Barbara (htbthomas) wrote,

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Enquiring Minds, 2/12

Title: Enquiring Minds, 2/12: Pride
Author: htbthomas
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse, post Spider-Man 2
Pairing: Peter/MJ
Word Count: Ch. 2 - 1000 words
Summary: Peter is trying to work up the courage to propose, but his plans are put on hold when someone tries to make his private life public.
Chapter Teaser: Jameson got up and started pacing the carpet behind his desk. That's it, Robbie thought, I can’t take it anymore. I'll bring up the unspeakable subject

“You know, Jonah… I know for a fact that Parker is still looking for a job,” he started casually.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Chapter Links: 1 | 2

Chapter 2: Pride

“Dammit, Robbie!” J. Jonah Jameson banged his fist on the top of his desk, scattering the papers he had been perusing everywhere. “The circulation numbers are down again this week!” Jameson nearly bit through his cigar in frustration.

“I know, Jonah...” Robbie let the sentence trail off. It would be the same spiel this week as the last several weeks. Numbers were down. Why? What new stories could they come up with? What scandals could they exaggerate?

Robbie knew it was Jameson's pride that prevented him from speaking aloud what they were both thinking. No Spider-Man photos since Peter resigned. Oh, sure, there had been headlines, articles and whatnot about the superhero, but nothing sold papers like a great photo on the cover. It was almost as if Spider-Man was deliberately avoiding being photographed by anyone at all. Which he probably is, considering how he was treated here.

Jameson got up and started pacing the carpet behind his desk. That's it, Robbie thought, I can’t take it anymore. I'll bring up the unspeakable subject

“You know, Jonah… I know for a fact that Parker is still looking for a job,” he started casually.

Jameson's pacing halted in mid-stride. He turned slowly around, and looked askance at Robbie as if to say, You did not just say that… He took a big breath to bellow, but then the air whistled right out of him. The one person who could see through his blustering was Robbie. “I guess I should give him a call,” he said in a low voice.

Unable to help himself, Robbie added, “You know he won't come back here under the same terms as before. He's going to want a steady paycheck.”

The fire came back into Jonah’s eyes. “That louse will take what I offer him and be happy about it!” he huffed.

“And benefits...” Robbie continued.

“If he thinks I'm going to come begging on hands and knees to him,” Jameson growled, chomping hard on his cigar, “he is sorely mistaken!” He shuffled through the papers on his desk to find the Rolodex.

“Jonah…” Robbie chided.

“Fine. Miss Brant!” he shouted toward the doorway.

Betty popped her head in. “Yes, Mr. Jameson?”

“Get me Peter Parker on the phone, right away!” he managed to order, his face looking as if he were in pain.

“Yes, sir.” She popped back out.

“No need for—” Robbie started to say, pulling out his wallet.

A moment later, Betty interrupted. “Mr. Jameson, the number we have is disconnected.”

“Well, get a new one! I don't care how many people you have to call!” He was turning a little redder with each word.

As much as he was enjoying Jonah’s discomfiture, Robbie walked over and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Jonah, I kept in touch with him. He gave me his new number a few weeks ago.” Robbie opened the billfold of his wallet and pulled out a folded piece of paper. “Do you want me to call him for you?' He held out the paper.

Snatching it, Jameson said, “No need, I'll call him myself.” He pounded the digits on his phone. Once Jameson was set on a course of action, it was 'full steam ahead.'

The line rang a couple times, and then a female voice answered sleepily, “Hello?”

“I'm looking for Parker. Is this his number?” Jonah asked impatiently.

“Yes, it is. I'm sorry, he's out right now… Mr. Jameson?” the voice asked incredulously.

After a short pause and a grimace, he soldiered on. “Yes. Miss Watson, I presume?” Robbie made a face across the room, of what emotion, he couldn't tell. “Just tell him to call me at the Bugle.” He hung up the phone without waiting for an answer.

- - - - -

Peter turned the keys to unlock the door slowly, a little saddened that no one was waiting for him – Mary Jane had already gone to the theater for costuming and make-up. He wished he could have afforded a ticket to the opening, since he had already missed the preview performances where he could have seen it for free. Mary Jane had been disappointed, but she had pretended otherwise. I'll be too nervous the first few nights, anyway. I'll get you a discounted ticket for the matinee next week.

He started to sit on the couch and turn on the television, but noticed a neon sticky note on top of the answering machine. What's this? He reached over and plucked it off.

‘Call Jameson at the Bugle.’ She had written two question marks above and below the words.

What the... Peter looked at his watch. Seven o'clock. Jameson was probably still waiting for the last stories to be called in. Shrugging, Peter picked up the receiver and dialed. I never thought he'd want to speak to me again. At the voice prompt, he tapped in the extension.

An imperious voice answered, “Jameson.”

God, he makes me nervous. I can wisecrack with murderers and hardened criminals, but J.J. makes my stomach queasy.
“Uh, Mr. Jameson, this is Peter Parker.”

“Parker!” Jameson barked. “What took you so long to call back? Nevermind. You're coming back to work here at the Bugle.”

“I...uh...what?” Peter stammered.

“You heard me, I expect to see you in here on Monday, first thing, portfolio in hand.”

“But Mr. Jameson, I have class...”

“Don't play around with me, Parker. You want more? Fine. You can have a full-time position as photographer.”

Peter was stunned. “A full-time position? Um, my college schedule, I'm not very flexible...”

“You drive a hard bargain. Okay? You want flexible time and benefits? You got it. I expect to see you Monday. You hear me, Parker?” Jameson growled.

“Sure, Mr. Jameson, see you Monday.” Almost immediately, the line went dead. He couldn't believe it. A full-time job? With a flexible schedule? It was almost too good to be true.

Wait'll I tell MJ. She'll be thrilled. If Mary Jane's play reviews were good, they'd both have something to celebrate.

On second thought, I'll save the news for a special dinner. He looked toward the rings' hiding place again. Maybe the time has finally come...

Next: Chapter 3: A Reason to Celebrate

55 Days until Spider-Man 3!!
Tags: fanfiction, spider-man

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