"Michelle…" A bored male voice drawls, the speaker a young man in his early twenties leaning a chin in his hand. He's staring very blankly at a woman on the other side of a restaurant table, a woman now glancing back to him suddenly. She had been staring out the large window they're seated right beside, watching the buses and cars pass by without much interest. She's not paying attention to him, definitely not. It's what, their third date? And she's still bored out of her mind every time she's in his company. And he's bored out of his mind every time he sits down with her, too. Her date has no idea why he's even bothering.

"Sorry, James," She apologizes, now training her eyes on his face and feigning interest. He glances her over again, noting the buttoned up hip-length black coat and the black slacks with vertical pinstripes, the very plain and average face, the mid-back length black hair hanging limply around her like a curtain, the pale complexion, and he really does wonder why he even bothers. It's not like Michelle King is anything special. She's definitely not anything special at all. James Thompson could do much better. He should. There are models he could be chasing down, instead of boring, plain, unassuming women like Michelle. She's bored of him and he's bored of her, but she's still trying to keep it together. Why does he bother again, with the boring woman with the C cup and the thin lips and those vivid green eyes that look creepy as fuck when they're in the right light?

Oh, that's right. Her fucking filthy rich brother is why he even bothers.

"James, what were you saying?" She asks him as the plates are set down in front of them, the plates with extremely small and extremely expensive portions. He brushes short blond hair out of his baby blue eyes, making eye contact with her vivid green pair, and plasters on a fake but convincing smile as he looks up at her. He's a handsome young man, a handsome and rich young man, with a boyish charm that works on damn near any woman he tries it on. It sure worked on Michelle, the little mousy girl across the table.

"It's not important. Anyway, how is your brother doing?" He asks casually, taking a forkful of whatever he's ordered (James didn't really care what he was ordering and doesn't recall, because he wants to get this damn dinner over with) and takes a bite, as she smiles a little frailly.

"Oh, Nathan? He's fine," She states, very obviously not used to eating at a fancy restaurant like this, nervously taking a sip of whatever soup she's ordered. It's so frail and adorable that it's sickening. If she weren't rich then he'd be off banging supermodels or something. He's a rich boy with daddies' money; he could be doing much better than a pitiful little thing like this. She doesn't even dress like she has money. "And…how are you?"

They have absolutely nothing in common.

"Fine," He says, finishing off his expensive plate of whatever, already glancing out the window himself as she starts talking about something or other. He hates having to talk with her like this. If only they could have a long distance relationship and he had to return the letters. But, anything to impress Nathan Anderson, of course. James' father's money is absolutely nothing compared to what Nathan is worth; if he can just get a ring on the bitch's finger, then he gets a taste of the real rich life.

If. Though he's really not worried about the chance of losing her favor; she's very lucky to get someone like him doing anything more for her than spitting on her when he walks by. James doubts that she's going to leave him. She'll definitely get nothing better with how she looks, and she probably knows it too.

"James?" Michelle says his name as softly as always, and he reluctantly looks back at her. "Are we ready to leave, then?" He asks, and she gives a nod. She's bored. She's very bored of him. Great, he's going to have to do something cute again to get her remembering why she's not single. And so he moves around the table quickly and offers her a helping hand up, smiling very casually as he does, and she laughs slightly and pushes him back.

"Oh, you know I hate it when you do that."

"Yes, I do, but I have to be chivalrous at least some of the time, now don't I?"

She doesn't answer him and is already heading for the door, as he pays with a credit card and waits for the waiter to bring it back to him. She's got an alright body, kinda curvy, okay ass, but great hips. She's shy and quiet and is completely stupid when it comes to being affluent and rich, which surprises him; shouldn't that brother of hers that he's trying to charm be teaching her a little about having money and power? She's adopted, by Nathan's late parents, and they're barely ever seen together, but they've got to talk at least a little bit, right?

He barely knows a thing about her. He has no idea what she likes to eat, what her favorite color is, her favorite animal, any of that useless shit. He does know that she likes roses, though, and that's enough. As long as he knows her personality and at least one supporting detail, he can change his personality to be whatever gets her married to him. Then, he'll have a mistress on the side to satisfy himself, and remain very rich and influential. Works out perfectly.

The waiter hands him his card back and he goes out the front door to find her, and he spots her leaning against the wall of the building and waiting. She sees him and he notices her forcing a smile, and it really, really makes him want to hit her right then and there. But he can't do that. Not right now, anyway. He hasn't before and he'll resist that urge for as long as he can, and he's got great endurance for idiocy. It's the rich life in Gotham; everybody hates who they're married to, nobody has any real friends, and the weak get trampled by the strong. Michelle is lucky he got to her first; there's worse out there, really. He's doing her a favor.

"So, back to your place?" He asks her, very casually, as they slip into the back of his limousine, and she shakes her head. "No, drop me off at the bus stop."

Rejected. Just like the last two times.

"What, your brother not want you there with him? Is he throwing a party or something? How about my place, then?" James asks, annoyed. He doesn't like her personality, but maybe he'll like her more if he gets to fuck her at least a couple times. Michelle just stares out the window as she answers in the monotone that never ceases to piss James off.

"I don't want to intrude," She states, and he runs a hand up her thigh casually. "Believe me, you won't be," he breathes in her ear, and she flushes slightly but focuses her gaze out the window more pointedly.

"Stop here, driver," She tells the man up front, and he complies. James knows that he's still not getting any tail, and he sighs and drops back against the cushion of his seat, defeated. She swats his hand off her leg and steps out of the car, though as he pulls it back, she catches it and trails her fingers along his, tantalizingly.

"Not now. I'm a little stressed today," She coos, smiling to him softly, before he leans forward for a kiss and she shuts the door. Michelle doesn't watch the limo pull away, though she hears it, and instead walks the block down to a very cheap apartment complex and spends a moment opening the lock on her door, sighing.

"Idiot," She growls, under her breath, while walking in her house and locking the door behind her. He didn't listen to her talking today, because if he had, she damn well would've known. That date was horrible, just like all the others were.


"And how are you?" She asks him, watching him staring out at nothing in particular. She's fiddling with her watch, a cheap little thing, and he mutters a 'Fine' and she starts talking again.

"Oh James, you know that I hate you. I hate you so very much and sometimes," She narrates to herself in a tone of voice perfectly audible to him, "I just want to HURT you somehow, so you can't be so very perfect and so very sure that you're any better than I am..."

He doesn't listen. He never does. The restaurant is busy and the noise is so loud that nobody but them can hear what she's saying, and so she just goes on and on, since it's pretty much the only way that she can even stand his presence.

"That's okay though. I know what you want and I wonder what you'd do if you knew that for all the money that Nathan has, he doesn't give me any of it. I'm not going to inherit any of it either. We barely speak. I live alone in the gutter. Sometimes my power gets shut off and I have to burn trash to keep from freezing."

Michelle knows that he didn't hear her. She's muttering about almost freezing to death and he's thinking about being a rich bastard. But that's okay. Because it's the Gotham rich life and a poor woman is getting a taste of it. She stays with him just so she can get free meals from nice restaurants. Nathan pays for her shitty apartment and she's got a very low-paying job in a cheap bookstore to pay for her food. Not to mention her shitty and self-esteem destroying side-job of playing a clown at birthday parties. She has no dreams, no aspirations, and no goals for the future.

Life has never been better.

"James?"


"Oh, how he annoys me," Michelle sighs, tossing off her cheap (but stylish…sort of) black coat onto the couch, tugging at her black turtleneck to try and get air flowing under it, to cool her off. Wearing all black is uncomfortable, but this outfit is the only one that looks expensive enough to get into the nice restaurants that James takes her to. Now that she's not going anywhere nice for the rest of the night (and she notes that it's getting close to midnight, as her plain wall clock with roman numerals tells her) she goes ahead and pulls off the cheap heels that look expensive enough, abandoning them by the couch, and then walks into the small and relatively dirty bathroom. She wipes off her makeup humming the tune to some song she can't remember where she heard, making sure that there aren't any remnants of it left over when she's done washing her face, before walking lazily towards her couch. She doesn't have a bed because she can't afford one, so she sleeps on her couch. As soon as she gets her paycheck on Friday, she can buy groceries and won't have to eat bologna for a week straight, or go out for any more expensive dinners with James and have to dodge any sexual advances of his.

"You scream like a whore...I hate when he comes onto me," She cuts off her song after the word 'whore', now pulling her black hair from the ponytail it's been in all night, dropping the hair tie near the sink as a second thought before heading back.

Michelle drops onto her couch and pulls the thin sheet over herself, knowing that she has to work tomorrow, and spends the few minutes she lies awake thinking. About everything, about anything that comes to mind. She's slightly unhappy with her life right now, but only slightly. Mainly, that's because she has to leech off of dates for good dinners, like some sort of parasite. But, that's okay. There aren't any shortages of men that want to date her, that want Nathan's money, so as soon as James loses his worth, she'll dump him and grab another one. She's kind of disappointed that it's so easy, but at least she can pull it off.

She's also unbothered that her entire life is a smoke and mirrors act of keeping up appearances. Isn't everybody's nowadays? In any case, the only people that she uses are the ones that deserve it. James isn't a nice man; he's an abuser, and he wants nothing of her and only her money and he'd probably cheat on her as soon as she married him. He'd probably beat her too. So he deserves to be used. She's much more important and useful to the city than he'll ever be.

That's how she sees it, anyway.

Contented for the night, Michelle rolls over and falls asleep, so that she can start her smoke and mirrors act all over again tomorrow morning.