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The dojo doesn’t seem quite as intimidating to Ember now. When she was in the city before she mostly avoided the place, staying as far away as she could. Since returning, that previous reaction to the place seems frankly ridiculous and that’s a good thing considering her new job puts her here the majority of the time.
Valeria’s reaction to her return was far warmer than she ever could have hoped for, honestly taking the Dhampir by surprise. For her to then offer Ember a job was even more surprising but Em had happily taken on the role, partially out of gratitude and partially out of really needing the job. Of course it took a few days to get moved in and settled back in Evermore, but now she’s finally setting her sights on getting to work. She’s always been the type to take her responsibilities seriously and this will be no different, especially since she now has the other Dhampir’s training to consider. She doesn’t take the position officially for another couple of days, so she’s taking the bit of downtime to reacquaint herself with the city and the territory, to learn about the changes Val put in place in her time away, and to start to hammer out her plans.
That’s how she finds herself wandering the dojo now, organizing and sorting things for when she’ll need them. She has a little space actually in the dojo in case anyone wants to meet with her privately after she starts teaching and she’d spent most of the morning organizing paperwork, which remains the bane of her existence, until she literally couldn’t take it anymore and had to get moving. She’s in one of the weapons rooms, checking the condition of the training dummies, when she hears the distinct noise of someone nearby training. It’s quite common to have people coming in and out of the dojo all day, but for the most part the morning was quiet. Curiosity and newfound duty taking over, she quickly finishes her last check and dusts her hands off before heading toward the sound.
She’s not trying to quiet her footsteps as she heads to the door to the room, mostly so that she won’t startle whoever decided to get in an early workout. She doesn’t recognize the man but that’s really not surprising to her, in a city this size she’s not likely to. She waits until he finishes his current set before padding into the room, her bare feet making no noise on the padded floor, and she takes off the belt holding her swords to place it down out of the way. “Care for some company? It tends to be more effective when you have someone to train with.” She remembers a time when approaching someone like this would have been so natural to her she wouldn’t have even had to think about it. Now she’s having to train herself back into that mindset and is just grateful it doesn’t come across as awkward. “What are you working on?” Learning the other’s styles is quite important for her job, but she doesn’t want to get him off of whatever he came in here to train on. She’s very adaptive but knowing how they move and observing the different techniques is vital in being able to do her instruction later. Besides, even as a trainer one can continue learning and improving. This is just another step in that.
Upon hearing her response to what he said earlier, Eun couldn't help but wince because that does sound like it hurts. A lot. Even if one had a high pain tolerance, nobody likes faceplanting on the mat every single time. It's painful and not to mention, humiliating. Eun always tried his best not to fall so early into the sparring session every single time because he didn't want to be that person. "I assume you're saying physically and not emotionally" he mumbled softly, something about her seemed to tell him that something went on but he couldn't pinpoint the exact reason. As a lawyer, he was trained to catch even the smallest detail on a person, there's a reason why they made them go through lying tests and whatnot but it was clear that Ember didn't want to disclose that. The dhampir could respect that. Besides, she's not a client of his. She's the head trainer there. "I need to at least be as dangerous?"
At first he didn't understand what she was trying to say but from the looks of things, it sounded like she was trying to tell him to be at the same par or level as his opponent. "I don't know if people notice or not, but I've never been much of a fighter." And it wasn't because he didn't want to be one or that he wasn't capable of being one. His father wanted him to embrace his dhampir side since forever but his methods weren't really effective. Her words did hit home. A bit too close to the heart, so much Eun even stumbled a bit while thinking on her words. Was she right? No, of course she was. The saddest part is that he knows she is right because he too, believed in it. But the other part of him was still very much devoted to his parents that even the slightest hint of getting out of line is often shut down by him. It was like fighting two different sides of him in the same body.
"I can't be the dutiful son forever yes… but given the current circumstances, I'm not sure what's better. My father is a Valkyr, but my mother a human. She desperately wanted to see her children, at least one of them marry before she passes and it doesn't help that she's sick. You're right, I'm conflicted. I want to make her happy and I don't know how." And there's also the problem with his controlling structure father who would not have anyone not following his instructions, especially his children. In this case, things were slightly more unfortunate for Eun because he's the eldest. The responsibility on him weighs heavier. "I wish I know what's best" he chuckled, it's a sad thought but he really didn't. As soon as she said not to rely on brute strength alone, she had swept his off his feet, causing the dhampir to groan in surprise, well he had to say he expected that while also not expecting it. "You sound like my brother" he exclaimed, his youngest brother, Jae was his favorite. "He would always taunt me. However the difference between you two is that you can actually put me on my ass."
An amused smirk crosses her lips at the look on his face and his words and she nods a little. “Yes physically. Emotional strength comes but it can’t be trained as easily as your muscles and getting your ass kicked over and over…. Well it works I guess. It’s just not the healthiest way to go about it.” Not that anything she went through was healthy but she survived. Obviously. She can tell that he’s reading her, not that she would expect anything different from a lawyer, but if she was that easy to read she wouldn’t have survived as long as she has. It’s one of the things she prides herself in, being hard to pin down exactly. When she’s really hiding it can be next to impossible to see any expression or twitch cross her features but she has no reason to hide anything right now. “If someone’s trying to hurt you or kill you, you have to be able to hold your own. Ever heard the saying don’t bring a knife to a gunfight? Well that applies in just about any situation. You have to be prepared to deal out at least as much as your opponent is.”
She falls quiet for a moment as he mentions not being much of a fighter but she knows what he means. There was a time when she really wasn’t either. Her voice is quiet when she responds. “It’s amazing what your life being in danger will prompt. If your opponent is stronger than you, better than you, you have to make up for it in ferocity and willingness to kill. Otherwise you die... Or worse.” She hasn’t met many in her travels that weren’t scared of death. It seems practically universal, the one fear that almost everyone has, which is why people tend to look at her funny when she comments that there are worse things than being killed. Death itself has looked at times to her like a peaceful reprieve from all the bullshit. But today that’s neither here nor there.
Ember’s head tilts to one side as he speaks, bright blue eyes focused on his face and her hair falling in the same direction. Her mannerisms can certainly be read as strange sometimes, as though she’s analyzing him as much as he is her, though for different reasons. “You seem to truly love your mother. I understand the conflict. But she’s your mother, surely she’d want what’s best for you? You’re a Dhampir, you’re going to live for a very long time. Besides, if she’s human a solution to that little issue seems like it would be turning her to a Valkyr. She gets to live without being sick, you have your entire life to worry about marrying and making them happy. Or you could tell them to shove their opinions of your life up their asses.” It’s what she’d do at this point, but then she’s been told several times she’s an asshole. Moving does tend to help her think better though and hopefully it’ll help Eun as well, even if his expression when she knocks him on his ass is enough to drag a chuckle out of her. She offers him her hand to help him up as he jokes with her, smiling some. “Oh and that’s with me out of my element. I generally use two swords.” Once she has him back on his feet she drops her hand. “It’s true though. Brute force, while a good thing to have, is not usually enough to carry you through a fight. Especially against a skilled opponent.”
"It's funny because the moment you think it might be the best way to go about it, it ends up being an unhealthy method" he chuckled, most of his choices end up being similar to that if he was being honest. This or that, it all ends up in the same square. As someone who has been in his field for a while now, reading her wasn't proving to be an easy task. Was it even menial to begin with? He wasn't sure. But Ember did prove herself to be quite the interesting person, and for Eun who didn't exactly have a lot of acquaintances here in Evermore, it meant a lot. When she brought back the saying, Eun scoffed silently to himself, "Oh I've heard of that saying more than I would like to hear." People keep saying that. Especially hsi defendants. Clients alike too, if he recalled it. "That would mean to play dirty if your opponent is doing it like that, no? Or am I seeing this situation wrong? Though if I was being honest, I'd say you were telling me to be smart and predict their moves one step ahead of them, or ten, rather than to resort to their dirty ways."
He would've preferred that one. He wasn't the noble guy who would stay uprooted in one pretense, but he didn't like knowing he had to abandon every principle he had in return for something he wouldn't even give a worth of a lifetime to look back at. "For someone with a fiery appearance, you sound gloomy, no offense" he exclaimed wryly, his tone made it sound like he wasn't really trying to pull a weight over her on a joke but it wasn't harmful either. It was genuine, that's what it is. "Do you tell this to every student?" He was curious if she did. Her solution to his problems were easy and simple. He couldn't even tell her that he hasn't thought about it. "When you put it that way, it feels simple and believe me, I've thought of it. I tried outlining every possible solution to this problem of mine but it all comes down to the one factor I am not able to shift the tides of." His mother. "She's a human, and she doesn't want to live another life after this one, it's the one thing she made my father promise her when they got married."
His father wasn't heartless, strict and stern, even insufferable at times, but he means well, though he still failed to see how it's destroying his children. "But you're right, she's still my mother at the end of the day and she does love her children very much. I'd say the compassion most of us receive is actually inherited from her" he chuckled, "maybe if she knows just how happy I am with how it is now, she'll tell me it's fine." It helps to hear her input on this. He took her hand and got himself back up on his two feet, rubbing his arm a bit because of the friction he made against the mat earlier. It was more of a reflex than it actually stings. "I'll be sure to keep that in mind" he even made a playful salute right in front of her. All that seriousness should dissipate because Eun wasn't a serious person in general, unless he's working. "I don't think I've been defeated like this before, it feels different. Not that I'm admitting the humiliation was worth every moment, no." He pursed his lips slightly before deciding to ask her, "Who are you running from? Or is it what?" It was more of a general question but he could see her body language of someone who had a lot to keep.
She flashes him a small smile, an amused look crossing her features. “Funny how that works isn’t it?” Though it’s unfortunately true. She can see his appraising look but she doesn’t really mind it. Here in this environment, in a place where she’d sought him out instead of the other way around, she finds it easier to let down her guard. To be more like the person she’d at least like to be instead of the person she really is. She grows more serious as he questions her, considering for a moment how to answer him. “Both. And neither. If your opponent is the type to resort to dirty tactics you have to at least know how to counter them or be willing to do the same because they refuse to fight fair. It’s always a good idea to be several steps ahead of your opponent. But what I was referring to was to never allow yourself to go into a situation unprepared - you wouldn’t want the people prosecuting your client to have done more research than you and it’s much the same in a fight. I wouldn’t use my swords against someone shooting at me, I’d pull out a gun and shoot back. Use the right tools for the job, always be prepared for the situation.” It will save your life and possibly other people’s too.
She raises a brow at his comment, though he certainly hasn’t seemed to offend her. If anything, she finds the observation accurate. “Yes I do. Don’t misunderstand, I don’t speak this way out of some sense of fatalism. I’ve been in life or death fights more times than I can count and they are nothing like you will experience here. It’s my job to prepare the people I teach for reality and the reality is that out there people will be trying to kill you. If they’re not they’re planning far worse for you.” She has the scars to prove it. Even as a Dhampir she’s been injured enough that her body carries scars, some worse than others. Perhaps that’s where her patience in this situation comes in, watching him calmly as he speaks and running scenarios through her mind all the same. “I see. That is quite the situation, though I can understand and respect her position. I suppose then the question comes to this: communication. Have you ever communicated your true feelings to her?” She wants to hope that his mother is not like hers. From the way he speaks of her, she’s almost certainly not.
“Your father… Well if it helps, I can go kick his ass and force him to listen. Or teach you to.” Fighting a full vampire wouldn’t be easy, she’d trust herself to take him down more than anyone but that’s just her nature. With the right training she doesn’t doubt that Eun would be able to hold his own though, he has the talent and obviously the drive. She helps him to his feet with a nod, happy that he seems to be coming to his own conclusions at least regarding his mother. She may be a human but they’re certainly not. They have time. “How does it feel different?” She regards him curiously for a moment, in her experience all defeat feels the same. It inspires in her a burning desire to improve, to learn more so that it doesn’t happen again lest the next time be death instead of simple defeat. The whole mood of the room changes as soon as the question leaves him, her body tensing and her eyes flashing as she puts space between them. Her body language reads defensive immediately but not hostile. “... many things.” He’d been honest with her about his issues, but something about this topic seems to close her up. Experiences she’d far rather not remember. “A situation similar to yours… with people far more willing to kill.” Herself included.
He pursed his lips and pressed it together to form a thin line momentarily before averting his gaze downwards, somehow he couldn't find it in him to tell her more about it. Maybe because in a way, Ember did make him question a few things. Scratch that, she made him question a lot of things in general, such as his decision making skills at the moment. It wasn't a bad thing of course, but it did give him the time to spare himself the thought of saying yes or no to whatever he would decide in the near future. When she told him that he should be ready for anything, Eun nodded in understanding, "Understood. I just… Need to be mindful of my environment and be smart, right?" That's one way he would find himself phrasing after hearing what she told him. "Don't expect people to follow the same rules you did" he mumbled to himself and sighed, as a lawyer he was all too used to seeing people play dirty inside or outside the court, both mentally and physically manipulating their parties but he still wished to lead a rather honorable life.
Not everyone thinks like him and he knew that. But it's harder than just saying that he would digest that fact. Unlike Ember, Eun has never come into a situation where someone wanted to kill him. Of course he was always putting himself in a very high risk whenever he took on a client that was assigned to him. Defending then would mean he had the chance to make new enemies too. But so far, nobody dared to go after him. Yet. That's the keyword; yet. And he has no idea if that will change anytime soon. Possibly. He did wonder what she has done or what was done to her to have people going so far trying to kill her. What the hell was she involved in? He was tempted to ask, of course. "What did you do before coming here?" That question might be the closest thing he could ask to a glimpse in her past that doesn't make him look too pushy.
When asked if he has ever communicated and told her his true feelings, Eun smiled sadly, "I'm sometimes quite close to my mother. She always knows what I feel, when my father would scold me, she would come over to console me and somewhat convince me to forgive my father while taking on the burden herself. You know some parents think this or that is the best for their children and I think that's what's happening right now. If I could prove it to them that it wasn't the best thing for me, aside from my… feelings, then maybe they'll be more inclined to listen to me. But I don't." The truth is, marrying Ahreum was the best case scenario for any bachelor, and he wasn't excluded. She's an heiress and he's respected by their society. "You'll find that most arranged marriages don't result in love anyway…" He laughed when she offered to teach him how to kick his father's ass, "That sounds tempting. Why don't you teach me how to take an individual down in general? I might need it for what comes in the future either way." It did make him feel better to hear that about his father if he was being honest.
"I was a top student back home. I'm not sure if they focus on other things more than they would focus on their opponent but they never take me seriously. Even when I beat them at training." Being acknowledged and taken seriously made it different. A similar situation to his but with people far more willing to kill, she said. "Are you still running?"
To say that Ember is an intense person is an understatement. He can likely feel those bright blue eyes on him even as he casts his gaze away, avoiding giving her more. She doesn’t mind, after all she’s no stranger to wanting to avoid certain topics, she’s just quite good at steering conversation away from them should she want to. “That’s one way to put it. Personally, I’d extend it to be prepared to kill should you have to but then… my experience isn’t everyone’s. Probably a better rule of thumb is be prepared to defend yourself no matter the circumstance.” She doesn’t put voice to this but her body count would stagger most people, especially when taking in the way she looks. She doesn’t make a habit of voicing that fact though and as it stands only a couple people still alive know just how deadly she truly is when faced down.
Being honest, she doesn’t wish her experience on anyone. She’d far rather people go their entire lives not knowing what it’s like having people out to kill you, but she knows from experience that her wish simply isn’t possible. So then she does the next best thing and tries to prepare people in case that does ever happen to them. “I run a security company over in the human sector, I got hired on here at the Ambassador’s request so I divide my time between them.” It’s not the answer he was looking for and she knows it but nothing about her expression gives that away. “Before that, I travelled a lot and didn’t really do anything.” Also not the answer he was looking for, but that’s not something she’ll give up so easily. She’s not lying, she’s just not giving him the whole story and it comes across so naturally that most would never even consider poking for the missing details. Of course as a lawyer she figures he’ll be more curious than most but that doesn’t bother her.
Her face remains rather serious as he speaks, taking in what he says quietly. She seems to be a fairly good listener, nothing about her countenance says she’s tuning him out and that’s because she isn’t. “Don’t I know it…” Hers had ended in murder. Obviously not her own. “What I’m failing to see is why your feelings on the matter aren’t good enough. We don’t live in medieval times and it sounds like your family needs to play a bit of catch up. Saying that you don’t want to be forced to marry should be the end of the discussion, put your foot down on the matter. Conversely… well we are in America. You could always just marry here and take the option entirely off the table.” She finally chuckles, the soft husky laugh reaching across the small space at her joke that isn’t entirely a joke. She stretches then, her shoulders popping quietly at the motion as she considers what he says. “Easier said than done. There will always be matchups that don’t favor you, even I have those. But I can teach you some general tricks, sure.”
She raises a brow at his words, her head cocking to one side. “If that’s the case then they don’t deserve to be teachers. Don’t take your opponent seriously and you end up with your head detached from your shoulders. Let that be a lesson in itself, approach every match as though it’s your last because it very well could be.” She steps closer to him, her gaze still very serious as she goes back into training mode. “I doubt I’ll ever stop,” the most straightforward answer he’s gotten from her so far but she doesn’t give him much time to dwell on it as she grabs him, twisting his arm behind him and bending his shoulder at an odd angle. From there she starts moving with him, demonstrating her words even as she does them. “The shoulders are a weak point most don’t consider. Take control of a shoulder and you direct where the person’s body goes, even if you’re smaller or weaker than them. From this angle you can pretty much guarantee yourself control of a single person, just watch for their feet.”
Usually, he wouldn't mind people staring, he was used to it inside and outside of work. He trained enough so he wouldn't crumble underneath anyone, he's done this before in the courtroom, what's the difference this time? What makes Ember more intimidating than even the judges sitting in their seat? Perhaps it was because he's here today as Sangeun Moon, a dhampir desperately trying to search for his own happiness while battling his inner struggles. "You're right, that would be a bit too intense for someone like me" he chuckled, he wouldn't be able to use that rule where he'd be ready to kill should the situation arise but like she said, not everyone is like her and not everyone is also like him. When she told him she was working at security, Eun gaped in awe and nodded, that was pretty impressive and judging from her stance and skills, it was clear she would be able to utilize those abilities with ease in a job like that.
"I imagine the ambassador is close to you then to reach out to you like that" he didn't even know the ambassador in the city. Of course, he knows the name and who they are, but they were not personally close. Not enough to make them friends and Eun considered making acquaintances being the first step near to a friendship or at the very least, a partnership. She clearly didn't give the kind of answers he might be searching for and he respected that she was skilled at evading the questions like a plague. It was interesting. "You're effectively avoiding the points in my questions but still answering the surface…" he pointed out wryly, it was a smart choice, not to indulge your life story with a stranger such as him. Even as a lawyer, he would give her the same advice. Who knows what people would do with your personal information? The world is a scary place, after all. Her suggestion was not what he expected but at the same time, it was as if the burden was lifted off his shoulder for a while.
"Honestly, I grew up in a conservative society if you would put it. My family is… deep rooted in their beliefs too. And arranged marriage is honestly not fading away in the kind of community I am in where connections and nepotism makes up a lot. If it's a mutually beneficial agreement, which is mostly valued by monetary gain and reputation, they go at it." That's exactly what's happening, "My mother wants to have a grandchild before she passes and my father wants to solidify his power through his children. Classic parenting move." He could understand why he's doing it because you either survive being powerful or being stomped over the elite. But he didn't necessarily agree in this way; a way that sacrifices their own happiness. "And you're right, we're in America, I could just marry someone here and be free about it. I should do that but… I'm the eldest in the family, I have 3 other younger siblings and if I don't take this blow, he'll focus on them and what kind of a big brother would I be if I selfishly put my desires before theirs?"
It was a game of shifting and Eun didn't want his younger brothers and sister to receive the same treatment. When she got back into her training, he was slightly taken aback because he didn't expect her to go about it but still managed to retain his defensive stance while she taught him what needs to be done. It was an awkward position considering he towers above her and right now she is taking his shoulder hostage but his gaze fell downwards and eyed her feet the way she said it, he calculated her pace and tried to undo the lock she had on him by twisting his body and pulling her weight down to successful threw her forward.
“Perhaps. Just ensure that you’re prepared, you can never be certain what will come your way.” People find her intimidating. That much she knows and is quite used to, she’s taken great pains over the last several years to ensure it, and it holds true to this day even with the students she takes on. At least it does for the smart ones. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t mind the way he regards her, as though attempting to read her while maintaining an appropriate distance.
She lifts her shoulders in a slight shrug to his statement. She wouldn’t consider the pair close, but they certainly have always respected each other and knew that an alliance could be had so long as that respect was kept. “I actually reached out to her and she offered me the job after that. They say experience is the best teacher..” a sentiment she can attest to. She doesn’t try to stop the small smirk pulling at one side of her mouth as he calls her on her behavior, fixing him with a slightly cocky and amused stare that manages to make her look more her age. “I shouldn’t expect any less from a lawyer. You types did always manage to piss me off but it will serve you well. If you can get a read on me, you should be able to handle most.” There’s no arrogance to her words or her demeanor, she seems… pleased somehow about this. It’s unclear why.
Ember understands the constraints of polite conservative society entirely too well and trained eyes won’t miss the slight curl to her lip, not that she tries to hide it and more that she’s taught herself to hide severe reactions to things. “Those societies can burn for all I care.” She takes pains to reduce the amount of venom in her words, not wanting to cause offense, but meaning every word despite it. “Well, if it’s any consolation, I can at least tell you that you’ve found someone who understands.” A small consolation if it’s any at all, but at least it’s something. “I would offer advice, but I’m afraid I’m a rather selfish person and have no experience with siblings. I could offer you all protection but I’m afraid that’s the most I can do without a direct confrontation. Either way… none of you should have to sacrifice your happiness for anyone else’s, parental expectations be damned.” If she could rewind, she’d have told her parents to take their arrangement and shove it. But the past cannot be rewritten and young Ember didn’t have such a backbone.
Shifting into training is a cleanser for her, much as it always has been. The physical activity refreshes her mind, like a cleansing wave. She sees what he’s planning to attempt before he does it, allowing him to throw her off of him and rolling safely to her feet after he does. After all, he won’t learn should she stop him. “Good. Allow these things to become reflex. By the time you decide to do something, your body should already be doing it.” She drops into an offensive stance, regarding him as though scanning and taking in everything about him in an instant. “You’re strong and seem to prefer defense. Fine. I’ll teach you how to deal with a strong attacker.” The basics are the most important part of any training technique and she keeps a solid stance as she moves in to strike at his face, stopping before making impact. “Holds and counters will be your friends. Keep your stance steady, your knees bent. Ensure that if you cannot catch a blow, you can deflect or dodge it. Your knees and elbows are the strongest parts of your body, use them. With an attack like this, you’ll be best served to either deflect or dodge and counter while your opponent is thrown off balance. Try it.”
Eun was the type of person who could take criticisms well, so long as they are constructive. He's a lawyer, he needs a good argument to make anything, and if you provide him with that, he'll gladly accept them. "Always have your eyes on the six, got it. That's valuable advice if I ever come across one." She was being smart by not giving more information than needed, and he could appreciate that she knows how the world operates. Just because Eun didn’t look like he knows how the world treats those less fortunate, doesn’t mean he didn’t know what goes on. He lives in a cutthroat world, and he works as one of those who could either be your greatest allies or enemies, depending on how you play your cards.
"I hope I'm not one who pissed you off then" he chuckled, he had a feeling that would not do him well at all, Ember clearly has a prowess that he should not try and Eun being smart enough, would not dare. Why pick a fight he knew he couldn't win? That's just stupid. He had a smile etched on his lips when she told him he at least had someone who understood said constraints all too well, he guessed she has also been a victim of it, from the looks of it because she didn't seem like the type who would bother to console a person just for the sake of it. "A younger me probably didn't have the backbone I have today and that was… some time ago, so to say I can just reject everything just because I finally could stand up for myself is hard. But I'm trying, and I'm not going to give up." And to the dhampir, that's what matters now, it's impractical for him to push everything aside and wave the white flag before he has even started with his efforts.
His ears perked up the moment he heard her say she'll teach him how to deal with strong attackers, he'd be lying if he said he wasn't wasn't the slightest bit interested and curious about that. "I've been up against… bigger people but I always end up outsmarted them if anything but not every big man will be stupid, right?" So he probably needs to learn this too. He never knew what could happen, after all. He listened to every word of her instruction and nodded to himself as he tried to showcase the exact thing, trying to get his body used to those stances so he wouldn't end up being awkward. He bent his knees and got into position gradually, focusing on the pressure he placed in his body.
However before he could do anything, the sound of his phone's ringtone blared throughout the room, which made the elder Moon give the female a sheepish grin before excusing himself "Uh… sorry please give me a moment…" It does seem to be a call from someone he didn't expect because it took longer.