2012-04-19: In Which A Robot Is Lectured On Fashion

Players: Cale and Echo

Cale_icon.jpg Echo_icon.jpg

Summary: Cale is accosted again by Echo, who asks for some help with buying clothing. 'Ask' being loosely interpreted here.

Date: April 19, 2012

Log Title: In which a robot is lectured on fashion.

Rating: PG-13

Westchester - Salem Center Mall

On the far end of the Food Court lays the long, wide hallway of the Mall. Oversized skylights let the sunlight pour in during the day, while the florescent bulbs light the Mall at night. This hall has a number of kiosks, selling anything from cheap jewelry to car stickers to on-the-spot portraits, along with them come a number of benches and let's not forget the store fronts calling out to the consumers with their bright lights and attention-drawing displays.

Players: Cale (IC), Echo (IC)

[B]ook [S]tore [D]epartment [S]tore

[E]lectronics [S]tore [F]ood [C]ourt

[G]irls' [C]lothes [M]usic [S]tore

[R]ebellious Teen [S]tore [R]estrooms and [W]ater Fountains

It's a little bit after the small confrontation at the Grindstone, and Cale has moved on - feeling very adventerous (for himself) he has decided to explore the area around the school a little, eventually ending up at the mall - someplace he normally doesn't especially like to be. Today he seems to be okay with it though, pausing outside various stores to look at things after he comes out of the electronics store, having bought some odds and ends that he probably accidentally left at home before moving to Xavier's.

Pumpkin Jack's words recorded and replaying in her head, Echo is trying to heed them. "For God's sake, get yourself some new clothes," she repeats verbatim, softly but still aloud. Like a nervous tic, her fingers explore the bullet hole in her jacket and the shirt underneath. Synthetic polymer flesh has already closed over the entry wound, a paler smudge. The woman stands, stock still, in the middle of the floor outside a store catering to the more teenage counter-culture fashions, eyes flicking over the display of band t-shirts and almost, but not quite, fetish-wear. She glances down the row of stores to the more sedate stylings of the local department store, but makes no move to enter either one.

'Her again?' thinks Cale as he peers down the way at her - he'd been heading in that direction /anyway,/ so he does end up rather close to her as they're in front of the same store. The store sells all types, after all… Most of it would probably be too outrageous for him to wear, but with his long hair he doesn't exactly look like he cares about looking 'normal' persay.

"You," the woman says suddenly, addressing Cale even before her head turns to look at him directly. "We've met. Assist me." Without even waiting for a reply, Echo points first to the teen fashion boutique and then to the department store. "Tell me what I should buy. What would be appropriate." Her current fashion leans heavily toward 'black' and 'military surplus', if that's a look one can affect.

"Me?" Cale squeaks, looking over at the woman. "I. Um. What?" the boy stammers, face turning a deep red. "Appropriate? For what would you wanna do? I mean," he pauses, "Why are you asking me anyway? Would would I know about that?" he eyes her clothing for a moment though, thinking.

"I don't know anything about fashion," Echo says unabashedly to the long-haired teen. If her current outfit is any indication, she really doesn't. All black with combat boots? She might be on a SWAT team, or a terrorist. "Therefore you know more than I do. Tell me what I'm supposed to wear so I look normal." Her grey eyes rove up and down Cale's outfit, showing neither approval nor disdain. "It should be functional," she adds helpfully. "But inconspicuous. Which of these designs is the most popular?" Echo's head nods at the display of t-shirts, mostly depictions of rap artists or the ridiculously overblown logos of metal bands.

"Well…" Cale trails off, "This one's popular. But, this stuff is all pretty stand-out," he folds his arms across his chest, trying to keep his voice from wavering. This lady is scary! Scary. "But the normal clothes are all over there," he juts his thumb towards the department store. "I mean. Unless…" he trails off. "Just buy some jeans or something."

Echo's steely grey eyes follow Cale's indications of the shirts then to the department store, nodding not in approval but merely that she understands what he's telling her. "Good," she says at last, expression softening to a slight smile, the first show of un-scariness thus far. "Come with me in case I need you again." Despite the smile, it is not a request. She leaves the teen fashion store behind and starts off in the direction of the department store.

"Um, I don't know, I mean, I guess, okay," Cale nods, following after Echo reluctantly. He buries his hands in the pockets of his hoody, still very nervous and embarassed by this whole thing.

Not twenty feet into the women's section of the department store, Echo pull a pair of blue jeans from a rack and, without even glancing at the price tag, tosses them casually toward Cale. "Are these good?" she asks even as she's moving on to the next rack, a circular display of short sleeved, floral-print blouses. "And this." It is similarly tossed to the teenager. "And this," precedes a plain, teal-colored fitted t-shirt. "What are spring fashions? Do I need to replace all my clothing quarterly?"

Cale catches them, face burning red again, "I guess they're okay, but how do you know if they fit? Also, those boots won't go with these jeans at all. You're going to need new shoes," he rubs the back of his neck nervously. "N-no. You don't. It's fine. It's just they bring out new stuff every year. As long as your clothes weren't part of some dumb fad to begin with. Jeans don't really go out of style though." He holds them up. "You should try them on," he suggests quietly.

"Try them on?" Echo stops, hand still outstretched to the next rack. "Of course," she says, like it's obvious in hindsight. She pauses to shift something inside her black coat, from one pocket to another, before simply shrugging the jacket off. It hits the ground with a dull, heavy thump. Underneath she has on a powder blue tank-top shirt and a curious arrangement of black nylon straps, one over the top of each should and crossing at her upper back like a figure eight. Just below her left armpit is a brown leather holster, either for a gun or a very peculiarly shaped cellphone. It obviously, and thankfully, empty at the moment. She holds out a hand for the clothes in Cale's arms, undoing the holster's straps and grabbing her tanktop at the bottom. Apparently to pull it off. Right here. In the middle of the floor. "I'll try them on now."

"NoNONO! Jeez! It's like you're a little kid or something!" Cale waves his hands, "Don't do that! Being naked in public is /bad./" he hisses, glancing towards the nearby checkout desk where the attendant has a raised eyebrow, but looks rather apathetic about the whole thing. "C'mon. We'll go to the fitting rooms," he points at a big sign on the wall. Huff.

Pausing with her undershirt raised high enough to see the indent of her belly button and the bottom of her rib cage, Echo frowns. "If you insist," she agrees, tugging the shirt back down and picking up her fallen holster and jacket. Without the bulky black coat, her arms show fine muscle tone, like a swimmer or a rock climber, marred by a few thin pale lines here and there. Almost grudgingly, she follows Cale to the fitting rooms. "You're more helpful than most people I've met," she tells him as a kind of off-handed compliment, looking suspiciously at the changing booth like she's not going to do anything until she's told what's expected of her. "What's your name?"

"My name?" Cale folds both arms across his chest defensively, maybe even defiantly, until his eyes wander to that gun holster. Why would she be wearing that if she didn't have it on her somewhere? "It's um, Cale," he relents finally, rubbing one arm with the other nervously. "Look, just go in there, and change, okay?"

And so she does, closing the little wooden divider and fixing the latch with a click. "My name is Echo," she says from the other side, the tanktop flipping up to rest on top of the door. Clomping footsteps, snaps, and zippers make a brief symphony of dressing efficiency. "I appreciate your help, Cale." After a moment, the door unlatches and she steps out, looking remarkably good and well-adjusted in the jeans and flower-patterned shirt. Her boots are off, revealing the weak link, a pair of socks so dirty they're now an almost uniform shade of khaki, save the ankle high stains of deeper brown with black flecks, muddy water left to simply dry on its own inside her boots. "Is this…" she asks, turning slightly to see herself from behind in the floor length mirror. "Acceptable?"

"Oh my god. Are you serious? What the eff happened to your feet? I don't wanna even see that," Cale shakes his head, "Other than that, it's okay. They seem to fit. I guess you knew what size you are pretty well," he rubs his temple a little. "Now you need shoes. And new socks. Yuck. It's like, I mean. Yuck! How did you even let it get that bad? Ugh. Your feet can get infected, you know?" he frowns. Everything seems wrong about this. "What's your deal, anyway? A woman your age should know better than that."

Echo lifts one stockinged foot to inspect it, then the other, casually brushing away a fragment of a dead, rotted leaf from one ankle. "They're dirty," she says plainly, not appearing to see the problem here. "I've been wearing them for some time." At Cale's final question, her eyes narrow slightly and it takes a few seconds before she answers him. "I'm new here," Echo states bluntly, an understated edge to her tone.

"Of course they're dirty!" Cale observes hopelessly, "Wearing dirty clothes is bad! Your feet will get infected, and then eventually fall off. Do you want that? Do you want to have NO FEET?" he rolls his eyes, "Normal people do not wear dirty clothes! That is not a normal thing to be doing! And it's gross. And they stink! Can't you smell that? Ugh. Here," he wanders off for a moment, "Take them off, and put them in here. The boots, too. We'll go find some shoes later," he says when he comes back with a plastic shopping bag. "And And. AND. And you're buying me something for putting up with this." He folds his arms across his chest, striking a tone much like when he would argue with his sister. "I don't care if you DO have a gun, you can't shoot me in here on camera. And you OBVIOUSLY need my help."

Echo endures the brief lecture on cleanliness passively, thankfully for Cale not getting irritated at it. During his brief absence to find a shopping bag, she lifts one of her boots and inhales through her nose, shaking her head a little. No, of course she can't smell that. Dutifully dropping them in the bag and prying off her horrid socks to do the same, Echo wiggles her toes a little. "Payment for services rendered," she agrees, nodding at the teen's demand for compensation. For a moment, her eyes wander upwards to the smoked glass domes behind which security cameras lurk. Echo looks pensive about it, but finally her gaze drops back to Cale. "Pick out something you want. I'll pay for it when we're done." Reaching into her old, dirty black pants, she transfers a rubber band wrapped cylinder of bills. Quite thick, and if the outer twenty dollar bill is any indication of the rest, probably almost a thousand dollars in total.

Cale's eyes bug out at the huge wad of cash, and by then he is sure that he's made a pretty huge mistake. This person is DEFINITELY some sort of criminal, or alien, or criminal alien and they are DEFINITELY insane. "Oh, um, okay," he blinks as his request is acquiesed to without so much as a small argument. Blowing a few strands of hair out of his eyes with a huff, he looks around the store, unsure of what to actually DO. He wanders around, looking over various things; it does not seem to matter to him that they are in the women's section. He looks at some items of clothing, but seems to chicken out. Eventually, he happens upon a selection of hats and seems to settle on a brightly colored knit beany with cat-ears and an embroidered cat-face. Yes. THIS. He furtively tries it on, tugging at it this way and that in the mirrow. "Okay. We're good." He takes it back off again, wandering back over to Echo after a few minutes of this.

In the downtime, the odd woman has selected a few more items, though amazingly nothing that is terribly mismatched. Two more pairs of jeans in slightly different cuts and shades of blue, another shirt, a jacket, and a zippered hooded sweatshirt with the word 'GOSPEL' and a pair of cartoonish feathered wings and a halo silk-screened on the back for some reason. A plastic package of plain white crew socks is tucked under her arm. The remainder of her soiled clothes are in the bag. Echo eyes the feline beanie skeptically for a moment but merely says, "If that's what you want, give it to me. I need shoes, and then you can go." Eyes averted for a moment, she manages to say "Thank you," though it's a bit like pulling teeth.

Cale hands the hat over, motioning towards the shoes, "Maybe," he murmurs, "You're welcome. I, erm. I think." He smiles faintly at that. As the two make it over to the shoes, he offers, "Tennis shoes are probably the best. Everyone wears those. Those combat boots stood out like a sore thumb. Oh and socks. You'll need socks," he adds, snatching some that look about the right size off of the end of a shelf and tossing them at Echo.

Echo casually rips open the package of socks and slips on a pair before sitting and attempting to pull one of the tennis shoes on. She is… unsuccessful. Growing visibly frustrated, she pulls on the shoe harder before finally giving up and fishing around inside it, discarding a wad of tissue paper. "I'm assuming that wasn't supposed to be there," she comments lightly. Plain black Adidas sneakers with three white stripes on the sides prove non-descript but functional as she tests them out briefly, tapping toe and heel on the floor to check their fit. "They don't offer much in the way of protection, but they seem sturdy enough." Drawing on the jacket, black and made of some thin synthetic leather, she straightens its collar. "How do I look?" All things considered… normal.

"Well they are /tennis shoes./ They're just for running around in and stuff, not combat," Cale pauses, appraising the shoes. "They look okay. I kind of wish I had a pair like that, actually." He compares them to his sandals, "More protection than these, anyways," he laughs, wiggling his bare toes. "Just remember to change your socks."

"Open-toed shoes don't seem very effective, no," Echo agrees, but doesn't go out of her way to offer to *buy* Cale a pair or anything. Carrying the bundle of clothes (plus one kitty hat) to the counter, she eyes the teen for a moment while it's all being tallied up. "You are one of only eight genuinely helpful people I've met so far." After its price tag is scanned, the android holds out the cat-eared beanie to him, a smile on her face that actually reaches all the way up to her eyes. Never mind the fact that she basically abducted him for her own purposes, she still looks genuinely pleased.

Cale takes the hat, perching it upon his head. "Eight?" he boy asks, tugging the hat down happily over his ears. He blushes slightly. "I don't know. You are not too bad. But you are pretty scary! I think if you just asked nicely, and smiled and stuff, you wouldn't have to threaten people." Eventually he sighs, taking the hat off and sticking it in the bag with his recently purchased electronic odds and ends, mostly cables. It is clear he likes it a lot, but that he's embarassed about being seen wearing it. "Though I'm pretty shy, so, I probably would have just ran off if you did that…"

Pulling tags from the items she's already wearing, Echo's final bill is totaled up. For such a brief trip, it's still rather high. "Being feared is occasionally useful." Echo carefully counts out bills, much to the saleslady's surprise, paying almost four hundred dollars in cash. Surreptitiously, the clerk marks each bill with a small detector pen and looks vaguely disappointed that they're all apparently real. "Intimidation can be used to avoid unnecessary conflicts. If the other side's too afraid to engage you, you win by default." Her mouth twists wryly, like she's loathe to admit it, but adds, "But you have a point."

"But. But wouldn't you rather have /friends?/ Life isn't just some sort of conflict that you have to win. In fact there's no winning at life. Everyone dies, in the end," Cale scratches his head, seeming confused by her viewpoint. Which would make perfect sense IF he knew that she was actually some sort of killer robot. But he doesn't know that.

Dirty clothes in one bag and clean, new clothes in another, Echo pauses to regard Cale for a moment. "Yes," says the android candidly. "I *would* prefer it that way." Her face slackens, something about its neutrality seeming melancholy if only because she was smiling just a moment ago. "But you don't always get what you want." She lifts the bag of purchases slightly in the teen's direction. "Thank you for your help. You can go now."

"Fiine~" Cale murmurs, giving Echo a wave. "I'll see you around, then. But don't hold me up next time! Then maybe we could just, you know, talk or something," he laughs, heading off in the direction of the exit, and home.

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