Skydiving Without Parachutes


nalani_icon.gif west_icon.gif

Scene Title Skydiving Without Parachutes
Synopsis West Rosen tries on the role of blackmailer and finds himself in a surprising situation.
Date July 12, 2010

Financial District

High above New York City's glamorous Financial District, the glitter and glitz of the post-bomb world, as best as can be maintained, is often considered to be judged from on high by the editorial swords of Pause Magazine. The most popular lifestyle magazine in New York City, Pause maintains a ten floor section of 130 William Street, the prestigious Skyline Offices.

On any given day of the week, the offices of Pause Magazine are buzzing with activity in all departments, phones ringing, couriers delivering candids and important documentation as well as the comings and goings of reporters working comission for the magazine. Today, on the 66th floor of 130 William Street, one such newly hired reporter finds himself standing on the threshold of a new and exciting life that he is… nowhere near qualified for.

The ding of elevators opening reveals a young man that might appear to be fresh out of college. Young, smiling, charming in a way that puppy-dog brown eyes and a mop of short, dark hair helps accent. Adjusting the lapels of his black pinstripe suit and tucking his red and black cell phone into the breast pocket of his blazer, West Rosen — or Rose Westen, as he is today — seems deliriously confident as he steps through the open doors into the magazine's main office floor and towards the reception desk.

An expectant look from a secretary has one manicured brow raising on her forehead as West approaches, leaning forward to offer a measured smile of just enough lip-curve to imply she's paid to smile. "Rose Westen, I have a 2 o'clock with Nalani Hollingwood?" Smooth and slick, as if he belongs here is West's modus operandi.

Incredulously staring at the young man, that secretary leans to the side and glances at her computer screen qith a squint before looking back to West. "I'm… sorry you seem to be mistaken mister… Westen, was it? Ms. Hollingwood doesn't have any appointments schedukled for— "

"Check again." West flatly states as he takes another step closer to the front desk, tucking his hands into the pockets of his slacks. "This time try reading the monitor instead of just skimming it?" There's a knife-edge smile on the young man's face, just distracting enough so that she fails to notice the flicker-crackle of the monitor fritzing out behind her briefly.

Turning to look at the screen, the secretary finds an unexpected item listed on an otherwise blank intinerary for today:

2:00pm - Rose Westen for Nalani Hollingwood

Blinking fake lashes, the secretary sucks in a slow and calming breath before turning to West and nodding once with a frustrated smile of apology spread across her lips. "You— were right. Ah, let me just… buzz miss Hollingwood and let her know."

"You do that," West notes with a raise of his brows and a crooked smile, leaning his weight back onto his heels before rocking forward and rising up onto his toes and repeating that process a few times. The secretary steps over to the intercom at the front desk, one manicured finger depressing the buzzer that calls into Nalani's adjacent office behind the frosted glass wall nearby. "Miss Hollingwood? Um, I— I'm terribly sorry but it seems like you have a 2pm appointment with a Rose Westen scheduled for today? I… I must've missed it when I gave you today's intinerary. He's…" there's a glance back to West then back to the intercom. "He's waiting here in the lobby for you."

And to think, this is only phase one of his plan.

Not that a mere secretary at the front of the entity that is PAUSE would actually get in a call directly to Nalani. No, she gets a hold of Natalie, and Natalie gets the tedious job of looking up the purported meeting, sighing and passing along her ire to the front desk about not notifying the relevant parties to any last minute additions. What if Nalani had been out? What if she'd gone to one of her 'spa' days at the last minute. But she's not and a quick check from Natalie shows that Nalani is feeling… generous at the moment and will bear through some meeting that frankly she has not a clue about. It had better be advertiser's.

So through the chain of secretarial command goes the order, let him in, park him down, Nalani will see him when she can. Sure, there's a blank slate, everything today schedule around lunch and putting parts of the magazine together and editing so that she can get on the plane and head to London. Family thing wouldn't you know. Her time spent back and forth between the two these days, since the death of her brother.

In through the hallowed halls of PAUSE, fashionable and not so fashionable workers, interns mail delivery men and the like working in harmony and efficiency to produce a top notch lifestyle magazine the likes of which, West Rosen surely would never fit into in a million years. Natalie greets him at the door to the private office and sanctum of the british head, an offer of refreshments while he await her royal… highness.

For all that he doesn't actually belong here, West does play the part of pretending that he does well. It's his own over-inflated sense of entitlement that allows him to pull that role off perfectly. There's only so much magic that Rebel can work in any one situation, and no amount of technopathic wizardry can deflate the size of Nalani Hollingwood's ego and make the world spin faster than her pace.

Seated in one of those comfortable chairs in the watting room outside of Nalani's office, West seems the part of a demure businessman, one leg crossed over the other, glass of water cradled in one hand and a copy of Pause's July issue folded across his lap, open to the interview section with Mayor Lockheart.

Patience may be a virtue West doesn't actually have, but he can pretend for a little while.

But then again, that's what the society that Nalani travels around in, is all about. Pretending to like this, to enjoy the company of them, pretending that you really care that some ugly mole the size of a teaspoon somewhere in south america has only one thousand of it's species alive all while dressed in gown that will cost as much as they'll pledge.

It's one big fat illusion.

As is the woman behind the desk in the room that West wants access to and in another five minutes, he does. Natalie rising when there's a discreet buzz indicating that she can show in Mr. West to the office. Through frosted glass doors, to whites and blues and lavenders that are easy on the eye's a decorators touch, and devoid of human life, Natalie gestures to a seat in front of the glass desk with it's sleek ultra up to the minute technological laptop that's there.

A picture barely seen on the desk of Nalani embracing one Mohinder Suresh quite intimately. From a almost hidden door, there's emerges the object of West's current desire. All six feet one of Nalani Hollingwood with her expensive clothing, swept back hair and cafe au lait skin that betrays a middle eastern heritage that anyone like West would know is where the adoptee really came from.

"Mister.. Weston?" She'd been expecting a woman given the name Rose. Flowy silk, legs all the way up to Canada and the infamous scar that she got when she barely legal. Impressive in person more so than on paper or in pictures.

"Miss Hollingwood," is West's quiet confirmation with a nod of his head, offering a somewhat susprised look up to the publisher's full height. There's something of a surprised look on his face, and while she's not that much taller than he is, West is accustomed to dealing with smaller and blonder forms of dangerous women.

Showing himself over to a chair in front of Nalani's desk, he lingers at its side, fingers brushing over the back of the chair before a look is afforded over his shoulder and back to the glass door as it slowly closes with Natalie's departure. It's only then that West turns to look back to Nalani, dark brows creased together and a hand held out in offering towards the tall woman. "I'm glad you had time to see me, Miss Hollingwood. I'm here to talk about the followup interview your magazine is scheduled to perform with Mayor Lockheart?"


"I've got some ideas about how I plan on framing the interview, and I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page as far as it's concerned?" Lifting both of his brows, West offers a toothy smile to Nalani, hand still held out. There's certainly no follow-up interview with Sylvia Lockheart, and most assuredly not anyone under Nalani's employment under the name Rose Westen.

"I think, Mister Weston, that you are under a wrong impression that we are following up anything. If Ms. Lockheart is to be interviewed again, it certainly will not be within the next year. Any and all questions were asked and answered to our satisfaction at the appointed time a month ago"

There's a look down her nose at West's hand, and no move made to take it.

"To the best of my knowledge as well, there is no one with your name employed within the ranks of my business and given the current economic climes, we're not in a position to be hiring anyone new. If you have any freelance articles that you wish to shop around, you'll be advised to head on out the door, take the elevator to the fifty ninth floor and speak with Julio there. He'll tell you if you have anything that we might be interested it"

Nalani turns away, heading to a little mini bar littered with waters, juices, cups and saucers with which to have coffee with if one could see the machine anywhere. Dismissal, verbal and physical when she shows him her back to stalk across in her silver heeled stiletto's.

"Okay," West quietly offers with a nod of his head, lowering his hand before unbuttoning the front of his suit jacket and reaching inside, taking out a small manilla folder and throwing it down onto Nalani's desk with a slap. "I really was hoping we might be able to side-step this whole thing, but it's kind've cool to get to do this actually." Turning his back to the desk, West boosts himself up onto it, sitting on the front edge of the desk and crossing one leg over the other, hands folding on his knee as a smile spreads across his face.

"Did you know that if you pay a gynecologist enough money, they'll do whatever you want?" Both of West's brows rise up slowly at that assertion. "You've been keeping some secrets from your adoring readers, Miss Hollingwood, and I'd really hate to have to go public with a story about how you've been evading registration and receiving shipments of illicit phaemacuticals from your government contractor boyfriend."

Then, with a roll of his shoulders West adds, "and don't even get me started on what he's gotten himself into."

"I've taken the evolved test, and publicly, and it has turned up blue Mr. Weston. You are barking up the wrong tree and you are not the first to have tried this tactic." A bottle of water with some foreign name printed across the side, she looks over her shoulder at him.

"Mister Weston, if you wanted to get between my legs, you could have just asked nicely"

"You're not my type," West notes with a grin, "I'm not into the whole cougar thing." Rather immediately following that comment, perhaps in the hopes of trambling away from it as fast as possible, West cocks his head to the side and offers Nalani a smile. "Well, Doctor Provst took a tissue sample for us after your last uh," there's a dangly motion of West's fingers down near his nether regions, all mature-like. "He's willing to come public with the test, because… you know people get false positives all the time. If you come over and take a look at my literature," West motions to the paperwork on the desk behind himself, "you'll see we also have some information on the late Rami Hollingwood that would probably better be left… quiet?"

Hands folding back in his lap, West lets his shoulders rise and fall slowly as he smiles down to his hands, then lets dark eyes lift back up to Nalani. "You may've had someone else try this song and dance with you before, but it wasn't me. I don't want much, heck I don't even want money!" As if that somehow makes it all better. "All I want is a position at the magazine and clearance to publish whatever editorials I want in the back of the magazine. Call it a… political insights section, politics are hot these days, right? People will think you're being edgy."

Grinning, West lets his head tilt to the side, both hands motioning wide around the office. "I'll even work from home."

There's a flash of something that West may or may not recognize when he invokes he name of her brother. He can see why some people just don't like her or think of her as a cold uncaring bitch from the immediate frostiness that overtakes her, the lift of her chin and speed or lack thereof with which she makes her way to the table.

Interest really, and maybe if she wasn't taking said drugs which aren't that illicit last she knew, she could solve this little pesky problem right in the nib. Rami wasn't alive to chide her. Mohinder was though.


"Why people must drag the dead into perfectly good blackmail schemes I really don't know. You should learn to leave them well enough in the ground. I don't like people who try to besmirch the name of my brother. Go after me, but leave my bloody family alone."

The folder is opened, glanced through the papers, looking vaguely bored with the contents. "You know, the last person who tried to pull this over me, he asked for the same thing as you, well almost. If I don't do as you ask, I have to retire, turn my magazine over to someone else, and that means that I'm acknowledging that I'm perhaps of the genetic variation of say.. those off FRONTLINE"

It's flicked close, a look over to West. "Or if I do, and give you what I want, well… who knows what you'll write in the back of my magazine. What will you write in the back of it?"

"Horrible, terrible, very bad things Miss Hollingwood…" West notes with a crease of his brows and a wrinkle of his nose, "otherwise more uncommonly known as the truth." Sliding off of her desk and touching his feet down on the floor, West turns around and tucks his hands into the pockets of his slacks. "Who knows, maybe your magazine will get a following with the trendy eighteen to twenty-four rebellion demographic? Your magazine reaches millions of readers every month, and the truth has never had such a pretty face to flaunt it around proudly like a flag. You do this for me, Nalani, and I promise you that nothing we discussed here will ever be added to those little doses of truth I throw in at the back of the magazine…"

Then, with a tilt of his head to the side, West offers a crooked smile. "I don't mean to turn your magazine into a dishy thing, but I think you might be able to see the front page draw of hearing what Sylvia Lockheart really thinks of the Evolved, yeah?" Lifting his brows up, West takes a meandering step back, then quirks his head to the side.

"You can let me worry about how to have her confess her darkest little secrets, you just worry about putting them to the press. One true word, in a sea of lies? That can be the spark that ignites a whole new Revolution, the kind that's capitalized and later written about in history books." If it weren't obvious he had that kind of fervor about him, it is now.

"The Eighteen to Twenty-Four demographic won't plop down seven hundred dollars on a gucci purse Mister Weston, unless it was made of pot leaves they could pull apart, break up and smoke or turn into a powder and snort it" She was a model, remember. Fingers tented over the folder, a look of disgust for where his ass clung to her desk and the imaginary germs that he inevitably has left behind. She's thinking, thinking fast and hard. She needs to figure out something, a way of still keeping control.

"You'll get your back page."

One scarlet nail is held up, indicating that he needs to wait, she's not done yet. Away from and around the table she stalks, would be nose to nose with him if she took off her heels and maybe even then, still over him. "You're going to submit writing samples to me. You're going to be working in my building, in an office. Nine to five, I'll even be generous and give you a salary. You'll sign a non-disclosure agreement, some outrageous terms that my shark of a lawyer will no doubt think up of." Nalani grins, widely. "I will get a say in what goes on that back page, seeing as you'd be bumping the usual content which is my charity highlight of the month. I don't like loosing control of any aspect of my magazine Weston. Blackmailed or not. By doing so, I'm not admitting guilt in anything."

Turning away, the middle eastern woman stalks towards the waters and tosses one to the reporter. "If I approve of it, it'll go in. You'd be surprised what I approve of. no Anti-Government propaganda that will bring individuals i'm not interested in crossing my door, crossing my door. And perhaps, if the circulation doesn't drop, I'll think about financing something smaller, for you and whomever your co-conspirators turn out to be"

"You'll be surprised what charitible individuals might be persuaded to donate to your magazine if this goes over well." It's not the outcome West expected, Nalani's not crying and he isn't dramatically sweeping her swooning form into his arms, stroking her hair back from her face and— well, you get the idea of where his mind wanders when waiting outside her office. This isn't half bad though.

"Nothing anti-government," West seems to surprisingly agree to, "just the God's honest truth straight from the mouth of those who want to offer it. Confessions of a political mind…" West thoughtfully offers with a smile.

"I think you're probably the most amenable person I've ever had to blackmail, miss Hollingwood," and once more West offers his hand across her desk, both dark brows rising slowly as a smile spreads across his face, not realizing that he's agreeing to nest in a pit of vipers. "Do we have a deal?"

"One, Mister Weston, that by the end of the first year, you will likely come to regret."

Nalani's hand comes out, holding firmly onto his, pulling him forward the last inch. "Blackmail me again" There's a quiet threat in her voice, the kind that speaks far more volumes than yelling or screaming might invoke, "And you'll see how far into my past and what else, that I can do. Ever walked off the brooklyn bridge weston?"

"Sounds like a fun time," West adds with a cocksure smile, brows nervously furrowing together, "always did like skydiving."

He just doesn't mention the preferred lack of parachute.

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