Pippa remembered the first time she'd met Adrianus. She'd been in Los Angeles for Universal, working and schmoozing and doing those things label people do in order to make connections. He'd been working on Sabine, purposeful and driven and so sure of himself. He was kind of an ass. But he was steadfast, a warrior at heart, and probably someone good to have in her corner. So, Pop had befriended Achilles.
As his friend, she felt it was her duty to help him get his attitude back in order. He needed to get his mind off of things, and a night out was always a quick fix for just that. And if anyone knew how to do a night on the town, it was Pop. After getting confirmation of the plans, she'd quickly gone to work at making dinner reservations and acquiring tickets to a show. She'd picked the perfect dress, matched her shoes, and made sure her hair was immaculate.
It had been a while since Achilles had set himself out into the rest of the world where he wasn't looking arrogantly over his shoulder at the mundane existence around him. It was hard to break through at times, to channel himself in and out of this dream-state he often felt in. A warrior with no war, a man with no peace. It was a struggle that despite any lessons he learned from Hybris' influence and Zeus' rebuke, Achilles fought through it every day.
His temperament was much softer now, but that did not mean fate wouldn't rear her ugly head again one day and take him by the neck.
It had been a long time since he'd first met Pippa via Ken. He'd not seen L.A. since Sabine had finished shooting nearly a year ago. He was working on something new now, and while he could easily drive himself into his own world while he wrote it was time to mingle, though Achilles was not much of a socialite. He was stoic at times, arrogant, and he spoke above others when they proved their ignorance.
Dressed in a nice jacket and his usual rock star aura, Achilles was on time if not early while waiting for Pippa to show at The Russian Tea Room.
Ever the diva, of course, Pop arrived fashionably late. She purposefully sauntered past the guard and the line he was holding back, stepped through the red door and greeted the host as if she were coming home. He recognized her straight away, and she swept past him with a flirty wave. She'd reserved her regular table - a large, rounded booth made to fit at least six people - and found Achilles waiting for her, the lone occupant.
"Darling!" She rarely used anyone's name at all, and her penchant for pet names helped her in this case. It would sound rather silly for her to call out Achilles, and she had such a hard time keeping aliases straight. "You're so...shiny! I think I'm in love."
Achilles stood as Pop entered, greeting her with a kiss on the cheek and a friendly hand on the small of her back. There was still some chivalry imprinted on him even through the arrogant facade. His mother had taught him right.
He couldn't help but hold a small smile (though small in it's presentation) at her exuberance. He stood tall against her, though not like his warrior build in days before, he still attracted attention, which would make the both of them a paparazzi favorite should any cameramen be lurking around.
He held a hand against the side of the jacket, having just cut his hair and looking more stylish than he may have previously while he'd kept a rather low-key appearance in the past months. "Pleased you like the choice," he say after she took her seat.
She returned the kiss to his cheek, barely touching him. Pop had gotten very good at these types of friendly greetings, and it seemed Achilles had, as well.
She slid gracefully into the booth, settling in at one of the two table placements. "You look very dashing," she admitted, taking stock of his whole appearance - he was looking more put-together than she'd remembered him. "Who's dressing you these days? Or is this all your own doing?"
He sat up straight turning his body so that he faced her with that proud air circling around him. She was a breath of fresh air in this mundane existence he had started getting used to. While it was peaceful, the silence at times was too deafening.
"I'm not completely inept to putting myself together," he spoke in jest.
"Oh, honey." She patted his hand a few times. "I've seen some of the things you wear."
She was glad to see that he was at least in a decent mood. They were trading quick jabs, and he wasn't completely down on himself. Perhaps he would enjoy their evening, after all.
She made note of the waiter standing paitiently for an order and asked for a classic martini - gin, not vodka.
"How is work?" she asked, turning back to him. "Terribly sorry about your award season, by the way."
Achilles shook his head with a fairly unamused grin. There was still some playfulness behind that look at least, she'd managed to keep his attention from wandering thoughts. "I've got my own stylish persona," though he'd clearly stepped out of that look of sun-kissed warrior and sandals. Inside he was still very much that man.
He waved away the waiter when asked what his drink would be. Achilles still was very much a recluse from the drinking field. Absinthe who had clung to him often to taste her own concoction--had politely refused every time.
"Times have been a bit slow," he said clasping his hands together, elbows poised perfectly against the table. "Men don't know the value in what they feed their minds. They want flashy, 3-D. They don't want the truth." Though Achilles had cranked out one hell of a film, it was every bit Oscar material as The King's Speech.
She pursed her lips as he spoke. Ever stoic, he was clearly dedicated to his craft one hundred percent. It was this trait that Pop admired the most about him.
"Well, if they wanted that, dear, they wouldn't have picked an epically boring, stuttering bromance." She'd lost quite tragically to Indie during her own awards season, but after years of ups and downs with the Grammys, she'd gotten used to it.
She pointed a manicured finger at him playfully. "I'm sure you've still got some ideas floating around in there."
Achilles was never a man to do anything halfway. There was an art to it, just as it had been in the days he could wield a sword and spear. The image presented would always be like that of a god even if he only held a demi status. He was the strength of his mother and his father and he would always be the better man for it.
"A well film indeed but nothing in comparison to my own." He had not played that night as cool as he could now. His face at the Oscars had read nothing but rage even in shaking the hands of those who had succeeded over him. Achilles did not take defeat well, not when he himself matched any mortal.
"I have many stories to tell."
"Of course you do. You're very, very old. Not that you look it." She smiled behind her martini glass. To many immortals, Pop was still just a child. She still acted like someone who had much to learn and was too confident in herself to ever see anything bad on the horizon.
"How's Ken these days?" she asked, inquiring of Achilles' human assistant. "I've heard from him even less than I've heard from you."
He still looked the twenty-five years he'd been the day he died those years ago in Troy. As old as he was he too was still young in comparison to those gods and immortals that stretched a lifetime beyond him. Pop however to him, was very young. Just a highlight of the world as she saw it now. He'd seen so much beyond the way the world had melded now. "I should like to think not," he teased.
"He's been busy. Married now and giving himself less and less to do." Something in that statement disgruntled Achilles. Between Kenneth and Patroclus, there was no one for Achilles to order around. To have at his side, it made the events of Hybris feel that much more powerful. She'd ultimately done worse by Achilles closing in on himself again. It was a dangerous place to be in.
"Married?!" she practically shrieked. "Boo! Who told him to go and do that?" Mortals and their cultural norms. She wasn't sure she'd ever understand them.
"You need a new assistant. A shiny, young one. Preferably pretty. It'll do you a world of good."
Achilles waved it off though he had not been pleased to hear of it himself when Ken had chose to be so secretive. "He convinced himself I suppose, I'm not too fond of her." He and Alicia did not exactly get on so well, but they hadn't since the beginning. Her immortal Absinthe had also turned things sour when she and Achilles turned from each other. He had shared a fling for long enough as he was interested, both of them with jealous natures it hadn't ended well.
"Young doesn't always bring the best," he gave her a look however that said he meant no disregard to her. He appreciated she took such an interest in his well-being.
"Well, I guess if he's happy," she said begrudgingly, twirling the toothpick in her drink, "then it's his own business. Or whatever." She was pouting, like a girl who was made to say sorry when she really didn't mean it.
She took the olive from her drink and chewed on it for a moment. "But they're so fun to look at. You can always find a new one. They bounce back easily enough."
"He seems it. Acting like a foolish teenager if you ask me." Achilles downed some of the water that sat in front of him in the glass. "I do not approve, it cuts into his work at times." It had put a drastic wedge between the person Achilles confided in and now the Ken that had a second voice chiming in and stealing his time. Achilles did not like it.
"They also fail more miserably. Kenneth knows what he does, well. That is hard to find."
"Most people in love do, silly." She had to smile wistfully at that. Pop hadn't been in love in a long time. She was getting to the point where she missed it a little.
"But he's not doing it now, is he? I like Ken. I do. But if he's got a lady in his life, his priorities are going to shift. Maybe you should get two assistants. Then you could have an entourage." This idea excited her, perhaps a little more than was normal.
He hummed in his throat. That too was something he had not felt in some time. He gave his heart to very few, and in truth Briseis tugged him around. He would not force her, but his heart would always ache for her affections and not to be treated as just a mere representation of her past. "Mmm. Perhaps." There was a negative edge to his voice. While he would give anything for those that he loved to be happy, it seemed as if Achilles was always fore-fitting his own.
"That is a thought. Only someone that Kenneth could find responsible. The last one that took his place while he went gallivanting off was useless. I could and would have strangled him for his foolishness."
"Let it be his project, then. He probably knows what you look for better than you do." She'd never had an assistant. In her line of work, she'd never needed one. If she ever moved up to an executive, however, it would be an option. For now, she enjoyed finding the untapped talent at its source.
"I'd probably overwork an assistant to death. I'm too much of a perfectionist."
"It is not a horrible idea." He sat back in his seat, stretching his legs getting comfortable. "He often complains when it isn't necessary. This may lighten his mood."
"There is something to be said for perfectionism. More should use it instead of working with only the basics. It's what separates men from boys. Or," he offered a gesturing hand, "women from girls." The problem with perfectionism is it pinched everyone else so tight that the one giving demands was not ever satisfied. Hard work was necessary and very few these days put forth that kind of effort.
"I do have good ideas from time to time," she said primly.
She grinned when he made the exception for women. "Perfectionism is isolating, though, don't you think? I suppose it's just something we're plagued with," she said with a heavy, over-dramatic sigh.
"That you do," he wouldn't deny that. There was an odd understanding between the two of them. They were cuts of the same make in some ways.
"Can be," he said distantly. "However, those who fail to keep up, then that is their loss. History is plagued with failures, and yet the one's who succeed make their mark in history."
She finished off her drink, an annoyed sound coming from the back of her throat. She was starting to feel lonely, and she hated that. She was very self-sufficient, and she didn't want to spiral into some hopeless sap.
She ordered another martini, hoping the second drink would get her over the depressing haze. "Anyway. Are you excited to hear what play I've chosen? You should be pleased to hear I didn't pick a musical!"
It was a lonely life, Achilles had lived with that feeling for years. He'd grown accustomed to it. He was a man that did things on his own.
"I am impressed," he gave her a small smile with pursed lips. It was difficult to keep a stern face around her, she was very charismatic.
"It is called," she began dramatically, not bothering to lower her voice in the slightest, "The Motherfucker With the Hat." She slapped her hand down on the table for added effect.
"To be honest, there is a show right now about a war, but it's technically about a horse in a war, and I didn't think you'd want to watch a two-hour show about a horse." She gave the idea a dismissive wave. "And even if you did, I'm sorry, but I really just cannot."