According To the Paper


montague_icon.gif savannah_icon.gif

Scene Title According To the Paper
Synopsis Savannah Burton discovers there is more to Montague Bonaventure than what you might read in the newspaper.
Date September 19, 2010

A Cafe in Morningside Heights

Morningside Heights was and is still known for its high density of educational institutions. Most of the neighborhood is owned by Columbia University; the rest is shared with Barnard College, the Manhattan School of Music, the Teachers College, Columbia Greenhouse nursery school, and a variety of religious seminaries.

In addition to places like the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Morningside Park, the neighborhood boasts a variety of restaurants and clubs, excellent bookstores, and Mondel Chocolates, selling handmade chocolate candies even today.

Before the bomb, Morningside Heights was dominated by students. That is still the case today, but their majority is now far smaller — with Morningside being one of the neighborhoods least affected by the explosion, it has become a very popular place to live. Housing is extremely expensive, but people are willing to pay through the nose for a place they know is safe and sound — at least in structural terms. Population density is high; like everywhere else in the city, so is crime, although Morningside's biggest problems are theft and embezzlement. Along with the consequences of college parties and/or pranks.

The little French cafe in Morningside Heights that Savannah frequented was one part secret and another part well-beloved. It was just hidden enough that most people wouldn't find it unless they were looking for it, and just well-known enough to have a good reputation as one of the classier and comfortable cafes in the area. Seated at a table by herself, the author has a thin, hard-covered notebook on the table, scribbling notes and the like as she sips from a small cup, a half-eaten slice of dulce de leche cheesecake near her wrist. While it was after lunch but not early enough for dinner, she was still indulging in dessert and seemed to have no qualms with that.

Turning into the cafe, clearly not by accident, Montague Bonaventure struts confidently up to the barista. Within moments his usual drink is ordered, and he moves off to secure himself a table. Monty does not stand around and wait for his drink, it will be brought to him. Wearing a comfortable looking, loose fitting button up rolled halfway up his arm and an equally expensive pair of black slacks, he slips his smart phone out of his pocket and thumbs through a few things. Every so often he glances up, keeping aware of his surroundings.

Savannah's hand reaches, taking another bite of the cheesecake and another sip from the white china cup near her before she happens to glance around the cafe again. She does note a vaguely familiar face—she's certain she's seen that one around before. While the blonde notes he's "busy" with his phone, when Monty looks up, she catches his gaze and offers a small nod, raising her cup slightly in his direction.

It is always easier when a woman gives you an indication that she sees you and was interested enough to give you a wave, a raised cup, a smile. An in. Not that Montague has ever needed such an in, but it makes things easier all the same. He glances over towards the counter to make sure his drink is not being brought out yet, then slips out of the patio chair he sits in to move over towards Savannah's table, sliding into the chair opposite her. "Hello," he speaks with a voice smooth and confident. His eyes notice the notebook, helping his brain connect the dots. "Savannah Burton, correct?"

"Yes," Savannah replies smoothly, "that's me. And you are… Montague.. Bonaventure? Quite a mouthful of a name. I'm surprised I remembered it. I'm terrible with names. I never remember things well unless I write it down. Which, I suppose is why it's good that I write everything down."

Monty chuckles, throwing one arm over the back of the chair and lifting a leg up to rest the ankle over the other knee. "It is a mouthful, isn't it? My father's name was Maxamillian. It is something of a tradition in my family to ensure your children have pompous sounding names. Please, you can call me Monty." He flashes a charming smile, sliding his phone away. "Working on another novel?" He inclines his head towards the notepad. "Or just people watching?"

Savannah smiles warmly, taking a small sip of her mocha before responding. "Monty it is. I think I prefer Monty, as I would never be able to get Romeo and Juliet out of my head with your name. I suppose having a pompous name could be a requirement in some circles." A bite of cheesecake is cut with her fork. "Novel writing and people watching go hand and hand for me these days. You can often find beautiful little details for books by seeing the habits and quirks of anyone you run into. So to answer your question… I'm doing a bit of both."

"Oh, believe me. I heard plenty of Romeo and Juliet jokes growing up. I doubt you could surprise or bother me with anything related to that book. Besides, I am much more handsome than Leonardo DiCaprio, mm?" Monty phrases this as a question, but it's clear it is a rhetorical one. At least from his perspective. He glances up and to the left as his drink is brought over, porcelain cup on a saucer. It is set down on the table, and he scoops it up gingerly to take a sip. "Mmm. Best espresso in town, hands down." He sets it down, relaxing once more in his seat.

"The desserts are phenomenal as well." Savannah notes, sipping from her own cup. "Though I must say you're quite a bit more modest than Leo." She chuckles, gazing across the table. "So the espresso brings you out here or are you up to something more nefarious?"

"I assure you, m'lady Burton, that I am never up to anything nefarious. I am a gentleman, after all." He lifts the saucer and the cup in one hand, moving his other to take the cup and sip his espresso again. "So unfortunately, it is the espresso. I guess I'm just easy to figure out. You're absolutely right, though. The desserts are delicious."

Savannah beams. "Well, it's certainly good to hear you're not getting into trouble. Although it could be a bit mischievous to get a desert here. They're positively sinful." She takes another bite of her cheesecake. "And you know why I'm out here, already, so I guess that makes us even."

Monty smirks, taking another sip from his small espresso. "Well. You might notice I don't have a dessert. You do, though.. so I suppose that makes you the sinner." He flashes another charming smile. "I can forgive that, though, since you're so beautiful."

"Guess that's true, I'm a bit of a rebel," Savannah notes, blatantly taking another bite. "Mmm, yes, no dessert for you. It's a shame. You should indulge as well." The compliment is met with a warm smile and perhaps a hint of color on her cheeks.

"Well. If you insist." He balances the saucer and cup in one hand, reaching over with the other to scoop some of the cheesecake off with one finger, lifting it to his lips and licking it off. He smacks his lips together, savoring the taste. "You're right. That is sinful." He leans back again, taking a sip of espresso to wash down the cheesecake. "So how else are you a rebel, Savannah?"

A blonde eyebrow is raised, but Savannah allows the theft, chuckling. She should have expected that one. "How else am I a rebel? Well, I don't know that I'm so much of a rebel as I might have first let on. Maybe an adventure seeker, I don't turn away from it, but…" She shrugs. "I don't know that I actively rebel unless the random opportunity comes across my path."

Montague sits comfortably, nodding and listening. His grey eyes twinkle ever so slightly. "Don't you rebel with the books you write? I understand that the government is not a fan of them." He finishes his espresso, setting down the saucer and cup before folding his hands on the knee of his propped up leg. "I think the things you have to say are worth listening to."

"I suppose in that way, yes I do. Just seems silly to think of writing as rebellion, sometimes." Savannah notes, tapping her pen against the notebook. "Certainly I write things that may not be popular, but they're things that must be said, either way. People need to hear them… and I write because the stories genuinely compel me."

"Is it silly? A lot of rebellions throughout history were spurred on or started by writing. There are literally dozens of examples." He moves his hands behind his head, linking his fingers and cradling his head in a relaxed position. "I couldn't agree with you more, Savannah. I'm glad the stories compel you, but I think the message is the most important thing. Registration is wrong. I am, of course, registered, but I am a law abiding citizen."

"Laws are not always right, even if we have to abide by them." Savannah chuckles, another sip taken from her cup. "I suppose I am a revolutionary in my own way, then. But I wouldn't discount the stories themselves. The message is very important, yes… but the story is why you care about it. If a message, say, is 'Registration is wrong', would we not care unless we saw the people who were hurt most by it?"

Montague shrugs his shoulders, rolling them backwards. "Maybe, maybe not. That really isn't my strong suit, I'm afraid. I suppose on a personal level I care deeply about the issue enough to where I don't need such a story to intrigue me and make me believe. For others, I guess it is good to have." His eyes size Savannah up, as he goes silent a moment. "This is all between us, understand? I don't really need my opinions regarding registration pushed across the paper."

Savannah snorts. "I could care less about the press. My agent deals with that. Honestly? I like to get people's opinions. Helps me think of perspectives for my books. Some people, I think, are just unable to think or see the world around them without having a nudge in the right direction. If they can care about the fate of a fictional character affected by an issue, then it's one stop closer to them caring about actual people."

"The dangerous thing about the press is not that they are often wrong, but that they are often half right. People see half an issue and make judgement." Montague lets out a sigh, shaking his head. "I used to not care about people. It took more than a character in a book to change my mind. I wish it had been so easy, but I can't change the past."

"Which is why I let Kam take care of it. That's what agents are there for. They take care of the details I can't be bothered with. It's a blessing." Savannah tilts her head to the side, studying him before sipping from her cup. "Mmm, so what changed you? Why do you suddenly care about people?"

Montague lets slip a frown. Normally unflappable, it is a rare sign of sadness. It disappears as quickly as it came as his lips move to speak. "My father died in the Midtown explosion, and my mother has been in a coma since it happened. It was a reminder that life is.. far more valuable and short than I thought it was before it happened. I was short sighted. Now, I'm.. well, you can read the papers yourself. According to the paper, I'm the same playboy rich kid I always was. But like I said, the press is usually half right."

"I'm sorry," Savannah murmurs. "Didn't mean to poke at wounds I shouldn't have." She gives a bit of a nod. "Then again, every unmarried man between the ages of 18 and 35 who has a decent amount of money is considered a playboy these days. I certainly didn't know much about you, just vague things I recall from papers."

"Don't worry about it, Savannah. I'm an adult. It was four years ago. It opened my eyes, and in a way I am thankful it happened." He glances away as someone walks by to scoop up his saucer and cup, but he waves off the offer of another drink. "I know you're an intelligent woman. Definitely smarter than me, for sure. I believe you'll make your own judgements."

"Adult or not, the loss of a parent, much less both, is difficult," Savannah notes. "Though I can understand being thankful. Sometimes trauma really does open our eyes. It can be difficult… but sometimes that makes all the difference."

Montague shrugs his shoulders again, removing his hands from the back of his head as he slowly rises from the chair. "I won't lie and say it wasn't difficult, but I don't want to say much more on it at all either way." He pulls his wallet from out of a back pocket, pulling out money and dropping it on the table. "That should cover mine and yours. Don't try to refuse, either." He smiles, tucking the wallet back. "A pleasure seeing you, Savannah."

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