Raven leaned her head back, enjoying the warmth of the summer afternoon sun and the soothing sound of water running through the elaborate fountain she was sitting on. Turning to face Lora, she noticed her two shadows sitting on a bench under a tree about fifteen yards away. Despite the shade they were sweating like pigs in their thick black suits. Raven giggled and nudged Lora. "Bet they wish they were somewhere else," she said lightly, indicating the pair.
Lora shook her head, partly out of amusement, and partly out of grudging sympathy for the plight of the two men. "Sucks to be them. That whole 'Men in Black' look is, what... 60... 70 years old at least? You'd think they'd come up with a more comfortable way to do the vaguely intimidating schtick. At least the guys we can't see are more comfortable."
"I guess they think it's a uniform or something," Raven said. "I mean, you look at them and you immediately realize what they're up to, right?" She shrugged. "Oh well. If they want to sit in the sun and watch us do a whole lot of nothing, it's their choice." She smiled wolfishly and looked in another direction. "They're not the only ones watching us, too. See those two guys at the cafe? They've been checking us out ever since they got there. The brown-haired one's really cute."
Lora looked lazily over in that direction. The two guys in question were talking and eating and throwing occasional glances their way. They were doing the typical male thing and trying not to be obvious about it. But they couldn't help themselves. The brown-haired one was pretty cute, too.
"What if you were to go up to those guys and say 'hi'? What would the MIB brigade there do?"
"I'm not sure," Raven said. She looked at her shadows, who were still watching impassively. Raven wondered if they made cyber that disconnected the facial muscles, for that perfect blank expression. "Probably just stand nearby and look mean." She smiled. "How about we try and find out? Besides, that brown-haired one really is cute."
"Well." Lora said, suddenly remembering Matthew, "You go ahead and I'll give you moral support." She grinned.
"Ooookay." She got up. Her face was a bit flushed. "I'm ready. Yep. Um... Okay. I'm going." Taking a deep, steadying breath, she walked towards the cafe, her eyes set on the handsome brown-headed guy.
"Hi there," Raven said, leaning her elbow onto the handguard and laying her chin on her hands. She looked the dark haired man straight in the eyes, smiling.
He seemed at a loss for words himself. He grinned a bit sheepishly, "Uhm... Hi... Uhm..."
"Sorry to disturb you, but I couldn't help but notice you were looking my way," Raven said. "And I thought we ought to meet."
"Well, I'm very, uh... flattered that you're interested... that is... uh... um... Oh hell..." He looked helplessly over at his friend across the table.
The other man had an expression somewhere between chagrined and gleefully amused. He chuckled, "You're busted, Dave!"
"Uh..." Raven said, non-plussed.
Dave pointed accusingly at his companion, "What do you mean, I'm busted? You're the one who chose the table out in the open, smart-ass!"
"Uhm..." Raven said.
"Okay, then. We're busted. Happy now?
"What's going on here?" Raven asked.
"I can explain, Miss Clark." Said Dave. He reached drew out his wallet and flipped it open to show the Shiroko-Tsuhi logo on an ID card with his picture on it that also identified him as a security operative. "I'm Dave Collins, this is my partner," He jerked a thumb towards the other man, "Jeff McArthur, we're with S-T security Section 6, and we were just supposed to keep an eye on you unobtrusively."
"Oh, DRAT!" Raven said, embarrassed and visibly disappointed. "I thought you were looking my way for the other reason." Just my luck! I meet one cute guy and he's looking because he's being paid.
Dave shrugged, smiling, "Well, to be honest, there was a certain amount of that. If I'm supposed to be watching someone, at least it helps that she's as easy on the eyes as you are, after all." Jeff nodded in agreement at that.
"Well, I'll take that as a compliment," she said, smiling. "I suppose it would be unprofessional of you to tell me what you're doing after work tomorrow, would it?"
She hadn't been meaning to, but she timed it perfectly. Jeff had just taken a sip from his cola and subsequently spewed it back out across the table.
Dave took a moment to recover himself. "Um... Well, I hadn't made any specific plans..."
Raven smiled. "Really? How about you call me tomorrow and we can make some?"
"Well, if nothing comes up. Why not?"
"Great! Here's my number." She scribbled it up on a napkin. "In case you don't have it already." She smiled coquettishly and winked at him.
He chuckled, "I didn't, actually. But it's on file somewhere. I'll be sure to treat this 'valuable intel' with the respect that it's due."
Laughing, she turned and walked back to Lora. "Mission accomplished," she announced.
"Wow! Cool! Just knocked him dead, eh?"
"You'll never guess what he does for a living," Raven said mysteriously.
"Oh? What's that?"
"He's a Man in Black," she said, deadpan, "except that he doesn't dress in black."
Lora stared at her for a beat, then dropped her face into her hand with a smack. Then started giggling uncontrollably.
She recovered after a few seconds and looked back up at Raven, she said, "I guess this gives a whole new meaning to 'sleeping with the enemy', doesn't it?"
Raven laughed. "I guess I'm just a regular Mata-Hari."
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