Magic Hollow 

He was pretty timely, if he did say so himself. His truck pulled up at 6:34 PM, so only four minutes late. Her house was tiny and cute and reminded him of some of the stuff in North Glenn. Man, he missed that place. Magic Hollow was a close second.


There wasn’t a lot of point in getting out and going all the way up to the door. Maybe not courteous of him, but. This was payment, remember?


She had been in the process of finishing off her hair when she received the text, eyes widening upon the news that Cliff was already outside of her house, letting out a loud "Oh shit." Not that she had forgotten, but like, hadn't they said seven? She was supposed to still have thirty minutes, and that time was super precious!

Luckily for her, or perhaps Cliff, she had just about everything done, and was sprinting across the living room, socks slipping precariously along the wooden floors, to put put on her boots. It usually wasn't such a difficult process, but with the knowledge that someone was waiting on her, it made her hands a bit shakier and took her just a tad bit longer than normal to get the over the knee boots on.

Once accomplished, she gave a little goodbye to her good cactus, Franklin, before heading out the door, waving towards Cliff now as she closed and locked the door behind her. "Hey, sorry about that!" She called, hopping into the truck with a grin. "Ready for your payment?"

Was it sexist to say he was expecting to wait? It was a common theme with women, he'd noticed. He didn't mind, obviously. His phone kept him occupied as he waited. When she approached and hopped up in, Cliff set his phone down in the cup holder and fixed her a smile. "Hey," He greeted her. Okay, boots. "So ready. I'm hungry as fuck." He said with a chuckle. When she was buckled up, he turned the ignition to start up the truck.

"You ever been to a steakhouse?" He asked. Did they have in England? Probably, but not American ones. So. New experiences, maybe?

He seemed pretty damn excited, heightening her own, Natasha giving a single bounce in her seat as she gave her own little giggle as well. "There's a few in London I've been too, but it definitely wasn't an everyday thing." She answered, fingers entwining in her lap. "Is this a popular spot for you?" He had been pretty quick in that response after all.

See, but not American ones, okay.

"I go there more than I will admit to you." He said with a little shrug. "Its good food. Barbecue and steak. You'll like it. Especially with the Moon tomorrow." It was actually something he was a little nervous about. Both bears would likely be present so close to the full moon, and surrounding them with meat was... maybe not the best choice. But as long as they could eat and nothing terrible happened, they'd be fine. Hopefully.

If Natasha could sense Cliffs apprehension, she might of not been as excited as she was, but because she had neither Empathy or Telepathy, she was totally clueless of the danger that could be lurking in going to a steak house the day before a full moon. Instead, she was totally excited, especially since it had to be freaking good for Cliff to eat there as much as he was alluding to.

"Well, you eat your fill when we get there, you won't get another chance like this." Maybe he would, it just depended if Natasha found anything else she wanted to force her friend into doing.

He was a sucker for steak it seemed. Weakness acquired.

He was pretty sure he would get another chance like this, if she made a habit out of bribing him. He wasn’t about to say no to free food.

“It may be expensive.” He informed her with a quirk of his brow.

“I don’t think I ever asked you what you do for a living.”

Natasha waved a hand at the comment of price, not that she was well off or anything, but simply because she hardly ever spent her money on anything other than bills, clothes and food. Oh, and makeup... Maybe she did spread her money out a bit. Well, either way she knew she had enough for this okay! So it was no problem!

"I'm a journalist!." She answered, a wide grin spreading across her face. "It's super great, and gives me a reason to be a bit nosy sometimes." More like all the time, but Cliff didn't need to know that part.

"What about you? You're house was pretty nice, must got something good going for you."

A journalist. Not that he spent much time studying the idiosyncrasies of journalists, but now that he knew she was one, Cliff felt like Natasha seemed like a journalist. Given her questions at the cookout... he wouldn’t disagree about the nosy thing. Cliff slowed to a stop at a red light as his own profession came up.

“I’m a carpenter, mostly. But I took over my old man’s lumber mill in Ouray; where I grew up.” A lot of money, yeah, but he liked to think he didn’t flaunt it? He was actually thinking about downsizing to a different house with Maxine gone.

A carpenter? So, like a lumberjack.

"Nice, you like it then? Wood?" She might of giggled at her own joke, but she knew Cliff wouldn't so she had to or she was going to have a majorly hurt ego.

"But really, that's super cool, did you build some of the stuff in your house?"

Oh, ha ha.

“Clever.” He said dryly. Not like he hadn’t heard that joke hundreds of times. As for things he’d built, he nodded and pressed the gas when the light turned green.

“The kitchen set, and the barstools.” Thats all she’d seen, so he wouldn’t mention the bed frames.

Eyes raising in thought, Natasha trying to reinvision the house she had been to just a few days prior, face lighting up as the kitchen came into mind.
"Wow those had been gorgeous." She gushed, looking back towards the man.

"I might need to commission you sometime then."

A crooked smile ruffled his beard as he turned right. “Thanks. And yeah, any time. I can do pretty much anything. Carvings, too.” Flashback to the bear carving he’d done for Maxine, and how she’d taken it with her. Heartwarmth. Maybe he’d make some for everyone for Christmas if they were all still cool.

"Awesome, wish I could do handy work like that, but unfortunately it's completely out of my realm." She gave a soft chuckle, glancing out the window just in time to see Cliff pulling into the parking lot of a pretty decent looking establishment. It wasn't too fancy, but not like at Mcdonalds standards either. On the outside, Natasha could already tell it was one of those places that tried to appear as 'country'.

Excited pushed her to the edge of her sleep, Mary giving a loud maroo in her head, eager for food to be crammed into her mouth. Stomach growling, Natasha was surprised at her own eagerness, glancing once to her stomach and then towards Cliff. "Well, what are we waiting for." And with that she was exiting the truck with a little bounce to the ground, glancing back and waiting for Cliff before making her way towards the restaurant..

Stuff like that wasn’t for everyone, but he didn’t voice it. They reached the restaurant pretty quickly after that, and Cliff slowed to a crawl as he sought a place to park the truck. Natasha wasted no time in hopping out, clearly eager. He couldn’t blame her. Even from within the truck, the smell of cooking barbecue was doing well in waking the bear. Cliff followed Natasha quickly, hopping down from the truck and locking it behind him.

”Hopefully the wait isn’t long.” It was a tuesday night, so probably not.

The smell from inside the restaurant was even stronger, and he had to slow up as he stepped through the front entrance and held the door for Natasha, fearing that if he rushed in the bear might have gotten a little too excited. So close to the full moon, and starving. Hopefully Natasha had things under control on her end.

The hostess greeted them with a smile, and he was thankful that she grabbed some menus and lead them straight back to a table. When they settled down, Cliff made sure to get the seat that had the eye-line toward the door, preferring to be the one to… see something coming, he didn’t know. Compulsive thing.

”I want to eat everything.” He said as he grabbed his menu and opened it.

If the wait was long, then she was literally going to shrivel away and die, because the smell of the barbecue upon entering the establishment was absolutely breathtaking, and set her into a gut crunching side of hunger that she had never experienced before, hands clutching at her stomach as she practically ran at the hostess heels towards the table, taking to the opposite side of Cliff, opening her own menu.

"Same." She groaned, mouth practically drooling over every photo that came within her view in the menu.

Soon the waitress was arriving asking for drinks.

"Water, and can I get a booming onion as well please." Did she order her steak now or later...

"Also a 16oz sirloin with loaded mash potatoes and corn." Smile.

In the end, he settled on what he always got. The waitress came around, and he greeted her with a pleasant smile and waited for Natasha to place her order. "The Rodeo T-Bone. 23oz, please. With the same sides." He said as he nodded in Natasha's direction. "And coke for a drink." There was the temptation to get a drink, but he didn't want to make her pay for that and he was sure they would be drinking at the halloween party thing soon. So he needed to pace himself. It was a fine line he'd been toeing recently, and that scared him. The last thing he needed was to fall back into old habits.

A 23oz? Natasha's eyes must of gone just as wide as the waitress's, despite knowing just how high a Weres metabolism was. She had never seen a steak quite that big before, nor had she thought it would even be available on the menu, only in America she supposed, but of all the American states, she suspected only Texas would have something that large.

Clearly, she was wrong however, and as the waitress moved away, Natasha grabbed a roll in hand, caking it in butter as she spoke. "We must of ordered a whole cow together." She commented with a grin, shoving the roll in her mouth, eyes practically rolling from the taste, because she was fucking starving.

"Hope they can butcher it fast enough before Mary gets impatient."

He didn't see anything wrong with his order, thank you. The Full Moon was tomorrow, and he was feeding a twelve hundred pound animal. So. Meh. As the waitress left, Cliff went for a roll after Natasha. "Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that they're just going to bring out an entire live cow." Wait. Wait. Wait.

"....Who's Mary." That... she couldn't have. Named her bear. Mary.

The sad part about that whole joke was that she was almost certain that, between the two of them, every bit of that cow would be eater. In fact, her stomach growled with the very thought of it, Natasha quickly shoving the roll in her mouth a bit too vigorously. It was as she was moving to swallow that Cliff mentioned Mary, Natasha giving a wide grin as the bread sort of uncomfortably made its way down her gullet. Weird how bread did that.

"My bear." She answered, leaning forward a bit. "Mary Plain." Please tell her he knew who Mary Plain was, please please please.

Cliff blinked, chewed, blinked, chewed again.

"What?" Was he missing a joke?

Of course it went right over his head. There was no way that he, having grown up here, would know anything about the amazing Mary Plain.


"She's a bear from a British childrens book." She explained, moving back to her original sitting position, thanking the waitress as their drinks were dropped off, and taking a sip of the cool water.

"It was really popular, and one of my favorite books as a child. I thought it suited her well."

Oh. Well, duh, he didn't know that. Cliff smirked as she explained, and said after a sip of water. "Cute." Cause it was. Asha would be raising her fucking brows at that. Oh well.

"I call mine Smokey. You heard of Smokey Bear?" Maybe?

Natasha beamed at the compliment, flashing those pearly whites. "I'm glad you like it!" She had been worried at first that it would seem stupid, but to hear Cliff call it cute, made it seem much less idiotic. At the mention of Smokey however, Natasha's brows came together, fingers fiddling with the straw wrapper unconsciously, impatient for their food to arrive.

"I'm sorry, is Smokey from something?"

Okay, so no.

With a little smirk, Cliff sat up straighter in his seat and lifted a hand to waggle a finger. "Only you can prevent forest fires." He informed her. "It's the mascot for a PSA thing from years and years ago. He holds a shovel, it's kind of scary." A small shrug. And another roll. Food food food.

Natasha's brow raised at the whole movement that was involved with quoting the character, stifling her giggle, as she nodded her head as if she understood any of that. "Sounds like an interesting bear." She snorted, before grinning wide. "Suits you well.

Cliff cracked a smirk. "You think I'm interesting?" He challenged as he ripped off another piece of a roll with his teeth. This basket wasn't going to last long. Food needed to hurry, please.

"Yeah of course I do." Natasha answered easily enough, not the least bit deterred on how it might of sound.

What wasn't interesting about a man who turned into a bear? A man who could make beautiful pieces from wood. A man who had gone out of his way to explain the whole situation to her, and invited her into his friend group despite her being a total stranger.

"Interesting and kind." She concluded, just as the waitress came over with a tray, the blooming onion hitting her nose first, and mouth beginning to water as the steak came into view. She was starving, and she quickly helped the waitress in setting everything down, just so that she could shove every consumable item into her jaws asap.

"Aw, shucks." He feigned embarrassment, but his face gave no indication of actual bashfulness. It was just a harmless compliment, mkay? Their food was here now, so that distracted him from thinking too much into it, though there was little to think of, so. Anyway. Foooooooood.

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