Something for the Migraine


elisabeth2_icon.gif laura_icon.gif

Scene Title Something for the Migraine
Synopsis Two acquaintences meet in an unlikely place; pleasantries, business, and mischief are all shared, to differing degrees. Laughter is, as always, effective medicine.
Date February 22, 2009

The Corinthian Hotel and Casino: Front Lobby

Security is of course out in force tonight; even more so than it would be on a normal operating day. There are guards at the doors checking tickets and inspecting their bearers; metal detectors discreetly built into the architecture, albeit only discreet until some thoughtless person gives them reason to announce their presence. Laura isn't that person; doesn't generally carry weapons, or other sizeable things of a metallic nature. The imp is even being well-behaved tonight, and not tweaking the guards' noses in the least — although a couple of them give her not-too-discreetly suspicious looks. Laura winks at them and continues into the lobby of the Corinthian Hotel and Casino.

Two rows of columns frame the pathway to its very broad main staircase, across white floor tiles with a vining pattern picked out in gold tones. A tall, narrowly cylindrical pot sits at the base of each, supporting verdant-looking miniature palms; there are of course crystal chandeliers suspended from the ceiling high above the second-floor promenade with its wrought-iron rails. The lighting is abundant, warmly yellow-tinged, lending warmth to the pristinely white walls and lofty open spaces. Relatively few people have congregated in the lobby, preferring the ballroom and other main sites of the gala; but some are scattered in knots here and there, typically near a column and its attendant plant — except for the trio chatting amiably on the base of the stairs.

Laura's dress for the evening is a subtly pearl-sheened white gown with three-quarter-length skirt, its fabric embroidered in midnight blue at the hems to match her hip-length suede vest; she also wears silver earrings with sapphire drops, and a necklace in similar style. Her eyes are limned in delicate black lines and shadowed with a hint of blue, while the young woman's choice of lipstick is a subdued, dusky shade of rose. The first thing Laura does, walking into the room, is look for each of the cameras behind their domes of dark, glass-like plastic; she knows where they all should be, and being able to tick each one off on her mental list widens the consultant's impish smile. The second thing she does is consider the knots of people mingling in the anteroom preceding the gala proper, looking for familiar faces.

There's several for Laura to pick from, at this event.

To have to make an appearance in a Linderman hotel sort of galls Elisabeth a bit, but it's not the first time she's put in a professional appearance at a gala. It's not the first time she's had to be in "dress uniform" to make those appearances either, and she's not entirely sure that the FRONTLINE uniforms are really all that much more flattering than the police ones. Her blond hair is tightly braided and pinned up in proper fashion, her uniform pressed and sleek, make-up understated and nothing more than a small pair of pearls in her ears. She looks the epitome of a good officer out there, really. And a trifle …. well, not uncomfortable exactly. Wary. Uneasy.

This is the first function Elisabeth has attended since her kidnapping months ago, and frankly… being around so many people in this kind of exposed environment is not helping her much. Though she'd thought she had the anxiety disorder under control, this evening is testing her mettle just a bit. To that end, she has found herself a slightly out-of-the-way corner to observe the ball and the occupants. A glass of wine is in her hand, about half finished at this point, but she seems in no hurry to go on to the next one. She smiles politely at several friends of her parents that she spots among the crowd, and even has a conversation with one couple who stops off to speak to her with surprised looks on their faces. Her move from NYPD to FRONTLINE is not exactly expected among her father's circle. Once they move on, though, the blond's expression eases a little.

Her glance flickers once more around the ballroom and she finally shifts out of her corner and more toward the front lobby, where she feels a little less hampered by the crush. She still stays close to the walls, though.

It probably owes something to Laura's inner spirit of mischief that she picks the person who least looks like they want company — and proceeds to provide that company.

"You look like you're thoroughly enjoying yourself." The rather chipper remark doesn't sound like sarcasm… but it has to be. It couldn't be anything else, right? Slim black heels tap against the floor tiles as the pale-haired woman closes the distance between them, snagging a glass of rose-colored wine from a waiter's tray in passing. Laura sips briefly from the drink, gaze sweeping over the (new) uniform before it settles back on Liz's face, irrepressible smile tugging at her lips. "How's the suit fitting?" She means this suit, not the armored one.

The voice brings Elisabeth's eyes around to the speaker, and it takes her just a few moments to put the face with a name. A faint smile curls her lips and she lifts her glass in Laura's direction in a light acknowledgement, her expression carefully neutral and pleasant. "Oh, of course I am. I love being gussied up in my monkey suit best." Blue eyes skim Laura's outfit and her smile is far more sincere. "You look lovely, Ms. Morgan. Wish I could actually wear something nice." After a sip of her wine, Liz asks, "How is life treating you?"

"Bet it took you less time to get ready," Laura quips with a grin. Dressed up or no, the younger woman's shoulders slide up and down in an easy shrug; she takes another brief sip of her wine before offering a spoken reply. One thing is clear — she looks like she's gotten a lot more sleep since their last encounter! "Quite well; I'm between headache-inducing tasks at the moment," Laura elaborates, chuckling briefly. "Enjoying every minute of it, too." The glass gestures in Liz's direction. "What about yourself?"

A snicker of laughter bubbles from Elisabeth. "Just being here is causing me a migraine," she comments mildly. Which is actually the truth — anxiety reactions are tightening all the muscles up, and her head is beginning to throb. But she doesn't allow that to stop her from doing her job, either. "Do I dare ask what you've been up to recently?" she asks.

Laura pauses in the process of lifting the wineglass to her lips, pale brows rising as she peers over its rim at Elisabeth. Her lips tug sideways in a crooked, mischievous smile. "Oh, you can ask," she replies. That smile never quite goes away as she lets the glass lower again. "Doesn't mean I'm going to tell. But — you never know." Laura steps around to stand beside Liz, where she can look at the people still filtering in the doors. "Let me know if you want something for the migraine, 'kay? I'm sure we can scare something up if you need it."

A single brow raises and Elisabeth says, "No… I'm sure I can take something when I get out of here." But she purses her lips slightly. "Tell me something….. how good a security specialist are you? Really?" Because after all, the first time they met was over a client who didn't bother to turn ON his system.

Laura tilts her head, and nods. "Let me know if you change your mind," is all she says on that score. Looking down at the swirl of rose-red liquid in her glass, she lets Elisabeth's question hang for a few breaths — although the thoughtful press of her lips indicates that the younger woman did hear it. In due time, she lifts her gaze, glancing sidelong at Liz. "Short answer: I don't advertise, and I don't work cheap, but I get plenty of business anyway." She's quiet for a beat, then flashes an impish smile to her companion. "Actually, if you throw a rock in the ballroom you'll probably hit at least one person I've worked for before it bounces its way to the floor." Slight exaggeration, never mind completely impractical; but Laura does have her share of ego.

There's a few minutes of silence while Elisabeth debates this matter — she doesn't know Laura Morgan well. But certain things are taking precedence over that concern. "The only contact that I have in the security industry is out of town at the moment… and it occurs to me that it's fortuitous to run across you tonight." She sips from her wine glass, blue eyes going restlessly across the people in the foyer. Though they are small groups, there is a constant movement of people and Liz is a little edgy. "If you're interested in picking up a new client… I'd like to have someone look over my father's brownstone and make it a bit more secure." A faint smile quirks the corners of her mouth again though it doesn't touch her eyes as she looks at the other woman. "Considering my profile's likely to be a bit higher than before and attitudes in this town regarding Evos and such…. you can chalk it up to paranoia if you like, but better safe than sorry."

The younger woman chuckles again. "I like new clients. Slightly better money than old ones." Spreading her hands, Laura grins. "You bring the money, I do the work. Simple as that. Your reasons," she informs Liz, before taking another sip of wine, "are your own." Her own gaze drifts to the people moving towards the ballroom, Laura herself far less perturbed by their progress than her companion is. "You have my card, yes? We can set up a meeting for particulars somewhere — a little more professional in atmosphere."

"Absolutely," Elisabeth replies, a chuckle slipping from her. "Seemed like a better conversation than the inane 'oh, how do you like the weather' one that we were heading for, though." She sighs faintly. "Does anyone ever actually have fun at these things? Really? I mean…. " She wrinkles her nose and gestures casually, subtly, toward a couple across the foyer. "Just watching people's faces, you can tell some of them are just miserable. Those two there? Bet money she just told him to quit looking at his phone waiting for his bimbo to call." There's a bit of an imp to her expression now too. "If I listen in, it's a given that he's pretending not to know what she's talking about, it's a work call he's waiting on. See how she's rolling her eyes?"

"Oh, some people do," Laura replies. She gestures towards the ballroom with her glass. "There's the ones who spend the gala conducting business — politics and deals, mostly, which I don't do — and the ones who spend it collecting dirt on everyone else. Or spreading it." Looking over the goblet's rim at the couple in question, the younger woman shrugs. "I don't mind things like this myself — but it's a matter of knowing who to talk to, I guess, and who to dance with." The wineglass doesn't quite hide her grin. "And who you can get away with needling."

Elisabeth snickers, using her glass to hide her amusement. "Politics bores the hell out of me," she admits. "I suck at it. But now the whole 'who to dance with' part?" There's a wicked twinkle in her blue eyes. "Depends on what you want out of the dance. Gotta watch out for the gropers. They always think they're far more attractive than they are."

Laura taps the glass against her chin, expression inscrutable — except for the mischievous glint in her eyes. "A very good point," she allows, words spaced long in a contemplative manner. Rose wine sloshes gently as the goblet gestures towards Liz. "What would you want, Elisabeth? Gropers aside; we can consider that an agreed-upon negative."

"In a dancer?" Elisabeth pretends to settle in for a good long serious conversation about a good dance partner. "Someone who knows his own dance space, actually knows the steps, is taller than me — because dancing with a smaller man just annoys the crap out of me — doesn't smell weird. Oooh… and knows what his hips can do for him." She grins. "I don't really ask for much, right?" She waggles her brows. "And of course, if those skills come with rock-hard abs and ain't looking for forever? Bonus!" She's really just cutting up a little — how else is she supposed to have any fun in uniform!?

Laura snickers softly behind the curve of her goblet. "Not much at all," she agrees — dryly. "Especially at something like this." The younger woman glances down the length of the lobby, brows arching as she considers its contents. And the absence of a dance floor. "And I see a distinct lack of dancers out here. Say, how's your migraine holding up?" …That transparently innocent leading question might forbode trouble…

Actually, her headache has lessened just a little as the anxiety has been diverted into something a bit more relaxing. "Not as bad as it was," Elisabeth admits. But she slants her companion a glance. "Why?" she demands good-naturedly. "Are you about to do something that's going to get me in trouble with my commander?"

Butter wouldn't melt in Laura's mouth. Either that or she's definitely hiding a canary. "Oh, no, never that. Heaven forbid." A lift of wineglass leads to another sip; then the younger woman steps forward, skirt swirling as she pivots back around to face Liz. "Just thought I'd point out that if you're going to go fishing…" The goblet tips up and Laura downs the rest of her drink, reaching out to drop the empty glass on a passing waiter's tray. "Well, then, you'd better bait the hook," the younger woman concludes, that impish grin returning in full force when she holds out a hand to Elisabeth.

There is an entirely blank look on Elisabeth's face. Huhwha? Laura's intent escapes her for long moments, and then a creeping red flush climbs her cheeks. "Oh, God," she chokes, laughing. "Woman. No. You wanna go club dancing, I'm all for that. But not here. I get enough shit on my plate about being Evo — don't need the flak over 'don't ask, don't tell' when I don't bat for that team in the first place." She looks truly amused, though.

Laura purses her lips briefly, clearly disappointed; but that mischievous smile doesn't diminish in the slightest. Perhaps because Liz laughed — or maybe because of the consternation preceding that. "Fair enough. I'm headed up that way anyway," she continues, nodding towards the stairs and the ballroom beyond. "You get bored with hiding out here, wander in and we can talk —" A quicksilver flash of grin. "Promise, just talk." She's got a whole ballroom full of people to tweak and needle, after all. And more still besides.

The laughter brings at least relief from the anxiety. For now, anyway. "I'll be up in a little bit," Liz replies easily, still amused as hell. "Go on with you. If I don't run into you again tonight, I'll call you in the morning," she says with a grin. "Enjoy yourself up there."

The younger woman sketches some semblance of a salute to the FRONTLINE officer. In definite jest, of course. "I shall," Laura assures Liz, still grinning as she spins with a flare of blue-edged skirt and makes her way up the stairs. There's lots of people up there — a public venue if there ever was one. Ample security lurking around — including other FRONTLINE members, for that matter. It should be safe.

Five words float down in the wake of Laura's departure: "If you change your mind…"

Who exactly invited the troublemaker to this thing, anyway?

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