2007-09-30: Meet The Press


Nathan_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif Elena_icon.gif

Summary: The moment of truth, or "truth" according to the spin doctors. As promised, Peter makes a public statement to the press about his arrest.

Date It Happened: September 30th, 2007

Meet The Press

Nathan Petrelli's Campaign Headquarters, New York City

It's morning, and an almost informal press conference is being taken place - or will be, rather soon. Reporters settle into the chairs lined up as an audience to a plain desk. There's still a murmur of conversation as a couple of cameras are set up, and those under Nathan's employ hang around the fringes of the temporarily transformed campaign HQ. Nathan, currently, is talking to Peter away from the group in quiet tones - nothing too secret, just instructions. Introduce yourself, read the statement, I'll try and handle the questions… and so forth. "And we'll see if it can be quick and painless," Nathan finishes with, placing a hand on his brother's shoulder and steering him towards the desk, flashing a mild smile towards the gathered press as they go.

Quick and painless. That's the plan. But Peter isn't a fan of speaking in front of a large group of people, or being the center of attention… He's holding a piece of paper in hand, trying to avoid shreading it, and takes slow breaths. "I got it— read the statement, get out of the way— let you handle the questions…" Probably best anyway. But once the questions start… it'll be difficult not to react. Which is why there's a young Latina standing not too far away. He can flock over to her and she can keep her reined in. More or less.

There's a slow breath, and he returns the touch, ever so briefly on older man's arm, before he approaches the desk. Now or never.

"Good morning," he says in a whispered tone, just a little too soft to be easily heard by all.

She has never been to one of these things in her life. Sure, Elena's been to a few of Nathan's rallies….but nothing like this. While she's standing close to the family - but not too close. She's there for support, but she'll try to keep herself out of public view as much as possible. She's also moved away a bit to give the Petrelli brothers some room to convene. Unlike almost everyone else dressed in business casual for this affair, she's dressed in jeans, a tanktop, and a black, fitted hoodie. There's a New York Rangers baseball cap on her head, pulled low in an effort to hide her features, and the rest of her hair hidden within it. Yankees? What Yankees? She's a hockey fan, not a baseball fan.

Heidi is sitting nearby; she's used to getting questions herself, thanks to her miracuous recovery. However, sitting quietly in a seat draws little attention to her un-condition - that is, the fact that she can walk - and so avoids the brunt of the questions. This isn't about her, anyway… She never understood why reporters liked to drag the families of candidates into the race. It's as if no one can be their own person anymore.

Within the crowd are many reporters, mostly from small newspapers and school publications. The news networks are there, too, though, along with the infamous Mary 'Sunshine' Sommers, who just so happens to write for the New York Times. Outspoken, somewhat ditzy, and nearly always inappropriate, she knows how to ask the right questions as far as her readers are concerned. For those she's interviewing… Well, it's a wonder she hasn't been strangled yet.

Sommers pushes her way through the crowd until she secures a seat for herself near the front. There's a beautifully insincere smile offered for Peter as he begins to speak, and she holds out her tape recorder.

"Good morning," Nathan repeats, much louder than Peter, clearer. If there is a trace of nervousness in him, it's not seen, or at least very well masked behind a smile and a nice suit. To be truthful, he doesn't like the media, not when it comes to personal issues, and it's likely some of them know that, considering how hard it usually is to score an interview with the man, especially one of this nature. However, he seems moderately in his element. "I'd like to start by thanking you all for being here. Peter will first give a statement, and then we'll be open for questions." For a guy who does what could be called reasonably sappy speeches, he's concise and to the point here, glancing towards Peter as a prompt.

She looks a little worried. Reporters have always had a bad rap. Gone were the days of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein when they cracked Watergate wide open - that had been the golden age of journalism. Now, readerships and ratings held sway, especially in New York. Elena wasn't just a little apprehensive about Peter and Nathan, but Heidi as well, who was sitting nearby because as a political wife, she has to be there and suffer along with the rest of them. She sets her jaw stubbornly - she would sit with Heidi at least, but she's not a Petrelli and being up there with the rest of them will only make the questioning worse.

There's a glance towards the woman sitting down, his sister-in-law— and then the young woman trying to blend in— and standing out at the same time. When everyone else is dressed up, hoodies really stand out. Even Peter's wearing a suit and tie, jacket, his hair combed back, though one stray curl dangles in the corner of his forehead. "Yes— um— I'm Peter Petrelli as I'm sure you all… know already…" Not awkward at all. He looks down at his hands on the desk— and sees the piece of paper he's supposed to be reading from. He holds it up. "I would— just like to— In regards to the incident involving Mr. Roberts… I regret the action that I took…" Not word for word, but he's trying. "I would like to— offer a sincere apology to… Samuel Roberts and the people who had to witness the incident— as well as my family… and close friends… who — were affected." That last wasn't included at all… "Though I can't— condone Mr. Roberts' behavior towards me, either, nor the things he implied about myself and my family… assaulting him wasn't a fair or lawful response, and I intend to accept full responsibility for my actions."

The piece of paper is released, a hand drawing up to run through his hair, dislodging a bigger curl up fall into his forehead. "Uh— thank you," he adds, before backing away from the desk.

This is certainly not Heidi's element, but she's endured it for years, and she'll endure it for many more. In all seriousness, if an affair wasn't enough to kill the marriage, then what they have is extremely strong. Even so, Heidi worries, especially about Peter. Pale blue eyes smile when he looks to her.

The reporters are mostly quiet through Peter's statement. A cough here and there, a mumble between colleagues, the click of a camera… It's not until after that the noise starts, the sea of people all clamboring for attention. Unsurprisingly, it's Mary Sunshine who speaks up first, waving her notepad in the air like a flag. "Mary Sommers, New York Times. Mister Petrelli," she amends - "Peter Petrelli, we've had reports that this incident was prompted after - let's just say a bit of a long night." There are a couple chuckles. "Can you give us a better idea about what was involved, what caused you to strike Mister Roberts?" IE: Drugs, Alcohol, sudden bout of aggression caused by depression - and the like. Spill… It doesn't matter. She'll twist your words, anyway. That's just good journalism

For the most part of Peter's spiel, Nathan watches him carefully, almost as evaluating as the reporters come to witness and report. The performance isn't polished, but perhaps just sincere enough to work well. As it heads towards the conclusion, Nathan's gaze switches towards the reporters, gauging out their reaction. His eye line falls onto one Mary Sommers, and instinct proves to be correct when she is the first to speak out. While Nathan did say he'd field what questions he could, there are some better left to Peter. A fleeting glance is directed to Heidi, then back to his brother, a flicker of what he hopes is an encouraging smile. He'll intercept when necessary.

Well, it was more to look unimportant than to look like she actually belonged there. For all anyone knows, she's one of those college-aged activists handing out fliers for Mr. Petrelli for college credit (ironic as that's what Nate WANTED her to do in the beginning). The question causes her to shift her dark eyes to the Sommers woman, however. Long night? Had Peter been doing anything before that day? Elena furrows her brows a little bit, trying to remember. God, when was it? Her memory was going the way of the freaking dodo, it used to be so good. She absently rubs the back of her neck, and steps a little bit closer to the side than the middle of the room.

…But.. Nathan.. you said that… bastard. Peter looks at the reporters a little wide eyed for a moment, actually crumpling the piece of paper in his hands. "I— the day before I was working at my job— and went straight home afterwards. I'm unsure what sources you might have, but…" She's going to twist his words anyway. He must be stressed from working retail! The most stressful line of work there is. Probably went home and drank himself into a stupor! Except he didn't. He hasn't had more than two drinks in casual settings since a certain incident two years from now… "I was doing some research in the coffee shop, spending time, when Mr. Roberts approached me with questions, which is when the incident occured…"

Heidi looks toward Elena as she steps off to the side. She's worried about the other girl just as much as Elena's concerned about the people up behind te podium… After all, last time Elena seemed distracted, hell broke loose, and while this isn't as severe… Well. Heidi's keeping her eyes open.

As for the question posed, there's the slightest narrowing of her eyes, though her focus remains on Peter and Nathan now, instead of dignifying Mary Sunshine with any sort of attention.

You can do this, Pete.

"So it's fair to say that the attack was completely unprovoked, Mister Petrelli?" Sweet, smiling, she makes a note in her book, gives no possible amount of time for anyone to respond - or anyone to ask another question - before she's asking another. Asking it, in fact, while she's still writing. "Along those lines now, Dear, there's the matter of various absenses I've personally noted, possibly in connection with your psychiatric care, hm? Can you tell us anything about that, where you were - Vegas, perhaps?"

"Past absences have been accounted for, Ms. Sommers," Nathan cuts in, before Peter has the time to even draw breathe for an answer. He maintains a glossy smile, hands clasped in front of him from where he's seated. "Both Peter and myself have made it clear to the press in the past that he's been away from home before to take care of himself and his mental health. Now, unless you're requiring an alibi, we can move on to the next question," he adds, very lightly, gaze already trailing towards any other journalist by the time his sentence concludes.

Good job, Nathan. Elena would flash him a thumbs up if that wouldn't be considered cheeky and a little out of place. When Heidi's eyes search for hers, she lifts her head a bit to look at her, and she gives her a reassuring smile. She'd wave if she could, but she keeps her hands in the pockets of her hoodie. Heidi's worry is reflected on the younger woman's face. They were the ones up there after all, with all the cameras and the microphones and the questions. Nathan though - he was clearly in his element.

For a moment, Peter opens his mouth, as if to answer, but the words are lost before they pass his lips— luckily his brother steps in, gratefully, and he backs up another step from the desk. It almost seems, to the group, as if he's now physically retreating— even a little behind his brother. As if seeking protection and support there. Good thing his brother's there, or he probably wouldn't have the slightest clue how to answer that— his mental health isn't something he's good at. But— he does have one part he CAN answer. "It wasn't completely unprovoked, though what it provoked had been completely uncalled for, and I will, as I said, take responsibility for my actions there." But not unprovoked. The smug bastard was asking for it.

"Oh, indulge the press, Nathan," Sommers says coyly, smiling, as if she's been on a first-name basis with Nathan for years.

Meanwhile, uncomfortably, Heidi feels a stab of jealousy, which passes quickly. Even so, she's… Somewhat more protective of Nathan than she used to be.

Mary does make some sort of note, though, which can't be good. Then again, how she'd twist that diplomatic reply is anyone's guess. She'll find a way.

"Then let's talk about Elena Gomez," someone says from slightly farther back, and Mary surrenders the floor, for now. They've all heard from the reporter who was attacked. Through information request, they could all get a copy of the police report, and with the redacted information, it just fueled imaginations more. "Are you dating her because of the money? Are you hoping for your share?"

Nathan knows full well that Elena is there, but when her name comes up, he doesn't risk a glance in her direction. He does, however, glance to Peter once, almost warningly. Do not. "I'm sorry, what's your name?" Nathan says, peering towards the back, mostly to buy time - and mostly to cut Peter off from potentially answering that with something disastrous. Sure, he gives Peter more credit than that usually, but he did punch a guy over this issue. When the journalist announces himself and for whom he works, Nathan smiles once. "Thank you. I'm not seeing the relevance of your question, but considering the nature of Mr. Roberts' questioning also, let me make this clear - what Peter and Ms. Gomez do isn't in anyway related to my campaign or her father's career." That's when he glances towards the somewhat hidden girl, and back to the gathered media people. "Anything else is implication and— basically bad journalism." He pauses, and glances to Peter, in case he has something to add - he sort of hopes that questions just gets left there, but he can't completely put walls around Peter in this scenario, and so Nathan takes a delaying sip of water.

It takes a lot for the younger of the two Petrellis not to immediately glance towards the young woman in the hoody when the question is brought up. Yay for political dodging— this is what they do. From the look of things, Peter's keeping himself carefully controlled, glancing towards his brother, and once towards his sister-in-law, but NOT towards a certain young woman in the crowd— not directly. There is a deep breath. Don't speak— he knows better, but… he wants to. At least his brother's answer was one he can definitely live with, because it certainly has nothing to do with his campaign or her father's career.

The moment the question leaves the reporter's mouth, Elena had been basically ready to shut him up by subtly pushing his body towards the need to go to the bathroom through a sheer wave of nausea - a look that Heidi would probably find familiar should she look at her direction. After all. He could've eaten bad shrimp. That would probably distract everyone else too - but she doesn't want to risk putting anyone in the hospital. Nathan fields the question beautifully, however, so she remains where she is, chewing silently on her piece of strawberry-kiwi bubblelicious gum. She knew this had a chance of happening, so she just takes a deep breath and bears it.

There are a ton of other people who would love to ask questions. More important ones, even ones that are more relevant to Peter's statement. It's a wonder anyone besides Sommers got a question in in the first place, really. As others wave their hands, though, Mary just shouts above the rest of them - another question, this one for Nathan. "Nathan, my dear. Last time you ran for office, you resigned shortly after. Dear, did this have anything at all to do with your brother's problems? Why would voters want to elect you, Dear? Would this just be a repeat of last time? How can you assure us that your brother's issues won't distract you from your duties? You're a very devoted brother."

That last bit is dripping with sarcasm. Heidi knows it, her hands ball into fists, but she still won't dignify the woman with a look. She wants to say something so, so badly, but this isn't her realm. The subtle look is offered instead to Elena - a silent communication that says everything - This is bull.

Another reporter from the back manages to shout above the noise, "What are you going to do about the fact that you're trailing?" Only a few points, but a few points make an election. Someone else asks, "What will be your next move if you don't win the election?"

She returns the look that Heidi flashes her from the podium, a silent 'I know' look. But when the questions come back to Nathan's campaign and how he was going to handle his brother's issues, Elena relaxes a bit. Her eyes finally turn to look towards the younger Petrelli brother, but she doesn't say or send anything - most of the time telepathy gave him headaches. But she does focus on Nathan afterwards when he starts to weather the barrage of questions. Truth be told she isn't worried about him too much - this was Nathan's arena.

The first challenge is to not roll his eyes at every 'dear' that comes up. Nathan pauses for a moment, his mouth twisted in a half-smile that he can't bring himself to complete. "You've got a lot of questions, don't you Ms. Sommers?" he says, casting a glance around the room as if inviting people to smile and chuckle at her expense - perhaps frustrated reporters who can't get a word in will rally, or something. "I would hope that my voters would elect me based on shared values and principles for the good of our country. Should I win the election, my intention is to see my duty through. As for last year, all I can say is that I put my family first." This… part isn't easy. There is no story that can be formulated that wouldn't work against him in some way, and the truth is impossible. He's been dodging these questions all year, however, and he's getting good at it.

Nathan glances towards Peter. He'd promised he'd make this quick and painless, and really… now seems like a good a time to end as any. He doesn't want the media to dig much further on this issue than this. "Thank you all again for your time, I hope we've cleared up some of your concerns," he says, rising from his seat.

Oh thank God. Peter would love to add something here— about how this time his family will be here to support him as well, not get him stuck in a hospital recovering from radiation burns by himself. He fully intends to stand by his side— unless he has to go to the future again. Or something. But that isn't likely to happen again so soon, right? "Yes, thank you," he does add politely, before he finally chances a glance to the two women who came to support, Heidi first… and then Elena. He wants to head right over to the younger of the two women— but he might have already drawn too much attention to her as it is…

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