2019-06-20 - MJ and Her Biggest Fan


MJ and Ben bump into one another. Damage ensues.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jun 20 04:09:30 2019
Location: Harlem, New York

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Theme Song



It was a thing across the states:


The day in the states that the slaves were finally free. All across the land in various historical districts, people gathered in celebration. Mostly for the food, the speeches, the dances and the songs. Here? They were in a park. Located in Harlem. There was hardly any grass on the asphalt but the people made due as they beat their feet and walked along booth by booth. Wearing dashiki's, eating corn on the cob dipped in freshly warmed butter.

Some carts had barbecue fresh off the grill, there was candy, water, soda, coffee which some happily took to keep the night going at the local juke joints.

Mary Jane was there, taking in the sights. Her agent would be pissed her being out after 8. Her bodyguard would be even more pissed with her being there without him. Hell, even a girl needed her freedom. And photos to put on her IG page.

Pictures were snapped on her phone, finger through the loop upon the back of the case, videos taken of people huddled together in loud conversations. Every now and then, she'd stop and ask someone for a story, who would happily oblige in a long winded tell about when they were young.

This, festivals and everything else.. was the life.

For Ben, it was a mandated outing. On nights that he felt least like going out, where he most wanted to just hide and sequester himself within the upper echelons of the Baxter Building, those were the nights that he had to go out. Sometimes he had the lucidity to go himself, sometimes it was through the intervention of one of the few friends even Ben could count on the fingers of one hand.

So, tonight Ben forced himself to go out to a place where there would be joy and revelry. As he often did in public, he sought to hide himself, though the efforts were almost laughable. He wore a wide-brimmed had and a trench coat (custom made to fit over his frame) over his usual pants-only attire. The massive, four fingered hands and four-toes feet were dead give-aways, though. Few people had skin the look and texture of orange rock. Still, he kept his brim lowered and his hands thrust into his pockets. He trudged along the periphery of the crowds, remarkable at least for his size (6'8" and easily twice as wide as two normal men), but often attracting stares and hushed comments. Even the odd autograph seeker. Hero. Patriot. Monster. Freak. Perceptions of Ben ran the gamut.

He was ducking his head and closing his jacket tighter around him in a bid to avoid being noticed just as Mary Jane was turning from her latest IG-ready interview. There was some incidental contact - perhaps it would have been nothing if Ben had been someone else. But Mary Jane just had a brush with hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of what felt like solid rock beneath a jacket.

"And I said to him, Suh! You don' touch my goddamn chitlins! You gonna be walkin' outta here wif no front teeth or a pot to piss in!" The woman laughed, nudging her husband. It was clear that the elderly couple were in love. Those who laugh together, stay together.

"Thank you so much!" Mary Jane said, turning off the video with a lean forward to give the two a hug. "I wish in the future I could have a story like yours!" She blows the two kisses, taking a step back.. turns around and..


Mary Jane could blow away with the wind. She was slim, shown off by the regular pair of jeans and basic shirt she wore. Her own wide brimmed hat was knocked off her head as soon as her bottom touched the ground; the poor girl crumpled!

"Ow! I'm so sorry!" She calls out, one hand at a full wave, the other attempting to search for the phone pieces on the concrete, while her foot attempts to drag her hat closer. She looked dumb, but she was moreso worried about the brick wall that she ran into than the sore backside and nearly lost items!

Ben bends down, immediately moving to gingerly collect the couple of large pieces that Mary Jane's phone shattered into. Individual fingers near the width of her palm reached out to ever so gently - as though he were picking up something as delicate as an origami flower - pick up one piece and then the other. "Geez, I'm really sorry," he repeats, not having processed that she too is apologizing. He looks up toward her, rocky face unmistakable. That's when his wide mouth drops open.

"Oh… oh. Wow," he says, taking a moment for his mind to catch up in processing. "Mary Jane Watson? Are you okay?" There is a special tone of regret in his tone. The special reverence one has for celebrities. He offers her a large hand. "Can I help you up?" he asks.

Her fall attracted some gasps. Her identity and his are attracting more looks now. Phones are raised and levelled. This footage is going to appear online. The two might already be the backbone of a new meme.

Headlines: Mary Jane Watson hits 'a wall' in her career as a social media influencer!

Joke: What do you get when you throw red paint on a rock? Mary Jane Watson and Ben Grimm!

Entertainment News: People are already shipping MJimm!

STAR News: Ben Grimm beats up Mary Jane Watson!

As Ben picks up the pieces of her phone; MJ picks up the pieces of her bruised ego. One older gentleman grabs her hat, but backs away and tosses it onto her lap as Ben Grimm reaches out with his large hand. "Oh sure sure! Man!" She exclaims, using him as leverage to hoist herself up, all the while another older woman approaches to begin dusting off her backside.

Cue red cheeks.

"Oh man again! I know I'm not the smartest of people but.. I know you!" She says, still holding onto a least a finger. The backside brushing and murmuring crowds aside, she still finessed her hat upon the top of her head, then shakes the finger, hand along with!

"You're with that married couple! The Richards! I saw them at the Embassy! You're uh.. its a really grim name, but give me a second! I swear to you I know it! Just hold on! Don't tell me!" She wanted to smack the side of her head for feeling so dumb.. "C'moooon! I know as soon as I get home it'll come to me.. sweet peanuts.." Phone was totally forgotten, even if it -was- broken.

Ben cups a hand and holds the shattered remains of her phone like a broken bird. He straightens to loom over her, patiently giving her a moment to scrounge for his name. Finally, unable to watch her struggle any longer, he prompts, "Ben. Grimm. The Thing." His stiff features twist into what passes for an apologetic smile for him. "Are you okay? I didn't mean to run into you there. I'm… ah. I mean, I can't believe *you* know who *I* am." Sure he's made the news tangling with some of the most disreputable and dangerous villains the Earth has to offer, but she's in the movies! "I mean, I hope I didn't just damage one of my favourite movie stars!" He gives an ill-at-ease smile, blue eyes flickering to one side and the other, where rubberneckers continue to record on phones. "Do you guys *mind*?" he grouses to them, clearly not used to this level of interest. Again, movie star!

"That's it!" She nearly shrieks out; overly excited MJ jumps in spot, clapping her hands together repeatedly. "Ben Grimm! Of the Fantastic Four! I don't know why they call you the Thing anyways, your name will do you just fine!" Once the bottom-dusting was done, MJ turns and offers a quiet thanks to the lady, who.. without a phone, goes about her own business with her family. MJ reaches out a hand for her own broken apart pieces for inspection.

"Oh shoot! I am -not- your favorite! And I am totally okay. I've fallen down more times than I can count, I'm okay!" Even though most people begin to gather, MJ all but ignores them. Business as usual, she says, but she tosses her head a little bit to get away from the crowd and vendors so those less interested can pass.

"Honestly, if anyone should be amazed it's me! I mean, I've met a demon type guy the other night with a few people and some spirit animals but.. a bonafied superhero star. That's one for the books. I totally would get a selfie but I gotta make sure everything is working." She pauses. "Wait, you're okay right?"

Ben watches the bubbly woman with growing ease as it seems no one is going to arrest or decry him for knocking her to the ground. Her energy is infectious and he can't help but offer another stiff-lipped grin. MJ's comments about his name earn a shrug of the exaggerated shoulders. "Well, I dunno, Ben lacks a certain something when yelling at supervillains," he explains.

And when she ventures into other subjects, he answers, "My favourites? Well, you and Tom Hanks. But, I mean, you do different stuff." He's amenable to turning, to following alongside her as she begins to move within the press of the crowd. For those not wanting to move out of her way, all Ben needs to do is extend a hand, to create a snowplow effect and push past those people. MJ's bodyguard, eat your heart out.

"I got a phone," he offers when she brings up the possibility of a selfie, a little too quickly and eagerly to be cool. But then he's processing her question as well. "Am I okay? Yeah… I think I'll get through it," he answers, unable to contain a curl of those stony features once more. He couldn't help but be amused by her question.

"Why do you need to yell out your name?" MJ asks, genuinely curious. "Don't you just go in there and beat them up?" It was very black and white, while MJ was a star, it didn't mean that she watched TV constantly. Or the news. She was in her own little bubble. But she listens to him, her broken phone soon shoved into her back pocket, arms behind her back now to create a comfortable stroll.

"Not too much different? I mean, sure Tom Hanks can't play a dead hooker on Law and Order, but that sucker can turn tricks around Halle Berry and still come out looking great. You ever see Cloud Atlas? Not too many people like it, but I thought it was a masterpiece."

"But, since you're okay Mister Ben Grimm, lets do a selfie! The Watsons are going to -looooove- you so much! They do already! How could anyone dislike you guys is -beyond me!" She stops in her tracks to look around, searching for a bench. "Here!" She points at an idle one (shockingly), "Lets go over here! I need to get some leverage, you are -way- too tall!"

"Well," Ben starts to explain but then he pauses. "I mean, I don't know. I guess it's just convention. There's a whole way meta humans fight. I don't know why, but you have to announce your presence sometimes in the third person. Though sometimes just the catch-phrase will do" He takes a moment to consider this again, and then he adds, "I know it doesn't make sense to hear it. It's all very contextual and sometimes 'Ben' just don't cut it."

Seemingly content to leave the difficult questions behind, Ben then answers, "But… oh, Cloud Atlas? No, I didn't see it. I mostly heard it wasn't good so didn't bother. Tom's got *decades* of stuff I can always watch him in, so if I have have to give the occasional Cloud Atlas or Larry Crowne, so be it." He glances aside toward MJ. "But… maybe I'll give Cloud Atlas a try. If *you* recommend it, I'm sure it's great." He is content to move over to a bench with MJ. He again lifts a dinner plate-sized orange hand to help her scramble up if she likes. Meanwhile, he's pulling out something between a smartphone and a tablet. The body of it looks rugged, able to withstand his casual gripping. It also offers a larger screen for his fattest of fingers. "All right, Miss Watson, how we do this?" he asks. He knows well enough to pluck his hat off and drop it on the bench beside her, however, exposing that rocky dome of a head.

"Well. Alright." MJ lets it go, fearing that the conversation could possibly go sideways. She was sure that Ben wouldn't hurt her, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings digging into something she didn't understand! Buuuuuttt..

"Oh god. See?" MJ says, "You gotta let go of what other people think about entertainment!" As he offers his hand, she grabs ahold of his finger again, steadying herself so that she could stand upon the bench.

"Cloud Atlas is like.. a story about love across time! Soulmates! But in different circumstances obviously! Like.. that guy over there!" She points at a random fellow. "A hundred years ago, he could have been a really bad dude, but something kind happened to him and now.. he's.. him. And the lady he's with could have been that kindness. Or vice versa!"

She was -so- into it now!

"Truth is singular. It's versions are mistruths." She holds her hand to her heart, gazing out over the horizon. She wasn't putting on a show, she was giving -passion-. But she knocks it off with a smile, looking towards the large phone with a tilt of her head. "Well you stand here.." She moves behind him, then leans upon his shoulder, her arms hugging around his neck, cheek next to his rocky cheek!

"Then we smile! Us girls like to take multiples and pick the right ones. I'll give you my number so you can send it to me."

Ben listens to the impassioned defence of Cloud Atlas and, as MJ delves into the artistic side of the interpretation, she begins to lose him. Ben is far more literal and practical. Even in his choices of fiction, symbolism and these more artful stories tended to wash past his grounded mind. Still, MJ is a performer and there is something compelling about how she speaks about the movie. It is with an air of confession that he answers. "I don't know if I'll get it. I'm not real good with that stuff, but I'll give it a whirl," he promises.

But then it's time. She's urging him to move where directed and he follows her lead. She is left leaning on his solid shoulders, getting the angle of her head just right. She, of course, looks like a model. He, of course, looks like an awkward creature, smiling stiffly, with a mutated mug. To say that it is a contrast of black and white is the understatement of the year. Though there are a couple of snaps of his expression turning to one of surprise and him glancing to the side at her. The movie star's going to give him her number?! He tries to play it cool. He does not succeed. But finally, with a dozen or more pictures to choose from, he extends the phone toward her. It's heavy and sturdy, just as it looks.

"Uh, why don't you pick the best one?" he suggests. "You're the expert in this stuff!"

"It's not a skill. It's all about letting go, is all." She smiles genuinely at him, and begins to pose!

Like most shots, she serves it. Smizing at the camera, puckering her lips, the usual peace since, a wink of an eye, a full wrap of her arms around his face and some blasted laughter. It was fun! And those bystanders took pictures as well, though not as impressive as Ben was going to get.

"Alright, let's see.." MJ takes the tablet, then carefully jumps down from the bench with the use of his forearm, then flops back and begins to swipe. "Man.." She says quietly. "I honestly never thought I'd ever get a picture with a hero. My mom and Aunt are totally going to flip out, you know. They're gonna find a way to find you and make you eat their cooking." She laughs, picking out the best few, then uploads it to a message in which she enters in her phone number. The way she operates the phone was like an expert, which is key to most of the millenials today. Y'know, save for the wanting to die part.

"Alright. I got the best three. Do -not- be surprised when you start being followed by fangirls and boys who want your autograph!"

Even if Ben were to let go, his face doesn't move like a nomal human's. He simply is not photogenic, at least not in the traditional sense. He cannot help but give stiff-looking pictures. Still, the pictures get as much mobility as they will, Ben chortling along with MJ's infectious laughter.

Before long, the impromptu photo session is done and she's sitting on the bench. He watches her with a detached sort of pleasure, something wistful in the feeling. When she calls him a hero again, he snorts faintly and waves a hand. "I don't do anything most people wouldn't," he explains simply, but he reserves the most of his reply for her comment about him being followed. "Followed? Oh. Heh. I don't… have a twitter or Facebook or anything. But… thanks for the pictures. I'm…" He isn't sure how to end that thought. "It was fun," he concludes with a bob of his head. He picks up his hat and sets it on his head. "Oh, can I give you some money for your phone? Or… something? I feel bad about that. It's a tool of your trade, seems like."

Whelp! Mary Jane was done here! She gained a friend! The lonely girl bops up off of the bench, catching her own hat before it falls, yet gives it a tilt back so that she can see properly. "Well, now that you're out here in the world, you inspire people to do good. I hope you know that." She was sincere in this, even with the smile that follows.

"We should get you one! But, texting works if you want to keep in touch?" Hopeful, and it was lasting.

"I had fun too. And I don't need any money. I went to high school with a bunch of tech geniuses that'll probably fix it for free." She smiles now, both hands clasped in front of her. "It was -such- an honor to meet you, I mean that." Out of nowhere, she gives an all too awkward wave, then skirts her way out of the area, disappearing into the throng of crowds to exit the park.

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