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mikaluvkitties

Professional Unicorn Lover
The cul de sac at the end of Maple Court was full of families, with their own secrets and lives, but they made an effort to form a community, and that was what mattered.

Of course, during the school year, these kinds of things grew difficult- on top of regular commitments, there was, as the term 'school year' might suggest, school, and school was quite a draining affair.

It was no wonder the neighborhood hadn't seen a party in a while.

That was about to change, thanks to the Mahers and a barbecue everyone had been invited to- even those new to the neighborhood. It would be quite a few families packed into the space, but it was sure to be a good time... or at least an interesting one.
 

Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
"Agh, where has the time gone?!" Callie exclaimed, looking up from her cutting board at the time displayed on the microwave. She was about halfway done making identical watermelon wedges.

"I ask myself that same question on occasion," Donnie smirked. He just entered the kitchen, wearing a Hawaiian shirt--very much a deviation from his usual wardrobe. Callie couldn't help but burst out with a laugh.

"Oh my god--"

"What? You don't like it?"

"No, I love it, I just can't remember ever seeing or picturing you wearing one. But you ought to readjust that collar just a tad."

"Yes ma'am," Donnie smirked again. He made his way out of the room to the nearest mirror.

"Beth," Callie turned her attention to her daughter on one of the other available portions of the counter, "is the tea, lemonade, and water outside yet? Make sure that slaw sauce is just right--damn."

"Done and done--what's the matter, Mom?" Beth turned around to see what the issue was. Nothing seemed to be out of order, as far as she could see.

"This watermelon wedge. I cut it kind of weird, and it looks wrong. Oh, honey, your hair could use just a little..."

"Mom! Seriously? Chill!" Beth stepped back a little, "'fix your collar,' 'make the sauce right,' 'fix your hair,' 'this watermelon wedge is wrong.' It's all fine, okay? Here, I'll eat that watermelon piece. It looks freaking delicious. There."

"I'm sorry," her mother frowned, "it's just that we're behind schedule, people could arrive any moment, and yet I want it all to look nice. You know it's been awhile, and there's new people too. There, the watermelon's all done. Can you take it outside for me, please?"

Beth nodded and took the tray of watermelon to the back door. As she opened it and stepped into the backyard, she immediately felt the warmth of the sun, which still shone brightly even though it was late in the day. The weather was too perfect. It was definitely on the hotter side, but not too bad...and there was the pool anyways! Her father Bob and younger brother Max were already in the backyard. Bob was checking the propane tank underneath the grill to make sure it had enough fuel, and Max was manhandling a tall stack of chairs into position so that he could distribute them around the yard.

“I can’t believe you’re doing that just now. Don’t let Mom see, she’ll throw a fit!” Beth stopped and smiled. It was directed at Max, but Bob also looked up. It could’ve gone for him too she realized.

“I guess I just forgot,” Bob shrugged. Max ran his fingers through his swimmers hair and started throwing down chairs with remarkable efficiency.

“Done, no worries about fits!” said Max. At this Beth smiled and shook her head. She set down the watermelon, got a cup of sweet tea, then walked the short distance over to the phone plugged into the stereo. She got to the right playlist, and clicked All Summer Long by Kid Rock.

Back in the house, the doorbell rings! And a moment later, Callie opens the door...
 

Meme Machine

*always screaming* DES PA CITO
Esmerelda sighed, facing her oldest daughter and fixing her by brushing her fingers through it. Three hours of preparation from them all, except Almeda. Taking care not to scratch her with her long nails, Esmerelda tucked the two front prices of her daughters hair back with a clip, which sort of matched the rest of her outfit.

“Almeda, dear, couldn’t you have tried a little harder at least? You look beautiful, but these are new people, and we want to make a good impression.” As Esmerelda spoke, her husband laughed slightly, fixing the collar of his button up. His voice rang out to her, and she turned her head.

“Babe, leave Al alone. There’s no point in making a first impression if the first impression you make isn’t yourself.” Esmerelda sighed, and Almeda gave a grin.

“Yeah mom, like he said. No point.” She then skipped over to the door, and stood by the porch, waiting for her parents, sister, and brother to follow. Of course, Miguel would probably be carried. He barely knew how to walk.

Esmerelda unbuckled her youngest child from his stroller, picking him up and carrying him over her shoulder. She was about to close the stroller when she noticed Fallon hadn’t moved yet.

“Fallon? Are you alright?” Esmerelda asked, tilting her head to the side as Miguel cooed into her shoulder.

Her youngest daughters short hair swished as she turned her head. Fallon sighed, and walked with her mother and adopted father to the door, as she motioned to the house.

“I just don’t understand why I couldn’t bring Cerberus. They might love dogs!” The teenager was very shy, and usually had her support dog with her. But Esmerelda had asked her not to, in case the people hosting or anyone else wasn’t fond of dogs. Fallon hadn’t even brought a bathing suite, as she was definitely NOT planning on swimming.

“My love, we talked about this. We’ll ask, and next time if they say it’s ok, you can bring him.” Esmerelda was interrupted by Almeda ringing the doorbell.

“Almeda!” The clear voice of their grandmother rang though the air, and Almeda flinched. “You should wait for your grand mother! It’s very rude not to.” The woman said as she made it to the porch, just in time for the door to open.

The family smiled, and said hello all at once. They were new to the neighborhood, and hadn’t met anyone yet.
 

Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
Callie heard an apparent grandmother reprimand her grandkid before she opened up the door. The greeting of several new faces and voices all at once immediately put Callie in a much more cheerful mood. It was always exciting to make the acquaintance of new families on the block.

“Hello! And welcome! Well come in, come on in! You’re the first guests actually. I’m Callie—what are all your names? I’ll show you to the backyard to meet the rest of the family.”

As Callie ushered in the new family and awaited their response, she checked to see if there were any other families approaching the Maher house. She also made sure the front door was open. Other families would probably know to come straight through.
 

Meme Machine

*always screaming* DES PA CITO
Esmerelda smiled sweetly at the woman, seeing a potential friend in her. She patted Miguel’s back as he cooed, and tried to turn around on her shoulder.

“Hello there. My name is Esmerelda. This little one is Miguel.” She motioned to the baby on her shoulder, who waved in his own way, giggling at the woman.

“My name is Caspian. It’s nice to meet you.” The husband said formally, giving a small smile to who he assumed was the mother. He seemed to lack an accent, where as the rest of the family had a very prominent one.

“I’m Almeda, and this is my sister Fallon!” She’s shy. Wonderful to meet you Mrs. Callie.” The oldest daughter threw her arm around her sister’s shoulder, grinning and politely addressing Callie. Fallon simply waved, and gave a shy smile. Her hair had moved so it was covering half of her face, as she bowed her head slightly.

The grandmother shook her head, and smiled widely at Callie. “Hello my dear. You can call me Nana. Everyone does.” She held her hand out for the woman to shake, and gave off an air of happiness.

They followed the woman through the house to the back yard, and Esmerelda complimented the house as she went.

“You have a wonderful home, Callie.” She said smiling, as her curious son kept looking around at everything and anything that was shiny.
 

Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
“It’s so nice to meet all of you. And thank you,” Callie replied to the compliments on the house. She remembered the rigorous cleaning she subjected the family to, and she could only assume it paid off. She also ran their names through her head a couple times.

“Miguel, right?” Callie looked back at the baby as she walked, “he’s just a cutie, isn’t he! How old?”

She arrived at the sliding door leading into the backyard, leading the way through. At last—the last moments before the new guests arrived—everything had come together outside. The rest of the family was in the backyard already. Bob called out to Max, who was playing fetch with Macie, and Beth, who was lounging by the pool with her iced tea, so that they would come over and greet the newcomers. Donnie came over too.

“Okay, let’s see if I can get the names right,” Callie began once everyone was present, “Esmerelda, Caspian, Almeda, Fallon, Nana, and of course Miguel. I’m so sorry but I don’t remember the last name?”
 

Meme Machine

*always screaming* DES PA CITO
Esmerelda gasped slightly, and shook her head. She couldn’t believe she had been that rude!

“I’m sorry! How rude of me, I never told you! We’re the Calist’s.” As Esmerelda spoke, Caspian sighed, but smiled.

“It’s lovely to meet you, as we said.” He spoke kindly, and looked to Donnie. He nodded his head in respect, and held out his hand to shake. “Hello, my name is Caspian. What is your name?”

Almeda had spotted Beth, and determined she looked close enough to her age. She quickly ran over, and held out her hand for the girl to shake, completely forgetting Fallon’s social anxiety. “Hey there, I’m Almeda. What’s your name?” She didn’t even wait for a response before she spoke again, very confidently. “You look like someone I would want as a friend.” Almeda wasn’t lying. Sure, she was hella gay, but she had friends that were girls. Plus, she was pretty sure this girl was straight. Almeda had a pretty good gaydar.

Meanwhile, Fallon was left alone, her Nana already off to fetch some tea, and her father and mother still exchanging pleasantries as Miguel cooed and giggled. She looked around nervously until she spotted a.... dog! She gasped in delight, and bolted over to where the teenage boy and the dog were playing fetch. Giving the boy basically no mind (not out of rudeness, just out of excitement for the dog) she fell to her knees and beckoned the dog to her, a big smile on her face.

“Come here, girl! What’s your name?” She said excitedly, gendering the dog quickly and correctly. She had that ‘thing’ with animals where she could just tell what they were with a look at their face.
 

Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
"Well hello," Donnie smiled as he grasped Caspian's hand, "I was born Donald but I go by Donnie. So you're the new boy on the block, so to speak, how do you like it here so far?" Donnie had to look up slightly, as Caspian was tall in his own right, let alone next to the 5'9" elderly man.

Beth raised her eyebrows, and smiled as she too grasped a new hand and shook it. Almeda's forthright friendliness almost took her aback, as Beth wouldn't have expected someone with so many piercings and tattoos to be so friendly. She blushed a little, both from her own initial prejudice, and from Almeda's declaration about Beth looking like a friend. But it was already exciting to see that the new girl and her might get along.

"Oh, wow, uh, hey! I'm Beth! It's nice to meet you. Welcome to the Maher backyard! Do you want some tea? Lemonade? I could use some more. So real quick, I like your name--can I ask where you're from?" Beth hoped it wouldn't be weird to ask her where she was from, but Almeda's accent in particular intrigued her.

On the grass, Macie cocked her head at the new voice, then ran over to Fallon, panting slightly. She dropped the toy by Fallon's feet, and almost started to jump up, but she was stopped by Max's command.

"Macie, no jumping. Well there you go, her name is Macie. That was a pretty good guess, and you're right! I'm Max, how's it going?" Max walked a little closer to Fallon and Macie, so that the two of them might talk more.
 

Meme Machine

*always screaming* DES PA CITO
Caspian smiled kindly, and chuckled. He turned to his wife with a confidant smile, who returned it with a small smile of her own.

“That’s right, I am. As for the neighborhood, it’s been amazing. The house is wonderful, and so far the neighbors have been too.” He responded shortly, however it got the point across. He turned back to Donnie, who Miguel seemed to have a odd interest in. It might have been due to his likeness to Nana, who was still getting tea. The baby smiled, and cooed at the man.

Almeda smiled at the girl, who was slightly blushing...? Maybe she was a little gay? Or maybe just excited. Hey, maybe she was sunburned. Either way, Almeda smiled back.

“Some tea sounds great. Let’s go!” She started walking that way, but turned back when she asked where she was from. “Oh. We’re immigrants. We’re from Mexico. All except Caspian and Miguel.” She replied cooley. If the question bothered her, she didn’t show it.

Over near the ground, Fallon paused when the new boy spoke. She hadn’t even noticed him at first, so she was incredibly skeptical. He might not be real. Just a vision. But the way the dog responded to him, she shook that theory off. He was real. And, oh no, talking to her.

Still sitting on her knees, Fallon shrunk a bit, and subconsciously ran her hands through the dogs hair. She stared at him for a moment as if he had grown a second head, before turning away and murmuring her response, still petting the dog.

“I-I’m Fallon.... M-Macie is a good name for her.” Fallon stuttered over her first few words, but then evened it out a little. “Nice to meet you Max....” She trailed off a little, and looked up at him a little. That was good! She actually talked to someone without running away. Good start.
 

Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
"That's good to hear! We've all been in this house here for...about fifteen years I guess it is, and I for one can't complain. Except I'm thirsty as hell--can I get you a beer, Caspian?" Donnie gestured towards the respective ice chest. He was thankful to Callie for printing out pieces of paper saying "beer," "soda," and "water" for the ice chests, so neither he nor anyone else would have to flip through each one to find what they were looking for.

Bob approached the beer ice chest, which was near the tea and lemonade. the tea and lemonade were both contained in large scaled-up mason jars, elevated on a platform, with a spigot towards the bottom. Bob looked over to see "Nana," and introduced himself as he fished out and capped a bottle of Kona Longboard lager.

"Hello, 'Nana' was it? I'm Bob--you already met my wife. Are you all settling in alright?"

"Okay! Wow that's cool," Beth said as she walked with Almeda over to the non-alcoholic beverage table, "do you like it here so far?" Oh hey, have you ever tried an Arnold Palmer?"

Max watched the girl, Fallon, who seemed a bit strange to him. But Macie sat down by Fallon, enjoying the pets, although her ears kept popping back up after pets as Macie was keeping track of everything going on.

"Fallon? Cool, yeah it's nice to meet you too! Do you have a dog at home? You seem pretty comfortable with her and all." Max gestured.
 
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okokapi

New Member
Riley crouched on their front porch tying their shoes while they looked around the cul de sac. They could see some activity at the Mahers house and recalled the barbecue they had been planning. Riley considered for a moment stopping by, but redirected themself back to tying their shoe. The summer time was Riley's least favorite time. There was little for them to do, no sports, no school, even the community center went through a lull during the summer. At times Riley struggled to stay focused on goals when it felt so easy to just lay in bed for hours. This summer would be different. Riley stood up and stretched a little before going back into the house briefly and putting the excited dog Bean into a green harness. A few moments later, the two could be seen jogging down the sidewalk. Maybe on the way back they would pop in. Maybe.

"Hey Caleb," Cameron called as she knocked on the closed door of the young man's room. "Caleb, I'm going to the Maher's barbecue in a bit." She leaned up to the door listening for signs of movement beyond the barrier. "I think it would mean a lot if we dropped in to say hi." Cameron had been curious about the neighbors but had little time to reach out. Her only interaction with them was a few meetings in passing.
"Uhm..." Caleb spoke up from behind the door. "Yeah. Okay."
"Really?" Cameron was surprised her son was actually interested. "I will be in the living room when you're ready" Cameron walked away from the door and upstairs to her room. She quickly sifted through some of her clothes. She went for a neat but casual look with a loose but flattering jumpsuit. She spent a little time putting on make up and preparing to make a good not-so-first impression. In the reflection of the mirror she saw James walk by the open doorway. They had decided when they moved to the new house to have separate rooms. It gave each of them the space they needed to fully flex their freedom. "James, are you coming to the Maher's barbecue?" Cameron asked quickly.
"Uh, no, not this time. I've, uh," James peaked his head into the room. He smiled seeing Cameron getting ready. "You look great!" He commented kindly, making Cameron smile. "I have a thing. I might be back for the tail end." Cameron understood what he meant. They chatted for a bit longer before James left the house.

Caleb pulled himself from the bed once Cameron came by. He wasn't sure about the barbecue but he knew that his mom had been looking forward to it. He also knew that she would want some support, or an excuse to go home early. He did not put as much effort into his routine. He did shower though, washing his oily hair and even giving his beard a trim. He put on his usually sweat pants and his favorite high school hoodie. He looked at himself in the mirror and sighed. The man he saw looking back wasn't all he had hoped. He looked tired, dark circles around his eyes, his cheeks were red and acne littered his face. He huffed frustrated with himself and wheeled his chair out of the bathroom. He grabbed some sunglasses on his way out. He and his mother left the house just as they saw some people approaching the Maher house. Both of them were anxious and seemed to be a game of "if you back out, I'll back out" but neither of them did and so they approached the house. "I guess, we just...go in?" Cameron mumbled to herself.
"Yeah, they're being welcoming." Caleb said, like a guide to the modern friendly neighborhood party. Cameron took a position behind Caleb's wheelchair, placing her hands on the handles. "You can't just use me a social shield." Caleb hissed playfully. He submitted anyway and let his mom wheel him through the doorway. Caleb put on a bright smile secretly hopeful to meet people.
 

Meme Machine

*always screaming* DES PA CITO
Caspian sighed in slight relief, and nodded. He didn’t seem to smile so much as grin, but it also seemed to suite him well.

“Ah, yes please. That would be lovely.” He began to walk over to the ice chests, where his mother in law already was, and waited for Donnie.

Nana, of course, broke into a sweet smile, and ‘awed’ slightly. She held her cup of ice tea with both hands, and spoke a tad loud, but very kind.

“Why, yes it is, and I have! You have a very lovely wife, Bob. We’re settling in fantastically, Esmerelda and Almeda especially.” The women stole a glance at her daughter and grabs daughter, before turning back to Bob. “How long has your family lived here?” Her accent was the thickest, by far, but not so much to where you couldn’t understand her.

Over by the chairs, Almeda smirked. She placed a hand on her hips as she started to walk, right next to Beth. “Uh, Yeah it’s cool! Although I will say, America is better so far.” She nodded matter of factly, and shook her head to the next question. “And uh, no I haven’t? What’s that.”

as Almeda passed Fallon, the second youngest daughter grabbed her attention by asking her something rather odd.

“Almeda! Is he....?” She pointed to the boy next to her, not in a rude way, more of a questioning. A slight look of guilt came over Almeda’s face, and she nodded. “Yeah. He’s there. The dog too. Sorry I left before explaining. I got excited.” She said, shooting her sister and apologetic smile.

Fallon looked to Max, and seemed kind of relived. She nodded, and kept petting Macie.

“Yes. His name is Cerberus. He’s a big black German Shepherd, and he’s mine. I got him for a birthday.” She said, keeping her eyes on him but still petting Macie fervently.
 

Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
As Donnie accompanied Caspian to the beer chest, he couldn't help but notice the man's scar across the back of his neck. The extent made Donnie pause for a moment.

"That's a big story on the back of your neck there," he said, opening the chest and pulling out a Budweiser, "and I'm curious, if you don't mind telling it. Here let me cap it for you." Donnie capped a Longboard, then gestured towards the one Caspian chose.

-----

"Great, I'm glad its all working out. We've lived here for about fifteen years. It's a decent enough place--seems there's always something going on. So you mentioned Esmerelda and Almeda--which ones are they, again?" Bob took a drink of his Longboard.

-----

"Oh my god it's delicious." That was Beth's initial explanation of the Arnold Palmer as they walked over.

She understood that it hadn't really been a description at all, so she intended to elaborate, but Almeda paused by the other girl, apparently her sister, who was near Max. Beth hadn't really been paying attention to the interaction between her brother and Fallon. Even though she tried not to evesdrop on Almeda and Fallon, Beth couldn't help but overhear a few words here and there referencing her brother. She exchanged glances with him, which made her grin uncontrollably for a moment. she had to turn away and fidget briefly with her bracelet. At that point Almeda and Fallon were done talking, and so Beth continued on to the beverage table with Almeda as planned.

"An Arnold Palmer is half iced tea, half lemonade," she explained simply, "so is that your sister?"

-----

Where his sister Beth had found amusement, Max was more than a little confused. He had the feeling that he was the subject of whispers between Fallon and this other girl, who was with his sister. Mostly because of Fallon pointing at him. Once Beth and the other girl left, Max replied to Fallon.

"Oh that's an awesome name for a big black German Shepherd! Macie is part German Shepherd, and part Rhodesian or something like that. So I have to ask, were you talking about me?" Max cocked a smile.

Macie was clearly enjoying the attention, and actually accepting of the break. She grew more at ease. No sooner had she looked Fallon in the eyes, than she laid down against her knees on the grass.

-----

Meanwhile Callie checked to see if anyone else was arriving. Sure enough, there were two more people coming into the house at that moment--a woman pushing a younger man in a wheelchair. Her heart immediately went out.

"Oh, welcome! I don't think we've really gotten to know each other yet--I'm Callie. Here, let me hold the door open for you two. Thanks for coming!"
 

okokapi

New Member
Caleb smiled as the woman approached. "We live a few houses down." He said gesturing in the direction behind them as his mother pushed him through the doorway. Once inside, Caleb outstretched his arm towards Callie for a handshake. "I'm Caleb, and this is my mother." He nodded back to his mom.

"Cameron." His mother smiled. "It's great to meet you Callie. I hope you don't mind, I heard about the little barbecue and thought we would stop on by." Cameron said clearly a bit nervous about the whole situation. She looked around the house impressed by it's design and decor. Cameron had always had dreams of decorating her own home, to create her dream house but that seemed unlikely given the path her life had taken. She turned her attention back to Callie "I've heard your family is the heart of this community." She commented kindly. It's true, upon Cameron's research into the area she found a number of events were hosted by the Mahers and the involvement in the community was impossible to overlook.
 

Meme Machine

*always screaming* DES PA CITO
Caspian turned his head slightly as Donnie mentioned his scar. He subconsciously ran a hand over it and shrugged.

“I don’t mind, it’s not a mental scar as much as a physical one. I do a lot of mission trips, that’s how I met Esmerelda. One of the trips at an orphanage, several men came in trying to kill the Americans. I got the scar from a knife.” He explained, looking calm and unaffected as he did. To him, it wasn’t a massive deal. The massive deal was making sure the kids were safe during the attack.

He grabbed the same as Donnie; it looked as if they similar tastes. Though, he grabbed a light.

———————

Smiling gracefully, the woman pointed towards her daughter.

“The woman with the child is Esmeralda. She is my eldest daughter, and one of the many lights of my life. Almeda is the one talking to, I assume, your daughter. The one walking this way. She is my third oldest granddaughter, but the only one here in America.” She paused, and slightly smiled when her eyes landed on Fallon and Almeda chatting.

Nana looked back to Bob, and gestured to the two children in the backyard as well.

“Are those your kids?”

——————

Almeda grinned as Beth simply described an ‘Arnold Palmer’. After talking with her sister, Beth describes in greater detail, and Almeda listened intently. Half tea half lemonade, huh? Honestly, she would have been fine with the simpler description, but she had to admit it sounded fantastic.

Her gaze wandered over to Fallon again as she was mentioned, and nodded.

“Yeah. Little sister. I feel kind of bad though. I usually help her get introduced to people. She prefers it that way.” Almeda said, before turning back to Beth. She saw her grandmother point her out from where she stood, talking to (probably?) Beth’s father. She gave a slight wave, before smiling at Beth. “And you have a brother?”

—————

Fallon cooed and rubbed Macies sides as she laid down, smiling and petting her some more. She loved animals, and conveniently animals loved her.

She nodded when he mentioned Cerberus again, and really wished her mama had let her bring him. But she suddenly tensed as Max asked if they were talking about him.

“Yeah.... um, sorry. We were.” She didn’t want to lie, but admiring that she had been talking about him made her flush slightly out of embarrassment. She was just making sure he was there and stuff, so it wasn’t weird.... right?

************
Interactions
@Winter_Wolf
 
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Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
"It's nice to meet you Caleb, and Cameron, I'm glad you could come! And no worries, everyone's welcome to come and go." As Callie went ahead of them to open the door to the backyard, she beamed at Cameron's compliment. The heart of the community! Neighborhood maybe, thought Callie.

"Oh you're too kind!" she replied to Cameron, "so Caleb, are you out of high school? Or do you have one year to go? My daughter Beth just graduated, but Max still has another year."

----------

"Cheers, but my God I guess we were cut from the same tough block then, you and I" Donnie said, taking a swig and then baring the old bullet wound scar on his neck which was partly covered by his shirt collar and beard. He didn't like to flaunt it, but Caspian had apparently been through a similarly significant emotional event as well, and survived to tell the tale.

---------

"Yep," Bob nodded as Nana asked about his kids, "Beth and Max. Beth graduated, but no college yet. She's just working at the cafe I guess, staying home. Max still has one more year. I don't know if he's looking for a job yet. I've been thinking about bringing him into the business next year--maybe even Beth--but maybe not. Anyways, what about your granddaughters? Where are they? If I had to guess by accent, I would say México?"

---------

Beth filled a solo cup with ice, then tea and lemonade, and handed it to Almeda once they arrived at the non-alcoholic beverages. She listened as she made another one for herself and listened to Almeda talk about her little sister.

"Brother? Yeah that's my little brother Max right there. Hey it's alright, we can't cover for our siblings all the time huh? But maybe we can hang with her if you want to? Or maybe us kids could go in the pool in a minute? Did you bring suits?"

---------

Max let out a hearty, good-natured laugh when he heard that he was indeed being talked about. To him, it wasn't anything to apologize about in such a context. He figured they meant well. He thought he discerned some blushing and didn't want to cause any embarrassment...it was a beginning of summer party after all.

"No worries, no worries! I get that sometimes at school. Not that that's a thing for awhile anymore!"

Around this time, Macie's head and ears shot up, towards a corner of the yard. She was still lying down, but only for a moment before springing up and sprinting towards a tree. A squirrel had come down into the yard from the fence, but quickly regretted its decision, and ran for the closest tree. As Macie let out a not-too-deep bark the squirrel just managed to escape.

"If you go get Cerberus maybe they can get the squirrels together," Max suggested.
 

okokapi

New Member
Caleb took back control of his chair and pushed it along behind Callie. "Yeah, I graduated high school." He said as he wheeled himself onto the back porch, suddenly aware of the open space, he felt small. The combination of abundant space and people made him sick to his stomach. He wanted to go home. He swallowed a lump in his throat and looked back at his mom, his eyes indicating his fear. Cameron stepped forward and put a hand on Caleb's shoulder. "Can I, " He cleared his throat before saying another word, "Mind if I get a drink?" He nodded his head towards the drink coolers. Cameron smiled a bit, proud that Caleb was not already out the front door.

Cameron looked back to Callie, "He's very smart, we are looking into some of the local schools." She said sheepishly. She wanted to turn their attention away from Caleb, away from them all together and ask about Callie."15 years. How've you managed all this time in one place?" Cameron realized after the fact that question may be too personal of a question to ask a stranger but she was curious. Cameron had never stayed anywhere for very long, or at least if she did she began to resent it.
 

Meme Machine

*always screaming* DES PA CITO
Caspian smiled, and raised his can just a little. He liked this man, Donnie. He seemed similar to him in all the right ways.

“Cheer indeed.” Caspian saw the bullet wound and hummed in slight thought. “Yes, it would seem so. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get that?” He faintly gestured to the mark, and took his own swing of his drink.

———————

Nana smiled as Bob explained his children. Beth and Max sounded sweet, and they looked like they were having fun talking to Fallon and Almeda.

“They sound lovely.” She was mostly surprised Fallon was talking to Max. That girl was always so skittish, and untrusting to people. “Well, Almeda is my only granddaughter in America besides Fallon. As for the others, they stayed with the rest of the family in Mexico, yes.” Her accent came out thick, as she looked to Esmerelda and the Caspian. Her face softened, before she turned back to Bob.

———————

Almeda looked at the drink in sarcastic suspicion, before sniffing it. She took a sip, and then her eyes widened. She hummed in satisfaction and drained half of the cup.

“Wow! That really is good!” Almeda exclaimed, holding the cup a bit farther away from her face. “Yeah, I guess that’s true. Siblings a great though.” Fallon watched as Max and Fallon interacted, and smiled.

“Nah. Let’s let them be. Anyone that can talk to Fallon without her running away impresses me. Although, I assume most of that is because of the dog.” She laughed a bit, and looked over at the pool when Beth asked about the swim suits.

“I mean, I did. I put one on under my clothes. But Fallon would be be caught dead in a swim suit.”

——————

Fallon smiled slightly, and laughed. She could see how that would be a thing, people talking about him at school. She was about to respond when Macie got up to chase the squirrel, causing Fallon to frown slightly.

However, at the mention of getting Cerberus, Fallon stood straight up, and nodded enthusiastically.

“Yes! Yeah...... I just need to go to the front yard. He’ll hear me.” She said confidently, rubbing her arms slightly and going to move to the door leading back inside. “Is there a gate, or just go through the front door?” She hadn’t really paused to see if there was a fence, she just assumed since they had a dog.

~~~~~~~~
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@Winter_Wolf
 
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Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
"We have lemonade, tea, and water right over there, so help yourself, Caleb," Callie pointed out the drink area to the boy. She then turned her attention towards Cameron, who was speaking.

"Oh, does he know what he wants to do? He could try for the Waterton Business College if he's interested in anything like that? Or the University? As for us, well, this is where the business is for one. We haven't thought too much about leaving, certainly not with the kids still at home, you know?"

----------

"A sniper," Donnie replied to Caspian's question, "back in the Korean War. I was in a tank crew--we all figured that it would take a big shell to take any of us out, because the armor protected us from bullets. Well, that sniper and his buddies snuck close to where our group was paused and ambushed us--and I was out of the hatch up to my shoulders so I was a good target! It took a moment to realize I wasn't done for, but after that I let that sniper know I was still sticking around and fighting.

----------

Bob smiled at Nana's compliment on his children. He also looked over at them, happy to see that they were getting along well enough with the Calist's own children.

"Ah, I see. I've touched base with a lot of people from Mexico and Central America in my line of work, so I can pick up regional differences sometimes."

--------

Beth watched as Almeda inspected and ultimately drank the contents of the cup. She found it to be a little bit amusing, and hoped Almeda would like it. She did, quite clearly, based on how much she drank down and her exclamation about it. Beth "aw"ed with slightly amused yet still genuine pity, at Almeda's comments regarding Fallon. But she perked up when Almeda said she had her suit on already.

"Yeah same! Dinner won't be for a bit, so we could jump in now," Beth suggested, with a bit of a hopeful question mark implied at the end through her tone. She didn't know if Almeda wanted to have more of her drink, or grab some of the party appetizer type food that was free to take, but Beth had been itching to fling herself in all day.

---------

"Okay cool! Yeah the gate's right there, but we need to fix it, so we can't really use it right now. The front door should be open."
 

Meme Machine

*always screaming* DES PA CITO
One of Caspian’s eyebrows went up as Donnie mentioned a sniper, the understanding that he used to be from the army or some form of military now apparent. He smiled a little as Donnie finished his story. It was amazing how close he came to death, only to strive on.

“I’m guessing he was angry that he missed. That’s an amazing story.” Caspian said, taking another sip of his drink. “You are a very strong man, Donnie.” He finished, crossing one of his arms across his chest.

—————

Nana nodded, and smiled at the man. She could tell he easily picked out where they were from, but a lot of people could pick out Mexicans or Cubans.

“Well, your work certainly sounds interesting. What is it you do?” She asked politely, before taking another sip of her drink.

—————

Almeda could see how much Beth wanted to get in the pool. It was practically dripping in her voice. So, Almeda shrugged, and set her empty cup back on the table. She nodded, and started to take of her shirt. She had a simple yellow one piece on underneath it, that had a halter neck line. She started running towards the pool, and called out to Beth as she ran.

“Last one in is a rotten egg!” She yelled, dodging her sister and Max on the grass. She got to the pools edge and jumped, not to hard but hard enough to make a bit of a splash. She didn’t know if Beth followed her or not, but she didn’t mind either way.

——————

Fallon visibly brightened, and turned towards the back door. She stood, and quickly walked to the door. She heard a call, and then a splash, and figured Almeda had probably gotten in the pool. She rushed past Callie and another woman who was standing there, and waved politely before going to the front yard. She didn’t know if Max had followed or not. She hadn’t checked.

She brought two fingers to her lips, and let out a shrill whistle. Not even ten seconds after she whistles, Cerberus came running down the street, his fur shiny and clean. He reached her feet, and then sat down, panting a bit. Fallon giggled, and leaned down to pet him behind the ears.
 

Winter_Wolf

you had me at whiskey
Donnie nodded appreciatively with Caspian's comments, although he felt that the present conversation was a little heavy for the moment, and wished to change the subject. He took a sip of beer and shifted focus.

"I'm curious, what do you do for a living?

--------

"I own a cigar shop and lounge in Old Town--I actually inherited it from my Dad there, Donnie, when he turned it over. We've had the opportunity to do a good amount of foreign travel and collaboration, building relationships, and all that, across numerous countries. I'd say the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua are two of the biggest traditionally because that's where a lot is grown, but we've been tapping into some great Mexican growers as well."

--------

As soon as Beth saw Almeda start taking off her shirt, Beth smiled and also prepared herself for the plunge. Beth lagged behind a little, partly because she wasn't sure where to put her bracelet and ring. She always took them off before going in the pool. There wasn't really any good place to put them, so after a split second of delay, Beth decided she would deal with them after jumping in. Beth quickly got down to her teal two piece, and leapt off the pool deck just behind Almeda with a laugh.

At the commotion and the splash of water, both Max and Callie turned their attention towards the pool and cheered. In a way, it was officially summer, and officially a summer party at that moment!
 

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