15538/Secrets and Accusations
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|Secrets and Accusations|
|Date of Scene:||28 August 2023|
|Location:||Library - Wayne Manor|
|Synopsis:||Bruce confronts Satana about her identity -- and while he may have pierced part of her disguise, a pretty big part of it remains hidden. A new bargain is struck.|
|Cast of Characters:||Batman, Satana
- Batman has posed:
It has been an interesting couple of weeks since Gotham's First Son, Bruce Wayne acquired the services of his new personal aide.
To be sure there is no criticizing her work ethic. Everytime he has required her service, every time he has had an actual project for her to work on, she has been right there, willing and able to take it on. There was of course the curious incident at the Stark presentation, but it seems little extreme to blame that on her.
Though given just how capable she has proven, who knows what she is capable of.
So everything is going swimmingly, right?
Well, not quite. While her performance might be excellent, Bruce was hardly going to stop digging into her, not with just how closely he would be working with her at times, and some of the... oddness around their interview. He's not the sort to just let go. Not the sort to pretend something didn't happen just because it is strange, or he doesn't have a good explanation. While she might be an extremely attractive woman, that is not enough to explain it all away. Not in his books.
So naturally the World's Greatest Detective would pry, would dig further into her background. Would try to discover more.
And sure enough, that's exactly what he did.
Which is why Bruce has invited Satana to his home today, with instructions left to usher her into the library upon her arrival.
In the meantime, he idly peruses some of the well maintained and well dusted shelves, glancing over the rather formidable collection that has been growing since the first members of the Wayne Family settled in Gotham those centuries before.
- Satana has posed:
When the phone rang, Satana was dressed in her heavy leather butcher's apron.
And nothing else.
"Don't worry," she'd said to the simpering imp strapped down on her surgical table down at the bottom of her mansion. "This won't hurt me a bit." After checking that the array of animal limbs she'd prepared were waiting where they were supposed to, she'd raised the scalpel, ready to make the first incision in her little experiment in enhancement.
And then the phone had rung.
"Don't move," she'd joked, shucking the apron and hanging the suspiciously-stained leather protective garb on a hook as she'd gone to answer the phone.
The invitation to go to Wayne Manor left her without a thought for the imp strapped down and now alone in her lab. She'd changed, grown wings, cast a little spell, and flown through the sky at tremendous speed toward Wayne Manor.
"Thank you," Satana says warmly to Alfred as she's taken to the library, smiling that smile she uses to make people like her, a lot. This being after hours, her selected outfit is similar tot he one she wears at the office, but with a slightly higher hemline, letting the tops of the stocking peek out from underneath, and a slightly lower plunge at the chest. Little subtle changes, nothing drastic. She still had a billionaire to fish carefully, after all. But hearing she's being taken to the library ... that was an unexpected treasure. And welcome.
"Mr. Wayne, I apologize for my tardiness," she starts immediately upon entering and seeing Bruce. "There was a traffic jam on 5th and by the time I realized it I was embedded in it."
She's not particularly tardy.
"How can I help you?" She looks around the room. "Are you wanting to rearrange the room and having me find the movers with experience with antiquities?"
Impressive. She recognizes the value of the library without even looking at the books closely...
- Batman has posed:
Glancing up as she is ushered in, Bruce smiles absently and makes a motion with his hand to welcome her in.
Certainly Alfred seems to be taken with her, patting her hand before slipping back out of the library discretely and closing the doors behind him. He can be a kind man to be sure, though he is almost always proper around guests, especially new ones.
One more tick in the box of oddities and the way she seems to affect those around her. r
Bruce gives his head a small shake and steps away from the bookshelves without plucking a particular book from them. Instead he simply waves aside her iffered apology casually, that smile slipping over his dark features once more. "Please, please, no need. It is I who should be apologizing to you Ms. Hellstrom. It is well outside working hours and I'm sorry if I took you away from anything important. You're entitled to have a personal life.
Even Bruce has a personal life, even if only on fairly rare occasions.
Moving to where a few comfortable chairs and a couch are arrayed by a couple of tables a standing lamp, the dark haired billionaire sinks down onto the cushions of the sofa and motions for her to sit if she should so choose as well.
"Mmmmm? Oh, the collection? Yes, it's quite valuable I'm told. Some rather unusual books in the collection as well. Some of my ancestors had rather ecclectic tastes," he admits.
The sort of tastes that ran to the occult and other even odder tomes, though not immediately present themselves. "But no, Alfred keeps quite a thorough record of what is part of the collection, especially given that we occasionally add to it," he says with a small shrug. "Not so much my thing you understand, but a family tradition," he notes.
Though it is possible that he has read every single book in here.
"No, I called you here tonight for another reason," he admits, that feigned absentmindedness giving ay to something a little more focused as he regards her.
- Satana has posed:
"Oh, it's not a problem, Mr. Wayne. As I mentioned earlier, I excel at chaos." Again there's a hint of private amusement at that final half of the sentence. "I'm a personal assistant. Assistance isn't only from nine to five. And you strike me as the kind of person who doesn't take advantage of employees; who pays well for work above and beyond."
She tilts her head and smiles. "And I happen to enjoy money."
No lies. Quite. She's skirting the truth, though, with the information Bruce has in hand about her. (How she expected to get away with things, given how public her wealthy socialite persona is ...)
- Batman has posed:
In their own way, they both play a game with one another, concealing things through well practiced deceit.
Leaning back into the couch slightly, the smile on Bruce's features grows a little and he folds hands together, regarding her for a moment. "You are always so very accomodating. It really does make you extremely helpful in your current role," he admits.
That at least is simple, undeniable truth. Even his now retired assistant couldn't quite compare to the ever efficient Ms. Hellstrom. And yet it doesn't seem to be the entire truth, does it?
"You are quite resourceful," the dark haired billionaire notes before furrowing his brow ever so slightly. "But it does provoke a certain amount of curiousity in me," he admits, leaning forward once more as he locked that gaze on her. "I have to admit that I was a little surprised that my HR department did not seem to vet you properly. They're usually quite... meticulous about such things," he admits.
He has a suspicion that a boat load of her unique charm and perhaps a hemline approaching the one she has on this evening might have a little something to do with it, though it is hard to be certain. And really, the specifics don't matter.
"As it turns out, you're a rather well known socialite. Intelligent, gorgeous and quite wealthy I'm given to understand," he points out calmly. "Quite the prize really. But it does raise the question of why you would want a difficult job with someone like me? The pay and perks for this kind of role are reasonably good I know, but they hardly seem enough to lure you," he admits.
- Satana has posed:
Satana freezes a moment. Only a moment. And in that moment something flashes over her face that isn't her usual bland pleasantness. Exactly what it is is hard to work out given how quickly it comes and goes, but it's pretty clear surprise is present. And that she doesn't like surprises.
But that lasts only a flicker. A heartbeat, maybe two. Then she's back in her professional-yet-vaguely-coquettish persona.
"Busted..." she says, voice low and husky. She extends her arms. "I presume you have handcuffs for the arrest?"
She can't help herself. She continues with a wink.
"They don't need to be for an arrest, mind. There are lots of fun uses for handcuffs as well."
"But yes, you've found me out. Which is genuinely not what I'd expected. Kudos, Bruce."
Her mannerisms have changed as she talks. She's standing taller, more with the bearing of someone who's used to being on top. Giving, rather than receiving, orders. And the subtle sexual signals are becoming rapidly less subtle as she takes a set across from Bruce and Sharon Stones him. (There's no freeze frame, however, so he can't immediately tell if she's gone full-metal Lethal Attraction.)
"I'm surprised people in Gotham know of me. I mostly stick to Boston; my family's home is there and it's where our roots sink in deep. You're right of course. I'm not in this for the money."
She makes direct eye contact with Bruce.
"Frankly, Bruce, I'm bored. And I thought living the life of one of my servitors..." That's an oddly archaic term. "...might be an interesting diversion." She smiles languidly. "And of course if I'm going to be someone's servitor, I'm not going to pick some fat, sweaty, repulsive old man. I'm going to be the servitor of a healthy, handsome, and notably unattached young man. Since I don't have to sleep my way to wealth, I went to work for the eye candy."
- Batman has posed:
Remarkably enough, he does not immediately produce handcuffs.
He is a billionaire playboy right? You'd think he'd have a set of them or something, but apparently if he has any sort of consequences in mind it is not to try and chain her to his headboard.
At least not yet.
Instead he actually falls quiet and simply listens to her as she explains just what has compelled her to seek out such an unlikely position when there does not seem to be any obvious need for one. He does smile at the innuendos, perhaps recognizing it as any effort to distract him, or perhaps keep him off balance. If so, he does not bite. At least not immediately.
It is a rather impressive display though, if nothing else. Just how he entire demeanor changes, how she shifts as if she is a completely different person. The changes are subtle in some ways, but taken together not insignificant. And as some one devoted to maintaining a few very different lives, of course he notices. And of cource he appreciates the skill involved.
Though perhaps it also serves as a warning of just how dangerous this woman truly is. He is certainly not a fool afterall.
"I have my resources and you did seem a little too good to be true," the dark haired billionaire admits with a casual laugh. "Though clearly you are even more formidable and devious then my sources hinted at," he says, smirking faintly and dipping his head towards her.
He is hardly in a position to chide her on her deception now, is he? He pretty much lives a lie each and every day, so mcuh so that putting on his mask -- his Bruce Wayne mask -- has become second nature too him. Is she worth keeping an eye on? Is she worth investigating further?
"So. I guess the question becomes on whether you want to maintain your little facade or not. I admit, it seems unlikely that I can do better then you as far as personal assitants go. At least from a capability stand point," he admits. From a trustworthy standpoint, well, that might be another matter entirely. "But now that your charade has at least been partially revealled does it hold any further interest?" he asks, once more leaning forward a little, watching her intently.
If he had shown just a little more interest, it would probably look like he was busy staring at her cleavage.
- Satana has posed:
Satana leans back, throwing her head back to look at the ceiling with a pensive expression on her face. (The fact this also puts that chest she mistakenly believes Bruce is staring at on display is purely happenstance. Obviously.)
"Well..." Satana sighs (the chest heaving). "This puts in a bit of a pickle, doesn't it? You know who and what I am. I know you know this. And it spoils, a bit, the dynamic I was enjoying to much."
She looks down again, into Bruce's face. "Would you be able to keep up the act? I mean I have some training in personae-keeping, but I don't know if you have it."
Irony, thy name is...
"We could just ... have a relationship openly. If you're interested, I mean." Satana's mouth shapes into an inviting smile. "We could just 'meet' at some event and give the scandal sheets something to go off on a tear about."
She makes a regretful expression. "But I'm going to miss play-acting PA. It's actually a more challenging and entertaining job than I'd thought it would be."
- Batman has posed:
It is an old adage to keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
Truth be told, he is not entirely sure just what category Satana falls into quite yet. She is, quite clearly, far more intelligent and capable then even he gave her credit for, which is no small thing. She is also excellent at deceit and rather skilled at getting people to do exactly what she wants them to do and that is certainly va dangerous combination as well. One that's difficult to trust.
Still, until he learns more the whole thing does present a potentially interesting play. But is it of interest to them both?
A brief smile filters over Bruce's expression. "Perhaps you would consider a small... amendment to your current position," he suggests with arched brow. "I'm sure this won't come as any great shock to you, but most socialites are something of a... bore," Bruce says drily. "I have obviously met a few over the years that have defied expectation, but they are rather few and far between," he adds, tipping his head her way to put her into that category. "It is also a fact that my reputation tends to be furthered by just a little scandal. I came to realize quite some time ago that I could not keep the tabloids out of my life. So I feed them things that I want them to see," he offers up with a casual wave.
Once more he leans forward just a little, watching her closely. "I may have ruined your game, at least as far as it comes to me. But perhaps you would consider a different, shared game," he proposes.
"Stay my personal assistant for awhile longer. At least to give me a chance to hire or train someone as close to your caliber as possible," he suggests, eyeing her consideringly. "I also need the socialites to focus on someone else for a time. I need to feed the tabloids Ms. Hellstrom, and it occurs to me that the occasional public indiscretion with my very beautiful assistant would do that rather nicely."
He pauses for a moment. "You can continue to entertain yourself with your deception to the outside world and if there is anything else that I can provide to sweeten the deal, well, I am willing to do so. Within reason," he adds, folding hands together.
"So. Any potential interest?"
- Satana has posed:
Satana laughs a full-throated laugh that brings her body with it.
"You have a devious mind, Bruce," she says. She pauses and adjusts her stance and demeanour, and suddenly there is his personal assistant again. "I mean Mr. Wayne, of course," she says in her wide-eyed, demure, yet somehow dripping with carnality PA persona. "Distract the tabloids with bread and circuses and they go off gallivanting the wrong direction. Make a noise, as they say, to the east and attack to the west."
She tilts her head. "And now you want little ol' me to participate in the occasional public groping or PDA to feed the tabloids while you do ... ?" She leaves the question mark hanging a second, then shrugs. "Not really my concern. This sounds like fun, and I'm all about the fun."
What little public information is out there suggests that Satana is telling the truth about the fun angle. Odd that someone who looks like her and is committed to what appears to be a life of sybaritic pleasures isn't in the tabloids very often, and when she does isn't there for long...
"I think..." she adds, tapping her teeth with her fingernails for an interesting clicking sound, "...that to sweeten the deal might be fairly simple. Two options, perhaps mixed. One: The scandalous behaviour could continue behind closed doors as well. I did pick you because of the eye candy after all." Her eye closes in a brazen wink. "Two: This has only just come up because, well..." She gestures around her surroundings. "...this is my first time here. But even from where I'm sitting I'm seeing an intriguing possibility in this very room. I have quite the library of my own, and I'm always interested in the contents of other people's. Just ... letting me spend a few hours here and there in this room--you can have me supervised or not according to your taste--so I can look over the books would be ample sweetening."
Again the brazen wink.
"Both together would be ... Hellishly wonderful, though."
- Batman has posed:
Clearly Mr. Wayne is not above engaging in a little deception himself, it appears.
If nothing else the proposal does give him a chance to see just how easily she slips in and out of one persona to the other. He doubts that he could do it any smoother himself, which is perhaps saying something. Though what might be a whole other matter to figure out.
It is not altruism that makes the dark haired billionaire make his offer, to see just how he can seal the deal here as it were. No doubt he is interested in getting her to yes, getting her to agree with his proposal. But it also gives him some measure of insight. Into just what she is after in all of this.
It might be flattering to think that a brilliant and beautiful woman like her was interested in him, Bruce is far from naive. She might be curious, or perhaps she wants to falter his ego. Perhaps she merely likes sex. But no, Bruce is fairly certain that it is the second option that is where her real interest lies.
For some reason Satana is interested in his library. There are valuable books there to be sure, all sorts. But there are easier ways to get money then stealing rare books and his investigation already showed she has no need for moment. Then for sport? Or for some other reason entirely? Either way, the best chance he has to find out is to give her the chance that she's seeking.
He too laughs now and makes a show -- or perhaps has a genuine curiousity given the nature of her counter proposal -- of looking her over. It would be difficult, if not impossible to not like what he sees, wouldn't it? And there is so very much to admire.
"Agreed to the second part. Honestly, outside of Alfred and the odd scholar few others make good use of it. You can certainly spend time here," he agrees before smirking. "Long hours like away in my home will only further the rumors I'm looking to foster afterall," he points out.
"As to the first part," he says with a wry smile. "Let us play that one a little closer to the vest. You're a very clever, very resourceful young woman it seems. A rather potent and dangerous combination I think," he points out. "I would hate to prove tiresome. And who knows if I would find it quite so easy to leave if I took you to bed," he counters with a little flattery of his own.
- Satana has posed:
"That would depend," Satana says with a wide grin, despite still being in her PA persona, "on whether I undid the cuffs afterward now, wouldn't it?" She puts a finger to her jaw, tilting her head that way, eyes rolled upward. "And the straps. And the ropes. And the ..." Punctuated by a wink.
"Since you know the truth of my identity, you've undoubtedly heard of my reputation. It's all true and then some. But I'm also patient, knowing that I'm irresistible in the end." She chuckles. "You'll come around. And I'm going to enjoy the hunt now."
She waves a hand dismissively. "And now that you know the truth, ignore my salary. Donate it to one of those causes you like to be seen supporting. There's no point in giving it to me, after all."
- Batman has posed:
Is this a good idea?
That remains to be seen. But it does offer a potential solution to an always nagging problem, at least for a time at any rate. And it will give him a little more time to evaluate the devious Satana Hellstrom as well, which is no small thing in and of itself.
"Mmmm, I am well aware of your reputation. It may indeed prove accurate," Bruce agrees with a faint smirk, tipping his head her way at the teasing. Or perhaps it is more of a promise, certainly with what he has gatherered out of Boston.
The offer to give up her salary draws an appreciative nod from him. "Fair enough," he says, finally rising back to his feet at last. "If nothing else I'm sure we will both be able to appreciate our little deception. And we may just enjoy the rest of your dogged persistence as well," Bruce allows with a smile.
There are certainly worse fates out there he is certain. Though it definitely feels like it would be playing with fire.