2009-12-08: A Tea Party to Forget, A Lifetime to Remember



Date: December 8th, 2009


Nathan, Anais, Angela and the Haitian sit down for tea time.

…No, seriously.

"A Tea Party to Forget, A Lifetime to Remember"

Brayden/Nathan's Hotel Room

New York City

Brayden's gotten used to wearing suits, and while they're not his first choice, he makes those dress shirts look good and he knows it. Dressed in a pin-stripe button up dress shirt and pair of new (non-faded! WHAT?!) well-tailored blue jeans, Brayden sits at his desk-table and flips through the New York Times, all the while beaming at his interview. All-around a good effort, and even if he's not selected for the seat, at least he appears to be a formidable candidate for it.

Within the very white hotel room, the sound of Afterlife echoes along with the whistling noise of Brayden's kettle (which has been whistling for several minutes already); he's engrossed in his interview. In fact, his cellphone rings and he doesn't hear it, instead, he reads aloud, "Americans need hope. We need to have hope in our government," imitating the gestures and expressions he'd had through the real interview.

An hour ago, Anais was more fortunate with the game of phone-tag. She'd called to congratulate Brayden on his interview and in his initimable style, he'd invited her over for a celebratory coffee (or tea, it would appear). It seemed a harmless thing to do, although the address he gave her being a hotel room offered a momentary hesitation. Still…he has behaved himself, even while taking her on an aerial tour of the city and had the opportunity to let his hands wander. Perhaps it'll be all right.

Fast forward to the present and the woman herself is on on the other side of the door. She's dressed as someone of her station might for church: a crisp black skirt and jacket combination with a pale pink blouse, with a black wool trench over it for warmth. Her pumps are practical and short-heeled. Oh yes, and she's wearing her small gold cross necklace again; a subtle reminder to a man who is still technically married.

With no hesitation at all, she lifts her hand and gently raps her knuckles against the door. The sound of the kettle whistling without pause behind it does bring a mild frown to her lips.

Brayden finishes the article with an even broader smirk. And as he finishes he jumps at the sound of the kettle and the knock at the door. "Uh — just a second," he calls before snapping the Times shut (only to expose his photo on the front) sliding his chair out from the table, he stands to his feet and hops over to unplug the kettle. Then he hops to the door with that same dimpled grin. With the click of the deadbolt, he unlocks the door, and then opens it, still grinning. But the expression turns to concern as the grin fades and is replaced by furrowing eyebrows, frowning lips, and a tilted head at Anais' appearance, "Gee Anais, I'm sorry… did someone die?"

"Ah…I beg your pardon?" It was not the greeting Anais had been expecting, nor had she thought her chosen attire was so dreadfully grim. Her hair, after all, is bright enough to make up for the lack of color. A look is cast down at the figure she presents, the frown deepening. "No, this is what I wore to work today. Black is appropriate for winter," she assures him after that moment of study. A smile returns, small but warm. "I know it isn't a flannel shirt but some of us do try to remain presentable, even when we aren't giving interviews to the Times. May I come in?"

"Oh," Brayden responds quietly, but the smile returns to his face. "There's nothing wrong with it, I just don't think I've ever seen you look so…" searching for right word "…funeral-ish…" Wrong word. "I mean… you still look nice… there's nothing wrong with… I mean you look good… not that today is an exception… you always look…" Stop talking. "Come in." That said he takes a step back and motions towards the couch for Anais. "Make yourself at home."

"Somber?" Anais suggests while stepping through the door, past Brayden and into the room. That smile has grown in leaps and bounds, comfortable and casual in a way that the funeral outfit is not. It helps, perhaps, to see the once and future Senator(?) stumbling over his words. "Thank you," she goes on, brown eyes skimming her surroundings before she walks in the direction of the couch. She's unbuttoning her jacket as she goes. "This is quite nice. I expected it would be, but…ah, there you are."

That last is exclaimed when she catches sight of the paper, and the prominent photo of Nathan in his own Sunday best. Anais reaches for it, lifting the Time and unfolding it to have another look at the headline. "My goodness. I think the reporter liked you."

"Yeah, he seemed into the interview," Brayden agrees with that same small smile. "It was a good interview, wasn't it? And that photo is pretty sharp…" His smile reveals two large dimples in his cheeks. "W-What did you think of it? Did you think it was good? I hope it's well received, but I'm happy with how it went?" He shrugs a little as he walks over to the kettle. "Tea? … or coffee? I can make coffee…"

"It was an incredible interview. Informative, a clear message, and a sympathetic reporter…I would say you've scored a coup, Brayden." The name he prefers comes almost absently from her lips, as Anais skims the story again. "If you aren't suggested as a suitable candidate for the seat, I would be surprised." That assessment given, the redhead places the paper back on the table and completes the process of shedding her coat. The garment is left draped over the arm of the couch.

"Tea would be wonderful. It's colder out there than I expected," Anais continues, seating herself and smoothing the hem of her skirt over her knees. "How have you been, otherwise?"

"Earl grey okay?" Brayden asks as he begins preparing the tea without hearing the answer. Of course, it's the only tea he has today. Mental note: must move out of hotel room and into apartment. Who ever heard of a politician living in a hotel room? "Well, I hope that my name is in the hat. I'm happy with how it went. I wasn't even that flustered. Except maybe once about my kids, but that was omitted from the final article. We want to protect them."

"I'm… good, I think. Some strange happenings," Noah. "but good regardless." Pause. "And you? How's work? And Habitat? All good?"

A small series of knocks strike to the door. That is the only warning before the handle is tried. Lo and behold, it's unlocked! Tsk. It swings open and the visitor waits precisely half a second before waltzing in.

The woman entering the bright white hotel room, this time, is Nathan's mother. "Brayden's" mother. If Ms. Frazier's wardrobe is suited to church, then Angela's is suited to a funeral — more suited, that is, than Brayden's observation of Anais — but such a penchant for dark, regal formalwear is commonplace for the matriarch. Especially in the winter, and especially when it suits her mood: a tailored wool suit jacket of dark grey and black houndstooth with black slacks and shoes, her hair severely pinned up high. Three heavy layers of pearls loop past her throat.

"Nathan, you shouldn't keep your door unlocked. You don't know what vagrants might wander in, not to mention you're a— " Strolling straight in, Angela cuts herself upon seeing that her son is not alone. The older woman's chin rises and the redhead earns a surmising stare. "I didn't realize you had company." Not to be confused with an apology for her intrusion, Angela smiles thinly.

The door then closes as another figure enters and secures it. A tall man in a broad-shouldered tan suit and blue dress shirt, with dark skin and Haitian heritage, bearing a silent intensity. He simply stands in the background as if waiting to be called upon.

Anais laces her fingers together and rests her hands neatly in her lap, head tilted to better allow her to hear the conversation coming from the kitchen. "You were right to protect them. I'm so glad it went as well as it did…ah. Strange happenings? Things have been calm enough for me, there's been precious little time for anything outside of work. Although I did get to meet Congressman Dawson just yesterday, that was—"

When the door opens, the rest of that sentence is clipped off and Anais rises smoothly. As if she were about to greet guests. But this is most definitely not her residence, nor are these her guests. The woman regards the formidable Mrs. Petrelli and her looming bodyguard(?) with some surprise, brown eyes flicking towards the kitchen. Ah, Brayden? "Hello…I'm Anais Frazier." This is said as soon as Anais has regained her calm, practiced smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Petrelli."

"Congressman Dawson? He was really helpful to me — " Brayden jumps a bit as the door opens but then, it's Ma! "Ma, come in! I just forgot to lock it…! Did you see the interview?" he raises a hand to the back of his head as he offers his mom a bright smile. And then an eyebrow is arched at the Haitian, "Hi, I'm Nathan." He's never seen this man before, who is he and why is he here?

"Can I make you some tea, Ma? I only have earl grey…" He goes about preparing the tea. "And what about your friend… a tea drinker?"

"Ah… Ms. Frazier." Angela seems to recognize the family name, if not the face of the woman. Her smile increases but becomes no less thin. Civil. Polite. Not exactly warm. "I've heard Nathan talk about you." Mrs. Petrelli's smile flickers into something of a more good-natured smirk as she glances at her son and back again. "Don't get any ideas, he was just very enthusiastic about his charity endeavors." She approaches Brayden, taking his arm and leaning up to give him a peck on the cheek. "Yes, I read it this morning. Tea would be lovely. Rene will have tea, won't you Rene?"

The Haitian advances, his hands behind his back. Dark and depthful eyes taking in both Brayden and Anais without judgment. A nod is given to Brayden. A ghost of a smile … or at least a more auspicious expression than his lack thereof. He seems rather mute.

Tucking her chin towards her throat while mother and son exchange greetings, Anais resettles herself on the couch and pretends as if Mrs. Petrelli did not just cast aspersions on the redheads interactions with Nathan. "He's been an asset on the build sites. It's a shame that the weather has put a stop to their projects for the winter but I'm certain they'll be pleased to have him back in the spring. And there are always the holiday fundraising events." As she speaks, the woman reaches out to take up the paper again, if only to have something to do with her hands while awaiting the arrival of the tea. A brief glance and a smile is offered Rene before she looks once more on the article in question.

"Well… what did you think, Ma?" Brayden asks as he pecks his mom on the cheek. "I thought it went well, and Terry — the interviewer said I'd have his vote." He smirks triumphantly as he pours early grey tea into four white (like everything else in the hotel room) mugs. He hands his mother a mug first, followed by Anais, and then Rene. "It's chilly out there today," he notes as he sips at his tea. "How are you, Ma?" Rene is momentarily ignored.

"I'm glad that I'm helpful onsite. Sometimes I'm not sure that I'm helping, but I think I keep spirits high," singing on site and all.

And then he remembers something. Raising a single finger he walks over to the closet where he reaches into one of his suit jacket pockets, extracting Noah's business card. All it says is a name and a number, "A fellow I met in the park gave me this. Do I know him? His glasses seemed familiar?"

Angela accepts the mug and walks with it toward the arrangement of hotel furniture, summarily ignoring the redheaded philanthropist. "The Times painted you optimistically. Good timing," she says to Brayden, though she does not fully feed his pride: her voice is more neutral than it is commending. She looks over her shoulder, watching her son as she sits down in a chair across from the couch, folding one leg over the opposite knee. She takes the card, glances at it, promptly hands it back. "Friend of the family. I'll fill in the blanks later."

The Haitian glides to the couch and sits his tall frame stiffly on the very end beside Anais, altogether out of place in his silence with his mug of tea.

Anais accepts the tea with a murmur of thanks, soft enough to be almost wordless. There is no denying that the more casual atmosphere, even with her church-going wear, has been set somewhat askew by the arrival of Ma Petrelli and…oh dear. The tall, silent man who is now seated beside her. But her smile lingers, proper, warm, undeterred by this turn of events. On the outside, at least. "I was just telling…Nathan that I would be surprised if he weren't mentioned as a candidate for Senator Wynn's seat. It's come up several times today, with those I've spoken to. The interview seems to have soothed a few reservations," she puts in before raising the tea for a small sip.

Brayden's eyes narrow at Angela's reaction, but he says nothing more about the article, instead he chooses to discuss the empty seat, "I suppose it is good timing. Hopefully the Lieutenant Governor will at least consider me for the empty seat." According to some it's absolutely necessary he gets that seat.

"Alright," he states at the comment about Noah as he pads over to one of the armchairs in the room. He sits down and examines the Haitian somewhat suspiciously. His mother appears to be getting stranger by the minute.

Anais, however, is issued a broad grin. "Well I'm glad it's been so well received overall. I thought it went well…"

"I'm not surprised," Angela replies to Anais. There it is; the delayed the motherly pride, the faith in Nathan's abilities to be the politician he once was — the man he could be. She looks to Brayden, smiling, dark eyes tracking him. "Nathan made a fine Senator and he could again, and more."

The silent tagalong to this visit remains relatively unobtrusive despite his intense presence; an enigma, this Rene. He lifts his mug by the porcelain handle too small for his long fingers and sips his Earl Grey.

Angela clears her throat quietly. "So — Anais, was it? — what brings you by?" A glance to the newspaper. "Congratulations?"

"Congratulations, yes." Both the grin and Mrs. Petrelli's subsequent approval of her son only deepen Anais' smile; it warms the heart to watch that subtle interaction, that it does. She straightens her already stiff spine when the matron's regard falls upon her person. "When I read the story this morning, I called Nathan to offer my congratulations and he asked me to tea. I thought we might discuss future projects as well, but…"

Here she pauses, unable to prevent a glance from stealing towards the Haitian. Yes. This is an odd situation. "I think I should be going, though." The almost untouched tea is set on the table as Anais rises, all in one smooth movement. "It was nice seeing you again, Nathan. And meeting you, Mrs. Petrelli."

An eyebrow is arched at his mother's words and they're met with that same easy smile. "Thanks Ma." He appreciates the vote of confidence, even if it's a relatively unspoken one. He stands to his feet as Anais rises, "You need to go?" A glance is given to his mother and then he nods a little, it's a very strange situation the foursome find themselves in. Him, Anais, his mother, the tall Haitian man who says nothing…

"We should talk about future projects though — later this week? I realize I could use some help when it comes to investing in our communities… you would be an asset at that… can we discuss it this week?"

Placing her mug on the coffee table, Angela gets to her feet as well; out of politeness, perhaps. She smiles, dipping her head courteously to Anais. "Nice to meet you as well, dear. I hope your family is well."

The man on the couch rises in turn, only to be met by Angela as she moves to his side — her back to the others while the Haitian faces them. The civil gaze of Mrs. Petrelli, faintly crinkled around the eyes, rapidly disappears, hardening to an unseen foreboding glare. She touches his arm, speaking in a murmur.

Angela's face is a revolving door. She smiles kindly at Anais as she turns back once more. "Rene will show you out," she offers. Demands, more like it, but never mind those fine points when a tall Haitian man is moving to escort you to the door.

"Of course, Nathan. Just call my office?" Anais suggests. There's nothing improper about that, is there? She certainly hopes not. Mrs. Petrelli is given a last smile, a hint of uncertainty finally revealed there, before the redhead collects her coat.

"Take care," she bids them. Then it's off to the door, cast in the shadow of the strange silent man. Who may or may not be a bodyguard. Or a valet? Perhaps a major domo.

The Haitian holds the door politely, looking back once upon the Petrellis before disappearing with Anais.

"I'll get in touch!" One last wave is offered to Anais as she pads out the door and Brayden turns to his mother once she's safely on the other side. He tries to meet her gaze. "Ma. Who is this Noah person? He seems to think it's imperative that I enter this Senate seat…"

He peers at the door and disappeared Haitian, "Is he… safe?"

"I'll explain Noah in a minute. First, you need to listen to me." Angela moves toward her son. The sense of all things dire follows her. "Things are about to get worse before they get better, and we can't take any chances." The woman's words are calm but full of importance; her messages is delivered efficiently and with demand, as if she expects Brayden to follow without complaint. Or else. "The man that left with Anais is also a friend of the family, and he's going to make her forget I was ever here. She'll probably wake up in the back of a cab, and when you speak to her again, you're going to tell her she felt faint and you sent her home, do you understand? If anyone asks where I am in the future, I don't care who they are, tell them I'm— " She pauses very briefly to come upon a random location with a modicum of exasperation. "in Fiji. Anywhere but New York, especially not this hotel."

Eyebrows furrow further at the notion of Anais losing her memory. "You mind-wiped her? Like you did me? Seriously? Will she remember who she is?" He'd be outraged if he wasn't so confused about everything all of the time. He sighs. "Fine, I won't tell anyone anything about you. I haven't. Not even Helen when I had her reserve the room. She probably thinks I'm having an affair or something." He frowns.

"Your memory was erased by someone with a very similar ability; Anais will be fine, the Haitian is very precise at what he does." A wry smirk twists the thin line of her lips and she turns away, taking her place back upon the armchair and retrieving her tea. "Well, at least Helen is your publicist. No better candidate to cover up an affair if you were having one. Not that you have much of a marriage to defraud again."

"Again?" Brayden asks as his eyebrows knit into a solid v, still shaking his head. "Seriously, I'm getting more and more why Heidi doesn't like talking to me." His lips twitch slightly as he shakes his head and then remembers, "Noah." Pause. Smile. "And Pete." He lets his brother's name linger in the air without any clarification.

"Peter cared about you enough to throw himself on the sword last time," Angela says casually as she sips her tea; pleasantly hot and no longer scalding. "What about him?" she prompts with a lift of her brows, but goes on. "Noah used to work with the Company," she says, knowing Brayden's understanding of the organization are vague at best. "He's Claire's adoptive father."

"Noah told me I need to get in the Senate seat. Is it that important? I'm doing the best I can to get back into politics…" Brayden sighs. "He found me in the park yesterday and seemed to think it was of dire importance. Are things… that bad?" He examines his mother stoically.

The stoicism disappears, however, as he remembers his encounter with Peter. "I saw Pete the other day. He found me; sought out Helen." His smile broadens further, "He gave me his number and said I could pass it along to you. Also said he's staying at his old apartment." His dimpled grin continues, "Don't worry, he looks good… healthy."

Noah and the Senate seat are tossed aside as the news regarding Peter is delivered. Angela's eyes widen, and she twists in her seat against the restrictive tailoring of her jacket. She quickly moves into acceptance, however. Healthy of body says nothing about healthy of mind, and she asks, "And? Was he himself? I realize you have no memory of him, but you must've gotten an impression." She will be disappointed in him if he couldn't tell that much. "I need to speak with him as soon as possible."

"He seemed… good," Brayden smiles and really likes being the bearer of good news. "Warm. Happy to see me. And it all felt very familiar." He swallows as he studies his mother's expressions. "He doesn't remember much from the last few years — I know that much. And he wants to get fixed, he just… had to help some lady first." He shrugs a bit as he has no idea who the lady is. "Looked lovesick, but I think he's himself. Not that I really remember. But it felt familiar." He shrugs. It's not much, but it's something.

"Good— good." It could have been much worse. "That's Peter, he wants to help everyone." Hopefully, he hasn't gotten into too much trouble doing so this time. "It's only a matter of time before someone comes after him. I'll be needing that number immediately."

Setting her tea down once more, Angela leans ahead as she looks up at Nathan. "And Nathan, it is that bad," she says, her voice becoming almost a whisper in its intensity. "The government needs someone like you, someone strong, someone with a vision they'll see through to the end, but say you do get appointed, say you do become a Senator again, I'm not convinced you won't be attacked from the inside the moment you step into office. The very government you want to be a part of wants you to be a prisoner, Nathan, remember that. We need to play our cards right. You have to stop what's coming."

Brayden puts his tea down on the coffee table as he stands up and walks to his kitchenette where he grabs Peter's number from the pad of paper. He hands the pad over to his mother (the number is already plugged into his phone). "Do you think I can make a difference in all of this? If they want to imprison me, the moment I step in there, what's to stop them?" He frowns slightly as he answers his own question, "The people. A Senator can't go missing without some kind of repercussions." He sits down in the armchair again, "Let's say I do get into office. How can we expose the government, Ma? Like what's the next course of action? Do I operate as some kind of government spy?"

"The last time a Senator disappeared he resigned shortly thereafter, if you recall the news." After taking the notepad, Angela idly eyes the telephone number as she speaks. "You don't need to be a government spy," the woman says, assertive, dismissive. No, that's the wrong track. She tears the relevant paper off and goes about neatly folding it on her knee. "The problem is, you can't expose them. Exposing their operation would be exposing us to the world. That's exactly what can't happen. It's a matter of convincing who's in charge to shut it down. It'll take more than a few charming smiles and good articles in the Times. I have some ideas."

"Then what do I do? This is one thing no one else can advise me on. And I can't remember — making my memories and experiences irrelevant," Brayden answers blandly. "Please, share your ideas. I don't feel the need to expose us to the world, but we need to find a way to stop the operation. And I don't know why I'm entering public office if not to stop it — "

Angela raises her hand abruptly. Fingers splay out to reassure before she gets to her feet, drifting to stand in front of Brayden and tip his chin up. The knowing eyes of his mother are stern as she focuses on his. "You need to focus on getting your memories back, not to mention Peter's. You need to be prepared." A step back is taken. "In the meantime, it wouldn't hurt to see what Noah wants. He's always a man with a plan."

Standing as Angela stands, Brayden nods. "Alright. I'll get in touch with Peter and Cass. Maybe we can make a meeting with Parkman if she ever found him which will help Peter from what I understand." He smoothes his shirt as he nods again, "And I'll call this Noah person. He seemed to think I needed this seat immediately."

The phone number belonging to Peter is tucked into a pocket near the hem of Angela's jacket, disappearing into a houndstooth maze. "It'll all come together even if it'll be a harder road than you know. Look at you," she smiles a sideways smile, fond but lilted oddly by a distant melancholy. She sweeps aging hands over the shoulders of Brayden's suit, as if straightening out its lines. "So Senatorial. Well." A quick, maternal kiss is placed to his cheek. "I'll be in touch."

Brayden offers her a faint smile. Everything is so strangely familiar. It's bittersweet. The feelings of affection remain, but the dispersed memories almost hurt. Almost. "Be safe, Ma. Contact me if you need anything."

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