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Gray Taylor

Gray Taylor is a man of extreme patience. One must be in his line of work, because it could be a matter of days, years, decades, or an entire lifetime before one contract was completed. He never knew what might come his way, but he knew that waiting would be part of it. The good always seemed to be claimed so fast, and the bad left to live for years on end.

It was the norm.

Even still, he compartmentalizes his patience. That's right, he has very little for certain things.

A Sampling of Things Gray Taylor Cannot/Will Not Tolerate:

- Fools
- Intentional d-ckheads
- Tyrants
- Those who think themselves better than others
- Donald Trump
- Donald Trump Supporters
- Hitler
- Nazis, white supremacists, racists, bigots, etc.
- Brussel Sprouts
- That other guy that reminds him of Donald Trump
- Anyone that pisses off Spring

And just like Gray scratched his plans of expanding his business to Japan several long months ago, he now makes it a point to stand in the boardroom of his New York office, his back to the table of people, smartly dressed, that continue to go back and forth as if negotiating the end of the world.

'This bank has been in business since 1948.'

'And we have taken it's longevity into consideration.'

'Have you? Because it doesn't look that way judging by these numbers.'

His attorney, Jean, is a ruthless woman dressed in a deep, vibrant red that suits her bright personality. She continues to counter the opponent with facts. Numbers. History. Proven pieces of the puzzle they are attempting to put together. And all the while, Gray's stormy gaze stares out to the rooftops of the urban jungle he had called home since the end of the war. Hands folded before him, feet shoulder width apart, chin up. Professional. Isolated. Resolute.

His attention shifts, and he steps up behind Jean. Strong hands find her shoulders as he gives them an approving squeeze. She'd uttered a number, and that would be the minimum. All eyes shift to him, except for her hazel hues. Instead, the only response she gives him is the lift of the corners of her ruby lips as she takes her queue.

She's done her job, and now she would press further.

Gray releases her, stepping around the table and out the door as she utters the magic words.

'Before we finalize the sale, we should really discuss Mr. Taylor's accounts.'

Ophelia
I'm thirsty. Let's get a drink.
March 10, 2017 07:04 pm

Ophelia Fraye

Ophelia was just stepping into her modest Manhattan hotel room when her phone vibrated, signaling a text message. She shut the door and tossed her room key on the desk before setting her purse down and digging for her phone. With a swipe of her finger, the white screen lit up her face in the dim room.

I’m thirsty. Let’s get a drink.

An upward tilt lifted a corner of her lips. She and her new acquaintance texted fairly frequently, but she hadn’t seen him in person since their memorable parting at the police station.

Gray
When and where, Mr. Taylor?

March 11, 2017 10:37 am

Gray Taylor

He knew it would have been either a response telling him she'd left for warmer days and nights, or just what he received. Gray is somewhat relieved that it is the latter. It's a heavy day, and he needs a stiff one to top it off. And good company.

[Means Ophelia.]

Ophelia
Where are you staying?

Gray stares down at the screen of his cell after stepping into the elevator. Thirty-six floors to go, and if ever there were a time to amuse himself just a little, it's now. That is, of course, why there is a slight smirk tugging the corners of his mouth upward at his question.

He imagines some form of incredulity on the other side.

Ophelia
I'd be happy to meet you at your hotel bar.
If that isn't too intimidating.

His smirk stretches into a slight grin.

Ophelia
I know it's nothing to a hardened criminal like yourself.
March 11, 2017 03:02 pm

Ophelia Fraye

Phone in hand, she’d already made her way to her suitcase in order to find something more suitable to wear than the hoitsy toitsy business getup required by the formality of the final meeting of her business trip. Thank God for that. Starched blouses, blazers, and closed-toe shoes were not her style in the least. It was a blessing that these meetings were only required a few times per year.

Having pulled out a pair of well-worn slim fit jeans and a flowy blue and white patterned tunic top, the buzz of her phone drew her gaze downward. The screen lit her face, illuminating her amusedly incredulous brow raise. Where am I staying?

She glanced up and looked around her hotel room. Clean and tidy, but she wasn’t exactly sure inviting Mr. Taylor in for a night cap was what she’d been expecting. They’d certainly had an adventure or two, but Ophelia still didn’t feel as though she knew the guy.

Her phone buzzed again.

I’d be happy to meet you at your hotel bar.
If that isn’t too intimidating.

She could already see the amused grin that was surely on his face. He was teasing her.

I know it’s nothing to a hardened criminal like yourself.

The text actually pulled a chuckle from her, and after a moment of deliberation, she decided that meeting downstairs wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Gray
Grand Hyatt, 109 E 42nd St. I’ll meet you in the lounge.
What’s your drink?

A short while later, Ophelia had made her way downstairs to the rather ritzy hotel lounge and had sat down at a two-seater corner table near the bar. She’d been intending to sit at the bar, but as she’d walked into the large room, she’d seen that the walls were entirely comprised of windows that allowed a beautiful view into the darkening evening. The lounge wasn’t on the ground floor, but rather a few floors up, and it offered a gorgeous aerial view of the lights, traffic, and looming buildings around the Manhattan hotel. She’d ordered their drinks and had relaxed into her seat, watching the bustle of life going by a few stories below.

March 31, 2017 11:14 am

Gray Taylor

Ding!

The fourth floor halts his journey to ground level as his phone chimes with an address and a question. With the boardroom so far behind him, he feels some relief. Not enough, however, to numb the twinge of irritation that takes residence between his shoulders, perched upon his spine in a space that cannot be reached.

Tension.

Ophelia
Manhattan. I'll be there in 15.

Placing his phone into the safety of his pocket, a dark gaze lifts to see his fellow passenger. A gorgeous woman. If he were a lesser man, he'd look twice. But he isn't, and there is another woman on his mind. One with a wide, full smile and a mysterious light to her eyes. Aware of the other woman's gaze, Gray bows his head until they meet the ground level.

He doesn't hesitate to exit without consideration.

Fifteen minutes later, precisely, Gray steps into The Lounge at New York Central.

Modern. Clean. White. Quiet, but not too quiet. With just enough patrons to make it private, but not so much that it feels claustrophobic. And there she is, sat at one of the tables lining the windowed walls, staring out into the streets of the urban jungle they currently reside in.

Stepping up to the chair opposite hers, he does what he does best to steel himself against her knowing scrutiny. "I was wondering when I'd see you again."
April 01, 2017 07:05 pm

Ophelia Fraye

She felt his presence before she laid eyes upon him, piercing as it was. His aura could cut through any room with a quiet decisiveness that was impossible to ignore.

“I was wondering when I’d see you again.”

With a grin, she turned away from the entrancing view and looked up at Gray. “I knew we’d run into each other again sooner or later. We managed it a few times without really meaning to, after all.” Ophelia leaned forward, resting her elbows upon the white table and smoothly sliding his Manhattan across to him. In front of her was a short tumbler filled about two fingers high with mezcal, neat, and a generous slice of lime was wedged onto the rim of the glass. “It’s nice to see you.”

She watched as he took a seat across from her, taking a small sip from her glass as he moved. “So, what made you come find me at such short notice? For all you knew, I was already back in Georgia.”

April 01, 2017 07:50 pm

Gray Taylor

As she sips from her own glass, Gray removes his jacket in a manner that can only be described as methodical. The action is akin to the motions of one suffering OCD, and in desperate need for control. A faint shrug of his shoulders sends the jacket sliding down his arms to his elbow until he can carefully pull one arm out at a time. Then, with precision, he hangs it upon the back of his intended chair and smooths the shoulders and collar.

Only then does he take a seat, back straight and failing to touch the back of his seat. Just the same, he doesn't dare lean upon the table. Instead, he lifts his glass, saluting her before taking a drink.

His eyebrows raise in appreciation as the sweet flavors slide over his tongue. The glass is placed upon the table once more, and his eyes find hers with ease.

Sheer brilliance is what greets him.

"This is one of the best Manhattans I've had," he muses to her, giving her his appreciation. Truly, he is biding his time, trying to map out his response to her inquiry. Or if he would give one.

"Surely the art of a drink after a long day isn't lost on you?" His hand is played, and Gray's Cheshire mask takes residence upon his face in the form of a charming grin. "Location is pure luck. Why are you still here, Ophelia? Decide not to leave me? Can't say I blame you."

Game on.
April 01, 2017 08:09 pm

Ophelia Fraye

He could smile that charming smile all he wanted at her; it didn’t change the fact that the man was pulled as taut as a tightrope. He was a magician with his words and expressions, a master of dancing around questions and giving half answers that weren’t actually answers. He’d make a damn good politician, she thought. However, his tense body language didn’t slip past her notice.

Ophelia merely smiled at his verbal appreciation for the drink, and waited for the tango to begin. Her wit needed to be sharp as a blade to match him step for step, and she paid close attention as the music began.

“Of course not. But normally I only drink after a particularly sh*tty day.” She paused, chuckling lightly to herself. “And actually, I am still here because of you. Though, not for the reason you’re implying.” She pushed a few strands of dark, heavy hair from her face, silver bangles jingling merrily with the motion of her arm. “Simon’s untimely demise threw a wrench into the meeting schedules, so the timetable was extended. But I’m here on the government’s dime, so..” She shrugged a shoulder, taking another small sip of her drink and following it by bringing the wedge of lime to her lips. She eyed him thoughtfully as she sucked the tart, juicy fruit.

“So exactly how sh*tty was your day today?”

April 01, 2017 08:35 pm

Gray Taylor

Minor queues are given as she joins him in their verbal waltz, such as a slight nod, a single shouldered shrug, or a twitch of a further smile at the right corner of his mouth. Gray can be an active listener, and right now he is relishing in hearing about her. More precisely, hearing about them, however bizarre their shared story might be.

So exactly how sh*tty was your day today?

Instantly, that cool steel turns stormy for just a moment as he stares at her. The fire is quick put out by another drink from the liquor at hand, and idly he considers a change in drink choice. The city it is named for isn't exactly his home, anymore.

"Not nearly as sh-tty as Simon's was, I imagine," he plays back to her.

Another drink, and his gaze cuts sideways toward the bar before finding her again. Another drink would be needed eventually, and he need to know just how difficult the task would be.

"Today has been one giant meeting," he gifts her. "I am currently in the process of selling the New York location of my business."

Setting his glass down, Gray makes it a point to sit back in his seat, trying to give her a show of comfort where no comfort would be found. With a little bit of honesty, Gray hopes that they could move on from the subject of his day.

"I do apologize for the upset in your schedule due to Simon's parting. Hopefully it hasn't caused a terrible amount of grief upon you?"
April 01, 2017 08:57 pm

Ophelia Fraye

“Well, I certainly hope not.” She grinned into the rim of her glass as she sipped at the fiery liquid. She was given what felt like at least a facet of the truth, and she supposed she should be happy she’d gotten at least a glimpse into the keyhole.

Nodding at his brief explanation, she chuckled lightly. “Well, I can certainly understand needing a drink after that.” She felt like all she’d done lately was sit through meetings. It was soul sucking.

He leaned back in his seat and rather formally apologized for his part in delaying her schedule. It felt like an abrupt change of subject, and she assumed he didn’t much want to expand on his day and, by extension, the tension he carried in his posture.

Shrugging a shoulder, she smiled. “It was only a short delay, really. Today was the last day of meetings. Actually, tonight is my last night in New York for the foreseeable future.” Her hands were clasped loosely in front of her upon the table, her right thumb mindlessly caressing the left. “Anyhow, if the meetings hadn’t been delayed, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you now. That’d be a shame, wouldn’t it?”

Ophelia was very interested in what Gray clearly didn’t want to talk about. However, she didn’t much feel like spoiling the evening by trying to push the cart sideways.

“So Gray, you asked me out, and here I am. What is it you want to talk about?”

April 01, 2017 09:42 pm

Gray Taylor

Under other circumstances, Gray would be visibly disturbed at the thought of having to chase her down in Georgia for her attention. It makes it easier when he fully intends to liquidate all connections to this city, and the country. Which leads him to a new concern: How long can he dodge her before she gives up on him completely, and thus becomes disinterested?

If this were a business transaction, Gray would have turned away ages ago had he been in her shoes.

His reasoning for selling and leaving, however, might seem extreme in many eyes. "Why do you stay? You work with the EPA, right? So why is it that you continue your efforts here, where there is clearly no hope to be had for the foreseeable future, instead of investing those efforts elsewhere?"

Translation: What sort of f-cking crazy are you for sticking around with the second coming of the anti-Christ happening?

Then again, she is from Georgia...

Let's backpedal a bit.

"Someone who supports the environment is essential to the environment. Surely a critically genius mind such as yours knows that?"

Lifting the glass, his eyes narrow as he takes a drink. The glass is placed back where it came from, almost in the precise spot, and Gray begins to unbutton the cuffs of his sleeves. Time for the sleeves to go up.

"They're making huge strides in the U.K."

Subtle.
April 01, 2017 10:02 pm

Ophelia Fraye

Ophelia knew Gray enough at this point to expect abrupt changes in the direction of their conversation, but she wasn’t entirely sure what prompted him this time. Blinking her bright eyes, she crossed her arms across her chest and paid attention.

“Why do I stay? You mean Georgia?”

Supporting the environment, critically genius, making strides in the UK.. she was struggling to connect the dots he was laying down, but his mention of the United Kingdom flipped the switch in her brain.

As comprehension bloomed upon her expression, she gave a knowing half-smile. “Ah. You mean why do I stay in the country. I hate to break it to you Gray, but some of us have deep roots and shallow pockets. It’s always been a fight with the EPA, no matter how power changes hands, and I’ve always managed."

Gray was trying to lead her somewhere, but she didn’t yet understand where.

April 01, 2017 10:15 pm

Gray Taylor

Danger. Danger. DANGER.

The alarm is sounding off in his head, and Gray is failing to listen to it's warning. He is erratic, and that could easily be pinned on his grueling day. But the subjects he is taking on, the way he is going about it, that is enough to make anyone pause. She understands the intent of his question, but not the why.

To a great many, he would sound like a lunatic if he were to voice is true concerns.

"It's a little different this time around, don't you think?"

It comes out before he can stop it, not that he generally would give a sh-t what anyone thought of his opinions. He doesn't. What he does not want is a disagreement with the first woman that has taken his notice in months. "We're talking about denial of the media, pretending science is fantasy, and the start of segregationist isolation."

He sighs, finishing off his right arm before letting his attention slip away so that he might calm himself. The subject is a difficult one for him, and watching history repeat itself is just about killing him.

"...This might come as a surprise, but I actually like you, Ophelia. And to see your passion go unappreciated is a tragedy. I do still have my offices in London, and I would be happy to back your work, where it would be allowed to flourish and gain traction. Consider the advances you could make."
April 01, 2017 10:28 pm

Ophelia Fraye

It’s a little different this time around, don’t you think?”

Ophelia, sensitive as she was, could easily feel the spike of hot energy from him with the broach of this subject. Looking down at the last few sips of golden liquid in her glass, she nodded. “Not just a little. It’s terrifying.”

He went on, listing out a few of the many things that were going horribly wrong in the country. She felt her own temper spike, that familiar simmering rage that millions of others felt and yet could do little about. “You don’t need to convince me, Gray. I’m well aware of what’s going on. I can’t even turn on the tv without getting scared anymore.”

Her eyes drifted to his exposed forearms as he finished rolling his sleeves up, and through the simmering heat he’d stirred in her, she noticed that this was probably the least formal she’d ever seen him.

"...This might come as a surprise, but I actually like you, Ophelia. And to see your passion go unappreciated is a tragedy. I do still have my offices in London, and I would be happy to back your work, where it would be allowed to flourish and gain traction. Consider the advances you could make."

Suddenly very alert and still, Ophelia watched his face for signs that he was teasing, though she would find none. He was very serious. She blinked. “Gray, are you asking me to move to England?” After a pause, she gave a short, incredulous laugh. “I can’t do that, I’ve-I’ve got my home, my job, obligations.. I’ve got a life in Georgia!” Though surprised and derailed, she kept her voice down, murmuring hotly to Gray across the table.

April 01, 2017 10:48 pm

Gray Taylor

And here they are, two like-minded individuals despite all their differences, about to have a battle of wits. In his mind, it is so much more than her work. Gray sees her as different, and the new powers that be despise different. They shun them, shut them out, use them, kill them. He should know, he was one.

She wouldn't know that.

But thinking on that night in the holding cell, knowing that small show of force of her sheer power, Gray sees disaster in her path.

Glancing in the direction of the bartender, it takes little effort to catch her eye and give her a nod. Another round, and this would be his due to pay. All the while, her words echo in his mind as he prepares his next attack to launch. How would he break down her walls..

"Your home can be maintained. Your job will be obsolete before 2020, and you are obligated to none but yourself."

Harsh.

But probably true.

Gray Taylor is pulling out all the stops, and has gone into a different headspace entirely. Ophelia is his focus and drive, and he would have her in his life, however possible. The brat will not stop until he gets what he wants.

But still, the abrupt tone of her voice is nothing short of amusing. Quiet, but forceful. It brings his smile back, just barely. She is very much like him. Gray will do anything for Mercy, and she will do anything for her life. "Ophelia, wouldn't it be wiser to take your work where it is safe, rather than chance it all?
April 01, 2017 11:04 pm
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