2019-10-08 - Dinner, Dates, and Friends at White Castle


Peter Parker organizes dinner so he can introduce Helena and Gwen to each other.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Oct 8 05:36:06 2019
Location: White Castle

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Theme Song



Peter was pacing near the entrance to the White Castle located in Brooklyn. Say what you want about the food, he had grown up on it. Uncle Ben had taken him here for special occasions, his birthday, report card day…
He sighed. Well, he knew Uncle Ben would understand. Today, he had asked Helena to meet him there for a date, his treat. He hoped she liked White Castle.
But he also invited someone else there, because he wanted her to meet Helena. He trusted her judgment, after all.

The truth is, Helena looks forward to things like White Castle. See, the Wayne household doesn't eat a whole lot of fast food. So it's a treat for her in a different way. She pulls up on the motorcycle, pulling off her helmet and unzipping her jacket over the tank top and uniform pants that are her new day to day as she waves to Peter.

It only takes a moment to get everything secure, then she's jogging over to greet him more enthusiastically with a hug and a quick peck to the cheek. "Hey there," she grins. "Good to see you."

Arriving shortly after Peter and Helenea is Gwen, who shows up not on a motorcycle, but on foot. She's come in a long skirt and boots, and a jacket zipped up against the cooler air. There's a pretty new looking backpack slung over her shoulder, too.

"Peter!" she greets, flashing a grin as she approaches. She rests her hands on her hips as she wanders up close, and guessing that the other woman present is Helena but apparently unwilling to make the guess verbally, waits for introductions.

Peter hugs Helena, smiling to her. "Hey there, Helena. Listen, I have a little bit of a surprise. I also invited someone else. She's one of my best friends in the world, and I wanted her to meet you. She's from the same neighborhood, and…ah!" He suddenly grins and turns to face Gwen. "Helena…I want you to meet my good friend Gwen Stacy. Gwennie…this is my girlfriend, Helena Wayne."

"Oh?" Helena starts to say when Peter starts explaining, turning to look in the other direction. When she catches sight of Gwen, she smiles swiftly, releasing Peter to offer out a hand. "You know, Peter has a disproportionate number of really cool lady friends," she teases. "It must be where he learned to be such a gentleman. Nice to meet you, Gwen."

Gwen chuckles softly, and reaches out to take Helena's offer of a handshake — a surprisingly firm handshake, given her small stature, too. "He *is* a gentleman," she agrees. "We've known each other since forever too, like he said. We used to live right next to each other, until my Dad moved us into an appartment, but we've been close since we were… what?" She looks at Peter, "I dunno, six years old?" She returns her hand to her hip, mostly just a convenient place to put it apparently. "It's great ot finally meet you, Helena. Peter was telling me about you." She pauses, and grins, "Nothing he shouldn't tell, mind you. Just that he met someone really cool."

Peter smiles with relief. First hurdle cleared. "Well, since this was my idea, it's my treat." He opens the door for both of them.

Inside, the white walls and tile are clean and shiny. Tables are also spotless. It's a family-fun business, and there are many home-made signs there. The one under the counter where people place their orders is written in Magic Marker.

12 Sliders, large Waffle Fries, large drink

Helena laughs at Gwen's added qualifier. "No, I'm not worried about him oversharing," she grins. "Not about me, at least. But I'm always glad to meet more of his friends. Are you at ESU too?" she asks, following Peter inside. Poor Peter. It might be a date, but clearly Gwen is important to Peter, which means that Helena is going to get to know her as well as she can.

Gwen follows Peter and Helena inside, before moving back up alongside the pair once they're all in, and clasping her hands behind her back. "I am," she acknowledges. "Studying biochemistry. I'm aiming to get my degree in three years… we'll see if I can make that stick." She grins, "Peter is going to get his PhD, like, next week."

And then, there's the menu. Gwen looks at it with an eyebrow perked upwards. "Spider-Man Special, hunh? I'm guessing he saved the place once? Must've been quite the show."

Peter chuckles, looking a little embarrassed. Then he hears Gwen refer to the sign. "Close. The owner's daughter was…accosted by a guy she dated a week previous. He was getting pretty serious."
A polite way of saying he was going to sexually assault her at knifepoint.
"Then Spider-Man showed up and took care of things. Happened about a year ago. I have a couple of pictures of it, but most I couldn't sell to the Bugle. The family was so happy they give him free food whenever he shows up." He reaches the counter and says, "The Spidey Special, please. And I'll have a cherry Coke for the drink." He steps aside so that the two women can order.

"Sounds like Spider-Man, all right," Helena says with a wry smile, giving the menu a look over. "I'm pretty hungry, but I'm not sure I can pull off 15 burgers. Could I get ten, with fries and a large…cherry coke sounds good, yeah. Thanks," she smiles swiftly at the cashier before stepping aside to give Gwen a chance. "Love biochem," she nods to the other girl. "And if you're keeping up with Peter, I'm sure three years will be a breeze. Besides, you've got the best study buddy there is," she adds, poking an elbow lightly at Peter.

"I do," Gwen confirms. "You should see Peter with a stack of flashcards. Also he's great when I'm a wreck because my Dad is busy dealing with something dangerous." She steps up, and uhhhms softly, "I'll just have the Spidey Special please, that sounds pretty good. Cream Soda for my drink, please." She takes a step back, and bobs her head, "Biochem is pretty fascinating, and I got an internship at a biotech company. It was a little weird, they asked me without me ever checking it out, but hey." She pauses as she steps back again, so the next person can have their turn. "Also, I could handle being rescued by Spider-Man, I'm sure that'd be worth a little danger."

Peter is still blushing slightly. "Both of you are seriously smart. Really. If getting involved means I can help either or both of you make your dreams come true, it's time well-spent." He smiles to Gwen. "Helena had a pretty good science fair project. Mind-to-speech, wasn't it? Thinking words and have a computer recognize the thoughts as words? Impressive stuff."

"Yeah, I hear his butt looks great in that suit. For some reason, Pete never has pictures from that angle, though." Helena leans against the counter, not quite holding back a smirk. "Clearly what the mind reader would be picking up right now." She winks at Gwen, waiting for their food. "But yeah, that was the gist of it. It's got a limited scope, because you esentially have to teach it which electrical impulses mean what, but it should eventually be useful for security purposes, at least."

"Mind to speech, hunh? That sounds pretty slick, I must say." She nods, "Not just security, I imagine. I mean, people with locked-in syndrome or something similar, I've no doubt, would really appreciate the ability to finally SAY something." She hmmms softly at that thought, going all pensive for a moment. "I'm sure Peter is just a gentleman who recognizes that Spider-Man is a hero and not just there for eye-candy. Though he could certainly qualify." She flashes a grin at Peter, and a wink — must be an inside joke there, or something. "So how does this Mind to Speech work? if you don't mind my asking, I don't want to pry into anything proprietary."

Peter opens his mouth, and then the bell rings. "Uhm, Helena, it's your project. Why don't you tell Gwen about it while I go get our food?"
He stands up, bows, then heads for the counter to grab the food.

"Hardly proprietary," Helena waves a hand. "The programming's probably the more valuable part of it, honestly. It's got the right building blocks to start in on an AI. The general idea is that the electrodes read the impulses in your brain. With practice and the programming, the helmet learns to interpret particular impulses as particular words, images, or commands. I did also connect it to a HUD so that it could communicate to team members, but that's not anything new."

Gwen nods, "Okay Peter, thank you!" She watches him stands up, then turns her attention back to Helena to listen about what she's working on. "That sounds really cool, though. I'm sure the technology could have lots of different applications. Also, did I mention that it's cool?" She rests her hands on the table, leaning forward a little to listen in this loud place. "Quite a science project, too. Sounds like something to be eriously proud of."

Peter gives the guy at the counter their receipt, then picks up Gwen's tray…and then Helena's tray…and then nestles his own tray between Helena's and the crook of his neck. He walks towards their table, carefully balancing the three trays, without spilling a single thing.
He'd make one Hell of a waiter.
He stops at the table, handing Gwen's tray to her, then slides his out to his spot on the table, and finally places Helena's in front of her.
"Dinner is served." He grins, then sits back down in his spot, next to Helena.

"It's something I've been working on for a while," Helena admits with a faint smile toward Gwen. "My dad was a big opponent of registration, and I remembered there being a lot of people afraid of the idea of people reading their minds. So it started from a place of thinking well, maybe people would be less afraid if they felt like the playing field was even. It got more practical from there, but…" She trails off, shrugging. "I get the feeling it's going to be a little bit before I get to work any more on it, though."

She pauses as Peter brings over the food, reaching over to give his shoulder a grateful squeeze. "Thanks," she grins. "These smell awesome. How are classes going for you guys, then?" she asks, looking between the pair. "Pete, did you get all the registration stuff figured out so you were in the right levels?"

"Oh goodie, food!" Gwen waits until everyone is seated and has their food in front of her, then basically just destroys one of the sliders in short order. Like, almost instantly. "Sorry, I don't usually turn into a T-Rex when food is in front of me, I just haven't eaten since this morning. Busy day." She picks up a second one, but doesn't stuff it in her face just yet. "I'm totally on board with your thinking, Helena. I think that a lot of people who are upset about playing fields that aren't 'level' really need to consider their position, though. I mean sure, there's a big difference between, say… me and… Captain America. But there's also a world of difference between me and a quadraplegic."

Gwen shrugs her shoulders, and gets around to devouring the second slider. Girl can eat. "Yeah, you didn't mention if you got that sorted, Peter, how'd it go?"

Peter has already inhaled his second slider by the time he is asked that question. He chuckles. "I…actually tested out of the biology 303 class when the instruction said I could teach the subject better. He pushed me into the 402 class. Neurobiology. And I also picked up an elective…criminal law."

"The playing field's never been even," Helena points out with a shrug, starting in on a slider herself. "I mean, talk about glass houses. I might not have superpowers, but honestly money solves a lot more than being able to punch through a brick wall. Not saying it's right, just…I figure no one makes me put my tax returns on my drivers license, so there's no reason to put someone else's genes on it. Besides," she grins, popping a french fry in her mouth. "We all know Cap just did drugs." She winks. "Criminal law, huh?" she looks to Peter. "Going to add a law degree to all those doctorates you'll be collecting?"

"That's true." Gwen gestures towards Helena with the third slider she's just picked up. "Though, wealth is slightly different, since it's a commodity and not an essential building block of life. But your point stands." She devours half the slider, and mmms happily. "Man, I haven't been here since forever. …The world has lots of different problems, so it's good to have lots of different problem solveres. Spider-Man and Captain America can solve some problems by punching them; you can solve other problems by funding solutions, if you want to." She eats the other half, and mmms, "Spider-Man seems to be getting some much deserved help these days, too."

Gwen giggles softly, "And of course you're getting criminal law, Peter. I can see it now; eventually someone is going to ask you what your degree is in and you'll just say" She drops her voice low, trying to immitate a man's voice "Everything."

Peter shrugs. "I have to look well-rounded and take some mandatory electives to maintain my scholarship. And wouldn't it be a good thing to be familiar with the law and the court system? I don't plan to commit any crimes…"
Just stopping them…
"…but I could be a target for someone because of something I developed. I'd rather not be a babe in the woods if someone comes after me to try and bully me into paying a liability fee for not being smart enough to know my rights."

Very good, Pete. And if it ALSO happens to make you a better crimefighter, so much the better, right?

"Uh huh," Helena smirks over at Peter. "Word of advice on that front. It's pretty much always worth it to hire a lawyer. Because they took all of the lawyer classes." She leans over right after saying it to drop a kiss on his cheek, making light of the comment. "Anyhow, I'm going to solve some problems without family money for a little bit," she continues in Gwen's direction. "I'm at SHIELD's academy. Just started last week." The last comes with a grin in Peter's direction. It's new news. She finally took the leap.

Gwen's eyebrows rise and she gives a suitably impressed nod. "Working for SHIELD? Solid choice." She bite into a slider, destroying it in two bites, as seems to be customary. "I wouldn't ever criticize you for using family money to solve problems. Or for buying a lamborghini. You're right about the playing field never being level, but that doesn't mean people with advantages should feel bad about having them." She grins at Peter, right as he's getting kissed. "Also, you should listen to her, Peter. Hire the lawyer if it comes to that, they're there for a reason, yeah? I'm sure there's plenty of really good ones out there. Also, if I tell my Dad you're taking a law course, he'll be pretty happy to let you borrow all of his manuals and stuff. …Just… maybe not all of them at the same time, yes?"

Peter's eyes went wide. His mouth opened, then widened into a warm smile. "That's GREAT! Did you square things with your parents about it?" He looked to Gwen, opened his mouth, then closed it again for a moment before saying, "I'm…gonna let Helena tell you, because this is also her story." He looks back to Helena. "That's really amazing. I'm really happy for you."

He looks to Gwen, then says, "Uhm…yeah, I was about to ask. I think I should ask him myself, though. Look him in the eyes and all that. He seems the kind of guy who might think less of me if it looked like I sent you to plead my case to him."

"I…squared things with Mom. Who sort of…evened things out with Dad," Helena admits with a sheepish look to Peter. "I mean, the short version is I'm not going to get disowned, but Dad's probably going to be Dad about it for a while, which means, you know, probably a lot of the silent treatment, but we'll get past it. It's intense," she admits, starting in on another slider with a shake of her head. "SHIELD, that is. But it's cool. And it feels like it fits, which the idea of traditional college never quite did, so I'm hopeful."

Gwen shakes her head, "Peter, my Dad knows you well enough to know that you'd never use me that way, so you don't have to worry. And he knows me well enough to know that I'd never let anyone use me that way either. So you really don't have to worry. But you know you're *always* welcome to drop in at our appartment, any time." She listens to Helena's telling of the situation, and bobs her head once at the end, "Well, I'm glad it worked out, or at least it's going to. But you have to live your own life, yeah? I guess I'm lucky that way, my Dad doesn't care what I do with my life as long as I put everything I've got into it."

Gwen pauses for a moment. "Well, also that it's, y'know, legal. Sort of matters a little bit more than usual when your Dad is a police captain."

Peter smiles sheepishly, which he does well. You do something often enough, you get good at it.
"All right. I'll come by some time in the next couple of days. There is one other thing I wanted to bring up. Know of any Halloween parties going on? I'm a little old to be trick-or-treating."

Helena grins at Gwen. "Yeah, legal's a requirement for mine, too. He's mostly just worried about me," she shrugs. "Doesn't like to think of me getting hurt or getting into something dangerous. But like you said, I've got to live my own life. And it's not like we don't have friends in SHIELD. I'll probably survive."

At Peter's question, she goes silent for a moment, chewing. "I don't know of any off-hand, but I could poke around some if you wnted to go to one."

Gwen picks up her drink and downs about a third of it in one long slurp up the straw. "Halloween Party? Uhhh… hmm." She pauses to give that some thought. "Let me check." Her phone is given a quick look, and she shakes her head as she puts it away again. "Nope, haven't heard anything, aside from the usual invite from Flash which I am not taking him up on this year either. 'Flash's Trophy Girlfriend' is not a costume I need to wear ever again."

The next slider is eaten almost viciously. Chomp, chew, gulp. "I'm sure you'll survive, Helena," she adds. "You seem resourceful, and I'm not referring to the family fortune. Not to mention cool."

Peter nods. "It was an idea. Something to do. I'll probably just hand out candy to all the little monsters that show up. We went through four bags of candy last year." He sighs, stuffing his face with another slider before swallowing and looking to Helena apologetically. "I am terminally uncool when it comes to going out at night."

"Don't worry, I've never been accused of being cool," Helena grins at Peter. "Until right about now," she gestures to Gwen with a fry. "We don't get a lot of trick or treaters. But we totally stock up on the good stuff for the ones that make it to the front door. As long as they've got costumes. Don't have to be fancy, but you've got to try. Extra candy for creativity."

She's on to another slider, grimacing. "Besides, Dad's kind of paranoid about safety, so we don't usually go out on Halloween. Too much chance of the crazies coming out for trouble, especially on Staten Island."

Gwen ahhs, "Well, if you do that Peter, I'll come help if that's cool? One of the downers of living in an appartment is that there's no trick or treaters coming to the door, and I totally miss that." She digs into the fries at last, annihilating them much like she has been with the sliders. "I'll bring some candy, too?" She nods to Helena, "Yeah, my Dad never let me go trick or treating anywhere like Staten Island. A couple of the kids told me it was where 'the good stuff' was at, but I always got enough sugar to make anyone break out in a million pimples so I think I did alright anyway."

Peter nods. "We can rate the costumes on the kids. I might even pull out the glasses I used to wear and do some kind of Harry Potter thing." He polishes off another slider, then adds, "Maybe you can come up with a costume too, Gwen, if we're going to be handing out candy…"

"That all sounds like fun," Helena chuckles. Whatever she was going to say next, though, is interrupted by a chime from her phone. "And that's my signal," she sighs. "Apparently there's some sort of surprise inspection thing going on, which means I gotta get back, like…ten minutes ago." She pushes up quickly, already zipping up jacket back up as she leans over to deliver a quick kiss for Peter. "Thanks for dinner," she grins. "I'll call you later. Gwen, awesome to meet you. Keep an eye on him," she adds with a thumb pointed in Peter's direction. "You're clearly the responsible party here."

Gwen Stacy laughs, "Me? The responsible one? Well, just wait until you really know me." She winks, "It was a pleasure to meet you too, Helena. Don't worry, I'll keep an eye and make sure he doesn't trip over his shoelaces or something." She grins at Peter once Helena has vacated. "Nice catch, Peter. Toldja you'd get a wonderful girl in your life eventually."

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