Deck The Halls


Edgar_icon.gif Grant_icon.gif Gwen_icon.gif Mariko_icon.gif Samuel_icon.gif

Summary: Guests attend the Wolfram And Hart Christmas Eve Gala!

Date It Happened: December 24, 2001

Deck The Halls

A Posh LA Hotel

Wolfram and Hart has picked an extremely swanky hotel in which to hold their Christmas Eve Gala. It's a black tie sort of affair, with men (and demons) in tuxes and women (and demonettes) in evening gowns. The bubbly (and blood, and entrails, and whatever) is flowing, the hors'douvres are gourmet, and the eight piece band is playing standards meant for folks to swing the night away.

Wolfram and Hart has picked an extremely swanky hotel in which to hold their Christmas Eve Gala. It's a black tie sort of affair, with men (and demons) in tuxes and women (and demonettes) in evening gowns. The bubbly (and blood, and entrails, and whatever) is flowing, the hors'douvres are gourmet, and the eight piece band is playing standards meant for folks to swing the night away.

Which is what Grant intends to do, in a manner of speaking. The person he invited has already insisted numerous times that she doesn't dance, but he's nothing if not persistent. Dressed in an expensively tailored tuxedo, he waits in the lobby with a flute of champagne in one hand and a wrapped bottle of something in the crook of the opposite arm. The bottle is not for his date, but he hasn't had the chance to give it to its intended just yet. His eyes are on the people currently socializing in the lobby, lazily observing and picking out the interesting sorts. There aren't many.

Edgar is getting into the spirit of the holiday with his usual manner of being incapable of taking anything completely seriously. He might be wearing a tailored tuxedo complete with bowtie and accented with a silver vest, but even though he looks at first glance as though he belongs here there are… signs. Signs of nonconformity. The first warning sign should be the sprig of mistletoe pinned to the lapel of his jacket. The major, glaring beacon of 'Obviously Not A Christian' comes in the form of a pair of joke felt antlers that have been attached to the lawyer's head via a headband. Because it's awesome. He makes his way into the hotel with a bottle of wine of his own (for he'd never even consider drinking the stuff that most caterers dare to try passing off as quality) and very quickly catches sight of Grant. This is easy, because he and Grant are on the taller end of things. Accordingly, the lawyer starts drifting towards his colleague with a wide smile, one hand raised in a wave.

Even when you're helping yourself to something of a questionable source from the platters of bite-size food, you have to be aware. One slip and you can find yourself making an impression of gluttony, no matter how orgasmic the lobster canape recipe may be. With a flute in one hand and the other occupied with either light gestures or said lobster canape, Samuel has placed himself in the middle of things over yonder at the tables; there are at least two persons listening to him speak at any given time, and really about nothing of great importance. Oh, nice to see you, did you try the food, did you hear the band, did you see that dipstick with the antlers— It is not long after Edgar shows up that people have already started talking about him. What did he expect? Sam, like any good pal, ignores the very fact that he knows Antlers and carries on talking to a woman in a low-cut, scarlet gown about the importance of keeping one's scales polished. As for the Naga himself, he is in a slimming black tux, with satin lapels and a similarly silky-looking ascot in lieu of a bowtie.

Mariko enters the lobby, with her invitation, without a date - and not ashamed of it at all. She glances at the lawyer in the gaudy antlers before passing off her invitation to whatever minion is collecting them, and slowly makes her way inside. A small red purse, matching her dress and shoes, is slung around her shoulder. She quickly makes her way for the dining room, and a bee-line for the blood-filled champagne glasses.

There's a woman in the lobby with her back to Grant, hair up in a complicated knot. The dress she's wearing is velvet, midnight blue, and covers her from neck to ankles, though the hem fishtails out to provide ease of movement. Her arms would be bare, but they're covered in silver gloves all the way past her elbows. And when she turns, there's that red, smiling mouth. Gwen. If Grant expected her to be at a difficulty with the setting, he'll be surprised.

Grant notices Edgar first, however. How could he not? The other lawyer is only a couple inches taller than him, but Grant himself is tall. It's hard not to notice a big man wearing antlers when he towers over everyone else. Grant raises his flute and tilts his head with a warm smile in greeting and, once the other man is close enough, he extends the giftwrapped bottle.

"Merry Christmas, my friend," he intones. "You look ridiculous as always." There's no condescension, just fondness. And then around Edgar, he happens to spot Gwen, and he perks up a little. "Ah, there's my date. Wait here, and I'll bring her 'round to make introductions." And he begins to make his way toward her.

"Ridiculous?" Edgar doesn't feel that he looks ridiculous, and it shows. There's no hesitation in his walk as he sidles up to Grant, free hand reaching forward immediately to take the offered bottle. "Ah, thank you — but I'm just getting into the spirit of the holiday the best way I know how." He isn't going to open the present just yet, but Edgar is certain it's a good vintage. "…Date? You dog, you. Don't let me hold you back."

Mariko finds a crystal wine glass full of blood, and holds it between her fore and ring-fingers, sipping at it daintily. She glances about the room, looking for faces she recognizes - and not spotting any. She glances towards the band, and spends a moment listening.

"Hello, Grant." Beautiful as she looks, inside Gwen's still a freak. "Nice little hootenanny you've got going here." It does rather qualify as more of a hootenanny than a shindig. "Is this the part where you show off your arm candy to your fellow employees?" It occurs to her that he doesn't know her last name. If he introduces her as just 'Gwen' she'll come off as a hooker. But she also really doesn't want him knowing her last name. Dilemna!

Curiosity killed the cat, not the snake. He has to find out why someone could not take an affair seriously enough to not wear felt antlers. That is why when Grant slips away to fetch his familiar face, a familiar voice sidles up on Edgar's blind side. "What in the name of Ganesh do you have on your head?" Even though Samuel has decided to speak up, his eyes are on the top of Edgar's skull and certainly not the man's face should he choose to turn. "Did you have something to drink before coming…?" If they light up, that's the last straw and Montero possibly has a few cogs loose.

"Oh, it's not my hootenanny. I had nothing to do with it." Really, he didn't. Grant's just a guest here. Without hesitation, he extends an arm to Gwen with a smile. "You look absolutely radiant, so why shouldn't I be inclined to show you off? It would be easier if I had a last name to give them, however." No, he doesn't read minds, but sometimes, one just happens to be on the same wavelength.

Edgar keeps watching Grant long enough to get a look at who this 'date' of his is, and lets out a low whistle of appreciation. He'll have to congratulate the other lawyer later, but for now it's his time to answer the Naga that has popped up at his elbow. "They're antlers. Just consider me Santa's ninth - or tenth - reindeer. And as a matter of fact I did have something to drink before coming. I don't trust the swill served outside my own home. Don't you look pretty as a picture?"

Samuel is about half a foot shorter than Edgar on a bad day, and so he can't really see what Edgar sees- so he's still staring critically at those antlers. "It's certainly not fine, but I do not think I would call it 'swill'." At this, Samuel's eyes turn down into his flute, which is only half empty. When he looks up at Edgar for the second time, the face-to-face lasts about five whole seconds. "One of the prettiest, Edgar. Goodness, those things are.. distracting."

Mariko drifts over towards the 'near the bozo with antlers' group, and comments idly, "You know, I was told this is a formal occasion. Shouldn't you have a red nose to go with those antlers?" she asks.

Gwen considers a minute. "Stacy." she says. "You can introduce me as Gwen Stacy." Of course, anyone who's a comic book fan will recognize the name. But then how likely is she to find comic book fans at a Wolfram and Hart function? And of course, clever as he is, Grant will release 'introduce me as' is not the same as 'my name is'. She looks toward Edgar with a smile curving that red red mouth of hers. "Man's got to be brave to wear that hat." she remarks glibly. "A man walks down the street in that hat, and it says he's not afraid of anyone."

Of course Grant realizes that it's not her real name. "Edgar Montero is very brave," he utters as he leads her toward the be-antlered lawyer. "And sometimes odd." And then with a bright smile, he turns his attention fully to Edgar and the small group of people he's seemed to collect in Grant's absence. "Give him enough time and enough wine, and his nose will glow just fine," he remarks to Mariko's comment — the last of which he happened to overhear. "Edgar, this is Gwen Stacy; Gwen, this is Edgar Montero, a colleague, and some of his friends." He doesn't know Samuel or Mariko.

"It's swill." In this, Edgar feels Samuel must be guided towards the right way of thinking. Wine is his forte. He knows. "But it's slightly less terrible swill than it could be, I suppose. Thank you for the compliment, Samuel, they're intended to add to the festivity of the occasion." This last statement, said smoothly, has the extra-awesome functionality of answering both Samuel and the approaching Mariko. "I chose to forego the nose. It'd be terribly gaudy." But Grant seems to have a wonderful response to the nose comment of his own, and once the other lawyer starts introducing people - well. Edgar shifts the bottles of wine into the crook of his left arm, which is sufficiently large to hold both without issue, and offers his right hand to Gwen. "A pleasure. My friend here is Samuel; I'm not acquainted with the lady."

Mariko chuckles. "I'm sure it will." She holds aloft her red-filled champange glass. "This is quite good though, I assure you. Tastes vaugely french. You should try some." She gives her most charming smile.

Samuel is not one-hundred percent sure that a red nose would be especially attractive. Not on Edgar, at least. He chooses to blot that particular set of images out of his mind. "Hello." Samuel smiles politely and tilts the rim of his glass to the small gaggle that seems to have gravitated to Ed's Fantastic Felt Antlers(tm). The Naga does not know Grant, but there's a first time for everything- including first meetings.

Gwen's eyes flick to the red in Mariko's glass, but then they move right back to the gentlemen and lady she's being introduced to. "Pleasure." she offers, though she does not extend her hand to anyone present. "I don't know about swill. Wolfram and Hart has never struck me as anything in the realm of cheap."

"Pleasure to meet you, Samuel," says Grant, also opting not to extend a hand simply because he would rather not accidentally fry someone. With Gwen on his arm, it's a toss-up. He instead inclines his head politely in greeting. "I'm not partial to blood, myself," he adds candidly to Mariko, the smile never wavering. He knows what's in the glass. It's not wine. It could be French, though. He lets out a quiet chuckle at Gwen's comment. "Everything not from his own cellar is swill to Edgar. He's very particular about his wine." Which is to say: that bottle in his arm is the one you helped me get, Gwen dear.

Edgar drops his hand. If Gwen doesn't want to take it, that's her choice. He's perfectly happy to caress his wine, intrigued as he is by the wrapped bottle that Grant gave him. It's probably awesome. He can't stop thinking about it! But Grant's summation of his wine habits draws his attention, and he chuckles his agreement. "He's right. I'm very picky."

Shrugging in Grant's direction, Mariko smiles. "A pity. Its the taste that never fades." She glances back towards Edgar. "Ah, that explains it. Though, It must be a very nice cellar to be finer then what Wolfram&Hart have to offer. I'm Mary, by the way. I don't think I've seen any of you at the parties before…but its been a few years, for me. I don't attend them often." She pauses for a bit.

"Yes, I do suppose the nose would be gaudy."

"This is my first winter here." Samuel comments on that topic of parties and presences; he's the New Guy, for the most part. A year is not long when you're so old. "Good that you were able to come again, Mary…" Though he may or may not mean it, at least he can sound like he does. "There are worse things than wine to be finicky over." He approves of Edgar, the Wine Connoisseur.

"It's not much of a winter, is it?" Gwen smiles at Samuel. "Of course, I'm from the Midwest, where the snow lasts forever. I've never understood people who look to Colorado or Switzerland for their vacations, I'll take Tahiti or Bora Bora any day."

"I try to attend the important ones. Sometimes I can't make it to all of them." And typically, Grant makes the social rounds and disappears again, unless there's a very compelling reason for him to stay. He's listening to Gwen and watching her from the corner of his eye. Having others in a conversation is a fine way to learn more about someone — much easier and more interesting than one-on-one grilling.

Mariko's bit of conversation brings a smile to Edgar's face, and he nods at her. "I've been to most of them, but usually I leave fairly early on." This isn't because of being antisocial; it's more like he always pulls stunts like his reindeer antlers. Not everyone approves. He tucks his free hand away into his trouser pocket, rocking on his heels for a moment or two. He's getting antsy!

Delicately sniffing the air and Samuel's direction, Mariko upturns her lips. "Thank you. Tell me, where are you visiting from? Are you here on business…" She lets the question linger in the air, and gestures to the various Wolfram&Hart employees scattered around them "Or…pleasure?" Nodding at Edgar, she continues that vein of the conversation. "I'm outright avoiding them, myself. I get invited because I do occasional small jobs for the firm - but I don't really like to have more contact then necessary. They have brutal contacts, and I prefer to be my own master."

Gwen's eyes dart to Edgar. "You're the recipient of Grant's little gift? I hope you like it. He certainly went out of his way to make sure I had the means to procure it for you." Lightly to Mariko though she was not addressed, "Why can't it be both?" And adds casually, "I freelance. A bit of this, a bit of that."

"I moved to Los Angeles at the end of last winter." The lightest click of his tongue at the top of his mouth preempts a look to Edgar, then back to Mariko, then to the air between the group. "A note of both for myself, too. A new start, to be exact. I am originally from India. I needed a change of scenery…" Samuel's last words come with a mild tone of bitterness. What might be most questionable is that he does not say where within the confines of the country, and seems to leave it at that, opting to occupy his mouth with the edge of his flute. Now that he ponders on it, this may not be the best of drinks he has tasted after all.

"Who doesn't prefer to be his own master?" Grant certainly does. A very great deal. Samuel's mention of India mildly sparks his interest. "India? Really? I spent some time in India when I was growing up. Though I can imagine why one might feel the need for change." The last is added in sympathy to the naga's easily perceived bitterness toward the country.

Something catches Edgar's attention at the other end of the room. Whatever it is, there's no real way to tell - but he smiles and nods at those who have addressed him, quietly excusing himself while pausing to give Gwen a special word of thanks. "I'll see you fine people a little later." He starts wandering off, heading for the main bulk of the party. As he leaves? Tiny lights embedded in the felt of his antlers start flashing cheerily on and off.

Tilting her head, Mariko resumes smiling. "I see. And a bit coy too. Come now, this is a party serving blood and human entrails…" She pauses to grab a small hors'douver from a passing waiter, sniffing at it. "Well, mostly-human, at any rate. I'm not sure what this is." She sticks her finger in the 'snack' licking at the blood delicately. "No, no idea what this is."

Gwen looks on after Edgar departs, blinking a little. "I never quite expected to see antlers at a blacktie. Unless it was for my date taking me to the trophy room to do inappropriate things."

"It is a special place." Samuel just nods in response to Grant, the tone of distaste fading as he speaks again. Mixed feelings. "See you soon, E-" The Naga does not finish, because now those antlers are blinking, and all he can do is watch them bob away over the heads of others. When his face aims back towards Grant again, both eyes have shut and there is a single crease between his brows. Giving up now- 3, 2, 1.

"Enjoy the party, Edgar, and the gift," intones Grant as Edgar takes his leave. The antlers and all their sparkly festivity get a quiet and amused snort from him. "Ah, the crowning jewel on the evening." Almost literally. Gwen's remark earns her a cocked eyebrow and a sly smirk. "You need only say the word and I would gladly show you the trophy room." And more.

Mariko pointedly ignores the blinking antlers, but does chuckle in Gwen's direction. "My potential dates tend to run away."
Ohhhkay. Well. It was nice, but the last thing that Samuel thinks that he needs is a front-row seat to Grant and Gwen. He has his own deeds that need doing. "Well, it was a pleasure meeting you all, but I had best be hunting someone down before long…" The man smiles smoothly at the trio left, the heels of his shoes slipping a few inches backwards from where he stands. "Perhaps I will see some of you again soon." With that, the Naga dips his head in a nod of departure and moves to slip away.

Gwen looks to Mariko. "Perhaps you're not finding the right men. Or women. I don't judge." There's a faint smile that quickly turns to an eyeroll as she looks at Grant. "Do you ever stop?" And as Sam slithers away (only metaphorically!) "Nice to meet you."

Mariko chuckles. "Perhaps not. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drift over towards the drinks." And with that, she heads over towards a group of vampires gathering together near wherever the blood is being served.

Grant just smiles wider. "You are the one who introduced the idea, my dear." He offers a faint bob of the head to Samuel and Mariko as they depart, then tilts his head toward the larger space where most of the party is being celebrated. "Shall we venture further into the bowels of the company, or have you had enough?"

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