Loki had realised Maia liked to be early, and as someone who hated tardiness himself it left a good impression on him whenever they arrived only minutes apart. Today she had reached the lobby first but only by moments and he exited another elevator to see her partway across the marble floor, her red hair bouncing in a high ponytail above her black suit jacket and, surprisingly, straight leg pants. The material touched her curves enticingly and he had to physically remind himself to start walking again. His much larger gait allowed him to catch up with her easily, and he spoke as he reached her.
'Good morning, Miss Tomson.' He said formally, quite close to her, and he smiled to himself when he saw her shoulders jump in surprise.
'Good morning, Mr of Asgard.'
Loki smirked at her sassy reply. 'Do you know where Stark is taking us for this retail extravaganza?'
'All he said was designer mall.' She gave him a look which was more worried than it should have been.
'And this concerns you?' He stepped ahead to hold the door for her.
'Not...concerned, really.' She pulled a pair of sunglasses out of her pocket and slipped them on against the glare of the morning sun. 'Just a bit out of my comfort zone. I don't have any idea what I'm shopping for, dress code wise, and I don't think I've ever been to a designer store, let alone an entire mall full of them.'
Loki was considering a reassuring reply when he noticed Stark waving to them from the curb, standing beside a small turquoise sports car with the top down.
Tony cocked them a sideways smile, noticing how close Loki walked to Maia, how he was all but overlapping her personal space with a hand hovering behind her as though he were just waiting for an opportunity or excuse. He pulled a platinum card out of his pocket as they reached him and held it out to Maia.
She looked from the card and then up at him. 'You don't have to do this, Tony.'
Loki tensed at the fact she had suddenly called him by his first name, not Mr Stark as she had since they first met. The familiarity was...irksome.
'No, but I want to. You buying an outfit and attending the party is repayment enough.' He held the card closer to her and she sighed but took it.
'So, if I don't find something I don't have to go?'
'If that happens I'll change it to a pyjama party so you have no excuse.'
'Very funny.' She looked at the card and gave him wide eyes. 'Agent Squirrel?' She read out the name on the card.
'Go nuts.' He grinned and she shook her head.
'You know what, I will.' She tucked the card in her inside pocket.
'Oh, one other proviso with the card,' he leaned for the door handle, 'I get first dance.'
Loki's face ticked at the thought of Stark with his hands on Maia, even to dance, especially with their apparent newfound familiarity, and Tony noticed, realising his plan to try and force Loki to act on any possible feelings by making him jealous might just work. 'You're in the back, Comet.'
Maia stepped aside to let Loki into the back seats, giving him a sympathetic smile. She didn't understand why, as she would have been a better fit, but maybe Stark didn't want Loki next to him. She couldn't fathom why, if that was the case, he would rather have him at his back, but as Tony offered her his hand to assist her into the car she missed Loki clench his jaw at the very friendly way Tony held her hand and made sure she was comfortable before closing the door.
Tony made small talk directed at Maia as he drove through morning traffic, asking how she found her accommodation, the food on offer, was there anything he could help her with, don't hesitate to call him, any time of the day or night. She replied politely to each question, the only thing she really asked was if someone could let her know the best way to get groceries delivered, but Loki noticed she shifted in her seat and her voice was hesitant, as though she were uncomfortable. Stark had not shown this much interest in her before but now the party, the opportunity to dance with her and to buy her an outfit, seemed far too convenient. Loki had no claim to her but he wanted to, wanted to be able to tell Stark to mind his own business and take all dances as his own, but he couldn't, at least not yet. Stark's actions made up his mind however. He would see what reaction he got if he were...flirtatious himself, and he was sure he was a damn sight better at it than this so called playboy. If she were responsive he would make sure his intentions were perfectly clear, and with it his feelings.
'I am just on the other end of the phone, when you need your ride back.' Tony said as he pulled into the drop off bay by the mall entrance.
'Great, thank you.' Maia unclicked her belt and before she could do more Loki leapt from the back seat and over the side of the car to open and hold her door, his other hand held out to her welcomingly.
'My lady.' He smiled, not taking his eyes from hers.
She chuckled and took his hand, letting him draw her to him and out of the car. 'Thank you, my prince.'
He slammed the door and gave Stark a smug look. There was no discomfort in her words to him. 'Thank you, Anthony, you would make a fine chauffeur, should this superhero thing not work out.' He turned and offered her his arm, which after a moment of surprised hesitation she took.
'Have fun.' Tony called before he sped away into traffic, a smile of his own on his face. He liked it when he was right.