2010-01-22: FB: The Right Choice

Starring:

Tracy_V4Ricon.gif

Special Guest Star:

Malden_V4Ricon.gif

(played by Laurie!)

Date Set: January 22nd, 2009

Summary:

Tracy brings her advice over a particular neglected senate seat to Governor Malden.


One Year Ago…

"The Right Choice"

Washington, D.C.

It's late afternoon in the political capitol, leaving those up-and-comings trying to finish important deals for their days, and those who have already found their spots to take a bit of a relaxing coffee break in the lounge of this upscale restaurant. For the high-end in comfort, the tables are set few and far between, emphasizing how lucky you are to get one. The lights are dim, intimate. Everyone is in a suit.

Governor Robert Malden is also looking impeccable today, his grayed hair swept to the side and his tie right up to the neck. He's at his usual spot, near the back but also in the center of the room, and this time he's surrounded by several similar individuals. All pushers and movers in the world of government, they hem and haw over their various disagreements. Once in a while, one makes a stale joke and four other men chuckle with comfortable laughter. But Malden, for his part, though his face is set into diplomatic pleasantness that doesn't falter, might still seem distracted to those who know him best. Of course, that person is absent from the table for the moment. So it all slides by.

The empty seat at the table ought to be occupied by a person who is rarely a second too late. To every rule, there is an exception, and this afternoon appears to be the exception for the Governor's especially hard-working advisor. All the same, it's not long before the figure of the woman appears in the entryway of the restaurant, coatless and making her way straight to the table of politicians after a quick murmur to the establishment's host.

She comes to a halt at the table, laying a hand on one of the empty chairs without going so far as to join them. Tall in a sleeveless navy blue dress that's modest enough for work and lunch or drinks at an establishment such as this, and wearing the set of pearls she's rarely seen without, the blonde flashes brilliant smile at the various individuals. "Good afternoon gentlemen." All of the faces situated around the table known to Tracy Strauss — she makes it her job to know the players in this town — and while she can diplomatically argue and schmooze with the best of them, one man has the majority of her attention, and that's the Governor. "Mind if I borrow the Governor?" She has news.

It isn't hard for Tracy's entrance to catch attention, even when she's modest enough for work. That this is the very event the Governor was waiting for helps. As she makes her way over, the pleasant face turns into a true smile. However, as he's with company, Malden does not simply stand and go to meet his advisor, she, dutifully, comes to him. Fueled a bit by the upcoming interruption, he turns his attention just right then back to the conversation at hand, curling his fingers against the expensive wood and remarking on the state of this or that. The comment appropriately puts a lull in the talk that most use to take sips from their drinks.

At Tracy's approach, she easily grabs the eyes of every person there. Some nod, others express that she's looking lovely this afternoon — but none so eager as the one man she's here for. "Of course they don't mind!" He remarks jovially, a cue that has every other official finding his glass is now empty or that he's somewhere else to be, wasn't it good to catch up, see you all again in the office later.

Pushing out his luxuriously padded chair, he grabs the other of its kind nearby and pulls it even closer to him for the perfect one-on-one. He pats the seat then leans back into his own. "Trace. Tell me good things. Well, don't hold back or anything if there's bad, but I really would prefer good." A chuckle.

On the heels of several 'thank you, sorry to interrupt, nice to see yous' of her own after the vacating of the table — and so prompt, way to make a girl feel powerful — Tracy takes the offered seat. She slides into it easily and with immediate poise, crossing one leg over the other. She doesn't spill her news right away, but she hardly makes the Governor guess: her confident deportment and pleased smile say "good things" before she even opens her mouth again.

"I think I finally found the right choice for the empty seat," Tracy confesses. After a quick toss of light hair — free today, straight as usual — she leans ahead a little, elbows on her knees while her palms come together in gesture. "From kind of an unlikely source, but he's the real deal."

Her smiling makes him smile, of course, and he fetches his glass to nurse against his chest while he waits for her to indulge him with the full deal. With the kind of attentiveness they get paid for, a server appears at the table when recognizing that it has a new guest. Leaning towards the man, Malden sends him off to get a 'cosmo for the lady' without so much as a confirming glance at his company.

His curiosity is obvious when he looks back at her, carefully notes her words without letting the anticipation leak too heavily. Even though they are having a private discussion, they are still in public. "Finally is right," he comments during her pause, "I sit too long on this thing, I start to look like I have no confidence in the choice." His relief falters, though, a reaction evident to her intimate knowledge of his preferences and facial twitches. "Kind of?" He echoes, warily, warningly, "Baby, that's not my favorite term…"

For every bit of hesitance the Governor shows, his advisor has a boldly smile — self-assurance ought to equal reassurance. She gets things done. "No need to worry. You'll recognize this name: Ivory Wynn. Secretary of Homeland Security," says Tracy. "I met him this morning and it turns out he's looking to get out've DHS and into the political game seriously— he was asking about the senate seat and given his record? I'm inclined to give it to him. If you're looking for a confident choice, Wynn's our guy."

"Ivory Wynn," Malden tests the name out, perhaps as if he were saying it in front of a committee. "You're right, I do recognize this one. Wynn… hmm…" There's gears turning in the Governor's head and, to his advisor's credit, they're not all negative. In fact, he's starting to give a few nods of agreement to his current line of thinking. What she's thinking. "These DHS guys, they can sometimes get a bit single-minded. Are you sure he can be… steered in the right direction — our direction — when it comes down to it?" Somewhere in the question, Malden managed to slide forward to close that personal space between them. On the pivotal word, he reaches just a little bit to put a hand on Tracy's leg and squeeze. It isn't quite her knee, a bit too high for that.

"Well, I looked him up." Apparently between the time she so recently met him and now. "His credentials are … unusual. He somehow went from the bottom rung of Homeland Security to the top in three years— the man's smart. He's never been what one might expect for the Secretary of DHS, and that'll work for us. He's a charmer. People like him." It's not flattery for Wynn, not exactly; just facts. Checkmarks in a favourable column. Although Tracy glances down at the hand upon her leg, it comes as no surprise. Her focus doesn't shift, but she indulges in a smirk as she regards the man. "Besides. When has steering someone in the right direction been a problem when I'm on your side, Governor?"

The hand conveniently lifts about the same time the server comes over with Tracy's cosmo, but the feeling it left seems to linger if the warmth in Malden's eyes is any indication. "Well, if he's convinced you, that's good enough for me to invest in. We'll give this Wynn a chance." Even though they are alone again, his arms only stretch out along the length of the chair's support. He taps a finger against his glass and regards his advisor, admires every asset. "You're right again, Trace. Things always look better when you're at my side." A slight turn of the phrase she used. All the strict concentration on political affairs relaxes out of his forehead, a gentler, more personable attitude rises to replace it. "How about you use those powers of advising and tell me how we should celebrate this decision this evening…"

The martini glass which is delivered is accepted with a brief smile for the server; a smile that lingers for the politician who has undoubtedly paid for many a Cosmopolitan. Like Malden, Tracy sits back in her chair, although her poise is not quite so relaxed. Her gaze is, however. Calm, cool. Smile spreading into sly territory, she takes a sip of the brightly coloured drink and gives a murmuring laugh under her breath as she sets the cosmo on the table. "Hhm," she says through the laugh. "So quick to celebrate," she chastises, clearly joking. "We still have to make it official."

And Malden will continue to pay for those drinks as long as she keeps smiling. His own glass is filled with something undoubtedly stronger and more masculine but he sips at it evenly, without really committing to the taste. When she laughs, his chest rumbles with his own humor. The impression isn't exactly that he's being patronizing… but certain parallels could be drawn. "There's nothing wrong with a little celebration. Everybody likes to be happy." He appreciates the joke, though, and is delayed in pressing the ways they make each other happy. "Hmm. Yes. I suppose we ought to inform future senator Wynn."

Tracy is a first-rate reader of people, and when it comes to someone who she spends as much time with as the Governor, interpreting every twinge and chuckle, good or bad, becomes like a second nature. Chin tipped up just so, blue eyes continue to regard him for a moment until she reaches for her glass once more, holding it neatly in front of her. "Want me to make the call?" she ventures. The faster, the better, it would seem — for more reason than one. They have an understanding. She pauses; grins; takes a sip. "I wouldn't want you to get cold feet."

Malden's smile is briefly eclipsed as he presses his lips together in true thoughtful fashion. He adjusts his place in the seat, straightening his poise a bit more to reflect the business at hand. But after all the pausing and posturing, he sucks in a deep breath and laughs out any hesitance. "Alright, alright. I was just talking about confidence, wasn't I. If the people like him, I like him." Said like a true politician, all charm and turning the idea into 'your' idea. "Make the call." And he moves his arm off the chair to raise his glass into the space between them. "Ivory Wynn."

(FADE)

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