2010-01-18: Gold Digger (Phantasm)



Posting Date: Month Day, Year


She take my money, when I'm in need

Yeah she's a triflin' friend indeed

Oh she's a gold digger way over time

That digs on me

"Gold Digger"

Van Cortlandt Apartment Building — NYC

It's a delight to come into a building out of the darkness that is New York City, especially one so polished and sophisticated, and this is where she lives. For now. Dr. Sydney Falkland-Van Cortlandt. Dressed in her long strapless black sparkly evening gown, ridiculously expensive diamond jewelry, mink wrap, and her black evening gloves that extend from her fingertips to above her elbow, Sydney is home from a benefit for the children. Which children? She doesn't know, and certainly doesn't care. Her blonde tresses are slicked back into a smart updo.

She's left James to park the car and has accompanied Hallis into the building. As always, she's all smiles and diplomacy with her stepdaughter, but she also has nothing to say to the young woman she's related to solely by marriage. So instead of saying much at all, she shoots Hallis a fairly warm grin before hitting the button to summon the elevator.

The woman at Hallis' side receives only a cool glance in response to her always warm smile. The petite blonde had never warmed up to the woman who had been having an affair with her father for over half a decade now. Sydney had her school paid for, an apartment, tropical vacations, everything she could ever ask for. She was as spoiled as Hallis from the age of seventeen when they had met. Through all of it there was one thing that stood fast in Hallis' mind. Sydney was beneath her, a social climbing mistress that got lucky. James had wanted to bring the illicit affair to public light for many years but his mother, the matriarch of the family had expressedly forbid it. Sydney Falkland was poor white trash from the wrong side of the tracks, a Van Cortlandt would never marry her.

It was a timely death that brought the woman into Hallis' small family less than a year ago. Though the interloper was friendly and nice, she was only welcomed with a very cool but cordial brand new step-daughter. Hallis had loved her grandmother more than anyone in her life and Lizette's wishes would always live on in her frigid granddaughter. "I'm surprised you were able to hold your liquor so well, Mother Dearest." The young woman quips with a self satisfied smirk. Whether or not Sydney had been drinking all night was true, the society pages would be reporting her less than ladylike behaviour all evening, thanks to a well placed trail of toilet paper on the older blonde's heel that had remained there for most of the event.

"I don't drink," Sydney quips back coolly. It's too much of a risk to drink, especially with the state of the world. Of course, her goals aren't as Hallis thinks. All she wants is the money. She'd rather not go to the parties and deal with the snots, but they are ills that she tolerates for her ultimate goal. Shortly after the wedding, James had started to seem different to his friends and family, distant perhaps. Depressed even. Of course, this had nothing to do with the wealthy man's mood. It's related to his new wife's ability and she's been laying the depression on thicker than usual lately. Outwardly she's played the role of the dutiful wife, determined to help him along — pulling him out to these parties and encouraging him out of the house. She offers Hallis a warm smile rather than focusing on her thoughts, "You looked lovely tonight, Hallis."

And the elevator arrives, drawing the older blonde into it. She presses the button to hold the door open and the one that displays their floor number. With a smug smile she waits for her stepdaughter to enter.

"I know, I wish I could say the same about you though. It's a pity that such pretty jewelry can look so cheap, hmm?" Hallis quips with a very false smile plastered across her face. The young socialite steps onto the lift and turns to the front to face the doors. She's not going to give the other woman the satisfaction of ever getting the upper hand.

LISTEN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TqLmDhOdEc

The muzak in the elevator is pleasant enough, a little more pleasant than the company between the two women. 'The Girl from Ipanema' As the box begins to slowly move upward, Hallis' head begins to sway a little side to side. It's a classic, after all.

Sydney could make Hallis more pleasant, but not everything in life is worth the hassle. Especially when she'll be playing the role of the widow again soon and inherit much of the Van Cortlandt fortune. Without granny around there wasn't even a prenup. Who needs one when it's true love (and there's no pressure from outside more authoritative others to have one)?

Unfortunately while on the ride up, the elevator stops. Completely. Frowning, Sydney presses the help button, and receives a response from the voice on the other end, "Can we help you?"

"This is Sydney Van Cortlandt. I'm afraid the elevator is stuck. Could you please come repair it or restart it or whatever you do?"

"Right away ma'am."

"Great… As if anything else can go wrong." The younger of the two grumps, pulling her white mink stole a little closer to her. While Sydney opted for black, Hallis chose stark white making the contrast between them night and day. Sydney is dripping with jewelry, Hallis is wearing just a few well placed diamonds. The young heiress doesn't look the picture of propriety and innocence though. Her hair has been bleached a platinum white to match her fur, dress, and diamonds. So more than anything, she looks like the frail ghost of a young Lizette. Something that disturbed her father greatly when she entered the room as they headed on their way.

Hallis didn't feel at all horrible about reminding her father about his mother, someone had to. Everything changed when Lizette died and Sydney moved in. In Hallis' mind their tasteful existence had been sullied by tractor pulls and Nascar races. Things that the unfortunate enjoyed. The unfortunate like her step-mother. Behind closed doors the youngest Van Cortlandt had been urging her father to be rid of his bride. While he did experience a few brief moments of clarity, they were quickly quenched as soon as he spied a picture, or some token they frequently exchanged.

Sydney had been tempted to off Hallis on more than on occasion, but she didn't want to ruin her own carefully calculated plan. She's stayed largely out of the war transpiring between evolveds and humans, planning to fund her side following the untimely demise of her devoted husband. She doesn't dare look at Hallis and chooses to continue to listen to the Girl From Ipanema rather than try to engage in conversation. Some words are better left unspoken.

Besides who cares about the opinions of a spoiled child. James Van Cortlandt was smitten. IS smitten. Sydney's ability had worked its magic well, and with her constant attentiveness, attention to detail, and careful planning, she'd acted the role set before her. Finally the elevator starts to move again, drawing another smile to the therapist's lips.

Things are looking up once again.

It was a temptation that Hallis shared, offing her rival would be a simultaneous triumph and trial. Of course her own groundwork had been laid quite well in advance. The young and very good looking butler in the household had been paid well to begin his advances of his new Mistress, there had also been promises of love and devotion from the spoiled young heiress. Something that definitely would have caused Grandmother to turn in her grave. According to all of Hallis' deductions, the butler had much better mannerisms and breeding than her father's wife anyway. That and he was wonderfully attentive in the bedroom.

As the muzak plays on, Hallis even attempts an almost inaudible hum. If her father caught his wife and the butler? There would be a divorce and no settlement because of her infidelity. No court in the world would award a cheating gold digger any part of her family fortune.

But Sydney kept the butler at bay. He was nice enough, but her own ambition kept her in the role of devoted wife. Like Hallis she'd planned the demise of the other woman carefully. It wasn't going to be a suicide (although she had considered it), instead she'd connected with the maid. A maid who, like, Sydney had an ability. The two had figured it out early on in her relationship with James. And then they'd conspired together for years. That's how they'd offed the matriarch.

Finally the door opens and Sydney pads out carefully. She steps up to the door of the apartment which is oddly already open. With furrowed eyebrows she marches inside and peers about, "James? James? Hallis and I got stuck on the elevator…" she peeks about for her husband.

The open door causes a twinge of fear to grip the miniature heart of the miniature socialite. Very unlike the therapist, dainty blonde creeps inside the door behind her. Her large eyes pour over the scene, the butler and the maid had been given the night off (much to Hallis' chagrin) so the eerie silence of the penthouse apartment was quite unnerving.

"Daddy?" The young woman calls out, the quiver of fear very alive in her voice. "Daddy are you here?" Immediately, her hand goes to her purse to dig through it for her phone. If they've been robbed the smartest thing to do would be to call the police.

A bloodcurdling scream is emitted from the master bedroom. James' body hangs precariously from the chandelier, a bed sheet wound tightly around his neck. She hadn't expected something so obvious. Focusing on her own emotions, she makes herself feel sad. Sydney's face pales and tears well in her dark eyes. "James! Oh James… what did you do?" her tone exasperates as tears fall down her face.

The sound of the scream startles the tiny blonde and she drops the phone to the plush carpeted floor. Racing through the apartment as quickly as she can, Hallis first spies her father's blue face as he sways gently from side to side. "DADDY!!" she shrieks and races toward him, intent on getting him down somehow. Unfortunately, she's just too diminutive, too small for the task. So she uses all of her strength to lift her father, trying to allow him enough slack to begin breathing again. "Daddy!! Help me you bitch!!" She begins screaming at the tearing woman.

"Hallis. He's blue! We can't help him anymore!" Sydney sniffles around her tears. Everything about her husband is lifeless, but she helps anyways, but James is completely lifeless. His body is stiff, but his skin is still warm. If the elevator hadn't stopped, the pair would've been able to stop him; to do something. Not that she really wanted to save him. She says nothing as she climbs on the bed and attempts to unhook the sheet. And as she does so, his body falls to the bed heavily.

But Hallis isn't giving Sydney's answers with any worth. Tapping slightly on her father's face, she tries to bring him around, tries to wake him up. "No, no, he's just… He's just sleeping… Daddy, please wake up. Daddy please…" The petite form of the daughter lays her head to rest on his chest, praying for any sign of life. A slight heartbeat, a little breath, something. She wouldn't be able to tolerate the nightmarish existence of being stuck with his widow for the rest of her life. Living in her house. Eating her food. Socializing with her social set. It was bad enough already. But to have to treat her with some modicum of respect as her father's widow? Unthinkable. "Daddy please wake up… Don't leave me alone…" she whispers.

Sniffling herself, Sydney picks up the phone in the bedroom and dials the police, "My husband has just committed suicide… We took him down… I need an ambulance…" She rattles off the address for the woman on the other end of the line and walks back towards Hallis and her father. This is almost perfect. Anyone could believe Hallis would take her own life in the wake of her father's death. "Hallis, he's not waking up… I called emergency services. They're on their way."

During the phone call, Hallis' soft sobbing had only escalated. It was Sydney's fault that all of this happened. "No! You're wrong! He's going to wake up! They'll save him! And then you'll be out on your ass because you didn't bother helping him!" The near hysterical little woman cries out, finally rising from the bed and crossing the room toward the therapist. "This is all your fault! Everything was perfect before you came along!" And with that, a sharp slap is delivered to the side of Sydney's face.

"My FAULT!? My FAULT?! I have been nothing but patient and understand with YOU!! He wanted you to move out, I said we should let you stay!! He almost insisted on it!! I was the one who let you stick around!! I was the one who said you needed time to adjust for everything!! You've always made me the enemy here, and I've done nothing but try!" Sydney's face jars at the slap, and she delivers one of her own to the side of Hallis' face. "And while I know you're not the sharpest tool in the shed, he's not waking up. He's blue. Everywhere. If we'd been… a few minutes sooner…" She holds her cheek and sniffles back the tears.

"My Daddy would never tell me to move out." Hallis says completely without any of her grandmother's cool and measured calm, "Just like Grandmother would never ask him to move out. You just wait, as soon as he wakes up…" And it sinks in, her father is never going to wake up and she will be stuck with this horrible woman for the rest of her life. Or at least as long as it takes to sue all of the inheritance out of her. No, no way. Taking a deep breath, Hallis sidesteps the woman and tromps quickly down the hallway toward the livingroom and its wetbar.

"You didn't know your father anymore," Sydney quips simply as she stares down that the body. Unlike Hallis, however, she heads tot he kitchen and retrieves the powdered odourless tasteless combination of cyanide and rat poison the maid had prepared for Hallis so long ago. While she's certain she could win a case (no prenup, given her own accounts already to afford the best lawyers, and James' friends' testimonies that he was indeed devoted to his wife something that was more than evident), she'd rather not go through the hassle. Quietly, she takes the small packet of powder with her to the wet bar, concealing it in the palm of her hand.

Even in a spat, Hallis is ever the picture of the perfect hostess. At least when it suits her purpose. Two glasses of bourbon are prepared, perhaps something for a toast to her dearly departed father, since it was his favorite drink. Two round tumblers, four ice cubes, one large dose of foxglove essence, and a healthy helping of the amber liquid for both of them. The young woman swirls the drinks and places one of them on the counter toward Sydney while keeping the other closer to her. Then she ducks down to find a coaster so the older blonde won't ruin her good furniture.

And as she ducks, Sydney dumps the fast-dissolving powder into the other woman's drink. With a perplexed expression she pads into the living room and sits down on one of the many chairs, holding her own glass carefully, calculatingly.

Coming up from behind the bar, Hallis has one of the good pewter coasters, which she almost thrusts in Sydney's face. "Here, before you ruin all of my good furniture." Apparently, she's not at all doubtful of where the fortune would go, right into her pocket. When Hallis takes a seat in one of the white chairs furthest from Sydney, she swirls her drink to melt a little of the ice. "At least we can toast to the fact that you're not pregnant…" she remarks bitterly, giving the other woman a narrow eyed glare.

"I don't intend to put it down, dear. I lost my husband today," Sydney stares at Hallis and also swirls her drink. Nothing like alcohol before the police show up. Pursing her lips she studies Hallis carefully, "We were trying. He wanted a son." Nothing like getting an extra jab or two in. She returns the glare in kind.

Hallis sets her jaw and then tosses the drink back in haste. How dare she… How dare he?! Swiftly, the drink is knocked back and the glass thrown at the woman so hard that when it misses, it shatters against the far wall. "I'm glad you're never going to have a child, you gold digging whore." Hallis seethes, finally able to tell the woman everything she's ever thought about her. After all, she's going to be dead in a few minutes.

It begins as an itch in the back of her throat. Then it moves to actualy swelling and Hallis turns to look at Sydney, her wide blue eyes boring into her brown ones accusingly. "—- chk" She's unable to talk, to even spit obscenities in her direction. To … and she staggers as the world begins to fade… When Hallis hits the floor, the last thought running through her head is 'Where's the bright light?'

And as Hallis begins calling her a golddigging whore, Sydney finishes off her own drink in one gulp. Satisfied she lounges in the chair. Her chair of her apartment. Hers and hers alone. She's won. With a large mischievous grin she stares at the body and utters, "Today was a good day to -" and she can't even get her sentence out. Like Hallis, she has an uncomfortable feeling in the back of her throat. She struggles to breath. To utter. To think. She collapses in her lounging state, causing the glass to hit the floor, shattering into a million little pieces. But no one is there to know.

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