Max touched Gabriella's wrist briefly, "Don't even mention it, girl."
Max drained the last swallow of coffee from her cup and set it down, glancing at her watch. They'd left the club about half an hour ago.
"I'd better let you get back before he notices you've been gone, I guess." She sighed, reluctant to send Gabi back into that situation, but knowing it was necessary.
"Don't get downhearted hon, this is what I do." Gabi smiled tightly and Max, and reapplied her lipstick, her demeanor visibly changing again, as Gabi became Mrs Luca once more.
"Need a lift anywhere?"
Nodding, Max pulled some bills from her purse and put them on the table, and slid out of the booth, "There's a bar called Crash, it's on the way."
She hesitated, angling a curiously concerned look at Gabriella, "What'll you tell him if he did happen to notice your disappearance?"
"I'll tell him I went out with a friend." She smiled sunnily and led the way back to the car.
Gabi was covering, Max hadn't forgotten the fear in her eyes when she'd said she couldn't be out long earlier.
"You could tell him I'm an old friend from school, and that I hadda go to the hospital to see someone, and you drove me there?" Max suggested, reaching into her pocket she pulled out the crumpled post-it note, which she then offered to Gabi, "And then, if he decides to check up on your story, that bartender who was eavesdropping on us back at Zambalita could back it up..."
Gabi chuckled wryly. "True, but let me worry about tony huh?" She looked at the floor for a second before changing the subject. "So Crash, what sort of place is it?"
Max nodded silently, opening the door and leading the way back to Gabi's car, "Nothin' fancy, just a hang out. It's real laid back."
She smiled a little wistfully, missing the days when she could kick-it at Crash without having to worry that someone might recognize her.
"I recognize that look, it's the 'wasn't life so much easier when...' look, and I imagine it was." Gabi said gently. "And now I have to ask, who are you, and what do you want with Tony? I've decided I'm taking the risk, now I need to know why I'm doing it."
"I was wondering when you were gonna get around to asking that," Max smiled faintly, then gave a small shrug, "I work with Eyes Only. You're doing it to stop a bunch of real bad guys from hurting innocent young women. You're doing it to get free."
Gabi grinned fairly genuinely, "Ahh the great voice on the TV screen, fine, I can cope with that." She hit the button on her keys which allowed access to the car, and nodded to Max to get in as she opened the drivers side door, calling "You'll have to direct me again, I don't get out in the real world so much these days."
Climbing into the car, Max gave a nod, "Start heading back the way we came..."
Tilting her head to one side, Max angled a quizzical smile at Gabi, "Just outta curiosity, why'd ya think I was doing it?"
Gabi smiled tightly.
"The whole time, I've known Tony, people have been trying to take him out, gangsters, cops, politicians, and they all tried to get to me...but no-one has ever told me that they'll be there if I needed them before."
"Everybody's got an agenda, huh?" Max's smile was faint and wry. She nodded to the side street they were approaching, "You wanna take this right."
Gabi nodded and took the turn.
"I remember life ya know? Before Tony, when I wasn't anything special. I miss it."
"I sorta know the feeling," Max remarked quietly, looking out the window. Given what she was, she couldn't really say she knew what it was like to be normal, but for a while there, she'd had her anonymity, and now that the truth of her identity had been exposed to the world, she missed it.
Turning her gaze back on Gabriella, she studied the woman for a moment, her face illuminated in staccato flashes by the streetlights they were driving past, "How did you end up with Tony, anyway?" She gave a small shrug, then added, "Maybe it's just 'cause I know what a creep he is, but he doesn't exactly seem like a real good catch, y'know?"