2011-03-12: I Love the Smell of Gossip in the Morning



Date: March 12, 2011


Alexandra isn't the only one wondering about the company George is keeping.

"I Love the Smell of Gossip in the Morning"

George's apartment, Washington, DC

The night was long and hard. The fact is that Evette and George didn't get any sleep and it is bound to show. Sadly, it's not because of the sex. It's because of the fitful drama the night before. Their breakup was right there in front of her. It would have only taken a touch to change a memory or to create one. Remember when she walked in and they were kissing? She could have ended everything. As it is, she didn't. In fact, she still has the phones turned off.

The kitchen though smells like it is made of heaven and his place is very clean. Eve has been busy. She cooks and cleans when stress mounts. So right now there is the smell of coffee, bacon, toast, omelettes, hash browns and orange juice wafting to the locked confines of his room.

By the time the door is finally unlocked, he's already cleaned up and mostly dressed again - only belt, tie, and shoes are missing - making a beeline for the coffee first. "I don't think I even had hash browns," he muses, reaching for the plate, only to draw his hand back from the heat. "Did you sneak out to the A and P or something?"

There is a distinct lack of any 'hey, thanks for making breakfast'. It's not just her, though, he doesn't feel like being cheerful to anyone right now.

Evette doesn't say anything at first. "I couldn't sleep." Then she offers, "You had potatoes, the real kind, so I just shredded them and cooked them." She doesn't look entirely cheerful either. She's holding onto her coffee with a death grip.

George nods absently, pulling up a chair and sitting down on the other side of the counter, setting his mug down. "Well, you might as well stick around and help me finish it. How early is it?" He squints at the clock built into the stove - no, he can't focus in on it from this distance - then toward the front door, shrugging. Not bright enough to allow for much of a guess.

"I think it's like six or seven." Evette pauses for a moment and makes a plate of food as she looks at him. It's not the flirtatious gesture that one might expect. It's almost like she's not sure how to deal with him. "Sooo.. meetings today." Eve pushes straight into business.

"Feels closer to six." George takes a little of everything. It's his own pantry she raided, there's not a lot he doesn't care for.

"Meetings today," he echoes, "can wait till eight. Unless someone blew up a building, in which case we'd already have someone at the door." On the up side, it buys him an hour or two to finish getting his bearings. On the down side, what is he going to say to this woman for an hour or two?

Evette nods her head to that as she swings her feet a bit. "Look.. about last night.." Eve isn't even sure she knows what to say here. Does she try to put a nail in the coffin? Does she implant thoughts? Evie looks at him and opens her mouth. "It's all going to work out. She'll come around. Trust me, I can be a jealous girlfriend sometimes.. sorta… I think. We get over it. I'm sure she'll be all over you like white on rice next you see her." She smiles outwardly, but it doesn't reach her eyes.

"I wish I could believe you," replies George, absently working his way through the breakfast plate. "It might happen, but then again, it might not. I got no way of knowing until it happens." At least the fatalistic approach seems healthier than obsessive guesswork, but it's cold comfort. "And I thought you said you hadn't had much of anyone to be jealous of. Is there a sordid tale you've been withholding?"

Evette laughs. "George, I'm married to my job. Do you know what that is like?" She shakes her head, but the smile curves to her lips. "I keep long hours and I have to take off at a moments notice to deal with any issue that comes up. I can't ask someone not that involved to be understanding. It's hard to ask someone to come in second to a job and it's not fair to do." There is no implication. Seriously, she's just letting him in a little bit to her mind. "I can't date someone not on your team because it could fracture the team. So I'm married to my work." She grins a bit and sips the coffee. "I dated a guy in college. It…" She laughs a bit. ".. didn't work out well."

"I could still fire you." Ah, there's the old sense of humor beginning to return. Must be the orange juice that does it. "And that sounds like a 'yes'," he adds, though he doesn't press her to cough up the details.

Instead, George scratches his head, considering. "What if you dated someone who was on the team? I don't think Jacob has been involved with anyone lately, and he was asking all those questions about you back at the Christmas party—"

Evette smiles. "Awww, that's sweet, Georgie." Yeah, she called him Georgie. "Nah, it's a classic story. I was the driven girl in college that got on the dean's list. He thought I spent too much time with studies. I felt bad. Then he accused me of sleeping with every study partner I had. I found out he was accusing me because he was sleeping with every skirt he could find. My brother broke his nose and it was over."

Evette doesn't seem to care too much about the story. It was in the past. She laughs. "I totally could date someone on the team. They would at least see me some of the time at work. Hell, we could sneak into your office when you are gone and…" Yeah, she just made a joke. Look at that. "Nah, problem is I yell at all of them. They don't even fight back, they sort of cower and yes ma'am me."

As the story is retold, George makes a sour face. "I do love it when frat boys project," he offers, deadpan. "Well, you know what the problem is, it's up to you to do something about it if you're going to. Practice retracting the claws once in a while."

Finishing up with the food for the time being, he walks around to peek out through one of the windows next to the entrance. "I guess we should call that tow truck now. They should have some available by now— people breaking down during the morning commute."

Evette puts her hand up in 'claw' formation. "Meow." She says the word and does that 'be a cat' move. Then there is a laugh. "I'm okay for now. Besides, I need a man that can keep up with me as I am, not how they want me to be." Evette grins a bit more. "You are a Southern boy, why don't you change the tire? Drive me to buy a spare and you can put it on. I'll cancel your first meeting to do it. Unless you reeeeeaaaallly want to meet with the citizens for smoking again."

"Hey, I've changed more than my share of tires already, I'm done with it. That's what roadside service is for." Speaking of, George is already digging through his wallet for his membership card - not that he's had to use it very often himself - and plugs the landline back in so he can call. "…yes, can I get a tow for a flat tire, please? Yeah, the spare's out too. It's just out in front of the building, there'll be someone waiting there…" The membership number is rattled off, along with a street address.

Evette laughs. "You know, it is your membership, so you are probably going to have to be there. Hey… can I ask you a really personal and potentially embarassing question?" She gives him a sexy smile that says she wants something.

George nods absently, taking down a confirmation number on the notepad, hurriedly turning it to a fresh page to avoid butting into the previous day's review material. "I'd say no, but you'd ask anyway." Yes, Evette, he's still listening to you too.

Evette smiles a bit and then offers. "I don't suppose you would be willing to part with a pair of jeans and a shirt?" She looks over her outfit. It's the same one from last night. "I'll just declare it casual day."

All guys know about the 'girl wearing one of your shirts' stereotype. It's one of the requirements of being an American citizen. The connotation of the request is not lost on George— along with the certain knowledge that he's been painted into a corner yet again. "There's a set that doesn't fit right any more, anyway, I suppose you can take those. But keep your own stuff on over it, all right?" Work with me here, catgirl.

Evette stares at him for a long moment. "You want me to keep a pencil skirt on over a pair of jeans?" There is a toss of her dark hair. It is really wavy and sexy when she doesn't have it pulled up so severe to her features in a bun.

George shakes his head. "The shirt," he mutters. Even if the tow truck is on time, it'll take a while to arrive; he turns on the TV and starts flipping through channels, focusing in on the (rather uneventful) local news.

Evette smirks. "Okay.." There is a shake of her head as she walks into his bedroom to get them. "Where are they? Like in a drawer?" He's not in the bedroom, so it's okay to be in here right? Although, he could really use more comfortable furniture.

Oh, she wanted to get changed now. Okay, he can work with that. And he can also head her off at the pass before she horns into every drawer and storage container in the place. Pulling himself up off the couch, he follows her in, making a beeline for the items in question.

Evette is in the bedroom and not going through anything. She smiles over her shoulder at him when he comes in. It's one of those surreal moments. Deja vu of the moment. Can't he just picture her doing it many times? Then she reaches out. "Thanks."

Never mind him, can't she just picture herself taking advantage of him here. Don't you remember? We were here last night and— Instead, another opportunity comes and goes without a word.

For a half hour or so, it almost feels like the start of a normal work day, except for taking place at the apartment instead of the office. As they finally approach Evette's car, though, there's a whole knot of people - a couple of pencil skirts not unlike hers, the others dressed in loud sports jackets and ties. The journalist corps has decided to get an early start, too. And they smell blood in the water. "Congressman, there was a report last night of a possible domestic disturbance" "know anything about the damage to this car?" "—long have the two of you been involved?"

Evette instantly smiles when she sees the cameras going off. It's something to do with her line of work. Then the other words come into realization. Evette is never really on this side of the camera or the potential scandal. Of course, she has to be wearing his clothing when this happens. One hand reaches out to grab his arm as she tries to hide against his side. This is his show right now.

Fortunately, he has been through the wringer a few times before. And someone had the foresight to throw together a decent breakfast. He's not calm, exactly, but the paparazzi wouldn't know it from looking at him. "For those of you not familiar, this is Evette Johansson, she heads up my PR department. She stopped by last night to drop off some paperwork, hit a— Was it a nail? Looks like a nail, it can get nasty if it hits on the side like that." He's paying more attention to the car than to them, now, and not responding to some of the questions at all. Deliberately: now to see which ones cave and which ones keep pushing. "If you'll excuse us, we're expecting a tow truck in a few minutes."

Evette smiles more confidently as she didn't have a story prepared for her. Guess what she'll be preparing in her free time now? There doesn't seem to be a reason to chime in too much, so she doesn't. "I am not sure what it is. There was some construction I drove through so it can be anything." Her hands tuck into the front of his jean pockets. The one's she is wearing of course, or that would be awkward.

"So she works for you as well? How long have you been together? Was it all the late nights that drove you together? Is she a rebound from Miss Hallis, we heard that your engagement ended with her? What do you think about rumors that Hallis is dating her co-star?"

Oh, good, they're leaving the 'domestic disturbance' angle alone. It has no more legs under it than the 'what's up with you and Evette' thing, but it could sound ugly, which is why George didn't give it a voice. Maybe he can keep Alex's name out of this entirely.

"Who Hallis is dating is really none of my business," he responds, straightening up once again and dusting a bit of dirt off his pants leg. "And who I'm dating is really none of yours. It was my own fault for making that subject a matter of public record in the first place— a mistake I'm doing my best not to repeat, for obvious reasons."

Evette lets her eyes flit down the road and then smiles a bit more. There's just something un-nerving to how well she does that. It's like she's been created to be on this side of the camera. "As he has stated, we are waiting for a tow truck. It would be an act of kindness if you could please step away from my car. I would hate for them to not be able to get in."

If it was a serious issue, he'd never get away with a non-answer like that - the reporters would have to at least appear to be pushing hard for the truth - but these guys can just make up some vaguely plausible crap and then print a page-8 retraction a few weeks later. Guess how they're spending the rest of their mornings? There's some half-hearted grumbling, but really, they've already gotten what they came for.

Allowing a little of his relief to seep through into his expression now, George turns his attention back to Evette. "So how's the frying pan suit you?"

There is a rumble of discontent until one of the woman step forwards. "Excuse me.." The words are a soft whisper to the men around her. It is a male's world still in reporting. "I have covered all your events and I wish to commend Ms. Johansson for her work. However, I have a small question. Ms. Johansson is always designer dressed, but I would state that the run of her jeans is more suited for a man." The woman's eyes move towards George. "I would say for a fit more like yours. So I have to ask, did Ms. Johansson stay the night in a city full of cabs and is wearing your clothing?" The other reports go silent. No man would pick up on that. The man from the Daily speaks up as the questions start all over. "True! You say that it is none of our business who you are dating, is that because you are covering for your relationships with the woman beside you?" Then then turn to Evette. "Ms. Johansson, would you care to answer the allegations of your rumored relationship?"

Evette smiles in a warm fashion to George's inquiry. "I am not overly fond of it, but it isn't anything I can't handle. It isn't as if they are…" Then comes the questions from the gallery and Evette blinks. "I would think allegations is the wrong term. That would imply that any relationships I have are something to be guilty for and ashamed of."

George fixes the fashionista with a glassy smile. Thank you so much for wasting that much more of his time. "Mmm, what she said, basically." She is supposed to be a PR expert, after all. "I'm not married, so there's no adultery story to be had here." A careful dodge of the argument that did take place the night before, but at the same time, he lets it feed into his mounting annoyance. Since polite non-answers didn't work…

"And no, I don't feel guilty about who I'm dating. Now let's say someone reads your stories, they think I'm a womanizing jerk, they don't want some womanizing jerk representing them— well, that's their right. I hope I can convince them of the truth." Pacing back and forth, he pauses and looks out at the little gathering. "But let's be honest here, you don't care if I'm a jerk, do you? You just care about selling more stories. If you're one of those guys, then I'm giving you as much of an answer as you deserve."

To the reporters, he just outed his relationship with Evette. There is a mutual smile to that before the lady in question steps forwards. Evette takes a deep breath. "I value the press for what it is. Without you, the general populace would not know the events as they transpire across the world." She smiles in a way that screams beauty queen and to believe her. In fact, it is almost like she's giving the answer for the Q and A to win over the judges.

"As we have covered, there are no announcements of engagement and he is a man of remarkable character. There are not many that can claim that for as much as George Dawson can." Bright smile! "His love life is his own and not up for public display, I think a man should stand on his principles and the foundation of truth. As for my own love life…" Evette actually winks towards the men and gives a soft laugh. ".. that is just as private. Please though, truly. I think it is better to focus on the issues of politics at hand then that of romance."

As much as Evette is a PR specialist, George… is not. He can be, but he reserves it for weightier groups than this one. It's why he hasn't fired her— as tempting as the idea has occasionally been. "There's a press conference at the Ellipse this afternoon to update people on the new Middle East trade agreement. Naturally you're all invited." They'll just have to elbow their way through all the legitimate reporters who are already setting up shop there, and if they somehow manage that, well, he only has a minor hand in that bill; let the co-sponsors rip these guys a new one for wasting their time.

Evette smiles most brilliantly and then wraps an arm through George's to try and lead him closer to her car. The woman's voice lowers to his ear. "You do realize they are going to think you mean me, right?" Then there is another smile as she notes the reporters starting to filter out. There's not really a good story here. Though that woman is going to run one of them 'snuggled' up and misquote them a bit in his clothing.

George shakes his head. "They were going to think that no matter what I said. All a matter of picking battles— but next time? Screw it, I'll call you a cab." He's not so worried what the tabloids decide to run, but if this sort of thing keeps up, then Alexandra is going to keep thinking what she's thinking.

And there's that voice in the back of his head again, playing devil's advocate just a little louder than it has any right to. Is she really worth all the headache?

Evette waits for them to get out of earshot and then turns to look at him. "Why are you mad at me or taking it out on me?" Eve looks to his eyes with her big blue ones. "I left when you told me. I stayed when you invited me. I defended you when I could have turned the scales. So why is it that I'm now the bad guy? I can't stay over if something goes wrong because your girlfriend might get more jealous?" She's not touching him or implanting any thoughts in his head, just talking. "So I'm the bad one because she can't control her insecurities? How is that fair?"

George shakes his head. "It's not you," he says, "not really. And it's not even Alex, it's just— Like we didn't all have enough to deal with already, and then these guys had to show up and pile on. I was still holding back some, I wanted to tell 'em to just piss off." A sigh. "Really, I appreciate you taking the high ground."

Evette opens her mouth and he can tell she wants to say something full of snark at that moment. However, her eyes soften in a different way and her mouth closes. "George.." Evette leans into his body a bit as she takes a breath. Is she going to declare love for him? "I know you are in a tough spot. I mean your girlfriend doesn't like me and I'm someone you need in your office." God, why can't he just need me? "I don't like her, but .. that's not really my place to like her or not. I.." Evette is offering her sincerity and he should know how hard that is for her. "I just want you to know, that I'm here. I'd like to think us as friends and not just co-workers." Evette holds his eyes for a moment as she waits for him to shake her off, or to say something mean like that always comes when she's open to him.

Logically, it's just going to lead to more headache-inducing incidents: not exactly like this one, but something. Logically, he should keep her at arms' length and let the contract run its course.

Cold logic, however, is not one of the pillars of George's career.

"We'll get there," he replies, not drawing closer but also not moving away, even as the tow truck driver busies himself getting the car hooked up and ready to haul off to the nearest garage. (He couldn't care less whether they're an item or not. He lives in DC, he only gets to vote for a delegate who only gets to vote in committees.) "Just give it some time, all right?"

Evette is actually taken a bit off balance that he doesn't just shove her away or say something about her in an accusing manner. So it takes her a few moments to reply. Then she gives a laugh, soft and sultry, before shaking her head and leaning it up to him. There is a flutter of lashes. "Does this mean you'll buy me a pony for my next birthday?" The joke is offered as she watches her car get hauled off. There is a soft pout to that. "My poor car. I hate it when my shoes break." Her eyes turn up to him for a moment. "You want to shove the meetings back a bit more? Don't.. don't yell at me, but I've worked in DC for awhile and have yet to actually see the monuments." There is a persuasive smile. "We can have you shake hands and kiss babies while you escort me through them." Evie gives him a hopeful look, but her body is tense. She's steeling herself for the denial and making sure she doesn't react to it.

While George doesn't say anything right away, the look in his eyes is unmistakable: I told you not to push it. "Maybe over the weekend? We can get a few other people in on it, make it look less 'ooh it's just the two of them'." Only then does the impish smile begin to return. "And no, I'm not buying you a pony, you'd just make it break its leg or something. I should hire you a chauffeur, if anything."

Evette smiles up at him with that Miss America smile. She does that really, really well. "What about a mustang? I'm thinking convertible, bright red? Zero to sixty." Evette wiggles her brows a bit at that.

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