#7458
Location: American Bureau of Magical Affairs • Date: Memorial Day

Jennifer loved D.C. in the spring; the cherry blossoms, the breeze, the ordinary tourists that were so fun to watch as they got confused on the metro. She really loved the parties the various departments of the Bureau threw too, even if it wasn't quite what she would have preferred.

They were in one of the event halls today, which had been enchanted to look entirely like the national mall. It would have been too dangerous to have the Memorial Day barbecue in public where anyone could stumble on it, especially with the magic involved to make it as entertaining as possible, so they moved it inside where the weather was practically perfect and the cool breeze almost felt real.

The barbecue part was nice, too: hot dogs and hamburgers just like the northerners liked to do it, with all kinds of barbecue from all over the country. She had eaten her fill of all of it by the time the enchanted ceiling had dimmed to the colors of dusk and some band from some department was playing, and instead made her way to the bar for another drink, because what else was she going to do?

She had a few friends here, but not many. Mostly she was just here for the food.
#7463
Tim loved the Memorial Day BBQ. And the 4th of July BBQ. He especially loved the Labor Day BBQ. It was the best party all year; even better than the Christmas Party. He just really liked summer. You saw so little of it in Vermont that you really had to seize every moment of warm sun you got.

Plus hamburgers and hot dogs and full bar. How could anyone not love this?

Tim sat at the bar shooting the breeze with his counterparts in the House, drinking a nice cold Vermont-made IPA. He was having fun but he was always careful at these things. You never wanted to be known as the guy that got naked on the bar at a party that included spouses and children. He remembered seeing a Senator from Alabama do that when he attended his first Bureau BBQ with his dad twenty years ago.

He was laughing heartily at a joke when he spotted the strawberry blonde hair coming his way. Was it weird he recognized it so readily? It was certainly not right that he had thought about the young woman attached to the strawberry blonde hair a fair bit since the wedding. Enough that he had asked Todd about her.

He excused himself from his companions and joined Jennifer at the bar.

"Can I get you a drink?" he asked.
#7544
Oh, right. Senator Woodward.

Jennifer smiled brightly when she saw him, remembering the good time they'd had at the wedding. She assumed his wife was not far behind, though, so the young page glanced behind him briefly as if to check. She had already accidentally been too forward with someone else this evening, and she hadn't even been trying. Some of the midwestern representatives could be so touchy.

"I don't know," the strawberry blonde sighed, looking him over. "They're pretty expensive."

They weren't.

"Though, you know, if it's Senator Fancy Socks offering..."
#8003
"Oh, well, in that case..." Jennifer tapped her lip with a well-manicured finger for a minute as she pretended to consider.

"A mai tai, or something. Something tropical. Since we are stuck here in the fake but otherwise pleasant indoors instead of, like, on an island somewhere in the Caribbean."

She sighed, giving him a sheepish smile.

"Can you tell I need a vacation? I should really think about becoming a senator."
#11084
"A Bahama Mama then," Tim suggested and then ordered for the senate page. He ordered himself a sidecar. For whatever reason he felt like doing something other than his normal scotch.

"Ah, so you want your vacations to really just be you doing your everyday job but in a more scenic location? And then having to cut it short to come and attend meetings or an unexpected emergency vote on restricting the importation of flobberworm mucus."

He handed Jennifer her drink and took a sip of his own, "its not always this glamorous."
#11167
"But sometimes it is this glamorous," Jennifer pointed out, the smile on her lips growing as she took her drink and raised it toward him slightly before taking a sip. It really did transport her a billion miles away to some exotic beach, she just wished it could be real. Maybe one day. She took another drink to push the idea from her mind before she could get too comfortable with it, and tried to remember what they had been talking about before the appetizing phrase flobberworm mucus came up.

"You must have had a difficult time with the mucus," she managed, trying to remain casual.

Why was she trying to remain casual? Shouldn't she be trying to remain serious?

No, she was just going to stick to her original comment. No backing down now. She could always go home and hide in her room, or something, if she made a fool out of herself. Even though she had no idea why she was even having that thought. It was just another stupid work party.

"I mean, I brought up your socks and you didn't even try to show me which ones you chose for the occasion."
#11208
They were going to have to agree to disagree on the glamorous-ness of his job.

He was trying to come up with some retort to the mucus comment, while sipping his drink, when she changed the subject to the socks. He was thankful, sort of, because he really had nothing witty to say about flobberworm mucus that was also not somewhat insulting to a young woman who probably still suffered from occasional bouts of acne.

"Sorry to disappoint you," he answered and pulled up his khakis to reveal a regular old pair of brown socks, "it was the only way I could convince the wife to come."

Ironic, or something, considering Denise had left after an hour.
#11988
Right. His wife. Jennifer sometimes forgot about her.

Sometimes, like this was a frequent occurrence. Like she thought about him sometimes.

She did, of course. For work. She often saw him on the senate floor.

"Well I don't know how you managed to coordinate with the brownies so perfectly," the young page remarked, flipping her hair over her shoulder in an effort to remain casual about the entire thing.

"It's impressive, really. Just the perfect shade of milk chocolate."
#12432
"That was just coincidence and luck," Tim replied. He did not have that many pairs of plain socks. He leaned against the bar and watched the rest of the party. It was starting to thin out as people went home to celebrate with their friends and family and not with their coworkers. Tim was expected at his parents' home at some point.

"Are you enjoying the party?" he asked, turning back to look at Jennifer.
#12668
Jennifer shrugged, staring into her glass a moment.

Was she enjoying it? So far, not so much.

"It's alright," she assessed, smiling as she took a sip of her drink. It was almost a gulp, really.

"Better now. I think the alcohol helps. How about you?"
#13233
"I'm having a great time," Tim replied honestly. He was the type of person who loved any social gathering. He got along well with pretty much everyone and found lively debates over policy just as exciting as a good movie or concert. He was weird like that but it was needed in his line of work. There was so much talking to people in his line of work that one needed to actually enjoy doing it.

"Alcohol definitely does help, but the longer you've been here the easier it gets. You have more people to mingle with. I've also been told having kids helps, since there's all that bouncy house and petting zoo stuff for them. I have yet to find out if that's true or not."

Someday, hopefully he would. It seemed more and more unlikely as the months went on but he was still holding onto a small sliver of hope that this was just a phase and things would return to normal between him and Denise.
#13551
"I think I have enough people to mingle with," Jennifer grinned, though her cheeks might have turned pink as she realized the implications of what she said. Why was she acting like this? He was just a senator. She worked with senators all day.

"I don't know about the kids part, though. I mean, wouldn't that make things less fun? Having someone you have to keep an eye on the entire time? I feel like it would be hard to enjoy dancing if you have to make sure your kid doesn't, like, get eaten by an alpaca or something."
#16969
Jennifer took a large sip of her drink. Somehow it was easier to drink it the more she'd already had. She glanced out over the crowds, the people that she sort-of knew, the ones that she couldn't exactly call friends. People were pairing off with their spouses for a slower song the band was playing, and Jennifer was out of things to say. What was she supposed to do now? Wander off awkwardly?

She could get another drink. That didn't really seem like a great idea, though.

"So..." she managed, rocking back on her heels slightly. What now?