Let's Play A Game


elle_icon.gif bryan_icon.gif

Scene Title Let's Play A Game
Synopsis Bryan buys Elle a drink - and makes a little proposition.
Date September 4, 2008

Orchid Lounge

The Orchid Lounge, owned by the mother of Senator Nathan Petrelli, is an Asian-inspired martini bar lit by candlelight and the soft glow of wall sconces spaced evenly throughout the room. Although there aren't any employees at the door to check for identification, it's unusual to find anyone in the college-aged crowd at the Lounge, which caters to young professionals with plenty of extra money to burn. During the day, the plush burgundy drapes affixed to the windows are used to filter out the sounds of traffic and at night are drawn back to allow passersby a glimpse inside.

Seating is simple: clusters of rectangular tables fashioned from white marble, each with two leather benches parallel to the longest sides. Silk pillows in varying shades of red, brown, yellow and orange lend a splash of colour to the Lounge, vivid against the pale walls and black-painted cement floor. On one wall is a giant mirror with an intricately carved frame that reflects almost everything in the room and makes the space appear twice as large as it really is. Clearly, the proprietor of this establishment wanted to get her money's worth - real estate in this part of town isn't cheap!

After an encounter like that, who wouldn't like a drink? Bryan escorts Elle not home, not to his place, not back to the office, but into a private room at the Orchid Lounge. He even goes so far as to order her a drink, though as soon as his own glass of merlot arrives, he produces a thick white handkerchief from his pocket.

"What the hell was that back there, Elle?" he asks, his voice a harsh whisper. "And what picture are you flashing about?" Watercooler talk, meet your upscale match.

The trip over hadn't been a talkative one, at least on Elle's part. She'd allowed herself to be shepherded here with a mixture of curiosity and bottled irritation, and it's the latter that comes out when Bryan asks so kindly. She doesn't even touch her barbera. "She was being /stupid/," the tiny blonde glowers. "But before you mention it, I know I was too. Shut up." It doesn't take reminding that the Company would not be happy about civilian zappings.

The photograph is produced and thumbed flat onto the tabletop, though still facing Elle. "Guy I've been tracking for a while. Lost him a day or so ago; /no/ idea where he went. Can't believe he slipped."

Tentatively, Bryan reaches across the table to pull the picture closer to himself. It's no one he recognizes, but he studies it for a moment, memorizing the face. "Why?" is his next question, and Bryan's voice is even softer than before though it has lost much of it's hostile edge. "And did you see what she was drawing? Either she has some serious issues, or she's one of the terrorists."

It’s a face that’s only been referred to by Elle as ‘the Czech guy’: blonde hair, stubbly oval jaw, posed to look slightly murderous. In actuality, he’s Swiss. It’s the same thing though, amirite amirite. “You should know,” Elle replies shortly, hiding her slight surprise. “He might be /Evolved/ and all that shit. You know. No, I didn’t see what she was drawing.”

Truth be told, Bryan isn't up to spec on a lot of Company procedures. This, however, he thought he had. "I thought those were normally team jobs. You know. One of us, one of them." But he lifts his hand to wave it off and then pick up his drink, taking a sip and wiping the brim of the glass immediately afterward. "It was a building. Like offices or apartments. With fire going from the roof across the alley. It had an escape - a fire escape. But it wasn't like the /building/ was on fire."

“It’s often a single job until the point where you’re actually sent out to tag,” Elle says in a wry voice, finally lifting her glass to her lips to sip. “Easier to stay unnoticed while you’re spying, whatever. My first assignment was single.” Her glance becomes slightly more interested, though it’s not sharp yet. “I’m…not following. So what was on fire?”

Bryan shrugs at the explanation and the question. He's not a tagger. He's not a bagger. He's a … well, what they use for an entirely different branch of work, most of the time. "Something. I couldn't tell. She isn't exactly the next Isaac Mendez." He takes another sip, and once again wipes the glass.

"She might've just been drawing for the hell of it, I don't know." Elle toys offhandedly with her glass, wriggling a fingertip inside it just above the liquid. "Maybe she was mad at someone. Iiiii am willing to bet it was 'serious issues'." As opposed to terrorist. "Anyway, did you ask me here because you wanted something else, or just to talk about that?"

"I couldn't let you loose until I was sure you weren't going to cause a blackout or some other delightful bit of destruction, now could I?" Bryan smiles as he jokes, tilting his head to one side. There is, however, enough of an serious undertone to his voice to convey reality.

“You wouldn’t have had to take me all the way here.” Certainly not as far as purchasing drinks, though this isn’t something Elle objects to. She flicks her gaze upwards over the top of her glass where her hand’s still preoccupied, indicating for him to continue.

Bryan can't help but chuckle. "Do you know who owns this place, Elle?" he asks, as if it were the easiest question in the world. "Where else could we talk? If I took you back to my place and your dad got wind…"

Elle has an idea, though she doesn’t choose to mention it aloud in case she’s mistaken. Finally, she stops jiggling her wine about and looks at him outright, still holding it between her fingers. “If it was Company-related, we could’ve just gone back there. What’s this all about, Bryan?” Though she isn’t averse to sharing his company, she is not in the light or flirtatious mood she was in last night.

Bryan leans back in his chair, taking slight offense to the interrogation. "Just being personable. Nothing's keeping you here." He, for one, didn't want to go back to the offices - he spends too much time there as it is, in his opinion.

In turn, Elle keeps her eyes fixed on him, waiting for something else to come out. No offense had been meant; finally, her gaze softens into an expression that’s more relaxed and girlish. Brighter, though no less moody. “C’mon.”

Bryan holds his hands out to either side and exhales another, though strained, chuckle. "I'm serious. The last place I wanted to go was back to the office, I didn't want to take you home and risk your dad, or back to my place. I figured if you left here and got into a cab, we'd be better off. Both of us."

A small smile twitches at the corners of Elle's lips, carrying a hint of that same coaxing mischief. "No, Bee. /I/ don't want to be back there now more than you do - why do you think I was running around Central to begin with? Just tell me what I'm here to hear." That was the meaning of the 'c'mon'.

So /that's/ what she wants? Bryan lifts an eyebrow, then smirks, trying to come up with something quickly. "Fine." Leaning forward again, he takes up his drink and takes another sip before he wipes the edge of the wineglass. "I had an idea today while I was taking care of the file your father'd passed on to me. I was wondering if you'd be interesting in a sort of…game."

Any game where Elle isn't in control isn't immediately appealing, but the mere proposition is interesting. It definitely wasn't what she'd been expecting to hear. The answering question comes somewhat more slyly and coyly, with the woman settling both forearms down on the table and leaning forward. "What ~kind~ of game?"

Now that the hook is baited and the line's been tugged once, Bryan leans forward and rests his folded arms on the table. "You mentioned the other day that you could make things as quick and clean as I can. I'd like to take you up on that challenge. Given, it would take a bit of honesty on both of our parts. For instance, today I achieved unconsciousness at eight seconds. I'm confident he didn't suffer long after that, if at all." Smirking, Bryan cants his head to one side. "We're not monsters, Elle. We're just… naturally outfitted for the occupations we were destined for. So why not challenge ourselves, as professionals?"

Forget once. Bryan has Elle caught hook, line, and sinker: the proposal is far too much to pass up. She reaches out a hand across the table to clap it down on the back of Bryan’s, her eyebrows raised high above her eyes in a combination of creeping pleasure and smug resoluteness. “Such a cute idea. You’re on.” Why not, indeed?

Bryan turns his hand to take Elle's with a smile, pumping it once. "May the best time win. Only those given us by our employer, to be fully documented when we do our paperwork, so that there are no questions." He squints then and lifts his other hand to point at Elle in a mocking, parental manner. "And no cheating." Releasing her hand to take up his glass, Bryan lifts it in a toast. "To the game, which is afoot."

“I’ll make it a point to ask daddy.” Elle rejoins once she withdraws her hand and returns the toast, an innocent wave in her tone. Bryan isn’t the only one sent out by the Company to kill things. She mock-pouts slightly, though with Elle, it’s probably a genuine question. “/Only/ those given to us on assignment?” Random passerby on the streets of New York don’t count?

September 4th, 2008: Bitchitude

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…
It's a Technical Question

September 4th, 2008: It's a Technical Question
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