Out in the Flatlands

The sun has set over the flatlands of Texas. The vestiges of reds and oranges melt slowly away, leaving the sky black with the beginnings of dottings of stars, and the burgeoning of the moon. It's getting closer to the full moon, but not where any concern is had.
Folded out on a patch of sandy soil, reasonably cleared of underbrush, is a large blanket. Folded up and sitting on a corner, two large, 'thirsty' brown towels. A picnic basket sits atop the towels, closed for the moment. Stretched out and leaning back on straight arms sits Brett Coleman, his feet wigging back and forth on his heels, his gaze set off to the middle distance as the soft barkings of prairie dogs begin in the night.

It's not by chance that Summer is here. In fact this is a planned outing, and as such she's come as promised — hair up in a bun, lab coat worn, pocket protector, clipboard, and last but not least the black pencil skirt. The only thing that is different is the fact that she's wearing a sensible pair of shoes rather than the heels that female scientists so commonly wear in the movies.
Legs folded beneath her, she sits atop the towel. Despite the playfulness of her appearance, she's spent a great deal of the evening being quiet. As the critters begin their nightly noises, she finally turns to her companion. There is much they need to talk about. Much they need to discuss.
What Summer blurts out, however, is the following, "I had to babysit an owl monkey."

The outfit had garnered a good bit of laughter as well as a fair bit of physical attraction. There's no question that Brett finds her appealing in so many ways; the joke came off on so many different levels, he couldn't even begin to separate them all out.
The mostly silence on the blanket doesn't give Brett much cause for alarm. He's been finding that there's little need to fill in the blanks, and the awkwardness about wondering what to say next really has never reared its ugly head. For whatever reason.
He's very much aware that there's a few things to discuss, other than tracking the prairie dogs, which may or may not happen tonight. Heck, there's always tomorrow night, or the next..
Nothing like making plans for the future!
What comes, however, when Summer decides to break the silence, takes Brett completely by surprise. "You… what?" Shocked. Stunned. His jaw is left hanging open, but the humour and amusement hasn't left his eyes. "Babysit.. an owl monkey?" Okay, try again. "Why? How?"

Honestly, it wasn't what she was intending to say it really just tumbled out of her mouth once she opened it to speak. Summer laughs at his surprise and amusement, and chuckles as she shakes her head.
At least the ice of potential awkwardness has broken.
"I contacted Doctor Reynolds, the zoologist you left the card for. He had an infant owl monkey that needed attention while he was at one of the elementary schools. So I spent my day off with an owl monkey." They are rather cute creatures but definitely not one that she would ever want as a pet.
"About the other night… I'm sorry that I sent you off like that. It's just that I had no idea if that idiot was going to attempt something or not, and while the Pack won't hurt me I don't think they would have reacted to outsiders well if he did."

There hasn't been, okay.. maybe once or twice, but hasn't really been a difficult, awkward moment for Brett. Nakedness notwithstandng, of course. And the contact thereafter.
Setting his jaw straight, he chuckles in echo of her own laugh and nods, "Good," his tones are encouraging. "any news on the giraffe? Should we be sitting by the phone or something?" Though.. owl monkey. "You know, I find it kinda hopeful that you didn't cancel the outing on count of having to babysit. Thank you." He's teasing, of course, but isn't that one of many ways to get out of date?
As the other night comes up, Brett takes a deep breath and leans forward, wiping his hands together before settling them beside him on either side. "Last night.. see.. I, uh.. had the feeling it was going to happen. The bite, that is.. but Summer, did you have to say something? And," here, he's serious, a glimpse inside the man without the mask of humour, if only for a moment, "'your Alpha'? You're a shifter, not a wolf. You're a person. A.. a.. person. Not some animal in a human suit. We don't do stuff like they do."

"He mentioned that it was apt to happen at any time, so I have my phone set to a different tone if it's to happen." Summer glances down at said phone and then smiles. "Within the next few days. Chances are it'll happen while I'm in surgery, or at four in the morning." Which is when these types of things always seem to happen.
"Cancel this outing? Not on your life! Where else can I dress like a proverbial movie scientist for fun?" Not to mention strolling out into the desert and counting the prairie dogs.
"I did," she replies, voice filling with compassion. "They were talking as though all that mattered was the fact that poor man shot a gun at one of us. The fact is there were other people on the street. There were children on that street. With everything that's been in the media about that wolf, I can understand why that man did what he did… but no one considered that he could have shot and killed a human child." She glances away slowly. "At least Franklin Demoin had a chance of healing from the shot." Whereas a human child would have just been dead.
"Toby and I are honorary members of the Pack. He and Mister Donato are friends, and when we moved to the city it was the safest course of action. So yes… my Alpha. We're protected by the Pack, and Toby hunts with them." She finally looks back at him and bites her lip. "You've hunted with them as well."

Brett shakes his head; he'll get back to the other stuff later. "I went out to look for the wolf that was attacking people because I didn't want people hurt, and I don't want us to get outed. I didn't do it for 'The Pack'. I did it because it was the right thing to do. Just like," lowering his voice, he shakes his head, "biting the guy was the wrong thing to do. Letting human justice do what it was supposed to do was the right thing. It wouldn't have come out that Demoin was a shifter. The guy should have been brought up on charges for discharging a gun within city limits, and if involuntary manslaughter was called for, then so be it. Now, instead, we have this hybrid monstrosity that's not human and not wolf."
Exhaling in a sigh, he looks into Summer's face, "I know you didn't like the punishment either. It's because you're not one of them. You don't howl for blood and vengeance. You couldn't. I don't know of a shifter who could, or would." Here, Brett chuckles, and a shoulder rises in a shrug as the admission comes, "Granted, I don't know too many of us, because, well.. that whole 'under wraps' thing and 'I couldn't tell one from ten paces away' thing." The gentle laughter remains, even though it underscores slightly more serious words, "But I know you understand what I'm saying, just as I get it. Protection by the wolves is better than being fed to them."

"I know you did," Summer says quietly. Gently, she pulls her sensible shoes off and tosses them a few feet away. "Just because you ran with the Pack doesn't mean you're part of it. Though they'll likely consider you a friend now." Which is fine by her, as it means that Pack werewolves should leave him alone. "Werewolf justice is… it was right to them. A life for a life." Though from the sounds of it, it was wrong by her standards for sure. "The man that was causing all the issues there, Brett… I think he is a police officer. If so, then he should have brought up the charges instead of just letting the man go free in the first place." Which would have saved everyone a great deal of discomfort.
"Toby can tell. He has this sense about him, but he can always tell. I wish I had that ability." The faint hint of a smile can be seen, then she glances away once again.
"Before the meeting, I went to speak with Mischa. It's over. It's done. I figured that it was, but confirmation is better than an assumption." Confirmation means closure.

Brett isn't aware that he was holding his breath until he releases it at Summer's first words. He's right about her. It doesn't seem to be a happy marriage, but rather one of survival and 'convenience'. Remarkably, that goes a long way to ease his mind, and the tension in his shoulders begins the process of melting. If this is the worst thing they should ever have to go through, then perhaps he should have her meet his mother soon?
"And if he's a good cop, he'd find a way towards justice. Miss Leigh is a good cop, too. I believe in her. Cor likes her, and he doesn't have bad instincts." He grins, "Got it from me." Uh huh.
"But I can't pretend to know what goes on behind the blue wall. I just know I didn't like what was going on behind the fur wall." And now, likely they'll never find out what would have happened.
Brett laughs now, pulling his feet up to pull off his sneakers. He's got a feeling he'll be shifting soon, and, well, paws in sneakers is annoying.. having to shake the shoes off. Makes a good photo, though. Not much else. "Your father is just pretty amazing. That's all I can say. I respect the man a great deal."
The news about Mischa stops Brett in the middle of unlacing the first sneaker. Glancing up at her, his brows rise; hope springs eternal? "Done. Completely. I suppose he probably tried to convince you not to go, that he'd try harder, etc.?"

"If he was a smart cop, he wouldn't have put his life at risk by challenging Mister Donato for the Alpha position. Unfortunately, I don't think he's either a good cop, or a smart cop." Summer has the distinct impression that he is going to be a dead cop soon, and that's much more difficult to explain away than gang violence, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Other than that, it is the last she says about the meeting, about the Pack, and about the Challenge. It's not something she wants to dwell to heavily on.
Running her tongue over her lips to moisten them, she shakes her head. "He didn't try at all. He honestly… seemed bored? Distracted?" Whatever it was, it was made obvious that he didn't really want her. He didn't try to fight for her, or keep her.

"… On drugs?" Brett supplies, "Because.. um.. wow." Leaning over, Brett makes to place a kiss on Summer's cheek. "I'm not a fighter and I'd find a really good pic of a tiger just for you." He chuckles softly, "Or a sun bear to see if I couldn't lure you back so I could try to pick up the pieces and fix my mistakes." A lopsided grin comes, "Or a prairie dog or armadillo so you could bat me around a bit to make yourself feel better."

"I don't think it was that," Summer muses, "he's really not that type." Though something was definitely off about Mischa. The kiss catches her completely off guard, and she just stares at him dumbly for a moment. When she comes up with a lack of things to say, she gets to her feet and tears the hairpin that's holding the bun in place. Then she gives her head a shake, and runs her fingers through her hair. "I feel like a run. Fancy a run?" The lab coat is removed as she awaits a response, which leaves her standing there in a black halter top with the black pencil skirt.

Brett grins and sits back to watch the geek turn into the lovely leading lady and laughs. "Hold on.. sneakers.."
He doesn't take as much time with the other one this time, and gains his feet. Taking a couple barefooted steps forward, he unbuttons two buttons of his shirt and pulls the t-shirt from the waist of his jeans. He's ready for a shift on the run, and padding forward, his smile is in full force. "I am ready…"
A couple of steps are taken, and he turns around to jog a couple of steps backwards to watch. He's going to wait a couple more yards before turning again and shifting. Then, it's four paws, a tail.. and ground before them!

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