running in circles
chapter thirteen: she only reveals what she wants you to see
summary: After a long absence, Goldie and Scrooge run into each other again.
warnings: references to sex, nothing explicit
playlist (will be updated as chapters are posted): shorturl.at/bfBCQ
ao3 link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/33776632/chapters/86611582
here’s chapter thirteen!! text will also be included in this post for those of you that don’t use ao3:
1903; New Stork City:
Four years was a long, long time.
Well...three years, nine months, and eleven days was a long, long time. But who’s counting?
Goldie had completely thrown herself into her work after her last fight with Scrooge. Twelve kids were relying on her in Dawson and it made it very easy for her to move on from the man that’d been on her mind for so long. Though she’d never seen herself as maternal, they all seemed to enjoy her sense of humor and tough love. They could make their own food and do whatever they wanted so long as they also took care of customers and kept the saloon clean and operational.
This gave Goldie plenty of time to focus on her new Seattle hotel. It needed to be bigger and classier than the Blackjack in Dawson - Queen City had a whole different crowd and Americans expected a certain level of cleanliness and cushiness that she needed to uphold. In 1901, Goldie spent six straight months in Seattle, praying that the kids didn’t destroy her hotel in Dawson and trying to focus on the money she’d be bringing in from her new location.
Upon her return to Dawson, everything was...fine. The Blackjack hadn’t burned down. The oldest orphan of the group, who was already fourteen, had enough education before her parents died to handle inventory and stock orders. The preteens were happy to act as waiters and food runners, treating it like some kind of game. They were doing a great job and Goldie was happy enough to start giving them a monthly allowance along with their free room and board.
With those surprisingly capable orphans taking care of the Blackjack in Dawson, and a group of local adults running the Blackjack in Seattle, she had lots of free time to treasure hunt on her own and look for other business opportunities.
The treasure hunting was exciting...to a point. Goldie didn’t want to drag any of the kids with her on dangerous adventures, but going alone was just not as fun. At least when she was on that island off of Juneau, she’d thought Scrooge would be waiting for her return. Somehow she’d managed to come across several unchallenging mysteries: a diamond here, an emerald there, a ruby or three waiting for her nimble hands to take them away. Rarely was there a monster to hide from or a ghost to persuade.
To put it bluntly...Goldie was bored. Despite her riches and despite the danger, it wasn’t exciting her like she knew it should. And she knew why. She wanted to be doing it with him.
But Goldie hadn’t seen him in years and she didn’t want to fall back into that habit when she was plenty successful without him. In early 1903, Goldie put a pause on her adventuring and started looking for the right place to open the third Blackjack Hotel and Ballroom.
In June of 1903, Goldie was scoping out that business opportunity in a place she’d always wanted to live: New Stork City. Her timing couldn’t have been better. There was a new cross-country train to take there and a new hotel in the city that she desperately wanted to check out. It was a women’s only hotel - definitely not the type she planned to open, but interesting nonetheless.
The women’s hotel was also giving Goldie a good idea of how travelers on the east coast differed from travelers on the west coast. Her big takeaway: they didn’t care so much about big rooms and open space. She could definitely fit more rooms than in her Seattle Blackjack even with a building the same size.
The city was huge and constantly growing, so there were plenty of spots worth considering. Thanks to the power of industry and technology, Goldie had extra time to check out dozens of locations before she felt the need to head back west and check on her other properties.
With that in mind, Goldie decided to have a leisurely lunch at a little diner that she’d overheard some other guests at the hotel talking about. It was a cute looking place with a gigantic menu. Goldie wasn’t expecting the tastiest food she’d ever had, but she didn’t want to spend too much money on food during her trip.
She stepped into the diner and lifted up the brim of her sun hat, glancing at a menu sitting on the cashier’s table. The place was relatively busy, so she was fine to start looking before they sat her down.
It was only a few seconds later that a strangely familiar gasp hit her ears. Goldie perked up and turned to the right and her eyes locked onto a man she hadn’t seen in years.
Scrooge McDuck was very blatantly staring at her from his table in the middle of the room. His face was almost unreadable: he looked confused, scared, nervous...and Goldie felt the same way. She wasn’t sure how to approach the unexpected meeting, but she knew she had to talk to him.
Her heart jumped a little when he dropped his eye to his mug and then weakly glanced back up at her. He had a light blush on his cheeks and it seemed he didn’t quite know what to say, either. It’d been a long time.
Goldie noticed that the seat across from Scrooge was empty and figured she’d just go for it. She grabbed the menu she’d been reading and took it with her to his table, where she sat down as casually as possible.
Scrooge was opening and closing his mouth like a dying fish as he watched her remove her hat and shake out her hair, pinning it back and out of the way. He watched as Goldie leaned on the table and smiled at him.
His hat was already off his head and Goldie felt a little disappointed that she couldn’t flick it or tug it over his eyes. He was always wearing hats. It made sense, especially since his feathers started thinning at such a young age. But either way...she thought it was cute. And she hadn’t wanted to think about him, but just seeing him again made her chest feel warm. She’d missed him so much more than she wanted to.
“I didn’t expect to run into you,” she commented, then quietly thanked the waiter who brought her a glass of water. “Find some gold here?”
Scrooge sighed deeply, the tension in his shoulders easing once he realized Goldie was going to stay and chat as if their last interaction hadn’t been completely hellish. “I’m here on business. But what brings you here, O’Gilt?”
She smiled and let out a short, breathy laugh. “You sound so suspicious of me! I’m just checking out the hotels around here, getting ideas. Dawson’s so boring these days, y’know?”
“So I’ve heard.” Scrooge took a sip from his mug, feeling surprisingly at-ease. “You still, um...running the Blackjack up there?”
“Sure am,” Goldie said. “The weirdos who stop ‘n stay at my Blackjack Hotel and Saloon are the most interesting thing in town these days! I’ve had maybe eight separate men ask me about some golden lagoon hidden in the valley somewhere. Can you imagine?”
“Golden...lagoon?” Scrooge tilted his head. “Like...a lake filled with liquid gold?”
“That’s what they’ve been saying. It sounds crazy.” She paused the conversation to order some food, then turned back to him with a smile. “Even if it was real, there’s no way we wouldn’t have known about it! It’s gotta be some legend made up by sourdoughs who couldn’t find any gold of their own.”
“...probably,” Scrooge mumbled, tucking her gossip in the back of his mind for later. “I’m surprised there’s enough girls there to keep the Blackjack runnin’ without you.”
“Oh, no, the girls are all gone. But I got some-” Goldie stopped herself for a moment. She couldn’t completely place why, but she really didn’t want to use the word kids around Scrooge. “...new employees. They do good work.”
“That’s good.” Scrooge watched Goldie’s order being made through the window to the kitchen and wondered if she expected him to pay. “Well...you’ll be disappointed to know I’ve got nothin’ worth stealin’ on me right now.”
Goldie laughed, covering her mouth in a delicate way that Scrooge found oddly charming. “Oh, please, Scroogey! I didn’t even know you’d be here and I’ve got other things going on right now.”
She smiled at his dumb expression and was happy to see her sandwich placed in front of her so quickly. “I am curious about the business you’re here for, if you wanna talk about it.”
Normally, Scrooge would’ve responded with a grumpy scoff and dismissal. But...he just finished an annoying business meeting and it wasn’t like Goldie could steal something that wasn’t even his yet. “I was meeting with the owner of Chez Swann to discuss opening a second location in Duckburg.”
“The French place?” Goldie asked with a raised eyebrow and a mouthful of sandwich. “Seems like it’d be out of your price range.”
“Yes, well…” Scrooge mumbled with a shrug, “...it’s well-known and it has a good reputation.”
Goldie swallowed another bite and then smirked. “And if you sell them a property in Duckburg at a discount, they’ll probably let you eat for free, hm?”
He rolled his eyes, but Goldie could tell she was right on the money. “It wouldnae hurt to have a nice restaurant to take potential clients and business partners to without wastin’ my money.”
“Wow, clients and business partners,” Goldie crooned. “You’re a real businessman now, aren’t you?”
“I suppose.” Scrooge reached out and grabbed one of Goldie’s fries. “I am a millionaire now. Dinnae know if you heard.”
Goldie shrugged. “I might’ve. Never thought I’d see the day when dirty dour Scrooge McDuck was actually wealthy,” she said with a chuckle.
Scrooge huffed and quickly ate the fry, not wanting to acknowledge her reference to something she’d said so many years earlier at his expense.
“Did you ever fix up your castle?”
He looked surprised at her question, as if he thought she was tuning him out during all their time together. “Um...yes. I arrived there after a wasted December in Nova Scotia.”
She raised a curious eyebrow. “What was the waste?”
“Just a business partnership that could’ve been something and then…” Scrooge grumbled and crossed his arms over his chest, “...nothin’. I thought I was goin’ to make a huge profit and I ended up with nothin’!”
Goldie shook her head. “That’s just business, Scroogey. Sometimes things go sour.”
Scrooge sighed and uncrossed his arms, leaning back into his chair. He didn’t want to think about white bears in red hats that broke promises and wasted time and energy. “So...what have you been up to? Besides work.”
Goldie tilted her head. It sounded like he wanted to know what was going on in her personal life. She wasn’t about to mention the orphans she’d been caring for, and she hadn’t bothered with romance or sex since the last time they’d seen each other. Part of her wanted him to know how available she was, but another part of her wanted him to know she wasn’t just waiting around. “Not much. I’ve been very focused on the Blackjack.”
“Of course.” Scrooge nodded, taking another fry. He wondered if she would complain about it if he kept it up, but also he was still hungry. “Me, too. Just work.”
She hummed in response, understanding that that meant he didn’t have a wife or a girlfriend or kids or anything like that. At least, she was pretty sure that’s what he meant.
“...and, well, some adventurin’,” Scrooge added after a second of silence. “You wouldnae believe how many treasures are just waitin’ around for someone to find them.”
“Oh yeah?” Goldie perked up now that he’d gotten her attention. “Anything up here?”
Scrooge slowly ate another french fry and squinted at the woman in front of him, trying to decide on his next move. He could tell her the truth about his interest in both a massive land buying opportunity and an Adirondack mountain excursion that may or may not lead to treasure...or he could tell her nothing.
She was staring at him with her bright emerald eyes and Scrooge felt beads of sweat on the back of his neck. It really had been a while since he’d spend one-on-one time with someone like her. He wanted to still be mad about their fight so many years earlier, but the sight of her looking so interested in everything he had to say made his anger completely dissipate.
“...there may be somethin’ a few hours north of here,” he finally mumbled.
Goldie smiled at that and clasped her hands together. “Yeah?”
They locked eyes for a few moments, neither wanting to bring up the elephant in the room. Was he inviting her along? Was she going to come with whether he invited her or not?
She slowly raised an eyebrow as the silence went on longer than was comfortable.
“...yeah,” he finally responded.
Goldie hummed and sipped at her water. Scrooge had answered exactly how she expected he would: he gave her nothing. No information, no invitation, no irritation. Just yeah. It wasn’t what she wanted, but it told her that he wasn’t still mad about Juneau. Three years later and they could pick up right where they left off.
She could work with that.
“Well, I hope you have a good time, Scroogey,” Goldie said with a smile. “I wish I could tag along, but I’ve got too much going on here in town.”
He nodded slowly, squinting suspiciously. “Of course you do.”
“I would invite you back to my hotel, but I think I’d lose my room if I brought a man back. You understand.”
Scrooge’s cheeks turned pink and he shook his head. “It’s fine. I wasnae...I didnae think-”
He shut his mouth as Goldie leaned forward and crooked her pointer finger at him. He gulped and mirrored her, leaning forward as far as possible. Did she want to whisper something to him? Some secret? Something-?
Scrooge’s thoughts were cut off by Goldie’s beak suddenly pressing against his. He didn’t pull away, but didn’t have a chance to kiss back before she leaned back and stood up.
“It was nice seeing you again,” Goldie said in a way that seemed almost genuine. “I hope it doesn’t take as long for us to cross paths again.”
Scrooge was still distracted by the feeling of being kissed for the first time in years. “Me...too.”
She winked at him once before heading out the door and Scrooge felt his heart swell and a pain in his head pulse. Once again, she’d left him confused. The last time they were together had been nice and then stupid and then nice and then awful. He didn’t think he’d ever see her again. He’d told himself he didn’t want to see her ever again.
But then he had. And it was nice...just nice. If she stalked him up to the Adirondacks and ruined his treasure hunt and mountain climb (that would prove he did know how to mountain climb, he wasn’t some ninny!) somehow, it’d be less nice. But for the moment, it’d been nice. And he’d missed her.
He wondered if he should’ve gone after her. He didn’t have to go to her hotel room, she could come to his! But that’d be too forward. Though their relationship was a little past that point, Scrooge still got sweaty and nervous at the idea of initiating that type of...activity. Even if he knew she wanted it, it felt...wrong. Inappropriate.
The waiter came over and placed a bill in front of Scrooge and he slowly closed his eyes as he realized that Goldie had left without paying, purposefully leaving him to foot the bill. Of course she had. How could he have thought anything else? She charmed him like always and then by the time she was gone, he had less money than he started with. Every. Single. Time.
Despite his anger, Scrooge paid for her food. He had a strong feeling this wasn’t the last time they’d see each other, and he’d be sure to get his money back someday.
With a sigh, he wondered how he’d ended up in such a strange relationship. Other men seemed to have it much easier. Here he was, almost 40...unmarried, no children, sort-of-but-not-exactly single. Maybe he could try dating other people. At least give it a shot.
Goldie couldn’t be the only person in the world he wanted to spend his time with.
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