Earlier in the Day...
The blaring school bell echoes in front of the school as crowds of children swiftly run out the doors, feeling free from the prison that is school. Amidst the flurry of students cramped in the blue locker walled hallways and pouring out the front doors, the lovely blond Gwen Stacy hastily pushes her way through the thick crowd of students. Jumping up and down occasionally to get a view of the sea of exiting students, Gwen’s blue eyes spot the redhead she seeks, moving through the thick crowd with her tiger-striped knapsack slung over one shoulder.
“MJ!” she shouts, but the overall collective voices from the students drown out her call.
Seeing the red-headed Maryjane casually walking to the exiting doors, Gwen pushes, weaves and slides her way past students until she’s arm length away and taps Maryjane Watson on her shoulder.
Glancing over her shoulder, Maryjane green eyes immediately spot Gwen Stacy, who stands slightly shorter than her, with a pleasant smile on her face.
“Hi!” Gwen greets.
“Hey there Gwen Stacy.” Maryjane Watson responds with a gestured wave before pointing to her t-shirt, “Oh hey cool band shirt.” She points, admiring Gwen’s ‘Arcade Fire’ Band shirt.
“Oh thanks.” smiles Gwen, but then gestures with her finger towards the doors, “Can uh, I talk to you for a sec?”
Maryjane’s reddish eyebrow arches slightly as a sweeping curious expression swept across her face, “Me? Um, okay.” She consents.
Like fish swimming against a current of water, Gwen and Maryjane push their way against the flow of students until they get outside and hastily make their way to the park bench placed outside the gated entrance leading to the open football field. In their privacy, as the rest of the students pour out to the street, Maryjane slides off her knapsack and watches Gwen plop onto the bench and staring at the cement ground.
“I don’t’ get it! I just don’t!” Gwen exclaims, “How do you do it? I mean, you’re sorta new here? These people here are so immature and so stupid that it’s like, they act like HIGH SCHOOL is EVERYTHING but it’s not! It really isn’t. There-is-so-much-out-there-and-to just-act-like-nothing-has-consequences-is-just…”
“Whoa whoa whoa…” Maryjane interrupts, waving her hands at Gwen before making the ‘t’ sign with her hands, “…time out Gwen Stacy! Let’s not fall off the edge now.”
“I’m sorry.” Gwen sighs, rubbing her forehead, “I just…”
“Seem two seconds away from obviously imploding?” smiles MJ, sitting beside her.
Gwen takes a deep breath and looks up at the school building, letting her thoughts come together, “Yeah, side effect of quitting the Cheerleading Squad, I guess.”
“Yes I heard, congrats, you’re bathroom stall gossip now.” MJ shrugs with a friendly nudge.
Gwen rubs her temples stressfully, “I know, its just, everyone knew me as a Cheerleader.” she sighs, “And yeah, I did it, i liked it, but they didn’t know I always loved science more! And when did the school trip to Oscorp now OZCORP - touring with the smartest kids in New York, and then to be chosen to be in the internship program starting next week, I mean, isn’t that EPIC? Like, doesn’t something that makes you reevaluate what you do with your life and who you're with?!”
“So why are they giving me a hard time?”
Maryjane arches her brow again.
“I-uh…” Gwen shakes her head, “…i mean my friends, the Cheerleading Squad, Sally Avril, Liz, Eddie, Flash…I’ve known them since like the fifth grade…”
“Well, I know they're your friends but, friends shouldn’t put you down. Seriously.”
“I know.” Gwen sighs, “It's just, we were together Morning to Afternoon to Evening and then....” she recollects "...in one day..." she mumbles before snapping of her fingers, “...like THAT Sally’s roasting me on a stake like its the Salem Witch Trials for quitting the squad and defending Peter Parker. Eddie, his own brother mind you, forced Peter to do his school work - that was SO wrong!!”
MJ nods, “Yeah it is, so what's the problem now?”
“Uh…” gulps Gwen, her expression becoming increasingly puzzled.
"You knew that they were like this, right?" Maryjane asks, "So why does it bother you now? All of a sudden."
Gwen looks to the floor, deep in thought, unsure how to answer, "I'm not sure." she admits, "Maybe its because Peter is a really shy, but the sweet guy and I like that, but somehow i'm in his brother's circle. Eddie, as nice as he can be, he has a REAL mean streak and…I-I,…I dunno.”
“Dunno what?” MJ asks, “If you really want to be with them or not?”
Gwen looks at MJ as if she said exactly what was on her mind, “yeah.” She nods and looks down to her black and white converse sneakers while brushing aside her blond hair, “Is it me? Am I, being weird about all this?”
"No.” MJ smirks, “I had the same, 'realization' last summer. I was a queen bee with my friend, Patsy Walker. I was a jerk, she was a hellcat. But I had to change and I did.”
“Really!?!” Gwen exclaims, much to Maryjane’s surprise, “Like seriously, you’re sooo awesome, l'd never have thought you would...be like that.”
“Keywords, 'use to be'.” MJ quips, "I learned it hard. Be a jerk for life or get good vibes and change. That simple."
Gwen smiles momentarily but then somberly leans forward, swinging her feet back and forth, “So that its huh, just choose. How do I even know if I'm a jerk though?”
Maryjane glances down at her watch and stands up, “You’re not a jerk Gwen. But that not just what matters, its your friends too." MJ says, picking up her knapsack, “And you'll have to answer the same question I did, 'have my friends ever accepted me for me, or have I had to accept them, at the cost of me?”
Gwen face turns serious, mentally chewing on the question.
“Regardless, Gwen Stacy, science girl extraordinaire, you are my hero.” she smirks with a two-finger salute, “But I gotta run, I’ll see ya around girlie.” she says, leaving Gwen sitting on the bench, nodding but sinking even deeper into thought.
Marvel - The Beginning: The Amazing Spider-Man
ARC II - HEROES
Part IV - "The Late Afternoon…"
(The Gwen-Centric Story)
Still thinking on her earlier conversation, Gwen stares at passing New York scenery as they drive past West 39th Street. Seated to the back ultra-tight third row of the SUV she’s in, Gwen pulls herself out of her thoughts seeing Liz Allen in her deep white v-neck t-shirt and tight jeans, sitting in front of her and texting on her phone - having been talking to her for quite some time.
On the other side, Sally Avril, with her her blond hair highlighted with too much makeup on her face, sits in her blue jeans and loose off-the-shoulder green blouse, shaking her head fervently to the beat pumping through her white headphones plugged into her ears, playing from her iPhone.
Seated in the middle of Liz and Sally, Flash Thompson leans to the front seat, talking with Eddie Brock-Parker, seated in the front passenger seat and their friend, Andrew Duncan, aka A.D., driving them in his Cadillac Escalade and starts to listen to their conversation.
“So yeah Robbie, I’m off the football team, you know for now.” Eddie says.
The half Irish, half Spanish kid named called A.D. slicks back his dark brown hair and puts on his oversized black Brooklyn Nets hat as he leans in the driver’s seat with one hand on the steering wheel.
“Dude, don’t call me Robbie.” A.D. replies, “Legally I can’t be using Robbie Reyes for a while so, you know, A.D.” he says.
Eddie nods, “Right right. My fault.”
A.D. waves him off, “No worries bro. But yeah I feel you. It ain’t right tho, why your brother sell you out like that?” asks A.D, smoothing out his oversized white t-shirt.
Eddie shakes his head and looks out the window, “We never really gelled. He annoys the crap out of me. He never listens. I mean, like I told him, REPEATEDLY, look at my work and just ‘fix’ what needed to be fixed, but don’t make it PERFECT!”
“‘Book-smart’ ain’t the same as street-smart.” A.D. responds, “But good thing for you, you know a guy like me, who can help you make money or not with needing some stupid High School diploma. “
“Really?!” Flash exclaims.
A.D. nods at him through the rearview mirror, “Yeah man! In the real world, you only need one thing.”
“And what’s that?” Eddie asks.
“An open mind.” A.D. smirks, nodding at Eddie who in silent agreement smiles at him and nods his head.
“Now that’s was’sup.” Eddie says, fist-bumping him as they both start laughing, “Yeah you and me, we gotta talk later bro.”
Unaware of their hidden meaning, Flash nods and laughs as well, patting Eddie on the shoulders. However, Eddie for a moment, notices Gwen staring at him with her arms folded as A.D. and Flash converse, but simply snorts while turning away from Gwen.
“Alright we’re here fellas.” A.D. says pulling the SUV into the outside garage.
Within moments of parking the SUV, hopping out and following the steady stream of people walking down a narrow avenue with pink and blue flyers scattered all over the street, Gwen follows behind everyone merging into the large crowd heading to the large neon arrow sign above a shipping warehouse loading entrance.
“What the heck is this place?” asks Gwen.
“Place use to be a shipping warehouse…” A.D. explains and points over the ground to the man standing by the elevated entrance, “…now its an underground ‘B-League’ Wrestling Stage. You’ll like it, lots a guy here - you know what I mean.” He grins, winking at Gwen who rolls her eyes, feeling his ‘hungry’ stare, even if just for a moment.
Parking the SUVat the curb of an inner-city block, the group exits the car and follows after a crowd of people proceeding down an alleyway. As the crowd thickens with people towards the entrance, Eddie and Gwen find themselves next to each other.
Eddie, standing much taller than Gwen, looks down at her, “You’re not gonna, you know, take up A.D. on his offer right?" she asks.
“What’d you care for?” he asks with a sneer.
“Because…” Gwen says, walking closer to Eddie as the crowd thickens with more people, “Andrew is shady Eddie. He got kicked out of our school for hacking Faculty files and if he says he'll help you its not going to be good.”
“Geez Gwen will you relax, you sound like my brother."
Gwen clenches her jaw "Well Peter is a better judge of character you, so that’s a compliment.”
Gwen watches Eddie’s cheeks turn rosy red as he tightens his jaw and stops in his tracks, glaring at her "Look Gwen, I’m in a bad fix right now…”
“That you put yourself in.” Gwen boldly interjects much to his surprise, “You didn’t cheat on a test, you cheated on your schoolwork for the entire school ye…”
“…I know Gwen!” Eddie interrupts, “I got kicked off the football for it, and I could lose my scholarships believe me I know!!”
“So why do something worse to fix the problem?!” Gwen exclaims, “Really Eddie? You’re SO much more better than this.” she reasons.
“Coming from miss privilege.” huffs Eddie, annoyed at the conversation and as the crowd ahead of them shuffles to the door, slowly entering.
“What does that mean!“
“You think you’re better than me!” Eddie spits.
Gwen’s face turns sour, “NO I DON’T!”
Eddie rolls his eyes, “Oh yes you do! You hear yourself?! I get kicked off the team might lose my scholarship and I may have another opportunity to make up that loss, but because I’m not a study freak like you and my brother after getting a free ride to OZCORP…”
“You know that's not what happened! He had that accident in the Lab…”
“Accident my foot…” Eddie spits, “…unless he got bit or stabbed by one of those frickin’ bugs in there, a ‘reaction to fumes’ shouldn’t equal getting a scholarship.”
“He was sick Eddie!” Gwen spits, “I checked on him, remember? He didn’t even wake up when I came to visit, he looked horrible..”
“He always looks horrible to me.”
Gwen folds her arms, and glares at Eddie, “What is up with you and your brother?!” she exclaims, her face turning to disgust, “For goodness sakes, he’s a good person! He never gives you half the problems you AND Flash…”
“Jeezus!” Eddie spits, “If you’re SO impressed with how ‘good’ Peter is, then frickin’ screw him or marry him! You’ll make a great couple. Mister and Misses Nerd and their Loser Children!”
“That’s not nice Eddie.”
“Then stop acting like everyone's conscience Miss ‘HIGH and MIGHTY!” Eddie snaps, “What is is with you?! You quit the Cheerleading Squad and get a ‘smarty’ internship and now what?! You and Peter think you’re better than me? You think you have the right to starting telling me who I can and can’t take advice from…”
Gwen clenches her jaw as her ears turn red, "I'm not saying that, I’m just trying to..."
"Trying to say what Gwen?!” Eddie shouts, “Look, YOU, PETER and Uncle Ben need to get OFF MY BACK!” he snaps, “Am I on yours?! Look at you! Cheerleading Squad blond quits because Daddy’s little girl needs attention because he leaves you alone to go Policing the world, but you don’t hear us knocking you!”
“Oh but its okay for you to KNOCK on me, right!!” Eddie shouts, before pointing his finger in her face, “I don’t need some frickin’ hero, swooping in to save me from every choice I make just because you don’t have the BALLS to do it, Gwendolyn Stacy!”
“Eddie that's, that not fair I never..”
“Fair?!” Eddie spits venomously, “You know what’s not fair! Is that you always hung with us just to make yourself feel better! THAT’S not fair and you should go!”
“LEAVE GWEN!” Eddie shouts, pointing the way back up the alley, “Go call up my brother and form a ‘Higher than Mighty’ club.” Eddie spits, “But when you start cutting yourselves don’t call us crying for company.”
“EDDIE PARKER!” Gwen shouts to him, shutting him up.
Gwen’s face reddens as tears gloss over her blue eyes. Drawing a breath, Eddie closes his eyes, realizing what he said. Letting out a deep breath, Eddie runs his hand over his blond hair, cursing at himself for losing his temper. Looking to Gwen, stands before him, hugging herself as if a cold breeze chilled her to the bone.
Eddie sighs, "Uh Gwen...I..."
“WHAT’S THE HOLD UP?!” shouts Sally, her boisterous voice echoing to them from down the alleyway by the entrance door.
Looking up at Sally Avril, Liz Allen and A.D. with Flash waving them on, Gwen closes her eyes tight as tears stream down her face. Maryjane’s advice seems to suddenly echo in her mind like a broken record. Hearing familiar voices, Gwen looks at the alleyway entrance, catches sight of the big-boned linebackers Pookie and Hubie in their ‘Wrestle or Die’ t-shirts, waddling down the alleyway from the main street.
“Gwen I didn….”
Gwen blue eyes snap to Eddie as her face twists with anger and hurt. Immediately Gwen smacks away his hand from her shoulder, “You know what Eddie…” Gwen snaps, “…screw you! Screw you ALL OF YOU!” she shouts, her voice carrying down the alleyway.
Immediately Sally and Liz turnaround like two meerkats emerging from a burrow. Sally looks at Liz, “What just happened?!” she mumbles, watching Eddie reach out for Gwen who smacks his hand away and points at him.
“I’m DONE!” Gwen exclaims, pointing at him then at Sally and Avril, “ALL OF YOU!” I’m done, done DONE! Don’t ever call me again!”
“Are you serious right now? Gwen? GWEEEEN!” Eddie shouts, watching her angrily storm away.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” Gwen shouts.
“WHERE’S SHE GOING?” Sally shouts in concern, “WHY IS SHE LEAVING?! AFTER SHE SAID SHE WAS GONNA COME, NOW SHE LEAVES! YOU LITTLE TRAITOR!”
Gwen turns around and glares at Sally and extends both middle fingers to her, much to Sally’s surprise, before yelling, “BLOW IT OUT YOUR…
“ALRIGHT PEOPLE HAVE YOUR TICKETS READY!” shouts the man at the entrance behind them all.
Turning on her heels, Gwen sees Hubie and Pookie and slaps her ticket onto Hubie’s fat chest, “EXTRA TICKET!” she snaps, storming past them.
“GWEEN!!!” Eddie calls in vain, watching her head back to the main street on 9th Avenue and 28th Street in Manhattan.
Sally, Hubie, Pookie, A.D. and Liz watch Gwen storming up the alley as Flash comes up to Eddie, "What’s her problem?”
Eddie, rubs his nose and shrugs, “I dunno, she must be PMSing. C’mon you guys go and get inside, I’ll try to get Gwen back to at least wrestle one of the wrestlers with that PMS strength.” Eddie jokes and takes off jogging up the alleyway.
“AW-HAW CLASSIC!” Flash laughs as they all enter the underground wrestling match.
Gwen walks out the alley, wiping the tears from her eyes as she mumbles to herself, "Big empty-headed jerk!" she sniffles but bumps into someone else.
Seeing at the foggy outline of a tall man with curly fiery hair dressed in dark jeans and a black hoodie, the man pulls down his hood and glares at her, “WATCH IT BLONDIE!” he shouts and hastily proceeds down the alleyway towards the Wrestling Match entrance.
Clearly upset and not paying attention, Gwen steps to the side of the sidewalk to clean her glasses. Sniffling and upset, Gwen tries not to cry as she pulls off her foggy glass, cleaning them with her shirt sleeve. Quickly cleaning them, Gwen puts them back on, but her teary red eyes suddenly catch sight of the tall man she bumped into, lingering nervously in the alleyway. He looked like a druggy. Irritated and fidgety, scratching his neck and stuffing his hands in his pocket, Gwen, ready to leave, stops herself as she notices Eddie running up towards the man with fiery red hair.
Seeing she’s inadvertently behind a dumpster, Gwen ducks squats down, not wanting to be seen as three other guys in black hoodies come out from a side door attached to another building, each one looking shadier than the next.
"Oh….oh this so isn’t good." Gwen mumbled to herself in shock, watching the man with curly fiery red hair.