5132/The Problem With The Furnace

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The Problem With The Furnace
Date of Scene: 11 February 2021
Location: Wong's Corner Store
Synopsis: Mrs. Wong makes her opinions known to Eddie as he helps Gwen fix the furnace in the corner story. Resulting in a face full of soot, and plans to help the ESU student with some of her writing.
Cast of Characters: Eddie Brock, Gwen Stacy

Eddie Brock has posed:
Mrs. Wong is there in the store with Gwen today. Today is a day that some shipments come in to be delivered, plus there is always cleaning to be done. As low girl on the totem pole, plus being a bit more fit physically, those tend to fall to Gwen.

One of the things that the Wongs are fastidious about is keeping the front windows clean. They want customers to be able to see inside, and long ago decided to stress having a very clean storefront to encourage people to come inside.

Which means the fun job of window cleaning also probably falls to the new girl. Though some physical exertion at the moment isn't a bad thing. It's a bit chillier in the store than normal. Mrs. Wong just went to turn up the thermostat a little bit actually.

Meanwhile, outside someone can be seen coming down the sidewalk up the block. The man's drab green jacket reveals glimpses of a sweatshirt beneath it, which is good because the coat is not quite up to the standards for New York in February. Eddie Brock is coming down the street, hands in his jacket pockets for warmth. He has a bit of a distinctive walk, especially combined with the broad shoulders and thick build which make him easy to see far off.

Eddie stops about hundred feet short of the store though. He looks over to the side over near to the building there, though what he's looking at is hidden by the steps up to some other doorways. He's talking to someone there, from the looks of it.

After a few moments, man in worn clothing stands up. One of the homeless of the area, Gwen will have seen him around before. Eddie talks with him a little bit more, a hand on his arm and Eddie's expression showing a small amount of concern. After a few more words, Eddie digs in his pocket. He pulls out some bills, pulls off two of them, and then sees there is only one left. He adds that to the other two and puts them into the man's hand, closing his hand over them.

Eddie continues on his way then, turning back to wave to the man and say something else before he continues on. He'll be passing by the store very shortly.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
It's been a few hard days to get by. First the encounter with this Venom who had been nerve-biting on it's own right, fighting off against that much larger opponent while trying to save someone who, admittedly, deserved quite some time away in jail. But being eaten? That went beyond what she could accept. And for her troubles? She had gotten a few bruises which at least were already getting healed up due to her regenerative abilities. But worse than that were the times without sleeping she was going through as of late, fuzzy dreams she couldn't remember just yet .., or were they nightmares? Still, it made her have quite the large maw as she yawned while going through another window..

"Yes, Mrs. Wong. Wax on, wax off. Right." A wink given over her shoulder. The older woman did like to supervise her work quite thoroughly so it was par for the course that she'd often quip back. So Mrs. Wong only hmphs, smiles, and carries on with her work.

When Gwen looks over again is when she spots the exchange, the apparently homeless along with Eddie. It has her arch an eyebrow in curiosity, smiling a bit to herself and waiting expectantly until Eddie is going past the store.

She will have a wave ready! And one of her smiles.

Eddie Brock has posed:
Eddie Brock has a bit of a stalking, ambling walk as he comes down the sidewalk. He has a bit of a scraggly beard, looking like it's been near a week since he shaved, though with his dark hair and his complexion, it works ok for him. Some guys just look ok looking a bit scruffy. Eddie blows on his hands to warm them and then stuffs them back in his pockets about the time he reaches the corner store.

He seems to be walking on past rather than planning to stop in, but he glances inside the windows and sees a bit of whitish blond hair, and a smile that no amount of reflections in the window could hide.

Eddie spots the wave and pauses, turning to head over to the door and step inside. "Afternoon, Mrs. W," he says to Mrs. Wong, waving a hard towards her. She gives a little nod of her head to acknowledge him but doesn't say anything.

The man turns towards Gwen, eyeing her window squeegee and bottle of glass cleaner. "Looks like they've got you hard at work," Eddie tells Gwen. His normal expression, the fairly neutral one, gives way to a soft bit of a smile.

Mrs. Wong glances over for a moment before going back to adding up the lists of deliveries.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
"Part of my karate training." Is Gwen's reply at Eddie's question. Not that it was *only* a joke, as recently she had actually went to a dojo to train. Even if it wasn't as Gwen, but as Ghost Spider. But ah well, it was still very much in the beginning. She reaches up to adjust her hair a touch unconsciously and asks him. "Couldn't stay away from the Hershey's, was it?" perhaps having noticed he was about to continue on without stopping by the shop. Not exactly thinking he may have stopped by because of her.

Her attention returns to the window again, continuing on cleaning it for a while longer, that squeegee put to hard use, she not exactly appearing to be a stranger to more physical work, "Mrs. Wong, think I am done for now. Any more and might as well just take the window off considering how perfectly I can see in and out." sparkling almost!

Mrs. Wong just gives her what is most likely an affirmative grunt, having Gwen step back. "I need to go clean my hands, then I will be back and can help out in anything you may need." she tells Eddie, wandering off in the direction of the bathroom.

Eddie Brock has posed:
As Gwen deduces that Eddie is stopping in for chocolate, his response is to shake his head and pat his jeans above his pocket. "I'm afraid I am all tapped out today," he tells her. "I just thought I'd stop in and say hello," he says, that small smile still showing.

He watches her clean the window for a moment, giving a soft, "Missed a spot," before moving on without telling her where, or confirming if there actually was a spot! He goes over to the counter, Mrs. Wong look up at him. Looking at Eddie. Looking over at Gwen as she says she needs to go clean her hands. Eddie nods to her and glances as she goes past but pulls his eyes back to Mrs. Wong quickly, before Gwen is yet through the door and out of the room.

Mrs. Wong stares at Eddie for a minute. "You're smiling," she says, which causes Eddie's faint smile to fade. "And you didn't stare when she went past the way you do at all the other girls," Mrs. Wong says, having noticed Eddie's eye discipline was unusually good for the man.

Eddie clears his throat and says, "Just, being friendly with your staff," he tells the Chinese woman.

She lets out a snort and leans forward across the elevated counter towards him. "Yes, being 'friendly' is what concerns me. There are many, many hells, Eddie. Be careful you do not end up in a special one."

Eddie is the embodiment of innocence back towards the elderly Chinese woman. Even holding up his hands in a hands off gesture. Eddie glances at the Chinese astrology predictions and Asian religious paraphernalia for sale behind the counter. "What is that, a Chinese religious thing?" he asks.

Mrs. Wong shakes her head. "Firefly," she says.

Eddie looks away and sighs, shaking his head to the private sound of Venom's laughter, until Gwen returns.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
A spot?! It has Gwen looking over the window again for a brief moment before she walks off. Pffftt, she has perfect eyesight, she missed no spot! Or did she ...? Damn it. Well, too late now, she is off, taking some time inside. She tries the hot water and then frowns a touch as it just comes out cold. Too cold!

"Mrs. Wong, is the furnace working well...?" she calls out from inside the bathroom, the sound of running water heard from within still..

She tests it just a bit more before she shrugs and gives up for now, wandering back outside, "What are you looking so amused for, Mrs. Wong? Did you go with one of your made-up sayings again?" She did like to do quotes who seemed very wise and ancient but in the end were either made up or from series! Go figure.. And Eddie had already gotten a taste of that!

Gwen finally approaches the counter, resting hands on her hips, atop her tight jeans, "Think I will go take a look inside to the furnace, it might be getting close to fizzling out again."

Maybe more than close...

Eddie Brock has posed:
Mrs. Wong puts on a perfectly serene expression as Gwen comes out. Eddie's gaze is elsewhere at first as he's just standing there, but eventually he swings his eyes back to the Columbia student as well.

"It is not any warmer since I turn up thermostat," she says in her accented English, with a small frown. From the back room where the system is at, comes that banging noise which has been heard from time to time as the furnace is starting up. Or trying to.

Eddie's head lifts, focusing back on the back room where he helped unload creates before and heard it. "I'll see if I can help too," he offers, starting towards the back with Gwen. He glances at Mrs. Wong as he does, seeing her staring at him, causing him to rub his hand over the back of his head.

Eddie's eyes slide down Gwen but quickly he pulls them back up. Christ, Mrs. Wong was right about that. Almost to prove her wrong, he stares at the girl's ass as she heads into the back room. It is rather worth a look. And he barely manages to pull his eyes up in time for her to not notice.

The man clears his throat, "I can take a look if you want," he says, moving over to the furnace without waiting for Gwen's reply, just in case she turned faster than he thought. He crouches down, opening up a panel and checking the settings and switches inside.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
The blonde makes her way over, perhaps oblivious about the look she is receiving, arms wrapping loosely about her waist on her way over. It *is* getting chillier afterall. Damn furnace. But it will have to do. She casts a brief look over the shoulder, almost catching Eddie in the act. "They are so cheap.." she whispers. "I swear, they will only change this thing when it explodes. And even then, they may look for a second opinion." the Wongs didn't play where it came to business!

She stays out of the way to let Eddie lead in towards the furnace, resting a shoulder against the wall and glimpsing over his shoulder at the switches, thoughtful. She was quite the buff where it came to electronics but ..., no need to let Eddie know!

And while it wasn't exactly pity she wanted the man to feel good about helping. "I saw you out there talking to that other man.." she mentions. "It was a nice gesture." her tone soft.

Inside the furnace whines and complains the more Eddie fiddles inside.

Eddie Brock has posed:
The furnace is pretty old so it's fairly basic inside. Eddie checks what he can and hits the switch to turn it on. It makes those soft clanging noises and he frowns, turning it back off.

He looks over his shoulder to Gwen. "Talking to that other man?" he repeats, before it dawns on him a moment later who Gwen means. "Oh, Ben, down the street?" he asks. "Yeah, he's kind of stubborn. Doesn't like to use the shelter," Eddie says, giving a slight frown. "Stays with the guys under the overpass and they just have a barrel for burning stuff to stay warm," he says with a small shake of his head. "Just trying to talk him into the shelter tonight," he tells Gwen.

Eddie stands from where he's crouched. "Well it's trying to start but like it's suffocating or something," he says. He goes over to the top where an exhaust pipe comes out, and then begins unfastening it. "So how's school for you? You going to be straight A's this semester?" he asks as he works.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
"Yea.., it puts into perspective us complaining about the furnace with that kind of poverty outside. Think he will take your bribe and go in tonight?" Gwen questions, raising a brow at the clanging noise. That wasn't a good noise at all, a bit different from the usual too. Her eyes are already up on the exhaust when Eddie moves to start unfastening it and work inside. "You are helping others, but it doesn't seem as if you are helping yourself much."

The question about school has her let out an involuntary yawn. It had been a few nights up, both without being able to sleep but also trying to handle those blasted assignments. "Eh .., so so..." some tiredness visible on those eyes. "Been having some trouble writing up some assignments. I am not exactly a great writer. Not like Peter is- used to be." a pause. That was the Peter from the other reality. This one? More into photography. Her eyes flash some guilt for a moment and then she smiles. "But hopefully I will manage. Maybe just a few Bs instead of all As."

"The furnace is probably all clogged, or something got loose in there." she suggests but then looks at the man. "You will get all dirty if you stick your arm in there though."

Eddie Brock has posed:
Eddies hear's Gwen's comment and realizes she saw him give Ben the money. "He probably won't listen. Figured he could go get something hot to eat with it anyway," he say. "Or, a bottle of booze, but I'm really hoping for the hot food. Even money on which it ends up being though," Eddie adds with a sigh.

He looks at the furnace and nods. "Not sure I'm going to have to stick my arm in, but maybe, yeah." He pulls off his sweatshirt, reveal a charcoal grey t-shirt beneath. The shirt is tight in a few places, the man having a very thickly muscled body. Not a body builder physique, but more like a brawler or someone who has worked for a living.

As he's removing the sweatshirt to get down to the short sleeves, he glances over to the blond-haired younger woman. "You know if you wanted I could take a look for you before you turn it in. Help suggest some polish for it. You can see if a journalism degree from ESU is all it's made out to be. Though if it's about genetics I may have gloss between the sciency bits."

Eddie begins removing that exhaust pipe now, eventually getting it free, removing it where it goes into the unit at the top, the pipe extending up to the ceiling. "Let's take a look. Do you have a flashlight handy?" he asks.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
Is gwen looking? Oh yes, she is. Just a peek. It won't hurt, no. So she checks out that chest when Eddie takes the shirt off, disguising it all by reaching up with one hand to move a loose strand of blond hair out of the way. That's why she is looking. No other reason. It's all CASUAL! Or maybe not.. But there's no Mrs. Wong here to give her a LOOK.

"Mmmm, take a look for me?" She blinks, taking her a moment to figure out what the man means. "The work." she then considering it, brows furrowing. "That's .., not a bad idea actually." a grin. "And some of them are about genetics, yes. But maybe it will then be your turn to see if a would-be geneticist from ESU is all it's made out to be." a brief, gentle chuckle. "Maybe at my place? But we can set the deets through message."

The request for a flashlight has her turning around, walking to a small drawer. "We always keep one handy." she explains. "For when the light poofs. It happens in this neighborhood. But you have most likely suffered from it before." she leans over, legs fully straight, digging inside the drawer before coming out with a small flashlight. She tosses it towards Eddie.

Eddie Brock has posed:
Eddie chuckles as he nods and says, "I have no doubt about the genetics department or at least about the members of it I have encountered so far. Sure, not like it's a long trip for me," says the man who lives a few doors down from her apartment building.

He catches the offered flashlight. "Yeah, the power, the heat, everything is a bit spotty around here," he agrees. He turns it on, makes sure it works and then sits down on his behind so he can get below the level of the long exhaust pipe. "Yeah, I do think it seems like it's clogged," he agrees. Eddie starts to lean forward beneath the pipe, moving it a bit to help him get a view up inside of it. He flashes the light up into it, looking from beneath as he says, "If it is clogged up, the trick is going to be to clear it without dump-"

A wealth of black soot suddenly comes loose inside the pipe and dumps on Eddie. There's a veritable pile of black ash and soot piled up on his head, and it's running down his face and onto his t-shirt. He pulls his head out from beneath it, keeping his eyes closed and moving his arm to cover his mouth as he coughs, trying to not blow the soot anywhere else. "Oh yeah. That can't be good for the eyes," he says, eyes closed blindly.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
"You say members in the plural as if you have met others besides me." Gwen says in a good natured manner, hands moving to rest on her hips while Eddie gets on to look over the exhaust pipe. Finding out that there is something clogging it up has her nod her agreement. "It's been going for a looong while without a proper clean up.." but then Eddie is moving the pipe a bit and ... "Be careful, if you move it you can ---"


And then there's soot all over. Gwen coughs momentarily, waving one hand in front of herself before she, "Don't wipe that off with your hands. Hold on."

The sound of Gwen moving around the backroom is heard and then she approaches, saying quietly. "Don't move." she is close now, closer than she has been before. Then there is something felt on Eddie's face. A piece of cloth? She starts cleaning off the soot from his eyes. "Ooof. Mrs. Wong better give you whatever you want from the store in pay for this."

Eddie Brock has posed:
Eddie is doing his best not to cough, as any inhalation is also going to be full of soot. He only partially manages, though even if it isn't noticeable, Venom helps him a bit there with clearing the particles out of his lungs a bit faster than would otherwise be the case.

"She probably owes me a chocolate bar just for the amusement it'll give her," he says when he's able to breath and speak safely. Eddie just stays still for now, trusting Gwen to clean his face off. Once she has the worst of it he says, "Want to lead me to the bathroom and I'll wash before I open my eyes?" he suggests?

He reaches a hand up, eyes still closed, trusting Gwen to lead him.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
The cloth only does so much, but it's just enough so as to not have the man's nose and mouth all full of soot so he can at least breathe. Don't want his face turning purple besides the black it already is! Gwen then takes the man's hand, delicate fingers around his larger one and starts to bring him across the back room. "Careful with the turn here." she warns. "Counter to your right." she is being careful but always better to warn!

They step out of the backroom, Mrs. Wong's voice heard. "Better not having ruined furnace!" that's her worry! But then a raised brow when she notes Eddie. "Gogo. Quick to bathroom!" no need to dirty the whole store!

"Yes, Mrs. Wong. As fast as the Flash!" There, a superhero reference! She knows more about those now.

They reach the bathroom at last, she pushing the door open and bringing Eddie in. "Okay, put your hands forward, that's the sink." she gets the water running.

Eddie Brock has posed:
Eddie's hand closes gently about Gwen's as she leads him through the story. "I think we found the problem with the furnace," Eddie mumbles back to Mrs. Wong as he hears her. As Gwen guides him into the bathroom he says, "So this is why I did journalism and not furnace repair, apparently."

He leans down and begins filling his hands with water to wash the soot from his face. Primarily focusing on getting it out of his eyes. It takes a few iterations but he is eventually able to open them and take stock. "Wow that really got me," he says, shaking his head as he sees himself. Not too much more than a shower is going to get him clean.

He does dust off his head further into the sink. And then he grips the bottom of his t-shirt, peeling it up and off carefully to avoid dropping too much soot on the ground. Then he gently shakes and brushes the t-shirt off into the sink again, letting the water carry it away.

His body is indeed rather thick with muscles. There are a few small scars, and a few tattoos as well. "Well, I think if we get the rest out of the pipe and make sure the top of the unit is clear as well it should clean up. Have a shop vac or something for cleaning it up there?" he asks, looking in the mirror towards Gwen.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
"I mean, you found the problem." Gwen says in a reassuring manner, "Better than many. But we need to work on negotiating a fee BEFORE you start to work. She's going to try and weasel out of getting you something, but I will make sure it doesn't happen."

She probably realizes midway of standing there with her arms crossed and watching that it probably would had been a good idea to step out of the room. Errr, too late for that now unless she makes it awkward. So she hangs on, watching the t-shirt being stripped out, making her best 'I am not here' impression. But she is though! And watching intently with those blue eyes of hers.

Looking at Gwen through the mirror makes Eddie note two things. One is that she was looking at the muscles on his back when the shirt came out. The second is that she has soot on her face too, a lot less of course but still a bit from when she was cleaning up Eddie. Just a smudge on her cheek.

"We got a vac. With how much that fell on you I am guessing most of it has been cleaned out but .., yea." a beat, "I .., should go fetch it."

Eddie Brock has posed:
Eddie sets the t-shirt aside, washing his hands and then getting a bit of paper towel and wetting it. "Just a minute, Gwen," he says, stepping over to her.

If she lets him he reaches up, fingers of one hand resting on her jaw and upper neck to steady her while the other brings the damp paper towel to her face. "You've got a bit of a smudge," he tells her as he gently wipes the paper towel over her face. "Sorry if the towel is a little coarse," he tells her, though he's using a soft touch as he cleans her cheek of the sooty smudge.

His eyes go from the spot he was cleaning to the blue of her eyes. Held by her gaze for just a moment, and then a moment longer before he makes himself smile and says, "There, all clean," and makes himself pull his eyes away. He steps back to the sink, checking to make sure he got as much soot off his t-shirt as he can. "I didn't think it would be that bad in there, thought it would just be in the top of the furnace," he says with a shake of his head and then can't help but chuckle. "And don't worry about Mrs. Wong. I appreciate it though," he says, looking up into the mirror and giving a smile.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
"What are you-" A pause when the man approaches, Gwen looking a bit surprised, and staying still. She is used to only react when that danger sense flares off. Without it.., she just stays there, delicate chin held up, "Oh, it feels fine." she whispers.

'Please if there is a God don't make me be blushing now.' - That's what is on her mind when Eddie is standing close to her like that.

Eyes meet eyes for that moment, taking her a moment to answer what he says next, "Thanks." she takes a step back. "Look at it on the bright side, at least you didn't find dead birds in there... Or a squirrel." she then chuckling. "Guess I am a glass half-full kind of girl."

"I will go see about the vac, come out when--" A pause, "Actually, give me a moment." she goes off to the store, away for a couple of minutes until she returns, the door opening and she hanging a shirt on the inside. "Should be your size. With Mrs. Wong's compliments."

Eddie Brock has posed:
Eddie takes the t-shirt as it is passed in to him. "Thank you. I was just thinking I should probably just wear the shirt and coat back home but this works better," he tells her.

Eddie unfurls the shirt to take a look at the logo. It has the sign for Wong's Corner Store on it, with pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Wong, and the slogan, "Two Wongs do make a right". He shakes his head, chuckling, not having actually seen the shirt before and pulls it on. It fits him snuggly. through the shoulders and upper body. Most shirts off the rack do, either snug there, or loose everywhere else.

Eddie makes one last check so he doesn't track soot into the store. He wipes off the bottoms of his boots even and then steps back out into the store. "So you need to have maintenance done on the furnace more than once every thirty years, Mrs. Wong," he tells her.

The elderly woman waves her hand. "It still works," she counters. She smiles at seeing him in the shirt. "You look good in that, you should wear it all the time," she says. Eddie laughs and shakes his head. "Nothing like free advertising," he says as he moves then towards the back room. He stops at the doorway to it, looking inside to see what Gwen is doing.

Gwen Stacy has posed:
Typical Wongs! They 'offer' a shirt but it will serve as publicity. Always with an eye for profit! Gwen takes a step back out of the store and goes to fetch that vac, taking a tentative peek inside the exhaust tube. A pause, then another peek. Safe enough! She is just finished with connecting the vac to start working when Eddie walks to the doorway.

"There you are." She says, glancing over a shoulder. "I can take this from here I think. You have breathed in enough soot for a day, or three." she grinning over at the man. "If you still got soot on your fingers go ahead and write me your number on the wall." she teases. "If not, use the pen and paper there." she nodding to a spot where the Wongs usually keep tally of business. "So we can arrange for that meet."

She wraps a piece of cloth around her lower face, covering nose and mouth and begins to work on shaking that pipe up. And really, she doesn't seem half-bad in it. Maybe some hidden muscles under that slender body!

Or maybe just those spidey powers.

Eddie Brock has posed:
Eddie stands watching for a few moments until Gwen glances over her shoulder to spot him there. He gives her that small smile of his and moves over to grab the pad of paper and pen. "Sure, here's my number. Plus you know where I live as well," he says, writing down his number, along with just his first name, Eddie.

He sets the pad down and then watches her dealing with the exhaust pipe. If he had any notions that she'd need help, they would be quickly dissuaded as he sees how competently Gwen is handling it. "Looks like you've got it all in hand. Sorry about the mess," he says.

"Alright, look forward to hearing from you," he says, before the impending whine of the shop-vac is going to kill any ability to talk. He pulls on his sweatshirt and jacket, and gives Gwen a wave as he heads on out.