Proper Representation


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Scene Title Proper Representation
Synopsis Deckard is roused out of the slums long enough to put on a suit and meet with Nisha at her request. She wants to represent him or something because Kain says so. Deckard isn't enthusiastic, but the creepy file folder she's toting around is enough to get a, 'Fine, whatever,' out of him anyway. Lawyers.
Date January 31, 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!

Private rooms at the Orchid Lounge are used for a variety of things, but tonight, the small one that Nisha Kotecha has tucked herself into will be used for business. Not the sort of business that requires twelve men, soaked with tense sweat as they throw back tumbler after tumbler of whiskey and shovel down bite after bite of fine cuisine, but the sort of business that requires only a whispered offer and a handshake - that is how Nisha operates.

At least when it comes to people like Flint Deckard.

A glass of untouched white wine sits at her place setting, the woman far more interested in the file that sits within the borders of her silverware. Any onlooking waiter or wine steward could easily assume she's simply a workaholic waiting on a date, since the cocktail dress of shimmering azure rides that fine line between professional and…well, not.

Deckard has made an effort. He's in a suit: middling, ashen grey with lighter pin striping over a white dress shirt and darker tie. It's neatly pressed enough that he could well have just picked it up on his way over, and it fits him fine, but it is what it is. Middling in price, more business than pleasure. Nothing that Kain Zarek or Muldoon would likely be caught dead in.

His movements beneath the suit are restricted by a certain deliberate stiffness, the cause of which is largely invisible save for the fact that he looks generally ill and has a faded spread of greenish blue creeping up out of grizzled stubble towards his left cheekbone. Smaller cuts and scrapes mark the opposite side of his face, well on their way to healing but definitely there nonetheless.

A few quiet words at the door see him directed rear-roomwards. Without too much staring at himself in the mirror along the way. Silk pillows. Gosh.

When the door is opened and her guest and potential client framed by it, Nisha looks up. She is silent as she appraises him, and Kain Zarek's comparison of lawyers to whores isn't too far off. If the gangster wasn't footing the bill, Nisha wouldn't shed a tear in kicking Deckard to the curb - even though it looks as if one more kick is the last thing he needs. There isn't, however, any pity in her eyes.

Closing the file, a smile finds her face. "Mister Deckard," she greets without standing, gesturing toward the chair across the small square table. "I'm glad you could make it."

"Ms. Kotecha." The return greeting, like his suit, is what it is. Reasonably polite, but lacking in emotion or enthusiasm. Deckard glances back in time to see the hostess who led him over closing the door behind him before he nods — his observation of Nisha limited to a brief looking over in the time it takes him to make it over to the table.

He's quiet. Doesn't want to be here, his demeanor that of someone called out for a meeting at five in the morning despite the fact that lunch time has come and gone. Really doesn't want to be in here with her alone, if the second glance he sends back at the door is any indication.

Deckard's hesitation doesn't seem to phase Nisha. "It has come to my attention that you would benefit from representation, and your associate has been generous to provide it." She tilts her head somewhat as she watches the rumpled and undoubtedly stressed man, thinking of ways to make him more comfortable and willing.

"As I am sure your previous encounters with the law have taught you, representation provided by those who want to see you put away isn't always the most effective. I do believe your associate would like to see you better prepared if such an unfortunate counter were to happen again." Nisha raises her eyebrows in a silent pitch, folding her hands atop the folder containing much of Flint Deckard's life.

He's listening. Probably. He's watching her, anyway, the long angles of his face and the blue of his eyes flatly unimpressed by whatever it is he thinks he sees. The proposed kindness of his "associate" is enough to provoke a gruff exhalation of disbelief, not exactly blunt enough to qualify as a snort but pretty damn close, and the hand he had rested on the table falls slack into his lap to join the one that's already there.

"I don't need representation unless I'm caught. And if I'm caught, I'm in for at least a decade if they cut a deal, which they probably won't, because they have my fingerprints saying I did it. Juries love fingerprints." His attention tips down into the loose twine of his fingers, the lines around his mouth creasing deep and distinct under scruff. "Too much TV."

"Forgive me, Mister Deckard," Nisha says with the softest of chuckles and a widening of her smile, "but so long as one has proper representation, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, you should do everything in your power not to get caught, just as you should do everything in your power to not burn your house down. But in the event that it does, wouldn't you like to have insurance?"

"Insurance," Deckard repeats without feeling, thumbs bent in and out over the lace of his fingers under intense scrutiny. When he looks up again, his brows are lifted to match the look she gave him earlier, innocently inquiring. "You mean like…sneaking a razor into a consult so that I can kill myself?"

Deckard's little joke of sorts earns a more genuine yet quiet laugh from the attorney. "Nothing so drastic, but you have the right idea." She pauses, her eyes narrowing in cautious curiosity. "I would have thought you to be flattered at the notion of your associate offering to find you representation. To 'cover your ass' as he put it. He could just have easily left you unprotected so that if the powers that be do find out about the little scheme you've entered in to, you'd be left to take the blame." Another smile, and Nisha moves to pluck her glass form the table, leaning back in her chair.

"I am happy to say that Mister Zarek is not that sort of man."

"Zarek hates me. I hate him." Simple statement of fact. The way things are. Flint doesn't seem all that bothered by it, though his gaze has taken to wandering. First down to the table, then sideways to the wall. Through the wall. Whatever. He's tired and unfocused, right hand eventually lifted again to rub over his face once he's braced his elbow on the table's edge for support.

"I don't know what he's doing. Trying to pay me off, make sure I behave. Keep an eye on me. I don't know. I don't think I care. You have conspicuously nice legs for a lawyer."

It's a statement that catches Nisha off guard, though it shouldn't. Not after Zarek's warning. Still, she smirks and begins to swirl the wine in her glass as she watches Deckard. "I can provide you with my credentials if they would give you some assurance. Otherwise, I can tell you that I also represent two of your current business associates."

Nisha leans forward again, depositing her glass and crossing her arms on the table in order to create a somewhat conspiratorial tenor. "If I'm good enough to make sure they stay out of harm's way, what makes you so hesitant? I'm only here to offer my services to keep you from having to make any deals or spend any time, one month or ten years, anywhere other than in the comfort of your own home."

Opposite her, Deckard's tenor persists in being grudging at best. He hasn't been awake for long, and even though he doesn't look or sound like he's been drinking, whiskey's scent hangs on his breath and in the stiff-starched fabric of his clothes. The pressure applied to his brow abandoned so that he can bring his hand to a more idle rest at the side of his head, he eyes her lean in silence for a good minute before he creaks forward a few degrees to match it.

"There isn't a lawyer in New York that's going to keep me out of prison, and not one on earth that's going to keep me out of Hell. The men you work for started out afloat. I'm already drowning."

"So don't smack the life preserver away," Nisha retorts with a gentle smile. "How can they teach you how to sail if you won't let them pull you out of the water? Would you like something to drink?"

"I'm not smacking anything. I'm being realistic." Mouth hardened into a line past the fringe of a sigh, Deckard settles back into a slump against the too-comfortable booth. Both hands back in his lap, he just sits there, and sits, and sits some more. Eventually he shakes his head to the offer of alcohol. Not here, and not when he isn't sure who's paying.

That smile washes away, and Nisha settles back into her own seat with a much stonier expression. "No, you're not," she insists. "You're being foolish. But if you'd rather latch on to some pro-bono hack that the court appoints on the occasion that you finally succumb to the sharks, so be it."

"By all means, Miss Kotecha, you're welcome to join me for the feeding frenzy. I'm not saying I don't want you and your legs around, just that you're full of shit or have no idea what you're talking about. In the interest of Kain getting his money's worth, I hope it's the first one." It's cynicism that lifts at his brows this time, and the look he gives her across the table could be friendlier. So could the flat fall of his left hand across the table, and more significantly, the file she's brought along with her.

If the contents of the file are any indication, Nisha Kotecha is neither lying nor ignorant. It contains not only Flint Deckard's police records, but a myriad of tidbits provided by Kain Zarek's net of informants. A good deal of them are much better at that job than Deckard himself.

Mug shots and various other photos are clipped among the landscape of typed pages, be they of law enforcement or other origin. If Nisha weren't so adamantly trying to court Deckard as a client, it could be easily presumed she's willing to walk her little file down to the nearest precinct and point in Deckard's direction.

The smile she adopts as he takes the gathered threads would suggest otherwise. "I'd rather be in the boat, with you, shooting and reeling in the sharks to harvest their meat and skins."

The file folder is dragged over and flicked open without real ceremony, Deckard's chilly eyes skipping from paragraph to paragraph and photo to photo without taking too much time to actually read. If he could get any more pale or grim about the face, he might. He definitely doesn't make it all the way through before he flicks it closed and drops it again, right hand going back to spread itself over his aching face. Christ.

The folder might feel hurt. Rejected. Unwanted. But the folder doesn't display any of these feelings. It simply lies there like a corpse, still and soulless.

Nisha lets whatever is stirring in Deckard's mind fester for a moment before she interrupts. "Let me fill you in on a little secret, Mister Deckard. A good defense is built by knowing all of the possible angles the prosecution might attack from, and being properly prepared for each."

Eyes closed behind the splay of his bony hand, Deckard doesn't move much while she talks. The tension knotted behind the hollows of his jaw are evidence enough that he's listening, at least. It's a while before he says anything — more because he has to than because he wants to. "Actually," increasingly it's feeling like the best thing he could have done today would've been to have stayed in bed, "I think…that's what the discovery process is for. Though I commend you on your innovation in the fields of creepy stalking and intimidation."

"I appreciate your concern," Nisha says with a nod, recognizing the line of thought Deckard is traveling down, "but that file doesn't belong to me. After this meeting, it will return to it's rightful owner, and I won't have any say in what is done with it. Also, the integrity of some of those sources may be considered somewhat…weak." Deniability is a wonderful thing.

Nisha taps her thumbs together, her hands folded in her lap, and looks off to one side. "I'm going to be blunt with you, Mister Deckard, and I hope you don't mind. I also hope that my honestly won't intimidate you." She turns to look at him again, chin slightly angled toward her chest. "Maybe you do know how to swim. But maybe you want to be torn to shreds. Maybe you think, after all you've done, that's what you deserve. Any number of attorneys would agree, and only touch your case or anything to do with you whilst wearing very thick gloves. The same number of attorneys are going to look at me and only see a pair of legs. They think they've got it easy. They get over-confident. And then they wonder what happened when the jury rules in your favor, not theirs.

"So, you can have me around, but only if you're willing. I'm sure that your associates would understand if you denied their offer to assist you by pulling up into their same boat they themselves are in." …would they? Nisha smiles again without any acknowledgment of the possible interpretation of her words. "Can I welcome you in?"

"For everything I've done, I deserve a fucking medal." Bone dry behind the muffle of his hand, Deckard lets it fall and matches her look across the table without real feeling. "Instead here I am with you talking about life in prison over a folder full of every dime bag and hooker I've paid for in the last three months." Both hands go to the table's edge, and on a delay, he follows her sideways look and hoists himself up off his ass. "If you want to waste your time and Zarek's money following me around, I'm not going to stop you. …As long as we can stop talking in metaphors."

Nisha, however, doesn't rise from her seat when Deckard stands. "Fine with me," she offers with a small shrug. "But I won't be following you. I'm not a fan of those particular characters who sell dime bags and flesh or the venues they do it in. No offense."

"None taken. Good thing you don't have to like me to help me lose at trial." Jacket tugged down and buttoned once he's on his feet, Deckard feigns exaggerated relief for her honesty on his way to turning back for the door.

January 30th: Butterfly Bandages
January 31st: And Nothing But The Truth
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