(2018-08-06) Cheeburger Cheeburger
Cheeburger Cheeburger
Summary: Syd and Stephanie have a girl’s night out for burgers.
Date: 2018.08.06
Related: None
NPCs: {$npc}
Scene Runner: {$runner}


Burger Barn
It's one of the older establishments in the town and far enough from the beach area to cater mostly to the locals since the tourists don't all get back in this area so often. The counter where orders are taken is wooden and the drinks are serve yourself kind lined along the end of the counter with napkins, ketchup, salt, straws and lids and other fixings. The floor is hardwood and has seen years of wear. Good greasy burgers and all the sides are found here, this isn't a health food establishment by any stretch of the imagination.

Tables are covered in a bright yellow tablecloth to sort of offer the room a cheerful look, but it doesn't detract from the overall age of the furnishings. There are a few booths lined along one wall and the decor sports such things as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis, James Dean, and Coca Cola products, which are proudly served in the establishment. A jukebox is tucked into an area between two booths.


Sydney has had another good week(end) of craigslist jobs — ripping out fence posts, getting rid of tree stumps, things where you'd normally have to rent expensive power equipment. It's good to be a brick. Since she's (slightly) flush, when she caught Stephanie next, she said, "You and me. Burgers. Tonight. I'm starting to feel like a shut-in again." Some walking, perhaps a bus, and here we are, standing in line at the burger joint. Working the drawer is a teen slightly older than Steph and Syd. She's willowy and graceful and has one of those smiles that makes everyone feel like they're her friend. And she uses it. "Hi." She says. "What can I get you guys tonight?"

To tell the truth, Stephanie was also feeling like a shut-in. She'd been laying low since the incident with the carnival, but it looks like she and the others managed to slip under the radar of the school authorities. Heading out for burgers with Syd sounded like as good an excuse as any to get out of the estate property, leading to the moment where the two girls were in line and Stephanie reads over the unfamilliar menu board. "Okay…I'll take a double cheeseburger with bacon, order of fries, and a large Coke." After Sydney puts in her order, Steph walks with her to a table. "So," she recaps Syd's money making venture, "you just do odd, heavy jobs around the area? Man, places that rent out equipment must hate you."

Sydney orders a double cheese with bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle, no fries, no bun, mustard only and a glass of Coke Zero. She sits down with Stephanie. "They totally must. Or the contractors. Someone's going to hit me up to join a union probably, except that I'm underage. But I figure… it's Craig's list. Anyone who can pay what the rental guys or regular contractors are gonna want isn't going to go through craigslist. I keep seeing ads in there and it's like "are you SURE this isn't a prostitution job?" I don't take those, obviously.

Stephanie shivers and shakes her head. "Ugh. One good thing about my powers: it meant I never had to hook to survive. I'd see the working girls in downtown, bruised up and strung out. Yeah, that was never going to be an option for me, no matter what." After a deep, centering breath, Steph drinks her Coke and smiles. "And, not that I'm not grateful for the meal, but you should save your money for yourself and your guy. Treat yourselves to a nice dinner sometime, yeah?"

Sydney nods. "Yeah, wasn't much better in 1980 except nobody'd heard of AIDS. I knew girls who did it. I'd sell drugs first." Syd gets a fork and digs into her burger. "Sometimes you just wanna hang out with your friends, you know?" she confides. "I like Bryce. I really do. He's sweet, and he's gentle, and I feel safe around him…but at the same time it's like… electric every time he touches me. I don't know if it'd just been that long, or if it's really just my issues coming up again. But damn…" She takes another bite. "On the downside, he's like… a complete virgin. And I feel like…who am I to take away his innocence? And why do I want to do it so bad?" She looks at Stephanie. "Way too much information, right?"

Steph giggles and shakes her head. "Nah, it's cool. You got a guy that makes you feel safe and happy. You want to make him feel happy and show how much you appreciate him." She shrugs as she munches on a couple fries. "It's not really rocket science, you know. And you're the right one to take it away from him because you obviously care about him and his feelings. Lots of girls would just see him as an easy mark, hit it to get some shiny gifts, then quit it and move on to another target. You think that would be a better 'first time' for him?"

Sydney ponders, chewing on her burger some more. "He's as poor as me, so it's not the shiny gifts." Syd sighs a little. "Man, it was so much easier when it was 'Get high with friends. Wind up laid.' I didn't worry about anything, it just… was. And then there's the whole question of…" she hesitates and has another bite of burger. "Put it this way. Sierra's the first lesbian I've ever known was a lesbian. The one time I kissed her… which was a complete mess because she'd just started dating Saoirse, it was just for curiosity's sake but it was like… wow… this is way nicer than I thought it'd be. It's like… I got crushes before, on boys and girls… but I never figured they meant anything other than I wanted to be friends with her.

"I'm not saying that you need to have everything all figured out already and make comitments. I mean, fuck…my parents were barely out of high school when I popped out of my mom; and that was a total disaster." Stephanie takes a bite of her burger and chews thoughfully for a while. "I guess what I'm saying is: don't doubt yourself, just go with whatever happens. You know, be prepared, just in case, but don't stress over it. So what if you have more experience than him? That just means you know what to expect and can teach him stuff. So maybe you're into girls as well? Hell, if Bryce were most guys and you told him that, he'd be non-stop dreaming of a threesome with you and a rotating girl from school, nightly. But, he sounds like he'd give you space and time to figure things out with zero expectations or pressure, yeah?" She takes another bite of her burger and swallows before adding, "So just be you, and let whatever happens, happen."

Sydney nods, listening. "Yeah… be me. The trick is figuring out what that is, I guess. Or just winging it." She crunches on her bacon thoughtfully. "What about you? Anyone catch your eye so far?"

Stephanie gives a little snort and shakes her head. "I'm not really looking, you know. Too much baggage and damage." Another bite off the burger dissapears into her mouth. "Someone pops up, they pop up. Until then, I'm sort of still dealing with the concept of having friends to rely on, you know? Dating would be a major step, nevermind actual sex."

Sydney nods slowly. "If you need to talk to someone about… damage… I'll probably understand, ok? And I'll listen." At this distance, Stephanie would be able to see the 'scars like that' that Syd talked about, even on the shiny skin. A little scar on her chin, another over her cheekbone, lots of little ones on the undersides of her arms.

Stephanie nods and eats her burger in silence for a while. When she does speak, it's in a more quiet tone; she didn't care much if others overheard the girls talking about sex, but this is more…intense. "What was his excuse?" Stephanie asks. "I mean, for my dad, whatever happened the night before, it was always 'I'm sorry, I had a shit day at work and I had some beers with the guys before I came home.' That and a promise to never do it again."

Sydney blows her cheeks out and takes a few more bites. "I don't have a job. I drank too much. It'll never happen again." And then he discovered cocaine. And stopped apologizing. "Dirty slut, you deserve this." Those words seem as though they're wrenched from Syd's inside, still bleeding.

Stephanie nods, and reaches out to put her hand on Syd's, taking a deep breath. "Just the hitting," she says without prompting. "Nothing ever further than that. And no-one 'coming over to visit' when mom was at her job. I…I don't think I could have dealt with all that if it happened." She silently hopes that Sydney didn't have to deal with it as well. "I…I did have to fight off some guys. On the street." She takes a deep breath. "Sometimes. But…I didn't let anything happen to me, you know?"

Sydney takes the hand gently and nods. "Good." She nods again. "That's good that you did. I ran away to get away from the hitting and everything. I mean I knew I probably wouldn't last that long in the city but… it'd be mine, you know? It'd be on me. My life. My choices. All that. 'Course I chose the wrong guy to start hitting back with. He and his buddies sold me to a pimp, the pimp sold me to a mad scientist who made me into this… and I learned to fight helping train Iron Fist. I watched the video of his last fight, and it was like… jackass. I told you to watch your legs. I even tripped you and pounded on you for ten minutes to get it through your head. Watch your fucking feet. You can't stand up if they're not under you." Syd sighs. "When did you go blue the first time?"

"The night I ran away," Stephanie answers after a gul fo Coke. "Dad was…" Her hands invoulantarily clench into fists. "His usual self. He started in on mom over dinner. Which he was 2 hours late for. I…jumped in after he knocked her down and started kicking her. He…he backhanded me." Stephanie swallows hard and closes her eyes, fighting through the memory. "He turned. Ready to give me another punch. I saw…his fist coming. Then…it's like…something went 'pop' inside my head. He punched me in the jaw, and then yelled in pain as he broke his fist." Stephanie pauses for a bit, opening her eyes and looking calmer. "I looked at my hands and arms…and then, I didn't think. I just punched him. Hard in the side. And he went flying, breaking through out front door from the force." She stops again, drinking more cola to banish her suddenly dry mouth. "And then, I got scared and ran. That was…a little over 2 years ago, now."

Sydney reaches out to take Stephanie's fists in her hands, as much as they'll fit anyway. Syd's not very big. "Did he live?"

Stephanie sniffles some; the tears from the memory, not guilt over her actions. "Yeah," she says with a nod. "Busted him up bad, though. He's on permanent disability. Still in the same apartment. Drinking away whatever money's left after rent." She sighs and shrugs. "That's what my case worker told me. Not like I'm ever going to see him again, even after I go back to LA."

Sydney squeezes Stephanie's hands gently. "I dreamed about doing that to mine. Once I went metal. It made it easier to fight with Karol every day. Easier to find my fire. We beat each other until it was just silly. Until it was hard to take a beating seriously. I mean it hurt… but it's like "Oh, it just stings. He hasn't really damaged you." And he hadn't. But lemme tell you, the times I won… were intense…"

"Feels good to cut loose," Stephanie says with a knowing smile. "Yeah, I try to limit those moments to breaking and entering. Tearing off a security fence from a storefront at Midnight." She shrugs and there's a twinkle of mischief in her eyes. "Didn't physically hurt anyone, and it was a good way to let off steam from time to time. Guys that tried to do anything funny with me…they almost always ran once I transformed. Those that didn't ran after I threw the first punch. So, I didn't do much sparring work in my crystal form to let it all out."

Sydney nods. "We're going to spar, you and I. Jesus, you need it as bad as I do. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, having so much…fury to let go of… it's like therapy, I guess. Or a drug. I'm not sure exactly which. Working out alone doesn't work as well. But yeah, Inferno's going to want to see what you've got anyway, and work out an exercise and eating plan for you.

Stephanie is mid bite when all that gets laid on her, and she set her burger down, blinking in confusion. "Who's Inferno? And why do I need to have an exercise and eating plan, for fuck's sake? I'm not here for the hero training; I'm just here to do my time. Not like I need to be in any kind of physical condition to do that, right?" She stuffs the burger in her mouth and takes another hungry bite. "Besides," she says with some of the food still in her mouth, then swallowing. "Besides, an 'eating plan' sounds like these bad boys aren't going to be a regular meal," she says, waving the burger with one hand. "And I'm just not gonna stand for that."

Sydney shakes her head. "Nah, it's not like that. It's more like "here's how we can make your meals at school help you get stronger. Here's exercises you can do to get stronger. He's the PE teacher. He knows his shit. He discovered I wasn't eating enough. I started eating more, and I started filling out more, putting on muscle… getting some curves." She gestures toward her chest. "Other than these, obviously. These I started getting when I was ten. I'm getting a little bigger up top, but we're pretty sure that's my pecs. At least I hope so. I mean… one thing he said. Eating's not a religion. You don't have to bow down and pray to a hamburger. It's all about the trend. Long as you have a plan and stick with it most of the time, that's enough.

The explanation puts Stephanie at ease, and she nods. "Okay. I guess I can deal with that." She returns to the blissful consumption of her burger. "So," she asks when she finishes off her double meat, cheese, and bacon grease bomb. "You gonna do the hero thing after all this? Or you got other ideas? Like being a construction & demolition company?"

Sydney digs into her own burger, finishing it. It takes longer with a plastic fork. She gets a bag out of her pocket and puts mustard on a big gear, probably from a car transmission, and takes a bite. "I like the hero thing, you know? It's like… I totally helped those people…maybe it makes all this worth the trouble." Plus I'm made of metal and I weigh six hundred pounds. My carreer options are pretty limited. Ballerina? Nope. Maybe… temporary statues… or yeah, demolition, like you said. Work for the bomb squad. Join the mythbusters maybe. I dunno. What about you?

Stephanie shrugs and drinks more of her Coke. "Dunno," she admits. "But, I guess I've got it a little easier than you, since I'm not crystal 24/7. Don't have to change and be superhuman if I don't want to. But…maybe stunt work. Hollywood pays good money." Steph goes quiet, then leans in closer to Sydney. "There's also, you know…I heard there's these…" She looks around, checking for anyone listening in. "Superhuman fight circuits. You know, like wrestling or boxing. But using superhumans." She shrugs as she sits back in her chair. "I could probably clean up there." Steph looks over Syd for a moment, considering. "Hell, you'd probably do well too. We could even tag team, if they do stuff like that."

Sydney leans forward and listens. "Could be fun. I wonder if we could get class credit for it?" She sips her iced tea. "My guess would be no, but we'll see."

"Hell, who says we'd have to tell them?" Stephanie asks with an amused snort. "There's probably something like that in New York or Boston. If we can get, like, weekend passes or something. Say we're going to do library research or do a campus tour or some crap like that." She shrugs, finishes the last of her coke, and relaxes in her chair. "We'll figure something out, yeah? THere's probably big bucks in it, too. And pounding on someone else has got to be more theraputic than ripping up stumps, you know?"

Sydney nods. "Long as it's someone who can take it. I don't really want to hurt people if they don't have it coming. And ripping up stumps is boring as hell, but I made enough money doing that stuff to buy my uniforms, and some warm clothes for winter, and my computer. It's like a raspberry pi, but I'm like "Hello, 80s girl here. It's a zillion times faster than what I learned on."

Stephanie laughs and shakes her head. "I seriously doubt I could live in your timeline." She holds up her hand and starts counting off on her fingers. "No internet. No cell phones. No digital music. No Netflix…." Shen she smiles and puts her hand back down. "But, you did have better music back then."

Sydney chuckles and slurps tea. "Yeah…but we had AM and FM radio that didn't suck, and HBO for all your movie needs. We hung out, listened to records… you know about records, right?"

"I think so," Stephanie says with a smirk. "Aren't they those wax tubes that like, Edison invented after the light bulb?" She makes a cranking motion with her hand. "And you have to crank up the player to get it going?" She giggles a bit, then smiles brightly.

Sydney laughs and laughs. "Next generation after that. Now, my grandparents had a stereo that you had to let heat up before it would work. Imagine my surprise when I looked vacuum tubes up online and discovered they're still being made.

the discussion goes on like that for a while

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