Guest Starring Trenton Hawthorne
Date: December 13, 2009
Emily gets a blank slate when she revisits her old haunt.
"So where are we headed, anyway?" George turns to glance over at Hallis, then back toward the window of the cab. With his schedule lighter than some days but still busier than he was expecting or hoping, he was happy to just let her pick a destination. Not that watching the street affords much of a guess; you can't spit around here without hitting three places with a top-flight Zagat rating.
"Trenton picked Tabla, it's one of his favorite restaurants. Since he was paying, I figured it's just polite to allow him the choice." Hallis smiles back to him. She seems a little weary and not well rested, but a few hours under a cucumber mask helped with the dark circles under her eyes. "You know, I'm really looking forward to this. It's going to be nice just to sit with you and be able to eat something other than a sandwich out of a vending machine." She'd spent the previous night in the hospital with her ex-therapist and has since decided that she's much better off than anyone in the building aside from the man sitting right next to her.
The scene of the crime…there's nothing quite as exhilarating as returning to it, totally incognito, with no one the wiser. Though she wouldn't tell anyone, that's one reason that Emily is positively glowing this evening. Their table has been reserved since…well, just since this afternoon, but it didn't take much to get your foot in the door when your name is Trenton Hawthorne. He's ensured that the party of four has a nice quite, private table, with a private wait staff, and all the amenities. Specific instructions are left with the maitre d' to bring George and Hallis back when they arrive, since Emily and Trenton have arrived a bit early.
Meanwhile, as the cab pulls up out front, George makes a face. And not just because the fare's cranked up again recently. "Just glad they've gotten back on their feet by now. There was a— bit of a scare, couple months back, did you hear about it?" Sensing that she's already stressed about, even if he doesn't know why yet, he decides it'd be best to understate the issue rather than dump anything more onto her plate.
Glancing at George, Hallis nods and grips his hand. "I heard about it. But I've been back here since then, I'm sure it's quite safe now." She gives him a little bit of a smile and rests her head on his shoulder for a moment before sliding toward the door and opening it. "I wonder if Emily and Trenton are here already?" Her smile widens a little as they climb out of the cab together and make their way toward the door of the restaurant.
The maitre d' seems to recognize Hallis's face, at least; it isn't the first time she's been here (though, without Trenton this time). Almost immediately after the couple enters, they're waved to the front of the hovering crowd at the front; they're shown through the restaurant in all it's luxurious, upscale niceness, all the rich folk'll gawking as they're shown to the expensive, elite private dining space at the back of the restaurant. When the two of them are led in, Emily and Trenton are indeed waiting.
"Hallis! George! So nice of you to come!" Emily says, smiling as she stands…having already kicked Trenton under the table to get him to stand and shake hands. She's in a long, black sleeveless dress with a large silver and diamond floral necklace, her hair in a loose, chic ponytail…ordered mess, as it happens. Trenton completes the silver and black look (as he should), with a black suit, black shirt, and silvery gray tie. He looks…happy enough, but almost robotic, if one looks carefully enough, but perks a little while he spies Hallis.
Oh, George shakes hands, all right. Politely enough in Emily's case; a little too firmly when it comes to Trenton, to the point that his knuckles may well feel sore afterward. But given the public locale, plus what's already been done to the guy's head, that's the full extent of his vengeance.
His own outfit is somewhat of a mirror: gray suit and slacks, white shirt, navy blue tie dark enough to pass for black at a glance. Of course, Hallis still outdresses him and makes it look easy. And there's something naggingly familiar about Emily… he might put it together more quickly if the police tape hadn't been black-and-white, not to mention pointed at a funny angle.
Hallis is dressed in the same dress she was wearing the day that she and George met. An ivory slip with an ivory and black lace overlay. Her shoes are, of course, the highlight of the ensemble being 3 1/2" cream stilettos with a snakeskin embossing. Her black sable fur wrap is left with the Maitre D' and she smiles when she sees Emily and Trenton. "Emily, Trenton, you match!" She exclaims delightedly, not even noticing that she and George do as well. It wasn't something that was planned. "I don't know how you did it Emily, he would never dress to match me when we were together. Except that one Halloween, we dressed up like… What was it Trenton? Pebbles and Bam Bam?"
When Hallis mentions that one Halloween that they went dressed to match, Trenton smiles a little, and looks down at the table. Hair falls into his face, and he brushes it back when he looks up and nods. "Yeah…we did. That was pretty fun." As he stands there, he has to rub his hands together, after George's not-so-casual handshake. His tone carries zero force with it though as he speaks, and he seems…a lot different than the man Hallis once dated, so full of bravado and womanizing behavior; this is totally domesticated man now.
"Oh, you'll have to tell us more about what happened that night! Both of you!" Emily exclaims, grinning from ear to ear. "Let's have a seat first, maybe get some appetizers ordered?" As she motions to sit, one of her hands slides onto Trenton's shoulder and pushes him down into his chair, like a child almost; he readily complies, and she sits too. "You know, I've seen this place once, but never actually been in here to eat? Trenton simply raves about it, swears it's the best in the city. Isn't that right Trenton?" He nods once, and replies automatically with "Yes Emily. The very best." Then he shuts up and looks at his menu.
Yowza. This man is beyond domesticated and well into broken territory… all he needs now is for a couple of his old buddies to drag him out to the countryside and shove his face in a water trough. George manages only a faint smile as he settles in, warming again only after Hallis joins him. "Well, it's up there, at least— depends on what you have a taste for. And we should get some drinks, too, I know I could use one." It wasn't meant as a dig against what Trenton tried to pull, but once the words are out, he does glance down briefly at their still-empty glasses.
Once they are seated, Hallis' hand slips into George's under the table. Perhaps it's a show of the petite woman needing a little assurance, perhaps she is giving assurance. "Well nothing really happened that night, I think it was one of our many breakups. Thank goodness those are over now and we can just start being friends." She doesn't add the 'only as long as you're with Emily' that is on the tip of her tongue though. The young blonde isn't completely without empathy when it comes to her ex-boyfriend, but she isn't very comfortable around him without enough people in the room. "So Emily! How did you manage to get Trenton to do it? You must be very good for him."
"Trade secret, I'm afraid," Emily says with a peculiar, self-satisfied little grin. It's…well, not just familiar, it IS the same grin she gave on the police car camera. "Let's just say, I have a few ways of knowing just what Trenton's thinking, you know? And I know how to change how he thinks. Isn't that right?" As she sits, her hand moves from his shoulder up through his hair, playing with the silken tresses he has. He grins a little at that, nodding. "She…Emily, does something she calls…a reward and punishment system." As soon as he says it though, he face goes ashen, and he looks sick. "I'm sorry…that's not appropriate dinner conversation," he says, apologetically. Don't you wonder what he's thinking? The answer is, You're nothing in the bedroom without me, and that's not for anyone else's ears, or at least something along those lines, which he hears in Emily's voice in his head of course.
Meanwhile, under the table, George gives Hallis's hand a quick squeeze as well. What he's thinking at this point has moved away from karma's a bitch, huh, Trenton? and more toward Hallis, we are so lucky you got away in time. And carefully avoids the question of just how close she and Trenton were, back in their happier days. But at that point, the waiter finally stops by, offering a natural breather in the conversation as orders begin to be placed.
Though the staff at the restaurant is very familiar with Hallis, she has George give the waiter her order. Leaning over, she whispers softly into his ear her choice of drink and what her particular choices are for her main course. The rest is left up to him. The waiter doesn't find this the least bit unusual, many women in the company of men have them order for them, especially in high society. The man is given a smile when Hallis is finished and then the turns toward Emily and begins speaking again. "I'm glad we're doing this. I'm really glad that you and George have finally met. It's hard to talk about my day and my friends without having introduced them to him… You know?"
"I understand completely!" Emily says with a big smile and a nod. Quite unlike Hallis and George, she takes the liberty of putting in both of the orders for her and Trenton; he doesn't speak up at all. Rather, he sits quietly, smiling and nodding as she seems to get his order just perfect! "Likewise, it's nice to meet you George. Plus, it gives us a little practice in seeing how Trenton can behave himself out in public like this, especially an old flame." He's blushing, wouldn't you know it?
George inclines his head, leaning back a bit after the waiter heads off. "Well, he's being the perfect gentleman as far as I can tell." No surprise there, he's sure to know the consequences if he doesn't. God help him if he ever gets drunk or high enough to forget. "Old relationships are always pretty awkward— I've got one or two wandering around town myself, I'm afraid, depending what exactly you count."
Another squeeze of the hand is what George receives as Hallis smiles up at him adoringly. Once the drinks are brought around, the young socialite leans forward to pick her glass up with her free hand and raises the glass in a toast. "To old friends and new love," she looks directly into George's eyes as the last part of the toast is made, giving him a little grin. A faint blush is visible on her cheeks and it can't be contributed to any alcohol, since this is her first drink in quite a number of days.
In response to the toast, Emily and Trenton both raise their glasses, and cling them together lightly with the other two. Rather than monkey Hallis' reaction, Emily simply cranes her long neck and turns her cheek a little. Trenton clearly gets the clue, and leans in and plants a kiss right on her cheek. Isn't he trained so beautifully well? "So George, Hallis says you're a congressman? What's got you back in NYC lately? Shouldn't be in DC arguing for health care reform or more TARP money for the city?"
Oh, good, a chance to turn a blind eye to all the relationship awkwardness, if only for a while. "Mrm," George replies, "I kind of burned out on health care reform back when Nathan was pushing for it a couple years ago. Someone else can carry that particular torch. As for funding— yes, but I have to work with the executives here, too, let them know where they're pushing too hard. I've been coming back here every other week or so— a little more often this past month." Since he got together with Hallis, naturally.
The last part of his answer to Emily give Hallis cause to smile brightly and take another little sip of her drink before putting it down. She doesn't really have much to add to the conversation regarding politics, it's a topic that is miles away from her comfort zone. And in that light, she remains as silent as Trenton, only more animated. Giving her former flame a cursory glance, she is rather surprised to find him not even yawning at the topic. Usually he would be making a glib comment or trying to steer the conversation his way.
In fact, Trenton seems rather interested in the topic! "You know, Emily has several wonderful ideas for social reform. She's…pretty decisive when it comes to making decisions, and has a lot of good plans for how things things can be made a lot better rather quickly," Trenton comments, nodding as he does, and sipping from his glass. All the while, Emily has laid her side against his, and her cheek on his shoulder. She wears a glib smile when Trenton talks, looking right at George the whole time.
"Well, then! Emily, you'll have to stop by the office some time, I'm sure we can work something out." In reality, it's an awfully generic and broad comment, and so George doesn't bother pretending very hard that he places much stock in it. But the overture is there. If she actually takes him up on the offer— well, he'll figure that out when it happens.
Still Hallis has nothing to add to the conversation and is now looking around the restaurant for something interesting. There's really no one that she knows in the place, so there's no one to excuse herself to talk to. She does throw some small celebrity smiles in the direction of people who are looking at them, some of them pointing at the table and whispering amongst themselves. When George makes his invitation, Hallis' eyes dart toward him and her smile widens even further. "That's really nice of you George, I bet you'd be able to find something for Emily. She's super."
"You have no idea," Emily replies, throwing a little smirk in Hallis's direction. Beside her, under her even, the mention of Emily being super makes Trenton shiver quite noticeably. He knows first hand just what Emily being super really means…in his case, a week in a practical coma, with lots of time to himself to think about where his life went wrong. "I might just have to take you up on that offer one day George. For the moment, I'm already involved in…well, something a little big. Not relating to change. More like, a matter of security for some individuals perceived to be different from you and me."
At that, George arches a brow. He has an idea what she's probably getting at… and if his guess is right, then there's a nice bit of irony to her comment. But does she realize that the irony goes double? "…you'll have to let me know how that goes, then," he murmurs, uncharacteristically distracted. "Security's a tricky matter— you have to know whose, and what sort."
A small bleep of her phone interrupts their dinner and Hallis peeks down at the display and frowns. "I'm sorry for being so rude, but I really have to take this…" she says quickly, jumping up from the table and answering the phone as she clips toward the entrance of the restaurant. "Hello?" Pause. "Yes, this is Hallis. Has there been a change in her condition?" Another pause, this time a bit longer. "Really? Oh… well thank you for calling. Goodbye." She barely makes it to the entrance before making a u-turn and heading back to the table. "Sorry… that was very rude." She gives the other party members a small smile and turns her cellphone off. Then tucks it away in the deep recesses of her purse.
When Hallis gets up and walks away, the conversation at the table just sort of stops. Emily and Trenton are happy enough just sitting, looking around, checking everyone out."Hmmm, I wonder when the food is going to get here. I'm positively famished! How about you three? And you call…good news, I hope?" Emily directs the last part of her statement toward Hallis, specifically, as she gets back to the table.
George doesn't go so far as to eavesdrop on Hallis's call, but he does watch her expression as she heads off and then as she returns. He isn't counting on it, but merely shakes his head, reaching out a hand for Hallis's once again as she returns to her seat. "Not at all— I've had to answer enough interruptions myself." Rather than echo Emily's question, he just waits for Hallis to take it at her own pace.
"It wasn't." Hallis manages, giving the people at the table a weak smile. She doesn't explain much further than that, simply giving George's hand a much needed squeeze before resuming their conversation. "So… we were talking about security or something? I met a man while I was down in Washington D.C. who worked in security. His name was Nicholas… In fact… He gave some numbers to good security companies in New York. Nice man, he had a good suit on."
Emily chuckles some at Hallis's misinterpretation of the whole security idea. "I'm not talking about home invasion security. I'm talking more like…national security, though that may be blowing things a little out of proportion. You're cute though!" she says, while crinking up her nose. "Isn't she precious Trenton?" Emily asks him, slapping the front of one of his shoulders with the back of a hand. He jumps and nods almost immediately!
And George promptly takes advantage of Trenton's momentary distraction, directing a brief 'ssh' at Hallis before piping up out loud once again. "Nothing to do with the Iranians, I hope? There were some protesters in the Bronx last week, they mean well but… well, it's just a messy situation, you know how it is." Divert, divert, divert. Last thing we need is Mr. Failed Rapist over here getting clue one about the security issue that's really got him worried lately.
Being shushed by George is something that has Hallis a little bit confused. But she turns tentatively toward Emily and Trenton and smiles, "Oh, it wasn't home security. It's companies that hire out security teams, you know, bodyguards. I've been thinking about hiring one lately." The topic isn't one that needs to be avoided around Trenton, is it? She turns to look up at George, perhaps searching for a bit of guidance, then it's back to Emily with a smile. "Did you see the news the other day? Channel is going to be putting out a new line of sportswear, can you imagine? I cannot see Karl Lagerfeld designing a track suit."
At the mention of Channel and shopping, Emily just smiles and nods politely. She's not totally into the conversation, but rather, a few miles away, trying to figure out what game George is playing at. Only when dinner arrives does she seem to perk up a little bit. It comes out on heaping trays, and fortuitously, provides an excuse for them all to be a little quiet and think rather than speak; she certainly has a lot on her mind.