Summer, Meet Winters


f_veronica_icon.gif f_brian_icon.gif

Scene Title Summer, Meet Winters
Synopsis Veronica reunites with Winters after five years, bringing along her little daughter, Summer, prior to beginning work with Winters at Pinehearst the next Monday.
Date April 5, 2019

Andrew Winters' house, suburban New York

It's morning, and it's loud.

'Andrew' Winters sits at the counter of the table in his kitchen, a mug resting in his hand, steam rising out the top of it. The young man is seated on a stool, and for the last ten minutes his gaze has not moved. Those gray eyes are glued on the front door approximately fifteen feet and six inches from him. Waiting…

Pinehearst has been good to him. His two story house, sits in a prominent neighborhood just a short drive out of the city. And besides, when you can always be at work, there's not much of a problem with having a bit of a commute. His house is decorated, most likely by some proffessional, and several copies are running about making final touches to the house. Making sure everything looks perfect.

He is dressed in a suit, black tie dangling from his throat as if it were a weight. The young man is slumped over the counter, his coffee cold by now as he sits and waits. She should be there soon.. Very soon. There's a tightness in his throat.

A green Jaguar sedan pulls into the driveway, and Veronica Hunter steps out, looking up at the two-story house with a smile on her face. She's dressed nicely, as she was never one for skirts and dresses, in a pair of skinny black pants, black heels, and a soft jade green blouse. She opens the back seat door to help the little girl who sits there out of the booster seat, then helping her out of the car. She hands the girl a pink backpack which Summer hitches onto her back — stocked full of coloring books and crayons to keep her busy while "the grownups talk" no doubt. "Come on, Summer, Mr. Winters will be very happy to meet you. He's an old friend of mine," she says to the child. She speaks cheerfully enough but without the condescending "baby" talk some people use with children Summer's age.

The two walk up the path to the front door, where Veronica knocks with her free hand, her other clutching Summer's.

He finally moves, Winters brings the cup up to his lips, taking a sip he immediately spits the cold coffe right back into the mug. Setting it down on the counter, the man slowly raises from the stool, staring at the door and the sound that just came from it. A slow breath is taken as the other copies in the room quickly reabsorb back into him, making a small pile of clothes drop on the floor behind the counter.

Reaching over the man grabs the thing he had been keeping under the counter. Flowers. Roses to be exact, a dubious look is given to them before the man steps away from the counter. And then marches purposefully towards the door, and then finally opens…

"H—" His eyes immediately drop to the little girl. Bwuh?

"Hi," Veronica says with a smile, tightening her grip on Summer's hand a moment. "Sorry for the unexpected little guest here. We're just getting set up with a babysitter for the afternoons when I'm working, but that won't start til the work week begins, and her dad was supposed to have her for the weekend but he's off on some job." Her dad — Jake Hunter, the man Veronica got married to, after just a couple of months of dating.

"Summer? This is my friend Mr. Winters. Can you say hello?" she says, glancing down at the girl.

Summer looks up at the man with large brown eyes that are so very much like her mother's, her little face framed by long blond curls that are so very much not like her mother's. "Hello," she says, looking rather solemn, up into Andrew's eyes.

Andrew's eyes remain on Summer for a prolonged moment, then his eyes flash up to her at her name. Summer. "Oh, right. Summer." He says softly, quickly going down to one knee to face the girl, his brows going up. "Hi Summer." He says with a soft smile. "My name is Brian. But you can't tell anyone that okay? It's a secret." He gives a little smile to her as if confiding something very important with her. Reaching forward he pulls a single rose out of the flowers. Offering it over to her, he watches her with that soft smile on his lips.

"I have to call you Mr. Winters, Mama says," Summer says solemnly, but she takes the flower and the smiles. Her face changes when she smiles — all dimples and tiny white milk teeth. She inhales the scent from the rose, then looks up at Veronica. "Look, Mama!" she says, showing Veronica the rose proudly.

Veronica watches, her brows knit together for a moment, but when her daughter looks up at her, she's all smiles and encouragement. "Say thank you," she prompts the little girl, who duly obeys. To Brian… Andrew… Winters… Veronica smiles and chuckles a little at the bouquet he holds. "The more things change, the more they stay the same," she murmurs. "You look good." She steps forward and onto her tiptoes to kiss his cheek.

"Well you call me, Brian. It will be our little secret, I won't tell your mama." Brian reports quietly, bringing up one hand to hide his words from Veronica. Then, standing he returns the little peck to the woman before offering the rest of his flowers to her. "Here. You look.." Good, also. Beautiful. Amazing. "Different." Good job. Taking a step back, Brian brings his arm up to usher the two in. "Please, come in. I'm sorry if it's a mess." Which it most definitely is not.

Different… this said to the woman who runs five miles a day to make sure she doesn't pack on the weight that comes with the thirties, or the fact she's been a stay-at-home mom instead of an active agent running around rounding up people for the Company for quite some time. Different could mean old… out of shape… matronly… frumpy. She takes the flowers and glances down at Summer. "Mister Winters," she reminds the little girl with a little smirk. "It's a nice house," she says, with a nod of appreciation. "We're set up for now in the city, but we might look for something out this way, more residential. Summer's used to a yard and a playset. I'd hate to coop her up in an apartment," Veronica says and nods to the little girl. "Go ahead and get out your coloring, sweetheart."

When they walk in, the door is closed behind them. Brian steps in behind them, locking the door deftly behind them. "Brian." He says under his breath to the girl. Ushering them in, "Anything to drink, ladies?" Asks the head of Pinehearst Security. A couch is laid out in the family room before the kitchen, the man walks into the kitchen, quickly dumping his cold coffee in the sink.

"We're fine, thanks, unless you want something," Veronica says, nodding to the coffee table for Summer to set out her coloring book. Summer kneels on the carpet, pulling out a book and then crayons, and opening up to a page. One might expect it to be Princesses or something girly, but it's a comic book of a new superheroes cartoon on Cartoon Network — one based on the real Evolved abilities. Summer goes to work coloring in a girl flying through a city, a rescued puppy in her arms.

Veronica sits on the couch, crossing her legs and waiting for Brian… Andrew… her new boss to join them.

Putting the coffee mug in the sink, Brian steps away from the kitchen, giving a little shrug. "No it's okay." The man makes his way from the kitchen towards the living room to take a seat next to Veronica. His eyes go to the little girl for a while, his lips pulling up for a moment. "She's gorgeous, Vee." He says softly, looking rather enamored.

Veronica smiles, watching Summer for a moment and then looking up at Andrew with a proud smile on her face. "She's pretty much the best thing I've ever done," she says with a chuckle. "She's starting 'big kid's school' in the fall, Kindergarten, though, and I figure it's time for me to get back to the real world. She's got a good foundation, I hope, despite the divorce and all." She shrugs a little. "So if I'm a bit rusty at work… just realize I can read Green Eggs and Ham like nobody's business and make the best cupcakes this side of Mississippi."

"I'm sure she'll do great." The man announces, getting a good look at Veronica before glancing over at the girl then back. "You look really gorgeous too." He adds in for good measure, tilting his head a bit at her, with a small little smile. When she talks about divorce he gives a frown, "I'm sorry. Vee. If you ever need to talk, or you two need anything." He gives a shrug, implying that he's there for her. He smirks, and gives a nod. "Our work is like riding a bike. You'll do fine."

Veronica smiles as the inevitable compliment — other than "different" — comes. "Thanks, Bri… Andrew?" she says with a shake of her head. "That will take getting used to," she admits. "What do you want me to call you at the office? Andrew? Mr. Winters? Sir?" She chuckles a bit. He's in a position of power over her — how times change. "It's a bit different than the last time we worked together. Different world." She nods to Summer. "I'm glad, for her sake. I haven't had her tested yet, but… my guess is she will be. Evolved and all." She doesn't try to speak in euphemisms in front of the girl.

"Jake then, he was?" He gives a little nod, hm. She left him for another Evolved guy. He can't help but let his mind wander on what his power was or how he was better or— "You can call me Brian. Not like a lot of people will be listening in on us. Use Andrew when appropriate. In front of media, or whatever. But as long as its you and me, you can use my name." He gives a bit of a shrug. "Not that different."

She nods to the first question. "Yeah. I didn't know at first," she says, as if that would make a difference. It's not like she every said she had a problem with Evolved people, and she certainly got close enough to a few of them — himself and Katherine Marks, for starters. "Brian then." Summer looks up and Vee shakes her head. "Mr. Winters to you," she says with a grin. Back to Brian she tilts her head. "How is it… knowing everything? I mean… about the other Brian. Can either of you…" she interlaces her fingers as a gesture, to suggest reabsorption, " the other?"

"We've reached a compromise. Once we got past the first inevitable brawls, we realized we were the same person and it was silly to.." He waves his hand dismissively. But he wouldn't remeld with the other Brian. Then he would lose all this, his job, but more importanly, Veronica. The special memories he has with her would just fall into an ocean of different relationships the other Brian swims in. A different woman every week, it's hard to believe they are the same sometimes. "Doesn't matter. Anyway."

Veronica nods. "That's good. That you're okay with each other. Don't have to worry about watching out for your memory moments anymore anyway," she says with a nostalgic smile. "That you might 'go off the reservation,' I think is how Goodman had put it." She chuckles and glances down at Summer, who is chewing on her lower lip as she concentrates on coloring. She's very neat and methodical about it, and better than most five year olds — she actually seems to be shading some parts of the cartoon figure. Veronica glances back up at Brian. "It'll be good to work again. I've definitely developed Mommy Brain." She chuckles. "I assume you've seen my file…?" she asks — a diplomatic way of asking if he knows she's now Evolved too.

He gives a little nod, smirking at the memory moments. "That was a long time ago." He says quietly, going to place one foot on his other knee. Placing his hands on his knee and foot he leans back. "It's good to have you back, Vee. I've missed you." He gives a little nod. "Yeah, I've been watching myself." Brian reports, giving a bit of a shrug.

Well, at least she gave him fair warning, in case he didn't know. She chuckles. "I thought it would be polite to remind you. It's not really what I'd have asked for, if I could have chosen something," she says, a little unhappily. "It's taking some getting used to. People lie all the time, you know? So now it's the norm, to be lied to, and like a breath of fresh air when there's nothing but honesty." She glances down at Summer and laughs. "She's going to be the most honest kid ever in the history of the world, I think."

Brian gives a pained look to Summer, that is going to be a very painful existence when she gets a bit older. Especially without a dad around. He gives a little shake of his head. "Right." He says with a nod. "Well, you're ready to start on Monday then? You'll just be following me around while I teach you the ropes. There's a lot of the norm, but then Pinehearst is very different than any other organization. So there are some, special things we have to see to from time to time. I'll give you all that on Monday." He gives a little nod.

She catches the look of sympathy he gives Summer and laughs. "I'm going to learn not to ask certain things, and she's going to learn to equivocate really well so we can have a peaceful life, I'm sure," she says with a chuckle. "At least… I think it's something that can help me, help us at Pinehearst. I hope." She's not entirely happy with the Ability, or that happy about being Evolved, that much is clear, even to someone who lacks her particular "talent." "So what about you? Any girlfriends hoping to inherit your kingdom soon?" she asks with a grin, nodding to the nice home they sit in. Some girl would be very happy here.

"No." Brian answers a bit too quickly at the question of a girlfriend. "Not really interested." Besides his other copy is dating enough women for the both of them. And it's true, he's not interested in girls. Well, not the ones that are in his life mainly anyway. Though the flowers may suggest he might be changing his mind soon. "You? Anything? Since, Jake?" He tries not to sound too interested.

"It's only been a year since Jake," she says with a glance down at Summer to assess the little girl's mood at the mention of her father. "Luckily she's used to long bouts away from him anyway, so nothing's really changed much except when she sees him, I'm not there too, really," she says quietly. Apparently the kid isn't too perturbed by the talk, though she glances up as she realizes she's being talked about. "But no. Worried more about making her life good than about dating anyone. I don't think I'm really relationship material, anyway." There's an understatement.

Summer glances back down and presses her tiny hand flat on one side of the coloring book while she tears oh-so-neatly the page she just colored out. She looks up at her mom with those dark eyes that are like a copy of Veronica's and asks "How do you spell Mr. Winters?" she asks.

Veronica glances at Brian and grins. "B-R-I-A-N," she spells out, perhaps for simplicity's sake, or maybe letting him "win" this little battle.

"Right. Right. I knew that." He lies. Ohshit. He glances up at her, giving a pained look, having realized he was lying, giving a little sheepish smile. Realizing he would be caught, then shakes his head. "She's very good." He murmurs, not a lie, gesturing to the coloring book. He smiles as Veronica spells out his name. "Good job." He says quietly to Veronica, "I'm glad you still can spell it."

Veronica smiles. She's not worried about lies like that. "She's a good kid," she says with a nod toward the little girl, who stands to bring the coloring book page to Brian. It now reads TO: Brian (with a backward R and a heart over the i), From: Sumer. So she can't spell her own name. She's only in pre-school. "I made it for you, Bria—Mr. Winters," she says with a dimpled smile.

"Thank you Summer." Brian says softly, leaning over he goes to plant a kiss on her forehead as he receives the piece of paper. Folding it he places the piece of paper into his pocket before looking to Veronica. "Thanks for coming, Vee. I've.." He pauses, making sure what he's about to say is true. "I've really missed you." It's true.

Summer smiles and wraps her arms around Brian, giving him a tight hug. Veronica frowns a little, and gives a soft chuckle and shake of her head. "She's usually not so nice to strangers. Polite, but not … like that," she says almost more to herself than to him. "You're welcome. Thank you for having us. We should probably go. We need to get some clothes for her school that she starts Monday, since they have a dress code and everything." Of course, she'd go to one of those posh little pre-schools that are like prep schools for Harvard or something. She stands and helps Summer put everything into her backpack. "I'll see you on Monday then, bright and early."

To me, fair friend, you never can be old
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still.
—William Shakespeare

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