Not A Date

September 12, 2014: Clint and Lara do dinner and a movie, but it takes a while for one of them to realize it's not actually a date.

The Carlyle Restaurant - New York



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Mood Music:

This is where it's actually useful to have a motorpool from which to choose vehicles at work. There's a whole slew of sedans to choose from, and there's nothing like a detailed late-model car with which, if not impress someone, at least not tank the entire outing.

Movie and dinner. On a Friday night, even! (And the phone hasn't yet rung, which is a plus.) Once the movie lets out, and car doors are opened for the lady upon entrance and egress, the traffic is a little rough for the reservation at the hotel… the hotel restaurant! The Carlysle.

Having been warned that dinner -is- a jacket affair by the maitre'd on the phone, there is actually one hanging upon a hanger in the back seat (along with some sort of hard plastic case and a quiver on the floorboards as well). Valet parking means that yet more of the hard-earned paycheck slides through his fingers, but Clint's already resigned himself that this is the way it is. Period.

And so far? He's enjoying himself.

The door to the restaurant is opened to them, and names are gained, 'Barton. For two'. With something of a glance towards -him- moreso than towards Ms. Croft (there are always little 'tells' no matter how hard one tries for there not to be!), the pair are led towards an elegantly appointed table. Clint nods his thanks, and seems to be on a roll with his manners- a chair is pulled before he settles himself.

Ducking his head slightly, and lowering his voice, his regard seems to take in the whole room as he shares, "This.. this is something else."

Lara is dressed impeccably in Oscar de la Renta, a simple beige dress with a glittering knit on top, and a lace skirt on the bottom, with nude pumps. Her hair is down and tousled, her makeup simple and fresh. "The Carlyle has a lovely menu. Chef Jacques is magnificent." She doesn't even peruse the menu, having dined here often since she began living in the city full time. "I'll start with the Fois Gras Torchon, followed by the rack of lamb, with grilled asparagus and the fingerling potatoes. I'd like a nice Pinot Noir to drink until dessert. Then I'd like coffee with the dark chocolate souffl." She smiles and hands the waiter the menu.

Lady Croft has been cordial and friendly all night but, Clint may have noticed with his super spy skills, there hasn't been much romantic gesturing. Or any. At all. "The movie was great fun. The tree was the soul of the film."

Nope. No handholding, no whispering in the theatre… and it hasn't escaped his notice. Not in the least.

The ability in which Lara puts in her order really is remarkable, leaving Clint little time to actually work out what it is that is on the menu much less what it is he wants. Normally there's a glass of wine, some idle talk; all cover for 'what is that on the menu?'. Okay. Shrimp, oysters and lobster. Check. "I, uh.. will have the shrimp cocktail, and.." Oh look! Friday. That looks good. "..the Scottish salmon?" Oof, probably easier just to say, 'I'll have what she's having..' "Coffee's great for dessert, thanks."

With a smile to the Madamoiselle and a dubious glance to the Monsieur, the menus are taken and a small bow given before the waiter departs.

"I'd heard all the reviews and just never got a chance to see it. I'm glad you came." Clint takes exception, apparently, to the folded napkin and he picks it up and off the table to give his fingers something to do. "I'd just probably have a hard time taking a racoon seriously as a partner."

"I don't know, Clint. I've had some partners that made the talking psychotic raccoon seem like a charmer," Lara says with a chuckle. Shepulls an envelope from her purse. "I have our next mental health night all set," she quips. "Mets versus the Houston Astros on the 26th, I booked the Sterling suite." Those are like, $300 tickets. Each. "And booked dinner there at the Acela Club inside Citi Field Stadium."

Wait, is this sounding like she wants to continue hanging out every few Fridays as buds? "I think going out and doing things with coworkers makes the job much less stressful, don't you?" Lara asks.

Barton actually chuckles at that and is forced to agree with a nod of his head. "Okay, I'll give you that one. It might actually be something of a vacation to know up front that there'll be problems." To be forewarned is to be fore-armed and such.

A water glass is reached for; something else to keep his hands busy, and as he pulls it towards him the tickets are produced. "Wow, really?" Mets are actually his favoured team, even if they're seemingly always the underdog. A soft whistle sounds as his eyes turn towards the envelope. "That's…" Stunning? Amazing? "… really nice." Dummy.

Now, however, brows rise and he lifts his gaze back to his dinner companion. "You mean, you wanna do this again." Statement and question. "With me." And another. There's something of that question that sits back on his face as he quirks his head. "Oh… yeah." Coworkers. Less stress. Right. "And, uh… this is good for you, right? To make it a regular thing?" The moment that escapes him, Clint follows it up with, "Not that I mind. No, really. This.. this is good. It's nice. I like you.. I mean this. This."

"I think it's a lovely thing, Clint. You're fun to work with and talk to. I don't get out much. My boyfriend and I both have crazy work schedules so it's nice to get out and do some things for fun now and then." Whoomp - there it is. "Not all our mental health nights need to be so extravagant. I like a burger and batting cages as much as fancy dining and box seats." Lara smiles and glances up as the waiter brings the wine. She does the whole approval of the label, cork sniffing, and tasting before it is poured thing.

"Well, what's not to like about-"

Whoomp, there it is.

Clint pauses in his words and looks as if he freeze for a moment, trying to decide exactly -what- he's going to say and how to swing things into a totally new direction. Recovery is slowish, but with the aid of the water glass and a couple of sips (swallows) there, he's almost got it covered.

A half-hearted laugh exits the Field Agent and the smile is a touch on the lopsided side as he bobs his head in agreement. "Yeah. Hours su— are pretty bad. I might have to put in for annual so I don't get sent somewhere before the game." Like.. name a hotspot in the world. Can't name just one!

"Oh hey…"

Clint waits for the cork presentation, and sits by while she does the cork testing and wine.. and once its poured and the waiter puts the bottle on ice and departs once again, he's free to continue. "… I like that stuff too. Bringing an ATV out of the city and going for a ride. Doing some climbing."

"That sounds like a great idea! I love climbing!" Lara bubbles with excitement at the idea. "It's a shame we work together. I have a policy not to date work contacts. Poor Matthew had to let his partner take over as my lawyer before we could date." She sips her wine and chuckles.

Clint's not entirely certain which is worse; a date with the ex-wife when she's feeling particularly vindictive, or the crushing blows being dealt by such a lovely, entertaining and intelligent woman. "Yeah," comes as a breathed half-chuckle. "Figured you did. I like to climb as high as I can. Everything looks so much better than when you're on the ground."

Just kill me.

Her policy. "You know," Clint puts his glass of water down and he leans forward slightly, remembering the rules his mom used to tell him (No elbows on the table, Clint!). "We won't always be working together-" Matthew. "Your lawyer. The guy…" Beat. "Oooh. Right." Of course.

"Speaking of working together…" Might as well just dig the grave just a little deeper.

"My relatives are a bunch of circling sharks, waiting for me to make any error that could get my inheritance stripped and settled firmly into their bank accounts," Lara explains. "So I try very hard to keep my professional life professional. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy the company of my coworkers as friends, however." She nods at him. "Yes. Matthew Murdock of Nelson and Murdock Law Firm."

Whiiiiich explains dating a lawyer. Got it. Barton is as far from an attourney as could be and still be walking around as a free man. There he goes, thinking that maybe something'll go right. It's going as 'right' as it could, he could suppose. She's at least planning for a second outing.

"Right. I remember that guy." Clint gives a half shrug and puts on his best game-face. "He's a lucky man."

That glass of water is almost empty, and so far, on an empty stomach, that wine is looking better and better.

"Oh.. uh.. was in Casablanca a little while ago. Came across something you might recognize. I didn't bring it along because, well… off work. But, if you could come into the office later… tomorrow. Next week.. Cap and I have something we could use your help with." Me more than Cap, obviously…

"I can certainly do that. What is it? In case I need to do some research before hand," Lara asks, seemingly oblivious to Clint's discomfort. If he only knew most, if not all, of her love interests wind up dead, he might rethink this whole 'dating Lara' thing.

"Thule. In Morocco." Vichy France. "At least that's what Cap thinks."

So much easier to be Hawkeye, the Special Agent than deal with his own personal life. The way it's going, maybe it's just best he -not- have one? Though, Clint's the sort that would go through hell and emerge on the other side for a friend, or a girlfriend. Or even an ex-. An assassin with feelings!

Though right now, getting a dog is almost a definite now.

"We're looking at vintage World War II stuff. All that Nazis looking for things that go bump in the night, as far as Research can figure."

"That definitely sounds intriguing, and right up my alley. I'd be glad to help. I gather what information I can. When do you need me?" Lara asks, as their appetizers arrive.

Clint nods towards the envelope with the tickets. "After that." Because, Met's tickets!

With the appetizers arriving, Clint is able to at least try and fill that empty spot in his stomach with good food. At first glance, it never looks as if it's anywhere near enough food, but to make his way half-way through, he bounces his head, left hand holding his fork. "This… this is good." Not boxed pizza. Not goat eyes in a sandy countryside.

As dinner wears on, whatever discomfort that Clint's had at the beginning begins to loosen its hold on the man. Something is always better than nothing, even if, at the moment, something may look like nothing.

Still, talk at the table is as varied as experiences are shared, history lessons explained… and work easily becomes mingled with pleasure.

Evening's end, Miss Lara Croft is driven home, escorted to her door… and Barton returns the car to motorpool, ready to crash on his office couch.

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