Description: The enigmatic Rick Tran tracks down the somewhat less enigmatic Gertrude Verhangnis in order to apologize for the behavior of his boss and also give her a fancy new jacket. Whilst uncertain of the man's motives - and faintly suspicious that all is not what it seems with the good Doctor - how can Gertrude turn down such a generous offer? Answer: She can't.
Gertrude has made it all the way back to Southtown from Russia after her somewhat-less-than-stellar performance against Sakura. Sometimes, these things just go strongly against you. It is a little bizarre that this seems to be the case most notably when she's fighting people many years her junior... but hey, these kids are stepping forth onto the international fighting stage. Maybe it shouldn't be SO surprising that they know how to handle themselves.
Today, Gertrude is wearing a strawberry-red woolen sweater and grey khaki pants along with heavy workboots. Unsurprisingly in this outfit, she is getting the cold shoulder from the fashionable stores which litter Southtown's Business District. Those which haven't actively hounded her out of the store have made no secret of the fact that she is NOT 'The Right Kind of Person' to be shopping in such illustrious establishments.
So the bespectacled German woman is in a bit of a bad mood, and is currently engaged in a staring competition with the shop assistant of Le Boutique du Wealthe through the window. Will she have the guts to follow through?!
It is a well-documented theory on the internet that Sakura's surprising prowess - and indeed, that of many of the children who attend the so-called 'rival schools' of Southtown - is a result of the GMO foods the Japanese government shoves down their throats. Detractors of the theory point out that if Sakura really was as fucked up on HGH as some claim, she probably wouldn't so closely resemble a broomstick that someone hung a school uniform on.
The debate rages on with no end in sight. We're destined to fight forever. Blood will run down the streets like rivers.
As Gertrude stares grimly into the window of Le Boutique du Wealthe, she finds herself the target of someone else's grim stare; a small Asian man in a white doctor's coat appears in her peripheral vision, holding a garment bag carefully in his right hand.
After a beat, he clears his throat and says, in almost unrealistically accentless German, "Pardon me. Lady Gertrude Verhangis?"
Gertrude turns to the strange man as he clears her throat. She might have assumed that it was a fan, here looking for an autograph, if he wasn't so... bland. The fact he speaks German tells her instantly that he's done infinitely more research into her roots than 99 per cent of people who had bothered to look her up after her unsuccessful belt challenge, and that makes him... what?
Where the heck did a japanese guy learn to speak German with less accent than a Hamburgner?
"Just, Gertrude please." She replies, "I don't think I'm allowed to lay claim to the title any more. The Family are... sticklers for that sort of thing."
She eyes the garment bag curiously for a moment, and then seeks to meet the Doctor's eye. He is clearly a Doctor; he has the coat. "You have me at a disadvantage, Doctor...?"
"Richard Tran." Tran bows his head slightly, presumably a show of respect and not checking out Gertrude's feet. But you never know! Especially with the sunglasses he's wearing, which make it technically difficult to meet his eyes. Sort of? It's all very complicated. "Just Rick will do, however... Gertrude," he adds after a beat, with a small smile.
Then he forges right the fuck on ahead, however, without giving Gertrude a chance to respond to the pleasantries. "Forgive me for bothering you, but I have a package that I have been tasked with delivering."
"Some time ago you participated in a fighting competition with a gentleman named Urien, in which, in the heat of battle, he used a degree and style of force that caused undue damage to your outfit," Tran explains. "Since then, he has come to regret this unsportsmanlike behavior, and wishes to make amends, via the presentation of a replacement." He holds up the garment bag, and begins the apparently arduous process of unzipping it.
"Rick..." There is something a little, strange, here but she can't quite put her finger on it. Maybe it is because the good doctor is wearing sunglasses in the middle of winter, but that's not too unusual. Given the choice, she'd wear her flannel jacket in a mexican heatwave, but that jacket had paid the ultimate price on her behalf. That option would never be before her again until she could find a boutique with a similar lack of style.
To stop herself tearing up, she adjusts her glasses and tries to pay attention to what the strange man is saying to her. Urien, that name definitely rang bell-- oh. That guy. That Urien.
There's a subtle narrowing of her eyes as she realizes who this guy works for.
"He was a total pigdog." She says, folding her arms across her chest, and... the Doctor is getting the clothes out already? "If this is a bikini, I should warn you, I am going to find him and feed it to him. I already told that infuriating agent I am not interested in anything like that!!"
A little bit defensive there, especially since she did in fact do a beach volleyball episode of her own BEFORE it was cool!
A sheepish look flashes across Tran's face when Gertrude mentions how... how /Urien/ urien behaved, and he pauses in unzipping the bag. "I beg your forgiveness on his behalf," Tran says, with another bow of his head. "The thrill of combat is a powerful drug, and when presented with the combination of it and a woman as beautiful as yourself, Mister Urien often forgets himself. I assure you, the gift is nothing so disrespectful as that."
He quickly finishes unzipping the bag, and opens it to reveal...
... a plaid flannel jacket. It's more aggressively a ladies' cut than the old one, and looks as though it may have been fitted specifically to Gertrude, but at its heart it's still a dumpy flannel coat.
"This was custom made specifically for you," Tran explains. "I took the liberty of obtaining your measurements, which i hope deals no offense. The flannel is woven of the super fine wool of the Black Forest Merino sheep of New Zealand. You should find it much softer than the coat that was lost."
There's a faint 'hmph' from Gertrude at the excuses given on Urien's behalf, but it sounds half-hearted. She'd suffered from exactly the same sort of issue herself, hadn't she? The thrill of the fight, calling her to battle - to say and do things that she, might not exactly feel comfortable with after. She'd have killed Widow stone dead for the title if it had been a possibility for her, and the intent ... well, that's almost as bad as the crime. Worse, really, because it means she's weak AND callow.
Those dark thoughts are dispelled the moment that the jacket is revealed.
"Gott in himmel..." She breathes, taking the jacket reverently in both hands, and lifting it up to get a better look at it. Gertrude wouldn't have believed that Urien felt a damn thing for her before - she does not think of herself as anything special as fighting women go, not with people like Mai around, but... what could this jacket be, but a loveletter to her personal style after all?
"It is beautiful." She says, looking from the jacket, to the Doctor, and back again. She feels a blush rising on her cheeks, ridiculously, and she can't stop it! "Are you... really? For me? Just because he hit me a little hard? I... this must have cost a fortune, I can't..." But she wants to! She really does. So pretty.
Tran shakes his head. "I insist. The damaged article was clearly of importance to you," he explains. "It is Mister Urien's belief that even one precious memory is of such value that no amount of money can compare. It is his hope - and mine - that, although we cannot undo the slight, this gift proves sufficient enough that you may someday treasure it as you did the old."
"It is not identical," he admits. As he does, he finally removes the jacket from the bag, hangs the latter off of his elbow, and then lifts the garment such that he can open it and silently invite Gertrude to try it on, with his assistance. "But - and again, I hope no offense is taken - we could not help but think what a shame it was that such a lovely woman would hide her figure under shapeless clothing."
"You will not find it to be untoward, of course," he adds quickly. "Somewhat more curve-hugging, perhaps, but perfectly suited to a woman of such dignity and poise."
Gertrude still doesn't look totally sold on all this. The jacket is wonderful, there's no doubt about that, but... Urien. /Urien/. The man really did remind her of her father - and that is always a terrible thing in her book. It is hard to tally up the way he had been acting with the act of sudden generosity, and there's something in Richard Tran's movements which... it is almost like the guy is too perfect. Weird. But she's known quite a few butlers in her time; if he wasn't wearing a labcoat, she could almost see him in a tuxedo with a tray of drinks.
"It is lovely."
She really means that, as she slides her arms into the jacket and marvels at the way it falls on her. She'd never actually owned a tailored garment before; her parents never saw fit to gift her with anything so expensive or ... nice, really. "Just a tip, though." And she looks over her shoulder, peering down her nose - because she doesn't have much choice, with how short Tran is - as she does. "Lay off with the poise and beauty, thing, a bit? I'm not. I own a mirror, you know." She has, too. For a whole month she's had an apartment AND a mirror. Totally revolutionary.
When Tran's hand brushes against Gertrude's shoulder as he helps her into the jacket, there is an almost electric tingle in the wake of the touch; certainly, it is an indication of some kind of chemistry between the two, and not at all because of some kind of mild electric current running through Tran's skin designed to cause that sensation and thought. That would be ridiculous.
As for the coat itself... well, its texture and fit can perhaps best be communicated with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNLJDR-XbVY
When Gertrude suggests he lay off the compliments, Tran frowns for the first time, and circles around to stand in front of Gertrude; his attitude shifts slightly, as if before had been him At Work, and what he says next is more from his own heart.
"Lots of beautiful women don't think they're beautiful," he points out. "And, while in honesty - and don't tell him I said this - I can't completely speak for the sincerity of the compliments on Mister Urien's behalf, I personally do think you're very attractive."
As if remembering himself, he clears himself and returns to Business Mode. "Ah, that said," he continues, "If you truly do feel that the gift is... somewhat extravagant, you could perhaps make up the difference by accompanying me to dinner at some point in the near future."
"For business purposes, of course," he adds quickly. "You impressed Mister Urien with your performance, and the organization we work for would like to investigate the possibility of contracting you for some odd jobs that call for the services of a Fighter."
"Although," he adds, looking Gertrude up and down, "With how striking you look in that coat, I certainly wouldn't complain if it were for romantic purposes." He flashes a rakish grin. He's probably just teasing, of course, but there IS something bizarrely handsome about this weird Asian midget.
If Gertrude could just shake the vague sense that she's talking to someone who... shouldn't be there, she'd probably be a lot more comfortable with the romantic overtures. As it is, she just finds them a bit perplexing, embarrassing even. She really doesn't think of herself as a beautiful woman - beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, and Gertrude has always been one of her own strongest critics.
There's a faint smile, though. She has to admire the shorter man's tenacity - and when he's honest about Urien, that seems to seal the deal for her. "Alright." She says, "Just business, but... alright. I'm a competition fighter by trade, I don't know the first thing about military or security work, if that's what you're hoping... but this is a brave new world we're living in. The least I can do is hear out what you want from me."
There's a mischevious smile tugging at her lips as she fastens the coat about her, slipping her hands into the warm, fuzzy pockets. So lush! "Tell your boss you got a date, I guess~."
Log created on 14:23:45 02/16/2015 by Gertrude, and last modified on 15:55:36 02/16/2015.