2007-08-21: Who Says Romance Is Dead?

Starring:

Miranda_icon.gif Mark_icon.gif

Summary: Meet Mark and Miranda. Rated R for Romance. They're not very nice people.

Date It Happened: August 21st, 2007

Who Says Romance Is Dead?


Tabla, New York City

"No, it's fine. I'm waiting for someone. He'll be here soon. Gimmie ten minutes, then you can kick me out. Promise." At a table-for-two in the middle of the restaurant, a dark-haired woman is sitting, alone, talking to a young server, a persuasive gleam in her eye. The Indian-American place which is currently quite popular. It's bustling underneath its mood lighting. All of the tables are filled, every seat reserved. In front of the woman, at on the table, which, again, is occupied by her alone - key word alone — is a plate devoid of anything but crumbs, along with an empty wine glass and a half-empty glass of what was once ice water with lemon. Half-empty, because Miranda Lancaster is a pessimist. She smiles up at the waiter, folding her knuckles under her chin. "And can I have another glass of wine and more of those … bread things? Ten minutes. I swear."

"Look, I don't give a damn if you have to waltz into his office, bend him over his desk and fuck him thirteen ways from Sunday… you get it done! I'm not going to lose this client because you're not gay enough to make it happen! What the hell do I pay you for?!"

Ah, Mark Lancaster has entered the building. As he blows past whomever's in his way, or even trying to stop him, he's busy listening to the idiot on the other end of his line. One hand is holding the cell phone while the other one is pointing off into the direction of the dining area. "Yeah, I'm looking for my wife. Tall, kind of whorish looking?" is tossed at the host, before he gets back to paying attention on the phone, "What do you mean I didn't give you a Christmas Bonus? I gave you Nathan Lane…" These words seem to trail off as he spots his wife and starts to make his way in that direction so as to join her at her table.

Miranda lifts up her fork. Then she lifts up her knife. Then she proceeds to try to lean them against each other like primitive tent poles. She could be doing five hundred other things in her life right now instead of sitting here, alone, playing with her utensils and waiting — in a nice dress, no less! Well, it's only marginally nice, but it's black, simple, and short, and it has a belt, so it gets her places. (Like through the door.) The precarious balance of fork and knife is disrupted when she hears the telltale sound of Mark's voice; they fall and clatter metallically onto her plate.

"You're late," is her drab greeting. Matter-of-factly, she gets straight to the rambling. "I'm this close to leaving and picking up take-out because, after an hour — over an hour, actually — of waiting here like the girl no one would sit with in the cafeteria in tenth grade, minus the headgear and bad sweaters, I'm kiiiinda getting sick of the place. But they have really good Naan bread. So just— whatever. You may as well sit down." She tucks in her chair further. "What was it this time?" Miranda asks, not quite able to drum up anything that sounds like sincere interest.

The funny thing is that if Mark was actually paying attention to her, he might've heard some really interesting things in her rambling. But the fact of the matter is that from the moment he sits down, he's got one finger up to hold her tirade of words at bay while he finishes up the conversation he's on. "You listen to me, Martin and you listen good. I want his case on my desk by tomorrow morning or you'll be staying at the YYYYYYY MCA! Got it? Good." Annnnd phone click.

As soon as the cell phone is dropped onto the table, he looks across it at his wife, "Were you saying something, honey?" He's about to even look interested, when he catches sight of a waiter (clearly not theirs) walking by and he has to put that finger of wait-dom up for his wife again as he talks to the flustered waiter. "I need a drink. A real drink. Something that will knock an elephant on its ass, not this overpriced grape juice she's drinking." He waves a hand at the wine glass and just shakes his head. "I don't care what it is. I don't care what it costs. Just bring it and keep it coming, boss. You're the man. Now git." And he actually shoves at the waiter to continue sending him on the way.

Finally, he turns his attention back to Miranda. "Now, what?"

The rolling of the eyes is so dramatic, so overdrawn, so long, that she actually has to close her eyes for about three seconds to prepare for it. One… two… three… EYE ROLL. "I— " Miranda barely draws in a breath to reply before she's forced to slip into one of her practiced blank stares of waiting (not to be confused with patience) while her husband abuses the waitstaff. This, obviously, is commonplace. She leans inelegantly against the table's edge for the duration. Wait for it… wait for it… he tunes back in. Casually, she replies. "I was just saying how you're a royal asshole."

"I love you too, honey. So. What's good here? Why are we here?" Mark is already snatching up the menu to put it between himself and the glaring of his wife. Because he's tired of her looking at him already. Which, well, is just the way things go when he's stuck in the same room with her for more than five minutes. He pauses as he realizes his question and lowers the menu. "… Which car did you wreck?"

Miranda taps the outside of her foot against one of the table legs in not-quite-rhythmic intervals as she stares dully across the table, unamused. Granted, that's all but her default expression. "I didn't wreck a car, god. Crash a convertible into a playground one time and everyone thinks you're unfit to drive…" she says — more like mumbles half-heartedly, with a hint of bitterness — before sitting up and picking up her menu, as if she hasn't already been over it fifteen times, enough to memorize the appetizers and drinks. She gazes at the menu without paying it much attention, let alone interest, but notably more attention and interest than Mark gets. "Who are you ordering to screw up the ass for profit today?"

"Martin. Martina. Whatever his, her, it's name is today. I dunno. The little fucker is not doing his job. He was hired for the specific purpose of doing sexual favors to people to get me the people I need when I need them. Now he's getting morals. Ever since he got a boyfriend…" Mark shakes his head, dropping the menu back down to the table and looking at his phone to make sure he didn't miss a call or two. "And you are unfit to drive. This is why the kids get a ride. Speaking of kids, have any more while I was away providing for you and the brats?"

Also dropping the menu, Miranda reaches for her wine glass, only to remember it's empty; water it is, with a look of disappointment and an impatient eye to the nearest person in black-and-white waiter's clothing. Scoffing, she manages not to choke. "Oh, yeah," she answers as she slowly lowers the glass onto the table. Sarcasm: high, but she's so deadpan… "Twins. You want some boys? They're not yours, though. I fucked the pool boy. I don't think he can afford child support, we should give him a raise. He does a good job taking the leaves off the top." She calmly takes another sip of her not-quite-icy ice water and looks around Tabla. "Where's our waiter? God. The service around here, and to think they wanted to kick me out for wasting space…"

"So you're fuckin' the pool boy now? Not bad. I thought he was a little young for you, but I guess you've lowered your standards from having a dick to almost having one. Good call!" He flashes a grin that could read 'i hate you' but is probably somewhere along the lines of: 'you better be kidding', but who really knows when it comes to the likes of Mark and Miranda. Really. "I know. I should sue." He finds himself turning around in his chair and snaps his fingers at a waiter that's helping another couple. "Hey! Penguin! Get my drink over her pronto! If I'm not drunk, I can't fuck my wife. And if I can't fuck my wife, she fucks the pool boy. And that makes me, her husband, a very angry person. And you don't want an angry customer, do you?" Pause. "Oh and bring her some wine too."

Miranda flashes her oh-so-loving husband a wily smile and a faux innocent bat of her lashes that seems to say, 'like I'm going to tell you'. Unfazed by his yelling toward the waiter, she idly closes her abandoned menu and toys with a corner of it in seeming boredom. Gradually, a crease forms in her brow— wheels are turning in her head as she belatedly processes what Mark was actually saying. She turns her head and looks at him sideways, squinting. The bare bones of a smirk exists on her lips. "…Hold up a second, mister. Are you saying you saying you have to be drunk to sleep with your wife now?" Tread carefully, man. This is dangerous territory.

Oh damn. This is not good. Mark finally gets to turning all the way back around and looking at his wife. Honest Abe face is plastered on, but this is the same face used to woo jurors. "What I'm saying, darling, is that you've been here for over an hour waiting for your idiot husband to show up and you deserve some serious attention, love and wine. Which is what I intend to give you." He smiles big and even starts to lean across the table. "Because, contrary to popular belief, I actually miss you when I'm not around you. I don't know what to do with myself."

"Awww. Look at you trying to be sweet and sincere and get in my pants." Damn it all, the smile that Miranda breaks into is actually affectionate. Leaning across the table to meet in the middle, she kisses Mark once, quickly, and then proceeds to smack him on the cheek. Lightly. Harmlessly! "Don't make me wait next time. I hate waiting. Get a new gay office hooker."

… This would be the time their waiter appears, blinking and pretending he didn't overhear a word as he gets the couple their drinks and asks what they'd like to eat.

"Done and done." He looks up at the waiter and then back to his woman and then back to the waiter. "Do you have anything that doesn't suck completely and utterly? Because I'm hungry. I haven't eaten in at least four hours and…" There's a pause for him to turn and look back at his wife. Hm. But ahem. Enough about that… what's not said… and back to the waiter. "… just bring us the best thing you've got that isn't for the pretentious pricks that usually tip you in this shithole." And it's scary because he drops the insults with a smile.

For a second or two, there's a devious twinkle in Miranda's dark eyes - before her attention is on the Bringer of Future Food, the waiter. She knows this restaurant pretty well, enough to know mostly everything is good— thus, enough to not complain about her sudden, apparently inability to order for herself when Mark so kindly does it for her. The tentatively polite smile she beams up at the waiter becomes slightly strained, granted. "Yeah, thank you, what he said," she says, handing the menu off to him. "Soooo, school starts soon. I think we're expected to make an appearance."

"School? Seriously? Is it that time already?" Mark narrows his eyes and looks around for a moment. He's a little too busy at the moment to be worried about school. But upon hearing that, he's finding himself not really hungry… for food anymore. He lifts his arm and peers at the inexpensive watch, "Let's skip dinner and go straight to the part where we work out our aggression and marital problems with sex. Sound good?" He's already getting up and pulling out cash to drop on the table. It must be 'Date Night'.

"… They have really good tikka masala," Miranda says with an indecisive whine, looking over the mostly empty table and frowning. And yet there she is, standing up with a screech of her chair as she does so. "Fiiiine," she concedes, in fact not sounding put out at all. Okay, maybe a little bit. All that waiting! She doesn't go anywhere without downing most of her wine. "Hurry up." The wife of the pair punches Mark in the arm and then slides into place beside him. "I'm feeling really mad at you."

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