Date: April 13, 2010
After playing with fire, Hallis comes clean. Note: George is really just too good for her.
Well, at least the meeting with Tracy went pretty well. And the followup with his impromptu security detail; the odd-jobbers are definitely earning their keep with each new thing he throws their way. Unfortunately, between that and the twenty-odd other things he's asked to pay at least some amount of attention to, it's way past normal working hours when he finally makes it out to the Afterlife set for that visit he promised Hallis. Will they even still be there? He knows they tend to work long hours themselves - churning out as many episodes as they do, even if they're typically soap-opera-cheesy much of the time - but he isn't sure exactly how late is normal.
No, studio is locked up tight and it appears that no one has been there all day. While there would normally be someone hanging around cleaning or setting something up, the place is barren. Pretty freaky, actually.
It's about that time when yet another text comes through the phone, this one a little shorter. With how well George knows Hallis, she's either depressed about something or very angry.
Crap. Maybe he should have called ahead… on the other hand, he might've interrupted her. He's been second-guessing himself more often than usual, the past few days. Rather than text back, George hits speed-dial, hoping to catch her before she actually puts the phone away. Without even a lobby to hang out in, he contents himself with leaning against the trunk of his car.
Lucky George. Hallis was in the process of trying to figure out how to put the phone into bedside mode when it goes off in her hand. The young woman actually winces as she reads the name on the display and hesitates before answering. On the third ring she presses the answer button. She holds the phone away from her ear for a few moments before finally lifting it to her ear and taking a breath. "H-hello?"
On the other end, George starts for a moment as well - uncertain whether he was going to get to talk to her or a machine. "Hey. Hey, how bad did I miss you here, anyway? Place looks like a ghost town— I was at least expecting a rent-a-cop or something." It's a legitimate question, but a softball while he fishes for what sort of mood she's in. And whether any of it is his fault.
"We were up in Westchester today, filming outdoors. They uhm… they had some shots they needed to get." Hallis sounds extremely glum, almost exactly like the time George heard her talking to her father on the phone at Christmas. "I'm uhm… I'm at home, I figured you were too busy tonight. I've been missing you a lot." She's taking all of the blame, something she never does. Usually she's laying it on him when something between them goes wrong as far as scheduling.
Oh, that explains it. George sighs, turning back around and walking back to the driver's seat. "Yeah, I got your message about that this morning, but I didn't think they meant all day! Sorry, I should have— look, I'm still kind of wound up, you want to meet up somewhere? How early do you have to be back tomorrow?"
"Can you come here?" Her voice is almost childlike, so small and timid, as though she's afraid that he might say no. Gripping the phone to her ear, Hallis emerges from her bedroom into the dark apartment and pads through it until she gets to the front door. It almost seems deserted but it's not, everyone is asleep except for her. "I just need to talk to you, I need to tell you something. It's important."
George scratches his head. What is it, that she can't or won't just share it over the phone? Must be important, but he's blanking on making any guesses. "I'll be there in… probably a half hour?" A rumble in the background: he's already pulled away from the curb.
A half an hour later, Hallis is waiting by the door. She's still dressed, though she's barefoot, and her makeup and hair are pristine. She's been on her tiptoes and looking through the peep hole for the past five to ten minutes. Every time the elevator doors open on their floor, she reaches to unlock the deadbolts. A few times she's actually opened the door to the empty hallway. Since that time, though, she's been waiting until she actually sees someone step out of the lift before she races out into the hallway.
And then, for the next five minutes or so, the elevator stops showing up completely. Has everyone gone to bed? No, judging from the annoying buzzing noise off in the distance, it just broke down. By the time George makes it up to his and her floor, he's a bit winded from the stairs - he's largely fallen out of his jogging habit since the election - not to mention approaching the apartment from the opposite direction from what she'd be expecting.
When his head pops up in her peephole, she almost screams with fright. Why? Because she was expecting him to come out of the elevator and not just appear in front of her. Hallis' hands fly to the doorknob and she jerks the door open, but it's still locked, so she really just hurt her shoulder. The director is not going to be happy with this. After unbolting all of the locks, she tries again. This time a little more slowly. "George?" The smell on her breath indicates that she has been drinking, but her eyes are glassy and she's not passed out. "Uh…" She pulls the door open a little wider and waits for him to come in. Her posture is something akin to a beaten dog, and there's guilt painted all over her face.
George winces at the sound of flesh thudding into door, taking a step back while she recovers, and moving slowly as he steps inside. Tipsy Hallis wouldn't be much of a surprise, but this is depressed-drunk-Hallis; he doesn't have much experience dealing with her in this state. And the apartment is, so far at least, offering no additional clues. "Hallie, what's wrong?"
Her head is bowed, just enough that it takes a little effort to lift her eyes to meet his. "George… I… Can you come in? I don't want to wake anyone up." She leads him into her bedroom, which is still completely lit. There's two dirty tumblers and the window is open, but being on the floor they're on, it's unlikely that someone jumped out to avoid him.
Turning to the congressman, she wrinkles her nose just a little and tries to blink away any tears that might be forming. "I'm so sorry, George, I didn't mean it, I don't even know what happened. I mean… We were running lines and all of a sudden.. Then Sydney came in… and I'm sorry! Please George you have to believe me that I wouldn't ever ever … I'm just. I miss you…"
He doesn't even bat an eye at the glasses; it's just as easy to assume that she'd been drinking enough to need a second glass for herself. She's certainly worked up enough. "Hey, I miss you too, I just—"
There's a lot of filling in gaps to be done, but it only takes a few seconds for George to work out at least the broad strokes. Especially considering what she chose to emphasize there at the end. "…got a little carried away with a love scene, huh?" He doesn't sound upset - yet - though it does depend on how carried away.
The young blonde winces when he fills in the last part. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. He just kissed me and… it didn't stop. I shouldn't have — I mean, I really shouldn't have. Because we were only reading." Then her eyes flit to the script on her bed and she walks toward it and picks it up.
Flipping through it, she points to the particular scene in question. She's clearly blowing her contract by even showing it to the congressman. Though if he doesn't say anything, it's very unlikely that she will either. "It was right here…" Whether he takes the script or not, she holds it out to him. Then she continues, "I don't know why I did it. I'm so sorry… I really am George, you have to believe me."
Violating a NDA for a soap script? Try witnessing the first few steps toward the slippery slope of slooooooow torture. Against a blatantly guilty and unrepentant traitor, but still.
The other thing, on the other hand… the jury's still out on that. "Um…" He walks over and sits down on the edge of the bed, setting the script aside. "So… it didn't stop, or it really didn't—?" Oh dear, he can't bring himself to finish that thought, much less that sentence.
Hallis doesn't even dare to get closer to him, not because she's afraid of him, but because she doesn't even deserve to be in his general area at the moment. She seems to deflate as he tries to piece together everything she is and isn't telling him. "I don't want to … We didn't … I mean we kissed for a few minutes."
The young woman takes a deep breath inward as she tries to tell him exactly what happened without putting him through the torture of knowing exactly what happened. "I kissed him back." Then the tears begins to spill and she clasps her hands in front of her. She looks guiltier than a repentant murderer on death row.
It's often a challenge trying to work out which way Hallis's thoughts are going, and this one looks to be a doozie. Is she hugely overreacting to a few minutes of kissing, or just plain reacting to a few minutes of… things that included kissing somewhere in the mix? Either one seems possible - and he really doesn't know how how he'd feel about the second.
"…okay, so you got carried away," he whispers, leaning closer and wiping away the tears. "Look, you don't have to tell me exactly where he put his hands or anything, just… promise me you won't go over lines like that while you're alone?"
Benefit of the doubt. If you find a weakness, then you make an honest effort to patch it up. Now if things go there again— well, that's when the decision might go the other way.
She practically collapses on the bed beside him and wraps her arms around his neck. The young blonde just can't help but sob into his shoulder. "Thank you George, thank you thank you thank you… I won't, I promise." Then she lifts her head to look at him and her lips turn to a very sad expression.
"I miss you, George. So much. I hate not seeing you, I hate this. It's too hard not seeing you." She seems pretty much hopeless right now, "Nathan said it doesn't get better, please please please don't ever let us get like that. I don't want to be like him, or his wife… Or the woman he's with right now."
Nathan's women troubles? There's something that George hadn't thought a lot about lately. He's met Heidi before - most notably, one night where she went back and forth between confiding in him and threatening him - but she was dealing with Logan at the time, which went well beyond garden-variety marital stress. And he has no particular idea who the other woman could be; as it happens, he's met her too, but only in a business context.
"I think it'll be better after the conference," he says, burying his fingers in her hair. "No, I promise it'll be better. If that means I have to back off from work… then I will. I love you, Hallie… and by the end of the conference, I promise everyone will know exactly how true that is. No more fake anything when it comes to you and me, okay?"
A few more large crocodile tears slide down Hallis' cheeks as he makes the promise. "George, I don't want to look like an idiot when we tell everyone it's all fake… I'm scared. I didn't think about what would happen what if I get fired? What if.. I don't know, can they fire me for something like that?"
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't be like this when you're so busy." She takes in a deep breath that only ends with a long sniffle, very unattractive, but there it is. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, she gives him a little smile and a small laugh. "I love you, George, I do. I just… I've never done this before."
George shakes his head. "No, don't be sorry… I've been running around and making guesses so much today, I needed someone to pull me away from it. And I've never done this before, either, not like— I mean, I've been in a few relationships before, and they were real, but they weren't deep like this. Nowhere close." Now he leans back a little, drawing her closer. "And… I want to still surprise you a little bit when the day comes, but I can tell you this much. The fake is not what you think it is. And you will not look like an idiot."
He could be wrong. With someone gunning for the president, his luck could run out and he could get caught in the crossfire. But he knows well enough to keep that thought to himself.
Giving George a small smile, Hallis shrugs and lets off a little laugh. "Before you there was Trenton, I think we both kind of grew up from that though; I have you and he has Emily, we're not going to go back to each other, ever. I mean, I dated a little bit too but I had other things in the way." It's probably nothing he hasn't heard before regarding her history, but he's sharing so she should too.
She moves back to lay on the bed with him easily enough, cuddling close enough that he can probably feel her Scotch laced breath on his skin. "Are you alright George? I want to know what's going on, with you and this press conference. Nathan didn't tell me anything, just said that he had to get back to work. I can't wait until you see his suit, I think I outdid myself shopping for him."
Not that she would spill the beans about Nathan on purpose, but George didn't want her unconsciously hinting at it either. But since she already knows the crucial bit of information? "That's basically it. He wasn't really sick, he was just hiding out, and he wanted to keep that a surprise until he showed up. Past that— I don't know the details, he hasn't told me either. Limiting the damage if someone managed to bug my office, I guess."
"Emily… she was working with some people trying to take control of the president. Maybe to get him killed, we don't know for sure. She's, uh, locked up now, so I guess Trenton's gonna need to find someone else." Like a 400-pound man named Bubba. Why, yes, Trenton is still on George's enemies list.
The news about Emily has Hallis' eyes flying wide open. "Emily?! My friend Emily? Trenton's girlfriend Emily? The one who — " Made her rethink her sexuality? "No, Emily doesn't work, she lives with Trenton and he pays for everything. You must have made a mistake, George, it couldn't be Emily." If anything else, the woman in his arms is blindly loyal to those she feels have earned it.
Her hand rises up to pick at one of the buttons on his shirt, not actually undoing it but just fiddling with it. "George, will you stay with me tonight? I know you're busy and everything, but I really just need to have you here."
George shakes his head. "Sorry, no mistake. I… think she must've cracked, somewhere along the line." Always was cracked, more like, but he'll soft-sell it if that's what it takes for Hallis to accept the idea. God help them all if she insists on seeing for herself.
"And of course I'll stay with you, I was planning to anyway— I mean, my place is just down the hall if I need anything from it—"
"Is she in jail? Do you think I could get the address to write her a letter?" Hallis is vain enough not to want to be seen visiting anyone in jail, but not shallow enough to turn her back on the other woman. Though, looking at George her thoughts drift to other matters, the important one being that he's with her right now.
Giving him a smile, she stirs just a little, looking first at the open window, then at the discarded script. "We could stay at your apartment if you want, I have to get up really early to go to the set but if you don't mind that…"
Oh, good, a letter. "I can get a letter to her, sure." It'll buy Cody at least a little time to figure out a long-term strategy. Or to dump an unidentifiable body into the East River, though he still hopes it won't come to that. "And no, it's okay— let's stay here. Here is good." The script is absently shoved off the edge of the bed as he moves to draw her closer.