A Personal Matter of Public Relations


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Scene Title A Personal Matter of Public Relations
Synopsis Tracy pays a visit to the Petrelli Mansion with the intention of asking Angela about the whereabouts of her son.
Date August 2, 2009

The Petrelli Family Mansion

This was something Tracy knew she should have done a long time ago. No mother needs to hear her son is missing or dead like this. But these are unprecedented circumstances.

Tracy dressed as conservatively as possible, in a pantsuite and fitted jacket. Her hair is up, she is, after all, meeting the American version of the Queen Mother.

She stands at the threshold of the Petrelli Mansion, taking a deep breath before tapping the door-knocker a few times. She needs to be calm, but she can't help that some butterflies are doing loop-de-loops in her belly. Outwardly? She looks as content as anyone.

It takes close to a minute before Tracy hears footsteps reverberating through the hall on the other side of the door, but when it opens it isn't Angela Petrelli who's there to greet her. It's a tall, lean man with a short tousle of dirty blond hair and a day's worth of stubble accumulated on his chin. The crow's feet around his eyes and the creases at the corners of his thin mouth place his age around forty or thereabouts, though one thing is certain: he's no one Tracy has ever met before.

"Can I help you?" he asks.

Tracy was ready for a butler, or some such thing, to be at the door. A security guard, at least. So she already had a business card out between her fingers when the door was opened. She offers it over.

"Tracy Strauss to see Angela Petrelli, please." She says, simply.

The man looks down the bridge of his nose as if to inspect the business card, then reaches out to take it between two of his fingers. "Mrs. Petrelli is presently indisposed," he tells Tracy as he turns the card over in his hand a few times before pocketing it in the suit jacket he wears. "But perhaps I might be able to take a message?"

"It's a personal matter concerning her family," the PR woman says. So far, everything she's spoken could be on the up and up. Maybe Peter's secretly gay or something, and there's going to be a PR fallout. It could be something so simple….

"If you could relate to her that I insist on speaking with her immediately, I would very much appreciate it."

The man seems to consider Tracy's request in stony silence, brow knit and blue eyes focused on her face with the intensity of a perching raptor. When he speaks again, it's in a softer voice, tone losing some of its acerbic bite. "I'm afraid, Ms. Strauss, that Mrs. Petrelli won't be speaking with anyone immediately, or even in the near future. This wouldn't happen to do with one of her sons, would it?"

Tracy frowns a little. The butler, or whoever he is, is asking too many questions and offering too few answers. "The business is between Mrs. Petrelli and myself." She tightens her purse over her arm. She really can't trust anyone, especially not strangers.

"May I ask who you are, sir, to be so closely screening her visitors?"

Now it's the stranger's turn to present a business card, poised between the knuckles of his middle and index fingers. "Robert Caliban," he introduces himself. "I'm a publicist with the Linderman Group and here at the family's request. Mr. Linderman is an old friend of Mrs. Petrelli's, as I'm sure you know. With Nathan busy at the capitol and Peter, ah, unaccounted for, she needs someone at the house to help with her day-to-day needs. Were you aware that she had a stroke several weeks ago?"

Tracy frowns, deeply. She takes the card. "I was not. Why wasn't I informed?" She is, after all, the PR person for New York. This sort of thing should have come to her immediately. But then, Fakethan probably wasn't too concerned about his mother, as he knew she would live. Still.

"I really have to see her, it's urgent. If Mr. Linderman objects then you're more than welcome to call him down here as well, because I will need to be speaking to him too and it would save me a trip."

"Seeing her isn't the issue, I'm afraid," says Caliban, stepping aside to make room for Tracy in the doorframe. "You can come in if you like, but you're going to be disappointed. She's been unresponsive since the staff found her on the floor of the bathroom in the house's master suite. Our physicians haven't been able to do much except make her as comfortable as they can, so you can see why we've been trying to keep this quiet." He offers the leggy blonde a tight smile. "Mrs. Petrelli is no Sunny von Bulow."

"I still should have been notified immediately, if this got out it would be my ass on the line." She says. Yes, Tracy can be a good negotiator. She can also be a good bitch when the situation requires. She walks in, letting him lead the way to her. "What are her doctors saying? Do they know anything more? Do they know when she'll wake up?"

Caliban shuts the door behind Tracy and turns the deadbolt with a gentle click. "If we knew that, believe me, you would have been contacted. In any case, you shouldn't have to worry much about your ass, my dear. At least no more than any other woman your age."

Tracy can't help but give the man a bit of a strange look at his choice of words. "Please show me the way, I'd still like to see her." She steps back, waiting for him to show the way. This is her first time in the Petrelli house, and she does take a moment to gaze. Beside the obvious, something just feels wrong.

But there are more important matters at hand. "Her doctors," she reminds. "What do they say?"

"Oh, the usual. Euphemisms, mostly." Caliban leads Tracy down the hallway and up a set of spiral-shaped stairs that creak audibly beneath their weight. The tips of his fingers trail along the banister as he goes. "It's too early to tell is their favourite, but if you ask me the old harridan isn't ever going to wake up. On the bright side, that should give you plenty of time to get your story straight before the president pulls the plug, eh?"

Tracy manages to swallow the man's disgusting manner and turn it into a brighter comment. "Still, not knowing means there is the opportunity for it to go the other way," She reminds. She follows close on his heels down the hall. "As to the President, I must beg you to leave him to me. He's my responsibility." After all, they're both PR people. He'll understand the idea of being 'responsible' for your client.

"No worries," Caliban assures Tracy, coming to a halt in front of an unmarked door a few feet from the top of the staircase. "I've no intention of pissing in your niche." Without knocking, he turns the handle, swings it open and invites her inside what appears to be a sparsely-decorated bedroom. Although it isn't the master suite, the room itself is larger than most dens and smells faintly of rosewater mixed with antiseptic. Sunlight streams in through a set of silk curtains designed to lend its surroundings an ephemeral pink glow and illuminates the figure of Angela Petrelli laid out on the bed next to the window overlooking Central Park.

"Well?" Caliban asks after a moment. "Are you quite satisfied?"

Tracy isn't. She walks in, looking over Mrs. Petrelli. She's heard, always, that these people can hear you in their states. So as she stands over Angela, she offers the woman a soft smile.

"Hello, Mrs. Petrelli. My name is Tracy Strauss, I work for your son, the President." That must sound nice as a parent. "I just came by to say hello, and say that you have two very extraordinary sons." It's not a lie! It's truth. "I'm sure they'll both be here to talk to you soon."

Caliban lingers in the bedroom doorway rather than follow Tracy inside. He leans his shoulder against its frame and folds his arms across his chest. "Not bloody likely," he puts in.

Tracy steps away from the woman's bed. "I'm sure that's not very condusive, Mr. Caliban. But thank you for allowing me to see her. I'd like to come back, if that's alright. At least to visit." With a friend. Or two. Or three if she can really swing it. "I'm sure that won't be a problem."

"Provided you call ahead in advance, it shouldn't be." Caliban does not budge from his vigil in the doorway except to lift one leg and cross it behind the other as he adopts a more leisurely posture. "I trust you can see yourself out?"

Tracy nods. "I can, thank you." She says, turning the handle of the door and slipping out. She doesn't, however, quite see her self out. She does manage to get 'lost' a little bit - poking her head around. Just in case Nathan might be there, she can't imagine any Nathan wanting to be away from his mother at a time like this.

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