Parked Lunch

Glencoe Park

Midday on a lazy Wednesday afternoon. There were no emergencies to take care of, no cars hitting stray dogs, no cats running amok through gardens, and eating things they shouldn't. All in all, it means that for once? Summer actually gets to take a full hour off for lunch.
While Glencoe park isn't the closest to the Rutherford Veterinary Hospital, it's the closest to the sushi house. Grabbing a blanket from her car, and a bento boxed lunch from the Sakura Sushi house, the Veterinarian has made her way out to the park to enjoy the warm breeze while she tries to start on Maugham's Of Human Bondage.

Lunch hour, for a teacher, is to be spent in the teachers' lounge, fighting over tests and slips for conferences.
That is probably the very reason why Brett Coleman does not yet have his tenure. Instead, he's out for a stroll half a city away from the high school, his hands in his light jacket pocket, and just.. enjoying the afternoon. It's one of the two parks that the teacher haunts on a regular basis. Let the others keep the clubs and bars; this is where Brett finds his comfort.
Blue eyes scan the immediate area as slow, easy steps are taken. Not in any hurry, this native born son. He's taken the southern way of life as his inheritance.
The blankets spotting the park pull his eye to each— couples taking advantage of the weather, and one— one he recognizes from the other night when he was out with his brother.
Changing direction, Brett closes the distance somewhat before he calls out a greeting, "Miss Summer, afternoon."

"Afternoon, Mister Coleman." Summer waves in a friendly manner to the man, closing the book on her lap with a sigh. She will eventually finish it, it's just that the days don't afford her much time for reading anymore.
Sliding her legs beneath her, she motions to the as-of-yet untouched bento box. "Care to join me for a little while, or are you needing to head back to the school?" There is recollection about what he does for a profession at the very least.
Reaching for a bottle of water, the twists off the top and takes a dainty sip before recapping it.

Brett knows that sigh and certainly doesn't take it personally, in that the greeting smile doesn't shift. "Let me guess.. the same paragraph over and over?" He chuckles softly after and shakes his head, "Hate it when that happens."
Now, he was going to offer to leave her to at least finishing the chapter, but the invitation is just an offer that he simply can't refuse. "Thank you," is given as he finds a corner of the blanket and settles himself down. "I don't need to head back quite yet." He does check his watch briefly, just to make sure, and nods soon after, "Nope. Still good. And I've got a professional period after lunch, which I'll use as transit time."
Looking around at the park, Brett's attention falls back to Summer and his brows raise slightly, "Off today from the deli? Couldn't have picked a better day."

"I finally did manage to get to a new sentence today," Summer replies with a small laugh. "Though it has been the same paragraph for quite some time." Work interruptions mostly, and having a life. It's bound to happen.
"I have plenty of food. I always find they pack those little bento boxes so full that it's difficult to finish. If you've not yet eaten, please help yourself." There's honestly nothing more than the woman being nice. That, and the fact that she could likely stand to lose a few pounds, though that's not ever going to be spoken aloud.
"The book shop?" Her head cants to the left briefly. "Oh, I really only volunteer there so that Toby doesn't get overwhelmed. He should honestly hire another employee since I can't be there full time any longer, but he's stubborn."

"Ah.." Brett settles into a position with his legs forward and mostly off the blanket, carefully keeping his shoes off the blanket. "Could be the ghost of Maugham telling you to read it slowly. Or, just really bad timing on everyone else's part? Which," he holds up a finger, "I'm willing to concede."
His gaze moves to the bento box and he shakes his head slowly. "I'm good, thanks.. and it's not because I don't do Japanese, promise." Just in case she thinks he's some food snob.. or, rather, a food hick. "But thank you."
An almost embarrassed chuckle comes from Brett after, and he nods, "Yes. The book shop." And he'd called it a deli. Way to go, buddy! "Toby seems a good guy. Certainly impressed me and my brother. Did a really good job in making the place seem comfortable."

"Every place he's ever owned, he manages to do that with." Cerebral Deli is far from her father's favorite shop. "Though I may be a tad biased, as I basically grew up in one of his establishments."
While she speaks, Summer reaches for the bento box and extracts a small California roll. She may have issues eating in front of people, but she rarely gets a lunch break so she's not going to allow that to deter her from eating today. "You're welcome," she offers before popping the small roll into her mouth.
Washing her small bite down with a bit of water, she allows a small grin to touch her lips. "Perhaps it is. I generally devour any book I can manage to get my hands on. These days, between the clinic, the book shop, and spending time with Mischa, I just haven't really had all that much time to sit and really enjoy anything."

"Well, I don't doubt then that he's been a success." Brett continues that thought quickly, "Down home bookstore in a city this size, and a dedicated volunteer that has a good head for the inventory," certainly not idle compliments as far as he's concerned. "I'd call that a successful man."
He waits for her to finish the bites, giving her the chance to get something to eat before.. the clinic? "The clinic?" Veterinary medicine isn't the first thing that pops into his head, but he continues, "Mischa?" Sounds like a dog's name, truth be told. "Sounds like you've been almost too busy. No chance of any real downtime, then?"

Most people don't really get the connection between herself and Toby. There's a good reason for this, and it's that Toby doesn't like her to call him "dad" at the book shop, since it makes him feel old, and makes the shop feel more "mom and pop" rather than a serious business. "He's been doing amazingly well since we came to Dallas."
"I'm a Veterinarian," Summer replies with a broad smile. "That's my day job." Since the Cerebral Deli is just her volunteer work. "My boyfriend." No doubt she's now alienated a potential friend. "Not a whole lot of downtime. Especially since I'm one of only two surgical Veterinarian's at Rutherford, and I'm generally the one on call."

"And it's well deserved." Brett's brows raise once more, "Not from Dallas, then?"
It's not anything that seems too terribly important. He's not a Metroplex boy either, though he's certain to put roots here.
"Ah.." The smile is returned and he runs a hand through his hair. Handy, that.. really. "And you're just.. at Rutherford, right." He has to check exactly where that is. One never knows if a friendly face, even in the form of a vet, could be needed. "Not easy to get through the studies. Do you do big animals or small?" Please, small..
There's a moment when Brett's smile falters, and a that hint of disappointment flickers. Not that he hasn't had friends that were women before, sure. Nor is he even really searching, but there is a warmth to the woman before him; a 'je ne sais quoi' that he finds attractive and appealing. A 'down home' sort of feeling. One that, had things gone another way, mom would be told about.
Ah well.
"Well," the smile is put back. No sense letting her think that he's only had one thing on his mind the entire time. "Mischa, your boyfriend, really should make sure you have more downtime." Not moving in on another man's 'territory', no. Simply stating. "Little dancing out in the Stockyards. Quiet time home in the living room with a glass of wine and a pizza."

"Santa Fe, New Mexico."
Summer quietly eats another piece of the sushi from the bento box, then gives him a lopsided smile. "Everything. We mostly handle house pets and smaller animals, but one of the wildlife preservation groups in the area does bring in the odd lynx or cougar. Sometimes we get a horse, though we generally get those people in touch with a farm vet."
The faltering smile is all she needs to see to know that she's just made someone miserable. As such, her eyes drift down toward the book, and she just gently tucks it into her shoulder bag.
"In the Stockyards? Why does that instantly pull my brain to Footloose?"

"Odd lynx?" Corey'd like that. He'll have to tell his brother next time he sees him. "So you handle the exotics, too? Help animal control trap the occasional nuisance?" Well, there are coyotes that walk the city, though he doesn't classify them as nuisances. "In the other park, I saw a coyote run by.. so I'd guess you'd help handle them too?" Okay, not technically true, but it works!
Brett catches the slight shift in posture, and the last thing he wants is not to see her again because of a perceived.. disappointment that isn't more than just that. "Out in Fort Worth," he begins, "is the Stockyards. Loudest, gaudiest strip outside of Las Vegas, and is home to the best and the worst marguritas in the world. That, and stock auctions, bull riding, rodeos, and a large dance hall." Brett's relaxed, and his grin turns lopsided, "You do own a pair of real cowboy boots, right?"

"I'm a very strange Veterinarian," Summer says with a tiny laugh. "I like animals. People often abandon strange animals at the clinic, and I go out of my way to find them homes." Like the River Cooters. "I actually really like coyotes," she muses. "There used to be a small band of them out in Santa Fe. A mated pair and their pups. Out in the desert." A group she used to run with when the desire struck her to.
"I don't think I've ever been there. It sounds like a whole lot of campy fun though." She'll definitely have to make note of it and go out some night. "Would you believe I don't? I should though, I know. I'm a horrible Texan."

"Well, if people can catch them, then I guess you're the one who can't say 'no' to take care of 'em?" Not a bad thing in Brett's book. "As long as you don't mention the fact that you try to give them homes to my brother, we're good. I'm sure he'd try to twist your arm to go rescue an armadillo and put him on my front stoop in some little wicker basket."
Brett shifts his weight to lean on another arm before he pulls one leg up, leaving the other down, and listens about the family of coyotes. "I.. can't say I know that many outside of town. Knew a group down in Houston, though." He smiles at the memory. "They always seemed to play more than anything else. Always worrying armadillos, making 'em roll into balls." A chuckle escapes, "I understand they're closer to dogs than any wolf could be, so maybe a dog chasing a ball just comes natural." Of course, once the armadillo is tired, he's a meal…
Brett nods, and there's a moment when he actually considers his words. Boyfriend. The chances are good that she'll say 'no' to the offer, but it really is harmless fun. "The Stockyards are also the oldest part of Ft. Worth. So, it's got that cowboy feel, even if it looks all painted up. If you'd like, one day I could show you the place. Don't even have to have a margurita."

"I promise I won't let your brother know about the rescued armadillos. Though mostly, we give them to the wildlife reservations." Summer really wants to ask about the armadillo, but doesn't really want to pry and upset him.
"They're much like dingoes, actually. Behaviorally at least." Prying the paper wrap around the water bottle, she looks up at him. "They're rather cute when playing like that though. It's why I've been trying to convince people that bring their pets in not to harm them. Especially since this wolf has been attacking people. They seem to want to just attack anything large and dog shaped lately, which is making things rather difficult at work."
Licking her lips, Summer considers how to answer his offer. "I'd like that." Harmless fun, exploration, and there's no law that says she can't go out with a friend.

Armadillos and squirrels; the brothers Coleman. Well, not really.. more like coyote and lynx, but the threat against the other sibling is always there.
"Ah. And yes, they are pretty cute. They sort of bounce and make a yap sound when it moves, then paw.. and, well, repeat." He chuckles and adds, "Until, of course, they get to the point where they eat it."
Brett nods as the bit of current events passes, "I know. I saw a black dog shot in the streets out in Koreatown. The shooter was apprehended, but there seems to be an underlying feeling that nothing is getting done. In a way, I suppose the perception could be right. I only know that the vampires may get involved because a vampire told me." Not like they advertise their dealings. "Which, of course, could create either a little bit of problems with the powers that be, or they could become, pardon the pun, lifelong allies."
Brett is actually somewhat surprised at Summer's agreeing to go with him. A lopsided grin appears, no more thought of killer "dogs", and he nods. "Promise, it won't be one of those 'some time' things. I'll just need to know when'd be good for you. I mean, not tomorrow or anything.. unless you're free, but it's far better as a weekend thing. Before the tourist season begins."

"Everyone needs to eat, even coyotes." Thankfully, she's never had raw armadillo that she's aware of. That first change though, she can't recall a thing about, so she's no doubt that it happened at some point.
"That's just horrible. I really wish people would call in Animal Control or the police instead of taking matters into their own hands. Too many animals are being hurt because of this." Summer is aware that someone is trying to get things done, but she can't really come out and say so. "I rarely trust what a vampire says though. It could just be some sort of do-gooder public relations stunt to make the human's like them a little better."
It doesn't even occur to her that she's worded that last sentence a bit oddly.
"I'll have to check my schedule and my day planner, but weekends are generally better for me anyhow since the clinic isn't open late unless I've got the emergency shift."

Brett is pretty sure he's taken out an armadillo or two, and even the occasional prairie dog. He didn't eat them, however. Just.. sort of a reaction when one is a coyote. Something moves, he chases it. "Well, yes. And the varmint population is kept down because of it." Here's to the coyotes!
The smile turns thin, and he nods slowly. "When they're afraid, Animal Control or even the police department isn't the first thing considered. This is Texas, after all." Brett loves his state, even if there are some.. eccentricities that one has to accept to live here happily. "But this vampire isn't one for public relations. One of those older ones as opposed to someone who is trying to convince the world that being undead doesn't mean they don't have fuzzy little feelings. I'm pretty sure he doesn't care what people think of him."
He's back in his happy place, however, when she offers up her schedule. "Perfect. I don't have to work on lesson plans until Sunday night. Then, I usually pull an all-nighter." Okay, this'll put him in a good mood for quite some time; not that he's a normally morose person otherwise. "So," here, he headcants, "I'll look for you in the book store to decide on a weekend, or…"

All hail the coyote as one of nature's most noble beasts! Even if the farmers in the area generally don't see it that way. "Wolves shouldn't even really be in this area, so it must have come some way for it to be causing so much trouble. Even the coyotes wouldn't be wandering through the city if we'd just quit encroaching on their territory." But that can be said for nearly any animal that the human population usurps.
Summer is careful not to speak her mind about vampires. It's not that she dislikes them, per se, it's more that she just doesn't trust them on the whole.
"You can just call me, you realize." It beats wandering around looking for her or waiting for her to pop in to help Toby out. Reaching into her shoulder bag, she pulls out a small silver case with a paw print embossed on it. Flipping it open, she draws out a card and offers it to him. "Try not to call me at the clinic though? I'm generally back in surgery or dealing with distraught pet parents. During my time there, my cellular goes straight to voicemail, though I do check it at lunch and when I'm on my way to the Cerebral."

"See, you're right. Wolves around here are just.. strange. At least, black ones." Not that Brett's aware, anyway. "Coyotes, though.. naturally inquisitive." He's obviously got a soft spot for them.
The card case elicits a chuckle, and he reaches for the proffered card. "Right. No calls at the clinic." Shifting his position again, Brett reaches for his cell phone. "I'll call it, so you'll have a log of my number." The number of the cell is called quickly, giving the caller ID a chance to register. "I tend to turn off my cell in class, too, so no worries there. Not until after the final busses are gone. Sometimes I'm asked to stay to supervise after-school detention."

The phone in her bag rings once, but as she's aware that he's calling it, she doesn't make a mad dash for it. Summer will only answer it if it continues to ring, which thankfully it doesn't. It means she can finish up her lunch before heading back to the clinic.
"You have a soft spot for coyotes. That's rare." Most people would rather just hunt and kill them.
"Which grade level do you teach anyhow?" Inquiring minds want to know.

"My parents aren't ranchers," Brett responds. "Animal lovers, actually. Used to torture me by making me watch Wild Kingdom. Guess some of it stuck."
Brett puts his cellphone away and pulls out his wallet to put the card away. "So, never saw them as pests. And, couldn't see how they could take down a whole cow, so I always through ranchers were telling some tall stories. If anything, they'd help by killing the prairie dogs so their cows didn't fall in the holes."
At the inquiry, Brett chuckles. "I teach juniors and seniors. Juniors get history, seniors get civics. With the exciting times, though, civics is getting easier to get the kids engaged. History, well.. by the time junior year hits, there is the chance that my students know people who actually lived through some of the events they're living with. So, while some of it is dry, it's all in the delivery."

"Animal lovers are becoming few and far between now. It's nothing for someone to hit a 'yote on the road and just leave it there suffering." Summer sounds a teensy bit agitated by that, but she shakes it off easily enough. "A small band of coyote can easily take down a cow, but around these parts, I've no doubt that it's more often than not a cougar."
Recapping the now empty bottle of water after taking another sip, she slips it into her bag so that it can be deposited in a recycling receptacle as soon as she finds one. "I focused mainly on sciences in school, for obvious reasons, but I'm certain that there are a lot of ways to liven things up. Have you ever thought of offering a certain time period, and having them do a report on the difference between actual history and historical fiction? It would make for a fun, and interesting research project."

Brett nods and considers, "Band of coyotes could do it." He 'pshaws' the idea of a cougar, theatrically dismissive. "Maybe." Okay, probably, but it's a point of pride, as silly as it may be.
He's more than happy to change over to ideas about the classroom; particularly when an attractive young woman shows an interest. "Science." Brett smiles lopsidedly, "One of those. Still," his tones turn airy, "I don't see any sign of a pocket protector." Says the liberal arts major? "But, that idea is pretty cool. I know one person wanted me to invite a vampire into class, but I think I dissuaded her by the whole 'parents permission slip' thing. Then, the idea of taking a class trip out and a vampire happening to be the lead lecturer?" Brett shakes his head, "I could kiss any chance of tenure goodbye if I did that. But Miss Summer, that is a pretty interesting idea. Comparing and contrasting historical fiction with actual history. And, it'd have the added benefit of making the kids read. Which, I could coordinate with the Language Arts classes."

"One of those. Right down to the taped up glasses and bad hair." Only, not so much. Summer was the science geek that focused on dissecting things as opposed to figure out protons and electrons. She was the weird one.
"A vampire lecturer could be interesting, though I think that we're still a few years off from allowing that in the public schools. For safety reasons, obviously." Beyond the fact that vampires cannot be out during the day, getting parental permission would obviously be difficult. "Coordinating with other subjects would be something highly approved by the schoolboard, and if you coupled it with a period like the Civil War, you'd likely earn brownie points."
Reaching forward, she starts to tidy up the bento box. "I should be starting on my way back to the clinic, and I'd hate to make you late for your afternoon classes…"

"I'm a little later, so I'd be looking at 'To kill a Mockingbird', but then, that could possibly bring movies in. Which," Brett points a finger up, "would earn me brownie points with the students too." Unless they're rather not see something like that. "I'll talk to the department head, though. It is a really good idea."
When Summer begins to straighten up, Brett leans in to give her a hand and makes to rise to his feet to get off the blanket. Easier to gather up and fold.
"I should head back too." Brett checks his watch quickly, "Let me help you with the blanket, and I'll be on my way back to school." He grins, "Sadly, I can't be truant."

Once he's on his feet, it doesn't take long for Summer to be on hers as well. "Thank you, Mister Coleman. I do appreciate the help." Folding a blanket is always difficult to do with just one person, especially when carrying a bento box in one hand. "Guess I'll be out finding cowboy boots. Real ones." After work, before volunteering. "It was wonderful to run into you. I enjoyed the conversation maybe even a little more than I would have enjoyed the novel."

Brett is more than happy to help. It's the little things, the simple things that he enjoys. Like his mother always told him that she didn't expect flowers from his father, just a hand at washing the dishes. Simple.
He grins and nods, "Yes, ma'm, Miss Summer. I can give you a few recommendations for the boots if you'd like, but I'm sure you won't have too much problem." Looking down for a moment, he brings his attention back up, the smile easily reaching his eyes. "It was my pleasure. And I'm glad." The smile went lopsided, "To be more enjoyable than R. Somerset Maugham is quite the compliment."
However, he does have to leave if he's going to make it back on time. "Take care, Miss Summer.. and I suppose I'll talk to you later, just before the weekend." He remembers, see? "Just not when you're at the clinic."
Turning in the direction of the walk where he'd come in, his hands go into his pockets and he starts to make his way out. A few steps away from the sidewalk, Brett starts to whistle a tune.

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