The Future's Bright and Alarming

Big Bear Diner 
shirt choice plus jeans
set day after this thread
@Wren Morrison

There were 'reserved' signs on the back half of tables in the dining room. A bit of an annoyance, perhaps, to locals who were accustomed to plenty of seating while the outside chairs were a bit cold for your average family, but Levka wasn't so worried about the humans tonight. The tables would sit empty, a barrier for quiet conversation in an otherwise public place. Only one would see occupants--a back corner spot that had a good vantage over the rest of the the dining area, where the Bear King perched on the corner of the table, one foot up on the booth seat while he waited.

She'd be here, or so he was counting on. He didn't know a thing about her beyond her being named Wren and her being a bear. So that was what he looked for--an unfamiliar bear. Presumably female, though he was never completely certain with names these days. Wren just... sounded feminine. Maybe. And now he was doubting his previous assumption, and he hoped this bear would be punctual so he could put these thoughts to rest.

Either way, he was feeling pretty placid tonight. It wasn't often he was the one sought out, and he appreciate the effort of this unknown entity.


Normally, she would ensure that a longer notice would be given for meetings such as this, to give her time to scout the venue before hand. It was to execute how long it would take her to get there, plan out in case she turn a wrong turn, etc.

But she didn't have that time. Which resulted in her being 13 seconds late. Yes, she counted. Yes, she was staring at the clock the entire drive over, barely unsure as to how she even made it alive to the diner. But there she was. Wren grabbed her bag and leapt out of the vehicle with grace.

The scent of bear was obvious as she entered the diner and she let it lead the way, weaving around the tables this way and that until she came upon a figure, the only figure, taking up a large section by himself. It was obvious that he was the bear. It was also obvious that he was, indeed, Levka. His dominating presence put her bear on edge as it was clearly in the midst of a king.

"Hello," she chirped, standing their awkwardly, holding her bag against her chest with t-rex-like arms, "Sorry I'm late."

There she was.

He recognized her immediately as a black bear, as well. Not exactly a rarity around here, he was finding. Didn't make much of a difference to him--while he had a bad association with one black bear, he had an excellent relationship with another. That was one species where grudge bias didn't manage to hold.

So as she arrived, he rolled up to his feet from his perch, and though he didn't approach, he gestured her closer, then at the seat of the booth he'd been lounging at. He made no comment on her thinking herself late--if she thought that this was being late, she was going to be surprised at what he considered 'basically on time.' "Wren, da?" he queried, but was not really with any amount of doubt.

Not one to shake hands, he instead waited for her to be close before he sat, himself, expecting her to come in and sit across him. Initial assessment: well dressed, maybe young but not too young, reasonably seasoned demeanor, but a little timid, and definitely too polite for his own preferences. But well... don't complain about the last one when it was a sign of respect, maybe.

She didn't smell like the Glenn, which was fine. He knew she didn't live here, as her presence had never lingered in the territory, but she did smell a bit like...

"You live in Belle Vista?" A point of interest to him, if it were true.

His voice, well. His voice perfectly matched his texting tone. His short, blunt answers matched his Russian accent well. She smirked to herself, liking the way his accent made her name sound.

No handshake seemed planned and she was thankful for it too, so instead, she took the offered seat across from him. She gave her best, fake smile while she settled in and cleared her throat. "Y-yes. Bella Vista. Did Lee tell you? I just moved in not too long ago from New Mexico. " Wren could actually give him the exact amount of days, hours, minutes and seconds, but she refrained from doing so.

The slight stammer made him sniff a little, but he ultimately overlooked it. Much as he'd prefer a more confident first meeting, he knew how much worse first impressions could go, so... in favor of being able to be here for her, as he had hope for all his kin, he'd let her be nervous without pointing it out. A slightly narrowed gaze as he assessed her answer. Knew that New Mexico was... south, yes?

Not that it mattered much--the idea of such a potentially warm place quickly dismissed from his mind as he offered an explanation of his own.

"Ah, nye, you smell like Belle Vista. I spend a bit of time there." More like a lot of time there, but that was not really a discussion on the table for him and someone he'd just met in the last ten seconds.

But her moving in recently was probably reason enough why Yana hadn't tied her up in a bow and presented her to him or something like that. "Convenient then, that you are close." Close enough and in the right spot where he might not badger her into moving to the Glenn.

She blinked a few times at his comment. Oh god, what were this thoughts in Bella Vista? Was it okay she was staying there? Wren wriggled in her seat. If the bear king wanted her to move to North Glenn to be closer, then so be it, so would do it.

She sighed a silent sigh of relief when he commented that Bella Vista was a convenient location.

"If you prefer me in North Glenn, than I can arrange that if needed," she offered quickly. She understood the leader wanting his members to be in reaching distance, keep a closer eye as well as safety. "It wouldn't be much trouble." Not much trouble? She wanted to pinch her leg. Packing and unpacking had not been a simple task, but she would do it again if the bear king wished it so.

"Easier to keep an eye on you, make sure nothing bad happens, if you are here," he pointed out, but ultimately shrugged. He reached over to where a a menu had been set off to the side, apparently in anticipation of her arrival here, and slid it in front of her. Silent insistence that she peruse if she was inclined. "Up to you, however. Belle Vista is allied territory--Yana Novik, Cheetah Queen, runs the show down there. You would be safe, but a little further out of touch."

Not the worst place for one of his to be. Better than Larkspur, like Esperanza had originally been.

Thankfully, Levka seemed okay with her living in Bella Vista instead. What a relief.

Meanwhile, she committed the cheetah queen's name to memory. It might come in handy in the future. Wren noted the menu being pushed in her direction. A dangerous game he was playing, offering a bear to order food.

She gulped and took the menu in her hands, her eyes briskly looking it over and bookmarking her favorites. Once confident in her choices, she set the menu back down and placed her hands neatly in her lap. Pancakes, hashbrowns, eggs, bacon, toast. Pancakes, hashbrowns, eggs, bacon, toast. She also committed her order to memory.

"Are you going to be eating as well?" Maybe that was a stupid question to ask a bear. She just wanted to make sure she wasn't going to be eating alone all awkward.

She was complaint. He wasn't sure if he was really getting a feel for her as a person, or just nerves. Was he incredibly impressed? No. But he also wasn't put off, and these days that was very important. He'd need to press for more information, more reaction, but for now, he was content in knowing she was here willingly and not giving him a harsh list of inquiries of her own.

Things had been hard enough, he'd love to win one just that simply. Bears who were smart enough to know that groups were more important in the end than pride often was. Running around alone, with no group magic to back you up, when you had the option to not was ridiculous.

As was her question, but he decided to not scoff at her for it. "Of course," he said, but he knew the menu well enough--and exactly what he'd order. In fact, when he raised his hand to summon the waitress who'd been waiting on this moment, he said, "The usual," to the woman, who doubtless knew what he was on about, before she looked to the other bear for her order as well.

When she was gone again, Levka looked to Wren. "Perhaps consider this my welcoming you to Cobalt Ridge. First meal together, mm?"

It felt like a pretty nice gesture, considering he wasn't really leaving her a ton of option about joining now that she was here. She made it easy, talking like she was already keen on being with them. Offering to move to the Glenn and everything.

Wren smiled at the bear king and shifted her attention to his hand, calling over the waiter. He ordered his "usual" to which she was hardly surprised he had one while she practiced her order once more before spewing it out.

First meal together. Wren's lips peeled back and revealed yet another grin. She liked the sound of it.

"It's been a while since I was last in a sleuth," she admitted, fiddling with a button on her coat. "So this is really exciting for me despite my nerves. " It was hard for her to display her excitement at the moment while she worried about the social anxiety and first meetings, but truly, she was grateful. Wren had taken time to focus on herself, which was much needed, but now she needed relationships, and safety.

"And I know I don't seem like much, but I am loyal and I play by the rules." She knew her mention of loyalty wouldn't mean much to him now, but she hoped it would be soon revealed and proven.

She was certainly straight to the point, but he had little issue with that. Far better to his ears than 'maybe we should work on our relationship first.' The fact that she had been in a group before was interesting to him, and he honed in on that, but not before conceding, "This is good to hear. We do not have many rules, but I do expect them to be obeyed." Like, he didn't ask much. Or at least, he tried not to. As much for his own sanity as anyone else's.

"Tell me of your first sleuth, then? How long have you been one of us?" Her life before, her human guise mattered less to him than all of this. They could speak relatively openly here, tucked away from the masses and masked by the sounds of clattering silverware and plates. But still, his voice kept low and private.

"We do not have many rules, but I do expect them to be obeyed."

Wren nodded her head enthusiastically, "Absolutely. That's to be expected and honored." Rules breakers triggered her anxiety. Rules are written and set in place for a reason. For safety, protocol, order.. she could go on and on about the purpose of rules but she honed back into their conversation.

Wren paused at his questions about her past. She was expecting him to ask such questions so she cleared her throat, sat up a little straighter and gave him an answer.

"Well, about 4 years or so," she started, waving a hand as she spoke, "I stayed for a while, but eventually there was just too much drama. So I left." It was a rather simple story, but Wren left out some fluff to it. She didn't want to waste his time with silly details.

She didn't even know what the rules were, but she was already all over them like they gave her life, themselves. It was a mentality he didn't quite understand, but could absolutely get behind when it was to his favor. Which in this case, it totally was.

Drama? He did... wonder what kind of drama, but not enough--not yet, anyway--to pry when she was immediately forthcoming. What mattered more to him was that she was here now, and she wasn't completely wet behind the ears, either. Maybe not as deep in this life as some of his preferred bears, but also to a point where he didn't think he'd have to babysit her like she was going to come down with a bad case of fur when she was having a bad day at work or something.

"And now you are here," he said. "I suppose you should consider this your formal welcome?" Offered like a question, because if she wasn't going to run for the hills right this instant, she was officially one of his as far as he was concerned. It would be foolish to run off rogue, but she woudn't be the first.

"And now I am here," she smiled, repeating his words. As for the formal welcome, "I would be honored, if you'll have me, of course." Levka seemed pretty chill, but definitely had the vibe of "will fuck you up without hesitation" but she guessed that's how the bear king becomes the bear king after all.

She was a reliable girl, really. No bad accidents at work, no accidentally changing humans. It was a simple equation to avoiding such. Schedule and routine. And the rather stress free work environment helped as well. A girl like her with OCD tendencies would get worked up here and there, but breathing exercises really helped. That and eating. Oh yes, her bear appreciated the stress eating.

Suddenly, her bear sent her pictures of food as the scent of it was nearing. Wren started the count down. Her bear wanted to shake her booty and do a little bear booty dance.

"I never turn down a bear," he said, and it seemed to be true. He'd even go so far as to try and drag them in against their will... for all it had worked the first time. Small regrets, things to do different from here on out. Maybe they didn't have to be best friends as people, but best friends as bears would help a lot.

Food also helped a lot, and as the waitress came back with a couple of solidly loaded plates of food, he couldn't help but think that this was... very good indeed.

His bear reached out across the short distance to hers before the food could become too great of a distraction, to greet her black bear with a snuffle and a rumble and make that claim that was more bonding than blood and more real than could be seen.

And then Levka picked up his fork and remarked, "I will introduce you to the others when we gather next. They will be pleased."

It would take some time for Wren to fully get comfortable around the bear king, but hopefully after a while she could be okay with being herself around him and the others bears she had yet to meet.

Levka's bear had impeccable timing. Just as hers was ready to follow her nose right into the server's tray of food, she plopped her butt down obediently and snuffled and rumbled right back. Meanwhile, Wren cleared her throat and with wide eyes, watched the server place her plates of food down in front of her.

"I can't wait," to eat is what she really meant but, "to meet the others." She placed her napkin in her lap and waited until Levka had his food in front of him before she started to eat.

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