1964-07-23 - Lovely Cherry Pie
Summary: Tanya simply wants some pie. Gene comes along and reminds her that it's awfully hard to hide from your past.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tanya gene-fuchs 

Another day, another smile given to her by the middle-aged waitress across the cream-colored bartop.

"Back again for the pie?" She's got a heavy Jersey accent as well as the brightest-pink eyeshadow Tanya's ever seen. Even the little mole beside her mouth is darkened, a beauty mark in tribute to Marilyn Monroe. "Only the cherry?"

"Only the cherry," replies the brunette, flashing Darla a winning smile. "It's my favorite. Is the coffee freshly-brewed too?" In her summer dress and gloves, with hair all done up and off her neck, the Mamba is dressed for comfort today to beat the heat. It leaves her dancer's legs bare and folded neatly, one over her other knee on the barstool.

"Of course, doll. You sit, I'll get you your slice and cuppa." Darla walks away to gather up the necessities of the order as well as to take others down the bar. This leaves Tanya to consider her blurry reflection in the metal splashguard on the far wall, behind the counter. She's clearly alone, no red-headed escort today, and off in her own thoughts as she waits.

The man who walks into the diner only a couple of minutes later is not wearing his usual overcoat. It's New York in summer, enough said. He's also not wearing his tie, though the tip of a ghastly orange-colored piece of material poking from his back pocket is a hint that he might have started off with one. Droplets of sweat are forming on his brow, and as he sits on the bar stool two over from Tanya, he draws out a clean white handkerchief and wipes the sweat away. He takes a look at Tanya and smiles as he puts his news paper on the counter. "A hot one, ain't it?" He reaches over to grab an ash tray.

The woman glances over when addressed, her olive-green eyes running a quick measurement over his person. Hmm — nothing pings to her immediately. He doesn't give off any ominous warning signs in body language and she can't pick out any obvious weaponry on his person. Nope, probably another guy on the street in for a cup of coffee.

"It is that time of year," Tanya replies, giving him a proper, polite smile meant entirely to construe nothing more than acknowledging the comment. Proper caution is due. After all, very few folk reach out in conversation to her beyond noting the dip in her dress's collar. It's quite low, per her personal preference.

Her coffee arrives shortly afterwards and she breaks two packets of sugar into it. "Try the cherry pie," she adds, looking to him again. "Darla makes it herself." The waitress, setting down the slice in question, beams.

"The secret is love," says the woman before bustling away down the bartop. Tanya grins at her before digging into the slice. Mmm. Pie.

Gene Fuchs says, "Love, huh?" He pulls out his pack of Camels from his breast pocket. "I never had pie with love in it before. Just fruit. So I'm game. I'll have what the lady is having."

Her neckline has not escaped him. Not much has escaped him. The required polite, but not inviting, smile. He sees how she sizes him up to see whether he's a predator of one of the various varieties. He leans ever so slightly away. Nope. Not a wolf…he's a fuchs. He smiles to himself at his own joke, as he pulls a cigarette from the pack with his lips as he stares ahead.

"But I'll take some ice tea. No sugar. You know that some folks in the south drink iced tea year round, but it's sweet. Too sweet." He says "sweet" a lot. Shit. He quickly offers her a cigarette. "Care for a cigarette, ma'am?"

Gene's order is noted on a pad of paper and Darla shuffles off to grab said piece of pie full of cherries and love. Ah, the 60s. Sipping at her coffee, Tanya then licks her lips. He might note how she sets down the mug without looking towards him again. Her reflection in the steel backsplash mirrors her shifting on the barstool. No longer cross-legged, it allows her to get up quickly if need be. Someone's paranoid these days.

"Thanks, but no," she replies, her smile now turned up in wattage. Distract. Deflect. Utilize what her momma gave her to win him over…so she can punch him in the nose and get to slipping away into the shadows. Easily done when one wields an inky void-energy. "I can't taste the cherries over the smoke. You're from the south then?" Her fork drags through the red gel of the pie's spilling innards in a fidgety move.

Gene Fuchs nods to Darla with a smile. "Hell no…uh, mind my language." He chuckles a little and puts back his packet of cigarettes. He transfers the cigarette from his mouth to his hand. "I mean, I'm a northerner. From Michigan. You don't sound like a southerner either. Can I guess? I'm kinda good at that."

He watches her carefully, noting her stance. He takes out a lighter from his pants pocket. It's a nice silver zippo with "K3" roughly engraved in the side. Flick, flame, light, drag. He blows a cloud away from them. Had he been a real gentleman, he would have asked if she minded if he smoked. Apparently, he's not a real gentleman.

"I don't seem to have a problem tasting anything." His pale eyes rest on the woman for a moment, making sure they don't drift down. "So, let me see…where are you from…?" He's going for friendly, not creepy. No leaning in. Relaxed demeanor. No leering looks or winks.

The woman's smile grows closed. She notes how he keeps his eyes upon her face and since he's not a real gentleman… It seems a subtle confliction and Tanya grows minutely more wary still. There's a portion of her that wants to believe he's simply friendly, this man with his cigarette and kind smile for Darla — that the repetition of her nom-d'ombre was some happenstance. The wisdom of her life is hard-earned. God, how she waffles back and forth. Roy has been slowly 'civilizing' her, apparently.

"Guess away. I'll buy your pie if you get it right the first time," she replies quietly even as Darla drops off the slice in front of him as well as his ice tea — unsweeetened.

Gene Fuchs says, "Oh, ma'am, you wouldn't have to do that. That's a sucker bet." He grins and shakes his head. "I got you pegged." He leans back in the way that people do when they are pondering. Or pretending to ponder. He takes another long drag, then takes a drink of the tea. He doesn't add sugar. He grins again. He has been told he has a friendly smile. His best feature on his otherwise average looking, lean face. "How about Chicago? " He turns to her, one eyebrow raised in question. "That's what I'm hearing. A little Chi-town. Good city.""

As one fencer to another, Tanya nods, her smile flashing brightly — a little too brightly, perhaps. The bite of pie on her fork remains untouched for the attention she grants him now.

"They weren't joking when they said it's a hard accent to get rid of." For as merrily as she says it, there's a hollow note.

The lanky fellow turns and leans his arm on the counter as he faces her. He's not sweating any more; the ice tea hit the spot. "Don't worry. I won't make you pay for my pie." He brings his cigarette to his lips and draws himself back to looking ahead of him. He stubs the cigarette out and picks up his paper and shakes it out casually as if to read the headline. Something about sharks.

"I knew a gal from Chicago once. I heard she came to New York." He's pretty sure she's on to him, which means his lead was a good one.

Tanya inhales slowly, her smile never fading. Her sigh is much shorter and she turns back on the stool to address her formerly-abandoned pie. Boy, that's a big forkful now, but she manages it without losing too much of the manners she puts forth in public.

"The Big Apple has a certain draw to it," she replies, half-around the mouthful of dessert. Wiping at her mouth with her napkin, she sips at her coffee again before continuing. "Maybe I know her. What's her name?"

Gene Fuchs picks up his fork finally and takes a bite of the pie. He really doesn't like cherry that much, but whatever. It pays the bills. "It's big city, but stranger things have happened." He casts her a glance while staying focused on the pie. "So, this is what love tastes like, huh?" he murmurs as an aside. "Her name is Tanya. Now I know there's gotta be thousands of Tanyas in New York…last name began with an S. Something like Steele…no…" It's a game. Fencing is a good description, though Gene would prefer poker. "A friend of mine would really like to know where she is. It's be sweet if I could find her."

Well, shit, the woman thinks. It had been so good so far. She was so very certain that she'd managed to erase all of her tracks. The equivalence of packing bags and leaving at midnight had still been not enough.

Tanya swallows another bite of pie with difficulty. Her grip around her coffee cup tightens and loosens. Relax, shh, keep calm, she councils herself.

"Hmm. I don't know anyone with the name of Steele." Maybe…maybe he'll be susceptible to her whammy, that mild compulsion she can place upon the unsuspecting given eye contact and a good portion of luck. Good ol' Roxxon, helpful in granting her this, at least. "I don't know how useful I can be in your searching," she adds, glancing over to him. Beneath her dark lashes, those olive-greens take on an eerie glint of the light. "You should look elsewhere, I think." The old stories told tales of snakes hypnotizing their prey….but maybe it's just a trick of the overhead bulbs after all.

Gene Fuchs frowns slightly and puts down his paper, a niggling of a doubt flicking though his mind. With a puzzled expression, he turns on the stool again to look at her. She fits the description well, though, and he's not an amateur with body language. "Uh…I wasn't … " No, it's gotta be. He relaxes and flashes a smile again. "Yeah, you're probably right. But tell you what. " He reaches into his breast pocket again and pulls out a business card. "Just in case you run into her, I'm going to give you my friend's number." He turns over his business card, which reads 'Eugene Fuchs, Private Investigator' and has his address and number on it, showing he works out of Hell's Kitchen. With a cheap pen he probably stole from the courthouse last time he was there, he writes a name and number on the back. "If you see her, tell her to give my friend a call. He'd really like to talk to her."

The crawling of Tanya's conscience up her spine wars with the adrenaline of wanting to bolt even as she takes the card from the friendly man, with his unsweetened ice tea and appreciation for love-spiced cherry pie.

"Thanks, I'll do that," she manages to reply, a breathless note in her voice. The business card disappears into her shoulder-purse and her hand emerges with cash. The bills are placed down upon the counter and the leggy dancer then slides off the barstool. Oops. Composure. She rolls back her shoulders and pretends to fix her hair in the useless reflection of the steel behind the counter. "You know, I didn't get your name." Those olive eyes rest on him again, lacking the twinkle of magnetism of earlier.

Gene Fuchs stands up when the woman stands, noticing her nervousness. He's certain he's completed his job now — that she is the right one. "Thank you, ma'am. My friend will be glad to hear from her. " He pushes a strand of hair from his forehead and looks back into her olive eyes with his tired, pale blue ones. He notes that he never got her name officially either. He knows it. She knows he knows it. So, he stops that part of the game. "My name? It's on the card. But it's Eugene Fuchs." He pronounces it to rhyme with books. "Friends call me Gene. I imagine you will be calling me Mr. Fuchs. Still…if I can help you with anything…" He cuts off. "Have a nice day, and thanks for the recommendation."

"Gene," Tanya echoes quietly, making absolutely certain to take in every little detail of his person that she can now — marking him and marking him well. "You're welcome. Enjoy your pie." With the mask of polite society back over her face now, the leggy brunette then makes to leave from the diner, ditching an unfinished slice of cherry pie.

Now there's a clear sign she's been rattled. She never leaves pie behind!

As soon as she is gone, Gene sits back down on the stool and picks up the paper with a sigh. As he shakes it out to read, he pushes his almost untouched pie away and asks, "Ma'am, can I get a fried egg sandwich and a refill on my iced tea?" He relaxes and reads about shark attacks. He gets a lingering smile on his lips when he realizes that she called him Gene.

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