The Importance Of Being Earnest


peyton2_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Importance of Being Earnest
Synopsis You can't always get what you want, but today, Russo does
Date October 31, 2010

Peyton's Apartment Lobby

The lobby of Peyton Whitney's building is a luxurious one, almost like a hotel with marble floors and suede couches for guests. The doorman has called up to Peyton Whitney's apartment to let the former socialite know that a certain Brad Russo awaits her presence downstairs.

In her apartment, Peyton considers telling Frank the doorman that she's not present. The only reason she's at all well known is because she's an infamous party girl, and she can't imagine why he'd want to talk to her about anything of import. Still, she is the public face of Redbird. After making sure she looks more professional than not with a quick appraisal of the reflection in the bathroom mirror, Peyton leaves her apartment, heading to the elevator and descending to the lobby.

When the doors open with a ding, she steps out — hair shorter than the last time they'd met, now barely grazing her shoulders, Peyton wears a green sweater and black pants with black boots. Dark eyes survey the lobby, and then she makes her way toward her guest, head tilted a little curiously.

Sure enough, Bradley Russo is there, atop one of the many suede couches, dressed in a black Armani suit and light blue dress shirt. His tie is navy, smooth, and crisp even as he smoothes it against his shirt.

After his recent conversation with Kristen, Brad is all too determined to make The Advocate what he will and what he wants it to be. With a flicker of a smile, his hands press on his legs as he rises to his feet to extend a hand to her. His shake is firm, professional, and put together, that of a businessman within his own stature. "Ms. Whitney," his tone is warm, collected, and altogether even. The grin broadens as he glances at the ground and motions for her to sit on the couch. "Thank you for speaking to me. I imagine this is rather…. unorthodox on my part. I have to say this isn't normally my role in the process — " He holds up a single hand in apology; he hasn't even proposed anything to her yet.

"There was a protest just over a week ago. My sources tell me you were there… " he wasn't around. There's nothing like a news personality who misses breaking news, but such is the life of the time traveler.

She shakes his hand, then moves to sit on the edge of a sofa cushion. Luckily, her apartment building neighbors are used to the faux celebrity among them and in the past, the celebrities she once used to bring home. Anyone coming and going through the lobby won't give the two more than a cursory glance on their way to the elevators.

"Right. It was about the curfew. Better Businesses, Better Lives, something like that. I felt I should support my fellow business owners in their efforts," Peyton says with a shrug, obviously a little nervous about talking one-on-one with him, though she held her own the last time they met.

"Good, good!" Russo chimes all-too-enthusastically before clearing his throat and shifting on the sofa, not quite comfortably. His smile fades slightly as he clears his throat. Hs hands fold over his lap, fingers lacing together tightly before he leans back and flattens his palms on the sofa, shifting in spot again.

"Can you tell me more about this protest? What was it about?" While Russo may know some details, they are somewhat spotty, and he always remains skeptical about second hand information put forward by a news program meant to bend the listener, reader, or watcher's ear.

"I'm wasn't the leader of it by any means," Peyton says, a little nervously. "I can probably put you in contact with whoever was, I forget his name. It was basically just the business people of New York asking for the city and the Department of Evolved Affairs to reconsider the 9 p.m. curfew. It's hurting business, and people are going to go to the surrounding communities if it keeps up." She shrugs, and folds her hands in her lap. "My business is in Battery Park, so… it was kind of hard to pretend I didn't know it was going on, right? And I thought I'd support the other businesses, the ones who are seriously affected by the curfew: bars and clubs and theaters, things like that."

"Leader or not, you have a face people recognize, Ms. Whitney. And I think, together, we may be able to put this thing on the public agenda," Brad leans forward as his eyebrows arch again. "Curfew hurts business. We get it. But it has far-reaching implications beyond business practice. We know this; it's obvious. People don't feel safe on the streets anymore." His gaze turns to the windows, towards the doorman. "It's a misnomer, you know. It always has been. Dangerous streets. The streets are as dangerous as we, the people, make them. We crack down on crime and instil fear. And in instilling fear? We make the streets dangerous. We tell the criminals, and the crack-heads, and the thieves that they have power in our city."

He clears his throat as his eyes scan the room only to return to hers. "You have a recognizable face. I've been told you gave a bang-up awesome speech and no one has covered it yet. Let's get this thing on the agenda. Curfew shouldn't be a given and something that Americans just accept as inevitable…"

Her eyes narrow a little as she listens — not in animosity but in concentration — and her cheeks color a touch at the praise of her speech. Peyton Whitney is modest? Who knew? She is when it comes to praise of skill rather than just being in the limelight she once created for herself for other things that have much less to do with skill and more to do with being young and stupid and perhaps pretty.

"All right," she says quietly, looking a little surprised at her own voice as it agrees with his request. "You aren't going to … try to make me all tongue tied and look stupid, though, are you? I mean… I can voice my opinions, sure, but I'm not an expert on public policy, and I don't pretend to be. I don't want to look stupid and hurt the cause." Of course, that's part of the risk in going on such a program.

Russo attempts to retain some semblance of neutrality at the pink in her cheeks although his eyebrows arch in surprise, albeit momentarily. “I don’t intend to ask you about public policy. I imagine we may be able to get another guest on to comment about that. But you could discuss business and how it effects business. Perhaps we can find a performer of some kind that can comment on how it’s influenced or affected their career. And maybe we can pit that against one of the policy makers so we can hear their perspective. I honestly believe that based on the statistics the nine o’clock curfew is nothing more than a ploy to make the American people believe more is going on than there is.” Again his eyebrows arch, this time to make a point. “The American people need to recognize what’s going on. That’s all I’m saying.”

"Next week works," Peyton says lightly. It's a busy week, but then, if she wants her opinion to air, then next week is the best time for it. After all, she might not be around after that. She rises as well, reaching for his hand with her own smaller one, nails neatly manicured though painted in a silvery-gray-blue that's perhaps not as professional and businesslike as the rest of her these days. She's still just 21, after all.

The handshake is firm on his part, triumphant at having found a guest all his own, even moreso at creating a show all his own; idea and all. Russo releases her hand quickly and sends her a two fingered salute before retreating for the door. "Thank you, Ms. Whitney! I swear, you won't regret it! I swear!" And with that? Brad retreats, destined to find others for his panel.

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