The sun sets at 5:17 PM tonight—the cabal probably has all this on a calendar, especially tonight of all nights. Jacob doesn’t wake up immediately—he definitely doesn’t go out during twilight if he can avoid it—so around a quarter to six he’s banging on America‘s bedroom door. “Helloooo,” He calls out. “What are you doing in there?” It actually doesn’t sound like sexual innuendo—he has no idea WHAT a Daughter of Ether gets up to in her Sanctum bedroom, considering it doesn’t even have to follow the laws of physics.
There’s commotion on the other side of the door. The clatter of something hollow and metal falling to the floor. This is followed by a muffled curse and then an exhasperated, “Coming!”.
America Anders opens the door to the the Etherite lair and looks up at Jacob, goggles still strapped to her face. “Hey Jacob, what’s up?” she asks, raising the goggles up to rest at her brow. Her long hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail and she’s abandoned her dress from earlier in exchange for jeans and a white tank top. “I’m just completing great works of Science! of course,” she muses and gives the vampire a grin.
The girl had been meaning to talk to Jacob after her talk with Davey [[:davey-darkefell | Davey Darkefell]]anyway. “I been working on some ideas about how to defend ourselves against the Prince if he comes knocking. Also – I need your blood.”
Jacob gives her a skeptical look as she comes to the door wear a pair of goggles. He’s certainly found himself saddled with some weird traveling companions. It’s not till she comes onto him, though, that he looks her up and down. “Wow. Not even any foreplay there.”
There’s a little crease of agitation in the vampire’s brow, and then it’s gone. “I wanted to talk to you, actually. We’re going shopping.”
America teasingly scoffs at the notion of flirtation and gives a little shrug, turning around and heading back into the workshop Sanctum towards her bedroom. “Twist my arm,” she replies in assent.
The girl enters her bedroom briefly to don a hoodie, zipping it up an grabbing her plum colored pleather jacket. She frowns a little, remembering how her sometimes Father, James remembered it being her favourite color. “We better hurry – shops won’t be open for long,” she says. With that, she follows Jacob on their adventure, likely via her purple car – Suzy.
“First off, it’s Friday,” Jacob says as if stating the obvious. “Second I don’t like daylight. Third… heh.” Oh America. Why would you think the shops being open matters at all? He stops, turning to inhale her suddenly. “You smell like blood. We should make a stop so I can eat.”
America’s brow raises and she just stares at Jacob. “Uh – what? Don’t we meat sacs smell like blood all the time? I sort of figured vampires just follow your nose to whichever human was nearby,” she asks with a fruit loops reference and genuine curiosity.
“It depends,” Jacob answers. “When you’re hungry and everything smells good and you really want a burger but you could actually eat raw meat, maybe, that’s what it’s like when you’re hungry, except now I can smell the blood pumping through your body. You seem alive.” He explains everything in a stream of consciousness monologue, not at all worried about creeping out a Matter mage.
“Let’s go get in my car.” That I have stolen for this express purpose—Jacob can’t drive a car for more than a few days without totaling it.
“Oh. Thanks?” America replies as a confused question. Was that a compliment about being vibrant or was the vampire comparing the Etherite to a fast food treat? “I definitely want to learn more about that. with ”/characters/alex" class=“wiki-content-link”>Alex blood bonded to a Tremere – will he feel sorta the same way towards the Prince? Like he’s alive or smells great?"
Regardless, America gives a shrug and the pair head off for adventure and bargains. “I didn’t even know you had a car,” she says, herself an avid car enthusiast.
“I have lots of cars,” Jacob responds, heading out the foyer and popping out of the trunk. “Cars that go vroom and cars that go put put. Red cars purple cars brown cars blue cars. Usually only one car at a time though.”
Jacob’s car today is a bronze town car he probably stole from some hapless chauffer. The best thing about it is it has a moonroof, so they can drive in style. Jacob gets in the driver’s seat. “Alex is just a little bit blood bonded. Why so interested?”
Just a little blood bonded? America chuckles and ponders the idea while she gets into the passenger seat. She doesn’t know when Will went from just a little to full blown blood addict but from the way the Virtual Adept Virtual Adepts talks about it, just a little is entirely too much.
America reaches back to remove the tie from her hair, unfurling its dark length with a tousle and a shake of her hands in the mane. “Wanna figure out a way to break it or twist it around so Tremere magick becomes Tremere trap,” she explains nonchalantly.
“Hmm. Weird,” Jacob comments. He twists around to look behind him, the picture of responsible concentration.
It quickly becomes apparent to America that Jacob doesn’t know how to drive. The jerky, exaggerated motions he makes are more suitable for someone playing bumper cars than someone at the helm of a potentially deadly weapon. He drives like someone with no fear of death—if he crashes, he can always just regenerate the damage. More than just not knowing how to drive, he seems phenomenally unsuited to driving, as if this were something that a few driving lessons are not going to fix.
“So where do you wanna go?” He shouts, rolling down the moonroof as they roll onto the highway, clipping a guardrail.
Okay – so the ride was not as expected. America Anders find herself instinctively tapping her foot at the floor where her break would surely be if she were driving. The girl grits her teeth an winces at the near misses with the occasional pedestrian or parked car. “Hun, you want me to drive?” she offers politely, holding back the stress from her voice.
“Let’s go anywhere! There! Right there!” she exclaims, pointing to the nearest available parking lot – off the side of a street full of independent shops.
Jacob politely ignores the offer to drive. He enjoys driving. Everything will be fine. No one has ever died from Jacob driving. No one who wasn’t already dead, anyway.
He reads America’s excitement as a truly fierce spirit to support independent business—or maybe as a sleeper corporate shill since they’re going to rob them?—and then turns off onto the parking lot. He clips a car coming into a parking space, using that trick where you pull into a space and then through so you don’t have to back out when you leave. Or maybe he’ll just take a different car, who cares. “So what do you need?” He asks, turning to look at her.
What does the girl need? Fresh air. America opens the side door with a creak and stumbles out of it. “Uh, well I’ve been a refugee for a awhile and it got cold suddenly. I guess boots, jacket, and stuff. What I really want is a dress to impress,” she explains honestly, thoughts drifting to ways to impress Eleanor Morris.
The young woman turns to look back at the parking job her vampire cohort completed. Well completed isn’t quite the word for it. She clucks her tongue and gives a little whistle. “You’re gonna need to show me your license and registration, sir” she jokes. "Come on, let’s check these shops out before they close.
“Hmm.” Jacob replies. His eyes slide over her. “Okay then.”
They didn’t pick the most expensive part of town for this. There are better stores, usually at real malls and not just outlets. But here will do. He picks out the most expensive department store in the lot, leading America in. “Jackets? Yackets Jackets?” The Etherite feels little phantom fingers tickling her ribs. “Come on, what do you want?”
America squirms and playfully swats Jacob away “Ha! Alright – I dunno let’s start with a real winter jacket,” she concedes, hugging her purple pleather coat to herself. It really was only scarcely appropriate in fall. Certainly not fit for the long winter ahead.
She leads him towards the largest of the shops on the strip. Some kind of whole sale clothier promising bargains. The door is pulled open and she enters, holding it open for Jacob.
There’s basically no one here. Probably for the best given the vampire’s eccentricity.
Jacob guides America from the bargain shop, enticing her to just “try something on.” He’s very hard to resist when he gets like this, and there’s something about him… coiled energy, potential energy waiting to spring. Excitement. Barely contained mischief and joy and civility. He smiles when she opens the door for him, bringing his hand up to cover his fangs—a little too wide there.
The young woman heads through the 3/4 section of the store that is devoted to women’s wear and finds the outer wear section. The jacket quality and prices are well beyond what a teenager living in the trunk of a car could afford. She pouts as she spies the price tag on a particularly luscious fur coat.
“Try it on,” He urges, gathering his power to himself. He pulls it off the rack, draping it over his companion.
America smiles and frowns all at once, shaking her head even as she slips the fur on. “This’ll never happen. I might as well be living in the basement being tormented by evil step sisters,” she jokes.
Still, the coat warms her and looks utterly fabulous. Decadent. Well, to a teenager. Really, she looks like a hooker.
The young woman gives smoldering looks and purses her lips toward the pillar that is essentially a full length mirror, doing a little turn again and again as she hugs the thick luxurious remains of what must have been several Lynx cats or minx or something. Is that Lynxeses and Minxeses? Whatever.
The jacket cuts off high at the waist, it may really be a bolero but America wouldn’t know the difference. She just knows it accentuates her curves and with the jacket away from her bum, she just looks hot to trot.
Jacob pulls back with a small approving smile. Undead or not, he’s still a teenager himself. “It’s a nice dream,” He tells her, “But if I’m buying, we better find some stuff a little cheaper if you want to get some accessories.” Moving around her, he pulls the jacket off, placing it neatly back on its hanger.
America still feels the warmth of the invisible jacket around her torso.
The Ravnos gives her a small wink, and even that is gone. The jacket has completely disappeared to her senses—but it surely must be there. He leans forward to whisper to her, “Stay in front of me and head to whatever you want next.” So that’s how they’re going to play this.
A look of apprehension spreads across the girl’s face. Will Harrison might disagree, but America Anders is a savvy person. she can tell when she’s part of a crime.
But she’s seen more than enough violence and horror recently that a little larceny hardly adds up. She flashes Jacob a grin and raises her brow in surprise, turning and trying to act normal as she leads her friend away from the mirror where he has no reflection and towards accessories. He thought of it, so why not.
America turns the display case full of earrings, then the one of sunglasses, and taps her nails on the larger display area filled with necklaces and rings. “I’ve never been much for jewelry,” she says honestly. “How bout you, Jacob?”
Oh Jacob’s pretty clever. Casting an illusion on a mirror, on top of an illusion of a plum coat, is not too much extra effort. But he has to see the mirror for it to work, so it’s best not to linger—a moment of inattention or distraction and that will slip.
He follows America, following his gaze toward the coat or an intervening mirror until they are well away. That illusionary coat will disappear once he stops looking, but as long as they’re not nearby no one will be paying attention. He takes a look at the display cases, pausing to pull out his wallet. In actuality it’s one of those devices to pop the anti-thievery device off America’s coat so it doesn’t go off when they go through the door, but she won’t notice it. “I like shiny things. But I get bored with them after a day or two.” Several are the expensive jewels he has stolen to leave them city benches or feed them to ducks. “Maybe some giant sunglasses though.” She does like goggles.
America couldn’t agree more. She does like goggles. She picks up a pair of big fabulous glasses and puts them on, turning to pose for Jacob. “How do I look darling,” she teases and gives a kiss to the air between them.
She pauses and watches Jacob from behind her sunglasses. Sometimes eyes unseen afford an opportunity to really inspect a person.
“Jacob,” she begins softly, “You know you’re an Avenger West Coast, right?” America’s comment is matter of fact but clearly she suspects the vampire may not actually know.
“Despite whatever’s gone on between Will and you, you’re on the team, far as I’m concerned.”
“Mahvelous,” He declares, smirking.
Jacob looks back at her. He can’t see his own face reflected in the glasses, and they’re too small a reflection to bother casting an illusion on. His expression is still and placid. “Heh. Avengers West Coast.” It’s the first time he’s heard the phrase, but he likes it. “Sometimes I am, but I think Will would prefer I wasn’t around. Alex too.”
“Oh Alex is a prude and Will-” she pauses and begins walking again. “Will’s got his reasons. But at the Old Man’s house you came even though you really didn’t need to. You’ve actually been there for the cabal longer than I have,” she says.
America takes the glasses off and taps them at Jacob’s chest. “You try them on,” she suggests. “I feel like an outsider sometimes too. I guess that’s sort of the point of the West Coasters in a way. But when the A team are flopping about in their own problems, we’re ready to do what needs doing.”
Jacob tries them on. They’re huge, if slightly less huge on his face. He doesn’t bother checking them out in a mirror—his tragedy is he can’t see how something looks without projecting an image from his mind. “I think we can get this,” He says, code that he’s not going to cast an illusion. Much, much harder to hide something than put a different kind of clothing illusion over it. He could turn them into other sunglasses but not make them disappear.
He doesn’t respond to America’s explanation, just letting it wash over him. “Boots? Pants?”
The girl gives a nod and grins. “Oh yea, totally need boots,” she agrees and sets off towards the footwear.
“So yeah – what needs doing, if you’re game, is some awesome Science! I’ve got in the works,” she sets in again after plopping herself down on a bench, slipping out of her worn sneakers and slipping into a knee high tan boot with a fur trim. “I have some ideas about how to keep the Avengers safe if the Prince decides to make trouble. You’re the only one who can help me learn more about your kind.” She looks up at Jacob and bites her lip.
“What do you have in mind?” Jacob asks. He stays out of the way of the little calf-high mirrors for reflecting shoes—there aren’t enough mirrors over here to be an issue for him.
Once America indicates the shoes she wants, he presses his hand down on her shoulder to keep her still. It’s a simple trick to make her look like she’s unlacing her shoes, placing them back on a shelf, and putting them away. In reality, Jacob slides the empty box back on the shelf and puts her empty tennis shoes inside his jacket pockets—he can be sure they won’t fall out this way—putting an illusion overtop of them as he finishes his illusion on her.
Now she’s wearing her tennis shoes again, for all the world to see. That’s two hidden items.
She stands up, smiling wide and then shakes her head. “Oh gosh, we’re going to be late for the movie!” she says loudly enough for anyone around to hear. “We’d better get going,” she continues and gives Jacob a wink.
America leads the way towards the exit. She doesn’t have much experience with shoplifting and to avoid the risk of feeling guilty she’s figures they ought to quit while ahead.
“I wanna take a sample of your blood. It’ll help me figure out what it is that makes bring all the boys to your yard,” she explains nonchalantly. “Also, what I really wanna know is what the heck it is about sunlight that is so dangerous. If I can figure out like what exactly it is that causes the trouble, I might be able to bottle it in case the Prince comes knocking.”
Then America looks at Jacob. “Or create a sunscreen or some form of protection for you against the sun.”
Jacob sighs. Amateurs. His practiced eye grabs another pair of shoes in her size—same size, same company, different style—that he thinks will suit her tastes. And they still have the sunglasses. “Keep in front,” He says to her.
They make their way up to pay. Jacob doesn’t really deal well with lines so he gives the woman in front of them heavy bladder sensations so that she’ll abdicate her place—it’s not a long line anyway. “Sorry, could you watch this?” She leaves her cart in front of the lineup. He almost starts on the next person, but then he thinks about what America said. “How are you going to do that?” He plucks out a pair of socks, waving it at her questioningly. They look like the kind of socks Jacob does wear—crazy patterns and animals. This whole line is full of cheap (for the store) impulse accessories.
America looks aghast. She shakes her head no, gently. “Oh I couldn’t,” she says. She blinks and returns to the topic at hand. “Well light and sound are different frequencies of Ether,” she begins. “It’s not straight forward though, its like a whole bunch of frequencies. You know, UV rays and infrared and stuff. Think about how white light breaks into rainbows on a rainy day. All that good stuff.”
The Etherite takes on a big smile as she talks their way through the slow pace of the line up. “But it isn’t light that bothers you. There are lights on now. No problem. Moon has light reflected from the sun. No problem,” she says, gesturing a checklist with her fingers.
“I wanna find out exactly what frequencies cause the aggravation. Then it’s just a matter of concentrating them, agitating Ether to generate that frequency. Or, what’s even better, creating a protection that blocks those frequencies. The perfect sunblock for you, right?!”
The jock slash dork has a huge smile on her face, bouncing a little in place looking up at Jacob for approval.
Jacob has this eyes glazing over look—until she mentions white light breaking into rainbows, and then it’s like everything becomes clear to him. The department store flickers dangerously with color at the edges. “Oooh. I know rainbows. I’ve seen them in the Radiance.” They really better hope there are no Technocrats around to hear this conversation.
Now it is time to pay. Jacob puts the shoes and sunglasses up, keeping his body angled so he has an easy view of America. The cashier rings up the total, and Jacob reaches into his pocket. An observant America will see a handful of flowers come out of his pocket. His fist closes over them and opens into a classy wallet, from which he produces a pair of crisp hundreds. He places two in the cashier’s hand. “Could I get change?” He asks.
Moments later he’s paid for his stolen goods and gotten some real money on top of it. That poor cashier will probably lose his job, but c’est la vie. Jacob ushers his fellow deviant out and back to the car.
The girl watches, brow raised as she is uncertain of whether or not that will work. When it does, her face remains in that shocked expression as she turns and heads out of the store, left to ponder what they’ve done. Ultimately it probably doesn’t matter if they stole from a store when a super secret government agency is already busting down the trunk door to make trouble for the cabal.
“So. Yeah. Rainbows. Well I’d wanna test it out and since I don’t figure the Prince is going to let me shine light on his hand until I figure out which frequency causes the – uh, trouble, I’ll need your help,” she explains quickly but then stops and looks to Jacob with a sheepish look.
America then looks around the dark parking lot and something occurs to her. “Wait – we’re just outside at night when a vampire Prince could swoop down and like I don’t even know,” she trails off in awe of her own ridiculous oversight.
“So you want to light me on fire?” Jacob sounds a little too flippant. “Mmm. Probably not. And I’m outside every night. All night. Sometimes in the morning. I own the night as much as he does. The Prince isn’t going to come after you himself just because you messed up. You’re not that important.” He heads to the car, pulling her shoes out of his jacket and tossing them in the backseat. He’s already lowering the moonroof before she’s even fully gotten in.
“I’m plenty important,” she mutters to herself, getting into the passenger seat. Obviously the young woman has forgotten how harrowing the journey was previously.
“Thanks so much Jacob. This was really fun!” she says appreciatively. With all that’s been going on recently, it felt good to cut loose a little and be a little bad rather than being chased by big bad. Or rejected by it James.
America turns to look up at the moon through the moon roof. “Oh and yeah – basically I want to figure out what part of the UV spectrum sets you on fire. I’d do it by shining different frequencies on your hand or something. When it hurts, you tell me and we’d have the right one,” she says honestly.
“You wanna help me do some Science?”
Jacob pulls out of the parking lot and onto the highway. Once they’re out, he drops the illusion, handing her her sunglasses and putting the mystery box of extra boots in her lap. She can rock out in her new jacket and boots and sunglasses (at night!) while hoping to survive this harrowing drive home! “Yeah!” He pumps his fist, before adding, “Wait. Only if you do it first.”
“Also I’m hungry. Let’s find some boys.”