2010-07-03: Being Human



Date: July 3, 2010


Claire and Wheeler catch up after a few weeks of bad timing — and Claire pursues what she wants for once.

"Being Human"

The Food Court

Claire hasn't been to the Food Court in almost a week, since she and Kiki had the bad timing to be on the freeway at the moment of the eclipse. Claire also hasn't seen Wheeler in weeks, due to conflicting schedules that seemed ordained to keep them apart — does Big Mitch have something out for the two? Claire, being a bit skeptical about her ability in the dating arena, suspects it might be more than that. Perhaps Wheeler has purposely scheduled himself in shifts that didn't coincide or even overlap with hers.

She's already having a bad day, having just left her grandmother's house where there was yet another dysfunctional discussion that left her wondering why she even tries, sometimes, to be a member of the Petrelli family — clandestine as she is. She called in her availability to work yesterday, telling Mitch she'd be available as of today, and he said he'd add her to the schedule. She takes a deep breath outside the doors before entering, not dressed in tennis skirt and polo shirt as usual for a work shift, but in her jeans and tank top, flip flops on her feet and the lovely accessory of a bright pink cast on her right arm, to go with the three stitches at the corner of her right eye. Part of her hopes Archie isn't working, because she certainly doesn't look her best.


Wheeler's in the process of handing someone their order and doesn't really keep paying attention to them, because he's managed to catch sight of Claire waltzing into the building. This is… interesting. He's been busy. She's been busy. Big Mitch has been Scheduley.

Wheeler's eyes drift down to the cast and he immediately blinks, shoving the tray at the customer and sliding around the counter to see if he can't intercept the blonde that's heading inside. "Hey. What happened? I mean, you're cute enough without needing to play the sympathy card." Immediately, Wheeler's going with the joke option. "Did you fall out of Heaven again?"

"Hey," Claire says, unable to keep from smiling at the lame line that somehow still manages to make her heart skip just a little. "No one told you? Kiki and I were in an accident on Monday. You've probably had to work overtime on account of both of us being total slackers for the past week."

She moves to head behind the counter. "I just came by to pick up my schedule for the next week, since I was in the neighborhood and figured it was easier than making someone read it off to me," she explains, glancing down. "I'm okay. Could have been worse, you know? I think Kiki was worse off than me, but she'll be okay, too."

The fact Mitch hadn't told Wheeler that she was in a car accident at least explains the lack of any call or text to see if she's all right — or so Claire tells herself. "How are you? Besides… you know. Working."

"Well, I need about 2500 CCs of Blonde, because I've been worried sick." Wheeler is unable to lay it on thick. He's actually been pretty swamped with trying to readjust to being… normal and it's just been crazy, lately. He's all about the coming up with excuses. Which is what he's doing right about now. "I would've called but Mitch has been ridin' me like the Black Stallion. Only… much, much more white." Wheeler grins.

"As it happens, though, I just happen to be carrying around next week's schedule in my back pocket." Winking, Wheeler reaches behind him and pulls out the schedule, unfolding it and handing it over to Claire. "That's your copy. I was gonna' zoom it by your place after work." Shrugging helplessly, he just kind of tries to climb out of the possible doghouse. "I was gonna' by chocolates and apology cards and everything. I feel terrible about… not being there." Falling right into Rambling Explanation Mode. "I swear, if I had known you were hurt…"

The folded paper is taken and glanced at, searching for the first day back on the job to make sure it isn't two hours ago, and Claire nods, folding it along its already creased lines and pushing it into her own back pocket.

"No, it's cool, you don't have anything to apologize for, Archie," she says, with a smile. "I could have called you, too, you know, but I kinda felt like doing nothing but staring at the TV and focusing on not whimpering."

She smiles and tilts her head. "What time are you off work? I can hang around and we can get the chocolate in some other form besides a See's box, if you want. Mocha frappuccinos or something?" Maybe it's the fact she is more human than she has been, a normal girl that gives her the courage to ask this time instead of being tricked into it.


Wheeler is already reaching back to lean over the counter and tell people that he's not going to be around any longer. Which is always a good thing. Going on impromptu dates could score him some better points and that could cause him to end up in a much better place with the cheerleader. "I can tell you this, though. I sure did miss you around here. Nobody works this uniform quite the way you do." He winks and moves off towards the door, reaching to push it open and stands back to let the female head out first. "Say. If I ever get stuck in a cast, you'd come by and nurse me back to health, right?" His tone is curious, but with a 'scheming' under layer.

Well. That works out well. She certainly has better timing today than she did Monday. Tilting her head to grin up at him, she steps outside. "I'm not sure I'm the most equipped to be a nurse. My uncle's a bit better at that sort of thing. I might tell you to suck it up and be a man, it can't be that bad, but for the sake of hypothesizing, I'll go ahead and say sure. At the very least, I'd bring you Del Taco and some movies to watch or something while you were recuperating. Me, I got stuck watching 'Afterlife' and like Wheel of Fortune all day." She wrinkles her nose. "You driving? I took the subway."

"Afterlife? Lame. Wheel of Fortune? Awesome! I'm like Vanna White Junior or something." Wheeler's not about to do anything else to compromise this budding relationship. If it even ends up being one. Right about now, though, he's going to stay focused on making his way to his El Camino. "The Wilson's in the shop. We'll have to settle for my ride." He pulls open the door and just kind of smiles, making sure that he's being as gentleman as possible. "Y'know, if you're up for it, we could always skip the chocolate and drive to some abandoned area and get on with the making of the out." Smile! "… I hear that helps with pain!"

"Does everyone drive an El Camino these days? It must be the Thing to Do," Claire quips as she slides into the passenger seat of the same make of car-truck-hybrid thing that got smashed on Monday. Luckily she doesn't have PTSD. "Get in the car, mister," she says with a chuckle and a little bit of a blush at his proposition. "I have Tylenol with Codeine. What is this pain you speak of?"

There is pain of course, and that is something new — or at least newly returned — to the small blonde. She doesn't even mind the dull ache in her arm, the first pain she's felt since Gabriel took her power for himself. She feels almost normal.

"Curses. Foiled by Prescription Medication." Wheeler slides over to his side of the car and gets in, planting himself and starting the vehicle right up. "Starbucks?" is asked, since he's already figured out that this girl is not trying to make out with him any time soon. Which sucks. Because he kind of likes making out. But that's okay. He'll just have to try and be patient and wait. Waiting has never really been his strong suit, but there it is. "I think I may have some coupons in here, somewhere, if you want to get a couple cookies or something."

"Actually, I don't think mixing codeine and caffeine is recommended," Claire says slowly, a mischievous smile curving her lips upward as she peers at him sideways through dark lashes. "Maybe something more… you know. Quiet. And less… coffee oriented." She's normal. What do normal twenty-year-old girls do with boys they like, after all, especially when there's a possibility of a future where she doesn't have to live forever and watch everyone she knows die?

Okay, now Wheeler feels stupid. He could've sworn she mentioned something about Frappucinos or something. But whatever. He's not going to try and figure out the female brain… when its on pain medication. That makes everything even worse, to be perfectly honest. He just pulls out of his parking space and decides there's time to ride down the street. "Okay. You kinda' just put my options at the Library and Church. So do we want to read or pray?" Grinning, Wheeler just heads off in a way that looks like he's heading away from the craziness of this particular haven of industriality.

"Definitely not pray. If I were smarter and remembered it, I would spout off the Romeo and Juliet scene where they make the kissing into a whole praying metaphor thing, but I think I got a B- on that and it was like six years ago," Claire says with a smirk. "Would you throw me out of the car for being cheesy if I said the only thing I want to read is your lips?" His cheesy come-on lines might be contagious — and she's not immune without her power.

"Say no more!" Wheeler makes a hard right turn, speeding past a couple who was /going/ to cross the street. But that's okay. He's definitely just headed in a new direction. See, he's just been given the green light and that's never going to look good on his permanent dating record if he doesn't take advantage. "By the way, I love cheesy pick up lines. They work on me. Very easily. Actually, you? You don't even have to use words. Flashing works too." Whoa. Wheeler just had to say that. Who knows! Maybe he'll create a monster!

"Yikes, careful, I have a one-car-accident-a-week-limit, and there's still 48 hours or more until I can get in a new one," Claire says with a laugh at the dramatic turn. Her cheeks are flushed — apparently not taking risks that could get her killed means taking risks with her heart that she hasn't been willing to take for a long time. She turns to study Wheeler, her eyes sparkling. "It's good to see you, you know. I thought maybe you were avoiding me. It's nice to know that's not the case."

"I could never avoid you, Claire. Do you know I get a +50 to Reputation just being seen with you?" Wheeler hopes that gaming speak comes off as flattering as he can make it sound. But if she's not a gamer, most cheerleaders aren't, she probably will just nod and smile or something. So Wheels better follow it up with something nice and explanatory. "I mean, look at you. You're stitched and cast'd up and you still look amazing. You're even smiling. 'Course, I don't think the whimpering you said you were doing could be any less amazing, but still. I like you too much to not stalk you."

"You say the sweetest things," the former cheerleader says with a little smirk and a giggle, teasingly. But in a way, it's also true. Well, maybe not so much the stalking thing, but the sentiment was nice.

"You fail as a stalker though, unless you had a web cam set up that I don't know about or you've been living in my closet and I totally missed it. You'll have to try harder if you want to be a pro, you know." She reaches with her non-casted hand to wrap it around his upper arm.

"Secret Webcam. Got it." Unfortunately, Wheeler maybe sounds a little bit more serious than he should upon hearing that idea. He is, after all, very much computer savvy. "I could arrange that." He ends up parking the vehicle, just as Claire starts wrapping her hand around his arm. "This is the spot. It ain't much, but we can watch the sunset in that romantic way that all those chick flicks do." If Claire looks around, she'll probably see that she's on the top floor of one of those damn parking garages.

Well, it's quiet, and it's not a church or a library, so most of the demands have been met. "Very romantic," Claire intones, grinning a little. "I don't remember ever seeing a chick flick where they watched the sunset from an El Camino, but then I think I like the novelty of it." She turns to look up at him, cheeks a touch rosy as she searches his brown eyes with her green. "And the novelty of you. You make me laugh." She pauses, then adds, "In a good way."

"Laughter is the second best medicine. Making out is the first, of course." Wheeler will not quit, it seems. He's all about persistence. That's definitely sure. "Which, if you're up for it, is something we can try right now." He throws an arm back over the seat and gets nice and comfortable. "Not that I'm rushing you. We've still got some minutes of sun left, yet."

"I don't think anyone can accuse us of rushing," Claire says with a little smirk. Their first (only) date was a month ago now. "What if I told you I'm shy and demure and old-fashioned and require my stalker to make the first move?" she asks, leaning her head sideways against the headrest of her seat as she looks up at him, batting her lashes twice for playful and melodramatic effect.

"I'd call you an evil liar and accuse you of playing too hard to get. Followed by running away because the chase was pointless and then cry because we didn't get to watch James Bond together for hours upon hours." Wheeler smirks and then offers a shrug. "Luckily, I'm not opposed to making first moves." His shrug leads to a smirk which leads to his face coming towards hers in a slow motion style movement that's totally stolen from She's All That.

His words draw giggles, both amused and nervous, from Claire, but then as he finally moves toward her, she sobers up. Green eyes dip as dark lashes fan her cheeks, and she leans to meet the kiss, tilting her face just so — bumping noses is not chick-flick romantic, and she doesn't want to bump her stitched cut against his jaw either, for that matter. The hand around his arm moves to the back of his neck, and for the first time in a while, Claire forgets all of the things that make her abnormal, and focuses on those that make her human: the need for love and companionship and kisses from cute boys, high on the list.

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