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"This seems like an awful lot of work when I could just make my eufiber look exactly like what they're going to make," it wasn't quite a whine, but with her arms stuck out and half a dozen tailors and seamstresses flitting around her taking measurements and suggesting color and fabric choices to the older gentlemen sitting comfortably a few feet from her, Shae was starting to be bored with the novelty of genuine fitted clothing.

They'd been here over an hour and while her nova-based physiology was hardly being taxed by keeping her arms up for most of that time, she was getting restless with the constant coming and going and poking and prodding of the boutique's staff. Edward didn't like her eufiber, though, and with Thomas busy lately and Soari off visiting her family, Edward was the only member of her little family around and she wanted him to be happy. That and he'd been making such a big deal about how real clothes were so superior to the imitations made by eufiber that Shae had finally succumb to her curiosity. He wouldn't just let her go somewhere and buy off the rack, though. He'd looked more scandalized by that than he ever had by the eufiber. No, she had to be fitted (even though the clothes then wouldn't sit right on the other bodies she'd wear on occasion), and she had to be fitted somewhere 'reputable' (she hadn't been away that there were shady, underhanded, disrepuatable tailors out there, but then she was well away that there were large holes in her understanding of the world); all in all her offhand comment on being willing to try normal clothes had somehow turned into an entire event, complete with bad piped-in music and supporting cast of mostly faceless nobodies rushing around on mysterious errands.

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"What your can make your eufiber do, my dear, is still limited by your own experiences with clothing. So unless you happen to be a tailor yourself and haven't informed me of it so far, then you would never dream of making your eufiber be some of the things they are going to create for you. Not only that, but since you lack - as most of us do - that particular skill set, then you don't know how to make your eufiber fit you in the most flattering manner. Sometimes what feels the most natural, after all, isn't going to be the most flattering, and most people tend to default to what feels the most natural when wearing the stuff. At least in my experience."

He spoke in that infuriatingly patient English accent as he studied her. Then he motioned to one of the women, who brought him several fabric samples to flip through. After a moment's consideration, he pointed to two of them, and gestured in Shae's general direction as he addressed the seamstress assistant's attention.

"I think we'll that dress in this lovely sage color, and the evening gown she was wearing a moment ago in this black and gray shimmery material."

"Excellent choices sir, if I do say so myself."

"Thank you, I certainly thought so. Of course the options you presented were quite nice, my dear, do let Alice know that I approve, won't you?"

"Of course, Mr. Mansfield."

He nodded, and the woman hurried off to make notes in Shae's file about the choices in fabric. Edward turned back to Shae then and looked her over in an appraising manner.

"Yes.. that one is quite nice. You're going to look lovely, my dear. It'll go beautifully with the red hair."

How he could tell, Shae had no idea. She was wearing a dress that wasn't exactly her size. It had been pulled, tucked, pinned and measured in different areas on her body. Edward had assured her that the dress she would be wearing would be made specially for her, and that it would be much more elegant and befitting her than the one she was wearing now. Shae certainly found herself hoping so, because otherwise this whole endeavor would be a total waste of time. Edward had, however, promised her a nice lunch afterward at the restaurant of her choosing, though when she'd mentioned that she didn't know many restaurants in the city yet, he had been happy to offer suggestions.

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There was about another twenty minutes of pins and accidentally pokes (and a mild reproof from Edward that if she didn't keep...distracting...the tailors on purpose she wouldn't keep getting poked with pins and this all would have been over an hour ago), the fitting was finally finished. Once carefully pulled out of the marked up material and allowed off the pedestal, Shae tried to hide her sigh of relief as her eufiber crawled back over her skin and settled in to it's usual pattern of turtleneck and jeans. She sidled up to the newest member of her family, wrapping her arms around him and resting her head on his chest where she could hear the perfect tempo of his heartbeat.

"So, now that I've been tortured for the morning, where are we going to lunch?" Her voice held no accusation in it, she'd learned a while ago now to enjoy pain and discomfort as much as any other pleasure. She grinned up at him, "And where are we going when the dress is done?"

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His lips curved into a bemused smile, and his eyes crinkled ever so slightly at the corners in an indicator that the smile was genuine. Shae was starting to learn his expressions, and that one was an indicator that Edward was in a pleased mood and not just putting on a show, like he did sometimes with the baselines or other nova they had encountered at the Blackburn.

"Well, my dear, I thought of a couple places you might like. There's a little place in lower Manhattan called Nobu.. they serve this lovely fusion of Japanese and Peruvian food, and I thought you might like to try some sushi with a bit of a kick to it. Or there's Gordan Ramsey, which is a French restaurant I've heard some wonderful things about, and have been meaning to try. Have you ever had French?"

His tone was conversational, and she could tell from the slightly mischievous tone of his voice that he intended to string her along about the dress question.

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She pondered this with the single-minded seriousness that only the young could truly master and shook her head slowly. "Not to eat, but if we are going to do something special with the dress, then we should go to Nobu, so we can go to a nice European restaurant when the dress is done." She grinned and giggled, "Unless you want to get me a kimono, too. Then we should probably just grab a hot dog and picnic for the day."

Careless of the world spinning around them, Shae basked in the attention and desires of her older gentleman, willing to follow wherever he would lead.


Elsewhere, but near

"I think I'm going to be sick."

"Try to hold it in. The van doesn't have ventilation and I'm still smelling the chili from your hotdog at lunch. Besides, it's not like you haven't seen the target acting like this before."

"Yeah, but at least the others are, y'know, near its age. I mean, he could be its grandfather!"

"Of everything you've seen Shae do, it's dating an older man that bothers you? You've got some fucked up priorities, y'know that, right?"

"You shouldn't give it name or use that one; that's like saying it's a person."

"You shouldn't be surprised that it is cozying up to every nova around. After all, that's what it was trained to do."

"You're a bitch, you know that, right?"

"And you're a borderline psychopath, but we both have good jobs and make it through the day. What a world. Keep watching and if you're gonna hurl, do it outside."

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Edward leaned down and gave his young companion a tender kiss, but pulled back before she managed to turn it into anything more seductive than that. He'd been trying to learn to temper himself around his new young paramours, because their appetites were oftentimes insatiable. If he let himself, they would easily sweep him off his feet without having to do much more than bat an eyelash.

He brushed a strand of her hair back then, looking down at her with that same pleased smile on his face.

"Well then, Nobu it is. I won't have you fitted for kimonos until we take a trip to Japan one of these days. Perhaps then. Besides, you're most right.. the French restaurant will be perfect for what I have planned. How involuntarily perceptive of you, my dear."

He turned his head before she could respond, spotting an impeccably timed taxi and stepped over to the curve as it approached, his arm around her waist. A lift of his hand and it pulled up to them, allowing Edward enough time to open the door for Shae and help her in. He stepped in afterward, closing the door quickly and leaning forward for a moment so that the gentleman behind the wheel could hear him properly.

"Nobu, my good man.. in Lower Manhattan. You know the place? Good."

He sat back at turned to Shae, his eyes still sparkling with amusement at their little game.

"As I was saying, French will be the perfect choice for our next outing."

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The changeling snuggled into Edward's side, trying to behave herself in the taxi since that's what Edward would want. Things were different when she was with the older Terat and she was slowly coming to understand that self-control wasn't always just a means of self deception or manipulating others. Tomas might disagree, at least on principle, but Shae was out with Edward for the moment so the Brit's point of view was holding greater sway on her. Not by much, but enough that the cab driver was missing out on the impromptu make-out sessions that usually marked any excursion of the Trio from the Blackburn. Instead, the ride was a pleasant tour of the city, with Edward pointing out historic landmarks as they came into view and telling his young protoge the history behind them. Shae listened intently, absorbing his knowledge and his passion for the subject as they drove.

Nobu itself was nestled into a stone build at least a century old, but anything historic of it ended there. The inside was opulently decorated in expensive dark woods and hand-painted screens that gave each dining party that wanted it the illusion of their own private room; everyone else sat along the bar that ran around most of the room. The lighting was cleverly situated just between too-dark-to-see and dark-enough-to-feel-intimate, and tempered to a soft yellow glow. The front foyer was filled with hopeful diners still waiting a half-hour past their reservation time, but despite being filled a little past the fire code regulations, the restaurant maintained no more than a dignified buzz of conversation and dining sounds.

The two novas made an entrance, not out of pretense but because as novas there was little they could do other than make an entrance. Their wait at the podium was measured in miliseconds before the restaurant owner, a leathery-faced woman whose smile was obviously rather unpracticed, made her way to seat them personally. They were placed, per Edwards request, in their own little screen-room, but still near the windows where passerby's might notice the Nobu had attracted the patronage of children of the Quantumn Age.

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They had ordered drinks and received their appetizer by the time the first of the paparazzi arrived. Text messages travel quickly after all, and desperate journalists almost as fast. The first one made it into the restaurant and managed to snap a picture of them as they were involved in their discussion. He was forced out by the owner, of course, who issued them both a sincere apology.

Shortly thereafter the flashes started from outside of the window. Edward didn't mind at first, he was after all a well-known nova, though estimated to be one of the less-powerful ones around. But once the occasional flash had turned to multiple flashes, he noticed Shae's discomfort. He reached a hand across the table and took hers, his eyes full of concern.

"Do they bother you, my dear?"

A slight nod was all it took. Flashes weakened, and then stopped all together. The thickness of the window concealed the sounds of foul language and frustrated noises as the journalists and paparazzi checked their cameras, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. There was murmuring among them before they dissipated, though a few of the less intelligent ones attempted some shots with their camera phones before realizing their mistake.


Somewhere close by..

"Wait, what did he just do?"

"I dunno - I thought he was all about the smooth-talking."

"Well, maybe it was her?"

"That's not part of her abilities. Maybe she picked it up along the way..?"

"I don't know. We need to dig a bit more. He might have some kind of electronics ability we weren't aware of. It would explain why he's so rich, right?"

"Yeah.. maybe. I'll get to it."

"Good - at least you're finally making yourself useful."

"...thanks. I guess."

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  • 2 months later...

Shae glanced out the window to the people now arguing with their devices or slowly backing away from where the two novas were watching them dispassionately. She quirked a brow at Edward.

"What was that?" She smiled, "And thank you. I don't mind being watched most of the time, but...." She shrugged and looked away, "Sometimes it's nice to just be you instead of being you for everyone else." Her eyes flicked back to him, the smile still ghosting on her lips, "And I like to be able to hear you talk. You say such interesting things."

In all the time they'd been together this was the first time Shae had said or made any sort of motion away from always being what it was that people wanted from her.

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