Best Dressed Lie


f_gabriel_icon.gif f_gillian_icon.gif

Scene Title Best Dressed Lie
Synopsis Not all polite smiles are really polite.
Date April 9th, 2019

Marriott Hotel

Desc Me

It's not Officer Gabriel Gray's first big social event and it likely won't be his last. Which doesn't make it any easier, the sea of people and the clamour of heartbeats and voices to sensitive ears, undercut with the whine of dormant speakers and of course, the too-loud live jazz going on across the expansive ballroom. It's all very glittery, very brightly lit, and he moves off the dance floor with his hand caught in Eileen's, ducking his head to murmur something to her, a mild smile flickering across his face as they both drift towards where the drinks are being kept.

God knows he'll need it, recognising far too many faces in this crowd. Dressed in a very well-fitted, very sharp tuxedo with a thin black tie, and hair combed into place, Gabriel blends in well while feeling not quite himself, but really, it's just another costume. Just another performance.

Standing by the table, he plays the gentleman and picks up to glasses of white wine, handing one to his wife and letting their conversation murmur beneath the buzz of activity in the ballroom. He takes a sip of the sharp tasting alcohol, letting his gaze flicker around again, skimming faces and shifting shapes of well groomed people. It's when his gaze falls on a face in particular that it lingers, not so much in surprise, or alarm, or even dismay - just a frozen kind of acknowledgement of something inevitable.

Gillian Childs is here too. Oy.





Gillian Petrelli stands rather close to the open bar. Close enough that he can hear her heart beat as she moves in close, the bling around her neck giving a small tingling sound as she moves, and the bracelets that hide her one visible tattoo clanking delicately. All of which would sound like a music box in the middle of a concert, but some things just stand out more.

"Plum wine," she requests, not even needing to hand over money for the moment, due to the fact the man knows who she is. She's good for it. Not like there won't be money to pay for the tab later. "Make it one of the big glasses," she adds, as she spots a certain set of eyebrows looking on. Once her glass gets filled to the top, she puts on one of her better smiles, full of pearly whites, and makes her way over.

"Gabriel. I should have figured you would make it here. Did you manage to make it another week without being shot?" A question often asked. Rarely asked of him directly. While raspy, her voice takes on a slightly higher pitch than normal, and her heart beat isn't as steady as it could be.

Oh no she's coming closer. And perhaps Eileen has a sense for such things, or a lack of it, because she squeezes her husband's arm and makes to go and perhaps greeting someone else, or head to the lady's room, or something that Gabriel really didn't catch because his own hand goes out to grip her arm briefly. No no don't go.

Too late, however, Eileen already wriggling from the light if insistent hold and disappearing into the crowds, Gabriel watching her go in the way an abandoned dog might confusedly stare after its owner, before he's quick to down his glass of wine.

The glass is set down, and another one reached for just as Gillian gets there. He puts on a smile, one that suits him and indicates that maybe he should try it more often, but almost a little too bright to be sincere. "Gillian," he says. "No, not this week. Cross your fingers for tomorrow, huh?" His hand reaches out to touch her arm in a friendly way. Hell, he doesn't even greet his friends like this, but it's easier to pretend. "Are you lost, I don't…" A slight glance around. "… see any reporters nearby."

Hope for tomorrow? Always.

Gillian's smile remains on her face, though there aren't any reporters nearby after all. There's almost the sense that they're both trying too hard when her free arm raises up to touch his shoulder, fingers moving along the line of his nice jacket. "If they're were, at least that little wife of yours manages to clean you up well," she says, voice dripping with insincerity, even as she brushes her hand along the fabric of his tux. One might think she's brushing dandriff off or something. He'd always been the clean one. There's nothing to brush off… nothing that can be seen, at least.

As her hand falls away, she lingers closer than would be socially acceptable in these circles, and drinks generously from her wine. A good two gulps beyond a proper tasting. She doesn't even let it linger to saver the taste.

"So, Officer Gray," she says, as she settles her eyes back on his. There's no scar on her forehead where there once had been. Most of her tattoos have been removed as well. "Still catching criminals like good hunting dog?"

It's kind of a dance. Gillian stops to take a couple of sips, and Gabriel takes the opportunity to do the same, promptly forgetting, it seems, that he's just had a glass. Of course, he forgets nothing, and no amount of alcohol can take away twelve years of utter clarity. God knows he's tried once or twice, but that's the curse of the gift, really.

There's a flash of a camera somewhere towards their right - not pointed at them but the media is always near, dressed just as glittery as those that paid to be here. He smiles tightly at her question, indicating with his glass, wherein pale alcohol swishes around haphazardly. "Funny," he compliments her. Kinda. "You might want to keep your voice down, quite a few of the people here at the policemen's ball are actually policemen and might not take kindly to being called dogs.

Amber-brown eyes glitter a little in a strange sort of way. As if he were enjoying this. Which would intensely belie the knot of anxiousness he knows high up in his chest, but hey, maybe a part of him is. Or is enjoying the wine, anyway, which he starts to bring up for another sip, but not without asking, sweetly, "Where's your 'little' husband?"

"Not all of them are hairy enough to be called dogs," Gillian says in the same tone, though she did notically talk in a lower volume at the same time. "They don't all hear as good either." Another long drink from her glass of wine, as she looks to the flickering lights in the background. The cameras may not be pointed her way, but should they, she has a smile on her face, one that looks legitimate enough for this kind of setting. Most smiles are faked.

"I believe Peter is talking to someone important somewhere." There's a hint of another sentance tossed onto the end, as she looks back at him. This glass of wine will be finished in no time if she keeps drinking it this quickly. Plum wine isn't weak, either…

That doesn't quite make him choke on his wine, but it does abort the sip to something much quicker than it was going to be. Nice. Free hand moving to bury into a pocket in a casual stance, Gabriel restlessly glances around to see where Eileen has disappeared to, but she, being short, has escaped him, and there are too many heartbeats in the room to pick out her's. His smile, also, stays fixed, if not as bright and professional as Gillian's.

Empty wine glass is set down on the bar, and he tilts his head to Gillian as he says to the server, "I'll have what she's having." He keeps his eyes trained on the generous glass being filled with darker liquid as he responds with, "Is he? Wow, that's new. No wonder you're on your own, huh? Thanks," he adds to the bartender, picking up his drink and holding it out for a clinking of glasses. "To marriage."

"Have to mingle with the other people every so often," Gillian responds cooly, watching the wine get filled up. There's something in the way she says that, as if he caught a particularly good insult there. But she has wine to distract her.

Japanese plum wine has a rich, strong, yet still sweet red wine like flavor. Slightly purplish in coloring, too. It definitely leaves an after taste. Though her glass is nowhere near as full, and she just drank from it before the 'toast', she shifts it to knock lightly against his, the dark liquid sloshing back and forth within the glass. "To marriage."

There's a bitterness to the drink that follows, even if the smile stays mostly on, and is returned in full when she's finished the glass in record time. She sets it down against the bar, ignoring the signs of it already beginning to take effect. "So when are you going to get your wife pregnant? I know you learned how… unless you forgot. Fallen off any bridges with her lately?"

Now there's a sign of it taking effect that Gabriel, at least, can't ignore. His eyes go slightly wide, less out of shock, more like a deer caught in the head lights, which incidentally is the look Eileen gets if she ever so much as hints at something similar. The bartender darts a look between them before he's quickly shuffling off to tend to less volatile drinkers.

A quick sip of wine and a shake of his head as he swallows it is a good time-stealing moment while he scrabbles for something to say, but incidentally, he too has been pounding the wine since Gillian arrived, and it's starting to show.

"I don't forget," he reminds her, with that tight, insincere smile back on his face. Not even gonna touch the pregnancy thing. "No, no bridges, but we do all kinds of fun things together. Peter hasn't tried to kill you again, has he?" His voice has lowered a little, much quieter and slightly more venomous, as if they were stepping out of the more aggressively playful territory of banter to something more dire. Something that taps less into his anxiety and irritation and into a deeper well of buried emotion. "You know, for old times sake?"

Aww, the bartender went away. Gillian's glass is not refilled. Probably for the better in this case. Her way of speaking may not be slurred, and she may not be swaying on her feet, but her inhabitions are taking a small tumble. Moving in even closer, she looks up at him, dimpling in amusement. "You know I like men who try to kill me at least once… especially if I try to kill them back." A hand goes up and she actually reaches to straighten his tie. A tie that doesn't need straightening.

"And you did forget once…" When he had been a puppy with another name, as opposed to a well-trained hunting dog. Her raspy voice softens to a whisper when she mentions that forgetfulness, before she releases his tie and lowers her hands. The bracelets on her left wrist shift, the barest view of the yinyang tattoo black against her pale skin.

He stays perfectly still while his tie is fixed, as much as it doesn't need to be, keeping his eyes trained on hers. Save for subtle things like his back going straighter than it was, shoulders squaring, or swallowing that half a mouthful of wine a little harder than necessarily, throat shifting against the perfectly white collar of his shirt. Is it unnecessarily cramped in here or what?

Though Gabriel doesn't step back. He's lose if he did, of this he's pretty sure. The logic of wine is a powerful thing. "True," he says, once her hands lower, and he can breathe a little easier provided she didn't tighten the very polite noose around his neck. "There's a first time for everything. Otherwise, I don't forget." He gestures a little with his half-emptied wine glass. "I remember five minutes to midnight," and his eyes dart over her bared arm, free of ink save for that one yin/yang tattoo, "but you've seem to have forgotten. Or tried to. What other ones did you get rid of? The dragon, the sun mark," he goes to take a sip of wine, but not before adding, "the biohazard sign?"

The low cut of her dress likely makes this situation even more awkward looking, considering he has to look down to look at her. "Wouldn't you like to know which ones I kept?" Gillian says, husky amusement carrying in her voice as she smiles wide enough to show off her dimples. Indeed many of them are gone. The dragon an obvious one. The music symbol behind her ear, the sun on her back, the rose on her arm… There's a lot that are missing just from the way she dresses. But there's a good amount of area that's usually covered…

"I could have one… here…" Instead of touching herself, though, she puts finger tips on his hip. "Or here…" The hand starts to move, almost as if she might start with some very inappropriate for public touching.

Where did the bartender go? Gabriel's quick to finish off his first glass of plum wine, nose wrinkling a little at the strength of its flavour happening all at once in two smooth gulps, setting it down on the bar with a very definite clink. Perhaps he should have started on spirits. Or maybe that would have been an even worse idea.

"So are you trying to intrigue me or hoping that I become intrigued?" he asks, his tone still drifting on that sea of politeness, courteous smile in place even if they're standing too close and looking at each other too intently, to glean details, to see how barbs fall. "You know, while your husband is off talking to important people? Seems a little desperate, don't you think, my salary couldn't afford the dress you're kind of wearing."

The hand drops away from him, but Gillian doesn't take the step back. It would seem they both are following wine logic in this case, not wanting to give an inch or a foot. "No, your salary probably couldn't afford my dress," she readily admits, smoothing her hand over the tightened region at her waist, which helps emphasize her curves. "You could probably afford my shoes but…" Sad part about the shoes, they're not even visible right now. The dress is too long.

"You'll never see what tattoos I still have. Unless you happen to have gotten x-ray vision in the last few years." Little does she know she just met a man with x-ray vision, but that's beside the point.

The whole situation is bordering on very inappriopriate, but she's on the drunk side, and there's moments when she just can't hold herself back. At least her power isn't spilling out and causing a problem. That at least has been put under control in the future. Mostly. "It wouldn't surprise me, if you still went around collecting abilities."

X-ray vision. That has Gabriel finally looking up from her gaze and partially over her head, scanning the room in quick darting arcs. Hmm. Whatever he's looking for doesn't immediately show itself to him, so back to the conversation, and he gives a slight nod to the bartender when the man motions with the same wine bottle they're busy emptying. He fills Gabriel's glass generously, and not quick enough. "I never went around collecting abilities," Gabriel says, easily. "I think you have me mistaken for someone else. Just like your husband never did blow up New York."

Always 'your husband', rarely Peter. "Isn't it fun? Lying?" Yeah. He's well on his way past tipsy, picking up the wine glass and taking a quick sip. His gaze continues to swim away from her, trading a smile with someone across the room even as he speaks. "I know we reap the benefits but you. You're lying with every inch of you right now. Every day, every magazine cover I see you on. No matter how many tattoos you remove. How's it feel to be a photograph of someone you're not?"

As the bartender comes back, Gillian pushes her glass over a bit as well, so he knows to refill it. After the words she's hearing, she's going to need every drop. Finally, she's moved away, using the bartender as an excuse. Just a step or two, putting some additiona distance between them. From the sound of her heart beat, even if slowed by alcohol, the words had an effect. A negative one.

The smile she casts up at him as she picks up her refilled glass doesn't touch her eyes, a tightening at her forehead hinting at the tension.

"You could say I got used to lying. But at least I know what the lies are this time… And what's real." Her voice is soft, toned nearly at a whisper that would drown even before it reaches the bartender's ears. But not the man she's addressing. Not the one she's looking at the way she is. "Not everything is a lie, Officer Gray. It could just be… we didn't know each other as well as we pretended we did."

Apparently winning isn't that great. Especially when you haven't won at all. Gabriel picks up his refilled glass and that polite smile of his, far less practiced than Gillian's, falters somewhat. Fades into maybe an expression more accurate to what he's thinking and feeling, but only just. His throat works as he downs another good sip of wine, turning his hand to make sure his mouth his clean by pressing the back of it there, before giving her a curt nod.

"Nice talking to you again, enjoy the party."

Strategic retreat. They've lingered long enough, haven't they? Too bad if not, Gabriel uttering an 'excuse me' and moving to brush past her, arms colliding enough to jostle.

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