|Central Park Talks|
|What: After almost hitting her in the head with a ball, Roberto and Donna talk over coffee.|
Though the summer is officially over, it's still a warm, sunny day in New York City. Given that it's only a few days into the autumn there's no reason for this to be considered unusual -- it's not even indian summer yet. But one young man is a little more bundled up than the rest. Roberto da Costa jogs along one of the many paths of Central Park and into a broad field, dodging other pedestrians as he dribbles a soccer ball before him. He wears shorts, which are common enough and certainly preferable for the athletic activity he's chosen, but also a warm sweater -- and one would think he'd -have- to be too hot in that.
Donna can be found in the Park near the castle. Her hair has been pulled back into a pony tail. She's dressed in a pair of white capris and a black deep blue tank top as well as a pair of low cut canvas sneakers.
Currently, she's standing on top of one of the benches, twisted in an odd position and adjusting the lens of the high end camera in her hands.
Of course, this is all drawing attention as people pass by. Or maybe it's the fact that her black hair shimmers and sparkles like the night sky.
Whatever the cause is, Donna seems completely oblivious to everything going on around her.
Let it never be said that Roberto doesn't recognize a pretty face when he sees one. Unfortunately, he spots Donna's only after he kicks the ball. He is a good player -- football player, he'd never call it soccer -- but it's hard to catch up with the ball after it leaves his foot on a trajectory right for Donna. "Oi, heads up!" he calls out, chasing after the ball in an attempt to catch it, deflect it, get in its way before it hits the young woman -- and possibly her camera.
Luckily, or unluckily perhaps depending on how you look at it, that call out causes Donna to whip her head around which in turn causes her to lose her balance. She tumbles from the bench, landing on her rear in the grass and putting a nice grass stain on her nice, white pants. At least the ball missed her. Mostly. It did catch her hair but that's about it.
From the ground, the camera cradled in her lap, Donna blinks. Several times acually before she begins to just laugh.
'Berto winces visibly at the fall, though the laughter is... promising. He rushes over, trapping the ball and tucking it under the bench before leaning over to offer Donna a hand up. "Eu sinto muito," he says sincerely, then switches and repeats himself in English. "I'm so sorry. Are you alright, menina?"
The laughter dies off slowly as she takes the offered hand and gets up. "My pride is just a little sore." She dusts her pants off as much as she possibly can before grinning. "Nothing to be sorry for. Accidents happen, you know?" And then her head tilts off to one side. "Can't say I know what 'menina' means though." Hey, at least she managed to say it right.
One hand goes to the back of 'Berto's head, a gesture of sheepish embarrassment whether or not his apology was required. Not only did he knock the girl off her bench (okay, maybe he can't take all the responsibility for that, but still), but she is stunningly beautiful and several inches taller than he to boot. He has never had a problem with beautiful or tall women, but it doesn't make the embarrassment any less acute. "It's Portuguese," he explains. "Means 'girl' or 'young woman'. 'Cause I don't know your name. Again, I'm sorry -- even if accidents happen." He flashes a grin, just for a moment, before saying, "Roberto da Costa, menina -- if I can do anything to make up for your pride or your pants, please, just let me know." He sketches a brief and casual bow before straightening himself.
There's a smile given before Donna waves it off. "It's quite alright. Really. A little stain remover and the pants are fine and, really... My pride could probably stand a bruise or two." She winks and then holds her hand out. "My name is Donna and it's nice to meet you." Her head tilts off to one side before. It has to be a guy thing. Every guy she knows does that when they get nervous or embarrassed and she can't help but giggle a little at the thought.
Or when they want to stretch in class but don't want the professor to think they're trying to answer a question. But that's not the situation here. "It's nice to meet you, Donna," he replies, the hand falling from the back of his head in order to take hers and shake. "And thank you -- New York is an amazing city, but not well known for people having footballs kicked into their face and not calling lawyers instantly."
Donna can't help but laugh brightly. "I keep getting told I'm unique." She shrugs her shoulders. "It didn't hit me so... ya know... No harm, no foul." She travels enough to know what sport he's actually reffering to.
Once his hand is shook, she moves and begins carefully packing away the camera into it's case that is sitting beside the bench. "Have you been in New York long?" She can't imagine he has if he's still calling it 'football'.
"A while," replies 'Berto. "A few months." He glances briefly at her camera equipment as she starts to put it away, then returns his eyes to the girl as he fishes the ball out from under the bench again, knocking it back and forth between his feet, and very, very careful not to let it get away and attack Donna again. "My family, we have a few homes." As though this were nothing important to speak of. "I decided to come live in New York for awhile."
With the camera equipment safely put away, Donna turns her full attention on Roberto and smiles. "Well, Welcome to New York all the same." She settles herself on the bench, watching him move the ball back and forth. "You're very good. Have you ever considered playing professionally?" And then her head cants off to one side. "What part of New York, if I may ask..."
"I was considered for the Olympic team for Brazil," 'Berto replies, a note of pride in his voice. And he might have made it, too, if he hadn't had to flee the country. "Perhaps someday I will have the chance to play football professionally, but I do not think it will happen in the United States." He kicks the ball up and into his own arms. "I live on Park Avenue." He rattles off a street number in the ritziest of neighborhoods.
"I've shot photos in that area. Very nice neighborhood." A hand is run through her hair, sending shimmering locks back out of her face and over her shoulders. "Well, you're good enough but I get the feeling you're not really looking to play for an American team..." For a moment, she's silent before slowly standing. "There's a coffee vendor right down the path. I'm going to go grab a cup real quick. Would you care to join me?"
Gorgeous hair, thinks Roberto. He can't help the thought -- and notice that this lovely young woman, who he almost smacked in the head with a ball (and that -hurts-, he is well aware) is asking him to have coffee with her. "It isn't that I don't want to play for an American team," says 'Berto, shrugging as he tucks the ball under his arm. "It's that football isn't so serious here. Real football, I mean." He glances down the path. "Coffee sounds good. I can carry your camera for you?"
Donna smiles warmly. "You don't have to do that. I'm used to carrying it around..." She'll let him take it if he insists though. "No, I suppose it isn't. What is called football though is another matter all together." She can't help but chuckle. She doesn't look to be all that sport oriented but... Who knows, right?
She begins down the path, reaching into her back pocket as she does so. "So, if I may ask, what brought you to New York? It wasn't the sports, obviously... Don't tell me you want to dance on Broadway..." The last is said playfully.
It's less a matter of insisting than just shifting the ball under one arm and picking up the case with the opposite hand. Lugging it along. 'Berto is an athlete -- he has no trouble handling the camera case. "Only gonna say," he notes, "that every other country in the world calls it 'football'. And nobody else plays 'barbarians who couldn't make it playing rugby'." He winks at Donna at this, grinning, though it fades when she asks her question, and he looks away for a moment before saying, "My girlfriend was murdered. I couldn't deal." His tone isn't quite terse. But very much matter-of-fact.
Donna was all smiles until he answers her question. That causes her to stop dead in her tracks. Blue-green flit over to look at the young man next to her carefully for a moment before murmuring, "I'm very sorry. I can't even begin to understand what it feels like." She doesn't even want to think of what she'd do if... A shudder runs down her spine and she has to take a deep and steadying breath. "So... Barbarians and rugby, huh?" Yep, she's changing the subject.
Most adept. Well, not really, but 'Berto doesn't object to it. Rather, he's sort of relieved -- because there's a lot more to the story, and he doesn't particularly want to discuss any of it. "Obrigado. This is why I couldn't stay there." New York is growing on him anyway. He flashes Donna a somewhat weaker smile, but tugs up her case and trudges on toward the coffee vendor. "Rugby's a harder game to play than American football," he observes. "'Cept the rules are simpler, and play doesn't stop every three seconds so people can get up."
"I... Don't know that I've actually seen Rugby being played." Donna thinks for a moment as if she's trying to sift through her memories. "They don't give you time to get up?" She blinks at him a moment before something clicks. "Oh! I think I know what it is now!" Only because she's seen the one American Pie movie though. "That seems to be a rather rough sport."
They finally reach the coffee vendor who grins. "And a good day to you, Miss Troy." That causes Donna to wince a little. She doesn't normally give out her last name because she is, honestly, a rather well known photographer. "Hello, Jim. My usual please."
'Berto is not quite a follower of the photography scene, so, while he notices Donna's wince he has no idea why she's wincing. He raises an eyebrow curiously at her, but doesn't ask aloud what's going on there. Merely places his own order -- rather sweeter and fuller of foam and cream than might be expected -- then, while they wait for their drinks to be ready he notes, "It is a rough sport. And that's kind of the point of it. But that's what American football is -- rugby lite."
Rugby lite... That causes Donna to laugh a moment and shake her head. "I've never heard it put like that." Her own caramel-vanilla latte is handed over to her. "There ya go, honey." The older man exchanges the coffee for the money Donna hands over to him then goes about making Roberto's coffee. "I can't even imagine... I should see about catching a game some time." When her companions coffee is handed over, Donna grins. "I can't say I've ever watched soc--football either though so..."
'Berto gives the man a decent tip -- he sees no need to be cheap about it -- and takes a long swallow of his coffee before almost choking at Donna's admission. He blinks at her a few times as they start walking away from the vendor. "It's the single most popular sport in the world," he points out. "You're missin' out, menina."
A bright laugh comes from Donna again. "American football is fall more popular here than, er, football..." That causes her brows to knit together as if she's trying to determine if it makes sense. A sip of her latte is taken before she chuckles. "Guess I need to brush up on my sports..."
"Here," replies 'Berto pointedly. "Everywhere else we play the real thing." In order not to have to juggle ball and case and coffee, he has dropped the ball and is now shuffling it back and forth as they walk. "What you should do is come see a football game sometime. We play in the park on Sundays, a bunch of us who like the game."
Donna chuckles softly and nods her head. "I'll have to see if Tim would like to catch a game." She takes another sip of her coffee before reaching out to take her camera. "Here. I can take that from you." And then she smirks. "And yeah, I know all about the on going to debate about what is and isn't football."
'Berto hands over the case. "You do that, menina," he replies, grinning. "We'll get you and your boyfriend converted in no time. This is the thing: football is fun. And exciting. And our refs don't make stupid calls 'cause they're doin' it for the fun of it anyway."
Donna grins. "Tim isn't my boyfriend. Not exactly." Her brows knit together once more. Her tone, however, speaks volumes about how she feels about the man she's speaking about. "He's my best friend but... that's... it." No. Really.
'Berto pauses a moment to glance over a Donna, one brow raised slightly, but again he doesn't ask. Because he can understand what she means, even if she doesn't want to say it. And because he knows that feeling that way kind of sucks.
"Friends are a good thing," is all he says.
Donna laughs softly and nods her head. "Yes, they are." Donna grins and takes another drink of her coffee. "You know, you're welcome to ask. That's twice now you've given me that look but didn't say anything. I promise I don't bite."
"First time you wince when the coffee guy says your last name," 'Berto replies with a shrug. "I don't know -why- that bugs you, but I gotta say, it didn't really mean anything to me -- so if you're worried about that, don't be." And then he takes a long swallow of his own coffee before broaching the other subject, trying to decide what tack should be taken. Finally he drops the cup to his side, holding it by the lip and lid, and notes, "You say one thing about this Tim, but your voice says another." He pauses a moment. "He got any idea?"
Donna blinks. She hadn't realized her tone betrayed her. "I... I don't know. I don't think so. We're the very best of friends. We've been through a lot together. We know there's an attraction there... He doesn't want a relationship right now though." She hasn't said yet. Might not even have admitted it to herself yet but her voice and that ever so soft smile says it all. She's in love with him. "It's important that... I don't know... I guess it's kind of important that he doesn't know."
'Berto reaches out to pat Donna's shoulder lightly. "He ain't gonna hear it from me, Donna," he promises, before adding, with a light tease in his voice, "It'd be some kinda crime, I'm sure, to take a total babe like yourself off the market by letting some oblivious guy know you're into him."
There's a soft little laugh from Donna. "Oh, he knows. I just don't think he understands..." Yeah. That thing she's not saying. Giving it voice makes it real after all, right? "So! You play on Sundays, right? Where at?"
Much better segue, far as Roberto's concerned. He nods toward the field where he first encountered her. "Back where we met," he says. "There's sometimes a good-sized crowd, 'cause there are a -lot- of new Americans living in this city. A lot of people who like to play football to remind themselves of home, if nothing else."
Donna grins, nodding her head. "I can see that, yeah." Another drink of her latte is taken as they make their way back towards the castle. "If we can make it... Would you mind if I snapped a few pictures?" The girl does love her photography but at least she has the desency to ask. "And... thanks, by the way."
"I don't mind at all," says the youth, grinning at Donna. "I doubt the others would, either -- and we get some pretty good games going, so you'll have plenty of options for good pictures." As for the other thing, one hand rises, waves the statement away. "No need to thank me," he says. "Last thing I want is to have somebody get hurt 'cause I said the wrong thing to the wrong person."
Donna grins. "I meant for listening, actually. I don't think I've ever talked about it before." She gives a little shrug before moving on. "Would you mind asking for me before the game starts? I'd hate to upset someone because they didn't want their picture taken, ya know?"
'Berto ahhhs softly, nodding. "Not exactly the kinda thing that's easy to talk about, when the one you'd be most comfortable talking to is the one you can't talk to about it." He nods. "Yeah, no problem. I'll explain what's goin' on when I get there."
A warm and friendly smile is turned on the young man at her side. "Thanks, Roberto. What time do the games normally start?" And then she gives a wry little laugh. "And no, it certainly isn't."
'Berto nods again, totally understanding. "I got lucky with Juliana," he observes. "We both knew what was goin' on right from the beginning." And then he pushes that aside once more, because really, best thing is not to think about it. "We're usually ready to play by about ten -- it's early for some on a Sunday, but some people stick around to play all day."
Maybe that's why Donna was so comfortable talking about things with Tim. Because he had shared something so personal with her earlier. "Ten... We're usually up by then..." She bites down on her bottom lip, obviously thinking on this a moment. "I hope to see him tonight or tomorrow so I can talk to him about it then." Another smile is turned on him. "I'm really looking forward to watching."
"And I look forward to having you there!" replies 'Berto, flashing another grin, a broader one this time, and one that doesn't fade with some memory of his deceased beloved. No, he's been having a good time talking with Donna. "But if you can't make it, hey, there's always next weekend."
"That there is!" Donna grins and finishes off her coffee just as they reach the Castle. Her watch is given a glance before she sighs softly. "I didn't realize how late it had gotten." She looks over at her new friend and grins. "I gotta run but it was great meeting you, Roberto. I look forward to talking with you again soon." Her empty cup is dropped in a trash can and the camera case hefted onto her shoulder. "And now I know where to find you." She gives a wink before grinning. "Take care, yeah?"