Working for a Living


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Scene Title Working for a Living
Synopsis During a visit to Dirk to discuss relationship sabotage, Nicole receives a very odd sort of pep talk.
Date January 27, 2011

Studio K

It's been a long day already and its only fifteen minutes to ten in the morning.


Nicole Nichols is unwinding a scarf from her neck and shedding her leather jacket as she heads into Studio K. Nobody asks if they can help her. She knows her way around by now, and she always shows up with a purpose. Her purpose today is to find out of Dirk has made good on his promise to provide her with photographs. Or to see if she needs to make good on her own threat.

The studio is bustling with activity, much moreso than Nicole's previous visits. This time there are people striding through the halls with folders in their hands, brushing past each other with nothing more than a quick smile or an apology for an accidental bump. There's a lot of them. It almost seems as if no one is in their own office today.

At his desk, dressed impeccably in a navy suit with a light yellow shirt and dressy tie, Dirk is filing away some papers while griping at a woman standing near him. "You'd think the secretary pool would send someone with experience. It's not like I sit here and file my nails all day like they do there." There's an exasperated sigh before he manages to find the single piece of paper he's looking for. "Here. Here's your timesheet, right where you left it. Filed under G for I didn't do a god-damned thing."

At first the young brunette was glowering at him. A portly young woman in a floral dress that does absolutely nothing for her. She opens her ruby painted lips as if about to say something when Dirk suddenly flips up his palm to her face, silencing her.

"No, don't even bother. Just go back to whatever hole it is you crawled out from and brighten their day with your ugly dress." Then he gives the now palid woman a good once over. "And let me tell you honey, no bees are gonna flock around your flowers, okay? So take your next twenty dollar paycheck and thrift yourself up something nice. Kay? Bye bye~"

Looking up, he sees Nicole strutting down the hallway and actually forcibly shoves the flowered woman out of the way. "Go go! You're bugging me now." Bright smile. "Mrs. Russo-to-beee~ and how are we this fine morning?"

Nicole gives Dirk a sweet smile as she goes in for a kiss to his cheek. When she heads into the office interior, walking straight on into Kristen's, she takes a seat across from the desk, and the smile fades. "Let's get the old business out of the way first. Do you have something for me, Dirk?"

Dirk's hand moves into his pants pocket with a smile as Nicole leans in to kiss his cheek and he makes a little fist around something there. "Of course I have it… step into my lady's parlour said the fly to the black widow~" He waits for her to enter the office in front of him before turning back to the floral woman. Pointing at his eyes with two fingers and then to hers, he repeats that motion twice before walking into the closing door with a bang.

"Easy there, Tiger," he chuckles as he catches the handle and slips through to close the large woman out. "Okay… I have those location files you requested. Let me tell you, Staten Island is not the place to be having a June wedding. All that muggy sea air… You'll frizz, trust me."

Without even sitting in K's chair, Dirk flips a small flash drive into Nicole's lap. Electric blue to match her eyes.

"Alright, business done then? Or did you want to threaten me some more?" There's a little smirk on his lips as he makes his merry banter but all the while, his eyes never leave the door. That one route of escape.

Nicole palms the flashdrive and slides it into the pocket of her jeans, taking a moment to adjust the hem of her heather grey tee shirt before she nods and gives the man a more genuine smile. "We're good." She sighs a little, face falling into something a bit more begrudging before she says, "I'm sorry. Threatening you wasn't right. I need you on my side. I want you on my side.

"Can we start over?"

"Yeah, you do need me on your side." Dirk says with no touch of humor in his voice. For once, the assistant is actually quite serious. "I don't know what you have planned with those but if K finds out you got them from me…" The rest is left unsaid.

Suddenly a bright toothy smile spreads across his lips and he tucks both of his hands into his pockets. Still, there's something a little uneasy about him, something putting him on edge. "So… we're going on a road trip, huh? You packed for the dusty desert? What do you wear in the desert in the winter time anyway? I just hope to god K is not packing her hoedown clothes. I'm not going to get dragged out linedancing." A pause. "You are going, right? Russo invited you?"

"She won't hear about it. Especially not from me." Nicole shakes her head and offers a half smile as if to show further sincerity. "She doesn't have to know I have them at all."

The smile and talk of a road trip have Nicole's brows furrowing, showing confusion that she expresses verbally as well. "Desert? Nobody's told me anything about going to the desert. Russo doesn't tell me shit. I had to leave town at five in the fucking morning to go find him." Her lips curl upward. She' pissed. "I found him and dragged his ass back, by the way. But there's…"

She takes in a deep breath and juts out her jaw, frustrated. "We'll get into that later. Tell me about this… thing."

"But there's… but there's…" Dirk mimics the hesitation perfectly even if his tone is much more nasally and whiny than Nicole's. "But there's what sister. This isn't some one way strip tease. If I'm putting out then I want some lip service." He's not mincing words, already Nicole dangerous little display of affection the other day has been forgotten, or filed away under G.

Pulling one hand out of his pocket, he curls his fingers loosely toward his palm and lifts them for inspection. "Tell me about the but so I can start my own packing. I want this to be a nice vacation, no unexpected surprises."

"I think they're sleeping together, Dirk," Nicole says flatly. "It's serious, whatever's going on there between them." She folds her arms over her chest and tilts her head to one side. "He's got it bad for her."

"So? What're you going to do about it, Princess? He's your man, not hers." The assistant is talking like some MTV pregnant teen Jerry Springer reject. Pushing his hand back into his pocket, he flares out his fingers and rocks forward onto his toes. His shoes are a lovely rattlesnake pattern in patent navy blue. A gift to the studio from someone once, Dirk claimed them. They look good with his suit.

Heaving a deep sigh, he spins on one heel and heads to the desk. The chair is twirled to face him with a flourish of only one hand, then he slides in as though he belonged there. "You're going to have to get in between there. You need to pack for the trip. Tell him you're coming, it'll be a great photo op for the two of you together… and he needs this. Especially after his voodoo powers knocked me through a set. I mean, really, we all know that K set that whole panel thing up. Can't you use that to drive a little wedge between them?"

Nicole eyes Dirk's shoes for lack of a better focal point for a moment. Her heart sinks as she thinks of someone else she think might wear them well. There's a quiet exhale of breath that could have been a sigh of her own. "I don't want him." She lifts her eyes to the man's face only after she admits that.

For whatever reason, she decides to be candid with him. Maybe because he gave her that flashdrive that could get him in trouble. "He won't sleep with me. So, I'm not sure how much he's going to let me drive that wedge in. I can act as close as can be to him and he'll just tell Kristen that it's for the cameras, or that I've lost my fucking mind."

Nicole scowls at that, resisting the urge to throw her hands up. "And I would fucking have to have lost my mind to throw myself at someone who doesn't want me. All that will do is make me look desperate, and I intend to try and salvage some of my dignity from this." She leans forward, lifting a brow, "He's not going to lose focus on her for me. So I think we need to find someone for her to lose focus with."

A slow easy smile spreads over Dirks face as Nicole comes up with her brilliant plan. "Oh… don't you worry that gorgeous little head of yours. I've got K's end well taken care of, it just needs a couple of little tweaks but you need to up the stuff on your end." He twirls around in the chair and leans back in it, testing his weight against the back. "Don't throw yourself at him… but make yourself more desirable while I make K less than."

Tilting his head, he eyes Nicole's outfit rather appreciatively. "And you're going to have to sleep with him at least once. Or at least wake up with him. Don't you guys practice kissing or something? Can't you do more of that and just let him get carried away?"

Nicole has the good grace to actually blush. And swallow uneasily. "I usually hire professionals for this shit," she mutters under her breath. And she means to seduce men that need seducing, not… You know.


"Would it really be so bad if we just let the lovebirds end up together? I mean, you aren't in love with her, are you?" He wouldn't give her a straight answer last time, and Nicole isn't sure she expects on this time. All the same, she's giving Dirk a look that says she wants him to level with her.

A rather dramatic and liberal roll of his eyes later, Dirk levels his gaze to meet Nicole's. "No. I'm not in love with Kristen, I just see the bigger picture." There's no spin of the chair, no testing this time to see how far back he can go without falling over, though the thought had crossed his mind. He just stares at the woman across from him and keeps his face a calm neutral.

"What are your plans with him? You're some kind of political guru, right? That's what the Times is all about right now… Nicole and Brad the big power couple?" He stops to let her interject then seems to change his mind just as quickly. "She's no good for him. He's really no good for her. You think she ever tries to stop him from drinking or doing drugs? It's a pattern with them. She always gives in. You're stronger than he is, you can change all that."

"I don't have to marry the fuck to do that," Nicole points out sourly. Though she doesn't look mad, she just looks… Unhappy. "I can make him better, and I will make him better, but he doesn't… He doesn't need me picking out a fucking white dress and changing my last name to his to make that happen. He just needs a friend who's not content to watch him make the same fucking mistakes over and over again because it's comfortable."

She rests one elbow on the arm of her chair and then rests her head in her hand, forehead to palm. "Do you even know what this Heller thing is about? Brad and I both know shit that we aren't supposed to know. Kristen knows shit that she's not supposed to know. That's why I flipped out on you when you said you had the photos." Nicole's lips tug into a frown, her eyes lock on Dirk's. "I like you better when you're serious like this."

There's a scowl that curls at Dirk's lips when she says that she likes him this way. "Yeah, don't get used to it Twisted Sister. I start acting like this out there and people will start expecting things. I'm comfortable being the office screw up. I like being underestimated." Even K doesn't know the half of it.

"As for this Hellah Fellah, I have no idea. K acts like he's the head of some secret Republican gestapo trying to get rid of… you guys." The petite man twirls his hand through the air and looks pointedly away from it, a bored expression passing over his tired looking face. "She's obsessed with those photos, trying to figure out who that hand— " He stops and gives her a placating smile. "Nevermind, you'll see~. Anywaaayyy~, in a single word… Yes, you do need to marry him. You need to marry him and Kristen needs to give up on this stupid dream she has about living happily ever after. It's not in the cards for those two, they'll make each other miserable and hate each other for it. Besides, you already said yes… What's the big deal? Scared to change his sister's diapers or something? Oh.. Oops! I forgot, he got rid of her too."

To his comment of enjoying being underestimated, Nicole smiles. "I can appreciate that. Just be honest with me behind closed doors like this and we'll get along great. You can be who you need to be out there. It'll look better for both of us." Who'd suspect conspiracy between the uptight Miss Nichols and Dirk the Fuck-Up anyway?

By the time he's gotten to Delia, Nicole is giving him a flat look. "Have you finished?" She doesn't wait for an answer. "I'm not throwing my life away on a man who doesn't want me. I have no problem trying to change him, and make him better, because he can be better. But I had a good thing going with another man, who I love, until Heller came along and scared the three of us enough for Brad to think he needed to reprioritise and marry me."

It's a glare that Dirk receives now, though it's lacking in any real contempt. For him, at least. "Find Kristen someone else to fall for so I can get out of this marriage."

"You have no idea how they work, do you?" Dirk's words are laced with a bit of tender malice, he's not completely angry with Nicole though his tone might suggest it. "K doesn't need this crap but Brad will string her along until something better comes up. Then what's going to happen to me? K could wind up some dirty hooker on a street corner and I'd be stuck at the dry cleaner's trying to get the Clinton stains from her dresses."

Shaking his head, the blond man sneers. "I think you just don't want to fail, you're scared K's going to keep beating you in this. Your horse isn't even out of the gate yet and instead of whipping the shit out of it to get to the finish line, you're turning it around to head back to the stables." He pauses for a short breath. "I'm beginning to think that I bet on the wrong horse. Miss Gardenia outside the door could probably do a better job getting Russo to fall in love with her… and that's only because she'd put her ankles behind her head to have a shot at it. You have the fucking ring on your finger. Go home. Get packed. You're coming to Coyote Ugly Flats or whatever it's called."

"Fuck you!"

…Is childish. And petulant. But there it is. "Why should I ruin my life so that he doesn't ruin hers?" Nicole is trembling and gripping tightly to the arms of the chair to keep herself anchored to it, rather than launching from it to start screaming in the man's face. The look she's giving him is telling him to keep his mouth shut while she puts her thoughts together.

Nicole lifts a hand from the chair to sweep and indicate herself. "Would you fuck me?" That's what she settles on? Well, it's an honest question. In jeans and a tee shirt, she looks better (fashionably) than Miss Gardenia, but there's some doubts in there. Obviously.

Dirk's blue eyes widen and his jaw drops at what he considers an actual offer. "Yes please?" His voice is nothing but a little squeak before he clears his throat and shakes his head feigning a passing interest. "Of course I would, I'm a man, but besides that… you're gorgeous. You're heads over heels better looking than anyone I've seen in a long time. And I'm not just saying that." His voice seems to be pretty serious, the same tone that carries the candor she's so fond of.

"Look at it this way, you're not ruining your life. This guy that you're in love with… Can he give you everything that Russo has to offer? Will he? After a couple of years married to the hottest political talk show star in the country, you'll have every politician beating down your doorstep to get on board the Nichols ticket. Don't think of K… think of Nicole Russo— First Lady."

Nicole maybe winces mentally when she realises the man might have taken her self-deprecation as an offer. The sudden additional heat in her cheeks alerts her to the fact that she's blushing. That's her cue to stop digging a hole for herself and get out. "Thank you," she offers genuinely to the compliment, even if she does feel like she's clenching her teeth around it.

She rises to her feet, pulling her coat back on, despite the fact that she's already plenty warm to brave the weather outside. "You know… A year ago, that would have been enough." Nicole's tongue darts between her lips, they'd gone dry over the course of their conversation. She winds her scarf around her neck. "Maybe it will be again someday." When she smiles, it's sad but not insincere. "Thanks. I'll handle things. You have my number? Text if you need me for anything, okay?"

Nicole pauses with her hand on the handle of the door, turning to cast a look over her shoulder. "If Kristen ever loses her mind and fires you, don't fuss. I'll hire you in a heartbeat." On that note, she winks and lets herself out.

"Yeah… right and work for a living?"

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