2010-06-02: Everything Is Fine



Date: June 2, 2010


Or not.

"Everything Is Fine"

New York

"You're that guy running for Senate, aren't you?"

The question catches George off guard; blinking, he turns around, taking a moment to focus in on who's asking. And what they're asking. He was just here to get some coffee! "I'm not, sorry… You are talking about Senator Petrelli's seat, right?" The other man, openly brandishing a voice recorder, nods. "Our working relationship is a matter of record, naturally I was shocked at what happened back in April, but— no, I'm planning to stick to my own seat for at least one more term. If the voters will have me."

Waving her hand in the direction of the barista, Janet desperately tries to get his attention, but he's too focused on the reporter and trying to look his best, lest there be pictures. "Excuse me!! Excuse me!! Pardon me! Can I—?" She frowns. Her tactics aren't working. With a small pout, she attempts again, but fails once more. And then, she does something terribly odd, even for Janet. She climbs onto a chair (rather awkwardly as she's wearing a navy pencil skirt and matching blazer) and then waves. "Please, can I have your attention…"

The cub reporter, meanwhile, is focused on the congressman. A couple of softball questions about recent issues with the mayor; then something about his fiancee, at which point George politely but firmly cuts him off. "No offense, but I've been trying to keep my personal life out of the news since—" Since it was immediately followed up by an assassination? Even the paparazzi left it alone after that. For about a week. Before any objections can be raised, though, they both stop and turn to see what Janet's suddenly yelling about.

"I just want a coffee— that's all. Just a coffee. I don't have any grand announcement, I'm not famous, and clearly I'm not a politician… I just want my coffee. Pleeeeeeease. Please. Please. Please." At this the barista finally responds in kind and pours the good doctor who is now slowly climbing down from her chair (once again freakishly awkwardly) and onto the floor.

Well, that's as good a way to duck further interrogation as any. Brushing the journalist off with a business card and a promise of an interview later in the week, George steps aside - but not before handing the cashier a few extra bills to cover Janet's order as well. "Least I can do after holding you up like that," he explains, even if the other guy was at least as much to blame. Even honest politicians can stand to touch up their image now and again.

"Gee— thanks!" Janet smiles brightly to George her eyes lighting up at the gesture. "You've just secured my vote, Congressman. Especially because both parties are so similar in their politics in a way." The doctor is nobody's fool but her own. In fact, she's well acquainted with the goings-on around her city. She winks as she gingerly accepts her coffee. She carefully brings the cup to her lips and slowly takes a sip. "Quite the entourage you seem to attract— "

George arches a brow, sizing up this new face as well. That smile, man! Not that he's prowling the market these days, but he knows what people look for. "Ooh, don't let them hear you say that, it'll mess up all their talking points," he answers, beginning to walk away so the line has room to keep moving. "And yes, I've noticed that. Flies to rotten meat, and here I am, all out of cheesecloth. I wonder if some of us don't wash out our careers on purpose."

"Touche," Janet quips back with a small shrug as she too inches away from the line lest she hold up others from their coffee. "I imagine it's the kind of thing that doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I mean I worked for this well I'm a doctor— not a politician— but was doing some work for this government thing and it just wasn't good. ANd I'm a doctor. A healer, you know."

A government thing that wasn't good? Hmm, George knows about one of those. And she called herself a 'healer', something one hears more often from alternative-medicine types or… other types. This bears a bit of further exploration of the topic. "This thing you were doing work for… wouldn't happen to be that one that kinda got dragged through the news, couple months back?"

Oh no. Not another one of them. Janet's face pales a little, but she manages to keep her expression even. Her chatter, however, isn't. "What thing int he government? It was just a job a good job and I was good at it and it was time to go so I left like any sane human being and I'm currently looking for a new one so it's not like I'm totally not working it was just stressful and nerve-wracking and exhausting every single day was exhausting. And this one time I fixed a GSW that had been left for too long and went postal and then I got the book thrown at me kind of and had to like… do things." Ahem. "What government thing?"

George tries to cut in, once, but then just gives up and lets the stream of consciousness run out of its own accord. "Nothing, just— curious, I guess," he says, waving a dismissive hand. "Past history, now." If he is indeed one of them, whoever 'them' is, then at least he's not pressing the issue. "So what are you doing these days? Always a demand for doctors, as much as we might wish there wasn't."

"Job hunting and biding my time, I guess," Janet replies with a shrug. "I was offered a spot but it wasn't quite what I'm looking for. Not yet. Someday it'll be the right one and everything will be great." At this she nods firmly. "And I'm spending lots of time with my roommate. And. You know. Doing my thing." She nods again. "Signing some. I like karaoke. Not as much as Parker though. And taking in vagrants." Shrug. "And yourself? I know there was… I.. " she smiles weakly and shrugs again.

"Oh, keeping busy. The usual." George shrugs; politics doesn't lend itself well to quick sum-ups, it comes out sounding like sound bites.

They've been walking as they talk: at a relaxed pace, but still covering a decent distance away from the coffee place. This block features an electronics store with some TV sets out in the display window, currently broadcasting the tail end of the five o'clock news. "—and billionaire software magnate Jaden Cain's latest trophy girlfriend? We'll have more after the commercial break." George glances over for a moment, shaking his head and turning away again… only to do a double take as the alleged girlfriend flashes in and out of frame. Wait a minute.

"I can imagine." Her lips quirk back into an easy smile. "I— " Janet begins before gaping a little at the television. How is that possible? The press always gets these things wrong anyways? Unlike George, Janny is agape at the television, unsure if there's anything to say. Her eyebrows knit together tightly as she outright stares at the television now on commercial break.

And the commercials are pretty weird, too, whether for small items ("Did you know that I'm riding this horse backwards?") or large ("You're killing me, Larry!") - they have to be, to have any hope of grabbing the attention of an increasingly jaded audience.

Finally, the alleged news does cut back in, and yes, that particular goofy grin could only belong to one man. The woman's identity is less clear; she's further away from the camera, which then zooms upward to take in the Eiffel Tower (to reassure viewers that the "Paris" subtitle isn't referring to the one in Texas).

"Friend of yours?" asks George, turning and looking over toward Janet. It'd be a crazy random happenstance… but for him, that just means it's Wednesday.

Throughout the commercials Janet remains relatively stiff. Her jaw settling into something more strained that relaxed, an expression she hasn't worn for nearly a month now. It's somewhere between skepticism and impatience. "Y-you could say that," she smiles just a little now at Jaden on the television. Just a little. And it is at least mildly strained. "He's— we're…" she eyes George skeptically and pushes a brighter smile forward. Always the eternal optimist, she shrugs a little.

Oh dear. More than a friend, maybe? Though that might be up in the air, now, after seeing… whatever that was. "I know the feeling, believe me," replies George, shaking his head and continuing on down the sidewalk, just as happy not to think about it any further right now. Change of subject, stat! "You know, I think I could really go for a hot dog right about now. You like hot dogs?"

Janet's lips twitch slightly, but they're still smiling. Her eyes, however, have found something vaguely unfamiliar to them: a kind of cynicism. Not really, just a mild one. "Well, people are allowed to have female employees— " she quips logically. Way to go powers of logic! "And yeah, I like hot dogs. I'm all about the particle board of meat, I just have to make sure my roommate doesn't find out— in our apartment we live on a healthy diet of pastries, diet coke, and sometimes pudding…" she's smiling again, but her eyes tell a story all their own.

George makes a sour face. "If you can call that living." It's an easy dodge, but all the more effective for it. Still on the move, unwilling to draw any further media attention this evening if he can help it, he continues down the block toward a chrome-trimmed mobile stand offering a full bevy of unhealthy toppings: chili, cheese, onions, jalapenos, and two plastic jars that are left conspicuously unlabeled.

"I'm a doctor. I have at least ten more years before I have to start caring about what I eat. Or until I get freakishly high cholesterol or something." Janet virtually beams again. "And it's not like I don't get things checked out because I'm not only a doctor but also a little bit OCD. Just a little though." Her hot dog is paired with an unhealthy dose of everything. Yup, this woman can eat. Unnaturally good metabolism and she runs often.

For his part, George sticks with jalapenos and nacho cheese: noticeable, but not a risk of making too huge a mess if someone bumps into him— which someone almost does, just as he steps away. "Just a little," he agrees. "I used to get enough jogging in that I didn't really have to worry, but I haven't had quite so much free time the past couple of years." This is actually not an understatement; he kept busy back when he was working for Nathan, too. "Early mornings are the most open, but they take the most willpower to pull off, too…"

"But I bet if you jogged it would be worth it. I do shift work. Whenever there's a lull I sleep or walk around the hospital doing rounds. Maybe that's what I should do, return to a hospital and specialize or something." Clucking her tongue, Janet takes a large bite of the hot dog before chewing and talking over her chews, "Mmm. S'goot." Chew. Chew. AND swallow. "So spend much time with the voters or too busy living the high life of a known politico?" She's grinning again.

George rolls his eyes, working his way through his own hot dog off and on. "Oh, no, I'm not due to be caught canoodling with a cabana boy for another ten years or so," he deadpans. "Actually, it's a balancing act, you have to pay attention to a little bit of everything. I'm getting a little better about delegating lately, plus we've got some good ties with the city government."

"Ha! Show me a politician who stays connected to the people and I'll show you a doctor who actually follows doctors' orders. They aren't easy to find, my friend." Pressing her lips together she wrinkles her nose again. "I'm Janet, by the way. Or Doc if you prefer." She goes by both. "So. Have you considered your next move governmentally? I hear there's an open Senate seat…" She winks. She'd heard the reporter.

"Mmm, I'm trying to be the tenth one. You know, nine out of ten doctors?" Reaching a bench and leaning back against it, George sets down the hot dog long enough to offer a handshake. "And I have, but— well, like I told that guy earlier. And it's hard for me to deal with… When Nathan got shot, I was already out to the parking lot. Maybe I could've changed things if I'd still been inside the building, maybe not. There's no way to know any more."

The doctor's smile turns pensive as she considers it all. "The thing is life is full of coulda, woulda, shouldas, but we can't think like that. I mean, I've made mistakes. Innocent mistakes. I was naive and maybe stupid in a way and found an easy way out of my troubles, and now I look back and judge former me. BUT if I'm fully honest, they weren't bad decisions with the information I had at the time, you know?" Janet shrugs before taking another bite of her hot dog.

"That covers a lot of it," George agrees, nodding vaguely. "Some things are just bad luck. But pretty much everyone's made at least a few mistakes where it was their fault and they knew it, they were just too angry to care enough." Is he thinking of something specific in his own past? Maybe. "But this is just when I stop and dwell on it… most of the time, there's too much else to do."

Like duck his head and turn, as he spots what might be another little knot of photographers heading down the street the other way. Could the reporter have gotten that far already? Maybe, but more likely he just made a couple phone calls to arrange an ambush.

Janet sighs now. "And yes, there are things we should all have handled differently. All we can do is learn from it, move on, and try to do better when life throws us similar challenges." She arches an eyebrow at the swarm of reporters. "So is the shooting the reason they're all so interested in talking to you… or is there more to it? I haven't paid much attention to the news lately. I normally talk about the non-news with Parker but I haven't been home much lately. Been busy… not working…"

George waves a dismissive hand. "It was, for a little while, but things have moved on. They're always going after pols for something or other— if they're lucky then they get credit for embarrassing someone, otherwise they still get credit for keeping tabs." But enough about him… "So, why the break on your end, just taking some time off? I figure there's still plenty of demand for good doctors."

"Who said I'm good?" Janet asks with a teasing lilt before smiling and shaking her head. "No. I'm a good doctor. I dunno. Just haven't found the right something yet, I guess? And there was a point when I literally would've taken anything to make my student loan payments. But… those were taken care of by my guardian angel, even if he denies it," the only person that would've guessed her passwords would've been Parker. "And it was really stressful what happened to me. And my sister just got back from … er… being… being kidnapped! McCarty. Erin McCarty. From Afterlife. So, I've been dealing the the emotional family stuff there…"

At that point, George does a double-take. "Wait, you're Erin's--?" Another connection between them— he should have seen it coming, really. "I used to go out with her roommate, couple years back. Never got too serious— anyway, how's she been lately? I remember she took a break for a while but I haven't really kept up." Which break gave Hallis an opening for her own current acting gig. He's… still pretty annoyed about how that ended up turning out.

"Oh there was tis nasty business with the police and stuff," and the government agency that Janet worked for… oops, "but she's good now!" Except for her memory. Not so good. She thinks she's Morgan Starr, her character. Janet forces a smile this time. "Yeah… she disappeared we were all worried. Blah. blah Blah. Water under the bridge." She grins broadly before issuing George a shrug.

Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line (unless, well, you know). And never give a politician a fake smile and expect him not to see through it. George pauses for a second… then turns, searching Janet's eyes. "There's more to it than that, isn't there. Seriously, is she all right? Do you guys need a hand with anything?" Not that he ever knew her very well, but you never know till you ask.

"I… she'll be fine. She has to be," Janet is whispering now, she blinks hard, sniffs loudly, and then the giant crocodile tears begin. "I…" Breath. "…she…" Breath. "Can't you see that everything is fine?" she swallows hard tries to force another smile that dissipates into a loud sob as the doctor gasps for air. "She thinks she's Morgan Starr…!" Janet laments loudly as she buries her face into her palms. She's not one to cry in front of strangers, but she hasn't even talked to Parker about this one. With her eyes hidden by her palms, she manages to sputter in between sobs, "We just made up!! We didn't talk for YEARS and now she's not even around and it's too late and I'm the single worst younger sister on the entire face of the planet because I missed my chance and now she's gone! Disappeared somewhere into her own subconsciousness because I'm the worst sister EVER." HICCUP.

Um. Seriously? She has amnesia schizophrenia? Man, George was right about her holding something back, but maybe he should have let her… no, no, it's probably better that she gets it off her chest to someone. He can offer her that much, at least. Leaning closer, he draws his arms around her and shakes his head. "Hey, now, no you're not. You're not, because you did make up, and— well, someone's going to at least try to get her back, right?" Even if he has no idea who. Or how.

Down the block, unnoticed, camera flashes start going off. Most of them will probably be uselessly blurry, but someone is getting their pound of flesh for the night.

Janet sobs in George's arms, easily settling against his chest. "Everything went sooo wrong… I'm a doctor…" Hiccup. "I'm supposed to help people! Not sell them off to other countries… and not create fake diseases to break people out of prison!" Hiccup. "And now you'll have me arrested..>!" Hiccup. "And Erin! I'm a horrible sister!!" Hiccup. "And Jaden is something. I don't know!" Hiccup.

It's a good thing George is looking over Janet's shoulder right now; she doesn't have to look at the complicated look that crosses his face as he listens, on top of everything else. At least he quickly works out that she put herself back on the right side of events once she realized what was up. "No, I— listen, we need to get you home, okay? C'mon. Here." Urging her back to her feet as best he can, he turns and heads back in the direction of the hot dog stand. She needs something to drink, like, right now. And a cab. And the 'razzi will have a field day with this but, well, he'll burn that bridge later.

"No… you're going to have me arrested and I'm much too much too pretty for prison…!" she laments. "Even if I … I-I wear my scrubs in the house…!!!" Janet sobs again. "This is a lame punishment for someone who wears her scrubs around her house— I mean, it's the house!!!" She's still crying but does manage to wobble to her feet. She's easily guided amongst her tears. Yup, it's been a rough few months for an optimist.

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