TÉA ATTEMPTS TO SEDUCE TODD

Téa stands in front of the Penthouse window, gazing off into the distance. She casts her eyes upward, watching as the snow falls gently from the sky.

She turns around to face Todd as he loudly enters the Penthouse. Todd stares at her, tossing his keys on the desk.

"What are you doing up?," he asks. He takes his overcoat off, letting in fall in a pile around his feet.

"Why were you out in the storm? Did you get stuck," Téa queries, crossing the room.

"I went to see Blair," he responds, walking out of the room. Téa turns her back as he walks away, bitterly crossing her arms across her chest. Tears well up in her eyes. She blinks them back. "I answered your question, now you answer mine," Todd calls. "That's how this goes, right?"

"That wasn't a very complete answer," she retorts, softly.

"Well, I don't know," Todd replies, "I think that just about covers it all."

Téa rolls her eyes in disgust. "Starr was fussing," she says, as Todd emerges from the kitchen, beer in hand.

"Why? What's the matter?"

Téa turns and faces him. "It's nothing really. I think it might be an ear infection. I put her down, gave her an anagelesic. She's sleeping."

Todd stares at her. "What? Whoa, whoa, whoa-- what's the matter? You gave her medicine?"

"Starr is fine! She may have an ear infection--"

"--My little girl's got a fever, is that what you're saying, and you don't tell me that first, upfront?" Todd glares at her before bounding up the stairs.

"Trust me, Starr is fine!," she cries at Todd's retreating figure. She shakes her head in disgust.

****

Moments later, Todd comes trotting downstairs. "Shorty's fine. I--I overreacted," he says, walking towards Téa. "I don't know why I did that. It's so unlike me."

Téa smirks. She mutes the TV news broadcast she's watching and turns to Todd. "Okay, that's settled. What about Blair?"

"What about her," Todd shrugs.

"Well, obviously something happened on your visit."

"No, nothing happened," he replies, throwing himself on the couch. He grabs the remote. "I heard some wacko story about Dorian. I wanted to see if she would fill me in."

"And did she?"

"No, I walked in on some squabble between her and Kelly, you know, same old, same old." He pauses, turning to Téa. "Can I watch TV now?"

Téa takes a seat on the couch. "Well, there's nothing on except cars stuck in the snow and stories about how miserable everyone is."

"Miserable? That's not so bad," he says, moving around Téa to unmute the TV.

"Don't, please," she protests.

"Why not?," Todd shrugs.

"Because I feel like having some genuine human interaction."

"Go ahead. Don't let me get in your way." He starts channel surfing.

"I don't know how you can concentrate on the screen. You're shoulders are so tight! They're hunched up aroudn your eyes. Blair ties you in knots everytime you're around her."

"This has got nothing to do with Blair," Todd snaps. "This is my natural condition."

"Then you're naturally way too tense! You've got to relax!"

"What's wrong with tense? Tense gets things done. It's all this relaxing and interaction that's just a big waste of time." He returns to channel surfing.

Téa takes the remote out of his hand. "Give me that."

"Hey!"

"Hey.  This is not what you need," she says, slipping the remote into her pocket. Todd shifts uncomfortably on the couch. "I know what you need," she continues, taking a seat behind him.

"What I need is for you to give me the remote back," he retorts.

"No. You need those muscles untied. Give me a few minutes on your neck and back, and you'll forget everything that's bothering you." She brushes his hair from his face, placing her hands on his shoulders. She starts to gently knead them.

Todd momentarily savors her touch before trying to pull away. "Uh--cut it out. I don't need a massage." Téa runs her fingers over his hair, but Todd jerks away. "You got a license for that."

A tiny smile plays on Téa's lips as she places her hands on his shoulders again. "Why don't you give yourself a little license for a change."

Todd quickly pulls away from her touch, again. "Argh, don't play those cute little word games, Delgado. I hate that." He sinks back into his seat, training his eyes on the tv. Téa starts playing with his hair again.

"Do you hate being touched?," she asks, as Todd swallows, slightly shaking her off. "I assume you and Blair must have touched each other occasionally. Did she ever give you a massage?"

"You can leave that alone now."

"Tell me something," she persists, brushing his hair with her fingers, "Don't you ever miss physical intimacy?"

Todd leaps away from her touch, turning to face her. "Okay, you go find the contract and point to the place that says I have to answer questions like that.  You point to the part that says I even have to listen to questions like that." He turns his back to her.

Téa stands up. "You're answering them by avoiding them, which is what you do everytime I bring them up." She takes a seat in front of him, blocking his view of the tv. Todd backs away from her.

"So why do you keep bringing them up?"

"Tell me, what is so shameful about needing physical contact? We all do! There is a mass of psychological and physiological evidence to support that." Todd glares at her, and then focuses his gaze back on the TV. Téa moves to block his gaze. "I...I miss human contact," she says, pointing to herself. "I miss warmth and closeness and urgency..."

Todd leaps from the couch. "Uh... uh, just cut it out, okay?" He runs his fingers through his hair. "I don't know where any of this is coming from and I really don't want to go there."

"In general, or just with me?"

"I don't want it. I don't need it. Go to bed."

Téa gets up and walks slowly towards him, a slight smile on her lips. "The longer I live with you, the harder it gets for you to hide from me. You don't have to." She places her hand on his chest. "Obviously, you had a physical life in the past. You and Blair conceived a child."

Todd brushes her away. "What is this? Sex Ed?"

Téa stares at him, bewildered. "I just don't see why it has to be something so prohibitive. I mean, here we are, alone, about to be snowed in. Neither of us can sleep, we're even married for pete's sake!" She slowly slides her hand from his shoulder over his chest. "Do you want me to believe that part of you died when you divorced Blair?"

"You can believe whatever you want," he replies, watching her through slitted eyes. "I'm going to bed."

"No," she says, gently touching his face. "You're running away." She smiles. "You know, I've caught you watching me sometimes, and you know something, I like it when you do. I need you to want me, Todd, and I think you do. Don't you?" Their eyes lock, and Téa continues to run her hands across his chest.

He snaps out of it, pulling away. "Look, I don't do feelings, ok?" Téa tearfully stares at him. "You know, it doesn't even matter because that aspect of our "marriage" was covered in the agreement you signed.

"That doesn't forbid our getting together in that way," she says, arching her brow.

"This is business, not funny business."

"Well, then, maybe you could consider it an investment," she says, gently brushing a piece of hair behind his ear. "I mean, afterall, the point of our getting together was holding off Blair." Todd averts his gaze as Téa moves closer to him. "Wouldn't making a real connection make us more secure as a team?"

Todd tries to shrug off her touch. "You know, I would think $5 million would make you very secure."

"Security," she interjects softly, "comes from within."

Todd jerks away from her and crosses the room. He turns to the TV screen. "Oh, look, Cleveland," he snaps, his voice shaky. He reclaims his seat on the couch.

Téa leans against the railing of the staircase. "I notice you're avoiding the issue but you're not leaving the room. Why is that?"

"Yeah, well, you know, I want to watch the news. The news is my life," he adds softly.

"How very sad."

"Only to you Delgado." He turns his gaze to her. "Just quit it, ok? Quit it with the comeon. You don't even know what you're asking for."

Téa slowly walks toward him. "Now you're trying to scare me? Well, sorry Todd, it won't work this times, because I know more about you thatn you think I know. And I trust you," she adds tearfully.

"You don't know a damn thing," he growls.

Téa slowly unties her the sash on her red satin robe. "I know that underneath that snarl you're very gentle," she says, slowly peeling off her robe, "and you would never hurt me." The robe hits the floor. Todd's eyes remain locked on Téa's.

"You said you trust me?," Todd asks, squinting. He leaps from the couch and walks away, turning his back on his naked wife. "I know myself better and I don't trust me," he says, voice wavering. "And if you're telling me now that you're not afraid of me, then you're stupid because I'm afraid of me."

"Is that an attempt at a threat? I odn't believe it. Look at me Todd. Look at me! You don't have to be afraid of your feeling or of me."

Todd listens to her. "Alright, you want to know what I do with my feelings," he shouts, walking around her, barely looking at her. He throws her robe at her---hard. It hits her in the head. "I do that!," he yells. "I hurt people!" He walks across the Penthouse and jerks open the front door. "Now get out." Téa tearfully stares at him. "Get out. Get out RIGHT NOW!," he bellows.

Téa attempts to cover herself with her robe as she walks out. Todd watches her leave, naked and sobbing. Téa stands in the hallway, holding herself, crying and gasping for air.

Todd throws a pair of boots out into the hallway after her, followed by her jacket. It hits her in the head, bringing on more tears. With one final glance, he shuts the door over, and retreats into the Penthouse, his anguish and torture darkening his features.