The Politics of Pizza

Una Bella Pizza Parlor

Una Bella is a very large, open and sparkling place. Corrugated metal decorates the walls, the rounded edges jutting out about an inch or so to make it look as though one is standing inside a large package of boxed food. The floor is likewise made up of metal tiles, furthering the atmosphere. A few small chrome tables are set about the pizzeria with a tall counter and stools lining the walls. A large counter spans the length of one wall, behind the glass one can find a variety of different luncheon meats, as well as vegetables, salads and hot foods for easy boxed lunches. A large pizza oven and a grill can also be found here, to create pizzas and grilled sandwiches. A full menu is listed on a sign above the counter.

The particularly chilly night air has left very few people wandering out and about. As such, the pizza parlor isn't very full tonight. The blonde mayor's aide can be found standing at the counter as he browses the menu. Luckily he has some time to make his mind up since there's a customer in front of him. Judging from the hellacious rumbling of his stomach, Carter is more than definitely hungry. The man has chosen to wear something a little more casual than what he does on the weekdays; grey t-shirt, blue jeans, and black tennis shoes create a much more relaxed ensemble than he's prone to wearing. All in all, he's rather unassuming, even vulnerable right about now. He squints just a bit at the menu as he tries to make out the words. "Great, now I need glasses?" Carter asks no one in particular, mumbling underneath his breath as he waits to place his order.

"Only if you're looking for the specialty dishes. Sausage, pepperoni, pepperoni and mushroom, cheese, and veggie seem to be fairly standard at most pizza places," a soft voice counters in reply as the young brunette slips into line behind him. A single satchel-style backpack slung over her shoulder, Samantha offers a warm yet somewhat shy smile as she leans over a little to gesture up at another section of the menu, "…but if you're set upon one of the subs, you might want to invest in the glasses after all." She takes a moment to readjust the weight of her bag before falling silent as she goes back to mulling over the menu once more on her own.

Carter turns just in time to see an attractive girl talking to him about the menu. He blushes with suitable embarrassment, giving her a quick half-grin. "Oh, you heard that, eh?" He asks before shrugging his shoulders and smiling easily at the girl behind him. "I was sort of thinking about a sandwich, yeah. Do they have meatball subs here? I was thinking about getting one of them and a medium pizza — not because I'm a glutton… but because it'll last me until…" Carter eyes the wall clock for a few minutes. "Oh, at least midnight, maybe two." He looks at the girl's satchel and considers it for a moment or two. Seemingly mostly out of curiosity. He turns back around to consider the menu once more with sincere determination before he's called up in line.

As the conversation actually redirects back to her, the young woman turns to regard the fair man with a sheepish smile in return, "Well… I won't tell if you won't… but yes, you were maybe a wee bit loud." Her golden depths slip back up to read the menu before adding with a faint nod, "Meatball, chicken parm, and it looks like some sort of italian sub…" As he is called forward, Samantha once more falls into silence as she awaits her turn. A hand lifts to tuck a stray curl back behind her ear while waiting, taking the time to survey the rest of the parlor curiously and its sparse patrons.

The young man puts in his order for a meatball sub and a supreme pizza, along with a large Coke. The total is spouted off by the clerk and Carter pays up promptly, stepping aside so that Samantha can have her turn in line. "So, are you here alone?" He asks, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck. "If you are, I could use the company, if you wanted to sit with me… unless you're one of those people who doesn't like to be watched while she eats or something…" Carter trails off there, clearing his throat as he waits for his order. He murmurs, "Yeah, I'm going to just stop talking now."

"Hmm?" the question captures the young woman a little off-guard as it takes her a moment or two to process the conversation, "What? Oh, I… no, I am not with anyone." She takes a step closer to the counter to place her own order of a slice of veggie pizza, small side salad, and bottle of water. As she slips her hand into the front flap of her satchel pack, Samantha's gaze slides back over to light upon the fair man with a genuine curl of her lips, "If you promise not to watch me while I eat, I'd be happy to keep you company. Though I don't often eat with strangers." She pauses for half a moment before adding warming, "I'm Samantha Niveus, Sam, actually…"

Carter lets out a quiet laugh, grinning at Samantha. "Well, I think I can do that much. I have to admit that the ol' staredown while eating has always made me a little nervous. It's why Christmas dinner back at the Moore house never goes very well." At least part of the reason. He offers Samantha a hand, smiling at her once more in that carefree manner. "Carter Moore. Pleasure to meet you, Sam." After that, there's the briefest of pauses. "Mind my nosiness, but I noticed you didn't order anything with meat. Vegetarian, or do you just like to eat really healthy?"

"Likewise, and Vegetarian…" her head tilts a bit to the side in thought, "…or mostly, anyways. I'll eat fish, but that's about it. I think it's technically Pescatarian or something like that." She waves the matter off as she finally fishes out the appropriate payment and passes the bills to the cashier before stepping off to the side to allow the next person to order. Samantha glances from the workers back to him with a rather amused curl of her lips, "I'd almost ask the same of you, but considering your order it's a rather moot question. So, I have to ask, do you always invite strange women to share your dinner table or only the ones you want to watch eat, hmm?" she teases warmly.

"Likewise, and Vegetarian…" her head tilts a bit to the side in thought, "…or mostly, anyways. I'll eat fish, but that's about it. I think it's technically Pescatarian or something like that." She waves the matter off as she finally fishes out the appropriate payment and passes the bills to the cashier before stepping off to the side to allow the next person to order. Samantha glances from the workers back to him with a rather amused curl of her lips, "I'd almost ask the same of you, but considering your order it's a rather moot question. So, I have to ask, do you always invite strange women to share your dinner table or only the ones you want to watch eat, hmm?" she teases warmly.

"Who says you're strange? Is that an admission?" Carter asks good-naturedly before letting out a quiet laugh. "I just felt like it, really. And no, not always. At least, most of them tend not to agree so readily. So if you're going to rob me once we get outside, I'll just warn you that I only carry about forty dollars cash on me and my car got stolen yesterday." It's all said in jest, Carter grinning at Sam as he gives a faint shrug of his shoulders. "For the record, I'm not into watching girls eat. That would be strange — even in this day and age, for me at least." One of the clerks puts his order down on the counter in front of him. Carter doesn't immediately reach out for his order, instead smiling at Samantha. "I'll wait for you. Pescatarian? They have labels for everything these days, don't they?"

"Don't you know, labels make everything so much easier to rationalize and compartmentalize eccentricities," Samantha adds easily as she shift the weight of her bag again. His admittance inspires a genuine flush of color to her cheeks as she shifts a little uneasily, "Well, I figured if you intended me any harm, I would have felt it by now. Besides, you remind me a little of a lost puppy and it's really hard to turn down invitations from lost puppies." Her lips curl into warmer smile as she casts her gaze curiously around the room once again, "But I can assure you I am not one to rob anyone. Forty dollars is not liable to help me overly much and I crashed my own car a few weeks back, so… unless you have a hidden trust fund or happen to own a car worthy of grand theft auto — I think you are fairly safe with me," her gaze slides on back to offer him a playful wink. Her own food arrives minutes later, neatly organized upon the tray as she reaches to collect it before looking back towards him, "After you…"

Carter laughs a little bit, fighting off a blush when Sam likens him to a lost puppy dog. He clears his throat and grins at her somewhat sheepishly. "I guess there are worse things to be compared too, really." After that there's a brief silence as Carter thinks of something witty to say. "Well, I did have a car worthy of grand theft auto. Yesterday. It really was stolen. As for the trust fund? Not exactly. But I do alright for myself, most of the time." Except for when he has days like yesterday, evidently. He reaches up to run a hand through his hair, smoothing it away from his face before he grabs his order and starts to lead Samantha towards a booth near a corner. The order is carefully balanced in his arms, although his footing is fairly fast. He seems a little relieved when he's able to put the pizza box, sandwich, and Coke down on the table. "After you!" Carter says, motioning towards the booth.

Samantha actually blinks at the admission of the theft, eyes widening slightly, "You mean you were being serious? I… uh… I really am sorry, I thought you were just teasing. Wow!" she shakes her head a little as if to try and shake off the disbelief. The gesture for her to claim the booth first is met with much relief as the young woman slides right on in, her own tray balanced within her hands, "Thank you." Once settled within the booth, she places her own tray upon the table before her and proceeds to remove her satchel pack and place it to the side. It takes her a few moments to weigh her next words before she questions curiously, "Did you report the theft to the police? Any leads? Do you have any sort of GPS tracking or locator that could possibly help them find it?"

"I reported it and the officer who spoke to me about my claim was really nice. But it was an older car, so there was no GPS in it. Still, it had a lot of life in it." Carter sighs as he takes a seat across from Sam, lifting his Coke to his lips to sip through the straw for a moment before he starts to unwrap his sandwich carefully. He grabs a few napkins from the dispenser on the table and wraps them around his sandwich, effectively making sure his hands don't get too dirty from the marinara sauce of his meatball sub. "Don't apologize about it. Things happen. The police said they would go over the security tapes at the mall to see if they could get a handle on anything that might give them a good lead." Carter gives a faint shrug of his shoulders before he takes a bite of his sandwich and makes an appreciative noise.

"Still, it's an unfortunate incident…" she adds thoughfully as she reaches to grab the pepper, dusting her salad with a faint spray before placing the shaker back down again. Samantha shifts a little in her side of the booth to open her satchel pack, reaching in to remove what appears to be a small pack of her own dressing before once again closing the pack flap as she turns to attend her salad, "I actually prefer older cars to the newer ones. They have more character and often times a better frame — not that I really know anything about cars…" She pauses for a moment to cast her attentions fully upon her table companion with a curious lift of her brow, "So what is it you actually do, Mr. Moore, when you aren't sharing a table with the likes of me or battling evil car thieves that have taken a liking to your own vehicle, hmm?"

Carter nods a little bit and smiles at Samantha after he finishes chewing and swallowing. "Thanks. I guess I should be grateful I didn't get hurt and that no one else did." He nods in response to her quip about preferring older cars to newer ones, taking another bite of his sandwich when the question about his occupation comes. He quickly chews and swallows, taking a drink of soda to wash everything down before he smiles easily. Little does he know that there's a spot of marinara sauce on his upper lip. "I'm an aide for the mayor. It's a life of political intrigue and mystery." He pauses before grinning a bit more fully. "Mostly, it's a bunch of errand running and note taking. But it's a job. Not necessarily what I always wanted to do with my life, but good enough for now. Might open up some doors. You never know." Carter blinks and then laughs, shaking his head. "I don't think I've ever out and out battled any car thieves. They'd probably win… I'll let the fine women and men of this city do their job at the police department."

Proceeding to tear open her dressing as she drizzles the liquid over her salad, Samantha takes a few extra minutes to toss her salad around with her fork while listening. The mention of his job actually inspires a rather amused laugh as she lets out a slow sigh, "Oh… why am I not surprised. Another politician. I swear you guys pop up like daisies everywhere I look?" She carefully dismisses her question with a shake of her head, finally skewering some of the veggies of her salad before raising the fork to poise at her lips as she continues, "Well, hopefully the police will catch the car thieves for you. Admittedly your own vehicle might very well be long gone by now, but you never know." She eventually takes a bite, chewing politely while her hands reach to uncap her bottle of water to permit it to breathe for a few minutes more.

He shakes his head at Samantha, laughing. "Politician? Hardly. No… not me. I don't think I have quite what it takes in terms of… well, to be blunt, being a total bastard." He shrugs his shoulders somewhat before he takes another drink of his Coke and leans back in the booth, getting a little more relaxed. "Anyway, I went to school and studied business, with a minor in medical studies. I only got this job because one of my professors recommended me. It's definitely not a forever thing." He takes a bite of his sandwich and nods to her next words before grabbing another napkin and dabbing at his mouth, just now noticing the marinara sauce there. He flushes briefly before smiling at Samantha. "Yeah, you never know. It was just a car. There'll be other cars. Maybe next time I'll invest in one with a GPS tracker. So, what do you do for a living?"

"Professional student, mostly…" she counters with scarcely a pause as her gaze slides back to her satchel, "…though I need to go back to waiting tables on the side. Grants, loans, scholarships — they're all well and good but there's not much left when it comes time to paying the actual bills that matter." Samantha actually takes a plastic knife and fork and begins to orderly cut her pizza slice into tinier pieces as she continues, "I'm pre-med at UTD with a minor in Botany and Latin. I'd be done already but decided to take a year or so off to assist my family back home." The comment about politicians actually inspires a genuine beam of a smile to curl upon her lips as she offers warmly, "Not all politicians are bastards, you know… I mean most definitely are, but there are a few of the rare gems that really aren't. Unfortunately they are very few and far between. I couldn't be one myself, not without doing a significant amount of purging along the way at least."

Carter nods in understanding about the professional student remark. He takes a drink of his Coke once more before his eyes drift towards the satchel. "Full of school books, huh? I had to buckle down and start really studying my last two years of college. The first two I wasn't that dedicated to my studies…" He trails off and laughs, taking the time to eat a bit more of his sandwich as she talks about her majors and politicians. About halfway through the sandwich he puts it back down and wipes his hands on another napkin before tucking it next to the pizza box. "You're close with your family? That's nice. Pre-med, huh? Interesting. I wanted to be a pharmacist, hence the minor in medical studies." After her quip about not all politicians being bastards, the blonde laughs. "The mayor isn't a bad guy. Pretty likable, actually. But that's what I'm saying — about the purging."

Looking back to her bag, Samantha actually laughs as a rather sheepish smile creeps upon her lips, "Well, I wouldn't exactly call them school books — more like, encyclopedias of a personal interest." Slowly she reaches to stab a piece of pizza with her fork before plopping the piece in her mouth. Indulging in silence for a few more minutes to actually partake in her meal, the young woman finally continues the conversation, "As to my family, we are very close. My cousin's down here as well and we share a place. She's actually studying law enforcement." Pausing for a moment of consideration, she muses thoughtfully, "I really should introduce you two sometime…you'd like her, most do."

"Personal interests are nice," Carter says, grinning at Samantha before he finishes his sandwich off and disposes of the marinara covered napkins next to the pizza box. He idly dusts his jeans free of any crumbs and licks his lips to make sure there's not another potentially embarrassing marinara incident before looking back to Samantha, smiling at her. "That sounds nice. Law enforcement? Hmm. I didn't think many people actually studied it these days." When Samantha brings up the idea of introducing Carter to her mysterious law-studying cousin, he quirks his brows in faint surprise. "Oh, yeah? Well, I'm all about meeting likable new people. To be honest, I don't have terribly many friends in the city. Where do you hail from originally?"

"Chicago, and you?" her reply echoes warmly as she redirects almost naturally while taking the time to again delve into her salad. Though considerably slower in her efforts to polish off her own meal, Samantha does appear to be making decent progress. Her body shifts a little uneasily within the booth, a smile still curled upon her lips, "What about your family, are you guys close too?"

"Colorado. Denver. It's nice there if you love skiing and snowboarding, or you're just masochistic and you enjoy shoveling six feet of snow out of your driveway." Carter takes another sip of his Coke before he leans back fully in the booth, letting his eyes roam the pizza parlor so that Samantha won't be uncomfortable with his eyes focusing on her as she eats. "My family and I? No… I'm sort of estranged from all of them. Everyone but my younger sister. I talk to her a lot, but the others? Not so much." He lets out something of a laugh after that, trying to keep his voice neutral as his discusses his family.

"Sounds an awful lot like Chicago with all the snow," her words echo warmly as she reaches to take a sip of her water as she settles a bit more comfortably into the boot. Samantha listens as he continues on about his family and sister before granting a soft sigh, "I'm sorry. I couldn't imagine being estranged from my family — there's no way my mother would ever tolerate any of us not calling her at least twice a week… not to mention my father. I seriously think if I didn't check in with them regularly, he'd be on the next flight down here demanding answers."

Carter laughs a little bit at Samantha's explanation of her family — particularly about her mother expecting a call twice a week. It's not that he's laughing at her, persay, more that the idea strikes him as funny on a personal level. "The last time I spoke to my parents was the day after Christmas. They made sure I got on my flight back home." And from the way he says it, not to make sure he got on safely. Eventually he shrugs his shoulders and smiles easily at Samantha. "I've always wondered what having a normal family would be like. It sounds pretty nice. Do you have any brothers or sisters yourself?"

"I wouldn't necessarily call us normal by any definition of the word, but I wouldn't trade them for all the tea in China," Samantha admits with a warming smile. The recounting of his own last familial contact elicits a mild frown and purse of her lips in sympathy, "Some folks really are not meant to be parents, I think. It doesn't make them bad people by any means, but perhaps ill-equipped for the responsibilities of loving someone unconditionally. I can honestly say that in all the times my brother and I ever stepped outside the boundaries, despite our parents' harshness — we never once doubted the love they held for us." She sighs a little as she finishes up her meal and begins to orderly place her trash back upon her tray before discarding it towards the end of the table, finally answering the rest of his question, "One brother, no sisters — though I often considered trying to sell him in favor of a younger sister or two. Unfortunately I think my parents would have killed me if I ever went through with the sales."

The blonde is content to sit and listen as Samantha talks for a moment. When she mentions that she doesn't think some people were meant to be parents, there's a distinct sadness in his eyes and the faintest beginning of a smirk on his lips. He leans his chin on his outstretched palm, elbow propped on the table top. He can make no such claims about how he just knows that his parents love him, because he doesn't. And he's positive that they don't. Eventually he laughs and then grins at Samantha. "Little sisters can be something of a pain in the backside, no matter how much I love my own. But I guess that's siblings for you. I always thought maybe I would have wanted a little brother. I got stuck with an older sister and a younger one." As he reveals his position as the middle child in the family, Carter stacks his trash atop of his Samantha's and slips his tray underneath it to make clean up a little easier. "My parents probably would have killed me had I tried to sell either of the girls. I only ever considered it a few times though. I'm not quite the evil mastermind you are," he jokes, winking.

"Me?!?! An evil mastermind?!?!" the idea literally inspires the young woman to burst into a near fit of giggles as she tries hard to suppress them to no avail. Samantha's cheeks flush a bright pink while her brown depths flicker with a vibrant amusement, shaking her head, "I'm hardly evil by any standard. I couldn't even pull the wings off a fly without crying and feeling remorse for the poor thing… and that's an insect." She shudders a little as her laughter slowly subsides, "But, I will not quite dissuade you on the mastermind part. I've been the engineer of more than a few plans in my earlier days — though I will swear to you and anyone else that asks that any complaints about those plans were made out of sheer jealousy by parties not permitted to be involved in the plans themselves."

Carter can't help but laugh at Samantha's reaction to his jesting, grinning at her. "Well, at the very least, it made you laugh." His grin widens as she explains about being a mastermind. He fights back a laugh and shakes his head. "Alright, I'll keep that in mind just in case it ever comes up. Being in politics, I guess I shouldn't be surprised if it did." After that there's a brief silence before Carter takes his cell phone out of his back pocket and checks the time. "Wow. I should be getting home, unfortunately. I have a lot to do tomorrow." Mostly laundry, cleaning, other bachelor-type things. He reaches into his front pocket and takes out a business card, passing it to Samantha. "Just in case you really do want to introduce that cousin of yours to me, that's my cell phone number. I can be reached there at any time of the day, though sometimes it'll go straight to voicemail if I'm in a meeting or something like that."

Reaching to accept the card, the young woman lifts it to look over the number — tracing it with her finger for a moment before nodding in return, "Just in case, hmm?" Arching an elegant brow, Samantha teases warmly before turning to tuck the card into the pocket of one her satchel flap. Taking a deep breath of her own, Samantha looks back to the trash on their table and nods, "I really should be getting home as well. I'm rarely out this late and the longer I delay, the more questions I will have to answer." She begins to slide out of the booth, leaning over to collect her satchel as she swings it back over her shoulder, "It was really nice to meet you, Carter — hopefully, we can do it again sometime."

"Sure. Even if you don't want to introduce your cousin to me and you just want to talk or something… give me a call." Carter stands up and grabs his box of pizza, undoubtedly dinner for the next few days. "It was really nice to meet you, Samantha. Try not to make any sibling trading plans in the mean time, otherwise I might have to trade you an older sister for a younger brother if it comes right down to it." He grins at her before he heads for the door, making a hasty retreat to the bus stop in order to catch the public transit before it shuts down for the night.

"Don't tempt me too much with the trade there…" Samantha adds with a soft laugh as she grabs the tray to toss the trash. As he leaves, she takes a moment longer to survey her surroundings one last time — perhaps looking for something, before finally heading on out to hail herself a taxi on back to her apartment.

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