Usually, at lunchtime in Manhattan, it's almost impossible to get last-minute reservations at the best restaurants in the City. The usual rules, though, don't apply to Tony Stark as he was able to get a table at Daniel, the top rated French eatery in NYC, with only a few hours notice. So now, he's sitting at a rather cozy table for two, taking occasional sips of his water while waiting for his lunch date to arrive.
"I am so sorry I am late, Tony," comes the apology just before Selina comes into view, led by the maitre'd who is gushing over her. "Traffic was a bear." Smiling sweetly to her 'date' as well as the man who is now pulling out her chair for her, Selina is all charm and perfect manners, everything about her impeccable. "How have you been?"
Tony smiles as he stands and helps seat Selina. "Perfectly fine. It's not like I've never been late to a meeting myself." Sitting back down, he resets the napkin on his lap. "So, how's things in the Gotham jungle?"
Knowing that Tony doesn't drink prompts Selina into ordering a bottle of sparkling water instead of the champagne she might order otherwise, her way of showing respect to him. "It is as it always is, I am afraid. Various shades of black and gray which seems to attract the more...colorful criminals. But outside of that, it's wonderful. How has life been treating you?"
Tony shrugs and swirls his water a bit. "I've been fine. The usual running around when you have three major companies to take care of. Only thing really of note was going down to Metropolis yesterday to open up the new recovery center. Besides that, I'm afraid I don't get out much besides a few trips to various clubs." He smiles and chuckles, knowing that his secret life as Iron Man is far more interesting, although not for public knowledge.
Selina frowns a bit. "I am sorry life has been keeping you so busy. But it does sound like you get a chance to do some good as well as attend to business..." Taking her menu, Selina opens it and starts to look through the offered fare, her gaze darting up over its top to look at the man from time to time. "Speaking of business, Tony, would you consider it boorish of me to bring up a matter of business with you?"
Tony shakes his head. "Not at all, Selina. Anyone that dresses as well as you do can never be boorish." A playful smile and wink for her before he continues. "What can I help you with?"
"As you know, I have established a foundation that focuses on the conservation of wild cats, particularly those in danger of extinction." Selina usually has no problems asking for donations but, for some reason, this is a bit difficult for her to discuss with Tony. Clearing her throat, Selina lowers her menu and asks, "Would you be willing to make a donation?"
Tony chuckles. "Of course. You know I'm always willing to chip in for a good cause. And the conservation of big cat habitats is certainly a good cause." He takes a pause to take a drink of water. "And you know I count on environmental groups to make sure my companies are doing right in places like Southeast Asia. Still, why the hesitation to ask me for a donation?"
The flow of conversation is temporarily interrupted when their waiter approaches, asking for Selina's order first. "Uh...I'll have the trout," is what he gets for hers and then he turns to look at Tony. "I don't know, Tony. I guess I still am putting out feelers where you go. We really don't know each other -that- well, after all." She closes the menu she's been holding and offers it to the server who takes it from her at the same time he tries to sneak a brief glance at her cleavage, the hazards of wearing a dress with a low neckline.
Tony looks at the waiter, "And I'll have the coq au vin." After handing the menu back to the waiter, his attention returns back to Selina. "Who really knows anyone in the upper crust, really?" he asks with a chuckle and a sly smile. "So, you want to get to know me better, hmmm? I thought Bruce Wayne would be a better choice for that. he is on your home turf, after all."
"I'm not talking romantically, Tony." That is said to stave off any misunderstandings that might be in the midst of brewing. "I find myself...wanting for more friends, I guess is what it really boils down to. I've spent so many years keeping people at bay that I've isolated myself to the point of loneliness." Selina grimaces and sips at the bubbly water, her eye darting to the side.
Tony smiles and sips his water. "I understand that feeling, believe me. And I'm sorry if my quip made you uncomfortable; I knew you weren't looking for anything along a romantic line. So, I suppose that's your first lesson in getting to know Tony Stark. I'm a rather shameless flirt when it comes to beautiful women, but I do it more out of jest than anything else. Everyone kind of expects it from me because of my younger days, so I put on a bit of a show for folks. I figure even if I can't party how I used to, I can still have fun in the appearance of being a party boy. All part of the illusion of high society, I suppose."
Selina sighs. "I am sorry. I should have known better, Tony. I understand about the flirting. Trust me." She's a shameless flirt herself so she really can't find fault in her lunch date being one as well, now can she? As he continues to explain she nods, finally relaxing the rest of the way. "I have to say that your not partying anymore has done wonders for you, Tony. You're looking positively wonderful. Like a new man."
Tony smiles and nods his head. "Thank you. And as i said before, you're looking quite lovely yourself. But I suppose being off the sauce for 6 years now helps me clean up." Another drink of his water before continuing. "By the way, don't ever feel you have to deny yourself a drink around me. I'm not a teetotaler or an evangelical that thinks alcohol should be abolished forever. People that can handle alcohol responsibly should do so and enjoy themselves."
The compliment gets Selina to laugh which gets several people to look their way. "Thank you, Tony." Reaching out for her glass, she raises it in a toast. "Nonsense, dear. I don't mind refraining from partaking. I don't really drink that often anyhow, I have to admit." Their lunch arrives soon after her response and she sets her napkin upon her lap.
Tony nods his thanks to the waiter and waits for Selina to start before he begins. "Fair enough. So then, since we're getting to know each other, tell me. What does Selina Kyle do with her time besides ensure wildlife habitats for cats?"
"My life is fairly boring otherwise," Selina answers in effort to deflect the question, this tiptoeing very close to the territory she doesn't like to delve too much into. "I like to throw parties and go shopping and chase billionaire men." Sounds positively boring, especially in light of her 'other life', which is exactly how she wants it to sound.
Tony chuckles. "Your average socialite, eh? And it seems neither one of us wants to talk about themselves. Which I have to admit is a refreshing change from my usual dates that only want to drone on about this dress or that car or whether Louis Vutton or Coach Leather makes a better carry bag for their Pomeranian." He chuckles and takes a few bites of his meal.
"I wouldn't go as far as to say I am 'average'," Selina says with a smile. "Too busy to be. Maybe harried and sometimes driven insane but hardly average." She takes a drink before taking a delicate bite of her meal, it good enough to get her eyes to half-close. "Oh my. This is so wonderful. I am glad you chose this restaurant for our meeting."
"It's always gotten the highest of ratings, and it's a nice change from the celebrity chef of the month restaurants that pop up constantly," Tony replies. "So, what keeps you so busy and on the verge of insanity?" The question is asked with genuine curiosity as he eats more of his meal.
Selina looks across the table, trying to catch Tony's gaze with her own, her expression growing serious. "I'm sure you know how it is. Having to chase down people who make promises only to never follow through. People who vow to help you out and then make you chase them down just to get a check. Selfish..." Feeling herself on the verge of a rant, Selina shakes herself out of it and adds with a sigh, "People like that should not be making promises in the first place."
Tony looks at Selina as she talks, nodding in agreement, although a bit confused at where this came from. But when she eases back and finishes, he smiles at her. "That's why we have lawyers, my dear. And it sounds like you have a couple of people in mind you'd like to feed to the lions. So to speak." Another chuckle and a roguish smile before he shrugs. "Rest assured, though. When I make a promise to help, I do whatever i can to follow though. So, you won't have to chase me down for a check for your charity." He takes a bite of his food and adds. "Unless you want to chase me, that is."
She knows that it came out of nowhere and she blushes, Selina embarrassed at her behavior. "I am so sorry, Tony. I've just been having a rough time with a few people. I didn't realize just how annoyed I was until I started to talk about it." Food is a good distraction and she takes a bite, it giving her time to calm herself down. "I don't think any legal action needs to be taken."
Tony nods. "I understand. And I know we don't know each other very well, but if there's one thing I've gotten out of rehab besides sobriety, it's how to be a good listener to the problems of others." He eats some more to let his words sink in before he continues. "So, do you want to talk about it? Believe me,I won't mind and it will still be more interesting than Louis Vutton for dogs."
"There's really nothing to discuss," Selina says before smiling. "Although, I am now curious. Louis Vutton for dogs? Who bores you with those kinds of details?" Another deflection. One that hopefully keep herself from being the direct subject of conversation. "Is that what you get stuck talking to those air-headed socialites who have clung to you, Tony? My, my. I am truly, deeply sorry."
Tony sighs in mock annoyance. "Yes, I'm afraid it's the price of extreme wealth. Or in my case, successful business and networking. I have to be seen at all the right places and with the right people. But, you already know all that. I'm sure you have some horror stories yourself about publicity dates and bachelorette auctions."
Selina leans back, her expression thoughtful. "I wouldn't say I have it too bad," she eventually admits. "I don't have men hanging onto me like you do women. I think the guys tend to find me...inaccessible and leave me alone for the most part. Which is a blessing." Except when it comes to the one man she longs for but it's mentally shrugged off while she struggles to keep the smile in place. "Hmm. Maybe it's time for us to start thinking about settling down and starting a family."
Tony chuckles. "Why Selina...is that a proposal?" He smiles and waves off the joke. "I know how you feel. You seem to have everything anyone could want, yet there's still things that you don't have that really matter. You start thinking about your legacy, what you're going to leave behind for the world, then it hits you that you don't have the one thing that makes you really immortal. A family." He finishes his meal and drinks the rest of the water. "And by that time, you think that maybe it's too late. Or if you really want to subject a kid to the kind of life in the press that you hate.;'
Tony's date is no longer hungry and her meal goes unfinished which can easily be contributed to the stereotype that woman rarely eat a lot due to wanting to keep their girlish figure. "That is it exactly," she says while nodding. She doesn't go as far as to point to her nose but it's obvious she thinks Tony hit the subject dead on regardless of the lack of gesture. "How old does one have to be before they get too old for such things, Tony?"
Tony smiles at Selina reassuringly. "Don't worry. I think you've still got another decade or so before you should start worrying about it. I'm sure you'll have found an exceptional man before it gets too late. Me? I'm about at the age where I should be getting ready to have a trophy wife."
"Another decade and I'll be pushing forty. No one will want to marry me then, Tony." Shrugging, Selina reaches for the bottle of faux-bubbly and it's poured from, the carbonated water allowed to fill her glass two-thirds of the way before the bottle is set to the side again. "Men have an advantage, Tony. It doesn't matter how old you get. You will always be able to find a wife. But us ladies? Tsk....not so much."
"You'll find someone, Selina," Tony says reassuringly and smiles. "If only for the fact that you are far more interesting than most socialites can ever hope to be. Makes me rather regret the fact that you're not interested in me in that way, really." Another smile to show he's still joking. Maybe.
"Now you're just flattering me," Selina chides him with a wry grin. "But thank you. I do appreciate it. And perhaps in another time we could have, hmmm?" There's a blush then but she eventually looks away, her chin dropping a hair when she does. "I am planning a charity ball. Going to raise money for my foundation. Was thinking I could have a date auction. Would love for you to be a part of it."
Tony was actually aware of the date auction, Diana having told him about it and basically guillted him into volunteering. He was just waiting for the right time to to talk about it. "I suppose I could do that. I've certainly put on a monkey suit and sat through a rubber chicken dinner for less worthy causes. So, go ahead and sign me up. I'll even keep my promise of a donation to you as well."
Selina raises a brow as she expected to have to work a bit to get Tony to agree but there he is, doing so as well as promising to donate as well. "Thank you, Tony. I do appreciate it." Of course she's now sitting there, trying not to get too lost in the thought of just how much money such an eligible bachelor will bring in.
"Think nothing of it," Tony replies. "Maybe I'll end up having a good night and be bought by someone who's an interesting conversationalist." He shrugs and smiles. "Who am I kidding. Airhead debutant. Every time I do one of these things."
"I could put a 'no airheaded debutant' clause on the invites," Selina says before she winks. "I do hope that you'll be able to find a nice lady to settle down with. And that I find a nice man. But, until then, here's to the reckless life of the hopelessly single." At that she lifts her glass in toast to her companion.
Tony smiles and clinks his glass with Selina. "I'll drink to that."