1964-06-15 - Thaw
Summary: Ninette, successfully walked home by Jay, invites him up for coffee. Which, to Jay, is completely literal. Diabetus invoking stuff happens.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
jay ninette 

Ninette offers Jay a thin-lipped smile, and she tilts her head toward the door. "Shall we?" she asks in that lilting accent. At the door, all she has to collect is a lovely white fur coat that falls the same length of her mini-mini-dress. "Thank you for being such a gentleman, Jay. I'm afraid not everyone on the streets is like you." Then again, for all she knows, Jay could be a serial killer, yet she doesn't seem worried.

It's true, there are all kinds of creepy crawlies about time. Things with fangs and claws and loose morals. The kid with the flexible hump under his shirt and the southern good-ol-boy accent doesn't seem like the likeliest of candidates, however.

Sliding off of his stool swiftly to take up post at Ninette's side, the young man in casual denim and black jeans makes one hell of an impression next to the finely groomed lady in her furs and mini-mini-dress as they head to the door. "It's my pleasure, Miss Ninette. I couldn't live with myself if anything came of you on my account. Maybe it's just my new impression of such a big city, but this place sure doesn't seem like the kind of place anyone should be walkin' around alone in." That doesn't stop him, mind you, but not everyone has a deathwish. Jay swiftly tries to take a few steps ahead to open the door for Ninette.

Ninette inclines her head to Jay graciously and steps through the doorway into the night. It's a cool evening, but the lady in her fur shows no signs of being bothered by it. "It is especially dangerous for some people, more than others." She glances to Jay, to the hump at his back, then to his face to meet his eyes. "One has to be careful, no?"

Jay smiles, closed lipped and polite as Ninette steps through the door, inclining his head in the way where one could just about picture him touching the brim of a cowboy hat as he murmurs a soft 'ma'am' of acknowledgement. Catching up with a quick couple of long strides, Jay takes the road-side of the sidewalk because that's what his daddy taught him.

Unbothered by the cool night's air as well, or at least unwilling to show it, Jay exchanges looks with Ninette and smiles bashfully, glancing downwards a moment, then ahead again. The lump on his back self-consciously flattens more, deflating as it compresses and conforms more to his back. Though that does nothing for the long feathers that hang in two tails down the backs of his legs, sweeping the sidewalk as his flip-flops click along. "Yes, Miss Ninette. Ah suppose some do. Ah hope thatuhdoesn't bother you?" After all, she looks perfectly normal.

Ninette approves of Jay's manners. His daddy deserves kudos. Jay's rewarded with a smile and a slow blink, like a cat saying 'we're cool' only with more fluttering of lashes. She takes up a confident stride, unhurried, with a sway in her hips.

When Jay mentions being bothered, her expression turns somewhat sad, and she holds up a delicate hand. The air around them both grows colder, immediately and dramatically. With a turn of her hand, frost skirls off her fingers. The white fuzz of it gathering on her painted nails doesn't seem to trouble her. "No," she says, "it does not bother me."

The night turns cold and Jay may be 'aw shucks' oblivious sometimes, but the dancing dust of frost in the air as it spins around Ninette's poised fingers, decorating her nails with a splash of hore is more than enough for him to catch on. Relief paints the young man's expression, but only after a brightening of awe makes his lips part in silence for a lengthy moment. Moss-green eyes warm as they reach to try to find Ninette's again, instantly more at ease. Kin.

"Ah am jazzed to hear that Miss Ninette." The feathers streamlining behind Jay's legs twitch together in a muted shiver, though not from the cold; from excitement. "Have you been in town fer long? Ah'm a little surprised Ah haven't run into you, yet. Ah'd remember a lady with yer poise."

Ninette lets her hand drop, and the frost and cold fade away. "For a year," she says, "but I have kept to myself. It's difficult to come to terms with, no? But it's a lonely existence, and I think I am ready to meet others like us. I've never had a sense of community." She glances to Jay again, assessing, before she says, "In Paris, they called me Dame d'Hiver (dom de-VAY). I never killed anyone but there were people who tried to hurt me, and I defended myself. The rumors painted me as a villain." She shrugs a shoulder. "But what's done is done."

A sad little smile of understanding, Jay nods several times to what Ninette has to say, explaining her way here and her separation. "It's funny how folks react to things that are different. Back home they don't really like anyone who ain't white, Baptist, much less…well." Jay arches his brows and casts another smile to the lady he strolls with. "Every one of mah brothers an' sisters so far turned out like us, but we're the only family in town like that. It's been…hard. An' the papers an' rumors always skew it. Ah can't blame ya fer keepin' a low profile. I dig it." He inhales a breath of night air deeply and turns his eyes skyward. "Dom dee vay," Jay repeats in his heavy southern lean, then queries gently. "That sounds beautiful, but what's it mean?"

Ninette smiles despite herself and bows her head, the glossy waves of her blonde hair falling to frame her face. "Thank you," she says. "I suppose if they're going to name me, at least it's a nice name. It means Lady Winter. I can freeze things and cause it to be cold. A wry statement of my circumstances." She pauses, then adds, "My father owned a freon company. He helped to make freezers."

Slowly, Jay's smile reappears again as Ninette explains her name, and further over her father's business. A soft whisper of sound likely meant to be a chuckle but didn't quite make it that far out of the mild young man, Jay shakes his head gently and faces forward. "God's got a funny sense of humor. Mah daddy was a coal miner, ah keep waitin' fer one of us to be a firestarter or somesuch. Nobody yet, though mah older brother is rocket-propelled. It's close." Jay thinks on it a few moments longer, scooping a hand through his hair in a habitual gesture. "Lady Winter. That is a beautiful name. It suits you. You've got this grace about you, Ah hope you don't mind me bein' so bold, it's just obvious. Yer lahke this frost sprite, cause yer tiny and petite and lovely, but everythin' you do mellows out this smooth grace that's lahke…regal." Jay turns his head back to the petite blond women beside him, all gentle warmth. "Lady Winter is perfect. Make it yers. That's nothin' you need t'hide from."

Ninette's smile broadens. "You are telling me things I like to hear," she tells him. "Thank you." Then she glances to him speculatively. "I think you're rather handsome. Your eyes are lovely." But it's not a race to see who can be the most complimentary, and she leaves it at that for now. Laughter ripples in her melodic voice. "A frost sprite. Like a fairy. As for regality, if I have it, it is because I told myself one day no more cowering, no more being afraid." She taps a fingertip to her matte red lips. "What do they call you? Do you have another name?"

Cheeks as white as, well, snow, color a couple shades closer to Jay's natural hair color when Ninette compliments him. Another scoop of his hand through his hair and sheepish smile as he looks forward. "Thank you. Scottish blood runs true, even if it is one outa ten." Jay jokes dumbly and looks down at his feet a moment as his hands slip back into his pockets.

Shifting away from the complimentary comentary, Jay nods, "Yeah, like a pixie or somethin'. But the rest of it's important. Ah was just talkin' to a friend of mine who's strugglin' with fear, too. He doesn't, uh, 'pass' so well, but there's always strength in numbers."

The question over his other name casts a gentle, far away smile over the young man's face. Eyes warm, but there's something heavy and deep in the expression. Something he tries to lighten by playfully asking. "Ah do. But what would you call me, you think? Ah'm talkin' too much."

"I would call you Angel," Ninette says. "I know it's probably predictable, but you're helping me tonight to keep me safe." She pauses, then adds, "And the others who might try to intimidate me." That frost packs a punch. "So I am biased. You're a gentleman."

She admits, "I'm lucky it's not noticeable. I could go on indefinitely and simply not use my powers, and no one would know. That's what I've been doing, but it's hard to meet people knowing you can never be your true self with them."

Amusement rather than disapproval, Jay's eyes turn into little green crescents when Ninette picks that name. He nods a few times in understanding, that color holding strong in his cheeks, ears warm with it when she expands the meaning to their walk. "Well, ma'am, Ah certainly try to be one. Thank you fer sayin' so. Angel is a good name, but there's also someone m'brother told me about who goes by that, so Ah didn't want to step on anyone's toes. Besides, red ain't exactly a color anyone associates with angels unless they're fallen." Amusingly oblivious considering the club they just came from. He doesn't come back around to what his name actually is. Distracted by the conversation.

Listening peacefully, Jay nods in a rhythm counter to his steps. "Ah imagine so. Ah do got the luxury of never havin' t'be afraid someone's gonna find out and suddenly decide they don't wanna be around me." Always on the bright side, Jay? "All mah other siblin's look normal, an' Ah remember when mah little brother first started t'develop. He came home pissed as a bee tryin' t'sting an armadillo. His girlfriend broke it off with him because he told her. Saddest thing."

Ninette laughs softly at Jay's delightful colloquialism. It's short-lived, however, and she says, "That's too bad. I do understand their fear, though. We're dangerous, and we can't all be controlled. People are wise to fear what they can't control, but if they can't master their fear, they live at its whim." She shakes her head. "And who pays for that, hmm?" She might have heard Magneto speak once or twice, even if she's never met the man.

"What about you?" she asks with a sly glance. "Do you have a lady friend who understands you and isn't afraid? I find it hard to believe a gentleman like you doesn't."

Jay shrugs gently with a languid roll of one shoulder, then casts a sidelong glance to Ninette to try to make sure she didn't see the gesture, then continues on in a soft tone, "Ah don't know. People can't be controlled, in general, but those are individual choices. We train killers every day t'go to wars for us, but they don't hurt folks unless ordered. Yeah, a lot of us find out we got powers in bad situations and folks can get hurt cause they don't exactly cover what happens if ya can suddenly shoot lightnin' outa yer fingers in home ec, but that means we need more education an' community on how to deal with that stuff. Support. Not…separation." Empathy. Always, always empathy with Jay. "You been down to mutant town, Miss Ninette? Full of folks who were kicked outa their families an' can't get a job because they got scales or wings or horns, or whatever." Jay sighs and purses his lips together gently. "Ah gotta believe that if folk had a chance, they'd choose to do good. Everyone just wants to…live, you dig? Everyone wants that American promise." He sighs gently, a worried little frown touching his youthful face, troubled for a few passing moments.

Until the topic changes and Jay finds himself blinking a couple of times back to Ninette. Feathers shiver and whisper softly behind him; his wings little tattle tales while Jay tries to play it cool. "Ah'm sorry to say Ah don't, Miss Ninette. Ah've only been in town about a month an' keep to myself most days. Everyone here's so much more, ah…worldly an' smart. Ladies here are beautiful." A fair hand gestures outward kindly toward Ninette herself, casting a crooked little smile her way. "Ah can't really compare. What about yerself? You must have a gent you like to spend time with. Who knows ya."

If Ninette saw, she says nothing. She shakes her head and says, "I've not been there, no." Mutant Town isn't the greatest neighborhood, and Ninette is walking toward the Upper East Side. "I want to believe people will do the right thing," she says, "but I've seen so much evil perpetrated by arrogance and fear."

She shakes her head, and she laughs softly as she says, "I'm single." Then, "But why do you discount yourself so easily? Why is it you don't deserve a woman who's beautiful? Do not cast yourself as the lesser, Jay." She gives a toss of her head and her blonde waves cascade into place. You are worthy, so be worthy."

"Ah understand what you mean, Miss Ninette," Jay murmurs softly when she says she's seen evil. Arrogance and fear. Oh yes. He understands this. Another soft whisper of feathers as his whings shiver down his back. "Ah suppose Ah hope fer better fer people. It starts with us. So many mutants showin' up every day now." He looks to her, smiling softly. Idealistic, good guy Jay. "We're not alone. We get t'set the new pace. Even if…it's pretty terrifyin'." His smile curves a hint higher.

Blowing out a gentle breath, Jay whispers another laugh and looks forward again to the mention of relationships. "Ah suppose it's easy t'say that Ah just haven't found mah place here, yet. Nobody quite willin' to take that plunge." Idly, his hand lifts up and taps pallid fingertips in the center of his own chest. "Ah had m'heart broken not so long ago. Ah'm sort of holdin' on to that feelin'. It sounds nuts, but if heartache's the last bit of her Ah get, Ah'm gonna hold on to it."

"I had my heart broken once," Ninette says, her too looking straight ahead as they walk. "I am perhaps colder than you are, monsieur. I froze him out, and if there were any further way he could be gone…" She smiles faintly. "Well, let's just say I try not to think of him too often."

She bows her head, and for all that she doesn't think about him, in the moment, she looks less like a queen and more like a hurt little girl, eyes staring at the ground, and her throat works as she swallows. It's a fleeting thing, and she lifts her head again. "I've learned one must protect one's heart as though it were one's most precious possession."

"Ah don't know if yer colder, Miss Ninette," Jay responds kindly, his hands slipping into his pockets, voice remaining very level. Very level as he stares ahead. "She died. Ah didn't have any reason t'freeze her out. Ah'm sure whoever done you wrong deserves what you give them every bit." A gentle smile, though lacking that warmth that was with him moments earlier. "Ah'd like to say Ah agree, cause Ah do, but Ah can't seem to not give mine away at every turn, just a little bit. Ah'm a musician. It comes with the territory a little bit."

"I'm sorry," Ninette says, and she lays a hand lightly on Jay's arm, looking to him. "It's hard to get over someone you love has died. When my father passed, it was like the world fell away." She smiles, then. "You're a musician? I sing at the club. What do you play?"

The contact is met with an obligatory sort of return gesture, reaching over to gently rest his warm hand over Ninette's, a pale smile cast in her direction. "Thanks. Ah'm sorry to hear about yer father. It's hard when a parent goes. It's like…you've depended on 'em yer whole life and suddenly one day they're not nearly as indestructable as you thought." A corner of his mouth twitches upward mirthlessly. "It's a rough wake up."

Quickly latching on to more pleasant subjects, Jay's smile turns less crooked and more genuine, filling him with pleasure. "You mentioned you sang. Ah want to know when yer next gig is so Ah can hear you." Realizing his hand still rests over Ninette's, Jay apologizes with a tip of his head and slides his hand away. "Ah play a bunch of things, but mostly vocals an' guitar. Ah had a band back home, we did a little tourin', small gigs, county fairs and the like. Opened for a fer folks, nobody real big."

"I was sixteen," Ninette says with a soft sigh, then laughs a little without mirth. "I've learned how to make it on my own, but I wish I didn't have to sometimes." She gives his arm a squeeze. Then Jay's hand falls away and she lets hers do the same. "I sing tomorrow night," she says. "Eight o'clock is when my set starts." She sings a little snippet of something in French, and her voice is like a nightingale's, sweet and pure.

"I would like to hear you play sometime," she says. "It's not such a small thing, to get gigs like that. I've never opened for anyone. I've only ever sang in clubs."

"Everyone needs someone sometimes. We lost my dad when Ah was about that age, too. I get it," Jay consoles softly, but his voice rings genuine and true. And when she sings? He may not know french, but he knows music, and delights over it with a smile that may not stretch far, but seems endeared and entranced all at once. "Ah would like nothin' more than to come hear you sing. That was beautiful. Yer voice is so /clear/, that's amazin'."

The mention of hearing him play is given a bashful smile and tip of his head to the side. "Sometimes Ah play down at the Eight Ball. It's a mutant bar. They got an open mic night there sometimes. Ah also got a reoccurin' gig down at mah friend's place, playin' out in his courtyard. It's all covers and stuff, nothin' original, but Ah have fun. Lets me stay sharp, you know? Without the rest of mah band, kind of wingin' it on mah own." Modest, but he /loves/ his art, through and through. "The club scene is so choice, though. Beautiful folks doin' beautiful things. That's gotta be dazzlin'."

Holding the door open for Ninette, Jay will follow at a polite distance inside, eyeballing the interior of the building as he strolls along. Oblivious to any serious implications he might be in store for later on, he's a tourist here just taking in the sights as they pass by rows of apartments in the tall building. "You said all the way at the top, raght, Miss Ninette? Must give you a nice view."

It's a posh penthouse on the Upper East Side. For a lounge singer, she's not doing too poorly. The penthouse itself is done in mid-century minimalism favoring white, black, and grey. It's neat without sacrificing comfort. One wall is more or less windows, the other is mirrors, giving the living room a sense of space. Not to mention, as Jay predicted, the view is stunning. "I like it," is all Ninette says of the sprawl of lights and the New York skyline. She hangs up her fur coat, then walks on those stilettos into the kitchen to put on coffee. "My father's business," she explains, "is why I can live somewhere like this. I sold it."

He can't help it, Jay is /compelled/ toward those windows and that skyline in a slow-paced stroll in that direction. All the lights of the city sprawled out in that direction. For someone with wings, he sure gets a kick out of that view. Or perhaps it's because of that. Smiling gently at his ghostly reflection in the glass as he peers out beyond it. "Ah didn't want to be rude an' ask." The young man turns his head on a swivel in the direction where his hostess' voice is coming from. "Would you like any help?"

Ninette glances up at Jay and smiles faintly. She's lived here for a year and still that skyline draws her to the windows all the time. She waves a hand and says, "No, just relax. You don't have to hide what you are here." And there is room for a man to stretch out his wings. The coffee doesn't take terribly long to make, and she brings it out in a modern-design tea service that complements the shades of grey decor.

There are spots of color here, though. A flash of red from roses in a vase, their red reflecting the red in a cubist painting that also sports yellows and blues. If anything, the greys draw attention to those splashes of color. "Do you take cream or sugar?" she asks.

The hint taken, but the smile on Jay's lips is audible and sheepish sounding in his voice. "Thank you, Miss Ninette." Still, he hesitates and by the time Ninette comes back into the space Jay finds himself still stuck on, the young man seems well-relaxed, but his overshirt still on over his wings, though they're no longer so compressed against his back, making that lump far more prominent over his shoulders and the splay of feathers around his legs looks more natural rather than two tails to fit down the backs of his legs.

The punctuated clicking of the lady's heels draws his attention around, Jay turning and adding the soft sound of his flip-flops across the floor as he meets her. "Sugar, please. Thank you." He shrugs one shoulder and apologetically explains. "Didn't want to be rude an' start strippin' in a lady's pad."

Ninette utters a lilting laugh and says, "Jay, you are a delight." She stirs sugar into his coffee. She takes hers with a bit of cream, unsweetened. She sits, delicately crossing one leg over the other. Long legs, smooth beneath the white sheen if her tights. "I so rarely have guests," she admits. She hands over his coffee, and then those lovely green eyes remain on Jay's face, giving him her whole attention. "How does such a sweet boy end up in a place like Lux?"

Jay smiles back to the compliment with a bashful tip of his chin downwards, trying to will any color that dares to creep up into his cheeks to go away quickly, though his tattle-tale wings twitch with it none the less as he comes around to the seating area, picking a place near to Ninette. Sitting down carefully, wings stretch and move to accommodate, cocking outwards a little bit to either side as the long feathers bend and cross behind his legs, feet planted flat and shoulder width apart. "Thank you very much," murmuring politely with a gentled smile as he takes the offered cup and tries to not make a complete ass of himself. Jay holds on to it just for something to do with his hands, attention rising up to meet Ninette's like gaze with no trouble at all. The perks of guilelessness.

"Ah do stick out rather like a sore thumb there, don't Ah?" Admitting with humor in spite of himself. "Ah was lookin' for a friend of mine who brought me there once. A Miss Rosemarie? She said she wanted t'show me somethin' or…someone? Ah wasn't sure." Jay squints slowly, uncertainty coloring his words before it vanishes again. "But Ah ran into another friend that night there an' we ended up havin' a chat and she got called away. But Ah was lookin' for her tonight. Thought Ah might get lucky and see her, but no luck." That gentle smile curve a bit more and warms genuinely. "Ah'm not too broken up about it, though." A light compliment stroked in Ninette's direction.

"They're rather handsome, I think," Ninette says. Then she lowers her gaze to her coffee cup and says, "But difficult, I think. We live in a society that isn't very forgiving of difference." Her brow furrows, then clears as she says, "I think I've met a Rosemarie there. Briefly. She seemed nice." She tilts her head, and a wicked smile touches her lips. "Do you fancy her?" she asks. "I think you do."

"You've struck the nail raght on the head, Ah'm afraid," Jay agrees gently, ignoring the warmth that touches his ears, trying to be casual about it, one hand scoops through his hair, encouraging the longer lengths to fall over his ears and hide them. "Friends ask pretty much all th' time why Ah keep hidin' when it's pretty obvious I'm not great at it. Truth is, Ah'm used to it. Maybe one day that'll change." Jay, keepin' hope alive.

The question over Rosemarie has red eyebrows flicking upwards, open surprise and consideration registering all across his malleable features, blooming into a warm smile as Ninette teases him further. "You pickin' on me, Miss Ninette?" The young man counters with a tip of his head and gentle gleam of humor in his eyes while he holds on to that coffee prop. "Ah wouldn't say there's a romantic interest there just yet. She is very kind, though. She's agreed t'help on a project of sorts, so Ah'm glad t'know her. Gotta make new friends in a crazy city like this." He pauses and looks down into his cup, taking a break to drink and glance around the room briefly before falling back to Ninette's lovely face. "Speakin' of, if we're so familiar, you seemed pretty smitten with the fellow at the bar earlier. Friend of yers?" He says of Lucian earlier from the bar.

Ninette's smile broadens into a grin, her pearly white teeth showing. She pats Jay's hand, like a little slap but softer. "I am just asking," she insists. She takes a token sip of her coffee, then shakes her head, another ripple of laughter in her voice as she says, "Goodness, no. No, he's my boss. And he's desirable and knows it. That's like every man I've had a bad relationship with." Her waves gleam as she shakes her head again. "I am smitten with my job, but not my boss. I'm in awe of him, but not smitten."

Pale fingers wound around the cup lift slightly after Ninette touches them, giving the smallest chase ever before they curl back around placidly. Jay's smile expands in the light of Ninette's laughter; like a plant given sunlight or water. The expression opens up swiftly into realization and surprise, clearly not aware of who he was talking to. "Oh, he works there? Ah had no idea. Huh. He was very, um…" Jay hesitates and squints, trying to find a way to describe what impression that brief encounter left him with. "Singular?" That's a nice way of putting it, certainly.

"Works there?" Ninette arches a brow, then shakes her head again, slowly as he says, "Non monsieur, he owns the place. Lucian doesn't work for anyone but himself." When he's described at singular, Ninette sighs, and she nods. "Yes, well. What can I say except that he is a good boss who has given me a great opportunity? He is a powerful man, and I suppose singularity is the privilege of the powerful."

As if Jay's surprise could become any greater, his spine straightens slowly and wings shiver for a moment as the young man's mouth open and then shuts, mutely. An embarrassed smile flourishing all over his face, Jay bows his head to grin dumbly at his coffee. Oh, you stupid man. "Ah. Raght. Well. That explains a thing or two, huh?" Shaking his head slowly, Jay lifts his head once more to seek out Ninette's gaze. "Ah'm just gonna quietly rethink everythin' that Ah said t'him now, quietly, to myself."

Ninette watches Jay with catlike curiosity and a glint of intelligence in her eyes. There's a softness in her expression, though, and a gentleness in her voice as she says, "As I do after every conversation I have with him. If it helps, I think most people do that." She's quiet a moment, then admits, "I don't like to feel small. I despite it, in fact, but he's the only one who makes me wish to be unseen. Still, I'm thrilled when he speaks to me, because to capture the attention of someone like him means I must be huge."

Jay's smile holds on strong as the young man turns the cup in quarter turns in his hands, nodding gently. "Yes, actually, that helps quite a bit, Ah think." Though the continuing conversation leaves him looking a hint lost once more, peering curiously toward Ninette. His deep green eyes relaxed and peering at her with such innocence. "Ah can't imagine a single person who could make you feel small, Miss Ninette."

"Just the one," Ninette says, lashes flitting as she looks down to her coffee cup, then back to Jay. "And someday, not even him." There is no excess of triumph as she says it. What is there to boast in the simple truth? She lifts her chin as she adds, "There was a man once who made me feel small, insignificant and broken. I promised myself never again, and one must always keep one's promises."

Jay's smile returns when Ninette declares that little triumph over her own insecurities. "Especially to yerself. Ah agree. Those can be the easiest ones to welch on." Reaching across the short distance with his cup in a toasting offer. "T'never letting someone make you feel insignificant."

Ninette raises her cup and says, "To never letting someone make you feel insignificant." She starts to clink her cup, then pauses, adding, "and to never being insignificant." Then she clinks, sips, and says, "We are special, you and I, and others like us. It doesn't matter if the rest of society castigates us. I have to believe we can be a gift. The alternative is too terrible."

Jay blinks as he's suckered into that additional agreement, eyes shining with mirth after the fact while he withdraws his cup back into his own personal realm again, taking a small drink to seal the deal. He probably has no clue what 'castigate' means, but he can about guess with the context clues. "Ah don't know all the science behind it, but Ah know we can be whatever we want t'be. We've got choice on our side. Whatever you want t'do with all the gifts you've been given-yer money, yer beauty, yer powers, yer /confidence/-all of it. They're yers to give away however you want. If you want it t'be a gift, then you can be. All in how you use it."

Ninette smiles faintly, sadness an echo in her eyes as she lowers them. "I've been giving thought to what it is I want to be," she admits. "I haven't seen some of my circumstances as a blessing. It is, as you say, a choice. I've perhaps been too cold, I think." She looks at Jay again, chagrined. "I've forgotten how to be anything else."

Listening is a gift and Jay seems to have it, most of the time. Reading those nuances in Ninette's tone and body language to at least a certain extent, the young man tilts his head gently to the side, offering an encouraging smile. A gentle hand hazarding a bolder move, trying to touch down on one of Ninette's knees in a supportive gesture. His hand warm and perhaps surprisingly soft. "It's hard in the moment t'see anything like it is. Hindsight, you know? But…yer a strong woman. Ah've lived with strong women all my life an' I can pick 'em out. If you wanna change something in yer world, then anyone standin' against you better watch out."

Ninette's gaze flits to the hand on her knee, then to Jay's face, and there's a moment's caution there, and a searching of his gaze, looking for agenda or intent. She relaxes, her shoulders easing, when all she finds is Jay's kind eyes and that nice boy's smile. "You may prompt me to drastic measures," she warns with a small smile. "The world is no kinder to strong women than it is to mutants, but our strength keeps us going. I'm sure I will figure it out. It's just that other people… hmm. They can be cruel, and sometimes you don't see it until it's too late." So better to treat everyone like a bastard. How's that been working for her so far?

Jay tracks that glance to his hand and dips his head apologetically, slowly lifting the limb from Ninette's person. A little more quiet, now, more mindful of himself, but still smiling gently. "No kinder, that's true. People…are weird animals." Jay glances down, thoughtful into his cup. "Even the ones like us, who you think you can trust, we're all still just people. People are flawed. But…nobody goes through life tryin' to be a jerk, you know? Nobody wake up every morning with the goal to make everyone's lives hell. Ultimately they're just tryin' to live and sometimes that leads em down weird paths.". Jay inhales deeply, frowning thoughtfully to himself for a beat. Lost in the swirl of dark caffinated glory, the young man blinks and looks to the dazzling blond beside him. "Ah'm sorry. Ah got lost a second there. People can be cruel, thoughtless. Y'got the choice t'push em all back or…take that risk."

Ninette glances from her knee to Jay's eyes, and one brow arches. She smiles faintly. "You like strong women," she says. "A brave man." She tips her coffee cup to him in a toast. "And an optimistic one. Most people are like you say, but there are those so bitter and… and perhaps hurt, that they think of ways to lash out." Her smile fades into sadness, and she glances aside. "I think you are the kindest person I've met in a long time."

Jay colors around the edges of his face as Ninette looks at her knee where he just took his hand from. "Brave or just real dumb. Mosta my friends might think the second one." Scooping the offending hand through his hair awkwardly, not sure if that was an invitation or not, or how to place it back without imploding with awkward. "Ah agree, folk who are the meanest are just hurt folks who are strugglin to stop hurtin' and don't know how." Touching the center of his chest, running fingers into his dark green tee shirt absently. Surprised, Jay arches his brows slightly. "Really? Oh…Miss Ninette. Ah'm so sorry t'hear that. Nobody should have t'feel like they're just runnin' into jerks left an' right." There! There! Jay sees the moment and tentatively reaches out to rest his fingers lightly on Ninette's knee. "If…Ah'm too forward, just, freeze mah hand off or somethin'."

"You can be both," Ninette says. Then she sighs. "You are perhaps right." The words hit awfully close to home, and she studies her coffee cup so she doesn't have to turn guilty eyes to Jay. Til he touches her again, and she looks up to him, studying his features. She takes his hand in hers, though she doesn't freeze it off. Rather, she gives it a squeeze and says, "I've outgrown being coy, monsieur. I like you, and if I seem to hesitate, it's only because I don't want to hurt you later."

A soft puff of breath is pulled straight from his chest in the stead of a true laugh when he's told he can be both. "You've got a point," he habitually licks the corner of his mouth, smiling over to Ninette while he watches her take his hand. His wings twitch gently, long wingtips whispering friction against eachother. "But…can Ah be brave if Ah'm too dumb t' understand Ah should be scared? Cause y'can't be brave and not scared.". He plays with words a little bit, smiling in spite of himself. The sudden honesty from Ninette makes Jay go properly solemn, his eyes flickering between her own. "So…here's where Ah get t'be brave an' stupid; Ah believe you, Miss Ninette." His thumb swishes over her knuckles slowly. "Ah can take it."

"I think you're smart enough to be scared,"Ninette says." She delicately sets aside her coffee cup. "I don't know if I could," she adds, "Take it. If I hurt you. I am not a nice woman, Jay. I haven't been for a long time. Normally, I don't care, but you're genuinely sweet and kind." She closes her other hand around the one she holds, clasping it in both. "What if the cold inside can't be undone? Hurting you would be destroying something beautiful."

Jay's fingers wrap gently around the hand resting in his palm, warm and secure. "Well…then Ah guess that you gotta decide if you can trust yerself," his brows flick upwards gently, looking down at Ninette's paired hands. "Or make the decision that yer gonna try. But, Ah appreciate you bein' honest." A gentle curve of his mouth works into a smile. Trying to be hopeful. "That's a good start, ain't it? Even if…you don't feel comfortable lettin' everyone in, you can pick an' choose. We all got folks we trust more than others."

Ninette bites the corner of her lip and glances at their clasped hands. "I suppose I can say you are warned?" She smiles a little. "And you must be very brave or stupid if you don't run screaming. I prefer to think brave." Then she leans forward swiftly to press a kiss to Jay's lips. Viva la women's lib.

"Oh, Sugar, Ah'm from the south," Jay smiles slowly, his eyes glowing with warm humor. "Ah gotta be warned at least four times before Ah start takin' it seriously." Joking in spite of himself, picking a random frivlous nickname before he finds his mouth suddenly occupied. Shocked by Ninette's brazeness, Jay works on a delay, eyes sliding shut and leaning gently forward. His uncaptured hand moves to slide soft fingers along Ninette's jaw, slow to invite her closer.

Ninette is an older woman, though probably not by too much. Time is ticking onward! But she's gentle with the kiss, tentative, and once Jay responds, she cedes the fervor of it to him without a contest. Of course there's that chill fear she's gone too far. He'll rebuke her. She'll have to give him wicked frost bite… but he responds rather favorably, and she's in no hurry. The slow invitation is taken in due time. She scoots to the edge of her seat, leans in closer still. To get any closer she'll have to put herself in his lap, but she's not quite that forward without prompting.

Jay's honestly just shocked that he's got someone kissing him. Half convinced that it's all a very vivid hallucination or dream, his wings shiver behind him, a whispering outlet for tension and disbelief. Jay leans in to mirror Ninette, lips gently parting to gingerly try to take that pretty lower lip between his own, a suggestive tap of his tongue there before he parts with a soft smack of sound. Already, his pulse has picked up, having absolutely nothing to do with physical exertion, eyes sliding open, lidded as he searches the lady's face. "You've gotta be a dream."

Soft lips, and a subtle perfume that does nothing to hide the fact that, beneath it all, she smells like strawberries, of all things. Just before the kiss breaks, she responds to the tap of his tongue with easy acquiescence. Then she smiles at him, her lashes fluttering low. "I feel real to me," she says. "Do you need another kiss to be sure?" She rises, coming to sit on the arm of his chair, the better to be closer.

Emboldened by the moment, Jay watches with a nearly religious amount of awe as Ninette comes closer. An easy smile graces his lips with a tip of his head backward, slipping his hand away from between hers to boldly rest on the singer's hip. "Ah might, as a matter of fact. If you'd be so kind…" Jay, not above begging for that affection. For contact.

Ninette slips an arm around Jay's shoulders, artfully weaving between wings and neck. With a cluck of her tongue, she says, "You should know, monsieur, that for you I am a lady. However, I will give you kisses, and if you ask, I will go out with you." As subtle as an ice storm, is Dame d'Hiver. She kisses him again, soft and sweet.

"Oh, Miss Ninette," Jay hums just before that kiss lands, supping softly, with such practiced tenderness it's hard to imagine a kiss being 'respectful' but it's hard to call it anything else. "Ah can't imagine you bein' anything but a lady." Lifting his chin again, plucking another sweet kiss if he can, all lip and sweetness. "D'you have plans this weekend?"

Ninette won't disabuse Jay of his thoughts that she's a lady. Maybe for him she wants to be. She's generous with kisses, though. Now that the lid is off that box, there's no use being shy now. She toys with a lock of his hair. "That depends on if, after I sing at the club, there is a handsome man waiting to have a drink with me." Her gaze doesn't leave his, and her eyes are alight with humor.

Jay's hair isn't the only thing Ninette has wound around her fingers by now. Oh, so young, so niave, Jay winds his arm slowly around Ninette's waist if he isn't rebuffed too harshly, but he is nothing if not a respectful, disappointinly /kind/ young man. "Well, Ah think by the time you get done singin' a half dozen men would be waitin' to get a drink with you." His eyes are all hers, warmed with easily-held mirth. "But Ah'll be among 'em if ya got some time to spare after the fact."

Ninette rewards Jay putting his arm around her waist with another quick kiss. There's a good boy, taking that initiative. "I will do what I always do to those men. I will walk right by. You, though…" She rests her brow lightly against his. "You I will let escort me to a booth, and we will have a proper date. Let them see, I hope they do."

Rewarded for that act of initiative, Jay smiles and blushes lightly, feeling his ears and cheeks warm and trying to ignore it with every ounce of himself. "Yer fixing to make me the envy of every man in that place." Jay lets his eyes slip shut rather than try to hold Ninette's gaze at such a close distance, his chin lifts, sweetly nudging his nose along side hers, plucking another kiss, another beg for contact off pretty lips. "You're the angel. Who could call you cold, Miss Ninette?"

"You have no idea, sweet, handsome Jay," Ninette says with a soft laugh. She answers kiss for kiss. "You have never seen me angry. What does the poem say? Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice." Tonight, though, in the moment, she is warmth and tenderness. "You make me feel like a young girl again. I'm not usually like this."

"Yer raght," Jay has to laugh at himself and that tried and true line /everyone/ feeds him. You don't know. His eyelids flicker slightly, masking a slight spike of some unpleasant emotion, smiling through it. "Well, Ah guess that Ah know how Ah'm hopin' it goes." A quick smile curved on his lips. "Aren't you? Ah can't imagine you wantin' to be anythin' else. What do Ah have to brace myself fer this weekend? Am Ah gonna recognize you?"

Ninette tucks the lock of hair she's toying with behind Jay's ear, and she tells him, "It will go beautifully. We don't even have to stay at the club if you don't want. You are the man, you get to decide." She keeps her age to herself, as is a lady's privilege. "I haven't felt very young since my father died," she admits. "I had to grow up quite fast. And of course you're going to recognize me." She preens just a little, then adds, "The accent."

Practically purring under Ninette's small touches, Jay's wings shiver gently behind her arms, bumping lightly against her forearms when they shake beneath their compressed sheath. Laughter, honest, audible laughter, is so a rarity for the mild young man, but the breathy similacrum of a chuckle behind closed lips happens not too infrequently; smooth and mild, he chuckles. "The accent. How could Ah forget?" Tenderness in all he does, Jay brushes the backs of his fingers against Ninette's cheek. "If you don't get to feel this young often, then Ah'm goin' to make that my goal. Ah'm going to give you back yer youth, Miss Ninette. You're too young and lovely t'feel anything otherwise. That's gonna be my goal.". Reitterating, as if that made it law.

Ninette strokes Jay's hair lightly, rearranging the strands to her liking. "You would turn winter into spring?" she says. "That might render me powerless, monsieur. I might find myself at your tender mercy. Since she has none, she ponders the curve of those wings, and then trails a fingertip over the curve of them, seeking out the most sensitive spots.

Jay's brilliantly colored hair is long enough to play with, molding to Ninette's whims as it falls and shifts freely, the sensation is a good one as well and has the young man closing his eyes for a moment or two, smiling as they open back up to regard the accented young lady. "That's a poetic way t'put it. Yes. Ah like that. Though Ah'd never leave you powerless, Miss Ninette. Can't imagine that fer the life of me." Eating up those gestures and words, the poet in Jay's heart is making it beat just a little quicker in gladness. "You gotta nurture spring after all." A soft palm touching Ninette's cheek after the backs of his fingers glide away.

It doesn't take long for her to find a sensitive spot on Jay's wings. The first brush of her fingers past his hair and over the fabric sheathing those feathered appendages is treated like an electric shock, making the young man sit upright with a short jolt while that lump under the denim shrinks away, compressing tightly to his back. Color rushing his face in embarrassment Jay gives a bashful laugh, reaching back to gently take Ninette's hand. "Sorry. They're, uh, sensitive. Ah wasn't expectin' that."

Ninette smiles. Oh, yes. This pleases her. "I like them," she says softly, and she strokes them again over the denim. "I would like to see them free sometime. Maybe if we walk in la ville mutante. It will be safe there, yes? This Saturday." She goes back to stroking his hair, then leans in to plant a kiss on his lips. "I should get some sleep," she murmurs, but Saturday can't get here fast enough."

She smiles and he blushes fiercely over the smile that the shock has encouraged. Well it's better than getting upset, though he's not certain the truth of that. The foreign flaire leaves Jay a little lost, but catches on after a visible moment of realization hits him. "Oh! Mutant Town?" He chews the corner of his mouth, but nods softly anyway because there's a gorgeous woman in front of him asking him to go out with her. Social anxiety be damned. "It's a safe place for folks like us, yes. After your show, we'll go down there, absolutely. Ah know a nice place fer food nearby if you'd like?" Offering dinner with a gentle rise of his brows and a smile for the kiss, leaning forward slightly to follow it dreamily. "Absolutely. Ah'm waitin' on pins an' needles." Gathering slowly to his feet with another gentle peck on Ninette's sweet-speaking mouth if he's able, taking up one of Ninette's hands in his, reluctant to part ways immediately. "Thank you for the hospitality, Miss Ninette. Ah…feel like th' luckiest man on the planet just now."

"Dinner would be lovely," Ninette says. She rises to her feet, looking up at him from her scant height. So tiny. "When you say things like that, you make me feel like the finest woman in the world, and it's a feeling I could get used to." She walks him to the door hand in hand, herself reluctant to see him off. Still, she has to leave him wanting more. Otherwise, where's the fun? She goes up on her tiptoes to steal another kiss. "Be safe getting home," she murmurs, "And dream of me."

"It's downraght criminal if no man's told you that before," Jay murmurs sweetly. Sincerely. This is no simple lip service that he pays to the petite woman he walks to the door with, his thumb rolling back and forth over her knuckles. A pivot toward her as he opens the door, Jay wraps an arm around the small of Ninette's back; for such a gentle man, there's a subtle strength in that supportive arm as he leans in to retrieve that kiss. Then steal a second with a gentle smack of his lips on hers. A smile flourishing over his face. "Ah think it'll be impossible not to. Sleep sweet. Ah'll see you soon." A gentle squeeze and fingers drag light around the small of her back as he retreats at last, stepping backwards rather than turning away immediately. Practically floating as he hits the hallway.

Ninette's breath hitches just a little at the strength in Jay's arms. She slips her arms around his neck, hands clasped at the nape of it. She's eager with her kisses, for all that she's the one who's said it's time to go. When she does draw away, she watches him leave, leaning in the door frame of her fancy penthouse apartment with a silly, girlish smile on her lips. Then she closes the door, leans against it, squeals with glee.

Jay starts down the hall with a dreamy little smile on his lips, though by the time he turns the corner for the stairway, every nerve is alive with excitement and the young man grins, hopping down three of the stairs and spinning at the landing, laughing dumbly to himself as he jogs down all the rest.

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