2011-05-02: Double Down



Date: May 2, 2011


A surprise visit at her office, returning the favor from earlier in the year. All goes well, but will it turn out to be the eye of the storm?

"Double Down"

ORS building, New York City

How long has it been since he's seen her? Too long. Lots of other people would have already written it off as a hopeless cause— but his sense of what counts as hopeless is different from most people, different even from most people in his field. And Evette, of all people, has a point; he hasn't pushed things as hard as he could have.

The change in routine starts with the little things. For once, someone else is driving; George is in the back seat, double-checking that he's transferred the right things from briefcase to pockets. And Evette has at least a couple hours worth of things to hold down at the office, hopefully she won't see a need to interrupt him. "Just let me out here," he says, motioning to the front of the building. "Bill the parking to the usual expense card— here's a twenty in case they insist on cash." Just because the tenants have modernized doesn't mean the building staff has followed suit.

Parking around here is a mess in the first place, and the driver is going to be hard-pressed to even find a spot at this time of the day, on a weekday. He might have more luck dumping the 20 in the gas tank and circling the block until it's time to make a return for the pickup. It's basically as modern as one could wish, but lacking in any of the over-the-top security one might find elsewhere. The lobby's pretty utilitarian, with a receptionist's desk, and a half dozen elevators. In the back corners are the stairwells, but who uses them? Potted plants, lots of stainless steel and glass, and modernish blocky furniture complete the look.

So far, so good, at least. George steps out of the elevator— but one floor short of his target. If he went through the receptionist, then she might send a page ahead of him, and then the visit wouldn't be a surprise any more, would it? Instead, he opts for those little-used stairs to close the remaining distance, ducking into a hallway and peeking through the nearest door. "Hi, I'm looking for Dr. Lambert's office?"

Down on ground level, the driver is already parked within sight of the entrance, the previous occupant having just left.

The building's not the smallest, but it has 18 floors or so, not counting the sub-basements and parking garage and what have you. Like any corporate building, all the leadership make their home on the topmost floors, then all the grunts making their home on the lower floors. Part of this building is packed with cubicles, and it's one of these floors that George first emerges onto. Inside is a harried little intern or something, clicking and clacking away at a PC doing some kind of simulation coding. Looking thoroughly uncomfortable in a shirt and tie, he turns and points back to the steps. "Up one floor, guy. Down the hall, left, then one of those offices," he rattles off, quick as can be.

The next floor up is a little more swank, with more hallways and more offices, no cubicles here. The offices are tiny though…but probably get bigger the further up in the building one goes.

Okay, so he was two floors short. Did he remember wrong? Did they move her? At least she isn't in a whole different building, like that one union rep he had to meet a couple months back. George keeps close to the wall, head down, until he finds the right entrance. "Knock knock," he says, looking around the corner.

The desk isn't so much facing away from the door, but the computer is on the wall-facing side of the L-shaped desk. Subsequently, Alexandra's not really facing the door. It must be a move to a bigger office, since the place still looks kind of bare and new. No art, no plants, stacks of papers not filed, and bookshelves that are only partially filled. Basically, it looks thoroughly un-lived-in so far.

The knock starts her spinning around, and the head peeking inside the door gets her to start grinning. "What…hey! Hi! What're you doing here?" she replies, a bit surprised. Already, she's starting to stand from behind the desk.

"Surprising you," Captain Obvious replies. "It's a good surprise, right? Little bit?" The smile is infectious; already, certain suspicions and fears are being quietly set aside, new hopes waiting to take their place. He should find out soon enough, one way or another. "First off, I take it I should be congratulating you on a promotion?"

"Sorta kinda? I guess? I don't know. I was in a small office downstairs, but I guess since those last set of plans and protocols went through, they decided I needed a bigger place. Long story short, the view's a little better, but there's no extra cash. At the very least, I don't have to look at all those cublicles anymore. They're terrible!" Spoken like one who's never had to work in one…or maybe someone who has worked in one?

George shakes his head. "I know. The first time I heard the word 'densification', I think I died a little inside. 'Hey, these things are kind of soul-sucking, but can we make them a little smaller while we're at it?'" Yes, he worked in the private sector before he joined Senator Petrelli's staff. Yes, he was stuck in a box for the first couple years of it.

Small talk. Again, probably a good sign. Probably.

"Anyway, I know this is kind of short notice, but do you think you can get Friday off? Because I had an idea or two—" Reaching into his pocket as he walks closer, he takes out two sets of tickets: one for Belmont Park, one for the Met. Both well-known institutions, but why those two in particular…

"I think I can, probably. Take a personal day, if I have to. Why? What are you thinking?" she replies. Leaning over the desk at first - which definitely isn't working - she finds that she has to shimmy around the side of it and come around to the front, turning her head a little sideways to look down at the tickets. "Whoa, I didn't think the Stakes were until June? And…the Met? What's even playing there?" Clearly, she's thinking opera, though it could be the museum.

"Kicked off late last week, actually. And a few things, but Friday is Rigor Mortis." Reaching down, he spreads them out the rest of the way. Rigoletto, actually. "And what I'm thinking is that we haven't been spending nearly enough time together… for a while now, really. But it's not too late to fix that."

"Well, I haven't exactly been shy about why, you know. I don't care how much she attempts to smooth things out…I don't know. I just don't like her much, okay?" Alexandra gives a resigned shrug, looking at George only long enough to make the comment, then back at the tickets. "I mean, it's not like I don't want to, but a few hours commute just to see each other? Both of us busy all the time? I don't know…"

George nods. "Yeah, I get that— and so does she, which is why she's staying out of your hair." Of course, she still gets on his case about it. Especially since— but he just purses his lips, keeping that thought to himself. Some things are better left unshared. "And I'm not hours away all the time— Yeah, we're busy, but the thing is, we can make this happen. Everything else will keep going, it'll just shift around some until it fits again."

"I guess maybe I do have a way of overreacting to this kind of…stuff. But it's not like I've done this a lot before, and definitely not with anyone in Congress. That much I'm one-hundred percent sure of!" For her part, at least, she seems able to admit where she might've gone wrong. Maybe time's done some work? "So which of these do you really want to go to? I know how this works. You pick one you like, then another to make me feel like you were thinking of me the whole time!" she says with a little knock on George's shoulder.

There's an impish look on his face as he brings a hand up, taking hold of Alex's wrist and keeping it in place. "Both, actually— the races start in the early afternoon. Might need to cut out early for dinner, though. And the other one's not till eight. I mean, if one of them ends up not working out, I can find somebody else to take the tickets instead—" Okay, maybe he should have kept that to himself, too. But no matter. "So, Friday, yes?"

"Hey, no fair! You're bigger than me. And…well, we're three stories up!" Good to see that as many times as she's been cuffed, shackled, or otherwise, immobilizied she can still grin and try to pull away from him. "Yeah, I can take a personal or something. Maybe I can turn it into a work at home day, as far as they know." Talking about playing hooky while in school? Oooh, she's living dangerously!

Fortunately, it's not one of those ultra-high-security places. There are CCTV units in the garage and in the first-floor lobby, but that's about it.

"Well, okay, it's a date, then!" George lets go, resting a hand on the edge of the desk instead. "I'd invite you to lunch today, too, but you probably need to get back to whatever you've been up to." Of course, if she is at a good stopping point anyway— but that might be pushing his luck a little far.

"If you want me to get Friday off, I'm going to need to bust ass the next four days. So! If you want lunch today, you might risk me not getting Friday off. Which is it going to be?" When she pulls her wrist back, and looks at him, it's pretty clear that she means to say that not even his luck can help with that thing. "And you know…I actually don't know how they feel about non-business visitors. I mean, it's probably a little different for you, since you're not some random person."

It's tempting. Visibly so. But— he did go to a fair amount of trouble to set up the day. George nods, taking a step back toward the door. "Well, then, it's a good thing you haven't had any non-business visitors. Right?" Right. No one else has actually talked to him except what's-his-name downstairs, who seemed too busy to worry about who he was giving directions to. And for the moment, the path back to the stairs is still clear.

"Heh…right. No non-business visitors at all. Definitely. Hopefully, you'll be lucky enough that nobody sees you on the way out, either!" A knowing smile is plastered on her face as she crosses her arms over her chest and looks at him. "I imagine then - hope, maybe - that you're going to be in the city for the week? Or are you back to D.C. after this?"

"I am," he answers, "but only for a few days— I'm coming back Thursday night, plenty of time. If I do get stuck there, I'll let you know as soon as I can." By this time, he's reached the doorway again, one hand resting against it— waiting in case Alexandra has anything else to add, but otherwise ready to let her get on with the rest of her day, while he does the same with his.

For a moment, it seems like she's just going to stand there and let him walk out with just a cursory good-bye. Yeah, yeah, it'd been feeling like that for some time now, but if they're going to make things right well…it's going to take both of them. So sure, yeah, she's got something to add! Just so happens that that something is her getting up on tip toes so that she can give him a quick kiss. "Let me know what your travel plans are then, okay?

Oh, well, if she wants him to grab her— and he does, even if it's just an arm around her waist for the duration— plus a few extra seconds for good measure. "Mmm, I'll do that. At least I can take the train again without too many people making the same joke about it." Yeah, he's not looking forward to next year's campaign; the press shares his suspicion about who he'll be going up against. Again.

Finally he does let go, drawing back once again. "So. Friday." Until then, obligations: a never-ending battle, most likely, but at least the tide has been turning.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License