2011 06 27: Comrades

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Mission Name: Comrades
Date of Mission: June 27, 2011
Locale: Starbucks

Mack finds a down on her luck Russian girl and extends his courtesy to her.


Mack nadia

It just hasn't been Mack's morning. First two of his waitresses call in sick from what is most likely a case of a massive hangover, then he misses his ride uptown, and now he's standing in Starbucks, his suit slacks drenched in hot coffee. A young woman stands in front of him trying to dab the mess with a napkin. "That's not necessary, thank you," Mack tells her, a blush almost rising in his cheeks. The blonde woman just keeps dabbing, and finally Mack gently pushes her away. "It's fine, I have a good dry cleaner. Thank you." The college girl stumbles over apologies as Mack approaches the counter. "Can I get a venti cafe au lait?"

In another lifetime, maybe Nadia could be a college girl like that, but as it is, the young Russian is taking a lunch break from work. Still pretty new to the city, she's managed to at least find a Starbucks - which is hard not to do with one (sometimes two!) on every corner. The slip of a girl makes her way up towards the counter, sparing a glance for Mack and the co-ed being shoved away, before she turns to eye the menu and then the assortment of pre-made sandwiches laid out. After converting the prices in her head, she realizes this is way more than she meant to pay for lunch. For a moment, she considers trying to find somewhere else, but eventually she gives in and picks up one of the sandwiches, murmuring in Russian something about these prices being a crime.

The blonde hovering near Mack finally begs away. The man seems relieved when she does. He reaches into his pocket for a money clip and hands a few bills over to the cashier, replacing it swiftly before he steps aside to wait. He catches a glimpse of Nadia out of the corner of his eye but trails his vision in the direction of the price list soon after. He half-smiles as he looks back to the girl, piping up in Russian: "I know what you mean. They certainly make a killing over here, don't they? It's hard to imagine that in Russia the kind of money you can spend on coffee and sandwiches here could feed your family for a month."

Nadia seems to light up a bit as she's addressed in Russian. She's fluent in English, but it taxes her, always having to translate everything in her head. It's nothing like speaking her mother-tongue - or hearing it, for that matter. "It's too much. I'd make my own if I could find a proper grocers. The small stores on the corner aren't much better than this," she replies in her own language, gesturing with the sandwich. Despite her complaints, she's all sweetness and smiles for the store clerk as she steps up with her purchase. "Can I have water, please? No, not the bottle. Just from the faucet," she says to the girl, her English marked with a thick accent, and she makes a gesture like she's turning a tap, in case she's not being clear enough.

"She just wants a cup of water, thanks." Mack says to the cashier in English, his own marked by a lack of Russian accent entirely when he switches to English. When he switches back to Russian, it's clear that he's either from Russia himself or has spent a long time there. He reaches into his pocket for his money clip in order to pay the cashier for Nadia's purchases. "I insist." He says to the girl in Russian. "What's a nice girl like you doing in New York city? College student?" He asks her, considering her. There's nothing lascivious about the way he regards her. He looks, for the most part, curious and perhaps even genuinely concerned.

Nadia nods to the barista. What he said. Mack gets a grateful smile that turns to one of surprise when he offers to pay. She begins shaking her head, holding out her hand to decline the offer, but when he insists, however gently, she drops that and offers him another smile instead. "Spasiba," she replies, seeming a little brighter as she takes her sandwich and the cup of water. "Thank you," she adds to the cashier in English. "No, hardly. I was transferred here by work. I just didn't expect everything to be so expensive," she admits with a little laugh.

"You're welcome." Mack replies easily, smiling at her. He takes his coffee when it's offered to him and moves out of the way of patrons now waiting on their purposes, hoping that Nadia will follow. "Transfered by work?" Mack asks. Small world. "It is a hard city to live in, as far as money goes." He considers Nadia, looking her up and down in a curious manner. "What is it that you do for work?" He asks her, taking a sip of his coffee. If his now cold, coffee-scented pants are bothering him, he does a good job of not letting it show too much.

Nadia nods again to confirm that she was transferred by work, taking her drink and sandwich and following Mack almost without deliberately intending it. She's in a conversation with someone who can speak Russian, and it just seems a natural thing to move with him out of the way. "Office work. I answer phones, file. It's not very exciting and it doesn't pay very well, and yet I like it." She shrugs her shoulders as though to say 'go figure' - or the Russian equivalent. "Although I would have maybe held out for a raise if I'd known what things would cost. Is everything so expensive or am I just having bad luck?"

Mack shakes his head and for once laughs somewhat easily. "No, it's not just your imagination and I don't think that you're having any unusual luck for someone your age in this city. Are you here on your own?" He asks her. It might be something inappropriate to ask someone nearly half your age, especially when you've just met her, but his intentions don't seem anything more than kind. "Office work is a good field to be in. They always need someone to handle those things. I know that I do." It's Mack's subtle way of putting the bait out there for her.

"I am," Nadia confirms, either picking up on his kind intentions or just lacking the sense not to reveal that sort of thing. "For now," she adds, perhaps not entirely stupid. "My brother wants to join me, but his own work keeps him at home." She still thinks of Russia as home - New York is too strange to earn that title yet. "Good help is hard to find they say. I think I'm good help, at least," she says with a grin. "Enough that they've moved me up, anyway. What is it you do?"

"I'm sorry to admit that I do nothing as exciting as mergers and acquisitions, but instead I'm a lowly restaurant manager. My father's brother came here from Russia to start his own restaurant. He's in poor health, so my brother and I take care of it for him. It's mostly a glorified sports bar with more menu options," Mack admits somewhat shamefully, his white teeth glinting as he grins at Nadia briefly. He listens to her before nodding. "I see. Your family must miss you a great deal, as you miss them. Are you the baby?" He asks her, still inwardly trying to figure out her age. She looks too young.

"That's not lowly," Nadia assures him with a quiet laugh. "People need to eat more often than they need to merge or acquire, I think. And managing… it must be nice to be your own boss and not just have to do what other people tell you all the time." She takes a sip of her water, before nodding towards an open table as it clears, inviting him to join her without being overt about it. "Is it that obvious?" she asks, seeming almost amused that she's so easily pegged as the baby. "It's hard. They don't think I should have come, but a girl has to grow up eventually, I told them." She might be able to pass for a teenager, but she isn't making an effort to sound like one right now, at least.

Mack nods his head at Nadia, looking her up and down once again. "I have a younger sister, so I do have some experience in spotting them." He sips at his coffee and moves over to the table that she nods at, pulling her chair out for her first. He doesn't wait for her to sit down at it before he sits down at his, but it is still more manners than people often show in New York. "Everyone has to grow up. But you know how Russian families are. I'm sure that your parents would have locked up in a convent before they would have seen you come to America." He grins at her for a fleeting moment. "I'm not so sure about being my own boss. My uncle still calls the shots when he can, and it's a lot of hard work. More than I'd ever realized. Are you perhaps looking for a little part-time work?" Mack asks the girl. The two are conversing in fluent Russian. Yep, they're commies.

"Perhaps I should have spotted you for a big brother then," Nadia replies with good humour, nodding an unspoken thanks as he pulls out her chair, allowing her to sit without needing to first put down either her water or her sandwich. "I'll have to be careful when I go home to visit. They may get that same idea," she muses, her tone still light but her expression not entirely joking either. "They'd like me to find a job at home, or better yet, a nice boy with some money. Parents," she says in a tone that's at once both fond and exasperated. She listens to him as she unwraps her sandwich, looking up with a touch of surprise at his question. "I- could maybe, yes. The money would be nice and you seem like you would be easy to work for." Easier than her current bosses. Speaking of: "But I would need to ask my boss first. I don't want to get in trouble and be sent back home with nothing," she points out sagely.

"Perhaps so." Mack counters, sipping his coffee once more. "Parents learn eventually that they can't always get what they want. It just sometimes takes them a little longer than you'd like." He watches Nadia for a moment, listening to her in silence. When she mentions her other boss, he nods. "Of course. That could be tricky. And I didn't expect you to say yes on the spot. You should come by and see the restaurant before you agree, if you can." He leans in a little more closely, in a conspiratory tone that is probably not necessary considering the fact that they're speaking Russian. "Even if you can't take the job, you can come and see me whenever you like. Whatever we don't throw away at night is yours to have. I hope I do not offend you with that or make you feel like a dog being offered scraps, but a good deal of food goes into the trash at night even after the waitresses take what they want. It would make me feel better to know that you had at least one less expense here." He pauses, as something occurs to him. "And perhaps we should introduce ourselves before we go jumping headfirst into any possible business propositions, hm? My name is Dominic Mackey. Formerly Macklovitch. I find it's hard for so many Americans to pronounce these names. You can call me Mack, if you like."

"You don't know my parents. They're very stubborn," Nadia informs him, still speaking in that same fond/frustrated tone. Perhaps the stubbornness is an inherited trait if she's here and not doing what her parents want her to do, despite the fact that's she clearly still rather young. She considers the offer, taking only a brief moment to decide whether or not she should find any offence in it, before determining that the food really is meant in kindness but not pity. "I'd like that, thank you. If you give me the name and address - and maybe directions for the subway - I'll be sure to stop by when I'm able." She laughs then, when he points out their lack of introductions. "Nadia Egorovna Kayakova," she offers in response. Nope, no reason Americans would have a hard time with that. "But please, call me Nadia. It's nice to meet you Mack."

Mack smiles slightly. "I might be stubborn if I had a daughter like you too." He reaches into his jacket pocket for a business card and lays it down in front of Nadia. "A pleasure to meet you, Nadia. Give me a call sometime soon and I'll give you directions." He begins to get somewhat distracted as his phone begins to ring from the same breast pocket. "Excuse me. I'm afraid I have to take this. It's probably my brother wondering why I'm late…" Mack says, rolling his eyes somewhat before he stands up. "Again, a pleasure. Don't hesitate to call if you need anything." He takes the phone from his pocket and answers it, speaking in clipped English as he walks out the door.


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