Take Me Out To the Ball Game Again!
Aishe happily kicked back her feet, resting them up on her little folding chaise lounge chair. Sas delighted to see that the summer series of minor league games included several night games, specifically because of Nachton's reputation for wild nightlife. It hadn't taken much to persuade Kem to go in with her for season tickets. She wasn't much for sports but she enjoyed baseball when she was actually in the stadium watching it, and Nachton's stadium, like many, had a lovely hillside area without bleachers where you could bring your own chairs and picnics and such. Kem, harboring a natural dislike of contact sports, was all for baseball.
This was the second game they'd come to in as many weeks, so she already considered their season passes to be money well-spent. The game hadn't started yet, and Aishe was busy unpacking their small cooler of treats while Kem had gone in search of refreshing frosty beverages. It was clear and warm out, and in all a wonderful night for baseball.
Pak was supposed to meet them, or so she'd said, and Aishe was looking forward to it. She hadn't seen the witty little Thai in a while now, and she knew Kem hadn't either, in spite of the constant stream of emails the two exchanged during the work day... work night.
More people were streaming in, setting up chairs, tables in some cases or merely blankets; some with picnic baskets or coolers, some without. Aishe smiled. It was the perfect night for relaxing at a game.
((ooc: Please feel free to crash, we guarantee absolutely no plot-furthering, no significant philosophizing, and most likely a great deal of sarcasm, acerbic wit, and possibly some food-throwing. Bring your own damn chair!!))
Inspired by the promise of frivolity she dug out a folding chair with a footrest and a multi colored umbrella. Granted they didn't need the umbrella but the chair came with it and she couldn't see a good reason to take it off. She'd also managed to find a bag of kettle corn and some peanuts, but she was carrying them in a bit of a jumble with the chair. And on top of that a run in at the gate had put her in a bit of a mood.
Spotting Aishe, she took the mood out on the chair, unfolding (but refraining from opening the umbrella so as not to block any one else's view) it and tossing it into place before flopping, very ungracefully, into it. Sulking for a moment she sat back up and turned indignantly to her friend.
"They don't let you bring your own beer in. Who's bright idea was that? I just donated a perfectly good six pack to these twerps."Â?
The night air was lovely, warm, but not hot, and all the humidity of the day had dissipated, leaving just a cool breeze in its wake. Fallon thought she smelled a faint scent of some summer flower in the air, but couldn't place it to save her soul.
When she thought perhaps her friends had changed their minds, Fallon caught sight of the pair, and waved. The hand went up, and the blanket went to the ground. As she bent forward to pick up the blanket, her purse emptied its contents, and in frustration Fallon gave up and dropped everything.
"So close too."
She yelled, across the expanse of about twenty feet, and then laughed as she knelt down and again picked up the things she was carrying. When she was fairly certain she could carry her booty the remaining distance, she did so, and then collapsed onto the grass.
"Hello you two! You look very...at home here."
Fallon crawled next to Aishe, gave her friend a hug, and then leaned just a bit farther to buss Kem's cheek, before returning to her spot to spread out her blanket. She smiled at the Asian woman, uncertain if they had met before or not.
"I've got some snacks, and wine, if either of you are inclined. I'm not sure if Cyrus will make it or not, but I've got enough for all, and then some."
Again she smiled at the pretty girl, and nodded, to indicate she was also included.
Pushing the basket toward her friends, Fallon leaned back on her elbows, stretched out nearly the entire length of the blanket. She hoped her mate would find time to attend the game, but she hadn't secured a definitive answer from him, before she made arrangements to attend herself.
"This was a wonderful idea...I'm just a little surprised to see such a turn out for a minor league game."
Thus, he returned to find Pak there along with Fallon, and in time to receive a quick kiss on the cheek from the latter. He handed Aishe her cherry coke, gave Pak one of the beers, and set the other beer in the arm of his cozy camp chair. He took his lounging seriously.
Raising both eyebrows at Fallon, he whistled with appreciation. "I'd love to know how you managed to sneak the wine in. They gave our things a pretty thorough search."
Apparently snacks were all right to bring in, but alcohol usually had to be purchased there... for no other reason, he assumed, than to make money. That was the nature of the beast though. He settled himself in, propping his feet up and giving an exaggerated stretch before crossing his arms behind his head and sighing.
She was distracted from saying anymore by Fallon, whose arrival had Aishe hiding a chuckle behind her hand. She couldn't get up out of her lounge fast enough to help Fallon gather her things, but she reached out and hugged her friend and opened her cooler as well.
"We have plenty of snacks too, help yourselves!"
As she took her drink from Kem and sipped with a little 'mmm' of satisfaction, she reached out and ran her fingers through Kem's long hair affectionately as he stretched. Turning her head toward Fallon, she continued her conversation with her friend.
"We bought season tickets, so we're definitely going to get used to being here. And you'd be surprised at the turnout. It's apparently pretty popular. It's fun, not too expensive, and both kids and adults can have fun."
Good thing she’d done so because she was right, that or the burnet was just way to friendly. Pak politely smiled and nodded, a wonderful all purpose vague greeting, covered all occasions. Kem’s timing was impeccable as he distracted her with a beer.
Well it claimed to be a beer. Pak sniffed it suspiciously, she would have poked it but that wouldn’t have changed the results. It would have to be the thought that counted.
“Do I even want to know what they charge for this?”
Wine?! This presented Pak with a wonderful dilemma, on the one hand she was glad someone had beaten the system. On the other hand she was cross it wasn’t her.
“I’m going to have to work on my innocent and naive look.” She paused and thoughtfully sipped the ‘beer’. “That or bribe people. Bravo.”
She raised her drink in salute, while trying to place the sneaky new comer. Nope nothing was coming to her. So instead, she rolled here eyes at Kem and his chair.
“All that and you don’t have the dual beer helmet? You’re slacking.”
Not knowing the other woman in the group, she didn't offer up that explanation though, but did make a small comment, and gave Aishe a look she hoped could be interpreted to mean...'I don't know this person...is she safe?'
"I guess I just have an honest face?"
As the words left her mouth, Fallon realized how bad they might reflect on the stranger, and attempted to retract them quickly.
"I mean, well not that I mean you don't look honest yourself...or innocent...Oh...hell..."
Blushing only slightly, Fallon sat up and held out a hand to the pretty Asian.
"Please excuse me. Sometimes I forget how to act around people...Fallon Tier...Arslantai...Fallon Arslantai."
Having not been married long, Fallon still forgot to refer to herself in her new name.
"As well as who I am."
She paused long enough to sigh, and cast plaintive eyes at Aishe and Kem. Not that she expected them to rescue her, but hopefully one of them would step in and rescue the mess she was making of the conversation.
So she had accepted.
And when finding herself at the stadium, ticket in one hand, assorted jutting baseball paraphernalia in the other, and with her lounge chair and water thermos bungied around her body, she couldn't help but feel elated.
She approached the grouping of people, smiling widely as she heard Fallon nearly stammering as she introduced herself with the almost wrong last name. Sidling up to clumsily kneel next to her, Ana stuck out her hand while also lovingly wrapping an arm around Fallon's shoulder. "If she forgot much more we'd really be in trouble, or she'd have come to the game stark jaybird naked!" She winked at Aishe and Kem. "Hi, I'm Ana."
"Pak, these are two good friends of mine, Fallon and Ana," she repeated the womens' names just in case Pak hadn't caught them. "Fallon and Ana, this is Pakpao. She works at Meridian with Kem and in her way she's been keeping an eye on me while I've been in Nachton."
Aishe shot Pak a quick wink as she said this, her bright smile a clear indicator of her pleasure at being able to introduce all her friends.
"Fallon just recently married a wonderful man by the name of Cyrus," Aishe added, seeing Fallon's woeful expression, "and as a result her last name has nearly doubled in length. Takes some getting used to." She flashed a pointy little grin at Fallon, trying to look as reassuring as possible.
Ana's joke had her chuckling as well. "If she'd done that we'd have no recourse but to make her blend by stripping down, ourselves. I, for one, am glad you remembered pants."
Raising her soda cup, she gave Fallon a little mock-toast.
"Of course I have a beer helmet," he said with some indignation. "It's just at home."
Just because he owned one didn't mean he was capable of making himself wear it in public. The comment about Pak working on her 'innocent and naive' expression didn't even bear reply. It was too easy, and Kem felt their banter had evolved to taking far more sophisticated pot-shots at each other.
With that he closed his eyes and made a great show of lounging, while Aishe made sure everyone was introduced to everyone else. That lasted about as long as it took for the conversation to turn to the exclusion of clothing. Now that idea was interesting. While being surrounded by a bevy of naked women wasn't exactly his thing, he couldn't say he'd have minded if Aishe's clothes suddenly spontaneously combusted.
Kem was well-acquainted with the various ways he could get himself in trouble though, so instead of actually opening his mouth and commenting, he settled for raising one eyebrow suggestively at Aishe and giving an innocent little whistle.
Fortunately, being surrounded by the people she loved most in the world, sans her beloved husband, made it less likely she would continue to allow her silly flubs to irritate her.
Pulling Ana down from her kneeling position, to sit her ass on the blanket alongside her, she wrapped an arm around the librarian's waist and hugged her.
"I'm so glad you came! We really don't get to see enough of each other!"
Her exuberance was directed at Aishe as well, but logistically Fallon was unable to hug both women at the same time.
Fallon could see Ana had brought a thermos, and since her friend didn't drink alcohol, was glad. Even still, Fallon felt a little remiss that she hadn't remembered to pack a couple sodas as well.
Opening up the basket, Fallon lifted it hand held it toward Pakpao first, since in Fallon's eyes, she was more a guest to her, than the family around her.
"There's some crackers and pate, hot wings, carrot sticks,...um...cheese, sliced fruit, pretzels, and I think cook even threw in a couple bags of peanuts too. Plus, if you dig down I'm pretty sure she included fresh baked cookies."
Fallon had asked the cook to just fill up a basket with treats that would be easy to eat outside on the ground. As Fallon had grabbed up the basket, and was headed to the car, she was pretty certain those were the items the cook had said she'd included.
"You work with Kem? I'll bet that's exciting."
Though Fallon knew a little of what Kem did, the excitement she was referring to had to do with his talents outside the office. Still, not knowing if Pakpao was like Aishe, Kem, and Fallon, or like Ana, caused her to couch her comments for the time being.
Holding the basket to Ana now, Fallon tried not to study Pakpao too thoroughly, as she spoke.
"And it's very nice of you to have taken Aishe under your wing..."
That thought stopped Fallon totally, from saying anything further. Her mind rushed ahead and ran through thoughts of what Aishe had been through over the past several months, and just what Pakpao's part in it all had been. Perhaps the strange woman was more like Aishe, Kem, and Fallon than Ana after all.
"I may be a ditz sometimes, but I'm not a complete moron."
Fallon laughed at both Ana and Aishe, when they made reference to her forgetting her clothes, and even gave Ana a soft jab in the ribs with her elbow. Fallon didn't mind in the least, to hear such chiding from these two, in fact those kinds of words just reaffirmed the emotional bond they all shared.
Fallon finally popped the cork on the wine, and with her newly filled glass raised it to Aishe.
"So...who are we playing tonight, anyway?"
Accepting the offered hand, she'd been about to introduce herself when they had another new arrival. This was turning out to be quite the party. She was saved from introductions by Aishe's good manners.
"What she said. Nice to meet you both."Â?
Aishe gave her too much credit. She didn't quite take the young vampire under her wing, but she tried to be a good friend when she could.
She appreciated the offer of snacks but really, she wasn't much of an eater. OK so she was a computer geek and therefore was obligated to munch a bit it wasn't a lot.
"Oh... maybe later thanks."Â?
Pak was starting to think she'd spend the evening slightly off to the side and bantering with Kem, which was find with her, when Fallon decided to include her.
"Its actually more exciting when we're not working. That and we don't get to do much together being in different departments but I'm sure that's all for the best."Â?
Their coworkers might have to kill them if they actually worked together, although that in itself might be fun. She could see an 'us against them' thing happening and began wondering if some one would notice a paint ball gun in her office.
"We were neighbors; I did what I could for her."Â?
Not that... no that.... That Pak couldn't do, probably would never be able to. But she could be supportive of the two of them.
Fortunately, the conversation seemed to shift a bit away and gave her a break to settle in. Not as thoroughly as Kem but defiantly comfortably enough to handle extra innings.
After divesting herself of her burdens she allowed herself to sink into Fallon's embrace for a few moments. Standing, she moved around the teacher vampire person lady to get to the archaeologist egyptian vampire man. Giving him a kiss on the cheek, she hugged him sideways with a squeaky, "Hi Kem!" then danced around him to give the newbie egyptian vampire woman a matching kiss. "Hi Aishe!"
Giggling, she stepped around the couple and winked at Pak, then returned to her pile of junk. Setting up her lounge chair, she reclined in it before reaching to some of her baseball toys. "Anyone need a glove in case we get lucky enough to catch something? Or how about one of those pointy fingers? I also got a couple pennants." She lay on her side and faced everyone else. "Who's playing? When does it start? Are there any previews? Popcorn?"
She was beginning to like baseball; or at least, the games she got to see in person. For some reason she simply couldn't get into it when she caught it on TV, but here with the crowds and the noise it was a lot more interesting. She rather enjoyed sitting up here on the hillside as well; in the stands the people were far too close and she found lately she was becoming increasingly insecure in large crowds. Too many emotions; too many colors flying at her when people cheered, their constant streams of chatter filling her vision with explosions of color.
On their hillside surrounded by close friends who weren't sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, Aishe's empathy limited her to brief bursts of color when she touched someone, and that was it. It was refreshing and definitely tolerable. The only person she was really picking up anything from was Kem, whose hand was dangling over the side of his chair, linked loosely with her own, and the colors she saw when he spoke were happy ones, indicative of his good mood.
There were slow, lazy light blue spirals mingled with orange circles. Aishe, having had more practice with spotting the different nuances of color, recognized them in her lover as peaceful, calm, at rest, and for once, feeling sociable.
She beamed over at him, enjoying the mingling colors, and then turned back to Ana. "First pitch is in, oh, about ten minutes now, and I don't think there are previews for upcoming unplayed games." She winked at her friend. "We did bring popcorn though."
She offered her cooler to Ana, where her friend would, indeed, find a tub of caramel corn. "Help yourself!"
Aishe's smile had him wondering exactly what it was she saw, but whatever it was was obviously no cause for alarm, as she looked positively radiant with that expression on her face. Good mood reinforced by equally good company, he cracked a smile at Pak and nodded to Fallon.
"She's right. As it is, we get into enough trouble working department-to-department. Put us in the same room, and it gets downright ridiculous."
He would have explained in further detail, knowing what Fallon was, knowing that Ana was not exactly unaware, but Kem didn't know what Pk's feelings on the subject were. Kem was a private sort of person, only made slightly more outgoing by Aishe's presence, so he respected Pak's sense of privacy and filled her in in the same manner.
[Fallon and Ana are all right,] he sent to his friend. [Fallon's an Anantya, but she's newly-turned enough to have avoided Anantya stuffiness thus far. Ana's human still, but she's a well-informed one.]
With that bit of information divulged, he figured he'd let Pak go where she wanted with it.
An usher was by his side, carrying some sort of folded chair as well as a small cooler with clanking bottles inside it. Though he swore not to take his foul mood out on his new wife or her friends, the paid worker beside him had no such safe haven. The man practically trembled in fear as he lead Cyrus to his requested location. Should he perform admirably enough the tip would be generous but right now that did not matter to the Mongol.
Spying Fallon he took an even faster pace and tried to calm his temper. As he reached the crowd he noted that all the faces were familiar so he bowed his head at each one. Leaning down he kissed his kitten's cheek lightly before saying hello to the crowd. The usher was left to his own devices which apparently were still in working order as he set up the chair next to Fallon and stood quietly, perhaps he hoped to be forgotten.
"Good evening everyone."
He offered Kem a hand to shake and a head bow. Since the wedding time had been short for him and he had not seen the other couple since. His hand was offered to Aishe next in respect to her with a matching bow of his head. Ana received a brief kiss on the cheek before his attention turned to the other lady of the group.
"A pleasure to see you again Pakpao. I trust you are well?"
It had been quite a while since he had met her in the House of Pain. What kept her occupied all these months questioned lightly in his head for a moment before he remembered her comment about being a technical type person so perhaps she had been busy working or playing.
Greetings aside he remembered the usher standing quiet timidly behind him.
"Apparently the accommodations on the grass here are limited, so I purchased a full box package at the door. So if you are looking for something specific from the bar inside simply tell Dan here."
"Its Darryl, sir." The usher's voice started off strong but ended in a kind of strangled squeak at the end, as if he had realized just what he had done. Cyrus' gaze was devoid of emotion as he pondered the man for but a second.
"Darryl it is then."
Cyrus' arrival was quite unexpected. Ana felt briefly miffed at herself for believing her best friend's husband wouldn't want to see something as mundane as a baseball game, but all her worries vanished when he kissed her cheek. "Hello Cyrus." Widely smiling as she got comfortable again, she watched everyone's interactions.
Seeing Aishe and Kem, so happy together, helped fill the void her missing Cyrus left, though no matter what, she knew she would be happier if he were with her tonight.
And, almost as if by magic, who should appear but the man her heart was yearning for.
Fallon's eyes followed Cyrus as he walked towards the small group, having picked up on his scent long before he had come into view. She had no idea who the man at his side was, until he explained, and then she couldn't help but feel just a little sympathetic for the man's unease. There hadn't been any fear in Fallon's life for so long, and she had Cyrus to thank for the majority of that, but she wasn't blind to her husband's strengths and tactics. Pressing a finger to her lips, to stop from giggling, she scooted over to make room for his chair, and patted the ground beside her.
"That was very accommodating of you Cyrus."
She smiled up at him, and then realized he knew Pakpao, and briefly wondered how and when that had come about. It also led her to believe, more now than before, that her new friend was on the opposite side from Ana.
And thinking of Ana, Fallon did giggle.
"Hey there missy...first you ask for popcorn, and then you say you don't want it...you sure you're okay?"
Though it had been a short while since Fallon and Ana had spoken of anything substantial, the issue of the 'boyfriend' had never really been made to feel comfortable in Fallon's head and heart. In fact, she wanted to ask Ana now, how her new relationship was faring, but refrained. Later, when there were fewer people about, Fallon might broach the subject, but not now.
Reaching over to lay her arm over Cyrus' leg, Fallon touched her lips to the wine glass, and sipped. How lovely this evening was turning out to be.
Alec could not recall ever seeing baseball, and certainly didn't know the rules of the game. He suspected that it had something to do with bases, and balls, but names could be misleading. There was a song he'd heard about peanuts and cracker jacks, and that the home team was supposed to win...but that seemed hardly fair to the other team.
Upon arrival to the field, he was somewhat surprised. It seemed that humans liked their baseball. After easily slipping in, he walked past a collection of food vendors and ware sellers. Seeing a group of individuals leave the same area dressed in red pinstripes, he walked over. It seemed that by holding a box, it would get filled with things to carry about and sell. But...why the other stands, then? Strange. Taking a box, he calmly filled it with an assortment of foodstuffs...peanuts, malts, hot dogs when the vendor was not being attentive...and of course the famous cracker jacks. While walking past security, he even swiped one of their six packs. Wandering a bit, he looked through the stands and spotted Kem' silver hair first.
Winding over to the collected group, he watched from the periphery for a moment before approaching. Having friends was a somewhat strange concept to him still. Clan and family made sense. This...was decidedly different for him. He really should try to get out more and learn a bit more about it.
"Good evening to you all...it is nice to see you again. Help yourselves to the collection I took up. Just leave me a malt and one of those jack things."
As she was passing through the line, she'd seen a couple of familiar faces - a guy from a bar downtown, one of the employees of Buenas Noches, one of the kids from a high school team and...holy shit - there were Cyrus and Fallon! Waving and shouting from a distance, she started to make her way over.
[So I don't need to hold my pinky out when I drink my beer or worry about shouting at when they make a bad call? Good to know she's safe.]
How did humans find out about them... unaffiliated ones. Familiars were one thing but to just be well informed... Well so long as things were some what controlled she wouldn't worry. If Aishe and Kem trusted Ana she would too.
[If you two are good with her I am too. If it comes up that is.]
No point in wearing a badge that said 'Hi I'm a vampire'.
For as light and easy as Fallon had made her way too them the next arrival came in something like a lion. One more person she knew, even if they weren't the best of friends.
"Perhaps better than you."Â?
She grinned and indicated the seemingly terrified usher/server type behind him.
"Good to see you again."Â?
Hmmm... apparently she needed to get out more everyone here seemed to know each other. Oh well.
Even more arrivals... maybe... possibly. Letting folks get into the groove she directed her thoughts back to Kem.
[If MARI shows up too I'm leaving.]