2009-10-24: Normal Is Just A Formality

Starring:

Erin_V4icon.pngTracy_V4icon.png

Date: October 24th, 2009

Summary:

When friends Erin McCarty and Tracy Strauss go out for a late night drink at an upscale bar, they don't realize that they have something in common. A bizarre text message they both receive has more than one unexpected outcome.


"Normal Is Just a Formality"

Formal Dress

Uptown, NYC

It's nice to be able to afford an upscale place once in awhile. Even though Erin always made Taine take her somewhere ridiculous - like McDonald's - on their dates, she does have a love of the finer things in life, especially when she can easily afford them. And there's that whole liking to be seen thing, which she pretends she hates, but really loves.

She's a good person. Really. So when she can find time to spend with a friend who (possibly) appreciates her for her razor wit and amazing style and also has no idea she can kill people by thinking about it, that's a friend to keep. Obviously.

So they are here, at this place that's most likely way too expensive to be legal. Formal dress is necessary, as even this fine establishment's name reminds those wanting to enter that they should be wearing their finest. It's literally called 'Formal Dress.' A fancy title in covered red and blue lights hangs outside an entryway that otherwise might look like some sort of dive… But those 'in the know' know better.

Erin's wearing dark orange and black, since it's close to halloween. There's sunglasses, of course, which will find a permanent home over her eyes throughout the whole evening. She'll tell Tracy it's to avoid being recognized, but it's really in case she loses her temper. Sitting down at the bar, she looks over the drink menu.

As usual, Tracy is dressed to impress, as more than befits the bar's dress code: a simple, sleeveless shift dress, a shock of vivid blue to the knee and, as ever, paired with her string of pearls and matching earrings. Ms. Strauss's attire is not quite as exquisite as she would be were she here with someone of the male persuasion, but it's Erin she's sits down beside at the bar. She doesn't bother glancing at the drink menu, gesturing lightly at the bartender straight away. "Cosmo, please."

Tracy is in New York on business — and business that goes above and beyond her particular call of duty — but when she can find time to spend with a friend who (possibly) appreciates her for her different breed razor wit and amazing style and also has no idea she can kill people by freezing them… she'll take it. She needs the sliver of normality.

If only they knew. "So," Tracy says as she settles in, "What've I missed? And I don't mean on Afterlife."

"Not so loud, someone might hear you," Erin says at the mention of the show, though she's smiling. Someone will have caught that, she's sure. Well-played, Tracy Strauss. Well-played.

"Strawberry martini," she finally decides, shoving the menu off to the side. "You don't read tabloids, do you?" Erin does. She thinks they're hilarious, especially the ones that postulate on whether or not one actor is dating another. "They're really getting close with me and Taine. Don't tell him that, though. His ego's big enough." And he'd never be able to wipe that smug grin off his face. Erin will keep denying she likes him at all. "How about with you? You're back in New York. Didn't mention why when you called."

Tracy's pin-straight poise melts into something slightly more casual as she leans ahead against the bar while waiting. There's a hint of a smirk to the smile she gives Erin, her sunglasses-at-night friend. Celebrities. "Not if I can help it. Why, is there something to tell?" she asks, her casual tone peaked just enough to let Erin know that her prying is joking. For the most part. "Business," she answers as if it's nothing interesting that's brought her to the city. She offers a brief and polite smile at the bartender slides back with her drink. As she pays for it, she goes on to say, "There's some… people the Senator wants me to… get in touch with."

It seems like just about everything is for business to certain people. Then again, Erin really can't talk. She's not exactly the most fun person ever, and has, in the past, found it hard not to snipe at every single dumbass comment that people make. Thankfully, she's reined that in. Mostly. "It usually is. Thought you might have missed it here or something." When her drink is set down, she takes a sip, and then adds under her breath. "T'ch. Missing New York." The slight hint of venom in her voice implies that anyone who would actually miss this place seriously needs their head examined. Never mind that she likes it here - that's beside the point. Another sip is taken, and then she adds "Politics," not so quietly. "Just to be sure, though, you're here 'cuz I'm awesome, right? Now because you need some sort of campaign contribution."

Tracy takes the venom coolly, only regarding Erin with a faint smirk spread across pink-glossed lips. "Of course. I only have eyes for you." It would be deadpanned, if it weren't for a hint of teasing. The off-duty politico (as much as she's ever off-duty) takes the popular cocktail off of the bar, glancing, as she holds it neatly, behind her to espy any better places to sit than the bar. "Granted, I'm sure the Senator wouldn't additional support from a public figure such as yourself— " Tracy cuts herself off with a smile. "I'm kidding. And I do like New York, but Washington… Washington is where I'm supposed to be."

"That's what they all say." She resists the urge to add 'I'm taken,' though, even as a joke, because saying that out loud would just confirm everything. It's one thing to make fun of tabloids. It's another to admit that you're completely off the market.

Looking over her shoulder, she notes Tracy looking for somewhere else to sit. Is there something wrong with the bar? She likes the bar. There's enough light over it to see when she's wearing her sunglasses. Still, she props them up atop her head, and joins in the search. It's busy tonight, but there's a few people vacating one table. Erin points. "That what you're looking for?" she asks, picking up her drink. "You know me. I stay out of politics." Except when she doesn't, but that's another story altogether. Pushing (rudely) past someone else who is also considering the recently available table, she motions to Tracy, adding a "C'mon."

Tracy spins slightly on the bar stool to face Erin and, in part, the rest of the establishment before sliding off the seat to follow. She doesn't so much as glance at the person who was shoved past, simply taking the opportunity to walk freely to the vacated table. "I think you may be the only friend I have who isn't in politics." Which may mean they should talk about something other than politics. Holding her glass aloft, Tracy takes a seat once they reach the table, and takes a sip of the rosy liquid of her cocktail.

It's at that moment that Tracy's cell phone sounds with a chime, letting her know she has a text message.

In fact, so does Erin's.

Smiling apologetically — one second, Erin — Tracy opens the small black clutch purse she's carrying to find her phone.

"It's 'cuz politics are boring," Erin says, sliding into her seat. Who cares if Tracy is deeply involved within the political realm?? Everyone knows that actors and politicians are practically cut from the same mold, anyway. So it's not really an insult as much as a—

Okay, it's an insult.

But then Tracy's phone chimes, and Erin's phone beeps, which is goddamn weird, if you ask her. Then again, the Afterlife scripts have really started messing with her head. It's probably just some ad delivered through the bar's system to anyone with a phone number.

Peter Petrelli has been caught. Government agents?

She's spent so long trying to stay out of the spotlight when it's come to this whole supernatural bullshit thing that she really hadn't considered—

She says something extremely inappropriate, which starts with 'F' and ends with 'uck.'

…GOVERNMENT AGENTS ATTEMPTING TO ENTRAP ALL OF YOU…

Yeah. Politics are a yawn.

The second Tracy pulls her phone out to catch a glimpse of its screen and the message delivered on it, her expression is instantly the epitome of what the hell? She starts to mouth the word 'helicopter' in incredulity; however, her turnaround is rapid, and she sets her jaw and smoothes her features into cool indifference a moment later. Nothing to see here. She eyes the swearing soap star and her phone as well, beginning to raise a shaped eyebrow. "…bad news?"

Erin's ability to keep her temper in check is minimal. There's actually a very good reason she left the front of the camera for awhile to work behind the scenes, because her public demeanor is, well, lacking. The good news is - for everyone here - she no longer loses control of her ability every single time something sets her off, though there's always that ethereal shimmer that touches her eyes. It's something she may never be able to eliminate completely. Too late, she remembers the sunglasses are perched on her head, and pulls them back down over her eyes.

"Yeah, this guy I know. Peter. Apparently got himself into trouble." Tracy'll buy it, right? Stars always have friends that get into trouble. Just like politicians always have friends who get into trouble. The phone snaps shut, and she shoves it back into her purse. Well, good. He deserves it, whatever it was. Hit by a helicopter? AWESOME. He tried to kill her, so this is karma. Take that, Petrelli.

Erin's fingers drum on the table. Why does she suddenly feel so… visible?

…You've got to be kidding me. That's the expression written on Tracy's face as the woman takes a moment to stare, and study, Erin. Her eyes narrow; she can't be sure what she may have seen in the other woman's eyes. Trick of the light? "…Peter Petrelli?" she ventures, lines in her brow becoming quite prominent upon her questioning. She glances back down at the phone in her hand and back up at Erin. "I don't suppose he got hit by a helicopter," she says dully and turns her BlackBerry around, revealing the screen to Erin.

The message is identical.

For just a moment, Erin looks like she might start shouting. "Friend of yours?" she asks tensely, the set of her jaw pretty much betraying all her feelings on this matter. She glances down at Tracy's phone, biting her bottom lip, which conveys the message clearly enough - yeah, that's the same text she just got.

That boy sure does know a lot of people.

The actress seems frozen as she stares at the message again, because too many things are flittering through her mind. All caps makes this seem like very bad news. Eventually, all she says is, "I'm not sure why anyone would be trying to 'entrap' me. Unless Petrelli's some sort of criminal. That wouldn't surprise me." Bitter? A little. Scratch that - a lot.

A dark look flashes across Tracy's features. Friend of hers? Not … exactly. "Oh," she says through a dismissive gasp of air. "No. We're not friends." Of all things, she started to smile — it's just a glimmer, a twitch. "Criminal, though…" she draws her phone back and gives it a quick shake, using it to gesture at Erin once. "He just might be." Leaning ahead, the blonde lowers her voice. "I can't tell you too much, but part of this? It's why I'm in New York. This Rebel person? He's wanted by the government for some kind of online terrorism." Mainly because she told them so. "How do you know Peter?"

Online terrorism isn't exactly that frightening, is it? Then again, this Rebel person just messaged her phone, which means that he has her number. Leaning down, too, she smirks, just a little. "This is starting to sound like an Afterlife plotline, just so you know," she says, after which the smirk entirely disappears. Really, she shouldn't have any trouble smearing Peter's 'good' name, but given what Cass said about him… Well, Erin's not so sure that's a good idea. Fact is, she's kind of angry that he went and got himself caught (Which must have been entirely his fault!) when he knows almost everything there is to know about Erin's ability. Damn him! "He tried to kill me once."

Peter tried to kill Erin? "…Really." Tracy pauses during her leaning in. "You're right. This does sound like an Afterlife plot." She sits up a touch more, though stays close to the edge of the table. Tossing her hair a touch, she presses her lips together in stern thought. "He contacted me about his brother. Nathan? He wanted advice over his accounts. Estates." There's clearly more to the story, but Tracy isn't quite so divulging about the rest. "What do you know about him?"

It was supposedly an accident that Peter tried to kill her, but he seemed quite purposeful when he did it, which makes him one of Erin's least favourite people. You kind of can't just forget when someone takes your own power and uses it against you, with the explanation that he had to figure out how it worked.

Her nose curls, face twitching just a little. Yes, there's still anger there. "Yeah, I know Nathan, too." He used to watch the show. Was a big fan. Erin hasn't heard from him in awhile, though. The question Tracy asks is… Well, not exactly suspicious, but their somewhat surface friendship has, so far, not strayed into any territory beyond having drinks and chatting about mundane happenings in their lives. Intelligently, Erin counters with, "What do you know about him?"

And it's because of their variety of friendship that makes answering Erin something of a challenge. "…Honestly? Not a lot." That is the truth. "Nothing good." Tracy's lips thin and she pauses before adding without explanation: "I broke his watch." Not exactly payment for trying to kill Erin, but hey. Planting her hands on the table, to again lean forward, a low hush comes over her voice as she says importantly, "I know that he might be involved in the kind of thing to be taken by the government." A smile starts to pair with the roll of her eyes that's oncoming. "I was actually going to track him down while I was here…"

They're dancing around something here.

"Not quite as boring as I thought you were, huh?" Erin asks. She doesn't sit up just yet, even though she'd intended the statement to be a sort of dismissal of the entire conversation. Something's still bothering her, of course. Namely, she'd rather have Peter free than in the hands of people who could pull secrets out of him. her secrets. Because allegedly, there's people out there who are seeking to trap her, according to that text message she and Tracy got, which, in itself, is completely unnerving.

Erin's not stupid. Blue eyes look at Tracy through the dark lenses as she fits the pieces together. The government would want Peter - and she has a good idea as to why. "Here's a question. Why would we both get the same text message?"

It's a question Tracy has been wondering as well, but there could be a straight-forward, logical explanation. "I dunno. Maybe we're both in Peter's address book." They're still dancing around something, and Tracy's words do nothing but avoid that fact all the more. After eyeing the phone again, face-down on the table next to her hands, she stares coolly across at Erin as if her gaze could see right through the dark lenses. Time for a small admittance. "This message. From Rebel? It isn't the first message like this I've gotten."

"Yeah. But I get a feeling that he's got a lot of people in there, and I really doubt someone would send a text message about blunt-force trauma by helicopter to, say, his great Aunt Margie." There's a pause, and then, "I think anyone who got this message knows that he can survive being hit by a god-damned helicopter. Easily." Her voice is so quiet that anyone nearby wouldn't be able to hear her.

Erin hasn't gotten any messages from this Rebel. Mostly, she gets messaged from Taine and her siblings - the ones who are still talking to her, anyway. She's pretty sure she knows where this is going, at least in part. Taking the sunglasses off, she sets them on the table. Her eyes are fairly dull now, but even if they weren't, she has a feeling that Tracy wouldn't be too surprised, anyway. "So you're after Rebel. You're after Peter Petrelli. Are you one of the people this message— " She indicates Tracy's phone, " —is warning me about?"

More than one thing Erin says sets off a red alarm in Tracy's mind, though her gaze remains cool, save for a flicker of apprehension, a critical narrowing of the tiny lines around her eyes. First things first… "Wait." She closes her eyes, if only for a few instants. "Why exactly would he survive? I mean— easily." The woman at least sounds like she thinks it a riddle. And in truth, she's certainly rethinking the particulars of that text message.

"Okay." More to the point, Tracy smiles tautly and looks away from Erin, toward the high-end bar patrons mingling near the table across the way, adding to the drone of chatter and clinking glasses, though she truly isn't looking at them; she's thinking. Strategically. As she looks back to Erin, her smile is wider, reassuring, though it contains barely any warmth. "There's something we're obviously not saying here. A piece of the puzzle. I'm not trying to entrap you, Erin." Brow raise. "This Rebel person seems to think the US government is going after people who— he thinks they're… that they can do things other people can't. Which is— ridiculous." Blue eyes seem to challenge Erin. It's ridiculous, right?

"Hit with a helicopter. Not dead, caught. So, someone throws a helicopter at you, or drops it on you, or flies it into you, aaaand, what? You're caught by the government." Yes, there's something they're definitely not saying here. "I mean, call me crazy, but I don't think Rebel would go through all the trouble to text people that he was hit by a helicopter if it was one of those remote control flying things. I mean, maybe it had bombs, I don't know. I think the message would have said 'blown up,' though, if, you know, it had bombs."

Getting off track.

Erin's fingers flex just slightly, and she eyes the roses and lilies in the vase on their table. Yeah, she could show Tracy that it's not ridiculous, but she doesn't. "One of us has got to break here, or else we're never going to leave this place. 'Cuz I sure as hell am not going home when you know just enough to make me worried." Erin's not even trying to be pleasant. She's not smiling. In fact, she's outright scowling. "Ridiculous, yeah. Impossible? No."

Note to self: figure out how Peter can get hit with a helicopter and survive and whether or not any of that even went down. It could be text message lie. Tracy doesn't mirror the scowl she's faced with, but her smile, however frigid, thins out and disappears. Her scowl is all in her eyes, pinning Erin's with a suspicious sort of ire — for her friend, no less. Circumstantial. Though amusement touches her voice, it's far from earnest. "You think I might be against you?" she asks plainly. "What would you do if I was?"

Erin wouldn't consider herself paranoid. She's actually quite sensible, as far as she's concerned, but this woman sitting across from her has presented a very real threat, and is considering to do so. Tracy has the burden of proof here. The message mentioned the government. Tracy is the government. And considering the fact that Erin really knows next to nothing about Tracy, everything she does know about the blonde could be falsified.

Erin has a reason to be scared. Cautious. And considering that the last line of questioning could be taken as a threat, Erin acts, with considerably more skill than she would have before - finely tuned, careful, limiting the viruses to one body. Tracy's.

That shimmer touches her eyes again, after which, Tracy will start to feel ill. The drink in the glass might actually make her feel panicked as she experiences the first phases of hydrophobia. A smile returns to Erin's lips, and she answers. "That. I wouldn't make a scene, if I were you. Rabies isn't curable."

Tracy's own eyes widen and sharpen on the sudden green of Erin's before all her attention takes a dive for the glasses on the table. Panic starts to rise in an unexpected pang (when is panic ever expected) along does that strange illness. She presses back against her chair. Hydrophobia. Ironic. "Shut it off," she demands, quietly and very insistently. "M— make— " A process beyond that initial phase of panic thanks to Erin's ability is at work, making her more panicked. Because when Tracy panics, these days, things tend to get a little … arctic.

She's determined to stop that from happening. Tracy gets up suddenly, grabbing her phone and purse and folding her arms, tucking her hands under them and trying quite desperately to keep a lid on deer-in-the-headlights expression. "Follow me," is all she says before taking off briskly toward the restrooms.

"No," Erin says. It's almost cold, but her voice manages to break just a little, suggesting that she might not be taking as much joy in this as she's letting on. How many friends is she going to push away before she manages to keep a couple? She probably could have done this another way without giving someone frigging rabies, but it seemed - and still does seem - to be a tactical maneuver. If Tracy rats Erin out, well. She dies.

Taking a deep breath, abandoning her martini, Erin picks up her purse and follows Tracy toward the restroom. On edge, her hands are shaking. She's scared for herself, which is selfish, but that's how she's managed to survive with this for so long.

The ladies' room is dark, red and blue like the bar's sign, decorated with tiny vases of roses and lilies too. Pretty… but Tracy realizes she'd actually rather be anywhere but here.

From her place in front of the dark, glossy counter she leans heavily against its edge as if exhausted, she whips around, as if expecting anyone but Erin to enter. She can't help but give the row of faucets a too-wild, apprehensive glance before stiffly facing Erin.

"Make sure no one comes in." Best to get that out of the way first. Tracy wastes no more time. Her words are blunt; straightforward. "I'm not here to charm a campaign contribution out of you and I'm not here as some ploy for the federal government to … entrap you. I thought we'd catch up, have a few drinks, cosmos and strawberry martinis and then I'd go back to my hotel room and go on with my business in the morning. I didn't expect this. So now I need you to trust me." A slightly shaking hand reaches out toward the nearest vase on the counter. Her fingertips touch a soft white lily. The flower rapidly freezes, turning faintly blue. It's rattled when Tracy pulls away; the delicate pistons fall and shatter followed by a petal.

She's already a step ahead of Tracy, locking the door behind her. Establishments like this always make it easy to lock the outside door, in case someone feels like coming in here at any point to lower the health code rating from an A to a B or something similar. Hey, you can't stop it, so why not ensure the health code inspector doesn't walk in on it, right?

Erin's not sure entirely what to expect when she follows Tracy into the restroom. She's let her control slip just a little, which causes the blue sheen in her eyes to intensify to a glow. It makes it harder to see, but it allows her to keep a better handle on the virus that's running rampant through Tracy's brain, playing havoc with her neurons.

Erin always knew she wouldn't let the disease run its full course. She's not coldhearted, but apparently, Tracy is. Erin's just starting to draw back the virus, killing the cells and using them to repair the damage, when Tracy freezes that lily. Really, she's seen enough that it's not too surprising, but she can't help but stare, offering a quiet "Holy shit" when the petal shatters against the floor. Trust? Okay, for now.

The feelings of soreness and sickness, the fear of water - all these will diminish to a much more tolerable level. The virus is dying. "That was cool. No pun intended. I'm sure you hear that all the time." Her voice is flat, tired. Giving someone rabies is a lot of work. Killing it is the easy part.

"Not really." Mainly because there's only a small number of people who know about what Tracy can do, and she'd like to keep it that way. She steps back with a click and scrape of shaky high heels, bumping into the hand dryer as she watches the delicate, frozen shards of the lily with the irrational fear of them melting. "…God, everything is sore…" It's starting to get better, however, and so it the phobia; she stands up straighter, but she looks more tired than she had been. "What did you do to me?"

There's a very small possibility that whoever is after them - no, that's a ridiculous thought. No one is watching them. Feeling stupid that she even hat that thought, Erin shakes her head, leaving her post by the door to approach Tracy. "I can finish the healing, but I'm going to have to touch you. My hand isn't gonna stick to you or something, is it? I kind of like all my fingers where they are."

It might have been a joke if she didn't seem so irritated. Her fingers hover over Tracy's arm, as her glowing eyes meet the blonde's. "I already told you what I did. And I'm sorry. But I couldn't get any sort of straight answer out of you, and I was starting to think… You know what, nevermind. It's not going to matter much, anyway."

"You seriously … gave me rabies." It's so absurd that Tracy can't help but smile and even almost laugh, despite the unnerving blue glow of Erin's eyes looking at her. "And here I thought you were the normal one." Even though Erin is a— werewolf? What is it now? She can't keep up with the Afterlife stories. Giving her head a dismissive shake, she moves her arm closer. Erin's fingers won't stick unless she tries to give Tracy rabies again. "This thing with Rebel— I don't think you have anything to worry about. Whoever's involved in blaming the government is blowing things way out of proportion. They're using scare tactics. It's … propoganda."

"Yeah. Normal." Her attention turns to the offered arm. Touching skin with just a brush of slender fingers gives her the ability to see the viruses much more clearly, and they are summarily killed and converted back into normal cells. There's a very quiet chuckle - the irony is not lost on her, and Taine finds the entire thing especially frustrating. Morgan Starr is, as far as Afterlife goes, completely, utterly normal. It's Pryce that gets stuck with having to wear all the heavy, itchy, annoying make up. Outside of TV land, it's Erin that has to deal with the stress.

Stepping back, she asks, "That better?"

God, it's like she's been run over by a truck. Stepping up to the nearest sink, she turns it on, and splashes her face with cold water, gritting her teeth against the chill. "I just want my secrets kept secret. I kind of figured you were figuring it out - or already knew. I just wanted to make sure that no one else found out. Seems me and you are in the same boat though, huh?" With one arm, she mops the water off her face.

Tracy closes her eyes, sighing after Erin has worked to heal the sudden virus. Better indeed. She's quiet after that, at least for a few moments, watching Erin splash water on her face. "Yeah, seems like," she says dully. "This isn't exactly the kind of thing I'd like the whole world to know about me either."

She strolls around Erin to stand at the adjacent sink and look at both of them in the long mirror. "And you, you can… make people what, get sick? That's…" Terrible? Scary? Awful? "…dangerous." Tracy knows a little something about being dangerous, but she doesn't divulge as much, at least not with words. She tips her head down, but looks sidelong at Erin. "Are you okay?"

"I couldn't control it at first. Almost killed my roommate, my co-star, my brother and sister." Dangerous is putting it lightly. "Made the whole set sick before I figured out I could cure it, too." She doesn't look 'okay,' but she's used to it by now. "Fine, just tired," is offered tersely. Her eyes are almost back to their normal blue colour now, when she turns from the sink to face the other woman. "What about you? You freeze… things?" The look she gives the flower is almost incredulous, though there's a hint of a smile on her face. "Seems … Fitting. So now what?"

Tracy only stares at Erin coolly, which proves her point. Like she wasn't already an ice queen, right? She does smirk mildly afterward before turning to lean against the counter. "Yeah, I can freeze things. I'm still trying to … control it." Now what? As she thoughtfully stares across at the empty stalls, a smile breaks her serious expression and she laughs. "I can't believe you have a power. You gave me rabies. That's not funny!" But she's laughing all the same. She should be furious, but if they swapped abilities, Tracy may have done exactly the same thing to prove herself. A softer look is turned on Erin. "I dunno what's next. Nothing. You gonna do anything about that message?"

Erin's developed a tough skin when it comes to people not speaking to her anymore. Her family doesn't, and she still manages to get on with her life. It's all about dealing; with that in mind, she fully expects Tracy to never call her for drinks ever again, and that will be just fine. It might sting a little, but she earned it.

So laughter and joking wasn't exactly on the list of her expectations. "I— Uh."

That's as far as she gets. Laughter is infectious; the ridiculousness of giving someone rabies is absurd. The fact that they're standing in the bathroom of a fancy bar laughing about it is unbelievable. "Can't believe you have one, either," she finishes eventually, eyes focused on nothing in particular now. She's going to have to get a new pair of sunglasses, unless, by some miracle, hers are still on the table they left. "Probably not. Doing nothing's kept me alive so far. Unless Petrelli talks, I don't see how I'd be in any sort of danger. You?"

"Well if he doesn't like you," Tracy begins — because if the guy tried to kill Erin, it stands to reason… "He might. But why would they listen to him, right? I have my sources — I'll try to find out if that message was all it says it was." She smoothes down her dress and turns back to the mirror to run a hand through her long hair, casually checking that everything is up to perfection before leaning to snatch her purse from the counter. "In the meantime, we need to leave this bathroom some day."

(FADE)

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