Umbrella Surveillance System
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Trixie A cloudy afternoon with occasional peeks of sunshine has settled over Denver. While the city goes about its general business, many of its unexpected guests deal with the trauma of the loss of much or all of their entire worlds in a blur of dead eyes, grabbing hands, and entirely too many deathly moans and terrified screams for sanity to endure, which still haunt the dreams and daydreams of most of those same guests.

But the world moves on, and lives must be rebuilt, usually from the ground up. Trixie Mackenzie is in the process of replacing some of her lost wardrobe, as an example. She lingers in the women's casual clothing selection of a department store, studying price tags and doing math in her head, or occasionally on her fingers as the numbers get too big or too numerous to keep straight by mental effort alone. "Three hundred has to go a long way," she murmurs, crossing her arms under her bosom and tilting her head as she studies several price tags on a rack full of denims. "But these prices... I feel like I'm robbing the proverbial piggy bank to get ready for a date."
Ashley Graham Did someone say date? Ashley did, at least in her own mind. She's in the same department store apparently on the same hunt as Trixie, though with a different strategy in mind. For Ashley, money isn't really a huge cause for concern. So she's across the main aisle in the dress section, lifting up different items to hold them against her form in front of a mirror. A back cocktail dress. A red sheath dress. A black, sleeveless, fit-and-flare dress decorated with small tight white flowers embroidered across the waist in a cluster, and fanning up and down as though they were drizzled there. This one seems to please her the most and she smiles, watching herself in it.

For the shopping trip today, Ashley is wearing a wrap sweater and jeans, her hair pulled back and off to one side in a fat fishtail braid.

As her eyes wander over the dress and a slight blush comes to her cheeks, her eyes notice something in the background that she conciously did not. A familiar face.

"Trixie?" Ashley calls out as she turns, to see if she really saw what the mirror showed her.
Trixie Trixie blinks, looking around as /someone/ calls her name. The voice is familiar, and dear enough to her to set her heart pounding before she even consciously recognizes it. It's an agonizing few seconds before she sees the familiar face, its blue eyes and blonde hair no longer dull and reddened. "Ashley?" she calls softly, perhaps too softly for the blonde girl to hear.

She hurries across the main aisle to the dresses, dodging behind a couple walking deeper into the store in the process, until she's just barely out of arms' reach of the familiar young woman. "Ohmigawd, /Ashley/... it /is/ you!" she breathes, just before crushing Ashley to her in a nearly suffocating hug.
Ashley Graham And Ashley laughs at the hug, returning it with one of her own. It's not a suffocating hug like Trixie's, but it's firm and emotional. "Goodness!" she says, giving the girl another squeeze. Then she releases.

"I hardly recognized you," Ashley says, and her tone and smile both indicate that's a good thing. Showers help. Showers hep lots. "Are you alright? Are you well?"
Trixie "You've never seen me in anything but uniforms," Trixie murmurs, nodding. "I thought for sure you'd've been back in Washington days ago. I only just found out yesterday that they evacuated some of the survivors at the church encampment..." She impulsively kisses Ashley's cheek as they release one another. "I'm... okay. Good as I can be with things so up in the air." She smiles, one of her first smiles since well before the outbreak in Raccoon City. "You look lots better, too. And I'm betting you're doing pretty well, if you can put on /that/ smile and mean it."
Ashley Graham "Yes, I remember hearing that other people were evacuated, but honestly the first day or two were such a blur," Ashley says with a shake of her head. She stays close to Trixie, comfortable in her presence. The dresses are draped over one arm. "Maybe that's why I'm able to smile," she adds, bringing a hand up to touch her cheek as she casts her eyes aside sheepishly.

"There's some UN meeting that my Father is going to attend," she explains as to why she's still local. "After that, we'll go back to Washington. Beyond that, I don't know." By now it's become known that the President is resigning. Ashley looks conflicted about that, when she references it.

"But what about you? Have you seen your family yet?"
Trixie "Only family I have left are hundreds of miles away, at least. Back east somewhere. I've barely ever seen them," Trixie replies, her smile briefly turning sad. "Not even sure how to contact them. Dad had an address book with their numbers and addresses, but it was in the house..." She doesn't finish the sentence. There's simply no need to. There can be no going back for that book.

She notes that sheepish glance aside. "Sorry... maybe I got a little carried away there," she murmurs, bowing her head a little. "I heard on the news that your father is resigning... I wish he wouldn't. None of this is his fault. He'd be better off staying in and working to make sure it can never happen again. These United States would be better off, too."
Ashley Graham "I'm so sorry, Trixie," Ashley says, giving the woman's arm a squeeze. "I didn't think," she admits, sheepish once again. It didn't occur to her, apparently, that Trixie might not have family nearby.

But the conversation moves along to her father, and at least there she's able to produce a soft, sad smile. "I wish he wouldn't either, if I'm speaking honestly," Ashley tells the other woman. "But Father is very cut-and-dry, if that makes any sense. In his mind, he failed. So he wants to step down and find other ways to keep this sort of thing from ever happening again. And even that's a kind interpretation, when compared to what many voters are saying." News media is unkind. That causes Ashley to glance to the side sadly.
Trixie Trixie impulsively lays her hands on Ashley's shoulders, supportively. "Don't you listen to those idiots in the media, sweetie... not for a second. They're all mouth and no sense. Most of them couldn't pour rainwater out of a bucket if you told them the instructions were on the bottom!" she declares. "They just want someone to blame, not a real answer. Problems sell ad time... solutions don't. So don't you listen to their stupid noise," she reaffirms. "They'd blame Mickey Mouse if they thought it would lead on the evening news."

Perhaps realizing she may have overstepped again, she releases Ashley's shoulders. "Sorry... I didn't think, either. Seems to be a bad day for thinking for us, but I can live with that."
Ashley Graham Ashley nods. Even if Trixie may think she's overstepped her bounds, Ashley gives no indication that is the case. She actually just nods, softly, in understanding. "I know," she says gently. "It's just hard, sometimes." Hard to think that great swaths of the American population can be so stupid. And yet.

"I suppose that's the point of shop therapy, isn't it," the blonde continues, lowering her own hand from Trixie's arm so she can take a half step back and gestures with the dresses on her arms. "It's much easier to smile when I'm focused on this than on anything else, I think." Ashley's a shopoholic. Shocker.
Trixie "If it helps any, I doubt they even interviewed the ones that want your father to stay. Wouldn't fit into the broadcast timeslot, right?" Trixie adds, hoping it helps. She can't help a smile that threatens to spill over into giggles as Ashley gestures with her dresses and confesses her need for shop therapy. "I know how you feel, even if my shopping's 99 percent looking and maybe 1 percent buying. Especially now. Got to fill in a few slots in an empty wardrobe, so I at least have something to wear. One outfit just isn't enough."
Ashley Graham Ashley shakes her head. "One is never enough. A hundred is never enough." Though who really has a hundred outfits? Ashley actually might. She gives the girl another squeeze and a hug. "I have to go check out," she explains. "Father wanted to talk to me about his meeting this afternoon. But I'm at the hotel for a few more days at least, I should think. Please come see me, alright?"
Trixie Trixie returns Ashley's hug firmly, adding a little squeeze. And another kiss on the cheek, before she can stop herself. "I totally will. I've missed you so much... I'm only sorry we both won't be in Denver for a while longer," she agrees softly. "I'll try to come by whenever I'm free. Which is silly, 'cause this is the first time I haven't been at loose ends since the day after I got here." She gently releases Ashley, smiling faintly. It's a rather bittersweet little smile, making this parting more sorrow than sweet sorrow. "You take care. And say hi to Leon for me, okay?" Yup... she totally noticed who isn't here.
Ashley Graham "You say hi to him if you see him," Ashley answers vaugely with a sweet laugh. Once they're apart, Ashley gives the woman one final wave before she turns to hang most of the dresses back it. It's the black fit and flare decorated with the flowers that she keeps, and she moves toward the counter to check out.

Real life is weird.