2019-12-09 - Balcony Banter


A charity event gets a little awkward.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Dec 9 03:51:04 2019
Location: RP Room 3

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Theme Song



It's that time of year, of course. The season in which everyone is expected to open their wallets a little wider, and that doesn't make exception based on class. Tonight's gala is expected to benefit a charity for the homeless, with a silent auction of donated items, and plenty of patrons. The room is dressed in small twinkling lights, with boughs of pine and holly, all the appropriate holiday notes.

Thea had been drafted to attend, her father being unable to attend - or so she was to tell people. She was the dutiful politician's daughter, making it sound like he is busy with pending legislation, when the truth is he's off taking his wife and son to Europe for the holidays. He had promised a donation, and she had been obliged to bring the expensive bit of sculpture to the gala. This is her punishment for not taking part in the 'family holiday', and so she will bear it - much more easily than weeks in her stepmother's presence, truthfully. She'd done the appropraite oohs and ahhs when the sculpture was placed onto a pedestal before she'd made a break for the stairs.

The balcony is darker, and nigh deserted. Finally she feels like she can take a breath, and sip at her glass of too sweet wine, and let her shoulders relax. Hair that is soft red is pulled away from her face, falling in in perfect straightness down her back. The dress is golden lace over a black sheath, with a keyhole slit to allow just a hint of cleavage. The heels are black Louboutins with that distinctive red sole. Her makeup is surprisingly light and natural, given how many smoky eyes and red lips abound this evening.

Oliver Queen donated a car. The new Bugatti sold at auction for almost twice it's original price, which made for a tidy addition to the charity's coffers. And, after all, it's not as if he'll miss it.

The young CEO is several days away from a shave, which is no surprise. He's found his way into a dinner jacket that suits his broad-shouldered figure without being overstated, though he's passed on wearing a tie or buttoning his top button. Also no surprise. Having already shaken the prerequisite number of hands and gone through a certain amount of rich person posturing and butt-sniffing, he's grateful to be on his way to one of the bars. "Bourbon, please. Neat."

While his drink is poured, he tosses a crisp $100 into the the tip glass and then knuckles at his eyes. Once he's clear, he steps out onto the balcony for a quiet sip, only to disturb someone with the same idea. "Whoops," he chuckles. "I didn't realize someone was already hiding out here."

Thea turns her head, offering a smile. She doesn't recognize him, at least not right away. Her mind has been on a lot of other things, as of late. She hasn't been keeping up on anything like business news, or high society chatter. She's almost managed to avoid events like this for the last year.

There's a sip of her wine, as she tries to not make a face. "Well, it's a big enough space to hide us both, I think." There's a flash of a broad, bright smile. "I just prefer to not be in the middle of all the dazzling diamonds and fake… everything." There's a low laugh. "Thea Harman." She'll offer a hand, with another quick, but warm smile. "I promise not to rat out your hiding spot."

The first sip of bourbon is a long one, followed by a low, appreciative noise from the back of Oliver's throat. He's been a mainstay at events like these for more than a decade, so there's usually not much that surprises him. He takes Thea's hand and gives it a brief, gentlemanly lift and squeeze. It's clearly a practiced maneuver that has been performed countless times. "Oliver Queen," he introduces himself. "I'm with you. All of that…" he pauses to wave in the direction of the main ballroom. "…does nothing for me. Pleasure to meet you, though."

He has the look of it, too. Clearly bored. His white-on-white jacket and shirt with a noticeable lack of tie is an obvious thumbing of his nose at the attire of the rest of the attendees. It's expensive enough, but his informality speaks volumes. His only accoutremant is a lapel pin made from a clear, winking emerald.

"I can tell. You're a rebel." The laugh is genuine, as she leans against the gorgeous wrought railing. "No tie, not even all the way buttoned up. No flash, no pretty arm candy hanging on you and your every word." The smirk is a little lopsided, and those pale blue gray eyes are amused. "I might just have to decide to like your style, Oliver Queen."

Of course, she's dressed the part, mostly. But she's also skipped the baubles, no flashy jewelry here. Her earrings are simple geometric shaped hoops, and there's no necklace, bracelet and certainly no ring. The nails are simple and unpolished - though they gleam with what might be a clear coat. "I'm sad I haven't met you before. Maybe then I wouldn't have done my best to dodge these things as much as humanly possible with my family. "

"Rebel? Hardly. But I'm not what one would call good company, either," Oliver replies with blase self-deprecation. However, he does salute the compliment with a brief raising of his glass before the bourbon is drained off and set aside. "A few more glasses of wine with me and you'll end up on the front page of some tabloid."

True enough. Oliver Queen and his lady friends are frequent targets of questionable journalists. Often for good reason. "Anyway, this party isn't that bad. Boring, for sure, but at least they're done taking pictures for now."

"Oh good. Because good company at these things leave me feeling like I've been watching paint dry." The smile is a little wicked, before she's looking at the glass of wine. "This wine? Not likely. I'm sure your whiskey was better. This is too sweet for my tastes." Her head tilts, before she laughs. "Surprisingly unlikely. I always manage to be missed by the camera at such events. It's a blessing." She is definitely amused.

She glances down and over the people mingling below, watching them small talk and pretend that they're all such good friends. There's a hint of a shudder, before she looks over at Oliver. "It's for a good cause. That much I can get behind. Though most of these people pretend the homeless and poor don't exist, unless it has a photo op." There's that touch of jaded mentality showing. "Sorry. There's my true personality peeking out. It's why I'm rarely drafted to come to such things for my father. He doesn't understand why I go and help at the center in Mutant town, and that sort of thing." There's a roll of a shrug.

"Mmm. Well, I'm hardly a philanthropist. My family's been donating and attending for years. Now that I wear the Queen's crown, I guess it's on me." The CEO smiles at his little joke, then shrugs. "We do what we have to, I suppose."

He peers out over the crowd as well, but rather than revulsion, his expression is one of detached disinterest. "Everything for them is about this season's dress, or that designer's diamonds. Who got an invite to the most exclusive golf club. It's all a bit much, don't you think? I'm not saying they have to bleed for their fellow man, but they aren't the most original group."

Thea will lay a hand to her chest. "Politician's daughter. So I have to make the appearance, and give his excuses, and make him look good. So I know what you mean by it's on you." There's a shrug.

She studies him while he looks over the crowd, watching the light and shadow playing over his face. "Most of them wouldn't know how to give their fellow man first aid, let alone bleed for them." There's a hint of steel buried under the words. "Original thought is pretty foreign to them. I supposed I should be grateful… I ended up sent overseas for education - I didn't get put through the factory to become a good little sparkly wearing sheep."

Oliver raises an eyebrow, but doesn't look away from the spread of humanity in front of them. "Must be nice. I did my turn at the factory, so I can be a very sparkly sheep when the need arises."

Despite his words, there's nothing cold about his tone. That's simply how life is for him. "My only experience overseas was getting lost at sea. Now I'm back and all this is just… eh. Whatever. If history teaches us anything, it's that I'll stick this out for another hour and then bail out to my favorite club to wash the taste out of my mouth."

There's low laughter, before she finishes that wine with a long swallow. She'll step aside to set the glass somewhere safe. " You are not a sparkly sheep. A sparkly sheep would be down there, kissing rings and getting his ring kissed in turn. You'd have the appropriate date - lovely, charming, and not making statements like I just made." There's a lingering smile as hands rest on the railing to look down over the lights, the people, the pretty objects gathered for auction.

"That had to be rough. I wasn't sent to a fancy boarding school, but at least I knew where I was. Sand, not sea." A hint of a smile. "It can all seem a little trivial, when you've seen other things in the world. I imagine you have, or you would be down there charming someone else." The grin is mischief in lipsticked form. "Does history often repeat itself in affairs such as these? And you'll have to tell me your favorite club. I always love a good place to dance and forget this side of things."

"'Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,'" Oliver quotes. "Nobody ever seems to learn from anything, so yeah, it's always pretty much the same. I've been coming to these since I was sixteen. I gave up on perfect dates and perfect outfits and being charming a long time ago."

As for clubs, he pats his pockets until he comes up with a crisp, expensive business card. On one side the words "OLIVER QUEEN PICKED ME!" is embossed in gold. On the other, printed in much smaller letters are an address and the words, 'Entitles the bearer to unlimited food and beverage, as well as limited VIP access. One night only.'

"There you go," he says, offering it. "I opened this place about a year ago. Someone else runs it now, but it's a decent spot to hang my hat."

"Churchill - though he paraphrased from the original by the philosopher Santayana - Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Thea looks away from the crowd to Oliver. "At sixteen I was buried in lingustic homework. This /might/ have been prefferable." There's a chuckle.

When she glances down at the card, there's a startled sweep of a laugh, before she looks up at him. "See? A sparkly sheep would be all about his status. You make light of it, of yourself and all of this, with a card like this. Of course, I am sure some women take it all very seriously." There's a nod, before that card is tucked away in a tiny pocket - a dress with pockets! It's not a myth! "It's good to open your own things, dabble in things outside the family sphere, so to speak. Maybe I'll even get lucky and see you there, and ask you to dance."

"Ahh, an educated lady. Well, I do enjoy my modest accomplishments," Oliver acknowledges with a chuckle and a nod. "I normally hand those out to the hangers-on. They seem to like them. Lots of excitement and squealing."

He makes a soft, thoughtful noise, as if to say, 'to each their own.' "Stop by sometime. I'm not much of a morning person, so it's not hard to find me there in the evenings. Nobody cares about status there, it's kind of my mission statement."

"Well, when you have nothing but educational books in an isolated area, there's not a ton to do but work out and read. So I did lots of both, and surprisingly retained such habits." She will smirk at him. "I'm sorry, did I disappoint you with my amusement versus squealing? I am sure you are used to the star-struck, and while I vaguely know who you are, it's just not my nature." She's met famous before, after all.

"Mornings are the work of the devil. If I am up before the sun rises, you can bet I likely never went to sleep the night before." There's a wink at that. "No status symbols? You are ever more interesting. It sounds like a great spot to escape to."

Oliver straightens and stretches, arching his back like a cat and then rolling his shoulders. "It's true, you didn't scream. They normally scream. I'll try to contain my dismay."

Cheerful without being happy. Polite without being solicitous. Engaging without being committed. All in all, he appears to be a bored but pleasant young man who holds no strong opinions on any particular topic.

"But no, I'm not much for separating the classes," he admits. "You seem nice enough, I imagine you'll like it. Everyone has fun, no one has anything shitty to say to each other. Most of the time, anyway. It's my little contribution to civilization."

"You haven't done anything to be worthy of a scream, yet." It's joking, playful, more than flirtacious. "I am ever so sorry to disappoint." The smile says she's not sorry at all.

"Well, I'm more used to places less rarified than this, so I may blend right in. You may not ever see me." There's a chuckle at that, even as she runs her eyes over him again. "Few people call me nice enough, but I'll take it."

"Well, the club isn't going anywhere. They were still posting a profit the last time I checked, anyway." Oliver shrugs and tosses his head, as if to indicate the distant venue. "If I don't catch you the first time, I'm sure I'll see you there at some point."

He picks up his empty glass and glances down into it ruefully. "Time for me to make another trip to the bar. If anyone asks, I was drunk. A slob. If you do decide to scream, tell people it's because I tried to grope one of the servers."

" Well, a profit is better than a loss." Thea will state the most obvious thing ever. "I'll keep an eye out for you, either way. Never know where I might pop up."

She glances at his glass, chuckling. "A total drunken wastrel, got it. A lecher, even." There's a bit of something too close to a giggle for Thea's taste. "Is that how you got that flesh wound? Groped the wrong server?" It's playful still, teasing, as she picks up her glass to head for the stairs back down into the gleaming and glittering chaos.

And just like that, the polite, playful playboy is gone. Now Oliver is alert, even stern, though he doesn't raise his voice. "What, did you spy on me while I was getting dressed? Geez."

It's not the most pleasant of thoughts, especially considering how he got the injury in the first place. Not a long list of ways she could have found out about it, either. The implications aren't great and he continues without waiting for a reply to his question. "Look… it was nice meeting you. I'm gonna get out of here. I'll see you later."

There's a laugh. "While I am sure that would have been a sight to behold, no. That's not how I know. Just a talent of mine. We can talk about it sometime."

There's a lift of her empty glass. "I'm leaving. You don't have to." But she's already on her way down the stairs.

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