kristen_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif

Scene Title Salt
Synopsis It goes with tequila. It can be rubbed in wounds.
Date February 1, 2011

The Corinthian: Bar and Lounge

Situated on the uppermost floor of the building, the Corinthian Bar and Lounge boasts an arched ceiling whose many small, square panes of glass double as a huge skylight. Of course, the large and open room is also lit by a dozen half-dome chandeliers suspended from that double-height ceiling and several high wall sconces. Brass fixtures gleam in the warm light, while the room's scattered potted palms drink it in with their bladed foliage. A ring of doubled marble columns supports the weight of the skylight dome and defines the two sections of the room: that lofty open space in the center; the quieter, slightly darker and more private edges of the lounge.

The tables are elegant rectangles of fine black glass, the seating a mixture of russet-upholstered couches and comfortably-padded oaken chairs. Most of the floor is covered by carpet shaded in the reds and golds of autumn, save for a runner down the very center of the room which is colored the exact shade of purple found in wisteria blossoms. The bar food at the lounge is much like its decor: expensive and beautifully arranged; but unlike many such spendy places, it's also very good. So is the alcohol.

"That's right," Kristen's voice is kept purposely low. It's the middle of the afternoon at the Corinthian and the lounge drinkers are all in somewhat of a docile mood. No need to rattle the cage by barking through the phone about missing personnel. "He's not answering his phone again. Do you think he's pulling another disappearing act like at Christmas?" There's a pause as whoever is on the other end makes their own guesses as to the whereabouts of Mr. Kincaid August. "Well go to the address listed in his file and see if he's there. If he is… he's fired. If he's not, find him and see if he's got a good excuse. If he doesn't, he's fired."

Pressing end she twists sideways in her chair and crosses her legs at the knee. True to her regular form, the shoe on the foot that's in the air is dangling by her pointed toes as she twitches it back and forth. One hand goes to the straw in her drink, she has no idea what she ordered, she's not really drinking it anyway. Placing a finger over the end, she lifts it up and then releases the pressure to watch the little spill of amber liquid pour back into the glass. She's alone, her table is clear except for her phone.

Nicole has ordered a tequila sunset, which she is sipping on (and maybe using it to swallow down a Tylenol 3 sssshhhhh don't tell) as she approaches Kristen's table. Work has been stressful, to say the least. Although she isn't quite sure if it's work that's stressful, or life that's making work seem stressful. Either way, she's offering a thin smile down to the other woman (in more ways than one). "Didn't expect to see you here. Mind if I join you?"

Kristen's dark eyes lift up to meet Nicole's and she's given a simple nod of the head in answer. It's more like a jut of her chin toward one of the chairs on the opposite side of the table, but it means the same thing. "You're looking a little better than when I last saw you," is the greeting that the other woman receives. "Less bloody, more… together. I'm sorry about your nose." The last is added as something as an afterthought, Miss Reynolds isn't exactly known for her empathy.

Nicole's lips twitch in something like silent laughter as she settles into one of the generous armchairs with her drink. There's still metal and tape around her nose, and a healing scab at the bridge where knuckles split skin. "I'm feeling better," she admits. "Did you see the tabloids, though? I'm going to have to have dinner with Brad every night this week just to dispell the rumours that we're fighting." She sighs heavily, holding her drink loosely in one hand while the other drapes over the arm of the chair.

"We should talk about him, by the way."

Twin eyebrows lift in sharp points at the suggestion of topic for their conversation and the straw that was in Kristen's hand is dropped down into the glass. Slowly, Kristen straightens in her chair and places both of her hands on the table, folded demurely though the gesture is nothing but. "We should?" Her voice is cool and casual, the delivery of her rebuttal is a few shades off ice cold. The producer's eyes drift down to the engagement ring and her lip curls just slightly before she recovers into something of a Mona Lisa smile. "I suppose we should, how are the wedding plans coming?"

Kristen is not entirely convinced that the engagement isn't real. For all of Brad's confessions and the few nights they've spent together, he's still engaged. She's still his boss. "And yes, I did see the tabloids. I would have thought the two of you would have been photographed together already."

The smile Kristen receives in return isn't quite frosty, because Nicole harbours no chill for the woman opposite her, but it certainly isn't a warm smile. "That would require getting him to stop throwing himself into work. You of all people know what he's like." Much better than she does, though Nicole is pretty quick to pick up on Brad's character.

That engagement ring makes soft sounds against the glass in her hand as her fingers shift. "I know what's going on," Nicole tells Kristen, arching her back slightly against her chair to push off it and lean forward instead. Though the posture is casual, her eyes are just a little too narrow to not be in full realisation of the threat Kristen presents to her impending nuptials. But it's Kristen's move.

The last statement receives quite a twitch of one eyebrow high on Kristen's forehead. "You do, do you?" The producer leans forward in her chair a little bit, looking quite interested in the answer. "And what, exactly, do you know? Because forgive me if I'm wrong but… you're the one wearing the ring and I'm the one that's been left behind."

Leaning back in her chair, she turns her head toward one of the paintings on the wall before adding a quieter statement. "Again."

"You deserve better than him, Kristen," is Nicole's honest answer. "You love him, and he loves you, and he put a ring on my finger." Her lips twist up in an unkind smile, but it isn't at Kristen's expense. "Surely you respect yourself too much to continue to hold on to some misguided ideal that he'll suddenly come to his senses and marry you instead."

Then she's leaning back again, looking a little imperious in the way that she tips her head back to stare down from half-lidded eyes. A languid study of Kristen's reaction to that as well. Never mind that she's the pot informing the kettle that she's also black. "If you don't," respect yourself, that is, "you really should."

"I'm sorry Nicole, I might have given you the wrong impression…" The haughty lift of Kristen's chin as she prepares her side of this rousing debate is accompanied by a small and rather catty smile. This must be what the Real Housewives of New York are like, or something like that. "I'm not one for marriage, it's too— " she clicks her tongue softly against her teeth making a little tch. "It's just too much like throwing a chains around my ankles and tossing me into a river. I'd drown. That's the simple way of putting it."

She raises her glass to the bartender as a signal for another, even though she hasn't really touched the one she has yet. "Besides, I think you're a little off the end in regards to Brad and I. I've been through this before with him, the whirlwind engagement thing, it doesn't end well." There's a small tilt of her chin and narrowing of her eyes as her grin widens a little. "Unless of course, you're planning on surviving this disaster. Then really, it's more power to you. I, for one, am quite content where I am."

Nicole finds her jaw setting just a little tighter by the time Kristen's finished speaking. Who does she think she is?

Why does Nicole care?

This has got to be Dirk's fault. Or maybe she has a concussion. Which is still Dirk's fault. Let's blame Dirk for this whole stupid situation. Or Brad for putting a ring on her finger on live television. What an asshole. The air smells a bit like ozone all of a sudden.

"I'm going to weather this, and every disaster that comes our way," Nicole informs Kristen. She straightens her back, sitting at her full height now. "Because that is what I do. And that is what I will do for him."

Kristen's jaw clenches at that last little tidbit and she presses her lips together in an effort to keep from getting angry. "Well, isn't that just… fabulous. I'm very happy that Brad found a woman that will stand by him through everything that he's going through and will be going through in the future." Her tone is somewhat cool but she's still quite calm. It seems that though the feathers were ruffled only seconds before, the sound of her own voice seems to calm her. "That and… there's the matter of his singing."


That almost draws laughter. Nicole has heard Bradley Russo attempt to sing. He and his little half-sister have something very much in common there when it comes to their talent at it.

Her expression stays neutral, however, Only a slight crinkling around her eyes like a hint of another chilly smile. Nicole takes a long drink from her glass and then indulges in a cleansing breath. "Look, I don't want to spoil your friendship with him. You two are a team. A great team. And he's a better man for having you as his partner." Dark chocolate and blue highlighted hair frames her face nicely as she shakes her head. "But he's conflicted because of you." As if she weren't conflicted by her own equivalent to Kristen. Though she doesn't presume to tell her what she should do about it.

"Yes, we are a great team." Kristen confirms the statement with repetition, it's the first lesson in news making. Repeat a story often enough and it'll become the truth no matter how true it is. "But he's not conflicted because of me." Denouncing things you don't agree with is the second lesson. It works. Every time.

"He's conflicted because he wants everything, a career and a regular life. He doesn't get that you can't have both. There's no white picket fences for celebrities. Celebrities get iron bars on windows and security detail." That's where Kristen pauses and takes a breath of her own and then a long pull from the straw of her fresh drink. Whatever Nicole is sipping on, it can't be as good as this Shirley Temple. Yum.

And that's one instance where Kristen shows much better judgement than Nicole. Tequila on the job gets the latter through the day. She isn't, however, making any move to light up a cigarette. One less vice in this mix. "Let him go. Love him from afar. Do you know why we haven't been photographed together?"

Now Nicole's lips pull up in a sneer as she leans forward again, gesturing with her free hand as she speaks. "Because he sees spending time with me as cheating on you." Her eyes narrow, nostrils flaring a little bit at that. Being nasty about this is coming far too easily. She'll have to think on that later drink until she doesn't care about the reason for that later.

"Now that is just the silliest thing I've heard since Kentucky Fried Chicken tried to change their name to Kitchen Fresh Chicken. Why in heaven's name would he think something like that?" Kristen's drink is placed on the table and she reaches for her phone, sliding her finger over the screen casually. Unlike Nicole, she doesn't have a Blackberry, hers is an Android. Twisting her lower half again, she uncrosses and recrosses her legs to get a better angle on giving Nicole the eye. The one that makes Kristen seem so much more superior to everyone else in the room.

"I think that's more of a problem between the two of you, than anything to do with me." She adds cattishly, "I mean, fiddle-dee-dee, I've never had a pull like that on Brad. Ever. He's always been out of my reach."

"Don't try and sell me that cock and bull," Nicole responds with only a flicker of her lips upward to prove that she's enjoying this exchange. It's been some time since she's been so evenly matched. "You know how he feels about you. Stop encouraging him."

Bright blue eyes narrow to dangerous slits. Now it's a hard glare Nicole is giving Kristen. "And don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about."

There's a tilt to Kristen's head as she brings her hand up to play her fingers through some of her mouse brown tresses. "I know that what he says he feels for me came after the ring on your finger. I know that it's probably just something to keep me tethered to his career." Whether she's telling the truth or lying through her teeth couldn't be guestimated with a lie detector. "How I act hasn't changed a bit, the way he acts is your problem, not mine."

Leaning back in her chair, the producer stretches out the leg that's crossed and flexes her foot. "As for him thinking that he's cheating on me by spending time with you… well… he created that line by asking you to marry him on my show. You colored it in when you said yes. If he steps over it, you need to learn how to pull him back."

"Then consider this your fair warning." The woman wearing Russo's ring stands up from her seat so she can really look down on Kristen with a smile that looks sweet to anyone who happens to glance over at her movement. But her eyes are just too narrowed for Kristen to not know better. "If he steps over the line again, I will drag him back."

"And I will salt the fuckin' earth in my wake if I have to." Nicole lifts her glass as if in a toast. "Your drinks are on the house."

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