2007-05-03: Parking Garage Reunion


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After the concert, Jaden returns to his car and finds someone waiting there for him. Trust is extended, and some things explained.

Date It Happened: May 3rd, 2007

Parking Garage Reunion

A parking garage near Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC

Time has passed, the show ended and crowd dispersed. Some are still on their way to cars, subway stations, and taxis as it does take some time for an event's audience to make their way to whatever places they need or want to go. In the case of one Yale trained lawyer who plays guitar and sings, she's returned to the parking garage and the car she came in, to wait for one oddball CEO and hope he makes it back. Despite them being separated, she's got no intention of abandoning him or the guitar and backpack she left on the seat. Jane sits on the hood of that vehicle, staring quietly off into the distance and working through an ocean of thoughts.

It takes an hour. Maybe a little more. Jaden Cain finally makes his way into the parking garage. He looks like he's had better days, but the good news is that he's actually around. Around enough to be able to talk about what's going on. Well, at least like… long enough to get in the big house with his not-so-girlfriend. He sighs as he comes around the corner and spots Jane. He even stutters his step, preparing to hesitate and double-back. But there's no way he's just going to leave his car here… so he continues on. Hands are thrust in his pockets. Apologetic face is plastered on. All of the above as he slides his feet across the garage floor to make it over to her. "… hey."

It's a simple statement she leads with on seeing him. "You ditched me." Jane stands, eyes calmly watching the man. Heels tap and echo in the garage as she walks over to stand in front of the guy, searching his eyes. Her own show worry, hurt. Confusion. Her position in doing so is between Jaden and the driver's door so he can't simply duck around her and leave without engaging in this particular conversation.

Serious topic alert! Serious topic alert! Shield's up! Jaden continues to look down at the ground. He's not good at stuff like this. Especially, well, the act of being the one that's in big trouble mister. "I didn't. Not like you think." Jaden frowns and shrugs his shoulders, taking a step backwards to give himself some space to run if he needs to. "I hopped a turnstile, TJ Hooker tackled me, I got dragged off to the office… it was a whole big mess." He finally looks up, pulling his hands out of his pockets and pointing at himself. "Totally my fault. I got too excited trying to use my CEO powers for good. Bruce Wayne, I'm not…"

"I saw," she replies quietly. "Not the turnstile hopping bit. The rest. I get wanting to help your friend out. Gene might've been in trouble, but he wasn't. You didn't hang back to see if there was immediate danger and prepare your response, y'know? If we're someplace together, we have to act together. Talk to each other, match brains and make decisions that way." She draws in a slow breath, and lets it out before continuing. "I looked for you at the door, with your ticket, you didn't show, so afterwards I came here and waited. It's how I am. I don't abandon people."

"… sorry." Jaden feels like the worst Non-Hero in the world. Lower than that even. Pondscum. He just shrugs and digs his toe into the ground, not exactly sure why this is so much a big deal. But then again, he's not a girl so he wouldn't know. Now Gayden might understand, but he can't exactly come to the brain right now. Can't be showing off to this normal girl that he's got special abilities beyond that of mortal men! "Um. I guess uh… I kinda' screwed up Godzilla style, huh?" He doesn't even wait for an answer, "Just… I get excited and I've never really been a thinker. Hanging back and waiting for a hostage to get shot before moving in? Not really my style. If they move, I move… just like that." Luda Reference! "Just how it is." He holds up his keys. "Guess I should get you home before anything else bad happens…"

"Jaden, look at me," Jane quietly and softly asks, one hand moving to gently lift his chin so eye contact can happen. "Things happen. Decisions do have to be made sometimes. But we also have to train ourselves to think. Picture this: I'm at the edge of a pier, a gust of wind knocks a small boy into the water, and others jump in after him. Now they're all in trouble. I see this, and of course I have to act. What should I do? Jump in trying to save them, or take the straps from my guitar and case, then get another from a camera, and make rope?"

"Multiply yourself and save them all. Or make a human chain." The words are mumbled, but definitely loud enough for someone as close as Jane to hear. He shakes his head, not really sure if he's even worthy of being touched by her fingers at the moment. Again his eyes are drawn to the concrete of the parking garage floor. He doesn't really seem like he's going to be a happy camper any time soon. He's fallen back into EmoLand, but a whole different form of it, if you really think about it. This one's girl-induced. So it's worse. "You're right. Make a rope. I just… look, the hero thing isn't for me, I guess. As much as I want it. As much as I think my entire life has been the most jawsome origin story ever? I'm destined to be nothing more than Jaden Cain: CEO of Losersoft."

The straps into rope story is something she seems connected to, perhaps she recently did just that? His comment about duplicating and making a human chain hits home for a brief moment, she mulls it over visibly as if wondering could that be true? But his descent into mopery terminates the thought, for now. "If I believed that, Jaden," Jane replies quietly, "we'd not have come here at all, and I wouldn't have been here waiting for you after the show. Nothing's perfect. We grow from recognizing our errors, learning from them, and moving on to hopefully not make the same one twice." Deep breath. Another. "The hero thing, I've been there. Made mistakes, done things I can't even remember now. Paid a price. A big price." She takes a moment to look around and be sure she's not overheard, then continues. "Didn't you wonder why I asked you to cover your face, when that guy had the broken bottle, and it suddenly broke even more?"

Jaden blinks a little bit. Not exactly sure where all this is coming from. But at least he hasn't screwed up too much that he's not going to be able to fix it. That's good. He's trying to get with this fine layday and if he keeps not being the good kind of hero, things could turn out to be muy badly. "Uh, not really? I figured you wanted to play a quick game of hide and seek or something." Jaden shrugs. "I don't really ask questions. My brain works on a level of Slackerosity that allows me to coast through life until I get slapped with a billion dollar company and bags of money." His lips curl up into a goofy little smile.

She grins, despite herself, at his reply. A moment later it blossoms into a gentle laugh, as she forges ahead on the USS Trust Extension. "Hide and seek? Of course you did. But… it didn't set anything off in your mind when the bottle broke in his hand, and just afterward I'm talking about Black Canary?" Sure, Jane could come out and say it, but she's hoping to subtly teach him the value of paying attention and perceiving. Of thinking, by letting him get there on his own.

Jaden blinks a little bit. Then a little bit more. If you look at his face, it's obvious he's trying to piece things together. But with him not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, it doesn't compute too well. "I figured you liked comic books?" And then his face lights up. "Oh! I totally know what to get you for your birthday! A Black Canary #1! YES!" He pauses in mid-fistpump, realizing that it won't be a surprise now. "Uh. You didn't hear that, okay?" He then goes back to pumping his fist into the air with all the excitement of someone that just scored a winning lottery ticket.

Her eyes roll a bit, as he still misses the point. She closes them for a moment; when they reopen, there's a mix of exasperation and mirth in them and on her face. "Jaden," she quietly replies, "focus, please, and think. What does Black Canary do? Why would I, a soprano, mention her just after a glass bottle broke in someone's hand?" Small moves, Sparks, small moves. In her mind she's recalling the words spoken by the image of her father to Doctor Arroway in Contact after she travels in the wormhole machine.

Jaden looks at her. He has to. Because he can't focus otherwise. And it looks as if somebody's shoved a lightbulb in his mouth the way he finally 'gets it'. His jaw even starts to drop a little bit, before he breaks into a smile. "No way…" His eyes get a little bit wider and soon enough, "You got the power of scream?!?!" He practically jumps for joy, throwing his hands up excitedly. "Oh MAN! This is so cool! I'd say it explains a lot, but I didn't get it before now. OH MAN! This is so sweeet! I'm dating a superhero!" He pauses in his excited ranting. "Oh, please let me pick out your costume…"

Quickly, very quickly, she looks around to make sure the parking garage is empty and none of this is overheard. Shit! Jane mentally kicks herself, she should've thought better about leading him to this in a public unsecured location. A grin flashes, she suggests "Down, Jaden. Let's not tell the whole world, right? And a costume? I already modeled one for you, there won't be another. But… there may be something similar you can do. I'll tell you in the car." With that, she crosses to shotgun side and waits for the door to be unlocked.

"What? Oh, right. Secret Identity." Jaden clamps a hand over his mouth and moves around to yank open her side of the car and let her in, before sliding across the hood of his car (he's watched too many cop shows) and climb in on his side. The vehicle is started up and he turns to look at her as he shuts his own door. "You can't tell me you're not going to go hero. We gotta' totally go Jem with this. By day? You're a rockin' lawyer with crazy hair. By night… you're uh… we gotta' find a super sweet name like, I dunno, Scream Queen! Or Silver Scream! Or Bellow!" He pauses. "Okay, maybe not Bellow…"

She gets in and smooths down her skirt, then leans across the front while he slides across the hood and unlocks his door before settling back and buckling her belt. A quiet grin has taken residence on her face once he too is in the car and starting it up. "I've thought about it, here and there, Jaden," Jane admits, "and came up with something that fits. I'm a musician. A singer. Sopranos have the highest vocal range. So I kinda think of myself as the Ultimate Soprano, I don't think there's anyone in the world who can reach a higher note than me. But I'm also subtle, y'know? If anything I'd use it as a band name, not directly referring to me. And the thing you can do for me… not a costume, but… a logo. An emblem for the band. You know, like Van Halen's VH bit, or the AC/DC thing with the lightning bolt?"

"… A logo? You want me to use all of my resources and money and ultimate cosmic power… to make a logo?" Jaden isn't quite sure how he feels about this, but he's not going to turn down the opportunity to help breed a new kind of superhero. "Well, I guess I could do that. I mean, Shagz can draw his ass off. And I can get it printed up all over the place. I think I own two or twenty Kinko's." Jaden's already going into super think mode. "Oh, snap! I'm like your Lois Lane! Except, like, I'm a dude!" Pause. "You don't have any crazy evil bad chicks that will kidnap me to get to you, right?"

"I like being me," Jane answers with a chuckle. "I don't want this to dominate my life any more than it already does. The emblem doesn't have to be so widespread and copied around. It's just something to associate with the band and the music we make, a quietly proud way I acknowledge who I am without really saying it in some way that exposes me publicly. Like, say, when I comment about being a real screamer. Enemies? I'm not certain. There's an organization out there, it can be ruthless, best as I can tell it's part friend and part enemy; they really don't like public exposures. And then there's people and hysteria if things got out. Really, really, don't want to get hanged as a witch." And as her mind wanders along that line, she thinks about something he said, the multiply yourself line.

"I like being me," Jane answers with a chuckle. "I don't want this to dominate my life any more than it already does. The emblem doesn't have to be so widespread and copied around. It's just something to associate with the band and the music we make, a quietly proud way I acknowledge who I am without really saying it in some way that exposes me publicly. Like, say, when I comment about being a real screamer. Enemies? I'm not certain. There's an organization out there, it can be ruthless, best as I can tell it's part friend and part enemy; they really don't like public exposures. And then there's people and hysteria if things got out. Really, really, don't want to get hanged as a witch." And as her mind wanders along that line, she thinks about something he said, the multiply yourself line.

"Dude, no wait! I got it! We can call you The Shri— wait, no, that's a Spider-Man villain. Nevermind!" Apparently, Jaden's only partially listening to her spiel about keeping all this stuff separated. He's too hype. He's always too hype though. There's something that clicks in his mind during this entire process of not actually driving the car that they're sitting in. "Organization? You mean like… LexCorp?" Jaden smiles. "Oh, this is gonna' be SO SWEET. Do we get to go undercover and bust them down from the inside? Like, y'know, secret spy type stuff?" Pause. "It's not EvoSoft, is it? Cuz that's my company. It'd suck if you and I were like nemesiseseseses."

"The only name I know them by is the Company, Jaden," Jane replies quietly. "I'm not out to bust them down, I crossed them once, and have scars, figuratively. There are things I don't remember as a result. I don't want them to see me as an enemy, because I'm not. Best way I can describe them is grey. They're just… grey. This is the most important thing, here, Jaden. I want you to understand this. Your desire to think grandiose is touching, it's endearing, but by telling you this I went out on a limb to trust you. Trust you'd keep my confidence, not share things I tell you with anyone else unless I okay it. It's…" she thinks of the best way to say this so he'll get it, and comes up with what she hopes works. "Classified information. Top secret." All the while, her brain is still partly processing the multiply yourself line, something about it sticks, won't go away. It leads her to a destination, and a question. "Do you have any extrahuman ability, Jaden, or know people who do?"

"Right. Secret identity. I got it. Your secret is so safe with me, it's a vault." Jaden even does the thing where he locks his lips with an imaginary key. But then he realizes that he can't exactly talk, so he unlocks them again. "Do I have a what? Extrahuman ability? You mean like… the ability to climb walls and shoot webbing out of my wrists? No way. No radioactive spider bites over here." He shows off his hands. See? No bite marks! "My Uncle Charlie has like 11 toes, if that counts. It's really gross. Like, to the point of NOT wanting him to ever take off his shoes. I don't even know if he washes that foot. It's really freaking nasty…"

"Maybe if you stop idolizing that loser, you wouldn't know what his feet look like." And that's Jaden. In the backseat. Talking to Jaden. WTF.

Her eyes widen as she hears the sudden voice behind her and looks the source over. They go from one to the other and back again a few times, processing what's seen and wrapping her head around it. But she doesn't flip out. In truth, her mind had already seized on the comment he made and figured this out, on her own standards. Her tendency to make veiled admissions like being a real screamer, and the first thing that came to him in response to the water rescue query. In Janeworld, given all she's seen, her mind just goes there and ponders these things. "Amazing," she offers after some moments. "You're Mister Xerox."

"Amazing? I dunno. That kinda' doesn't fit with my whole image. I was thinking something more along the lines of… I dunno… A Lot. But that doesn't have a ring to it. So I can settle for amazing." Jaden reaches up from the backseat and slaps Jaden in the back of the head. "Be nice. She's complimenting us." "Sorry!" Jaden makes the other Jaden go poof and Jaden Prime keeps on with the smiling. "It's not much. But it did make it easier to cut class."

There's a blink as the clone disappears right in front of her, and the eyes focus on he who remains, solo. "It's you, and it's yours, Jaden," Jane quietly replies. "It doesn't have to be trumpeted, or logo'd. It just is, and you probably use it subtly. So you can know what you did, and no one else has a clue, unless you personally choose to let them have one, right? Same with me and what I do. That whole thing with the beer bottle, for example. Easy to cover, easy to explain away. He broke the neck of it himself, could've weakened the rest just by doing that. Do my thing and walk away, no eyes on me for doing it." She watches him, smiling softly, hoping he gets it. And she thinks of people they know, that she knows have abilities. "Have you told anyone else of this?"

"Define 'told'." Jaden looks like he's not exactly following these long speeches of Yoda-ness. He's never really been one to pay attention. Thus the lackluster grades in… all of his school days. "There's some people that know. Lots of people, probably. And they kind of just appeared at my birthday party one year… but everyone was drunk so I figure they were seeing three of everybody." He shrugs. "And as for keeping my power on the DL?" HAHA! D.L.! "So not doing that. Soon as I can figure out the right costume and sweet name… I'M GOIN' SUPERHERO BABY! Woo!" Oh lord.

"Is there," she asks, "anyone we both know who knows about this, Jaden?" Her question is calmly asked, although inside Jane is starting to build a serious need for screaming, playing guitar alone for hours, or both. The qualities that endear, her need of silly fun, also frustrate. And she imagines at times her caution will cause him to react, not so much liking downerness. Nothing's ever perfect. Her response to his desire of going superhero? Simple. She gathers her hair and pulls it aside, then leans forward so he can see the back of her neck. And the twin marks there. "I can't stop you, Jaden, I just hope you don't really mean that. It might get you these." Her finger touches the tag tracks. "I'd hate to see you hurt."

"Whoa! A scar! Awesome! Did LexCorp give you that?" Yes, he's taken to referring to The Company as LexCorp. The dude has some serious issues, to say the least. He has to think for a second, which could turn out to be a bad thing in his case. "Well, Elena knows. But I dunno what that has to do with anything…" Jaden pauses and turns his head towards her. Accusation is written all over his features. "Unless… you're one of them! You're trying to get me to rat on all my friends! Well, it's not going to work! I can make so many of me that you won't know what hit you!"

"It's a tracking mark, Jaden," Jane explains. "From the Company. LexCorp… not so much. More like the police, for people like us. A shadow government. They keep us out of the public eye, prevent exposures, so we don't all have to deal with witch hunts." And her head shakes with the accusation, the reply to it quiet and sincere. "No. I'm just wanting to know who we jointly trust, Jaden. Elena… she's one of my closest friends. She knows about me, and would never tell anyone without our consent."

"Oh, well, that's okay then. The trusted associate thing, not the shadow police of death thing. That's gotta' suck. Maybe we should like kick their asses or something. I'm sure there's enough of us that can do it. Does anybody know where this Company like lives? We could go in and bust down the door like BAM! and go totally X-Men on 'em. It'd be mad sweet." Excitement has to be Jaden's middle name.

"I hear I tried that once," Jane replies with a quiet sigh, her features showing a bit of distress as she speaks of it. "All I remember about that period of time is waking up south of AC with pills on and around me, going home, and spending three days breaking a drug addiction they somehow stuck me with." She pauses, running a hand through her hair and looking to meet his eyes, pain showing in hers. "I never, Jaden, never did drugs in my life. Seven years of college, three of them in law school, and didn't even do speed. But there I was, cold turkeying. How do I know I tried to help raid the place? People told me I did, and I buy it as truth because it makes more sense than me being an addict. I've got memory holes. They made me forget I'd ever heard of them." Her eyes close for a moment, a few tears escape, when they reopen she's solemn. "I've relearned some of what I might have known before. And come to realize they aren't totally evil. I… I hate to seem so much of a downer, but… this is really important. Please, don't cross them. Please, promise me."

"Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn." Jaden's words come out with a smile. Here he is trying to keep the mood light and all of that. The tears that roll down her face are not exactly helping him with his ability to stay comedic. Especially, well, considering that he kind of likes her and thus does not want to see her in any sort of emotional state of being. "Listen. I know I'm an idiot. But I'm not as stupid as I look. I'm not going to go in there, guns blazing and everything like I did with Gene. I'd actually make a plan, get the X-Men together and do it the right way." Apparently, he's already thinking about this. "You have to be the one to promise. You have to promise me that you won't not like me anymore when I do this. Because now that I know they've hurt you? I don't have a choice."

That would be the why Jane wanted to know who they jointly trust, because she's going to need help luring him off that path. To know who she can speak freely with. "There's always a choice, Jaden," she answers. "I won't turn away from you if you do that, I just hope you won't. I didn't tell you any of this to inspire some sort of vengeance quest. I simply want you to know what's out there, what can happen. Things that happened to me, I earned them. I was with people who broke into their place. They made me forget because that's the best way to not have it happen again. Can't threaten what I don't know about, see? And the guy we were trying to get out? He's out, says now he at first went there because he was dangerous. And he can be. I can't agree with everything they do, but… they're still needed. Not all people like us are good. Some are dangerous, police can't handle them. It's like… that Arkham asylum from Batman." She's calming now, some of the smile starting to return.

"Last time I checked, Arkham Asylum was full of wackjobs and criminals that Batman and Robin kicked the bootay of. So that's what I'm going to do. Kick some major butt. And then? Then you'll be able to point me out and tell people that YOUR boyfriend took down the crazy Company that was trying to kill you. It'll be the best heroic vengeance story of all." He's really thinking about this long term. "I wonder if Elena can get me a team of mutants to do this with. I'll probably need to do a training montage first." He looks at Jane. "80s or 90s style, you think?"

Plan C. Yes. "Let's not think of that, or them, right now, Jaden?" Jane's voice is soft and hopeful. "We can come back to this another time, after all. Right now, just let it be enough that you want to do something like this, against something you believe hurt me. What I need from you most is to laugh, that balance. I'm serious a lot, and you're silly a lot, so we fit. We can keep each other from going off the deep end." With that, her face is moving closer, the eyes are closing, and her head is tilting. Is this an approach to kiss him?

Jaden sure as hell isn't sure what's going on. He never really shuts up long enough to figure these things out. "Are you sure? Cuz, I mean, I was totally thinking an 80s montage would work best. The music is so much more heroic from that time period. The 90s had Milli Vanilli and that was not a good time…" He finds himself slowing down the ramblings as he tilts his head to oppositely match the tilting of Jane's head. "Are you going to quiz me on this later on? Y'know, the whole: 'where was our first kiss' kinda' thing? Because if so, one of me should be taking notes…" He never shuts up.

"You'll remember, Jaden," Jane replies with her face so close to his her warm breath can be felt. Fingers lift to stroke one cheek as she closes in further. And… contact.

Apparently, Jaden has found a way to be shut up. Which happens to be the whole being kissed by Jane thing. In his brain, there's a newscast of exciting developments in the romantic section of his life. Probably a report from some people on Entertainment Tonight, rather than the actual news anchors and anchorettes. But eyes are forced to be closed when lips touch and houston no longer has any more problems with this form of contact.

It lingers for a time, lips pressed to his, but eventually breaks. As she pulls back, her eyes open and a quiet smile spreads. "Got some people I want you to meet. May I tell them about you, and see if they want to be known? That's how I work. I don't tell anyone about you without your permission. And I don't tell you about them without theirs. It's about your trust, and their trust. But my trust…" Jane trails off, to let her approach for a second kiss say the rest.

Jaden was actually trying to think of an answer. Since, she y'know, asked him questions. But! Being Jaden and all, he doesn't really get the chance to actually answer, since there's a second round of kissing going on at this particular moment. Brain still works though. Which is just cause for:

"If you're seriously considering taking /him/ to Meet The Parents, you may want to go with a 90s montage, instead. That way he can at least be dressed appropriately." And there's Jaden, again, in the back seat offering advice.

Her eyes open, mid-kiss, and she pulls back to bust out laughing. "That's just…" Words fail Jane in that moment, it takes her some time to dredge up a few. "… priceless, Jaden. My parents don't know about any of this extrahuman business. No, I mean friends who are like us. Consent to tell them about you?" Then she returns to resume the kiss and let the Xerox in the back seat answer.

Jaden is too busy kissing Jane to really understand what's going on. Luckily, though, the Jaden in the backseat is paying close attention to Jane's words and can fill in the blanks for Jadimus Prime, "I dunno. What kind of friends? I mean, it may not look like it, but we do try to keep ourselves low on the radar. We're not exactly ready to be thrust out into the world until we get a cool hero name and an awesome costume." The Ditto pauses. "I thought I explained this to you. Well… he did."

It takes a bit of time, she's enjoying the contact, and doesn't break it right away. At least not until Jane needs a bit of air, because at this point the kissing may have progressed into the early stages of making out. Eventually, though, she does take that breath and answer "People like us, who know about me and what I do, people I trust. But the answer's no, it's all good." Here she comes again.

So there's one Jaden making out and one Jaden trying to figure out what in the hell is going on. Well, not that either Jaden is even thinking clearly right now, because they're both Jaden and that means they're minds are not where they ever should be. One of them is thinking about Scooby Doo and the other one is probably reliving some Judge Judy episodes. Thus the questioning: "How about… we do this. We party. You invite the Spanish Inquisition and I'll show up and if they're… well, he'll show up… and if they're cool, then we can go BAM! And copies abound!"

Coming up for air again, lips pulling back slightly from his face, Jane thinks it over. In her mind is problem number one: how to introduce him at some point to Pete and not risk causing him an overload without being able to warn about the possible acquisition. If she can help it no such meeting with an Evolved person's going to happen again without Pete knowing what he might pick up and being at least somewhat prepared, not after the Elle in solid gold pants incident. No meeting, easy enough. But keeping them from meeting, well, that's an exposure all by itself. Plan C, again. Making out is fun. Figure out dilemma later. Thus here she comes again, for more liplocking.

Jaden is still in liplocked land. But the other Jaden is paying more attention to the fact that there was no agreement to that whole plan. "Right. So. Party. Definitely. We'll even use my place." Pause. "His place. I have to remember that I'm not me." Jaden cuts his eyes over at Jaden from in the middle of this tirade. The Ditto continues to be the one speaking though. "As much as this spit-swapping scene is crucial to the future of Generation J, I dare say we should -probably- hit the road. This whole living in a parking garage thing cannot be kosher." Jaden taps Jaden on the shoulder. "Not to mention. Curfew!"

She pulls back, chuckling a bit. Curfew? What the? Jane looks from one to the other as she moves back to her side of the car and buckles in. "That thing, yeah, we'll figure it out later. No hurry." She rests her head against the back of the seat and focuses out ahead, ready to be taken elsewhere in the car. "Curfew?" Curiosity, yes.

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