To kill with one leap


Sunday, June 10th

A restaurant situated by an amphitheatre probably had no other choice but to look like it had effort put into it. Congrats, Fray, Asha wasn't necessarily wowed by it appearancewise, but it wasn't, like, disgusting or filthy or run down. Maybe a little bit homier than that other famous barbecue place in Red Rock.

Anyway, they made their way in, and Asha felt all... wavy, from all the time they'd spent in the water. It was a pretty nice feeling. Calming. Like a bath with sunshine added but also it was a lake so there was that. Good thing she'd packed a change of clothes for both of them.

She tried not to be too annoying about the whole thing, coming here. Just trying to be like, mindful of Abraham's mood. Though.

"Look, we're so grown up, arriving first to a double date thing."

Haaa it wasn't a double date. Not really. Anyway. The hostess passed around menus and she handed one over to him.

@Abraham Barlet @Jonathan Miller @Skuld Vollan

Abraham felt kind of gross. Sweat and lake water and dirt and... everything kind of left him a little greasy around the edges, his hair dryer and fluffier than usual despite having spent a while in the water.

"If they no-show, I'm burning Avondale down," he said, running a hand through his gnarly hair.

Hi yes they were only mildly late because neither of the idiots were very good at navigating Google Maps.

Fray went to the effort of trying to look decent again, hair brushed back and clean, cowboy boots shiny, and a clean pair of jeans with a dark buttoned jean shirt. Somewhat back-woodsy, but he thought he looked less degenerate than usual.

Kind of like, together, you know? He wanted to look together lest they got judged for being two unemployed newb weres.

Skuld looked her usual fashion of pretty, and he squeezed her hand lightly as they waited at the entrance for the hostess to seat them. Seemed like a nice enough place, and he was pretty eager for some restaurant style BBQ. "You okay?" A soft murmur, but he was pretty confident she'd be fine.

She wasn't a full blown introvert - just a bit.. Skuldy?

He scanned the room, catching sight of the familiar pair of jaguars and shooting them a wave.


If Fray was going to the effort of trying to look decent, then Skuld had to try her best too. Unfortunately she didn't own any dresses Or much jewellery. Or had her hair done.


So Skuld rocked up to the restaurant looking like Skuld, but with a nicer shirt and some make up. Also Fray shined her boots for some reason? That was a weird move, but like, she didn't mind it.

What she minded, or was at least conscious of, was the fact they were meeting the two jaguars. One being Asha, who was helpful and seemed to be around at the opportune times.. but was also the cause for that sighting on the news. And the other was Abraham, the dude that had fucked Fray around, told him to tell Skuld that she'd be killed because she knew shit, and threatened them, but was now apparently Nice™.

So Fray, was Skuld okay? "Mmm." She was a little on edge, but the cat was also very very very excited about making new friends. Just as long as they'd play with her.

That wasn't Skuld. Skuld didn't want to play with them. Well, like, she wouldn't mind it, but that wasn't like, her main prerogative. It was the cat's. She swore it was. Because it was.. right? No, it was. It was the cat. Skuld didn't want to play...........

Again, cats were weird.

Either way, she raised her hand up and twiddled her fingers as a hi to both Asha and Abra-

Oh. Fuck.

"Welp. I've met Abraham before," she mumbled to Fray, staring down the guy as they approached.

Okay he didn't seem toooooo grumpy. But, boo, he didn't say anything to her little quip thing. So naturally, she tried again. "That would be really hot."

Get it. Because it would be on fire.

Her cat alerted her to the presence of other jaguars before she even had to look their way. Fray, looking oddly fresh, waved. And next to him was music girl. Except. Not human anymore.

And she was eyes locked on Abraham, so she nudged her leg against him. "She's definitely crushing on you," Asha murmured, leaned in.

"Hey," Asha said, looking to both of them. "Nice seeing you again." She reached to shake Skuld's hand even though they'd met before, because...

Well. Asha knew what would happen. Up on the metaphysical plane, her cat would greet the newest member of the dysfunctional jaguar... collective with a fast swat to the head. Hello, newbie.

Huff and exaggerated eye roll to her dumb pun. He reached one hand beneath the table to shake her leg a little.

And then the dumbass duo was here, and Abraham offered the smallest wave.

Asha immediately made it weird, and as Skuld said something to Fray, he spoke in quiet girl voice toward Asha, mocking.

"Oh no, Fray, I forgot to spray Febreeze in my hair."

And honestly he thought he was the funniest person in the whole fucking world so he had a pretty genuine smile on his face as they got closer, if for the wrong reasons.

"Sup," he said in greeting, not reaching out to shake any hands because his cat wanted to fuck them both up so no thanks!

She'd met Abraham? Had he known this? Fray was blanking as of now, trying to recall but.. Ah well fuck it. They were lead to the table by a waitress, and he was pleased enough to see Asha again. Even the other ass was being polite enough, smiling and shit, so while the girls shook hands he just bobbed his head in greeting to the other dude.

"Good to see you guys again," he greeted, as his jaguar persistently stuffed his big face into Asha's for his own swats.

Like, excuse you, don't his his annoying cat girlfriend when he was much nicer for hitting.

It was a weird sensation, so he quickly pulled out a seat across from.. Abraham. Shit.

Guess he was watching this fucker eat all evening. Distractions needed, please. "Been hanging out in Avondale yeah? Hiking trails?" Because it seemed the universal were hobby to go hiking in the bush.

Asha said hi first, finally snapping Skuld out of her death stare. Her eyebrows raised and she extended her hand back to the girl, taking it in for a shake. "Nice to properly meet you for once. We've always seemed to be just an arm's reach from one another," she replied, with a little chuckle, but not much of a change in expression to go alongside it.

Her cat got a prompt thwack to the face, which was welcome, but hers saw it as fun, and did a weird spin on the spot in response, along with a wiggle.

That happiness was quickly bashed away though, for both Skuld and her jaguar, as she looked over to Abraham. He was only getting slight fake smile. She still hadn't forgotten the fact he'd literally threatened to kill her, hence why they had to fucking escape Larkspur in the first place, losing secure jobs and a settled home in the process.

He wasn't scaring them out of Avondale. She'd make sure of that.

They sat down, and at least Skuld wasn't facing the guy. Fray was, but at least he'd cope with it. Skuld had Asha, which was pretty nice because she did kind of like the girl. Even if her jaguar looked scary. Or, well, not that her jag thought so. It kept wiggling at hers for some reason.

Fray started off the conversation, so Skuld got to checking out the drinks. Probably just a coke for her.

She had to not burst into giggles and die at Abraham's really very mean joke, though he'd hear a strained snirk as she bumped her leg against his a little harder. Asha redirected, as best as she could, her smiling to Skuld.

"Same here," she said to Skuld.

The girlcat greeting aside, her jaguar was unable to interact with Fray's without Asha reaching out with her actual physical hand, but she did. It was a quick thing, and the metaphysical attack greeting from her terrier of a cat even quicker.

That was enough now. Everyone settle down and keep your hands to yourselves.

She did manage to catch the less warm smile from Skuld to Abraham and looked from her to Fray with a somewhat raised brow. Meanwhile, she kept her leg against Abraham's under the table.

"Yeah. We checked out the lakes. Or one of them, anyway. Have you guys been around much of this place?"

Asha took the lead on talking. His cat eyed warily the other two, leaning against Asha's.

Abraham had nothing to add, staying quiet and mindfully keeping the scowl from his face.

Fray also caught a glimpse of Skuld giving Abraham the subtle skank-eye, but only after Asha gave him her own look.

Could just everyone be nice please? Please? Polite yes??

He gently bumped his leg to Skuld's in turn, a little warning to behave. A scene in a BBQ restaurant with four jaguars losing their shit would go straight to national news. He'd already been the cause of one YouTube video series, so, please, let's leave it at that!

Fray kept his eyes either on the menu, the girls, or anywhere else but Abraham. For like, both their sake's. "Uhhh we've done the bush partially, Skuld's gone hiking around the craters some. I went up to the old mining sight, explored their a bit." Annnnd here comes the conversation piece. "Totally bumped into a dude who totally was a Daniel Craig look-alike. You know, new Bond dude?"

Skuld would have heard this story before, but hopefully she'd know to keep the fact he panicked shifted out of this.

Her leg was bumped, a silent, yet clear indication and telling off from Fray. Sigh. Fine, she'd behave. Well, yeah, she was still pretty pissed at Abraham, but in all honesty she didn't want any of them to shift. A, because that would be shitty in a public place, and B, because Abraham's jag could most likely straight-up murder her.

Not on her list of things to do.

Still Fray didn't fail to make her chuckle a little and shake her head. Fray had totally met James Bond, that was her headcanon.

Well, she didn't have to be all mopey and shit just because Abraham was here. "I still think you'd make a good Bond girl," she quipped, still reading over the menu.

Abraham had said he wouldn't say much. She let a hand reach for one of his to hold beneath the table, because like. Between Skuld's scowl and also Fray very obviously looking basically everywhere but the person right across from them, Asha didn't want him feeling forgotten. Or that she wasn't very grateful he was here, that he'd agreed to this, that he'd even been the one to push for it.

"Oh yeah? How'd that go?" Asha asked, offering a slight smile at the... Bond girl thing. To Fray. Right. Haha, that was supposed to be cute, right? Mild barf. She squeezed Barlit's hand a little.

The waitress came back for their drink orders, and Asha ordered a beer for herself before she went around getting everyone else's stuff going.

Blah blah blah. Somehow Daniel Craig was the most interesting thing they had to talk about.

He ordered a beer as well, which would do absolutely nothing for him, but apparently they weren't going to party here a whole lot.

The bond girl joke went ignored as well, though he tried something like a smile.

At least Skuld still had a sense of humor.

Fray pulled a soft snort, raising an eyebrow at her before eyeing the menu again. "I'm sure everyone would get a kick out of seeing me in a dress, uhuh." At which point he finally managed to look Abraham in the eyes, shooting the man a tiny joking grin. "I assume I'd have to shave the mustache first to really pull it off."

Remember that one time you threatened to shave it, eh you big grumpy ass catman?

Everyone was ordering beers, when the waitress came over, so he followed suit lest he look like some sort of downer. Also because he kind of needed it, sitting opposite his 'sire'.

When she left, he looked to Asha again. "He was a foxy guy. Quite literally." The latter said in a softer tone, though it was busy enough that no one was going to notice a subtle comment like that. "Still no claim on Avondale though, it's completely free of ownership." Interesting enough?

Fray took the joke well at least. Skuld flicked just her eyes up to take a quick peek from the menu to Abraham. God he was a mood-killer. Back to the fucking steaks then, christ.

The waitress was here to take drinks orders, and everyone else ordered beer.. for some reason. They should know it didn't do anything for them, and it cost a lot more. Plus there were nicer tasting drinks so.. what was the point. Needless to say, Skuld ordered that coke.

Fray kept going after the lady left, telling them the guy was a fox were. Pretty cool if you ask Skuld, although she was pretty content with a jaguar. They were cool too. Just.. there's a lot more fox furries online than there are jags.

Moving on, Avondale was a neutral territory yep. Skuld wondered what'd happen if they walked into some claimed territory. She hadn't actually done it.. as a were at least. Apparently she lived and worked in were territory for months. And yet remained completely unaffected somehow.

She finally decided on a meal, and lifted her head up to actually join the conversation.

Ughhhhhhh with this whole cutesy couple shit.

"Oh, that's good," she said of the fox. She knew a fox. Who like. Again, hadn't reached out to her, but Asha could figure that her life was just. Busy. Whatever. When shit slowed down some she could be The Reachout Friend.

Hey, look Abraham, she could relate to you and Wallace.

And really anyway apparently Fray was getting around to this whole point of this meeting and Asha was like, not feeling all the random stares and painful couple jokes and shit, so just, out with it.

"For now. I want to pull us all together. I know we all have weird shitty feelings with each other, but I'm hoping we can all just set it aside and band together. For the sake of not having any others to pay lip service to."

There. She said it. Please let's get to some useful conversation now.

He smirked faintly to the mustache joke, glancing down to the menu until Asha made her leap.

Abraham didn't want to do this.

Nearly every part of his brain fought it, tooth and claw. He wanted to grump right out of this fucking restaurant. Away from these two idiots.

But this was important. Not just for him, but for Asha. And not just for Asha, but for... all of them.

With a slow, calming breath in, and a visibly anxious gesture of running his hand through his hair, he continued where Asha left off.

"I know I've been operating on some... old school values for. Like. Our kind. And it hasn't been fair to you guys. So. I'm going to stop using that. You don't have to like me, or even be around me. But it would probably be good to group up before some dipfuck group of vampires or something does."

So this is what the whole let's go out thing had been about. Fray wasn't honestly surprised, but his mind worked rapidly while he thought through Asha's offer.

Abraham's words were welcomed at any rate, Fray eyeing him with a faint bit of scrutiny. At least he was kind of trying. Sort of. He still disliked the man, for the threats and the asshole attitude.. But alright. You wanted to try, good. Fray could attempt cooperation too.

Alright, offer on the table. Let's weigh the options.

"I wouldn't be opposed to the idea of a group - it's safer," he grunted, recalling the whole magic of groups and whatever. "What are you thinking exactly? Where, who's running it? And our values as a whole or whatever. What's expected of us." He would nod to himself and Skuld in turn, wanting to make sure she was included in this.

One more thing.. "We have a pair of friends, vampires, we're still close to. Would they be allowed into our territory if they needed protection? Just to visit?" A shrug. "Just need more logistics before I can say yes or no on the matter."

Suddenly there was a whole lot of stuff going on at once. Asha started talking about banding together, then Abraham wanted to be a group and Fray started thinking it was a good idea. Skuld just looked between them all, her eyes flicking backwards and forwards as she attempted to cotton on to the context.

So they wanted to make a whole jaguar group, so they could stick together. Stick together with the girl who rampaged through Larkspur and a dude who wanted to kill her a while back and still hadn't apologized. And was also still an ass.

Sure, real safe.

Skuld squinted back at Abraham, before looking at Fray as he nodded to her. She furrowed her brow back, because on the surface this really wasn't an idea she wanted to go ahead with. She guessed she'd just follow along, but she'd definitely be listening to Abraham for once and not having to be around him.

Fray was asking the good questions though, about Amy and Robbie. He was being a bit hit or miss with it, but Skuld wasn't. She turned back to the other two and spoke plainly. "They're very close friends." Well, Robbie wasn't, but if Amy liked her enough to keep her around, then Skuld would like her too.

She glanced to Abraham at Fray's question. He was, really, the oldest jaguar here. And like. The uh. The beginner of this whole table.

But earlier, he'd said it like... he wanted her in charge. Even if she has a whole slew of fuckups happening. So, still holding his hand, she leaned back in her seat. "I run it. We were toying with the idea of Avondale. It's the only place still unclaimed, at least for now, but I'm not in a position to take anything just yet without owning some property on it first. So. We're keeping our options open as to where."

A pause on the vampire question, noting how Skuld weighed in. Who, she wondered. And any vampires, as far as Asha was concerned, fell into two camps: violent assholes or friendly undeads. Both were in direct opposition to each other.

So why seek protection under jaguars unless they'd managed to piss off both other groups?

"Visiting is one thing, but what do they need protection from? They'd be better off under a group of vampires. Their leader will be able to sense them and help them if they're in trouble."

Or deal with them if they were causing trouble.

Hadn't Fray fucking turned Skuld to save her from vampires or some shit?

Christ. He bit his tongue very literally, at least until it was his turn.

"If a vampire wants to live in the woods, fine. My boss is a vamp; I'm not speciesist. But we can't sense if they're safe. We can't sense if some other vampire is around to fuck them up. And they shouldn't be blood sucking from people here. Asha heard some vamps killing someone in Ravenswood the other night, and I'm not cool with that happening anywhere we own."

Asha running it was better than Abraham, they seemed to have a better mutual understanding. So alright, fine. They took over Avondale, or whatever. Set up a hub.

It was mutual benefit no? They got left alone, but had someone out there to give them back-up in fucked situations. He eyed Skuld back, briefly.. And he saw something in her eyes. Distrust, dislike. Fray understood it, but at the same time.. There were better ways to deal with this than a blunt fuck off.

Sometimes it was good to not burn the bridge behind you.

"Visits then. If they don't hunt or cause trouble, I don't want them automatically kicked out. Like Cedar Creek or whatever." Another shrug, knowing if Kam and her girlfriend were in trouble then he'd just deal with them himself. No need to get the others involved.

So.. Yeah. "These are all hypotheticals though, no? Till you get your homebase and the magic bullshit takes into effect."

It might just as easily not happen.

So Asha would be running it, fine by Skuld, but it seemed Abraham was close to her. So close that he would probably be a second-in-command or something, if that's how this shit worked. Probably, it's how Skuld would do it. Make like a group of them, assign people different roles. Fray would be a fighter, Skuld probably like an adviser, but use some bullshit fancy name like.. I dunno, 'Oracle'. Amy would probably be the leader, but end up being called the 'Mistress'.

Eh, probably wouldn't happen.

Fray got what she was getting, or rather, looking at. They'd need a long talk about this, whether it was a good idea or not. It had potential, but Skuld just.. didn't trust them. One more than the other.

The not-hunting part sounded dumb to her too. Vampires needed to hunt to live, and from what she gathered, they didn't hurt or kill their victims. It was just basically food to them, so why stop them from hunting when they needed to eat? That was just.. as Abraham put it, speciesist.

Fuck it. "Them hunting would be fine with me," she said quietly, looking down at the condiments in the center of the table.

Ooh, they had mayonnaise. She never met anyone who really liked mayonnaise with steak, but Skuld loved it.

Seemed like the two quietest people at the table might be coming to the quietest confrontation ever. She looked from Skuld to Abraham on the point of feedings and sought to cut it off at the head, taking into account Fray's last bit of input as well.

And in the end, she looked between him and Skuld. Hello, Asha had this habit, where she didn't let shit slide past her very easily in conversation. So, nicely, she asked again.

"You mentioned them needing protection. From what?"

Her cat, aware of their weaker strengths of presence, sought to remind theirs with a slow press of metaphysical energy who was in charge here. Who was stronger. Who was better experienced and better able to keep them safe.

And perhaps for the first time, she also realized Abraham's cat to be on level with her own.

Well, woman whose husband probably was killed by exasperation, Abraham wasn't.

Asha had to repeat her question, and then the fucking waitress was here. So. Great.

He ordered some boring combo platter thing because he was irritated and waited for the woman to leave so that Skuld and Fray could offer some reasoning as to why even their vampire friends pissed off everyone around them.

Alright, Fray was tolerating the fact his ex-girlfriend was a bloodsucker in order to keep everyone as a group and friends still. That didn't mean he had to like the fact she was a bloodsucker. That also didn't mean he was totally cool with the idea of Kam and Robbiehood feeding in their general area. One, gross. Two, if they happened to fuck up and kill someone, he wasn't sure how well Cactus and Princess might take it.

"Too dangerous," was all he managed to mutter to Skuld in a gentle reminder to not be argumentative, before his cat got a small blast of dominance wafted over him.

Fray wasn't fond of the sensation.

His jaguar, ever the pussy, saw no wrong in obeying it, very calmly bowing to the pressure with the sort of huffy nonchalance he'd come to know from it. "I don't know," he replied honestly, before he could really force himself not to. Kam had said they'd had a bit of trouble but hadn't exactly spelled it out for him. "Doesn't matter, if the group can't do anything anyway then fuck it."

It was said in a sort of finality, as if he was happy to drop the subject. Which he was - if they needed help he could handle it just like he would have before all this supernatural shit.

Judging from the shooting down of her suggestion from all angles, including her own boyfriend, as well as the strange sense of domination she felt from the other side of the table, it seemed like her ideas weren't going to be listened to at all.

Fucking great.

Skuld just ordered the largest steak on the menu, because she was at least getting a decent meal out of this shit situation. Shituation. Hah. Hilarious.

She just got to the coke. Even as a were she couldn't drink it faster, just like when she was a psychic. Maybe Coca-Cola put some metaphysical shit in there. That's probably what makes it brown actually.

Wonderful. Sulky silence from one and the lack of an answer from the other, but she eyed Fray and decided it would have to do.

Asha ordered a rib and steak combo platter for herself, and also another round of beers for the table. Consider it a gesture of good will.

"So have you guys found work out here yet?"

Because sincerely, how the fuck were they paying for the doubled nutritional needs of two weres. She would like to know. They struggled enough on Abraham's manager salary alone.

He and Fray agreed with something! And honestly?! It helped a lot?

Abraham gave a nod of agreement as Fray explained his reasoning.

And, hey, apparently the vampire thing was being dropped anyway. Asha's next question was good, so he stayed quiet for now and low key sort of chugged the beer he had in preparation for the next one.

Oh joy this was going well. It really.. Wasn't what he expected. Maybe Fray was an idiot. Here he'd thought they'd probably get along, at least with Asha. Talk about random stupid shit, laugh. You know, the stuff he'd used to do with Skuld and Kam?

Instead there was tension, sulky silences, awkwardness, and the growing obviousness that Asha really only made the effort to reach out to them because she wanted to be a princess.

He wouldn't argue for now, for the sake of keeping doors open. But rule under these two just.. He couldn't really see it.

The cat could. But fuck the cat.

The cat would get a big fucking steak out of this situation, with a twice baked potato, and it could stuff it.

"Have some odd agricultural jobs lined up," Fray hummed in reply, because no way was he telling these two snobs they were planning on magically growing weed. Nooope. He'd just catch Skuld's eye, and lightly smile.

She'd know the inside joke here.

Skuld was an adult. She certainly didn't act like one, because it was boring. Talking over job prospects at dinner? Great fun.

Or, at least it became great fun with Fray there. With that snide little inside joke, he was back in her good books. Well, he was never really in her bad books, it was hard to be mad at him, but she'd be less pissy later when they talked about this. Probably wouldn't use the line "we need to talk" now.

...Fucking hell fine cat, she'd interact with the other cats, stop hitting her.

"I guess the cats like being around all the nature too?" Judging from her little hike up to the craters at least.

See, when she bought everyone beers, Asha assumed that everyone would chill the fuck out. And to her, that was what was happening. Abraham nodded at Fray, Fray answered a question (sort of), Skuld said something.


"Yeah," she smiled at Skuld. Look at you, new kid, getting it. Anyway. Agriculture. Did that pay anyone well enough? "So where at? Because if it's like. A place with animals, you're kind of setting up for a rough time."

Abraham wasn't fucking blind. The "heehee, we're withholding information" look exchanged was nowhere near subtle.

This was a wasted endeavor.

He felt a desire not only to leave this conversation, but. Like. Just. Mountainside. Move to Florida. Or. Literally anywhere but here.

Why had Asha turned Fray? What could she possibly have seen in him? It also somehow made him more insecure? Like. Christ. If she thought Fray had been worth deliberately turning, what the fuck kind of poor judgment was she making in him.

Still. He had. To. Try.

"Working with plants chills my cat the fuck out. I work at like, uh. A plant shop. Cat likes basil and peppermint better than people."


Alright, they were trying a bit more now. Cool, sure, he could play polite while waiting for steak.

He shook his head firmly to Asha, because nope! No animals involved in growing drugs. "Nah, all uh.. What do you call it. Horticulture. No animals involved, don't feel like getting stampeded by a bunch of freaked cattle."

That was a funny mental image, but yeah. No thanks.

And topic change, thanks Cactus. Fray shot him a grin, nodding in agreement. "I figured out mine likes catnip, got like one of those toy mice. It looks ridiculous snuggling it I'm sure, but fuck it."

Anything to help, right?

Being around animals fucked the inner animal up, which made sense. It was one of the big cats, an apex predator as they were known, so working around and with its food? Yeah, not advisable.

At least the topic of conversation was leading onto something less annoying now. Skuld chuckled a little into her coke at the image of Fraycat snuggling up to a little toy mouse. Maybe him and, whatever Skuldpurr looked like could play with their mice.

Okay you were just humanizing them now Skuld, stop. They're not furries.. yet.

Well, one tip for another, fair trade that shit. "I tend to use basil in making stir fry. Chop it up really fine, sprinkle it in on the meat before you put all the veg in. Gives the meat an extra kick than just tasting like oil."

She had no idea if these two liked stir fry, or even cooked, but to quote the great Jonathan 'Fray' Miller circa 10 seconds ago: 'fuck it'.




Asha kind of felt weird. That Fray was also into catnip. Because so far, she was the only cat she'd met who was.

Was that shit, like, hereditary? She almost asked, but remembered she didn't know if Skuld knew Asha had changed Fray so QUICK REBOUND ON THE SUBJECT.

"We had a friend who grew her own stuff, veggies and herbs and weed. Or at least she was a friend until she started going psycho on us."

Casual Robbie-related eyeroll.

"Didn't figure you guys did much growing. What crops?"

"She's into catnip toys, too," he said, tilting his head toward Asha. If she was paying attention to his hand in hers, she'd probably notice that it was increasingly sweaty.

"When I first got, uh. A cat. I used to just cook up huge blocks of ground beef with basically nothing else. It was bad. You guys are ahead of where I was on the cooking game."

SEE. TRYING. He even smiled kind of sheepishly to Skuld.

Abraham was trying and Asha was really, really, really had to bring up Robbie?

Really really? He waited for them to answer the question to which was probably "I dunno I'm working for someone else and they tell me what to do" because they probably weren't becoming independent farmers.

Kay now the convo was rolling. He grinned to Asha when she was outed for liking catnip toys too, heaving a soft snort. So maybe that's where his got it from.

But can't let Skuld know that so uh. Yeah subject change.

"The weed's a good idea, maybe we should try that," he chuckled, as if joking. Only he was really just gauging to see if they were going to jump down his throat over it. So for now.. "And no idea, guess whatever Colorado crops grow here." Fray wasn't any fucking expert, okay?

Not in plants, and certainly not in cooking. "Praise her," he hummed, nodding to his girlfriend affectionately. "I'd be cooking meat-blocks like you man, I don't cook too well. Almost set the stove on fire last time."

RIP noodles.

She was being praised now? Damn, okay, she'd take it, but the cat was definitely enjoying it more. Give me compliments, I said give me compliments! "I've been cooking myself for years. Fresh food is healthy for you." Notice the skinniness. Skuld didn't even exercise that much.

Back a topic, what kind of crops? Well, cannabis, obviously, but there was one other idea too.. Especially if they had enough room. "I've grown veg back in Canada before. I imagine a bit of that mixed with some fruit and natural were spookiness to scare the naughty animals away sounds like a good deal."

She looked back at Fray briefly, trying to gauge if that was a good idea. Because again, she'd kinda like to do that anyway. She did used to work as a greengrocer after all.

Asha only managed an agreeable nod to Fray's weed comment. There was money in that, plus it was halfway legal anyway, right? In Colorado? Just couldn't get caught selling it.

She actually wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to Abraham's hand so she wouldn't notice the sweatiness sorry!

Instead she was just drinking her beer and feeling real chill. And it was funny that Fray sucked at cooking and Skuld was better at it. Cool little parallel, even if the real blame lay in their parents never teaching these boys any better.

Also Abraham was killing it right now with the whole conversation thing and it was a lot better than she could have hoped for. She squeezed his hand... and that was when she noticed the clamminess D: please food come soon.

Skuld spoke like she had a lot of control of herself. Which was nice, if extremely naive.

Or was it.

She found herself wondering again if she was just... that terrible at controlling herself. But. None of the other weres she'd ever spoken to had made her feel like that. They said they had all struggled too.

But maybe like. Maybe she couldn't do this. Again. Why would these two perfectly in control of themselves newbies follow her. She was basically Wallace 2.0, just with 100% more balls.

It was a very sudden and stupid reversal of her confident feelings, and she found herself wishing Beau was here to just make her brain knock it off. Asha let go of Abraham's hand with a smile, and pushed back in her chair.

"Just gonna head to the bathroom real quick before the food comes in," she said brightly, and if they'd let her she'd get up and step away for a much needed self-directed pep talk.

Asha was leaving. His cat roooooo'd out after her to a degree that legitimately embarrassed Abraham.

Pulling out his phone, he would text as he talked. If Skuld and Fray thought it was a shit talking effort, they'd be wrong. (But, honestly, it would be a fair guess.)

"Is there money in growing weed? Like. Since it's legal. Guess it's expensive at shops," he said, the last sentiment from experience. "You can probably sell non-weed and whatever at the farmer's market place in Red Rock."

Starting a farm required a lot of investment and also time? So? It seemed like the stupidest fucking idea ever? But he'd let them discover that.

He'd manage to type and send one text while talking.

Ihate to let you leave but I love to watch your butt

He wasn't looking down at his phone quite enough to notice the typos.

He nodded politely to Asha as she got up to leave for a moment, his eyes trailing after her a moment. Please don't leave them alone with this idiot. Please.

Fray took a large chug of beer, so he could force another smile at Cactus. "We'll check that out yeah. As for the weed.. From my experience there's going to always be an illegal demand, so cash there. We can also just go straight up medical and get quite a decent bit from that, albeit depending on the strain."

He'd nod to Skuld for confirmation though, shrugging. "You're the expert here, did I get that right?"

Teach him the ways, oh Weed Lord.

Also was he texting during their conversation? Bold move but Fray couldn't really blame him. He'd be texting people too if he had people to text. Maybe Kam was awake and he could complain to her.

Skuld didn't think much about Asha leaving other than she was the only one that could keep Abraham in check, but they were kinda getting along smoothly for now anyway, so again, not really bothering her.

And then Abraham brought up weed. Was he onto them? ..Did that even matter? It was cool to know they could sell shit in Red Rock, that was nice, but as for the weed, Skuld would just shrug and-FRAY.

He spouted out all the business-political side of marijuana selling, which for the record was correct yes, but that didn't mean to fucking shout it out.

Skuld squinted back directly at Fray. "I wouldn't know. I've never sold any," she said in a cold, unemotional tone which had the secret subliminal message of "Can you fucking not?".

The message was... not looked at for a little bit. Asha didn't want to know if it was some complaint or something or other, or who it was from. She needed to just breathe. And think. And... maybe have a little personal crisis.

What the fuck was she doing here. What the fuck had she done, making Fray, leading to him making Skuld. Why was Abraham throwing his support behind her, and why, why did this stupid fucking group shit matter to her so much. Away from the beast, the fucking selfish cunt who had ruined her life every step of the way worse and worse. Why did it matter to her.

None of this was who she'd ever imagined herself to be. She used to be in control of her life. She used to just have one consciousness in her brain. And now she was this and just.

Ughhhhhhh. Why was she thinking in circles. She didn't have a choice anymore.

But that was what bothered her, when she started to think about it.

Asha leaned against the bathroom door, pulling her phone out. The text earned an exhale, and she ran her hand through her hair.

I dunno if I can do this




It was pretty fucking obvious. They kept hinting at weed, and when Fray got too direct, Skuld gave him a look.

Either these two were so stupid that they must have sustained some sort of shifting-induced brain damage, or.

"I don't care if you guys are running a weed farm," he said pretty damn directly. "Might buy some from you sometimes if it's cheaper than expensive-ass dispensaries."

His phone buzzed with a reply, and he glanced to it briefly, typing as he talked.

"I can tell Asha about it if you want. I know you don't like me for shit, and that's fine because I'm not looking to be in charge of anything, but she really wants the best for you guys."

There was a small chance they really were gentle idiots who wanted to grow cucumbers and then he'd look like a fucking nutjob, but what else was new.

were in this together I got your back


Okay so like. Fray was generally a pretty good judge of how little a fuck people gave about drugs. That's how he met Skuld, after all, because after some persisting he managed to get hooked up with her weed overlord gifts. She just looked the type.

Abraham was less the type, but he could also sort of see it. Stressed grouchy asshole getting high and momentarily laughing his ass off.

Apparently Skuld wasn't sharing his views, Fray shooting her a small scowl as she got all snappy. He would have shut his trap, but then his suspicions were validated and he could breathe again.

Never sold any his ass, Skuld.

"As long as you don't bust the cops on our ass, sure," he promised the other jag, because hey. Already a customer. "And no, I get it. To be honest I get where you've been coming from - just ain't fond of you. Sorry."

A shrug, as he poked at a droplet of condensation on his glass of beer. "I'm sure the feeling's mutual. But we aren't trying to make your life difficult on purpose - I'd rather get along than not. Not looking to cause a big fucking issue between the jaguars." That would just be stupid, and pointless.

Well it wasn't difficult to tell they were thinking about a weed farm now, so no wonder Abraham picked up on it. Skuld rolled her eyes a little, but he seemed pretty chill with it. There was one redeeming factor. The main problem was just that Skuld didn't like being connected to it. They probably wouldn't treat a Canadian very fairly in American jail.

Wait did she even count as a US citizen? Wasn't there a law about that? Eh, Skuld didn't know. Or care.

Still, she nodded when Fray spoke about not busting the cops on them. Abraham spoke about how Asha wanted the best for them, yeah yea- okay christ Fray way to tell the big dude you weren't fond of him. I mean it was true, but, yeah.

The coke was finally finished, so Skuld could get to the beer. Decent stuff, for a non-beer drinker. They kept talking, but really.. not a conversation Skuld wanted to be a part of. She just kept quiet, again.

He was being so supportive. She... didn't know what to do with it? She just wanted to bludgeon him over the head with why questions until he satisfied every shard of insecurity within her over all this.

Breathe. Think. Decide. This is you, now. You can't go back to what you used to be, no matter how much you wallowed in self pity.

Could only plow on ahead.

"Fuck, alright," she sighed, not really feeling it, but if having a personal crisis in a restaurant bathroom in Avondale wasn't the most pathetic thing she'd ever done she wasn't sure what else was. Maybe willfully going into Cordova to get nearly murdered by a vampire queen.

Asha would wash her hands thoroughly and arrive to find the food wasn't brought out yet. Pout.

"Oh, you guys ate it all already!" she accused with some faux offense, even though her nose told her that no such thing had happened, and once she'd sat, she leaned a little against Abraham. Silent thank you, even if she still swirled with doubts.

"I want cops involved just as much as you do," he said.

Abraham was very sure they'd eventually get cops involved. They were the opposite of subtle. Skuld still refused to talk to him, and he could only imagine what sorts of shit Fray had said about him.

Fray and Skuld. The two most bullshit names running a pot stand.

Asha returned, and he offered her a smile, admittedly wishing she would back off on the touching and leaning and hand holding, even if another part of him appreciated it.

In the end, the less connected she was to Abraham in the eyes of these two, the better.

"It was-"

But he was without time to decide who to accuse, because food was arriving on wide plastic platters, plates divvied out among everyone at the table.

Thank fuck.

"Anyone wanna say grace to the meat gods," he mumbled somewhat playfully, but he was already stabbing at a fat piece of brisket with a fork.

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