Business or Pleasure?

Rivoli Ballroom

Arched ceilings and doorways, this ballroom is the epitome of elegance and grace — the only ballroom of its type left in London after the 1950s. A veritable wonderland of plush red velvet and gold-framed walls, Austrian crystal chandeliers and Chinese lanterns it stands as a testament to perfect retro glamour. Round tables draped with long tablecloths have been set up at one end of the large space, each table sporting a large vase of exotic flowers. Along the wall nearest the tables is an elaborate buffet as well as a bar that offers any number of drinks. A live band plays on a stage that rises above the dance floor, the music varying to old familiar songs to those lesser known bands about to make a breakthrough.


Characters

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Rhys Corrie

It's remarkable, really, just how noisy a party like this can get. One wouldn't quite think it would match those clubs downtown, where the throbbing beat of the music can be heard several blocks away, but it nearly does. No, the beat isn't quite so throbbing — there are guests on the upper floors of the hotel to consider — but a mixer like this would be nothing if the music wasn't hot, hip, and completely bleeding edge.

Rhys Owens, Media Mogul for Reese Entertainment, has a grin suitable to the Cheshire Cat on his features, as he stands casually midway in the room. He's not really off to the side, but neither is he right in the thick of things. He doesn't need to be. People seek him out; not the other way around. The labels he represents distribute widely across Europe and even a short run with REC can launch a career for years to come.

In his right hand, he holds a flute of white sparkling wine. His left is pushed deeply into his trouser pockets. Indeed, he's dressed sharply, this evening — dark trousers, a blue silk shirt with a high collar and no tie, a dark suit jacket that hangs undone but still shows an exquisite hand-tailored line. Everything about him, from the tousled shag of hair on his head to the freshly shined Italian leather of his shoes, from the cut and material of his suit to the understated bling of his jewellery (a watch, a signet ring, and a pair of very nice cufflinks — since the chain he wears can't be seen beneath his shirt) makes a statement about him. For the most part, it speaks of confidence, control, and currency… all without oozing sleeze or shouting look-at-me-I'm-rich. He walks the line well.

He barely makes eye contact with most people, however — particularly the young females that vie for his attention. By reputation, he could be a media industry Tony Stark. But, he doesn't particularly seem to be interested in playing the playboy tonight.

-

Launch parties are both a bane and a boon. Good for the artists, good for the networking, perhaps not so great for Corrie Kavanaugh. Though she has no issue pulling off the look, and she has impeccable etiquette, she still often feels as though she flounders at these events. This is generally why she avoids them when at all possible.

Unfortunately for her, this evening is the launch of one of her clients and so her presence is a must.

Her dress seems to be slightly simplistic though still glamourous — a soft, grey baby doll halter with an empire waist and shimmering sequins. With each step as she makes the rounds, she seems to sparkle. To gain confidence.

With the party well underway, she's keeping her eye on a few of the larger contenders to sign the band. This means that every so often her eyes flit toward Rhys Owens. Eventually extracting herself from a rather chatty diva, she strides directly to the center of the room head held high. Even so, her eyes are kept well averted from his as she closes the distance.

-

Rhys' eyes track the silvery publicist as she makes her way across the room. He doesn't move from his vantage spot, however. A faint smile touches his lips, though, as he notes her ability to command center stage, so to speak. She could be fun to work with.

The band itself is good; he'll concede that. Indeed, he wouldn't have bothered showing up, if he thought otherwise. He'd have sent some staff flunky, instead. The fact he's here speaks volumes about his interest in the group. But, it doesn't promise an easy negotiation. At the end of the day, music is music, but business is business — and the two don't always mesh the way people would like.

He waits, however, not yet shifting to move toward her. He'd rather watch and let her approach in her own way.

-

Corrie stops to talk with one of the wait staff as they pass around various beverages, reaching up to delicately pluck a flute of something from the tray. As she lifts the glass to her lips she keeps her eyes down and quietly murmurs a few words to herself before taking a small sip.

Glancing back to the band, she nods to the assistant she has set by the stage, giving him a small nod. Then she knocks back a larger sip from the flute before straightening her posture and gracefully striding toward the Media Mogul.

Shifting the flute to her left hand, her right is offered to the man. "Mr. Owens, dare I say that I'm honored by your presence here this evening?"

-

Rhys smiles as the redhead takes a fortifying slug of the wine. He glances away briefly, following her glance, noting her assistant, and then seeking out his own briefly. As she approaches, his posture hardly changes, save to shift from one foot to the other as he turns partially toward her.

"Dare you?" he echoes lightly. "Indeed. It's a pleasure to be here, really. I've heard good things about your band. About you."

What? Like he'd turn up without having done his homework on the woman? "They say you're quite the firecracker." He gestures lightly to the surrounds. "If nothing else, you certainly know how to hire a decent event team."

-

"I dare," Corrie says with chuckle. Her brow quirks slightly though she's yet to look him directly in the eye — easily explained by the fact she's distracted with everything that's going on at the venue.

"I've heard a good deal about you as well." There come a small, cheeky grin before she says much of anything else. "Such as to be careful of your exceedingly flirtatious behavior." He is afforded an extremely quick look so that she can wink, then her eyes fall to her drink, almost demurely.

"That I do. They've done quite an excellent job this evening." Not a mention of the fact that she planned a great deal of the event and simply hired the wait staff and caterers.

-

Were he to hear that she'd handled much of the planning herself, he'd not be surprised. Most of the 'small time' publicists he's met are that way inclined. Very few have the staff resources he does. As it is, he is sipping his drink, looking over the rim of the glass as she gives him that saucy wink. It's brief, yes, but long enough for him to meet her eyes. He prefers it when the people he negotiates with meet his gaze. And, yes, she's justifiably distracted, but it's not good PR to avoid looking at a potential business partner. They might think you're not really interested.

That brief glance, however, is all it takes for him to understand her reluctance to hold his gaze. He has never needed to be so furtive about his racial identity, but he's noticed how so many witches are quite the opposite. A dark brow arches faintly. He choose not to draw attention to it. She'd have registered him as easily as he registers her.

He's not of a mind to bully her on account of her blood, however. He has no need to. He's quite confident in his position.

"So, where is it you actually found these fine performers," he says, hardly missing a beat. "Really found them, I mean… as opposed to the junket jargon."

-

The realization that he's actually caught her eyes with that brief wink is enough to cause a tensing of her body, the only outward sign that she shows. Otherwise there is another smile upon her face, one that doesn't quite reach her eyes as she attempts to unravel his 'game', his non-reaction driving her a great deal more mad than were he to react horribly.

Cautious now, she swivels her body gracefully around to face the band and give herself time to collect herself. "University. The lead singer was my roommate." There really is little point in lying about it as a quick internet search will easily pull up that information.

-

"Just a roommate?" Rhys asks, allowing his light smile to curl lopsidedly as he notes the attractive young front man. "Very good. He was lucky you moved in, it seems." He glances sidelong at her, adept enough at reading body language to recognize her subtle re-collecting. "Dumnonia. Bit of an awkward name, that. But, the heritage is strong — Cornwall. The sound is good, if something of a throwback to the early 90's. We could probably make something of them. Depends on how far they want to go, really."

-

"Indeed he was," Corrie replies quite easily before slowly turning back to the man she's standing beside. There is no response as to whether or not he was 'just' a roommate. There needs to remain some mystery, as he's already pegged her heritage.

"Their choice. Had I been allowed to have my way, they would have been Kings of Dumnonia as it has a bit of a better flow." No argument that it's a slightly awkward name. At the 'we' comment, her brow raises once more. "Now, really, Mr. Owens, if you're interested in representing them you should set up an appointment. You aren't the only one here this evening that likes their sound."

At that, he's given a slightly wry grin.

-

"I may," Rhys says with a casual shrug. "As I said: It depends on how far they want to go." A beat. "On how far you want them to go." Or how far she, herself, wants to go. But he doesn't mention that. It's not necessary, just now.

Indeed, once he tells his brother about the Witch at the party, the whole playing field may or may not change. It's hard to say. It'll depend on just how bored Gideon's feeling, no doubt.

-

"Once you decide, I'm certain you have my number." Corrie briefly returns her eyes to the band, knowing full well that getting them a contract with Reese would be best for them even if it means swallowing her pride. "Though I will be bold enough to say that I would hardly be throwing a party such as this because I want them to languish in mediocrity."

The remainder of the sparkling wine within her flute is tossed back and he's given another cheeky grin. "Unless, of course, you feel like asking a lady to dance."

-

"By all means," Rhys says, gently relieving her of her glass and adding his own to the tray of a passing server. "If you're so inclined, I'd be quite happy to ask you to dance." Witches simply don't make him uncomfortable… not even in the way they do his half-brothers. He's far less likely to treat them as Gorgons than some of the other Reese men.

He extends his left hand graciously to her, now — palm up, invitation clear — an easy smile on his face.

-

He may be taking everything in stride, but Corrie is absolutely uncomfortable. She knew Rhys Owens worked for Reese but not that he himself was a sorcerer. There were whisperings, but nothing that had been confirmed to her until not all that long ago. This is all about putting on a good show, however.

Her hand is placed delicately in his, the smile reciprocated though still not reaching her eyes. "Then I shall be quite happy to accept."

-

Rhys' brown eyes sparkle, however, with good humour. Yes, he's noted that her eyes never quite match the rest of her face, but what's a fellow to do about it? Nothing he can do. So, he acts the charmer and steps lightly with her toward the dance floor.

There on the boards, he places his hand modestly at her waist, dance form strong and square. Evidently, he's had lessons… and he paid them some heed.

"So, I'm guessing you're from Devon, too," he notes. Partly, it's in her accent. Partly, however, if she was roommates with the frontman, she'd have gone to school out there and most people don't volunteer to go out to Devon.

-

Corrie is far less schooled in the art of dance, but she moves easily enough with a strong lead. She appears to have been quite happy to retain a tense silence between them, what with the elephant-in-the-room standing there just off to the side not even being commented on.

There is hesitation when he inquires as to where she's from. The immediate thought that it will wind up putting her family in danger, despite their defensive spells. "Yes," comes the somewhat quiet reply. "And you?"

-

"I was born in Wales, actually," Rhys says easily, leading her expertly around the floor as he does. Indeed, most outside the family aren't immediately aware that he's actually one of the Reese-born men. Yes, many in the supernatural community know he's a sorcerer, but few outside the family and the higher ranking scions of other Dynasties know about his bastard heritage. So, he doesn't confess it, here. Some secrets are good, yes.

"Raised in London, though." Only the best for a Reese boy, after all. "I do like to go back there, sometimes, however. It's a nice change of place. The City's always so hectic, don't you find?"

-

The information is filed away for verification when the evening is through.

"I quite enjoy the city, actually. It is extremely centralized to most other locales that I've need to reach." Corrie keeps her eyes on him while they dance, attempting to read anything at all from his features though she still remains careful at avoiding his eyes. He may have already sensed her but there is no point in reiterating the issue again. "Though there is something to be said for the serenity of the shore."

-

Oh, it won't be hard to verify Rhys Owens' Welsh heritage. It will be much, much harder to verify his mother's Witch heritage, however. Very, very little is known of her. But, bios on the mogul himself will mention his Welsh birth — so whether it's fact or fictions, it's widely publicized.

"I've always thought so," he admits.

And actually, it's an admission that runs someone counter to his reputation as a playboy in the thick of rush of the craziest edge of the arts scene.

He spins her around the floor lightly, tilting his head some. "I realize," he says after a while, as the music nears the last chorus, "that you're very likely quite schooled in avoiding the eye of a sorcerer, Miss Kavenaugh." His tone is light, but hushed so that it will not carry beyond they two. "But, I assure you, you've nothing to fear from me. Not here. Not tonight, at any rate. After all, you clearly know where my hands are and what they are doing." She should. One rests under her own, the other is still modestly at her waistband. "And I'm quite confident you've no intention of spoiling such a lovely evening with any ill-cast spells, yourself. So, please… by all means, may we call a truce? You have a lovely face, and beautiful eyes. I enjoy seeing them."

-

Research will still be necessary to attempt to determine his connection to the Reese clan, as a necessary precaution to keep her own family safe.

"Have you been up near Ilfracombe then? A man such as yourself might find it the perfect blend of scenery and nightlife." The resorts in the area are top notch as well, though she does not continue for fear of sounding like a walking brochure for the area.

When he so skillfully approaches the elephant-in-the-room, Corrie can't help but laugh. It's light, airy, and one that others will pass off as an intimate jest that often happens during dances such as these. "Were I sincerely fearful of you, Mr. Owens, I would have finished casting the knock-back spell I started before I made my way over to you." Lifting her face, she winks at him again, the smile actually reaching her eyes this time.

-

Rhys chuckles lightly at that, filing the fact she knows the sorcerer spell into the back of his mind for future reference. "I've no doubt," he replies with the same airy tone. By now, the rumours will no doubt start to fly, about how the roguish Owens expertly worked his charms over the Kavanaugh newcomer, for all that it's evident she's holding her own.

"It just seemed better to lay it out on the table, don't you think? Much easier to relax and enjoy ourselves when the playing field is clear." That's his story and he's sticking to it.

-

"I highly doubt that any woman in her right mind could honestly relax around you, Mr. Owens," comes the snappy reply from the newcomer herself. "Especially when you have such command of the dance floor." Despite her comment, Corrie is decidedly more relaxed than she was before the 'saved' spell was left to fizzle. There's no need of it now that they appear to be on amiable terms at least insofar as business is concerned.

"Shall I expect your call in the morning, then?"

-

Rhys knows very well how Witch magic works, and that the spell would have had to have fizzled long before now. Why else would he wait so long to broach the subject? "Within the next day or so, I expect," he replies to her question lightly. "Likely, one of my assistants will call." Though you never know. He might do the deed.

As the music comes to its conclusion, he releases his light hold on her and offers a rather courtly nod of his head, though the roguish smile on his lips takes away any stiffness in it. "Ilfracombe," he redirects. "I haven't been there… but perhaps I will — certainly, if there are others as beautiful and charming as you there, it could be worth it."

-

"Then I look forward to the potential of doing business with you, or perhaps your assistant on behalf of Dumnonia." In the meantime, Corrie will be taking calls from other interested parties, and seeing what offers are out there. She is careful not to reiterate that there is other interest though, because the last thing she needs is to seem overly eager to jump into proverbial bed with anyone involved with the Reese clan.

A single small step backward is taken once she's released. A precautionary measure perhaps, though it would make sense for her to get out of his immediate personal space afterward. "I cannot speak for the beauty or charm of the women in Ilfracombe, though I will admit to the scenery being absolutely breathtaking. It was one of my favorite locations as a child."

-

"Then, it's worth investigating," Rhys repiles easily, stepping back half a step as well, so as not to crowd her. He has no doubt she'll be looking at other offers beyond what his might bring. However, he also knows that only the very hungriest of his competitors will try to stay in the running, should he decide to make REC's interest plainer. He's not, however, inclined to clear the playing field that way. There's little point.

"It's been an absolute pleasure to meet you, this evening, Miss Kavanaugh. Do express my appreciation to the artists, won't you? I'd ask to meet them, myself, but unfortunately, my time is short, tonight. I have another engagement. Nonetheless… you put on a very good show. I look forward to speaking with you again."

Pleasantries dispensed with, an easy smile on his lips, he gives another oblique nod and takes his leave of her, receding into the crowds as others move in to try to capture Corrie's attention.

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