Setting Expectations

October 05, 2017:

Day 1 of Working Part-Time for Emma Frost. Emery slides into her morning routine and sets a new level of expectation.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Danny Rand


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Working for Madame Evil, Day 1.

Tasha had done her due diligence. Once the selection was made, the contracts revised where needed, signed, copied, and filed away… the real work began. She was efficient and swift, delivering into the man's care by courier a binder of approximately 100 pages. The outside of the package is brown and plain. As he starts to open it, however, there's a second wrapping, on which is scrawled a secret message in Tasha's fluid hand. It is clearly not intended for anyone's eyes, save Emery's own: The Frost Bible. Good Luck. The last two words are underlined several times in red ink.

In it, everything in a tidy tabbed section: favorite restaurants, preferred vendors for everything from the dry cleaner to the spa, the security access, ALL of the service contracts, and the profiles and contact information for the small staff which Emery will be managing. There are also a number of tiny keys in labeled envelopes taped to the front cover. One of them is marked 'STUDY' and there's a post-it note atop it. 'Don't go in here unless you have to. Frost will eat you. ~TB' Emery can consider himself warned.

The hand-off is also arranged. A vague agenda, promised to be in Emery's email by 5 o'clock every evening the night before it's needed to prepare Frost for the morning ahead. It is perhaps a little overly cautious, but there are no names at all on the agenda when Emery receives it. Just slots labeled 'meeting' or 'lunch delivered'. In it's present state, it's really of little use, save to let him know that Frost should be up and moving at 7AM. To the office by 9.

What an awful hour. There is certainly no sign of life when Emery arrives.


It is the ass-crack of dawn…or to most it would feel that way, but Emery sent a message to all of the staff to be there at least an hour earlier than they usually get there which means…he still is early enough to have some time to himself.

The Irishman is clad in his 'work' clothing which means he has an extra suit in a garment bag tossed over his shoulder and a largish doctor's bag like leather bag carried in his left hand. He wears a pair of flattering dark grey slacks, a black button-down shirt and a grey vest, long hair pulled back in a man-bun as he enters the establishment…looking around and making his way into the kitchen setting things down.

Bag is set down and garment bag is draped over a counter as he slips a simple silver keyring from the bag and clips it to his belt, pulls a white apron from the bag, and drapes it around his neck so he can tie it behind him, and he unbuttons his cuffs to roll up his sleeves, exposing the peeks of tattoos and faint scars along his forearms as he looks around and nods to himself. A silver pocket watch is drawn from his pocket as he studies it, slowly walking around the kitchen and counting under his breath.

He moves…quietly, almost too quietly.


The housekeeper, a lovely woman named Isabella, was nothing but kind but begged to come at her usual time, although the day is different than she normally comes with her husband, Mark, and her small staff. A 9AM arrival means Frost will be well out of the condo, and she knows it and prefers that.

The gardener, David, also expresses his desire to steer clear of the woman, but can be cajoled to show up whenever he needs to.

And the driver, Alex, is young. When Emery makes the request of him, he sighs. He promises to do his best to be there by 7:15, but the night before his early call is one of Miss Frost's late social nights. He lays out his case and begs for mercy on the new hire's part.

It seems that Miss Beaumont has done at least some of the legwork, notifying the responsible parties of a new sheriff in town, because no one seems surprised by the call. David nearly sounds relieved as he congratulates Emery on the spot, and congenially tries to make small talk.

Around the kitchen, there is the evidence that Emma has clearly been caring for herself. There's a dirty wine glass upside down in the sink and an empty bottle beside it, next to a cheese block that has clearly seen use. There's also a half-empty bag of raw baby carrots and a plastic tub of pre-chopped fruit on the counter. But, at least that seems to be the worst of her damage.


Every noted response and such, is recording in a little white leather bound notebook, along with the names and the roles. Each member receives a hand written response to the call, either before or after they arrive for the day, a duplicate sent to Tasha for tracking purposes. Isabella was sent a 500 dollar gift card to a grocery store and the cut out website review of a 5 star French housekeeping service. David, was sent a pressed flower, and the business card of another gardner. Alex was sent a gift card to a coffee shop and a polaroid picture of another driver's resume.

But he was very nice and personable on the calls. Not demanding or insisting that they change their times, and using that smooth Irish charm and flattery.

But present day, he nods and slips the pocket watch way, making his way back outside to receive two paper grocery bags of supplies from someone outside of the beautiful home and then shutting the door quietly with an italian leather clad foot as he makes his way back into the kitchen.

Then the work begins, occasionally stopping to scribble something down in that notebook he's washing the glass, tossing the bottle, and the carrots and fruit and then unpacking his own grocery bags as he bustles around. There's freshly baked bread, jars of different butters or jams, some fresh fruit…yogurt and etc and he's putting everything away. His phone stays on the counter beside his garment bag.


Safe in the dark, beyond the French boudoir doors, there is one draconic eye cracking open. Emery may be silent as the grave, but there are some things that can't be silenced. Brains, for example. There's an unhappy groan, as Emma pulls her pillow over her head as though that would do her any good.

She leaves the man to his art, leaving him undisturbed.

At 7:00, Alex is calling to say he's arrived, and has the car waiting. Not only that, but he's in the lobby of the building with David the Gardener, waiting to be told what the plan is. …Because Frost is up there. And that should be explanation enough. The trepidation in the man's voice, suspecting that his new supervisor is in condominium right now, is thick. He actually hesitates. "Do… Do you want us to come up?" Unspoken but clearly heard in that tone is a young man's desperate prayer, 'Please say no… Please say no.'


The phone is on vibrate and Emery has just cracked and mixed up a match of eggs and then grating in black truffles before pausing to slip a small ear bud into his ear and speak softly. "Good Mornin' Alex, oh not yet lad…I hope ye got yerself a nice cuppa someting strong. I need ye to wash the car and vaccum the interior if ye would, ye should have the time, and when ye finish I'll bring ye down some brekkie."

He doesn't break his stride, setting the eggs aside to let the seasoning infuse before moving to find the coffee maker and getting some water started there, along with some dark roasted coffee and then he step spins up to counter with a carton of strawberries and idly spinning a knife in a figure eight.

"Ye said David's with ye? Tell him that today, we need some fresh cut flowers, somethin' with a light scent. Give us a ring when ye finish up."

He eyes the direction of the bedroom and starts slicing the strawberries.


'Not yet.' That's practically a papal absolution if any indication is given by the heavy sigh of unmitigated relief that temporarily turns the phone into a rumbling ocean sound machine. "Yeah, yeah," he says, in a rush. "We can do that. Right, David?" A pause. "Right. Yeah, we got this covered. Give us thirty to forty-five."

And with that, there's a quick beep to let Emery know that the call has ended. Because Alex is in no rush to see if eviscerations can be executed across the phone lines.

And still, darkness from the bedroom, even as the morning light begins to illuminate the elaborate terrace garden that is David's domain, just beyond another set of French doors with a arched window above, generously snagged in white shantung silk that pools on the carpeted floor.

Then, there's a shuffling sound. A door inside the bedroom opens. And, probably about ten minutes later, one of the doors moves and the bleary-eyed blonde pokes her head out. Her hair is brushed, at least, but she's definitely not fully awake. "Has the earth started spinning already?"


Phone hangs up and strawberries arranged between layers of yogurt and sprinkled with a few nuts in a glass before he wipes his hands on his apron and has already poured the cup of coffee made to the specifications of the notes he received on the lady's coffee preferences and he has a napkin draped over his arm as he makes his way to the table to set it down and pull out the chair.

"It was waitin' for a peek at yer radiance to really start a whirlin' Milady…"

There's a quiche in the oven. "Did ye want orange or grapefruit juice this mornin' milady?"


There's food. Like, honest to goodness food. Not nuked. Not burnt to a crisp. Not delivered. …Well, not /exactly/, anyway. The fridge into which Emery placed groceries speaks of a life where the gourmet kitchen with all of its professional trappings is a complete waste, nothing in it that a five-year old couldn't prepare.

The promise of real food lures the businesswoman into the open. Emma actually steps out, cinching her satin robe just a little tighter and blinking against the light. "Juice? No. Oh, God, no. Just… the coffee." Which is really more like a cafe au lait, according to the instructions.

All of Emery's good presentation, wasted on a woman who thThere's another grumbling sound as the woman makes it as far as a couch. And then promptly collapses on it face first, lifting her feet up just enough to rest their tops on its arms. "Whyyyyyy," she whines unhappily with all the misery her twenty-something form can muster, too tired to care about the image she's presenting.

This? Is why discretion is so important.


"Is indeed the letter before Z, Milady." Emery replies softly, adjusting easily enough as he moves to the kitchen to retreive a tv tray, setting the coffee on it, along with the strawberry parfait with its toasted granola and nut crumble and a neatly sliced piece of truffle infused quiche. A piece of toasted bread is buttered and drizzled with honey and a second cup of coffee is placed on the tray before it is carried over.

There is a pause as he presses a button on a remote to start the closest radio, the soft melody of 'Raindrops' by Chopin begins playing. "Me apologies for presuming but calmin' me mind always seems to help me get ready for me day. Chopin is good for teh mornings as long as ye've got a good cup of coffee or tea to go with it. Calms but doesn't make ye sleepy." He shakes out a napkin to offer the woman.


The arm draped over the back of Emma's head lifts, and she turns her head to look at the napkin he offers.

He's not going away. He's being paid very well to not go away. And she needs to get up. This is supposed to help.

There's a mock-crying soundoh, yes, the poor dearas she takes the napkin. She blinks again to chase a little more of the fuzz from her vision, and then rolls herself with at least a modicum of grace into a sit in front of her coffee table. "I like Chopin," she begrudgingly admits.

"The board is in today," she tells Emery, a moment later, even though he didn't ask. "Else, I'd be going in late. But as it is, you should be fine and free by 2pm. I'll be trapped for the rest of the day by that point." And then her attention turns to the culinary delights on the tray as slender fingertips tuck strands of cornsilk blonde behind her ear. Her fondness for cuisine shows up as an eyebrow arches, a little more of her more familiar personality beginning to settle into her demeanor. "You do know how to make first impressions, don't you, Mister Papsworth?"


"I shall do what I can to keep that in mind then, Milady." Emery replies to the comment about Chopin, making sure the tray is within easy reach before giving a small bow and returning to the kitchen. He appears to clean as he goes. Storing the quiche in the fridge for later consumption. He pauses in wiping down a counter to take in the information being provided. "Then I shall make sure to coordinate the dry cleaning run accordingly, Milady. Ye 'ave such a talented and dedicated staff."

He pauses near his phone to send a text to Alex and David together. "Make sure to deliver half the fresh flowers to the condo after she leaves and make sure to give her one of the prettiest ones before she enters the car any day she has a board meeting."

He writes something down in his notebook before offering a dimpled smile. "Me job as long as I'm on your clock is to make life a wee bit easier for ye."


"They've made living here tolerable," Emma agrees to his praise, primly settling the napkin on her lap, and then plucking up the cup in her hands and settling herself around it as though it were a life buoy. Clearly, Tasha has been running interference for a long time, keeping her employer unaware of the mundane dealings of it. More than she probably prefers. There's more than one hint that this more about making her life easier. "But I do like to be reasonable in my expectations." Oh, thank all in Heaven, the telepath's name is not Pinocchio; she'd knock out a window with her polite white lies.

Then, after a sip of that blissful brew, she continues. "I'll do my very best to be respectful of the boundary and not meddle more than is necessary. I prefer you feel… empowered to do your job." Then, at last, she sets the cup down to try eating. "But I do expect for your to tell me if there are things I need to know." Then… she falls silent, because omg, real food. It needs eating.


There is a pause as Emery just stares at Emma when she utters that falsehood about being reasonable and for him time slows a bit, or better yet shimmers as he blinks and just smiles again. "It is reasonable to expect people to be meetin' whatever expectations ye may have, Milady."

Then he is rolling back down his sleeves and buttoning his cuffs, glancing down at his phone as he tracks time. "I shall do me best to make sure ye are kept up to date on all tings that could or would concern ye."


The blonde who collects her coffee cup after picking a little bit more off the plate is blissfully unaware that her awareness of the discrepancy between word and reality is perfectly plain to the employee in her space. She simply heaves a sigh as she curls around it and looks to the brightening sky outside. A glance then to the clock on the mantle with its spinning pendulum.

She then moves to slowly push herself back up to her feet. It's truly a wonder what eight ounces of dark brew can do for a body's ability to function, even only half consumed. She turns to look at Emery, eyes narrowed for a long moment in another open appraisal. "I appreciate that. Truly." And that part, she means every word. "I am very hopeful about all of this. It will be nice to not need worry for the smaller details. Although, you probably already know that the smallest details can mean the most. They're the things that no one can put a finger, but… When they're wrong, things feel wrong." She let's the thought go, then. "And after a night sleeping on it, I'll at least meet your part-time charity job if you would like." Under her ivory robe, slender shoulders shrug. "I can't help it. Sometimes you need to see a train wreck in person to properly appreciate it. Like art. Fine, contemporary, tragic art."


"Its the dust that gets in yer eye that seems to bother ye more than the light of the sun. So aye milady, the details are what keep life interestin', it be a shame to not pay them their due." Emery agrees easily enough, his back is turned to Emma for a moment and when he turns back around he has a darker grey tie neatly knotted and tugged unto place.

As he moves towards Emma to check on her breakfast progress, he ahhhs softly. "Well thank ye, that is kind of ye….I was perhaps considering some time of meetin' between ye two. Get him some exposure." He checks his pocket watch. "Did ye have anyting you would like housekeepin' to be mindful of today?"


"The main area, especially around the fireplace. I will be entertaining tonight once the meetings are done." Emma doesn't elaborate on the who of it. "And if you can just make certain that there's something to feed a man who's got high blood pressure, I'd appreciate it. Something that does not require a cook. For that? I am most certainly not, and the threat of it will chase my company away. Cold serve is fine; we'll be out to dinner before with the rest of the board. And if you could also poke outside and make sure the wind didn't destroy anything when I wasn't looking, that would be lovely. I don't think he'll want to go out there, but you can never be certain." A hand airily waves. "Everything prior to that, Tasha should have handled. So as soon as you've got it squared away, do as you like."

Lifting the back of her hand to rub lightly at her eyes, she then covers the tiniest of yawns. "And," she continues, have you heard from Alex yet? I just want to be certain he's not stuck somewhere. If you haven't, could you check? Today's definitely not the day to run late." A glance down to the pocket watch, and then Emma's smile slowly grows in amusement. "As you seem to be already aware."


The Butler nods slowly, leaning over the counter to take notes. "I will make sure there an appropriate out there for you, cold serve, low sodium and fat. Wine and full tea service will suffice I suppose." And low and behold, it will be coordinated…complete with fresh cut fruit, veggies, and scones but for now Emery is taking notes. He eyes his watch and then checks his phone for messages from that beloved housekeeper.

"Mister Alex is currently making sure the car is aired out, lovely young man shows such self initiative. The Gardener will coordinate with your housekeeper to tidy up outside." He replies even as he is sending Alex a text at what temperature the car should be and to be mindful of unwanted sun.


"Does he?" The female sounds genuinely surprised by the thought. "I've never seen that," she confesses quietly. She ruminates on Emery's observation, the smile fading with some seriousness. "But I do know that he's been reliable when it's mattered. Gone beyond the contract. He was one of Tasha's better finds, I think. So I'm glad you like him." 'Because he's not going anywhere,' is the unspoken sentiment beneath it.

"Grey is a very good color on you, Mister Papsworth," the blonde mind witch continues after a brief pause and head tilts. And then she chuckles at her own compliment. "Which, I'm certain is precisely why you chose it." Because, butlers and high fashion, right? "Anyway, I'm going to go get dressed. Leave the food? I'll try to get my appetite in order. It's good." She's just unaccustomed to there being something that wasn't set in front of her at the office. "A girl could get used to it."

Low-maintenance, Emma Frost is not.


"It is amazing what tings people show you when reminded of how much they be appreciated." Emery winks and slips his pocketwatch away before bowing his head deeply as he smooths a hand down his chest, over his vest. "Thank ye kindly, milady." He murmurs to the compliment.

"If a girl could get used to it, the. I hope a beautiful woman will also grow to appreciate it." Emery has the kitchen wiped down, food left out appropriately and the extra placed in the fridge and freezer and he is filling a portable cup with another serving of Frost styled Coffee.

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