2010-08-20: Claire's Bad Day



Date: August 20, 2010


…made worse by Janet…

"Claire's Bad Day"

The Food Court

Heavy steps tramp into the large fast food place that is the Food Court. Janet hasn't been here in months — not since that shoot out she'd been privy to back in May. A little cautiously, she approaches the counter, but despite her wariness, she has a bright smile, doubly so when compared to normal. In one hand? She holds the leash to the puppy extraordinary — the beagle Cray Z, her new love. Her jPhone is in hand as she inputs her name into that meme again, it's like a constant reminder to be upbeat.

"Hi! How are you?! I'm betting you know what's good here — something greasy and delicious! You're probably wondering why might someone with a complexion such as mine and a smile" she raises both hands a la Vanna White to display the brightness of her toothy grin "this bright would want something so incredibly bad for my insides as food from the Food Court! AND. I have an answer." She raises a single finger to signal to the girl behind the counter that she's about to give it, "I told my boyfriend I love him to the tune of… NOTHING. We got a flat. In the car. And I'm pretty sure he pretended he didn't hear me…"

One moment, there's nothing to do — the counter is wiped down, the bathroom is clean, every customer in the place (all five of them) have their food and are happily consuming their heart attacks on a bun. Claire rises from where she was leaning, tres bored, on the counter, and her green eyes widen as she stares at Janet, who doesn't look at the menu but just starts babbling at her like a crazy person. They get them from time to time, the homeless people who come in and ask them to mail an important letter to Richard Nixon and/or Franklin D. Roosevelt. The last one handed her a Verseteller envelope stuff full of trash from the gutter as his very important letter.

This woman is crazy of a different kind. She's clean, for one. Claire has a soft spot for the homeless people, now, thanks to the nuns, and she'd prefer that kind of crazy to clean pretty girl crazy talking about boyfriends and flat tires and the L-word.

"Um. Is flat tire a euphemism for…" Claire makes a little downward gesture of a finger, before blushing slightly and glancing up at the menu above her head.

"The Ace is probably our most popular hamburger. Get the curly fries, not the regular, and if you really need to not think about men, the caramel shake," she offers.

"NO! Like actually a flat tire! We were driving after we'd just picked out Cray, who I love more than life itself, and then we got a REAL flat tire! Like, 'Oh no my car has a flat' kind of flat tire! SERIOUSLY!" Janet's eyes widen as she speaks, her voice cracking as she speaks. "AND. Annnnnnnnnnd. THIS FORTUNE. Have you seen this website?!"

Dramatically, Janet pushes the jPhone into Claire's face. "You like put in your name and it has this fortune. ANYways, mine says 'When you're happy, the world is happy because — to those around you — you are the world. Keep these flowering friends, but watch out for weeds with wrong intentions,' begging the question whether my boyfriend is one of the weeds! Everything else about it is freakishly accurate — honest, I can make a dying man smile, I'm a doctor, believe me… " And then pause.

"Wait. You… you were at the accident. The car accident…" Janet gapes at the other girl. "Good to see your arm(?) healed well…"

"Cute puppy," Claire says, eyes widening more as she glances at the phone thrust into her face. "Um. Okay. I … that could be true of anyone, you know? I don't think it's really telling you a fortune. It's just randomly giving you something that sounds like good advice. Call me skeptical and all, but, you know, how can a computer know anything about you from a few letters?"

Her brows furrow a little and she nods. "Oh, you were there, huh? I can't really remember. I hit my head. You're a doctor?" Crazy woman is a doctor. Go figure. Maybe she can be something besides a waitress-cashier at a fast food restaurant. "Did you want to … order?"

"Well… you should try it! I swear there's something to it — " Janet cranes her neck to see Claire's name tag. " — Claire." Her eyebrows arch insistently as she places the phone on the counter. "Just put in your name. I bet it speaks to you more than anything. And honestly? I never buy into this kind of crap! Like horoscopes? Ehn. Illogical, right? But so much in life doesn't stand up to logic! I swear it doesn't!" Three fingers push the phone closer to Claire.

"Yeah. I was there. AND I'm a doctor. Not working right now because — well, I'm too busy going crazy over this relationship stuff. Seriously. I don't know what it is but more than anything women are always fretting over their relationships. I bet you anything Jaden forgot I said anything." She sighs as she glances at the menu and then back to Claire. "Uh. The Ace, I guess. And a milkshake. Something really really fattening. And french fries."

Claire sighs and punches in her name to the phone, then sets it back down to punch in the order. Ace, fries, and Double-Fault Death by Chocolate shake. "That'll be eight dollars and thirty five cents, Doctor," she tells the other woman politely, perhaps hoping that if she returns to "business" that the chit chat will be less frenetic.

But Claire's too nice for that, and sighs. "Sorry about that. Jaden, is it? Guys are afraid of that, I think. If it's the first time you said it? He may just not be ready to say it but he might feel it, you know? I wouldn't worry. And flat tires, you know. They make you all stressed and if he forgot, he didn't mean to, I'm sure," she says. Relationship guru, Claire Bennet? Hardly.

Janet cranes her neck and looks at the fortune that comes out before she reads it aloud, "'Family, boyfriend, job. It's everybody's regular plan and you're doing well with it. But never stop wondering if you really want everybody else's plan.' So. Does it speak to you?" Her eyes flit back to the girl before she reaches into her purse and extracts exact change. Yes, she's like that. OCD.

"But the thing is, I don't need him to say it, I just want him to acknowledge that I said something. If that makes sense? Honestly, that's all I'm looking for. And I'm a total blurter when I get on a roll." Her cheeks flush as she quips sarcastically, "You probably can't tell. I was just born without that thing where your brain tells you enough is enough." She shrugs. "I dunno. It's just so complicated. At least I have Cray. And Parker."

Those fierce Petrelli brows of Claire's furrow at the "fortune." "No, it doesn't speak to me. It's not like this is my ideal career, right? Like I said, it's generic and anyone could get something out of that if they wanted to." Never mind not everyone has a boyfriend or a job or a family. The lady doth protest too much.

"I have a puppy too, but he's like, nine times the size of that one," she says, a little more kindly, perhaps to undo her bitter words of a moment before. She takes the cash and puts each coin and bill into the proper place. "Your order number will be #15. Is that to go or for here?"

"But not that generic," Janet states matter-of-factly as she glances down at the counter, and places her phone in her purse. "Fifteen. Do you think that's a luck number? Thirteen is most people's unlucky number, but I make my own luck and don't really believe in it or I didn't until this fortune thing came out… I mean what if there's more to it than all that? What if it's a room full of…" she cuts herself off before shooting Claire a suspicious glance and clamping her mouth shut.

"Uh. I guess I'll get it to go." A vague glance is given around the room to the occupants; she could count them on one hand. "Business is not so good, eh?"

Technopaths? Claire's eyes narrow a little as well at Janet's blurtability. "You better get that filter thing figured out. Can you take medication for that?" she asks. "Business… I donno. It's always slow except at like, exactly noon to noon-thirty, then it's slow again. But hey, I get enough hours and I get paid and it's a job. I don't exactly have a resume that is going to get me hired anywhere more lucrative or … you know, where I don't smell like french fries when I leave. But it has its perks." There's a small smile at that. Her biggest perk is working with Archie, though not today. Who did the schedule this week, anyway?

"It's fine. I've been like this for years and I can keep secrets, it's just when I had to keep so many secrets they get bottled up, back-logged and then things just come out. And no. There's no medication for being… neurotic." Janet blinks as her shoulders shrug nonchalantly. "What about school? You look young enough to be in College or something. I dunno — just thinking you probably don't want to be… stuck here forever. Smelling like french fries." Beat. "Unless you do. In which case," she waves a dismissive hand, "screw school."

Heaving a sigh, Claire glances over her shoulder at the cooks. Could you be any slower, Nu'Awlins? Glancing back at Janet, she shrugs one shoulder. "Every time I start, something comes up and I have to drop out. Kinda thinking it's pointless at this point, you know?" Even if she has all the time in the world, if she has to drop out in the middle of every term, she's still never going to graduate. "It's kind of a curse, I think. Besides, I don't really know what I want to do." The only job she can think of that will pay her well is perpetual organ donor slash blood supplier. Too bad there's no such thing as vampires. "But you know, thanks for the pep talk."

"Well no school's a waste if you're into it," Janet quips. "And there's always like taking one class at a time or whatever… slow and steady~" She virtually sings as she drums her fingers on the counter and attempts to keep her mouth shut. As usual this is a futile act. "And… school isn't really about learning what you want to do, I don't think. I think it like teaches you how to think. Well, until your entire world changes. And then you don't know what to think about anything." Absently she chews on her bottom lip before shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

"Lady, my entire world changes at least every two months or so," Claire says, perhaps a touch testily. This woman is much too chipper and has no idea what Claire's life is like and yet here she is spouting advice like she's Dear Goddamn Abby. The blond regenerator was already in a bad mood — now she's downright irritable.

A bell dings for pickup and she spins around, stalking to the pickup counter — it'd look more intimidating if she were in something other than a short pleated tennis skirt and a hot pink polo top, of course. She bags the food and returns to drop it in the counter in front of Janet. "Thanks for all the advice and stuff, though. It's super nice of you," Claire says with a faux-sweet smile.

Claire's response earns her a distinct eyebrow raise and a shake of Janet's head.

The bag is accepted before the doctor turns on her heel, murmuring all to loudly, "Definite weed," before literally skipping out the door and off to wherever she feels butterflies flutter and fairies dance. Today? It's Central Park.

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