2007-04-21: Signing Day Non-Reciprocity


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Jane and Alyssa have a disagreement on the way to a recording studio after something is witnessed and not let go of.

Date It Happened: April 21st, 2007

Signing Day Non-Reciprocity

Outside the High Rise Apartment Building and on the way to 14 East 4th Street, Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NYC

Monday afternoon. It's Contract Signing Day for Doctor Jane Forrest, the lawyer who enjoys guitar more than law. She's outside her apartment building, the High Rise, dressed in a woman's business suit from Brooks Brothers. White blouse, charcoal blazer, matching skirt, black two inch heeled pumps. This is what she calls lawyer garb. Before heading to the studio, though, she'd wanted to share things with Alyssa, having not done so yet, so she'd sent a text message asking to meet here.

Considering the storm of things that kept assaulting her at Enlightenment Books, Alyssa finally forced herself away from work and so is caught quite free when the message comes. With a pleased sort of smile, as though Jane can actually see it, she clicks the text away and strolls towards the meeting place. It isn't far, and the writer enjoys being in this territory anyway. With her printed tees and torn jeans, she isn't quite the form of class and maturity that Jane is currently projecting and she isn't expecting it either. Cue how she starts to just walk right past Jane first thing.

"Aly," the unusually (for her) clad woman with her hair pinned up off the collar in a professional manner calls out as she sees the other woman go by, "over here, chica. Thanks for coming!" She starts to walk toward her, carrying this time a briefcase instead of guitar case and backpack. "How've you been, sorry we've not talked in so long."

Somewhere along the street ahead of them is a teenage girl, about sixteen years old, out walking the family dog with a leash. She and dog are on a path toward Jane and Alyssa.

"Say— what?" Hearing her name, Alyssa slows her pace, shooting a look over her shoulder and then spinning in the entirely wrong direction. Still, somehow, she manages to get around to facing Jane and her mouth breaks into a pleased, if surprised, grin, "Hey! Lookit you! Good to see ya and all that howdy-do. I've just been sort of the same with work and this and that. /Oh/. I went on a /date/. Crazy, right? Anyway, enough about me. Let's talk about this fabulous transformation." Despite strange circumstances in the bookstore recently, Alyssa is not the queen of noticing things right away when she isn't trying to. Dog and girl are just random citizens who are going to have to step around her.

She laughs, listening to the woman as she speaks, and glances down at herself when transformation is mentioned. "Oh, this," Jane replies. "Well, I told you before I'm an Ivy League graduate lawyer, right? I've got a bit of legal work to do today, contracts to be signed for this group of three women and one guy, the drummer, at a studio called the Cutting Room over on East 4th Street, right here in Greenwich Village."

While Jane speaks with Alyssa, the girl and dog are close enough to be seen by the pair, and to see them as well. Her grip, however, isn't too good on the leash and the dog gets away. He's off and running up the street, making good time toward the nearest fire hydrant, which happens to be across the street. Fearing what might happen, the girl pulls out a dog whistle and blows hard into it, wanting to stop her canine from running any farther toward the traffic.

Jane immediately winces, raising her hands to cover the ears when the sound strikes them and produces the standard situation for her. Under her breath she mutters "Damn, I hate those things."

The grin can only widen and it's a big flush of happiness for what sounds like success on Jane's side of things. Alyssa gives the other woman a couple of once-overs to really take in the new fashion and then, half self-consciously, adjusts the bottom of her own shirt. "It's not… that's not the same group as before right? I think that one had more guys?" With a casual glance around the street, Alyssa catches the movement of the dog as it makes a break for it and, just barely, she suppresses the urge to shout for the thing. The command resounds in her brain as it nears traffic but there is no resulting tug from Alyssa, who has never even tried to affect a living creature before. Fortunately, the owner has things rather under control. Or at least seems to since the dog is not street-fodder right now.

Turning to Jane again, the writer draws her eyebrows down curiously, "What, dogs? That's too bad. I'm a cat person, but I can't resist a good doggie mug."
Jane glances to Alyssa suddenly, she not having realized she spoke aloud, perhaps, and was overheard. Her attention isn't on the dog and owner for the moment, no, she's thinking of how to cover this with her. The runaway dog has slowed after the first whistle, but is still moving, and with her being occupued by thinking up a cover, she doesn't see the dog owner give that whistle a second blast to subdue her canine. There's no sound from it that humans can, or should, hear, but somehow Jane does? Again her hands go to cover her ears and she winces. Thought is given to countermeasure, but she's perhaps still hoping nothing will be noticed and not wanting to add to things already needing cover.

Alyssa has lost her grin to a further frown now that Jane doesn't seem capable of answering. She tilts her head, leaning in slightly in order to try and better process what's giving the woman so much trouble. "You alright, there? Is it nerves?" She's quick to find whatever answer pops into her head first and fly with it, "I mean, I'm sure this'll go great. You look great. I get migraines sometimes when I get too anxious or if I'm thinking about something too hard… actually, my mom always blamed that on sitting at the computer too long while I was writing drafts but, well, we bought into that one all the time maybe we also wouldn't be watching tv anymore."

The dog owner catches up with her animal seconds later and begins to lead the dog away, and the whistle she blew twice is pocketed. Jane shakes her head a time or two once the sound is gone from her ears, and brings herself back to focus on Alyssa. "No," she replies with vague honesty, "it's not a migraine, it's just this thing that happens sometimes." When she's exposed to ultrasound. "I don't really want to dwell on it." A smile is flashed, and she shifts topics, perhaps visibly hoping Aly won't press. She has no clue whatsoever the woman is anything like her in that regard. "It's a different group of people, Aly. Anastasia, Amanda, Mark, and me."

It strikes Alyssa that there's something in there that Jane deliberately isn't saying, and the fact of such hovers almost noticeably in-between each statement Jane /does/ say. But she's unable to connect the timing of the whistle and the wincing so just chews on her lip and allows the conversation to slide to the next track. After all, Jane said she didn't want to dwell on it. She can respect that. "Ha, Anastasia. Cool. /And/ you? So are you part-part of the group? Like you're playing and stuff? Cause last I heard you were at that bar place, man, you're just moving somewhere new every time I see you! And does that happen often? I mean, like a medical thing? Does it still hurt?" Okay, lies. She can't respect it. And Jane sounded shifty! What could she do?

Crap. It's a dilemma, she wants to trust and share this, but with people who don't have talents of that sort, it's risky at best. One never knows what reaction it might bring. Would she be called freak? Would it turn into a public scene that draws even more attention on her? The whole thing is having a toll on her mood, but she can't disguise hiding something effectively right now, this much has become clear, as Aly doesn't let it go. Jane starts walking again, her voice kept low, intended for Alyssa alone to hear. "It's… something I don't share with many people, and it might freak you out, so if I tell you, swear it to me, you won't flip out or ever repeat it. To anyone." Eye contact is tried then, her expression showing how serious this is to her.

Also, Alyssa just has a habit of asking the wrong questions at the rudest times. Catching, at least, onto the suddenly conspiratorial mood, the writer keeps close to Jane, putting her hands in her pockets and leaning in to catch every important word and gesture. When Jane catches her eye, hopefully the lawyer will be able to tell that Alyssa is taking this just as serious. There's just also a hint of… anxiety, maybe. She's the one who ends up taking the cautious look over their shoulders, "Well, if it's such a big deal…… okay. I promise. I've.. sort of been hearing this a lot from people lately anyway." And not all the right people, either, which is what keeps giving the impression that this writer's gonna bolt at the first sign of ski-masks, should it come to that.

"I hear things," Jane admits quietly, "that most people can't hear. Dog whistles, and such. Ultrasound." Silence again, after saying that, and she continues on her path toward 4th Street. "I wish I could hide the reaction, but it doesn't always work. So I endure, and I cover when I have to."

Alyssa visibly considers this one, and some of the tension in her shoulders vanishes as well, "Oh, so, like, good hearing? I mean, is that something you're just born with, like super good eyesight? Cause the eyesight one certainly seems like a better advantage. That's funny, cause I've always been told I had really good hearing but /yours/ must…" She wiggles a little, as though she has to physically shake off whatever she's trying not to say, "Could ask a doctor or… something… I know a guy who's good with hearing st— I mean. Doctors. I know a doctors. A doctor."

"I don't need a doctor, Aly," Jane answers with confidence. "I'm not looking for a cure, and I think I've found a way to contain things, just needs practice. Please, please, stop talking about doctors like I've got some disease to be cured. It's not. It's part of me, and I'll deal." A bit of sadness seems to settle in, as if that was what she feared about sharing things. The last time she spoke to a doctor, it only brought a suggestion of more doctors, and a paper trail potential.

Alyssa sucks in a deep breath, her gaze rising to the goddamn sky as she attempts to plot out her words /first/ this time. After a moment, she can look at Jane again. "That's not quite how I meant it. I suppose that just letting yourself be in pain for things never sounds like the good answer. It'd be less about changing yourself and more about comfort. But maybe that's not how it works, what do I know, /I/ don't have… ultrasonic hearing or whatever." The seriousness drains out of her voice as she loses track of it, and the dry matter-of-fact that she uses in most inquiries returns full-force, "What… is ultrasonic again, anyway? Does that actually mean good hearing besides, or just things whooo beyond the normal range added on and your normal hearing can be as sucky as everyone else's?"

"It's not just the hearing, Aly," Jane shares, quietly, realizing the cat is partly out of the bag, and the woman won't let go and change topics. Hopefully by sharing the other side of the coin it'll change. Because it has to. It's starting to make her want to scream, and this is supposed to be all happy day. Contract signage, and all that. "Aly," she offers in a quiet voice, it isn't just hearing, I make it too. I'm what you might call a full on freak. But I don't feel that myself, I've come to like it. I just… keep it quiet, because most people won't understand."

There's a couple seconds where Alyssa turns away, watches other people walk down the street and wonders what /they/ are talking about. She adjusts the familiar hat on her head, rubs the side of her finger against her nose, and even slows down her walking pace unconsciously in her distraction. A lot of whirring and clicking is going in that head there, hidden behind a face that could be thinking about absolutely nothing at all for all it reveals. This moment passes with a sudden grin spreading on Alyssa's face and she releases a sharp, almost disbelieving laugh, "You know," she starts, with an exaggerated shrug, "You're not the only one. And I'm starting to think that the /entire city of New York/ is freaks and everyone's just kind of thinking no one would accept them so staying quiet about it. Or else there's some kind of rite of passage that involves outing yourself to someone who works at Enlightenment Books."

"I didn't out myself, Aly," Jane remarks in a hushed voice. "I got spotted, and you pulled the thread despite me asking you not to. You just won't let it lie. Have you… met other people like me, in a fashion?" She's starting to kick herself, of course the woman has, she works for Cass. The odds of not getting clued in by working there might not be that good, after all, and… lightbulb moment! Could that be part of the criteria she uses in hiring and not hiring? Damn. Jane Forrest, you can be stupid sometimes. Snakes could bite you on the rack and be missed. This, of course, leaves the million dollar question. "Studio's close, you can come in with me and observe, maybe, we'll talk about this another time. Just answer one question: Can you do anything outside what's normal for humans?"

"That's true," Alyssa muses quietly in the background, nibbling lightly on her lower lip but otherwise not looking any more guilty for having pestered the fact out of her friend. She'd be amused to think that Enlightenment has factored into this, as it has already been an excuse used by her as for why she knows what she does. "Well, everyone /else/ outed themselves, anyway." This may not be true, but it memory fails her then imagination can fill in the blanks. It seemed funny at the time. Tucking two fingers under her iPod, she flips the screen towards herself and scrolls to the clock function. She stares at it too long to be just reading the time; Jane's last question knocks about in her brain, begging a response. "Well, sheesh, I'm not sure my definition of normal is even half the same as it used to be. Hmmm. There's a couple of other things I wanted to try today. What'cha gonna do today in studio, besides the whole lawyer bit?"

"That's not an answer, Aly," Jane replies. "At the studio, it's a celebration. Sign, then party some. There might even be jamming afterwards." Her eyes focus on the other again, and her head tilts. "See, doesn't feel nice, does it? Being pushed when you want it to drop. Now… you got me to open up, your turn, Aly. Spill."

"/Technically/ it is," is the shady reply from Alyssa as she becomes increasingly more uncomfortable. Her lean is now away from Jane as she keeps eyes on the sidewalk across the street. Again, she wonders what each of those citizens is doing, is talking about, is thinking about, is hoping. It's really incredible to think about how many people were out there, each with their separate agendas. But some aren't so separate as you'd like them to be and a low cough reveals Alyssa's reluctance just as much as her body language, "I've never claimed to be nice," she challenges without malice, "Plenty of people before you have told me to piss off rather than answering me."

"Because I want to be honest," Jane answers quietly, "I eventually did. I trusted you, and expect you'll keep this to yourself. If you've got something, I don't go telling others. But you're honest too, I think, because you could've said no and ended the whole string. You either trust me like decided to trust you, or you don't. Your call." And with that, Jane quickens her steps slightly, the building she's headed for being close now. 14 East 4th Street.

Alyssa, hypocrite. Flip-flopping internally on the matter, the writer slows even further, putting her quite behind Jane once the other speeds up to reach her destination. "I'm not really sure about trusting people right now," she finally states, fully serious and fully honest, "Too much weirdo stuff has happened before because I got all excited about trusting and letting people in and making a big party out of it. Now I'm annoyed. And I've never even liked talking about myself in the first place." Her expression darkens second later, suggesting that she didn't know what she was going to say and is only just now processing this apparent revelation. "I don't like the way things are going right now."

She's let it go now. Not happy, and it's clear she feels that, it hurts, but Jane's moving on. Things are the way they are, and she likely won't ever speak of it again. The smile comes back into place, wanting to get back to elation because, yay!, contracts to be signed. "Studio's in there," she gestures, "sixth floor. You coming, Aly?"

Again, there's that pause of seeming not-paying-attention. This must be Alyssa's day for Big Thoughts. She pulls back her shoulders and looks carefully at Jane when all has been mulled over. "Actually, there's something I have to do." Her hand goes to her pocket expectantly but her gaze doesn't waver from the other woman, "But I'm sorry, and I'm going to make it up to you. If I don't mess this up and fall flat on my face, then we'll /really/ have something to talk about."

"Right, the lawyer/guitarist quietly answers, as her fingers settle on the door and prepare to open it, the briefcase on her other side. A ghost of a smile is flashed. "See you, Aly." Then Jane turns away and goes into the building, the door closes after her, and heels tap the floor as she strides for the elevator.

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