Max's gaze swept the room as she ascended the staircase into the main gallery, scoping out the room.
Not seeing Luca, she took a seat at the bar and ordered an espresso martini. Picking up her drink, she took a sip and turned her attention to the live band on stage for a moment, before letting her gaze travel lazily over the people in the room, mentally taking note of those who were packing heat under their expensive suits.
Gabi watched as another yong girl entered, ordered a drink and sat. Pretty to the point of beautiful, even if the blond hair was a little incongruous with her skin tone. Another of Tony's little girls, but at least she wasn't heading on stage which increased her safety level slightly.
Feeling the weight of someones' gaze resting on her, Max allowed her gaze to meander with seeming aimlessness, her foot tapping a little in time to the music.
Her gaze fell on the attractive blond woman who was studying her, recognizing her as Gabriella Luca. She offered a politely vacuous smile, then returned her gaze to the stage, wondering if the woman had any clue as to what her husband got up to.
Out of the corner of her eye, Max noticed Luca himself enter the gallery accompanied by an associate, taking a seat at a table near the stage, puffing on a fat cigar as he picked up and sorted a hand of cards in what she was sure was an illegal poker game.
Tony settled, the poker a formality, a beard, as no one would dare to do anything other than let him win, especially as he was still in such a bad mood about the state of his hands and shoulder, still damaged and painful, but pretty soon, in spite of himself he was drawn in and all his attention was fixed on the cards and the pot in front of him.
Seeing that Luca seemed to be deeply absorbed in his game, Max decided it was time to do her thing.
"I'm going to go powder my nose," Max remarked to the man who was attempting to chat her up, as she set her glass down. Hopping off her stool, she made her way to the ladies room.
Pulling a compact out of her purse, Max powdered her nose while she waited for a couple of women to vacate the room. Putting her compact away, Max checked her purse to make sure she had all her equipment, and updated Logan and Lex via the butterfly brooch microphone she wore, "'K, Luca's busy gettin' his game on, so I'm goin' in."
Closing her purse, she exited the bathroom, glancing around to make sure no one was looking her way, before casually slipping down the hallway. Using a couple of lock picks, Max entered Luca's office thirty seconds later, and went about planting the surveillance equipment.
Gabi watched the young woman leave, and then re emerge and head towards her husband's office.
She looked around for a second before sliding off the stool and following, coming to stand at the door of the office.
"You could've just used the key ya know, if you'd asked me." She said sardonically, eying the intruder
Max looked up, surprised to see Luca's wife standing in the doorway. She wondered how long the woman had been standing there - the plush carpet in the hallway had hushed the sound of Gabriella's footfalls, and the door had opened silently. Damn.
"Sorry, it was unlocked, and I needed to make a private phone call," Max replaced the phone receiver in its cradle. She was pretty sure her body would've blocked her trick with the lockpicks from view. She gave an apologetic smile, "I hope you don't mind."
As she spoke, Max reached for a pad of post-it notes and used the bugged pen, writing, 'Harbour Lights - Room 305F'. Picking up the post-it note, she waved it in the air as she casually dropped the bugged pen into the side pocket of Luca's briefcase.
Standing up, she started for the door, "I'll just get out of your office now..."
Tony Luca loomed large and previously unnoticed behind his wife.
"My office." He spoke slowly his voice slurred, but angry "And I have no idea what you women think you're doing in here!"
Gabi looked up and responded smoothly "Oh honey, you mean the D'Angelo's wedding list wasn't in here?" She looked at Max "See, I told you, we'd best be going."
She hustled into the office and slid an arm around Max's shoulders leading her past Luca, and smiling at him as she did so, not stopping 'til they reached the bar.
"Now are you going to tell me what you were really doing in there, or do I let him ask?"
"Like I said, I was using the phone," Max held up her post-it note for Luca's wife to see.
The woman may have covered for her with Luca, but without knowing why, there was no way Max was gonna risk telling Gabriella the truth, "I'm really sorry, but I got a 911 on my pager, and I didn't have any change for the phone."
Max tried to disengage from Gabi's grip gracefully, anxious to get out of the club. Getting caught in the act didn't exactly do wonders for her nerves, and she wanted to get out of there before someone recognized her, "I'd better get to the hospital, see my friend..."
Gabi raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow. "See, I've never had to take the 'phone apart to use it, and the only key to that office, is around my husband's neck, so please don't disgrace yourself any more."
Okay, so maybe the jig's up. Damn. Still, Gabriella here doesn't exactly seem anxious to tell hubby what she saw. Maybe it's time to try a different approach. Besides, the woman really oughta be told what her husband has been gettin' up to. Just not here.
Max met Gabi's eyes, looking toward the exit before meeting her eyes again, "Look, I really gotta go... I know it's a lot to ask, but I don't suppose you could give me a lift to the hospital?"
Gabi looked at the girl in front of her for a second, she knew a bluff when she saw one, after all she was married to the mob, but this, something about it, the oddness of it made her intriuged. She nodded slowly.
"Of course, my car's out front."
"Thanks," Max slung the strap of her purse over her shoulder, leading the way downstairs and out the front, walking directly to the passenger side door of the red fiat spider, that she knew from Logan's infopack was registered to Gabriella Luca, "You gotta nice ride, Gabriella. So, where are we going?"
There was no point playing games anymore, Gabriella clearly knew something was up, Max was just confirming it.
Gabriella gestured for Max to get in the car. "Up to you, anywhere Tony wouldn't think of looking for me. Do I get to know your name?"
Opening the door, Max climbed in, waiting until Gabi had climbed in and started the engine before answering.
"You can call me Max," She considered her options. They needed somewhere public enough so that Gabi didn't feel threatened, yet private enough that they could have a conversation without being overheard - at least not by anyone other than Lex and Logan.
"There's an all night diner I know, I'll give you directions..." It had occurred to her that she might not be the only one under surveillance. Anthony Luca was a control freak, and Gabriella seemed to be a trophy wife - for all she knew, there could be a bug or a tracker in Gabi's car.
"Does Tony always keep tabs on you?"
"He used to, now he figures I'm too scared of him to do anything wrong!" Gabi smiled sadly. "Mostly he's right, but not right now, I don't know why..."
Actually she was fairly sure she did know, the idiot sisters upcoming wedding, removed a large portion of the power Tony had over her, but not all of it.
"So, direct me."
"Go left," Max directed, not quite ready to trust that the car wasn't bugged, despite the fact that Gabriella didn't seem to think that it was.
"Yeah, he seems like a real charming guy," Max said with quiet sarcasm. She looked over at Gabriella sympathetically, "Somehow I'm gettin' the impression that leaving the bastard is outta the question. Take this turn comin' up on the right."
Gabriella took the directed turn before answering.
"If I'm OK with him killing everyone I ever cared about, spoke to that time, or thought about once, then yeah, I can leave him."
Once if she'd have said those words they would have come out in a snarl, now, they were just tired.
"I'm sorry, you don't need to know this."
"Or, y'know, you." Max said quietly, "'Cause hey, it wouldn't be the first time he's made a pretty young woman just... Disappear."
She let the words hang on the air for a moment, studying Gabrielle, "Take this left."
Gabi flinched slightly, and took the turn.
"I am aware of the risk to myself, and to others, why do you think I lied to get you out of there?"
She sighed "He won't take that well, so I can't be out long!"
"Okay," Max nodded, "Got time for a cup of coffee? I saw him knockin' back his painkillers with scotch, so he's probably pretty out of it by now..."
Gabriella nodded. "He does that a lot, he'll be out of it for a while, and then angry, but I have a while, I suppose, so are we here?"
She kept on driving but glanced out of her window.
"Yeah," Max nodded to an empty parking space, "You can pull over here, it's not far..."
Max would rather walk the last block anyway, just in case there was a tracker planted in Gabi's spider.
Gabi pulled the car over sharply, got out and waited for her companion to leave before hitting the button on the keys for the central locking and alarm, and following Max.
"So, what did you want to talk with me about then?"
She had to ask, even though she knew.