2011-03-26: Crumbling Down



Date: March 26, 2011


Evette gets called on her passive-aggressive streak and comes clean about it.

"Crumbling Down"

George's office, New York

Without Evette around to play schedule Nazi… no, the office hasn't completely fallen apart. It managed to operate before her, after all— and though some of the staff have come and gone since then, at least George remembers enough to fill in the gaps. Triage continues; whiteboards are trundled out, takeout is ordered, and everyone gets to leave in time to catch the last subway runs of the day.

Nothing further is said about George's bed habits. Not within the building, anyway; out in the parking lot is anyone's guess.

The next morning begins with more of the same, only now with the outside world lobbing figurative tennis balls. "Don't tell me the electrician's union is calling again," George mutters, pouring a fresh cup of coffee. "Did they not get our message yesterday? Actually, they might not have, I thought I heard something about their accountant getting canned—"

Oh outside the building, it's on like donkey kong. They are talking about Eve being the other woman. The other woman being the other woman. Such is politics. I mean there must be a reason that George keeps Evette on the payroll right. Oh and all those long hours. Regardless…

… Evette shows up in the morning as if nothing happened. The staff all watch in rapt fascination as she strolls in to collect her phone. Then simply pours herself a cup of coffee, one splenda and one mini cup of creamer. Today's flavor: French vanilla.

"I don't understand why you would leave a message with an accountant in the electrician union. You always leave it for the president. I will get it handled." Yes, life has resumed as per normal…. or has it?

While the staff stares, George merely arches a brow. He doesn't know who's running their mouth behind his back— but he has his suspicions, and while honestly it's right that they should question him, he's not going to hand them any ammo any more than he would the tabloids.

Evette wants to play it cool? Fine, it gets played cool. "If I was leaving a message, then yes— this is a matter of hashing out small details. Here, let me show you these plans for a second Death Star we've come up with—" He gestures vaguely toward the row of boards, one of which is even now being partly erased and rearranged.

Evette thinks for a moment and then looks at the new Death Star. "Hmmm.. it would be better if you moved this here.." She walks over and starts drawing arrows to re-arrange them. That's what she does. "To here and if you attack this one from this avenue. Also be careful of those tie fighters or whatever the hell they are."

Blue eyes move to rest on George's features for a moment. "So I have your schedule for today. It looks like there is a break after lunch that maybe we can meet with the union officials."

Immediately, the rest of the staff begins to react. Some merely follow along, scratching heads and chins; one bristles and gets defensive; another pipes up with questions. "This will fall apart if they're late, won't it? Because they always are. And never by the same amount, otherwise we could—"

Meanwhile, George steps back and keeps an eye on the big picture. And quashes the urge to strangle chew out the defensive guy. "Good to have you back," he muses.

Snarl. Hiss. Snarl.

We all expect it, let's just admit it. However, Evette looks at the naysayer. "That is why we send the car. They are never late when the transportation is provided for them. Or else they know we will not send the pretty towncars that they like so much. If you are worried, you could even drive it. I'm happy to have you so eager to volunteer."

Say what they will about George and Eve, the do get the work done. She's convincing without power method and deadly when she does have it. George just seems to have all the luck. All.The.Luck. It is to his side that Evette turns to walk to. Her own eyes scanning over the big picture. "What have I missed?"

They aren't? They aren't. It quickly shakes out that the car is usually only free on Thursday afternoons, which she always misses because she has to pick up her kid from school, but they can wangle the car if— and so on, and so forth.

If George's ability is in play, then it's only a light touch. The staff is already competent, and skilled at capitalizing on opportunities; he just attracts a few more of them. He only had to get burned a couple of times to realize the tradeoff involved in pushing harder.

"Not that much, really," he replies to Evette, "things have been turning around about as fast as they've been coming in. Focus on the parts in red, those are the shakiest right now."

Evette looks over the parts in red thoughtfully. "We can get this done by tomorrow if we work around the clock." There is a smile to her face on that. "So …" She looks over the other boards and then back to George. "Do you have a moment where we can slip into your office, alone?" It's not said seductive and it's not odd.

Which matters not in the slightest, because everyone is going to take it that way anyway. Even George. Especially George, after the way things have been going lately. "Why do you ask?" he says, attempting to hold back the real answer, which is: yes, yes there is.

Evette looks him in the eyes. "Because I wanted to talk to you." She waits to see if that gets an answer or not as she just watches.

Not right away; these things need to be handled carefully. This likely shouldn't be overheard by anyone else, and his office can't offer any guarantees in that respect. Fortunately, there's another one that can. "Maybe in a few minutes? I do have some calls of my own to return." He's already walking away, but not before shooting her a meaningful glance in the direction of the now-little-used Special Projects room.

Evette looks a bit dejected when he walks off. Then he looks towards the Special Projects room. There is a nod of her head. "Fine." That kills some of the gossip as the 'couple' go in different directions. Eve waits a few moments and then heads for that room.

The room has seen better days. When it was first built, arguably his most important operations were planned there; now there's a layer of dust, but the lights still work and the walls are still soundproof. George has taken a seat several feet away from the door, nodding to Evette as she opens the door. "So. A moment—?"

Evette studies the layers of dust like one would an amazingly disgusting sight. A breath is taken. "I should apologize for my reaction yesterday. It was just not something I was preparing to hear after a bad lunch. I apologize to how I reacted."

George shakes his head. "I can imagine— don't worry about it. But at the same time… don't talk to her again if you can avoid it, okay? I doubt there's much of anything you could say that would help. I don't know if there's anything I can say." With no official breaking-off, things remain in limbo. He appears more tired of the issue than anything else, rubbing his eyes as he leans back.

Evette blinks to that. "Isn't that going to be more awkward if you start bringing her to events and the like?" She finally flops down on one of the chairs. A cloud of dust moves about her. "I'm sure you will be okay. You are probably the last decent man left in existance."

Note to self: ask Robin to check into a silent-running fan unit or something. Or just drop by with a wet towel once a month. "Well, if it gets to that point, then there probably won't be a problem any more. If. I mean, I thought she was cool with keeping a low profile for just a couple months or so, but I may have waited too long already—"

Abruptly, George slaps a hand against the top of the table in annoyance, then waves it around as a fresh handful of dust motes kick up. "Dammit, I'm not sure," he mutters, brushing off his sleeves. "Am I doing something wrong? Is this the price I have to pay for pulling strings everywhere else?" He doesn't elaborate, but Evette may be able to guess what he means.


That is what greets the man as she watches him and finally she walks over to sit next to him. Her hand moves to touch his hand where it slapped on the table. "George.. we work in a hard career. We are gone a lot. It's why I've never been able to keep a relationship. They get jealous of the time you spend with those on your campaign." She's not using any of her powers, she's just talking in a low tone.

"It isn't you. It is completely her. I know you are going to strike out at me, but she's too immature for this. She jumped to the conclusion that we were sleeping together even when we both said it was nothing. It seems like it's not the first time she's said something." Maybe Alex is right and they should be together. Hopefully, that thought doesn't carry as she doesn't intend it to. "She was nothing but insultive to me when I wasn't deserving of it." There is a shrug.

Instinctively, George draws his hand away, just enough to stay out of contact. "You're right, it's not… but it's not just her." Is he agreeing that it is her fault? That remains unclear.

"The last couple relationships I was in before this, both fell apart pretty badly." Evette knows all too well about the most recent one. "Before that… nothing really dramatic, but it's like a pattern. The better my career goes, the worse they end up going. Which, right, nothing new— but you'd think I'd be the one man who could break that pattern. Apparently that's asking for too much."

"Maybe you are trying to break it with the wrong woman." Evette offers. No, there is no indication that she's the one it should be. Her eyes fall to the recoil of the touch from her. It causes lines in the dust as she drags her hand away from his. "I wish you'd trust me." It is clear that she doesn't know that she spoke that comment out loud though.

And just as suddenly, George's hand balls up into a fist, slamming down on the same spot, sending up another faint little cloud as if to punctuate the motion. "Do you, now. 'Why don't you go after an adult.' 'Why don't you go after someone who understands your schedule.' All these categories that someone could conveniently turn around and lay claim to. Look, if this was about convenience, I could easily go find somebody who didn't care what I did behind her back, all right?"

Evette jumps to that as his fist slams down on the table. She's glad that she pulled her hand back at this point. Her eyes widen considerably. "I… behind her back…" Evette frowns a bit as if she's not following him and his logic. "Are you implying me the someone?"

Note to self: when you're looking for something to punch in frustration, leather is a better choice than oak. George stands up, wincing and shaking his fingers loosely as he turns to stare at the opposite wall. "It seemed like that's where you were going with it. If it is, then just say it and get it over with." And hand him a really good reason to fire you. Maybe.

Evette is rarely fully honest. The staff know it. Hell, George knows it. She never talks about her past. She never mentions anything personal. She's just business. So it takes her a moment to think about what to say. There is just silence as Evette watches him stare at the wall. She debates it all. The truth shall set her free, but that means setting her free of her job.

There is a sound from her as she pulls out her phone and sets it on the dusty table. It is followed with her employee badge as she takes a breath. For a moment, briefly and missed, her eyes actually tear up. However, the ice bitch knows how to protect herself. So she does. "I.."

"At first, I just thought she was unfit for the life and was going to be a media event that I had to diffuse. I thought she was taking your focus from your job. Perhaps I was a little jealous that you could manage a career and a love life as I've never been able to." Where there is an at first there is a next step right? "Then I realized you were a great guy and .. I don't know I liked spending time with you in the office or over lunch. It wasn't really until Alexandra came to the apartment that I realized .." Evette clears her throat and comes to her feet. "My badge is on the table with my phone."

He doesn't answer right away, either. Slowly, George turns back around, lowering himself back into the seat, fingers drumming absently. At last, he shakes his head. "I should have known. I should have known!" He almost hits the table again, only catching himself at the last split second. "When you stuck around after the campaign, at first, I thought it was just to tie up loose ends. Then you kept sticking around— you had nothing left to prove any more, I thought you were just a perfectionist—"

His gaze meets hers. "All those things you were sorting out. Not Alex, and not this morning, but— the rest of it. How much of that was real, and how much was just making excuses?" The implied resignation hasn't been accepted, but it hasn't been rejected either.

Evette looks towards the door. She's been in this position before. Where the confrontation leads to emotions and emotions lead to honesty. Why did she come in here. "It's all of it, George. I do want the strings tied. I do care if you get elected. I do my job well. I am a perfectionist. My work life is always separate from my personal life. I put them in different little compartments."

Evie walks back to the table but she doesn't make a move to touch him or come too near to him. "Everything was real, George. All those sorting out things, all of it. I've tried everything to be honest fully with you. Even now when I would rather leave the room than deal with this, I'm being honest." And he's not believing a word she's saying. The words are thought in her head before she drops her eyes away. This would probably be a bad time to ask for a letter of recommendation.

Oh, George believes her, all right. He may not have known what she was thinking, but he knows her spin-doctor voice, and this isn't it. Not that it makes things much easier. Leaning forward, he rests his chin atop crossed arms. "Well, I never thought about you that way, for obvious reasons. Now that this is out there… whether Alex walks away or not, whether I feel the same way or not… I've never tried compartmentalizing like that, I've never needed to. Not like that." Never dated within the office, then. "I don't know if I can handle it."

He reaches out for the phone, the badge— and slides them across the table, back toward her. "Keep these. For now. I— I don't know, just. For now."

Evette opens her mouth to crack a joke and stops. She really wants to ask if she just got the friend speech. "George.." Then she stops. What is she going to say that fixes it? Her eyes fall to her hands. She could just delete herself. It would fix it and because of that, she stands there. One hand reaches out for the phone and the badge. ".. I know you don't think of me that way."

There's no voice in the back of George's mind, this time. Instead, a series of images flash before his eyes, all at once—

Alexandra believing him, letting go of her suspicion.

Alexandra staying, but holding on to her suspicion,
keeping him at arm's length.

Alexandra walking away.

Alexandra standing there while he walks away—

—and toward Evette, arms outstretched.

—and away from Evette as well,
washing his hands of them both.

—and alongside Evette, but continuing to keep his distance,
waiting for her emotions to move on.

He doesn't think of her that way. Even if Alex called and ended it right now, he wouldn't think of her that way now, because rebounds really don't tend to go well.

Would he ever think of her that way?

Evette cannot see him and his thoughts, but she knows. She knows him even if she pretends not to. It is that same knowing that she shouldn't have been honest. She should have lied. The expression is across her features without her realizing it before she shakes her head a bit. "I should quit." The words cause her to close her eyes. "Maybe go back to California."

George rises to his feet, briefly pressing fingers against the spot right between his eyes before he walks toward the door. "I don't know," he says again, slipping outside and heading to the parking lot. With or without her, he's got places he still needs to go today.

With or without her, that's the question right?

Evette schools her features and then she's on his heels. "Okay so we have a meeting with the board of trustees in about twenty minutes, but more than enough time to get across town."

Her own question is, can she stay knowing he will never feel the same?

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