1964-08-19 - The Funeral for George Stacy
Summary: The Funeral for Captain Stacy.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
kai jessica-drew peter stephanie-brown kwabena mary-jane-watson gwen-stacy 

It is not raining, although it should be. It is a relatively cool 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the sun is shining, and it is a comfortable breeze that wafts through the courtyard.
St. Patrick's Cathedral is filled almost completely. A lot of low-level dignitaries are here-lawyers, aldermen-but there are some notables as well. The Mayor, Robert Wagner, was sitting up front, Commissioner Murphy was in attendance as well, and it was rumored that Lyndon Johnson had called Gwen Stacy personally to offer his condolences.

And of course, the police presence. Almost all of the police in Stacy's precinct were here, in full dress uniform, looking somber and restrained. Few spoke, and when they did it was in furtive whispers. The common knowledge was that Stacy was a hard man, but a fair one. He had been a U.S. Marine and he was the epitome of "Your Best Friend, Your Worst Enemy" in the NYPD. You may not like the guy, but you had to respect him-he played no favorites, tolerated no BS, and anyone who had the sand to ask him for help got it. Even the picture sitting on the casket had him in his police dress uniform, his face set, with the slightest of smiles in a face that meant business.

Gwen Stacy is sitting in the front row. She is composed in a long black dress with long sleeves and a high collar, a dress that is almost Victorian in design. She looks back to the rest of the theatre, seeming to take some comfort in it. Her eyes are red and swollen, and she looks as she has cried enough tears to make Niagara Falls look like a water faucet in comparison. She sniffs frequently.

Mary Jane made sure to have the day off today. After spending some time in the New York Library to help focus for this, she stopped by her dorm room to change, then relied on the subway to get her here in time. She walks slowly through the cathedral, making her way towards the front, and she places a hand lightly on Gwen's shoulder, "Gwen?" She hasn't been crying yet, but seeing her friend torn up as she is nearly gets the waterworks to start.

Stephanie Brown enters, also wearing black and looking quietly uncomfortable as she takes a seat toward the back. At school she was Betty Cooper personified — smart, helpful, a cheerleader despite her comparatively low-income bracket, and so on. At home… well, her experiences with Captain Stacy might have been described as awkward. Her father's a known criminal, and if the police were stopping by her house it generally wasn't to sell tickets to the Policeman's Ball. The blue-eyed blonde is solemn, but dry-eyed. She knows, whatever her parents may think, that Stacy was a good man, and he didn't deserve this. She's here to pay respects.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city: A honking horn blares as an armored vehicle carrying a large bank deposit roars through the city. Above, Spider-Man sighs and looks like his watch. Darnit, he's going to be late. He already stood MJ up this weekend, and seeing her there was going to be awkward. And now it's going to look like he doesn't care about Captain Stacy. The gruff man had always given Peter a fair shake. Spider-Man? Well, that was another story. He sighs as he pulls his mask down over the bared part of his face and leaps off the top of the building, free falling until the last possible minute before firing his web shooter as he storms after the vehicle.

In attendance is one Kwabena Odame. At first glance, a nobody; a cab driver with just enough money to buy a halfway decent suit from some second hand store uptown.

If there's anyone who isn't comfortable being here, it's Kwabena. A room full of cops is like a room full of vipers. He can't help but wonder which of them know of his questionable history, but then again… what would they do? Try to arrest him? Shoot him? Not only a black man with what would be a criminal record (had he ever been caught), but a mutant to boot. He's only here because George Stacy saw something in him; a person, with something good to offer humanity.

The African-born finds himself glad to be outside; the sun permits him to wear sunglasses without suspicion, hiding his unnaturally silver eyes. He stands back in the crowd and off to the side, silent.

In World War I, pilots on both sides would fly by the funerals of their enemies to pay their respects, and so beatnik and all around rabble-rouser Kai Alfsson has shown up. Out of deference to a fallen foe, he's even put on a suit, with a tie, even. His hair's a little too long and his face a little too scruffy to pass for a square, alas, and there might be a few cops that have seen 'that kid' around before. Still, he's here for peaceful reasons. As far as 'the pigs' go, Stacy was one of the good ones. He's in the back of the cathedral, poised to slip out if he's needed elsewhere, or any of the officers in attendance know of any outstanding warrants.

Jessica's composed Slavic features betray none of her nervousness she feels at the moment. She'd been there, when it happened; when Gwen's father was murdered. Her green eyes flicker at the people coming in for the funeral, which is packed to the rafters.

Weirdly, no one's sitting within two spots of her position in the pews. Maybe it's because she isn't really 'dressed' for a funeral; a deep blue dress with short sleeves, stylish heels, and more makeup than the bland Catholic wives would /ever/ approve of over snacks in the vestibule.

She looks to Gwen's golden head at the front, but stays quiet, unsure if she's a welcome ally or an unwelcome suspect.

Gwen smiles slightly to MJ. God, if she had to go through this alone, she'd never make it. "Hey, MJ. I'm so glad you could make it." MJ can see something that seems out of place from this vantage point that most mourners can't—on the seat next to her is a portable (well, as portable as it can be) magnetic tape player, with a spool of tape already threaded and ready to go. A piece of tape on one of the clear plastic spokes reads FOR MY FUNERAL.
Ushers walk along the aisles, guiding people to their seats. One of them spots Kwabena, then approaches him, peering at his face at is to make sure of something. He then approaches the man. "Sir, are you Mr. Kwabena?"

Another usher spots Jessica as well. He is polite enough to keep from showing his disapproval, but looks at a piece of paper in his hand and approaches her. "Excuse, please…is your name Jessica Drew?"

Mary Jane smiles back to Gwen, and slips down to sit on the other side of Gwen, giving her a firm hug, "Gwen, I'm so sorry." She means it, too, as she just holds the other girl tight for a moment, then backs up a bit, "Did you want me to sit next to you? I was going to…" She was about to say, 'sit next to Peter'… but then, there's no Peter. And now there's a flash of anger in her eyes before she mutes it and looks back to Gwen, "Ah, probably sit a few rows back?"

Stephanie watches the comings and goings of people, ushers, whoever else, taking everything in — and remembering, because you never know what's going to be important later. It is said that a criminal returns to the scene of his (or her) crime. It would be entirely possible for Stacy's killer to show up and play the mourner.

Dressed in a rumpled black shirt and brown slacks, Peter Parker is late but he is trying. He crosses the road to the cemetery trying to avoid traffic, and gets honked at for good measure. The satchel across his shoulder, carrying his other clothes (I do mean his Spider-Man suit) is cumbersome and makes for awkward running, but as he gets to the edge of the green lands, he picks up his pace where he's sure no one can see him and begins to motor along towards the ceremony.

Kwabena had also been present when Captain Stacy was murdered, another reason for being nervous. On more than one occasion, he's tempted to quietly bolt. He came, he's quietly paid his respects, now it's time for the black sheep to hustle on out of the lion's den.

Then, that damn usher has to show up and confront him. Kwabena turns his attention over, head tilting forward. "Odame, but, yes, I am Kwabena," he answers tightly, his accent heavy and clearly not American-born. "Dere is no problem, yes? I undahstand it is open to de public." Cool as he may be, the nerves are certainly showing.

Kai accidentally makes eye contact with a nice officer who couldn't quite get him on vandalism, it was one of those things where they both knew he did it, but that pesky burden of proof wasn't on the cop's side that day. Kai might have indulged in a little smartassery. He tenses, ready to make a quick escape, but after giving him a measured look, the cop turns his attention back to the funeral, and Kai does the same. Today's not the day for payback.

Jessica looks at the usher with unreadable green eyes, then nods a beat later. "Yes, I am," she says— and she rises, following the fellow down the carpet muffling the center walkway between the pews. She gathers a few stares of mixed quality in her wake, and two husbands get their ears thumped by their wives as they gawk at the leggy raven-haired woman. She moves to her assigned seat without fanfare and seats herself, stoically ignoring the stares in her wake.

As for Peter's woes, if she were aware of them, she'd surely find his efforts entertaining and hilarious!

Gwen looks almost afraid at the thought of MJ NOT sitting near her. "MJ, please…don't leave me here." She looks to the pew reserved for friends and family and MJ realizes it is currently empty, except for Gwen and her tape player. Gwen's mother left when Gwen was only a few years old, and since then the only family she ever had was her father and the NYPD. "Please sit here, Mary Jane…PLEASE." The last word is said with such desperation it is as if MJ might as well be holding Gwen's heart in her hands.

The usher nods to Kwabena politely. "Sir, I have been instructed to take you to your seat up front, in the seats reserved for family. If you will follow me, please?" He smiles reassuringly. "This invitation is reserved for certain individuals at the posthumous request of the deceased."

The usher standing in front of Jessica's pew gives a polite nod. "The family of the deceased advised us to guide you to the seats for friends and family at the front of the church. If you will please follow me to your reserved seat?"

MJ hugs Gwen tight again, "Of course, whatever you want Gwen." She sits down next to Gwen, putting her hand in Gwen's for support as she gives her a smile, "I'm here for you, you know that." She looks curiously at the tape player, but doesn't ask about that.

Jessica moves to seat herself near Gwen, sitting next to MJ so she and the blonde girl bracket the redhead. "Hello Gwen," she says, her velvet contralto at least politely modulated for the sake of the somber moment. "I didn't know where I should sit, so I thought it'd be best to be out of the way," she explains. "Thank you."

She looks up at Kwabena when the Ghanian arrives, and her brows narrow but a smile crosses her face. "You," she says. "Again. The proverbial bad penny?" she offers lightly.

Between the tape player and the ushers guiding other people who thought to pay their respects from further toward the back of the room, Steph's interest is piqued. She slips from her seat, moving forward so she's not intruding on those who were closer to the Captain, but close enough that she can listen in.

Peter gets to the church finally and stops at the side door to smooth out his hair a little bit. He doesn't look so hot, and after you've swung and run as he has, it really would be wise to look for a bathroom. He sighs, trying to compose himself, and thinks of the building layout and where the bathrooms might be so he can freshen up just a bit. He pulls on the handle. It's locked. "Seriously?" He scurries around towards the front of the church.

An expression of genuine surprise comes over Kwabena's face. "But-" he starts, turn turns to look all the way up toward the front. "Ah… okay."

Once he reaches the front, he looks from MJ, to Gwen, and finally to Jessica. He opts to settle down next to the latter, seeming a bit too stiff to be here. "Guess so," he answers. If there's any shock or surprise at her choice of dress, it isn't showing. Kwabena rests his hands uncomfortably in his lap, not entirely sure what to do with himself. "Dis is my fahst funahral," he asides, quietly. Almost as an afterthought, he lifts the sunglasses from his face to reveal the unnatural eyes. Lions den? Might as well take a few risks.

Kai gets up when the ushers come around, and he walks up the long aisle to the casket. His bearing leans more toward 'elvish lordling' than 'gutter punk' at the moment, shoulders squared and head held high. When he gets to the casket, he stops to say his piece. After a moment's thought, he says, "May the gates of Valhalla open before you, and the Valkyries bring you home." That's it, short and sweet. Then he turns to head out before he tries his luck with those of New York's finest he's taunted in the past, even if there is a tenuous peace.

Gwen looks to Jessica. She feels a little better, her being here. In a few decades, she would call her a "sister from another mister." MJ is here, too, and that is better. The tall, solid-looking gentleman…a friend of her father's. She had read the notes. His name was listed as "Kwabena, cabdriver, present at Clarisin."
She looks to him, noting the eyes, and smiling gratefully anyway.

The minister steps out. "To all who have come, today we lay to rest Captain George Stacy. A loving fathera dedicated police officera leader of men. It was not my privilege to know the man personally, but there are members of this church who speak very highly of the man. They used words like 'integrity,' 'compassion,' 'insight,' and 'intuition'even as they also used words like 'relentless,' 'mule-headed,' and 'tyrant.' Such things come from both cops and criminals as well." The minister smiles placatingly, then adds, "At least he was consistent."

A couple of quiet laughs. The minister nods. "And now, I am told the daughter of the deceased, Gwendolyn Stacy, wishes to say a few words." He steps from the podium, and Gwen stands, reaching down to pink up an odd object in this somber place-a large tape recorder, with two small spools of magnetic tape, one of them empty.

MJ gives Gwen's hand a quick squeeze of reassurance when she steps up to the podium, then waits patiently, eyes focused on her friend.

Jessica smiles at Gwen, then, sensing she is welcome. When Gwen steps off, she turns and regards Mary Jane with an unreadable expression, looking her over from head to toe with a bluntly analytical sort of stare that suggests Jessica sees more than some would be comfortable sharing.

But then she flashes a megawatt smile at MJ, and offers her a handshake. "Hi. I'm Jess," she says. "You're a friend of Gwen's, too?" she guesses.

Stephanie settles into her new spot quietly, not nearly so far from the front, but does her best not to draw attention away from Gwen as she moves to the pulpit to speak.

Peter is scurrying around back trying to find a restroom. Little does he know that this church is old enough to have been built without one. Instead, it's over at the rectory across the street. After several forays down several of the hallways he finally gives up, just as Gwen is about to start her speech. He takes a seat towards the back of the church and really far from his friends, Aunt May, who is here, and from where he's supposed to be.

Kwabena looks past Jess to Gwen, not entirely knowing just who she is. At her smile, he tips his head just a bit, a respectful nod. He's still seated ramrod straight, but when the minister calls her up and denotes just who she is, he blinks, clearly surprised. He leans forward a bit, watching closely.

She adjusts the microphone, then looks out into the sea of people. Some dark thought crosses her face, but it is gone and she is carefully placid again, to keep from breaking down.

All these special powers…and she couldn't save him.

"Many…" she swallowed, looked down. "Uhm…many of you know me. My father…he would bring me to the barbeques…the family gatherings. He…he was a good cop."

There were murmurs of assent from the cops in the rear of the church.

Gwen took a breath, then continued. "While I was…putting his things in order, I found this spool of tape. The letter that came with it told me to play it in the event of his death. I…haven't listened to it. I wasn't…strong enough. But with the people who respected him, hated him and admired him…I think I can do that now."
She put it on the podium, then plugged it into the small electrical panel behind the podium.
She pushed PLAY.

The next words came from a dead man.

"Hello? Did I get this working right? Okay…better record over this later."

Gwen (and a few cops) laughed a little, in spite of the somber occasion. It was so like her father.

"Okay…if you are hearing this, then what I feared has happened. I may or may not be on the job at the time, but I will be leaving my daughter-and to a lesser extent, my men-without a father and their superior officer. For that…I am so, so sorry."

MJ gives Jessica a bit of a smile, returning the handshake before Gwen starts speaking, and she says quietly, "Mary Jane, I'm Gwen's best friend." It's true, really, as far as MJ is concerned, and she says, "Call me MJ."

And then Gwen speaks, and MJ focuses her full attention on her friend, listening to the recording with a heartbroken look in her eyes as she watches Gwen at the podium.

Steph grimaces quietly at Gwen's words. She's not sure sharing this publicly is the best move, personally — it could have all kinds of private information that people would not want to be revealed. But it's Gwen's choice, of course, and Stephanie just listens politely. She has been looking around, though, as she listens — she's always looking around herself — and spots Peter as he arrives. Knowing he'd likely prefer to be up front with Gwen and MJ, she waves to him quickly, indicating a seat near her that's at least closer to the others.

Jess smiles at MJ, giving Kwabena another curious glance, and then turns her attention to the podium. She composes her features serenely when the audiplayer starts, and sits with a bare (!) knee crossed over the other, hands folded neatly in her lap.

Somewhere, an old New York dowager swoons at the unhatted woman in the front row of the church. Jess catches one of the deacons staring daggers at her and winks at him, before looking back at Gwen as the player reels on.

Oh god. If the world could see them now they'd recognize how ridiculous teenagers are…Oh wait, they can totally see them shuffle and whisper at a funeral of all things, changing seats like it's musical chairs. Peter pays no mind, of course as he obviously gets up in the middle of the speech and joins Stephanie, even as all of this is going on. He's not mean, he's just a teenager. They don't always think things through. At all.

Kwabena doesn't share the same sentiment for Captain Stacy as many of the others. They only knew each other for a short time, but those few encounters challenged his entire worldview. So, it isn't with a sense of grief that he listens to the recording, but rather, of interest.

At one point, he cast a glance downward, considering something. Then he gets the sense that someone is looking at him, so he glances over toward MJ and Jess again. Of course, by this time Jess has looked away, so he settles his attention upon Gwen once more, and tries to appear a bit less discomforted by all of this.

An usher spots Peter, approaching him quickly, yet discreetly. "You're late, Mr. Parker. Follow me." He is all competent urgency as he leads Peter to the front, indicsting the seat next to Mary Jane. He refrains from any righteous contempt for someone late to a funeral, and steps away. A quiet pause.
"Gwendolyn Maxine Stacy, when your mother left us, I thought, *Oh, God, help me.* I was a beat cop for two years after I came home from the war. I didn't know what I was doing. But your grandmother, my mother, God rest her soul, was able to help me until you were eight. I'm sorry I was gone so often, but I had to make sure you had a meal when you came home from school. Even if you looked like I was starving you until…about a month ago, I guess. I kept a roof over your head, clothes in your closet, and a place you could call home." His voice falters a little. "You grew up into this…fiery, opinionated, strong, woman while I wasn't looking. I can only attribute that to the help of those in the NYPD who gave their time and energy to watch over you when I couldn't. You men and women know who you are…and I will ALWAYS be grateful."

A few officers look to each other, smiling and nodding.

"I can't help you any more, Gwennie. I just hope I taught you enough in the time I had to help you become the person you need to be. Even though you will always be the one mystery I could never solve."

Gwen is crying again. "Daddy…" she whispers, the word just loud enough for the microphone on the podium to pick up.

MJ bows her head, crying quietly, not even noticing Peter sitting down next to her as she listens to the recording. Then she looks up over towards Gwen, and rises to her feet, moving over to help support Gwen at the podium. It's what best friends are for.

Easy come, easy go, right? Stephanie greets Peter with a slight rise of her hand, and then drops it as the usher comes to bring him to his friends. Such is the way of the world. Meanwhile, Gwen's recording goes on. No clues here so far, just a man baring his soul for his child.

Peter is just about to open his mouth to say something to Stephanie when he gets beckoned from his new seat and up in front. Aunt May witnesses all of this and just drops her head into her hand. She raised that boy. But, they say that by age six they pretty much are who they are right? She can't be blamed, can she. He shuffles along like a concert goer who is trying spends the first four songs trying to angle for a spot close to the stage. He looks over to MJ, noticing she's crying, and winces because that's awkward, and also awkward that he's been moving around so much that he can't even really have gotten into this tape thing. Stupid thieves.

As the recording plays, Kwabena glances to Gwen, then down toward the brickwork at his feet. This isn't the life he knew; his brow knits, and he finds a nice flower at the edge of the brickwork to stare at.

Stacy harrumphs. "Next…my men."
It seems as if a fair number of them snap to attention, or alertness at the very least.
"You malcontents are the bane of my existence." He harrumphs again. "God alone knows what I did to get saddled with you, but sometimes I wonder." A pause. "Saying that, I am proud to know each and every one of you. In spite of being only human, you have been good cops even in the face of pervasiveooc corruption and crime." A pause. "And don't act all shocked, Mr. Mayor, Commissioner. You know it's the truth. And it's not like you can fire me for insubordination NOW. If every precinct had cops like my men, you could end crime in this city TONIGHT."
More than a few cops bear hard smiles at that, pride and resolve mingling.
"I ask only one thing of you. Stop in and check on my daughter from time to time. This is a request, not an order."

"Now, before I let you do what needs to be done, I speak to one person I hope is there. You know who you are." Another pause. "We could have met in better circumstances, but we didn't. In spite of that, you and I found we can talk to each other. I'm…sorry we cannot work together, and I am sorry I am putting this on you. But when it comes to the things that divide us, CHARACTER beats them all. It's your character that makes you better. Not race, not color, not even being able to lift Checker Cabs or shoot lightning. That makes you different…not better."

Another pause. "That's all, Gwennie. The rest is between you and me. Goodbye, everyone. I'm sure I'm in a better place, one that, thankfully, has no use for an old cop."

Gwen pushes the STOP button, then makes her way down to the pew and nearly falls into it. It is only when she sits that she is overcome, unable to do anything but weep softly.

The minister ascends to the podium, then asks, "Does anyone wish to say a few words?"

The camera shutter clicks far away in the back, repeatedly, as the man captures every moment, savoring them like bites of filet mignon. The man is also dressed in black, but it is more to stay in the shadows as he captures Gwen's sorrow in broad color. He was one shooter among several at the back of the church, primarily local paparazzi and other shutterbugs. None of them wanted to get any closer-the NYPD's ire, when roused, could mean five different shades of righteous Hell.
He sighed. Gwen should have been a good girl and simply died like she was supposed to. Well, that was going to happen…but he would kill her only after he made sure that death was what she wanted more than anything else on earth.

He owed that much to her, after all.

Jessica glances around, looking to see if anyone's going to stand up and make a statement— but it's hard to follow a speech like that, and who wants to try and play second fiddle to a dead man?

She catches something out the corner of her eye and sharp vision zeroes in on the shutterbugs click-clicking away towards the back of the church. One of them is a little to enshrouded to really get a good look at, so she stares for a beat, then turns back to focus on Gwen and the redhead supporting her.

MJ helps Gwen back to her seat, sitting down next to her, and she looks at Peter. She can't help but sigh a bit. Of course he's late. She's not even mad at the whole being stood up last night thing. She half-expected that.

But this. She banks any anger for later. Because right now Gwen needs her to be supportive, so she takes her seat next to Gwen, not saying anything more as she doesn't trust herself right now to speak. As for Peter, she's not giving him any grief…


Stephanie notes the photographers as well. At night she carries one of those tiny little cameras you can hide in your palm — fifty cents, ordered from a page torn out of a comic book. She silently curses herself for not thinking to bring it along.

Peter gives MJ a pursed lip half smile that fades quickly as she gives him a noncommittal look. He looks away quickly and puts his hands underneath his legs in the pew as if to hide them from reality. He looks up towards the front of the church, to Captain Stacy, who hated him in his life of the spider, but was very kind to him as Peter. He didn't know how to feel, so Peter was just sad for Gwen.

Kwabena continues staring at that flower, until the recording goes on to speak of the unnamed individual. At this, his eyes rise to the podium, but his eyebrows rise higher still. He sits upright again, and tries very hard not to look around, for he knows who that message was designed for.

One tell; Kwabena's hands are now kneading knots into themselves. He tries very hard not to look at anyone, but he can't help it. His silver eyes follow Gwen as she leaves the podium and walks back to her seat, and his attention remains upon her for a few moments still. Something is clearly on his mind.

The minister nods as no one steps forward. Jessica is apparently right. Even in death, Captain Stacy is a hard act to follow.
Six officers rise almost as one to approach the casket, taking positions and lifting. They walk in what is almost a march, keeping in step, their faces firm and stoic. As they walk out the sidewalk outside the church is lined with uniform officers, all saluting.
The pallbearers take almost exquisite care when loading the casket into the hearse. They also salute as the door closes. As the hearse begins to pull forward, the red Sting Ray pulls in behind them, starting the long procession that leads to the cemetery.

The local VFW has opened its doors to host the wake-there is simply no room at the old house for all these people. Cop wives from all five boroughs have donated enough food to feed hundreds, and all the leftover food is going to soup kitchens, who are grateful for the extra food.
For Gwen, it is like having a hundred suitors being polite now that the king had died.
She is sitting in a comfortable couch in the lounging area. There had been a special chair they had set aside for her, but that made her feel too much like some princess waiting for the tribute of the visiting lords, and she wasn't feeling pretty royal.
The burial had been bad beyond words. She had meant to simply place her lily on the casket, but she had broken down completely and had to be helped up by MJ and Jessica. She had driven to the VFW in a mild daze, MJ riding in the sleek red attention magnet in the shotgun seat.
MJ had been there for her.
Right now, she was sipping a fruity punch from the punch bowl, looking at the food. The sandwiches were good, the potato salad really good.
She had avoided the BBQ ribs and chicken. She didn't think she could ever look at that kind of food again.

Jess is running interference for Gwen, and doing it with a nuance that really only MJ and Gwen would be able to really appreciate.

Everyone of course wants to come over and get facetime with the grieving daughter; some of them sincere and recognizing her, wanting to share their grief. Others just want to be seen talking to the blonde girl, because it's social season and it's important to be seen among the city's brass, particularly with the mayor and chief in attendance.

So Jessica positions herself not far from Gwen, and anytime Gwen starts looking as if she's tired or done talking to someone, Jessica pulls them away smoothly with her entirely inappropriate dress and her lilting, sassy accent whenever an overbearing matron tries to smother Gwen with affection or some young cop decides a grieving girl is a good target for flirtation.

"Oh, that recipe sounds just lovely," Jess says to Mrs. Galverson, a forty-something woman who'd tried to inflict a pound of fruitcake on Gwen along with far too many hugs. "But I'm trying to stay slim, you know," she says, patting the washboard of her flat stomach, and smiling at the woman in a way that implies that Mrs. Galveston isn't. "So I'll let you stick to eating the pies. Thanks so much for stopping though, bye-bye," she says, with a flickering of fingers that dismisses the woman.

Jessica reaches for a flask she'd acquired and takes a belt, then offers it to Gwen. "Why is it everyone in this room wants to feed you pie?" she asks, puzzled.

Mary Jane doesn't leave Gwen's side, and looks completely unsurprised that Peter wasn't at the wake. She sighs a bit, chalking that up to the idiot boy being filled with shame at being so late. She gives Jessica a warm smile as Jess helps fend off the more obnoxious greeters, taking some food and punch for herself as well. Then she looks at Gwen, "What do you need?" She then lowers her voice so Mrs. Galverson doesn't hear her ask, "Aside from a cannon to shoot that fruitcake out of?"

After a time, Kwabena makes his way to the wake. When he finds where Gwen is, he's carrying a simple glass of bourbon, neat. He doesn't, however, interfere with the cop's daughter. Not yet, at least. Instead, he looks for a moment when Gwen's would be caretaker isn't summarily distracted.

"Ahscuse me," murmurs the accented Ghanaian, looking to gather Jessica's attention. "I know dis isn't de best place fah such thing, but." He glances about a bit, then looks back to Jessica. "I think I may have a way to find de Captain's killah."

Cassie Lang makes her way into the hall, feeling completely out of place. Cassie's step-dad had to work and her mom was never good at these things, so it fell onto Cassie to represent the family. She looks around, spotting Gwen and an entourage, and decidedly stays away for the time being. She's wearing a black A-frame dress with white gloves and a broad white headband holding her hair back. In her hands is an envelope holding a sympathy card or spiritual bouquet or whatever you bring to something like this. SHe walks over to a table where there seems to be other such packages gathered and adds hers to the pile, this one signed by Officer Burdick and family (including Cassie). She nods and smiles to a few of the officers that she recognizes from the precinct and looks for a way to blend into the woodwork for now. She heads over to the punch bowl, possibly losing height as she gets over to it.

Stephanie made her way more slowly to the VFW. She didn't have a car, so had to bum a ride with one of their other classmates who had gone to the funeral. It takes her a bit longer, and she walks in to hear Kwabena making this statement to Gwen. She creeps closer in order to hear what the man has to say, with the obvious excuse that she wants to offer support to Gwen if somebody asks her what she's doing.

"Or a catapult," Jessica says cheerily— and she doesn't bother to lower her voice. "I've eaten softer tree bark," she says, tossing the fruitcake lazily onto a counter.

The other woman HARRUMPHS and stalks away, joining the growing crowd of people who have decided they hate Jessica Drew. The raven-haired woman looks entirely unconcerned, but when Kwabena steps up, she gives him a flat, analytical look— then nods. "Hmm. Okay," she says. Why not? He's a shifty sort of fellow and clearly wouldn't have come here without something in hand. She crooks a finger at Kwabena to follow her and walks a few steps towards the punch bowl, putting her in proximity to Cassie Lang. The other girl gets a flashing smile, and Jessica scoops the three of them a glass.

"Perhaps we should compare notes," she tells him, her accent lilting with an indiscedrnably sourced humor. "What have you found?"

Gwen looks to MJ. "I feel like I'm husked out, MJ. Like you could just sneeze and blow me off the couch and out the door. At the same time, I feel all this…anger. This coward who did this to us. I think if I had my drum kit in front of me, I'd just bang away until it was in pieces." She sighs. "I want to say so much, but I don't know if anyone would hear…"

Without preamble, Kwabena follows Jessica to the punch bowl. He waits for a moment, before murmuring his answer. "Carl. Italian. Criminal. He was dere, tried to take cab and myself hostage, probably as getaway vehicle." He pauses, and looks to Jessica pointedly. "Did not let him. But, he may know de man who shot de Captain."

MJ looks over at Gwen, "Was gonna ask if you still played… I still have my guitar. Still doing singing lessons at the university too. Even though Dad wants me to be an engineer." She smiles a little, "Maybe… we should get together and jam? Just release some frustration, yeah?" Because that sounds like a good idea to Mary Jane, as she's got her own stress that she needs to express.

Cassie Lang nods and smiles to Jessica and takes the offered glass of punch. However, it sounds like Jess and Kwabena have business to discuss, so she stays out of it, walking out of ear shot. It's about now she makes her way over to Gwen. Remembering how she'd failed to make the young woman feel better previously, Cassie decides that it might just be best to speak as little as possible. She smiles and nods to Mary Jane before turning to Gwen. "Hey Gwen. I'm sorry I missed the funeral. Blake had to be at work and I couldn't get the car. He dropped me off on the way." After her little preamble, she backs away a bit. She feels her dress getting looser again, then clears her throat nervously. She looks to Mary Jane, whom she hadn't met. "Hi. I'm Cassie Lang." She says, trying to gather the courage to be here.

"Carl," Jessica says, drawing the name out a little. Her eyes flash cold despite a little smile at the corner of her mouth. Despite her striking appearance, there's a killer in this woman's heart; the violence she imagines visiting on him is pretty clear.

"Tell me more about Carl. I— he's alive, for the moment?" she asks Kwabena, blithely ignoring the fact they're having this covnersation with cops less than five yards away.

Gwen smiles to Cassie. She'd always been welcome at the Stacy home, and her dad would have a good word for Cassie's step-father. "Nice to see your friend traded up," he'd always say. Always. Never got annoying, though.
"Hey, Cassie…look, I'm just glad to see you here. I was practically spraying tears like a firehouse. I thought I'd have to set my sights lower and become a firefighter."
Because firefighters are jackasses.
"Anyway, sit down…take a load off. MJ and I were talking about music. She can play guitar, I can play drums…and we felt we have a lot to say. We were thinking of trying to make…a band, even."

"Alive and well," Kwabena answers, "as fah as I know." He reaches for a cup, fills it partly with punch, then dumps the rest of his bourbon into said plastic cup. "I don't know who pulled de triggah, but I could find out."

There is something similar in Kwabena's silvery-eyed expression; a subdued sort of violence. Vengeance. Controlled and calculated. He lifts the drink to sip from it. "Give me 48 hoahs, and I can find him."

He sips from the drink, then reaches into a pocket and produces a simple business card. AAA Taxi. The card is offered to Jessica, and he leans over to murmur another simple message. "Ask for car 162."

Mary Jane smiles at Cassie, "Hi, I'm Mary Jane Watson. But everyone calls me MJ." She places a hand on Cassie's shoulder if she's allowed, and nods, "Hey, yeah, stay with us here. Um, do you play anything? Because if we do a band… we need more than a guitar and drums." She gives Gwen a curious look, as if silently asking if she's serious about this.

Cassie Lang takes a seat nearby, nodding to Gwen and MJ. "That sounds pretty rad. I… I'm not musically inclined, sorry.. And you don't need me standing up there playing a tambourine." She smiles, "But it sounds like a great idea. Get out everything you want to say."

Jessica picks up the card from Kwabena's fingers, flicking it over dextrously; her nails are painted, but cut short for a woman of her otherwise refined appearance. She nods and tucks the card down the front of her dress.

"Two days," she says, nodding at Kwabena. "I'll call you on Monday." She hesitates. "I think don't share this with Gwen. Not yet," she advises him. "False hope is a dangerous toy to put into the cart with grief," she suggests.

"And, I don't think it needs to be said how much you'll regret your life if it comes out that you're playing a game here," she tells Kwabena. She smiles floridly at him and with a swish of her raven hair, pivots back to Gwen, leaving Kwabena in the wake of her odd perfume. She catches the tail end of the conversation and favors the three younger women with a bright smile. "What're we discussing, ladies?"

At Jessica's words, Kwabena briefly glances toward Gwen. "I agree," he says. The last thing that girl needs is that kind of drama.

However, at Jessica's last words, he can't help but grin. Such paranoia is good; it will keep them on their toes. He offers no response, instead choosing to follow in Jessica's wake. There is a moment where he wonders why; something odd in the air, perhaps.

Kwabena steps up behind Jessica then, and offers Gwen a slightly awkward smile. He doesn't introduce himself, not just yet.

Gwen smiles to Cassie, then looks up to Jessica, taking a quick gulp. "As it turns out, we're talking about the possibility of putting some kind of garage band together. Me on drums, MJ on lead guitar. She has a great singing voice, too." She looks to Jessica and Kwabena, then ohs and stands quickly. "Uhm…Jess, this is MJ, and this is Cassie. MJ, Cassie, I'd like you to meet Jessica. She's someone I met while out on the town."
Technically, not a lie.

Mary Jane blinks at Jessica, and smiles, "Yeah, we met at… the cathedral. Hi again Jessica." She pauses, and gives Jessica a wry expression, "Don't suppose you know how to play bass?" Her lips quirk a bit at that.

Cassie Lang smiles as she sits, trying her best to keep her composure and, you know, not look like a 12 year old. "Hey Jes." She says to Jess and a nod to Kwabena behind her. She turns to Gwen and MJ. "Now, you mean girls actually playing music? That'd knock their socks off. Right now it's all about The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It seems that the best girls can do about now is be up there with The Supremes." She shrugs, having not much else to say about music.

"I can play the viola," Jessica says, shaking her head at the question. "But not well enough to be in a band— I played only for fun with the Romani," she says. "Folk music is not terribly popular outside of the very small towns."

She flashes a smile at Cassie, but statusque as she is, probably doesn't do a whole lot with Cassie's self-consciousness.

"I am glad you were here for Gwen, MJ," Jess says, offering the redhead a squeeze of the hand. "I can tell you're a good friend."

Kwabena meets Cassie's nod, and offers one in return. "Hello," the Ghanaian says, and reaches forth to offer a free hand in greeting. "I am Kwabena." He nods his head in earnest, before turning his attention toward Gwen.

"Hello," he tells her. "I am Kwabena. Yah fathah and I…." Here he pauses, trying to determine the right words to use. English is not his first language, which only serves to make it that much more challenging. "We knew each oddah," he tells her. "He was good man."

Gwen smiles to Kwabena. "Thank you. We've never met but Dad didn't tell me everything about his work. I was…" She chuckles softly. "I was thinking of maybe following in his footsteps. But I also want to be…a voice. Or contributing to a voice. And not being like some kind of popular music band." She looks to MJ. "We'll have to find our voice. But we have something to say." She looks to Jessica and Kwabena. "Grab some food, you two. Anyone gives you any problem, you tell 'em George Stacy invited you and they'll back off."

MJ grins over at Gwen, "You bet we do. We're going to need to practice, a lot. And then we can figure out how we want to say it, because we know what we want to say." She glances over to Kwabena and gives the man a nod, "It's nice to meet you."

Cassie Lang takes Kwabena's hand and shakes it gently. She stands up. "It's nice to meet you all. I should get going. Gwen, MJ, if you want someone to listen while you practice, let me know. I'd love to hear you." She smiles and nods to Jess and Kwabena. "Have a good one."

To Gwen, Kwabena smiles. He doesn't expound on his friendship with her father, because to him, nothing more needs to be said. However, at the offer of food, he shakes his head. "Thank you, but, I ate befah I came. Besides, stomach does not always agree with American food."

That being said, the African finds that his work here is done. He's a great deal to think about, but he'd rather not do it around so many police officers. As such, he looks to those gathered with a friendly smile, saying, "I will step outside now, for a cigarette. Nice to meet you, everybody."

When he turns, however, he gives Jessica a knowing look. He's a man of loyalty after all, and if he's able to hunt down Stacy's killer, help or no… he will.

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