2009-10-04: Here and Back Again

Starring:

Elena_V4icon.pngGene_V4icon.png

Date: October 4th, 2009

Summary:

The evening hours find two, old friends catching up on each other's lives, reconnecting after close to a year apart.


"Here and Back Again"

The Kensington Manor, Great Falls

Ten minutes from Washington, D.C.

She was here to visit one of the handful of people she's been in regular contact with since leaving New York.

It many ways it was a method in leaving her old life behind and starting anew - even calls to Peter had been less frequent, nonexistent sometime after Cass and Lachlan's wedding when tensions reached the breaking point and she found herself working the way she does to forget. To say that she missed the city of her birth was, however, an understatement, past connections held onto with a desperate sort of revelry that wasn't like her these days. She might have gone a little overboard, once she pulls her dark-red mini into the Kensington Manor, let in through the gate and rolling it around the rotunda to be parked, and for the keys to be handed over to the valet.

The overboard was this - Elena had stopped to pick up a box full of chinese food, sustenance for insomniac geeks everywhere. She knew, because there had been nights were she sustained herself that same way, armed with a camera and stuffed in a car with Roger Redford of the Post, their own civilian mobile surveillance unit.

She waits to be let in, after knocking on the door. Approaching eight o'clock in the evening, it was the dinner hour, and she was starving. While her abilities gave her enough perks to sustain herself even without the money afforded to her by her father's newfound position, it had the unfortunate drawback of a hyperactive metabolism that required her to eat eight times a day. It has been two hours since her last meal, and she was already doing her best not to dive headfirst into the two boxes of chow mein she had ordered.

Willpower, however, prevails.

A few moments go by before the door is opened. Dressed in a black silk dress shirt with the first button left undone and flattering black slacks, Gene is there, appearing to have improved in time. His body is a bit more muscular, having gained lost weight and seemingly a bit more definition. His skin is back to how it was when Elena first saw him, seemingly as if he was never sick to begin with. An inch or two might have been gained as well, but it would surprise few to consider Gene a late bloomer. The only sign that is not for the better is the massive black eye he has on left side of his face, appearing to have just started the wondrous bruising process. Opening the door for Elena, he gives a small smile. There is a few moments of awkward silence before Gene finally finds the words to say. Whatever smooth retort he had gotten advice for goes out the window as he goes back to the amazing verbiage that might be a little too familiar.

"Um, hey… Been awhile."

Her smile is in place when the door opens, beaming, a flash of pearl behind dew-clung lips… which slacken open when the first thing she homes in on, true to form, is the shiner on his face. "…..what happened to your face?!" Elena blurts out in shock, stepping inside. "Did you get in a fight? Does it hurt?" Some things, clearly, never change. Though despite her words, she balances the box out with one hand, so she could free one arm so she could wrap one arm around his neck in a half-hug. "You've not been getting into any trouble, are you?" She eases away, fingertips sinking into his tousled, dark hair, giving him a small, and somewhat exasperated smile. "You look great, regardless, but I'm seriously hoping you weren't pulling a Jack Derex or a Lachlan Deatley while I'm not around. Her dark eyes take him in, that same, attentive scrutiny, roaming over the lines of his face, his browline, the changes in his physique. Nothing screams 'illness' but by the way she's looking at him, and by the way her touch tingles slightly he knows that -something- is active, and that Elena Gomez, bless her heart, is cheating, using her surprisingly versatile abilities to check him over.

The first thing she does, whenever she sees him.

He might as well get used to it.

"I brought dinner," she offers, sensing he probably knows, an apologetic 'I can't help it' expression on her face.

The hug is returned, and after the first half-second of shock, Gene eases into it, as if expecting Elena to be some sort of dream or mental mirage. "I've been training with a rather extreme sensei. I didn't want to do our lesson, so we fought as we do every time I want to cop out. Considering I have to earn my red belt the 'traditional' way, with blood. I don't think they really do that." He whispers as if expecting the 'evil' man to hear, "I think he's a sadist."

As the hair is tussled, she might notice something odd about the old friend. A long scar that goes across the top of Gene. It seemingly goes across his head in a neat line. Gene swiftly tries to fix the hair, either figuring she hadn't noticed or downplaying it like a champ. Chemically, he seems to be balanced, lacking the illnesses that plagued him before.

"You didn't need to bring something… We have a housekeeper who doubles as the chef. Either way, come on in, sure you don't want to talk out on the grounds all day." With that, he moves in toward the living room, offering to take the dinner if she allows him. The room is large and filled with upper crust furniture, mostly in whites and creams. Taking in Elena as if to ensure the observation is true (which it is), he continues on with "You look beautiful, but well, that's nothing new…" He put the Chinese on the coffee table, moving toward what is likely the kitchen area. He raises his volume as he goes. From the silence in the house, it appears they are alone, or at least the people in the manor are purposefully given the pair their space. "So, didn't expect you to come to DC. If I had known you were here, would have invited you over sooner."

"…..is that really how you earn a red belt?" Elena wonders skeptically, her brows furrowing and her lips pursing, giving him the look, though her mouth lifts upwards on the edges. "It sounds like something Jaden would say." There is a note there, something wistful, that despite the changes there is still part of her that clings to New York. She, however, freezes, her fingertips finding the hardened line of his scalp where she feels the scar… however Gene eases away before she could feel it further. Her mouth parts to ask, but he continues walking, all the more exacerbated by the fact that she can't sense anything wrong with him. Not like before, realization and confusion both weighing in and settling at some point in the back of her mind.

Was he cured?

Ballerina flats take her across the polished floor, and she deigns to reply to his first few comments. "I know, but I wanted to…I always did, before I came to see you," she replies. "It's tradition, and I'm -starving-. I don't know if I could wait. I don't know what it is, but at some point after I discovered my abilities, I just… I -have- to eat. I didn't know how many times I should until I started losing weight too fast that I had to keep at it until I found my benchmark number of meals." The compliment earns him a smile, tilting her head at him, open and genuine. "Thanks. Truth be told, it's great to wear jeans again, if only for a few hours." Honest, with Elena, appears to be the way to go in terms of words like that.

She leans against the couch, her hip braced against the back of the couch, crossing her arms over her chest. "Papa had to move here to assist lobbying efforts for Evosoft," she tells him. "Some new technology initiative under the new president. He took Manny, Luis and Nita, and…with…things in New York the way it was, I thought it was a change I could live with. I'm sorry for…not talking about it much. I was dealing with a lot." She hesitates, but she doesn't waste any time. "Who do I thank for helping you out, Gene?"

Disappearing into the kitchen; Gene can still hear the lovely Latina as he responds with a slightly raised voice. "No, something Jaden would say is 'If think jeans are comfortable, wait until you see the stuff I have for you to wear'. Speaking of that, Jaden wants you to see him. Dunno what, but it's Jaden, so likely better of not guessing." The sound of scrapping and clanking of porcelain can be heard. "But yeah, I can understand dealing with a lot, I would do the same thing if I was you. I was working for an evil organization for awhile, so I was in the same situation. While I did a crappy job of being a hero, I can make Evolved now if I had the medical supplies and some researchers. Long story. Don't tell anyone, explain later." Okay, maybe not the same situation, but Gene's trying.

Soon, Gene reappears with the food on proper plates with chopsticks and chopstick holders. Yeah, he's trying to go all out. He places the stuff out on the coffee table before moving back toward the kitchen. He wears a smile, though it falters as he turns back with an arched brow. "Help out? This place is my grandfather's. He wanted to meet you, but had meetings. Congress is in session, you know how it goes. There, the food is all presented, so dig in. Want anything to drink? Getting myself a coke. I'd offer you something with kick, but not sure if you want to drink just because you can," he offers, planting a small smile upon his face and easing himself swiftly enough.

"….wait. -What-?" Elena stares at Gene from where she stands, and she sighs. "Long story?" she queries, moving over to where he is so she could help him set the table, if he'll let her… he wouldn't have much of a choice anyway, that was the way she was. The super-genius wasn't a maid, after all, he was a friend, and so she'll help him set up with all of the chopsticks and things, plates and napkins. "I think you better give me a For Dummies primer with what you just said, Gene, what do you mean you can -make- Evolved now?" You can take science out of the girl, but never the girl from science, curious eyes following him and remaining on the sitting area while he clinks around at the kitchen. With a sigh, she shrugs off her jacket, draping it on the loveseat before settling down, crossing her legs by the knee as she waits.

"Coke is fine for me too," she says. "You know me and alcohol, it doesn't really affect me too much. My metabolism's too active. I've been trying to see whether I could use my powers to slow it down a bit, but…" No luck. "I wanted to meet your grandfather too," she tells him honestly. "You've told me about him before, he sounds like a pretty stellar guy. But you know what I mean… I can't find anything wrong with you. It's a good thing, a -great- thing, you have no idea how relieved I am to see you so well but I'm just… did Eric pull through after all? Getting you a specialist? You hardly ever talked about it, so…."

"Another time, Elena. Trust me, Pinehearst isn't something I can talk about in just one sitting and I'd rather catch up with you about things that are lot more pleasant. If you end up talking with Peter, sure he'll tell you a lot about it too. If he hasn't already." Gene moves toward the fridge, getting a couple of coke cans, handing one to Elena. While he appears ready to just dismiss the second topic again, he takes a deep sigh as he lowers his head. "I know you have a lot of questions… But I'm really happy to see you. I've really missed you. Since you left, Eric got into his thing and when Pinehearst happened and I tried to save a girl that ended up being some old woman that's dead now, I had to distance myself away from Mikhail and Jaden. I didn't want anyone to get hurt. It was a really lonely time; the troubles with my ability almost killed me and the one person I trusted to help me at that time Abandoned me."

He turns to face Elena, while he seems sad or once sad; the Geek God still has a smile on, as if refusing to let Elena see anything else. His voice grows softer, but it doesn't have the hint of sorrow, merely gentle. "But it's fixed, I'm trying to be a true hero and now, you're back in my life. For now, for me, just let my past be." Past interactions with women have caused Gene to fear touching, but he attempts to place a hand on Elena's shoulder, almost worried that even his best female friend will try and rip it off. A tender squeeze follows his one word follow up. "Please." The hand is soon pulled awhile, his tone starting to lighten up as he goes on. "Give me some time, you know I can't keep secrets from you for long… even if I wanted to." With the final request and a smile that turns sincere, he moves back toward the living room.

As if changing into a different person, Gene's demeanor is back to usual self. "So, what are you doing now? I know you aren't in MIT, or else you'd be asking me to help you with your coursework by now." Gene takes a seat on the loveseat, taking a deep breath to take in the Chinese. Good stuff or at least he thinks so from the pleased expression on his face. "Or at least I'd HOPE you'd ask me for help. I'd teach at places like that, but sure they wouldn't want a nineteen year old showing the old geezers up."

"Peter and I….haven't talked in a while."

She takes one of the coke cans, food forgotten for a moment, cradling the aluminum can between her hands and rolling it around her palms. "At least, not since the few days after Cass's wedding." Elena chews on her bottom lip. "It was a little difficult to deal after he joined the Company. Knowing what they did…what one of their agents told me before three years ago, I just couldn't…" She falls silent, but only for a moment, lashes falling half-shut over her eyes. A single fingernail is utilized to pop the tab, hearing the hiss before the sound of released carbon fizzles against the metal. "Not after what they did. Not when they did so much damage." She looks over at Gene at that, her smile faint. "But I'm happy to see you too. I miss everybody, you, Eric, Jaden… Kitty, Monica, Miki… hell, even Ian. The college-age crew. It's been….to be honest I didn't know what the hell I was thinking, thought that I wouldn't give much of a thought about people back home but I do. Every day. I can't believe after -everything-, I could still be so…" Damned sentimental. But she doesn't say that out loud.

The squeeze on her shoulder causes her head to lift upwards, her hand coming up to squeeze the fingers over the curve gently, though she releases him once he does, in turn. "Alright, we won't talk about it. When you're ready," she replies agreeably. "I'm glad you're better, I really am. You have so much going for you it'd be….unfair if you had to go before you could do everything you wanted to do. See the world, have a girlfriend, take over the world one secured network at a time, things like that." She gives him a wink, taking a sip of her can and setting it down on the table, reaching out to pick up her plate and taking her chopsticks.

After several quick bites, she speaks up. "I graduated early, from GWU," she tells Gene. "Papa thought after my last run-in with the Company that resulted in me getting kidnapped and kept in a cell for god knows how many weeks that I should abandon the Science track… it didn't make any sense at first but I understood where he was coming from. People like Cass got so much attention when they started looking into the basis of these Evolved powers, he just….he wanted to protect me as best he could. I switched to Journalism. Now I work for the Post. Junior political correspondent, investigative. I'm hoping to end up doing what Woodward and Bernstein did for Watergate. Make a difference my way."

She takes another sip of her coke. "I might've gotten my chance, my supervisor yanked me in on the Malden Charity scandal. Have you heard of it?"

As expected, Gene listens with focus and intent to Elena's words. While he seems surprised at the mention of Peter and her going through tough times, he decides not to really talk about it. After all, if he requested not to talk about painful stuff for their first get together after so long, it would be rude to expect her to do the same.

"A little bit. Closest I got to it was seeing that Cairns was calling Tracy around the time the story broke," Gene states with a shrug, acting as if it were nothing special, despite what that may imply. "I could understand what your father meant. It's been a little hairy lately… Not sure if it will quiet down with time. Glad you got into something safer. Politicians might be dangerous, but at least they'll just stonewall a reporter and not erase their memory or trap their souls in a bottle or something crazy like that. But yeah, the old gang went through some crazy stuff together. But hey, that's what friends do, right?"

She freezes, Elena looking up at Gene. "…what?" she says, suddenly galvanized and forgetting her food. "What was that? Cairns was calling Strauss?" Her gaze intensifies, focusing on Gene before speaking again. "Gene, I just talked to her yesterday, it was for a follow-up piece but I thought there was something strange. She told me she only encountered Cairns on and off, are you saying he was -calling- her recently? Why were you looking into it?" Her grip on her chopsticks tightens, scooting closer to her friend, and her voice lowering. "I was in her office when the news broke that Governor Malden was charged with murder, that Cairns was dead - they couldn't find a body, but there was enough evidence to implicate him of murder. The recent article says that Cairns -confronted- Malden before he disappeared… I'm wondering if there's a way to corroborate that story."

Her smile lifts upwards at what he says. "Yeah," she says, with a nod. "That's what friends do." Her expression betrays her thoughts, however, that something wasn't sitting well with her, fingers toying absently with her chopsticks.

"I didn't look into it," Gene replies, only putting down his food as Elena scoots in closer. "She was right down the hall at the City Club and I listened in on a bit because I wanted to see how she was doing. My grandfather and Tracy run in the same circles. I talked to her before and after, but she was more focused on avoiding me than chatting the first time, asking me about Zimmerman, the man who helped make the Formula that turns normal people into Evolved. Even AFTER I tried to help her with her abilities." Gene states with a frown, folding his arms at that. Well, as he promised, he is already talking about secrets. "You know she froze off my car door and she STILL refuses to pay for it? Can you believe it? Seriously, Xavier never got this much crap for helping people…"

The young man silences himself for a moment as his company seems troubled, his ice blue eyes trying to search out her emotion-filled browns. "Everything okay?"

She shifts at that, Elena's empty plate (…how did she eat all of that so fast?) set on the table and slumping further into the couch. "I'm just…. I've been doing this for a while, something seems a little off," she confesses to Gene. "So she knows about this Formula? That can turn people into Evolved? Why was she interested in this Zimmerman guy? As for the City Club… when was this, Gene? And what was she saying to Cairns? Do you remember?" Her eyes don't stray away from his face, holding, assessing, that formidable brain working miles and miles a minute. Everything about her exuded the nervous energy of one about to rocket off the couch, to get on the phone, to call around and corroborate…

But then, she sees something on her face that suddenly wipes all of that energy away. She groans, her head tilting back against the back of the couch, groaning softly and closing her eyes. Her body sinks into the cushions further, a single, dark curl brushing over her cheek at her movements.

"Oh, Gene, I'm so sorry," she moans, a hand coming up to press her fingertips over her shut eyelids. "I haven't seen you for so long and here I am grilling you. I haven't had… I haven't been taking a time out so I just…I'm sorry."

"It's okay. You've always been driven. It's what makes you attractive. You want something, you get something. It's why you got into those schools. It's why you could do almost anything you wanted to. I have answers to the questions you have, you want them. It's why Tracy came to me, it's why you talk to me now. Unlike like most people though, you always made me feel better when I helped you. It wasn't me just showing the olive branch or doing what I feel I should. It's just…" Gene shakes his head and just decides to phrase it another way. "If you want help, that's what I'm here for."

After sipping his soda, Gene begins to explain. "Zimmerman, he was the man is linked to Niki, Tracy, and some woman named Barbara. They are twins, identical as you can gather. I dunno what she knows about the formula or even if Zimmerman is directly involved with the Formula. I just know that both of them went to him and sought answers. I was tempted to go see him a couple of times, but never really got the chance or saw the need. I mean, the more I get involved with Niki or Tracy, the more pissed off they get at me. It's like their PMS suddenly turns on when I get involved or something. As for the conversation? Not sure what was said, only that she was upset. Happened around… the 28th or so?" Gene rubs his chin as he thinks the matter over. Since this was not important stuff (at the time), it's clear he didn't try and commit it to memory. "She came to talk to me about the powers two days later. She wasn't happy about them, so I figured something happened with them. She refused to tell me what. Even after telling her about Zimmerman, she was still pissy." The eyes are soon reduced to thin slits of pure passive aggressive. "And STILL DID NOT PAY FOR MY DAMN DOOR." Not that Gene is bitter or anything.

The compliments pour forth easily, Elena's head rolling against the back and to the side, lashes flickering upwards to look at him. "….are you hitting on me, Gene?" she asks, a small, teasing grin curling up on the corners of her mouth. The jesting expression fades, however, and she sighs. "I don't want you to think I talk to you just because I need to know something, it was never like that," she replies, a quiet frown creasing her lips. "I know… that if I need help I can always come to you, but just… remember it goes both ways, alright? I know it's an old issue, but… I don't know. We've never really talked about it much." She leans forward, elbows braced on her knees, her face burying in her hands. "It's just been hard to turn off lately," she murmurs, her voice muffled against her palms. "Working. All the time. I know I come from the city that never sleeps, but no one seems to sleep out here in the capital either." She takes a deep breath, and exhales slowly, tension bleeding out from her shoulders.

Looking over at him as he explains, her dark brows furrow over her eyes. "How did Strauss know to come to you about her abilities?" she asks slowly, looking at Gene. "Was she involved with Pinehearst too? You mentioned you worked with them for a while, I don't know how else she could've known that you would know anything about that stuff unless she was involved with either Pinehearst or the Company." She reaches forward, to take another sip of Coke. "….we can talk about other stuff too, if you like. We don't have to talk about this, you know. How have you been, aside from the training and visiting your grandfather?"

Gene merely gives a helpless shrug to the question of hitting on Elena. Because he doesn't know A) if it is working or B) if he should or even C) if he is doing it. As Elena leans forward, the hand goes up and almost rests on her shoulder and back, as if ready to try those comforting strokes he's felt and seen on TV. The arm does down slightly, then up slightly, then finally it gets planted right back at his side. Even if Elena is watching him, he will do this. Because Gene is THAT smooth. "Yeah, I know how that goes. With no social life and not being sick, I've had to do more work and the training for something to pass the time. Maybe if things calm down a little, we can have a party or something. Just for fun. Was thinking of having a theme-birthday party in a month or so."

Waving off the dismissive 'talk about this later, Gene shares without even coming near the whole 'returning the favor' thing. "Niki wanted info about herself. I found out about Zimmerman. I found out about the triplets. Couldn't get anything on the third, but figured that Tracy was likely Evolved since they were indentical, having run into her working at Pinehearst. Niki and Tracy both worked there, it was confusing… Oh, you can have my food if you want, wasn't that hungry." After nodding toward his half-eaten food, Gene begins to try and relax himself. Signing as he thinks about the Pinehearst days, Gene leans back onto the loveseat, stretching his arms long the back of the furniture while Elena's leaned forward. "ANYWAY, I told Tracy that she was likely Evolved, we got into an argument, she froze my damn door and it shattered. I came to her and made her realize she was Evolved. I think it's one of the reasons why she doesn't like me. Despite the fact that it was better that she learned that on a door and not a person or something. I tried to help… Didn't work out too well."

"Yeah?" Perhaps the Gods were looking out for Gene, because Elena's face is in her hands and she doesn't see the shrug or the hesitation lifts and lowers of Gene's arm behind her, and her head lifts only when his arm has rested on his side. Elena gives him a small smile. "A party would be fun, you're turning 20 pretty soon aren't you?" she says, remembering when his birthday is, clearly, that elephantine memory latching onto the minute details of her closest acquaintances. "I'm thinking…" She hesitates. "Papa asked me to go back to New York and help Dezi out with Portia and Parker. He's…you know how he is, he's protective, and he hasn't been flying back as often as he would like. So….I'm moving back. I probably need to look for an apartment, again. Kitty called recently and already offered me a plane ride back home, she's so excited at the news. I'm just…. I don't know. Part of me would be so relieved but there are some things I'm going to have to face when I get back that I'm not sure I'm ready to."

She sighs, when Gene settles an arm along the back of the couch and says what he does. Elena unfolds her body yet again, to sink her spine back into the area of the couch behind her, her head rolling to the side again to meet her friend's eyes. "I'm sorry," she tells him sincerely. "I know you, Gene, your heart's always in the right place… but some people are like that, falling on different sides of the spectrum. Some people absolutely love the idea of the fact that they're….I don't know. Suddenly out of an X-men comic. Others just try to deal, and others find their gifts a nuisance - unnecessary. Maybe Strauss is just one of the latter categories. I'm sorry she didn't pay for your door, too, that's just rude." She wrinkles her nose a little bit at that.

As Elena looks at Gene, he returns the gaze for a few moments, before he shakes his head and looks to the ceiling at the end. "Lincoln always said, 'Anyone can handle adversity. If you want to test a man's character, give him power'. Tracy is just rude because she knows she can get away with it. Sure if I was a Senator, she'd be a lot nicer to me," Gene states. He turns his head toward Elena, giving an arched brow. "Well, if you want to come back, would love to have you. If you wanted to stay somewhere, I have my condo." Not apartment… Condo. "I have to talk about it with someone, but sure they wouldn't mind." He pauses as he thinks about it. He isn't sure if putting those two ladies together would be such a great idea, on second thought. They'd be like oil and water. But he isn't going back on his offer now. The curse of the passive aggressive… At least Gene is GETTING better about it. "But I'm sure you already have offers from other people and stuff like that."

"……wait, did you move in with someone?" Elena perks up a little at the thought of Gene having someone waiting for him back in New York. By all rights, out of all of the people in his acquaintance, he was the one who deserved a little love. She reaches out, to poke him a little on the side. "Were you holding out on me?" she asks, an impish grin curling up on the corners, her teeth clearly visible from behind the seam of her lips. "If that's the case, I wouldn't want to -intrude- or anything, what sort of friend would I be if I just…I don't know, cockblocked you or something? You know when I asked you what you've been up to, this is kind of the sort of thing you should be telling me and not just funny business regarding complicated social experiments and rude DC blondes who won't pay for damaged property."

Love? Well, not exactly.

"It's um…" Gene reddens beyond red at the question and almost falls over at the poke. Should he explain his relationship with Gwen? Likely best to avoid that like the plague. "We aren't an item per say. It's a little… Complicated. I'm single. I think," Gene scratches his head as if he honestly doesn't know, giving a small smile as it was a default setting while his brain tries to process. "Either way, if you wanted to move in, it wouldn't be any trouble at all, I can promise you on that." Giving a nervous chuckle, he looks toward Elena, "So, how about you… Find anyone you're interested in DC?"

At seeing Gene blush, Elena gapes at him, and for the first time in a while, or it seems like a while, she bursts out laughing. Her arms curl over her torso, leaning back and letting it out, her head tilted back and laughing freely. "Gene, I can't believe… are you… is it -serious-?!" It might not be, considering that Gene mentioned that it was complicated, but she can't help but flash him one of those million-dollar smiles, teeth brilliant against the rosy hue of her lips. She can't help it, reaching out to curl her arms around him and giving him an exagerrated kiss on the cheek. "My boy Gene's growing up and shackin' up with laaaaaaadiiiieeeeeeeez," she teases him, some of her old self resurfacing to rib one of her best friends the way she is, her grin only broadening to flash that rare dimple from her right cheek.

Of course, she does not know the whole story.

Whenever she does, the fallout will probably be hilarious, but we're not getting to that right now.

At the question, she sighs, her arms dropping from Gene's shoulders. "I'd be looking but…it wouldn't be right, with things unresolved the way they are. I mean, there's a lot of good looking men in DC but…" She shrugs, lifting a hand to tuck a lock of hair behind her hair. "I just…I was busy. Still busy. I haven't really thought much about… that stuff."

The kiss causes him to redden all the way back up. Thankfully, his follow up question allows him to avoid going into more detail. Leaning forward with shock, Gene says, "Really? I would have thought you would have had plenty considering how many men look at you and are interested in you. I mean-" The young man stops as his phone beeps. He pulls out his Sprint PDA and looks at it.

YOUR GRANDFATHER TELLS ME YOU ARE STILL UP TALKING TO A WOMAN. TALKING TO WOMAN LATE INTO THE NIGHT DOES NOT MAKE FOR GOOD TRAINING. IF I HEAR YOU STAYED UP ANOTHER HALF HOUR, WE WILL SPAR AGAIN. HOPE YOUR LADY FRIEND LIKES BLACK EYES.

"Um…" Gene begins as he puts up the phone. "It's been great talking with you, but I think we're gunna have to catch up some more another time. Though it was really great to see you. Dunno if you have a place to stay in the area. If not, can use a guest room, but if you do or need to head somewhere else, I can see you out."

"I have a meeting first thing in the morning, so I should head back to the homestead," Elena replies, regretful, though her brows perk upwards when Gene's PDA beeps. She stands up slowly, however, moving to drag the jacket off her chair and shrug it on. "As for that, I haven't really been…. if other guys have been eyeing me, I didn't notice. You know me, I've got the blinders on. I can blame Papa for that, I think. He's been rabid rottweiler about the state of my singlehood for so long, I don't think my -one- significant romantic relationship's been able to remove that from me in the slightest. But I'm not sweating it, Gene." Her smile lifts ruefully. "If it happens, it happens." Tugging at her collar, she waits for Gene to accompany her, and then she turns to head out the door to be seen out. "Still, it's good to see you," she says, stopping by the door. "Before I leave though I was hoping you could do me a favor."

She sighs and lifts her fingers up. "Well, two favors. One, don't get too beat up and that you'll promise we'll see each other more often in New York when I get back. Two… " She hesitates. "I was wondering if you can check traffic cams near Governor Malden's place and office, from the 28th onward… I want to see if that Cairns meeting really did take place. If you're too busy though, it's no sweat… I'll find some other way to corroborate the story."

The Geek God actually gives a laugh at Elena's words about her father. "Mr. Gomez is a strong willed guy. We seemed to get along alright though. I think that's because the first time we really met was after I used the watch to track you down." Pause. "I need to give you another one of those. Maybe plant a chip in you, if you don't mind. Last time you went missing, whoever took you napped the watch," Gene states as he opens the door for Elena, clearly annoyed that his plot was foiled.

"I'll do my best for the first request… As for the second, I'll see what I can do. If Governor Malden's place is far enough away from the public eye, might be hard to prove. I'll see what I can do." For once, he moves in to give the one armed hug, speaking as he does, "I can't promise you I'll be able to get what you need, but anytime you need something, you know I'm here. Just take care of yourself, okay?" Finally, he releases the hug. "Just because you're in Washington, it doesn't mean there isn't danger like there is up north."

"I haven't felt the need to be wired for a while," Elena says after a pause. "But…. if it would make you feel better regarding my safety, you can chip me however you like. It's good to have a back-up plan. I learned that from you." Her fingertip comes up, to touch the end of his nose affectionately with a smile. "And hey, no kidnappings in a while… I'm planning to keep it only on two. But whatever you can, and if not, I won't sweat it too much. I just… there's something a little off about all this, I intend to find out what it is. You're right about danger, but history was never made by playing it safe." She winks at Gene, at that, lifting her arms to give him a hug back. "Take care of yourself, Gene. I'll see you back in New York."

She turns around, stepping back out and moving to her car.

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