ArchivedLogs:Cupcakes and Crowds
|Cupcakes and Crowds|
<< Did you want to bring out food or to make the news, Taylor? >>
<XS> Front Gate
Situated along the long sweep of Greymalkin Lane, offset from the quiet hamlet of Salem Center, the Xavier Institute is a prestigious boarding school for young minds. Set on more than forty acres of carefully cultivated land, the mansion is not visible from the road. What can be seen are the rolling hills, forested grounds, and the sparkling blue of the large clear lake. The drive is gated, a small brick enclosure housing the security guard on duty to ID and vet visitors to the school.
It's mid-afternoon, and a truly gorgeous summer day as most of this week has been. Sunny and clear and not too hot. Which, alas, makes for /perfect/ protesting weather; the scheduled event outside the school gates has proven a wild success, with quite an enormous crowd gathered. There's the usual assortment of sign-waving and chanting -- some posters have slogans, some have photographs of people killed by mutants. A considerable police presence in addition to the gaggle of reporters jockeying for closest position to the property.
Humming through the trees and around the grounds, there's a veritable swarm of tiny bug-drones -- first employed for school perimeter security during the zombie plague but just as useful now, with intermittent attempts by some groups of protesters to push forward and continue past the chains and posts set up to mark the school property and onto the grounds.
Shane has been out here quite a while, already. He's not come dressed for a fight -- he's in crisp pinstriped vest, neat button-down, bowtie, grey slacks and polished saddle shoes. His smile (toothy as ever) is firmly in place as he sits on the chain border-marker, engaged in what might politely be termed conversation with a group of protesters. "-- would you really prefer if mutant kids had nowhere to go to learn to control their abilities? That won't result in /fewer/ accidents, you kno--"
"You /say/ learn to control," one of the people is saying back, far more worked up than Shane seems with wide gesticulation and an agitated tone, "but you won't let us onto the grounds to /see/? How do we know that's all that's going on there? That this isn't some kind of -- of /training/ camp. When you have violent /criminals/ like that /Holland/ on your staff?"
Shane's expression hasn't gotten any less calm, but there's a distinct overtone of << Jesus fucking Christ shut the fuck up. >> in his mind that only flares louder at the mention of his dad's name.
Though a telepath, Jean Grey doesn't necessarily need to be one when it comes to knowing what Shane is thinking. One simply needs to know him. She is standing a little further in the back, watching over the whole scene quietly, hands stuffed elegantly in her pockets. Once she hears Jax's name come up, she turns her head to study the teen, a moment later, taking a few steps over to his side. She puts on a bright smile and rests a gentle hand on Shane's shoulder before speaking. "This is still the home of many of our students and while we understand your desires and curiosity to know what goes on in our boarding school, we need to be mindful that these are minors. We do not wish to put them on display and I hope you can understand that."
To those with any familiarity at all with the Tessiers, Matt looks distinctly as though he had let Lucien dress him this morning. His short brown hair looks ever so slightly touseled, but just so. The pale green of his poplin shirt brings out the green of his eyes without matching it, and though neatly pressed its looser cut does not look overly professional for the occasion even when paired with tasteful gray linen trousers. He had dropped back to the impromptu refreshments table someone set up on the inside of the gate, and now returns to the front lines with his silver Zojirushi thermos refilled. His gaze passes over the crowd, lingering here and there, not always on the loudest and most belligerent-sounding protesters. << I'm estimating about fifty more since the top of the hour, though I'm sure the drones can tell better, >> he thinks, in the casual manner of someone long accustomed to communicating mentally with people. "I added ice and lemonade to it," he explains, offering the thermos to Shane when he comes to join him and Jean; it had previously contained only strong, cold-brewed Sun Moon Lake tea. To the doubter he adds, "More information on our curriculum will be forthcoming, and we hope that will answer many of your questions while also keeping the school itself as safer space for our students."
Lemonade there may be but the refreshments table is running low on things that are actually /food/. At least, that's Taylor's excuse and he's sticking to it. The many-limbed teen is slipping up to the front through the trees, his arms laden with containers. A cupcake carrier hanging from one limb, a large Tupperware of black bean and corn salad in another, covered plates of roast beef or tempeh-lettuce-tomato sandwiches in two others. He isn't really dressed particularly Spiffy. Just jean shorts and a very modified blue henley shirt from which several of his limbs protrude through many extra arm holes. He sets his plates down on the table, unlatching the covers on the various foods. Sneaking out a trio of donuts and one of the roast beef sandwiches. Sidling over to the chain barrier to hold up cupcakes -- One to Matt, one to Jean, one towards the protesters. "Cupcakes, anyone? They're stuffed with mousse. They're /amazing/."
Shane takes a deep breath -- and doesn't engage further, allowing the other two to answer the protesters now. There's one quick flutter of his gills as he reaches up for Matt's thermos, gulping down a long thirsty swallow -- he's even faster to reach and snag the roastbeast sandwich from Taylor. << I see you brought the party. >> He's not talking about the cupcakes, but the sudden -- aghast -- /horrified/ -- stares Taylor is getting from outside the gates. Some of the stares are pleased, though: they came here to see freaks! Aside from Shane (who is /totally/ acceptably Freak) there has been a sad lack of Freaks. Lots of cameras are clicking.
The protesters in front of them back away with a /quickness/ from the outstretches cupcake. "Whatthefuck," one of them doesn't /mean/ to blurt, but does anyway. << Get it back get it back. >> And another, sort of a cross between appalled and hopeful: "/You're/ a student here?" << Not a costume that's not a costume. >>
"Thank you," Jean replies cordially, taking the cupcake with a smile over her shoulder at the lone student at the fence line. "I think a treat would be nice right now." She briefly imagines intentionally eating the cupcake like an actress from a commercial, women laughing with salads, but opts to just drag her finger through the icing before sticking that finger in her mouth. << Did you want to bring out food or to make the news, Taylor? >> She keeps a pleasant look on her face before glancing over at Matt.
"Oh boy, cupcakes!" If Matt had courted any risk of coming off too professional before, Taylor's arrival has roped him safely back into the realm of his wonted boyish cheer. He make (quite unnecessary) grabby-hands at the proffered cupcake before snagging it from the outstretched tentacle. "Thank you *so* much." Not even pretending at dainty, he just bites into his treat. "Mmm..." He nods his approval. "Should have eaten more breakfast than I did. These are Jax's, right?"
<< This is an either/or? I can't pick one from both columns? /Maybe/ I was just worried for all of your health. >> Taylor's answer to Jean sounds amused in mental space, but underneath it there's no real sense of desire for /publicity/ so much as a strong curiosity and restlessness. "I'm a student. And you're really missing out, the cupcakes are fantastic." He snakes his arm back inward with the last cupcake when it goes unsurprisingly unclaimed, licking ganache off the top. "Totally Jax's. About seventeen million times better than if they were /mine/. I'm just the --" He pauses here for a second; a ripple of mental laughter brushes up against Shane's mind before he finishes. "... courier."
Shane turns his head slightly, tipping a grin back towards Taylor. "I'm not paying you," he cautions.
The group of protesters he /had/ been dealing with has fled back into the safety of the crowd. The roil of horror-disgust-/fascination/ is continuing, though, loudly audible in many of the assembly's minds. It isn't long before another intrepid duo is coming closer. Fairly young, they look of an age to be /attending/ Xavier's themselves. "Oh my god," the taller of the pair is saying. "Is /that/ what you're really doing in there? /Porn/?"
Shane's lack of pupils make it hard to see the roll of his eyes. Easy to feel it, though. "You're the first person to ever suggest that to him," he replies, lightly. "But no, it's just high school. If you go to our website you can get a fairly comprehensive picture of the kinds of extracurriculars we /do/ offer."
Jean's expression is less sarcastic and a fair bit more disappointed. Years of teaching have honed that expression to perfection over the years. She inhales deeply and renews her smile, giving a little head shake, ignoring the comment as Shane has answered it as well as can be expected. "You're going to be bouncing quite a bit if all you're going to fill up on is sweets," she gives Matt a warm smile, her attention drifting back to the table where more sandwiches lie. "If you have any real questions, please, feel free to ask them," she addresses the crowd, "but I assure you that we have met all state requirements for private schools for many years and will continue to do so in the future."
"I'm probably not setting the best example for healthy eating, but..." Matt gestures at his half-eaten cupcake, the mousse filling now exposed, as if he were an actor hired to promote it. "In fairness? Jax cupcakes." Because that's all the explanation necessary, obviously. << If you don't want to have to listen to their thoughts, Taylor, I can help you. >> He lifts one slender eyebrow at the boy over the edge of his cupcake,. << Unlike us, you're not being paid to deal with this. >>
<< Uh oh. These people will see you setting a poor example with your sugar habits, Matt, Think Of The Children. >> In the others' minds, Taylor's voice is still amused. Outwardly he only gives the other teenagers a smile. "Mostly just studying, really. Basketball when I'm really in the mood to get -- physical." << Oh, man, please. These people are terrible. >>
"They're /vegan/," Shane protests with a sharptoothed grin. "That means they're totally healthy, yeah? Just ask Whole Foods."
From somewhere back in the crowd, a rock comes -- hurled with fairly good aim towards Taylor's head. << How many more like that thing you think they're hiding in there? >> << Jesus Christ. >>
At nearly the same time, one man is approaching more hesitantly. There's fear in his mind, too, admittedly; a not-insignificant dose of revulsion as he tries Very Hard /not/ to stare at Taylor -- but some determination as well. "-- I have. A question, yes. What -- does it take to. Get a student /into/ this school?"
Jean flicks her eyes in the direction of the rock and it seems to also fall victim to her somber teacher's glare. It misses Taylor by quite a bit and falls harmlessly to the ground as if choosing to stop misbehaving and settle back to where it belongs.
"It's like a lot of other schools," she speaks as if nothing just happened. "One fills out an application and the school's board reviews it based on our capacity. We do like to interview the student with the parents in person if possible, otherwise by phone or using the internet will suffice. You can find the application on our website or I can provide a printed copy if you prefer."
Matt nods enthusiastically as he works his way through the (totally healthy!) cupcake. The stray chatter of the crowd in Taylor's mind fades to a soft sea of whispers, rapidly but quite smoothly all the same. << Don't want to rile them up any further, but maybe we should have some backup on stand-by, >> there's a faintly worried, sing-song quality to that thought, << you know. Just in case? >> "There's regular ultimate frisbee games, too."
Taylor catches his breath, flinching back with a small frown. It eases as the rock drops, as the voices ease off. "I should -- probably go. Back." For those on his side of the gate, a quick smile. << As much as the phone's been ringing off the hook, probably wouldn't hurt to add in a hope and a prayer to all that. >> He drapes a tentacle over Shane's shoulder, squeezes once. "I'll bring dinner later." But then he's turning to head back -- out of sight, before further riling-up happens.
Shane plucks a slice of beef out of his sandwich. "And horseback riding. Rock climbing. It's pretty sweet." He leans briefly into Taylor's squeeze, half-turning to offer the other teen a fistbump before he goes. His black eyes shift back to the rowdy crowd outside. << Dinner. Cannot come soon enough. >>