is that what they teach you at cal?
".. Is that what they teach you at Cal?" She questioned, confused, as they'd headed toward the door after the exhibition. ".. I've been missing out," Cara murmured.. Keeping things light as she turned to walk toward where they'd parked on the street, bumping herself casually against Wyatt's side.
Wyatt blinked a few times as they neared the exit. He kept his focus straight ahead of him, well aware that he was on the receiving end of some odd glances from other audience members. His questions about LEED BD+C: Homes v4 verification and the GBCI oversight process seemed to stun even the speakers, more so once they'd gone back and forth for a few minutes, but once he realized what was happening, he gracefully tried to reign it in and began the figurative head-scratching process himself.
"Uh. Something like that," he shrugged, trying to play it off. "I went through some of this when I was looking at my current place. Guess I remembered more. Plus, you know. Electrical engineer." He smirked and tapped his temple as if that explained even a little bit of the scene back there. Unable to help her own sly grin, Cara dropped her eyes and laughed. He slipped his hand into hers and squeezed it lightly. Her temptation to make a joke about liking big brains ('and I cannot lie') hung in the air for a split-second before getting mentally shot down; rhythmically pressing one finger, and then the next, and the next after that between Wyatt’s knuckles as they walked, back and forth, in the breath before Cara had sorted her thoughts and responded.
"Learn anything new?"
"Separate scopes-and-scales of DFAB versus pre-fab, then the general reminder that I've been vastly underusing Stanford's 3D printer.." she offered, lifting a brow. "You probably gave me more practical information than they did," Cara confessed, not shy about the assertion as they closed in on another sidewalk block.
He had. He'd almost completely outdone the minds that'd designed the house, and she'd be willing to bet that he wasn't studying Swiss innovation in his spare time. Maybe he was. She didn't know, and for that, she narrowed her eyes -- more curious than anything else.
Casually scoping out local real estate listings? Sure. Studying Swiss innovation? Not a chance. "...Wait, what kind of 3D printer do they have?" he asked curiously, losing the plot for a moment. "We have a couple at the hackerspace." Wyatt cleared his throat, more out of habit than necessity.
"You still wanna work on a fixer upper after that talk?" he asked. Deflecting? Maybe. "We could even just find a lot somewhere."
Cara paused, picking one of the three clay pigeons he'd thrown up as far as conversation threads went. She pulled down on the last one like a kite, giving Wyatt a thoughtful, deliberating glance.
"Depends on what we find, I think.. See a few more, and if they fit, then great. If not.. We bring in the robots," she suggested, lifting their netted hands for a second to press her lips there before continuing, feeling her mouth split into that friendly grin before she'd let their fingertips drop back between them.
".. An existing house isn't going to be enough of a challenge, huh?"
A lot, he scoffed to himself, as if that on its own wasn't a tall order in a city like San Francisco. "Deal," he answered. Wyatt smiled at the show of affection and squeezed her hand lightly in turn.
"It was just a thought. Depends on how the rest of the market is," he shrugged. His brow knit slightly as he prepared to pose his next question, one that he couldn't recall having asked before when really it should've been near the top of the list. "Should we look anywhere outside of San Francisco, or...?"
"Couldn't hurt, but.." She paused, losing eye contact with him if only to dive into the idea more. "It'd have to even out; the perfect place and the separation from everything else," Cara nodded, set in her opinion now that she'd talked it out: ".. What do you think? Longer commutes, all that."
Commutes. Something he'd hardly given any thought with his current commute being so manageable; he'd been spoiled. "I'd look at Oakland. Maybe Berkeley, if it were the right place." The thought of leaving the city wasn't a terrible one, but there were so many amenities that he'd grown used to that he just wasn't willing to part with.
Cara was still mulling over a separate thought, though, interest lingering on the question that Wyatt hadn't answered. He was smarter than the men in that exhibition, and while she'd willingly attested to the fact that Wyatt was one of the smartest men she knew.. This was different.
"What would you do with a lot?"
"Build an infinity pool." He didn't miss a beat, nor did he dare glance at Cara, knowing that the stoic look on his face would dissolve the moment they made eye contact.
Caught on the back foot with the joke, Cara fought to keep her expression more sly than it was amused.. But that's all it was. A fight, and she went down in flames when hers and Wyatt's gazes matched, even for a split second.
"The pool is a non-negotiable," she added, voicing her support before she'd lost her firm-footing on it to the kind of smile that made the corners of her eyes crinkle; "Costa Rica'll be a test run. Research trials," Cara teased, squeezing Wyatt's hand like it were a promise before the subject changed back to the current topic. She didn't get there without at least one exaggerated wink.
"Do eco-lodges have infinity pools?" he mused as they rounded a corner. He made a note to check his calendar when he got home; the exact dates of the trip were escaping him, but he knew it was coming up.
"Pool.. Yard.. What would your absolute dream house look like?"
"Pool. Yard," he echoed. "Some kind of workspace. A badass kitchen." The grin was apparent in his voice. "One of those rainfall showers in the master bathroom. And a huge, comfortable living room." It didn't seem like too tall an order. "Maybe an obnoxious home theater setup. What about yours?"
"Kitchen's a must," she agreed, nodding along as he continued. "Decent bedrooms, a spot to work every once in a while, and a place to entertain outside," Cara added, not minding the image of their space that'd been taking shape in her mind. So much of it lined up; they'd fit together, as humans, to the point of incredulity sometimes, and she was cresting another one of those moments when she'd confidently thought of the future, and what it'd look like.
".. Smart house?"
His brow furrowed again and he was silent as he mulled over an answer. "Smart elements," he answered after a few moments. "Too easy to hack if the whole system's connected. We should have a backup power source, though. Maybe a couple solar panels on the roof, nothing gaudy." He fished his keys out of his pocket as they neared the parking spot. "Outside entertaining space, though, that's key. And heated bathroom floors, right?"
"The heated floors and I come as a package deal," Cara replied; taking her turn with the quick reply and a grin as they got close to his car. She paused, and dove in again when she'd opened her mouth a second time; ".. Like you and genius-level engineering aptitude."
Well, that was one way of steering a conversation.
A couple of staccato beeps sounded as he clicked a button on the keyfob once they were just a few feet away from his SUV. Thankful for the timing, Wyatt let go of her hand as he stepped over the curb and onto the street to the driver's side. He heaved a heavy sigh as he climbed in, greeted by the click of Cara's seatbelt.
"Would you believe that there's a LEED-centric issue of Dwell sitting on my coffee table?"
She hummed once she'd had her belt buckled, glancing over at him when she'd heard the sigh. "You're one of the smartest people I know," Cara affirmed, both acknowledging her belief in him and her own hovering thoughts.. For the moment, anyway; ".. Somehow, I'm not surprised that it's all but memorized." Conceding.
It wasn't a lie; there really were a few copies of Dwell and various other architectural magazines sitting on his coffee table for research purposes. He knew better than to think that whatever it was that had come out of his mouth at the event was information that he had picked up from those glossy pages. Where any of it had come from at all, he had no idea, but he was relieved when she seemed to buy his cover.
Wyatt fastened his own seatbelt and turned the key in the ignition. "But...we could have anything we want, Cara." He glanced over at her thoughtfully, seriously, as he placed his right hand on the gear shift to put the car into drive. The numbers that sat in various bank accounts and portfolios underlined his last thought tenfold. "It'll be a lot of work, but we can make it happen."
She put her hand on top of his and nodded before his grip had returned to the steering wheel, cutting her lingering suspicions off at the pass. Of all the people she trusted in this world, Wyatt had become the reigning champion, and when he made the remark about making things happen, Cara couldn't help but nod. She hadn't balked when they'd initially talked this over, and she didn't shy away from it now. She'd gotten her own two feet under her on her own; building the foundation for a life with someone else, with that someone else's help was, by her standards, entirely possible.
Cara smiled at the notion.
A small smile pulled at the corner of his lips when her hand met his and he managed to all but forget about his word vomit not even thirty minutes prior. "We wouldn't even have to do the heavy lifting ourselves," he suggested, glancing over his shoulder as he prepared to pull into traffic. "We'll want to, but if we get too busy with work, or if we decide to...I don't know, take a long vacation instead, we can find other people to do it for us." That long vacation seemed unlikely to happen given everything that kept both of them in California at any given time, but even Wyatt had his head in the clouds on occasion. "So...how does sushi sound right now?"
Cara had narrowed her eyes at the idea of an extended vacation, but then the conversations about Canada, about China, and Costa Rica (so many C's), zipped across her mind's eye, and she couldn't exactly deny that the idea'd existed. There was a time when plans that took her away from her work'd make her scoff; her refusal to take a vacation had been one of the reasons why history had unfolded in certain ways, and it wasn't lost on her. She'd ended up biting her lip; more amenable to the idea these days -- she'd been opened up to the possibility and the necessity, now that they'd been, virtually, living four lives in one.
Wyatt had loosened her stubborn grip on a few things, but specifically, what'd just happened at the exhibition; while she hadn't let the rapid-fire schooling of Swiss experts go entirely, there was a time and place for it. Here-and-now were not, if the small smile on his face at the tiny touch of her hand to his was any indicator. With the interested narrow of her eyes still yet to yield, Cara tilted her head appreciatively when he'd asked about sushi.
"Ichi? It's quiet." And quiet, they could wordlessly agree, was probably for the best.