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Drafting the future
Within the corner office of a corporate building in downtown Dallas sat a campaign team around a board room table. Equal numbers men and women were present, and all were clean-cut, modest and professional. Pilar, a middle-aged lawyer with chestnut brown hair and lovely Texan tan, was seated to the right of the remaining empty chair. Her counterpart on the other side was a Cory, a 30-something year old campaign manager who earned a name for himself getting a republican governor in the state of California, a state that historically swung bluer than the Pacific Ocean. The remaining members of the team consisted of representatives from big business, including the now defunct Texas Oil, marketing specialists, and constitutional experts.

The door opened and both Pilar and Cory were first to greet the woman that entered. She was a beautiful women, but the severity of her expression gave her otherwise big and bouncy femininity a harsher edge. Her smile did not break that hard facade, but it did warm the room slightly. As well it should, a had cold-spell gripped Dallas lately.

She placed a thumb chip on the table and immediately brought up a screen from which they could all view.

Her voice was pleasant and patient, long Texan drawl quite noticeable to those without the natural accent: such as Cory. He leaned back in his chair, relaxed, drinking in the sight of the beautiful Jessika. "As you know, the leading issue on my platform for the Governor's race is the Texas sucession from the United States."
A few nods here and there followed.

"I've read this first draft and well--"
she crossed her arms, "I think a pair of illiterate illegals could have constructed something better."
Her smile tightened like the corners of her mouth might crack, but the porcelain glass of her face did not fracture.

She swiped a hand through the projection, like claws down a chalkboard, and it disappeared from sight. "Do it again, and this time, I want to see a draft devoted to succession, not flirting around with her like a whore on Market street."
She clapped twice and the room bounced into action, most everyone filed out to return to their desks.

Jessika planted her hands on her hips and turned disappointed toward Pilar, "You let me waste my time reading that nonsense? I expected better from you."

The lawyer stood, unafraid of meeting the smaller, although no less frail, Texan that otherwise dominated the room. "Apologies, Jessika. These writers need clear instructions. I think nobody really expects you'll go through with it when elected. They wanted to give a loophole, in case it was necessary."

Jessika's eyes widened, "I don't back down on my word, Pilar. Make sure it's done right this time. I won't waste another 600 pages of reading again."
Pilar nodded and Jessika turned to see a sight for sore eyes. Cory was about the only one that understood her. As though he read her mind, he pat her on the shoulder and lead her toward the window where he offered her an iced tea - sweet as his baby blue eyes. "Either way, it's good practice. When it comes time for the governor's debate, you have to know your own work better than anyone, and trust me, the incumbent's team will have a dozen people ripping your proposal apart, yet only you will be there to defend it."

Jessika was soothed by the tea and Cory's calm presence. She toyed with the collar of Cory's sunshine yellow shirt. "Thank you, sweetie. I don't know what I would do without you."
They held one another's eyes for a moment, until the voice of an assistant interrupted. Jessika looked over.

"A message for you, ma'am. It's from Mexico City."

Jessika glanced at Cory, taken aback. "Who in Mexico City wants to talk to me?"

-The face of a pleasantly smiling Damien Oakland emanates from the tiny disk carried by a young woman in simple but elegant dress.-

Greetings Governor Thrice,
-the voice that effused the room was steady and clear with all the power of two cymbals struck together and none of the harsh shrill.-

My name is Damien Oakland. You may know me by reputation; I certainly have heard many interesting things about you.

Unfortunately, my duties do not allow for personal interest, such as it is. I send this message on behalf of the Mexican government as Ambassador. Due to recent action, the cartels have been forced to expand their horizons.

Texas may prove to be an allure too hard to resist, considering the current climate. I have been charged with the task of ensuring this does not present the United States any unwanted problems.

Circumstances prevent me from travelling freely. The embassy will be lead by a capable young woman, but I would much prefer to conduct this business in person.

That would entail ensuring my safety and secrecy. If you agree, I shall be present in half a day.

I await your reply.

End of Recording.
Jessika bid Emma follow her to a quieter office before playing the message. Cory sat nearby, but otherwise the three of them were alone. Once they closed the door, Jessika felt like she could hear herself think again. The cacophony in the halls of her campaign office was dreadful.

He was more handsome in his message than he was depicted on television. A difficult feat as he was already an attractive man. She leaned back in her chair, one leg crossed over the other, and brushed her hair behind her shoulder like he might actually be able to see. As he spoke, a slim smile tugged the corners of her mouth.

Cory fixed the already-calculating Jessika with a look. "He called you Governor Thrice,"
he said.

Jessika hummed a response, "Yes he did. A rather nice ring to it, didn't it?"

Cory gestured that Emma stay back and he placed himself between the two women, voice low. "The question is why. He is too well informed to have been mistaken. And why would an escaped felon risk crossing the border?"

Jessika drummed her fingers on one knee, bared since her skirt slid up the side of her leg. "He wants a deal, clearly."
She peered around Cory and waved Emma, the bearer of the message, to him.

"Tell him I will personally ensure the secrecy of our meeting, where I will hear his offer. My own detail must be present, however. You will come also. I will not walk into the Lion's Den without assurance their jaws will not snap down on my neck. Make it happen, Cory."

She was rather excited about this.

The woman Camila was there to meet had promised discretion, but made a few demands of her own as well. At least it was nothing that wasn’t expected or could be tolerated. In any case, the American woman she was there to meet couldn’t be much worse than Thrice’s opponent. That fellow Camila encountered prior to this meeting had left an unpleasant impression. Visions had not been necessary to get a feel for his character, which left much to be desired. All in all, the Mexican brunet hoped the Texans had more to offer.

She had two men with her. Both were taller than her, and remained just half a step behind at either side. Neither of them gave off the impression that they talked much, but then again, she didn’t either. Dressed in a ¾ sleeve, form fitting navy dress, Camila sighed inwardly. It seemed that half the time that Damien needed her assistance, she was parading around in heels and knee length skirts. In the end, she couldn’t really complain, it felt satisfying to actually be doing something, despite the attire.

The meeting place was pleasant enough. A Texan mansion of some Mexican ex-patriot, it provided both parties with a safe zone. Part of her was bothered by the opulence displayed, the rest slowly grew to appreciate the comfort. For the moment, Camila and her companions waited in the study. Orders had been given for Thrice to be lead to them upon her arrival. If Ms. Thrice planned to bring an entourage, she’d have to accommodate her plans to allow for the privacy of the room.

Taking a seat at the desk, Camila leaned back and crossed one leg over the other. Her end of the deal would be pretty straight forward once the American showed up. Until then, she simply needed to wait.
Jessika slid from the car, making sure her suit skirt did not slide too high on her legs as she did. She could hear her mother's voice as she did, chastising her for not wearing panty hose with her heels, but Jessika muted the inner sound before the inevitable frown darkened her lovely face.

Two men in dark suits and bulges reminiscent of pistols under their jackets climbed from the other SUV. She breathed a little easier upon seeing them. Fright never came easily to her, as she took a threat as a personal offense more than anything else, but this meeting would have the calmest person on edge.

She smiled when Cory climbed out of the car behind her. When she moved into the governor's mansion, he would be her top aide, but until then, he was the man in charge of her campaign.

"Clever of him to suggest meeting here,"
Jessika said, peering up the long white columns of the house before her. They were to meet on somewhat equal grounds: the man who owned this property was Mexican by birth, but now a naturalized citizen, he was one of Jessika's biggest supporters - financially and philosophically. Nobody would notice that she paid him a personal visit today. She often spoke with big contributors in intimate settings.

With Cory at her side, and the two members of her detail close by, they were shown inside, and led to a magnificent study.

Jessika boldly walked through the door held open for her. Her red suit was composed of a short skirt and jacket with fitted darting down the sides. She had a silk blouse beneath and simple but classic jewelry. Her voluminous blonde hair was pushed behind her shoulders, her expression confident. Upon entering, she beheld someone that was entirely the opposite of Damien Oakland. Those big blue eyes blinked in surprise. She was immediately wary of having been tricked.

It was a woman lounging behind a desk that wasn't hers. She certainly looked like someone Damien would send on his behalf, but that wasn't their deal. She was here to see him not an intermediary. "And who are we?"
She asked, tone cloyingly sweet. Having filed in after, Cory, exchanged looks with the nearest of the two security detail.

Well, there was no denying that Thrice had confidence. She had to, Camila suppose, to be this involved in politics. From the way the woman held herself, to choice in her attired, it was obvious that the blonde wished to assert herself as having power. Because of this, Camila found the way that surprised had flashed quickly through her guest’s features to be oddly satisfying. It took more than a red suit and a trio of guards to intimidate her.

she stressed from her seat, “are Mister Oakland’s representatives.”
Standing, Camila offered the woman an amicable smile and continued on in lightly accented English. “My name is Camila Muñoz. It is a pleasure to finally meet you Ms. Thrice. Please, take a seat.”

She gestured towards the seats across the desk from her. “I hope you don’t mind if the men kindly wait outside while we discuss matters. Seems a tad bit crowded in here, wouldn’t you agree?”
Counting her small detail, there were seven bodies in the study. Her men were mostly just for show, and she never had much of an intention to let them stay, but, she supposed, that would depend on the blonde’s response. In either case, Camila remained pleasantly calm and in control.
Edited by Camila, Jan 10 2015, 06:22 PM.
This little cupcake was Damien Oakland's representative? Jessika blinked like she hadn't quite heard right. Questions flashed through her mind like lightening. What was this game Oakland was playing with her? Was this some kind of set up? Had anyone even verified that the message really came from Oakland?

She looked down upon the seats just as she looked down upon the top of Camila's head but did not take one. She was pleasant enough, but given the deception thus far, she was certainly not trustworthy.

A nod and she dismissed the men in her company. Cory came to her side, whispering quietly in her ear. "I don't like this, Jess. You should leave."

Jessika peered into his eyes a moment, lips pressed tight together as she kicked her head to the side. "Go ahead, I'll be okay."

Cory reluctantly left along with the others, leaving the two women alone.

Jessika turned, hands on her hips. "What is this about Miss Munoz? This is not what we agreed upon. I will not be played for a fool."

It didn’t take long after the men left for Jessika to get to the point of the matter. “Of course not, Ms. Thrice. That's not our intention.”
Letting her hands down onto the desk, so as to allow her finger tips to grace the polished surface, Camila took in the other woman’s posture with a modicum of amusement. “But, I believe the message you received in order to set up this meeting was very clear, though. Mister Oakland did mention me. I shouldn’t come as such a surprise.”

Making her way around the desk, Camila vacated her seat and walked to place herself between it and the American. She leaned back against the ostentatious piece of furniture and crossed her arms at her middle. Her legs remained stretched out, in front of her. Her entire posture was relaxed and in control. “Relax. We are here for a reason. Shall we get to the bottom of it then?”

Damien used a pattern of Light to magnify the conversation between the two women in the adjacent room. It was a good opportunity to gauge Thrice's mettle. It did not matter how she reacted to Damien's presence, it would be well rehearsed and bland. What interested him was her demeanour in an unexpected situation.

Damien smiled to himself at Camila's diplomatic aplomb. She was an interesting woman who had proved herself an asset beyond her strange ability. However, the time to end the show had come.

His entrance was muted by a barrier of silence while he slipped through the side door into the room. He remained unnoticed as he appeared behind Camila. "Are politicians not taught to be cautious, Ms. Thrice?"

Damien stood tall in a silken suit of indigo of the finest quality. Long locks of dark hair swayed across the pools of liquid depths in his eyes. "You should be honoured. I do not risk my life lightly."

The mild reprimand was softened by his smile. "I apologize if I have caused your men any undue stress. As Camila has said, we have important business. Shall we cut to the chase?"
The slim lines of Jessika's brows rose in surprise, "the message I received said he would be 'present in half a day.' I rearranged my entire schedule to accommodate his request to see me,"
she explained patient as a Sunday school teacher. She most certainly did not relax and nor did appreciate Camila's tone suggesting to do just that.

Without so much as a whisper of a footfall, Damien appeared alongside his little crumpet. Jessika's lips pursed. Now it made sense. The cute little Mexican girl and the powerful American usurping her country, together, knocking on Texas' doors.

She could rally with the best of them. She hadn't walked up the stairs and planted herself in front of the pulpit without a leg to stand on. She flashed a pretty smile and greeted him up close. "Mister Oakland, Damien,"
she slipped her hand, unbound by a wedding ring, into his, "Jessika Thrice. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
She pivoted so subtly on one heel to turn him away from his little teabag. "Now what can I do for you?"


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