The Reverse Of Washington Irving


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Scene Title The Reverse Of Washington Irving
Synopsis Helena's neighborhood in Sleepy Hollow wasn't bad, but this is tops, she said…
Date January 11, 2009

A five-star place on the Upper East Side

The place mentioned inside the card, on the Upper East Side, is very upscale. There's valet parking and a maitre'd at the front entrance, the works. People there are apparently of the moneyed sort, which one might well expect at such a place. Men seen here all wear expensive suits, and the women are either in pricey dresses or business suits from esteemed makers. Lawyers, doctors, politicians, CEOs… It's their kind of place.

Helena wore the clothes, and even put her hair in a surprisingly professional french twist, and even added some makeup. She walked there though, which may have been surprising to some people, but then again, she doesn't have a car and isn't entirely trained by Conrad to jack them yet. Still, she enters the restaurant like she's expected. Which she is. "Chesterfield." she says to the Maitre'd, when asked about her reservation.

"Ah yes, Miss. Doctor Chesterfield is this way," the maitre'd replies when she arrives and gives the name. He heads for the interior of the place, toward where Cat is sitting. It's quiet there, an area where conversations can be had without eavesdroppers.

Cat stands as she sees Helena arriving, and remais on her feet until she sits. She's chosen a gray blazer, a cream coloured blouse, a skirt which matches the jacket, and two inch heeled pumps of a complementary color. She seems fairly well in her element here, a glimpse at what she could be like had she not chosen a different path for her life after graduating Yale for the second time just the previous year. "Thanks for coming," she offers with a slight smile.

The Maitre'd pulls out a chair for Helena, and holds it until she's seated, then states "Your server will be with you shortly, ladies."

"Sure." Helena says, taking a moment to look around before retraining her urge to gawk. "Gosh. My neighborhood in Sleepy Hollow wasn't bad, but this is tops." She takes a seat. "Feels strange, wearing a skirt. Um. How are you? Even if I saw you just yesterday." This is a little wierd.

"I'm good," Cat answers. "I'm sure you're probably wondering about this, I thought a chance to relax and be treated well would be something you'd enjoy. A place like this, the kind you might not have seen before." Her own seat is taken, and the Maitre'd slides Helena in toward the table, then departs. "It's been a rough year, and there's so much to do. Enjoying something like this, you've earned it."

Her eyes close for a moment, when they reopen she states "I treated you badly, Helena, and I shouldn't have. I let Brian drive me into losing it, and a comment meant for him only went where it shouldn't have."

"It's alright." Helena says in a subdued tone. "You don't have anything to make up for, my brain just didn't connect what you had in your hands. I'm sorry." Truth be told, she seems embarrassed to talk about it. A hand reaches for the menu, and curious, she opens it up, but doesn't seem intent on looking through it yet. "Brian's got a bad sense of propriety. It's kind of started going over my head, I don't pay much attention to it anymore unless it's really awful. He's well meaning in the important things."

She nods, having said her piece on that, and isn't intent on speaking of it further. Cat doesn't pick up a menu, which may not be surprising; having been here first she probably looked at it and memorized the thing already. "Sleepy Hollow," she muses. "It almost sounds as if great literature is written there."

Helena lets out a little laugh. "Well, you know. We're just across the bridge from Tarrytown. And we keep expecting guys on horses with no heads and old men sleeping under trees, but it never quite manages to occur."

"You're doing the reverse of Washington Irving," Cat says. "Coming from an area he visited, to live in the place he was born. Manhattan." Her left hand moves toward the coffee cup she has in front of her, and from there to the pot she had left there earlier. It's lifted, and offered to her silently, as she says "I grew up with this kind of thing," she muses. "Was bred to be the perfectly proper lady of society, and be some politician's trophy wife. Or a high powered attorney. Maybe both. I didn't, and don't want that life. But it's still nice to come for places like this sometimes and enjoy it. To treat friends to it."

"The menu is amazing." Helena comments, staring at it. "I would have loved to learn to cook like this one day. I've never eaten anyplace where they actually served sorbet to cleanse the palate between courses, only read about it."

"Enjoy," Cat replies with a spreading grin, before offering "You know, I taught myself to cook, and I wouldn't claim to be up to these standards with my fare, but I used to sneak into the kitchen sometimes when Mother wasn't home and talk with the staff. Spoke Spanish with some of them, even. Mother would've been very disapproving if she knew." Her eyes close for a moment, she perhaps calling up a memory. "A few summers back, I was at home, had the place to myself. I went to talk with the staff and treat them like other than dirt, and got a look at the recipe files."

Helena looks faintly envious. "Maybe when all this is over, I'll go to culinary school. It just seems impossibly far away."

"Or," Cat offers with a grin, "I'll write down what I saw in those recipes and you can practice sometimes. Teach yourself. A lot of the things you'd need, as far as herbs and spices, you might not have to even buy. You like gardens, and you could grow them yourself."

"My mom was the real gardener." Helena admits. "I learned from her, because then stuff would be fresh. But I'd be just as happy buying from a really good quality grocer. The real fun for me's in the kitchen."

Nodding, she answers "I'll write the recipes down for you." Cat lifts her coffee cup and sips from it. "I've also had an idea or two I think you'll enjoy," Cat shares, a gleam of mischief coming into her eyes.

Helena lifts her brows. "Yeah?" she queries, curious. Then, "The dispensary's got a kitchen." She sounds almost dreamy about it.

"Elisabeth and I were talking about her boss and his expectations, and I was saying she could always claim it wasn't her job to enforce that law, it's Federal, and she's a city cop. That Parkman, for instance, would laugh at his boss if he were asked to chase speeders and issue tickets, the same principle is in play here, and we talked about defending her legally if it came to that." She takes another sip, then sets the cup down. "That's when inspiration struck, and I suggested at some future point she should maybe just do what Captain Harvard asks." Silent then, Cat still has that look of mischief about her.

Helena blinks. She doesn't get it. "What do you mean do what he asks?"

"We've had the idea float before, of getting registered people to burn their documents in public, that sort of thing, and it's a good one, but it doesn't really disrupt anything. So while I was advising Elisabeth about her captain's demands, it occurred to me she could do what he asks, after a fashion, and start checking cards on all kinds of people. Most if not all of them wouldn't be subject to the law, and yet they'd have gotten hassled by a cop, then reported to HomeSec, who would then have to take the reports seriously and spend time talking to those people, for nothing. The people would be angry at the intrusion of it, and see how badly it can go, if someone just decides they're subject, HomeSec gets stuck processing a ton of BS which ties up their personnel and resources…"

Helena smiles slowly at that. "It could conceivably work." she says. "But I also don't want to get her in excessive amounts of trouble. I understand that the Captain is kind of hardcore, and I don't want her bounced."

"True," Cat replies. "She'd have to do it with caution, being careful to have some justification for her making the claims, so they can't stick her with making them falsely, but that's doable. Done right it would if nothing else make him cool his jets. Or even be told by HomeSec to stop sticking his nose into Federal matters, and have his people do the same." Her face breaks into a grin. "People should really be careful what they wish for sometimes."

Helena rubs the side of her face, but pauses when the server comes to place her order and wait for Cat to do the same. One orders are placed, she looks back to Cat. "It's hard for me to focus on anything but our current problem right now. Brian's already come asking about some kind of halfway house for Evolved children. It's a great idea, but I kind of just want to worry about saving the world first."

She likewise is silent on the topics being discussed, and orders a small steak with baked potato and a side vegetable. Once they're alone again, Cat nods slowly. "I know. I just like keeping confidence, you know, thinking here and there about things after we pull it off, after we beat the Nazi, because to not think that way is to perhaps become discouraged. If we expect to fail, it could be a like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Her coffee cup is lifted and sipped from briefly, creating a silent moment before Cat floats another topic. "I've seen how you like cooking, Stormy, and I thought about you when I was looking over some of the holdings I have money in recently, part of the donations I arranged with Wireless. I discovered there's a rock club on 4th Street in Greenwich Village and an apartment building over it, with a recording studio on the top floor. That building is going to be my new home. I'll use an entire floor and the studio, one floor of apartments can be used by the Ferry and us as safehouses, the rest as rentals. Anyway…"

"The rock club has a kitchen."

Helena smiles a touch at that. "It sounds marvelous, but I don't have the kind of experience that would be required to do anything in a serious kitchen. I mean, that isn't a home kitchen. I think it's a great idea, though. Gives you a venue. And someplace to dance. That'll be lovely." She looks thoughtful. "If I wasn't going to be in Staten Island all the time, I'd probably see if I could swing an apartment out of it from you. Which of course, I could never actually afford, along with the motorcycle I could never afford, and the opportunities to wear clothes that aren't just cargos and jeans with t-shirts and flannels. Someday!"

"That's the thing. I think you could be the head chef, because you know how to cook and you're a leader, the most of it is keeping the others on track. It's nothing fancy, anyway, basic fare in that place. Or, if you wanted, you could work there as a cook and learn from the head chef, while getting paid. That would cover the apartment bit, also. Not that you'd need to pay. You lead Phoenix, there'd be room for you always on that floor, and as my friend a spot in the floor I use anytime you want or need it."

After drinking more coffee, she explains "The recording studio would be great for media projects, I thought of that too. I'm just sorry it wasn't found before the decision to leave Manhattan was made."

Helena shakes her head. "There's a lot more to running a commercial kitchen then knowing how to lead and how to cook in a residential kitchen, Cat. Just because I can sing doesn't mean I should climb on the stage of the Met, you know? There's a lot to learn about proper culinary arts, and I don't have it, and I just - I don't have time for anything but what I'm doing right now. It's practically a full time job. It is a full time job. And the Staten Island location is fantastic, don't knock it."

"I understand," Cat replies calmly. "I'm not knocking the Staten Island location, I've been there, except for it being on Staten Island, of course. And your experience, well, what I'm saying is I believe in you, believe you can get there. We'll pull off what we have to pull off. And in any case, there'd be a job for you at the asking as a simple cook at the Rock Cellar."

Helena beams. "That's a neat name. When are you going to open it?"

"It shouldn't be much longer," she answers with a grin forming. "It had been open once before, I was able to find the manager and lure him back through functionaries. It's all set up to not have my name attached to it so much. Beyond Wireless, you're the only one who's been told of the financial moves I've made. The building over it used to be offices, aside from the studio which was abandoned when people left the city. It was among the holdings Father's money managers administered before I got control of the funds, now they work for me in that regard."

"The whole thing should serve to replace what I spend on clandestine purposes, and possibly increase my finances. There's no worry I've sunk it all into this," she assures. "I'm still committed to what we do."

"I never doubted it." Helena assures, and then their first course appears. "Are you thinking of starting a label, or just using the studio for yourself?"

"It could be both," Cat replies. "I'm in a position to demand use of the studio whenever I want it, but I don't expect I'd hog it 24/7. A label is a good idea anyway, part of the reason for doing it this way, using that spot, is that musicians are an eccentric bunch, and often, to use your word, maudlin. So the motley crew of folks who'd be seen coming and going from there is easily explained if there are ever any questions."

"It's your building." Helena points out, unable to keep her eyes off the culinary art in front of her. She reaches for a fork. "It's up to you what you do with it. And the more safehouses, the better, says I. Congratulations on the birth of your new baby, so to speak." She grins, and raises up her water-glass.

Her own glass, holding wine, is also lifted. Cat's grin spreads, becoming a smile.

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