/ Tuesday, March 21st, 2006 /
“Would you be willing to put your name on the story?” Aiden inquires, standing before the desk in place of Grant and Taylor, his eyes and finger aimed toward Bruce at the opposite end of the table. “Yes, I would be willing” Bruce replies, adamant that he stands by his claims with certainty, “I know what I saw, and it was exactly as I saw it.”
Strolling into the writer’s room, Vickers asks for an explanation of the early-morning rundown, Aiden holding nothing back. “We were asking Bruce if he could come on air and make the claims he made to us last night” Aiden replies, earning a swift turn of Vickers’ head, eyes held on Grant’s agent. “Are you?” Vickers asks, leaving no room for error, Bruce remaining steady in his guarantee.
“No, I don’t want a simple ‘yes’ out of you” Vickers explains, taking the seat Aiden now abruptly relinquishes to his superior, “this is your name, your face, your reputation on the line.” Hands held firmly, fingers extended and pressed together, Vickers keeps them steady upon the table, making every outcome of this decision clear to the still-unknown man. “Everyone in New York will want your story” Vickers explains, “once you do this, you’re no longer Grant’s invisible agent.”
Firm in his stance, Bruce leans forward, still sporting his iron-pressed suit coat whilst resting his arm upon the long, mahogany table. “I know what I saw, and what happened to Grant happened exactly as I said it did” Bruce replies, leaning just a slight amount further as he concludes, remaining poignant, “I will go on air. Name, face, the whole works.”
With an enthused smile, Vickers stands from behind the table, extending his arm out to Bruce, who climbs to his feet and returns the man’s gesture. “I don’t like many agents, Mr. Langston” Vickers explains, citing most as cold and sleazy dirtbags, “but you aren’t as bad as the rest I keep finding.”
“Thank you, sir” Bruce replies, his age nearly half that of Vickers’, though his reputation remains one of honesty and genuinity, those qualities having caught Grant’s eye before pen was put to paper on his contract. “Now, just to make sure the media doesn’t drag us through the mud for only carrying this story…” Vickers explains, his hand already pressed on the door with the expectation of departing, “find a few other stories to run that don’t involve our dearly wounded friend.”
Turning his head toward the door, Vickers returns his eyes to Aiden upon the man’s response, a look of surprise coming over his face. “Already have” Aiden replies, almost immediately, “Alexander Lukashenko won a likely rigged re-election bid in Belarus, the UNHCR has been ordered to leave Uzbekistan within the next month, and Vladimir Putin visited China on Russia’s behalf to attempt arranged energy deal discussions that’ll probably lead somewhere important.”
With a chuckle, Vickers drops his hand from the handle, lifting it through the air to pat Aiden on the shoulder, a welcomed response that puts a smile on his face. “Well done, Mr. Redwood!” Vickers replies, addressing Aiden as if he were an associate, the level of respect in the addressed title going unspoken, Vickers quick to depart in the same breath.
“It looks like that will be all!” Aiden exclaims with a smile, his confidence shooting into the sky before plummeting back into the ground, his eyes tailing Carly through the glass walls encasing the writers. In a moment, the man glances away from the woman, his connection with her having never been stronger, though the dangers of thinking about said connection having never been higher.
Swallowing the pride he’s been sent back to earth with, Aiden departs the room, water bottle in one hand and folder of notes and articles in the other, eyes directly toward his office. Feet taking him across the room, Aiden does what he can to avoid looking at Carly, hurrying at a quicker pace in his walk than usual, eyes only settling upon the door to his office.
“You good, Aiden?” Shane asks aloud, crossing paths with the man, who quickly dashes back toward his office, nearly blowing his friend off completely. “Yup, just a last minute thing!” Aiden can only mutter, his mind elsewhere, too caught in a daze to make up an excuse. Finally reaching his destination, Aiden pulls the door open and dashes inside, his back pressing against the wooden entrance as if he’d just escaped the wrath of a school bully.
Eyes aimed toward the ceiling, Aiden regains his composure, his nerves getting the best of him until he overhears the voice before his person. Caught by surprise, Aiden drops his belongings on the ground, the cap on his water bottle falling off as it, too, crashes into the ground. Looking forward, Aiden finds his problems to not be over just yet, discovering Juno sat in the chair in front of his desk.
“I already told you, Juno!” Aiden exclaims, clearing the air before it can get stuffy despite Juno’s urge for him not to say anything, “there is nothing going on between Carly and I!” Hands waving through the air as a whistle blows through his lips, Juno keeps the atmosphere calm, assuring Aiden that he didn’t come down to make another point. “I just came here to apologize” Juno explains, Aiden’s eyes narrowing as the man’s opening statement outweighs his initial greeting.
“I get a bit jealous from time to time, it just happens” Juno continues, leaving the chair and approaching Aiden, “Carly’s a beautiful girl and, I know I should trust her, but it’s just really hard to.” Lips parting randomly, Aiden tries to find the words to use, only to come up empty, allowing Juno to persist as he moves closer. “I’ve got problems with jealousy, that I will never deny” Juno explains, “but I shouldn’t have taken it out on you or gotten ahead of myself last night.”
No longer minding the open water bottle pooling onto his carpet, Aiden just stares at the man, tensing up slightly the closer he grows, but not feeling a need to have fear. “I just wanted to come here, formally, and say ‘I’m sorry’...” Juno continues, “...And maybe, just ask politely of you, not to mention last night to anybody.”
Stumbling over his words, Aiden allows the much bigger man to close in on him, not able to find the proper response for the request until Juno’s progression stops, the larger man now standing directly in front of him. “Yeah, sure… Not an issue, man” Aiden answers, piecing together what he thinks is a reply worthy enough to speak, merely judging its value off the reaction of the man in front of him.
“That sounds great, Aiden” Juno replies, patting Aiden on the chest with his hand, the open palm of which feels more like being hit with a mallet, “I’m glad we could talk this out.” With that final statement, Juno moves on, walking through the glass door to Aiden’s office, venturing into whichever pocket of the newsroom he wishes to next. Aiden remains backed against the wall, still frozen for reasons unknown to him, staring blindly at the cluttered desk on the opposite side of the room.
Concerned, Shane pops his head in through the door, asking his friend if he’s alright before noticing the properties he once held in his hand now being soaked in water. “Yeah, I’m fine!” Aiden replies, a fake smile on his face, a signal to Shane that he’s better off leaving now than progressing the conversation further. Breaking away from this spell, Aiden drops to his knees and collects what he’s left on the floor, returning to his desk to move on with his day accordingly.
= Tonight at 9 is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
/ Tuesday, April 11th, 2006 /
“Where are we with the protests?” Taylor asks through the mic, the chair beside her left empty, Aiden too preoccupied in the control room to give anything other than information already known. “Cat got your tongue?” Taylor jokes through the headset, Aiden scrambling around the panels, staring into different screens and eying different feeds.
“No, we just keep getting pop news… Some rapper just got shot outside a nightclub in Detroit, I’m sure the networks gonna want it on air” Aiden replies, continuing about his work. “Just make sure I’m not broadcasting a news show-and-a-half, please” Aiden clarifies, Taylor giving him the all-clear on the other end of the signal.
Like a knight in shining armor, a fully-suited Grant climbs behind the desk and takes his rightful seat, Taylor keeping a smile hidden as the familiar sight returns to her. “Ready?” Grant whispers, his eyes looking toward Taylor, the woman peering back with a face full of excitement as Aiden counts down from afar. Now on-air, Aiden settles into the next hour of production, door to the control room swinging open behind him.
“Got a second?” Carly asks aloud, Aiden turning towards her, his eyes catching the only glimpse he needed before his head can turn anymore than an inch. Without a word, Aiden holds his hand towards the wall of monitors as he taps the headset draped over his skull, the woman acknowledging his current predicament. “I need you to come find me after the commercial” Carly explains, the man suggesting she wait until after the broadcast’s conclusion.
“You told me to do that last week and then never came looking for me” Carly replies, the cold shoulder still being delivered towards her, a gesture she takes more anger toward not understanding rather than being given to start with. “I had a light lunch, I wanted dinner” Aiden replies, the woman warning him to stop beating around the bush. Aggravated, Aiden turns around, his hand removing the headset from his skull and tossing it onto the table behind him.
“This is not the time, nor is this the place to be discussing whatever it is you don’t seem to be able to let go” Aiden explains, “so do us both a favour, whatever it is you want to say… Don’t.” His position made clear, Aiden turns back towards the monitor, Carly beginning to speak before the news alert pops up in the corner of the room. “Get back to your seat!” Aiden demands the operator originally intending to survey the alert, “I’ll take care of it.”
Knowing his actions are purposefully intended to avoid her, Carly takes the hint and leaves the box, strutting into the newsroom and leaving Aiden to his work. Writing down the updates being given, Aiden takes in a couple of deep breaths, unaware of Juno glancing in at him from the other side of the glass door, a nod coming from him, acknowledging the truth behind Aiden’s statement.
Charging back toward his set up, Aiden pulls the headset on and calls out to his anchors, his eyes locked on the screen. “The rapper, Proof, he’s a part of Eminem’s rap group- no idea if you know him- he was shot in a nightclub in Detroit” Aiden clarifies, glancing at Carly through another monitor along the wall, “he was rushed to the hospitals, early reports according to CSN and Fairweather say he’s dead.”
Watching the tapping of Taylor’s pen, Aiden’s eyes track back onto the live feed of the newsroom, eyes locked on Carly, who sits at a desk in the centre of the room, arms crossed, eyes peering toward him through the glass walls. With a sigh, Aiden tucks his hands into his pockets and returns his stare toward the news desk, blocking her image out entirely in an effort of maintaining his ground.
“How was the first show back?” Taylor asks, entering Grant’s office without feeling the need to knock, a gesture that puts a smile along his face. “It felt great, obviously!” Grant replies with enthusiasm, “I know I wasn’t out for long, but it was long enough for tonight to have made me remember why I love this so much.”
Almost as if the mention of loving the business were a beacon calling his name, Vickers taps his fist against the glass door, Grant telling the man to make himself feel at home. “I see the co-anchor’s getting comfortable enough to make herself at home on her own time” Vickers jokes, assuring the pair that he wishes to uphold the privacy on his own behalf.
“Need anything?” Grant asks aloud, the rare sight of Vickers in the newsroom suggesting the need to address something of relative value. His teeth clenched, Vickers replies in kind, admitting his latest news delivery to not be one of particular joy. Locking the deadbolt on the office door, Vickers walks further into the office, pulling a seat out for Taylor and himself before motioning for Grant to do the same.
Rolling his sleeves up, Vickers gets down to business, the casual look enough to warn Grant and Taylor of the weight to such impending topics. “Howard Nalty is suing Grant and LMC media as a whole for character defamation” Vickers explains, the ‘Tonight at Nine’ anchors staring at the man in partial disbelief, taking the statement as a joke at first. “You must be kidding” Taylor replies, Vickers looking toward her with his head shaking, Grant remaining silent, having seen this coming.
“He’s arguing that, accusing him of domestic abuse against his fiancee, has no legal basis and therefor, is the same as slander in the court of law” Vickers explains, widening Taylor’s eyes further. “His fiancee?” Taylor repeats, Grant still silent, this time sporting a smirk, almost laughing to himself, having seen all of this coming with accuracy. “Of course she is” Grant replies, “because why wouldn’t he make the argument?”
“He’s going through on what he said, that’s exactly why he’d make the statement” Vickers replies, “he wants to end your life and career. He probably tried on one front, and now he’s trying on the other.” In disbelief, Taylor goes quiet, Grant’s head lifting towards the man ahead of him, a look of exhaustion upon Grant’s face as he voices the question. “How much is he suing for?” Grant asks, Taylor looking at Vickers in defeat before gradually becoming more concerned the longer silence lasts.
“Sam, how much is Nalty suing for?” Taylor repeats, her eyes staring a hole through her superior’s head, the displeased expression upon Vickers’ face telling the whole story. With a cold stare, Vickers looks back toward Grant, the man lifting his hand and pulling his fingers in his own direction, motioning for Vickers to get it over with.
“An accumulative five-hundred million dollars” Vickers replies, the shock in Taylor’s eyes doing all the talking she needs, Grant’s head hanging in shame. “He wants to bankrupt you and put LMC out of business” Vickers explains, “or, at the very least, force LMC to fold the news division of it’s company.”
Little other to speak toward, Taylor asks Vickers if Howard has a solid case to make, only wanting to know of her boss’ personal opinion. “She never did a rape kit, never filed a police report or made a report to CSN” Vickers says, “if he wanted to put us all out of work, he could do so with the snap of a finger.”
Eyes taken to the floor, Grant does not respond, allowing the information to sink into his chest like an unending pit of nothingness. In that moment, Grant stares back toward Vickers, his look one of apologetic emptiness, eyes filling with the realization that his former co-anchor is now doing as he warned Grant he would.
Peering back into the empty newsroom, Aiden pulls a bag over his shoulders, making sure he leaves the building followed by no one. Once deeming the coast to be clear, Aiden makes his move, quickly sifting down the hallway and toward the elevator, rapidly tapping at the panel of buttons in an empty attempt to convince the machine to hurry quickly.
With the cheerful ding of a bell, Aiden feels the relief waft over his body, dashing through the doors and pressing the bottom button of the interior panel before breathing a sigh of relief. Dinging again, the elevator alerts the man inside that the doors will now close, Aiden watching the space between the two large hunks of metal slide with a smile before another figure dashes inside in the nick of time.
Suddenly sharing the space, Aiden looks on with his eyes pressed together while Carly pushes the big, red button, stopping the elevator after it descends half a level. “What is wrong with you?” Carly asks, cutting straight to the point as Aiden’s eyes roll, looking around the cramped space as if there were a third party amongst their presence. “I’d rather we didn’t ride down in the same elevator, so would you mind?” Aiden asks, pressing the red button to continue his descent.
“I very much do mind” Carly replies, pressing the button again, the elevator now having climbed down one full level, “we’ll continue to take twenty minutes to get to the bottom if it takes that long to talk about this.” Taking his bag off, Aiden drops the sack to the corner of the space, politely asking the woman to leave it alone. “As you said, we had sex and we only had sex” Aiden explains, “I’m not your boyfriend, I’m not your roommate, we don’t need to talk about anything.”
Reaching out for the button once more, Aiden feels his hand swatted away by the woman’s palm, her efforts stubborn, refusing to allow the lift to climb down any further than the brief amount it already has. “We may not be lovers or roommates, but we are co-workers, and we have the responsibility to work together” Carly explains, “considering we can’t even be in the same elevator as each other, I’d argue this arrangement of yours is harming our professional relationship.”
“I think me thrusting my penis in your vagina ruined our professional relationship more” Aiden replies, shoving the red button again. As Carly ceases the room’s motion once more, Aiden’s voice begins to raise, his patience slipping. “We had sex once, almost twice, that’s it” Aiden explains, “you have a boyfriend, I’m a nerd, and we shouldn’t be in the position to have this conversation to begin with.”
Pressing the button for a fourth time, Aiden finds his efforts successful for a brief few seconds before a less-enthusiastic Carly taps the button again, stopping another four levels of progress. “Is it Juno?” Carly asks, her voice soft and saddened, the initial statement prompting Aiden to glance toward her, ultimately forcing him into a double take, noticing the disappointment on her face.
“Did he threaten you?” Carly asks, leaving the man sharing the space with him confused as to why she was able to put that together with such ease. “Has he done that to other people before?” Aiden queries, watching the woman’s mood change, her words refusing to give the man an answer. As he looks on, Aiden finds Carly stretching her hand out and pressing the red button again, this time allowing the elevator to descend further.
The roles now reversed, Aiden finds himself commanding the stop, pressing the red button to halt the progression once more, keeping the pair entrapped within the metal box. “I want an answer to that question” Aiden explains, watching Carly turn back toward him before he repeats the question for a second time, the woman’s face flushed with defeat.
“He’s not someone that likes me talking with any guys I could find even remotely attractive” Carly explains, “he tries to make a statement before anyone can think about trying to flirt with ‘his girl’.” With a sigh, Aiden is left shaking his head, asking the woman for the reason she stays with him, though Carly is unable to give him any response better than “because.”
“I’m not saying he’s perfect, and I’m not arguing in favour of his flaws” Carly clarifies, “but there’s something about him that keeps me there- with him.” Head held down, Aiden twirls his fingers around each other, looking toward the woman through the corner of his eye. “Clearly it’s not enough to keep you around him at all times” Aiden interjects, the woman looking at him in confusion at first, her expression slowly changing into a smile.
“There are qualities he lacks that some others make up for” the woman says with a smile, turning towards Aiden fully as the man does the same, the high-tension having faded into a moment of sincerity, which now shifts to a moment of lust-filled cravings for the other. Clothes flying off in the heat of the moment, the pair get down to business, their efforts made behind the privacy of sealed elevator doors.
/ Friday, April 21st, 2006 /
“Was there a dinosaur attack on the highway?” Grant asks, answering the clustered knocking on the other side of his rural home’s front door, allowing entry to Bruce, Vickers and Taylor. “Might I remind you that living outside of New York City, much like you happen to, is not great for time constraints?” Vickers replies, “I oughta buy you a flat downtown just out of pity!”
Four glasses of liquor poured out on the coffee table in preparation, Grant takes a seat while he waits to be accompanied by his sudden guests. “We have a friend running a little late, same problems as us” Bruce explains, tossing his coat upon the hanger beside Grant’s front door, the second to take a seat, ahead of Vickers and after Taylor.
“Why have you left the city to speak with me?” Grant inquires, curious as to the visit, “we could have done any of this over the phone… Or at the office earlier this morning.” With a devilish smile, Vickers suggests otherwise, “we couldn’t introduce you to our friend earlier today.”
“And why is that?” Grant asks, watching Vickers as the third party finally takes his seat, his question answered by an amused Taylor, one leg draped over the other. “Because our friend will help you with Nalty” Taylor replies, immediately watching Grant repeat his original question, seeing no reason for it to change. “Because the help he offers isn’t exactly legal” Bruce replies, “but it certainly is effective!”
Mouth agape, Grant asks Bruce to repeat himself, the already stated being recited verbatim by Taylor instead, the woman adamant that the only way to fight Nalty is to get on the same level. “He was right, as much as it pains me to say it” Taylor explains, “he can make an attempt on your life and do the same to your career because he believes that the only way to win is to cheat.”
Making his voice heard, Vickers finishes the statement on Taylor’s behalf. “And when Nalty says ‘cheat’, he really means ‘break the law’” Vickers furthers, “so if he breaks the law to wage war, we’re gonna have to break the law to end it.”
Head shaking, Grant refuses, leaving his seat and returning to his kitchen with the glass of vodka still in hand, vehemently refusing to sink to the same level as the man he holds such great disdain for. “If I thought the only way to win was to sink to Nalty’s levels, I would’ve let the rape he committed slide under the rug” Grant explains, “I came here to do the news, not create it.”
“I don’t think you understand the full picture, Grant” Vickers replies, “as much as you love the news, you’ll never do it another day in your life if he bankrupts us at the knees.” Arms stretched out, Grant continues to refuse, unable to bring himself to the level Howard currently resides. Taking it upon herself to switch the direction the conversation is headed toward, Taylor springs from her seat and walks after Grant, her hands finding room on the man’s broad shoulders.
“I understand why you don’t want to do this, but there’s not much of an option left… And that’s not your fault” Taylor remarks, “Nalty brought this upon himself, so doing this is not responsibility that falls upon your shoulders… This is self-defense at the least, and justice at most.”
With a deep breath, Taylor clears her mind, speaking to the issue that weighs on her the most in an effort to align her views with the man before her. “We both know Jessica doesn’t want to be involved with Nalty any more than she already is” Taylor explains, “I know what’s going through her mind, and she can’t save herself… She’s hoping someone comes along and saves her in the way she can’t. We need to be that for her.”
“I thought she was just as bad as Howard?” Grant questions, the woman admitting that she was wrong to repeatedly say such a thing. “I thought making her feel worse would get her to change her mind… And I was definitely wrong” Taylor admits, “but just because I was wrong then, does not mean that I’m wrong now.”
Gazing around the room, Grant thinks to himself in silence, Taylor still standing in front of him as his doorbell rings, prompting Vickers to shoot to his feet with a smile. Looking back down at Taylor, Grant feels his mind racing with as many thoughts as his heart has beats, the ideas running through his head all clouded as he looks into Taylor’s eyes, feeling himself become weak in the knees as Vickers rounds the corner with their guest.
“Grant, I want you to meet Josh Lane” Vickers explains, Taylor backing away from Grant as he approaches the new guest with an extended hand. “Josh was just promoted to the highest chair at VeroSoft, so he knows a thing or two about the spotlight” Vickers explains, “if you’re looking for powerful people in powerful places, Josh is your guy.”
“I wouldn’t stop reciting my reputation there, Sam” Josh replies, “I’m also known for being tactical in how I approach things… Kind of helps add leverage in my corner for a later date.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lane” Grant greets, turning back toward Vickers with curiosity in his mind. “I’m not sure I understand completely” Grant quips, “how is this supposed to help me play Howard’s game at his own level?” With a smirk, Vickers downs the rest of the liquor in his glass, assuring Grant that it doesn’t. “This is how we get even” Vickers replies, “cut the dead weight and get back to square one… Compete from there rather than from behind.”
Walking up to Grant’s side, Taylor looks the man in the eyes, tacking onto Vickers’ prior statement. “Furthermore, it’s also how we bring Nalty back up to our level” the woman explains, “his strength comes from playing below the surface… So bringing him to street level makes him relatively powerless.”
Taking his sights away from Taylor, Grant peers toward Vickers, his boss asking the man to make his decision, the greenlight or the redlight being placed in the control of Grant’s own hands. With a final look toward Josh, Grant takes a final read of the room before parting his lips, offering his answer to whom are now his closest confidants.
== Tonight at 9 ==