2019-06-21 - Delayed Reactions


Peter reveals his secret to Mary Jane. It does not go well.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Jun 21 00:00:00 2019
Location: Parker Residence, Queens, NY

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Theme Song



It's been close to three days and MJ still hasn't bothered to get her phone fixed. She knew exactly who to reach out to, but paperwork, appointments, the vendor who she's working with for the fashion show wanted to test out makeup. Fittings. Shoes. Last minute adjustments. It was a kind of hell that Mary Jane was totally used to! But she was exhausted!

So finally, finally a moment to breathe to herself, Mary Jane comes home. Her aunts home. Where actually, no one was home and she didn't really stay too long. Just a quick splash of water on her face and a press of a frozen spoon to calm the bags and dark circles around her eyes. She looks like crap!

But.. out of the backdoor of the house and to the front door of Aunt May's, MJ pulled her skull cap off and attempted to fix her hair all the while ringing the doorbell. And then she bounces. And waits. And yawns. And sniffs..

There is some clattering noise from below. Then some stair-sounds, then the creak of the boards leading up to the front door, and then it opens and there he is.
He doesn't seem to have changed in the slightest. He is still wearing that puzzled look before it devolves into the hangdog smile. The Nutty Professor. Sometimes the Absent-Minded Professor. Only no glasses. He probably found a sliver of vanity and opted for contacts. Or made his own. You never could tell with Pete.
"MJ! Hi! Hey, how are you doing?" A quick pause, then he steps back. "C'mon in…sorry, Aunt May is out with the Girls and I was working on a few things downstairs." He is rattling off words as if trying to get rid of them. "Uhm, how goes it?"

MJ puts on a smile as he opens the door, straightening herself out, and shoving her skullcap into her pocket. "Pete! Hey!" And thank god. She couldn't bear to see Aunt May in her current state. May would have made her take a nap.

She steps inside, keeping her bag close to her as she looks around. "So that's why they were gone. I was at least hoping to catch Gayle, I wanted to drag her with me to breakfast.." And, pregnant sister has to eat. Ee!

"Everything is going fine. Ran into a bit of an issue though? Um.. do you mind if I make myself some coffee?" She doesn't bother waiting for an answer, she just walks right in, putting her bag upon the couch in a move that doesn't allow her to stop until she reaches the cupboards.

Peter doesn't stop her. MJ is a force of nature all her ownself, and they had spent many afternoons as kids in this house. MJ probably knew the layout as well as Aunt May, and Aunt may would never begrudge her anything.
"Don't mind at all. I've been meaning to congratulate you in person, I just kept missing you. I sent an Amazon card to your e-mail, though. I…guess that seemed a little impersonal." He looks sheepishly at MJ, a face he has worn far too often.
"An issue? What kind of issue?" He says this with the firm conviction that says he is all in, no matter the issue.

"Oh my gosh I've been so busy! I'm sorry about that. With Arts week and preparing to audition for a few quick roles.. rehersals.. my life is just a mess right now.." She was banging in the kitchen, pulling out cups and checking the freezer for ice. Mary Jane always thought that iced coffee was a good way to wake up. Drink it and get it over with without the sipping.

As she prepares to brew the coffee, she smiles without even looking. "I got it! Thank you so much. And with good timing too, I needed a few things.. Oh! The issue." She stops now finally, moving towards the table to pull out a chair and sit. And huff. "I broke my phone. I know I should have a backup, but it's my livelihood and I don't want to send it in for repairs." Annd she's up again, moving towards the couch where her bag was to shuffle through the contents. "Guess how I broke it." She grins now, a little sly, but she was truly excited about how it actually happened.

Peter looked to MJ. MJ was mercurial, but she had that star quality. Charisma. Yeah. In spades.
He sits down, looking at her, eyes attentive, face focused on her. Peter was an active listener, a term she had heard during one of her classes. There were many ways to convey listening—bored, playful, hostile, that sort of thing. Peter had a way of listening that made you think you were the only person around, or at least the only one worth listening to.

She knows Peter was listening, so without a beat she continues. "I was at the Junteenth festival in Harlem. I was going around, capturing stories and talking to the people. You know, hanging out and having fun!" She pulls out a baggy with her shattered phone; the back of the phone was exposed, the glass was cracked on the surface. A few shards here and there mingled with the charging cord she brought with it.

"I turn around and -BAM-! Ran into Ben-Freaking-Grimm of the Fantastic Four! Hole-eey-COW!" She wriggled a little, then approaches her previous seat in the kitchen, carefully placing the baggy upon the table as if it were hazardous.

"I mean, we -always- see the heroes on television and downtown or.. I don't know but holy cow! He was just -there-! What are the odds?!"

Peter chuckled, although he is impressed. Surprised, no, impressed, yes.
"Always knew you'd run into celebrities, although I supposed you learned not to run into them so quickly." He picked up the bag, hmming at the contents. "I think I can resurrect your iPhone. I can get the parts from the Store for free, and it looks like a standard transplant."

The last remaining liquid of the coffee brew squelches, alerting to MJ that it was done. She rises from the table, pouring the brew into two large glasses, then pours in heavy cream she procured from banging in the kitchen. The sugar shaker was then used, attempting to put in equal amounts of sugar to both glasses, then all of the extra contents were put away.

"Ha. Ha." Mary Jane intones, knowing it was a joke. "He's about the most sweetest guy ever."

Into the freezer now, she pulls out an ice tray, cracking it back and forth. "Could you? I can pay for your time and the parts. You were my only hope, if I would have sent the corporate route it would have taken weeks." She sighs, she smiles. "Maaybe slide in a few extra upgrades?" She looks back towards him and grins. "Tell me you want this extra cup, and what's going on in your life now that you've got a moment to breathe, maybe."

Peter looks to her. "Uhm…actually, could you pour me an Arnold Palmer? There's iced-tea and lemonade in the fridge, and on the rocks."
He looks back to the iPhone, then says, "Listen…I'd like to take this down to the lab downstairs. Do you mind bringing the drink down there? I've got an idea."
Peter stands up, the bag in hand, then heads to the door that leads to the basement. The basement lab. She had heard the loud bang when he'd blown out all the windows when he was ten.

"Okay!" MJ opens the cupboard to get another glass, then looks back towards him with a curious glance. "Oookay.." At least that was apart of her vocabulary for now; and yet before she could say anything, he was already gone.

MJ went to work with preparing the Arnold Palmer; all the while sticking her finger into her coffee cups to check the temperature to make sure it was alright to add the ice. Cubes were dispersed among the glasses, the lower cabinent opened to bring out the tray. A spoon placed upon the side of the tray underneath napkins, and a slightly flustered look as her mind begins to wander.

Nope. Get yourself together MJ.

The glasses were placed upon the tray, basement approached. Thankfully the door was ajar enough to slide her foot through to keep it open. And here comes the slow descent; a ballerina's balance mixed with a servers, nary a glass was rocked and even though liquid shifted, it did not spill. "Almost down! Clear a space!" Just like hold times!

The lab had been…expanded since her last visit. It was now twice the size. She spotted a few of Ben Parker's old machine-shop equipment stations, now fixed up and clean. The pool table he had converted into a work table was raised slightly, with a lighted backpanel. And he had…wait, she had seen that on a TV show set. It was supposed to be a mass spectrometer…except this one was in Pete's basement, and this one was NOT a prop.

Peter was sitting at the wide L-shaped desk, already hard at work. He had extricated the phone from the bag, removed the broken glass, and had lifted the phone internals out of the broken case.
He looked up and smiled. "Hey there!"

The last few steps were slow and deliberate. Her eyes were surveying the basement, widened at.. god. How long has passed since she's been here? Everything seemed brand new and old; neat and arranged with a true scientists touch and nothing feminine at all. But in this case, it must be a good thing.

"Pickles and sunshine.. Peter.." She muttered in amazement, taking those few steps to the pool table to carefully set the tray down. Her spoon was lifted from the tray, dipped into the now cold coffee, stirred for gumption and left alone for now. "When in the heck did you do this?" The Arnold Palmer was brought to his side, set down out of the way from reaching hands or items. "Now I just imagine you with white, wild hair and a lab coat and some weird goggles." Doc Brown, if he could remember them watching Back to the Future.

Peter chuckles. "One piece at a time, dumpster-diving from Engineer's Row. Weeks, months even. A work in progress, M…J…ah. Here we go." He went over to a drawer, then took out a protective case. "Okay, we just put another layer in here, and we can put the whole phone in there. Your warranty is hosed, but I can also put in a receiver for a few other cell networks. Increase the quality."

Now MJ retrieves her coffee; returning back to the work bench to lean against it as she watches. She sips her coffee, nodding her head at the choice of strength, then leans over to point towards it. "Can you fix the glass?" She asks, then adds. "You still didn't tell me what's going on in your life."

Peter smirks. "In my sleep. Underwater, and with the lights off." He reaches over to pull another drawer open, taking out a thin rectangle of glass. "Give me ten minutes."
As he works, he talks.
"Well, let's see…in the last couple of years. Flash graduated, and seems to have undergone a personality change. He's no longer the jerk he used to be. Carl King…he disappeared. You'd think a malignancy like him wouldn't just vanish, but he did. A few think Satan called him home." A long pause. "I made it to the regional science fair with a remote drone, and was able to finagle a small scholarship and admission to ESU…I start in a couple of months."

MJ scoffs playfully, "Well I know all of that Peter." She gives him a careful nudge when his hands move away from his work, then sips her coffee again. "You ran out of the Wakandan Embassy so fast I didn't get a chance to say hello and introduce you to Eddie." She puts her glass down, then looks around for another stool.

"Oh! I also met Helena. She's a gorgeous girl. She's right for you." Finding a stool, she drags it close then sits. She was clearly contemplating her next words, her lips worrying into a thin line, her shoulders tense. "Can I say something to you without you being worried?"

Peter sips the drink. Iced tea and lemonade. It's perfect for him, refreshing and sweet without being cloying. He puts the glass down, but does not pick up his tools just yet. "Sure, MJ. You cal tell me anything, you know that."

When Peter drinks, so does she. Instead of taking a sip, she downs the entire glass of iced coffee, only leaving a bit behind to mingle with the ice. Her hand presses against her lips to wipe away at her mouth, her eyes shifting towards the basement window and then back to Peter with a smile.

"We practically grew up together." She starts, nodding her head. "I know that whatever was between us failed, but what didn't fail was that.. heck. I love you Peter Parker; you're my best friend in the entire world." She says this with confidence. "I mean, this place has gotten crazy in the past few years and I just want to say, that if anything happens, take care of my family? Just watch over them and make sure they're alright." She explains further.

"I'm hardly home, I'm always busy and I can't be there like I should." She's lying, of course. "And Gayle is married, about to have her baby and all.." She bobs her head. "You get the point right? Just.. yeah. You get it."

Peter looks at her and he feels his heart wrench. He can't do this. He can't NOT tell her. He can't lie to her.

"MJ…I want to tell you something. I *need* to tell you something. Something maybe I should have told you about a LONG time ago. But I'm not going to force you to listen. So…do you want to hear it?"

MJ feels bad to lay this upon him. But for a few months now, she hasn't felt right. And yet, the way he looks at her now nearly made her want to cry. So she reaches out to grasp his hand, holding it into both of hers. "Yes. I do. You know I'm here for you too."

Peter nodded, then took a deep breath. He stood up, then walked over to the wide table. He took a deep breath. "I wasn't late because of buses. I didn't miss calls because of dead zones. And I never missed our sixth date becase of a three-car pileup."

Then he is no longer standing next to the table. For a moment, he's just…vanished. Then he says the two words he never expected to say to her.

"Up here."
And there is Peter Parker….crouched on the ceiling of the lab.

MJ desperately wanted to keep hold of his hand, but when he moves, she twists in the stool to follow his path. Still she was concerned; did he have some form of Cancer? Was Aunt May dying? Did her mom tell Aunt May and Peter something and not tell her to save her the trouble of worrying?

But then he starts; the explanation that has her shaking her head. The fact that she closes her eyes when she does this, lifting a hand to try to stop him. "Peter it's okay, we're all pa—.."

'Up here'

MJ slowly looks up, and sees him there. It was so jarring that she immediately stands from the stool, that motion alone blasting it upon the floor as she makes a few, hesitant noises. "Peter Parker!" It almost sounded like she was admonishing him, but she was stepping back, right into the path of the metal leg that sent her spiraling backwards.

He moves almost too fast to see. Peter Parker, who can barely get out of his own way, moved like greased lightning, and MJ was suddenly in his arms, keeping her from landing on the hard floor. An oddly romantic pose, except for the look of panic on his face.
"MJ! You all right?"

MJ was -sure- she was going to eat concrete! Instead, Peter had her within a blink of an eye, which was all the time she had before they widened. "Wha.. ah!" She sputters, attempting to gain her bearings from that pose with a bend of a knee, a near duck and a curl forward upon the floor which makes her look completely juvenile!

A scamper and a scramble, she pops right up and turns, her hands smacking at her face to move her hair frantically out of the way. "Dud..er.." Huh?! "..Pet… What the shit is this, Parker!" Mary Jane wasn't known to cuss, but.. "..Oh my god oh my god.." Her hands grip her hair, as she twists back and forth. "..oh my fr..freaking GOD PETER!"

Wow, this was a pretty extreme reaction. But then again, she had known him for a long time. She had helped him mend after the irregular beatings at the hands of his tormentors.
"Easy, MJ…take a deep breath. In…out…in…out…"
Look at him, telling MJ how to breathe. "Easy, MJ. Just your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man."

"I -am- breathing!" Okay, so she wasn't. In and out. In and out. In and out.

In most movies that she did see, the person explained first. Then demonstrated. Peter's explanation.. okay he explained but.. prepare a girl!

One hand upon her hip, her eyes lifted towards the ceiling then all around, and even when he said Spider-Man, she avoided his gaze long enough before it cuts right to him, one finger up and pointed towards him to give him a what for.

"You.. you.." She didn't know what to say. "..how -could- you?"

That…wasn't one of the reactions he was expecting. He actually took a step backward. "…How could I what, MJ?" he asked, frankly astonished.

"I.." She shakes her head. "..you could have told me." She flat out says. "Before now." She approaches him, obviously shaking. She wasn't sure if it was due to anger, shock, fear..

"This.. this hurts. Me caring for you when you were hurt? Trying to do something.. new with you? Be with you? You.." She was near to the point of crying. "..almost every time you ran out on me I assumed I just wasn't worth it. When you couldn't make it or.. " She shakes her head, now wiping at her face. "..and now you're with Helena who.. probably knows." She laughs, almost erratically. "Just even finding out that you had a steady relationship with someone who wasn't me it.." She grips her hair again. "..I questioned my self worth and you could have saved me from that."

Peter looked at her for a long moment. She was right, of course. But she was also wrong.
"MJ…in the beginning, I didn't know where it was going to go…what it was going to cost. I could have taken the risk, I could have told you…but I also could have gotten you in some VERY bad trouble. I was being hunted by OsCorp, and at the time, I felt the less you knew, the less danger you were in. I STILL think that way. But…I had to stop lying to you, at least. But Aunt May doesn't know. If she knew, I think it would kill her, and then I'd have two deaths on my conscience. It seemed…better that you thought I was a jerk. It was preferable to someone like Vulture or Electro showing up on your doorstep…"

"What makes now any different Peter? You didn't let me chose, you didn't give me a chance." She shakes her head, the turns her back. "I.. I could have handled myself Peter. Every day I.. there's someone out there! Right now! Just.. watching close to my every move and.." She looks at her phone, unsure if it still works.

"The messages, the comments, the death threats. Peter, I could have handled it. And if it was my time, so be it. It would have been worth it because it's -you-." Gosh, and Aunt May. "I understand it Peter. Believe me I do. But gosh, it hurts. It hurts so bad."

Peter looks down, shame written on his face like a tattoo in red. "I…I couldn't sleep some nights. And then you came back, and you looked great, and I thought maybe…maybe I could tell you…and you wouldn't hate me so much."
He slumped in the desk chair, rubbing his face. "And I was prepared to lie to you again, and something in me said, 'ENOUGH.' So I opened my mouth and the truth came out instead."

"Peter.." MJ nearly hiccups out, wiping away at her cheeks. She turns to face him now, approaching, but keeping a healthy distance as to not hug him or worse. Never leave. "I.. I can't hate you. I don't hate you. And really, I am glad you told me the truth, it feels like a weight has lessened but all the same, it's worse." She reaches out, hesitant, then pulls her hand back.

"I.. I need to go. I.. I just gotta go." She turns and nearly speedwalks towards the stairs, lifting a foot to plant upon the bottom. "I just need to think about this and just.. come to terms with how I feel but.. I'm glad.. I.. am confused and I'm just.. just sorry.."

Peter opens his mouth…then closes it. Yeah, it's done enough damage today already.
"Come…" he ahemed, clearing his throat. "I'll…have the phone fixed in an hour. I'll just…leave it in the frog if you can't come."
Or don't want to come. The hideous plastic lawn-ornament frog had been one of their childish "dead drops" in the past.

MJ's hand grips the railing as she tries to will herself to actually leave. She did have a way home, but she also didn't want to go back to Aunt Anna's and deal with family happiness. "I'll.." She starts, then shakes her head. "..I'll just.. I'll come back tomorrow.." And right up the stairs she goes.

But oddly enough? If he comes upstairs after he's done with the phone? He'd find her passed out and curled up on the couch, snuggled underneath one of Aunt May's knitted throw.

Peter finds her when he comes upstairs, the phone in his hand. All charged up and ready to go.
He looks at her for a long moment, then looks to the foyer. Uncle Ben gasped his last breath there, because peter had been weak and selfish. And now MJ was in pain, too, because he had been weak.

Some hero HE turned out to be. Suddenly, for a few moments, it was all ashes and dust in his mouth. He couldn't even be straight with MJ until it was too late.

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