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Monday, February 4, 2013

4:30 PM

Though the late afternoon air was rather cool, the sun was shining as Megan Howell made her way down one of the tree-lined streets of Riverside. She had left work at her internship with Summit Transnational a bit early today to take up Angus Stone's invitation to see the small recording studio she owed in this part of town. The young blonde had met the former pop star during the Midnight Society's holiday party back in mid-December. But given the holidays, starting her internship at Summit, as well as Angus' own busy schedule, it had taken until now for Megan to be able to take her up on the invite.


Looking around as she made her way towards the address Angus had given her, Megan smiled as she took in some of the sights of the bohemian neighborhood. I really need to try to get down here more often. The young woman thought to herself. Especially now that it is an easy monorail ride from my apartment in the Wading Way.

Reaching the street the studio was on, Megan turned to her left and walked down another block before coming to a stop in front of a building with the sign *Zenith Stuido* out front. Well here we are. She through as she opened the doors and made her way in. "Good afternoon," she said to the receptionist inside with a warm smile. "I am Megan Howell, and I am here to see Angus Stone."

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Agnus had always had a good feel for trend that were going on here and back home. And thanks to Adele and *shudder* One Direction British acts were hot right now. So now would be a good time to try and record a second album, and also a bit of a break from just being a Business Woman.

So she had spent a fruitful yet frustrating morning trying to write new material. She wasn't a natural musician and couldn't write song or play instruments, at least not without the memories contained within the spirit which resided within her. She knew the material wouldn’t be that great but at least she could pass her ideas on to someone to polish. And it did allow her to play the electric guitar, something she’d wanted to do since she was little, right now rather than do any work she was doing a passable version of Purple Haze.

“Stephanie look I’ve got to go, yeah we’ll talk later.†The secretary looked up at Megan and gave a passable professional smile “Hi there, and welcome to Zenith Studio. I’m Gail and if I can get anything for you just let me know.†She checked something on the screen in front of her “Ah yes she actually remember to make a note of it here, she so chaotic sometime I don’t know how she remember anything sometimes.†She realized how unprofessional she sounded and looked a little embarrassed “Straight down the hall to the Rehearsal room, you can’t miss it just follow the sound of the guitar. Please don’t try to enter the studio, some local band are recording at the moment.â€

One she was happy that Megan was happy with her directions, she put on earphones and started doing work (or at least pretending to) on the computer.

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Megan just smiled as Gail began to ramble a bit. The young blonde was still dressed in her work attire, a black, St. John Collection shimmer boucle satin dress with a matching jacket. Glancing in the direction the other young woman had indicated for a moment, Megan then looked back to the secretary and gave her another smile. "Thank you Gail."

Starting off down the hallway, she looked at the various pictures that decorated the walls. Just as Gail had stated, she could hear a guitar coming from up ahead, and continued in that direction until she came up to a window looking into the rehearsal room. Coming to a halt in front of the window, the blonde spotted Angus inside, playing an electric guitar. A warm smile came to Megan's face as she gave the other young woman a small wave.

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If Agnus was embarrassed by being interrupted mid solo she didn’t show it, instead she finish her rendition before giving Megan a bright smile.

“Oh hey, sorry I lost track of the time. I’ve been trying to write some new material.†She tucked the guitar behind her back an looked a little guilty “Well mostly anyhow. As a great man once said What's the point of being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes?â€

She put the guitar, a Les Paul 60’s, reverentially back on its stand. As she did she tried to determined how to deal with Megan. Should she be professional and treat her as investor?, or just treat her as a friend? Well she decided her mum had always insisted that she was at her best when she was just being herself.

She went over to Megan and gave her a friendly hug, which was weird as she was a good portion taller than the other girl. At least today she had worn her Converse or the height difference would have been weirder.

“Wow you’re looking good. Sorry we couldn't do this sooner but January was a little crazy.â€

She wince a little the possible wrong choice of words. She’d been out of town when the Day of Wrath stuck, but knew things had gotten pretty bad in Freedom City.

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Megan watched intently as Angus finished her rendition of Purple Haze. "No worries, it was great to hear you play." The blonde replied when Angus' apologized for losing track of time. "Besides, I look forward to hearing a new song of yours playing at a club."

"I was never really one for musical instruments myself, my older sister took piano for years. Instead I focused on dance and gymnastics."

She returned the taller woman's hug, smiling as Angus complimented her on her appearance. "Thanks, left work a bit early. But, given the hours I sometimes have to keep, it isn't any big deal." She then waved a hand dismissively at Angus’ apology for their not meeting up last month. "No need to apologize, you're a busy woman. And I was getting started on my internship with Summit, and started dating this new guy. Not to mention everything with the Day of Wrath. I don't know if Amir told you, but I nearly got caught in the crossfire of a gang shoot out down in the Fens that morning when the whole city started going nuts."

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“Wow I hope it wasn’t to dangerous, the shot-out I mean I don’t think working or dating are normal that hazardous.†Unless there was a chance of dropping your date from orbit, but that might just be her “I’ve banned work talk when we’re together, at the threat of Rom-Com. I think Pretty Woman final broke his will.†She gave a little smile.

“I’d give you the grand tour but apart from the break room, toilet and my office you've seen most of the place. They should be done recording in a half hour if you want to see the studio proper. Gail makes a half decent mug of coffee, or there’s this lovely little independent coffee shop just round the corner…â€

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Megan grinned as Angus mentioned how she had gotten Amir to not talk about work during dates, recalling his antics during the Midnight Society party when he had talked about the number of romantic comedies he owed Angus to repay her for going to the party with him. "Luckily I was able to mostly avoid the shoot-out, just a few frightening moments when a stray energy blast from some high-tech weapons one of the groups was using came a bit too close. But my nerves were shot for a bit after that."

When the other young woman mentioned having to wait a bit to see the true recording studio and made a couple of suggestions on how to pass the time, Megan wasted little time in replying, "The nearby coffee shop sounds wonderful. I have not had a chance to come down into Riverside since I got back in town, but I do enjoy getting to spend time down here. I have had a small ownership interest in a few nearby art galleries for years, so I have often had chances to come down here for showings and First Thursday events, just haven't taken advantage of that recently."

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Remember it’s February on New Jersey, most people would need more than a t-shirt and mini skirt.

“Cool I’ll get my coat, you can see my office as a bonus.â€

She led Megan down the little corridor to a tiny room opposite the recording studio. All it really contained with a desk piled high with paperwork, it’s only decoration was a single Gold Disk mounted on the wall.

“This is where the paperwork behind the magic takes place, not to glamorous I know.â€

She took from her hat stand what she called her Captain Jack jacket, a massive greatcoat, throwing it quickly on.

“If you’re ready?â€

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Megan followed Angus into her office so she could grab her coat. Once inside, the blonde young woman looked up at the Gold record mounted up on the wall for a moment before looking back to Angus and smiling as Angus joked about the unglamorous side of the recording business. "You forget, I spend my days buried up to my eyes in paperwork and spreadsheets." The blonde young woman replied. "Sadly it seems to make much of our world go round, and keep people like my father in business."

After Angus had put on her greatcoat and asked if she was ready to go, Megan gave a nod. "Absolutely." She replied as she followed after the taller woman as they made their way out of her office. "Love the coat by the way." She then added.

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“Unfortunately I’ve found out I’m a half decent businesswoman. It mean’s I can’t spend as much time on my music as I’d like. Maybe I should get an assistant, ‘especially if I do manage to write some new material.â€

She gave a little twirl and struck her most outrageous fashion pose.

“Hundred Quid Camden Market, my Dad pick it up before I left London. He seems to think it makes me look like some kind of Sci-Fi hero.â€

Stopping only briefly to tell Gail she’d be out for about half an hour, and to subtly remind her that there was work that really needed doing.

“She’s a good kid, but she can forget sometime quite why she here. I’m helping her with her University studies, she help keep my business organized.â€

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Megan gave a small nod as Angus mentioned being good at the business side of running her studio. "I am sure having a good feel for current trends and the like goes a long way. It's certainly not something that can be just taught in business school. In pretty much any industry, there is always some intangible that simply cannot be readily quantified. For some industries, those intangibles are more important than in others."

As Angus struck her outrageous pose to model the greatcoat, Megan grinned. "Hmm, he could be right." She replied about the comment of the coat making Angus look like a Sci-Fi heroine. "Some of my friends at Cambridge made sure to take my by Camden Market during one of our trips into London. Quite an interesting place."

The blonde young woman gave Gail a small smile as she and Angus made their way out of the studio and into the cool February air. She gave Angus an understanding look as the taller woman mentioned the need to sometimes get Gail back on track. "So, speaking of business, what's the word on the band recording right now?" Megan the asked with a grin.

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“Well I’m not sure being a semi-failed pop starlet’s is a good qualification to be able to spot current trends. To be honest I tend to just go for act’s which are good, whatever there genre.â€

Thanks to the spirit she was blessed with a perfect memory, but for show she thought about it for a few seconds.

“Jumping Jackie’s, a new local group from Lincoln. There’s pretty good, you should check them out. I offer cheap recording time for newcomers. It fills dead studio time and if they become famous…†she gave a little shrug “I might be able to score tickets, but right now they probably need the money. Sorry no perk’s just yet, just quite good coffee.†She gave one of her easy smiles.

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"Don't sell yourself short Angus." Said Megan when the other young woman referred to herself as a "semi-failed pop starlet." "I know you had some problems after your first album, but that happens to lots of musicians and singers. But think of things this way. First, you have already had more success than hundreds, if not thousands, of other singers will ever have. But in addition, you have time to repeat that prior success, or do even better. I mean, you seem to be about the same age as me, and I certainly feel that in many way's my life is just beginning."

When Angus talked about the band that was using her recording studio, the young blonde listened intently, smiling as the other young women mentioned no necessarily being able to score any tickets for them or anything just yet. "No worries, I wasn't looking for free tickets or anything, just wanted to know if they were anything I should look out for. I will have to look for one of their shows."

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“The problem wasn’t the songs; it was I ended up a being a bit if an ass. Plus the problem with any Reality TV star was that people just get bored with you. I guess it still sting a at getting dumped by my label. Everyone who a reality TV star thinks there beat the system and become a lasting star.â€

She walked along in silence for a few seconds.

“Sorry to get so maudlin, I promise you I’m normally a much better host. You should see me party on a Friday night.â€

So show her point she gave a little boogie.

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Megan gave Angus a sympathetic smile. "Well, I am sorry if I have made you dwell on the past too much." She replied. Then she had a broad grin as the taller woman talked about partying on Friday night and danced a bit as they approached the coffee shop.

"Maybe you'll have to show me sometime." The young blonde replied. "I am always up for a visit to a nightclub or the like. Ballroom dancing at Midnight Society events is nice and all, but not the type of dancing I usually prefer to do."

Soon the two young women were waiting in the short line inside the coffee shop.

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“I might take you up on that soon, I don’t get to go clubbing as much as I like.†Because I spend my most of my night’s fighting crime “I like to just mingle with everyone on the dance floor, I’m not that well known here so I can get away with it. With Asad it’s all VIP area and hobnobbing with the stars. Which is still nice and all, but I miss just cutting loose some time.â€

She gave a little laugh “Wow I guess I really need that coffee, and possibly stop hogging the conversation quite so much. And cake, the cake here is divine. And remember free food is calorie free. So my treat?â€

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"Well, whenever you want, just give me a call." Megan stated with a grin. "After a drink or two and a bit of socializing, I tend to spend the majority of my time at a club out on the dance floor, so I rarely bother with the VIP area."

"Well, I am not sure about calorie free," the blonde young woman replied as Angus offered to treat, "but if they are as good as you say, it should be well worth the extra half hour or so on a stair master. But just as long as I treat next time."

"And you're not really hogging the conversation as answering the questions I am asking."

She then added.

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“I’m unfortunately one of those people who can eat like a horse and not put on a stone. It’s like my super power I guess†and not far from the truth “though I’m not sure it’ll help me fight crime, and I look terrible in spandex.†She gave a grin.

Agnus gave a little though as the line shuffled forwards.

“You’ve spent some time with our Upper Class, well you now there are two types of people’s with knighthoods. There are those who insist you call them Sir and those who aren’t really bothered. Well stars are like that some want you remind you all the time there famous and other just want to be treated as normal people. I was a lot of the first for far too long, and now I’m trying to be the latter.â€

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"Okay, I want that superpower!" Megan replied with a wide grin. Though the truth was, since she had gained her own powers, she had not had much of problem keeping off weight or the like. Not that she didn't still go through the motions of going to exercise classes and the like just to keep up appearances.

"Well, I am not sure that attitude is unique to the British Aristocracy or celebrities." Megan replied with a small smile. "There are plenty of wealthy people here in the States that act the same way. I am sure more than a few people have viewed me as one of those in the past, even if I try not to be that way."

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“I think we’ve both missed our calling we should have become philosophers.†She gave another laugh

“Still it would be rude of me to dominate the entire conversation. How it going working for Summit Transnational? It’s okay I won’t tell the boss anything that you tell me, I still keep one or two secrets from him.†Her admission came with a rather cheeky grin.

“And on the flip side I won’t tell you anything about Amir, except his favourite Rom-Coms of cause.†She tapped the side of her nose with her finger.

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Megan laughed as well at Angus' suggestion that they should have been philosophers. "Hmm, somehow 'I shop therefore I am' just doesn't seem as deep enough for me to be making much of a contribution to the field."

When Angus turned the conversation to how things were going with her internship and mentioned she would only tell the blonde young woman about Amir’s favorite romantic comedies had Megan grinning as well. "Oh, I don't know, knowing what those are is possibly far more useful than anything else you might be able to tell me."

But then she became more serious as she continued. "But really, working at Summit has been great so far. I may be just an intern, but I am not just being sent to get coffee and pick up someone’s dry cleaning, well, maybe occasional getting coffee. They give me challenging work, and because my group is asked to look over deals from all of Summit's various industry groups, the work is really varied and interesting."

"As I am sure you know, Amir has something of a knack for finding talented, dedicated people, who in turn have something of a similar knack when hiring for their departments. So I get to work with a lot of amazing people. There are a few twenty-somethings in the Economics group, and we try to go out at least once a week for happy hour or something. In fact, that was how I met the guy I have been dating this last month, when I went out with my co-works for a happy hour to celebrate my first week at Summit."

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“I don’t know taberna ergo sum, words to live by.†Sometime having the ability to use almost any languages had some advantages, no matter how petty they were.

“Of cause he’s good at finding talent he found me! And not just for my abilities in business.†Agnus gave a really broad grin “Wow that seemed much less smutty in my head. But yeah he has a knack for finding good talent; it’s almost unnatural how he managed to do that. And don’t worry I won’t be expecting you to double date with the boss; I can imagine that would be pure torture. Cause before I took up singing my boss was my dad…â€

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Megan smiled at well as Angus commented about the risqué nature of her comment. The blonde gave a dismissive wave. "Well, we're modern women, so, no shame."

She then turned to the other part of Angus' comment regarding Amir. "Well, it wouldn't be that bad, I don't regularly see much of him at the office really. I mean, he's there a lot, but usually in meetings or on conference calls, and even if he isn't in, he is off doing something work related."

"I think what would make a double date in any way uncomfortable is the fact he has known my parents for so long." The blonde then paused a moment, before adding, "okay, to the extent that might sound in any way judgmental or something, I certainly did not mean it in that way."

The two young women soon had their coffee orders, as well as pieces of the divine cake the shop was famous for, and had taken seats near the front window of the shop.

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“Ah well I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting the parent’s. I think it an unspoken thing that we’re waiting for the suitable amount of time. There that magic period where I go from bit of fluff to serious girlfriend and he goes from cradle snatching to tamed by a good woman.â€

The world was then put on hold for cake, there was no way that Agnus would allow conversation, however good it was, get in the way of good cake. The chocolate was just a bonus. Then she stared outside watching the everyday life of Freedom City pass by.

“You know when I was little the idea that I’d be sitting in the middle of major American City, and Freedom City no less, would have seem like a pipe dream. New York might come close but Freedom a City where literally anything could happen.â€

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Almost as if to prove Angus' words, a glowing man in a silver and red costume suddenly came streaking over the street outside the coffee shop, before slamming into a parked car and smashing the front windshield and crumpling the top. The glowing man was pushing himself back up upright when another figure landed in the middle of the street, the pavement cracking slightly under his feet from the impact of his landing.

The newcomer stood a little over six foot three, with an imposing build. He was dressed in a dark green bodysuit that had a black V shape that extended down the front and back of the costume, and the suit was cut so his thick arms were bare. He had long black hair, which was pulled back into a ponytail. Bringing his fists up in front of him, he looked over at the figure on the hood of the parked car. "That's right! Get back up so I can knock you down again!" He yelled.

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