2010-08-18: Everybody Loves A People Person

Date: August 18th, 2010


A meeting between the people behind the scenes. Maybe not behind the scenes for too long.

"Everybody Loves a People Person"

New York City

Green switches to red; a slew of focused pedestrians move as one — as a school of fish, following the flow of traffic instinctively across one of New York's hundreds of streets.

Red switches to green; tires roll to a clean stop next to one of New York's hundreds of street corners. The black vehicle glints in the afternoon sun, blinding, for something so dark. At first glimpse a limo, at second a long town car, it's out of place only by contrasts, its pristine surface unmarred by the hot grimy streets — not much is out of place in this city, not really — not town cars picking up the privileged from wherever they've gotten to.

It sits, and it waits, the city bustling around it. The car's tinted windows are as ignoring of the outside world as the outside world is of the car.

Businesswoman. Slacker. Socialite. A thousand and five people on their cellphones and their ipods and their fancy dancy smancys all at once. It isn't any of them that gives half a blink at the car.

It's approached at the line of those clear but unyielding privacy windows by a man who briefly squints at his own reflection in them, lifting a chin hidden by an unmanaged mane.

Click, click. The passenger door is squeezed open, simultaneous to the shrugging that puts him out of a jacket, revealing instead the downy blues of his button-down shirt. A casual reach puts the jacket into the path of the next unsuspecting pedestrian, who gets a hold of the old fabric before he really knows what he's doing. By the time he halts, pulling earbuds from one side, he can't remember how he even got it…

The blond man at the town car has since slid inside comfortably. His hands reach to his jaw, near his ears, peeling away until there's just smooth skin and a lingering itch. Tucking this burden into the front flap of the forward seat, he gives an extra tug to tighten his tie and then leisurely glances to his right.

"A Pinot Grigio, perhaps."

The figure at the farthest end of the spacious backseat of the town car — a dim and private hideaway despite the sun outdoors — moves only slightly, a shift of red clothing and folded hands. Then dark eyes framed by the wise creases of age cast down, eyeing what the new passenger has stuck into the seat ahead with some distaste.

"I'm afraid we're all out," answers a woman's voice, leveled quite ambiguously between honesty and complete sarcasm. Knuckles move to succinctly tap the tinted privacy window, her reach tugging a suit's sleeve past a pearl bracelet.

Its driver thus signaled by the knock, the car moves away from the corner. Angela leans back and looks to her left. Her voice is dry as a Pinot Grigio and, it seems, all the man is getting. "You've given a new meaning to working among the people Mr. Carter," she states, and it's a hard guess as to whether the woman means to be lauding or criticizing; perhaps both. There's a thin smile to be found. "I'm surprised you haven't developed a rash."



"Evvveeerbody loves a people person, Mrs. Petrelli." A declaration less befitting the doggish way he gives his chin several relieving scratches, and more to the precise motion of tugging straight his sleeve cuffs as happens afterwards. Smooth metal ducks between fine — dry-cleaning only — fabric as he secures buttons of a custom variety, gold dust around pearl color. "And I am a man of simple," the second button dips into place, and he slides forward then back into the seat, becoming comfortable enough to sling one leg primly over the other, "but personable means."

Image succeeded; Roman Carter completes it by creating a delicate but professional fold of his hands across his lap. "I'm not overly vain, but I happen to think it's an attitude we could benefit from. Moving forward after these tumultuous times. I mean— " For a spot, a small percentage of the next block rolling by, he lets his head drift to the side, taking his gaze out windows whose view he is now privy to, even as the common folk now, in turn, cannot see him. Still on the outside: "— that is why I came back."

Fingers slide away from each other, briefly creating a steeple — the perfect James Bond touch of ominousness as coats the bottom of that smooth voice as Roman returns his eyes to Angela. "That is why we all are coming back, isn't it?" His smile is thin as well, pressed in regret for that shame which he names: "That gosh-darned eclipse."

"Times have a habit of changing," Angela replies distantly, placing a nearly bored familiarity over the words. Her own gaze tips up, out the window closest to her and opposite Roman. Habit, change; these two things shouldn't be mutually exclusive, but the Company has been around a long time. Long enough to see the shifts in the world and in itself.

"If it takes an eclipse to draw this Company together, I should be thanking the sky." Gosh-darned eclipse indeed. "There's a lot of work to be done," she lets that statement hang a few seconds before adding, "Most of it personable." After a turn of her head, the Company Director spends a moment only eyeing the well-coiffed man, a dark eyebrow inching upward through her study. "How's yours?"

"I believe Bob Dylan said it best." Contrary to the matriarch's ice, Roman is warm and natural, not even interrupted by a thought — though the light furrow of his ruggedly arched eyebrows show him to be processing some — or at least entertaining the idea of doing so. For all it's there, he remains cool and decisive, his encouraging, "That's the spirit, Angela," like the prelude to a sales pitch pre-memorized. "Because isn't it when we're feeling at our lowest do we come together the most. Mmm. Amen."

The man barely twitches under examination, his own face turned to the floor of the town car, watching the bounce of his black dress shoes with the vibration of the car. Squinting, he puts a crack in the facade of perfect contentedness: but without breaking. A soft lean, pushed off from the leather of the seats, he huffs out a breath against the raised shoe, turning up his hand and giving a nearly invisible scuff mark a rub by the bottom of it. Squeaky squeaky says the friction of skin against fine Italian make.

"Things are coming along quite nicely on my side. Productive. Full of potential. Malleable." Each word is a rub, except the last which becomes a glance over at Angela, "Just how I like them." Then back down. "Everything— " he grunts through an extra fierce scrub, eyes the mark: there is none. Satisfied, he resumes his pose. " — in its place."

"Dylan also said the world is ruled by violence," Angela states off-handedly, nonchalant. This is dismissed as Roman is succinctly, then, praised for his productivity. "And good," she says, astute and commending. "Keep it up." The matriarch's satisfied smile is hardly long-lasting however, turning down by the time she's through a curt nod. Eyes ahead now, she addresses Roman as if he were right in front of her.

"Because, Roman, we… need to continue working on… expanding our reach. It's been proven time and time again the work we do can't be done alone." Thoughtful, the woman's words, more than commanding — oh, they're that, practically always that — have a distance to them that places her sharp thoughts faraway. But not dulled. "Now more than ever." Abruptly, but with perfect calm, Angela leans ahead and reaches down to a purse that rests between her legs and her door, documents peeking out. She withdraws a legal-sized envelope and hands it to the other passenger. "A few more names. I expect even you might have trouble with at least one."

A quick and confident grip accepts the envelope as well as what it represents; the same ease with which he smiles. Swift and forceful, the look is almost its own command. "Then prepare to have your faith reinvented. Like our Lord, I work in mysterious ways." A tall order, but he exudes it with every fiber of his expensive uptown wear and the curve of his hand as he passes it over his forehead to swirl bangs that were not out of place.

"Delegation might be the first way," he hums out, however, when fingers flip through the first lines of each contained file. Names flash by one after another once, twice: who's been naughty or nice. "Can't have anyone getting lazy now. Bad for the image."

As the town car slows for its next corner, diligently obeying the laws of the road, Roman reaches for the door handle preemptively, using the grip to slide his way to the very edge of his seat before the files are tucked inside. Angela is flashed a smile that remarks on the whiteness of every one of his teeth. "As always, you're a class act lady." The handle maneuvers downwards, opening the door to the street corner beyond. Roman's leg slides out and then he pushes up to his feet, twisting about to rest a hand against the top of the car as the light fades to yellow. His face appears, bobbing into view as he leans down. "And, Angela. Put on your happy face— " the green light appears, " — there's good work to be done."

With the transition from brake to gas, the town car begins to pull away, its momentum making easy the shut of the door with barely a push from Roman. As it closes, his resting hand gives the car an encouraging slap to the top of its shiny surface before he turns away and becomes one of many in a crowd of restless passers-by.


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