Jo's been forced to listen to Fargo gush about the VIP all week, but she'd had no idea the day of her arrival would be this insane. Fargo's jumpy, giddy, hyper and twitchy. Which, granted, is fairly common condition for him, but never to this extreme, not even after Dr. King was fired and everyone in Eureka was waiting to hear who the new director was going to be. And he's not the only one. When Vincent was setting up the reception breakfast, he was genuinely happy around Fargo and not treating him like a little maggot who happened to crawl into the morning's pastry batch. That hadn't happened since they arrived in the new timeline, at least as far as she's seen.
Lupo envied Carter, who'd gotten out of dressing up by calling 'uniform' and refusing to discuss it further. Their fanboy director is dressed to the hilt, wearing his favourite tie and fussing with his suit every ten seconds. Vince cleaned up, having changed his clothes and his apron just before bringing the food out to the table. Jo herself had been forced into wearing a formal black suit, which was actually a compromise to the formal gown he'd tried to talk her into. And Zane... well, Zane is wearing his best homeless man attire, which cannot be a good sign. Whenever he goes out of his way to look unkempt, there's trouble around the corner.
With all the fanfare and panic, she'd figured it would be like when Thorn came, if Thorn had been known (and liked) by Eureka's residence. She hadn't been prepared for the person that stepped out of the very expensive car when it pulled up next to Fargo's little way-over-the-top picnic, but then again, nothing could have prepared her for this.
A girl, dressed like Zoe -not to mention looks about the same age as Zoe- if Carter let her spend that much on clothes, wearing sneakers and plastic sunglasses, who has purple in her hair, gets out of the sleek vehicle and Jo's waiting for the actual guest (/this girl's mother) to follow. But the car door closes and there is no sign of another passenger inside. The girl to removes her sunglasses, grin weirdly and make the Vulcan greeting with her left hand.
Jo has no idea how to respond to that, so she crosses her arms and waits for Fargo to explain, because he'd damn well better or she's pulling out her gun. "Claudia Donovan. She's from Warehouse 13." Not only did Fargo's explanation not explain anything, but now Lupo's questioning her hearing. Her eye ticks.
"This isn't going to end well." Carter says to Zane, loud enough for everyone to hear it, but no one responds.
"Oh, wow, snacks." Is the girl's brilliant observation, then Jo immediately feels bad. It's not the kid's fault Fargo's a freak, she's ridiculously young or that she's dressed like... no, wait, that last one is all on her.
"Yeah, well, this is just how we greet everybody." Fargo squeaks like he's just entering puberty now and flops his arms around in their general direction. "C'mon, meet the troops." Jo locks her jaw. She hasn't been a member of a 'troop' since she left the Forces. "Um, on the end is-"
She points at Jo with her glasses. "-Jo, right?" Claudia cuts him off, doing this weird shimmying thing and grins knowingly. "Yeah, Doug said you were a major babe who kicks major ass."
Lupo lowers her head for a second to take a deep breath. Jo knows that her immediate dislike of her is irrational and kind of petty, particularly since it was meant as a compliment, but she had no desire to suppress the anger, either. "Did he?" She asks as a reply, her voice cracking. Out of the corner of her eye, she catches Zane actually looking exasperated for her. When she looks at Fargo and his guest again, 'Doug' looks terrified and Miss Teen Thing seems to have lost some of her know-all attitude. Good.
Right away, she turns to Zane and points a him. "Donovan?" She asks, then points to herself. "Donovan. Coincidence?" She gives him a little smirk, almost identical to Zoe's when she was teasing Lucas. Jo would really like to punch her right here, right now.
"No such thing, sweetheart." Zane answers smoothly, returning the half-smirk. As much as it hurts the security Chief to hear him make a pass at another woman (or in this case, a child,) Jo still gets another spark of pleasure to see Claudia so clearly taken aback by his response. The girl's gaze ticks over to Fargo uncomfortably and the Director looks just as upset.
"Uh, Jo, can you escort Zane back to his hole?" Fargo asks. If she were any less professional or mature, Jo would refuse, just to see how they'd react. But she's not, so she tugs on his sleeve softly before walking away, knowing he'll follow.
"Ah, whatever." He mumbles, but she can tell from his unconcealed amusement he got exactly the reaction he was going for.
The short walk to her car is pretty quiet until she pulls out her keys. The teeth catch on the impractical designed pockets and hit the ground before she really registers she's dropped them. "Damn it." She snatches the keys off the ground and punches the door even before she's fully straightened.
"Jeeze, Jo-Jo, lighten up." Zane teases, a fatal risk with the mood she's in. "She's just a kid." Lupo grinds her teeth.
"I realize that. I just can't believe we-" Zane snickers and she takes in his awful state of dress "-non-cavemen had to go to all that trouble for some girl who's only here because our Director have a hard-on for her."
"Don't tell me you're jealous." He taunts and for a moment, Jo thinks he's talking about his own flirting with Claudia. She freezes. "Lupo, don't tell me you're actually jealous of her 'cause Fargo wants in her pants." Now Zane sounds like he's going to be sick.
She shoots him a look, just before she gets into her car, that says he's the dumbest thing on the face of the earth. Which, given what he just said, could be a title he qualifies for. "I think that may be the single most revolting thing I've ever heard anyone say." She tells him once he's climbed into the passenger's seat. That seems to reassure him, but the rest of the drive is dead silent anyways.
Why Carter's been shadowing her for the last hour, or what he's even doing at Global for that matter, Jo doesn't know. He's been practically stalking her since he gave Fargo and Claudia a ride here. Thankfully, being Security Chief affords her more opportunities to try and distract him into harassing someone else.
Fargo and his friend are giggling over something when she interrupts. "Claudia, they're loading your truck now." Jo informs their visitor as she and Carter join up with them in the foyer.
"Thanks, Jo." Fargo actually sounds like he's scolding her. "But, uh, no need to rush our guest." The girl in question shoots Jo's boss a girly, flirty look for his 'defence' and all that irritation Jo felt this morning comes right back.
'Oh.' She whispers to herself. Right. Because they wouldn't want to give their guest the impression that this is a workplace, or anything.
Carter swerves away from Jo's side and over to Claudia. "Ah, you enjoying the tour?" He asks once he's ditched Lupo for the new girl. And Jo knows she's being childish even before she finishes the thought, but she can't seem to stop herself. She's being stupid and she knows it.
Jo tunes out the redhead's answer as she goes over it in her mind. Yeah, Claudia was irritating and a little obnoxious when she first got there, but it was probably to cover up her nervousness at the reception Fargo'd arranged for her, quite literally, as soon as she stepped out of the car. Honestly, Jo might have done the same; that or opened with her top ten personal favourite ways to kill a man. And of the two choices, Claudia's was certainly the better one. But there's just something about the girl, something beyond all the ship that Fargo put them through in anticipation of her arrival, that bothers her.
When Claudia raises her arms, the movement catches Jo's attention. "...was off the chart." The girl makes the rock-on sign with both her hands. "But, I dunno," not pausing, Claudia turns 180° about two feet before they reach the stairs and continues to walk, backwards, "this is Eureka, right? I was kinda hoping to see something insanely weird." She gestures again, this time with her arms down, and while the second one Jo doesn't understand, it's one she knows she's seen both Zane and Zoe make more than once.
"Consider yourself lucky." Carter advises, sounding pretty amused at her naiveté.
Which, this being Eureka, was the cue for the freaky light-show and trees to appear in the entrance to the building.
"Now that's more like it." Claudia says. And suddenly, Jo gets it.
*I hope Murphy is burning is his own reserved, tailor-made hell.* In some ways, it's her own fault for getting sucked into first-impressions. Claudia looked like, dressed like and was damn near the same age as Zoe Carter so Jo expected that her irritating personality traits and behavioural quirks would be the same, too. She hadn't expected her to share more with Zane then his last name. But after being involved with Zane for two years, she could tell when he was blowing smoke out of his ass, the way he would try to cover up insecurities and how his stupid, inappropriate reactions to things helped make up who he was. And the only differences between the man she loves and the girl standing in front of her is years of experience and the greater ability to bullshit that comes with it. That's what's getting to Jo; the fact that this person, barely out of childhood, is acting just like Zane would have at her age. It's getting under her skin the same way Zane did when he first came to Eureka, before she grew to love all those things about him. And it's so wonderful to realize once she understands what it is about Claudia Donovan that's getting to her, she feels absolutely no better.