Log Title: Surprised In Seattle
Location: An upscale grocery store in Seattle, WA
Date: June 17, 2013
Summary: While in Seattle on family business, Lifeline has a surprise encounter with his ex-wife, whom he hasn't seen in many years. And Bree has a few surprises in store for him!
Northwest United States - North America(#5780RFt)
The top west of this region is formed by Washington, home of grunge band city Seattle. It is also an area of many forests, mostly conifers. The forests also extend into Oregon to the south, becoming thicker as the pines start to blend with other trees. To the east the trees start meshing with mountains as they move into Idaho and near the Rockies. Yet the people seem to find enough rooms to grow endless amounts of potatoes.
You see a man in his late 20s - early 30s, who stands a few inches shy of 6 ft. tall, and has an average build. His hair is dark, nearly black...parted and combed neatly to one side. His eyes are hidden behind green-tinted prescription glasses.
Currently, he's dressed comfortably in a long-sleeved, button-down forest green shirt, which is tucked neatly into a pair of black Dockers pants. The black shoes he wears are standard, orthopaedic Dr. Scholl's -- suitable for most any kind of activity, and judging from the condition his are in, these have seen quite a bit of activity.
Overall, he seems friendly enough, if a bit quiet and reserved.
Bree is pushing a stroller in one of Seattle's many natural health food markets. She has a very relaxed look on her face, content with just looking at the selections, considering what to make tonight. Digging this housewife thing - though it's not without its setbacks.
Edwin is back in Seattle once more...this time, to attend a birthday party for his nephew. He took an extra day so he could also check on the condo as well, and make sure it looked...lived-in. He wasn't sure what he wanted for dinner, but it wouldn't be too difficult to find something halfway decent, especially in his old stomping grounds.
Over in produce, Edwin picks up a couple of boxes of extra-firm tofu, deciding on making a stir-fry.
It doesn't take much. Maybe a 'danger' sense. But it's there. Bree picks up some organic eggs near where the tofu is - and she comes into full view, before she goes to the next aisle for organic peanut butter and some rice wrapping paper for wontons.
An average height human woman, Bree Van Mark, owner of Van Mark Enterprises, stands about five feet four inches tall, plus more when you add in her high-heels that she usually wears. She could have been a cheerleader, but she is usually more recognized for her swimming and business feats. Now in her early 30s she has become a professional force to be reckoned with in the former all men's club of defense contracting. Light blonde hair frames a classical face, with small cheekbones, and a slightly large nose with thin lips. She has brown eyes that gaze around her alertly when need arises, and her whole build is still that of a swimmer, or someone that takes pride in keeping herself in shape.
She is currently dressed in a travel-ready ensemble designed with a timeless sense of style. The light gray jacket is slightly oversized to cover her shoulder holster, with a stand-up collar, and soft tucks at the shouler and 3/4 length, roll-up sleeves. On the lapel is a red, white and blue Unity Flag pin, in the now-familiar ribbon shape. Beneath her jacket is a short sleeved, navy blue shell with a scoop neckline, allowing for maximum movement. She wears a gray elastic knee-length skirt that allow her ease of movement, something that is required of her right down to her navy blue bangle loafers with a wedge shape to them on her dimunitive feet. On her left ring finger is a simple wedding set, diamonds set against 24k gold.
GAME: Bree FAILS an INTELLIGENCE roll of Above Average difficulty.
Bree continues through the aisle oblivious that her ex is mere feet away.
Sensing -- something, he isn't sure what -- Edwin quickly looks over in stunned silence, and when he realizes it's Bree, he's so dumbstruck that he can't help but just...stare stupidly, for a long moment. Then, he bolts down the aisle, not wanting her to get away. "Bree, wait! Bree!"
Bree looks, somewhat stunned. Is this a protestor? Shit! Wait - no - it's Lifeline! "Ed..Edwin?!" A sudden, elated look hit her face as she clears the distance quickly, hugging her ex tightly. "Oh my god!" Bree quickly looks at her stroller - still there! and goes back to hugging Edwin. "Oh my god, it's so good to see you!"
Edwin's so giddy over finally finding her again, he picks her up and twirls her around before setting her back down again. "You look fantastic! I can't believe you're here! I -- when I came back from Columbia, it...your phone number was disconnected," he blathers.
Bree grins, after a few months of 'going through the motions' of parenthood/married life, Bree's seems to burst with vitality right now. "Uh yeah! Sorry... we moved. Thurston is now a full board member - so we had to move closer to headquarters in New York. But... we have another home here in Seattle - it's close to my mom..." She looks at
Edwin and grins, "Wow...look at you! You look...fantastic."
Bree doesn't look at all like she had 3 kids - but a nutritionist and a personal trainer can do wonders - not to mention a nanny for that beauty sleep. Bree does a quick look to see if some lucky lady has picked up this wonderful, empathetic, intelligent doctor... and she sees he's still - ringless.
Edwin doesn't even know about the kids, yet, though he knew she'd been dating a man named Thurston at some point. He'd gleaned that much from their last phone conversation. He's relieved -- and yes, grateful -- that she's moved on with her life. Clearly, Thurston could provide Bree with the life he could not. "And who's this??" he asks brightly, peering at the stroller's occupant with a grin.
Bree grins and uncovers the occupant and picks up a healthy, six-month old girl. "THIS... little one is Jane..." She hands Jane over to Edwin. Bree grins, "My third...if you can believe it."
When Lifeline vanished from the picture, Bree - got - busy.
"Oh, my word..." Edwin's practically trembling with emotion, he's so happy. He just hopes that Bree doesn't think he's upset, because he's exactly the opposite of upset. "Hi, Jane!" He cradles the baby gently, giving her a warm smile. "And you have *three*?" Edwin looks momentarily stunned, then he peeks over the rims of his glasses at Bree, and winks.
Jane just studies Edwin. Her warmth seems to almost bake Edwin.
Bree shakes her head, letting this visual just sit... her former husband...cradling her child. "Yeah... Heather...she's 13, Daniel is... 6. Now Jane." Bree mutters playfully "You may have heard...I resigned from the board - I mean... I STILL make the executive decisions, but now, from a 20,000 feet perspective instead of a 6,000 feet perspective." She grins "I'm... I just wanted to be a 'stay-at-home' mom." (with a maid, and a trainer, and a cook, and a house cleaner).
"How many are you planning for? Or...are you just letting things happen?" Edwin asks curiously -- then the realization dawns on him that they're still standing there, in a supermarket aisle. "We should go get coffee and talk for a while. If you have the time, of course."
Bree says, "I'm stopping with this one." She thinks - it may not be a good...why not? "Yeah!" She gestures to a very small cafe in the organic food mart. "Uh...sure! I mean, if you have time!""
Jane snugs and burrows into Lifeline, shielding herself from the harsh supermarket lights.
Bree takes her grocery cart - all organic, top-of-the-line, zero-additive goods - and goes through the checkout.
"Oh, absolutely!" Edwin beams happily, looking every bit like...a father, holding his baby. He's still cradling Jane. "I'm in town for my nephew's birthday party...just wanted to see the look on his face in person when he finds out I pre-ordered him a new PS4," He tells Bree, as she checks out. As for him, well...he's forgotten all about his tofu stir-fry.
Bree shoots Edwin a youthful grin. She then goes to order coffee. "I'm getting this..." She orders a double-espresso. She looks over at Edwin. "So...your sister - did she...marry? Or just have a child on her own?"
Bree fishes out some cash, "Oh, I'm getting his too." She is totally oblivious to the EDC raid on Trucial Abysmia, the weeks of inhumane treatment by the SG-Joes, even the heart-wrenching moments of Edwin's pediatric cancer care for Bryce.
"Oh, you don't have to do that," Edwin protests, but with a baby in his arms, he can't exactly stop Bree very easily. "Just a tall americano for me with cream, no sugar, please." As they wait, he says, "Stephanie's married. She got married pretty young, actually. I wasn't so sure about the guy she was marrying, but as it turns out, he's a fantastic brother-in-law. He's a contractor, remodels classic homes and restores fixtures. Sometimes I end up helping him out, but it's been a while. As you know...work keeps me busy."
Bree closes her eyes. "Ohhhh...that's right, I'm sorry! The last few years have been...hectic to say the least." She nods. "So, as a Joe, you SHOULD be near retirement, right? Or are you going to continue with them?"
"I'm with them until I'm certain I'm finished," Edwin says with determination. "Something you might not have known -- after our divorce, I was given the chance to continue my education. So now, I'm officially an MD. I'm Dr. Steen."
Jane continues to snooze happily in Edwin's arms, she occasionally 'grasps' and 'squeezes' Edwin's clothes and arm.
Bree grins with pride at her Edwin. "I knew you could do it." The barista brings over Edwin and Bree's beverages. She folds her arms and leans in, "So, what field of medicine?" Bree's smell is still as alluring as ever - nice combination of minerals, tea-tree oils, and lilac. This is a woman who considers Aveda products 'slumming'.
Edwin smiles at baby Jane. He doesn't mind getting drooled on. He has to endure a lot worse at The Pit, after all. "Internal Medicine, and the Army offered me a Surgical track as well -- I mean, yeah, MDs can operate, but Surgical track is something a little bit extra. It's like being a surgical specialist. Mending traumatic injuries, from IED blasts. That sort of thing. It's more than busy work, and it's a hell of a lot more than hauling injured soldiers off the field. I feel like I'm in the big leagues now." He smiles warmly at Bree, feeling that old, familiar connection, the one he tried to shun so much, back when all she wanted was his love.
Bree continues to listen, she shakes her head. "Wow... So... you deal with 'TBI'? I've heard about that?" She sees baby Jane, who occasionally twitches a smile, in Edwin's arms. Bree's eyes widen, "Oh! Sorry - here, I can put her back in the stroller so you can have both hands free for your drink!" She looks at Lifeline and gives that uber-infectious laugh. "Jesus Christ, Edwin - Seattle - us bumping into one another, what the hell are the odds?!"
Bree looks absently at her ring. And good lord, it's a doozy. The best ring a board member of a company her company acquired could buy.
"Oh, thank you! Yeah, I love her, but she's making it tough to drink coffee...sadly...c'mere, little one..." Edwin hands Jane back to her mommy, hoping not to disrupt that nice sleep she has going on. "You know, I do see a lot of the brain injuries. They're more difficult to recover from, but the Joes look after their own, they definitely do. Best care around." He sips his coffee, not able to take his eyes off his stunning wife. Ex-wife. Why did he let her go?? "The odds were crazy, I think. But they worked in our favor. I can tell Thurston treats you well...you deserve every happiness, I think I've told you that before."
Bree 's face beams like a new mother as she puts a sleeping Jane back in her stroller. She brings the canopy over Jane's head so her little one can sleep. Bree brushes some hair from her face and smiles shyly. "I...I AM happy - thanks. Thurston's really great." She tilts her head, studying Edwin. "What about you? Is there anyone... who would be so lucky to snag a cute, sensitive doctor like yourself in Seattle?"
"Nope! I just didn't want to subject anyone else to my schedule of being here, and then being suddenly carted off to another part of the world for weeks on end. Couldn't do it." Edwin shrugs slightly. "I have a 'bromance', though! No, really. I have a friend who's gotten me into...craft beer, of all things. We hang out when we can. Usually catch Mariners games or concerts."
Bree looks at Edwin, still has that boyish, wounded, yet fearless and compassionate air about him. They're friends - a touch won't matter. She rests her well-manicured, soft hand on top of Edwin's hand. Bree arches a brow and gives Edwin's hand a squeeze. "Beer? - YOU?!" She laughs in disbelief, not maliciousness. "Who the hell was able to break down THAT wall of yours?!"
Bree continues to rest her hand on Edwin's, not willing to part just yet. She gives another infectious laugh. "Bromance? Wow... well, your lexicon has improved since we split!"
Edwin feels his heart thumping madly against his chest wall. (Danger, danger. Move to yellow alert! Ex has moved on with her life. Stop fantasizing about her, *immediately*!) Deciding that two can play that game, he frees his index finger and brushes it playfully across her knuckles. "Isn't it amazing? It's true, though. Guy's name is Spike, he's a contractor. We just connect on a friend level really well." He's not sure how else to word it without it sounding...strange.
Bree grins and chuckles. "Spike? Is he like a wrestler or a tattoo artist as well?" Bree manages to remain composed, but the strong, gentle hand of Edwin about sends her through the roof, so she continues to let Ed hold her hand. Two can play at this two-can-play-at-this game. Bree takes a drink of double-espresso and makes the mistake of looking directly into her former love's eyes. She quickly darts away, looking back at Jane, Jane - yes. Her child! Her...THIRD child, Bree. Remember that.
"No, it's..." Edwin laughs. "It's just his name, he's the guy who's the ambassador that lives with the Autobots. That guy." He smiles as he meets her gaze. "I'm sorry, am I making you kind of uncomfortable? I'm trying not to do that. Because I'm really, very genuinely happy that Thurston's given you the beautiful family you needed and deserved. Tricky thing is, the way we ended things."
Bree makes a face of light disbelief. "THAT guy?! Sorry...I mean, he SEEMS nice, but just by gauging him... from what I read - he sounds a little... rough around the edges for the Edwin I knew."
Bree adds "We...ended things...exactly the way they should have. We didn't turn into one of those Fleetwood Mac-characters." Bree lets her posture slouch slightly. Within less than 30 minutes, Bree and Edwin genuinely have this FEEL like they're an old couple, content with a day of shopping at an organic store. Only thing - her SO is currently at work.
"He's...a different guy than what people expect. Not really a high society person by any means, but he's really honest and down to earth, and I like that," Edwin admits. "You know I didn't come from a...great family. I mean they had money, but they also had major problems. I think that's how Spike and I relate. We're like brothers." He nods slowly at Bree, then notes, "One thing was missing from those divorce proceedings, and that was acrimony. I loved you then, and I love you now, and I'm always going to love you, no matter what. So I guess what I'm trying to say is...if you want to disappear and not contact me again, I'll understand. But if you'd like to stay in touch, I'll always be here for you."
Bree winces slightly at Edwin's remark. It sounds so... 'either-or'. "Ed... I love you, I always will love you." Bree says, "...and you will always have a place with my family... with Thurston and I." She gives Edwin a hopeful look. "Does that make sense?"
"I'm saying it like that because...I would love to see you again. And keep in touch, and know how you're doing. But I also understand that your life is different now." Edwin's thinking clearly, at least for the moment. "I'd...just like to know if that means you'd be OK with talking once in a while. It wouldn't even have to be frequent, I know you're busy just like I am."
Bree breathes out. Wow... things sort of came to a head like that. She hugs her elbows with her opposite hands, "Edwin... my life is with Thurston now. It's been that way since 2004." She nods at Edwin, "Sometime this week...I would LOVE for you to come over and have dinner with US." She then nods at Edwin, "But only with Thurston and I... is that OK?" Though she is pretty much out of the board room, she can still wield a mean negotiation.
Bree looks at Edwin's nose, up to his cheeks, but not necessarily his eyes.
Edwin seems perfectly amenable to this. "Oh, absolutely! If Thurston is okay with it, of course." He smiles warmly.
Bree blinks, surprised Edwin is taking it this way. "Oh yeah - he'll be OK with it!" She chuckles, "I'm still the heir to his company, so he'll HAVE to be comfortable with it." She then says "Plus, he has nothing to be fearful of."
Edwin eyes Bree uncertainly. What sort of a strange arrangement is she planning? Ed's strange love life has always been the talk of the Joe base, but what exactly is she getting him into? "...Your relationship with Thurston, how would you...describe it, exactly?"
Bree blinks, she doesn't get defensive, but that easygoing slump soon turns into Bree sitting straight up. "I'm... sorry, I'm not too sure what you mean by that."
"Well, I mean...is everything alright? Everything's...OK, right?" Edwin looks at Bree inquisitively. "When I ask about marriage, I'm used to hearing things like, 'I feel like I've found my soulmate'...or, 'We have such a spark'...somehow, 'heir to his company' doesn't have that same romantic ring to it."
Bree looks at Edwin - with that pouty, almost entitled look she'd always give him when she was pissed. "We...are...fine - Thurston is great. As you say - we have that "spark" that is necessary for any marriage." Bree folds her arms and leans back, giving Edwin a bit of attitude. "And THAT...is all I need to say about that."
"OK, cool. Just checking." Edwin nods, and then...slowly smiles, as if suddenly seeing the 'checkmate!' move wide open on a chess board. "Want to know what I did with that 1.2 million? Of course you would," he says playfully. "I invested part of it into clean energy. I took another portion of it and purchased a condo about 2 blocks from here. It's small but very cozy. I 'keep up appearences' there when I'm in town, otherwise I rent it out on AirB&B. And the remainder of it got donated to Doctors Without Borders and SmileTrain, respectively."
Bree shakes her head slowly and rolls her eyes. "That...money...was for YOU - asshole." She grins, "Now I'll write you another check, but this time, you'll go to my accountant - for stuff ONLY for you." She rolls her eyes, "Though...Doctors WIthout Boarders is a great institution. So is SmileTrain. Thurston just organized our 'pay for a jeans day' rally at our company with all the proceeds going to SmikeTrain." She takes a sip of coffee and says "He also does half-marathons" - in another slightly cattish tone that may piss Edwin off in the best way.
Edwin chuckles. "I know, I'm such a poor excuse for a high society man," he admits. "But seriously. Thank you for donating to them. I've been on missions with both organizations. It was an AMAZING opportunity to help out in war-torn Syria with Doctors...then later on, hone my surgical skills with the free cleft palate surgeries for poor children in Latin America. Absolutely nothing like it in the world. And it couldn't happen without that financial support. Have I annoyed you enough, yet? Remember our fights? I'm not a very good fighter, dear...I'm a lover, not a fighter."
Bree smirks mischievously, "Yes...I remember our fights."
"They usually ended well," Edwin recalls.
Bree has a sporty, slightly revealing t-top on. She shows Edwin her elbow, and lifts it up, exposing her tricep. She points to a small, faint scar. "One fight led to THIS if I recall..."
"Oh yes, I was guilt-stricken for a while because I thought I'd actually *hurt* you. Little did I know what kind of wild woman I was dealing with," Edwin chuckles.
Bree grins, yeah... that night...she sighs and looks at Edwin, "So... it's glad that I saw you, 'cause...I've been thinking about you lately - NOT ROMANTICALLY - just... a few things that have come up."
"Oh yeah?" Edwin asks. "Like...did I pop up in a weird dream somewhere?"
Bree shakes her head. "Nope - sorry to disappoint you." She adds "Just - seeing doctors at the hospital - " She grins "I've seen these hipsters near college wear those damn green tinted glasses that you have - little did I know, you were 20 years ahead of your time."
Edwin laughs! "Nononono...that just means that the doctors you're seeing are total nerds, who probably have a little bit of blurry vision going on, too," he quips, giving her a playful poke in the side.
Bree grins softly. She doesn't move as Edwin playfully jabs her on the side. She goes back to that familiar slouch/comfort position and doesn't say anything for awhile, just letting the moment set.
"You still fond of a nice wine, and cuddling on the couch?" Edwin asks, and almost instantly regrets asking such a thing. There must be a line he's crossing somewhere; why can't he stop crossing it??
Bree springs up again, finishing her coffee. "Uh...I should go." She blinks and again brushes some hairs from her eyes. "So...uh... is this week too early? Do you want to make it next week? It just can't be Wednesday, because Heather has soccer." She adds "Polo, I mean."
"Hey, any time is fine with me, just let me know ahead of time at least 2-3 days so I can make it work." Edwin gives Bree his personal cell number; while he has many phones, the number he gives is to the same phone his sister Stephanie and honorary 'bro' Spike call when they need him.
Bree quickly assembles her bags and loads them onto the stroller, her behavior a lot more professional than it was a few moments ago. "OK - then Sunday."
"Sunday, then. Have a good week," Edwin says. "Wonderful seeing you again, and I look forward to meeting the rest of the family." His emotions right now are...mixed. Part of him feels like an Eddie-style fiend for still wanting her. The other part of him is melancholy about it.
Bree nods, Edwin's forwardness lost him some possible hug/cheek kiss points. She loudly gets her keys out. "OK - I'll text you the directions later. It was nice seeing you again." Bree gets up and unlocks Jane's stroller and begins to roll the baby and the groceries out to her sporty, customized Viper.
Lifeline knows he probably screwed up, but he really couldn't help himself, he was over the moon to see her again. "I like Jane's custom wheels," he calls out after her.
Bree calls out "Thanks!" She then rolls her windows down and starts the car up and gives it a good few revs. If Edwin's hearing is still keen, he can probably hear Garbage blaring from her speakers.
Edwin waves, then wonders to himself if he's really going to see her on Sunday. Or hear from her again, for that matter. Maybe he's just creating a problem where there wasn't one. He goes back to sipping his coffee, pondering that look she gave him, that electricity he still felt. What did it mean?? He thinks about it for a while, then walks off to go unlock his bike and head back to his condo to ponder every moment of the fateful encounter.