2007-09-27: A Lesson In Ice Skating


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Summary: Peter takes Claire ice skating! They talk, they skate… and Claire disapproves of his new girlfriend.

Date It Happened: September 27, 2007

A Lesson in Ice Skating

Public Ice Skating Rink

The weekend is the best time to visit one of the local ice skating rinks. It's not private by any means, though it isn't an expensive one either. Entrance fee and skate rental are the key, moneymaker, but he doesn't need that. Sitting down in the room to the side where skates are put on, Peter checks over the blades once before lacing them up. He'd tended to them earlier. His niece should be having rented ones this time— they're already taken care of. "Sorry I couldn't get us somewhere more private. Private ice time is pretty expensive, though— and while the family may be rich, I'm not." He works in retail right now. And he doesn't really like asking his family for money on personal matters.

"It's not that difficult once you get the hang of it. Have you have skated on regular skates before? The motions are pretty similar, really." He's dressed moderately warm, with a coat, but otherwise normal clothes, loose jeans that he tucked into his skates and otherwise regular clothes. No tights. This isn't figure skating.

Claire's got a pair of black leggings on, not that they look like anything more than tights when they run into her shiny new ice skates. She casts a dubious look towards the ice. "It's fine!" she offers brightly to her uncle, flashing him a brilliant smile. Honestly, she's just happy to be out spending time with the only member of her biological family that seems to actually think it's okay to meet with her in public. Despite the controversy that seems to be swirling around Peter like a black cloud — the latest of which Claire's not even gonna bring up, there is a giddiness that supersedes her nervousness of making an idiot out of herself on the ice. Her red and black wool coat is cinched more tightly about her waist, and then she gives her ponytail a quick split and tug to ensure it's tight, too. "Like… like roller skating?" she finally inquires, getting back to his last question.

Worse that'll happen is some tabloid journalist will see them together and think she's the daughter of someone who might donate money to his brother's campaign, or something like that. For which he would probably glare and restrain himself from hitting them. But Peter is going to hope no one thinks much of it, really. Anyone asks, she's a friend who he's teaching to ice skate. Considering the fact his girlfriend's only two years older than her… it's very possible she's a friend. "Yeah, like roller skating. It's pretty similar, really. Though it'll be less easy to walk on until we get there. But don't worry if you have to hold onto me for a while. I won't let you fall down if it can be avoided."

"I'm probably going to hold you to that," the blonde girl replies, pulling at the hem of the black pleated skirt she wears over her leggings. Cautiously, Claire pushes herself to her feet and starts the very delicate process of picking her way over to the rink, small, delicate hands held out to either side in an act of supreme girliness as she maintains her balance. "Hope you're good with the paitience thing."

In comparison, Peter's standing very differently on his skates, maintaining the right amount of balance and keeping things steady as he follows a few steps behind her, close enough he could reach out and catch her if she started to stumble and fall, but not so close that he's actually hounding her. Better to learn as much as possible on her own— and it's not as dangerous if she falls off the ice. "I'm fairly good with patience— have to be. My job before involved a lot of sitting at the bed side of someone in a coma." The less great kind of waiting game, really. But someone has to care for the dying. "And you're athletic. I have a feeling you're going to learn fast." A cheerleader is nothing to scoff at. Not for him.

At the edge of the ice, Claire gives another look of hesitation. If she makes the wrong kind of mistake in front of all of these people, the results could be less than ideal. The thought gnaws at the back of her brain for a moment before she finally steps out onto the ice. Being normal means being free to take risks. Her first few steps are unsteady to say the least, and her forehead crinkles in concentration as she desperately tries to keep her feet close and under her. At least she doesn't go right down onto her butt, and she releases her tight grip on the railing. "Yeah, I could never do that," the teenager offers with a sad sort of smile. "So when'd you learn to do this?"

Even a normal person wouldn't want to have the kind of mistake that worries the definitely not normal girl. Peter certainly wouldn't want that kind of mistake to happen on his watch. Pain and blood, even if the pain and the wound goes away, isn't something he generally enjoys, happening to him, or seeing happen to someone else. Once she's on the ice, and not falling down immediately, he steps out as well. He's definitely more skilled in this than her, as he seems fairly at ease, shifting his weight and turning towards her. His arm is offered, something to hold on to that isn't quite as stable as the rail, but still offered. "I learned when I was pretty young— younger than you— had friends who played hockey. Never played for the school team, or anything, but I liked playing for fun. Ended up teaching my younger neighbors how to skate, actually. One of 'em plays for the NYU hockey team now." Good ol' Eric.

Ah, yes. Eric. The creepy guy that they ran into in the store that uses a different last name than is on his business cards. All these little things that connect them all, one to another.

Gratefully grabbing Peter's arm with a one-handed death grip, the girl flashes a tense 'look what I'm doing!' sort of smile up at her uncle. "Well, I guess I'm in good hands, then!" A pause lasts only a breath before she continues. "Though, I don't think I'll be trying out for the hockey team, no matter how good a teacher you are." She's pretty much walking on the ice at this point, trying to figure out how on earth this is like roller skating.

"Hockey isn't really your kind of sport, I don't think," Peter's trying to picture her with a stick, a bunch of pads, and no teeth— it's not really working out. Sure, she'd be able to come out of a hard check into the boards with nothing more than a very short term ouchie, but… no. Figure skating, possibly, but he couldn't teach that to her if he tried. "You're doing fine— but— you're treating it like you're still on the floor back there… Now that you're on the ice, you need to move by shifting your weight." He's not been skating in over a year, honestly, but it's one of those things that are never unlearned.

But… but the prospect of gliding is scary! Because the ice, even with it's highly used and scratched surface, is far more slick than a polished wood floor. "Okay," she agrees without argument, trying to lengthen her stride. It's… better. She'd ask how things were with him, but that could lead back to the incident that landed her uncle in jail and all over the tabloids. "Did you ever find that girl?"

"There, that's better," Peter says, smiling at her when she starts to follow with the motions. Staying close to her, keeping a hold on her in case she looses her balance, and then just watching for other points of advice. And children. Watching out for children is also important. They have a bad habit of getting in the way, and he hasn't taught her how to stop yet. Actually that's probably the hardest part of all. Stopping. "Yeah, I went and talked to her. She's still in her house— Guess they're… waiting." For what reason, he has no idea. "I know how they found out, at least— so no worries about bugged apartments."

Claire's motion is halted and jerking and very, very slow-going. She doesn't seem to mind, however, when people part and cut around them. She leans forward and presses onward. Yay, for new experiences! "Dad hasn't said anything else about her," she offers quietly with a frown, only leaning further forward as she casts her gaze down to watch her feet slide. "I really hope nothing actually happens."

"You're doing good," Peter says, smiling faintly at her, though that smile might be shorter lived than it should be. "I was talking to a friend about what's going on— someone who knows about the people involved. I'm not going to assume they'll leave it alone. We're probably going to step in— talk to them somehow. Since we're all hopefully on the same side. Right now the only thing we have in our favor is… they don't know that we know that they know." Which isn't much of a card. "And they won't know how we know, don't worry." His voice is quiet— outside observers may think he's giving her advice or praise. And he follows up with a bit of actual advice. "Time to learn how to stop— without slamming into the sides." That's one way to stop, but not the preferred one. It also involves shifting of feet, and since she's looking down, he demonstrates with his own first. Slowing down, then stopping. Hopefully she'll pay attention.

Yeah, if Noah were to find out that Claire turned around and told the ONE PERSON SHE WASN'T SUPPOSED TO TELL, it probably wouldn't go so great. While Peter tries to assure her that her identity is safe, she can't help but to cast an entirely anxious glance in his direction. And then there is the matter of stopping to address.

Peter's stop is controlled. Graceful, almost. Hers… is not. It starts with the slowing down. And then there's the matter of shifting feet. Claire's blade wobbles, sending her stumbling. Unfortunately, you remember that death grip? She's kinda forgetting to let go in her panic, blue eyes wide as she tries to recover her balance. "AAAAH!" YES! The unmistakable cry of the beginner!

It's a good thing she's forgotten to let go, honestly. With her grip remaining, Peter's able to shift his weight and lift her up when she starts to lose that delicate balance. Not right off the ice, but lifting her enough that she doesn't fall down and break something. She's fragile at times— for someone who can heal. Possibly because she can heal. "It's okay— you're not falling down. I got you." It's actually rather sweet. He can't help but smile down at her now, pulling her to a stop and offering some sense of stability. Good thing she's small and dainty, though.

As she finds herself not on the ice in a pile, it takes her a second to get her heart back where it belongs. Once she's done that, she lifts her head up and flashes another winsome smile in her uncle's direction, laughter bubbling forth. "You're pretty good at that rescuing thing," she teases, biting at her lower lip for a second. "Thanks." While the pain of falling and bruising isn't so much of a hindrance as it might be for other folks, Claire's happy to be spared the experience all the same. "This is so awesome."

"Well, usually I end up getting hurt when I rescue people— but thanks to you that never lasts too long," Peter says softly, a grateful tone to his voice. She might not physically rescue him, but just the fact that he met her has saved his life more times than he can count anymore. They saved each other, as far as he's concerned. "I'm glad you're enjoying it." It'd been a whim when he'd found out her birthday was coming up— the problem of having a family member he'd never known about made it more difficult to come up with a present. "Surprised you haven't asked about my arrest yet…"

"I—" Claire talks before she actually starts thinking about what she should say. As such, she abruptly breaks off the attempt in order to better gather her thoughts before pushing off to try skating anew. Being caught seems to have done something to bolster her confidence because now her strides are stronger. More natural. Not perfect by any stretch, but much better. "I didn't wanna bring it up if you didn't want to talk about it. I almost called Nathan to …you know. Check up on you. But then I decided I was probably the last person he'd want to talk to." The cheerleader still clings on to Peter's arm, and her gaze goes back to watching her feet and making sure her toes don't ever point towards each other. "What happened, Peter? That's just not like you." From what she's seen.

"It's all right," Peter says, shaking his head a little. "Nathan was mad at first, but now that his advisors actually think me making a mistake and him supporting me without condoning my actions will look good in the eyes of the voters." He shakes his head, as if he finds the whole thing rather silly, honestly. "I lost my temper— you're doesn't happen very often." More often the last year than he'd like, though— he'd lost his temper against Sylar more than a few times— with his brother, with a few other people. "He asked me some questions— referred to an incident last year where I jumped off a building. People are under the impression I had mental problems." Maybe he does, but not THAT much of them. He was trying to fly, not kill himself. "I have a girlfriend now— and she just happens to be the daughter of a Chairman of a Board of Directors who donated some money to Nathan's campaign— so his questions were rather unsavory."

"Oh." It's times like these that Claire isn't particularly upset about being kept at arm's length. Her lips purse and then slide to one side in a pensive expression. It's not exactly like she's the poster child of sane, anyway. How many high school girls go recording their suicide attempts? She can only imagine how much worse it would have to be to have that all over everything.

It's time to slip past the awkward and to something that should prove lighter fare. "Is she nice?"

How many people constantly forgive most everyone who's killed them? Peter isn't exactly up there with the most sane, either— he'd just not been trying to die that one time. Sure, jumping off a fifteen story building in an attempt to fly hadn't been the greatest idea ever either… "Yeah… she's really nice." Better than his last girlfriend, at least? Who could be nice… when she didn't try to zap people. At least she already knows he and Elle had broken up a while ago, but that's probably not the best topic, either. "Actually you might've heard of her. I don't think you've met, though. She used to be really good friends with Drake before he skipped town… Elena Gomez?"

Claire doesn't know how to stop. This we know. At this juncture, that's probably a good thing. Because she just might do so, otherwise. Unfortunately, all she can do is snap her head up and stare at her uncle for a second, completely forgetting to move her feet, but at least having them locked in a parallel position. "Yeah, I know who she is. You… you're dating my ex-boyfriend's ex-best friend." And he's how much older than her? The words are offered as statement, but intended as bewilderment. In the girl's mind, there's something vaguely unsettling about the prospect, regardless of right to think so.

…Only eight years. What's wrong with that? Peter does catch the glare, but seems to assume it's because he mentioned her ex. Who skipped town without even telling her as far as he knows. That's not the best topic ever. But! There's skating. "You'll probably like her— she's really nice, I promise you." Even if he'd have defended his last girlfriend quite a bit, he's not being overly defensive with this one. She really is nice. "Let's try turning and stopping a little more— until you get the hang of it." It's a subject switch, but it might be welcome now. Insert musical montage now?

The Blue Danube Waltz begins!

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