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DCH - Shifting Landscapes

 
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Ms. Wynne
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:36 pm    Post subject: DCH - Shifting Landscapes Reply with quote

Part I - Amanda Wynne

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.
~ Oscar Wilde


Amanda was working late at the L.A. DCH Offices when the call came through.

“Amanda, its Dewey.” Not that he had to announce himself; Amanda knew full well who he was. She’d recognize his voice in a pitch dark room. Mr. Dewey held the air of a gentleman two or three centuries out of trend. His mannerisms and meticulous speech pattern would have given him away if not his deep baritone voice with a hint of a Boston clip. “As you are already aware, I am on an extended guest lecture tour at Miskatonic University. Unfortunately, my dear, a situation has arisen in Rhy’Din and I need you there.”

“But of course, sir. I would be more than happy to help!” Amanda injected sincerity and warmth in her husky, whiskey-smooth voice. In many ways, Amanda Wynne had a lot in common with the Honorable Mr. Dewey. Perhaps that’s why he’d offered to take her “under his wing” so to speak? None of that mattered right now. What did matter was this opportunity.

The past decade had been hard on Amanda. Since her “employment” with the firm she’d been angling for full partnership. Such a feat was impossible when the partners were off somewhere else and not at the main L.A. offices. She wasn’t sure why they moved their primary base to Rhy’Din in the first place. From what she’d heard the town was more like a medieval backwater than an urban mecca like L.A.. Or why Lilah Morgan had been summoned but not her. None of that mattered right now as Mr. Dewey was about to change everything and put Amanda smack dab in the middle of all three Senior Partners. She couldn’t have asked for more.

“The situation is grim, I’m afraid.” continued Mr. Dewey. “It seems Mr. Howe has been negligent and evidence of his less than savory activities has managed to fall into the hands of a local Rhy’Din journalist.” Mr. Dewey might have sounded tired to anyone else but Amanda knew exasperation when she heard it. “I don’t have all the details in front of me, but everything I have has already been forwarded to you. I need you to find out what this information is, if it is valid and can it be verified?”

“Of course, Mr. Dewey,” Amanda allowed her enthusiasm to reflect in her voice. “I assume you would like me to implement standard operations procedures, sir? I can have a clean-up crew in Rhy’Din in under twenty-four hours, sir.”

“No, Ms. Wynne. Not this time. If the information is true, we will not bother to cover this up for Howe. We will need to disassociate, understand, my dear?”

Amanda’s heart had skipped several beats. Trouble in paradise… Howe might be out as a Senior Partner. The potential was staggering!

Amanda was careful to moderate the tone of her voice, keeping the excitement out. “As you wish, Mr. Dewey. I will implement our alternative procedures instead and minimize the firm’s involvement with Mr. Howe and any of his nefarious activities.”

“Excellent, Amanda. I knew I could count on you, my dear. I shall expect daily reports on the situation.”

“Of course, Mr. Dewey.”

“Goodnight, my dear.” The line went dead before Amanda could respond. It didn’t matter; she was over the moon excited. This was her chance! She couldn’t wait to see Lilah’s face!!! Boy, was she going to be upset and Amanda was going to bask in every wonderful second of it!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:24 am    Post subject: DCH - Shifting Landscapes Part II – Darien Fenner Reply with quote

Part II – Darien Fenner – THE Journalist

((Author's Notes: The following is based on scene between Mr. Cheatham, Darien Fenner and Ms. Wynne. Thanks to all the players involved!))

Never trust a reporter who has a nice smile.
~ William Rauch


Amanda had run out of time. She’d arrived in Rhy’Din less than an hour ago. She was able to drop her luggage off at the Marketplace Offices before she had to rush to meet Mr. Cheatham at a local café for a meeting with the Rhy’Din journalist. Luckily the café was nearby.

At least she’d had time to read over the information they had so far. The article inferred a lot, but she needed to see the actual files the article was supposedly based upon. To that end, she would have to play nice with the journalist. Amanda didn’t mind playing nice… it just wasn’t her first choice.

The café was littered with patrons but it took her mere seconds to find Mr. Cheatham. He’d changed since last she’d seen him but his aura was unmistakable, to her at least. For the briefest moment Amanda stared at him surprised by his handsome façade. Wendell was never a man to take center stage, always preferring to lurk in the shadows, but a man as handsome as he would never stay lost in the dark for long. Amanda chuckled to herself as she moved through the tables, chairs and patrons to join him.

Mr. Cheatham stood as Amanda approached. He held open his arms and they shared air kisses and a mock hug, all very LA and trendy. There was a heat in the exchange of glances but just as hot as it burned it was as quickly extinguished. Cheatham waved Amanda towards a chair then pulled it out for her. They hadn’t spoken in years but there was an easy familiarity between them. Amanda let Wendell seat her before waving over one of the servers.

“We have a client meeting us.” Amanda offered the server a cred stick with four hundred credits allotted to it. “If you could keep an eye on us, and come when we wave, but give us space so as to not appear to be hovering, there is another just like that one waiting for you.” The server was so overwhelmed the poor man couldn’t speak. He looked at the cred stick then at Amanda then back at the cred stick. As he pocketed the cred stick, he nodded.

“White wine preferably Pinot Grigio for me. Amanda?” Mr. Cheatham smiled at the speechless server.

“The same please.” Amanda added nodding back to the server.

The server was quick to fill their order. He then attempted to look busy some twelve or so paces away.

“I take it your trip was uneventful?” Mr. Cheatham asked.

Amanda was dressed in a professional looking suit of midnight blue. The skirt was tailored to fit and the blouse was simple and elegant. She looked more urban than medieval, but Mr. Dewey had reassured her it would be fine. Amanda smiled over to Mr. Cheatham and nodded. “Yes, it was a very quiet event.”

“That color suits you Amanda.” Yes, there was one of Mr. Cheatham’s smiles bitten onto the back of that statement. That smile disappeared behind a glass of wine as he took a drink. His gaze meandered away to watch the comings and goings, especially the comings. “Did you read the article I sent you? The one by this Fenner person we are meeting tonight?”

“Yes, I read the article” Amanda’s voice was whiskey-smooth and dusky, a low sultry tone with an accent reminiscent of Boston. She too enjoyed a sip of wine. Amanda set the glass to the table and directed her gaze on the handsome man beside her. While he watched others she took the opportunity to watch him. He’d done a lot of *changing* since last they’d seen each other. She knew she needed to focus and with a light shrug she cleared her thoughts. “Until we know what evidence is held against the firm we can't do much, I'm afraid.”

For every bit as sharp as the seated pair were dressed, the Aussie journo arrived looking only half that; wearing a designer wrinkled pair of khakis and a purposefully disheveled pale blue oxford rolled up to the elbows. If nothing else, his walk gave him away as he neared the cafe. It was the walk of someone who thought far too highly of himself.

Mr. Cheatham inclined his head to point out the man in khaki and blue. “That swaggering man is him, I believe.” Wood scraped against stone as he pushed his chair back and stood up. “Mr. Fenner?”

Amanda followed Wendell’s lead and stood up also.

“Mr. Cheatham, I presume?” Darien Fenner’s messenger bag was pushed back from his hip as he extended his hand.

“Indeed.” Mr. Cheatham reached to take the man's hand in a firm shake. “This is an associate, Amanda Wynne.” He gestured to the woman beside him as introduction.

A smile graced Amanda’s lips, but somehow managed to miss serious dark brown eyes as she turned to assess Mr. Fenner. Yes, his walk suggested arrogance and ego. All lovely and useful tools for someone in her trade to use against him. She waited until Fenner and Cheatham shook hands before offering Fenner hers. “Good evening, Mr. Fenner, it is a pleasure, I'm sure.”

“I wasn't aware I should'a been expectin' anyone else.” But Darien took her hand, not bothering to hide his cursory perusal of her physical attributes. “Miss Wynne.”

Mr. Cheatham retook his seat. His gaze moved between the two. “Well, given the nature of our business I felt Ms. Wynne should be present given her experience with slander suits.”

“Mr. Fenner,” Amanda granted him a nod before retaking her seat. His flirtation seemingly overlooked or perhaps it slipped past her? Let his perceptions color it. “What would you like to drink?”

There was a subtle twitch in Darien’s lips at Cheatham's blunt explanation. Amusement, perhaps? “Nothin' f'r me.” Once Wynne was seated he followed suit, intense aquamarines finally taking in Cheatham.

Amusement must be contagious tonight for it certainly glittered in Cheatham’s blue gaze and it wasn't the wine. “Are you a subtle man, Mr. Fenner?”

“When th'occasion calls f'r it.” The corners of Darien’s eyes wrinkled humorously. “But I find the'ah's often a distinct difference between necessary subtlety and superfluous tact.”

The server was already approaching the table, having been coached earlier by Amanda. She waves the man away. Her attention focused on the journalist, the smile offered was sweet and light but dark brown eyes remained mysteriously serious.

“Shall we just get down to it then?” Cheatham asked. There was a slight pause, an illusion of waiting for consent.

A gesture of Darien’s fingers was an affirmative response.

“Recently your paper published an article about one of the partners of my firm, Mr. Howe. Now the article was not on the editorial page so it was not an editorial, correct?” The wine glass was turned as Mr. Cheatham spoke.

“It was published as a part of my column, "In Oth'a Words," which 'as been called an editorial column by some.” Darien corrected Cheatham politely, resting his elbows on the arms of the chair and folding his hands between them.

Amanda said nothing. She simply sat there watching Fenner with those large brown eyes and a sweet smile.

“So you aren't a real investigative journalist?” Surprise weaved through the tone of Mr. Cheatham’s voice. “What do you call it, Mr. Fenner? Fact or opinion?”


(To Be Continued...)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:56 am    Post subject: DCH - Shifting Landscapes Part II – Darien Fenner Cont. Reply with quote

“I call it a professional conviction, based on facts. Th'effort put into my column is rath'a substantial.”

“And is this professional conviction truth to you? Facts?” Cheatham took another drink, all the time watching the man.

Amanda moved her wine glass off to the side of the table where no one was sitting, as far out of the way as it could get and remain on their table. Her gaze never wavered from Fenner even as she went about this small, unexplained task.

A slow, cynical smile crept across Darien’s lips. “I thought we were doin' away with subtlety, Mr. Cheatham. Would ya like t'tell me what you're gettin' at?”

Cheatham’s gaze shifted away to Ms. Wynne before returning to Fenner. “Nothing subtle about the questions. But in a legal matter there is a difference between what is contained in an editorial and what is in a true news piece.”

Amanda made a pretense of glancing at Mr. Cheatham, a polite, shallow gesture really, more a show of public deference than anything else. Her real attention was honed on Fenner. Every tiny movement, every insignificant shift was being registered as if she was deciphering his tells.

“Plain and simple, you made a number of allegations about one of the firm's partners and in fact about the firm itself. We want to see the proof and the source of this information.” Mr. Cheatham said pointedly.

“I off'a th'facts in my column, Mr. Cheatham.” Darien sat up so his face was two inches closer to the attorney, “I may occasionally off'a my opinion about them, as y'will 'ave seen in several previous articles, but that does not change that I formulate this opinion based on facts.”

Tit for tat, the attorney leaned the same distance towards the reporter. “Then show us this proof.”

Amanda smiled and it seemed to exude calm as she too leaned in toward the pair of them. “Gentlemen, please? We are at a cafe, in public. Perhaps we could take the intensity down a notch, for my sake? Please?”

Not a sideways glance was offered to Wynne as Darien reached mechanically into his messenger bag and pulled out a folder. It made a loud ‘thwap’ on the table and slid partially toward Cheatham. The proof was gestured at matter-of-factly, open-palmed.

“Photocopies of everythin' that was passed ov'a t'me by a trusted source. All found in Howe's office - presumably before it blew up.”

One brow inched up a little at the presentation of the folder and information. Then Cheatham nodded to Wynne and sat back. “And the source's name?” Fact: Cheatham didn't really care where it came from but it would appear proper that it was asked.

Amanda nodded to the two men as she gathered up the photocopies Fenner had tossed to the table. “Is this all of what you have, Mr. Fenner? You wouldn't be holding anything out, would you, sir?”

“How are those renovations goin', by the way?” Darien feigned intense interest. “Which numb'a is this? Th'third? fourth time? Don't y'get th'third repair free?” he asked Cheatham, conversationally. “Certainly not.” to Wynne. “And...” he smiled an arrogant smile that did not meet his eyes, “I am not at liberty to reveal my sources, Mr. Cheatham. I'm sure y'und'astand.”

“Actually the fifth one is the free one. This is Rhy’Din after-all. Never know when an office, or bakery or car will explode.” Mr. Cheatham answered conversationally back. His head canted to the side as he studied the man, deciding whether the point deserved pressing.

Amanda's smile broadened. “So kind of you Mr. Fenner. I do hope you are willing to hear our side of these issues with a fair and open mind? I believe you are a man of scruples, sir, I hope you prove me right.”

“I am always open t'new information.” Diplomatically put, though that intense look in Darien’s eyes seemed to be glued there.

Cheatham looked aside at Amanda. Did she really just use the word scruples? The amused smile returned as he looked back to Fenner. “I trust you have the originals tucked away someplace safe, Mr. Fenner?”

“I do.”

“Well then, I believe we have what we need.” Mr. Cheatham tipped his head to Wynne in case she had something else to add.

Amanda made note of that look in Fenner's eyes and the intensity behind it but her smile remained intact as light and sweet as it ever had been. Her gaze shifted between the two men, a flicker of an expression too quick for the human eye to track is passed to Cheatham. Amanda turned back to Fenner and nodded.

“We will contact you with the details when we are ready to give our press conference.”

“We'll make a point of 'avin' someone the'ah.” Darien’s chin dropped several centimeters. An acknowledgement.

And Cheatham surely had a press conference smile. Wood scraped stone again as he pushed his chair back to stand.

“If I may... one last question, Mr. Fenner?” Amanda suddenly asked.

“Miss Wynne?” Darien mimicked Cheatham's motions.

She was the center of their attention at the moment.

“What did Mr. Howe do... to you, sir?” Her voice invites Fenner's confidence and her smile is gentle and reassuring. Obviously she is fishing for some idea as to what may be behind Fenner's intensity. “Or was it against someone you know?”

Interesting question, Mr. Cheatham thought. Blues stabbed towards Fenner to watch his reaction to the question.

His returning look was frustratingly cryptic, albeit diplomatically bland. “I don't make th'news, Miss Wynne. I 'jes write about it.” Oh so kindly, Darien’s smile returned as if to thank her for her obvious 'compassion.'

Cheatham started to laugh out loud. It was genuine humor. “Do you carry around a little book of quotations Fenner?”

Mr. Cheatham moved aside to place a hand on the back of Wynne's chair and draw it out for her to stand. Amanda flowed gracefully to her feet, her smile as warm as a summer's day. She wasn't in the least phased by Fenner's avoidance, rather she was amused and she allowed it to show... just a hint... past the chill of her usual facade. She nodded to Fenner.

“Secrets are hard to keep... and sometimes... with the right amount of pressure... they are easily unearthed. We thank you for the information, Mr. Fenner. I look forward to seeing you again, sir.” Amanda held out her hand to Fenner.

At Cheatham's reaction, Darien showed his teeth - all too white and perfect. He rose in accordance with them taking Wynne's hand he gave it a shake. “Miss Wynne.”

Amanda slipped the photocopies into her leather case and snapped it close. One last nod and smile was granted the Journalist. She turned her attention to Mr. Cheatham, awaiting his lead.

Never trust a journalist that doesn't have nicotine stained teeth. Cheatham did not offer his hand again. “Thank you for meeting with us this evening.”

The lead came as a touch of Cheatham's hand to Amanda’s elbow as he started to steer her out into the open market. They had plenty of work ahead; papers to review, plans to make.

“Mr. Cheatham.” The polite regards were not returned, but Darien dipped his chin cordially half an inch. He slung his bag over his shoulder and headed in the opposite direction away from the pair.

(To Be Continued...)
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