Number Three with a Mountain Dew

Red Rock 

 There was definitely a fucking dick sealed into the cement. She would have been mad, probably, but first of all, it would have been easy enough to fill (albeit not as smooth for the absurd amount she'd paid). And secondly, really, fate would have it so that it had worked out to be positioned right where Kai, Hendrix, and whomever else who knew how to make the car go vroom vroom would be working. So, not too much foot traffic - hopefully, no children would look up and inquire.

In conclusion, for now, at least, she'd let Fletch keep his dick.

 It was, as it tended to be since she was done with the molasses of the concrete people, all chaos and noise at once. An ant hill of roofers and electricians coming in and out and ... probably working - they looked like they were working. And in the meantime, she had holed herself away in the tiny space of the would-be two stall bathroom to the back.

 There was no electricity, no plumbing, but there was drywall! Which, really, was all you needed to paint. So that's what she'd settled on doing, something easy (if tedious) and simple. For now, content to just prime as she tried not to think about if she was supposed to clear colors with Kai or just ... embrace leadership, or whatever.

 Mostly happy to suffer alone, she had sent a text, mass as it was - comfortable in the assumption that all of them were either working or content to leave her on read. Still, a girl could hope.

First person to bring me a burger and a Mountain Dew gets to be employee of month one, even if you don't work here.
Alex (or Gobshite)



Rather loathe to admit it out loud, ever, Eli had something of a nasty little competitive habit. So when there was a chance that he could beat out a few of the others for something as absolutely not real as employee of the month, apparently it was enough to get him out and headed for Red Rock. Ulterior motive: he really was curious to see how the construction was coming along. He hadn't had a chance to come out and even drive by since they'd put up the foundation.

The sort of drive he was going to have to get used to. Red Rock was nothing if not aptly named. Rocks, rocks everywhere...

And no Mountain Dew to drink. Turned out that Burger King didn't roll in the Pepsi side of things. But the did have Mello Yello... so maybe she woudn't notice. Heck! He didn't notice! (Naturally, he could not have possibly gotten her food without getting some for himself.)

So, coyote number two entered the chaos of the worksite, mindful to not cross under any hazardous areas as he came with a brown bag of food in one hand and a drink carrier in the other. When he got a good indication that she was near enough for him to not have to literally yowl over the noise of construction, he raised his voice. "Aaaalex! What bonus do I get if I brought you two hamburgers?"

If that didn't get her attention, nothing would. Was that paint he smelled?

 Well, fuck - never on even the best day would she have guessed that, if anyone were to show up, it would be Elijah. Pleased no matter what, he was less likely to spit in her food in comparison to Kai if nothing else. She got up, set her paint roller down and wiped off her hands before she came out to greet him.

 "I'll give you a dollar in quarters to spend at the gumball machine, and you can have a t-shirt if we ever make those or whatever." Business ones, not Band ones - Jesus, how obnoxious would that be?

There she was! It seemed he was even in something of a good mood, as he actually greeted her with an easy smile for once. "We are learning the ways to one another's hearts, I see." He drew nearer and offered out the cup tray first, so that she might claim one of them for herself. "No one else came running to your desperate plea?"

It hadn't really been desperate, but he could pretend it had been, mostly because he'd won today's favor.

 "Nah, I was sort of expecting Hendrix if anyone." She shrugged, took one of the drinks and mumbled a thank you as she ripped at the paper wrapped around the straw with her teeth. "If Fletch had shown up I'd have eaten the paint roller." Stabbing the straw in she took a big gulp, wrinkled her nose and looked down at the cup. "Did you spit in this or something?"

In that moment he decided it would be easiest to play dumb. He had literally no idea how different one drink was from the next, hardly choosy about which version of brain-rot sugar he ingested when it came time to do so.

"No?" he said, raising his brow he would pull out one burger from the bag and offer her the rest, counting on it distracting her somewhat. "I mean, hardly sanitary. That's like the first thing they teach you about in med school. Well, other than making you promise to do no harm."

See, look, he can't possibly be guilty of bodily harm, he's a doctor--ignore the more troubling realities of his inhuman existence.

 "It tastes like ass." She took another sip anyway, mumbled another thank you when she took the bag from him and sat down on the hard stone of the floor without complaint. "I know it's not much to look at just yet, but what do you think?"

Ass, huh? Well... it wasn't his fault he'd asked for Mountain Dew and just didn't know the difference. Definitely.

He glanced around for a moment, as if really seeing it all for the first time. "Sure is going quick now that the weather is cooperating," he noted, and moved to sit down with her after that. "You feeling good about this?" She didn't look like she was panicking, which was a beautiful sign.

 "As good as I can feel." She shrugged her shoulders, pulled the wax paper away from her burger and took a gigantic bite. "It's a gamble, but all good things are and that's what I'm trying to focus on." She pulled out a slice of tomato, tossed it into the bag without a word. "How are you feeling? Now that you've met everyone and everything, I mean..."

He joined her in eating, never able to not eat when someone else was eating these days. Denying the coyote food when food was available was a bizarre impossibility. Alex had a decent head on her shoulders, and a fair bit of luck on her side, too. He'd had plenty of doubts at first, especially since part of him had wanted to assert himself more, but now...

"You've managed to attract a strange lot," he admitted with that smile still strangely lingering. "But I dunno! I mean, I'm not going anywhere, if you're worried. I actually went to Shift about a week ago to get an oil change and your prickliest friend sent me away without a bill so I think we're on good terms there."

 "A pack of weirdo's but, I think that's a benefit and not a weakness." Bowing her head as she mumbled between alternating bites of burger and crunching on overly salted fries. "Do you have work today?" Brushing the salt from her fingertips as she went from her sub-par soda a second time and watched him.

"Because if you don't, can I interest you in priming with me? I got a second roller with your name on it, bud."

"I do not, and I'm happy to help," he informed her graciously. "Would be kind of hard to make it all the way the heck out here if I did. One last try... you sure Larkspur is off the books?" But really, they both knew, Larkspur was waaaaaay behind them. Perfectly vanished from the rearview mirror.

Which, while he would complain, and daydream of better times in a town close to Crestview with about a hundred more paved streets... the coyote truly was happier here. The beast had been born in a land of grass and dust, and returning to it felt natural.

  She knew it wasn't from a place of any real disdain for their new home, or at least she thought as much. Still, she frowned when he pressed about Larkspur and shook her head as she chucked a french fry at him for good measure. "Afraid the lots in Larkspur that are big enough for what we need were out of our budget, bud." Among other logistic issues, but that was hard from the least of them.

"You like it here - you'll like it here, trust me."

Being outside of budget was a painful reality, and land differences varying city to city was something he understood well enough to not argue against. Surprise, when a place was already using most of its land for nonsense like bars and apartment buildings the bits that were left were inflated pieces of crap!

"I trust you," he sighed, and found the fry she'd thrown at him in his lap, though about eating it... then decided she was watching and that was just weird. So he threw it back. "Budget is a pain in the ass, anyway."

That reminded him that he kind of wanted to ask Alex about the whole jaguar thing, but he decided to put more food in his mouth instead.

 She relaxed a bit when he assured her, picked the fry out of her lap and hesitated for a second before she stuffed it into her mouth and went for more. They ate elk and shit in front of one another, if this was what drew the line into disgust - she'd have to chalk it up to a gross difference in standard. "Glad we're on the same page, my dude."

"Me too," he agreed, apparently not against talking with his mouth half-full. But he would carry on only after he'd swallow this time, taking up his own drink and making a face ever so slightly when he drank some himself. This was... he wasn't sure what this was. Like, he knew what they had called it at Burger King, but heck if he could have made any sense of it otherwise. No wonder she'd questioned him.

"Weird thinking it was like... what? A couple of months ago that we first ran into each other?" Probably longer than that, but it didn't feel longer than that.

 "About, yeah." Time was hard to track with all the ways that their lives had been changing over the course of the past few weeks. She leaned back against the wall, set the bag to the side and sighed as she came to terms with her food baby. "A lot of change, but I think we're all handling it just fine." Hendrix and his new life, Kai and the gamble she was taking, and the doctor and the old man on the van-porch cursing at the children.

"Man, Alex, if we keep agreeing like this people might start to worry we're on the same side or something." And he finished off his burger with a final bite and more of the questionable sugar drink. He'd given her more food than he'd given himself, so he hiked his knees up a bit to put his arms over and mulled.

"Hendrix adjusting alright?"

 Her laughter was more of a scoff, made worse when he pressed on to inquire about Hendrix. Finishing off what she could of her second burger soon after him, she set the bag to the side and stewed in her discomfort. "He's doing alright - coyote's a good one." At last, looking to him, she rolled her eyes and pressed on. "I mean, he's sociable."

"Always nice to have someone who's excited to see you," he sorta-teased, considering what little he knew of them as a pair. Hendrix had seemed to be an unplanned surprise, but at the same time had also known Kai already, so how exactly that dynamic was meant to be viewed he wasn't actually sure. Something, it seemed, he would have plenty of time to figure out in the long run.

"Probably better than grouchy old boys like me," he said, and with a slight grunt he got his feet under him and was lifting himself to his feet, offering Alex a hand as he went. They could talk and prime, right?

 "I can handle grumpy." As if it had been a challenge, she slapped her hand in his and pulled herself up, brushed off her clothes and tossed out their trash in the large can left to the side. "Next time I'm going to just let you and Fletch duke it out." Turning, she was quick to pull the plastic wrap from the roller, offering it out to him as she poured a bit more paint into the pan.

 "Either that or we should go have some fun sometime - no offense, I've beaten up dudes considerably bigger than you." Singsong, hoping to bait an old trap even as she got to work.

Ah, Fletch... honestly, he couldn't wait to get to know that dusty old roamer a bit better--as much coyote influence as the man just looking forward to someone not quite so youthful about. Not that Eli was dying for peers--or considered Fletch a peer, per se--but it was a good change of pace from the more buoyant energies of the under-forties.

"Okay, first of all," he said after taking the roller form her. "Are you trying to ping my ego? And second of all. I believe you but I also... can't picture it."

He imagined her next line was come see for yourself >:3 in that cocksure way that was only ever truly convincing from women in his experience.

 "If your ego is that easy to ping then you probably need to get some callous on it, Elijah." She didn't glance over as she spoke, worked in small sections that she went over multiple times before moving on in a slow shuffle to the left. "There's a spot out in Cedar Creek, it's called The Cage - basically a bar and a fight club." She looked over and then went back to her work.

 "They're selective about who they let in, but it's run by wolves so - I'm sure you wouldn't have a hard time ... I could get you in." Wiggling her brows without rising to the bait of his doubt outright.

The Cage, huh? Well, that sounded... sketchy as hell!

But it had the coyote's interest, even if the doctor himself was a man hard pressed to violence. Or had been. These days he had a lot more sharp teeth and the willingness to expend some energy in a foolish bid for injury. Certainly had more appeal--somehow, insanely!--than the rage room had been to him.

Joining her in priming, he at least seemed to know exactly what he was doing with a paint roller. "Alex, are you saying you want to brawl me?" he asked, trying to be either serious or taken aback in tone, but it was clear he was tamping down on a laugh.

 "Mm, I wouldn't go that far." She pointed the roller at him, shrugged as she bent at the waist to get more paint and continue on with the monotony of the task. "But I figured if you wanted more of a challenge then .." She shrugged her shoulders and left it open and up to him. "There's always the second option - we go out back one day and just hulk out and freak out the neighbors."

What was with this mood today?! Eli felt perpetually smiley right now which actually was the most unnatural configuration for his face. He was going to have to go home and stick it in the ice bin.

"We should set up a gladiator pit of our own out back. Pile up junkers to hide us from the outside world while we go full on teen-wolf coyote version on each other." Casually painting while considering putting each other through hybrid paces was strangely comical to him.

"I bet everyone would root for you," he decided, and not at all bitterly.

 "Hendrix would root for me." Firm in that much, running through the list and deciding Dylan was ultimately as much of a wildcard as Kai. "Anyway, I'll add Thunderdome to our vision board." Grinning to herself even as they settled into quiet, nestled into peace and wordlessly thankful for the company through the tedious little bits of work that abounded these days.

No matter, they'd get through it in due time.

"Brilliant," he said, his approval of the ludicrous given, the faint picture of some future that was coming up faster upon them. Ever since he'd run into her that once, they'd been seeing more and more of each other, closer and closer bound to some shared fate that neither of them shied from. Lucky then, that they'd discovered others willing to put some faith in the grand scheme as well.

And as silence settled between them, he found himself disinclined to ruin either of their good moods with jaguar talk, so it was shelved yet again. Painting was more productive anyway.

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