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Cyroa

Car Shopping (IC)

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James was sitting around the table, phone in hand. "Yeah, yeah. Leave it on as a rider. Once I know we'll stick it on the list for the duration. I'll get your the numbers and id's as well when I find out. Standard coverage of course. It'll likely get donated so maybe a tax write-off or something? Find out for me. Later." He hung up the phone, putting it away. He grabbed his drink, taking a sip. He wasn't sure exactly what the plan was but at least he had covered his bases.

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Alex showed up early and without Erin in tow. It didn't take a psychic of Alex's calibur to know that Erin hoped to get a chance to drive James' car today, or that her presence was required as she was better at convicing people to do things than Erin. Alex was happy to go along with the plan as it seemed harmless enough and would give her a chance to better get to know this member of their team.

"Hey, James!" Alex greeted him cheerfully, her pink-flowered backpack over one shoulder. As usual, she was wearing an eye-jarring combination of colors. Alex had opted for a long sleeved shirt in brilliant yellow that had red chilli peppers running up the sleeves. Over that she'd 'matched' a short sleeve shirt in a vivid lime green. She smiled at James and slipped into the chair next to him, announcing, "I'm early."

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James looked up as the team psychic showed and greeted her with smile. "Mornin Alex. Looking like a lovely riot of color as always. No worries. It isn't like we're on a schedule or anything. I got the whole insurance and registration stuff started since you guys will be driving." He took another sip of his juice. "So where's the roomie? Catching up on her pile of work?" He chuckled, knowing that Erin and Alex were always busy with studies, for different reasons of course.

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"Probably," Alex agreed with a smile and nudged her backpack under the table with one foot. "She's been awful busy lately with trainings. I haven't had a trip to the Doom Room yet. How 'bout you?"

She quickly set into her breakfast tray with enthusiasm. As usual, Alex had mostly healthy fare along with a small desert. An ex-athlete, Alex's mom had been a real stickler for eating smart with junk food only for special treats. "I hear Erin complain about Mr. Archer all the time though."

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He shook his head with a grin. "Doom Room? It's not that bad. But no, haven't been. I've got good control of my powers. And there's a training room just like it back at the Family's Mansion." He didn't particularly want to do a power test here anyway. He wasn't exactly trusting of any of the authority figures, at home or here.

He chuckled. "Yeah, I bet. She's pretty much done the same with me on more than one occasion. She isn't afraid of him obviously. But his riding her makes her miserable because she cares. Buys into it and all that. She'll be fine once she settles her trainings out and adjusts to a regular schedule."

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"Well, I know the psychological games always affected Mike the most at the facility. A lot of people don't like their heads messed with," Alex grinned up at him, quickly polishing off her breakfast in short order, "I just find it interesting but it's harder to catch me with that kinda stuff than a lot of people. Which is a fair trade off 'cuz I can't lift even my own weight much less a car."

She scuffed one sneakered toe against the ground thoughtfully, "Do you miss your family? I mean, you don't have to answer, of course. But I was just wondering if you find it weird to be at a boarding school instead of home?"

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James chuckled. "I can imagine. I can empathize I suppose. I might not be the smartest or wisest of fellahs. But I'm a sneaky sucker when I set my mind to it. Usually more work that I bother with though," he added with a grin.

He shook his head. "No worries. Hard to offend me. Sides, I could either not answer or lie to you if I didn't feel like answering." He shrugged one shoulder. "Do I miss them? Nope. 'Sides, the Family Mansion is only like a half hour from here if I really felt like visiting or something. I gotta be in school till I'm 18 anyway. And I'd rather be here than having private tutors and all that back there."

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"I like the whole class thing way better than tutors too," Alex agreed easily, "I mean, I guess the whole one on one thing works in a lot of cases but I'd rather have friends. I mean, this is the first time that its ever been more than just me and Mike. It's awesome!"

Alex beamed at him, obviously including James in her sweeping group of friends, "I like living in the dorms too. 'Course, Erin is an easy roommate which helps, I'm sure. Do you have a roommate assignment?"

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James shrugged with a wry grin. "I'm not quite the student you are. In fact, I generally do as little school work as I can in order to get by. And yeah, the team is really the first set of real friends I've had or come close to having. Plenty of casual acquaintances and dates and all that of course."

He shook his head a little, unconcerned. "Nope, no roomie. Not even sure if they're even gonna assign me one, not that it matter much. I'm never really there anyway. You and Erin gonna still be roommates once the year starts? I don't know if they rearrange things."

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"Oh, most likely. I put in to keep her as my room-mate. Dunno, we might get moved rooms though. They open up a bunch more dorms when the school year starts. Well, obviously, I guess. There's a lot more students!" Alex laughed at her own statement of the obvious and pushed her now empty tray away. "Most people aren't as into school stuff as I am. Everyone does their own thing which is neat. I mean, Eddie's got his music. I have no musical talents so it's cool to live vicariously. That's really my favorite part of this. Everyone's got their own perspective on stuff. Really opens your eyes to things."

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James grinned. "Alex, there are geniuses out there who are less interested in school than you are. I can't do that, live vicariously. Doesn't seem like living to me. Even if you suck at it, if you want to do it, then do it. Enjoy life while it lasts. Don't worry so much. Have fun." He chuckled. "Yeah, I'm plenty aware that everyone sees things differently. It's important when trying to bluff or figure out if someone's lying to you as well. Their beliefs and views, desires and goals are vital to that whole bit."

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Erin finally hurried in, looking harried as usual, and grabbed a handful of granola bars and a milk carton off the breakfast line before joining her friends. "Sorry I'm late," she told the others, sitting down and dropping her heavy bag on the floor with a thud. "Trying to finish up a book report, and I lost track of time. Algebra's looking like a sure loser," she admitted with an apologetic glance at Alex, "but I can still pull English out of the bag." She put a granola bar away in three bites, washing it down with the milk. "I'm ready whenever you guys are."

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James looked up at Erin's approach. His friend seemed harried as always. "This a good time for you? It's not like they won't wait and open whenever if I call, you know." He drank most of the rest of his juice. "So...not sure what you guys were looking for, but I was thinking maybe a truck of some kind. Maybe one of those tough as hell pickups or something. Just in case we need to move things, subtly to and from a certain area, without the whole super strong kids being noticed and all that," he added with a wryly. He shrugged. "But it's up to you really."

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Alex gave Erin a cheery smile and shrugged her shoulders.

"No big deal, you'll lock it all down eventually." Alex said, meaning every word. Not only did she have faith in Erin's potential, but Alex had a remarkabally good grasp on just how important half the things studied in high school were. It really made very little difference in the long run. "And we're not in a hurry."

She turned back to James and gave him a tiny grin, "Well, I've never driven anything at all, so I've got nothing to go on as far as preferences. Erin's driven cars before, though!"

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"I've mostly driven Jeeps because they're good for offroad, but a truck would be useful," Erin agreed, finishing up a second granola bar. She shoved the rest into her knapsack, where they would eventually make their way into the box under her bed. "Couldn't carry everybody, but you can squeeze a surprising number of people into your car. Trucks take a lot of gas, though. Driving it too much would be expensive." She shot a glance at James, rolling her eyes good-naturedly. "If that matters."

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James just chuckled at Alex. "Maybe not. But you're taking a class to learn, so it'll be a good start. 'Sides, its fun. And if the whole legal thing matters to you, did you know you don't need a license to drive on private property?" He nodded at Erin. "My thoughts as well. People and stuff would be easy enough to move around with one." He raised an eyebrow. "Pay for gas? I thought you were buying the thing, what with your deep pockets and ridiculous bankroll plus the rich and famous family you avoid? Does it look like I can afford gas, let alone a car?!" He paused. "Oh wait, that's me," he said with a grin. "Yeah, no worries. I'm sure we can get a gas card or something that'll cover it. But, the truck was just an idea. If you've got something else in mind, I'm fine with that too. Could always rent a truck if we needed one."

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Rather than do something like start quoting the safest cars on the road, which Alex did actually knew, she turned to James with a grin and pointed out, "Well, you could take us in your car and explain what makes it quite so cool. Then we'd have something to gauge it off of. You could even let one of us drive it."

Alex smiled up at him, her tone playful and even expectant that James would shoot down that idea. She knew Erin wanted to drive the car and that James was fond of his vehicle. Either way, both of her friends would probably have fun with James pointing out the special qualities of his 'sweet ride' as Eddie called it.

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"Excellent idea," Erin agreed right away. "We won't be able to make a good choice without having anything to base it off of. It's been more than a year since I gave up my car. Mario Kart's not quite the same. But if we drive your car, we'll be better prepared." She wasn't as good at trying to convince people of things as Alex, and could hardly keep from laughing as she made her pitch, but it was sincere enough.

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James nodded. "I don't think I need to explain the concept of 'cool' so I'll skip by that part. Kind of hard for you to test something if you've don't know how to drive Alex," he added with a grin. "Luckily, I planned for this little eventuality. I arranged for a few rental cars and trucks at nice big open lot so you can get the idea for what you'd prefer or what we're going for. Figured we'd go there first before hitting the dealership. If you're ready?"

James just grinned. "C'mon, you didn't really think that would work did you?" He chuckled as he stood up and dug his keys out of his pocket. Erin had little chance to convince anyone given her lack of smooth talking abilities. And while Alex might be a telepathy, she had nothing on him when it came to convincing people.

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Alex laughed and shook her head, giving his arm a little pat, "I'm not trying anything other than to express how much we'd love to drive your awesome car."

She scooped up her book bag and slipped it over her shoulder as she fell into step, giving Erin a conspiratorial grin and fell into step with her friends. "So, if we prove that we wont crunch your car, maybe we can talk then. I'd like to get a chance to test drive a truck. I'm concerned about the sight lines."

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Erin heaved a sigh at James' meanness, popping up from the seat she'd just taken . "Here we've fought side by side with you, and I've pulverized you in Mario Kart, and you still have such little faith," she scolded James, then finally allowed, "but it's probably a good idea to try a couple of different things anyway. I haven't driven a truck, but I'm sure it's the same idea, just done bigger. And we'll get you a pillow," she assured Alex with a little snicker.

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James gave a wry grin. "Yeah, I think I got the gist of the notion."

"Hey, you haven't pulverized me in that game. I'll admit you're winning most of the time at this point but I'm not being slaughtered yet!" He chuckled. "Or phone books. Don't think there are any booster seats around," he said jokingly as they headed for the garage. "Just kidding. 'Sides, in a truck, you'll be so high up, you'll be looking down easily enough."

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Alex made a face at booth of them and protested laughingly, "Oh, come on. I'm not that short! I can see over the dash-board of most cars. Unless they're like tanks or something."

She poked James in the arm once and pointed out, "Plus, even if I can't see. I can drive by ESP. Bird's eye view and everything! Just like in a video game."

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Erin thought about that for a minute. "Better not," she finally advised, "until you know how to do it the regular way. Mr. Summers might get kind of nervous if you talk about driving just like in a video game." She deftly snagged the front passenger seat as they arrived at the car, leaving Alex and her short legs to the backseat. "Maybe we could get a panel truck," she suggested, "and that way everyone who's bringing their costumes along everywhere will have someplace to change."

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"Just kidding." James laughed. "Yeah, vision is highly overrated. Bet it'd freak your driving tester something fierce."

He shrugged at Erin. "I suppose. Those aren't exactly fun to drive though; which I figured was a requirement. People will just have to leave the important parts of their costume on I suppose. Or not care about changing." He didn't particularly have a costume yet, mainly because he hadn't cared enough to bother. And he was far from shy, so that wasn't an issue to him either.

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