Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse, post Spider-Man 2
Word Count: Ch. 5 - 1580 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: Andy needed something new and fresh, something unique. A smiling redhead caught his eye in one of the photos. He had been focusing on her co-stars at the premiere, and she wasn’t the center of the photo. What a knockout. Who is she?
Chapter 5: A Great Shot
Andy Vogel flipped through his latest batch of shots. He had the usual pictures of TV starlets having lunch...flip, flip...soap opera actresses shopping...flip, flip...Broadway premiere shots...flip, flip...
He sighed. Nothing really interesting here. Another wasted roll of film.
Andy was having an off-year. He used to sell photos to papers at least once every couple of weeks. Sometimes he would get a great one that would set him up for a while. Remember when you were the first to get a picture of the then-current Ms. It and her new baby? He hadn’t needed to work for months.
Lately, he was lucky if he sold one every couple of months. It was a good thing he owned all his camera equipment free and clear...
He went back through the photos again – he had captured a few famous faces. Not her, she has two kids by different guys, but that’s old news. And him? Everyone’s knows he’s a drinker and gambler and nobody cares anymore...
Andy needed something new and fresh, something unique. A smiling redhead caught his eye in one of the photos. He had been focusing on her co-stars at the premiere, and she wasn’t the center of the photo. What a knockout. Who is she?
He grabbed his stack of newspapers and sifted through them to find the review of the show. His finger tracked down the page and stopped on a name. “Mary Jane Watson.” So this wasn’t her first show. No boyfriend on her arm in the photo, maybe she wasn’t attached.
Wait a minute... he reached for his file folder of interesting information he’d picked up about the New York City social scene. Her name was ringing a bell, but he couldn’t figure out why.
Shaking his head at each article he had clipped, he stopped at one particular item. Runaway Bride? Jameson wedding fiasco. Aha, this was the girl that dumped J.J.’s son! All the talk had long since blown over. Jameson had buried the story as soon as possible. Don’t blame him, I’d be embarrassed, too.
Seems like he could remember whispers about Watson leaving the astronaut for another guy. Well, whoever he was, there was no sign of him at this premiere.
He filed her in the back of his mind to check out later. He needed to find something juicy to photograph, not some fresh-faced nobody, no matter how beautiful.
Mary Jane took a deep breath, sighing out happily. She and Louise had gotten one of the last tables on the sidewalk, right under the shade trees. She laughed brightly at something Louise was saying – they hadn’t seen each other much since her abortive wedding to John, but Louise had come backstage last night to say hi. They both wanted to catch up, so they decided to meet at one of their favorite haunts from when they acted in The Importance of Being Earnest together.
Louise leaned forward on her elbows. “Like I was saying before, Mary Jane, you are twice as good in this play as you were in Earnest.” Her voice dropped, thick with interest. “Are you studying with someone?”
“No, no. Maybe the part just fits me better.” She sipped at her iced tea.
“Or is your personal life enhancing your acting skills?” Louise inquired slyly.
“Maybe,” Mary Jane blushed.
“You were so cryptic at the wedding. I guess everything worked out, then. I’ve never even met the guy...”
“Well, his work keeps him really busy. This week we’ve hardly seen each other. But the reunions are so much more fun,” she hinted.
Louise raised an eyebrow. “How serious is it between you two?”
“Um... we’ve been living together for the last three months...”
“Living together?” Louise interrupted. “Whoa, that is so not the way you were with John.”
“There was no passion between me and John. It was more like a friendship. That’s why I had to call it off.”
“Do you think the two of you will ever get married?”
“I hope so. In fact, I could have sworn he was going to ask me the other day, but then he was... um... called away.”
“What, is he a doctor or something?”
“No, it’s complicated—” Her cell phone went off in her purse. Saved by the bell. “Sorry, just a second. Hello?”
“MJ - are you busy?” Peter sounded like he was out on a crowded street.
“I’m having lunch with Louise, you know, my friend from Earnest.” Mary Jane pointed toward the phone and mouthed the words, ‘It’s him.’ Louise nodded, and took a bite of her sandwich.
“Oh, I was hoping to spend a little time with you. We keep missing each other.” Peter sounded disappointed.
“Me too. We’ve both been so busy.” Mary Jane was just as disappointed. “How long until you have to be back to work?”
“It just so happens that I have several hours until my next assignment, and my classes are over for the day. And as for the city, it’s: ‘All quiet on the Western front.’” The noise from the street sounded more distant now. Had he taken to the air?
“You could meet me after lunch - we’re at Uno’s.” Mary Jane raised her eyebrows at Louise, hoping to get an okay. Louise gave her a thumbs-up, and kept chewing.
“Okay, great, I’ll meet you there, when? In a half-hour?” He sounded eager to see her.
“That sounds great. Louise will get to meet you, finally. See you in a half-hour. Love you.”
“Love you, too.” He hung up.
Louise swallowed and looked at her watch. “Oh, damn. A half-hour? I forgot the time. I need to be back at work in 20 minutes. You know, temp job. No extended lunches for me.”
“I wanted you to meet him, too. Oh well, maybe next time.”
“If not, there’s always the wedding,” Louise winked. “Can I wear the same dress, or do I have to buy a new one?”
Mary Jane laughed and slapped at her hand. It was always fun to be with Louise – they were going to have to do this more often.
Peter came up the sidewalk next to Uno’s and saw Mary Jane standing at the entrance. No Louise? Hmm.
He nodded at her formally. “Good afternoon, miss.”
She played along, with a chipper, “Good afternoon, sir.”
He tipped an imaginary hat, and walked past, straight around the corner, into the alley.
Mary Jane stopped, nonplussed for a moment, and then decided to follow. When she turned the corner, she was whisked off her feet, and soon was flying through the air.
“Well, sir,” she gasped breathily, “you have some nerve.” But the tone of her voice belied the way she held tightly to him. She nestled into his neck as they headed for home.
I could sure use a slice, Andy thought as he headed down the street. It’s lunchtime, and I’ve pounded the pavement too long today already.
He hadn’t had any luck with his recent batch of photos, just as he had suspected. Looking across the street, he saw a little pizzeria with a shady outdoor area, and went inside.
It was a nice day – summer was ending, the weather was finally starting to turn cooler. Might as well enjoy it.
After ordering, he did his usual people watching. He always kept a camera with him. You never knew what might be worth some money. As he glanced around, his eyes fell on a couple of young women eating lunch. Wait a second, it’s that actress, Mary Kate something or other... This was too much of a coincidence. He reached down and grabbed his portfolio. Flipping through to find that shot, he checked it against the woman sitting a few tables away. Yep, that’s definitely her. He looked at his notes in the file. Oh, Mary Jane Watson, that was it.
If she had been a big name, taking a photo now might be worth something. But otherwise... She was talking into a cell phone, while her friend was finishing her meal. They were both pretty cute, he had to admit.
He kept his eyes moving as he ate, always on the lookout for a great photo. He noticed idly when the friend hugged Watson goodbye, and paid her part of the tab. Watson hung around a few more minutes, then went to stand, purse in hand, at the entrance. Waiting for someone?
He wiped his mouth, took out some cash, and laid it on the table. Time to get back to work. As he walked out of the restaurant, he saw Watson suddenly turn the corner of the building, into the alley nearby. He continued, almost passing the alley himself, when whoosh! Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a streak of red and blue sailing into the air.
He fumbled for his camera. Crap! A chance at getting a shot of Spider-Man, and I’m not ready! By the time he pointed the telephoto lens at the sky, Spider-Man was gone. He cursed himself silently… then he stopped short. Hadn’t Watson just gone into that alley? He looked around. The alley ended in a dead-end. There was nothing but a dumpster and a service door to the restaurant. The actress was nowhere to be found.
He put two and two together and got... Spider-Man’s... girlfriend? Now that would be worth something!
Next: Chapter 6: Gotta Make A Living
49 days until Spider-Man 3!!