"You're On!"

Dallas Heritage Village

Dallas Heritage Village is a living museum boasting thirty-eight buildings. The entrance road, Main Street, leads into the Village proper; left behind are the electric lights of the park and upon entering the world of the mid to late 1800s, gaslights line the street.

Along the causeway, the small town takes form. The Blum Brothers' General Store and the Main Street Saloon sit side by side, their sides in clapboard. Along the side roads and alleyways, the various other services such as the post, the physician's office, schoolhouse and the church can be found. Further in and up against the edges of the village are the two story, pre-Civil War residences of the solid, upstanding citizens of the day including the Millers and the Sullivans.


Though Corey would hesitate to call it a bona fide date — he's not nearly so presumptuous as that — an afternoon off, wandering through the heritage village with a new friend is certainly high on his list of 'Good Things To Do Lots Of'. So, he's definitely feeling contented as he wanders along the main street of the village beside his favorite off-duty cop. His nose is, for a brief moment, buried in an information pamphlet. "Yeah, see?" he says, pointing to a paragraph of information beneath a photo on the page. "For it's time, it was a pretty expedient way of building. And, actually, you could still get away with that in some places. Mostly campgrounds, these days, sure — and I mean those with tents and not conference centers — but, even so."

He grins boyishly, pausing to look up at one of the structures. "There's a part of me that'd love to try building something like this by hand, with all the old-fashioned tools."

A beat. "Well. Right up until summer hit." Then, it's power tools all the way… get 'er done boys, so we can get back into the a/c and have ourselves a pitcher o' lemonade. That's much more the way to go.

Speaking of… Outside the saloon is a prominent sign reading: 'Iced Tea and Lemonade available. Try Our Homemade Ice Cream.' He glances to his companion and gestures to it.

"Sound like an idea to you?"


Leigh has been here once before, though it was just a pass through really. The only place she spent a great deal of time at was the mercantile, though that was fun in and of itself.

As she looks to the architecture she smiles. That he gets so into the way things are built, and so animated about it, shows a great deal of love for his chosen profession, and that's something she can respect. "So why not get a tract of land outside of the city and go for it? Come fall or winter. I really wouldn't suggest anyone be out in the midst of the hottest days working that diligently by hand."

The sign at the saloon nearly makes her laugh. "Now that is something I would have never figured for an establishment like that. Sounds great, actually." While the weather isn't exceedingly hot yet, it would still be a nice way to cool off.


"Guess they're catering to the family folk," Corey says with a flash of that boyish smile once more, pushing the swing door into the establishment and holding it open for Leigh to pass through. Once she has, he'll follow, ever the gentleman. It pays to be the gentleman, really… It keeps his mother from reaming him out, you see. She may not be big, but she's fierce. Neither one of her sons would ever think willingly to cross her.

"I've thought about getting a place," he says with a shrug, now, as they enter the shade of the saloon proper. "Maybe building a cabin or a small house. Or getting a fixer-upper like Brett's, but… Ah. I dunno. Never found the right place, y'know?" His smile takes on a certain wistful quality to it. "Land just has to speak to ya, tell you what she wants and that you're the one to give it to 'er. 'Sides…" His head cants some, "for me, buying an' building like that would mean settling down. If I'm gonna do that, I wanna make sure it's near family. Haven't decided yet if that place is Dallas, Houston, or somewhere else entirely…"

Guess even plain ol' shifters have a sense of pack… even if they're not canine.


"I don't have a problem with that if you don't. Besides they might make Sapsarilla floats or something, and that would be tasty." Old-fashioned rootbeer at its finest? Leigh could definitely go for that right about now. As she enters and takes a look around, she moves to the bar and then glances back at him.

"I know what you mean. I've only got an apartment here, and I'm rarely there as is. I'm expected to go 'home' eventually, once I prove my worth, but…" That will all depend on where life takes her. Eventually going home will be a necessity, but for now she's not going to stress over it.

"Dallas is nice, but a lot of the northern states have some wonderful places to build an old-fashioned 'homestead' type of a building."


Corey nods to that. "Yeah, I got to see a little of New York and New Jersey, when I was up that way. Don't think I've ever seen so many trees as what we drove through the Jersey pine barrens. Probably nice places up there. But, for now, I got an apartment here in town and my brother's place to help fix up if I don't get enough of it in the projects." Though, power tools are definitely on the list for those jobs. In his hands, anyway. Perhaps not so much in Brett's.

He lets Leigh order first before he puts his own in, settling on Sweetened Tea. Once their orders have been delivered, he picks up both glasses and moves towards a nearby booth to settle down with them. He sets the glasses on the table and waits for Leigh to sit before he does. Only then, once they're on their own again — comparatively speaking — does he pick up the conversation again.

"I have to admit, I don't much understand pack politics." His head cants some, his voice kept low so as not to carry. "And what I saw the other night… Yeah, that was a trip." One he'd rather not have taken, really.


Homemade ice cream in old-fashioned rootbeer, making it an old-fashioned float? Leigh follows him to the table, though she's comfortably silent for a moment. "I was thinking more Missouri or Illinois, but New York is a nice area too." There are a lot of areas where a project such as he was talking about would flourish. As long as someone was there to care for it.

Once they reach the booth and she seats herself, the woman glances over at him. "I…" Sighing, she glances away. "It was my fault. I brought the information to Donato, since I didn't feel it fair to put the man in jail for accidentally shooting someone when he thought he was shooting a wolf."


Corey gives one of those oblique nods that's more a sideways tilt of his head and a shift of his shoulders than a real nod. He concedes the point. "I can't say I disagree. And…" His lips thin a little, drawing somewhat to the side in a wry, almost-apologetic smile, "Well, there's a reason I've been telling Brett not to go 'yote in the city, these days. Trigger fingers all over are way too itchy. Even I've got to be careful." And he's a lynx. But, he's just about the size of a 'yote when he's transformed. How many people would, in the heat of the moment and in the dark, really make the distinction?

"Still… I'm not sure why the Pack felt the need to summon every shifter in the city." He didn't see the end of the meeting, of course. Just the beginning — right up until Summer had him grab Brett and run for Toby.

"I mean… I feel bad for the Demoins. I do. It's a horrible loss. And it shouldn't have happened. But, it's a risk we all take… and have since forever. It's not like we're out in the open like the Vampires, now, is it?"

A beat. He cants his head again. "What was the eventual verdict? Did the Alpha really turn the guy?"


Twitching her lip upward, Leigh says, "It would help if the media didn't create such a frenzy. Twisting press conferences into mismatched words. There is never an excuse for vigilantism, and it is something that's far too rampant in Texas." Needless to say, there have been plenty of calls about trigger fingers and dead family pets lately. "Tell him to be careful," she agrees with a nod. Better safe than sorry.

"It is more to let everyone in the area know that he is not above and beyond punishing those within his territory. Jared is the same way, though he's never had to be so extreme about it before." Lifting the makeshift rootbeer float to her lips, she frowns.

"He bit him, though whether the man will turn or not likely won't be known until the full moon in a few days." Shrugging, she settles the float onto the table and then adds, "I've got another death do deal with and cover up too. I really hate doing it, but the boys Donato has on the force are working a case, and someone needs to take care of it."


Corey nods, a wry grimace pulling at his lips at that information. Poor guy. He'll be sick as a dog, whether or not he's transformed. And, really? If he ends up turned into a hybrid? No. The shifter doesn't envy the guy that. No matter how surly he seemed to be. He thought he was protecting people. And, really, he very well could've been — had it not been the Demoin kid, likely as not. Still, he says none of that aloud.

Instead, he takes a pull at his tea and shakes his head. "I don't envy you that job," he admits. "I don't suppose I've ever given much thought to how what we do and what we are affects police work. Can't be easy, having to cover like that. How do you do it?"

It's not a 'how can you do it' question, it's a question of technique.


"Very carefully. Things got serious after you and your brother left." Leigh actually looks a tad sad as she sips from the soda. There is a faraway look in her eye, and though she thought that the other officer was an idiot for calling out the Pack Alpha, that doesn't make this any less difficult. "The worst thing is, that it's another officer who's death I have to manipulate."

There is a long pause again, but after a while she snaps out of it. "I honestly moved to Dallas to get away from having to do this type of thing. It's not by-the-book, and IA is going to catch on sooner or later. Not sure at all how to explain things then." Frowning, she glances over at him.

"It makes me envy your work just a little. A lot less stress in putting up tiles."


Corey gives a wry smile. "I'll grant y'that," he concedes. Still, his brows crease as he considers what he remembers. "That other cop, the one you told to back down?" He remembers that. Of course, to be fair, part of the reason he remembers it is because she was wrapped in a sheet — he's male; he can't help it — but that's really not the point. His head has tilted again and there's genuine concern in his eyes. "I take it he didn't back down?"

He really doesn't know all that much about pack politics at all, including why challenges are death matches, but he at least knows not to mess with things he doesn't really understand. Still… if it's her world, he's willing to learn. Which'll probably mean a lot of potentially dumb questions for a while.


"Unfortunately no. This isn't even my…" Leigh pauses, searching for a word that's not so public or odd sounding as 'Pack'. "… group. The only reason I was there was because Jared decreed it. Apparently I need to learn the inner workings of things, but I really wish he would have backed down. There is no shame in saying something in the heat of the moment, and then deciding against it when better judgment prevails."

Again, she focuses on the float, and wriggles her nose a little as she gets a bit of ice cream on it. "It's nice having someone I can talk to about it."


Corey's expression softens at her last comment. "Hey, I'm all ears," he smiles. "Always happy to listen." He'd be happy to help fix, too — partly his nature, partly… still male — but, he's not one of those guys that can't tell the difference between a woman's need to vent and a desire for help. In fact, he's pretty good at figuring the two out pretty clearly. Not always, but often enough.

"I guess, though," he says of the other officer, "it depends on whether or not better judgment actually does prevail later. Some guys…" He gives a nearly self-deprecating shrug, "Sometimes we leap before we look. God knows I have." Fortunately, it's never lead to his death. Else sitting here now would be… creepy, to say the least.

"But… If you don't mind me asking… What is your relationship to the, uh, group here. I mean, I know you said before that you're kind of a visitor from another territory, a friend. But, how does that affect, well, Jared's decree, I guess."

A beat.

He smiles wryly. "I'm not a wolf. There's a lot I really don't get."


"Jared's decree will always be first. He's my father." As well as her Alpha, but that's a given, the way she talks about him. "The group here second, because I'm in their area. I play nice with them, they leave me be. I help when they need it, I follow their rules, they stay off my case on most things." At least that is what Leigh would love to believe about it.

"You're right. In the end it's hot-headedness versus good judgment. I'm not him, and there's no way I could ever see what he was thinking. I'm sure he thought his heart was in the right place, because he believed something wrong was happening and wanted to better things…" Leigh lifts her shoulders, and lets them drop quite heavily. "Still, it's a bit sad that it had to go down like it did. From what I know, he was a good officer."

Lifting a cloth to wipe at her nose, she offers a tentative smile at him. "I'd be willing to teach you, if you have questions. As much as I know, really."


Corey smiles as she wipes the cream from her nose. It's cute — not that he'll say that aloud. 'Cute' is one of those words that can get a guy hurt — by whom all depends on when and where and to whom it's said. Still. It is. And it makes him smile. To cover it, though, he picks up on her last offer. "I can't say I'm not curious," he replies. "Long as you don't mind me pestering you a little more often, I just might take you up on that offer." What? More excuses to see her?

Hell, yes!

"But, yeah," he says then, a bit of solemnity returning. "It is a sad way to end. Is it going to stir up the whole fear of the wild wolf attacks again, do you think? On the force, if nowhere else?" Not that he's sure how the media might miss it. "How do you keep it out of the papers?"


"I don't mind. It's not as though I'm letting the secrets out of the community." Plus if he's intending on being in her life, it's better he know the inherent dangers up front. Which is the reason she told him about the Pack back home in the first place. "I would say you could call me any time, day or night, but that's going a bit over the top." A brief moment of levity, added to by her smile.

Then the seriousness returns and she finishes her float before saying a word. "It was a farming accident," she states very quietly. "Farming equipment wreaks havoc on a body." At least that is what she's going to pass it off as in he report.


And hope to high heaven that the coroner doesn't argue otherwise. Of course, as long as the family doesn't demand an autopsy, which is unlikely, it may pass. At least, it sounds plausible to Corey — who knows diddly, really, about police work. So, he nods… "Farming accident," he agrees. "Yeah, they can get nasty."

Still, it's a helluva way to die.

He straightens quickly, however. Enough of this dark talk. Unless she still needs to talk about it, Corey's perfectly willing to change the subject in an attempt to lighten the mood.

"Speaking of over-the-top," he says, a decidedly boyish, even impish grin coming to his face. "Have you ever tried whack-a-mole?" His smile turns sharp, predatory, but still with a fun sparkle in his eye. "I mean real whack-a-mole. Four paws, a warren full of prairie dogs, star-lit night?"


From the sounds of things, Leigh really doesn't want to say any more on it whatsoever. It's a necessary part of her agreement with Eli, but death is generally not something she wishes to focus on all that much. She's not a morbid person.

Setting the now empty sasparilla glass down on the table, she blinks at him once.

"I've played whack-a-mole, though not that variety." Her voice drops lower, to barely a whisper, "Wolves generally don't play with prairie dogs, but you're making it sound fun."


Corey glances around, almost conspiratorially. There are few enough people around that, as he leans in and matches her tone, no one's likely to think twice about the conversation. "Ah, y'don't know what you're missing," he grins. "Seriously, it is fun. Brett and I used to do it all the time back when we were first trying to get a handle on our shifts. We still do, actually, whenever we can spare the time. Be happy to teach you." He gives a saucy wink at that comment. A lynx teaching a wolf? Ri-ight… That'll be the day.

"I mean, heck. If a 'yote can do it, a wolf oughta be able to do it, right? Bigger paws. You can flatten 'em faster."

His eyes sparkle. "I'd love to take you sometime. Heck, I'll even find myself a pretty wolf picture to use, if you want. Bet you could teach me a thing or two, too, in that case. Maybe sometime after the next moon?"

'Cause, really, before then? Even now, a week ahead, it's getting to close to take chances.


Lowered voices are generally ignored, especially when they seem to be coming from a 'couple'. That is possibly why Leigh finally dropped her voice to that gentle whisper.

"We hunt, but we don't often play. That will be new for me." Not that wolves don't play, just that generally she only goes out during the full moon, and only to hunt. "I'm game though, it would have to be after the moon as I'm considering sticking around one of the area ranches to see if I can't take care of finding that instigator." Since the other will be forced to shift as well.

"Be whatever you are most comfortable as though, please don't change that just because of me. I promise I won't try to eat you," she says, voice lightly teasing.


Corey flashes a grin and raises a couple of fingers to his brow, as if tipping a hat. "Much obliged, ma'am," he winks. "I'm nothin' more than a bobcat, after all. But, that doesn't mean I won't put up a fight, if I need to." Not that he figures he needs to… though he just might try a puma, instead of a lynx, when the time comes. Just so he can keep up with her when she runs.

In any case, a warm chuckle escapes him, now, and his eyes still dance. He doesn't so much lean back as he does straighten some, or perhaps simply shift his weight a little more casually. "Really, whack-a-mole? It's a whole lotta fun. Y'gotta do it at least once. I mean, heck. What's the point being able to do what we can do if we don't have some good, clean fun along the way?"


"Shifters," Leigh muses with a grin, "Always about the fun." While she says this, she doesn't seem overly put out by it. Rather, it's almost endearing that they play about like children. Refreshing as well.

"Tell you what. I'll play whack-a-mole with you after the moon, if you come riding with me some night." Nothing is said about what type of riding she's meaning, though it really doesn't sound like horseback. Finally she clarifies, "I've got a spare helmet, and I know a good stretch of road to let loose on."


"You're on." Corey doesn't hesitate a moment. He's more than happy to seal that deal. In the first place, if either of the Coleman brothers were ever to go riding like that, it'd be him. He's always been more of the wild child than Brett. But, in the second… Hey, that's two nights he's promised her company. He's no fool. He'll take it. His smile is wide and genuine. "You just name the night. If I can do it, I'll be there."


It seems they've come to an agreement. Leigh has to laugh when he doesn't bother hesitating. "I really hope you're a decent passenger, Mister Coleman. I tend to like to go extremely fast." So far as driving the motorcycle is concerned, anyhow. "How about we discuss schedules while we go take a look at that Millermore home. Someone I met here last time told me it was haunted, and I'd really like to see it for myself. Apparently the architecture is amazing as well."


Corey's grin widens as she laughs. He likes it when she laughs. He leans back some, laughing in return. "The faster, the better," he quips. And it's true — at least when it comes to things like motorcycles. The man does seem to have something of a daredevil streak, perhaps.

Eyes dance. "Don't worry. I'll hold on tight."

As she suggests Millermore, however, he straightens and nods. "Well, then, we've just gotta go check it out, doncha think." Again, the flashed, boyish smile. "You know how I am about architecture. Let's see if it suits the ghost."

He rises and holds out his hand to her, needlessly, perhaps, to help her rise. It just seems the thing to do. Then he steps slightly to the side and gestures to the door, again with that friendly wink. "Ladies first."

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