2010-09-11: Curfew, No Chaperone



Date: September 11, 2010


Dinner is hurried because of an early Sunday curfew, but at least there's no third wheel or paparazzi!

"Curfew, No Chaperone"

Uptown, NYC - Central Park

Finding personal time has been a challenge for George all year - even over and above the year before it - but he expected it to be vitally important this weekend in particular. Coming back from DC, dealing with the new campaign manager and her pushy (albeit effective) style, then the obligatory 9/11 appearances the next day… it wasn't until mid-afternoon that he got a chance to even call Alexandra and suggest meeting somewhere again. At least without risking that the call would wake her up.

The really tricky part is, where do you grab dinner on a Saturday night without being noticed? The paparazzi on watch for him have been suffering their usual random bits of misfortune, but the election season has them making up for it with sheer numbers. Well, their last visit to the great outdoors (such as it is in NYC) went well enough, and Central Park has even more room to get lost in. He would've suggested it last time if they hadn't already been halfway across town.

It's amazing what a difference a week and some planning makes, huh? Dinner without the paparazzi is likely unavoidable no matter what. Not when you're an elected official in the middle of a campaign in New York City on 9/11. Likely, they've been on him every second since he woke up. And likely that was pretty early, from what's been said of Evette.

Fortunately, there's not a lot of downtime associated with Alexandra tonight, not between George's appearances and dinner at least. She already came dressed up, it seems! The secret of the matter is that she just came from church services, Saturday ones, for the victims of 9/11. Her first year in New York City and her first time being here on that day. Against the warmish night, with some slightly chilly breezes, she's wearing dark blue jeans, a baby-blue sweater with frilly collar, frilly cuffs, and frills down over the buttons. Her hair is mostly held back with a slim head band, but a few strands are loose in the front.

And for the record, she was up at 6:30.

The new suits are safely at the apartment, except for one stowed in the car on Evette's insistence. You never know when an emergency PR gig might crop up! He's wearing one of his older outfits - gray slacks, loafers, white shirt with the sleeves rolled up a little at the wrists - along with a hat that will soon become a recognizable part of his public image, but hasn't yet had time to become established. "So how's your day been?" he asks, as they proceed along a neglected jogging trail. "Have a chance to hear yourself think?"

"Honestly? No, not really. I was up with the sun, or thereabouts. Spent the morning baking and cleaning. Don't get me wrong, those don't require a lot of thinking, but they don't give me a lot of time to think for myself either." Alexandra gives a helpless little shrug, but an unconcerned smile. "If you mean that other sort of noise? No, that doesn't really ever bother me. I have a way to sort of…tone that out, if I want. Otherwise, it's like white nose at this point."

George blinks, turning to look over at her. "Baking? I wouldn't have guessed, but—" Well, there are still so many little details he doesn't know about her, this is just one of them. "Wish I'd known you were up, I wouldn't have quite been so last-minute about suggesting this. Campaign manager gave me enough dirty looks as it is. Especially when she… misunderstood how I was approaching things, let's say."

"Yeah, baking. For the church thing. I told you about that right? That that's where I was coming from today? They did it for 9/11 services. A little, ah…community luncheon sort of thing. I made some cookies and brownies for dessert. As for being up? Well, that was on account of the baking. On weekends I usually let myself sleep in at least a little bit. If 8 is sleeping in."

"It will be, tomorrow. For me, at least." George nods vaguely. "I remembered you were had something like that today, just not what exactly you were doing for it." He's been doing well just to keep up with his own schedule lately. "I trust it went over well? Basic stuff like food usually does." Note to self, run some sandwiches out to the strike line tomorrow.

"It was a smash hit, I think. This church has a nice big kitchen and mess hall setup. The whole basement floor, practically. Big pantry, collection of non-perishables, the whole shebang. In fact, that's the church whose members went to that protest where I got arrested." A few paces go by in silence before she gets to thinking and asks, "Why is 8 tomorrow sleeping in for you? What's on your schedule so early?"

There's a brief impulse to frown as the arrest is once again mentioned. If their renewed friendship does get dragged into public attention, after all— but it's just as quickly stifled. She wasn't in the wrong, and he'd have to make a stand on it, that's all.

"That was my concession," George explains, "for cutting some time out of the schedule to come see you in the first place. That, and planning more than one day ahead next time. At least until after the election." If she keeps pushing past that point, well, he'll have to have a talk with her about roles.

"You…have to maek concessions? With your own time? That sounds a little ridiculous to me." Alexandra doesn't make mention of the fact that it's a concession of time to see her. "Sounds like this new scheduling assistant of yours is really doing a great job," she says a little sarcastically. "Besides, it's Sunday. Who gets up to watch politicians campaign on a Sunday?"

George shrugs. "It's overkill for actually doing the job" - he's somewhat of a workaholic, but not that bad - "but this is a matter of convincing people to let me keep doing it. Different ballgame— what I hired her for. And some people want to get a word in without interrupting their own Monday-to-Friday." At that point, he stops, turning to face her fully. "All that said? Yeah, it's a real pain in the ass."

"Well, better you than me, really. I'm a naughty monkey though. I'm still not registered to vote in the state of New York. Kept my Louisiana voter registration, even though I was away at school for so long. So what, you're going to be meeting with people all day, about business matters or something?" Turned look at him, it's pretty striking how much of a height difference there is. Thankfully, the heeled boots give her a few inches, so she doesn't have to break her neck looking up at hime.

"If I lose by one vote, I'm blaming you," George quips. "And I think part of it's meetings, part of it's just touching up the public image. Not giving Dennis any room to paint me as a slob— not that he's tried, but ten to one says someone on his staff is telling him to. Actually, I'm pleasantly surprised that no one's made up any stories about Tipper yet." Which could just mean they're saving it for an October surprise.

"Wouldn't it be your staff making up rumors about her, though?" Alexandra replies, before furrowing a brows a bit. "Wait, Tipper? Does she know your sister? A smiley, way-too-friendly woman? I think…I remember her a bit. I mean, I was only in Texas for five years, but…" Her voice trails off there.

George makes a sour face at the thought. "Anyone on my staff makes up rumors like that— well, they won't be participating in the payroll program any longer. And yeah, she does— you probably did meet her, there can't be that many Tippers running around." One more thing to keep in mind, next time he happens to run into the loyal opposition.

The little talk about participating in the payroll program gets a little giggle from Alexandra. "That's a bangup way to deal with the unemployment issues in this election, you know. As for Tippers? Well, there's Tipper Gore, I suppose. That's about the only other person I can remember with that name. Which…that may very well be the reason I can remember her at all!"

"Same here… I think maybe it's short for something, but I forget what. I just hope this vote doesn't come down to three hundred people in Florida."

The side of the park they're on is pretty sparse as far as other people, which sets up a paradox… few potential gawkers, but also no food vendors anywhere nearby. "So— did you want to get dinner at some point?" George asks. "Most places will be hitting their busy hour pretty soon…"

"This is a local election, I thought? No chance for people in Florida to muck it up? I mean, I don't see how those ballots are confusing in the least, if you just read the directions!" Well, they're old. And some of them are men. And old men definitely don't read the instruction, so…. "I think that's a good idea…unless you're a fan of cookies for dinner? I don't know. I did that more than once in allll those years in school. Great for the soul, not so much for the hips."

There's only one correct answer to that, and George knows it. "Hey, your hips are just f—" He cuts off there, looking over toward her once again. "Did I mention how Evette thinks I'm renting you by the hour? I don't even know why she took the job if she's that cynical, I guess she figures there's good money in covering for people."

"If you're renting me by the hour, I should go and see her for my paychecks. That sounds like a nice gig, actually." One eyebrow raises at the start of the comment about her hips though, and then she smirks a little. "It's not by accident, let my tell you that much."

"I bet." George isn't dealing with a bon-bon-eating couch potato here by any chance. "But it got me to thinking… the two of us meeting up like this, do we have the same sort of ideas in mind? If we're not on that page—" He lets that hang in the air, looking around for the quickest route back toward a sidewalk.

"Ideas? You mean about…dinner? That was the original idea, I thought? And we were just meeting here because it was easy?" Apparently, all the education in the world doesn't make you smart. At least, not when it comes to that, obviously.

Well, it's partly George's fault, he could have expressed the question more directly. "Yeah, but I mean, are we going out to dinner, or are we. You know. Going out to dinner?" No, he still hasn't expressed his own opinion on the topic.

"Oh. OH." Alexandra says with her eyes going wide as silver dollars. Following that initial look of surprise, her expression softens from an expression of shock to one of sheepish flattery. "Oh…I think it's probably the latter one, really. Unless you're too busy with your campaign for all of that."

And now? Now George allows himself a little smile, one that anyone else in the area could easily miss. But Alexandra won't. "Well, if I was, then I wouldn't be here in the first place, would I? I'd be wearing myself down to a nub over coffee and cigarettes like a good little candidate."

He turns to head off toward the street - there's a new place down that way that he's been meaning to check out some time - but not before offering one of his hands to hers. A gesture that cropped up last time they met, but with not quite the same sentiment behind it, that time.

"Smoking is bad, you know. Especially chain-smoking," Alexandra chides. It's only a stopgap measure though, something to fill the silence there while she gets herself turned around and slides her hand into his. "Boy, the paparazzi are going to have a field day with this, aren't they?" she asks, rhetorically. "I mean, they were all over you and Hallis…" she adds, with a little shake of her head. Isn't that like, rule number one in the girl code? Don't take someone else's love interest?

Pretty much everyone is someone's love interest, and it's been a few months since they split up. Is that long enough? Depends who you ask— not that George expects she would complain. "Not if I have anything to do about it," he replies to Alex. "That was a big mistake on my part, putting the two of us out there… It was intended to distract certain people from Nathan at the right moment, but still. There were plenty of other ways to do that." And he's still uncomfortable remembering how Nathan was repaid for his efforts.

"I suppose so, without knowing many of the details on that one. Though, I guess if nothing else…I'm a lot more boring than her, when it comes right down to it. They would only have a few things to dig up on me at least, and you know they would." Alex seems fairly nonchalant about it all though, prepared for what may come. Not much to fear after a lot of the stuff she's been through!

"All that proves is that they don't know what's worth looking for." Boring? Not in George's eyes. "Where do you want to go, anyway? I was thinking maybe the Landmarc, or there's always the Boathouse but it's probably already crowded by now—" Or any number of other places, but a lot of them are either too cheap or way too expensive, so he leaves further options up to Alex if she's got anything in mind already.

"Well, remember that I haven't been in New York too too long. Not long enough to know all the fancy-dancy restaurants around here. Also remember that I grew up with gumbos and crawfish, not bisque and lobster. So, seeing as how you should know everything about your district, how about something…out of the way? Less likely to be crowded that way, too."

George purses his lips in thought. He still doesn't know quite everything about it… but that gives him an idea. "C'mon!" he says, taking off down the street and deliberately choosing one unfamiliar direction after another. Lack of a detailed schedule is one thing, but it's been a while - entirely too long a while - since he really let his ability take free reign…

"Whoa, slow down!" Alexandra calls out after being dragged along a little. "Heels, heels!" she calls out, basically admitting that she's still not entirely comfortable walking really fast (and especially not running!) in heels. At least these heels have a little meat to them, and they won't snap easily if she lands wrong in them! Not to mention short legs! So, she clops along, grinning the whole way!

Three hours later

"—so I figure hey, I may or may not be able to mess up their scam, but I can afford to lose twenty bucks to give it a shot." George laughs, shaking his head as he continues the story. "Then Ivanov walks up and he's all 'hey, Congressman', right? And you could see them panic. Soon as they made sure he wasn't kidding, they couldn't bail outta there fast enough."

By this time, the sun has long since gone down, and New York City's latest (secret) couple are relying on streetlamps to thread their way through the unfamiliar neighborhood. There's a small takeout container with the Picholine logo printed on top— as tempting as the lemon verbena dessert sounded, it was definitely a 'try it later' thing by that point.

"Yeah, it's probably not so great when a Congressman busts in on their scam…or when they try to bilk a politician out of money. I mean, that's what politicians do to others right? It's just not done to them…they have the monopoly on it, afterall." Alexandra giggles a bit as she jabs away at the unscrupulous politicians of the world. "I mean, you have a resort down in the Caribbean right? Like that Rangel guy?"

"Aw, dammit," he replies, without a moment's hesitation, "I was gonna surprise you with that for the third date." The current one being the… first or second, depending whether last week counts. "And yeah, actually that was pretty much the same joke they told on their way out. I'm actually not sure what tax bracket three-card monte would fall into…"

"Probably the same one as all the drug runners and dealers. Illegal's illegal, really. But really? Good luck getting me down there if you do. Hope you like cruises, or own a yacht. Either way is nice." Well, listen to her, already making plans about stuff like that! Coupled with her recalcitrance to to fly, that could turn out to be tricky!

George rubs his chin. "Well, it's not an impossible goal. I could buy a couple of cruise tickets." Beat. "And a room at a resort. Granted, it might have to wait till December, but that's the best season for a tropical cruise anyway, right?" It's all very light and airy and non-serious. Then again, who knows where the relationship will turn out to go over the next three months…

"The trick is to set realistic goals. That way, you feel good when you actually get to accomplish them. If you set the bar too high, and keep failing to clear it? Well, then you start to set it way too low. Or not at all. Then what happens? You stop trying. It's like in college. Set realistic homework goals. Do this many problems on these nights. You don't fall behind that way, and you feel accomplished when classmates ask you if you've started and you tell them yes." To this point, Alexandra has been walking along without bother, but now that the street lights are coming on, she's paying more attention to the where. "So, is there somewhere in particular we're going? I mean, I know the city's been cleaned up some, but still…"

George nods vaguely as Alexandra goes on - he's had to learn the same sort of pacing on the job, and is still working on it to some extent - but then turns as she switches topics. "I… hadn't planned on anything specific, no. How early do you need to be up again tomorrow? I don't want to keep you out too late." Yeah, he's supposed to be back to work at eight, but that's just for fielding phone calls. He thinks.

"No, no I don't have to be up at any special time tomorrow. Certainly not as early as you do for campaigning." Nope, she doesn't seem to be in any particular hurry as she walks alongside.

"Well, I don't have to be up that early, you know. Not as early as you were up today." George is still walking, but more slowly, letting his steps drift closer to Alexandra. Conveniently, they've just reached an intersection with a DON'T WALK sign that's just started to blink.

Usually one to preserve her own space bubble, Alex seems…a little less hesitant to let George infringe. While the sign flashes in its red block letters with the big red hand being held up, while cars zoom by (a few may very well recognize their local representative, and hey, who's that with him!?), Alexandra stands and waits to cross. So far though, she's playing coy and innocent!

The reality distortion field holds up, though— none of the cars actually rubberneck badly enough to crash into anything. Or each other. And George keeps up his own innocent demeanor - right up until the light changes - at which point he leans over closer still, stealing a quick kiss (the cad) before heading down the crossing at a brisk pace.

He starts to cross; she doesn't! Rather, she stands around and gawks a little, staring at him with her head cocked one way and her hips slanted in the other direction. She's grinning though (that's good!), and waits a moment before hurrying after him. "You know, you didn't need to be sneaky about it!" she giggles. Thankfully, luck doesn't turn the other way for those paparazzi, as there's no bright flashes!

Upon reaching the other side of the crosswalk, George waits for Alexandra to catch up - it only takes a couple seconds, either she's getting more accustomed to the heels or he's learned to slow down. "But being sneaky about it is more fun!" he protests.

What he really seems to mean is that starting out that way is more fun. The embrace that follows has nothing sneaky about it. Or hurried.

This time, it is at least a little unexpected. How can one tell that? Well, there's a shocked little squeal that turns into more of an mumbled something when she gets pulled close. The bigger indicator though is that, very, very faintly…is that a little tremor? Just there, under that corner of the street?

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