|Ashley Graham|| Ashley has grown accustomed to the French lifestyle in the six months that she's been there. As a wealthy, well-traveled, pretty young woman, Paris treats her well. Yet the opportunity to focus on a fundraising opportunity for TerraSave on a beautiful cruise ship is a welcome distraction. And it's one she's going to take advantage of.
As a new member of the young organization, Ashley doesn't make moves to insert herself too directly with the potential donor. That's Isiaiah's job. So this afternoon she's taking in some respite at the bar. She can drink here, you know.
Ashley wears her long blonde hair down in windswept waves. She has on a spagetti strap A-line dress dyed periwinkle blue, with collar-like folds on the bust to give it some texture, and pleats in the skirt. She has a charm bracelet hanging from her delicate wrist, which makes soft whispers of music as she lifts her Bellini to take a sip, sighing against the sea air.
|Prestige Richard Stadler||It's possible that Ashley wouldn't recognize the man that slides into the rather chic, cushioned chair next to her. It had taken a bit of time for the man himself to figure out where that inkling of familiarity to the look came from, too. Different times, different looks. But at the very least his voice is probably recognizable when he offers up a bit of small talk.
"You know, I never could get past this European notion that teenagers should be able to drink liqour. Though, after what you've seen, I don't doubt that you deserve it."
Stadler raises his glass over to the bartender who served him first, indicating he might want another pour of that 18 year old Glenlivet... which, to this place, was mid-shelf booze. He's still wearing dark slacks and a good set of dress shoes, but he's giving himself over to the vacation lifestyle with a Hawaiian shirt that doesn't quite match the class of the place. At the very least, though, he's clean shaving, instead of the increasing scraggly stubble he would have worn the last time they met.
|Ashley Graham|| Hey Rick, the scotch you're drinking is as old or older than Ashley. How does that feel?
Speaking of Ashley, at first she just smiles that warm, polite smile that she gives to every stranger. But then there's a look of recognition, and she turns in her seat a little so her blue eyes can travel over the man's features. Indeed he has changed. He's not gutshot anymore, for one big difference.
"Major Stadler!" She declares in an excited whisper, so as not to actually make a scene. "My goodness!" She truly does look overwealmed with happiness and emotion at the sight of the man.
Sliding off her seat, Ashley leans in to give the man a hug, if he'll allow and if he'll accept the gesture. "How strange it is to see you here!"
|Prestige Richard Stadler||If Rick had to think of it, it probably felt either excessively decadent or another proof that kids like Ashley really shouldn't be drinking and the French were just /mad/ for admitting it. But those aren't thoughts he has time for with Ashley moving forward with a big enough smile on a face that, despite whatever Rick is feeling, he has to smile back. The hug he returns is hesitant, and a big awkward, but it's not something he'd shy away from.
"Hello, Ms. Graham. It's good to see you in high spirits in an expensive dress." He says, before shaking his head. "And it's Captain. Captain Stadler, now. Bit of a story, there, though I suppose Major is actually proper here. Only one Captain on a ship, you know?" He says, before pausing.
"I... have to admit, the coincidence is more than a bit starling. For me, I mean. You're high society... or what I'd consider it. I'm just a businessman spending more money than he should."
|Ashley Graham|| "Oh, Ashley, please," she requests as she settles into her seat. "Lord above knows our acquaintance lends itself to some level of familiarity." She calls it acquaintance. Others would call it battle-buddy. It really is just another distinction between the two of them.
But it's a distinction she waves aside with her hand as she lifts the bellini to her lips again. "Hardly high society. My father isn't President, anymore." There's a quick forlorn look on her features at that, but it passes. "And anyway, I'm actually here on behalf of TerraSave. We have some potential donors we're courting this week. Nothing says philanthropist like a weeklong cruise, I suppose." She grins at that. As her eyes move over the man, they soften a touch. "So how are you?" Such a simple question. Such a loaded question.
|Prestige Richard Stadler||"Oh, that's right. So you're only related to a /former/ president. That's no different from being the daughter of a coal miner." He chuckles a bit, but it's half-hearted, and he has the good sense to wince afterward. "To be serious, I was sorry to hear he resigned. Not something I agreed with; it wasn't like Raccoon was his fault." A very... tense question, certainly. Nothing to dwell on, though, if she didn't want to. "But... Ashley, then. Suppose I can leave Misses and Mizz back one scotch ago."
A cock of his head as she mentions Terrasave. "Really? Well... hmm. Actually, I don't know why I'm suprised. You didn't seem like the type to settle on a normal job after that sort of thing, and an NGO does seem right up your alley. And if it gives you a reason to be on a /very/ nice cruise ship trying to woo a donor... Icing on the cake. If you say that you got comped a ticket, I'll have to be jealous."
At the last question. He pauses. Pauses for a long enough time, looking into his glass, that one might think he's ignoring it, but he does speak up, finally. "I'm... uncertain, these days. It's tough to find a job when your last employer's up on charges and all your references beyond college are dead or scattered. Though, I'll be honest, it's not a job that I think of very often."
|Ashley Graham|| "Most Presidents applaud their lineage in coal mining or farming. If it's good enough for them, it's certainly good enough for me," Ashley admits with a laugh, sliding her bellini glass along the bar for the tender to make her a fresh one. Ah, it's good to be 18.
The mention of her father causes Ashley's eyes to cast down slightly. "That's kind of you to say. I didn't want him to resign either. This was his life's work. But my father's a very cut-and-dry man. So many people said he failed, and that he lied. It doesn't matter that he didn't. People won't trust him again, and so any work he tried to do would be uphill, simply because of who he was. I don't like it, but I understand it." Oh look, Bellini! That brings a smile back to Ashley's face. She takes the smallest of sips, listening as she looks back to Rick.
"TerraSave lets me work while I do school part-time," she confesses. "I'm still trying to be a lawyer, though I'm focusing on international law, now. International corporations are the biggest threat, I think we've seen." Like they who must not be named. "And while the trip was comped for my colleagues, I generally refuse to let them pay for me. Not when I can pay for it myself." The family does have money, that much is certain.
"I'm very glad to see you're well," she says again. "After everything, it was so scary at the time." Scary that he might turn. Might become one of them.
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Richard Stadler gives a short grunt of laughter at that. "I'm sure a few nowadays dress up in the right clothes and pay lip service, but it's not like we'll get another Jefferson, coming from upstate New York, from a life around cows. Though that wanders off point; certainly good enough for you. I'm sorry, but this is /really/ good scotch." He says, looking into the glass tat was slowly being drained. At least he has the presence of mind to take very small sips.
And there's a grimace from Rick. "No offense to your father, but I sometime wish those with the integrity he had could be more dishonest when it counted... as if it wouldn't comprimise what it was trying to protect. But just... accepting the lie, playing politics. So we keep the good ones despite what the bad ones think. Not that I have another aganist Benford, really, I don't But he's not Graham.
He pauses again, and tries to pull himself off politics,... but given the circumstances, it wasn't easy. "Oh, they are. Bad people, need to be stopped. Did I tell you I own one now?" Oh, no explaining that one. He wants to see the reaction! "But these sorts of orginzations /do/ allow you to get some real world experiences. References, which can help for graduate programs and jobs. Trust me, if you want to get into a Docotrate program, they're important.
He's silent again for a few moment, with well-wishes to his condition. And he responds with what people might be thinking. "I still don't know why. I've never had the resources to track it down, sequence something, see.. why I'm here. Maybe one day."
|Ashley Graham|| "You own a corporation now?" Ashley asks, and indeed there is surprise in her voice. "Or did I misunderstand you?" It's possible, the man is getting a little tipsy. She just smiles at him, though. They're on a cruise, if you're going to get tipsy this is the place for it!
"I thought you said Jefferson came from Upstate New York, for example, but I'm sure you said Van Buren." The man really must be enjoying that scotch. For Ashley's part, she just sips her Bellini like the rich and powerful woman she was and possibly could be again.
But talking about the man's injury makes her smile fade a little. "G-d works in mysterious ways," she says gently, reaching over to give him a pat and a squeeze on the arm. "But yes, you are here, and that's what matters. Have you seen any of the others? Claire works for TerraSave now as well, and I ran into Trixie back in Denver but haven't seen her since."
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Richard Stadler "Yep." He says, and remaining silent for just long enough for her to start wondering. "Seriously, though, you really couldn't call it much of one, even though it technically is. There was a fire sale of some resources and assets when... things started going down, and I was paying attention. Eagle Research; an American company with some offices in Paris. If there was something called a tax dodge, this would be it. But it was thie right price, has the right location... makes a little bit of money, and it's better than going to work for WilPharma or Tricell." He says, almost spitting out the words. Someone's bitter!
Then he shakes his head one more time as it goes to Presidents. "You know, you ask Harvard, you'll see my degree doesn't so much as give political science and history a sideways glance. Forgive me, that's one thing I'm stupid with. At least for the moment with this kind of scotch."
He's quiet one more time, his smile very small. "I'm... sorry, Ashley. Really sorry, but I don't think there's anyone up there to be mysterious. But, yes, yes, I'm alive, for the good it's doing me. I'm afraid the others... I hear from, time to time. Think that MacKenzie and that S.T.A.R.S. couple... Cecily and... Hunori, right? I think they're doing something for the government."
|Ashley Graham|| "Be it G-d or gravity or fate, the end result is the same, isn't it?" the blonde asks, rhetorically. His admission doesn't make her smile faulter in the least. She's a Texan, but she's a wordly Texan.
"That's good to hear about the little group," she says. Though one person hasn't been mentioned, and the lack of it causes a slight touch of color to Ashley's cheeks. "Leon's well too," she assures him. "He's living in Paris as well, doing security work." You could almost put it in quotes. "Security Work." Because it's obviously code for something. Ahem.
"So what does Eagle Research research?" She asks, taking another sip of her drink.
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Worldly Texans, If there was one thing the world needed, it was more of them... though Rick couldn't decide if it was the worldly part or the Texan part one should approve of more. Still, it wasn't scoren, and that's good enough for him. "Certainly is... but that does seem to put more emphasis on the middle one than the ones flanking it. Fate and God, if they have the same effect as gravity, may be as good as gone. I'm.... getting philsophical in my age."
For the rest... he's cocking his head at Ashely as she blushes just a bit. "Security work... riiiiiight." He says. That bit of news wasn't as interesting as the way Ashley looked when she mentioned him. "Maybe it's the booze talking, but did you to ever... well. Get him to pull some overtime? You /are/ both the same age, or in the ballpark, and I've seen romances on shakier ground than that."
Maybe give her a bit of time to squirm, before adding on to the non-answer. "Now... that would be telling... mainly because nothing I've come up with has been FDA approved as of yet, and I can afford a lawyer for only the briefest of time. My last bit of work for my former employer was on stimulants, however, and I've pulled what I can over there."
|Ashley Graham|| "Is there more emphasis on the middle one? If I recall my science courses correctly, all science is theories. Gravity itself is still a theory, and with every drop of a fork it can be disprove. Is it not the same with G-d or fate?" She asks, shaking her head a little at him and grinning. "I don't mean to be argumentative, certainly. Doubly so in this country, where G-d is nearly a swear."
And then she does squirm for him, turning to face the bar again, recrossing her legs beneath her skirt, sipping her drink, and the blush growing brighter. She grins. "Overtime? I hadn't thought of it that way. But then I if you're thinking of it in the way I think you're thinking of it, it's nothing like that. We're just dating," she explains, quietly. "Picnics in the park, that sort of thing." It's so cheesy you could shoot it out of a can.
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Stadler gives another nod to the debate itself. "You are correct in that Gravity is a theory; Hypothesis that can be proven of disproven... And therein lies what makes it properly scientific. Concepts like 'God' or 'Fate' require faith in a system, and elements that cannot inheriently be proven or disproven. Unless I'm interpreting what you see as God incorrectly, and my apologies if I am, there's no way to say, 'God', or 'Fate' exists. Or doesn't exist."
A pause, and he takes another look at his glass, setting it down. "All right, this is going into relams /someone/ is going to end up taking a swing at me, so I think it's time for me to do something more physical. Not what you might do with Leon, mind you. Scandalous, indcent things like /holding/ hands, and perhaps gazing upon one another with fondness in your hearts. Positively tabloid fare, that." His words are in jest, and he does have a smile on his face when he says them. Too good of an oppurtunity, watching her fluster like that! Enough sap to make bottles of syrup.
|Ashley Graham||At his request, the concept of G-d is set aside for now. It usually is when there's such scandalous things to discuss! And it's enough to make Ashley's cheeks burn brighter, and for her to shift in discomfort in her chair. "You laugh," she tells him. "But were my father still President it would actually be tabloid fare." That's true. She gives the older man a playful little glare and, like an adult with a drink in her hand, very slightly sticks her tongue out at him to chastise him for his behavior. "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth of yours?" She teases.|
|Prestige Richard Stadler||Richard Stadler quickly downs the rest of his drink, then grimaces and looks like he regrets it a moment later, gripping the bar to keep himself steady for just a moment. "Like you've mention, he isn't. So now it's just the daughter of a former president and her protector paramour, love bolossoming among cracked streets and burning buildings... Hmm, you know, that's not half bad. /Lot/ of potential there. Could always sell the story to the Enquierer if you need a bit of help making tution one of these semesters. At the very least, it would make quite a bodice-ripper."
But it seems he's going to give a bit of a reprive to the woman, and stumbles with only a slightly unsure gait to his steps toward the rest of Deck 13 (and wasn't that unlucky, he wonders?). "Not as often as I should, admittedly. Could be in Michigan right now, but I decided free top shelf booze in the middle of the Pacific was how I'm going to spend my vacation. Which I will now switch over to smacking golf balls at a bet. Good evening, Ashley."