2011 07 03: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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Mission Name: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Date of Mission: July 3, 2011
Locale: Starbucks — Greenwich Village

Geoff and Tamara discuss the finer points of relationships, vehicles, and petty cruelty.

Geoff Thomas Tamara

Around seven, most people are stopping by Starbucks for an evening drink, an awkward post-work coffee date, or what have you. Luckily, the place is not as crowded as it tends to be in the morning. Geoff slumps in looking pretty tired, hands shoved into the pockets of his ratty jeans, shoulders rounded under his hoodie as he joins the line behind some much more put-together looking people and a couple of shabby hipsters.

Among the early crowd is Thomas, looking tired— but a good sort of tired, the sort that comes from saving some lives or closing a six-figure deal. His attention's mostly on the counter, though he pauses long enough to hold the door for Tamara to follow him inside. Post-work date? Maybe. Could be.

Tamara follows Thomas into the shop, nodding a thank you as he holds the door for her. She's seen better days, although the lacerations on her hands and arms are healing, and she walks with less of a limp than she did a couple of weeks ago - still, she's clearly been through something since the last time Geoff saw her. She doesn't immediately notice him either, instead focussed on the menu herself, and then looking to Thomas. "It isn't too far from here, actually. I'll perhaps call and book an appointment tomorrow if it's on the market already," she notes with a vague gesture towards the plate glass window.

Geoff orders regular old black coffee, deliberately asking for a medium instead of whatever made-up Italian word he's supposed to use. He steps to the side to get out of the way for the next customer, glancing over his shoulder. A second later, he recognizes Tamara and turns around again. "Damn, girl," he says, looking her over. "What happened to /you/?"

Thomas glances back, nodding to Tamara - "Good thinking" - then ducks over to one side, looking through the pastry selections while Tamara and Geoff catch up. Too small, too expensive, too sugary… ah, that one over on the far end ought to do. The coffee is noticeably an afterthought. "Latte, half latte, non-fat, no whip, extra whip?" asks the server, only to be met with a standard-issue I just want some damn coffee glare.

Tamara seems just a little surprised to run into Geoff, but it's expressed as nothing more than an upward twitch of her eyebrows as she quickly effects the reassuring 'I'm fine' smile. "Oh, just a little accident. It looks worse than it is." She glances sidelong towards Thomas as he deals with his own order, but her attention is soon back on Geoff once she's determined it's not quite yet her turn. "Long time, no see. I suppose you've done better than I have for keeping yourself out of trouble?" she asks glibly.

Geoff pulls back a little, looking suspiciously at Tamara. "Did you have a car wreck?" he asks. "I warned you about that shit, didn't I?" He picks up the coffee that gets delivered to him. "You didn't smash up Barbie's Dream Car, did you?"

At that, Thomas decides to go ahead and jump into the conversation after all. "Hey, no, she didn't crash her car— if she did, she'd probably have a broken leg." Again. "Just a— You know those magnetic strips you put up on the wall instead of a knife rack? Gotta be careful with them, that's all." The coffee is dropped off with a dollop of whipped cream that he didn't order; he shakes his head in annoyance, but lets it go, just handing over some cash and scanning around for an open table.

Tamara is saved the trouble of answering by Thomas's quick reply, and she spares a wry grin for him, allowing him to explain the injuries while she goes about ordering an espresso, which is at least less likely to come with any whipped cream at all. "Although now I wonder whether your concern is for me or my car," she continues with a little laugh, taking a few napkins from the dispenser and then accepting her drink when it's ready.

Geoff looks over at Thomas, lifting an eyebrow slightly. "Boyfriend?" he asks Tamara. "Oh, I'm a hater," Geoff assures her, sipping his coffee and grimacing at how hot it is. "If you crashed, I could only feel better about myself for not having a nice car."

"Hey, it's not just a car, it's a Barbie's Dream Car," replies Thomas, not missing a beat as he pulls out a chair. "Is that a real thing now? Like those pink cars they let you drive if you sell a whole bunch of Mary Kay stuff?" As for the other question? Tamara's on her own on that one.

Tamara glances briefly towards Thomas, but realizing she's on her own now, she looks back to Geoff with a slight shrug. "Nothing quite so high school," she replies, not bothering to try to explain what it actually is, in that case. "My car isn't pink, but it is still very much intact. So I suppose you can continue feeling bad about yourself," she suggests lightly to Geoff as she moves to join Thomas at the chosen table.

"Damn, sign me up to sell Mary Kay, then," Geoff comments, then covers a yan behind his free hand. "Oh, 'scuse me," he says with regard to Tamara's 'high school' comment. "What do I say? 'Gentleman caller?'" he asks sarcastically, putting on a Savannah accent. "Oh, don't worry," he adds, "I downright hate myself cuz your car's so damn pretty."

"If you like," Thomas deadpans, remaining equally mum on whether it's actually accurate. "And how come you're still driving a junker? Looks like you've been working double shifts lately, you oughtta be able to save up for a better ride."

Tamara just seems amused with Geoff's suggestion of 'gentleman caller', and she cants her head towards Thomas like she's going to stand by his answer on that front. "She is awfully pretty, isn't she," Tamara gushes about her car, and it's only partly an act. She still does adore her new baby. Sipping her coffee, she looks back to Geoff then. "Perhaps you could save up your Mary Kay dollars and get yourself a real car some day."

Geoff looks Thomas over doubtfully. "You think I can afford /parking/ for a car in this city? You /must/ be joking. I left my car in North Carolina so I could take the Shoeleather Express. Feels real good after a long shift at three in the morning, lemme tell you. Tamara knows the shoes I'm talking about, too." He gives Tamara a little smirk for her jokes and tries the coffee again.

Thomas smirks. "Oh, so you're the gentleman caller." So far, his coffee remains untouched; he's waiting to see if the whipped cream will dissolve on its own if he leaves it alone for long enough. "What about a bike? Bike parking's cheap, you need a lock but you only have to pay for it once."

"Makes my footwear look sensible," Tamara replies with a smirk of her own as she sits back in her chair, shifting carefully to avoid putting weight on her bad leg. "And gosh, I didn't know this city had so many gentlemen," she adds with a teasing tone, before sipping again at her coffee. "Do they charge for bike parking?" she wonders, suspecting not, but really having no idea. It's not something that she's had to know before now.

"I ain't a gentleman and I don't call," Geoff tells Thomas, smiling sharply without involving his eyes in the process. "A bike? Please. Nobody taught me how to bike in a dress." He has a swallow of the coffee.

"Well, you got me on that one." Thomas shakes his head, reaching for his drink as he gives up on the experiment. Ooh, bad idea, as it turns out the whipped cream was concealing how hot it was; he winces, putting a napkin quickly to his mouth, though he manages to recover after a few seconds. "Ought to be a law against this," he mutters, pushing it aside.

"I'm sure there's a way. Maybe you need one of those old-fashioned granny bikes. I'll bet that would be adorable," Tamara replies, and most likely, she's teasing more than trying to be actually helpful. She looks over as Thomas burns his mouth on the coffee. "It is deceptive at times. Eventually you lose all feeling and don't need to worry about it anymore."

Geoff passes a napkin to Thomas, then looks back to Tamara. "Come on," he says, "Drag queen on a bike is like rolling hate crime bait. Even /I'd/ wanna throw a stick in my spokes."

Thomas makes a face. "If I wanted to lose all feeling, I could just put a lot of ice on it. It's burning off a layer of taste buds, is what it is." But it hasn't quite happened yet, as a bite of the muffin soon proves. "And I'll take your word for it… I never did get why people have a problem with it. Unless you're forcing yourself on them, what's the harm? Their kids think you're cooler than they are?"

"Then clearly you must decide between taste and the need for caffeine," Tamara points out sagely, not too terribly worried, especially as he's already moved on to the muffin. Turning a little more serious, she turns back to Geoff with a shrug. "People are assholes. I think most of them are just looking for a reason. But fine, skip the bike then. More headache than you need, I'm sure."

Geoff looks over at Thomas, suppressing a smile. "As unfunny as hate crimes are, you have obviously never seen a drag queen fall," he guesses. "Because that shit is /hilarious/." He sips his coffee. "It's like…remember that time Beyonce fell? Imagine that, but if her wig popped off and she yelled like a linebacker." Geoff just assumes the average person remembers that time Beyonce fell. He smiles and shrugs at Tamara. "I mean, obviously, it's not funny when /I/ fall, but when I see another bitch fall, I cannot help but to fall out."

Thomas shrugs. "Who the hell is Beyonce?" Okay, maybe he's not that ignorant of pop culture, judging from the sarcastic tone. But it's pretty close; there's no sign that he remembers whatever incident Geoff is getting at. "What happened, was it on an award show or something?"

"You have such fellow feeling for your coworkers," Tamara muses dryly, but she's more amused by this than anything. Unlikely any would accuse her of dripping with empathy either. She glances over at Thomas's question, but leaves Geoff to explain his own reference while she just sips her own coffee.

"The role model for about half of drag queens," Geoff answers Thomas, smiling. "It was at a concert or some shit. I don't know, /I'm/ not obsessed with Beyonce, but I saw the video, and that shit was pretty funny." He grins at Tamara. "Like I said, I'm a born hater." Nor is he ashamed of it.

"I guess that explains it," replies Thomas, sounding less than completely convinced. As his phone goes off, he mouths a silent excuse-me and steps away to take the call, leaving the coffee to cool down to a more human temperature in the meantime. "—yes, thank you for calling back, I wanted to see if you had an opening tomorrow afternoon? Friend of mine visited last month, couldn't stop raving about it…"

"Well, people always say you should be yourself," Tamara decides after considering that for just a moment, lifting her coffee cup in a mock-salute to the idea. "To born haters then." She glances over at Thomas's phone goes off, watching for just a moment as he moves off to take the call, and then her attention is back on Geoff. "It is good to run into you again, at any rate, hater or not."

Geoff lifts his cup in return, then nods at Tamara. "Yeah," he agrees. "I can't tell if you're just saying that to be nice cuz there's an awkward silence with your 'gentleman caller' over there, or cuz you mean it?" he says, "But we should actually hang out sometime. Let me give you my number and you can call me if you're ever bored at three in the morning."

Momentarily oblivious, Thomas is occupied with writing down some notes as he cradles the phone against the opposite shoulder. "Two-thirty. And you said—? Okay, see you then. Thanks." The items are slipped back into their respective pockets as he returns to the table. "Sorry about that. I miss anything important?"

"When have I ever said something just to be nice?" Tamara points out with a shrug. "If I'm nice, it's for a reason. What that reason is, well, that you'll need to figure out on your own," she teases, as she digs out her phone. Setting it up so a new number can be entered into it, she then hands it over to Geoff to do his thing. "Just me being nice," she replies to Thomas as he returns. "Everything all right?"

Geoff shrugs at Tamara and takes her phone, putting his number into it. "See, that's why we get along. You might be a bitch, but you ain't fake." He looks over at Thomas, smirking. "Popular hairstylist, huh?" he jokes.

That, at least, gets a good laugh out of Thomas. The bitch part or the hairstylist part? "Hey, it's not easy to look this good," he jibes back. "No, just setting up that thing at the track we were talking about," he adds for Tamara's benefit. "And I promise not to lose my shirt on the first race, okay?"

"Yes, that's me. Tamara Carver, keeping it real since… Well, a true lady never reveals her age," she decides as she sips again at her coffee, leaving herself wide open to comments on whether or not she's a true lady. Setting down her cup again, she holds out a hand to take her phone back once Geoff is done, looking over to Thomas in the next moment. "Ah yes, of course. Well… I'm not sure that would give me much cause for complaint," she says with a little smirk, giving him a brief once over.

Geoff gives Tamara her phone back without even snooping. He looks amused at Thomas's reference to losing his shirt at the track. "Ooh, did she tell you she's got a 'system?'"

"Not a day over twenty-one. That's why I'm here, I promised to buy her booze later." Thomas rolls his eyes as he sits back down, looking from Geoff to Tamara and back again. "What kind of system— the one where you double your bet each race until you're broke?" Probably not, but it's as good a fishing line as any.

Tamara gives a laugh to that. "I'm not going to rush in to deny that one," she replies to the comment on her age, and Thomas earns himself a grin for that one. "Go big or go home, I figure. Although it's easier to stake it all when you know you have someone buying your next round." She pockets her phone again. "I have many systems. Some of them may even relate to horse racing."

Geoff drinks down the rest of his coffee, smiling vaguely at both of them. "See, now I want to know her other systems," he tells Thomas. He pitches his cup casually, remarking, "Twenty-one, though. That's a good line."

"It's good, isn't it?" Thomas lifts his cup to return the mock toast, then tries another sip. Ah, that's more like it: still painful, but manageable. "An get in line, buddy. —If it's as nice a place as they say," he continues, turning his attention back to Tamara, "maybe I'll bring you along next time? Too bad about your schedule this time around."

"Of course you want to know. But I'm hardly going to go revealing all my secrets," Tamara informs Geoff with a mysterious grin, perhaps just messing with him now on purpose. Looking over at Thomas, she gives a nod. "Yes, let me know how you find it. I'm sure I can work something out if it turns out to be truly worthwhile."

"Okay, kids," Geoff says, twisting to crack his back before he announces, "I gotta get to work. I'll see y'all around, I hope. I need to hang around more rich bitches with cars and shit." He gives one quick nod. "See ya."

After Geoff takes off, Thomas turns back, visibly amused. "Rich, huh? You been holding out on me, or does he just not have perspective?" Well, if his definition of 'rich' is along the lines of 'owns a car'…

Tamara waggles her fingers in a farewell wave, watching Geoff for a moment before she turns back to Thomas, laughing with some amusement. "And here I'd hoped he was talking about you," she replies in jest. "No, I'm not rich, not really. I may have some money, but I'm absolutely terrible with it, and then I have significantly less until I get more."

"Oh, I don't know, that sounds like a lot of fun if you ask me." Thomas draws his chair a little closer. "Actually, that was the stables that called earlier, but maybe we should check out a racetrack some time. After things settle down." If they ever do.

"It usually is," Tamara concurs with a little grin, shifting in her own seat to face him on a bit of an angle. "Except for the rare occasion when I … run into problems with magnetic strips of hanging knives." She considers his point about the racetrack then, smiling faintly as she nods. "I think I'd like that. I haven't been to the track in quite some time."

"Ah yes, those dangerous kitchen accidents. You do a good job playing helpless," says Thomas, "you had me fooled until that bitch showed up the other day." The poor excuse for dinner finally finished up, he pushes the empty things aside. "So it sounds like we've got another night and a morning to kill. Gotta be a better way to do it than here, right?"

"Thank you, I think," Tamara replies with a grin. "It suits my purpose, anyway. And I do enjoy being rescued sometimes. It's worked out well enough for me so far." She glances over at the empty cups and then back to him, her eyebrows arching just slightly. "I can think of a few better places to pass an evening. Shall we?" she suggests, inclining her head towards the door.

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