A Healthy Dose of Misogyny


eileen_icon.gif leonardo_icon.gif

Scene Title A Healthy Dose of Misogyny
Synopsis Leonardo finds a date for the Corthinian's opening.
Date February 11, 2010


Driving through the snowy streets of Brooklyn in a black Mercedes, Leonardo is actually on business unrelated to Eileen. What business, you ask? Personally walk into one of the restaurant properties he owns, and tell those filthy poor people driving his business into the ground to get the hell out so someone else can take it over. Though seeing Eileen walk down the street suddenly turns his mind to less evil thoughts… well, vaguely less evil, and he starts driving slower to keep her pace. "Eileen, need a ride?" he asks once the window rolls down, and the door unlocks.

There are a lot of black Mercedes in New York City, but not so many in Brooklyn — it's the kind of car Eileen might expect to see waiting to enter an underground parking garage in the Upper East Side. She's glancing at her reflection in the vehicle's tinted windows even before it's rolling down and centering Leonardo's face in the frame. She's dressed in conservative colours, though the absence of natural light makes it difficult to tell whether or not the clothes she wears are in the same family as her dark gray pea coat or the soft charcoal of the scarf wrapped loosely around her neck and tucked down the front of the double-breasted jacket.

There's a moment's hesitation, followed by a cursory examination of the back seat. Wordlessly, she opens the door with gloved fingers hooked under the silver handle and slips inside, pulling it shut again behind her.

"You seem slightly paranoid at times, the way you look at things. You really do lead a hard life, don't you?" Leonardo casually says as the door locks, and he's driving off again. There's some soft classical music playing very lowly, easily ignored as background noise.

Eileen can't tell Leonardo that the only reason she got into the car is because of a warning from a friend. She's been anticipating an ambush since Tuesday evening in the form of Sasha Kozlow and whatever pack he's come to the States to hunt with. As her body adjusts, acclimating to the change in temperature, she ignores the stinging sensation that makes her ears burn and her nose threaten to run — she reaches up, scrubs at her face with the back of her hand, and leans back in her seat just enough to produce the sound of creaking leather.

"Only after dark," she says. "I live at Fort Greene. Do you know it?"

Leonardo reaches down to press a few buttons on his GPS, then says, "Fort Greene." and she can see the screen immediately showing the quickest route. "Well you don't have to worry much with me. I train very frequently and I don't believe a carjacker will have any amount of success." He sounds very confident in that fact, his lack of modesty showing through again.

In the rear view mirror, Eileen's mouth curves around a cautious smile. Looking down at her hands, she plucks off her gloves one finger at a time, folds them, and tucks them into her coat pocket. It's warmer in the car than it was outside — however brief the ride, she intends to take advantage of the heat seeping out from the vents while she can. The radiator in her bedroom is broken, and she isn't looking forward to sleeping under her goose down comforter without a space heater to supplement it. "What are you trained in?"

"Fencing, Aiikido. I like to think of myself as a very formidable opponent." Leonardo laughs in a manner that suggests he's understating something, an inside joke with himself as the car turns a corner. "You can sit up front if you like, it's warmer."

Eileen is sorely tempted. She starts to lean forward as if preparing to accept the invitation and climb into the passenger's seat, but instead reaches up, snags the seatbelt in her fingers and maneuvers it across the front of her body. It clicks into place with an audible snap. "The way of the harmonious spirit. Morihei Ueshiba, isn't it?"

Asking questions is the easiest way to deflect attention from herself and a tactic that she's found herself relying heavily upon when in Leonardo's presence. What this says about how she feels about him is as determinable as her reasons for stepping off the sidewalk and into the car — not very. "Thank you," she murmurs. "For the ride."

"You certainly are full of facts, but yes. By the way, I've been meaning to ask you something." Leonardo stops at a light, looking up at her through the mirror. "Would you like to go to a hotel opening with me? I'm not the largest fan of Daniel Linderman, but it is for charity. I need a classy looking date, and I'd say you fit that role perfectly. We'll just throw a few thousand dollars of clothes on you, and you'll fit right in."

It isn't until the name Daniel Linderman comes up that Eileen is able to figure out which hotel Leonardo is referring to. She — like most people who get out every day and either glimpse at the front page of the daily paper while waiting for the bus or have the inclination to buy a copy of their own — is passably familiar with the Corthinian and the legal overturns it inspired. She lifts her eyes to his reflection in the mirror, pale expression inscrutable, and lifts her chin a fraction of an inch at the implications Leonardo is making. "I'm not sure that would be healthy for your reputation."

"It's a charity event. I'll essentially be bulletproof as far as PR goes. And if all else fails, I just blame my publicist and say I was thinking of the children." Leonardo sounds as if he does things like this every day, chuckling in mild amusement at her concerns. "I'd like to be there, to hear what potential rumors they have going on. And with my large investment in Donovan, I certainly can't be out of the loop if Lockheart happens to show up." Perhaps Lockheart's breaks will mysteriously melt.

"I was thinking more along the lines how you might explain the woman on your arm," Eileen says. "As you so aptly pointed out, Mr. Maxwell, I'm not in the same economic bracket as you or your friends." Although her face does not give much away, her guarded tone indicates a shrewd sort of interest. The last time she attended a function like this, it had been to gather intelligence for the Remnant — if this gala is anything like the last one, there's a chance she might be able to again. "Do you suppose General Autumn might go?"

"Anything is possible, Linderman is a rather political figure, despite his criminal activities." Leonardo can't shake the amusement from his face, even more so when she corrects him. "This woman on my arm is Eileen. I thought to myself, who's the classiest, most beautiful woman I could find to bring to this gala with me? Well, here she is." After a short laugh, he turns to her when they stop at another red light. "Is that a good enough introduction?"

"I don't know what I'd tell them if they asked me about my line of work," Eileen admits. Beautiful and classy are not words that she associates with strippers, never mind rehabilitated terrorists. There is a man with aviator sunglasses who she imagines would love to put her on the spot if he found her with the president of the Maxwell Development Corporation.

In a way, that's almost reason enough to go. Let him try. "If you're comfortable being seen with me, then I don't have any objections."

"A woman as beautiful as you should have more confidence in herself. And if anyone asks, you're a British socialite, if it worries you that much. But I don't mind if you tell them the truth either." Leonardo, of course, has no idea that the truth is 'stripper'. "Most women would be more excited that they'll be going on a thousand dollar shopping spree soon."

The look Eileen turns on Leonardo now is dark and wry, her green eyes taking on a more familiar feline quality as she either becomes more relaxed or more self-aware. Flyaway strands of dark brown hair lit by the glow bleeding in through the windshield lend her a feral appearance that contrasts sharply with her upright posture and low, measured voice. "You can buy me what you like, but I'm not keeping it."

"And why is that? Pride? Or perhaps you believe I expect something in return." Leonardo lists the usual reasons he hears, and it becomes apparent that they're getting closer to her place as the surroundings grow more familiar to her. "I assure you, I have the least noble intentions possible as far as you're concerned," he jokes with a light laugh before continuing. "But I don't believe in buying a woman. I do like to spoil a woman, but I like to actually get her on my own merit. As far as pride is concerned, it's for lions and people who won't get very far."

"I was going to say that I don't have the room," or the inclination, but that's difficult to argue and even more problematic to explain. "It's not who I am, either," she says. "If you truly think that women should enjoy being spoiled as much as you seem to enjoy doing the spoiling, then I fear you might be something of a misogynist." It's a joke. Has to be. Eileen isn't getting angry — or if she is, then she's hiding it with the quiet expertise of a well-camouflaged moth. "Should I expect my ticket in the mail or will you be delivering it in person?"

"I believe every man has a healthy dose of misogyny. On the bright side, I won't be putting you into a Stepford dress and expecting you to smile and giggle." Leonardo snickers as they finally stop at her destination, and the door unlocks. "Like a proper date, I'll be delivering it in person."

Eileen unbuckles her seatbelt and gently eases it off her before her hand finds the lever attached to the door, popping it open. "Five-o-five is the number. The name on the buzzer is E. Spurling." She swings one leg out and then the other, snow crunching under her shoes, and ducks her head to avoid catching it against the frame as she rises. "Slip it under the door if I'm not home. You'll be forgiven."

"I'll see you later, Eileen. And I'm determined to convince you to keep what we buy." Leonardo leaves her with that, and the door slams shut. Perhaps it's a fancy mechanical car trigger? That's something for her to perhaps think about as he drives away.

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