2009-12-11: A Woman's Perspective



Date: December 11th, 2009


Tracy and Tiago go shopping for pretty things. …

"A Woman's Perspective"



Here we have one of the many shops on the Upper East Side. A men's and women's (mostly leaning toward the latter) clothing and jewellery boutique full of pretty things — pricey, to be sure, but the holiday sales ('SALES!!', or so says the sign) are off the wall this time of year. Shiny window displays draw people in without fail. It's evening and there's no such thing as a crowd at the moment, however, which is a good thing; the little store would burst at the seams. Warmly lit, dim, and neatly organized with displays, a row of mirrors acting as the doors to changing rooms takes up the back wall, back by the jewellery and more lacy items. Don't the changing rooms have mirrors in them? Apparently, there's no such thing as overkill when it comes to a place meant for vanity.

One of the store's few customers at the moment happens to be Tracy Strauss, perched upon black high heels and utilizing one of the mirrored doors to investigate the various angles of a sleek, one-shouldered little black dress, elegant as it is killer. The woman isn't so easily recognized, should any familiar faces happen by, however. That's the hope, anyway. Her long, blonde hair has been transformed into long, dark, red hair, though it trails straight down her back at the same considerable length.

This is the kind of neighborhood Tiago scoffs at. These are the kind of boutiques Tiago scoffs at. But, this year, everything has changed - so why shouldn't the not-entirely-rehabilitated thug wander around for a look? Little known fact, stores like these have less security than straight jewelry stores because they expect all of their customers to be able to pay for all the items so…

Looking less like a hoodlum, more a sophisticated gangster, the man has forgone his Salvation army jacket for a cleaner, more presentable coat black. The bright argyle pattern of his sweatervest gives him a cultured look and dresses up the jeans and sneakers he wears otherwise, but all enough the effect is good. He doesn't look like someone who is planning on robbing the joint - he looks like an urban boyfriend looking for something a bit more prim to buy for a lady friend of some sort. And that's exactly why he's here. Although Tiago's eyes linger of the display cases of the expensive jewelry, he takes his time doing rounds around the store, looking at everything like a perspective buyer, even though he really isn't. He is in the process of, once again, eyeing the more expensive products of the store out of the corners of his eye when he accidentally brushes past Tracy.

"Whoa, man. Sorry there," he offers her kindly without second thought, green eyes flashing in her direction without much care and lacking the instant recognition that the former blonde fears.

"No problem," Tracy says in polite sing-song as the man brushes past her. All things considered, she's in a good mood — or very much trying to be — and a little jostle isn't going to be any skin off her back. Tiago doesn't so much as earn a glimmer of recognition either.

With a tip of her head and freshly dyed locks to the right, Tracy smoothes the black fabric down over her hips — the skirt's length is modestly close to the knee, even if the rest of the dress more daring — and gives a small, decidedly pleased smile to the mirror. It's confident, normal moments like these that she can believe the "hiding in plain sight" method will work (never mind that there's nothing about the dress that says 'going into hiding' or tells anyone to do anything but look at her). It's a woefully short-lived moment. Where's she even going to go in a dress like this anymore? Just when it all starts to feel fabricated and she starts to frown, she catches sight of Tiago again in the mirror and…

…doesn't she know that guy? Hands dropping from her hips, the new redhead turns just to watch him.

Tiago is many things. He is a friendly soul, in a better mood than he has been in weeks. He is self-proclaimed fugitive, running from the law. He is a thug, and a hero; a lover and a fighter. But did you know he's a connoisseur of Little Black Dresses too? You didn't?

Well…that's probably because he isn't. But he's about as close to one a straight man can get, considering he has spent ample amounts of time staring at, feeling, and removing those Little Black Dresses. And so, he has an appreciation for them that is perfectly healthy to find in a red-blooded male. This is why his gaze lingers on the silhouette of the form speculatively even after his gaff is kindly dismissed, why he doesn't just walk away and carry on with his life just yet. And by the time he /does/ decide to walk away, he notices that Tracy is staring at him.

Oh no, did she catch him appreciating? "…What? I didn' do nothin', I swear!" He declares defensively, the young man sticking his hands into his pockets and backing away. It's only then that he really registers the contours of her face and how familiar that it looks. "…Wait a second…"

Tracy's blue eyes narrow on Tiago. The blue is a cool contrast to features otherwise made much warmer by the suddenly reddened hair. As the critical gaze continues, and the cleaned up hoodlum seems to have a bout of recognition in turn, her tongue rests behind her teeth in thought and she starts to smirk. It's almost predatory. Given that she looks up and down Tiago due to his wardrobe change, it might appear as though she's checking him out. In reality, she's just remembering him. Since he seems to recognize her too, there's no running away. Besides, he doesn't know her. She could still be anyone! Tracy. Linda. "I know you…" Tracy's expression is marred by a faint wince.

There's something…a bit disconcerting about the way Tracy is eyeing Tiago. Now, he's used to being ogled like a pile of meet by women of all ages. He's used to being glanced at, and looked over, and then looked at once more when he's walking away so that they may get a chance to glimpse at his 'Power'. But with Tracy it's less "Yum" and more "I'm judging you", and so the lad does his best to fit the bill. With furrowed brows, he finds himself frowning and subconsciously drawing himself to his full height, rolling his shoulders back to appear more impressive in terms of physique and posture.

And once he realizes what he is doing, he deflates a little consciously, trying to pull back on the hamming it up for the older woman. "Uh…y'do?" Beat. "Was I sober?" This is his only question. It will tell him everything he needs to know. It's safe to say that, thought Tracy is sparking that light of recognition, he has yet to put a name (or incident, or concussion) to that face.

On Tiago's posturing, Tracy casually turns back to the mirror, shifting her perceptive stare to the dress instead of him. His answer, though, prompts her brows lift and she gives him a questioning, incredulous look via the reflective surface. "I don't know, were you?" she asks dully, paying more attention to the mirror than the unexpected conversation, until she chuckles a touch under her breath and turns back to the near stranger, shaking her head, casual smirk still in place. "You hit your head, maybe you forgot about me."

"You dunno?" Tiago inquires, before breathing a visible sigh of relief. Okay, so Tracy isn't some scorned ex-hookup, looking to glue his testicles to his legs a la Charlie Harper. "…Wait. /You/ weren't drunk, were ya…"

Suddenly, recognition strikes. Like lightening. Or a really sharp hammer to the back of his head - the spot he had cracked his skull on. "Oh! Oh - I remember ya! It was nigh' an'…an' those thugs." Tiago blurts out, a faint smile curling at the corners of his lips. "You were that chick in the alley. Naw, I didn't forget about you none but there's…you're diff'rent. Diff'rent lookin'…Not bad diff'rent, but yeah."

Chick in an alley at night with those thugs. That sounds real classy. Tracy breathes a barely there word under her breath. Sounds like 'jeez'. "Keep your voice down, you're making me sound like— not like someone like me." She still eyes Tiago. Despite knowing nothing about him, she wasn't exactly expecting to see him here and in those clothes. Maybe she judged a book by its cover. But then, she doesn't really care enough not to. She steps away just far enough to open the changing room door.

It's because Tiago is a classy kind of guy, Tracy. See? He's even dressed classy, and in a classy store. Her gripe produces a broad, smug smile to appear on Tiago's face, and as he becomes supremely pleased with himself he does manage to lower his voice for her sake. "I rescued you, yeah? I'm kinda like…a damn hero or somethin'…" Beat. "Oh. Sorry then." He's not that sorry. "But then what kinda someone are ya? Who're you, anyway? An' how come you aint asked for my name yet?" Because he's the hero. She's supposed to find the name of her hero.

Right. In the doorway of the changing room — a few items can be seen hanging inside, beyond her frame — Tracy turns to give Tiago a less-than-thankful look. In fact, her expression is just flat, unimpressed. Her voice lowers as well, as do her brows, knitting together a bit. "Sure. Sort of." Except no one is supposed to know she could have taken care of herself. Of course, she's not going to admit that she was totally out of her element regardless. Besides which, she remembers what she was doing that night: trying to find Ivory. Bitterness. It happens. "Yeah, you're my hero," she says with unenthusiastic sarcasm. "You're in my debt for life." She's just as insincere with every jab. She really ought to be more grateful, but instead of asking for the name of her "hero" or answering his question, she steps back and shuts the door. If this means she's done talking to Tiago remains to be seen, but Tracy doesn't seem to express any particular interest in befriending her… saviour.

Now, this is hardly the first time Tiago's obnoxiousness has gotten him in trouble. This is hardly the first eye roll or deadpan he has received. And though Tiago is fairly certain that he deserved some of the derision thanks to his satisfied primping, he is also dimly aware that he definitely does not deserve all that hate. Especially since she was the one who prodded and poked him up until he got to remembering her identity. With his brows furrowed, the man lifts a hand to scratch at the back of his head gingerly.

"Well…geez. Y'dun gotta be so mean about it." He comments, innocently, as he stares at the door that has been shut. Taking a furtive step backwards, he glances around the store, as if trying to decide whether he should continue pestering the woman or return to his holiday shopping.

The former wins out. Sort of. "Y'know, there aint no need ta be so unpleasant. It's the holidays, ma'am. S'posed ta be a time for cheer and all that shit." Beat. "Well…happy holidays, I guess. I guess Ima stop botherin' you…"

The changing room is not a magical box that possesses powers of mind-changing, and yet Tracy looks a little less caustic when she steps out. It's not just the wardrobe change — from LBD to a more subdued pair of white pants, thin brown belt, blue shirt and what might be the hem of a white cardigan underneath the black coat.

"Look…" she says with a modicum of apology in her tone. Maybe it was Tiago's words through the door. Tracy shifts the black dress draped over her arm, along with a few other items; pantsuits, skirts. Particularly high end business wear. "…I— " Just as she's about to explain herself or apologize, she hits a (figurative) wall and frowns, looking confused at herself. She shakes her head, dismissive, but tries to turn a kinder expression on Tiago. "What's your name?"

Tiago has already turned away, and is in the process of walking further into the store when Tracy reemerges from the dressing booth, sans slinky black dress and her bad attitude. The first word is breathed out and Tiago is sensitive enough to stop his stride and crane his neck over in her general direction, a slight frown pulling at his lips. However, after a moment and a tentative lick of those lips, the man proceeds to face her entirely, sticking his hands into the pockets of his jeans in a boyish slouch.

This time, it's his turn to examine the ex-politician, and pale green eyes fly over her with a tinge of curiosity before fixing themselves onto hers. "Me? I'm Tiago. Tha's Chi-ah-go." The repetition of his name in order to get the pronunciation correct is a natural habit, one that draws a ghost of a smile onto his masculine features.

"Linda," Tracy replies in turn. A lie with documentation to support it. She doesn't go so far as to handshake, but she smiles a little, not entirely insensitive. "Why," she starts off with a curious lilt, "were those guys chasing after you?" She's skeptical that it was for any upstanding reason, and she can't entirely disguise her judgment while making an effort to give Tiago the benefit of the doubt, but her criticism is much less intense than it was.

Oh. Needless to say, Tiago's smile drops once the question is posed, and the man gulps audibly before glancing around the store in a sudden fit of paranoia. Eventually, once he's come up with what he's going to tell her, he returns his even gaze to the woman with a step forward. "They aint good guys. Junkies, y'know. The rough sort. Me an' my girl…we jus' crossed the wrong people, is all." It's not entirely true, but it's not not true, either! See, he's still being upstanding. "It's whatever though, right? No one got hurt or nothin'…" Distraction, distraction. "Hey. D'you think you can help me out a li'l, yeah? I need ta get 'er somethin' special, but I dun know what."

Well-defined brows lift again, pale eyes widening ever-so-slightly as they study Tiago throughout his reply, though there's no true surprise in them. Wrong people, rough sorts, junkies— she figured that much out and accepts it without more lines of question, but it's a crowd she is not so associated with. Unlike the person the thugs may have mistaken her for. P.S. Not a Stripper. "You…" Tracy starts to smile in disbelief, gradual amusement. "…you want me to help you pick out a gift for your girlfriend?" She laughs, as if it's ludicrous, but her smile is bright. "Okay," she concedes with a nod. "Whhhyyy not." She has absolutely nothing else to do. "What's she like?"

P.S. Should be a stripper.

Tiago is not about to back into the hole he had just dug himself out, and with a toothy, lop-sided smile that can be considered charming, the man arches his brows, pleased. "Yeah! I mean, you're a woman. Y'should be able ta tell if I'm makin' a big mistake or somethin' yeah? I mean, I used ta get 'er lingerie for shit, but she don't really use 'em much…" Nevermind that that's more of a present to himself than it is to her.

Slowly, he begins to walk through the store, looking at the former blonde expectantly. "I need her somethin' special this time. It's our firs' Christmas an'…well…we were on the rocks a couple o' days ago. I need it ta be somethin' special, so she…she knows how much I like care for her an' shit…you know." Beat. "Well…she's kinda rough. Like, 'round the edges I meant - not rough-lookin'. She looks soft an' amazin', her body is ba-…" Not necessary information, Tiago. Ahem. "Not used ta havin' nice stuff, 'cause…I mean, she acts tougher than she is. I know…I know she secretly wants ta be like, a princess way deep down. So like, maybe a crown or somethin'?" Please, for the love of God, someone stop him from buying Lena a tiara.

… Tracy is going to do Tiago a favour here and stop him now. An amused expression still fixed on her face from the young man's attempts at describing his significant other, she holds up her free hand as she walks with him. "…You're not gonna buy her a crown. But you're on the right track." In a manner of speaking. All things glimmering.

Shopping isn't just an indulgence, it's a necessary skill for living! It's a skill Tracy possesses, and thus, Tiago was right to enlist her help. She skims the store, considering, lips pursing for a moment until she hones in on the jewellery section. Not just the jewellery section; the diamonds, along with an assortment of other gems and jewels. Some are under glass, some are on displays. The ones Tracy reaches out for are under glass, the more classic pieces; she runs her hand along the glass. "You should get her jewellery. Every girl wants diamonds even if they tell you otherwise. A ring says too much; maybe… a necklace."

Tiago blinks. Not once, but twice, before nodding his head dimly. After all, he /did/ ask for help, the least he can do is actually listen when she tries to give it. With his brows furrowing thoughtfully, he moves along with Tracy, before facing the daunting assortment of shiny things and doodads all up for consumption. As she stares at the accessories with lust, the man clear his throat faintly before proceeding to stare down at the glittering pieces. "Uh…y'sure they all do? 'Cause my girl…I aint never seen 'er wear any." Beat. "It's possible that she jus' don' have any ta wear…er. Yeah! No, not a ring. I don'…I think it'd be awkward." Plus, he wouldn't be able to handle the probably rejection that would come hand in hand with the finger-bling. "But a necklace…that works. Which…which d'you think she'd like?"

"If she doesn't really wear a lot of jewellery, you don't wanna go too crazy. Mm…" Tracy hangs on to the strap of her purse and leans over the display, studying the necklaces with a keen eye. "Excuse me," she pipes up after a few moments — not to Tiago, but to a nearby sales associate, who she gives a polite smile to and points out a few similar necklaces. "Could we see these please." Smile. "Thanks."

They're laid out on the counter, most expensive to least. Three of them, oh no, decisions. They all feature drops of diamonds dangling on silver, simple but elegant. Whether or not they're Lena is another question, but they're all very nice. Pretty. Classic, but not dated. Certainly worthy of a princess in the making. "Yeah, here," Tracy offers. "If I were you, I'd go for something like one've these. I can't speak for your girlfriend - what's her name? - but I promise these are nice."

Tiago is confused, and he allows Tracy to do her woman thing, standing back over the former blonde as she proceeds to make her decisions. Now, he looks fairly like the clueless boyfriend that he really is, allowing the woman in the 'relationship' to do all the choosing and merely footing the bill. He blinks out of his reverie, looking to look over in Tracy's direction. "Huh? Oh…Lena. An' they look nice, yeah. How…how much are they?" Little did he know the name was given to Tracy earlier by a very different man, associating Lena with the illustrious rescue. With a gulp, he frowns over, looking for the price tag. "Which is the cheapest, 'cause…not that I wanna be cheap or nothin' but…shit's hard in the economy, yeah?"

Lena. Tracy's gaze flickers, her eyes narrowing on Tiago, undeniably suspicious, but she passes it by. It's not a completely common name, but it's common enough, in a city as large as this. "…um. Thiiis one is the least expensive," she says as she plucks the third necklace from the glass and dangles it up in front of the well-meaning young man. Don't fear the glitz, Tiago. It won't bite. There's a price tag clinging to that bit of silver. It may be the least expensive, but it still has some two zeroes attached. Tracy tosses her head in the direction of some of the displays of hanging necklaces. "There might be something over there if it's is too much…"

Tiago doesn't even look at the item, just at the price tag. And when he catches it, the poor lad blanches slightly. Suddenly put off, he allows his hands to hang listlessly by his sides before letting out a deliberate sigh. "I…well. Ima come back later, for it, I reckon…When I got the money for it." It's fairly embarrassing, admitting he cant afford it. Enough to prompt a faint coloring of his cheeks. "But…but, thanks, Linda. Y'really think she'll like somethin' like that? Jus' knowin'll help me loads 'bout it." If he notices her suspicious gaze, he doesn't make a show of it.

"Think how surprised she'd be." 'Linda' smiles as she sets the necklace back down and nods to the sales girl to put them back. At least this time, she doesn't appear to be judging Tiago for not being able to afford the pricy item. Poor guy. He just wants to buy his lady something nice. It's cute. "… You're welcome. Least I could do, right." Her smile falls, on that note, resurfacing as something more subdued. She lifts her elbow, draped with merchandise. "Anyway. I should go pay for these."

Tiago steps back once, stuffing his hands into his pockets as he shoots Tracy the brightest of smiles. "Yeah…yeah, I should prob'ly get goin'. Got some, ah, cash ta make, huh? Hey. It was nice catchin' ya, yeah? I'll…well. Maybe I'll catch ya later!" And with this optimistic note, the lad trails off, moving to disappear out of the store.

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