Working The Circuit


lancaster_icon.gif nadia_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Also featuring NPCs by Brooklyn

Scene Title Working The Circuit
Synopsis Charity and chatting up occurs. Vincent and Lancaster exist with Peyton while Nadia is recruited.
Date July 27, 2010

Upper West Side: The Southern Cross

It's a clear evening out, though snatches of cloud and smog will inevitably trace vagueness over a starry starry night, and the Southern Cross's entire outdoor area has been devoted to the Society of Mental Health Awareness for Evolved, which is a clunky acronym in itself — but they can throw a party, lowkey though it may be. A circular bar sits in the centre of the vast space, with tall wooden tables dotting the area, papered over with flyers about the organisation itself, and young men and women both collect donations in unobtrusive conversation-changers.

Did you know that telepaths, cognitives and memory manipulators are statistically more vulnerable to mental illness? Now you do.

They are not the only pamphlet carriers. Gerald St. James is dressed smartly for the evening, standing with a couple of his friends, all of whom have only just hedged the legal age for the champagne glasses they carry — all of whom sporting Department of Evolved Affairs name badges, although they haven't quite broken in yet. Yet.

And over there, leaning up against the bar, Adrianne Lancaster is smart in professional black and white, leaning an elbow against wood and nursing an oversized martini that seems more or less composed of vodka. "I think it was Charlie Chaplin who took his martinis with two shots of vodka and only let the shadow of the vermouth bottle cross over the glass," she's telling her companion. "Except it may have been Churchill. One of them."

Tonight is a splended night. Nadia gets to dress up a little bit, wearing a pleasant little grey dress and heels. Pleasant, but simple. The only thing that mars her cute little outfit is the thin strip bandage wrapped around her left arm. She's currently wandering the booths with a fancy-looking electric blue martini, which she occasionally takes tiny sips of, just enough to taste it each time.

A small envelop is passed to one of the donation collecters with a smile. Then, the girl is heading toward the bar, a cheerful look upon her face. It's nice to dress up and get out of the house for a while.

More or less stately in matte black and white to match, striped grey tie knotted impeccable and sleek at the crisp crease of his collar, Lancaster's companion at the bar is an average, balding Italian fellow with boot black eyes and a disposition to match. The knit of his brows is stubborn and the salt and pepper in his stubble is as fussily deliberate as the square sit of his coat on his shoulders.

Not quite lax enough to settle for a martini of his own, he's sipping a vodka and sprite that might (under lazy scrutiny) pass for a squat glass of water and frequently checking his watch. Also, the boobies of passers by that have them, however subtly. He's a trained observer, after all.

Rather than reply immediately to Lancaster's (understandable??) confusion between Chaplin and Churchill, he looks hard at the ground for a moment in search of a subject change only Nadia's legs on the approach on his way back to eye level instead. He never makes it back.

To eye level, that is.

"You know," he says at length, "you don't really look like an Adrianne."

Taking a sip from paint removing ratios of vodka, Lancaster raises a blonde eyebrow at this assessment, one hand planted on the hip furthest from the bar, which still gets her elbow planted on its surface at a tilted lean of her long frame. "And you don't look divorced," she flippantly remarks, dropping her gaze along with his to see what snagged his attention, and only twists her mouth in thoughtfulness. "I guess that's not entirely true. But if you want, I'm sure my superiors have a whole lot of names for me they'll gladly let you try on for size."

Vincent isn't the only one. Watching Nadia's legs, that is. And Lancaster stopped that a few seconds ago and for all that her makeup is minimal, her hair is short and she's wearing a powersuit, she's not that keen. But Gerald is, blindly picking out a few pamphlets from his friend's hand, checking himself in their glossy reflective surface, and wandering on overrr.

Blissfully unaware of the attention focused on her legs, Nadia reaches the bar, leaning against it quietly and finishing off the last of her martini. Apparently quite happy with the effects of one alcoholic beverage, she orders herself a bottle of water. Upon recieving it, she twists it open, turning to quietly survey the party and its inhabitants.

A slight blush appears on her face as she notices Lancaster and Vincent's eyes upon her legs. She peeks down at her legs, as if to check to see if she's got something on them. Then, flustered, she turns her attention to her bottled water, smiling to one of the donation collectors instead.

For the past couple of weeks, between stints of organizing and decorating the new Redbird Security offices, Peyton has been slipping back into society slowly, getting her feet wet here and there. It's good for business, perhaps, to mingle with the mucky mucks, some of whom might need the services of the new firm. That's only part of the reason, of course. The other part is that she figures she has a few months to live, she might as well live it up, and enjoy herself. The last year, she disappeared from the social scene because she was afraid. Now she knows she's going to die, why bother fearing it?

It is with this dual mindset that Peyton Whitney steps onto the patio, dressed in a short strapless black cocktail dress, her peep-toe Louis Vuittons, and her hair swooped up so her long hair looks like a short ponytail-bun hybrid that shows off the brand new peacock feather tattoo on the back of her neck, vibrant purple and green and turquoise.

Her eyes fall on those gathered and she chuckles when she sees Lancaster, her "savior" from the gala. "Fuck, I need a drink," she mutters to no one in particular at the sight of the Amazon. Hopefully Danko's nowhere nearby to shove Peyton's face into a wall tonight.

Lazzaro's left hand and ringless fourth finger shift self-consciously around his glass, tracing clear paths in condensation that's only just begun to make a nuisance of itself when he rolls his eyes up into a bleak How do I not look divorced? kind of look. Like he suspects it must be a bad thing. For Lancaster in all her tactlessness to be pointing it out.

For some reason.

"I could see you as a 'Sugartits,'" offered mildly over on a delay while she continues to scope Nadia, Vincent does them both the dubious service of pretending to be Importantly Interested In Other Things Across The Room to lessen the odds of private security being called. That Peyton's peacock catches his eye is probably partially coincidence, partially that she's looking at Lancaster and partially the fact that it's a peacock. On her neck.

"Sounds good, Cinnamon Buns." Forever at war, Lancaster offers a smile— her kind of smile, mind you, a grin that shows teeth and dims like milk curdles if left out too long. Running her tongue over her front teeth, she then neatly tips back the rest of her vodka, and clinks down the martini glass that follows a gesture at the bartender to keep 'em coming. "God I hate these things. These, not these." A gesture of an index finger around the room following by a point at her glass suggests that Lancaster means the event, not the martini.

The donation collector, for his part, is always good for anyone to be making eye contact with him — makes it easier to get money and all, and eye contact is the first weapon. Eye contact is smashed into a million pieces as Gerald St. James cruises into position between Nadia and the bucket holder — not a bad looking twenty something, a young Republican Ohio type, or so he's dressed up to be.

"Good evening," he starts, hooking up an arm on the bar. "My name's Gerald, and I volunteer for the Department of Evolved Affairs — I was wondering if I could interest you in taking home one of these," and he waves the brochures, his weapon of choice, "it's about the upcoming Registration changes." :D?

Picking up her second glass, Lancaster raises her eyebrows when Peyton's familiar visage registers in her perphery too. "I remember that one. She got put through a wall at that thing we went to," she observes, a glance up and down at Peyton, back to Vincent. "Like this one, only worse. And better. The booze was free. Is she walking over here?"

Nadia's eyes switch from the donation collector, to Gerald St. James; quietly, she blinks at the brochures, staring for a moment as if in disbelief or some other emotion. Then, a bright smile suddenly forms upon her face, and she reaches out, taking one of the brocures from the man. "Certainly! Always good to be in the know." She smiles to the the man for a moment, barely looking at the brocure.

Then, that smile on her face and a slight blush on her cheeks, she turns her eyes down to the brochure, quietly looking it over with a curious expression on her face, her tongue clicking on the roof of her mouth as she does so.

The clairvoyant socialite is headed for the bar but not for the happy couple in particular, coming to stand a few feet away, though she offers a slight nod and a smile of acknowledgement. Lancaster might have treated her like a golden retriever, but she was still helpful, at least. Her eyes glance up at the tall Ohio Republican speaking to Nadia, and she manages to keep a neutral expression on her face before turning to the bartender and waiting for his attention.

Once she has it, she smiles toothily. "Champagne, thanks," she murmurs pleasantly, opening her silver clutch purse to find a bill. As it's a charity event, she overpays by a large margin. Once he hands her the champagne flute she holds it by its stem, dark eyes glancing back down the bar's length curiously.

"She is," says Cinnamon Buns through a half a smile that looks at least distantly genuine until it falls flatly away so that he can take a longer swallow of vodka than is strictly necessary. He's still looking at Peyton when he sets his glass down empty after the martini and gestures cleanly, casually, gentlemanly/ for both to be placed on his Lancaster's tab. Having been more involved with the greasy brown paperwork-intensive end of that entire ~ordeal~, he's slower to place her. "I don't think she likes you."

A muffled bzzz bzzz bzzz later, he reaches after his trousers with one hand and takes up a fresh round in the other.

"Awesome," Gerald agrees, and seems prepared to leave it there when holy smokes, his in worked. But maybe his nametag has a little electrode attached beneath his blue button-down, because he starts in remembrance of his job, laying out an extra pamphlet on the bar to gesture to, glancing to Nadia. "By August 31st, the government's taking on an initiative to see that all citizens are Registered under the Linderman Act, instead of discriminating against Evolved by making them the only ones eligible to do so. Inside this thing is a website where you can download your Registration forms early to fill out, and then when it's time, you can take them a local clinic or any one of our Registration facilities around the city to get the test done. I mean— that is if you're Non-Evolved," he flusters to add, with a half-grin that suggests of course she is.

Lancaster glances down at the sound of the bzzz bzzz bzzz, automatic curiousity flaring in blue eyes, but not nosy— or caring— enough to ask after who it is as she moves to lean her back against the high bar. "I saved her life," is more or less a lie, if not entirely untrue either. "Only reason she might not like me is because, morally speaking, she owes me her's." And Lancaster is talking jjjust loud enough for Peyton to pick up on words easily enough, because. That's more or less how she rolls.

Nadia's eyes trail down to the pamphlet, the girl blinking quietly as she peers down at the paperwork. A small smile starts to slowly grown on her face as Gerald begins to explain the new registration processes. She indeed lets him get through the entire thing. "Well, it's good to know that the Government is putting a stop to the discrimination."

She offers the man a lingering smile, before glancing around. After a moment, she levels that smile on him again. "Don't worry about me, though. I've been registered since the Linderman Act passed." She IS, after all, at a charity for the Evolved, so why shouldn't she be honest?

Only 21, it is very hard for Peyton to resist the societally programmed feminine urge to roll her eyes at Gerard, but she has been training herself to have more of a poker face. Lancaster's remark, however, destroys that effort, and her brows shoot upward under her dark mahogany-hued bangs. Saved her life? She was just sipping her champagne and it comes out her nose in a not-very-ladylike little snort. Turning away, she grabs a cocktail napkin and blots her face.

After breathing for a moment, she looks back up and smiles, pushing off from the bar top she leans against, giving Nadia a I'm so sorry you got caught by the walking douchebag sort of look, she steps closer to Lancaster. "Officer Lancaster… or is it Agent… I never know what to call you federal types… It's nice to see you again. I should, of course, thank you for helping me back in… February, was it? For your compassion and help," she murmurs. Maybe, if Peyton were to live past 22, she would have a career in diplomacy.

Wuah wuah wuah wuah, says the voice on the other end of Vincent's line while he sips past fresh ice cubes and draws in a longsuffering breath, more patient than he feels like being. "I see her, Sam," is more cutoff than confirmation parcelled out with a mute shake of his head for Lancaster's glance. Nothing worth being nosy over, evidently. "I think it's fine." Sip. "Uh huh. …Uh huh."

This goes on for some time, with him swinging occasional glances Nadiawards until hhe decides he's had enough and takes a longer pull off his drink to mirror that first one. "I am drinking, yes. It's one of the benefits of being your boss as opposed to the other way around. Sam." A little circle of the glass in question at his side stirs it for whoever (or whatever) happens to be watching. "I have to go. Someone's getting fresh with my B F F." The letters are stated individually at a murmur, as they would be by someone who isn't actually teen literate enough to know what they stand for. So that, as he hangs up, he is just in time to raise his voice for a helpful, "Call her Adrianne."

She loves that.

Gerald St. James' eyebrows go up a little at this flash of honesty, a hint of guardedness straying into his expression — but he reconfigures and nods along. "Cool, cool. Then hey, this is— kind of good news for you. Overhaul of the system and you don't even have to do anything, right?" he stumbles over, obligingly keeping his voice as low as her's and taking up the flyer he'd laid out, nervously fidgeting with it, debating what he might say now before—

"Hey, you know what. Hold on." His wallet is flipped out and thumbed open, a small business card slipped out and placed on the bar.

Which immediately has him going— "This isn't mine, don't worry. I work for Georgia Mayes, she does some media relations stuff for the Department, and there's this casting call going on this weekend for some late campaigning that she's handling because the guy handling it before managed to score this actress who turned up in rehab, Lindsay Lohan style, before they could even get started. Right now they're just looking for any hot girl on the Registry who can talk."

And if that's vaguely offensive, in the same way his automatic hesitation could have been vaguely offensive, Gerald doesn't seem to notice. "Anyway, this is the number for her PA. It's a pretty great opportunity." His glance wanders towards Peyton's trim waist as she crosses by towards Lancaster, but his eyes are mainly on Nadia — on her eyes, even.

Before Lancaster can reply to Peyton, meanwhile, a few feet over, there's Vincent answering for her. She swings a look (down) at the man, mouth pinching into a line, before she squares back on the socialite and her approach. "Or. You can try Lieutenant Colonel, but Agent's dandy," unlike Sugartits, although— no. Lancaster manages to keep this one stray thought to herself, remarkably enough. At a casual lean, she still remains an impressive shape in the tailored lines of her suit. "You can't thank me enough, don't worry about it." …???

An elbow goes out to nudge Vincent as she adds, "Your Department's lackeys don't date rape all that often, do they? I mean, besides you." A jerk of her head gestures to where Nadia and Gerald are bar-perching. "Or is it just for charity."

With that smile still on her face, Nadia's eyebrows go up a fair bit. "This is good news, yeah. I'm glad I don't have to stress out about it at all. And it thrills me to death that it's going to be everyone, and not just Evolveds." A winning smile is offered to the man.

His remarks and the card, however, prompt the girl to blush, lifting a hand to brush her hair away from her face. She takes the card, but it's with a nervous yet flattered smile. "Well, I'm glad you think as much. Thanks, I'll definitely look into this."

"Lieutenant Colonel… Adrienne," Peyton says, smiling brightly, the fake smile she once used for paparazzi. "And Vincent Lazzaro, yes? It's a pleasure to see you again. I didn't know you two were an item. You are a very cute couple." The fact that she's grown a little reckless with the knowledge she's going to die anyway might be get confused for a death wish, as Peyton smirks at the two, before taking another sip of her champagne.

She glances back over her shoulder at Nadia, giving a shake of her head at the DoEA intern type who is talking her up. "Your boys are working the circuit, huh? Can't take a night off and just donate to the charity, gotta talk up the new law. You really should take a night off now and then. Your office works much too hard, Mister Lazzaro."

"My office isn't being funded to determine what constitutes a legal charitable donation," is what Vincent has to say semi-officially and mostly carelessly on the subject. Of date rape.

He does look though, disapproval of the worst kind rife in the black hood of his brow when he gives the interaction over there with Nadia a second glancing over from afar. Like if they were all in a car right now he might reach back there and slap around a little.

But they aren't. And he doesn't. Mainly because Peyton's tone has had a few seconds to permeate the stainless steel polish of his skull and he's turned his head slowly back to regard her anew. Like he's already forgotten who she is again. Or isn't sure he heard her correctly. Or both. "Sorry…Have we met?"

"You should," Gerald encourages, apparently back on the path he deems to be safe territory after his wee trip over, all white teeth in his smile and dumb, easy nod in his neck. That she's responding the way she ought to the Registration pamphlets, too, puts him at ease, but movement out his periphery has him glancing off to the pack of friends he'd been hanging out with before. One of them is waving him over, and it seems like maybe he'll invite the Evo chick over to meet the frat boys, but Vincent's glance is knifing over Nadia's shoulder and it automatically has his spine straightening.

Card left with her, pamphlets left with him, he manages another smile for her. "And hey, if it works out, maybe I'll see you around. I should let you get back in the party," he encourages, neatly gliding back into pamphlet pusher mode. That a CIA agent happens to be blackupping the other DoEA man's glance is a bit of a lit fire too for him to back up and move on, taking a step back to slip into the crowd.

Lancaster simply takes a deep sip of vodka, links her pinkie with Vincent's, and bats her eyes at him. Lovaaah.

"The wicked never rest, Miss Peyton," because maybe she thinks that's the girl's last name.

The girl smiles warmly to Gerald, and holds up the pamphlet and the card for a moment. "Thank you very much for the information. You have a good night, now, okay?" Nadia offers a charming laugh, placing said items in her bag. Without another word, she turns around…just in time to catch the tail end of Vincent's stare. She heasitates for a moment, before quietly returning to the bar. She's way too shy to actually approach anyone, and she's much happier sitting at the bar.

She orders another one of those blue drinks in a martini glass; upon receiving it, she twirls the stirring stick around the beverage, and takes long sip.

"I don't think officially, though almost," Peyton tells Vincent, offering her hand to Vincent in the debutante sort of fashion, palm down rather than sideways — a lady's handshake of days gone by. "Enchante," she adds, smirking just a touch. "I'm Peyton Whitney. Reluctant poster child for Humanis First, and proud drop out of Alcoholics Anonymous." She lifts her champagne glass and takes another sip to punctuate her words, acting every bit the bratty trust-fund baby she used to be. She never was an alcoholic, of course, and didn't finish the required rehab because her parents were killed in the bomb.

Bzzz bzzz bzzz.

For a long beat, Vincent looks dead at Peyton like he would a vacuum cleaner salesman on his stoop. Unsmiling. Eyes black.

Then he lifts his right hand to better expose Lancaster's pinky twined with his own. He would shake — BUT.

He can't.


He probably should not have started drinking.

"Pleasure," he says instead of saying anything that sounds like it might actually be on his mind, dapper suit at even odds with the careful way he sets his glass down once his phone sets to buzzing a third time. He reaches for it, considers the screen and frowns oh-so-gravely in a series so practiced it should leave little doubt in Peyton's mind that someone's calling to tell him his dry cleaning is ready. "I should probably leave you in Agent Lancaster's very capable hands to take this. Her safe word is 'peanut brittle.' Nice meeting you. Again. Almost."

And all it takes is a tip of his head and a merciless glance ~Adrianne's~ way for him to collapse into a tangle of black smoke.

By the time Vincent is disappearing into vapour, Lancaster's hand that had been joined with his, loosely, has already turned into something of a claw as if her nails were seeking flesh and blood no longer there to dig into. She tucks that hand into her pocket instead, and finishes off her vodka unvermouth'd martini with rapid professionalism. "He's just kidding," she tells Peyton, conspirationally and with a smile, "I don't do safewords.

"And now I'm gonna go do something else." And with marginally less grace than whirling vapour, Lancaster simply steps aside, shoulder brushing Peyton's as she darts off for all that a woman of her height can dart.

"Nice to almost meet you too, Agent," Peyton says, dark eyes sparkling a touch as she turns to regard Lancaster. The tall woman's words make her laugh aloud. "Me neither," she calls after the retreating figure. This gala is much more entertaining than the last, she finds, as she has the power to scare away government officials with just a faux-vapid remarks.

She turns to the bartender and tips her glass to him. "I'll have a refill," the socialite says merrily, her dark eyes darting around as she considers playing with some of the DoEA lackies, pretending to find their registration brochures interesting and wasting their time all the while.

There are worst ways to spend the evening.

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