2019-05-24 - Special K


When a writer stops writing, Betty goes to find them.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: May 24th, 2019
Location: Upscale New York

Related Logs


Theme Song



Betty Brant's been getting a steady stream of inquiries over the last few months. Most of them are… not easily published. They take some careful editing to become something that can actually be published in the paper. On analysis, it's not that they're intended to be licentious or shocking. It's like a fourteen-year-old was reaching out anonymously to someone trustworthy for guidance on some of the social mores everyone takes for granted. Once a week, like clockwork, for the last few months.

And then the letters had slowed down a few weeks ago. Nominally of course, people usually sign with an 'Anonymous' or 'Confused in New York'. The letters had been signed merely 'K', with a return address for a letterbox in Midtown. For Betty, getting hold of the drama-rich 'K' would definitely be a goldmine for her inbox for years to come— and child's play for someone with her investigative skills.

Anyone and everyone could be simply 'K'. There were a number of names beginning with the letter, along with words to boot. Honestly, the sign-off could have been a non-committal ender to a thought process. With time off from the Bugle for a number of reasons, Brant had began writing again for some dire need of an outlet tha thad nothing to do with stories that could end her life. She didn't visit the office, but she did have her mail delivered to someone she trusted heart and soul - J. Jonah Jameson.

After gathering her bundle and making small talk, the inquiry about 'K' was not missed.

Dates, topics, location - the woman in hiding had a lead at least. Going against her better judgement to stay hidden, the dirty-blonde finds her way to a specific address.

Kori had moved since her last letter, but Betty would have little trouble shaking the tree to produce some useful information. A casual mention of high school, questions about suitable attire for a few areas, and she'd narrowed it down to a Midtown apartment complex largely rented by the government for refugees and transplants from other countries resettling under asylum. Cross-indexed with the Midtown High graduation notice, it seemed pretty likely 'K' was the only Midtown High senior who'd transferred to school late in the year under an exchange program.

Figuring out her mail was forwarded to an upscale neighborhood in the Upper West Side was a matter of just asking the postman.

When Betty arrives, it's at a suspiciously nice, sprawling mansion sitting on a lot of acreage. The house is looking a little ragged, like the maintenance crews can't keep up with the wear and tear. For a second, it even looks like there's a… horse? Running around out back.

And just when Betty's scoping the place out, a tall redheaded girl emerges from a side door carrying a trash bag. She's clad in a green summertime dress, with a modest horizontal neckline and calf-length skirt. Someone shouts 'Kori!' from the house and leans out a window to throw something at her. It's caught effortlessly in one hand and Kori contines her walk to the end of the driveway, holding a trash bag in one hand and a metal bottle in the other. Both are deposited into the trash, though Betty might be alarmed to see a 'Biohazard' sticker on the open bottle. Kori seems unconcerned though.

Betty Brant stares now, wide-eyed and blinking. Tired as she may look, the dirty-blonde stammers to herself and then glances around. Was this the right place? Was she still in New York? A step forward, and another, she only hesitates when she notices the symbol and its meaning. "K?" She asks toward the towering red-head, one she met just a few nights ago.

Kori looks up and blinks those large green eyes at Betty, then a beatific smile crosses her face. "Friend Betty! How do you do the do?" she asks, sounding positively delighted to see the woman again. She moves towards Betty with a smooth acceleration and an easy grace that no one her size should be able to manage. Thing-soled sandals scrape on the street and she's moving towards—

—nope, into Betty's space, arms flung wide. Kori's apparently a hugger, even for a relative stranger. "I am so glad to see you! Do you live in this neighborhood as well?" Kori inquires. The houses in this area must be worth millions of dollars. "I have been told that this neighborhood is 'the upscale' and I do not understand why it is called that, but everyone tells me that it means 'better made'. Compared to my old apartment, I can see why!"

Betty Brant doesn't stop the hug from coming in. She offers a soft pat in return, still in awe of what's happening (and that shifty looking bottle.) "K." She greets in return with a faint smile on her features. At the question, she pulls back and shakes her head. "No, I use to live in Queens." A pause, "I'm…relocating. Um, hey, I came to ask you about these." She explains, digging a letter from her side bag and showing it to Kori.

A glance around, she returns her hazel eyes toward Kori's own other-wordly ones. "Are you this K?"

Kori accepts the letter and reads it very slowly. She has to move her lips while she does— written English clearly isn't a strong suite for her. Her eyebrows go up in surprise and she looks up at Betty.

"Oh my the goshness! *You* are Ask Betty?" she says, looking starstruck. "You have been very much a help to me!" she blurts out. "There has been so much to learn and when I ask my friends to explain things, they always do the mumbles or excuse themselves and tell me to ask an adult. We are all adults, or nearly so! I assumed they meant a more adultier adult. That is when I started writing to you, because you give such very good advice!"

"Yeah. Not many Betty Brants around the city. Then again, you didn't get my last name at the shop the other night." Smirking sleepily, she shifts in her stance and adjusts the strap of her bag. "Sorry to track you down like this, I might be a bit paranoid lately. Honestly, I just wanted to make sure you were doing ok. Every month and then nothing? Makes one worry sometimes."

"Oh, I am very much the grateful for your concern," Kori tells Betty with sincere appreciation. "I am doing the okays. I started making several new friends!" she explains. "They have been most patient with me. Friend Peter introduced me to friend Mary Jane and friend Harry, and then I made *more* friends, all on my own!" She looks extremely proud of herself. "And they are not nearly as mean as the children at school. Well, mostly. Rose throws things at people who talk to her before she's had the coffees," Kori allows.

She looks alarmed. "Oh! I hope I have not done of you the offense," she adds, wiht a solicitous tone in her sweet voice. "Your advice has always been very good for me!"

"Peter?" Betty asks gently, the names then coming around to her. "As in Parker?" There's a rueful little smirk on her features now, perhaps playing some guessing game in her mind before allowing it to fall. "Rose? I…don't think anyone should be throwing anything at anyone." She murmurs, but at least nods in acknowledgement.

"Offence? Oh, no, far from it. Like I said, I was just worried something might have happened to you is all. I…had to find out for myself." A pause, then a more genuine smile shows on her face. "I'm glad you're doing well, K. I'm glad you're making friends, too. Since you're doing good, I won't intrude any longer. I'll let you get back to whatever you were doing with, um…radioactive waste."

"Oh, you are not the intruding," Kori says politely. "I would invite you to come inside, but at the moment I am living with several other teenagers and we all agreed 'no visitors' because Rose hates everyone and Sarah is hiding from her family and I have been told I am not worthy of the trust of inviting strangers. I thought this was unfair, but there was a vote and I lost. Democracy is frusrtating."

"We are trying to find somewhere better to live, particularly a place where the H-O-A is not full of the bullies who keep threatening us with fines. /I/ cannot help that Dani's horse keeps getting loose." She scowls in vexation.

"But! I would have the happy to go with you to partake in refreshment," she offers.

It was all so much. So much so that she stares at length, her brows knitting and sloping, relaxing and hiking as the reasoning continues flowing. Betty parts her lips, then closes them again, not really having voice or words to offer in this situation. For once, there's nothing she can say - her wit fails her.

At length, she nods, turning to head off and waiting for Kori to join her. "Uh, sure. I can't stay out for too long, but a drink can't hurt. This is your part of town, so I'll let you suggest where we go."

"Joy! I shall retrieve my cell phone," Kori tells Betty, and turns on her foot to run up to the mansion. She runs like a gazelle, too, all flickering legs and no effort. Instead of going to the front door she… runs up a sidewall and clambers into an open second-story window.

"KORI!" someone protests. Then, Kori's voice: "It is the fine! I am getting my phone!" "OUT OF MY ROOM!"

Kori emerges out a different window a few seconds later and simply drops to the ground, absorbing the impact with little effort. She runs back down to Betty with that same surefootedness and beams at her. Not even breathing hard, or sweating. "I have my phone!" she announces happily. "Come, we will go to the Hut of Hamburgers."

It's fortunately not far to walk. One of those old family places that still serves beer and wine for the parents. It's not particularly crowded, and Kori walks to the outdoor counter under the faded old 'Hamburger Hut' placard.

"Kori, I told you, you can't do no more of those Big Hut challenges," the woman at the cashier says, with a note of firm resignation. "No one ever does more than *one* of those."

"Oh hello Gertie! I am not here to destroy your records for the eating of the meals again," Kori assures the woman. "I am with a friend and we are the hungry." She places an order and gives Gertie her credit card. Order #1, Milkshake and burger for the alien princess. Kori waits patiently for Betty to place her request and then she walks to a table with Betty to sit.

"I hope I can press you with a question. I promise, it is not a *real* press. It is something people say when they are being indelicate," Kori explains. "WOuld you tell me more about your friend Astryd? She seems as if she is very well travelled."

Betty Brant offers a wave to Gertie and places an order for herself. Today, it only seems like fries are on the menu. Taking a seat across from Kori, she glances around and behind them, attentive of the space before slipping her bag off from across her torso. "I know what it means, K." She smirks, watching the alien across from her. "Astryd? I wish I could tell you more about her. I don't know much myself, honestly. She bakes well. Cooks good, too. She's very steadfast and strong. Kind." There's more there, resting on the tip of Betty's tongue. With an apologetic shift to her features, the woman continues. "I can't tell you personal things about other people, K. That's just not something you do. If you want to know about her, you should ask her directly. Strike up a conversation."

Kori nods. "You told me you trust her and care about her," she observes. "That is sufficient for me for now," she assures Betty. "I do not intend to do anything to harm her, or threaten her!" she hastens to add. "That is not my motivation. She recognized the language of my home pl— country and I find that to be very uncommon. It startled me very much, because it is very rare," she clarifies. "That is why I left in the great hurry. It was not because I wished to be the rudes."

"You weren't rude. People do what they have to do sometimes." She explains, sitting back in her chair slightly. "If you want to know more about her, though, I still suggest you speak with her again. If it's such a rare language, maybe you can use that as common ground? Maybe it's something you can find comforting being so far from home." Her head cants to the side and that easy smile lingers.

"I suppose that would be wise," Kori allows, a little dubiously. "I must be very careful. My family fled a civil war in the… Europes. It is a very small country and you have not heard of it," she says, tacking onto the lie in a rush. "But those who recognize the language tend to have close personal ties. And the civil war was extremely devastating. I was frightened that Astryd might have sympathized with my enemies, and she would betray me to them. I became the panicked."

The food's brought over and Kori picks up the burger and shoves a third of it into her mouth with a single bite, chewing hungrily.

"I'm not sure she would. Astryd understands a few things about war and sides in battle. I can also tell you that she understands doing what's right and good. From what I've seen and experienced from both her and Fen, is that they're good." Poking at her fries, she takes up a few and starts to eat as well. Her own hunger, however, is vastly outmatched by Kori's.

"I understand being afraid, too. Sometimes, you have to look after yourself. Just don't forget to let people in. You seem to be doing well with your friends."

"Mary Jane says that I should not let people in, because then people will call me a—" Kori blinks twice. "Oh you mean, into my circle of personal trust! Yes, I agree, trust is important," she says with a wag of her chin. "It is regrettable when trust is abused but it becomes a game of the numbers. Eventually, you find someone you *can* trust, and then it becomes easier to find more people you trust."

She shifts her burger around and inhales another third of it in a single bite. Is she unhinging her jaw?

"A what?" Betty asks, her brow quirking. Taking down a few more fries, the bestest assistant finally seems to relax. "I think, unless something in your gut is yelling at you not to trust someone, that you should give people the benefit of the doubt. Meaning, don't judge them before you know about them. Sometimes, it doesn't work out. Sometimes, it hurts in the end, but we can't start out just being walls to people."

"Oh, it is something the girls at the school say a lot about other girls, when they have too many intimate partners," Kori tells Betty. She eats the last bite of her burger and wipes her mouth daintily with the napkin. Then eats the napkin, and washes it all down with a sip of her soda.

"But I do not know if they mean it sincerely, as I have noticed the girls who talk the most about it seems to be least active." She frowns. "There does not seem to be a corollary for males, but given their testosterone dementia, I suppose they cannot be held totally responsible," she allows with a shrug.

Betty Brant snickers and actually laughs. "Testosterone dementia. I'm going to use that someday…" She swears, eating more freely as time passes. "Girls can be mean. Boys, too. Growing up, everyone's confused and doesn't know what the hell is going on. As you get older, some of that doesn't go away. I will say that if you do have partners, just be safe. Make sure you're on the same page about things. How you're feeling, what's comfortable and what's not. Whatever you're doing with someone, as long as you keep communication and understanding going, you should be alright. No one has the right to call you anything, or judge you, especially when it has to do with your own body."

"The boys at Midtown largely just seem the stupid and violent," Kori observes. "I do not mean to speak over-broadly but friends like Peter seem the exceptions. And they don't…" She wrinkles her nose. "Smell good," she finishes.

"But it is not the badness now. Two boys are living with us, so I now have ten partners!" she says with a beaming smile. "And the boys living in the house are both quite intelligent, as are the girls. We all partner very well! Even Rose, and she is the meanest, but I think she just needs more hugs," Kori assures Betty. "We are learning how to be better partners every day. Someday we will be as famous as your great police partners Riggs and Murtaugh!"

"Riggs and…" Betty closes her eyes tightly, her face twisting up as she gives an almost sad laugh. "Um…no one's eating dog treats, are they?" Another few fries up and in her face, Brant chews them away and suckles some salt from her finger tips. "Anyway, I'm glad you're in a good place. If you still want to write to me, well…here." She shifts a bit, opening her handbag and digging out a notepad. Scribbling something, she hands it over. "This is my phone number if you want to reach me directly."

"Only me," Kori assures Betty. "I share them with Fluffers and Silkie, though. No one else seems to like them."

She accepts the note and very carefully transcribes it into her phone, with a hesitant hunt-and-peck. "There! I have saved your information to my cellular phone," she tells Betty, and hands back the note. "I am very much the grateful for your kindness, friend Betty. I will write to you when I encounter a challenge that my friends cannot resolve for me. But so far, they have given me good advice. They are all trying to get me to work as a model! I do not know how to model, but I am told I must merely sit still and let people photograph me. Everyone says I would be the good at it."

"It's more than just pictures. It's hard work. I think, as cliche as it sounds, you should do what makes you happy. If you're curious about modelling, read about it. Learn what you can and go from there." Nodding toward the thanks for the number, she starts eating again, her basket almost empty. "I need to get out of here soon, K. I shouldn't be out for too long, but I'm glad you're doing well."

"I… do not know what makes me happy," Kori admits, and tosses the last of her fries in her mouth. Her basket's set aside for the waitress to collect and she moves to rise when Betty finishes her meal. "But if I figure out what that is, I will you you know. I am very glad you found me, friend Better!" Kori says, and steps forward to hug the woman again. "It has made me feel the happy that you went to this effort. If I can repay that courtesy in any way, please do let me know," she says with a tone of humble consideration.

Betty Brant reaches out, openly hugging the orange-girl now. It's firm and solid, maternal in away. Pulling back, she nods. "Like I said, if you need me at anytime, just call me, ok? You and your friends, too." Another smile, tired but easy, curls Betty's nude lips. Reaching up, she starts giving her pony-tail a tug to tighten its band. "I'll see you around, K. I should be getting back. More work to do." Giving a salute, she turns and places a plentiful tip on the table. Another wave, she heads for the exit.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License