Fame And Fortune


abbot_icon.gif tess_icon.gif

Scene Title Fame and Fortune
Synopsis It's what Tess wants, and what she hopes Abbot can get her.
Date December 8, 2010

Abbot's Office

The holiday season is stressful enough as it is. For those who wish to cash in on the great tide of luxury spending, there is as much labor in these days than in the other times of the year combined. However essential one considers reading, books are something close to luxury. Not something needed to eat, drink, sleep or get around - anything extraneous to the great march of production. So Kamber Abbot is stressed, because of course he would be.

But the holiday season alone cannot account for the whole of his worry, and the fact is writ large on features more furrowed than not these days in the office. For in the office he is, tapping out an e-mail to a distributor, insisting that they get those copies of the new multi-volume hardcover edition of 'The Amplified' Trilogy. Perfect as an upscale gift option, especially for those well to do sci-fi fans who like to show off a bit. At least, that's Abbot's angle.

The usual stress he can handle. But this upcoming Christmas has him many shades of worried. The uninterrupted planning of a certain charity dinner contributes greatly in this regard. But it's not a worry he can express nor do much about, at least not much more. So he's worried, because that's all he can be, besides busy, which he tries to keep himself.

Uninterrupted? Well, that's not gonna last!

Outside there are voices, as a bundled up Tess cranks up her smile and the charm inherited from dear old departed dad. Despite the lack of success she originally had with Kain, she really is a people person and knows how to deal with them. Which is why, not too long after first arriving, Tess is opening the door to Abbot's inner sanctum and strolling in, beaming at him.

"Hi! You're not too terribly busy, are ya, darlin'? Because I have got to talk to you, just a few minutes of your time, and it could totally be a good thing for both of us! In fact, I have a really good feelin' that it will be, so do you mind if I just have a seat'n get to talkin'?" she asks, grinning, dimples showing. She's so cute, how could he throw her out?!

Abbot looks up from his nearly-finished but as of yet un-proofread e-mail with some surprise. He doesn't know this young woman - should he? A quick glance down at his ever-open dayplanner yields no hints. No meeting for the day. So that means… what?

His chair swivels as turns to face Tess fully, hands lacing together on the desk before him. When he speaks, his ghost of a Welsh accent barely manifests, making him sound just vaguely British Imperial, without giving away the specifics of his origin. "I'd at least like to know your name, Miss, if only so I know whom I should be offering the seat to…"

That has Tess laughing brightly as she heads across the office towards him with lazy steps that don't go at all with her rapid fire speech. "Me? I'm Tess Winslow-Zarek. Your newest client, maybe." And then it's into the seat she goes, grinning across the desk at him as she adopts a pose that's both casual and confident. Confidence is something that she's never lacked.

"Ya see, I happen to be in need of a job, and I've got a name that people recognize, whether good or bad, and I'm one hell of a personality, and a damn good actress. What I need though, is an agent, and out of everyone I found in the book, I picked you. You're gonna make me famous'n make yourself rich at the same time. It's a total win-win."

Blink blink. Abbot requires a moment to process all of this. The associations of the name Zarek, the meaning of Tess's pitch, where he fits in. Where does he fit in? Blink blink.

"Yellow pages, was it?" Abbot says with a small smile, "I am right up there near the top. A- B-… pretty near the top after… I think it's Jane Aarons. And she's highly unpleasant, so, good choice." Abbot lifts a finger, "with one small hitch. I am a literary agent, Miss Winslow-Zarek. Show business is no business of mine."

Literary agent? Well that wasn't in Tess's plans. It actually has her going silent for a long moment before the grin returns and she shrugs. "It's always good to diversify, now isn't it? It'll be a new path for both of us, darlin'. Me into TV and you into show business. Besides, a smart guy like you? I'm sure you can figure it out with no problem at all. In fact, I'll bet you could be one hell of a television agent for me." When in doubt, flatter.

Abbot's smile needn't be winning, because it's he thats being pitched to right now, but it comes out that way anyways. Broad and bright, and if it's a touch nervous, it's not uncharming in its way. "If I were your agent, and I were suggesting a career move, getting a book peddler to spearhead your advance would not be at the top of my docket," is the caveat, followed by, "that said, I'm too familiar with plot not to think better of simply turning down an opportunity. What did you have in mind, Miss Winslow-Zarek? What kind of star are you aiming to become?"

And she's not being kicked out the door. Score! Tess keeps grinning, because she knows the power of dimples. "Maybe it wouldn't, but I figure, anyone I pick will be takin' a chance on me since I'm an unknown, so it's only fair that I take a chance on them." No reason to point out that she missed the 'literary' in his yellow pages ad.

She stretches her legs out, arms folding over her stomach, legs crossing at the ankles. "Television, at least, I figure to start there. Maybe stay there if I really like it. I figure I could do awesome at some sort of sitcom or some sorta talk show." The grin goes a bit impish and her voice drops to a stage whisper, "I have a secret love affair with Jerry Springer, but I figure I could totally do that sorta show better'n him. 'Cause let's face it, people'd rather look at someone like me than an old guy like Jerry."

Abbot taps his thumbs together, listening with a polite intentness, demonstrating his engagement with what she's saying. Good client handling is part of his job. "Of course, of course," he says, "you're clearly very telegenic. Confident, well spoken without being high falutin', so to speak," he smiles after this, because it's a joke, sort of, haha, "and… I just want to make this clear… when you say people recognize your name you mean… the name Zarek?"

"Yep. Even before…the latest bit of Zarek in the news," Tess isn't quite ready to talk about her father's murder with a stranger, "everyone I met in this city knew the name Zarek. Might be 'cause of the polar bear chasin' earlier in the year, or how my dad seemed to like givin' lots of money to people." She grins again. "For an unknown, that alone'll probably make your job easier. It's easier to pitch someone with a known name than someone no one knows about and has no reason to care about, right?"

"A legacy of philanthropy certainly could be a stepping stone, yes," Abbot says, with a nod, "so the notable Mr. Zarek was your father? Well, his notoriety is something you'll have to decide how to use. If we have a pitch for a program, it will be up to you to figure out if you'd like your relation to your father to be explicit," a pause, "I am very sorry, by the way, for your loss. And for the loss to the city. That kind of generous spirit is hard to find."

Tess's smile this time does hold her sadness for her father, and she nods. "Thank you. I do miss him a great deal." There's a moment's pause, then the smile firms up. "I'm sure he'd want to help me find my way in the world though, and by usin' his name to get somewhere, I'm just keepin' his memory alive, which is a good thing in my book."

"Oh, of course," Abbot says, never one to disagree with a client's motivation, however prospective that client may be, "and I think it would make sense to retain some sense of that Zarek family charitability alive. Nothing ostentatious, but maybe a cut of the proceeds going to one or several of his favorite charitable organizations? That would certainly make for good press."

Lips twitch and Tess nods. "I got no problem in sharin' the wealth. Once I get some of that wealth. I like nice things, but I'm not greedy." Or at least she's not overly greedy. "But of course, what I do or don't do down the road all depends on whether or not I've got an agent to get me up there so I can help."

"Tax cuts alone would make it fiscally advisable," Abbot says, his own lips twitching - is that slyness? "but you will need someone to promote you, that's certain. I'm afraid I don't have a contract at the ready, so I can't offer to be that man immediately, but give me a couple days and I think you and I, Miss Winslow-Zarek, will be ready to make the world a better and more entertaining place."

The grin that forms on Tess's face now is happy, and she nods. "Sure thing, Mister Abbot. I'm not an impatient girl. And you'll find that I'm not afraid of hard work either. Until the last month, I've worked every day since I hit eighteen. And this? This is gonna be fun."

"I certainly hope so," Abbot says, pleasantly. If nothing else, Tess does seem to have some appreciate charm. And there most definitely are things beside. "I'll start researching your options today. We can meet for lunch, say? In two days? I should have a first draft of a contract drawn up, and hopefully a meeting with a producer. Your job, Miss Winslow-Zarek, is to figure out just what you want your hook to be. You tell me what I'm promoting, and I'll figure out how to promote it."

"Two days sounds good to me. Nice way to end up the work week," Tess says, grinning and leaning forward, to snag a business card or scrap of paper, anything she can use to scrawl her name and phone number down. "I got a couple of friends who might have a good name for a producer. One has his own TV show, the other is bein' approached for somethin' with her music. I'll see who they use and if they're impressed by them."

As she leans back, leaving the paper, she grins at Abbot. "And I'll do plenty of thinkin' over the next two days. Figure out more stuff to make your job easier. And lemme tell ya, I'm excited about this."

When Tess leans forward, Abbot discerns her purpose quickly, and flips open his rolodex, flicking to a blank card at the back and tugging it out, offering it to her. Much more official. The mention of the further two friends earns Tess two more cards. "Any and every lead will help. This job is about persistence more than anything else, at least at first. Before you're famous and calling all the shots."

The addition of cards makes Tess laugh, and she takes just one to write down Tahir's name and number. "He's the one with the show. The other's a close friend, I'll talk to her myself. But I'll get you the name and number," she promises, unaware that the producer is the same for both Tahir and Quinn.

The cards are retrieved and sorted into the rolodex in neat alphabetical order. Well organized, is Abbot. He has to be. Authors are almost always messes. Actors, he has a sense, are probably not much better. "You name the place, and I'll see you for lunch. I'll be picking up the check, of course," of course! "so don't you dare pick someplace that's beastly affordable. Something befitting the acclaim and popularity you are soon to garner."

Tess laughs and nods as she leans back. "How about the restaurant in the Corinthian then? Could say it's good luck for me. That's where I first met my dad. Got a fondness for that place now, and it's not beastly affordable. Hear the food is delicious too." Since Kain was so thrown that he refused to buy her dinner the last time, she doesn't know firsthand.

"A fitting remembrance," Abbot says, which… is it? But that's really not the point. The point is to make deals and plan pitches. It's the business of the here and now, and the immediate future. Which future Abbot needs occupation through, 'til it's over, and his mind can be a little more at peace. "The Corinthian at one, let's make it." He rises to his feet and circles the desk, offering his hand to Tess. "I look forward to fame and fortune, Miss Winslow-Zarek. And, barring that, I look forward to lunch."

"Oh, I'm sure we'll get fame and fortune," Tess says, grinning as she takes Abbot's hand, her own perhaps surprisingly rough. Parkour'll do that, no matter how much you moisturize. "But lunch and plannin' will still be interestin'. Probably even fun. I'll see you there."

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