|Pick You Up At Seven?|
|What: Selina and Steve meet. A date is planned.|
There are things you do when the world stops making sense. And for Steve Rogers, the world stopped making sense just as soon as he woke up. He's stepped right into the middle of... of what? He doesn't even know, but it's more than S.H.I.E.L.D has seen fit to tell him. It's frustrating. It's infuriating. It's confusing, above all. And he's punched holes in a lot of punching bags, enough that he decided he needed some fresh air.
He's been running for a while. Hours, by the clock, enough that the summer day is turning into a summer evening. The man has jogged up from the Lower East Side in a set of grey sweats with, tellingly, PROPERTY OF THE U.S. ARMY on the hoodie, and he's not actually tired. He might be well through wearing in a new pair of trainers, but as Steve Rogers stops for breath near a huge spreading oak tree, he might be breathing deeply but he isn't panting.
The park is the perfect place to start acclimating to the city. It's peaceful, allowing for one to think without the interruptions of noise and crowds, and it's beautiful. It's what brought Selina here after her meetings for the day are over. Still dressed in what she had worn earlier - gray woolen, knee-length pencil skirt, off-white silk blouse, seamed stockings and heels - she most likely stands out when compared by those dressed more casually for relaxing or while out getting exercise.
Taking her time, Selina pauses to take in the serenity and the scenery, stopping rather close to the very same tree Steve chose to take a breather under. "I wish Gotham had a park like this," she murmurs, meaning to keep her voice low when she talks to herself. Her voice carries further than she meant for it to, more than loud enough to be picked up upon.
There's a water fountain nearby. And though Steve may be insensible to exhaustion, he's passing familiar with hunger and thirst. Moving in that direction, he happens to catch the words of the young woman and turns around to reply with the notion that she might have been talking to him. Why, he couldn't fathom.
Even more so when he sees the woman herself. She's likely used to the sight of a man's eyes widening when he looks at her. In fact, she's probably used to a great deal more, but Steve Rogers betrays little that he doesn't wish to. Clearing his throat, he manages: "It's the largest park in America. I don't think there's anything like it anywhere. It sure is something, isn't it?"
The voice from behind causes Selina to turn around. It isn't a hurried motion, not like what most would move at in surprise. Selina's turn is slow and fluid. Very graceful, actually. "It is? I didn't know that. About the size of the park, I mean." Steve's looked at once and then is given a slower, more deliberate once over after that, her smile softening once the inspection is done with. "It is lovely. It's almost as if we're not even in the city anymore, isn't it?"
The stranger's approached with nothing like wariness, Selina most likely not concerned with such things as if he might be the kind of man a woman should be scared of. "Perhaps I should move out here so I can come to the park more often."
"That was the point. It's pretty amazing: of all the real estate in New York City, this is sitting on a pretty prime place. But nobody's ever bought it, nobody's ever subdivided it into hotels and shopping malls and highrises. There's always just been this place, right in the middle of everything." Steve looks around with a smile, eyes meeting Selina's a moment before they drop and move away. She moves closer, but he stands his ground, raising his eyes to watch her curiously. "You'd change cities over a patch of green? Gotham's a rough town. I can think of other reasons I'd move out. But those who stay in a rough place? It's like a rock tumbler. It takes what looks like no more than a grubby stone and churns it around, whittling it away until it's a jewel." He smiles a little more, pausing to wipe off any sweat from his hands before offering one to Selina. "Steve," he says. "If you came to be alone, I can move on."
"It is probably protected," comes the half-purred theory, Selina smiling as she speaks. "Otherwise I'm sure people like Donald Trump and all those other rich jerks would snap it up and put gaudy high-rise condo and business buildings here." The assessment of Gotham gets her to raise a brow, the eloquence in which Steve says that being what causes her to startle for the first time. Surprising. She did not expect that. "Ah... perhaps. Although I'm not sure if you could count me as one of the gems or not." And then he offers her him hand along with his name, the introduction something she's more than happy to conclude by doing the same. Her hand is probably a bit smaller than his but her grip is fairly strong but instead of shaking his hand in and up-down pumping motion she bends her hand at the wrist femininely. "Selina. It's a pleasure meeting you, Steve. And no need to leave on my account. Company would be much appreciated."
"I figure it must," Steve replies with a smile. "But maybe there's also a respect for it. I know it hasn't always been a safe place," he continues, "but it seems like Central Park is one of those places you'd be crazy to want to break. Like the Lincoln Memorial, say. Nobody would pave that over and put up a parking garage. Some things are sacred." His smile broadens a little more as she touches on the notion of gems, shrugging his shoulders: "Not for me to judge, miss. We've only just met. But if you're as fine a lady as you look like, you -- I mean -- "
He breaks off, clasping her hand and turning it as she bends her wrist rather than shaking it. Not quite certain what to do, he desperately recollects a few films he's seen and draws her hand close as if to kiss the back of it. "Sorry. I don't get to meet a lot of ladies like yourself. I never did learn that kind of etiquette."
Steve's verbal stumble has her cocking her head to the side, Selina not wanting to seem too amused out of concern that she might seem to be mocking him but it's difficult to conceal it entirely despite her intentions. "I look like a fine lady, do I," she teases lightly. "I... suppose I am. But I am most definitely not a product of my environment." Her hand is slid out from Steve's after it's given a light squeeze and she steps back a little affording him a bit more personal space.
His not knowing what to do has her shaking her head, a gentle dismissal of the apology Steve gives her. "Do not say you're sorry. It's my fault, if anything. I am rather... old fashioned."
"Believe me," Steve replies, hazarding a friendly smile, "I know something about not being just what you look like." He releases her hand, pausing to clear his throat and glance around them. "Truth be told, I'm kind of old-fashioned myself. Enough that the fact it's getting dark makes me a little worried about a lady being in the park alone. It might be safe, but would you consent to me walking you somewhere more populated? It would make me feel a little more comfortable for you. And if you don't mind having company, I'd be glad for it. I came out here to try and clear my head. Sounds like you came for the same thing."
It's not exactly an everyday occurrence for Selina to come across a man who is willing to admit that. In her experience they want to be considered trendy and fashionable, not old fashioned which probably translates into meaning 'dated' to a lot of people. At first she wonders if he's pulling her leg in a tease to her own confession but the more he talks the more she realizes just how sincere he's being. "I would like that." Unlike last night when she was in Metropolis and felt secure enough to walk back to her hotel alone, she doesn't exactly feel safe here and Steve's offer is all but lept at by her. "There's a small cafe by the hotel I am staying at. If you'd be as so kind to be my escort for the evening we could get a cup and talk."
Glancing down at himself, Steve admits: "I'm probably not dressed for a nice cafe, Selina. But if they'll let me in, I'd be glad to join you for a cup." He smiles then, and the expression is boyish and a little shy and eager to please. He extends his arm, crooking it slightly and offering it for her to take. Assuming she at least falls in beside him, he'll start strolling unhurriedly along the path. "You might have to point me in the right direction. No good if I take you out the wrong gate. So... what brings you into New York if you're a Gothamite?"
The arm is accepted and the pair goes off, Selina guiding Steve in the direction she believes her hotel and the aforementioned cafe to be in. Worst comes to worst she can call them a cab and make the trip go a tiny bit faster. "I wouldn't worry about how you're dressed, Steve. I believe it is one of those casual places. Something meant to cater to urbanites and tourists on the go instead of the social elite." While she speaks she looks up at her conversation partner, requiring him to guide her along the path. The subject of her reason for being in the city has her chuckling and shrugging playfully. "I was here for several meetings with a few of the bigger name CEOs. I run a foundation that helps fund a charity that works to keep endangered big cats from becoming extinct. And yourself? What do you do?"
This, at least, he seems very capable of doing: he's quite pleased to lead her along the path, and given that he's a big strong fellow it isn't awfully hard for him. It could even be said that he really enjoys it. "You run a charity foundation? Then I was right the first time: you're definitely a lady. Wherever you might have come from. Heck, I'm just a kid from Brooklyn and I... well." As she asks who he might be, he gives her a pretty honest answer: "I am -- I *was* -- a soldier. I was at war, and now I'm on a kind of leave 'till they call me back in."
Selina's face colors, making her ever so grateful for the fact that they're walking down a poorly lit walkway. Maybe he won't notice. "I was unaware that what I do qualifies me as being a lady but... I accept that. Thank you." Steve's arm is hugged after she slides her other arm through his, the position a bit awkward but she doesn't seem to mind. Not if Steve doesn't. And then his arm is hugged again, this time when he answers her question. "You... I should have known. Military men are a breed of their own. Very mindful of their manners and everything. God. But you're not one now? What happened, if I may ask?"
"You help out those who can't help themselves. You speak up for creatures who have no voice. Doesn't so much matter to me where a person came from or anything like that: what matters is what you do." Steve walks unhurriedly, strolling down the path with that long ground-eating stride, and though he speaks to her with a charming smile and a fond look, his eyes skip around the trees around them. "The specifics," he goes on, "I'm not at liberty to go into. I was MIA for a while. They brought me home just recently. I'm still acclimating to things. They've given me some time to recover. I'm not dangerous to you," he adds almost hastily, just realizing how creepy that made him sound.
She's used to praise, having been complimented more than once and for more than her charity work. But there's something different about the way Steve does it. There's a noticeable sincerity to his words that has her feeling rather giddy complete with butterflies that flutter in her stomach now. "That is very kind of you to say. Thank you." His attention to the surroundings as well as her is also noticed but is taken in stride, his protecitive nature also something she's pleased by. When he gives answer to her question she listens, her expression softening. "I see. Sounds like that is... potentially bad," Sel murmurs although there is a hint of confusion. She does know what MIA stands for but not all of what it might entail. And at the last? She can't help but to chuckle. "I didn't think you were," she whispers, leaning a bit closer as she lifts her chin so she can perhaps speak into his ear. "I wouldn't be here with you if I felt you were."
He swallows, just a bit. Enough to make it clear to a woman who's acquainted with such things that whispering in his ear might just have some effect on him. But he withholds so much, keeps himself in such control, that there's no more sign than that and a slight flush to his neck. "I'm glad to hear it," he says simply. "Though if you're like other ladies from Gotham I've known of, you could probably give any mugger or crazed robber a hard time. Gotham girls are strong, as I recall. I'm okay, though. Getting to okay. Getting acclimated. A lot's changed since I was here last."
Selina's nature is to be a flirt, the seductress in her very hard to temper and keep reined in. And it is especially so now. She manages some how but while she keeps herself in check some of that personality quirk still seeps up to the surface. "I've been known to be able to take care of myself. I could show you someday, if you'd like." Shaking her head, then, she can not help but to chuckle as well as chide herself for being so horrible to the dear man. That's put away for the moment when she has time to think, something said by Steve giving her cause to fall silent for several seconds before she turns a sympathetic eye towards him, there being no trace of playfulness to be found on her face. "I know we just met, Steve, but if there is anything I can do to help you with that, please do not hesitate in asking."
"In all honesty," Steve says, and he really seems to mean that much, "this itself is a really big help. Something normal like walking a lady home. It feels good." He gazes out around them onto the path again, walking in silence for a few moments before responding to what she'd said before: "I'll bet you could teach me a thing or two." Grinning a little, he goes on: "How long are you in the Big Apple? And not to sound too cliche, but do you come often?"
As much as this is nice for Steve it's equally so for Selina who perhaps needed the reminder that chivalry is not dead. "I am enjoying this greatly," she says after she realizes how wonderful this truly is. "I can not remember the last time someone offered to take me home like this." The changes in Selina's demeanor keeps changing and it does not take more than a few seconds before a vulnerability she tries very hard to keep hidden starts to peek through the cracks of what is normally a facade of innuendo and coyness. The conversation flows which gives her no time to dwell upon it. "I am only here for one or two more days," she utters, sounding disappointed, "but I can come back whenver I like. Either for business or pleasure. Why do you ask?"
Chivalry's not dead. It was just frozen for seventy years. "Well, I'm glad to hear it," the broad-shouldered soldier replies with a broad smile. "If you didn't I'd have to try to be more entertaining. Juggle some pinecones, maybe." He looks a little surprised as she goes on, and before he can catch himself he replies: "That's a real shame. And a surprise. It's hard for me to believe that there's nobody out there who'd take care of you properly. Not to say you couldn't take care of yourself, but -- well, I said I was old-fashioned." And for a guy like Steve, that little hint of vulnerability is like an arrow right to the heart. If she was trying to draw him in, she couldn't do a better job. "I was just making conversation," he adds, chuckling a little. "I could talk about the weather, but I'm sort of bad at small talk."
"Where I come from, a woman can't really expect this kind of treatment. Not that one really wants to walk anywhere in Gotham." With the crime and everything, it's not exactly a setting where old fashioned values can be displayed easily. "And more often than not, if a man shows interest in me it's as eye candy, nothing else." Not a flattering comment but Selina doesn't really seem to care, her blunt nature as much a part of her as everything else. "Oh..." Sel says before laughing then. "Conversation. Here I was, hoping that you were going to ask me on a date." A quick look is given to the man and she groans inwardly, immediately regretting having said that. "You know... er..." Oh boy.
"I have to admit," Steve says, looking sidelong at Selina, "you're definitely a gorgeous woman -- I mean, you've got to know that. You probably hear that a lot, just like you said. But the most interesting, the most worthwhile women are more than just beautiful. They're strong and smart and capable and tough and a lot of other things besides. They're special. Anyone can be pretty, but -- " He breaks off, grinning sheepishly and scratching the back of his head. "I've known you for ten minutes, and I'm saying all this. I've really never been good at talking to women, so if I'm offending you, I apologize." At the mention of a date, he actually does color a little and clears his throat. Glancing away, he speaks softly and quickly: "I probably shouldn't. I've got responsibilities, I..." But one date wouldn't hurt, would it? It would probably help him acclimate. Definitely. That's what he's telling himself. "I could pick you up at seven tomorrow night?"
Of course Selina heard it all before but this is different. Despite not knowing Steve for long she can tell he's not just trying to flatter her but is instead telling her his observations which are very astute. Eerily so, almost. "You're not offending me. In fact... you're right. Not that I want to toot my own horn." She casts her glance to the side, looking around as if seeing the park for the first time. Was it this beautiful before? The protests makes a pang of guilt hit but then... "Seven sounds perfect." Her contact information is given to him along with a soft, chaste peck to the cheek if he allows. "Do not keep me waiting, Steve."