Setting Up Surprises


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Scene Title Setting Up Surprises
Synopsis Tess goes searching for Kain, and instead meets Nicole, who helps her set up a surprise.
Date September 16, 2010

The Corinthian: Chambéry Restaurant

Work is never over. There's always something to be done that can fall under Nicole Nichols' broad job description, if she decides to seek it out. Today, she's dressed in a power suit of a brown jacket with blue pinstripes and a matching pencil skirt, with a dark blue shirt and a chocolate tie adorned with some sort of lighter blue swirl patterning. One of her power suits. She's busied herself in the offices tucked away in the hallways only accessible to employees of the Corinthian, checking and double-checking reservation lists, going over menus for the coming week and generally hovering in a fashion that likely isn't endearing her to the staff at Chambéry.

With a lowball glass of amber liquid in one hand, ice cubes melting down and clinking against the sides as she swirls it gently, Nicole meanders between the tables set up and awaiting the evening's dinner rush. "There's a tear in this one," she calls without looking back to the poor man attending her. "I want it reupholstered. Yesterday."

"Of- Of course, Miss Nichols." The chair is quickly removed from the restaurant, leaving Nicole alone with her ire and her alcohol. And her heavy thoughts. Even burying herself in (largely needless) work can't keep them away for very long. With a quiet sigh, she sinks herself into a seat and brings a hand up to massage at her temples. When did it come to this?

With Nicole as busy and, apparently, frustrated as she is, she probably doesn't need the added confusion of a twenty-year old street rat walking into Chambery. Tess looks a bit mussed, hair ruffled, a few smudges on her jeans, backpack slung over her shoulders, and black leather fingerless gloves on her hands. She steps in and glances around, clearly searching for someone, and unable to spot them. Which isn't at all surprising given that he isn't here.

She pauses a moment, considering as she runs the ball of her tongue ring along the back of her teeth, no doubt irrititating anyone close by with the sound. It stops though when she notices Nicole, someone who looks like she's in charge here, and she steps quickly across the room towards the woman. "Hi. You work here, right?"

Who is making that irritating sound? Nicole lifts her head, ready to tear the head off of the offender, when she sees that her company is a young girl. Maybe only a little older than her younger sister. Nicole's gaze softens and she gets to her feet with a polite smile. I'm sorry, dear. You're looking for White Castle.

"Yes. The kitchen isn't open, though. We're open for dinner." Nicole sweeps her gaze up and down the girl appraisingly, settling on her face. "Could I help you?"

Laughing, Tess shakes her head. "I'm not here to eat. I'm looking for someone. Name's Kain Zarek? Actually, I have a picture…" She pulls a folded newspaper article out of her pocket, offering it to Nicole. It's the article about Kain and the polar bear. "He was here at one point, so I was hoping that someone here would be able to tell me where I could find him."

Or maybe it's Popeye's you're after. Nicole doesn't visibly wince, but she's sure thinking about it. Zarek. And that photo. "Sweetie, he's not going to call you back, no matter how special he told you that you are. You're better off to just forget about that man and try to carry on with a happy, productive life." Entirely unlike the kind she and her colleague in question lead.

Lips twitch, and for five whole seconds Tess manages not to laugh. Then it all goes to hell and she's laughing her ass off. "Oh no, it's nothing like that. Though he's a womanizing asshole huh? Good to know. But no, I've never met the guy before. If I had I'd probably know where to find him."

"If you haven't met him, you probably don't want to." Nicole frowns faintly at the young woman bringing her glass up to her lips for a sip. "But if you're insistent," and Nicole is reasonably certain that Tess is, "I could possibly help you. What is it you need from Mister Zarek?"

Tess shrugs. "Want to or not, I gotta. Can't be helped. Besides, I can't yell at him if I don't meet him. And he totally deserves some yelling. Maybe a slap or two, I haven't decided yet. But it would be the thing to do, I think," she says thoughtfully. "As for what I need from him, just to talk. Beyond that, it's private."

"There are a lot of women in this city that would like to yell at or slap Kain Zarek for private reasons. And as entertaining as that might be - and now that I think about it, a fantastic charity event - you're really going to have to give me a better reason to give up my colleague." Nicole's amusement is genuine, though her patience is perhaps a bit thin. "I'm not saying no. I just need more information if you want me to set something up for you.

"You seem like a very nice girl. What'd he do? Knock up your sister?"

"Look, I don't know you, lady. And I don't go around just telling random facts about myself to strangers." Tess pauses to reconsider and she grins. She looks a wee bit like Kain when she grins. Good genes. "Okay, so I do, but this is important. And I'd hate for you to ruin the surprise. But don't worry. I don't plan on killing him or anything like that."

"You would not believe how often I hear that kind of assurance," Nicole murmurs, reaching into the pocket of her jacket to pull out her phone. "I'll tell you what, dear. You give me your name and a number where I can reach you, and I'll get in touch with Mister Zarek and see about arranging a meeting for the two of you." She knows that smile, and it causes her guts to churn a little bit. For once, she'd like her intuition to be completely wrong.

"Don't have a number to give you," Tess says, shrugging and sounding utterly unapologetic. "Besides, like I said, I want it to be a surprise. I'm sure you're not the only one here who knows where I can find him," she says, taking a few slow steps back, preparing, it seems, to leave.

Nicole sighs. "Listen. Do you have something nice to wear? A dress? You can fix up your hair a bit?" Like brush it? "I will make a reservation for you here, and tell Mister Zarek that he's meeting me. He won't be any the wiser, and you'll get your face time. And a meal on his dime." At least until Zarek takes it back out of her hide. "You'll understand if I don't feel comfortable giving you his home address."

"I don't need his home address. I'd be fine with his work address," Tess says with a shrug. "But your idea works too. I could use a good meal. And don't worry, I won't sully the reputation of this place," she says with a smirk. "I do clean up nice when I'm not running around."

"Excellent. Tuesday night. Seven-thirty sharp. When you arrive, you tell them you're here for Zarek, party of two. If anyone gives you any trouble, you say you have Miss Nichols on speed dial." Nicole smiles kindly and replaces her phone in her pocket to retrieve a business card instead, holding it out to the girl. "I hope you get whatever it is you're looking for out of this meeting, dear."

The card is taken and Tess looks it over for a moment before she nods. "Yeah, sure. Works for me. Zarek, party of two, behave or Nichols chick will bust some heads. Gotcha," she says, tucking the card away in her back pocket. She pauses then, her head tilting. "One second."

One of the straps of her backpack is slid off her back, and she digs around in it for a moment before pulling out a small digital camera. Quickly, perhaps too quickly for Nicole to stop it, the camera is lifted and the button pushed to snap a shot of the other woman. Surprise! Photography!

Nicole perhaps wasn't expecting the camera - though she's relieved it wasn't a gun the young girl was going for. However, she's been the victim of paparazzi before in her career, and she's quick with a small smile just before the click of the shutter. "What's that all about?" she asks with perhaps only the barest hint of suspicion.

Tess shrugs and takes a step back, head tilting, and she snaps another few shots at various angles before putting the camera away. "I like taking pictures. I didn't have a picture of you. Now I do. This makes me happy. I have pictures of most of the people I've met in the last year or two."

The woman's dark head comes up and down slowly once in a nod. "I see. Well, that's certainly a good hobby you have. I'd be careful about snapping any photos in here when there's guests about, though. Some people don't relish the idea of being caught on film with other certain people, if you catch my drift?" Nicole's dark brows lift toward her hairline.

That has Tess grinning impishly and shrugging. "They maybe they shouldn't be with other certain people? So long as there's no sign prohibitting cameras, they're fair game, honey. Besides, I don't use these for blackmail. They just go in my collection."

"Just offering you a friendly bit of advice, that's all." Nicole shrugs. She's done what she can! "What's your name? I don't think I caught it."

"Nope, you didn't. 'Cause I didn't give it," Tess says brightly. "I'm Tess. And don't bother asking him about that name. He doesn't know it," she informs the other woman.

"Wouldn't dream of it," Nicole says with a smirk. "I'm gonna leave him totally in the dark about this one and let you surprise him, just like you want to." Doesn't mean that she won't also make a reservation for the man's bodyguard at the next table over, of course.

"Excellent. Thanks again," Tess says with a grin, securing her backpack again before she turns and begins strolling off, whistling softly, hands in her pockets.

Nicole watches Tess move along, her eyes on her back, just as her beleaguered assistant for the afternoon rejoins her. Before he can open his mouth to ask her what's next, she's passing off her glass to the man, and waving a dismissive hand. "Nothing. I think I've done enough for one day.

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