15420/After A Fashion... Show

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After A Fashion... Show
Date of Scene: 03 August 2023
Location: Grand Vogue Ballroom, New York City
Synopsis: Gwen discovers Peter Parker's covering one of her fashion shows for the Society section of the Daily Bugle and the two of them spend some time mingling at the after party.
Cast of Characters: Ghost Spider, Spider-Man

Ghost Spider has posed:
Under the dazzling lights of New York City's Grand Vogue Ballroom, a charity fashion show is drawing to a triumphant close. Hosted by the prestigious designer, Emiliana De Luca, the evening is not just a celebration of art and elegance but also a fundraising event to support the city's underprivileged children. As the models take their final bows to the thunderous applause, the atmosphere is one of electric excitement mingled with the satisfaction of a noble cause.

The Grand Vogue Ballroom itself is an architectural marvel, adorned with crystalline chandeliers that dangle like giant sparkling gems, casting a gentle glow over the runway. Rich velvet curtains in royal purple line the walls, complementing the polished black marble floor that reflects the vibrant hues from the lighting rigs. Guests, glittering in designer wear and sparkling jewels, fill the lavishly decorated hall, their faces flushed with the thrill of a night filled with glitz and philanthropy.

Throughout the evening, the runway has been alive with the latest Emiliana De Luca's creations -- a symphony of textures, colors, and bold innovation. Sequins and silk, leather and lace have paraded past the entranced audience, each piece a breathtaking vision of the designer's genius. A particular highlight has been a stunning, floor length white sequined evening gown with a thigh-high slit that shifts to black when the light catches it just right, worn by none other than Gwen Stacy, whose graceful presence has captivated all present.

As the applause dies down and the attendees begin to mingle, Gwen makes her way backstage. Moments later, she reappears, still wearing that evening gown, a smile playing on her lips as waiters emerge carrying trays of appetizers and drinks, allowing the guests to mingle and continue to admire the dresses during a cocktail hour. Her eyes find Peter, and she heads towards him, her face glowing with the excitement of the night and a certain pride in her participation in something meaningful.
Spider-Man has posed:
The Daily Bugle is not exactly the height of journalistic integrity.

If anyone should know that it would definitely be intrepid photographer Peter Parker! Not that particular knowledge has kept him from working for the paper mind you. Then again, he has pretty much turned a blind eye towards the many, many biased stories that his employer regularly publishes about his costumed alter ego. Just what someone will endure for a rather paltry paycheck is no small thing. Or maybe it's a self-flagellation thing.

The jury might still be out on that.

For all his many flaws however, J. Jonah Jameson is a pretty big supporter of charities and insure events like these do get prominent coverage in the Society section of the journal. And while Pter might not be the go-to photographer for such things, well, sometimes he lucks out. As it were.

He's not really at his most comfortable in settings like this. He is, at heart, still very much the Queens kid who grew up fairly modestly. While the mask is on he might become incredibly brash, but that's much less apparent when he's just regular ol' Pete. He is definitely not entirely comfortable in his suit either, occasionally giving a little tug at the collar of it, the material perhaps starched a little too fine. It definitely isn't quite as nice as most of the high fashion on display, that's for sure, looking just a little worn in comparison.

It's probably his only one.

But on the bright side, there is no way that photos from an event like this won't sell, and the going rate is almost certainly better then almost anything else he'll be doing this week. Only the most impressive shots of Spidey in action can compare. And laying a little low on the wall-crawler front definitely seems like a good idea right now.

So for the evening at least he will do his best to ignore that little niggling feeling in the back of his head that he definitely doesn't belong here. He will plunder the appetizer trays where he can, filling up on them. He may even get a little wild and have a glass of champagne before the evening is done.

Given where he could find himself anytime in the near future given the suspicions surrounding his actions as Spider-Man, he probably better enjoy the evening.

While the designs by Emiliana De Luca might be the highlight of the event for most, there's no doubt his personal highlight is the fact that Gwen proves to be the star of the show, and sure enough he manages to plant himself close enough to the backstage entrance that it is impossible to overlook him, even in the sea of the fancy people that fill that ballroom.

"Looking good Miss Stacy. Who knew you cleaned up so well," Peter teases gently as she nears, letting that camera fall to rest against his chest for the moment. "I can't promise anything, but you might want to check the front page of the Society section tomorrow," he adds lightly before his smile turns genuine. "I'm really proud of you Gwen."
Ghost Spider has posed:
/Looking good Miss Stacy./

"Back atcha, Pete," Gwen quips smoothly, smiling pleasantly as she slows to a stop in front of him, her hands folding together at about waist level. "I didn't even realize you'd be here until I.. saw you." Which was mostly true. Her Spider-Senses starting doing a little bit of a jitterbug, and she'd picked him out of the crowd while she was walking the runway, tossing a playful wink towards him on her way by.

Gwen Stacy had many faces. She could sometimes be a bit of an awkward dork in a lab coat at her research job, she sometimes lost herself entirely in her music when she was drumming with the Mary Janes, in costume she was playfully quippy and probably too overconfident in her own abilities, but when she was modeling, she was the picture of grace and sophistication. She somehow maintained that vibrancy of youth in her eyes, but otherwise she seemed... older and more mature. It was probably at least partially the clothes. Everyone looks more mature when they're wearing a five-thousand-dollar evening gown.

The mention of the society section brings a little heat to her cheeks, laughter making her shake her head. "If it helps the charity, I'm all for it," she muses, but that last statement.. about being proud of her.. sends her eyes demurely to the floor for a full two seconds.

"Thanks, Pete." Her eyes lift again, more sincerity in them than before. "It feel silly doing this, sometimes. I mean, I'm working on my doctoral thesis, so there are times that this feels a little... shallow. But, it pays the bills, and on nights like tonight, I get to help charities at the same time."

A beat, then, and a little nod of her chin towards the circling waiters.

"Are you busy? We could walk a little.. maybe snarf some snacks along the way. I'm /so/ hungry."

Okay, so she wasn't /that/ mature.
Spider-Man has posed:
Put him in a spider-onsie and Pete is pretty much self-confidence personified. He is chatty and quippy and virtually fearless to the point that sometimes, it is his most effective ability. Just the sheer aggrevation that he causes in his foes. Making them lose their cool. Making them blind with rage. And making it that much easier to take them out.

Take the mask off though and suddenly he is not quite as comfortable in his own skin. He might not exactly be the high school nerd anymore, but he is still a little too content to fade into the background. To settle for working as a photographer at a paper that is only a few steps up from a tabloid rag instead of putting that genius level intellect to proper use. He might blame his misadventures as Spider-Man for a lot of that, the time it takes out of his life.

But it is amazing what a little masked anonymity can do to bring him out of his shell.

Thoguh in fairness it can be a mixed bag. Sometimes that genius-level intellect seems to disappear once the mask goes on. There is an occasional cost to going for the funny instead of the -- metaphorical -- kill.

A balance to all things perhaps.

Lifting a hand to the back of his neck, Peter smiles, absently rubbing there before dropping it back to his side. "That's me. I'm really blending right in here," he agrees wryly, eyes darting about the room for a moment, more and more of the models from the show out on the floor now, mingling amongst the many wealthy donors who have come out to give generously.

And, you know, eat fancy canapes and drink expensive champagne. To see and be seen.

There is no denying it's a good cause though and a grin spreads over Peter's face as the mention of the society page brings a flush to Gwen's cheeks. "It is a good cause. And as much as Jameson makes my life a misery sometimes I can't really deny his dedication to highlighting events like this," he conceeds.

Which is probably more then Jameson would ever conceed about him. Or at least his alter ego.

"I don't always cover these sorts of things, but the regular photographer called out sick. And so here I am," he adds, holding arms out to his side, giving a little pose before the line of his mouth twists wryly once more. "The pay's better then a lot of my assignments at least. And the food..." he says, eyes flickering towards one of the passing servers and the tray he carries, following it for a moment like he was tracking Doc Ock.

But he quickly shakes his head and turns back to her, smile still etched on his features. "Hey, I don't imagine modelling is exactly a picnic, no matter what it might look like from the outside. And given our extra-curriculars, well, anything that pays the bills right," he says, voice dropping a note or two before amusement filters through his eyes once more. "Besides, you look good up there. If you've got it, flaunt it, right?" he teases.

As she mentions food though, Peter's demeanor shifts once more, rolling his eyes and giving a little bit of a full body dip. "Oh my god, yes. Please," he agrees at once, falling in at her side. "I sometimes think appetite might be a secret part of the package. The proportional eating powers of a spider," he says with a little bit of a smirk.

And, well, his paycheck is usually reeaaaallllly stretched. So whenever free food is on offer it's pretty hard to turn down.
Ghost Spider has posed:
/And so here I am./

"Well, bad for him, but good for me. It's so much more fun to have a plus-one at these things. Otherwise I get trapped all evening listening to some major donor drone on about their most recent yacht purchase or their vacation home that they just purchased as an upgrade to their /last/ vacation home because some B-list celebrity moved into the neighborhood and ruined the whole market..." Gwen's hand comes up to her chest, feigning being scandalized. "Can you believe the audacity? /Poor/ people becoming successful and moving up in the world. As if I'd have any sympathy for that." Sarcasm. Heavy sarcasm.

She rolls her eyes, but the 'flaunt it' comment makes her cheeks glow a little brighter still, her eyes averting once more as she turns and slips her arm into his as naturally as any of the other couples walking around. "Don't tease me, Mr. Parker," she chides, smiling. "I have a very fragile ego." No, she doesn't. Or, if she did, she hid it well. Very few of the other models seemed to be paired up with anyone, but they were all mingling through the crowd.

Even as they walk, she leans her head over a little to whisper conspiratorially. "I am /so/ with you on the whole eating thing, thing. Sometimes I worry I'm going to eat my way out of a modeling career, but I guess I have so much going on that I burn it all off. Not like I'm making any special trips to the gym." Beat. "And for the record, the point of these things isn't to blend in. The point of them is to walk around and be ruthlessly catty gossips about everyone else behind their backs while smiling to their faces. Watch. Here comes Mrs. Sampson. I'll show you."

They'd almost made it to the closest of the trays of hors d'oeuvres when an older woman that looked like she should be carrying around a cat, for some reason, intercepted the pair of them with a broad smile.

"It's Gwen, isn't it? That gown is absolutely stunning on you, my dear."

Gwen's smile softens and grows, her eyes glowing. "Thank you, Mrs. Sampson. It's all Emiliana's doing. Her dresses could make anyone look fabulous. And of course we appreciate your contribution, tonight. Remember, a portion of every dress you buy goes to charity. /You/ could be wearing this dress next."

No, she couldn't, but it makes the woman laugh and smile.

With one wrist still hooked around Peter's elbow, she lifted the other slightly at her side. "Have you met Peter Parker? Peter, this is Mrs. Sampson. She's married to Richard Sampson, the CEO of Sampson Industries. She and I have met at several of Emiliana's shows."

The woman's eyes shift to Peter almost predatorially, and one could almost see the gossip bubbling in her mind like a witch's brew. Her gaze dropped to his camera and back up again. "Peter Parker.. the photographer for the Daily Bugle that gets all of those incredible pictures of Spider-Man?!"
Spider-Man has posed:
Its the whole free thing that really puts the food over the top. And certainly it's good enough to be sure, not that Peter has terribly refined tastes or anything. He would be just as happy at the little greasy spoon on the corner by his apartment. Probably happier!

But they don't host a whole lot of formal affairs that require photographers present and just don't seem to have people roaming through the restaurant handing out free samples. Curse the luck.

"I won't argue with that. I mean, I can't remember the last party or event that I went to where I wasn't there working, but I imagine that much hasn't changed," Peter agrees wryly, a slow grin sliding over his features as she puts on that scandalized air and mocks some of the worst offenders of the old high society clique.

All of whom seem to be out in force tonight. "So much audacity," Pete agrees with a slow nod, quickly smoothing his features into some semblance of grave disapproval. "No respect at all for the dignity and respect the station deserves. It's *hard* work inheriting millions and millions of dollars. Some people just plainly do not have the proper appreciation of that fact," he agrees snootily.

Try as he might, it is pretty impossible to hold that demeanor though. And Peter can't quite contain that twitching smile that blooms on his expession once more, nudging her lightly in the side before extending that arm enough so that she can slip her arm through his own. "I shall endeavor to shelter that oh so fragile ego then. I am known far and wide for my ability to avoid poking fun, no matter how tempting the target might be," he says with a firm nod.

Yep, that's him. Totally restrained. Well... maybe just a little so long as he's not swinging high above the streets of the city.

While he might not feel as if he quite blends in, this little slice of close-to-normalcy is probably good for him right now. A chance to forget some of his problems of Spider-Man -- the fact that he is probably a wanted man. That his entire life doesn't have to revolve around what he does when he dresses up and plays vigilante. That there is something more then the sheer press of the responsibility of his powers.

That he can enjoy himself every now and then without the entire weight of the world coming crashing down on him. That, and the free food.

Free food that is rather cruelly denied to them, The trays are right there. So close, and yet so far and when Gwen turns to play with Mrs. Sampson, Pete has little choice but to go along with it. He does shoot a mournful look back over his shoulder as the nearest of the waitstaff pass by, just a little out of reach. "But... why's the food gone?" he asks sardonically. "When in doubt I like to stuff a few of those appetizers in my mouth and then shrug my shoulders and point at my mouth as an excuse not to talk to these people," he says, leaning over to whisper conspiratorially in her ear before abruptly straightening as they stop in front of that older woman who is sadly missing the all important cat, his chance to run that particular gambit gone.

Mrs. Sampson seems to be quite taken with Gwen and that dress, along with the polite -- but entirely false -- implication that she would look just as good in it. That slightly pinched expression and upturned nose rather makes it look as if she is catching the whiff of something distasteful when she initially looks him over.

At least until Gwen makes those introductions and everything seems to click into place for the woman. Dipping his head slightly, Peter plasters on a polite smile -- that at least he has practice at -- and holds up that camera for a moment with his free hand. "That's me. Glad that you find some of the photos to your liking. It's an... interesting job sometimes," he agrees.
Ghost Spider has posed:
/I am known far and wide for my ability to avoid poking fun.../

"Oh, right. /That's/ what you're known for," Gwen had lamented, looking over and up at Peter with clearly playful affection in her eyes. It was good to see /this/ version of him and not the Gloomy Gus she found next to the Granite Gus the other night. Whatever he might think about his own confidence between Peter Parker and Spider-Man, she seemed to be having a much better night just because he was there.

/But... why's the food gone?/

Gwen's hand had actually risen to the bridge of her nose, a finger brushing as if she were stroking a stray, golden strand of hair out of the way, but the real reason was to shield her face as she tried /hard/ not to laugh. His whispering has her snickering right up to the point that she's greeting Mrs. Sampson, so much so that the humor was still glinting in her eyes while the two of them were exchanging pleasantries.

/It's an... interesting job sometimes./

"I like quite a few of them. You're a very talented photographer, dear," the lady says, smiling as she looks slyly back to Gwen. "And handsome, but you've always had good taste, Gwen."

A bubble of nervous laughter leaves Gwen's lips and she shakes her head, her grip on Peter's arm tightening fractionally. "Oh, no. He's not mine. The only reason he even hangs out with me is because I'm Spider-Man," she explains, completely dead-panned.

That seems to throw a wrench into the gears of Mrs. Sampson's whole thought process until Gwen finally cracks a smile, and then the older woman laughs louder than might be polite at such an event.

Tugging Peter's arm towards a nearby waiter, she reaches a graceful hand out slightly towards Mrs. Sampson without touching her. "It was a pleasure to see you again, Mrs. Sampson." And then she's walking away, looking up at the man beside her with slightly widened, mock-horrified eyes and a broad grin.

"Now just listen..." Gwen whispers.

It might not have taken super-hearing, but it certainly helped. As soon as the two of them were out of her company, Mrs. Sampson bustled immediately over to the nearest busy-body she was friends with, and the gossiping started.

"Did you know that's Peter Parker?"
"The photographer?"
"...No wonder he's wearing that old suit."
"Well, you know what that old rag must pay him.."
"Do you think he's after Gwen's money?"
"Does Gwen even have money? I've only ever seen her at these charity events..."
"She's such a pretty girl. She could do better."
"I don't know, he's quite handsome.."
"Not him, the jobs she's taking..."
"If she can't get any better jobs than this, you know there must be something wrong with her."
"Well, do you see her walking towards that tray of food? What does she expect? It's just going to go straight to her hips. No wonder."
"The market for full-figured models is expanding, you know."

And even as the two women talk, Gwen is lifting her hand to get the waiter's attention so he doesn't run off, still smiling knowingly as she releases Peter's arm so she can get a toothpick-spear of sausage in each hand.

"Look at her. I'd be surprised if that dress even fit by the end of the night..."

One after another, she pops them into her mouth and then chews, smiling in amusement.
Spider-Man has posed:
Okay. He may have exaggerated his powers of restraint. Just a little. A hint. A smudge.

Or by a whole lot. Who can be expected to keep to keep track of such things.

Despite the troubles going on in his life right at the moment, he is genuinely having a good time. He most definitely did not expect that from any assignment that Jameson sent him on, and in fairness it is probably a good thing that the Bugle's editor in chief had other plans tonight or he would most definitely be storming over right at the moment to give him heck for actually enjoying himself on the company dime. Ever the killjoy, that man.

But he's not here, so Peter does keep up that running commentary, right up to the point where it might prove to be an embarassment. He might want to make it a little more difficult for Fwen to keep a straight face, but he's certainly doesn't want to embarass Gwen in front of the women in this social circle. It might not be 'her' social circle per se, but she at least has to travel in it. And as she is trying to show him, the gossip can be rather fierce and more then a little bit catty.

If Peter is honest with himself his photography could stand a little work. It is, again, something that benefits greatly from the fact that he has powers and abilities that only a handful of others can match. He also frequently has to make use of fixed positions, with his camera simply webbed to one spot, taking pictures on a timer, or via a more portable remote. From an artistic standpoint, yeah, it could use a little work.

But hey, it pays the bills and it is certainly a whole lot more up close and personal then most super types get which certainly keeps him in the news.

Or at least on the front page of the BUgle at anyrate. Usually under banner headlines about what a menace he is.

It's not a perfect situation, but he's learned to live in an imperfect wold.

"Thank you. That's very kind of you," he offers up politely, a slight flush threatening to creep up his own neck as he gives a quiet little cough, more of clearing his throat.

And then the corners of his lips twitch slightly, managing to keep the grin from blooming on his face and he loops his arm through hers once more and leans in conspiratorially towards the older woman. "I gotta keep close to my best subject," he says with absolute sincerity before letting that mischevious twinkle slip into his eyes. "Besides, she's a little out of my league," he points out, finally freeing that grin.

Then she is set loose, to do her thing, and Pete finally gets his reward for playing along, beating a swift retreat to the nearest waiter and taking some of the waiting appetizers from the tray there. He does not -- as he is genuinely tempted to do -- simply abscond with the entire tray, snacking on the individual selections in a somewhat gentlemanly fashion.

See? There's that restraint again. So dedicated. So disciplined.

So he watches, and more importantly listens as some of the chatter from Mrs. Sampson and her cohorts starts to spread nearby, the rapid back and forths, the snide little comments positively fly. "It's kinda like watching a demented game of telephone, isn't it?" he comments with arched brow and amused smile. "You know, there is a pretty good chance that by the time this runs it's course they will think you're Spider-Man," he warns her, that playful smirk making a reemergence.
Ghost Spider has posed:
Gwen watches with nervous eyes as Peter leaves her side and switches over to Mrs. Sampson's arm, a simple act that seemed rather to have made the older lady's night during that conspiratorial exchange. Gwen can't help but to smile.

/Besides, she's a little out of my league./

Gwen coughs softly, "Bullshit." Her hand even came up to cover her mouth, and she almost made it sound like a real cough. Almost. Then she's clearing her throat and smiling innocently, lightly touching the top of her chest.

"Sorry. My throat's a little a dry." All the more reason to find some refreshments.

It was funny, listening to the gossip begin to spread as she and Peter moved between trays, rumors circulating about each of them individually (including, yes, Gwen being Spider-Man, which is largely met with quiet laughter) as well as them as a couple. Because of course they couldn't just be friends. There must be some scandal there that involved them sleeping together, which was of course how Peter got the gig to photograph the event anyway, and the inevitable predictions that their relationship wouldn't even last a month.

At least the rumor mill had something to grind up.

"A demented game of telephone... I couldn't have described it better myself," Gwen comments, but at the mention of the crowd thinking she's Spider-Man, she puts on an air of offense. "Maybe I /am/ Spider-Man," she retorts, grinning at him as innocently as if she had just stepped out of some parallel universe where neither of them know any better. Of course, they may be whispering conspiratorially back and forth so that no one can hear them, but Gwen seems to enjoy the banter enough to keep it up anyway. "How do you know I'm not? Have you ever seen Spider-Man and I in the same place? Hmmmm?"

A tray of champagne flutes finally starts to pass, and she reaches out to take a couple of them, handing one over to him.

"To Spider-Man," she offers quietly as a toast, her eyes warm. "For keeping us safe and making this night possible. Whoever he is."
Spider-Man has posed:
Sometimes there really is nothing for it, no way to change people's minds, to change their perceptions. They will believe what they want to believe and that's just the way it is.

He has a little first hand experience with that afterall. J. Jonah Jameson is pretty much living proof of that. No matter how much evidence he is handed, no matter how many photographs, video or first hand accounts of Spidey doing some actual good out there, the Bugle's editor in chief remains firmly, inexhaustably committed to the notion that he is a menace. It has become some unshakeable absolute that will not, cannot be changed under any circumstances.

It has become his hill to die on.

Or more likely given the present circumstances, it's the hill that Peter will die on. Or at least get beaten up, or maybe shot. Could be from the villains that lurk out there, the real menaces to the city. Or at this point it could be local law enforcement, doing their job.

Of course the it isn't just Jameson that cling to such impressions about him. He's helped shape public opinion and if people increasingly take a suspicious view of the media, it probably is no surprise that many take a pretty suspicious view of masked vigilantes.

Especially when they are told -- repeatedly -- that they are a criminal menace. Sometimes you just can't escape it.

If you are Peter Parker though, it doesn't mean that you can just stop trying.

Flashing a grin her way, Peter accepts the the offered flute of champagne with a grin and a bob of his head, taking a sip. He normally doesn't indulge very much, though with his enhanced metabolism it would undoubtedly take a fairly heroic consumption of alcohol to seriously impair him in any serious way. And probably not for long. But again, it's rare that he has a co-conspirator to hang out with, to simply relax and let go of some of those burdens he insists on carrying.

Even if it is just for a few hours.

"Why thank you. I've been known to turn a phrase now and then. I'm more then just a camera and a pretty face I'll have you know," he asserts playfully. Taking a sip from the glass, he makes a quiet, pleased sound. He isn't exactly a connoisseur, but it seems good to him.

He would probably fall over stunned if he knew how much a bottle it actually cost though. He definitely isn't going to be stocking the Parker Family Winecellar with it any time in the near future.

"You raise a fair point. I mean, I don't have any photographic evidence that you aren't Spider-Man. Therefore, ipso facto I suppose you could be I guess," he allows, giving a little mock-gasp and widening those bright eyes as he looks her way. "MMmmmm, that whole white or black sequins -- or whatever color they are! -- that you're wearing is pretty good. You definitely pull it off. But red and blue... hmmm... that might just suit you," he teases.

The smile turns genuine and he lifts that glass as well, clinking it lightly against her own. "To Spider-Man. And all his amazing friends. Whoever they might happen to be," Pete says warmly.
Ghost Spider has posed:
/I'm more then just a camera and a pretty face I'll have you know./

Gwen's smile grows, the laughter just on the tip of her tongue. "I didn't, but I'm learning."

/That might just suit you./

"You think?" Gwen looks down. She even preens a little, one hand slipping down to the skirt that falls down her legs, brushing at it with her fingertips -- she might have plucked at it to make a bigger show of it if it had been her own dress, but fear of damaging a single dress worth a few month's rent kept the display muted. She purses her lips softly and shakes her head. "I don't know. I like the black and white, but it /could/ use a little color... maybe a little pink, just a dash of light blue."

Then her eyes lift again, still filled with humor.

"I supposed I could at least consider it. As a fashion choice, the colors are a little... dated, but that's what makes it so bold. Classic. Traditional. I'm not sure I have enough presence to pull it off. White and black has a more sleek, streamlined, modern look to it. Subdued. It's almost like camouflage, but red and blue doesn't blend in with anything except the occasional flag."

As if to make a point, she lifts a hand and glances around.

"See? I'm barely noticed."

Not true even a little. What she was, was so obviously engrossed in a lively, pleasant conversation with Peter that no one was rude enough to come over and interrupt it.

They touch glasses and Gwen nods, sipping from her flute.

"I really am glad you're here, Peter. I actually have a show this weekend you should come to. Ah.. with the band, not a fashion show. It's a lot less stuffy there. You could bring someone. And we could all hang out between sets."
Spider-Man has posed:
"Full of surprises. That's me," Peter agrees with a wink before laughing quietly himself. Some of them are even good ones, as hard as that might seem to believe at the moment.

Listening to her fashion assessment brings a grin to his face and he tilts his head her way in acknowledgement. "Mmmmm, you would definitely be the fashion expert out of the two of us," he admits lightly, though words are no less sincere for that humorous overtone. "I mean, you have all of this. Even if the gossip brigade thinks you should be aspiring to greater modelling things, this all seems pretty good to me," he points out before lips are tugged upwards a little more. "And then there is the fact that I basically created my outfit to serve as wrestling gear. And we all know that if there is one thing that wrestlers are known for it's their classy styles and serious grasp of haute culture," he says slyly before a low chuckle escapes him once more.

"I guess it worked out well enough in the end. Given that I threw it together myself -- including the sewing -- what do you think? Do I have a future in the fashion biz?" he asks lightly, nudging her lightly in the shoulder once more.

"But no, your uhhhh, other outfit is a great look too. There's something to be said for making something your own and it definitely works," he says, maybe just a little too emphatically, quickly laughing it off.

He's not the only one that can be a little self-depricating it would seem and he glances about the room. Even without that little niggling spider-sense in the back of his brain pan, it's not hard to spot the eyes turned their way, and Peter is confident that most of them are not for him. Or at least not just for him. "I suspect you have your fair share of admirers in the room Miss Stacy," he points out, lifting that chmpagne flute her way once more before taking another sip. "Maybe they're just too polite to interrupt," he suggests before that impish light creeps back into his eyes and voice. "Or maybe the rumor that you're Spider-Man has already made it's way through the entire crowd. I wouldn't put it past the avid gossip gang," he says lightly.

"Better be careful Gwenny. There could be someone out there hyping themselves up for a citizens arrest," Pete suggests lightly.

The invitation makes him nod slowly and he smiles once more. "Sounds fun. I suppose I could use some fun in my life. Especially now," he conceeds. "And I haven't exactly done the best job of keeping up with the old gang as of late. I'm not sure if any of them are free. I mean, I guess I can ask Harry."
Ghost Spider has posed:
Speaking of surprises, Gwen's eyes widen and the laugh that escapes is absolutely sincere. No teasing edge to it. No careful reservation for the sake of the after party. It's light and genuine and free, and even though her hand comes up to cover her mouth, her eyes still shine with absolute delight.

"Wait, as /wrestling/ gear? /You/ were a wrestler?"

Another aftershock of giggles, and she shakes her head, her hand stretching out to touch his arm. "I'm sorry. I don't mean it the way I'm sure it sounds. It's just... you're so /smart/. You're not exactly the air-headed, muscle-bound hulks I think of, when I think... 'wrestler.'" She sort of half-growls the word, like even the way it rolled off the tongue was funny to her.

But it's the explanation of him doing it himself, /including/ the sewing, that softens her. The nudge at the end is the icing on the cake, bringing the blush back to her cheeks and sending her eyes down to her champaign flute. "I actually /really/ like it. I mean, it's... iconic. It's a symbol, at this point. And, it's literally what I based mine on. So..."

Her eyes lift again when he mentions her other outfit so emphatically, and for just a moment, there's a flicker of playful bravery in her eyes.. a remark that she /almost/ made but that she swallowed when he laughed, choosing instead to offer a soft, "Thank you," and take a sip of her champaign.

Then there's the mention of admirers, and Gwen's smile broadens again, her own eyes briefly sweeping around the room. "Good," she muses. "Either way, I'm having a much better time right now than I would be if they came over to drop whatever their latest, inane rich-brag on me."

Gwenny. The name made her smile.

"Let them try. I'm pretty sure Emiliana will have them tackled before they can lay a finger on this dress. Besides, I don't have to be intimidated. I've got friends, too." Her eyes glint, and maybe she wasn't talking about herself, anymore.

/I mean, I guess I can ask Harry./

"Oh." It's a surprised sound, not a disappointed one. But oh what? That's not exactly clear unless you've hopped on her particular logic train. Whatever it is brings a little smile to her lips and just a little of that heat back to her cheeks, though. "That would be great. You should come regardless, though. I mean, I'll hang out with you between sets."
Spider-Man has posed:
It was, admittedly, not exactly the high point in his life. For all sorts of reasons. And while some of those are intensely personal -- and intensely painful -- Peter shies away from them for the moment. He misses his Uncle Ben. Every. Single. Day. But he has done just about everything humanely possible -- and some things decidedly greater than human -- to make up for that one, tragic mistake that so changed his life. Shaped his life.

Right now he is having a pretty good evening. And that's something of a rarity in Peter's life right at the moment. Maybe, just maybe, he's entitled to enjoy it without wallowing in all the other crap that isn't quite as happy.

So Pete has the good graces to at least look a little sheepish at the unintentional revelation, giving a rueful little shake of his head. "You better promise not to tell anyone," he says, shaking a finger at her with mock-sterness before giving a put-upon sigh. "But yes. When I first got my powers and found out that I wasn't actually going to die I started thinking about how I could use them to help out my Aunt and Uncle. And, you know, maybe have a little something for myself. I was not exactly the popular kid in high school afterall," he conceeds. To put it mildly, at that.

He has blossomed at least a little since then. Even if not as much as he probably should have.

"Anyway, there was an ad. Offering money to someone, anyone, who could last three minutes in the ring. Suddenly it didn't seem quite so ridiculous," he says with a self-depricating shrug and a crooked grin. "Anyway, my first version of the costume wasn't quite as slick as I eventually got it, but it did the job," he allows wryly.

Again that free hand goes to the back of his neck, rubbing just above the collar before smoothing through his hair as she prasies the design. "I like it," he admits. He might not call it iconic himself, admittedly.

But that's why he has friends right? To point out when he does something at least a little awesome.

That comment draws a laugh from him and he flashes another smile Gwen's way. "Mmmm, consider me warned too. I'll be very careful not to muss a single sequins out of place. I might have enough problems with the real police to worry about to risk upsetting the fashion police too," he says wryly.

Not to mention trying to find five thousand dollars to pay for anything, let along a dress -- no matter how good it might look on her -- is definitely way beyond his means these days. Way beyond. Like, a different solar system beyond.

His smile softens a little too and Peter lets out a quiet sigh. "Thanks for coming over and giving me something to laugh about," he says, warmth in his tone. "There hasn't been a lot of that lately and I really appreciate it," he adds. "And if I possibly can make it out, I'll definitely be there. I'd love to see you guys play," he assures her.

He is careful not to promise though. He's done that far too often in the past and then some emergency has come up. And while Gwen might that far better then most, well, there's a reason why the only person Peter can think to invite is Harry Osborne.

Miss enough committments and a social life starts looking a little barren.
Ghost Spider has posed:
Spider-Senses didn't really tell you when someone was in emotional pain. Not unless you were Silk, anyway. But it didn't take any special senses for Gwen to watch the flicker of emotion on Peter's face. She didn't know the story. She knew his uncle died. She'd met Aunt May. But she'd never asked how or when he'd died. She actually... didn't know a whole lot about Peter. So, when he tells the story, she's hanging on every word.

She smiled. "That's... a pretty cool origin story."

She wanted to ask more, when he stops. It's there in her eyes like a flashing neon sign -- the sort of 'But then what happened?!' disappointment anyone would have when someone unexpectedly hits pause in the middle of a movie you're watching. There had been that flicker, though. A ghost of emotion that Gwen didn't want to poke at. Not here or now.

Maybe not ever. She barely knew Peter, and he didn't really owe her anything.. least of all an explanation about his suit or a life story. But, it wasn't like she had time for a social life, either. This was technically work. So was the lab, the band, and whatever Ghost-Spider could find time to get up to. Just connecting with someone after so long was... nice. The fact that the someone was handsome, smart, funny, and actually Spider-Man didn't hurt her feelings either.

/I'll be very careful not to muss a single sequins out of place./

Damn. Have you ever said something you thought was funny at the time, realized the implications, and then immediately wished you could take it back?

"Hey, I know what I said about my ego and everything, but... I'm actually not that fragile. So, you can laugh at me any time."

And she does get it. Completely.

"Cool. I mean, me too." She grins. "You wouldn't believe the number of practices I've missed.. and even a couple of gigs. It's nearly gotten me kicked out of the band. But, stuff happens."

Just at that moment, there's a chime from a clock (from somewhere), and Gwen sighs softly.

"Speaking of which, it's time for me to get out of this dress before I turn into a pumpkin. I'll text you the deets about the gig, though, and.. if you ever want to talk, you know how to reach me. I'll let you know when I'm out around Central Park, too. You know. Just because two heads are better than one."
Spider-Man has posed:
It is supposed to help to talk about these sorts of things. Even if not to a professional, just talking about it at all, to get it out there, to let someone else hear just what is going on internally, it helps most people work things out. To come to terms with things. Find a way to cope. It is the sort of thing that Peter is aware of. He's a pretty smart guy afterall.

But even the brightest can be pretty foolish when it comes to their own mental health sometimes. And those in the costumed brigade seem to be particularly bad at dealing with this sort of thing. Particularly bad about dealing with what needs to be done. About seeking help. Or even just a friendly ear.

Maybe Pete will come to his senses. Maybe he will share the full story some day. Maybe he will find someone that he will feel compelled to talk to.

But for tonight at least he's willing to just bury it away and live in the moment. Outside of swinging through the city he doesn't tend to do a lot of that. It makes for a rather nice change, honestly.

"It... has it's moments, as far as origin stories go. I definitely learned a few lessons," Peter conceeds, that smile finally fading a little.

But just for a moment. It is almost immediately back in place. It has been too enjoyable an evening to wallow tonight.

"Hey, I know that. Believe me," Pete assures her, grinning once more as he quickly finishes up that glass of champagne. "Laugh with. Laugh with," he emphasizes. "That's something I really have appreciated tonight. Thanks for that Gwen," he says.

"I shall let you retreat before your admirers can't hold themselves back much longer," Peter teases. "I'll wait for the text and if anything does come up I'll be sure to let you know," he promises. "I do appreciate that. And I might just take you up on that. The talking and the patrolling. Having another set of eyes would definitely be appreciated," he admits. "One way or another we'll talk soon," he assures her.

And with that Peter turns away, stuffing one hand in his jacket pocket and whitling a little to himself. Any overheard comments from the gossip brigade are cheerfully ignored and he goes looking for another waiter who's tray he can raid.