Summary: Apartment hunting leads to frustration, which gives way to success.
One bedroom apartment near Battery Park, recently renovated. No smoking, small pets allowed. Or so the ad had promised. "Renovation" apparently means a coat of paint and some curtains on a flimsy rod. And evidently, small pets include a small army of tiny, yippy dogs for the apartment directly above it. Karen Starr is not terribly impressed, and rubs her eyes and the bridge of her nose as she exits the building's front lobby onto the street. She takes the paper she's carrying, and adds yet another big red X to yet another ad in the FOR RENT section of the classifieds. Right now, there are more of those than anything else on that page. She's been at this a while, apparently.
She's not the only one. Steve Rogers is making his first solo foray into the modern world. Nick wanted to send a "handler" with him but Steve insisted in going it alone. He's been amazed at how fast Nick has managed to to get his identity rebuilt (albeit with some slight modifications, of course) and apparently Uncle Sam felt he was due some back pay. A -lot- of back pay. So now Steve is looking for a place to live. While he's not terribly picky and in truth most of these places are far better than what he grew up in, he -does- have some requirements that so far most of the spaces haven't met. He's also looking...well, not quite lost, but somehow, subtly out-of-place. He looks up a lot, and frowns a lot, but doesn't seem to not know where he is, in the sense that he's still moving purposefully, if paying a little more attention to the piece of paper in his hand than to where he's walking....
The woman who winds up directly in his path is built solidly. Very solidly. And doesn't seem to be knocked off balance at all when she turns to walk down the street and colides with Steve. She starts to open her mouth to snap at him, but remembers that perhaps /she/ should have looked up from her own paper before starting to walk away, and somehow manages to hold her tongue. More or less. "Oh, excuse me." Wow, she can be polite! Sort of. She sounds more surprised than apologetic, really. It's not often she's distracted enough to run into someone like that.
Well, Steve's not exactly "soft" himself, but that's by human standards. He doesn't lose balance either though, but he does backpedal a step or two, "No...no" Steve waves a hand dismissively, "No excuses necessary. I should've been paying more attention to where I was going, sorry." He looks a little bit sheepish, rubbing at the back of his neck, but the sheet of paper with several "X's" on it and some notes in the margin is visible in his other hand.
She actually blinks a few times when /he/ apologizes. Quite earnestly, even. She might be new to /this/ New York, but not to New York in general. And that... well, that's just not normal. "New in town?" she assumes, and nods to the paper in his hand. "Just a tip. Don't bother with this one," she says, pointing a thumb to the building behind her. "Unless you've got a fondness for barking rats and crappy insulation."
"Well..yes and no. I was born here but..." Steve glances around, frowning a touch, "I've been away for a long while, and it's definitely changed a lot." He looks towards the building as Karen indicates it, then glances to his sheet to see if he has this address. After a moment he marks off one of the items on his list, "Barking rats and bad insulation...got it." He smiles wryly, "Well, that's saved me one stop."
"I think I'm calling it a day with this sh-... stuff." Why exactly she felt the need to censor herself, she's not entirely sure. Maybe the guy reminds her a little of her cousin, with that aura of wholesomeness and all? Who knows? She offers him the paper. "In case there's anything here you don't have. I think I'm going to have to get a real estate agent or something, I don't have the patience for apartment hunting." Or much else, really.
"That sounds like it might not be a bad idea." Maybe it was a mistake going out on his own so soon. It's all...a little overwhelming. Or maybe he'll just have to take Nick up on letting SHIELD set him up with some suitable living accommodations. "Well, it looks like a couple of these are just a short ways down the street. May as well take a peek while you're in the neighborhood?" He smiles a touch. "Never know when the right place might be right around the corner."
"Yeah, fine, I guess." He just reminds her far too much of her cousin to argue with him. It's weird and she's muttering to herself on the inside, but she just sort of automatically takes the suggestion of the nice polite man to heart. "Might as well. Who knows, we could end up being neighbours." Probably a good thing she doesn't know his name yet. Because there would be a Mister Rogers joke in there if she did.
Of course, Steve would have no idea whether reminding her of her cousin is good or bad thing, but either way they head down the street and find the next address on the list, in a building that looks...considerably nicer than the last. Old, but well-kept. "Well, it's not looking too bad so far." Steve opens the door to let Karen pass before heading to the elevator.
Another blink of surprise. "Uh, thanks." She's not entirely sure if she /likes/ having the door opened for her, but... it doesn't seem fair to get in his face about it. Yet. He's not staring at her chest, at least. This is an improvement over a very large portion of the male population. Although the equation of polite/friendly + not staring at any parts of her body + in good physical shape just may be leading her to make... certain assumptions about him. "Okay. This one really isn't too bad." The lobby's nice, at least.
Oh he's -noticed- her...endowments, but he'd never be so rude as to ogle. He might be getting a lot of those assumptions before all is said and done. "Definitely an improvement over most I've seen today." Steve agrees. They exit on the 14th floor and head to the advertised apartment. So far, things are holding true. The place is nice, and even the person showing it isn't completely pushy nor completely vapid.
And they even have more than one unit available. After double-checking to make sure that yes, they do allow cats, she jumps on the option to rent one of the units. It's New York, after all. Chances are a decent place is only going to be on the market half a day before it's snatched up by someone. It's more than she was hoping to pay, but the League helped set her up with an identity with a pretty decent job when she got here.
Steve basically lets the realtor give her spiel uninterrupted, occasionally interjecting with a minor question here and there. When Karen's done making the preliminary agreements, he does ask, "Do you have anything higher up?" Which gets him taken to a larger, three-bedroom (and considerably more expensive) unit on the top floor. Not quite the penthouse, but definitely a few notches higher on the pay scale. Of course, by Steve's standards it's an outrageous amount, but he's also aware of the even-more-outrageous amount of money he has now. Eventually, he settles for it. The easy rooftop access will come in handy.
When it's all said and done, and they're back on the street after all the checks are written and papers signed, Karen looks at Steve. "So. Looks like we will be neighbors. As much as it's not exactly traditional for New Yorkers to know their neighbors' names... I'm Karen Starr," she introduces herself.
Steve smiles, offering a hand towards Karen, "Steve Rogers. Pleased to meet you, Karen." His handshake is firm, though that likely doesn't mean much to her, all told. His smile does turn a touch wry, "Glad I convinced you to look at one more?"
"...I have a neighbor named Mister Rogers?" she looks amused. "Yeah, thanks for that," she adds with a bit of a laugh. "I'm not the most patient of people, guess a little encouragement every now and then is a good idea." She actually smiles a little while shaking his hand.
"It appears you do." Of course, the joke completely passes Steve by, but by his tone it'd be hard to tell that he doesn't know what she's talking about. "I find a little encouragement can go a long way, sometimes." Steve's smile is considerably less reserved, "So in the interest of being neighborly, can I buy you a cup of coffee?"
There's a moment of hesitation before she answers. "I'll buy my own, but I know a good place down the street a bit if you want to go get something together," she suggests, by way of compromise. She's starting to wonder about those assumptions, now. Hm. At least he seems harmless enough. "If you insist." Steve notes, "Lead the way." Tall, well-built, handsome, polite, and harmless? Surely this is not possible! "Like I said, not too familiar with the city these days."
Oh, it's possible, alright. She's just not used to being not related to someone who fits the bill. She navigates the pedestrian traffic with ease- no more bumping in to people- actually, she seems to be pretty darn aware of her surroundings now that she's not distracted, avoiding just about everyone in her way until they get to the coffee shop- which has something of a larger selection than he's likely used to. At least she didn't bring him to Starbucks. She orders herself something relatively simple-sounding, and pays for it. The barrista warns her that it's hot, but she takes a sip right away anyhow, to no ill effect. "Two fifty for a cup of coffee? Insanity." Steve murmurs as he moves to seat himself across the table from Karen, with a simple cup of black coffee with two packs of sugar added. "So, if you don't mind my asking, what is it you do for a living, Karen?"
He really hasn't been to New York in a while, she can't help but think to herself as she catches that comment. "I'm a computer programmer for a business software company. Mostly I work out the bugs in consumer accounting programs. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but I'm working towards getting the funds to start up my own company, eventually." She blows on her coffee a little, if only for show.
"Ah..." Steve notes, blowing on his own coffee a few moments before sipping, "Starting your own company, the American Dream, huh?" That brings a smile to his lips, "Not much of a computer guy myself, but I hope it all works out for you."
"It's just what I'm good at, lots of memorization and repition. I'm hoping to do something with a bit more focus on green technology, once I'm able to. Something that might actually make a difference, if only in some small way," she explains, with a bit of a shrug. And then she hears something. Or at least she sits up a little straighter, as if she does. "I have to go," she says, very suddenly. "I kinda... ah. Forgot about an appointment." Yes, appointment. Not a gunshot she's hearing about ten miles away at /all/. Just an appointment!
"Oh...all right. Sorry if I distracted you." Steve notes, rising to his feet and grabbing his coffee, "I guess I'll be seeing you around. Nice meeting you Karen." It may be just as well. Computers and "green technology" were kind of making Steve's head spin.
"Oh, not your fault at all, I'm just a little absent-minded sometimes." She forces a smile, then makes a hasty exit, coffee in hand. Several minutes later, Power Girl just so happens to make an appearance, stopping a carjacking.
Without the benefit of Super-hearing, Steve Rogers remains in civilian guise and makes his way back to the nearest SHIELD office to let them know where he's going to be living. He's still not sure about this whole 21st century, but at least he's got a place to call home in a neighborhood he loves.