Winter Plans

September 29, 2017:

Emma Frost receives the resume and referrals of a sought after European Butler (Emery). Emery considers part-time work to help his other client (Danny) and as always, first impressions are made as mutually beneficial plans are made.

//Upper West Side - NYC //

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Danny Rand

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The call came from one Tasha Beaumont, of Frost International. And on the other side of the phone, Emery might have discovered that the prim young woman on the other hand hates jokes, hates wasting time, and appreciates efficiency. Those are good traits for an executive assistant. At least, when one is the executive assistant for a Miss Emma Frost.

His resume was selected on merit of his recommendations, given to her by someone she trusted in the business of managing these sorts of personal hirings. One, she tells him frankly, of many which she has systematically pared down.

Emery, for all her questions about his ability to handle various sundry domestic tasks, survives the gauntlet and is given his choice of three slots on a Friday to meet with his potential employer. The address is a posh condominium complex on the Upper West Side, and she resides at the top of that ivory-hued concrete testament to contemporary Manhattan architecture. Tasha gives very little in the way of hints as to Miss Frost's preferences, save that he'd best not be late for whatever time he picks.

That was three days ago.

Fast forward to the now, that fateful Friday, and he is granted admittance into the building with all of its lovely security and given access to the private elevator after they've alerted someone over the phone of his presence and approach. The elevator leads to a hall with but three doors. One that leads to a stairwell, and two that are flanked by lovely plants that do not fear the shade of a sunless hall.

One bears the brass numbers of the suite Emery is supposed to go to.

And in the open doorway, there waits one tall blonde woman dressed in a pristine white Chanel dress with her arms crossed and a finger hooked beneath her lip contemplatively. "Mister Papsworth?"

*

It was little over a couple of weeks since Rand Enterprises called Emery and asked him to assist with helping to educate and teach their new CEO how to be…CEO like. It has been a little over 3-4 days since he had to fight a demon bear on the streets of Gotham. It has been over a month since his nanny gave her notice about going back to England within 2-3 months to allow him time to find employment and alternative child care. To better fulfill his position helping Danny Rand…he kept his resumes floating out there. The strength of people in his line of work are connections, connections, connections…

Which is why he accepted a slot on a Friday, and pulls up to the complex in a black dodge charger. He enters the building, wearing a well tailored 3 piece black suit, Italian leather shoes…long hair artfully tousled and he carries a black leather briefcase.

As he rides up in that private elevator and walks down the hall…there's a quiet prayer that forms at his lips reflexively and then his eyes fall on the lady in white, eyebrows raising a fraction and a small smile tugging at his lips but he's a professional as he bows deeply. "Emery Papsworth, milady, at yer service." That taste of Ireland lilting his tones and rounding his vowels.

*

An import! There's a twitch of a smile in the corner of Emma's painted lips as she drops her finger, allowing the hand to which it belongs to sweep inside. Her voice has a proper Londoner's accent of its own, stolen years ago and made her own but authentic enough for most. Certainly enough to pass for a London accent that has been forced to deal with American English for any long period of time. "We'll see about that," she tells him with a hint of amusement. "I do appreciate your punctuality," she continues, waiting until the man has passed her to shut the door behind them quietly with both hands.

It's an expansive suite of an open design, cathedral ceilings and elaborate chandeliers. A rarely touched gourmet kitchen to the side. Only six doors, two of which leading outside. Everything else is segmented into conversational corners and dining areas. And, it is decidedly not child-friendly, everything sharp contemporary lines, mixed fabrics, glass, mixed metals, and soft white. Good grief, so much white.

But, it does come off as airy. If a bit cold.

"Sit wherever you like," she invites easily. 'Be comfortable,' her voice suggests. "My assistant, Tasha, said you come very highly recommended. I'm glad that I managed to at least secure an interview with a such a sought after commodity."

*

Emery enters with another small smile that tugs at his dimples and a polite nod, dark gaze taking in his surroundings with cursory glances and once overs before he hmms softly. He doesn't quite sit though, standing to the side of a white (surprise) couch and he appears to be waiting. Perhaps for her to sit, some manners die hard. "Ahh yes, Tasha. Such a delightful woman. Very business like and proper. I owe her a gift basket for being the conduit by which I am allowed to stand in yer presence."

He pauses before continuing. "A wise old man once said that the essence of life itself is to serve others. I like to tink of meself as a bit addicted to that essence. Me apologies, milady, what title do you prefer to go by? I'd chance…your highness or your majesty, but only because your beauty is somethin' I could say in a hall of Queens."

"Miss Frost will do, Mister Blarney Stone," Emma returns, a half-laugh dying beneath the oppression of a snort and arched eyebrows. She crosses the distance betwixt them with a long stride atop her stiletto heels, settling down in a chair beside the couch he's selected.

*

"And I am very glad that you appreciated her. I certainly do. She's an expert at keeping all the proverbial plates spinning so that I can attend to other things." Long legs cross, and Emma drapes her arms over the arms of her chair with precisely the sort of regal air that Emery alludes to. "And I do not know that I believe anyone can truly adore serving, but I certainly believe that there are those who are more suited to the world than others. I am not in the habit of keeping one in my personal service, but… things can change. They do every day."

Her head tilts to one side, and then - ever so gently - her mind stretches out to gently scratch at the edge of his. To see if there's any sort of defense lined up against her presence there.

*

Deft fingers move to unbutton his jacket as the Irishman settles down on the couch, briefcase set on the floor beside his shoes, leaning back against the couch and he leans slightly on the arm of the couch, eyebrow raising slightly but he flashes a grin, dimples coming into full effect at the Blarney Stone comment. "Well you obviously do have a wee bit of help…Milady De Winter or else your humble abode wouldn't be quite so…" He looks around. "Snowy."

Any defense lined up on his mind, is genetic…sub-conscious dams keeping back collected memories, thoughts and sensations that swirl and slosh lazily against the wall there. His own sense being those of the heart, instead of the mind.

*

"Milady De Winter? Well, my black reputation precedes me, apparently." Pale blue eyes continue to watch Emery, although her chin does move to settle on an upturned, curled hand. "And I suppose I do have a little," she confesses. "The cleaning service once a week. My driver, Alex. My gardener, for the terrace. I'm allergic to dusting and laundry, I hate New York traffic, and I've a dreadful black thumb."

She smiles. Or at least some close approximation of it. "Just good business, really."

As Emma continues to tease around those mental walls, looking for an unguarded crack, she hums and considers her words. "So, how much did Miss Beaumont share about what I'm looking for? Or, should I say, what she's looking to not need to do anymore?"

*

"MM, what did she share?" Emery seems to think that over, head tilting to the side before shrugging a shoulder and flashing a smile. "That I mustn't be tardy. Which in an of itself, tells me that you have a fondness, nay…a necessity for tings to go in the order you'd prefer them to. If someone says they'll do someting at a certain time for ye, ye expect it done."

The Irishman, chuckles softly. "But she left out your exquisite taste and dazzlingly personality so I suppose that was all to communicate that ye be an enigma."

The walls are thin in places, caulked over time and time again, perhaps by decades of genetic repression but its not a conscious thing.

If it was a physical wall, rather than an intangible structure in that psychic world of Emery's mind, Frost might caress it with her fingertips so featherlight is the touch. She considers a harder and more consistent press, and then abandons the thought.

*

She chuckles, a double play of realities.

"You are very kind, Mister Papsworth." And it sits well, that flattery, by all outward appearances. "And also very correct. The world is chaotic enough, appointments scheduled at the last minute and sudden needed flights overseas to my other holdings. I need someone to tend the homestead, if you will, while I am gone… and to keep my world running smoothly when I am here. I would say that I'm not something of a task, but that would be a blatant lie."

A hand stretches towards their plush surroundings. "Obviously."

"Essentially, I need someone who can handle my small staff, make morningswhich I hate, by the wayless painful and more productive, several minor tasks, make whatever preparations are needed for the evening, and then carrying whatever tidbits of information they've gleaned throughout the day dealing with those things I've required very much away from the prying eyes of… Well, from everyone, really." There's a sharp inhalation, and then a helpless, theatrical shrug. "I like my privacy."

*

"How does a woman as magnificent as you, not have all the top Butlers vying for your attention?" Emery wonders with a small smile and a squint. Of course his resume has contacts and references of people who's privacy and discresion are of the utmost importance but he still muses that thought over. He bends over to open his briefcase, slipping out a dark green leather planner/notebook and a antique looking fountain pen as he starts to take notes.

"Well, as I told that wonderful woman who reached out to me…I currently do have a contract with Rand Enterprises. Something, somewhat…of a personal matter where my expertise is needed. I am more than willing however, to assist you however I can…on a part time basis, until that contract expires. Especially if you'd like me to help educate and tighten up your staff, to help things move more smoothly in your…domain."

*

"Not everyone calls Tasha 'wonderful.' She and I share that in common." Emma settles her previously floating hand across her lap as she continues, unbothered by her confession. "And if you can work with her, that is worth a great deal to me. As you surely know, the works move more smoothly when there aren't a million burrs and gouges in the parts."

"But your personal matter with Rand Enterprises," she inquires, her own eyes narrowing in open appraisal of the man opposite her. She curls her extra senses around his surface thoughts, looking for anything that might spark concern. The feel of a lie. The scent of bad intentions. Anything there at all. "You don't foresee that as being a possible conflict of interests? And would they agree?"

*

"No, burrs and gouges tear fabric and prick lining. The sweet sting of the whip or drip of the candle are far more effective ways of relishing in extremes yet managing things smoothly without damaging any goods." Emery drawls thoughtfully. "That is, if you know what you're doin and ye be into that type of ting." He scribbles something else down in his notebook, then caps and idly twirls his pen.

The question causes him to consider his respone carefully. Whispering on the surface of his thoughts is flickers of wanting to help, making connections…professional pride but no bad intentions. "No, in fact I tink…" He slides his pen and notebook into his case and looks around. "I do beg your pardon, is your kitchen fully stocked with a liqour cabinet? I feel horrible sitting here conversing with a lady who has no cup or glass in their hand."

Back to the question. "Anyways, I tink an affiliation with someone as succesful and established as you might actually be of mutual benefit to myself and my…other client."

*

…Emery may have just snuck his way into Emma Frost's frozen heart sideways. Not for his thought of his other client's benefit. But because he knows that an empty hand is a sin.

For his risque take on the matter of meshing, there is a sudden and knowing sort of glint in the woman's eyes. What she offers aloud, however, is a mild "Tsk, Mister Papsworth."

Then she points just off the cavernous kitchen to a small island just beyond, and likely not in view when the man sits. Maybe it wasn't the bedroom games she was chastising, but the thought that she'd be without. Again, she plays in the vagueness of the timing with aplomb. "The dry bar is there. I think there may be a bottle of cabernet in the wine fridge."

"I'm not immediately opposed to the thought," she says of the proposal he makes, "So, let's get our arrangement in order if there's an arrangement to be had, and we'll see about the other? What does part time look like for you? And how long is your Rand contract?"

*

Emery gets to his feet, hand moving to rebutton his jacket as he makes his way over to the small island and bending over to feel around, not before just offering a wink at the 'tsk' as he introduces himself to the dry bar. Bottles clinking slightly as he checks labels.

"Well, I only sleep…about 2 or so days a week, so I am quite flexible in terms of working my days one place and my nights another. My Rand contract is something of a….dynamic clause. Its my job to turn a millineal into a CEO, so I do have work cut out for me I assure you."

There's a pause as he is examining a bottle of gin. "Ah, what is your personal taste in alcohol…milady? Are you someone who only sips from the fruit of the vine, or is there something more exotic that you crave?" He quirks an eyebrow. Then out of the blue…

"I do, have a daughter but that has never interfered with my work before."

*

Two nights of sleep? A turn of phrase, to be sure, and not a thing on which Emma feels led to dwell.

A millennial into a CEO at Rand Enterprise? That draws the remarkably slow torn of the woman's head on that long and slender neck of hers, eyes narrowed in disbelief. He… Nooooooooo. He couldn't— But what if he was serious, and it was the walking PR Nightmare at Rand that he'd taken on?

"Barring emergencies, it was my intention to release you by 5, on call, and then free and clear by 7pm each night," she says, brushing past the mention of his daughter without even a single note of concern. No, she's honing in on that tidbit of gossip with laser focus. "You're not actually talking about—"

Then the sudden dawn of a subtle horror, deep and abiding. Did she actually verbally agree to entertain the thought of helping?

*

Emery can discuss the schedule a little later, he just chuckles softly, feeling around and searching for a cocktail strainer with a shrug of a shoulder. "I'm sorry ma'am, are you asking about my contract with Rand Enterprise or the fact that somehow I was allowed to spawn?" He arches and eyebrow, searching bottles and setting various ones out before he starts measuring and dropping ice and moving around the dry bar and to the freezer and back and such with a level of comfort and practiced ease as he starts mixing an old fashion.

"If you are talking about the…Rand Enterprises matter, judging by the look on your face, ye must've guessed who my other client happens to be. Rand Enterprises hired me I suppose because…tere is a certain level of sophistication I have been known to bring out of people."

*

"Uh-huh." The dubious look on Emma's refined features is not abating. No, she is continuing to bore her gaze into Emery as though it would provide clarity.

"That's a generous assessment of the problem," she quips sharply, not even pretending to hide her cattiness about it.

*

"You like diamonds." Emery finally speaks as he's stirring together the Cognac and Whiskey and Bitters and other ingredients. The ice and liquid mixing together and clicking and clacking. "I'd think a problem like this would intrigue a woman of your refined taste. Consider if you would…a lump of coal or a homeless looking young man who was formerly thought dead. PR nightmare and walking potential puppet…"

He gets the strainer and is pouring the mixed drink into the glass."With your support and assistance, or understanding…would you not really consider the work I do to create a new diamond. One potentially turned towards your favor…"

*

"Intrigue me? That is the sort of CEO that I typically eat for breakfast." Emma turns back into her seat, facing once more the door and turning her attention onto the pristine French manicure she sports. She searches for a flaw in it, or pretends to anyway.

"Is that the plan?" she asks, her delivery cool and even as she settles more deeply into her arm chair and switches the cross of her legs. "It's not really a conflict of interests, because you'd bringing him here to serve with my toast and coffee?"

*

"I don't like…CEOs, Kings, Queens, Dukes, Duchesses, Lords, and Ladies who are not actually the power behind their own thrones." Emery speaks softly, bringing the glass over to Emma and bowing deeply as he presents it. "They are puppets, they are weak, and they are vulnerable. That's why my list of references are all people who actually wield their own power."

The Irishman just smiles softly, and straightens up. "It is not a Conflict of Interest because I am there to help protect him from other people like ye and I will be here to make sure your life runs smoothly enough so that you can consume as many other CEOs out there like him as ye wish. They 'ired me to mold him into somethin' they can better manage and he doesn't give a rat's arse about business…but he does care about people I tink. And that will either make him into a very strong ally or a very obstinate opponent."

He moves back to the dry bar. "Tere's a balance that must always be maintained, light…and darkness if you want to get metaphorical. So the question remains, while playin' chess…milady. Do ye take more pleasure in playing against an opponent who sacrifices his pawns before admitted defeat, or are ye the type that enjoys gettin' to meet the King and Queen headon? That's what I can deliver to ye. A bloody good game and a diamond in the rough."

*

"Except that you and I both know that the entire board is rigged. All of it." Emma looks up and murmurs her gratitude as she takes the drink when it's offered to her. She sniffs lightly to identify its contents before taking a sip. "You can't teach survival instinct. He's a guppy in a shark tank. He has to want to live. And I've seen no evidence of that."

There's a weary sigh that certainly doesn't sound like it belongs to a young twenty-something. "I mean, did he think to hire you? My money is on 'no.'"

*

"If he didn't 'ave a survival instinct, how did he survive milady?" Emery asks with thoughtful expression. "When he learns to swim and bite back in that tank. M' tellin' ye…" He folds his arms over his chest. "And no, he doesn't even know why I'm there. But do ye know what? He knows he needs me help and he's open to it."

He rubs a hand over his face and just shrugs. "I'm tired of seein' young men like that…not be given the help or tools they need to make their mark on this world."

He looks back over to Emma. "Either way…aren't ye curious to see what will become of him?"

*

"I'll consider it," Emma offers after a long moment and a pensive sip of a… very good cocktail. After she's had an opportunity to mull its composition over properly, she takes a deeper plunge into that welcomed glass and closes her eyes. Her head gently falls back to rest against her chair.

Why. Why is she even considering this? Because she's not really. She's lying to him, she tells herself. But a deeper part of her wonders in whispers who is really the one to whom she's lying.

"Anyway, it's a moot point until we come to terms. You say you've a daughter who doesn't interfere with your duties. Does that mean you can be on call if there's a need? I tend to keep my evenings my own and my company shooed out by morning, but that doesn't mean I don't like to know what's on the table."

*

This is what he does, what he knows…to be there to serve others. He runs his fingers through his hair, moving to start cleaning up and putting bottles away, Emery Papsworth is just quiet for a few minutes. "Yes, she's 5 and yes I can be on call if there's a need. I will be sure to forward you and your lovely assistant daily updates to my schedule so that the two positions do not clash."

The Butler/PA/Irishman does pause before he offers carefully. "I am a professional and I've been doin' this for a long time."

*

A tiny strand of gold that has escaped Frost's otherwise immaculate twist is spun between her fingers languidly. "We'll put your word to the test, then," the business woman finally decides. "I'll have Tasha send you an offer with a proposed arrangement. Times, duties, start date, wages, benefits, and a clause for it all to be renegotiable at the end of your tenure with Rand. The whole nine yards. If you accept, we can go from there."

She allows the glass to lower as she looks once more in Emery's direction, her eyes narrowed and expression wholly serious. "You will see that I can be very generous with those who serve me well. Does that sound fair?"

*

Emery finishes wiping down the dry bar with a flourish and a nod. "Of course milady. That sounds very reasonable indeed." He moves from behind the dry bar to reapproach the couch and in doing so, the chair that Emma is settled in and he lowers to one knee and bows his head before pushing himself up to his feet and nodding again. "It sounds quite fair as well." He takes a deep breath. "Anyting else ye be needin' of me to get things moving?"'

*

The show of it actually takes Emma aback, although she hides the surprise in am amused shake and turn of her head. When her attention returns to him, her lips are pulled back in an uneven smile. "Just your signature on the forms if everything is in order."

Slender shoulders shrugs. "Otherwise, no. Just be certain to enjoy a lovely evening. After that, it's all reigns of terror from there."

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