2009-11-03: In the Kingdom of the Blind



Date: November 3, 2009


Politician and party girl entertain one another, with no one else the wiser.

"In the Kingdom of the Blind"

Madison Avenue Bistro, Upper East Side

If you don't deal well with frequent travel, you don't belong in national politics. At least George's district is only a few hours away by car or train - and the meetings and appearances and gladhanding aren't really endless. They only feel that way sometimes.

Having settled on a dinner selection, he takes a few minutes to sort through the latest newspaper clippings that his staff has turned up. (Legislation is strictly a breakfast task.) The last item on the pile is a yellow-as-a-lemon puff piece from the Post, which he sets aside after mere seconds— and promptly does a double take, as the woman whose photo happened to appear in the other column of the page turns out to be standing right by his table. No matter how many times this sort of thing happens to him, it never quite stops coming as a surprise… he'd be worried if it ever did.

It is late afternoon-ish slash early evening and the woman in question is actually up, dressed, and looking quite presentable. Her eyes are clear, not glazed over or red, her makeup is expertly put on. She is dressed in a cream colored slip dress with hand crocheted lace layered overtop. Her heels are, as usual, stiletto and at least 3 1/2" in height, adding to her rather small stature. Wrapped around her frame is an ivory colored cashmere wrap, looking quite fetching (it better be for the price paid). Unfortunately, the extremely bored expression that is usually featured on her visage is ever present. This could be due to the fact that she is waiting on an elderly lady to be sat at the table adjacent to the politician's.

As the senior slowly lowers herself into her chair, the young woman allows her eyes to drift to the table he is sitting at. Her lips twitch just slightly as she spies the article on the table, a rather good picture and she ends up admiring herself for a few moments before allowing a cursory glance at the man sitting there. Her right eyebrow lofts skyward and she grazes him appraisingly before turning back to the old woman. "Yes Grandmother, I've been doing well." With one fluid motion, she sweeps to the side and takes her seat across from the old lady. Lizette Valois-Van Cortlandt, matriarch of the entire family and the source of all of their money.

Recovering quickly enough from that initial start, George takes in the situation. He's vaguely familiar with the starlet herself, she's had her fifteen seconds of fame on enough occasions. Her grandmother… not so much. She's probably a donor, but to which side? He'll have to check into that later. Meanwhile, having no further use for the page himself, he folds it up and leans over to toss it onto the edge of her table instead. "Scrapbook?"

Lizette glances toward the scrap and reaches for it, her gnarled hand closing on the bit as her sharp blue eyes flit between the man who threw it and her granddaughter. "Hallis, perhaps you would be so kind as to introduce me to your friend?" commands the elderly woman, one who adheres to the very letter of protocol and etiquette. This means, formal introduction to the man who has intruded on their time. As she waits, she unfolds the bit of newsprint and studies it for a moment before narrowing her eyes at Hallis and tossing the picture at her.

Hallis, truth be told, is mortified. Of course it was a good picture of her, it was taken during an impromptu vacation with her friends at the beach in Tortola. As the young blonde clears her throat, she says in an almost whisper, "I don't know him Grandmother. I assumed you did." Then she plucks the clipping up and folds it away, hiding her bikini clad body from the rest of the room.

George never did have reliable throwing aim. One of the reasons he didn't play football in high school. (This is a Big Deal, as it was practically the state religion back then.) "Apologies," he offers, addressing the interloping matriarch directly this time as he rises from his table, fishing something out of his wallet and offering that to her as well. "My card." Congressman, 14th District, it states in simple block letters - which may fail to put a dent in her attitude, but at least it answers the immediate question.

Taking the card, Lizette gives a gracious smile to the gentleman before passing it to Hallis, who actually reads it to the woman. Yes, Lizette is too vain to wear spectacles, the younger woman came by her own vanity quite honestly. "Grandmother, I would like to introduce you to Congressman George Dawson of the fourteenth district." Suddenly a spark sets off in the young blonde's eyes and she passes an almost secret smile to the man. He was looking at her bikini clad body earlier, perhaps there's a little bit of hope. "Congressman, this is Lizette Valois-Van Cortlandt, my grandmother."

Perhaps there is, at that. The only immediate hint of his possible interest is an arched brow… but that's something, at least. Perhaps later he'll get a chance to clarify.

"Pleasure to meet you both," he replies, offering each woman in turn a polite handshake. "I've heard good things about your granddaughter." Which is true, as far as it goes - and in fact a certain more recent and decidedly less flattering photo of her has yet to come to his attention.

That photograph was news from over two days ago and has since been replaced by other more interesting things, and unless the congressman's aides are fond of perusing the inner pages of In Touch or Star, they wouldn't find it now. This fact has been a serious boon for Hallis, at least she's done more interesting things as of late, like exiting a restaurant on the arm of an unknown young man. As he offers the handshake, each of the women simply slip their hands within his, expecting the proper etiquette to be followed with the kiss to the knuckles. As Hallis offers hers, she licks her lips before giving him a Mona Lisa smile. Art of Seduction 101, always draw attention to your lips.

"Congressman," begins Lizette, motioning to the chair and eyeing the two as she would a painting at Sotheby's, with great care and appraising eye. "Please join us, my granddaughter and I were about to dine, but we would be more than pleased to have your company." The tone of her voice indicates that perhaps this is not a request, but an order, and she seems to be the type of woman that is quite used to having her orders followed to the letter.

The trouble with that is that everyone's got a different idea of what proper etiquette entails. The only thing that saves George from foot-in-mouth disease on this particular occasion is that he already screwed it up on another occasion the year before, and so this time the expected response is given without hesitation - and, in Hallis's case, a wink to boot. Congratulations, today you're a straight A student!

"Of course," he replies, "if you'll excuse me just a moment." The rest of the news clippings are tossed into a slim briefcase and set down near the foot of the table, safely out of the way.

Both of Hallie's eyebrows quirk with interest as the wink is delivered, and in return, she graces him with a subtle pucker of her lips. Lizette, being a little blind to the occasion is oblivious to the flirtation between the good congressman and her morally ambiguous granddaughter. "So tell me, Congressman, if memory serves, you are a democrat, correct?" Lizette may not have recognized the man, but she knows the name. The woman is quite sharp on her politics, something that is needed for certain favors to be granted.

Hallis has shifted to the side, to allow George's chair to rest a little closer to hers, to ease the conversation with her grandmother, of course. A few fingers reach into her long champagne colored tresses and she twirls them idly between her fingers as she gazes at him.

"That's right," George answers, settling into his new place and motioning to the waiter to make sure he spots it. "I've got a few critics who claim otherwise, but they say that about a lot of others, too." He continues to watch Hallis out of the corner of his eye, but keeps a straight face. Is he done flirting or is this just the latest stage of it?

The conversation of politics lacks pop culture references and current events that are close to the young woman's heart, namely; gossip, fashion trends, and perhaps shoes. A soft sigh is let off as her gaze drifts from the man at her right to the other patrons of the restaurant. Her eyes land on a young man about the same age as her, catching him looking at her. Slowly, she reaches up and pushes her long hair behind her shoulder, allowing the young man (and the congressman) a good view of her neck.

"I find that the Democratic party is a little less interested in my interests than the Republican party. What sorts of taxes do you support, Congressman?" Lizette says clearly, lifting her water glass to take a sip. Normally the old woman would be having a glass of chilled white wine, but apparently her doctor has advised against the practice for a week or so.

George doesn't miss a beat; this is, after all, a major part of his job. "Less of them, for the most part," he answers. "The Laffer curve was a point of contention before me, I'm sure it'll remain one after." Oh, hello there, Hallis, no we haven't forgotten about you: he rests an arm mostly against the back of her chair, but lets his fingers fall into place atop the spot she just exposed. The spectator shoots him a dirty look, then acts like he didn't notice any of it.

"Yes, less taxes are always a good thing, though, I would be willing to place more of my money into a private program to help cleaning up the Hudson river." Apparently Lizette's eyesight is really not that good, because she isn't even aware that the man has his fingers trailing on her granddaughter's neck. A granddaughter whose pulse has just began to quicken, but this might not be noticeable to the man at her side. The sight is not invisible to the waiter though, who has come around to refill water glasses and take their orders.

The evening continues with dinner being brought out, the conversation flowing at an acceptable rate, and the Congressman impressing Lizette with his views on current events. Out of this, she has pledged to contact her old friends in his district to speak to them about a measure of support for the young man. All the while, George's roaming hand has explored nearly every bit of Hallis' exposed flesh accessible to him. The young woman has been encouraging him with sidelong glances, small smiles, half lidded eyes, and small puckers of her lips. She has even gone so far as to lean a little in his direction. At the end of the meal, Lizette has finished a few bites of her pheasant, Hallis has left her plate largely untouched, and the Congressman has eaten as much as he should. It is after coffee, and Lizette's insistence on picking up the tab that they part ways. Lizette leaving first in her limousine, leaving Hallis and the congressman at the entrance of the restaurant.

Despite the ample evidence that she's missed fully half of what went on during the meal, George plays it safe and waits till Lizette's limo is safely round the corner. You never know, she could be playing old and feeble in hopes of catching her granddaughter out. Once the coast is clear, he turns and faces the young woman fully at last. "Maybe I should've turned down the coffee," he murmurs, "now I'm wide awake and I have no plans. You have any plans?"

Hallis gives George a small smirk and twitches her shoulders in a noncommittal shrug. "I always have plans, Congressman, the real question is… Do you have something a little more exciting planned?" Her tone is suggestive, almost obscenely so, he is a man of power after all is said and done. Power always leads to success in some form. She lifts her fingers to her hair and plays a tendril around her index finger. "Unless you want to come to a party with me, but I don't think it would be your style."

"Mmm, I'd probably be a stick in the mud by comparison. But— you know what?" George takes a step closer. "Whenever I go out with a workaholic, it ends up going bad. Even when it goes real good at first." Which, admittedly, it did in the last case. "Maybe you—"

The sentence is left incomplete, but it's hardly a secret where his mind is going. "C'mon, I think we can manage 'exciting'," he adds, gesturing toward a car parked nearby.

Not bothering to hide the wide smile forming on her face, Hallis follows along behind the man at a relatively close pace. Every once in a while, she turns her head to make certain they are not being followed. Perhaps the fear of Lizette is still instilled in the paparazzi as they seemed to have given the young woman a few hours off. "I hope you're taking me somewhere good," she murmurs in a low voice, barely managing to keep up with his brisk pace. She eyes the standard issue government car with a semi sneer forming on her lips. The only good thing about the Lincoln is the tinted windows, her friends would never even think to even peek into a car like that.

Oh yes, paparazzi: another thing they have in common, though George usually draws a different subset of it. Except when he has reason to exert his ability a bit and help hold them off for a while as well. Judging from his smile at the moment, he does. "Oh, something like that," he says, even opening the door for her before hopping in the other side. And they're off, headed for… somewhere nearer the heart of the city. Something will work out, it always does.

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