A Meeting Over Coffee and Cream

June 18, 2015:

Tigra gets back in touch with Psylocke, in civilian attire. A variety of topics are covered, ending with a sudden realization by the tigress. (Follows "Cat and Elf")

Mutant Town


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

At some point after meeting Blink in Central Park, Tigra had enough of relaxing in the sun. Following the return to a small apartment, she powered up her computer for the first time in a couple days and was reminded of the Facebook request by Psylocke. This led to her clicking through to have a look at the woman's page, though it didn't give away much past the costumed identity. With her curiosity still up from the earlier encounter, it was time to respond with a simple question: "Want to chat somewhere?"

Betsy stays in New York several days a week. It's as much to get away from the Institute as it is to have a place to go shopping and hang out with her roommates, of whom she is quite fond.

Of course, after things were settled with her quasi-family in Westchester, she'd had to tow her Aston Martin down to the city so her roommate could… well, it's complicated. Bottom line, Betsy's in New York when she gets the text from Tigra, and in short order a conversation's set up.

Betsy slips into 'civilian' clothes and heads towards the meeting point, not far into Mutant Town. Two cabs later, she's walking towards a popular cafe in the area. She's a fairly recognizeable figure in the area, though people are generally polite enough not to make a 'thing' out of it. Mutants respect individual privacy quite a bit more than a lot of communities. Betsy makes it to the cafe and finds a seat inside at a booth, settling into the cushions comfortably, and waves down one of the waiters while she waits for Tigra to arrive.

There are various ways to get to Mutant Town, and Tigra takes one of the least common: the rooftops. It's something she does often, as good for getting some additional exercise as it is for avoiding too many potential conflicts on the streets. Not /all/ attention is good.

As such, after a time has been agreed to, Tigra is where she ought to be, making her way down a fire escape not unlike the one the other day, landing softly in an alley and walking the block or so over to the cafe. At least in Mutant Town she blends in, though even here there are a few who look her way more than once. She enters the cafe, looking the same as she did in Times Square, and she allows her senses to track down the woman over at the booth.

"Look at you, dressed all nice for me," comes her voice, the feline suddenly standing there with a swaying tail.

The less-literally-and-more-figuratively panther-like woman with purple hair looks to Tigra when she approaches, one corner of her dark cherry lips pulling in a moue of amusement. "Who says it's for you?" Betsy asks, even as she invites Tigra to sit with a delicate roll of one hand. "I might have a date after this. Or I just like 'feeling pretty'."

She lifts a chin at the waitress to take their order, looking at Tigra with coolly appraising amethyst eyes. "It was thoughtful of you to invite me to coffee," Betsy tells Tigra, with the regal bearing of a queen. "Might I ask- is this a professional meeting, or something of a more personal nature?" she inquires, giving no hint either way if she has a preference or distaste for one or the other.

Tigra slips comfortably into the booth, across the table from Betsy as she adjusts so her tail won't get pinched behind. "You don't have to tell me the truth. I'll just sit here thinking I'm special enough to warrant it," she remarks with a small smile. She /looks/ casual, and acts about the same. "You can have the coffee. I'll stick with milk. And..I was curious to see why you wanted my number and all that."

"Well, I was hoping for a casual fling, of course," Betsy deadpans. "You, me, backroom of the cafe? I know the owner."

She looks at the waitress. "Tea for me, please- cream and sugar. Earl grey. And a large cup of half and half for my friend, thank you."

Betsy crosses her legs at the knee, pushing her feet out sideways in a European manner, and loosely rests interlaced fingers on the table's edge. "We didn't have a terribly long time to speak in Times Square," Betsy explains, sitting properly upright. "You didn't strike me as a n'er-do-well, nor a villain. I'm a firm believer in the value of social networking. The more connected the vigilante and heroic communities are, then the easier it is for us to stay atop dangerous situations and keep track of one another in the event of someone getting injured."

Tigra's head angles slightly toward one side following the talk of going to the back. Deadpanned or not, she glances that way and remarks, "I could think of more comfortable places than that, I'm sure." And, she may be serious.

She opens her mouth for a moment at the mention of half and half, then apparently chooses against speaking up as a result of that as the more refined, definitely more professional-looking woman goes into further detail about their encounter. "Wellllll..part of why I came to New York City was to see what's going on with that whole side of things." She drops her voice after this, a sign of understanding where they are. "But I'm not sure about the whole SHIELD thing."

"Excuse me for a moment, I do hate to be rude," Betsy apologizes. And there's a sudden sense of another *presence* in Tigra's brain- sniffing around her thoughts, peeling open some surface memories- even invoking some smells and situations and evaluating her responses.

And then, just like that, it's gone, and Betsy's eyes blink once. "I have professional acquaintances in SHIELD," she explains, gesturing with one hand in a vaguely apologetic gesture. "I tend to be a bit protective of them. Regrettably, I don't know anything about you outside of your nom de guerre, so…" Her hands rest on the table's edge, fingers atop one another. "I had to be a bit more coarsely actioned than I'd prefer. Security trumps concerns of personal privacy in our line of work, as I'm sure you'll agree."

"Hmm?" Tigra begins, then when Betsy does what she does there's a series of rapid blinking from the cat-woman, even a hand going up to rub at a temple as a variety of things come and go with no real understanding how or why. That's..never really happened before, and it's /odd!/

"I..um, yeah, sure. National security, blah blah blah, all that." She's still left a bit off guard in the wake of the probing, one side of her face scrunched up in a confused expression before it passes thanks to a hand rubbing there.

"Yes, quite. So, Tigra- is that a professional moniker or a personal one?" Betsy asks politely, accepting the tea from the waitress and carefully steeping it until she judges it ready to add condiments. "Or a bit of both? It's quite apropros, you have a lovely coloration. I've never seen the like," she admits, letting the tea package dip and dunk through the steaming water, little trickles of darker liquid slowly blossoming out from it. "I'm sure it's a challenge to go shopping for outfits, though."

Tigra scratches - lightly - at the side of her face just a bit longer before the hand lowers back to where it'd been before the strange feelings came and went. "It's kind of just…me. It's complicated. Maybe I'll tell you the story sometime. I have a feeling you might believe it." Then she's looking rather proud of herself around the time the colors are brought up, a wider grin showing for a moment. "I've been stuck in front of the mirror once or twice. Don't really get the chance to think about a lot of shopping, though."

"It's a lifetime obsession for me," Betsy admits, giving her tea a critical eye. Finally deeming it acceptable, she adds in just a small spoonful of sugar and a dollop of half and half until it's at just the perfect consistency, a little cloudy and smelling richly indulgent. She lifts the cup and saucer as one and sips carefully, pinkie out, then settles the cup down on the saucer and holds it aloft without putting it on the table. "I'm a fanatic for current fashion trends. And… yes, you'd probably find me an accomodating sort of person," Betsy says with a rueful but amused glint in her eyes. "I've seen my share of unusual events. I tend to be a bit more understanding than your average streetgoer."

"And I'm sure it's not cheap," Tigra notes, looking after the server until her own 'drink' is brought over. "Ah," she smiles, and it sure sounds like a bit of a 'prrrr' from her. While Betsy goes through various things to make sure her tea is just as she wants it - and Tigra does sniff once in the direction of the aromas - the feline is perfectly happy with what she's got. "It's kind of an afterthought from me. I'm not saying I've got a bunch of crap in my closet, but this is more functional than fashionable." As for the last bit said, related to strangeness and all, she remarks, "You're sitting across from me and chatting like it was nothing out of the ordinary, so there's that."

"It's a marvelous world we live in, isn't it?" Psylocke says with a flickering suggestion of a smile. "But in Mutant Town in particular, it'd be beyond gauche to sit across from a person and judge them for their looks, wouldn't it? This is a community that above almost any other believes that what's under the skin is more important that without."

Perhaps a /bit/ condescending from the woman across from Tigra, who is that combination of racial identities that tends to bring the word 'exotic' to mind along with being clearly suite for fashion and modelling. But, Psylocke sounds utterly sincere in her words.

"Though, you would look stunning in a pale green," she says, thoughtfully, before taking another sip of her beverage.

Tigra admits, "I didn't know there was an actual neighborhood like this until recently." She subconsciously fingers the amulet set into her top, glancing down at the cat's head it's shaped into. "I don't really try to hide what I am, because this /is/ what I am. Sometimes, it's safer to disguise yourself, though."

That thought left to be chewed on by both of them, she lifts the mug of half-and-half up and begins to lap at it with her tongue before she blinks a couple times at Betsy and sips from it like a normal person, clearing her throat afterward. "Green's fine," she allows.

"Safer I can respect," Psylocke assures Tigra, her tone reassuring. "I don't like putting on disguises or being forced to present myself with a dashing appellation. I'd just as soon share my real name with the world."

"But the harsh reality of life is that we can do the most good when we're unfettered by concerns of loved ones," she says, gently. "And since we're not robots or machines, the only way to protect the people we inevitably care about is to protect our identities as best we're able."

Sitting there, Tigra maintains that generally cheerful way about her she's shown so far, but after a nod to part of what's said, there's a sudden shift in her demeanor around the time Betsy is mentioning loved ones. It takes a few seconds for it to register, but she sets her mug down as gently as she can and starts with glancing off to one side, a distant look to her eyes as her expression turns mostly slack. A misty appearance soon shows at the corners of her eyes, another round of rapid blinking following before she rubs them quickly with a hand, clearing her throat roughly. "And sometimes things happen before you even have a chance to do anything about them," she mumbles.

Betsy makes a show of blowing on her tea to cool it, but really, she's looking at the tabletop- both to spare Tigra the embarassment of a relative stranger seeing her vulnerbility, and to make sure that no tears give her amethyst eyes a tell-tale glint.

After the moment passes, a bit awkwardly- she's clearly not a terribly good 'people' person- Betsy sets the tea down and looks at Tigra. "That detoured into rather maudlin territory," she observes drily. "Let's backtrack and see if we can discuss something a little more engaging. What do you do for recreation, Tigra?"

Tigra shakes her head quickly, putting on an effort to forcibly shove the memory away. It works, after a few more seconds, and she smiles almost apologetically. "Just caused something specific to come back up, something I don't really want to get into right now." Obviously it's not a good thing.

Sipping her half-and-half again, Tigra clears her throat one more time and forces a smile. "Well, I like doing things that make me feel good. Fun things. I napped on a big rock in Central Park today, met someone interesting."

"I'm certain Central Park isn't a napping spot for me, but I can see the appeal," Betsy says with another twitching smile. "Central Park always has interesting people. And… unfriendly ones," Betsy admits with a minute roll of her eyes. "It seems for every barbecue that happens, some sort of otherworldly invasion is right behind it. Honestly, I think we should make /another/ Central Park and just not tell anyone where it is, so we have a place where we can actually enjoy the nice weather."

Tigra shrugs. "The rock was warm, and so was the sun." Simple pleasures, apparently. "I didn't see any trouble around, and I can handle myself against a few people if it comes down to it." A few fingers rub at her throat, along one side, and she mulls over the thought from the other woman. "I've never been big on hiding from others all the time, but I can see your point. Since I got here, I've just been looking around at different parts of the city. Sometimes I come across a robber to stop. Other times..sure, I don't mind a good shopping trip."

"Mmm." Betsy sips her tea carefully, considering Tigra's words with a dignified sort of gravitas.

"One of the things that troubled me the most when I moved to New York was feeling displaced. There are currents all over this city- people, events, weather, traffic- and every time I came here, I felt… overwhelmed," she says, lips pursing a bit. "But once I bought my first flat, I realized I had put some roots down, so to speak. A bit of stability. I wasn't just a visitor, I was a resident. I got to know my grocer, and my neighbors, and even found a cafe I enjoyed. And the more I integrated, the less unsure and ambivalent I felt about the city."

Tigra runs a hand through her hair, tossing a bit of it back over a striped shoulder. "It /is/ overwhelming a lot," she confesses. "Noisy, smelly, and don't even get me started on the subways." She makes a gagging face, pointing a finger at her mouth. "I'm renting," the tigress adds. "I guess that stuff is important, but I'm still finding my way around. I don't know what everyone else in the place thinks of me there."

"I'm still kicking myself for selling my flat," Betsy says with an aggreieved tone of voice. "I was offered just a mad amount of money for it and at the time, I was working in the north, so keeping a flat here /and/ in London /and/ north of here just seemed absolutely ridiculous. I'm renting again with two flatmates of whom I'm quite fond- with three of us we can afford a decent flat. I might buy a flat though, if I decide to live in the city full-time again," she says, thinking aloud. "Renting is just a fantastic way to write off a fortune, particularly if you're in the city proper like we are."

"First world problems." Now it's Tigra's turn to speak in a deadpan, but there's a certain look to her that suggests a lack of seriousness. "Sounds like you're all over the place, though. Me, I'm fine with renting. Never know when I might have to pick up and go somewhere else, and I don't have to be too committed to one place." A moment passes before she considers, "Besides, let's say I hook up with one of the super groups around. I'm sure they'll have bedrooms." The grin is a fangy one.

"Mmm, quite true. You might try the Baxter building," Betsy offers solicitously- taking Tigra's statement quite seriously, apparently. "Or the JLA. Not to mention a bevy of other teams spread out across the tri-cities, both large and small. I imagine your investigative skills would be a valuable asset to certain teams," she suggests in a tone of polite compliment. She reaches up with both hands as she speaks and draws the chopsticks from her hair, letting it cascade down and to the side as she leans over. It takes all of five seconds of wrangling and she sits upright, her glossy, slightly teased and primped hair immediately looking as if she'd just stepped from a salon.

With this, a more serious expression registers as Tigra sees this as /important/ compared to the small talk of before. "You can probably guess the kinds of things I'd be good at, so I'll follow up on suggestions if you have any." Like the JLA. "If they're looking for any help. If not, I'll keep doing what I've been doing so far. I don't /have/ to be part of a group for some things, you know?" Out of the corner of an eye, Betsy may catch sight of Tigra's tail twitching off and on, just doing its own thing.

"I'll do so," Betsy assures Tigra, regarding the orange were-tigress with a calmly earnest expression. "And it does help- quite a bit- to have the support of a team," she says, her tone a bit more gentle. "Not just for field support, but for morale support. It's a lonely line of work to be a hero. We're unappreciated, often reviled, and we're put on the spot to make impossible choices with no one to help us. Having friends around- having /good people/ around- helps us ensure that we're always working for others, not just satisfying ourselves."

"Self-satisfaction is something best left for after striking out at the club, in my mind," she says, mostly muttering and pointedly pouring herself another cup of tea.

"Yeah, you're right. Some nights are kind of rough when there's nobody to talk to," Tigra allows, a thoughtful look tugging her lips into a mild frown as her brows scrunch closer together. "I know the stuff that comes with the territory, though. I was doing some of this even before…other things happened. Different things, anyway." She downs the rest of her cream, licking her lips slowly before she sniffs, laughs. "I'm not bragging, but I don't strike out at the club very often. There's usually someone curious enough to have some fun with."

"I've been told I'm too picky," Betsy says, warming a bit as the conversation moves to more comfortable 'girl talk' topics and away from preachy superheroine problems. "The girls usually don't even come talk to me, and the boys need to get so drunk that they're slobbering leches. On the rare occasion I meet someone at a club who seems remotely interesting, it seems they're invariably either just out on the town for a few hours or they're-" she shudders, minutely- "creepy businessmen looking for a one-night stand while on 'business'," she says, maing air quotes with perfectly manicured fingers.

"Oh, /those/ people!" Tigra really does laugh at the description of the 'businessmen,' shaking her head. "They're not even good at it, thinking they can just throw money at whatever they want. I might not be as picky as you, but I'm not /that/ easy!" Is she? That may not be something she's really put a lot of thought into while in pursuit of whatever it is she's after. "Next time I go out and strut my stuff, maybe I'll get a few new things first. I don't always go barefoot."

"I don't know. The look suits you," Betsy says, clearly trying to compliment the woman. "Not a lot of girls can pull off the barefoot thing. God knows I'm only barefoot at home and in the shower," she says, wryly. "Flats are for quitters, so for me, it's heels or nothing." She turns her foot outwards, showing off a pair of Ferragamo heels that probably are more than most car payments. "Boys like to say we're too tall for heels, but I say that's a 'them' problem. And they do tend to get me dates with those tall quarterback types," she says, looking just a little dreamy for a moment. "Which I cannot say I protest."

Tigra shifts her weight in the booth to lift a foot and wiggle the claw-tipped toes, some padding even visible over the bottom of the foot. "Added protection, but there's nothing wrong with experimenting with different looks and seeing what looks and feels good. Hmm..or smells good, depending," she grins, eyeing the very expensive footwear Betsy's in. "Yeah, those are nice. Maybe not quite me, though. I can do heels if they work for me. Some are better than others."

Betsy's eyes narrow thoughtfully, fingers drumming a staccato rhythm on the little cafe table. "I know an up-and-coming fashion designer. He's brilliant- I saw him take a pair of Pradas that had been just /destroyed/ by someone's dog, rebuild them, and now they'd be at least $1200 at any upscale department store. I'm sure he could do a fitting for you- something that you'd find comfortable and enjoy wearing in less casual situations. You've such long legs… maybe some sandal-style heels with a little ankle loop, in a sort of wheatgrass green?" she murmurs, talking to herself.

Tigra whistles at the price tag Betsy quotes, shaking her head. "Maybe..not. I'm not rich or anything." It's true about the long legs, and chances are Betsy knows what she's talking about when it comes to fashion, but… "Tell you what. How about we look into some of that next time, or at least soon? I think I'd like to start meeting a few people to see if they'd be interested in me."

"Perhaps. He doesn't live in the city, but I might be able to convince him to come in for a meet and greet sometime. I think he'd relish the chance to dress someone with such a lovely look."

Betsy's phone beeps from inside her purse, and she plucks it from the bag and reads the text. "Oh dear. That's my flatmate- she needs me to bring her lunch. She's fixing my car for me, the dear," Betsy says, reassuming that inscrutable expression. She shifts sideways and rises with a feline grace of her own, setting a few dollars on the table to cover the cost of their drinks. "I'll text you later. And… call me Betsy, Tigra. I think we'll be fast friends, before long." She offers a chaste airkiss to the tigress. "I'll see you soon," she promises, before heading out of the cafe with a long-legged strut.

"Maybe." It's a word Tigra repeats, sounding at least somewhat open to the idea of the meeting with the designer. It could be fun. When the phone alerts Betsy to the text and she checks it before explaining the need to be on her way, Tigra nods once and begins to rise as well, her movements a natural equal to Betsy's, if not more. The blown kiss is what it is, but as the other woman turns to go, Tigra does that rapid blinking again and begins to point. "Wait, you're Claire's..uh, from the school!" But by that point, Betsy is departing, leaving Tigra to finally make the connection from earlier in the day.

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