Girl Friday

December 27, 2017:

Karen's finally back at the reins of Starrware, after her Red Lantern experience. She goes to the best assistant ever to set up contingency plans.

New York City

An expensive restaurant in New York City


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Midtown Manhattan is a dense, packed mass of humanity. No one actually *lives* in Midtown; the real estate is entirely too valuable to use for someone's apartment. It's almost universally things like office buildings and high-end businesses, corporate practices that run the global economy.

But that sort of money brings in a lot of workers, and that many workers brings in some of the choicest cafes in America. Karen Starr, the billionaire owner of Starr Labs, of course knows all the unlisted numbers and the secret handshakes to get into some exclusive restaurants for lunch.

Caitlin's dressed for the office— a deep turquoise blouse, grey dress, and low burgundy boots suitable for the slush and snow outside.

Of course, she'd cheated and 'hopped' over a few of them. "We've got about forty minutes until we need to head to your next meeting," she tells Karen, glancing at her cellphone. Her small attache case marks her as an assistant to Karen, even though she's tall enough to pass for a bodyguard (not that anyone would target the buff blonde, but hey, appearances are appearances). "That's enough for a short lunch, right?"

Karen smiles. "It should be." There was that time where she vanished for a month, and she's been in and out of work. Not around as much as she usually would. "What do I have up next?" She asks, looking to Caitlin. She's seemed more…distracted than usual as well.

Caitlin follows Karen and the maitre d' to the table, glancing at her phone again. Starr Labs was run by professionals and people who liked the work— it'd keep on ticking without her— but with Karen returned, the company as a whole seems more galvanized. People attack obstacles with more enthusiasm, work harder, have more pep.

Such is the effect of her leadership.

"Today's pretty light— you've got a meeting with a local charity at two PM," Caitlin says, fretting at her lower lip. "It's your usual donation, and I think they just want some face time with you. You need to call the Taiwan factory at some point, but they're a few hours behind us so that can get pushed back a bit. But you've definitely got time to sit and eat," Caitlin says.

Food's important to the big ginger, and she eases into the sturdiest looking chair they have, and relaxes with a relived expression when the old furniture creaks but doesn't break.

Karen shakes her head, sighing. "In other words, they want to waste my time for the sake of wasting my time." She shakes her head. "Like I don't have better things to do." The blonde looks frustrated. "Sometimes I wonder why I do it. You deserve better than working for me, Caitlin, I swear."

Unsure of how to respond to Karen's frustrations, Caitlin elects for a sympathetic twist of her lips. She doesn't fully understand the niceties of New York's aristocracy, but there's a certain amount of 'handling' that is necessary in the circles Karen occupies. One must finesse and in turn, be finessed. It's all about being seen with the right people at the right parties.

Caitlin doesn't understand it, but clearly Karen does, so the big ginger offers an expression of resigned sympathy.

She quickly places her order with the waiter-=- creamy soups, plenty of vegetables. Perpetually hungry as she often is, she's at least no longer eating her weight at every meal.

She pinks a little at Karen's implied compliment, pushing her hair behind one ear. "Gosh, Karen, you're such a slave driver," she teases. "That thirty hour flexible work week is such a bear. And I bought /two/ dresses with my bonus. Ugh, ack, blugh," she says, with vast insincerity. "I should go back to working at the ironmongers for twelve bucks an hour."

Karen looks over at Caitlin's order. "Is that going to be enough for you?" she asks. "With your metabolism?" Karen tends to high calorie foods, since it's not like Kryptonians gain weight off eating poorly. She does grin at the comment about the dresses, though. "Only two? You need more. We need to go clubbing." She sighs. "I need to…I don't know. I feel cooped up."

Caitlin fidgets at the question. It's a sure sign she's preparing to be a little less than honest. If Caitlin remotely possessed the capacity to lie, she'd still make a horrible poker player. "I ate a big lunch," she assures Karen. "Soup sounds really good, and they make that great bisque here. That's a good sized bowl of food."

She takes a sip of her water. "I know, only two dresses. But they're custom from my friend, the seamstress? She did my dress for the Stark Expo last year," Caitlin explains. "I'd make a joke about needing enough dress material to mast a schooner, but really she's just that good. I found out that there's a waitlist over a year long for private fittings," she says, conspiratorially. "I don't think they'd work for clubbing, they're like… floofy… society things," she says, with expressive motions of her hand that a passing waitress avoids only by happenstance. "Y'know, for black tie affairs. What would I even wear? Jeans? I have jeans," she says, babbling a little.

Karen looks over, lifting an eyebrow. "You realize I can hear your heartbeat, you know." It's her way of tactfully letting Caitlin know. "And you'd need some club dress, but I'm sure I can get us an appointment. Besides, lycra is very forgiving."

Caitlin makes a little face. But it's good natured, and she grins at Karen. "I'm always worried I'm gonna step on someone and break a toe," she confesses. "I'm not much of a dancer, so… if it's one of those clubs where I can sit down and /not/ do any dancing, count me in," she agrees. "I guess it's more fun for people who can actually get drunk."

She blinks. "Hey, does alcohol do anything to you?" she inquires, suddenly lit with curiousity. "Do Kryptonians /have/ an equivalent to alcohol?"

The blonde looks back. "Caitlyn, if you're not dancing, you're not clubbing, you realize? And we generally don't, no. It would take telepathy or some very specific technology to get me to any equivalent of drunk."

"I'm just trying to calculate how many pounds per square inch of pressure it'd put on someone's toe if I stepped on them in high heels," Caitlin says. "It's not pretty math. Do I /have/ to dance?" she sayhs, with a tone of reluctant resignation.

The food arrives and Caitlin sets a napkin across her lap. She's obvious hungry but refrains from going facefirst into the bowl, instead eating with the sort of measured calm one would expect from a person on a busines luncheon.

Mostly. She eats an entire roll in two easy bites, butter and all.

Karen laughs. "Even if you only dance with me, yes. You have to dance. You're not gonna break /my/ toe." She starts on her own meal, and looks over. "For god's sake, Caitlyn, eat. Your weight is a special situation. You'd diet yourself to death before you bit the target weight I'm guessing you're aiming for."

Caitlin blinks at Karen's reprimand and digs immediately into her meal, eating a little more quickly. She processes what Karen's saying and comes up for air, trying to regain her composure.

"Oh. oh! No no no, it's nothing like that!" she says, immediately chagrined. "I— well, I read a book about business lunches," she explains. "I don't want to accidentally embarass Starr Labs next time I'm at an event or something. Plus, this is like… a thirty dollar bowl of soup," she says, lamely, stirring it with her spoon. "It's really good soup, but I bet I'd make your credit card smoke a little if I ate a full meal here."

She sits upright, smiling. "I'm not trying to lose weight, I promise. I'm sitting right at three hundred and fifty— I think I'm about plateued on most of my strength training, so it stands to reason I won't put much more muscle on, right?"

Karen looks back, frowning. "Caitlin, you would never embarass me." She says, sincerely. "And if you want to eat, you do that. My credit card can handle it." As for the rest… "I'm not sure about the rest, we'd need more info on your biology. Have you ever talked to medical, have them run some tests? I mean…we should have a proper workup on you."

Caitlin eats a little more vigorously, though she's at least minding her table manners. "Did the whole thing with the calorimeter and a face mask and the, uh, protein— pudding— thing, whatever it is," she says. "If I just sit on my butt playing Warcraft all day, I need about five thousand calories to maintain my resting mass. A full day of doing stuff adds about five thousand more, and then I can pretty easily burn another five thousand per hour of working out. Sometimes more, if Diana or Carol's on a bender about free weights," she concedes. "Carol's got a small sun powering her and Diana's a goddess," she says, a little envious of their relative freedom from such pedantry as a diet.

Karen chuckles. "Well, anything I can do to make it easier for you, you know. I want you taking proper care of yourself. You tend to be bad about that, you know."

"Honestly, a real paycheck has been just— loads off my mind," Caitlin confesses. "I'm not having to pad it on with Ramen noodles and pounds of baked beans. Or that crappy vanilla protein powder," she says, making a face. "I get four meals a day at the League Cantina, and Bart and I coordinate cooking days at the Tower," she explains. "It's nice not having to scrounge for cash or relying on the League's stipend."

Karen considers. "I want to talk to you about another possible option." She brings up a topic. "You know I had to be away recently, remember?" That little bit where she was off in deep space, not telling anyone about it.

"Yep," Caitlin says. Caitlin's a bad liar, but she's also too polite to pry into Karen's personal life. She glances at KAren with obvious interest on her face, surprised that she's going to be given the skinny on what went into Karen's little emrgency trip.

"That was an unexpected trip. And while I really don't care too much about a personal life, Karen Starr can't necessarily disappear from the public eye, not as CEO. I want to know if you're willing to double for me when I need it."

Caitlin blinks. The suggestion clearly takes her off guard, enough that she sets her spoon down(!) to think about it.

Young as she is, Caitlin's no dummy, and she narrows her eyes at Karen thoughtfully. One elbow rests on the table, supporting her chin in her palm, as she goes through the proposition.

"I'm a couple inches taller than you, but that's easy to disguise with flats and hair styles. I'd need a blonde wig," she says, sucking on the inside of her cheek in thought. "I mean, I couldn't sell it to the Board of Directors, but— yeah, for ribbon cuttings or getting 'seen' at places— yeah, I bet we could make that work," she says, nodding excitedly.

"You're taller than me, but I'm usually in heels as Karen. People aren't likely to notice. And…not to be blunt, but you're one of the only people who has the figure to make it work." She explains. "Also, if Power Girl needed to be seen, you've got the strength and the invulnerability to pull it off."

"Me or Jen Walters, and I think she's busy," Caitlin agrees, with a droll tone that turns into a giggle. "As long as I don't have to square up with some Kryptonian uber baddie, yeah, that's doable. I can't fly as well as you, but I can stand around and carry stuff, and that's all that most people want anyway."

"But this would be for, like, emergencies, right?" she says, hesitating. "Keeping up appearances and whatnot."

"None of that, right. And you'd have to use your discretion. If I need you to cover and I'm here, that's great. But if I just suddenly disappear…I need you to use your discretion as my assistant, and know when to cover."

"Aww, geeze," Caitlin says. "I think I liked it better when my job was 'punch things'. That's nice and simple. No one ever gets mad at me for punching giant lizards or robots."

She exhales steadily, eyes going to the table. She grips a tendril of her red hair in both hands and idly tugs on it over and over, fretting at the curling hair in deep thought.

"Well— I can't think of a good reason NOT to do it, and if it'll help you out… gosh, I'm happy to do what I can, Karen, you know that," she says, finally.

Karen smiles. "Then it's a deal. Get yourself fitted for some suits, same as mine, but to fit you. And we'll get you a PG suit, too." She looks at the clock. "We better eat up. We're running low on time."

Caitlin glances at her phone, reflexively. "Oh, yikes. Yeah. Okay— I'll put it on my expense card," she tells Karen, finishing her food and gathering herself. "And I promise not to bomb around Metropolis in a leotard," she says, though her tone's much more playful. "Whenever you're ready— the limo's downstairs waiting," she assures Karen, getting to her feet.

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