5256/Better Late Than Never

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Better Late Than Never
Date of Scene: 19 February 2021
Location: Jubilee and Noriko's Room
Synopsis: Noriko and Jubilee get up the guts to ask each other to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Noriko defeats Jubilee in the battle of Jubes Splitting To Go Find a Dress.
Cast of Characters: Jubilation Lee, Noriko Ashida

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    We're going on a week or so now that Jubilee has been absent from the waking world. A lot has changed in her life, recently... A LOT... And she's been mostly holed up in the safety of their room or purposely spending time in vacant public areas. Helpful classmates have dropped off homework assignments. Today, she's lying on her bed, on her back, with her head hanging off the side. Her legs are straight up in the air, as though she's trying to make not falling off the bed something that requires core strength.

    A book is held in her hands -- an assignment for one of her classes -- and she's staring at it. For anyone coming in, it's upside-down. To the upside-down Jubilee, it's normal.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
All is quiet.  There's the brief giggles of a few girls walking by outside, but minutes go by.  Noriko had left to go meet up with Megan, some senior about, "Something girly," or something.  "Probably."  Did she sound enthusiastic?  Not really, but Noriko figures Jubes could use a little time alone or something.

The door BURSTS open and Noriko is in the open doorway.  "Oh hey you're here."  Noriko grins.  Zippity zip!  The door closes as if a ghost nudged it and the speedster ends up sitting crosslegged in front of Jubes, propping her chin up with her palms.  "Hey.  How are you doing?"

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    The book is lowered (or is it raised since she's upside down? Either way... it's brought closer to the floor!) when the door swings open so Jubilee can get a look at the person coming in. She smiles (or is it frown?) and closes the book over her finger.

    "Hey..." she says with a lingering smile. A snap bracelet that should be very familiar to Noriko is looped around her wrist. "I'm good... Just trying to do this stupid assignment." Jubilee's feet come back behind her head and she rolls backwards off the bed. Now crouched in front of Nori, Jubes gently taps at the other girl's knee with her paperback. "How are you?"

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko grins faintly when she notices the slap bracelet, but doesn't draw attention to it.  That's easier to focus on than trying to parse the finer expressions of her girlfriend when they are hanging upside down along with her.  She chuckles at the tap.  "You know.  I'm good.  Just finished up with that thing with Megan."

'While my girlfriend is squatting in front of me is probably not the best time to ask her to the dance,' Noriko stalls internally as her stomach roils in knots.  She felt so sure about this before.  Now she finally understood why.  She always knew Jubes would say 'Yes.'  She'd told herself she doesn't really care about dances, about this dance, about whatever, but she finds herself caring, a lot, as if she just found something profound she'd locked away long ago, or someone had.  'Damnit.'

"Is it due tomorrow?"  Because that matters!  "I mean.  Just curious."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee peers down at the book in her hand. She shrugs her shoulders. "I don't know," she says truthfully before looking up to smile at Noriko. She's not the most dedicated student...not by a long shot. "I think everyone's avoiding me or something, anyway, so I figured I might as well just do the reading." She gives the book a toss over her shoulder, sending it reeling towards one of the many piles in their room. A point about homework is being made with that gesture.

    Jubilee stands up and moves to take a seat next to the other girl. She holds her hand out, her forearm flat so Nori can get a look at the snap bracelet on her wrist. "I love it, Nori," she says with a big smile. "It's so me. How did you know?"

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"I think they're just trying to give you your space.  Or maybe they're afraid of me.  Pretty sure it's the latter," Noriko teases, though she can't help wonder for that brief moment if there's not a ring of truth to it.  Oh well.  She treats the droll talk of homework as flippantly as Jubilee by not bringing it up again.

When Jubilee holds her forearm flat, Noriko can't help but reach out in an instinctive burst of speed, winding back more to what's natural, as she brushes her fingers along Jubes' arm before just grabbing her hand to hold it.

"I saw it in the city.  Seemed obvious you'd like it," downplaying it, of course, even if the speedster is stifling a bashful grin.  "I'm glad you like it."  No she doesn't give Jubes her hand back.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "Or they're afraid of me..." Jubes adds, managing a faint smile. She's not happy about that detail, but she's trying to put up a strong front here. The thought that her classmates might be afraid of her...it's a terrible one. The fingertips going against her forearm draw a sigh from Jubilation, one that reminds her of recent memories.

    "You're so thoughtful," Jubes gushes, leaning her face towards the speedster, stopping just shy of kissing her. Just a flirty kind of move. "I love it, Nori. I really do." She doesn't take her hand back.

    "So..." she says, taking a breath. There's something on her mind, just lingering there... Something that doesn't come so freely.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko frowns, her expression a flash of tension as Jubilee's words hit close to home, something she'd never wish on Jubes.  Still, just getting to touch Jubilation, hold her hand, these simple things seem to shift her thoughts rapidly, even for her.

The girl poises for the imminent kiss that never comes of its own volition.  It leaves her wanting more, of Jubilee, each part of her.  Heart, mind, and okay body.  For a brief moment, seeing Jubilee's happiness steals her rampant amount of cycles she's dedicating to panicking about asking Jubilee, about how to ask her.

"Yeah so..."  There it is, back in full force.  That all residing panic that is so alien it disarms the speedster.  "I was-I mean I am-"  She suddenly realizes she preempted Jubes saying something.  "Shit.  I didn't want to start out this way.  Did you want to say something?"

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    It's just a piece of cloth wrapped around a metal band. Surely just a few dollars in some retro-inspired junk shop. But, the thought that Noriko found it herself, thought of her when she saw it, and bought it with her own money... Well. Jubes will never take it off if she can help it. After seeing the speedster's reaction to her teasing, Jubes leans forward and plants a real kiss on her cheek before pulling back to her seated posture.

    One of the weird snags of dating Noriko is the unknown protocol for a Sadie Hawkins Dance invitation. The girls do the asking, but... that's both of them. Who would it be?

    "Yeah...uh..." Jubes looks away for a moment and then reaches back to rub the back of her head. "No, wait, you...I didn't mean to interrupt..."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko was struggling with this conundrum of who asks who before.  It was on a list of reasons why dances were dumb and she didn't want to go anyways.  When Jubes cedes the floor to her, Noriko presses her lips together.

"I wanted to-Jubes.  I feel really bad that I'm going first," and Noriko does.  She really does.  She doesn't realize she's ruining the moment with her tentativeness, but she can feel the awkwardness she's creating or she thinks she is.  At least that's what she thinks at first blush.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    They're a couple, so there's really no reason that Jubilee should be so nervous about this, but she knows that Noriko has very little interest in going to this dance. There's a possibility of getting a 'no' for an answer. But... Jubes wants to go. Wants Noriko to bring her. So, she'll risk a 'no.'

    "Oh, uh..."

    With the ball served back to her, Jubilee looks down at her knees for a moment, only finding awkwardness waiting for her there. She takes a deep breath and moistens her lips. "Well..." Her face wrinkles up and then relaxes. You can do it, Jubes! "...I mean, I was wondering...I mean, uh, since..." Jubilee sticks her tongue out of her mouth, suddenly, and makes a blaaaaah kind of noise, a playful gesture to acknowledge she's stumbling over her words here. "Nori...I...I mean..."

    Finally, Jubilee finds the words she's looking for. She turns to face the speedster and asks this very important question...

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko grins at Jubes' playfulness, but is also flummoxed why Jubilee would be flustered in the first place.  She should be putting two and two together but she doesn't want to fast forward.  She doesn't want to miss it and, crap.

The sudden realization that she's just using excuses and latching onto distractions hits Noriko like a brick to the chest.  But she bucks back against it hard and suddenly spills out, "Will you go to the dance with me?"

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    -- "...with me?"

    Jubilation's mouth curls into a smile about halfway through when she realizes they're asking the same question at the same time. Of course they are.

    Where she should be hearing an answer, Jubes gives one. "Yes!" she replies happily, a laugh taking over. Of course this is what happens. Of course.

    She's not a speedster, but Jubilee quickly springs herself on Noriko, smiling widely as she leans all her weight on the other girl.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko has a mouth agape, toothy grin.  "Yes," she says more softly than Jubilee but with no less fondness, cherishing Jubilation's exuberance.  It's perfect timing.

It may not be any less 'exhausting' staying slowed down (though this is only something Noriko has mentioned once), but the act of syncing up and shifting her speed has become more by feel as of late.  At least with Jubilee.  So when Jubes springs at her quickly, Noriko is ready.

"So we're going to the dance together.  Cool."  Noriko sounds all chill about it, but she's still grinning like a loon.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "Yeah..." Jubilee smiles down at Noriko, gently pressing her against the bed, batting her eyelashes just so. It's not a meet-cute but it's one of those kind of moments and she's relishing in it. Life's been... rough lately, so little delights like this have to be savored. "We are..." Her eyes shift to the side as she accesses a memory. Her gaze returns to Nori as she leans down, seemingly to give her a kiss.

    "And...not as waitresses this time..."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko remains standing, making the feat seem effortless as she uses her strength and balance to recover...and to use it as a reason to stay close to Jubes after her girlfriend disarms her so.  Noriko always get away, but Jubilation is a weakness...and a strength for her.

The speedster turns her head just so.  It seems so obvious that this is, oh that.   That.  "You sure?  You looked really sexy in that outfit," Noriko teases flirtatiously.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee closes her eyes and a line forms across her brow. "No!" she exclaims, shaking her head. Oh, it's flirting. OH. Jubilation's features soften as a playful smile takes over. "...Oh, well... It's not like anyone could've noticed /me/ when /you/ were there..." she replies softly, that smile continuing as she bounces the ball back into Nori's court. As far as Jubilee was concerned, Nori could've been wearing a poncho with hidden snack pockets that night and it wouldn't have mattered. She's the most beautiful girl in the entire school.

    Still, Jubes leans up against Nori, grinning. "But I mean it... No waitress outfits," she warns gently.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko smirks when Jubilee clues into her intentions, taking it in stride.  "Yeah.  It's only because you were hiding your brilliance behind me, so you know.  When people look at me, they just see something like Raiders of the Lost Ark."  With their powers combined, they literally melt people.  Kind of.  Luckily this never crosses Noriko's mind.  "Something too perfect to handle."  She cackles at how awful her tangent ends up.

"I promise.  No waitress outfits.  Any requests though?"  Noriko must be taking it seriously, even through her relaxed manner.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Yeah, they're deadly. One of them knows how to be. The other isn't quite so sure. They're also hot. At least Jubilee knows how to lean into /that/. She slips a hand onto Noriko's waist and fills her cheeks with air before letting it out. "I don't care what you wear," she says, shrugging her shoulders with an easy smile sticking around. "You'll look amazing no matter what. But... you know, maybe a ....you know." A dress.

    Jubilee, though, thinks further on this and bites down on her smile. "I'm gonna find something so you look at me like you did after the talent show!" she announces with some determination.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko's mind blanks out when she feels Jubilation's hand at her waist.  She so clearly listens more intently.  "Oh."  There's a small smile, a stray thought at what it would take for Jubilee to to take back her comment, and a plethora of playful ideas that follow.  Back to reality.

The speedster knows what Jubilee said, but the unspoken suggestion to derails her.  This isn't anything she ever thought she would have to, no she would get to worry about such things.  The possibility never entered her mind, nor the fantasies of what she would wear or who she would go with.

"Yeah maybe one of the girls will help me out," Noriko says without realizing how ridiculous that sounds when looking at her scrabbled together wardrobe.  There's still style there, a selection of tastes that are somewhat atypical in the microcosm that is the school.

"I can't wait," Noriko replies with a goofy grin at Jubilee's quest announcement.  She's not going to sap any of the enjoyment out of Jubilee's hunt.  She's succumbed to the charm of it, the diehard romantic in Jubes.  "I'm not sure that will actually be enough of a challenge for you."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    She's actually surprised. Nori couldn't wait? "Really?" Jubes exclaims, her eyebrows rising to match. "Me neither!" She taptaptaps her thumb against her jawline as she thinks about it a little more. Her imagination begins following the thread along, thinking about the different possibilities. Maybe the money Warren forgot he gave them would be put to good use?

    "Maybe I should go look for something now!" she declares suddenly, her mind now narrowly focused on this dance and what she might find to wear to it. What might draw Noriko's attentions that night. With a mischievous smile, Jubilee leans in and whispers something in Nori's ear. They're alone in their room and the door is shut. Whispering is a pointless but deliberate gesture.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"Well.  Yeah."  Noriko seems a touched surprised by Jubilation's surprise.  "You look like you're hatching some plans," the speedster points out.  She knows that look.  "Just let me know about when you do go," Noriko says with a slight lift of her chin.  "I need to know when I can-"  Oh.  Jubilee's whisper sets off a bomb in Noriko's brain.

Noriko's lips part.  The truth is, the girl hasn't really been able to focus on anything but Jubilee.  And then she swallows.

"I might be into that...a little," Nori says in facetious flirtation.  Her eyes deliberately betray her amused affection for Jubes.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Boom. Mission accomplished. Jubilee raises her eyebrows a little in a 'who me?' sort of look as Noriko's speech is interrupted by the thoughts she triggered. She pulls back a touch with some mock surprise. "A /little/?" Jubes repeats. One side of her smile pulls back a little to show a tiny peek of her teeth. "We'll see about that!"

    Jubes springs forward towards one of the clothes piles and pulls a hoodie -- baby blue with the words ACTUAL SIZE on the front -- so she can be warm for her sudden trip to the Salem Center. "A little!" she repeats with a pretend huff in her voice. "A little!" She shakes her head at Noriko and begins to squirm her way into the hoodie.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"Yeah.  A little," Noriko says, hamming up a tiny moment with a tiny shrug.  It's noncommittal.  Her head tilts to the side a little as she watches Jubilee, feeling content in this reprieve of normalcy, even if may only be temporary.

Nori walks over to be suddenly leaning against the door jam, legs crossed as casually as her arms while she blocks the way.  "Okay a smidgeon?"  Noriko isn't technically clear on what the word means, or that's what she'd say if pressed for a meaning.  But one way it's a compliment and the other way it's playful with that grin of hers her only-have-eyes-for-Jubes gaze.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Once the hoodie is on and all of Jubilee is contained inside it, she reaches both hands up to pull and smooth her long, straight hair into a ponytail. "A little..." she repeats under her breath, even rolling her eyes a bit as she does. She's not mad -- she's just playing her part in this little dance they're doing. She knows the steps. Knows how it ends. "You'll be sorry you ever said that, Noriko Ashida!" she calls out from a kneeling position at her bedside table. After fishing through the drawer and finding her half of the extra $400 Warrenbucks, Jubes stomps over to the door. The two hundred dollar bills are rumpled into one of her pockets.

    "Nori...You're in my way..." she points out with a grin. She stops just a hair away from Nori and reaches out for the other girl's gauntlets with her fingertips.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko gets a little lost in watching Jubilee put up her hair in 'slow motion.'  She chuckles prematurely, cutting off the beat after Jubilee's under-breath comment.  "You're totally going to make me pay aren't you."  She doesn't sound so saddened or threatened by that.

"...What are you going to do about it?" Noriko asks softly, smiling sweetly as Jubilee reaches for her gauntlet.  She reaches back, always holding her hand still so Jubilee can get hers situated, given one of them has nerve endings more in tune with the situation.  Only gentle movements.

Nori pushes forward slightly from the door jam to kiss Jubilee.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "Oh, absolutely," Jubilee replies with some confidence to Nori's question -- she /will/ make her pay. And it's going to be a lot. But then... Wait, what's happening? Yes, Nori's blocking the door, but... What will she do about it? Uh. The hamster on Jubilee's wheel trips and gets flung to the side. Instead of immediately getting back on, the hamster scurries off in search of pellets. Truly a romantic, she falls helplessly for the moment and what Noriko's doing. For Noriko herself.

    "Well...I'd...." She struggles a little to reply as she finds herself victimized by this. Totally done in. "I..." she tries again. "Well, I would..." Her fingers just barely make contact with the gauntlets before her reach and her words are interrupted by the kiss. Jubilee's eyes close in a flutter. She returns the kiss with a soft whimper, totally done in by it. She begins to haphazardly walk backwards to guide them both away from the door. Her hands lower from the gauntlets and give that dumb hoodie she just put on a gentle tug.

    The Salem Center will be there later.