1963-11-27 - Exotic Invitations
Summary: The cards direct Marie to visit her old friend Roberto, and he presents an offer that's hard to refuse
Related: None
Theme Song: None
marie-ange roberto 

It's early evening in the city that never sleeps, and Marie's out and about among it's number. Ever driven forward by her cards, and driven to action almost exclusively by them, the reason for her depature from the apartment she stays in was simple; it was time to visit an old friend. The cards had demanded as much, she's not entirely certain why — it could be something for her, or for him, or somwhere in the middle. But there's always a reason, and she was here to find it.

She announces her presence outside the hotel room with a simple knocking; soft, listen to something else and you'll miss it. She'll knock louder the second time, if she has to! If and when the door is opened it's almost like seeing a completely different person; Marie's been able to get herself cleaned up, gotten into clothes that fit (although most of them are hidden behind a rather warm, vintage black coat that envelopes her from collar to ankles), and even gained weight to not look quite so skeletal — though she's still on the thinner side of the coin. She waits patiently, hands folded together in front of her, except when one lifts to handle knocking duties.


"Una momento, Carmen!"

There's the sound of a stereo turning down and footsteps from behind the old baroque wood door, and a humming of someone's voice. "Back with those towels already? I thought—" Roberto da Costa opens the door and starts at the sight of Marie standing there, but a pleased grin blooms over his swarthy features.

"Que sorpresa! Marie, como ustedes?" he inquires, stepping into the hallway a pace to kiss Marie's cheeks and offer her a gentle, clasping handgrasp. "How good to see you. Please! Come inside, minha casa esua casa," he invites, holding the door open. He's dressed casually— bell-bottom slacks and a loose fitting men's blouse with a fashionably wide collar, worn half unbuttoned. Loafers with no socks gives the outfit a decidedly mediterrranean vibe.

"Can I offer you a drink, or some food? Room service here is perfectamente, I taught them to make a cuban sandwhich that is—" he kisses his fingertips exultantly, offering to take Marie's coat.


The greeting is one that Marie responds to in kind; she's French. Cheek kissing is a thing where she's from, even for the shy and awkward such as herself! "It is good to see you again, 'Berto." she replies easily, lips curved up into a pleasant smile. The invitation is responded to with a nod, and she crosses the threshhold to take a look around. She's always curious to see the places where people live; it tells you a lot about a person. Decorations can be read almost like a different sort of cards, to give insight into a person's nature.

"I most certainly not turn down food; I do not think I have had a cuban sandwich before, but it sounds interesting!" She admits. "Perhaps water or tea to go with it, if such would not be too much trouble." With that said, she unbuttons the buttons that held her coat closed and lets it open, allowing the attire underneath — a loose fitting lavender sweater matched with a skirt in copper that, for Marie at least, shows a daring amount of those porcelain legs — to be seen. Definitely not the uniform she was in during their first meeting!


"Ah, c'est charmant," Roberto exhales, admiring Marie's attire. He picks up her fingers as she passes and turns her into an easy twirl on his fingertips, held over her head, to take in her appearance. "<My dear, you look radiant. I love it, perfect,>" he admires, switching to his urbane, slightly accented Parisian French.

"<If you'll give me a moment?>" he hangs her coat up and moves to the wet bar in the corner. It's a remarkably lavish apartment, though only little bits and tokens seem to be 'his'— very much a unit that someone else decorated and Roberto is merely occupying, although it's obviously somewhere he's been living long-term. A few photos of himself are scattered around, and the subtle signs of a live-in bachelor are visible.

He steps to the phone and talks into the receiver. "Allo? Yes, this is Roberto in 4B. Please send up two of those /delectable/ Cuban sandwiches," he requests. "Gracias, James, gracias."

He moves back to the wetbar and fixes a few drinks, leaving Marie time to wander around and examine the suite— it's large by New York standards, with a corner study, separate master bedroom, and a hell of a balcony view. Most of it's done in deep reds and browns, warm earth tones.

"<Ginger ale and water, and I've put on a kettle,>" Roberto tells Marie. He invites her to sit next to him on the sofa, and pours a single-shot glass of scotch into his ginger ale and takes a sip, lounging indolently in the deep, plush furnishings.

"<So, to what do I owe the pleasure of a visit?>"


Marie's response is a brightening of her smile, and a brief spin to show off the attire, skirt flaring out just /slightly/; it's clearly something she's proud of having acquired. "<Thank you, 'Berto. Your praise is most appreciated.>" the seer says, transitioning fluently to her native tongue, nodding her permission for him to take his time before she takes her own time exploring; it's definitely on the larger side as apartments go — and she can't help but stop to pay extra attention to the photographs positioned around the room. Memories are a wonderful thing sometimes, and reminders of those memories are most valuable.

"<Thank you again; you're a most gracious host.>" Marie replies, setting down one of the picture frames before turning to make her way back across the room, over to the couch, and to have a seat next to him on the sofa. "<Time will tell, I'm sure. Perhaps I simply wished to be with a friend today.>" she offers; it's mostly truth, she's not entirely certain /why/ the cards told her to come, but they did, and it was good enough for her. "<…and how have you been since we last met? Anything new and exciting… at least that cannot be read in the newspapers?>" Because, well, there's definitely news in the papers. Not much of it good.


"<Then, I am glad you have excellent taste in friends,>" Roberto says, grinning rather shamelessly at his self-indulgent statement. He laughs a moment later, just as easily mocking his own hubris. "<Nothing new or exciting, at least unless quarterly profit and loss statements and rare earth speculation fascinates you,>" he says, emphasizing what a dry and dusty topic that is. "<A trip to Austria a few weeks ago, but frankly it's been terribly dull here lately. I'm half tempted to jet off to Europe or Fiji for a few days just to shake my routine up.>" He sips his highball, getting cozy on the sofa next to Marie. "<And, yourself? Anything of interest, or are the cards directing you here for some much-needed entertainment?>"


"<You jest, but I do!>" Marie replies, unable to keep herself from laughing as well; then flashing a smile. It's about as full a smile as she shows to most of her friends, above the realm of polite but below the entirely carefree. The followup gets an amused giggle as well; she's not hard to entertain, doubly so when she feels safe. "<I fear such things are not my… what is the term,>" A pause, and she seeks out her own glass; taking a slow sip to buy herself some time… and then catching that lightbulb as she swallows. "<Cup of tea.>" A joke, from Marie? …probably accidental in all honesty, but at least she's relaxed! "<You travel to such wonderful places… I cannot help but wonder how you find the time for so many.>" Then again, if her life wasn't so pre-ordained, she might have the time too! Maybe not the money, but the time for certain. The question returned brings a slight crinkling of her nose, "<A great many things since we last spoke. I have met others who are like us, I have seen… most wondrous things and most terrible ones, even fought off the very forces of Hell. The city holds many secrets if one knows where to look and has the courage to go.>"


"<So, it sounds like you do not need a /friend/, you need a /diversion/,>" Roberto observes, rising from his seat at the hiss of the kettle. He decants it into a ceramic pot and walks back with a small tray of teas from under the cabinet, a mug balanced carefully, and sets it all out for Marie to get into however she prefers to prepare her tea.

"<Cream? Sugar? Some amaretto or maybe a few drops of Grand Marinier?>" he inquires. Once she's settled, he falls back into a seat next to her, sitting half-turned towards Marie with a leg crossed at the knee.

"<Well, my work is not something with a schedule,>" Berto tells Marie, answering her question finally. "<I can take time and follow my own pursuits, whims, desires— I can't do it /every/ day,>" he admits. "<Mi padre, he does expect me to earn my keep. But—>" He gestures vaguely with his fingers. "<In the meanwhile, there's beaches all over the world to wet my toes in.>"

"<Would you like to take a few days and travel with me?>" he inquires, eyes sparkling in anticipation of her shock at the bold offer. "<Bora Bora is nice this time of year. Bermuda, too— white, sandy beaches, beautiful people, cocktails in coconuts. Bliss.>"


Marie-Ange draws 16 Tower.


Marie-Ange draws Six Pentacles.


"<Perhaps this is true.>" Marie admits, her slender fingers moving into action once the tea set is set before her in order to prepare it to her liking. Tea is a recent favorite of hers; wine's up there too, but not when she's out and would have to find her way home. "<Sugar would be wonderful, please.>" she adds, flashing another brief smile, setting the tea down to allow it time to steep and the flavors to flow into the water.

The explanation from Roberto has the French girl nodding along, her expression thoughtful. "<It sounds like a good job to have — you work with your… father, then?>" The French and Latin languages are similar enough in places for Marie's understanding to branch across and pick out words here and there, even though she sounds a bit unsure.

The offer? It gets widened eyes, and one finger raised briefly. She takes time enough to scamper to her coat and return, clutching that little velvet pouch. She's never without it, and won't answer questions like that without it. The first card drawn. "<The Tower. The Country itself burns with the flames of disaster, yes, while I may be able to do some good here, it may not be… the safest place for either of us to be.>" And there's a large part of her that would gladly be among those leaping from the burning building if she thought she could. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea? Oh! But what about… another card is drawn. "<The Six of Pentacles… 'Berto, there are few things that I like to do less than impose upon the generousity of another…"> The card's all about that; generousity. "<But there is one in the city whom I feel obligated to watch over, doubly so in times such as these. I would be remiss to leave her in these trying times, especially before ensuring her wellbeing in my absence.>" There's a bit of sadness to her voice when she speaks, even if she's trying to mask it behind her smile.


"<Such a poetic rejection! I don't even feel bad,>" Roberto assures Marie, expertly allaying her sadness or concern with an easy and confident chuckle. "<You didn't even throw a drink in my face! Which is good, that tea is quite hot,>" he says, glancing pointedly at the drink steeping on the table. He gives her a sly, knowing grin, clearly trying to buoy her spirits a little and ensure she doesn't mistake him for being upset.

"<Well, if you change your mind, consider it an open invitation. Bring your friend! Renting a plane, flying ten costs as much as one,>" the Brazilian man assures the delicate French oracle.

"<Ah, as you said, yes— I work for my father's company,>" he tells her, taking another sip of his highball. "<I'm something like the Vice President of Global Sales, its'… on my business card, /somewhere/,>" he frowns, looking around for the cards. "<But, mostly I make new deals and explore new markets who want our company goods.>"


There's a bit of relief on her face when it's clear that he takes no offense, the slip of a girl leaning into the cushions of the sofa a bit to show the fact — and frankly, to try and find that perfectly comfy spot that every piece of furniture has. "<I would never do such a thing to a friend, 'Berto!>" she seems a little surprised that he would suggest such a thing— at least until she realizes that she's kidding. At least she /hopes/ he was kidding! "<Oh, you jest again!>" she realizes, laughing cheerfully.

"<If your words are true… then I believe I can accept; the only thing I shall have to find out is the when; and the who.>" Because honestly, her friend might just need some time away from the city even more than Marie herself does; that's definitely going to be a topic that comes up in conversation soon.

Now it's time to delve into her tea, as Marie leans forward to delicately hook her fingers into the handle and carefully cradle the cup as not to burn herself while drinking - or trying to. "<A most impressive title.>" There's a pause and a curious glance offered to the Brazilian businessman, "<Do many beaches seek your company's goods?>"


Roberto grins at Marie's rather penetrating question. "<Not many,>" he says, unashamedly. "<But, every country on earth needs /something/, sometime. Aluminum, beryillium, rare earths— the 20th century is the era of the microchip,>" he explains to Marie. "<And every country that wishes to build computers or even just make modern buildings needs materials to do it. It makes a persuasive argument to suggest that international travel makes me well suited for knowing something about everywhere I go,>" Roberto says.

"<But, that's a bald lie, because I steadfastly refuse to go to the frigid Canadian wastes or Eastern Europe unless I /must/. I rarely make my best sales on white sandy beaches, but then again— perhaps it puts me in a proper frame of mind for my best business dealings?>" he says, jovially making light of his own inconsistencies.

"<I have to say, I'm a bit peeved at your cards for vetoing my suggestion of fun and relaxation, though!>" he tells Marie. "<It seems fate giveth with one hand, and taketh with the other. I am still quite pleased they led you here for such a pleasant surprise as this visit.>" At that moment, the door buzzes.

"Come in!" Berto calls. A white-uniformed waiter steps into the room with a food trolley, and reveals a pair of cuban sandwiches— pressed panini bread, pickle, sharp cheese and ham. He brings them over to the two and sets them on the table, then departs after Berto slips a $5 into his gloved hand, latching the door behind him.


Marie may not know a lot about how the business world works, but she pays attention nonetheless; any day that you can learn something is a good day, So she nods, and takes the information into her mind. "<I see… that makes sense, engaging with other cultures enhances your ability to interact with them, and festive locations relaxes your mind before a deal.>" Well, it makes sense to /her,/ at least. is father may not agree!

The comment about her cards is met with arched eyebrows of surprise, "<They did not say no.>" She points it, wagging a finger. "<Simply that I must consult another. You yourself opened another possibility of inviting her along; and if she is amenable to such, I think it is a trip that we all can most certainly use.>"

That's when interruption happens, of course, and she starts to rise — but relaxes when Roberto calls out. She didn't realize the door had been unlocked! The sandwiches get a hungry eye; while she may have the build of the famished, part of it involves a rather healthy metabolism more than undereating, these days. It /missed/ food and relishes the opportunity. "<They look most excellent.>" She, however, was taught never to eat before her host, so she's being patient.


Roberto sets one in Marie's hands, and takes the other. "You'll love it!" he assures her. When he realizes she's waiting on him, he takes a quick bite, melting with a happy little relaxation at the crisp combination of savoury and succulent.

"<Well, the offer was quite sincere. If she wishes to come along, and it'd set you at ease— why not you both come along?>" Roberto says, mirthfully. "<I'm certainly not going to object to more company!>"

"<So you really do rely on the cards to make all your decisions, si?>" Roberto asks, glancing at the deck in Marie's hands. "<Are they… magical? Special? Do the cards only work for you, or could they tell me something?>" he inquires, glancing at the deck speculatively.


Roberto taking the first bite is all the encouragement Marie needs to dig in; she eats enthusiasically, it's the one thing that's not terribly ladylike about her — that urge to devour food when saving it for later isn't an option (or simply isn't needed). As taste after delectable taste strikes her, she makes a rather delighted sound; there are no words. They would be rude, but they aren't /needed/ to see her satisfaction with the meal.

"<I will speak to her about it when I see her next, then.>" Marie agrees once the first (couple) bites are downed, pausing to speak and to have a bit more tea. "<You are most generous indeed to make such an offer, and the Six of Pentacles saw this coming.>" she points out, tapping the card on the table.

As for the other questions? "<I do. I walk the path which is laid out for me, enjoying the comfort of knowing what fate has in store for me rather than anger it.>" she admits; it was a good observation. "<I have been told they are magical,>" She's not sure if she believes that the cards /themselves/ are. "<They… were my grandmother's. She too used them to read; and taught me — reading the cards is a gift we share, even if my abilities have taken them further.>" As for him? "<Most anyone can learn the tarot, 'Berto, but not all can /see./ That said, I could read for you as easily as I could myself, if there is something you wish insight on.>"


Berto claps his hands enthusiastically, sitting upright and giving Marie his full attention. "<Perfectamente! I am very curious. Please, finish your sandwich—>" it's not like she needs much prompting! His eyes widen when he realizes she's going to devout that thing so quickly.

"<Er… well, let it digest,>" he suggests, grinning again. "<When you're ready, shuffle the cards, and then, I'll ask my question.>"

His eyes dance mischeviously as Marie readies herself, and he leans forward a conspiratorial inch to posit his question. "<So! My first question is this: does the young lady dealing my tarot, find me handsome?>"


Nope, it doesn't take much encouragement — or time — to finish the sandwich. It might be different if it weren't as good as it is, but when it's such a tasty delight? There's no hesitation found in Marie at all. "<Finished!>" she replies cheerfully once the last bite's vanished, cleaning her hands carefully with a napkin before she moves to take the cards.

However, shuffling them she isn't. Instead, she hands them to Roberto. "<Be careful with them — they mean much to me. But as the seeker, it is your duty to shuffle the cards, until you feel the time has come to stop.>" she explains, waiting.

When he asks his first question? She laughs musically, "<Finish shuffling first, 'Berto. The cards cannot answer you before they are dealt.>" Of course, /she/ could simply answer him herself; but he asked for the wisdom of the cards, not of their reader!


Berto shuffles the cards fairly expertly— clearly he's spent more than a few of his business trips dithering at casinos or playing high-stakes poker, though he's of course rather careful with the cards. With a wink he sets them in front of Marie. "<Por favore, would the lady indulge my custom and split the deck?>" He grins at her and collects the cards, then shucks off the top three and flips the fourth face-up on the sofa between them.

"<So, what does the deck wish to tell me?>" he asks, examining the card curiously.


Marie-Ange draws Page Cups.


"<When the question asked is a simple yes or no, the meaning is easy to interpret.>" Marie explains; she won't hesitate to go along with his request to cut the deck, and watches the amn work nonetheless… waiting for the cards to come up with the answer. "<The Page of Wands is often viewed as a positive omen; the answer is one I could have told you as well. I do; you are quite a handsome man, 'Berto.>" There's no blush in her cheeks at the answer; she's speaking for the cards, not for herself. Just /about/ herself. It's different, really!

At least it is to her.


"<Bueno! I won't press my luck, then, as I got an answer I am entirely pleased with,>" Berto says, grinning ear to ear. He carefully gathers the cards back into order and taps them square, then offers the deck back to Marie. "<My thanks for indulging me on something you might find so trivial, but a bit of certainty in an uncertain game, that is always a reassuring place to stand, don't you agree?>"

"<Perhaps I can teach you a game of cards, though. Poker, or Gin?>" Berto invites. "<My luck with the cards tends to be a bit better when there's some strategy involved. Regrettably, I wouldn't know a high hand from a tarot deck if it were laid in front of me, clear as day,>" he confesses.


There's a merry laugh from Marie, who nods her head once; if he's pleased with the outcome, then she's pleased with the reading. It's all about the seeker, afterall. "<There is nothing trivial about questions that are asked of the cards, 'Berto. Perhaps I would not have revealed the answer so freely had you not asked it of them, hm?>" she suggests, lips curved into a smile on that note.

The request brings a curious look, and a nod. "<I have never been unwilling to learn when one is patient enough to teach, it would be my pleasure.>" she replies, canting her head to the side in curiousity. "<I fear that as we stand, I would not know what a high hand from the tarot would be either; but that comes from not knowing what a high hand is in general."> she admits sheepishly.


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