2007-02-10: Getting To Know You

Starring:

Rianna_icon.gif Cecile_icon.gif

Summary:

Cecile Roux, a recipient of one of the Johannsen Foundation's scholarships and grants for gifted students, receives a personal invitation to meet Arianna Rockford-Johannsen in her office in New York. Cecile's outlook on the world gains new depth once their meeting is complete. Cecile's surface thoughts are encased in parentheses.

Date It Happened: February 10th, 2007

Getting To Know You


New York City, the Johannsen Foundation Building

The Johannsen Foundation building, located just off of the hustle and bustle of Times Square in central New York. Having sent an invitation to Miss Roux, Rianna waits patiently in her office, chair slightly reclined. She'd had her people watching this one for a while, almost from the time the Foundation had been created and they'd advertised globally, but discreetly about scholarships and grants available for truly exceptional students. A ballet dancer, Rianna had gone to see her dance unbeknownst and decided on the girl right away, and today would be the day when they finally came face to face.

The Foundation Building is a fairly unassuming sort of place around five stories high, very much your stereotypical office building. A car would have been sent for Cecile to save her the expense of having to navigate New York on her own, and after a surprisingly short trip considering the traffic, the car stops in front of the building. A very polite gentleman would escort her to the fifth floor.

Well, this is interesting. Scholarship money is not, it seems - quite free. Its certainly reasonable that an organization as large as this one would consider such things to be investments, and check up on them - especially with the fees Columbia is charging them. Though she was not expecting a personal inquiry, for nearly thirty grand a year - it isn't unreasonable. And so Cecile finds herself escorted from the fifth floor by a very polite gentleman to the office of Ms. Rockford-Johannsen. The girls movements have, it should be noted a very graceful…efficient quality about them; she manages to make even walking seem like an aethetic movement, with no movement wasted and every step taken in a smooth constant movement. She will wait patiently to be addressed by the older woman.

Rianna smiles as the door opens and her assistant leads Cecile into the office. She rises to her feet and walks over to the other side of the desk and offers a warm handshake before gesturing to a pair of upholstered chairs on one side of the room. "Please.", she asks, taking a seat in one of them. "I find these chairs much more comfortable than the one I spend most of my day in, so it is a guilty pleasure that I save for when I have guests.", she says, still smiling. "Would you care for something to eat or drink?"

Cecile returns the handshake with a beaming smile, sitting down. (Oh gosh yes - I havn't eaten in hours.) Shaking her head, she says, "No thanks, I have to watch my weight. A dancer's figure is hard to maintain, you know." She looks around the office a bit, squishing herself down in the comfortable seats. "A pleasure to meet you."

There is a bit of an upward curve to Rianna's smile as Cecile answers. "Well, that's unfortunate for me, then.", she says. There is a bit of a pause, her eyes glancing slightly to the left before she refocuses on Cecile. "I had thought after the commute that you would probably be famished. I don't have personal experience, but I can only imagine what artists like you put themselves through to maintain such a figure.", she says. "You're probably wondering why I sent you the message letting you know that I'd like to meet with you.", she mentions as her assistant walks in with a tray carrying a pitcher of ice water surrounded by crackers, tofu, and cheese. "Thank you, Jonathan.", she says before turning back. "I took the liberty of having my secretary bring in some particularly healthy snacks today. I figured you might be health conscious."

(Ooh, is that tofu? Hmm, well - alright, that might work. I do have to eat eventually after all.) "Thank you, I am a…bit hungry, I suppose." Cecile helps herself to some of the food. "As a matter of fact, I was wondering that, yes."

"It is nothing bad, I assure you. When my husband and I began the Foundation, it was because I wanted truly exceptional children like yourself to have an opportunity to be truly free. Not that you are a child any longer, of course.", Rianna says, taking a cracker and some cheese and then biting into them. "There are forces at work in the world that try so hard to pull down those who rise above their own potential, and we are here to make sure that does not happen. That being said, I make it a point to meet with everyone that our Foundation sponsors…", she goes on, trailing off to take a sip of water. "It's easy, especially in New York, to lose sight of the smaller elements in favor of the big picture. You are the reason why I do what I do, and getting to know you keeps me rooted to the ground, as it were. Helps me remember why we're here. I would like to get to know you a little bit, and I'd like you to know that if there is anything that you need AT ALL, that you should feel welcome to come to us here. We do so much more than provide mere money.", she says, setting down her glass and reclining.

Though she doesn't give herself any credit for it, Cecile is a highly intelligent young girl - and so after she listens to this speech, her first, quick thought is (There's something else going on here.) followed by a mental shrug and laugh. (What, no - she seems like a very nice, cheerful lady. If only more people were this kind.)

"No, I'm not a child any longer - but I'm not far into adulthood, certainly." she comments, not bothered at all by the thought that others consider her a child. "I must admit that I am impressed by your philanthropy and kindness. If more people were like you, the world would be much better then it is." she says. "But I'm not sure how you chose me, or what you are choosing based off of. I'm a very good dancer, but…why? You could be saving starving children in Africa. I don't really…matter."

"My family has been wealthy since the day I was born, and using that wealth to procure more of it. At this point, Rick and I have more than enough from both our families and our investments to ensure our family remains comfortable through the next generation.", Rianna says, shifting in her seat comfortably. "Anything else, we are more than happy to provide other people with. My husband takes care of all of the donations we make outside of the realm of our Foundation through his firm. Leaves me free to focus on the Foundation itself, and is also a great help when it comes time to spend a month filling out all of the paperwork for taxes.", she says with a grin. "As for why? Because you DO matter, Cecile. May I call you Cecile?"

Cecile nods as she listens, her only thoughts pretty much identical to her words (Mm-hmm. Mmhmm.) - until Rianna finishes, and Cecile nods again. "Oh, my - well, yes of course. Much less formal."

"I believe that honesty is a sadly rare commodity in this world, Cecile.", Rianna says. "Some times, it is for the best. But in the end, the truth must always come first. No matter the path you walk towards it. So, in truth…", she begins, taking another cracker from the tray. "I want to use you, Cecile. An exceptional young woman such as yourself. Your talents are nothing less than extraordinary, and both you and I know this. You will graduate from one of the most respected schools in this country and go on to be a professional dancer, and when you do, we will have been a part of the path that you traveled to greatness. And through you, others will come to the Foundation. Our small part in your success will extend our influence so that we can find more young people and give them the same opportunities.", she says, the conviction behind those words etched into her expression.

"We both have the world to gain, Cecile. And in the end, you can know that you have given back by helping us reach others that we might have otherwise missed."

(What an interesting lady.) she thinks. "Well, I certainly won't look a gift horse in the mouth - and I thank you for the time, and money, and effort you've gone through on my behalf." she says, before thinking (Hey, wait its almost…) She opens up her purse and glances at a cellphone.) "Pardon me a moment."

She pours herself a glass of water, takes out a white pillbottle, and downs the pill with a glass of water. "Anti-inflamatories - I tend to do a bit more then my bones was meant to handle, sometime. Some dancers end up on these for years, depending on how much strain they put on themselves." (And I tend to be worst then most, I'll be on these forever.)

"I'm sorry. We were speaking of your vision for scholarship. Its a very noble one."

There is a smile and nod in response. "In anything we might do, there is always a price for doing it.", she says genially. "And as I mentioned, I am only too happy to be a resource for you. There are many exceptional people who work for us directly or with us through other companies and organizations to help those of us who need that help.", she finishes. "Have you given thought to what you would like to pursue once your life in dance is complete? Are you studying anything other than ballet in school?"

Cecile nods her head. "I am. I'm studying drama and astrophysics for minors, but…I'm not really very smart, so I'm not that great at the physics." She pauses. "I've thought of going into politics someday, a decade or two from now - I'm…I'm a bit ambitious."

"I think you're more intelligent than you let on.", Rianna says with a smile. "That's a valuable trait for a woman in this world, especially if you're thinking of going into the political arena. You never want them to know you're coming. That's how I made it onto the City Council.", she says. "And there is nothing wrong with ambition, nothing at all. Just in that you make sure it is focused in the right direction. Once you know your path, there is little you can't accomplish."

Cecile chuckles. "Never let them know your coming. I'll remember that." She smiles. "Of course, I could be a dancer for a long time. I love moving, its such an art, every flowing step coordinated perfectly…and there are so many different ways to move, like paint on canvas. Even most dancers can't see it."

Another nod. "You even see for yourself that you have potential higher than other dancers. How you ever wondered why? Why it takes them months upon months, if not years, of practice for skills that you perfect in days or weeks?", she asks quietly.

Cecile tilts her head. "I'm…better then them, at least at dancing. More agile, and I can train to higher levels. I can control my body better. All of us are born different, I guess." (Though most of us can't do a 12 foot grand jete, or hold the ballon as long as I can.)

"I think, as you continue on, you'll learn more and more about yourself. About your abilities, and what great things lie ahead of you.", she says, standing up and walking over to the desk. She grabs one of her business cards and takes a moment to write another phone number on it. She comes back and hands it to Cecile, sitting back down. "That's my card, you can contact me any time you need. Any time at all.", she says, her arms coming to rest on the seat. "Just one last thing and then I'll have our driver bring you back so you can continue on with your day. There are other organizations that claim to look out for the best interests of the exceptional.", she says, looking at Cecile intently. "If you're contacted by ANYONE who makes you feel uncomfortable, I want you to call me. Any time, night or day. Some of them are part of the forces that I mentioned, the ones that conspire to cut away your potential."

Cecile tilts her head. "Uh…what?" (What in the world is she talking about?) Cecile gets a confused look on her face. "You mean like, another…scholarship organization?"

"Other people that, rather than embracing your gifts and helping you fulfill them to the maximum, would rather study them and see how they work." Rianna says. "A talented young woman like yourself draws the attention of those whose intentions are less than sincere. Pharmaceutical corporations who would test you to develop new formulas for common folk, people like that. I don't want you to have to worry about such things. Spend your time focusing on what is important to you.", she says.

Cecile tilts her head to the side. "Pharmecutical corporations?" (Is she insane? What would a pharmecutical corporation want… Oh.) She narrows her eyes slightly. "Gifted people, you say?"

Rianna nods. "Yes, with gifts and talents each unique to them. I'd like to meet with you again, maybe we can talk about things like that then?", she suggests, walking over to the office door and opening it.

Cecile heads to the office door. "Alright then, that would be fine." (This has been a wierd meeting though.) "Thanks for the time. Farewell."

As Cecile gets to the door, Rianna places a hand on the young woman's shoulders. (Cecile, we all have gifts. It is important that you let yours remain yours. I wish there weren't those that would take that from you, but there are. That is why we are here. Honesty, Cecile. Remember that it is most important.), comes softly, the woman's lips set in an unmoving, gentle smile.

Cecile almost jumps backwards…but not quite; her reaction-time is good enough for her to calm down before the motion can get to her legs. "I….see." she says slowly. "I see very much now. I…" She pauses. "There are many ways to be gifted."

Nodding, "So you see why it is so important to us that people like you, like us have the support network that will allow them to keep their freedom.", she says, riding in the elevator down to the first floor and walking outside with her. "Like I said, if there's anything that you need at all, I am here for you. So are others like you. You ARE better than everyone else, and we want to make sure no one takes that from you. Okay?", she says as the car pulls up.

Cecile nods her head, as she thoughtfully ponders the situation. "Alright I'll…keep in touch. I'm sorry this is…a bit…much for me." (To say the least. Wow.) "This isn't the sort of thing which happens every day." she adds, a bit lamely.

"Things aren't going to be any different for you. You've always been exceptional. Now, we can help you reach even higher than you thought possible. I'll look forward to your call, Cecile.", she says, shutting the car door and giving it a thump to signal the driver, and the car takes off.

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