2017-01-19 Masquerade
This scene is rated Everybody
Warning: N/A
Players: Black Widow, David Xanatos
GMed by Who GMed?
Title: Masquerade

David Xanatos did not host parties very often, but tonight, Xanatos Enterprises was throwing a gala, and it was taking place in his home. Measures had been taken to secure certain areas of the castle, and a few items were temporarily relocated as an extra precaution.

The Castle had been decorated in Xanatos Enterprises colours, with the logo splashed about far more often than it would be, as they wanted it to be in most photos. This was officially for charity, with donations being accepted, and an auction on items that were scattered about the open areas of the castle.

It also happened to be a masquerade. So David Xanatos was in a style tuxedo, tailored, and over his face, he wore a gold mask that made him look like an eagle, with a beak, and feathers over his cheeks.

Natalie Rushman was a gainfully employed member of the company, one of many in the accounting department. She was here in attendance to the party tonight wearing a black dress that left her arms bare and her back also bear down to about the middle of it. Her mask was that of a raven and it covered her eyes and nose. Her red hair was done up in a bun on the back of her head.

She was walking around the perimetre of the party, moving toward the bar area while letting her dark green eyes scan around the room, simply observing everyone in attendance tonight, having already spoken to many of the older gentlemen that were quite eager to talk to the young pretty women at the party… thankfully she'd separated herself from all of those conversations so far.

Unlike most of the men at this function, David Xanatos had made no effort to single out the beautiful women. In fact, he hadn't talked to a single one who didn't happen to also be of some importance. At present, he was talking with George Crosby, and Dr. Jacqueline Hyde, "… one of these days Jackie, you're going to sell me that land in Venezuela." He was smiling, and they seemed to have been in good spirits. Though she didn't seem as impressed, "I'm sorry David, but it's still not for sale."

He smiled at her, and George made a comment about one of the items up for auction, a work by Pablo Picasso, but then Xanatos excused himself and made a bee line to the table with some food, where he picked up a plate, and took some sushi and a few other items.

David was her ultimate mark, however, so Natalie's perimetre sweep eventually led her to standing near to him and over-hearing this little exchange. She sipped her drink and pretended to just be the usual party guest while preparing a specific event to occur that would hopefully bridge the social gap between them…

She turned to the food service table just as another man was turning away from Xanatos, and they collided, causing Natalie's drink to just spill right all over her black dress. Natalie, and the man that just ran into her, both started to apologise to one another and the man went to help her get some napkins to dab at her clothing (all the good it would do)

"It is okay." Natalie said to the man. "This is why I wear black." She added with a friendly little laugh, her green eyes looking out from behind her mask.

When the Natasha and the man collided, David was nearby. But he wasn't actually involved, and the man seemed to have things taken care of, so naturally, David paid it little or no bother. Though it may have one positive result for Natasha; David checked her out. He looked her up and down, seeing the beverage seem to disappear against the black. She had caught his eye. But sadly, she hadn't done anything to hold it.

And so he took his plate away from the table, stopping for a moment as one of his aides came to him, and whispered something in his ear. At this point, Xanatos took another piece of sushi, eating it, and then began heading towards a hallway. As he approached a door, he ran his security key card over it, and typed in a little combination. The door unlocked and he headed through, though he didn't stay to make sure the door shut completely before he headed in.

So Natasha had assumed that the man hosting the party would've been more hospitable toward a woman that had just had a drink spilled on her at his hosted party, she was wrong. It happens. All was not lost, however, as she saw him move down that hallway.

The would-be accountant separated herself from the man who had spilled the drink on her (even if she'd orchestrated it secretly) and she also went down said hallway, her heeled shoes clicking on the floor quietly as she walked.

Once at his doorway that she saw him dip inside of, she peered through it with her mask and tried to observe what he was doing inside of it… hoping no security would sneak up on her, but she was a rather perceptive woman so she had full confidence she'd hear them coming.

Xanatos has people to attend to the odd spillage. In fact, two different members of wait staff approached with towels to assist, but by the time they did, Natasha was already on her way. Plus, he has never been the most considerate of others, especially when it serves him no purpose, and, there was a man between him and woman who had spilled, and he was very much willing to help out, so Xanatos decided he was not needed.

Hearing the heels echo in the hallway, he caught a glimpse of the woman in the reflection of his watch as he entered in his security code. But he allowed it. And was one of the reasons he had not stayed to ensure that the door closed securely behind him. He was intrigued.

As she peered and kept the metal door from shutting properly, she could see him sitting at a desk, typing something on a computer. "Please, come in. Have a seat." He said, without actually looking up from whatever he was typing.

So he was more perceptive than she had originally thought…

"I'm sorry." Natasha replied, her voice was husky and feminine. She pushed the door open a little further, still wearing her raven mask. "I was looking for a restroom to clean myself up a bit. I guess my curiosity got the better of me." She told him, taking a step inside the room since he'd invited her to do so. She looked around at the room itself to get a bearing on where she'd just stepped into. "Its not every day that I wander around a place like this, or even have an opportunity to. It's a bit, overwhelming for a girl from the midwest."She said, showing a smile on her red painted lips.

Completing whatever it was he was typing, he powered the computer down, and removed something from it, which he pocketed, but from her vantage point, she couldn't see what it was, a memory card, a key, something, but whatever it was, he slipped it into his pocket.

"I have a private restroom on the left," he tilted his head in the direction of the door. "You're free to use it Miss…" he had no idea who she was. But he did like the way she looked, and that voice was certainly attractive. "And where about in the Midwest are you from?" He stood and walked around the desk, leaning his backside into it and placing his palms down against it.

Natasha walked toward the restroom entrance that he indicated and she paused just outside of it and looked over at him with a smile. "St. Louis, originally." She told him before going inside and removing her mask. He might be able to see her face in the reflection of the mirror now if he looked inside of the restroom.

"I was convinced to move out here to live with some friends to help them pay rent. The limey bastards were desperate to help shuck some of the rent off of their heads, little did I know that when I got here they'd have a nice thrift-store couch waiting for me to sleep on." She ran some water and dabbed at her face and arms where the spillage had gotten. Her wet dress was a waste of time tending too it, it'd already sopped up the champagne.

When she didn't close the door to the rest room, David raised his eyebrow. Whomever she was, she certainly did seem eager. He was used to that, women trying to woo him. But most weren't quite so blatant, and frankly, very few would follow him into his office. So, she did have drive. Moving from his position, he did catch sight of her without her mask.

He decided to remove his own mask, setting it down on the table as he peeked at her from time to time while pacing. By her story, he assumed that she worked for him, otherwise, she would never have gotten invited to this party, well, other than as a plus one. But it would be exceedingly bad form to be a plus one and then to seek him out, and made all the more difficult by the mask aspect.

"Well, we can't have that." He reached into his coat for his mobile, deciding to be a little more hospitable. It may have had something to do with the sight of her reflection, showing off her soaked gown. "Yes, I'll be sending someone down who'll be needing a room. Redhead, black dress, Raven mask. Make it available to her for as long as she desires." He then hung up. And while he didn't speak particularly loudly, he wasn't trying to hide the conversation from her either.

Natasha emerged from the restroom again with her mask held at her side. Her green eyes were on him as he placed this order for her and she smiled at it. "You don't have to be so hospitable to a stranger, you know." She said in her sultry voice. "I mean, I'm certainly not going to say no to that… but I just want you to know that I'm not some, sycophant who came here looking for handouts from her wealthy boss." She smiled softly then and walked into the middle of the room, letting her gaze drift around then to admire more of the decor.

Under normal circumstances, Xanatos's office included a few different relics. But with the party, he switched to some that were of less value. These ones were for show, and contained no special magical powers, or at least, none that he was aware of.

But the office did feature a beautiful tapestry, a wall that was a monitor / television screen, a beautiful desk, and of course, a few items, a book, some armour, an ancient pot, among other things.

"Actually, I do. You still haven't introduced yourself, so until that happens, you're a stranger to me. He actually took a photo of her with a hidden camera, and was working on identifying her through his phone, which was tied into the network. But he hadn't had a chance to surreptitiously check for any response to the facial recognition software.

"Besides, we've arranged for a number of apartments for any guests that… overindulge themselves. Besides, I imagine a nice king size bed would be far better for your back than that couch." Of course, he wouldn't mind sharing that bed with her. She was gorgeous, and that husky voice of hers was rather appealing. He wouldn't be the first boss to do such a thing.

If Tony Stark couldn't get a bead on Natalie Rushman outside of the faked persona that was built under the alias, then it wasn't like Xanatos would either. What would come up would be information about her days as a model, some very lovely and revealing images in there. Information about where she went to school / college and her days in St. Louis as well as travelling abroad.%R%R

"Natalie." She'd say to him then. "Rushman. I actually work in your accounting department." She'd say then and walk to him to offer her hand and a smile. "I wasn't going to come to this tonight, but honestly… I thought a free meal and some free liquor might be a nice change of pace from just going home and listening to my roommates argue with each other over what to watch, then giggle-fight one another for the remote." She showed a small lopsided grin.

Oh, Xanatos would look into whether her story was genuine, but at the time he initiated his search, he was trying to find out who she was, period, as she hadn't given him a name. He didn't like to deal with people he didn't know, even if they looked the way she in a dress like that.

When she offered her hand, he bent down to kiss her wrist, "the pleasure is all mine, Natalie," and made strong eye contact afterwards, before releasing her slender hand. "I'm glad you came. It's not every night that I get to play a hero to a damsel in distress. Do you think the dress is salvageable?" At least he did know she had gotten it wet. He actually quite liked the way it clung to her.

"And, I'm pretty sure that the apartment comes with its very own television. You can have the remote all to yourself. Just try not to raid the mini bar or order too many movies. I do have a business to run."

Natasha smiled at him when he kissed the back of her wrist. "Well." She told him. "Thank you. I… honestly, it will change the whole game, won't it?" She flashed a faint smile, still holding the raven mask in her other hand.

"I think the dress will be fine. Its machine washable even, I think." She showed a lopsided grin at the man then and she tilted her head toward him. "Were you on a business call?" She asked then. "I mean, when I came in… It'd be a shame to think that you'd gone to all this trouble to throw this swar-ay, only to have to sneak in here and take a business call." She then smiled very faintly while watching him closely. Her stare was calm, and very seductive in nature.

"You are most welcome, and I'm glad that it wasn't a total waste." He didn't always have money, coming from some very humble beginnings. "Oh, nothing important." He dismissed her question, not really answering in the affirmative, or negative. Instead, he just sidestepped it, moving onto a new line of thought.

"My dear, sometimes I host these things, and even I don't make it to the party. It's not really for me. To be honest, I'd rather spend an evening with a good book, or doing something truly productive. Still, I can't fault the results if it means I get to meet a lovely woman such as yourself. Maybe I should attend more of my own parties."

Natasha walked over to one of the pieces of art in the room and she eyed it while he spoke, her back to him now. She smiled a little and glanced back at him and then continued to move around looking at the items on display in this office.

"I am sure there are lots of pretty women at your parties, after all I saw quite a few that were likely quite attractive, hiding behind their masks tonight." She dryly commented, reaching out to pick something up and hold it within her hand, turning it and eyeing it. "I'm not sure why you'd ever avoid a party in that case, Mister Xanatos." She went to set the piece back on the shelf she plucked it from then.

That plunging back was quite impressive, and she may have caught him staring at her, or was it her behind, in a reflected panel behind the item she had been taking an interest in. He followed after her. He was interested, to be sure, but he hadn't revealed much.

"Careful," he said as she set the piece back down. "That's 4th Century, Jin Dynasty." He took out all the truly expensive things, read magical, and replaced them with suitable alternatives. Technically, all the ones on display were supposed to be fakes, but he had no way of telling. He had experts for that.

Moving beside her, just enough to invade her personal space, but not enough to be offensive. He was hovering in that fine line between the two. "If you wish to meet beautiful women, I'm sure I could arrange that. I try to run an all inclusive business."

Natasha glanced over at him when he approached and he said that, her hands were now together in front of her lap and she heard what he said. She wasn't a tall woman, roughly around 5'3" but her heeled shoes were helping add to that.

"I've been with plenty of beautiful women." Natasha said back at him with a dry seriousness to her tone, though a moment later she showed a small smile at the corners of her red lips. "College was a wild time, you know?" She held the eye contact with him. "I hope you don't think that I came up here just to flirt perks out of my boss though… I don't want to have a bad reputation."

He was quite a bit taller than her, and he had a powerful frame, for an executive anyway, but he was not trying to intimidate her in any way. If anything, he was trying to show his interest, but be relaxed about it.

He inclined his head when she admitted that she had been with plenty of beautiful women, and enjoyed the smile. "Ah, college… I can imagine." And of course, he did. He was surprised when she held the eye contact. Most women tended to shy away from him. She impressed him.

"Oh, I won't be gossiping about this. Not that I really have anyone to gossip with. I think you lose your ability to gossip after you make your first billion. And believe me, it's a painful procedure." He was trying to make her laugh, and was curious how she'd react to a deliberately bad joke. He was testing her. Most women would laugh.

Natasha didn't laugh. She did however, show another lopsided smile/smirk but that's when she looked away to another item on display. "Your collection is impressive." She commented on it all. "If I had any idea what any of it was, I'd probably be willing to strike up a conversation on some of it…" She glanced back at him, her green eyes looking side-long in his direction. "But sadly I studied numbers in school, not mummy's and their treasures." She smirked again then.

Natasha turned away from him and walked to another shelf, slowly, but still walked away. "Why do you not have a wife?" She asked him, glancing back over her shoulder as she reached the shelf. "A man with as much money as you do, you should have ten of them by now. Or are you trying to separate yourself from the likes of… Donald Trump." She showed him a coy grin and looked away once more to a fancy plate on display, held up on its side. "A priceless bit of dishware?" She further asked, What would Tony say? "Part of me wants to cook nachos on it…" What would Tony say.

He was always guarded about certain subjects, but he didn't know her to be anything other than she claimed to be, and it was a party, perhaps he could indulge in a bit of revelry. "Finding an art curator is easy, finding a good account is hard. You wouldn't believe how many Art History majors there are in college, looking for a job completely out of their field of expertise."

He followed her, as he had been since she came in. "Oh, I suppose I just haven't found the right woman. I've always thought that I would need a woman whose ambitions matched my own." Though he didn't say what those ambitions were.

Changing the subject a little, he asked, "and what about you, Natalie Rushman? I'm sure you have plenty of admirers. Why don't I see a ring on that delicate little finger of yours?"

And then, to the nachos, he chuckled softly. "You know what, I could do with a plate of nachos. Why don't we?" And he reached into his phone, pressing a few buttons, obviously something on speed dial. "Yes, I'd like a plate of Nachos delivered to the castle sitting room." With the line still open, he asked, "what would you like to drink?"

Natasha turned to face him when he ordered the nachos and it made her show a faint smile, but she hadn't smiled large enough to show off her teeth even once as of yet, she seemed to be a woman of reserved emotions.

"I've never found anyone that really 'did it' for me." She said back at him, showing a faint smirk at her own little comment. "Honestly though, that must be very nice. To be able to just push a button and order whatever you want sent directly to. I have to scrape the microwave clean with a spatula before I can even start on nachos, and that usually takes fifteen minutes or so. By the time I'm done, I just end up eating a banana and going to bed."

The redhead walked over to his desk then and she sat down on the corner of it, setting her raven mask down on his desk, her eyes going over to watch him.

He was convinced now that she definitely was flirting, but trying to do it in an understated way. The mental image of her having a banana was bound to have a certain affect on a man such as David Xanatos, and know he was fairly certain she did it intentionally, even if it appeared to be completely innocent. He was intrigued.

"I had to work hard to get where I am, and now, well, it runs itself. But that's the key, motivating oneself to be better, to do better, and to leave a lasting legacy on this world. I've created something, and you're a part of that, Natalie. But, I can't order anything I might want. For example, there are certain things I might ask of you that would get me into a lot of trouble with the Human Resources department." He was making another joke.

He definitely was interested in her. He was showing the physical signs. His face was a little flusher. His eyes were on her, constantly, especially her chest, and of course her legs. But he hadn't said or done anything out of line. Still, the interest was there, and the opportunity.

Natasha knew that he was enjoying her style of playful banter and it made her smile softly. She glanced down in front of herself for a moment and listened to him speak. She took a moment before she looked back up at him. "So why do you have a castle ontop of your building?" She asked him then. "Were you just obsessed with… medieval architecture?"

A shake of her head was given then to him. "And I'm certainly not going to call any Human Resources department simply because my boss has offered me a free room and a plate of nachos." She showed another faint grin.

"Oh, the castle?" He paused, thinking wistfully. There was definitely more to that story. Especially the way he frowned after the first smile. But he wasn't prepared to tell. "It's a long story, but suffice it to say, I wanted it, so I took it." He grinned, thinking about something else he wants.

But no, he is her boss, ultimately, and has to respect such things. "Thank you. I'd hate to have them after me for offering rooms and nachos." Speaking of which, he gestured with a hand to a door, "I believe the nachos should be ready in teh sitting room if you'd care to join me. And if you wish, bring the plate."

Natasha stopped leaning/sitting on the corner of his desk when he indicated this and so she followed after him, her green eyes regarding the plate in question… "I would hate to disrespect it if its heritage doesn't deserve it… but, who really cares." She said with a soft smirk, grabbed the dish and followed after him toward this sitting room.

"So a man just sees a castle and figures. 'I should put this ontop of a building in the middle of Manhattan'?" This made her huff softly, the closest thing she'd come to laughing. "I admire that boldness, but gosh… that must've cost a pretty penny or two."

"People of wealth have been relocating castles pretty much since they discovered the new world. Though I was the first, and so far only one to place it at the top of a skyscraper. The Eyrie Building is still the tallest building in New York, and this is by far the tallest castle in the world."

Deciding to tease her as he led her to the sitting room, "there was a legend that the stone Gargoyles would come to life if the castle rose above the clouds." There are no stone Gargoyles outside. "But, things don't always work out the way you had planned. In the end, I had them removed." Everything he said was true, after a fashion.

Arriving in the sitting room, there was plate of nachos, as well as a selection of champagne, wine, water, orange juice, and a few mixed drinks on a trolly. There was a lovely couch, some chairs, sofa, books, it was a place to relax and enjoy ones self.

Natasha followed with him, carrying that plate. (she left her mask in his office). "What if the day was really foggy?" She asked him dryly, grinning a little. "Isn't fog technically a low cloud?"

When they entered the sitting lounge she walked around for a moment, eyeing everything but she eventually ended up near the beverages and the nachos. Tony would be quite happy. "Why would you have ancient Gargoyles removed?" She asked him then. "I would imagine that their craftsmanship would be, remarkable. Unless you skimmed them to help pay for the placement of the castle." She showed a soft grin and sat down on the sofa, crossing her legs at the knees.

"No, nothing like that," he said about the Gargoyles, "they just… didn't agree with me." In more ways than one. And as for the terms of the spell, "I didn't write the legend, I just tried to fulfil it."

He didn't mind her taking the plate. Though the nachos were already on a plate, with smaller plates for them to use, should they desire it. He decided to move to the couch, taking a seat on it, leaving room for her to sit beside him, or keep a space between them. He wondered how she would proceed.

"So, Natalie, if you could have anything in the world, right now, what would it be?"

Natasha did sit on the sofa near to him and she reached out to accept one of the glasses of alcohol. She smiled at his additional information on the gargoyles. "Well there's a child-like charm to trying to fulfil that legacy, through the use of ungodly amounts of money and man power." She said with a soft smile.

After she sipped the drink she heard his last question. She had to consider it for a moment. "Well." She started. "I have already gotten a free room with its on television and remote… so asking for any more than that, I guess I'd be selfish." She exhaled a little and shook her head at him. "I don't know. Cure for cancer, or aids, perhaps? World hunger solved? I mean, you did say anything, after all…"

He reached out, pouring some of the orange juice into a glass, and some alcoholic beverage to go with it, but he didn't pour very much alcohol. He liked to have his wits about him. He turned to regard her as she sat next to him, smiling. He could smell the spilt booze, and her shampoo, deodorant, perfume, or some other scent she was wearing. It was lovely. "I'm afraid you're going to have to choose. This genie only grants one wish."

Natasha sipped her drink while watching him, she hadn't moved toward the nachos as of yet because she was more interested in what he was saying and doing. She smiled faintly at him. "I'll choose world hunger then." She said. "I'm tired of the infomercials about all the kids that need my one dollar a month." She said this, like everything, with this dry and disinterested tone of voice… She seemed world-weary for a woman who wouldn't be older than 29 at most.

"Ah, that… well, I suppose it might be time to release our new seeds." Did he actually have a solution to world hunger? It was hard to put it past him, with his company's abilities. Though was there enough profit in solving that issue? Otherwise, one of the other mega corps would have released their own version.

"It might not… solve world hunger, but it will certainly make a dent in it. We've designed some new crops that can grow in harsher climates, worse soil, for a longer growing season. Some are further along than others, but we hope to double all crop yields by 2032."

He was talking business, but this was legitimate business. "And here, I thought you'd ask for something personal, for yourself, or perhaps, about me?"

Natasha seemed to not really be affected by his story about the crops and the future that they might yield. She did nod her head two small times to him though and she spoke quietly. "That is impressive then. I'll be curious to see how that turns out."

At his statement about her not accepting a granted wish for herself she just smirked a little and looked down toward the table that all the food was situated on. "Like I said, I already got a free apartment… which I haven't seen… but am willing to assume that it's a considerable step up from where I am currently piling my belongs, as sleeping."

She looked back up at him then and watched him with her striking green eyes. "I already asked you about your personal life, a wife and such. What else could I possibly be so rude as to question you further about?" She smiled a little again. "You're literally on top of the world, if I want to know more about you all I have to do is look on the internet, right?"

He grinned, nodding his head, "ah, you read the article in Times magazine?" It was entitled, David Xanatos on top of the world, with an image of him on the ramparts of his castle, but instead of looking down on New York city, he looked to the sky.

"Oh, I'm sure it is. Perhaps I could even come visit you, if that wouldn't be inappropriate?" He asked. "And, as to my personal life. There isn't much of one. I'm not dating anyone at the moment. I suppose my work takes up too much of my free time. And you never did say if you were… single."

Natasha nodded gently to the Times bit and sipped her drink. "I had to know more about my new boss, didn't I?" She asked with a small grin.

She stared at them as he said the rest, her expression was devoid of emotion, just simply a pretty face watching him and analysing everything he did and said, she had a haunting quality to her, like if 'robots were real and hiding among us' she… may very well be one of them.

When he asked about her personal status she smiled faintly once more. "I don't share this on facebook… I was married once." She looked ahead of them across the room. "Out of college, a marine. We were… wildly in love, as kids often are. I used to think that whenever he'd be called off to fight somewhere, that I'd never see him again." She looked back to David then. "But I was wrong." A small pause. "He was killed in a car accident a block away from our apartment, going to get me a pint of ice cream because I had a 'bad day at work'." She huffed a little then and leaned back on the sofa, drawing her glass up to her painted lips for another silent sip.

She was good, she was damn good. She managed to touch David Xanatos' heart. He did have one, he just didn't show it very often. As he listened to her story, and leaned back, he instinctively reached out with an arm, behind her shoulders, and rubbed at the far one, "I'm… I'm so sorry Natalie. That must have been devastating. I couldn't imagine how I would have felt in your circumstance. You are so strong and brave to face that kind of hardship." He looked into her eyes, trying to be comforting, but it was a somewhat alien notion to him. He didn't do this very often.

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