A Keen Interest


angela2_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title A Keen Interest
Synopsis Melissa has one in Peter and Angela has one in Melissa.
Date March 17, 2010

Petrelli Mansion: Second Floor Drawing Room

The Petrelli home's second floor drawing room is rarely used except to entertain company, and not because it's smaller than the den downstairs but because there are few reasons to utilize it otherwise. Dark oak furniture with paisley upholstery in shades of cream and brown compliment the rich moss colour that the walls have been painted and the wooden floorboards that span the length of the room, softened by an alpaca area rug that the late master of the house once brought home from a business trip to South America.

Downstairs, the living room is crawling with men in uniform and technicians rolling out bright yellow strips of tape to section off while blood samples and other pieces of important information are collected for crime scene analysis, but they may as well be in another building entirely as far as Melissa is concerned. After exchanging a few terse words with the lead investigator, Peter's mother brought the Ferry operative upstairs and is now closing the drawing room door behind them.

A copper key turns in an ornate brass lock and the women are alone.

Melissa is far from clean, with a nosebleed and blood on her face from the gash on her forehead from the Shadow Man. She's also wet from the snow, and likely has some of Peter's blood on her. She's also cold! She follows Angela warily, and once in the room she moves several steps away, arms folding over her chest, more for warmth than a desire to protect herself.

"I don't get it. Why'd you wanna talk to me alone? Why aren't you downstairs talking to the cops and paramedics and everything?" she asks curiously.

Luckily for Melissa, the drawing room is equipped with a small hearth that already has a fire burning in it, separated from the rest of the room by an iron grate that casts strange shadows against the opposite wall. Angela makes a vague gesture for her to take a seat and does the same, her long limbs folding like the threadbare branches of a tree stripped of its leaves, her hands a gnarled knot in her lap.

Under different circumstances, there might be coffee or tea laid out on the squat wooden table with a polished surface that reflects the light from both the fire and the overhead Tiffany lamp in shades of green and gold. "I have someone to handle that for me," she says, legs crossed at the knee to expose the nude nylons she wears beneath her long black skirt, "but perhaps you'd like to explain your relationship with my son?"

Whatever Melissa was expecting, that clearly wasn't it. "I…what? Your son just got thrown out a window, is unconcious, I was nearly killed, and you want to ask me what's goin' on between me and Peter?" she asks, gaping at the other woman. She moves to the fire, warming herself, not yet ready to sit despite the aching muscles and sharp pain in her head.

"Not really sure why it matters either. Unless you think I'm using your son." Melissa glances to Angela, expression cool, but pained. "Which I'm not. I don't use people, and certainly not people like your son." Another shake of her head and she gives in, moving to a chair and half falling into it. "I'm very fond of him. We're friends," she answers finally.

Angela's lips thin out into a neutral expression that is neither smile nor scowl and betrays nothing about what she might be thinking. She exhales through her nose without sagging her shoulders or slumping in her seat, posture perfectly rigid and back straight as a board. Brown eyes similar to Peter's search the younger woman's face in solemn silence for several long moments before her gaze shifts to the snow gathering on the window's concrete sill.

Even though it's dark outside, Central Park's lights are clearly reflected in the old glass pane and illuminate the mansion's stone exterior. Before the bomb, this house sat on a multi-million dollar piece of property and while the Upper West Side remains some of the most valuable real estate in New York City, it is still worth a fraction of what it was three years ago.

"I would you ask the same question if you were a man," Angela emphasizes with a slow breath pressed out through her lips. "What Peter does in his bedroom is of no interest to me. Where do you know him from?"

Melissa's eyes narrow slightly. "A party. At the Corinthian a few weeks back," she answers in a flat tone. "Why don't you just ask what you really want to know? Save us both some time?" she asks, glancing towards the door as if afraid someone is going to come through at any moment to drag her away.

"I have all the time in the world, Miss Pierce," Angela says. "This is my home, my domain, and in this room my authority is absolute. I will conduct this interview however I choose to. That includes the pace at which it proceeds." She lifts two delicately sculpted brows at Melissa. "Do you have somewhere else you need to be?"

Melissa looks back at Angela. "There are several places I'd like to be, yes. Including seeing how your son is doing and getting the strongest painkillers I can. My head is killing me," she says with a wry smile. "But if you know that name, then you likely know what you want to know anyway, Mrs. Petrelli. And if you want to know something that isn't public record under my name, then I'm afraid you'll need to be a little more specific," she says, leaning her head back, eyes closing.

"As far as the men and women downstairs are concerned, there were only three individuals present at the time of the attack. My son, Miss Thatcher and myself. I've stricken your name from Miss Thatcher's written statement and my staff will corroborate this story when the authorities bring them in for questioning tomorrow morning." Angela continues to study Melissa from beneath the veil of her lashes, made thicker and more youthful looking by a liberal application of dark mascara that matches her eyeliner and smokier smudges of make-up she wears on her wrinkled eyelids. In the drawing room's dappled half-light, it appears almost natural.

As she speaks, she reaches up to finger the pearl necklace she wears at her throat, wedding band glinting gold against the paler skin of her bony fingers. "I have a very dear friend who has taken interest in your work. We both desire to see it continue."

Melissa's eyes open and she frowns, which makes her wince. "Okay, back up. I'm sure my blood is all over the place downstairs. What about that? And who is this friend and why would he care about me?" she asks, instantly paranoid. She shakes her head. "And what's the price for you ensuring that I stay out of all the police reports?"

"This isn't the first mess Peter's been involved in that I've had to clean up," Angela tells Melissa, a wry note twisting through her voice as she lets the hand at her necklace drop to the chair's arm, varnished fingernails pressing into the detailed upholstery. "At some point in the future, you may be approached by either myself or one of my associates. If I ask for your help, I expect you to give it unconditionally."

Melissa stares at Angela silently for a long moment. "There are some limits to what I'll do for my freedom, Mrs. Petrelli. If you ask for something I cannot give…" she trails off and shrugs slightly. "If it's something I can do, then it's yours. That's as good as I can promise," she says honestly.

"Rest assured, I don't expect all the stars in the sky." Which means that Angela is apparently satisfied with Melissa's ultimatum. She leans back in her seat, feels the cushions give, and turns her head to track the sound of footsteps moving through the hall on the other side of the door, and for a moment one of the house's staff is briefly visible as he passes the glass panels, shape distorted by their opaque texture. "I've had a room made up for you," the Petrelli family matriarch explains. "Breakfast will be at eight-thirty. You should be gone no later than nine."

Melissa glances over as the man passes by, then she looks to Angela, brows lifting. "No offense, ma'am, but I think I need a doctor. Not to hole up in a mansion. And after that? I'll be going to the hospital. Thanks for the offer though."

"It wasn't an offer," Angela states flatly. "Either you remain here for the remainder of the evening or I rescind on our arrangement. Our personal physician is more than capable of tending to your wounds and prescribing any medication you feel you might need. Under no circumstances will you be visiting a hospital."

Melissa's back stiffens. "Care to explain why I have to stay here? And why I won't be allowed to go see Peter? Since I doubt they'll be releasing him tonight."

Angela's nails scratch across the upholstery as she trails her fingertips along the arm of the chair, but the sound of their edge catching the fabric is inaudible in comparison to the crackling fire or the hammer of Melissa's blood pounding in her ears, aggravating her headache. "Take a look at yourself in a mirror, Miss Pierce," she says. "You're in no condition to be visiting anyone at a public facility without arousing suspicion. If you intend to visit my son, your name will appear on a sign-in sheet at St. Luke's, and even if you were to lie about your identity, I can assure you that the investigators I don't have in my pocket will be scrutinizing the hospital's security footage to determine who's showing such a keen interest in Peter."

Melissa grimaces, realizing that Angela is right. "Careful, Mrs. Petrelli. If I didn't know better, I'd think that you cared about my wellbeing, and not just ensuring that you have someone to do favors for you in the future," she says in a bland tone. "If you don't mind though, I'd really like to see a doctor and get some pain meds. I feel like that bastard nearly cut my head in two."

"As I said," Angela reiterates, "I have a personal physician in residence. Three doors down the hall to your right. Dr. Clemens will see to you immediately."

Melissa nods. "I know, but I didn't know where he was. Where's my room for tonight?" She smiles faintly, apparently amused about something. Something she doesn't share!

Angela does not rise from her chair to see Melissa to the door. Instead, the staffer who passed by only a few moments ago turns the handle and slowly pushes it open on its hinges. Apparently, it locks from the outside as well and Mrs. Petrelli is not the only member of the household with a key. "You'll be staying in the blue room," she says. "It's beside Clemens'."

Melissa rises to her feet and nods. "Sure thing. Night Mrs. Petrelli," she says, heading for the door and the doctor beyond. DRUGS!

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