing the length between thumb and forefinger, she squints at the Sokovian. "Your very first fan that might douse you in water for doin' that again," she adds, at least /trying/ to add a hint of a better mood back into her speech.

"Things did change, though. … I mean… ugh. I mean with me, in me, like. It's not just my senses, it's like eating right after brushing your teeth. Nothing tastes right. I can't stand the taste of coffee now." Sloane's eyebrows lift, somewhat dismayed. "That's … I wasn't sure how I was going to survive /that/ one."

She allows the transgression against her plate— this time. Steadily pushing through her meal, iced tea, and sides, Sloane slants her head, quirking up one eyebrow. "You do know I'm not gonna understand half of that stuff, right? I mean— if it's like, one /you're/ going to. Is it a job thing? Like your internship?"

Sally is permitted to be a little mean. Once in a rare while. She makes up for it! Besides, it shakes the maudlin mood that Sloane was in, which is good enough. Though in this case she mock surrenders, holding up both hands. "Alright, alright, I won't. Until I have to next time." And then she reconsiders being soaked… "Hm. That reminds me, it's probably time to go find swimsuits or something. Like you said, tourists and the beaches…"

And then Sloane drops a bombshell - one that gets a wide-eyed owl-face from Rusalka. "No coffee? Bozhe moy, you did change. I am not sure you have survived…" Smirk. "At least now I can turn you to the one true drink, finally. Poor coffee-less Sloane~"

She has to admit - this diner makes excellent fries. The crunchy skin and soft inside is delicious, and she's strongly considering a second raid into the forbidden lands. For now she's a good girl and picks at some more of her salad. "Mm-hmm. It's nearby, it'll get you out for a bit, and there should be lots of cool stuff. And yes, it is actually - I'm there to do a little scouting. Internships and all. Besides, isn't music scientific too? Maybe someone invented, like…the ultimate musical instrument."

Now that'd be a cool idea. "Trust me," she adds impishly, knowing that she'll get the chance to introduce Sloane to the Tony Stark. If he remembers to show up, that is. Meanwhile, after having been good, a certain fork starts surreptitiously sliding towards the last of Sloane's fries, waiting for just the right moment to strike.

"Yeah," Sloane remarks, stuck on and lamenting her lack of coffee. "It sucks."

It's the hand-cut home fries thing. You can never get better than that, even in the middle of the tourist-y sections of Manhattan. Sloane crunches down another forkful of fries before she tilts her head. Rusalka's certainly making a stretch in the whole 'music' and 'science' thing, but she can appreciate the gesture. She's /trying/ to appreciate it, too. Spirits up. Worry about Mom and Dad later.

Just… put it in the bottle.

Sloane scratches her cheek, finally shrugging one of her shoulders. "All right, why not."

It is at this moment that chance turns it's head to look straight down on this moment with a wry Grinch-like smile. That the fates all tap their fingers together, that life and the universe itself see an opportunity.

"What's the worst that can happen at a science fair?"

There, there. Sally reaches over and pats Sloane's shoulder gently and reassuringly. "It could be worse, you know. It could have been bacon, instead of coffee." Considering the Inhuman's current choice of food, it's a nightmarish thing to suggest.

The orange-eyed girl gets distracted with her own fries, and thinking about the fair, and Rusalka strikes - diving in to spear another fry, this one with a dab of cheese on it. Ahhh, blissful - and no more of that, or she'll end up changing her pants size. Maybe she is a little jealous of her friend's metabolism, and ability to eat that much…just a little.

Any complaint is met with a twinkle of blue eyes, grinning. Spirits up, try and get things to not feel like drowning. "Or something. After that, hm…the afternoon will be yours. Whatever you feel like doing, if you don't mind me tagging along and driving you around." One hand raises to forestall a protest. "And yes I promise NOT to drive 'like a lunatic' or anything, do not worry."

Fate smiles upon Sloane…kind of like how a Xenomorph does. Specifically, with two jaws chrome steel teeth covered in slime. "See? Nothing, of course. It's science, it'll be fine." Oh look, it's smiling at Rusalka too. But neither of the girls are aware, instead enjoying the rest of their lunch - and dessert - and the day. Thoughts of the future can wait; right now they have the day and each other and really…that's all anyone needs.

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