Work the Room

October 25, 2017:

Emma Frost corners Danny Rand at a networking event. Danny is out of his element in more ways than one.

A gastrpub on Greenwich Avenue.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Emery Papsworth

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

There are a hundred things that would make for a lovely time on a Wednesday night. A networking event for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by a national telecom company, would not be one of Emma Frost's choices.

It's not the worst thing in the world to see what small businesses are out there, ripe for the picking. It's that thought alone that propels Emma through the initial speech soliciting new members for the MCC out of the small crowd gathered in a gastropub on Greenwich Avenue. She sips moscato d'asti out of a surprising cheap bar flute from the edge of the room, her fitted white dress with its low swag neckline made surprisingly sedan in the dim red lighting.

The speech is boring and desperately uninspiring. And Emma doesn't even bother pretending to look like she's interested, checking her watch more than once during the course of it. The curled blonde locks that fall over her shoulder don't even begin to hide her overt - if silent - commentary.

*

Usually, when Joy Meachum asks Danny Rand to do something, he does it. That means Joy only asks when she feels it's important, and when she does, he takes it seriously. Still, he's very bad at timing, mostly because he underestimates how long it takes to get into a nice suit and how to make his hair do more than just…exist. Normally, Emery would be able to help him, but it's the hard-working butler's night off. Danny forgot to add tonight's event to his calendar, which means Emery didn't know about it, or the Irishman probably would have sent someone over to at least help him dress so he wouldn't be…
…late. All the way into the speeches when the young CEO opens the door. His efforts paid off at least on the outside. He's wearing a very stylish burgundy suit with a white shirt underneath, along with a pair of very fashion forward gray loafers that a fashionista would recognize as a pair of Fluevogs. His hair, well, he tried. But the somewhat disheveled look actually looks purposeful when the rest of him looks so put together.
A little murmur echoes throughout the room at the arrival of the rather, well, if not reclusive, then rarely-spotted young CEO. He murmurs his apologies, then, even though he looks like he didn't quite ask for it, a drink is pressed into his hand. He smiles a little sheepishly and tries to pay attention to the speech in progress.

*

It's not the new arrival that gets Emma's attention. Despite all of his admittedly admirable fashion choices, particularly for this particular venue with so many hungry start-ups in the room, he could possibly have been missed were it just him.

But amidst the whispering, there's the pull unfelt by the room as so many thoughts turn towards him and settle there, speculating and then splintering into a hundred tangential concerns and considerations.

Very few people are listening to the speech anymore. The elder man presently standing on the very quaint 'soapbox' stage peers into the room and then smiles in Danny's direction. Well that might be good for business. "So glad you could join us!" he offers amiably, before going back into all of the wonderful things he's watched the chamber do in the past year.

And, from her place at the edge of the room? Emma smiles and begins to slip through the crowd towards the greenhorn.

*

"I really didn't mean to be such a distraction," says Danny as he shakes the hand of someone who has come up to him. He'll never remember who this person is. He barely remembers what this event is about.
What it is is Joy's attempt to focus Danny's preference for people over things into something that might benefit Rand. And helping small start-ups definitely seems, on paper at least, like something he might be interested in. But really, she gave him too much credit. He wouldn't know what to do if he did engage with someone interesting at this gathering. Partially because that would involve remembering a name.
He sips the drink he was given and makes a bit of a face, but sips it again to be polite. So far, he's missed the advance of Emma, but there are a lot of people trying to talk to him despite the man on the soapbox still speechifying.

*

Emma is content to be silent in her approach, especially as she tries to sidle up beside the young man. She, too, is a known commodity albeit less the cover story celebrity by a fair margin, and it's enough for some to back off when she gives them a not so subtle nudge in the invisible mental suggestion department.

Some people still don't get the hint, and so they get the far more overt pantomime of fingers walking in other directions as she closes in behind his shoulder.

One woman gets a flat out 'shooing' gesture, having gotten on the telepath's bad side a few months prior.

And, should all go according to plan, she'll end up near his ear eventually. "Well, well. I didn't think to see you here. Fashionably late works sometimes, still, I suppose."

*

Danny is oblivious to all of Emma's efforts to get herself through the small crowd that's gathered. He's trying to be kind and listening to what turns out to be elevator pitches from a few people. He really has no clue what they're talking about, but his forehead bunches and he does his best to absorb.
So when he hears someone addressing him from just over his shoulder, he's a little startled. He turns and looks at Emma, then smiles. The smile isn't a conscious effort to charm, but rather a reflexive thing when he's not sure what other response might be appropriate. "I'm…sorry. Have we met?" Some men, like Tony Stark, would use those three words as a flippant dismissal of someone he doesn't want to bother with. From Danny? It sounds like a genuine question, hitched with a preemptive apology if the answer is yes.

*

"Not in so many words," Emma murmurs, content at having done a little something to put the man off-guard, and walking round him so that she might offer her hand. "But it's my understanding that we have a mutual acquaintance. Mister Papsworth?"

And now that she has Danny's attention, she does all in her power to keep it. Others who would dare interfere are met with a sharp jab in the speaker's direction. Pay attention to the man up there. ….And do as she says, not as she's doing.

*

Danny is likewise conflicted. Social etiquette says he should be paying attention to the speech, but Emma is being insistent. And really, it's not too difficult to throw him off-guard and keep him there in situations like this. In a fight it would be a different story.
He takes her hand to shake. His own isn't like the hand of so many businessmen. It's not soft and manicured, but rough and callused with boxer's knuckles and a strength to them that's not initially apparent. "Ah, yes. Emery's other client. Miss…." he hunts for the name, then settles on, "…Snow?"

*

"Frost," Emma corrects heatlessly, but her smile is the polite sort meant to cover over true sentiment and make her harder to read. The nature of that hand isn't missed, but it only garner's a half-chuckle that could just as easily be attributed to blowing off the fact that she's just been paired with the wrong name. "But so close."

Tilting her head, she continues. "I've been trying to convince him to help me get a place on your agenda. Easier said than done, I'd imagine, considering that he's usually so efficient."

*

One of these days, Danny is going to realize that his hands tell a story that he might not want to tell. But the alternative is never shaking hands, which would mean cultivating a more eccentric image than he's already got. Not really a tall order, if you think about it.
He actually blushes a little when Emma corrects him. "I'm so sorry. I'm terrible with names, but I'm trying to get better." In K'un L'un, he knew the names of everyone he would meet for the next ten years within the first few months. Being back in New York with new faces every day has been a little overwhelming. "I wouldn't be surprised if Emery was trying to keep us in our own corners. Probably to make sure he doesn't end up with any kind of conflict."

*

"Well, you tell him, then, when you see him next that you want to meet with me, and I'll give you the invite to the charity gala of the season." Emma sips again from her glass, pretending to consider the speech as it continues to drag on. And on. And on.

As she watches forward, fingers toying with a thread-thin silver necklace about her throat, she continues talking. "I'm certain the delay has nothing at all to do with keeping us separate. He was the one who asked me to talk to you, you see."

*

"I don't really like…galas," says Danny as he looks around the room. The subtext is that he doesn't like events like this either. But who does? Definitely not that young upstart over thre who is paying more attention to her phone than the droner.
He is momentarily lost in the drone, but then snaps back to himself, belatedly realizing how his last words could be construed. "I mean…I'm sure it'll be a great party. But all I seem to do is awkwardly shake hands and have people pitch things at me. Or reporters pushing me with questions. Or the first kind of person disguising themselves as the second. Or vice versa." He sips his drink at the thought of it and rests a hand in his pocket. Then, "He did? Ah, he hasn't mentioned it to me." But they were kind of busy with…ninja attacks.

*

"Just talk to him," Emma says, her tone suddenly sweet and her eyes dancing with a new and hidden amusement. There's no confirmation that her gala will or won't be a great party, but there is a chuckle that might hint that it is.

Swiftly, her glass is tilted up and drained into her mouth. "But," she continues, setting the glass on a nearby highboy. "I think I'm going to slip out. I've already punched my ticket tonight." Leaning in, she whispers just a little more. "The advantage of showing up on time." Because there must be a little lesson somewhere, right? "Until next time?"

*

Danny Rand definitely looks like he needs to be taught things. And it seems to bring out teachable impulses even in those not inclined to such things. His brows furrow as she leans in and he strains to hear her whisper over the din. "Ah yeah, I guess I'll have to stay awhile since I made a spectacle of myself coming in." He grins again, this time more deliberately.
He really is a labradoodle. He might be one in a neat and stylish suit, but that just means he's a well-coiffed labradoodle rather than a stray.
"It was nice to meet you, and enjoy your evening." Again, what might sound like an empty platitude actually sounds genuine coming from him.

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