1964-01-25 - Beggars and Choosers
Summary: Peter returns to the Bugle, and gets a job from Betty.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
peter elizabeth 

It is a humbling thing to know you have to eat crow and smile while you do it. Not to mention that when you have to do it you're not sure if it's going to even be worth the price on the menu. And even as this metaphor is belaboured in his thoughts, Peter Parker looks up up up at the tall Daily Bugle building and frowns to himself even as he shoves his hands into his pockets. This isn't going to be easy.

So, girding his loins, young Mr. Parker starts through the front doors and smiles to the Manny, the security guard in the lobby. A small hand is waved, "Hey Manny, I uhh, got an appointment."

"Peter! Good to see you again. Man I heard what happened." The older gentleman's eyebrows rise as he shakes his head, "Brave. And coming back. Even braver. But good luck, for what it's worth."

A nervous chuckle comes from him as he steps past the guard and towards the elevators. "Oh uh, yeah. Wasn't my best day… really." What with an alien symbiote and all. But he blushes a touch as he steps into the elvator. "But thanks and all."

The guard gives a wave and the elevator dings and he's off.

Moments later he's in the bull pen of the Bugle, or rather just outside of it at the first secretary who allows entrance to the inner offices. A few words, and surviving a smug smile from the woman, and Peter is ushered in. It's then that he finds himself in the unenviable position of making that walk of shame down the aisle towards JJJ's office.

That path leads him to Ms. Brant's desk, at least she's usually a friendly face. So when he gets there he smiles at her nervously, "Hi, Ms. Brant." A glance up… at least JJ isn't exactly in at the moment, which means he could be hiding anywhere. Gulp.


"No, that's the five-thirty on /Friday/ not /Monday/. No, those don't sound the same at all. Of course they rhyme, they both have 'day' in the word." Betty explains over a phone, holding the receiver up and against her face by leaning her head to the side and pressing it between her cheek and shoulder. Her fingers work at a typewriter now and then, shuffling about different notes and compiling them into one, seamless passage of collective thought.

Her desk is, neatly a mess, if that was a thing. It was full, covered, but everything had its own little spot, the only thing showering it with color is a vase full of budding, yellow roses, a note resting off one stem and left to dangle on its ribbon. Glancing upward, her stormy eyes center on Peter, and she offers him a bright smile, and an index finger, requesting 'one moment.'

"No, I promise you it's Friday, Mr. Simmons. FRIDAY." She explains before making a soft, "Uh huh. You bet, sir. Thank you. Have a good day." Then she hangs up the receiver. "Phew, that was a doozey. How're you doing, Pete?" She questions, sitting back in her chair for a moment before snatching up a pen and getting back to it. "Mr. Jameson isn't here at the moment. He had an appointment at his barber's."


Peter, for his part, waits patiently. He smiles as he catches her eye and waves off any urgency as he stands there, letting her take her time and content to hold up here. On some level he's probably glad not to have to go straight into the lion's den. But then again, if this appointment was made and then JJ doesn't show up… that says a lot.

"Hey, Ms. Brant. I'm doing good, and you?" He offers those polite words first before parsing her later ones. An 'oh' expression is formed as he nods and then he steps to the side to one of the empty chairs outside the office. He sits down into it and then looks to her. "I had a, uh, an appointment. But I figured I should show up a little early just. You know. In case." In case Jameson was busy setting out bear traps and some hot coals for Peter to have to walk through on the way for him to ask for his job back.

"You mind if I wait here?"


"Free country, Pete. Take a load off." She winks, turning in her seat and setting back to her task at hand. A few quick strokes at the keyboard, she reaches up and shoves the scroll back to its rightful side and continues. "Surprised to see you here." She then comments at length, pausing from her task and moving to stand, giving a wiggle as she straightens down her dress and brushes its lines down. Today, it's a soft, pastle yellow, oddly enough, she same hue as her roses.

"Not that I'm not glad to see you. I had always wondered how you were doing after your, hmm…episode with the boss that day." Still smiling, warmly, she thumbs toward a small 'break' area. "Com'on. I'll make us some fresh coffee. I'm sure that Teddy hasn't eaten all the crullers, either." She whispers, then again, she had a habit of hiding some treats for herself.


"You sure it's okay?" Peter does look a bit nervous as he starts to rise up and follow after her. "I can just hear him now hollaring at me for stealing company property." But as he says that he smiles faintly and indeed does step along in he wake. A few more strides and he catches up to her.

"Oh things have been… okay. Sort of. Class has been good. I sold a few pics to the Times, hope he doesn't get too mad about that. But… I really need regular work." As they step into the break room area he quiets down a touch, lowering his voice just for her. "Aunt May could use some help with the mortgage and I just…" He looks around and frowns to himself. "I really miss this place."

A small shrug is given as he moves over towards the coffee pot and takes it off the burner to wash it out.


"You're only stealing it if you move it. Just don't move and you'll be fine." Betty muses, her lips curling in a smile as dimples mark her cheeks. Working with a small crank ginder and beans, she starts setting up for a fresh pot of joe, her eyes steady on Parker all the while. "Congratulations." She beams about the Times, but then clears her throat and side steps closer to Parker, allowing their voices to drop. "Don't tell that to the boss, ok? To him, you play up the Bugle being the only thing worth living for, and /then/ he might consider you." Then another giggle, melodic and sweet. "Here, allow me." Turning, she faces Parker and waggles her finger his way. "Regular work?! Nonsense! Freelance! Best gig for a kid your age! Now get outta here! Betty! Get Robbie in here!"

Her mimic done, she beams warmly, but as Peter continues to talk, her expression softens. "Oh, Pete…I didn't, I'm sorry." Passing her tongue against her cherry lips, she glances back toward her desk and then back to Parker. "Tell you what. How about I pay you a commission, in advance. I /love/ winterscapes. Are you any good with that clicker box with nature?" She inquires.


"Yeah, I figure I'm in for a bit helping of crow this morning, and I'll munch it all up and smile." Peter smiles a bit wanly as he finishes washing out the pot and hands it back to her for her to work her magic. For some reason when he makes a pot it just never tastes as good. Maybe today he'll discover her secret technique.

"But yeah. I plan to let him kick my butt a good bit and come here hat in hand. I also…" He smiles a bit as he lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck, "Have some pics of Spider-Man, and the FF… so hopefully that'll sweeten the deal. But…" He takes a deep breath. "I really made a mess of it last time."

Shaking his head he then meets her and smiles a bit. "Thanks Elizabeth, but I can't do that. I know what you're trying to do and it's super keen of you and all." He smiles ruefully and shakes his head, "But I'd feel like I'm taking advantage of you and our friendship."


"Spider-Man and the Four? Huh, well…you sure you want to give those to him? I mean, they'll work, surely, but…" Frowning, she pours in fresh water and then allows the machine to do its magic. Standing to the side, she casually crosses her arms under her chest, her eyes still lingering on the younger man's face. "Pete, don't be rude. I'm offering you a job. Friendship has nothing to do with it." She explains, trying to look stern faced, but failing, wonderfully. "Beggars can't be choosers, Peter. You in?"


Looking at her askance, he sets the coffee pot down upon the counter top for her to take should she wish, Peter replies, "I mean, if you're going to print it and are serious, Ms. Brant. Just…" He looks at her a little sheepishly. "If it's just you feeling sorry for me and all, well… I'll still take it but I'll just feel like a heel I guess."

She was able to outmaneuver him in this little discussion, but really he's not exactly a master at such things. So he smiles a bit, "Thanks. But really, if you want to do me a favor, mebbe give me a heads up when I should come back and talk to JJ?" His eyes drift back towards the Bull Pen, then back towards her. "Sometime when he's in a good mood. Maybe he won't entirely tear my head off."


"A heel? Peter, this isn't about how you feel. It's about providing for your aunt. Sometimes, we have to do things we don't like ourselves, but in the end, it doesn't matter. You're taking care of your family. That's the important part." She explains with a bit of conviction in her voice. Her lecture over, she's back to beaming like a bundle of lights. "Yes, I'm serious. Do I have to yell at you to get me my photos?" Sticking her tongue out toward him, she moves back toward the pot as it sputters and perculates. Then, she's taking down a couple of standard mugs from an over head cabinet.

"Yes. I'll be sure to give you a call, or at least I'll give Mrs. Parker a call to pass along the news. He should be good in a couple days? He gets a new shipment of cigars and I'll be visiting George to get his whiskey for him. Pray that papers keep selling, and I'm sure you'll be back on the payroll."


Checking his watch, Peter looks back towards the still empty office of JJ Jameson, and he frowns a bit. "Well." His frown turns easily into a smile as he looks back upon her. "Considering I think I've been stood up… then I suppose I should get cracking on those photos." His eyes fall to the mugs she's taking down and he cocks that old Parker smile at her that she's seen in the past when he's rushing off to one job or another.

"Raincheck?" He starts to step away from the counter, already giving some thought to possible angles of a particular scene that she might like for him to capture, considering he only has a few days for it to be in place. Hm.

"If it might be easier, we can arrange to meet somewhere not in the office for me to hand them over? I wouldn't want you to get in trouble."


"Sure. Raincheck." She points Parker's way, though, and offers him a knowing smirk. "Don't stand /me/ up, ok Pete?" One cup back, she pours herself a drink. Dressing it up with sugar and cream, and then looks back his way and giggles. "Me? Get into trouble? With who? Jameson?" Tsking, she turns and sips from her cup, making a 'oo!' sound at its heat. Blowing across its top, she tries again and smiles. "Sure, we can do that. Just say where and when. I'll be there."


"Thanks, Elizabeth. You're the best." He gives her that knowing smile as he walks away from her backwards, his day definitely brightened by her and her offer. Peter lifts a small hand in a wave. "I'll give you a call when I got something worth your looking at. Take care of yourself, okay?"

And with that he turns around and starts to beat a hasty retreat towards the elevator. It wasn't exactly the job he had come to the Bugle looking for, but like she said… beggars can't be choosers.


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