A FEW POINTERS
A few weeks before, his world had been turned completely over. He didn't want to let it at first...Meeing in a dark alley when I save her from thugs? It's like the "meet cute" from some romance movie or something... And for another reason...a hurt that still lingered, a hurt he didn't want to take the chance of feeling again...
Yet here he was.
He both sighed in relief and took another guilty glance around when the person he was meeting arrived in the restaurant. A somewhat short woman, her long brown hair gathered into a tail slung over her right shoulder. She was dressed in a knee-length skirt and blazer--clearly intended to be professional and elegant, without the faintest hint of enticement.
Which was ironic, because when she sat down Edward couldn't help but notice that she actually had a fabulous pair of legs.
"Doctor Sanders." she stated simply.
"Miss Anderson." He remembered he'd been told TJ Anderson was left handed--he admitted he couldn't tell from the handshake, because it was probably one of the firmest he'd ever felt, male or female.
The other thing he noticed is that she didn't take her sunglasses off. I think Eden said she was a cop or something before joining Ghostbusters...I guess old habits die hard.
"I am going to assume that this clandestine meeting is for professional reasons." TJ said in clipped tones, British accent prominant. "As you are dating an associate of mine."
"I wouldn't say it's professional....actually, it does concern Eden."
She raised one eyebrow enough for him to notice it.
"You've only know each other a couple of weeks, Doctor Sanders. Concerns, already? And why, then, are you sharing this with me?"
"Things have been going good, I just..." he looked away. "I do have a concern or two. I just...she's so hard to read. And there's so much...for lack of a better term, it's like she's not wanting to get close. I keep being afraid that she's going out with me just to be nice, not because she really wants to."
"You come in, Miss Anderson, because you work with her, and you're about the only one I can talk to. I think Eric Stantz hates me. Marie Lupin, I half suspect, would try to move in on me. And John Spengler's her brother, so there's no guarantee anything I said to him wouldn't go right to her. I realize that might be true of you as well, but I thought, if anyone could relate to my situation..."
"And why would that be?"
Edward was silent for a few seconds. Is she being facetious, or does she think I hadn't heard or noticed? "Well, since you and Eden's brother are clearly..."
"If you're only going to make crude insinuations, Doctor Sanders, I'm not going to let you waste anymore of my time." There was a lot more force in her voice than before.
Edward stammered an apology. "Look I'm sorry, I misinterpreted, I guess, I mean, though...you are friends with them both, right?" I touched a nerve, didn't I?
TJ was almost as hard to read, he realized, as Eden. No wonder Eden and TJ got along so well. No wonder John must find the woman an incredibly fascinating mystery.
"Apology accepted, Doctor Sanders." TJ finally said, voice calmed back down.
"So are you going to help me?" Edward finally asked.
"I will not betray any confidences, and that applies to you as much as them." she answered. "I will not tell you what has been said about you around the Firehouse--that is not my place."
"But I've know the Spenglers for three years now--I can offer a few...general observations."
"Eden Spengler is not a woman who is going to be won quickly. A lot of that has to do with her family. They're possibly the closest family I know, and that does present a few obstacles."
"Part one is that both Twins are very close to their parents. The Professor and his wife didn't marry until they were forty years old, more or less, and the Twins were their only children; more, Egon and Janine Spengler had known each other for fifteen years before they married--their relationship was full of hesitation and turmoil--at one point, Mrs. Spengler spent four years married to someone else before finally marrying the Professor."
"Couples have their ups and downs, but something curious happened to the Spenglers--they had all of their downs in the fifteen years before they married, and have lived an almost idealized relationship ever since. They knew who they were, and were certain of their love. The Twins idolize their parents individually--and together as role models of the 'perfect' marriage."
"Along with that, as their only children, the Professor and his wife are, as you might expect, very protective. They made just about every mistake possible, and are on the watch for them. I don't think they're intending to drive away any potential suitor their son...their children may have, but it is perhaps inevitable that, when their father is a Nobel-winning scientist, you will start to feel like you're being put under a microscope."
"The Twins tend to have blinders on when it comes to their parents, in fact. They may know the raw fact of their mother's marriage prior to their father--the relationship was hinted at in one of the movies--but emotionally, they just can't reconcile it. I watched that movie with Johnathan once, and he insisted that we fast forward through that part because 'everyone knows Ramis made that up'."
TJ regarded the strawberry soda she'd ordered. She took a few sips before continuing. "And then there's part two of the obstacle: the Twins themselves. Johnathan and Eden were, literally, part of each other's lives before they were even born. Worse, both having their father's intelligence, they were not exactly...in synchronization with their peers; even the children of their parents' comrades weren't always able to understand them. The only person that really could was the other twin."
"They are, frankly, as close to each other as a brother and sister could be without crossing the line into it becoming something creepy and incestuous."
Edward nodded again. "I got that impression...any man getting close to Eden is going to always be, consciously or unconsciously, compared to her father and her brother. And their relationship to that of her parents."
"Exactly." TJ nodded. "Johnathan would do the same...she'd be compared to his mother and his sister." She shifted slightly. "If such a woman existed, of course."
"Of course..." Edward had to fight with all his might not to smirk, or even roll his eyes.
"But we do have one thing to our..." She bit her lip. "Bloody hell, I mean, you have one thing to your advantage: the Professor and his wife also provide an example of what happens when two people who care about each other admit and and stop being childish about it. Easier said than done, I know, but..."
There was an awkward silence. Edward suspected TJ realized what she was saying...and how deeply it might apply to her.
"Then I'll just ask one more question. If the Spengler family is as exclusive a club as it seems...based on what you know...is it worth it to keep trying to join it?"
TJ finally took off the sunglasses, and set them on the table. "Absolutely."
"Then I can only hope..." Edward said, paying the bill for the drinks "That someone will someday come along who wishes to get to know Eden's brother as well as I want to know her. Someone who knows their situation well enought to understand it, and still want to be part of it anyway. If we could find a woman like that..."
"Well, if John's got his own hands full, he's not going to be as worried about Eden is he?" He finally allowed a smirk. "Or vice versa."
She cocked an eyebrow. "Perhaps..."
"I thank you for your time, Miss Anderson." Edward shook her hand once more.
"Glad to be of some help, Doctor Sanders." she replied, re-donning her sunglasses. "At least, I hope I've been of some help."
"More than you might realize..." Edward admitted, as he watched her leave.
He was no longer nervous. So much of what he'd heard only confirmed what he'd already guessed...and reading between the lines, he knew he'd found a kindred spirit: someone with a distinct interest in at least finding out if they could become part of the Spengler legacy. An ally.
"The Professor and his wife also provide an example of what happens when two people who care about each other admit and and stop being childish about it. Easier said than done, I know, but..."
Indeed Edward smiled to himself. But if Egon and Janine Spengler can make it work...there's no reason their children can't.