The One That Got Away

Southern Methodist University Campus

Green grass carpets the campus area, the central focus of which is a large concrete fountain. Tall sprays of water spout straight up from the center, with smaller sprays blossoming out closer to the edge. Seven low buildings in a variety of architectural styles are arrayed around the fountain.
To the right is the old Science building. Continuing in a counter-clockwise manner, there is the Humanities Building, then the library, a track, two tennis courts, a gymnasium and finally the dormitories.

It's mid-morning, and already shaping up to be a hot, hot, hot early summer day. There's a constant ebb and flow of traffic through the central part of campus, moving from class to the student union, to the cafe and onward. The only cool place at all, seems to be close to the fountain, where the spray, when the wind is carrying it in your direction, does lower the temperature by a few degrees. At the moment, there's a few kids scattered around, some talking, some eating, and one woman who looks neither like a student nor, strictly speaking, like a professor. But she does seem to have a few things pulled out for lunch; salad, apple slices, peanut butter, a bottle of green tea. And a phone, set out on top of a stack of folders, which must be on, because she does seem to be having a conversation, despite the fact that she's sitting alone. Mignonette's words are distinctly accented, but perfectly enunciated, her soft french a contrast to the english or spanish being spoken around, "No, Mother, I'm not trying to put it off. I just don't see how I can possibly work it into my schedule. I have court tomorrow, a deposition in the afternoon, and I'm still trying to work out this seminar. I simply don't have time for a guest to just 'drop in'."


In the busy world of Dallas, moreso the campus of SMU, it's rare to hear a language outside of English or Spanish being spoken as a conversational, familiar language. The soft-edged 'c'est impossible..' and 'pas les temps..' float above the hustle and the stacattoed conversations of the students around the fountain. This gains the attention of one Dr. David Trudeau as he's crossing the 'quad' a little hurriedly, briefcase in hand, his gaze now interrupted from the path he'd set for himself.

Slowing as he passes, he's not meaning to eavesdrop, no, but the natural inclination of hearing a familiar 'foreign' language is to listen, to hear its tones if only for the moment. Not that David is homesick, no.

It's simply nice.

Another reason, perhaps, for the speed in which he was traveling becomes a little more obvious when a loud voice rises, "Dr. Trudeau.. one moment, if you would.."

Twisting around, the bespectacled, now identified doctor puts a friendly enough face on, though the tightlipped smile doesn't quite get echoed in the blue eyes behind wire frames. "Dr. Wilson."

"If I could speak with you a moment.." The other fellow is a little winded. "I'm not sure you heard me calling before.."

"Oh? No.. Sorry." His vowels are rounded, his speech patterns a great deal different than those of the other man, and most every student on campus. He's not from 'around here'.
"Ah.. no matter. I've caught up. If you have time..?"

Twisting around to point in the direction he had been traveling, David begins to think up excuses as to exactly why he doesn't have the time even as he does so. "Ah.. I really need to get back to the office. I've got—"

"Great. See, it's about the syllabus that was submitted.."


"No, I don't think it would be a very good idea for him to just…hang out at my house while I'm at work. Yes, I know you think he could do with a change of scenery—" The rushing man, and the fisherman that seems determined to reel him in catch Mig's attention, if only because she's been doing that odd things that people sometimes do on the phone, when they're looking for excuses. They look, as if the person on the phone were actually around and could see what they're doing. And for a moment, when she catches sight of the expression on, ah, Dr. Trudeau's face as he has to turn in her direction before he faces the other man, gives her an idea. "Mother, I really do have to go, my lunch meeting's finally arrived." That part she says in english, and just loud enough, she hopes, to carry. That done, she rises from her place at the fountain, carrying herself with an easy, natural stride, the consummate professional, which goes along perfectly with the pristine business suit she's wearing, even in the summer heat. Again, her voice bridges the distance, as she approaches the two men, "Dr. Trudeau, I was hoping I'd catch you out here before you made it back to your office." She offers a perfectly apologetic smile to the other professor. "Oh, I am sorry, I just arrived a bit early for my appointment, I hope you don't mind. I certainly didn't mean to interrupt your conversation." Yes, she really is laying it on a bit thick, but, she is has just the knack to make it believable. She's all charm and southern grace.


"I didn't submit that syll—"

The arrival of a second seems to physically spin David around as he tries and catch a look at the person entering the fray. It takes a moment for him to focus on the lady before him and catch her words, but there is something there, lying underneath, that registers with him, and he rolls his head back slightly before he turns back around to face Dr. Wilson. If the other man said anything in an attempt to interrupt David, it simply wasn't heard.

"Ah.. yes." There's understanding in the doctor's eyes. "Yes.." Then, there's the apology. "I'm sorry.." the tight smile returns, "… but I'm sure you understand?" After all, David did say that he had to return to his office or be late— he never said which office. He'd meant the Center for Disease Control, but it could be either.

Dr. Wilson looks… disappointed, and immediately dissuaded from pushing forward with his end of the conversation and exhales. "Of course. I'll catch you another time, and we can go over the class structure changes. We do things differently than what you may be used to up there."

David looks momentarily puzzled, but there's a hint of a gleam hiding behind the glasses, "Where? Chicago?" He knows what the other man means, certainly. Just not going to give him the pleasure.

Turning his back to the other man in a decided message that the conversation is at an end, David inclines his head in a hint of a bow, the hint of a smile warming to a more genuine one. One that reaches the rest of his face. "No need to apologize." Sweeping a hand in gesture to where he remembers that she'd been he takes the first couple of steps back to the fountain. "We can walk and talk."


"Thank you so much for being so understanding, Doctor. I'll try not to take too much of his time." She even ups the wattage on her smile for the now soon to be departing Dr. Wilson, before she turns to join the now escaped catch, and start back towards her seat, "Yes, please. I really am grateful that you were willing to work me into your schedule." She walks with that same easy stride, and it doesn't take her long to make it back to where she was sitting, though she does move her things closer to herself to give you a free space, before she settles back on the edge of the fountain, demurely crossing her legs, hands folding on her knee, "I needed to go over the last bit of paperwork you submitted to me for reference and—-" She pauses, looking back past the man walking with her, "I think he's gone." But she does free a hand long enough to motion for you to join her. A ruse only works if it looks believable.


"Ah, okay.. what part of it was unclear. Perhaps I can clarify it for—"

At the suggestion that perhaps Dr. Wilson is gone, David exhales softly as he leans against the fountain, very near to her. Bringing a free hand up, he scrubs at his face, digging under the glasses to rub his eyes. Dropping his hand heavily after that, he offers the woman an appreciative smile. "Thanks. Not completely necessary, but extremely appreciated."

With another check to see if the man is truly gone, David extends his hand. "Dr. David Trudeau." His brows raise, and his tones are such that he's hoping and expecting that she'll fill in the rest. Just in case there is any doubt, he continues, "And you are…"


"Oh, think nothing of it. I was trying to get out of a conversation I'd rather not have myself, and it was as good of an excuse as any. Well, better a white lie than…well, none the matter." There's a friendly curiosity, in the way in which Mignonette looks over the man now sitting with her. He doesn't look at all familiar, which is not surprising, but his accent is distinct as well. But that curiosity fades, replaces with friendliness, as she accepts the hand, the shake firm and professional, "Mignonette Savoy. A pleasure to meet you, Dr. Trudeau," all offered in that lilting cajun drawl. "I hope things won't be worse for you later, with him."


"A pleasure, Miss Savoy." David grasps her hand and the greeting and introductions are completed. Retrieving his hand, he chuckles and gestures lightly towards the phone. "The.. french I was hearing." Quickly, he follows it up with, "I wasn't listening. It's just hard not to notice, in the sea of English and Spanish is all."

The smile remains easy on his face, and he nods to the pile of papers. "You can't be a student," here, David narrows his eyes, "… but I don't know all the TAs or the adjuncts." She doesn't seem old enough to be a professor. And, with the trappings of academia, he'd have heard the 'title'. He shakes his head quickly in response to her offered support, "It won't be. Dr. Wilson is trying to corner me about a document I didn't create, but inherited. I'll be making some changes, and I think he's afraid that I'll be rewriting the class requirements. Which, by the way, I probably should. Antiquated is a good way to describe them."


"My mother, trying to send me yet another unwanted house guest. She seems to think the house is much too large for me to be living there by myself." Not that the man probably cares, but it's another trait of southern women, they do tend to get a bit gossipy at times, even about themselves. "But french was my first language, and then english, and it comes naturally to me, and she prefers it, so I try to indulge whenever I can. Do you speak yourself?" At the question, Mignonette shakes her head, "No, I'm neither a student, nor a professor. Though I have been working with the law school on the possibility of doing a seminar here before the end of the summer." Mignonette retrieves her apple slices, and since it is lunch time, she offers, along with the peanut butter for dipping, which comes conveniently in the tray along with the fruit, "I remember well, from being a student myself. There were times I wondered if the syllabus had been written before or after the turn of the twentieth century. I don't blame you in the least for wanting to update it. Bores students are bad enough, a bored professor would be worse."


David smiles and nods, his head ducking slightly as his hand comes up to push his glasses further up onto the bridge of his nose. "Ah.. et oui." His accent is decidedly not one that could be even considered 'French' like is taught in schools around the US. "Je suis Canadien-francais. Comme vous, francais est ma langue maternelle." «I'm French Canadian. Like you, French is my first language.» It's easier, however, to slip into 'franglais', which he does, "Mais, c'est facile to simply use both." Much easier to dance between the two languages.

"Ah.. a seminar?" It piques his interest, as long as there isn't too much reading involved. "On what, if you don't mind my asking?" Law seminar. Could be useful, right?

Shaking his head at the offer, David holds a hand up. "I'm good, thanks.. though I should probably get back on my way to the office." Reaching into his back pocket, he pulls out a card holder and takes a card. On it, it identifies him as working for the CDC as a 'Senior Lead Epidemiologist'. "I'd like to hear more about the seminar, and.." he smiles bemusedly, "…perhaps run the updated syllabus past you. Wouldn't want anyone to be bored."


"I'm surprised to find someone from so far afield here." She lifts a hand, "My apologies, I don't mean to be insulting. It's wonderful to meet someone that I can speak to in the language that comes most naturally to me. I've missed it since I have been away from Baton Rouge." And Mignonette's accent, like the good Doctor's is not the standard academic french, but thankfully, they're both still able to understand one other perfectly well. "The one that I'm thinking of running now is actually on immigration law as it applies to the rights of defendants under the judicial system. Specifically, how we apply the rights granted under the laws of the states to those who are here illegally. if it goes well, I may be asked to come back." As the offer is declined and the man seems to be preparing to depart, his escape having been secured, Mignonette moves to accept the card, and after she sets down the apples, she also retrieves a card from her briefcase, identifying herself as the managing partner at the Savoy and Savoy office in Dallas. "I would be glad to tell you more about it. And to review your syllabus in return. Feel free to contact my office at your convenience. Or if you need another quick escape. It's one of the classes I did exceptionally well in in law school." A flash of a smile, sweet and genuine, as the doctor steps away, continuing on on his interrupted journey, and Mignonette returns to her phone, to find the message light blinking. "You left me a voicemail, mother. Of course you did."

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