At The Jade Garden

Summary:
September 23, 2014: America runs into Columbia.

The Jade Garden, Queensland Park, Metropolis

The Jade Garden is an Asian cuisine restaurant that's a bit worn around the edges, and clearly the money is put into the food. The afternoon buffet is also very good for those that are trying to pack a lot of calories on a very tight budget.


Characters

NPCs

  • Restaurant Staff

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


Cameron has had a very busy day today. Despite it being her day off, she was forced into damage control because paparazzi showed up when she was out fishing in Senre Ville. Granted, Rowan and Mera WERE trying to watch out for her, so she can't be pissed at them. And she can't really be pissed at the paparazzi, either, because hey, that's how they pay their bills.

Still, it took some clever flying and maneuvering to finally shake her pursuers and make her way into one of her favorite eateries in Metropolis.

The Jade Garden has been sort of her home away from home the past few months when she's really needed to load on the calories.

Being an amazingly buff woman does have it drawbacks, and if she didn't take advantage of every buffet she could, she'd probably starve to death.

Well, unless she 'sold out' and let someone else pay the bills. But that really isn't her style.

So once again she is in the Garden, casually plowing away at the plate of food in front of her, shoulder-length bright orange hair clear for the few afternoon patrons to see…

It has been a long day for America Chavez as well. Peace and tranquility for food was a rare commodity when you were on perpetual vigilance. There was something about her, she had to admit- she knew how to attract trouble. Probably because she was one of the best there was at ending it.

She touches down at the entrance to the Garden- noticeably not hiding the fact that she is super-powered. She walks into the eatery with confidence in every step, carrying her themed clothes as if it were an emblem of pride.

"Just one," she says to the poor hostess who is looking wide-eyed at her. As she sits down, she slides back the hoodie and loosens the bun keeping her hair in a ponytail, letting it cascade onto her shoulders.

The poor hostess isn't looking at her wide-eyed for her heroic antics. No, she's wide-eyed because her fearful glance darts over the flame-haired woman in another booth, built and clearly consuming the food supply of a small nation-state with methodical demolition ease before glancing back to America.

"You want buffet, too?" she inquires, with a trembling tone that poorly hides a level of horror.

The new arrival does cause Cameron to glance up, and the tall woman gives a slight wave to the dark-tressed heroine. Her body language is all 'off' though. She should be owning this place with a build like that. Instead, it's like she's the world's largest mouse.

Odd.

There was a certain advantage to being magical in origin, though. The laws of physics tended to kiss your ass. While America is incredibly strong, and she does require nourishment, she does not have to put people out of business. "Yes," she says, and then she follows the hostess' eyes.

Ah. So that's why she was nervous. "I'm good for the damages," she says, reaching into her jacket and pulling out a wad of bills. She's not going to eat as much as the woman with the heaps of plates, but the flash of money often helps assuage the wildest fears.

She's had breakfast with Hulkling, after all. She's an old hat at this.

The serving-woman brightens a bit at the wad of bills but then takes on a slightly troubled look. "You pay too much?"

Despite that, she does produce a menu for the well-heeled recent arrival… and lo and behold…. Dim Sum… a whole category by itself on a separate page, with Gao, and Baozi, and… it's like a whole amazing thing. The server stands eagerly by America. Money and good taste. This is a good thing and there will be much fortune upon the eatery today.

Cameron takes a small break and pulls out a notebook, making some notes in it absently, glancing over at the new arrival a little bit more before adding a couple of more notes and closing the notebook quickly. Is she a spy of some sort?

It might be the sound of angels singing as America's eyes peruse the menu. Dim Sun. She resists the urge to say 'all of it', lest the hostess faint. But she makes sure she gets what she wants. All the while, though, she glances over at the orange-haired woman. In her line of work, there were a few people who would be writing things down on notebooks while dining. And the orange-haired woman didn't seem to be a sixteen-year-old writing on her diary.

And the glances? Yeah, that was a little suspicious. America decides to wait it out for a few seconds, pretending to read about the history of the place in the flavor text of the menu and see just how often Miss Orange Hair looks at her, out of the corner of her eye.

The hostess eagerly writes down the entire order, nodding vigorously as she gets a very pleased demeanor. Not some crazy woman trying to drive them to ruin, but someone who respectfully picks and chooses what she does and does not want to eat. This is very much in the happy-makings.

The orange-haired woman has shifted gears and is staring off into space, as if trying to recollect something. And no, it doesn't look like an act, but more like she's trying to drag up memories or the like. Every so often she makes some notes then her stomach growls. With a bit of an embarrassed look she closes the notebook again, and makes her way over to the buffet, loading up another half dozen plates with different items, different from the ones that she already got. It's a grab bag for the tall woman, and it appears like she's at least trying to 'spread around the damage' so the kitchen isn't having to refill certain trays every five minutes.

Meal consumption begins again, and there's only one more glance, more of a brief nod of acknowledgement before the food is delved into once more.

About that time tea and some rolls arrive for America…

"Alright, princess, let's have it." Chavez says, munching on a roll and serving herself some tea. She's not the kind to pussyfoot around. "Unless what you're writing about me in that notebook is about where to find my earrings, you're being nosy." She looks straight at Cameron when she comes back from her raid. "Let's have it."

The only other people who call Cameron 'princess' are her parents. Dad because, well, she's Daddy's little girl despite being in her mid-twenties. Mom, because well, Mom was a ruling official in a far-off future world and princesses were the 'heirs apparent'. So the word itself is a bit jarring to Cameron, and she stares back with grey-green eyes for a brief moment or two before realizing that it's rude to stare and she nibbles at her food at a failed attempt to deflect the attention.

"Earrings are dangerous on the job. They get caught on stuff."

Wow. Such… deep… wisdom… NOT!

"Not tryin' t' be?" That comes off as a bit more of a mumble than actual words.

"Jus' some poems." That's barely audible as she covers her hesitation with a forkful of chicken fried rice.

Cameron's observation is an odd one, definitely. America sits back on her booth and looks at her. "What kind of job is that?"

America is, herself, technically a princess. She uses the term interchangeably as a term of endearment (Kate) or as a confrontational term (Cameron). She is undecided upon the merits of being a princess. If being a princess were as good as being a hero, she would have never left.

"That's quite an appetite, incidentally."

"Paramedic. Met Fire and Rescue."

Well, she at least has the *build* for it. Though her vocabulary could probably use some work.

"I know, right?"

Hasn't the woman ever heard of protein shakes and the like?

She coughs nervously as she nibbles at something else. She's not being evasive, per se, but… few words seems to be her speed at the moment.

"So what is it, then? Super-strength? Super-speed?" The hispanic woman has seen Billy's 'brother' eat, and Hulkling is essentially a one-man pillage team after a severe drain on his powers. What the woman is eating is not normal, and her figure and stature do not match those of a compulsive eater. For someone to eat like that normally, she would have to have one hell of a metabolism working inside her. "I think we can stop the pretense. You're not exactly regular… mutation?"

"Strength. Durability. Flight. Healing."

Wait. What was that last one? Healing? Which one of these things doesn't fit with the others? That's kind of odd, ain't it?

She shrugs a bit.

"When a mommy brick and a daddy healer fall in love and have a kid they have me." While somewhat self-deprecating, there's also a hint of pride at her parents. Not for having her, but because Mom and Dad seem to have it together. Another plate empty as she nibbles at another one.

"You?"

"Strength. Flight. Invulnerability." Eggroll crunch. "And I can kick holes into reality. So you're a Paramedic as well? Doesn't that get… complicated?" America sips her tea.

"Why would you want to? Reality has a hard enough time as it is?"

Was that an attempt at humor, or an honest question?

"Was paramedic first, then things happened. And yes. But I can't quit on them, they're counting on me to be there for my shifts."

Cameron chugs a glass of water after eating something hot. She's not gasping for breath or turning red, just.. a bit peppery for her tastes. From the one dish that practically emanates spicy hot heat.

"I see. So you fight people and then you bandage them up?" America says with a slight smirk, her turn to make a joke. "Sounds like a full service."

Cameron looks horrified. "More like I beat on folks that are causing problems if it comes to it. Or I stand and take the shots for others who can't. But if someone gets hurt, as long as they aren't dead, I can get them back. The small stuff, I can't really touch, though." The woman's trying to be serious despite the rather ludicrous combo. "Too many folks… they just don't…"

"So you run solo, still trying to keep up your carer?" America raises an eyebrow. "You're finding it's harder each time, more and more trouble finds you rather than you hide from it?"

"I haven't really run into that yet. The worst part is the attention? Why can't people just understand I'm trying to help out?"

She devours a plate of something. "I mean.. sure, I have powers, but… I'm not the hero, I'm just… agghhh." A bit frustrated, there? "Someone doing what they can with what they got."

"The attention?" America frowns. She doesn't get attention. Or if she does, she hasn't noticed. She usually walks in, does the job, then walks out. Then again, she has an advantage Cameron does not have: she can leave the world behind. "I'm America, you?"

There are certain times when things just sort of 'click'. This may or may not be one of them.

"Columbia if folks need to give me a tag for things. Cameron's what I was born with. And yeah. You haven't run into paparazzi or folks looking for you to endorse their products?"

The concept that someone DOESN'T have to deal with that kind of thing is… almost mind-blowing for her.

America. Columbia. Miss America looks out the window for a second, wondering if perhaps she might be able to see the semblance of the Demiurge in the clouds.

"This your idea of a joke?" she mutters very quietly. She turns to look back at Cameron. Nope, it was only a cloud.

"They usually don't stick around very long." And then she smiles, and it's very clear why they don't stick around very long.

"That's… weird. They've been hounding me on and off since… well, the bank."

Cameron eats a cooled plate of some sort of seafood thing absently.

And she's no ugly duckling, either. She could probably do a centerfold or maybe even go into certain kinds of modeling if that was her choice. Perhaps that's the rub, then?

"You are so lucky."

"You make your own luck, princess." The young woman leans on her table as she dispenses her own brand of advice. Not that she'd ever call it that. "You don't want publicity? Either start crushing cameras, or stop helping people. Either sounds like somethig you'd do?"

"You're not my folks and that word sounds weird coming from you." Oh, hey, candid comment.

The first option sounds so tempting, and Cameron actually considers it for a brief second before shaking her head. "Can't do that. Not even if I could afford it. That's folks' livelihoods right there. It'd be like taking their car and using it as a baseball bat just off the cuff." She then gets a bit of a horrified look. "Stop helping people? Why the heck would I do that?"

Wait, she was an actual princess? This was too much of a coincidence.
She made a mental note of finding Kaplan in this reality and do something inconvenient to him, out of spite.

"Cost benefit analysis. Very simple." America taps her finger ont he table. "If what you want to do has bigger cons than pros, then you don't do it. Saving people, pulling them from fires, railroad tracks, what have you, brings attention. You are doing something they can't, and they admire you for that. Some may even want to be like you." A little bit of personal history there? Not like she's ever going to know. "I don't stick around, that's how I avoid it. But if you want to stick around and help the wounded, then you have to live with those consequences. You're not like others, and that's what you're going to have to live with until you die."

Cameron stares at America, almost as if she's trying to see through the woman. "Could you stop? Would you stop? If you were trapped here, right now, would you stop trying to help out? I don't need them to admire me, I don't want them to worship me. I just want to help out because I have something I can help out with. I don't need the press, or the media, or anything like that. We've seen what it does to folks like Mister Queen. Do not want that. Saving lives and people is important."

She pauses briefly.

"You're the second person in less than a week that has pointed something like this out to me. His advice was to find myself. How do I *do* that? I'm me?"

This again? She had just left Earth 616 after the new year's party. It had been only a few weeks ago that she had given Kaplan the same kind of advice she was giving to this woman. She was not a psychologist. Her approach to heads was to kick them, not shrink them. "You find the thing you want to do most in the world. The thing you can't live without doing, the thing that -if you had to stop doing it- would keep you awake at night. You find that thing, and then you think about what that thing says about you as a person. And then you own it."

The young woman is as transparent as a lump of coal. "I don't care if someone worships me or not. I care about what I do, not about what someone else thinks about it."

It is weird how parallels and tangents and angles mesh in a strange harmony across the spheres.

"Find the one thing, then own it. And devil take the hindmost?"

Cameron looks rather thoughtful for a second, then flips open her notebook, holding up a blank page with some scribbles in the margins.

"I was trying to write a poem about you and how you came in, but I had nothing. Now I got something. Don't worry, it's private to me."

If her writings were published she'd probably die from embarrassment despite all her super abilities.

America smirks a little. "Price of the therapy session says I get to see it. When it's finished." And finally, America's food arrives. It's almost a religious experience, and the first time the woman smiles completely. "And this is what I was talking about."

The woman comes back with Cameron's bill, which causes the orange-haired woman to raise an eyebrow.

"But this… this is less than—!" She's a bit exasperrated. Is she *ever* going to be able to pay her full bill here?

The woman waggles a finger at the protesting one.

"You help clean buffet, you get discount!"

Let's see it… yep. There's the slump, even as money is paid over and the serving-woman has a total look of victory on her face as she goes to settle the bill.

She glances over at America. "It's a good place, you take care of them, you hear? I come here for lunch all the time."

She gets up and walks by after leaving a good tip, notebook in hand. "I'll need a number to reach you."

"Leave me yours," America says, "I haven't set up my Starkphone with an account in this universe. I will after I finish eating."

And if she's asked to explain this whole 'universe' thing, she'll just point to her food… and eat.


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