2010-02-14: Joygasm



Date: February 14, 2010


Do I have something between my teeth?


Peter Luger Steak House

He told her if she wanted to eat horse, she could have it. Most of the restaurants his assistant recommended didn't allow for eating like that, so Mark brought her to best place he could think of. Peter Luger Steak House was one of the oldest in Brooklyn. It was a place that he could get away with a pair of nice dark blue jeans, but he was forced to to wear a black sports jacket and a nice light blue dress shirt. It was a bit of a middle ground place.

His boots make the snow crunch and squelch as his weight compacts it, his trench coat flaps slightly and the maroon and cream scarf around his neck shifts in a chilled blast of New York wind. As he opens the door on his recent additions dark red Ford Mustang, Mark can't help but grouse a bit to the woman within. “I hate the cold… I really can't say enough how much I look forward to spring.”

He is wearing his black rimmed glasses tonight, his eyes crinkling slightly at the edges as he gives Cody a grin, holding a leather clad hand to her. One thing his mother always emphasized was manners and chivalry. Mark was a touch better at it then his brother. But even as he holds out that one hand, another dips into an inner pocket of his coat and extracts a single long stemmed rose a ribbon around it the same rich red as the bud itself.

His grin looks a bit goofy as he offers it to her at the same time. “Considering the day it is, I figure I better make the proper gentlemanly gesture. My mother would slap me upside the head if I didn't.”

When she'd contacted him with the day, she hadn't even remembered the lover's holiday… It was just Saturday. When his assistant returned her call with a list of appropriate dress, Cody was just a little surprised. It meant she had to find a place to go shopping when she should be working. The blonde just isn't the type of girl to keep something in her closet just in case. Though as it turns out, now she would be. She doesn't have jeans on, in fact, she's got a filmy pink skirt that the sales lady picked out. She hadn't really looked at it before handing over the cash, so her blue eyes are narrowed somewhat with envy when she exits the vehicle. Jeeps are so much easier to get out of in a skirt.

'I'm dressed in pink…' is the thought running through her head as she struts beside him, her military gate doing nothing for the wedges on her feet. She just looks all sorts of awkward in the getup, like Miss Congeniality in the before scenes rather than the after.

Cody grips onto Mark's hand tightly with an apologetic look, mostly to keep her balance in the heels. "Sorry, I'm not really used to dressing up. I thought I warned you about this." She grumps back, but her lips are twisted into a crooked grin and she accepts the rose with an even more amused smile. "Thanks, Valentine, I hope I didn't disrupt any plans you had."

“Nah..” Mark says with a little scrunching of his nose, that makes his glasses move a bit. Keys are handed off before the hand in his is moved to be tucked in the crook of his elbow, mostly so that he can help keep her on her feet. “I had none really. I'm not a professional play boy like my brother, Robert, so my evening was going to consist of Chinese food and channel surfing.” A single shoulder lifts in a shrug, that grin still there as the move into the restaurant.

“Mr. Lane… Welcome…” No doubt, Cody's companion has been here a time or two. The hostess, with menu's in hand motions them to follow her.

“They have great steaks.” Mark offers along the lines of explanation as to why he seems to be a familiar face, leaning towards her, his voice low. “I am a complete sucker for their prime rib.”

Moving to pull out her chair, he offers, “And.. by the way, you look great. Even if this isn't normal or you. Though.. I do prefer your more… rugged look.” He teases a bit. “I had almost taken you to something like Outback.. but seriously.. I wanted some good beef.” A hang dog look is given to her. “So forgive me.. next time…” If there is one… “Hot dog cart.. Central park.”

Sliding into her chair, Cody's lips twitch into a small smirk as he gives her the compliment. "I prefer my rugged look too." Then she picks up the menu and begins to peruse the choices. So much meat.. and it all looks so good. "But really, I'm willing to dress up for this… Hell, if you would have faxed me a menu, I probably would have been willing to wear one of those poofy princess dresses."

Cody's eyes fly wide open at the suggestion and she practically chokes on her own breath. "NO!!" The blonde turns a little red at her outburst and then shakes her head, "I mean… no.. no Central Park hot dogs, in fact, you should stay away from the hot dog carts in the city altogether." No need letting him know what depths she's sunk to with this position. Then as a consolation she offers, "There's the original Nathan's in Coney Island, we could go there for hot dogs." The amusement park is probably the furthest place in the five Burroughs from the middle of Manhattan, perfect.

"What are you planning on ordering? I think I'm going to start with bacon… I can't believe this place serves bacon as an appetizer." The woman tucks a few strands of her long blonde hair behind her ear as she keeps looking through it. "Are you going to get an appetizer? Oh, and I hope you stuffed your wallet, I'm going to be a little shameless when it comes time to order too."

Chuckling, the world explorer pushes in Cody's chair, “God.. I would never ever subject a woman to a poofy princess dress. I was surprised you even wore pink.” Head tilting to the side as he looks at her with a flashy toothy grin, “Glad I picked well at least.” Stepping around the table, he nods to the waitress. “Bud light.. please? How about you Baker?” Yes, Mark still calls her by her last name.

The outburst makes Mark pauses mid-sitting, a brow arching slightly, but then he finishes the settling into his chair. “Actually, I like Nathan hot dogs.” He admits, even as he picks up the menu. This is why he wore the glasses. Driving and reading. “So.. I'll hold you to that… “ Eyes lift from the menu, looking over the top of his black frames at her before going back to food. “Actually.. the bacon is excellent.”

Offering the menu to the waitress who is poised waiting, “Bacon appetizers to start.” A lop-sided grin pulls at his lips as he reassure the woman on the other side of the table. “And don't worry.. be as shameless as you want. My treat after all.”

"You're really going to regret saying that…" Cody smiles back at him before turning to look up at the waitress, "I'll take one of whatever Doppelbock you have here." Then she turns back to shake her head at Mark, "For shame, Lane, ordering a Bud Light when there's better beer to be had." A few more eye sweeps of the menu and then Baker sets it down. "You know, you're the experton this place, I'll let you order for me. Just make it big, whatever it is."

When the waitress has finally drifted off, Cody's smile drops from her face and she becomes all business. They've sidestepped with pleasantries for over an half hour now, time to dig in the dirt. "You said you needed to talk to me, is it something we can talk about here? Or would you like to come back to my place?" Yeah, she's not the least bit shy. He's already seen her after three weeks without a shower, there's nothing left to be embarrassed about.

“Hey.. simple tastes when it comes to beer.” Mark has no shame over his beer choices, he's drunk some interesting fermented drinks in his time. “Prime ribs.. The cook knows what I like.” The waitress makes notes, nods and leaves the two alone, his own face falls into more serious look. A glance around as he pulls his glasses off, folding them with the fingers of one hand and tucking them inside his sports jacket. “Yeah… I did.”

Twisting to reach his coat hanging on the back of his chair a piece of paper is extracted from the inner pocket of his jacket. It's folded in half long way, but as it is unfolded, Mark turns it sideways and sets it on the table in front of her. “My PI sent this to me a few days ago.”

It's the image of the terrorist leader that held them captive being handed a Lane Industries folder. He doesn't say anything else, just watches her.

The picture is perused, every detail is memorized. The alley looks exactly the same as the one in her video, but then again, they all look the same in black and white. Cody doesn't look the least bit surprised as she inspects it, curious how she can keep such a poker face. "How long ago were these taken and do you know who is handing off the folder to Sayf Udeen?" More involvement with Lane Industries, perhaps she's been looking into the wrong end of things… but her video mentioned Protocol.

She folds the paper up again when the waitress comes by with their drinks. The blonde gives her best impression of a shy little smile as she tucks the paper underneath the rose laying beside her place setting. It fades as soon as the woman leaves again and Cody doesn't pick up the conversation until after a swig or two of her beer. "Can I keep it? I need to make some comparisons and see if I can pinpoint where it was taken."

God, the beer tastes good in this place, almost as good as the bacon smells when it's brought out. Cody's eyes practically light up when it's set in front of her and she lacks the social grace to wait for Mark before she rips apart one of the slices with her fingers and begins to chew on it. Maybe she's just saving her cutlery for the main course.

“I.. thought it was my brother handing off the folder.” Mark says picking up a slice of bacon in his fingers and tearing a bite off with his teeth. Sitting back in his chair, he drapes an arm over the back of the chair, eyes watching the rest of the people. “But there is no solid proof.. And when I asked him what he was doing during that time frame, he had an alibi…. so I can't say for sure.”

A firm nod goes to the print photo, “But yeah. Keep it. If that is my brother that means the bastard is in the US… and dealing with my father.” Leaning forward a again, Mark's eyes narrow slightly as he drops his voice. “I – have a feeling that it was not coincidence that it was me in Kuwait last year.” Pressing his lips into a fine line, he glances to the appetizer plate, plucking another slice of bacon. “It's no secret that what my father thinks of me… He asked me about the people on my site, Baker.” He gives her a pointed look.

"I'm inclined to trust what you think you saw more than your brother's alibi. So it was taken in the US? Not overseas?" Cody finishes the first piece of her bacon and then immediately goes after another, again without the use of cutlery. When he leans forward, she follows suit, though she's still chewing on her piece. Not the most romantic of moments, but it's not your usual Valentine's Day conversation. "He would seriously have his own son taken hostage? For wha—- Ooohhh…" And she leans back in her own chair and half lids her eyes. The blue orbs are flitting back and forth, as though she's reading something in front of her, but there's nothing there.

"By getting you kidnapped, he can trade with Sayf Udeen and make it look like he was doing it to save your life rather than looking like a traitor to his own soil." Cody says in a low voice, mostly to herself than to Mark. She lowers her hand after the last piece of bacon is finished and blindly searches the plate for another before looking down to see none and withdrawing. "But you got away, which would have spoiled that plan."

His pointed look is responded with a deep gaze into his eyes. "He asked about me? Does he know how we got away?" The details might get her into a little trouble at the workplace if they were made known. "Do you think there's a way I could meet them? Without them knowing where we met, of course."

"Not you in general.. Everyone on it.” Mark shakes his head slowly, still frowning as he takes a long swig of his beer. “And considering how he acted about it before.. The one eighty not long after this all fiasco. I dunno.” He sighs heavily, fingers lift to scratch at the stubble that is always shadowing his jaw. “Maybe I'm being paranoid. I should just shut myself away like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy theory, cause I'm starting to think I'm that crazy."

The hand drops to grip the edge of the table, as he considers the woman before him. “But yeah.. that's what I figured.. and being I'm not his golden child of a son, if something happened to me… well, no big loss. No one knows how we got out.. just that we did.” A brow quirks upward and his head turns slightly. “You you really think I would give you away like that?”

Silence reigns as the main course arrives, two good size chunks of prime rib roast. “Believe me when I say….” He flashes her a brief grin. “You'll love this…” Shaking his head at an inquiry, Mark watches the server leave.

“Anyhow.. as for meeting them. I – am not sure." Fork and knife go to work on slicing though the tender meat. "I'll have to think on that one."

"I don't think you would, no." Cody concedes, picking up her fork and knife to slice into the beef. She remains quiet until the moment one of the cuts is popped into her mouth. Poor Mark, because Cody isn't ashamed to let off a groan of ecstasy and sink back into her chair. "Oh my god, you didn't warn me about the joygasm." Apparently she loves it. "This is the best thing I've put into my mouth in months."

She doesn't continue the conversation in favor of eating, everyone has their priorities and filling her stomach is one of Cody's. When she's more than halfway through the thick slice of meat, the blonde lets off an 'Mmm!' sound and holds up her finger. "Don't lock yourself away, you're not all wrong. Come back to my place with me, we'll talk more there." She'd probably be drooling as she eats if it tasted any better.

Her reaction to the food is how Mark hoped, that big toothy grin returning as he works on his own slab of beef. The looks from their neighbor's is ignored completely, he's never been one to really worry about acting the rich man part. Chuckling, a fork is pointed at her, a bite of beef at the end. “If I had warned you, Baker. I wouldn't have gotten to watch that reaction.” The bite is then popped in his mouth.

“Alright… your place then.” Mark agrees, settling into his food, trying not to think about what else she could have possibly put in her mouth. He… is a guy after all.

Mark almost lost the bite on the end of his fork. Holding food in front of Cody is like holding a red flag in front of an angry bull, you don't do it and expect to survive. She was good though, and stuck to her own plate.

At the end of a sinfully delicious dessert comprised of mostly chocolate, the pair find themselves back at Baker's place. No sooner is she through the door, than she's in the washroom with a pair of mens pajama bottoms and a v-neck tee in hand. When she emerges, she's shed the skirt and blousy top in favor of the less refined and more comfortable fare. "Alright, make yourself comfortable, I just did." She did expect him to have done so already and would be completely surprised if he'd just remained at the door instead of investigating the utilitarian apartment.

The way she goes straight for comfortable, amuses Mark in so many ways. While she is in the bathroom, Mark slowly sheds off gloves as he kind of wanders the living room. Stuffing them in the trench coat, he loses that as well, draping it over the back o a chair with lack of any other place really. Glancing, over his shoulder as the bathroom door opens, Mark's lips tug over to the side into a smirk. “Should take you to my apartment sometime.. I think this one would fit in the living room.” Not really a brag, just… an amusing fact.

His sports coat, slides of his shoulders and joins his trench coat. “So.. you don't think I'm being all crazy conspiracy theorist?” He asks casually, as fingers make quick work of sleeve buttons so he can roll them up.

The woman shakes her head to answer his invitation and gives him a rather crooked smile. "I think your girlfriend probably has shoe boxes bigger than this apartment. But it's a place to sleep and eat, so I don't complain." Boy does she ever eat. The trash cans are almost overloaded with candy bar wrappers and meal for one trays and boxes. The stove is bare and pristine while the microwave has seen extreme use, telltale by the fingerprints on the front keypad.

Once he has settled in and rolled his sleeves up, she settles into the futon and pulls a laptop onto her lap. "C'mere," she practically orders, patting the space beside her. Should he settle in beside her, she starts a small clip of video right away. "This was taken in Turkey last summer, it's the reason why I came back." She doesn't play the sound with it, but at one point there are two men… Adham Sayf Udeen and another man exchanging folders. Exactly like in the photo, one of the folders has a Lane Industries logo on it.

“Girlfriend… good one.” Mark says blandly, as the last sleeve is rolled up, with a chuckle. “I'm not exactly the type that woman look for, most of the ones I'm around think I'm crazy… much like my father does.” His tones suggests it's no big surprise. “I'm not into the gold diggers either.” He adds eying some of her living condition.

The order, is answered with a lazy salute, a 'Yes, ma'am' and him slinking over to fold his tall frame so he can drop on the futon. The image on the screen gets Mark's attention, eyes squinting and leaning closer he makes the video focus, he's not about to get up to retrieve his glasses. “Turkey you say? Mine was much more recent…” His voice is soft and thoughtful. He rubs a hand along his jaw, as he considers. “Wonder how long he's been getting information. I… don't recognize that guy.” A finger is poked at the man with Sayf Udeen. "Doesn't mean he doesn't work for us though."

"Gold diggers… well they're a group all to their own." Cody says, not noticing him eying the trashcans or the state of her little home (to put it very loosely). "This was sent to me when I was in Turkey, compromised my entire security. Someone knew where I was and apparently it wasn't my contact." Or maybe it was and he just doesn't remember, the speculation is still running wild no that front.

"Do you know about any government contracts that your company might have involving human weaponry?" She says as the video clip ends and she shuts the computer down. "Or do they keep you in the dark about most of that sort of thing?" She places the computer on the floor in front of them and brings one of her legs up to hug her knee.

Settling back once the video is show, a glance going to the futon around him, which Mark seems to find curious. "If there is anything dealing with human weapons, I haven't heard of it." It bothers him a bit as well, since technically he is the guy right under his father in the company. "As much as I hate saying it, I wouldn't be surprised if they are."

Bringing a foot up to rest on his knee, a hand gripping the ankle, Mark turns thoughtful. "Man father… is a money man, I'm sad to say. He wasn't born to money, so he has kind of a love affair with it. He's ruthless about getting the good government contracts…. but…. I mean…. I never would have thought that something like human weapons would interest him. I thought my father had more scruples then that."

"I'm not sure that the human weaponry is a real contract…" Cody muses, leaning against the back of the futon and closing her eyes to slits. She's thinking again. "I've been working on it for a while, it's pretty secretive. This is why I wanted to talk to you so badly, unfortunately the opportunity didn't present itself until now. Now I'm not sure if it's too late." She opens them again and gives him a weak smile.

The flower and Mark's print out were forgotten once placed on the counter, but when Cody opens her eyes again there's the rose, staring her in the face. "Ah geez, hang on a second." And she pads into the kitchen to pull out a glass. Filling it halfway with water, she placed the flower into it and put the glass on the side table next to the futon. "There, that's better. Maybe tomorrow I'll pick up a real vase."

"What…. what do you mean by too late?"

Boot foot bouncing ever so slightly, Mark watches Cody as she gets up to deal with the flower. His head cants a little to one said, with a smirk. "Flower was kinda cheesy wasn't it?" He muses a bit. "Was a last minute thing really, when my assistant reminded me what day it was. Mentioned chocolate.. though.. after the dinner reaction. I think a subscription to meats of the world would be better." The tease in his voice obvious.

"It was a little unexpected. I haven't gotten a flower in over a decade… maybe two decades." Her eyebrows raise high on her forehead when he mentions the chocolate and Cody slides into the futon beside him. "You really don't know me that well, do you? Chocolate is possibly the best of God's creations. Forget Adam and Eve, the world just can't live without chocolate."

The soldier looks quite comfortable in her apartment, it suits her in its bareness. "We should work on this together. I think that I can help you with some of it. When my mission is over, I could see about getting a job at your company. I've got some skills… well most of them aren't useful over on this side of the globe, but I think I could make a convincing lunch lady."

"Noted." Chuckling, Mark taps the side of his head. "I might not know you too well, but I'm learning. I'll remember.. chocolate."

"I'm sure there is plenty you can do for Lane Industries, when you want a job. Hell.. security would suit you… and I don't mean the boring type either. I mean, body guarding people like Dr. Ray. " Blue eyes study the woman next to him, that foot resting on his knee still bouncing. "Keep your ear to the ground for sure.. see what comes your way.. I'll be keeping an eye on the company and my family." Drawing a deep breath and letting it out slowly, he glances around the apartment.

"I may try to hunt down one of the hackers that have been hitting my site." Stating softly, scratching at the thinning hair on his skull. "I'm sure for the right price they can worm their way into my fathers private files." Teeth chew at his lower lip.

"Know any?" He asks after a moment.

"Security? Really… Didn't you call me a babysitter in Kuwait?" Cody smiles as she returns his gaze. "Although, from what you've told me I think that Doctor Ray might have some stuff that I'd love to get my hands on. What about a test subject? I think I could make a pretty good test subject. I'm fit, at the very least." When he turns his eyes into the apartment, that's when she notices the state of it. "Uhm… I forgot to say excuse the mess. I really just eat and sleep here. I spend most of my time at work." That doesn't really explain the lack of decor though.

"Tell you what, I'll ask my contact if he has any but it'll be a few days before I get to talk to him. Don't do anything before you hear from me, okay?" They don't know if the other side of the government is listening, there are too many variables that need to be accounted for before moving too quickly. "Those hackers on your site… What kind of stuff do they hit you with?"

His hand bumps lightly against her leg, "Don't go apologizing. It's fine. To risk sounding like a rich boy. It's interesting seeing how others live." He gives her a bright grin, brows lift slight, clearly teasing.

Features falling into something much more serious again, "I'm sure Dr. Ray would enjoy a test subject.. just… make it clear to him what you won't want happening." His foot slides off his knee and he scoots forward on the futon, arms resting on his knees. "I'll trust you on this. You got me email and numbers."

"As for the hackers…. mostly just crashing my site.. getting through the security to do so… some really persistent suckers too." Mark sounds more impressed then mad. "Dad doesn't know it but I've got some of the programmers working on new protocols all the time."

"Well to risk sounding like not a rich girl, feel happy to know you bought the first decoration in my house." Cody give him a toothy smile as she points toward the flower in the glass. "Just next time, remember that I don't have a vase to go with it." Assuming there is a next time.

"Well unless I open up my notebook and read middle eastern poetry to you, I think I'm all tapped for ideas of what to do tonight." Then she gives him a pointed look. "Don't ask me to read you middle eastern poetry… or else I'll have to start singing in the shower. And trust me, I can butcher easy listening like no one else."

"Vase next time… Check.." Mark comments lightly, hands pressing on his knees to help him climb to his feet. "Yeah, I should get out of your hair…" Fingers rub at one eye as he moves to retrieve his coats, each pulled on in turn. "And I'm going to avoid commenting on singing in the shower." Grinning, swings his scarf up over his head to rest across his shoulders. Hands still grip at the ends of the scarf as he considers the woman.

"I think I'd like to do this again sometime." He comments out of the blue. "Keep in touch, huh?"

"Yeah, except for work, my schedule is pretty free." Cody answers, not even giving it time for thought. "It's nice to see you outside of a cave, that's for sure." They didn't have any time together after they escaped the cave, he was whisked back home while she was whisked in the opposite direction.

After escorting him the whole ten paces to the door, she leans up and gives him a rather chaste kiss on the cheek. "It was good to see you, Lane. I'll give you a call later in the week after I talk to my contact. We can make arrangements then… this time not through your assistant."

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