/ Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 /
“While it is unclear as of this moment whether or not the Democrats will gain control of the Senate, they have officially flipped three seats, and an additional three pending” Grant explains, joined at the desk by both Taylor and Carly, who round out the ongoing midterm election coverage. “As of now, it would appear likely that President Bush will be going against a Democratic House and potentially Democratic Senate” Grant concludes, “overall, not a great night for the President.”
“Correct, and not a great night for Republicans either” Carly explains, her words rambling on in Grant’s ears, any voice other than his own drowned out on instinct. Her eyes casually drifting away from Carly, Taylor stares toward Grant apologetically, her regular co-anchor fixated on the woman across the desk from him, Taylor in a way exactly the opposite.
“It remains to be seen, but it looks like a promising night if you’re a liberal American looking for a turn away from Bush, Grant” Carly finishes, prompting the man to turn back to the camera and take the broadcast into a commercial. “Can we please address what’s going on?” Taylor asks, Grant adamant about not wishing to get into the issues at hand. “I’ve said all I’ve needed to say, there’s nothing left you haven’t already heard” Grant replies, taking himself away from the desk.
“I’d say the truth was the exact opposite of that” Taylor retorts as the pair vanish into Grant’s office. “What is there to say? You know the story, you know what I’m doing about it” Grant replies, “there’s nothing else to say, and you should hate me just as much as I hate myself.” Pulling a cigarette from his pack and striking a match, Grant let's Taylor have the floor to express herself, her refusal to acknowledge the truth, that even Grant himself acknowledges, slightly irritating him.
“I’m not gonna say I know you more than your own family does, but I’ll say I know you well” Taylor explains, “and the man I see is not a man that would say things like that unprovoked.” A shrug coming from the man as the tip of his dart lights a bright orange, Grant refuses Taylor’s attempts to humanize his actions. “Provoked, unprovoked, it doesn’t matter” Grant responds, “whatever reason I had, I said it and that’s that.”
Another drag falling from the stick of tobacco, Grant let's Taylor continue her attempts, outright refusal to acknowledge what he said becoming common amongst them. “I know who you are, and the hateful punk in that recording was not you” Taylor explains, a strike upon the desk from his fist allowing Grant to take the floor. “It isn’t that you believe I wouldn’t, it’s that you can’t admit that I can” Grant explains, “you have an image of me you can’t put aside.”
“Why is it so hard for you to believe you could have a justified reason for saying that?” Taylor proceeds, continuing to challenge the man. “Because I covered up a prick’s rape allegation, got paid for it and ran away!” Grant replies, finally bringing a moment of silence upon the room, “if I could bring myself to that, this pales in comparison.”
“Why isn’t the ability to accept that not the first thing you recognize about yourself?” Taylor asks, “why is it that you’re this evil guy when you’ve got something plaguing your conscience without realizing that the truly evil people are the ones that can’t recognize that at all?”
“I don’t know Taylor, I just know what I know” Grant replies, “and the fact that I’d completely disregard someone as nothing but trash says more about me than I do.” Her eyes falling, Taylor notices the lack of self-respect the man before her sports, the inability to appreciate his own good whenever confronted with his own bad making it impossible to be imperfect.
“I’m not going to say you’re the most perfectly kept-together guy there’s ever been” Taylor explains, “but you’ve got a hell of a lot more to you than the small flaws.” His head shaking, Grant reminds the woman that these are not small flaws, a notion which Taylor disagrees with entirely. “With all that you do, not just for yourself, but for everyone around you…” Taylor replies, “...Those just, as you would say it, pail in comparison.”
Starting to attempt a response, Grant ceases his efforts, shaking his head and taking another drag from his cigarette, staring into the city as Taylor walks away. Still sat in his seat, Grant looks back toward the newsroom, watching the door close the final few inches from Taylor’s departure, nodding to himself before dying out the tobacco stick, adjusting his tie and returning to the news desk.
= 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 =
Walking through the newsroom, Taylor approaches Shane’s desk, telling him to keep his voice down before she says anything else. “I’ll try my best” Shane replies, Taylor crouching to her knees before pulling Shane closer toward her, keeping their words hidden within a whisper. “I’m going to give you an address and I want you to scout the place out” Taylor explains, “if the woman inside leaves, I need you to follow her at all times… Don’t interact with her, just keep your eye on her.”
“May I ask what would happen if I were to be arrested?” Shane proceeds, Taylor telling him to call Aiden and let them know where to pay bail before walking off. Considering this to be his mission for the evening, Shane hands his remaining workload onto the next associate producer and makes his way toward the front doors, exiting the building in a hurry.
“You sending Shane on recon?” Aiden inquires, Taylor staring out the window with her hands on her hips, admitting there to have been few options on the table. “Well we can stalk the poor woman or accept Grant's fine bending over for her and leave it at that” Aiden explains, Taylor reminding him of the problems this leaves. “He’s already kicking himself and walking out to the desk stiff as a wooden board” Taylor responds, “is that what the Nielsen ratings want?”
“They’re not what Nielsen wants, but it’s what Grant wants” Aiden replies, “who are we to tell him how to and how not to approach this?”
“Because it’s borderline self-destructive” Taylor remarks, watching Aiden roll his eyes before questioning what he believes. “Do you think Grant said all of that for no reason or what?” Taylor wonders aloud, surprised by Aiden’s response. “I don’t think Grant said it at all as a matter of fact” Aiden replies, “but regardless of what we can prove, Grant’s not going to believe it was anyone else on the other end of that recording.”
“Hold on- what do you mean you don’t think it was Grant at all?” Taylor replies, leaving Aiden to repeat his words before suddenly realizing what the woman is trying to do. “No, I will not give you another source of hope to latch onto” Aiden explains, “you’re trying to fix Grant’s problem when he doesn’t think he has a problem to fix… Stop mitigating.”
“Grant will implode if he continues to go on thinking he derailed a woman’s entire career” Taylor replies, taken aback by Aiden’s response once more. “He didn’t have much of a problem staying quiet after he hid everything about Howard and Jessica” Aiden replies, “from the way I see it, if you’re looking for something to hold onto, start hoping he forgets about it and slowly comes to his fucking senses.”
“That’s not fair” Taylor replies, a snapping Aiden turning toward her with the reply of a belief that borders on the exact opposite. “It was plenty fair when you first met him and judged him by literally only that” Aiden recalls, “it’s only ‘not fair’ now because you’re enamored with him.”
Her mouth slightly ajar, Taylor backs away with her head shaking from one side to another, walking back toward the door before taking herself to the newsdesk. “That was harsh, boss” one of the crew calls out toward Aiden, the man’s eyes watching Taylor walk the rest of the way back to the desk, her face trying to hide that the man’s words had gotten to her. “I know it was” Aiden responds, “but at this point, it needed to be said.”
Phone buzzing in his pocket, Shane answers to an unknown number with a curious greeting. “Shane Weathers, this is Sam Vickers calling to make sure you haven’t fucked everything up yet” Vickers greets, a surprised Shane apologizing for the tone of his introduction. “No worries, you’re out there doing my dirty work” Vickers explains, “when you do the work I’m too much of a priss to do myself, you can call me the son of a cunt-duster if you’d prefer.”
“I certainly won’t take you up on that offer, but I’m happy to let you know that all is fine thus far” Shane explains, “the woman hasn’t left her room and she keeps pacing back and forth.”
Eyebrows furrowed, Vickers asks the man to explain what he had just said with slightly more detail to latch onto. “She’s got the light on in her room, her shadow keeps walking from one side of the room to the other in the curtains” Shane replies, “she’s holding her jaw or something, she’s got the same pose each time she passes.”
“You’re sure she’s in there?” Vickers wonders aloud, Shane clarifying that she’s changed her posture several times. “If she was a partially living mannequin, I’d know by now” Shane continues, “she’s definitely in there, but she just keeps pacing… That’s the only weird thing about it.”
“Well have you noticed anything-” Vickers begins, cut off by Shane verbally coming to notice something odd within the shadows. “Wait, now there are two shadows” Shane replies, “hers and something else’s”
This information catching him by surprise, Vickers thinks of a new strategy until Shane offers more. “She’s leaving the motel” Shane explains, “the other shadow is walking further into the room, but she’s going for her car.”
“Okay, get in your car and follow after her” Vickers replies, “stay a few yards behind her, but don’t let her out of your sight.” Reading the man’s orders loudly and clearly, Shane returns his phone to his pocket, feet marching along the grass before vanishing with the man into his vehicle. Watching Kelsi’s car drive off into the night, Shane waits a moment before taking off after her himself, kicking up a trail of dirt as his wheels sputter along the roadtop.
“You’ve been great tonight” Aiden says to Carly on his way by, hand tapping the woman on the shoulder as they pass. “Thanks” Carly responds, continuing to walk in the opposite direction before coming to a slow stop, her eyes trailing backward before her body responds in much the same way.
Avoiding an encounter with a trail of workers heading in the opposite direction, Carly tails Aiden until her arm is taken into the grasp of another man. “Hey, babe” Juno greets, leaning in for a kiss, the woman beside him reciprocating quickly before glancing up, Aiden having turned a corner by this point. “Do you think we can talk real quick?” Juno wonders, Carly glancing around the room before a sudden smile appears upon her face.
“Of course, follow me” Carly answers, taking Juno by the hand and leading him down the hallway at the end of the newsroom, one door after another leading him into more cramped corridors. In the distance, Carly can hear a door quietly close, latching into place and offering the woman a selected destination. Hurrying to the end of the hall, Carly pushes in the big, blue door she could swear she heard close, finding a set of familiar faces on the other side.
“Of course she’d have someone over, she’s a reporter” Aiden replies, Vickers beginning to suggest otherwise before noticing the door swing open. “Sorry, did you guys need this room?” Carly asks, Vickers suggesting as much. “My apologies” Carly responds, “We'll find another place.”
Turning around to leave, Carly feels her wrist be taken into a tighter grip within Juno’s hand, the man turning toward her with a confused look on his face. “You picked this room for a reason” the man proclaims, watching Carly’s eyes roll in disappointment, “there’s literally no other room in this pocket of the hallway, you chose this one for a reason.”
“Juno, you’re being paranoid again” Carly responds, attempting to lead the man further out into the hallway to no avail. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but Sam and I have import-” Aiden begins to explain, now shouted at by Juno to stay silent, a gesture which Vickers takes immediate displeasure at. “You’re not going to barge in here and tell anyone to shut their mouths when you invade a conversation, Mr. McIntosh!” Vickers declares, “get your composure in check!”
“Why?” Juno asks Carly, his head turning back toward her, “you’ve been unmoving for months at this point, and this sketchy shit just keeps going on!” Playing the only card he knows at the moment, Aiden quietly turns toward Vickers with his hands held out, pretending he has no clue what is going on at the moment.
“Don’t play dumb, asshole!” Juno calls Aiden, watching the executive producer look at him in surprise, “I know there’s something going on between you two!” His finger raised in Aiden’s direction, Juno continues to add pressure to the grip on Carly’s wrist, the third person in the love triangle finally breaking his silence to warn Juno that he’s hurting his girlfriend’s arm.
“Don’t tell me what to do!” Juno shouts back toward Aiden, silenced when Vickers threatens to fire him on the spot. Enraged beyond the point of return, Juno lets go of Carly’s hand, allowing the woman to fall to the floor before charging into the room, his hand taking Aiden by the throat and pressing him against the wall.
“Admit it, you son of a bitch!” Juno demands of the man within the space between his thumb and index finger, adding pressure to the man’s larynx before the threat is swiftly dealt with. In the span of a second, Vickers takes the heel of his foot to the back of Juno’s knee, bringing the much larger man to a kneel. His fingers latching onto Juno’s hair, Vickers pulls the man’s head back, laying a blow to the middle of Juno’s throat with his elbow, taking the air out of his lungs with ease.
Removing his phone from his pocket, Vickers dials a number, calling into the recipient on the other end to get security into the newsroom to escort Juno from the premises. “We’ll talk about it all later” Vickers tells Aiden, leaving the man behind with Carly, the pair staring toward each other in different levels of fear as Vickers leaves the room, letting the issues between the two settle without his presence.
His car door slamming shut, Shane steps onto the property of a downtown bar and grill, following the blue dress of the woman he’s been told to tail. Her shaven legs reflecting the lights above her, Kelsi takes a seat at the bar as Shane watches, taking a table a short distance away, pulling a menu into his hand and holding it in front of his face. “What can I get you?” a waitress asks, catching Shane by surprise, the man tilting back slightly.
“I’ll take a water for right now, please” Shane replies, flashing the waitress a smile and folding his hands, looking out into the sea of people before turning back toward the counter, Kelsi nowhere to be found. “Aw fuck” Shane mutters to himself, leaving his seat and turning around, a finger pressing against his chest, guiding him back to his seat. “No one comes here and starts an order with water” Kelsi explains, watching the panic come over the man a mere few inches away.
“Don’t worry, I expected you” Kelsi explains, “I wouldn’t think to point fingers toward Grant in front of numerous people- all with their own reasons for believing him to be this nice, honest guy- if I didn’t expect some would try to debunk me.” His hands held up, Shane begins to refuse any alliance with any one person or group, only for his efforts to be dashed the moment the woman takes his belt into her hand, staring at the LMC Media clip where his phone would otherwise be.
“I’m not an idiot and I’m not new to this” Kelsi continues, lightly grazing Shane’s privates with the nail on her finger before walking over to the other side of the table. “I’m just here for a drink” Shane explains, continuing to keep the appearance intact, “I may work for LMC, I may know who Grant is, but I am only here for the steak.”
Eyes narrowing, Kelsi tries to visually poke holes in his story, looking the man up and down, from the top of his head to the final portion of his abdomen not covered by the edge of the table. Her head tilting to one side silently, Kelsi continues to stare before shrugging, admitting that she may have herself mistaken. “At least you noticed that” Shane explains, “but I should warn you ahead of time- just in case you’re making yourself comfortable- I’m already seeing someone.”
“Aw, pity me” Kelsi replies without concern, brushing off Shane’s statement as if it both doesn’t matter, and isn’t any loss of hers to take. “I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression” Shane continues, attempting to step away from the table with a more innocent expression, only for said attempt to be dashed quickly, Kelsi’s hand pressing against his, politely requesting that he stay.
“Like I said, I’m already seeing someone, and-” Shane begins, cutting off the moment the waitress brings out his water, a gesture that puts a smile on the woman’s face. “You can’t go anywhere now that you’ve got water to pay for” Kelsi says with enthusiasm, sucking the man into remaining at the table, “enjoy New York’s finest from the tap.”
Her knuckles pressing against the door to the man’s office, Taylor hears the welcome from Grant and steps inside. “Hey” Taylor greets, “you were great tonight.”
“Did I sound as much of a Democrat as I did last month?” Grant wonders, Taylor nodding with a smile on her face. “No, you were great” Taylor replies, watching the man undo his tie and throw his casual jacket over his dress shirt, “you’re always great.” Taking a second glance at the woman, Grant flashes her a smile and thanks her for the compliment.
With another nod, the woman walks closer to the man, Grant’s eyes marveling at the sights of New York City before him, the woman behind him now making her way beside him. “We got really lucky with this job” Taylor mutters to herself, Grant insisting their luck has taken them even further with the view they’ve been afforded. “It does put a lot of things into perspective” Taylor replies, “a lot like how you approach someone.”
Confused, Grant looks to Taylor with intrigue, a hidden joy in his face that hadn’t been present in recent weeks. “What do you mean?” Grant asks, watching Taylor’s eyes remain fixated on the world outside, his own face turned toward the woman while hers remains on what rests ahead. “I judged you harshly when you first came in here” Taylor explains, “it didn’t even take you half a day to prove me completely wrong.”
His head hung, Grant puckers his lips, intending to say something self-deprecating once more, only for Taylor to cut him off before he can get the chance.”I don’t wanna hear about what you said before in the recording, it doesn’t matter right now” Taylor explains, “what matters is who I thought you were, and who you showed me you actually were.”
“That’s all down to impression” Grant replies, “as I’ve said before, you had your opinion and I was a rare example of someone proving you wrong. That carries a lot of weight for a lot of people.” The woman continues to stare out at the city below, Taylor listens to Grant clear his throat and adjust his words, continuing to deny that he’s worth to the woman what she believes him to be.
“You shouldn’t think I'm someone I’m not when-” Grant continues, stopped mid-sentence when Taylor turns around and reaches her hand over his shoulder, taking the back of his head into her hands and pulling him into a kiss. After a few moments, ones that feel like minutes, the kiss breaks, Grant staring at the woman with a surprise that he hadn’t had as far back as he can remember.
“I know you think I saw what I wanted to, but I’m taking it as my chance to prove you wrong right now” Taylor explains, “I know evil people, I know bad people, and I know assholes… You are none of those things.” Struggling to find another set of words to use, Grant stands there trying desperately to contain a smile, failing to do so as the woman pulls away. “It wasn’t that you proved me wrong” Taylor remarks, “it’s what you proved me wrong about.”
With a sigh, Taylor recalls her first days with the company, speaking about them as if they were darker times than the ones either she or Grant face now. “I was interning and I had just finished school” Taylor recollects, “so now I was looking at trying to get myself up the ladder and in front of the camera’s.”
Her eyes directed toward the floor, Taylor stands in the centre of the room, continuing to illustrate the times in their most honest form. “The host at the time hadn’t been someone used to getting less from his staff than his contract from the executives offered” Taylor explains, holding back her emotions of anger and sadness, “so if he got paid millions, he expected his staff to work as if they were worth millions.”
Swallowing her pride, Taylor continues to explain what the world was like for her when she first came in as Grant slowly approaches, watching her struggle to overcome the fear of revealing what she is intending to. “And he saw a pretty little blonde college grad as the perfect figure to get what he wanted, whenever it was” Taylor continues, “so when I said no, he didn’t see that as being worth the millions he was paid.”
Clearing her throat and wiping the lone tear from her face, Taylor continues to explain, Grant placing his hands to her shoulders and looking her in the eyes as she gets to the final portions of the story. “So he drugged me, took me back to his penthouse- and I’m sure you can guess the rest” Taylor recalls, “I woke up the next day and spent ten minutes looking around the room for where he threw my clothes the night prior.”
Her head tilting to one side gradually over time, Taylor’s cheek ends up on the back of Grant’s hand by the conclusion of the story, feeling her emotions give out at the man’s touch. “So I went to HR, and they did nothing” Taylor continues, “and the higher up, the less people did until I finally found the person that was actually willing to just do something about it.”
With a slight grin, Grant takes his best-educated guess at the name of the person she praises as having done something. “Sam Vickers” Grant calls out, Taylor’s sad frown turning into a wide smile, a gentle nod to confirm his suspicions. “He fired the guy on the spot and let him walk away with a nice payday to keep the company’s reputation intact” Taylor explains, “and the only reason he let the company tuck it under the rug is because he put me in charge of ‘Tonight at Nine’.”
Clearing her throat, Taylor concludes her story before advancing to the reason behind its importance. “He wanted me to be able to start without all of this nonsense attached to me” Taylor explains, “to this day, he’s the only person here that actually knows what happened. And, I guess, now he’s not the only one anymore.”
With a deep breath, Taylor explains that Grant would have never walked into the building had it not been for Vickers. “From that day, I reminded him that I ‘owed him one’, and he never took it-” Taylor continues, “-until January 9th, 2006.” His sympathetic grin now deteriorating into a look of confusion, Grant begins to see where all of the puzzle pieces fit, Taylor assuring him of his accuracy in real time.
“He calls me into his office and tells me that he found a second anchor for the show” Taylor explains, “he told me he saw something in you and used that to get me to let you into the building- and it wasn’t long before I saw it, too.” With a smile, Taylor continues to look into Grant’s eyes before pulling him in for another kiss, the pair not breaking the interaction apart, embracing it, and welcoming it until the moment Grant no longer does.
“I can’t do this” Grant explains, confusing the woman, who looks at him with worry. “It’s not because of you- it would never be because of you” Grant explains, “but this isn’t the man you deserve- or at least not the man I am right now.” Her hands pressing against the sides of the man’s face, Taylor assures Grant that he is everything she believes him to be, finally watching the man embrace that as true.
“Even if I am what you think I am… I’m not in the headspace I should be for you” Grant explains, “if this is something I can get over and live with, that’s the person you deserve… Not whatever I am right now.” Swallowing the build up in her mouth, Taylor wipes away the tears and laughs off the pain, her hands waving toward the man as he tries to apologize. “It’s fine” Taylor explains, “seriously, it’s fine… I get it… I completely understand.”
Catching her breath, Taylor continues to swipe at the tears on her cheek and pulls away, telling Grant to leave it at that before hurrying through the door. “Taylor, I don’t-” Grant tries to call out to the woman, his words cut off the moment the door closes behind her, leaving him in the office alone, nothing but the dim orange glow of his desk light to illuminate the room.
Keeping on a brave face, Taylor marches through the busy floor and stumbles upon the women’s washroom. On instinct, Taylor pushes the door in and shoves a janitor’s broom into the handle, checking each stall for an occupant before knowing she’s completely alone. On the verge of breaking down, Taylor looks into the direction of a specific corner, a potted plant placed in it.
Her bottom lip caught between her teeth, Taylor walks into the same corner and pulls the plant away from the wall, leaving the empty space in its place. In a moment, the woman goes from standing with her eyes toward the ground, to seated in the corner with her legs tucked into her arms. Too great to overcome, Taylor’s head drops between her arms, now allowing the emotions to present themselves, stomach turning with deep pain.
“It’s a lot bigger than most motel rooms” Shane explains, a worried look on his face as he eyes the direction of hallways and open doors. “Motel rooms need to evolve to keep people from opting for hotels instead” Kelsi explains, turning toward the man once she reaches the edge of her bed, “it’s their way of accommodation.”
With a nod, Shane continues to walk forward, apologizing to the woman for giving her the wrong impression once again, a suggestion she brushes off immediately. “You’ve given me exactly the impression I needed from you” Kelsi explains, falling onto the bed with Shane’s tie in her hand, pulling the man closer until he’s crawled onto the bed with her.
Undoing the tie, Kelsi refuses to let Shane politely decline her advances, tossing the fabric across the room and tearing the man’s shirt both open and off. “Seriously, I don’t want this, I’m sorry” Shane continues, his hands reaching out as he continues to plead his case, stopped midway through by a sharp pain. “You were great company but I am not-” Shane stops, a needle pulled from his neck a mere second later as he slowly loses consciousness.
With a smile, Kelsi takes a camera from her bedside and hands it to the figure she shares the room with, the flash of the camera catching the sight of Shane’s shirtless body atop Kelsi’s. The poses are sexual in nature, all showing different angles to capture each detail, the results leaving Kelsi pleased. “Well done” Kelsi explains, “it’s all working out perfectly.”
Discarding the man, Kelsi lets Shane fall to the ground before wiping herself off, taking the photo from the man’s hands and walking into the depths of the room with it, leaving Shane to the man’s care. “We should draw a bath to celebrate” Kelsi calls aloud, the man left with Shane responding coldly. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves” the man explains, “the more leverage we hold, the less room they have to breathe.”
== Tonight at 9 ==