Business Expense

April 10, 2016:

Jean and Scott track down Emma to ask her back into the fold.

Characters

NPCs: Waitstaff

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Since the rather disastrous meeting with the various members of X-Black and Cyberforce, Emma Frost has since moved out of the Institute. She has not taught a single further class. All of her things were moved out of her office and rooms. She has, largely, disappeared from the lives of the X-Men. The only exception to this has been that she has continued to work on the alliance with the Blue. Of course, she hasn't been talking about it, just doing it, so it's anyone's guess if she's doing so to the benefit of the X-Men … or if she has her own plans, related to her old base of power in the Hellfire Club.

At the moment, on a Sunday evening, the platinum blonde beauty of upper crust New England blue blood society is settled comfortably in a seat at a table alone in the heart of one of the most upscale, ritzy restaurants in Manhattan. The outfit she's wearing is probably a few thousand dollars, and she's probably looking at paying a few hundred for her meal tonight, and that's before the price of the bottle of wine she's sampling from.


A lot has gone on since those days. And most of those days were spent with busying herself over non-sense and ignoring the bigger issue all the while punching herself in the proverbial psyche that was thankfully blocked off from anyone else. She hasn't seen or heard much from Cyberforce or X-Black, figuring that bridge was burnt and done, and no more conversations were needed on that front save for one.

Emma Frost.

She even consulted with Elizabeth earlier in the day and confessed that she did do wrong. Perhaps it was the heightened emotion or her irritation that made things go south, anything could have been a factor. But she was acting the best way she knew how and well, that didn't go over too well.

Though she came armed with a man in red glasses, her own outfit a ruby red number that was obviously stolen from Elizabeth. Tailored and cut down to her natural height with shoes that, well.. were flat. Didn't match. But she was pretty enough. Not enough for this place though. A little nudge to the mind of the hostess allowed them both entry, Jean clasping her hand against Scott's elbow as she murmured..

"You don't have to add input if you don't want to. But you're here for the sole purpose that she's going to make me cry and I'd probably need to be carried out of here because she'll wreck me completely."


Scott Summers raises an eyebrow, "When have I ever been afraid to add input?" he says. "There was an obvious misunderstanding, but it can be handled. And there's no need to cry about anything. If you can't convince her, that's on her. I personally find you very persuasive," he says.

He's wearing a jacket and button-down, dressed like a man going out antiquing or out for a Sunday walk with his lady. Which, in a way, he was. It's just that this particular walk would include a tete-a-tete with an ice queen telepath and potential discussion of covert ops strike teams and the ethics of super-heroism. Which, compared to going and fighting cyborg psychopaths in island nations, was semi-relaxing. "But I won't step on your toes. Your show."


Emma cannot miss the use of telepathic influence used to get Jean and Scott into the restaurant. She looks up from her meal, her ice blue eyes hardening perceptibly as she catches sight of Jean and Scott; one has to wonder if her displeasure is merely their presence, or Jean's fashion don'ts. Emma glances to the side momentarily, and one of the staff moves in to gather two chairs from another table and bring them over to the far side of Emma's table, ahead of their impending arrival. Then he disappears, like any good waitstaff should.

Emma swirls her white wine in her glass, sips a bit, and then sets the wine down before her erstwhile 'guests' arrive. One pale sculpted platinum eyebrow arches, and she gestures with one outstretched hand and long, graceful fingers flourish to indicate they should take a seat. And still, she says not a word.

"I am reasonably certain you've no intention of ordering a meal at these prices, Jean. To what do I owe this … pleasure?" And yes, Emma's voice makes it clear she considers it anything but.


"Have you ever sat with her and Elizabeth? The amount of disdain directed towards me in my choice of style would make even Hitler cry. And that dude was a jackass." Jean's jokes were a little off kilter, but highly accurate in her eyes. The two women together are very, very brutal. But it wasn't until Emma came into plain view of Jean that she nearly hangs back. A little bit of reluctance shown within her features as she looks up towards Scott. "Step on my toes. I don't care." For the reason as to why she made Emma an ambassador was for her scary constitution alone.

But as they reach the table and the offer for them to settle was there, she smiles just a touch, the chair pulled out and settled in with a slight lift and wiggle. She caught a glimpse of it before she sat, the distaste in Emma's features, which causes her cheeks to burn even if she didn't want it to.

"I.. I haven't looked at the menu." She states, reaching for one to open, read, and quickly close. She clears her throat then, straight backing herself as she takes in a breath. "But, I came to apologize. And.. I came because I miss you."


Scott Summers takes a seat, "And I came so I could get a decent steak that didn't have Hank's fingerprints on it from the deep freeze," he says, picking up the menu and taking a look. Hey, he doesn't mind the occasional bit of splurging and, technically, this was a business expense. Deduction city.

He starts to add something but, instead, bites his tongue and lets Jean go ahead. He wasn't much inclined to be apologetic, on his part, but he rarely was.


Emma regards Jean passively, neither glaring at her nor smiling. Her face is a mask that obeys her every command, and Emma's command is: show nothing.

"Apologize?" Emma responds, with just the slight lilt of question to her tone. "Apologize for what, Jean? You merely laid down the law of expectations from the Professor to all of his underlings. What is there to apologize for?" That ice cold tongue like a razor slices away viciously.

"I rather enjoyed our brief sojourn together. But it was not to be. Foolish on my part, really. But I had to try." Emma answers. She doesn't show the pain she felt. The anger it brings up in her. She did as she was asked, to serve the cause. And then she was told what she was, what she had done, as unwelcome, no longer a worthy part of their quest. Is it any wonder she feels betrayed?


If Scott was going to get a steak.. she was going to get a piece. Granted it was business, but it was partly personal as well. "Well, yes.." Jean says slowly, her hands lifting to slightly rest upon the plate, twisting it around in it's perspective circles. "I did lay down the law but I did it entirely wrong. The words I chose, the demeanor. How it was done? I should have pulled each and every one of you aside and laid out my intentions clearly and precisely and.."

See? There was a reason Scott was there! She was trying not to cry, to become a simpering fool in public, but she sucks it in. She even lifts her chin upright for a moment with a tight purse of her lip. "I never intended for it to end like this. Any of it. I never wanted to oust everyone on their asses. I thought that.. if we move the base of operations elsewhere and away from the children, the lives could continue but.. with more hardy compl.." She shakes her head.

"Emma.." Goddamn it, help Scott! She was waffling!


Scott Summers listens and sighs, setting down his menu, "Put simply, what Jean was conveying wasn't that you were unwelcome. It was that the endeavor in which you and the others became involved required a degree of discretion. Discretion that required it to operate at a different location, when its members were pursuing its interests. Which didn't mean that you weren't perfectly welcome to continue at the school when engaging in other capacities or work not related to that," he says, trying to speak as clearly as he can while remaining oblique. Nothing negated the value of a covert operation like talking about it openly in a crowded restaurant.

"Put simply, no one was telling you to leave. You were, and are, still very welcome at the school, even if you continue to participate in the other project. We simply think, for the good of the students and faculty, that keeping that project separated from them as much as possible would be the best route. I can't believe you're not familiar with the phrase 'plausible deniability'," he says. "I appreciate that your feelings may have been hurt. Your aggressive tone would certainly indicate it. But none of us are in this because of our feelings. We're in it because it's the right thing to do. And the right thing is for you to come back."


Aggressive? Emma eyes Scott cooly, even coldly. If poor Scott things this is aggressive? He has no idea. "It may, possibly, have been what Jean meant to say. But I assure you, what she /did/ say made it all too clear that I — that we — were not welcome around the students. I have quite simply obeyed that directive. I have never had any desire to endanger the children." Indeed, the whole reason Emma came to the Institute in the first place was in an attempt to stave off disaster for the students. She was never really worried about herself, though she'd deny that do her dying day.

"To my knowledge, that particular project never functioned within the school environs. I do not know anyone in that project who would compromise operational security in that manner, let alone endangering children." Emma lifts her wine glass, swirling it, then sipping from its contents. She watches the other two calmly and dispassionately, mulling over what they've said. "You wane me to return to the Institute? And you wish me to continue my involvement in the other project? But you would prefer that project to operate only outside and away from any location or personnel associated with the Institute? Is that what I am hearing?"


Yeah, Scott hadn't seen it. Jean has briefly seen it, though she wasn't herself that day. Emma nearly put a bullet in her head and at times she wish it would have gone that route. But lets digress. "And I was wrong. I freely admit that." At least someone could.

Jean doesn't speak, not until the questions were posed and it had her thinking. No, she wasn't thinking. She was picking out the words, the best way to say what she meant to say but.. there was only one thing. One thing she -could- say. "Yes."

Plain and simple, and to the point. No embellishing nor elaborating. A thousand times yes. "We need you."


If Scott had known anything about the possibility of Emma putting a bullet in Jean's head, he certainly wouldn't be sitting here calmly having dinner with her. "Whether you continue your involvement in the other project is up to you. That's not under our purview, except as it involves the Institute. And in terms of personnel, all are welcome and may work together at the Institute - just not on things best left away from schoolchildren," he says.

"And, while you may never have expected it to operate out of the school, I can assure you, others involved did. Perhaps Jean was overzealous in making her point - such is the degree of care and responsibility she feels. I've been in her position and I believe you've had similar duties in your time. When the lives of others are put into your hands, you take extra care and, on occasion, someone may mistake your words, perhaps even think you're something of a bitch. Not that you'd know what that's like, of course, Emma."


Emma's eyes glitter like pale blue diamonds as Scott finishes. Oh, how she would like to flay the skin from that man. "There are, Mister Summers, words one does not utter in polite company. I am so sorry that you were so poorly brought up that you are unaware of this. Please, allow me to educate you."

The platinum blonde looks to Jean, and nods. "Very well, Ms. Grey. If you truly do wish my return, and do not feel I would be an unsafe burden to you or to your students, then I will consider when I might best reintegrate into the faculty."

And since neither wants to acknowledge that other project as having anything to do with them, Emma just won't bring it up. They can wonder as they like.


Jean has to wince at Scott's words. Her hand even shoots up to rub a little at her forehead, then lower down to try to settle herself and put on a flashing smile. One that tries to distract from the words that were spoken and.. well.. okay it didn't work. "That won't be necessary Emma. I think he was just making a point." She looks towards Scott, her foot reaching from beneath the table to lightly stomp on his own.

"Yes. I do wish it. If I didn't, I wouldn't have tried to seek you out. Which.. honestly? Was just a little bit hard to do. Do you know how many times I've looked into this window here?" She gestures around, attempting to make a joke. "I was sure that they wouldn't let me in if I didn't.." Her finger twirls around in the air. "But.. yes. I would like you to come home."


Scott Summers raises an eyebrow, "I'm afraid manners weren't of much use at the orphanage, Emma. Not all of us have silver spoons to teach us how to hold our tongues down from a young age," he says. "I presume you'd rather have honestly, plainly said, than pretty lies," he says.

Scott isn't prone to kissing anyone's ring. To him, Jean's made her apology, Emma can either take it or reject it. But he had no patience for mindgames.


"Plainspeaking is one thing, Mister Summers. Ill manners and rudeness is something else entirely." Emma scathes. "I am so sorry that my privileged upbringing so offends you. Perhaps you should think twice before coming into my presence in the future, for all our sakes." Because of Scott is so dim as to be incapable of dealing with people with respect and politeness, everything he says he's after is doomed to failure.

"Please, enjoy your meal. I will see you later." Emma offers. She scoots back her chair, and then stands, gathering her purse and making her way to get her coat. And if, along the way, she should inform a server to see whatever the other two order is placed on her tab and paid appropriately, that's her business.

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