Charity Beach University - Days Before
Charity Beach University was THE university of the city. It was publicly run, so practically anyone could attend. The area was halfway decent, though with the sudden rise in Boyz activity in the area, the local students who lived on campus were rightfully afraid. The school's Dean made sure to put out a warning and asked the students to take the necessary precautions. It was quite unfortunate really. Late night parties and alcohol induced binges decreased dramatically since the Boyz gained more prominence in the area. Not to mention, school authorities have been on high alert, enlisting at least an extra 50 or so security personnel. And they've been cracking down on happiness. Any student caught with the substance on campus would be immediately expelled.
Not long ago, a student was recently arrested for killing a girl on campus while under heavy influence of the drug. And it didn't help that he was a meta-human. Rumors around the school were that he had somehow turned her body inside out. It was gruesome apparently, though few actually witnessed the event or the aftermath. A vigil was held for her in the middle of campus.
It was early morning, a light mist saturating the air and palm trees that frou frou'd with the wind. Jean was exiting from her A.M. biology class, a bejeweled mug in one hand, her books held tightly to her chest with the other. She looked at the vigil of unlit candles as she strolled past it, her pace slowing to a turtle-like crawl. A gaze of melancholy set in. This drug was ruining people. Not only those who took them, but those who were victims of the substance abusers as well. She felt heavily regretful for the unfortunate girl. A life prematurely snuffed out. This was the way of the world, but it didn't have to be this way. Did it? Is this just how the world turns?
She didn't respond. The young woman was lost in her own thought. They transcended the present moment as she gazed deep with the frame that housed the picture of the now deceased girl. A freshman. Poor thing.
The girl jolted, turning to face the figure who stood before her.
"Yes yes yes! Huh?", she stuttered.
A boy with glasses looked at her curiously, then to the vigil of the freshman girl and back to Jean. "She was a friend of yours?"
"Uh.." Jean hesitated, "Oh, ummm...no. It's just. Unfortunate."
He nodded, but didn't say anything, both of their gazes falling back to the vigil in an unscripted moment of silence. He looked away from the vigil first, reaching out to touch Jean's shoulder. "You sure you okay?"
Jean shook her head, turning back to the horned rimmed boy with a subdued smile, "I'm fine Tony." she said softly, "Anyways, were you able to procure the camera?
The boy looked at her with a devilish grin, nodding fervently as he reached into his backpack for the device. She looked at him with a bemused smile. He sure was sprightly this morning, she thought. And then when he pulled out the camera, she understood why, her hands almost dropping her books and tea to hold it in her grasp. She gasped, moving closer as he held it up in front of them for display, showing her all the buttons and cool features. "It's lovely..." she cooed at him, but more so at the camera if we're being honest.
"The first pic should only be equally as lovely then." he jested flirtatiously. She chuckled, shaking her head, "Focus please. This is for our project."
"How can I?", he continued, smirking.
"Try your hardest. I believe in you." She relented sweetly, before suddenly reaching into her pocket to answer her buzzing phone. Tony took her tea mug so she could hold her phone.
"Yes Papa?" she answered politely.
"Think you can make it home this weekend pumpkin?", Papa Montague asked her, his voice almost in a begging tone. She was the only person he talked to in this way.
Jean sighed, "Papa...I have an exam coming up. Plus I'm taking extra shifts at the Vet Clinic. I don't know..." she breathed, feeling bad for her dad. Mama treated him like an annoying teen sometimes, so Jean always kind of felt bad for him. Their family dynamic felt more like a matriarchy, but only those who saw them behind closed doors knew of this dichotomy.
"Please?" he continued on, whimpering. Jean hummed, "Ummm...what's the occasion?"
"A potential business venture. Wine. Food. But mostly wine. And food.", he joked.
"Tempting..." she teased, "But you've never asked me to sit in for one of your business gatherings before. I mean...I've never even met the Valos and you mention them all the time."
"Well this time it's special. And the Valos will be in attendance. Even your Mama has agreed to tag along. You know how she can be when it comes to any type of substance that isn't medically prescribed. And there's going to be plenty of alcohol, so you know its a big deal if she's agreed to be in the vicinity."
Jean frowned, shaking her head as though exasperated by her fathers playfulness, "Papa..." and then she realized her classmate was still standing there, waiting on her. "I've gotta go. I will be there okay? But only for mother's sake. I don't know if she's got the strength to hold your leash."
"Atta girl! See you soon sweetie! Be careful out there." She understood what he was referring to. The Happiness Craze.
"I know...Bye Papa" she finished, pushing the phone back into her pocket, smiling in an amused kind of way.
"Well..." she started, looking back to Tony, "Sorry about that."
He smiled, "No worries Jean. Enjoy your time with your family. I'll get a head start on the project."
Jean looked at him, beaming, "You're sweet Tony. Thank you. Be careful okay? It's not the same around here." she said softly, retrieving her tea back from him.
He nodded, staring at her as she walked off. Just staring...
The Emperor Hotel, Downtown Charity - Present
As most knew, the Montague family was small. Sebastian Montague Sr, Morgana Montague nee Labeau, and their precious daughter, Sebastian "Jean" Montague Jr. Everyone within the rich people sphere knew that Sebastian Sr. had a child, but most had assumed that he had a son due to the naming. He ran with it for years in fact. It worked back then when she was much younger and androgynous. Back when her hair was cut short and kind of tomboyish. Her father had always told her to play along whenever he had this rich people gatherings at their penthouse suite. Plus, he'd always wanted a boy in secret, so it worked out for him until she came of age and his son was actually a daughter. Little did he know he'd actually have a daughter to can become a son. He was always bemused by this particular power of hers. He still wanted her to run with it on occasion since most people didn't know his daughter could do that. For the few people that knew of his daughters meta-human capabilities, they simply knew of her ability to heal others, similar to her mother.
The three of them sat in the luxury vehicle as the chauffeur made his way to the Emperor Hotel. Jean's head was resting on her mother's shoulder, their arms clasped around each others lovingly. Morgana tapped her daughter's head as to pester her, "Wait. You have 2 C's?"
Jean nudged her mother with her elbow, "Temporarily. I'm working extra hours at the Vet Clinic. I might have taken on more than I can chew. But....we'll see."
Her mother sighed, not going to press the matter any further, "Well, that's good I suppose. Could be worse. Any cute boys at least?"
"Mama please. I barely have time to juggle work and school. Let alone a boy."
Morgana just scrunched her face, resting her head on Jean's head as the Emperor Hotel came into view.
"Speaking of boys...You should do that thing you can do. Then they'll really think I've had a son all this time."
Jean gasped, laughing "PAPA!". Her mother gave her father a sinister look, "Do not listen to him."
"Don't worry..." Jean reassured her.
"Good" she said relieved, tightening Jean's hair which was placed in an adorable ponytail.
As the vehicle came to a halt, Montague Sr popped his knuckles and straightened out his suit, Morgana coming to fix what he obviously couldn't. Jean was suddenly nervous. She often got this way when she was meeting new people. Her mother often referred to her as a wallflower. This was accurate, much to her chagrin. This was the primary reason why she was still single and always has been. She was too shy to talk to boys and usually brushed off the ones who tried to talk to her. Call it a defensive mechanism if you will, one that's proven mighty effective so far.
When the front doors to the hotel opened, a butler greeted them, one that was familiar with Montague Sr. Her father dapped the butler, prompting an embarrassed expression from her mother. Jean simply giggled quietly to herself. She always found her father's behavior to be amusing for someone of his stature and age. He was surprisingly down to earth once people got to know him outside of a boardroom. Perhaps a bit too down to earth though.
Jean walked shyly behind her mother, holding her hand like she did when she was a little girl. It was hard to break habits, but her mother didn't mind. This was her little miracle after all.
"Jason!" Montague Sr. roared affably to the Valos patriarch, stepping up to give him one of his signature business daps. He gave a wink to Jason's wife and then turned around to face his two beautiful ladies, "You've met my wife Morgana."
"Nice to see you all again" Morgana said, her voice slightly stern, but her expression calm and polite.
"And this is our daughter. Sebastian Jr.", he said proudly.
Jean looked at him sideways, her face turning flush, "Papa please..." she mumbled sheepishly. She then turned to Jason, his wife, and whomever else may have been at the table, giving them a meek smile, "Hello. You can just call me Jean."
"Please..." she added playfully, her cheeks still beat like a rose.