A Coming Of Age


brynn_icon.gif emily_icon.gif joaquin_icon.gif joe_icon.gif lance_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif

Scene Title A Coming of Age
Synopsis A gathering is held to celebrate one teenager's official coming of age.
Date October 22, 2019

The Benchmark Center

While the Benchmark isn’t usually a place for parties, Silvia has managed to steal a multi-purpose room for just such an occasion. The room certainly doesn’t look festive, no real decorations or balloons to mark the day, but the room certainly isn’t without color.

A long table and chairs are set up in the middle of the room, the table covered in various art supplies. There’s a larger canvas in the center of the table that looks like a collaborative painting, some small blank canvases nearby for individual use, and even some paper for cards, or perhaps folding and cutting.

Dressed a little fancier than usual, Silvia’s in a red top with peasant-style sleeves, jeans, and a pair of heels. She’s positioned herself by a small table bearing snacks, drinks, and a cake—which Silvia has decorated like a beach with some otters on it. Currently, she’s got a handful of gummy bears that she’s eating guiltily, like she’s snuck them… from her own party.

"Trade you," Emily Epstein voices from the open doorway, flashing a brief smile as she spares a look for the room's decoration before turning back to Silvia. "Happy birthday, Silvia," she says as she walks in, the hard soles of her grey flats sounding against the tile. In her hands, she holds a small, yellow-wrapped box she only parts with once it's reached Silvia directly. Another small smile is given to emphasise yes it's for her, and to take it. Then she sets about pulling off the forest-green winter coat she wears, revealing an autumn-orange wool sweater beneath.

"Did you swap cake for an arts and crafts experience?" Emily asks while laying the coat over the back of a chair. "I wouldn't be surprised, I guess, but I'd still think you were being cheated out of the experience. Cake's the best part." Smart remark delivered in a voice that seems like it should be accompanied by a wink, she forgoes that act entirely to sidle back Silvia's direction. There were gummy bears to potentially partake in, after all.

A final gummy bear meets its end in Silvia’s mouth before she reaches over to take the present. “Aw, you didn’t have to get me anything. I mostly just wanted people to come hang out. And really, a fun experience is the best gift anyway, right? That’s why I wanted something to do. People can all work on one painting together, or they can make whatever they want on their own… and then they have something they can take home with them if they wish.”

She gestures behind Emily where the decorated cake is hiding on the table. “I didn’t forget the cake, I just made it part of the arts and crafts. I’ve got to say, I’m impressed with bakers… decorating a cake is not as easy as putting pen to paper. There’s a lot of…” She searches for the word. “… texture there.”

“Am I late?” A skidding half at the open doorway, Lance dressed in his off-the-rack suit from work, the tie tied but loosely so it’s hanging a bit down from his collar, a box wrapped up in brown paper (instead of wrapping paper) in his arms and both eyebrows up towards his hairline. When he realizes there’s only two people there so far, he relaxes with an easygoing grin, stepping inside.

“Hey! Sorry, Rhys had some paperwork for me so I was worried I was gonna be late,” he admits, looking around, “Ooh, are we doing art?”

Emily looks back over her shoulder as she hears the skid, pausing with gummy bear in hand. There's no alarm as she sees who it is, only a quiet huff of amusement. "I'm late, so you're definitely late," she teases. Neither of them were actually late, she confirms with a glance to the clock, but that's beside the point.

Snacking, she supposes, "An experience really is the best gift, but 18 is a big year! It's worth doing something a little extra, too." Her gaze drifts to the gift Lance brought, the thought that's been put into it. He went as far as to wrap it, after all. She looks back up at him with an arched eyebrow.

“The tie’s a good look,” Silvia points out. “Maybe the secret agent thing could work for you.” She chuckles, then nods her head to the table. “Yup, I figured it might be fun to do something instead of just eating gummy bears and standing around… although I’m not opposed to that either.” She steals a glance at the bowl of gummy bears.

Then there’s the matter of the package still in her hands, and the one Silvia notices Lance carrying. “Should I open these now? I didn’t really anticipate presents.”

Who else is definitely late? Joaquin is heard giving thanks to the Benchmark staffer showing him the way to the birthday party room as he nudges his way in back first. His hands are full, holding a medium size stock pot that has the lid tied on with rope twine and formed a handle in one, and a blue, index-card holder sized wrapped gift in the other. Upon seeing others there, he lifts the present-holding hand to wave. "Hey all," he says.

Silvia might not have anticipated presents, but she's getting them anyways. The blue box is hers now, passed into her possession. Joaquin next hefts the stock pot onto the table, where he pats the lid lightly. "Wasn't sure if it was a potluck style thing, but." Without further ado he pulls a knot off the rope handle to loosen it and lifts off the lid, releasing a savory scent of habichuelas guisadas.

"Can't have a party without a meal, right?" Joaquin adds with a smile. "Happy Birthday, Silvia."

Joe arrives with a package in hand as well, and in a very similar fashion to Lance before him, running at top speed. Only he doesn't handle the stop so well. In fact he handles it so poorly that he goes end over end past the doorway. "One sec!" He calls out even as the sound of his tumbling self can be heard bouncing along the floor, ending with a squeak of sneakers on tiled floor. Then Joe is back at the door, this time not falling over and grinning. "Sorry. Quick unexpected detour to meet the floor."

A wide grin from him as he walks in. His package is at least wrapped in colored paper Lance! No it's not. It's one of those gift bags you'd get from Macy's or something, the thick paper ones? And it's just been cut to wrap around the package. Sort of like wrapping paper. "Hi guys!" He grins around at the group, reaching back behind him to fix the hood of his jacket, and dusting it off, because floor. "Who says you shouldn't eat gummy bears and stand around?" He asks, because he heard that as he was skidding past the door.

"Oh crap. Was this potluck? I could have brought something! I didn't know! I can still go get something… somewhere? I think? Uhhhhh." Joe's features scrunch up as he searches his memory banks for a place that's still open and nearby. That he could get to without missing much of the party.

"Wait art? We're doing art?" Is that… fear on Joe's face? Joe is not an artist. He has siblings and friends that are artists. But Joe is not an artist. "Hi Ems! Hi Broninja! Hi Joaquin!" Because they need greetings too. "Happy Birthday Pearl!" Joaquin is the only one that actually got his actual name used. And Joe's eyes narrow at that as he realizes he doesn't have a nickname for Joaquin. Which is a huge oversight on his part.

Everyone brought me something?” Silvia’s eyes fall on Joaquin’s present followed by Joe’s as he comes sliding in. “I sort of just thought people would come and show up and have a good time and that would be the present. I’m terrible at receiving gifts…” She only looks mildly set back by the present situation, but there’s a bit of a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.

Silvia takes a moment to inhale the scent of the food, then grins. “Can’t go wrong with a good meal… and don’t worry Joe, you aren’t required to bring anything. I just wanted people to come, hang out, maybe get creative. I just wanted to see everyone.” She makes a sweeping motion with her head as her arms are somewhat occupied with the few presents she’s been handed.

“Okay, I’m going to just open these then, before someone else walks in the door and adds to the pile.” She makes a general motion with her arm to encourage others to follow as she makes her way to the table, scooting out a chair with her foot to sit down.

Between the additional presents being bestowed on Silvia and her reaction to them and the people who are handing them on, Emily bears a small smile as they make their way in. One hand lifts in a wave while the other grabs a handful of gummy bears from the bowl whose lifespan was surely shortened with Joe in the room. Popping them in her mouth all at once, she's freed to help Silvia transfer her gifts over to the table.

She doesn't sit herself just yet, sidling over to Joaquin while he finishes setting up the crockpot. A gentle elbow to the side and an arch of her brow asks Wow, you really made all that??, accompanied by a smile at one corner of her mouth. It smells good. The rest of her too-large bite is swallowed away so she can get Joe's attention a little more obviously. Emily clears her throat before directing, "Yes, we're all doing art after this. I'm not good at it either, don't worry."

Brynn's quiet arrival amid the chaos could easily go unnoticed. She came in behind the tornado that is Joe. Her constant companion lately, Doodlebug remains right at her ankle as she pauses there waiting for Mr. Exuberant to settle in. She did watch him skid past the doorway, waiting patiently out there. She's not surprised to see what she thinks of as a lot of 'our' family. Sylvia's a part of them now too. She makes her way forward with her backpack on her shoulder and a small box in her hand. It too joins the gifts that are being bestowed, and she waves at Sylvia with a shy smile. Happy birthday!

At the mention of the tie, Lance grins broadly; straightening up, he brings a hand up to adjust the tie, tugging it a little more into place. Which is hard with one hand. After a frustrated moment he sets the present down and reaches up to properly adjust the tie, clearing his throat and then giving a finger-gun salute towards Silvia. “Told you,” he teases.

Clearing his throat, he’s then interrupted by Joe appeared, turning to laugh, “Get up, Joe. C’mon in, it’s good— and uh, yeah, go ahead and open them now, so we can get to whatever else you got planned! Art and all that!” He’s off-balance verbally today, a little awkward for whatever reason.

Joaquin's bounty comes with some randomly scavenged paper bowls secured on the inside of the lid, and utensils protected with a plastic baggie from dropping into the stewed beans and rice; someone learned about packing portable camping provisions at some point, and that came in useful in Canada. Emily's elbow gets him to side step half a pace, making room for her. Joaquin smiles back and ducks his head for the silent note in her brow. And then he puts her to work, handing her the bowls and utensils to pass around.

"It's not really anything fancy," Joaquin remarks of his gift. "But you really sh—" His words fail as the torrent of Joe comes in to party. "Hey, Joe, you made it," he greets back with an awkward wave. It extends to Brynn when she appears as well. Attentions turn to Silvia given that she's chosen to start opening presents already. "Looks like it's turning out to be a Thing," notes Joaquin with another glance to the doors.

When it comes to Silvia, Lynette does her best not to hover. It's been more difficult than usual over the past few months, but she does try. So when she appears in the doorway with Silvia's little brother and sister in tow, it's hard to say which of the three are responsible for them dropping in. Evie sees the art supplies and gasps, dashing in toward them— a passion she shares with her big sister. Lynette clears her throat and Evie slows down to a less frazzled walk.

"Sorry to interrupt. They wanted to come and say Happy Birthday. I told them we'd only be here for a little bit," Lynette says as she and Manuel come over to Silvia's side. She gives her daughter a hug, and the other two follow suit to create a sort of Ruiz family dog pile. But it isn't long before Lynette's attention turns to the others in the room, too. After all, she's rather attached to them, too.

The ones she knows, anyway.

Her head tilts when she sees Emily, and she looks back toward Silvia. "Will you introduce me to your friend?"

"Well that's what you're supposed to do on birthdays isn't it? Take the time out to select something for a friend you know they'll like?" Joe asks looking around the room a little bit, his wide grin still in place as he finds somewhere to put his present for Silvia down, or just hands it to her to find a place to put it down. "Most people are terrible at receiving gifts." Joe smiles and follows along towards the table but pauses skidding to a top. Gummy bears. Yes Emily would be correct in her assumption. A hand dips into a bowl of gummy bears and comes up victorious with many a captured bear to be consumed. Though really not too big a handful he wants to leave some for other people too.

"All of us?" He asks looking at Emily, then around the room at the others, then back. "What is that? It smells good." Joe's nose has been followed towards the food Joaquin brought. He tries to peek in the pot, or better yet get some of whatever is in there for the eating. It's a Joe. And there's food. Oh yeah presents! Can Joe get food and observe presents? Probably. Joe hovers at Joaquin's shoulder peering into the pot. "What it is? What it is Joaquin? It smells good. I wants some. Gimme gimme." Better give him some Joaquin or you might lose a shoulder.

"Lady Zeus! Primal! And little Ruizes!" Joe sneaks over near the little ones as best he can. "Did you guys know your mom is amazing? She once saved our lives. LIke a bunch of us in this room. It was utterly Primal." Joe will if he's not stopped, regale Lynette's kidlets with tales of their mother's derring do. While trying to snarf on rice and beans. And observe present opening. And keeping up with the conversation in the room as a whole.

“I didn’t expect anything, much less something fancy,” Silvia reassures Joaquin with a gentle smile. She doesn’t miss Brynn slipping in, giving her a wave from her seat as she signs, “welcome”. She’s gotten better with some of her signing, at least. Enough that it’s clear she’s making a concerted effort to learn it. She beckons the girl over as she settles the presents down on the table in front of her.

It’s as she’s doing so that she spots her mother and the two younger ones making their way in. It’s clear by her smile that she doesn’t consider this too much of a hovermom behavior and she wiggles her fingers in a fond hello to her two younger siblings. “There’s room for her if she wants to make something,” she directs to her mom in regards to her younger sister as she notes the eyeing of art supplies. That’s something Silvia’s proud of.

The hugs are welcomed and presents are forgotten for a moment as she enjoys a moment with her family. When Lynette directs her attention to Emily, she turns in that direction before smiling. “Ah! Mom, this is Emily. Ems, this is my mom, Lynette. I might be biased but she’s a pretty cool mom.” She pauses. “I think everyone else has met my mom… if you haven’t, that’s her right there.” She gestures in Lynette’s direction. “I was just about to open presents if you want to stick around for that, you’re welcome to pop out whenever you’d like. Just make sure you take a peek at the cake before you go—I have a feeling you’ll really like it.”

There’s Joe being Joe, popping between things with the speed an energy of no living creature that has existed or ever will. She retrieves Joe’s present from him in his drive-by to catch up to her siblings. It’s enough that Silvia gives a chuckle a the tiniest shake of her head in response, clearly still smiling. His exuberance never seems to fail to bring a party up a notch.

Her gaze falls back over the presents, clearly humbled by the offering before she picks the first one up and begins opening it.

Lance - as Lance does - waits for Hurricane Joe to run its course before he interjects into the conversation again, an amused grin curving his lips as he shakes his head at his lighthouse-sibling’s antics.

“Don’t let him keep it for himself,” he calls over, encouraging Joe’s friendly harassment of Joaquin before looking back to the new arrival— clearing his throat, he finishes nervously adjusting his tie again. “Hey Mrs. Ruiz,” he offers affably, “Welcome to the party— oh, hey kiddos!”

A grin’s flashed to the younglings, but then presents are being opened. He rocks on his heels a bit as Silvia unwraps the brown paper wrapped around the box he’d set down, revealing an old computer hardware manufacturer’s label - one long out of business due to the war, of course - declaring the item to be a cheap flat-bed scanner. Not large, just big enough for a single piece of paper.


Silvia looks positively delighted as she takes a moment to admire the scanner. She seems about to say something but just remains silent for a good long moment before looking up. “Thank you, this means a lot. I’ll be putting it to good use, right away, probably. Unless classwork gets busy.” The present gets another look, then Lance does, and she smiles genuinely. “Thank you again.”

Her eyes return to the pile of presents.

The presence of Silvia's mother, or maybe just a last-second attack of uncertainty brings a deadening of light to Emily's eyes when her present is reached for. She clears her throat as Silvia sets into the yellow paper. "So, if you don't like it, don't feel obligated to keep it, or— carry it— or…"

The box underneath is plain cardboard, folded neatly.

"I just thought— you know…"

The box pops open, revealing silver-speckled tissue paper.

"… It seemed like a good thing to have."

Rustling through the paper reveals a simple black object, slightly ergonomic. With a trigger. It's a taser.

"— because it's not always safe around campus, and all…" Emily tags on in little more than a murmur, her hand hanging off the side of her neck as she darts a glance Lynette's way in particular. Palm parts from skin only so she can lift her hand in a wave, attempting friendliness. "I'm Emily. I've heard a lot about you, it's good to meet you." Her gaze skitters on quickly after that, looking for a good out.

Art seemed like a very good out at the moment. The small girl, Evie, she had the right idea.

But first, finishing the presents. Emily looks back to Silvia with a small smile. "Just one of those things that are smart to have, even if you hope to never use it."

“This is a great gift, Emily,” Silvia says, turning the tazer over in her hands as she tests the feel of it. “It’s very thoughtful… it’ll be a little bit less scary coming home from campus after dark. Thank you, I appreciate it. And I will use it.”

Brynn's small one happened to land near the top under Silvia's hand. The paper is hand painted, or… chromakinetic, at least … in a swash of soft blacks and grays offset with silvery flowing script that says simply 'happy birthday!' When it's opened it reveals a stash of really good chocolate pieces, the kind that it takes rampant bribery to get hold of in the Safe Zone. The gift-giver herself has slipped off to the side with her Working Dog Labradoodle, watching the influx of people. She does wave at everyone when she catch their gaze though.

Silvia beams at the presence of the chocolates, hugging it to her chest for the moment as if to guard them from those who might be eyeing them in jealousy. She turns towards Brynn, making sure to catch her attention before she signs, “Your wrapping was beautiful and I am excited for the gift. We’ll share one at the Lanthorn. Thank you.”

With the pot is wide open for those wanting food, Joaquin surrenders some ground to Joe's curiosity. "Just some beans and rice," answers the supplier, along with a passing gesture indicating Joe has free rein to help himself with the utensils and bowls provided. Given Joe's stuffing his mouth with candy, though, he can't help the next statement. "Gummy bears aren't a replacement for a good meal."

His gaze moves to the others also snacking away, but it winds up on Lynette and the Ruiz kids coming around. Joaquin blinks several times and then shies off manning the snack station a couple of steps. "Miss Lynette," comes his greeting for the former Ferry councilwoman, and finding it almost insufficient he adds with a point of his finger to the stock pot, "There's some habichuelas." If she or the kids are hungry, at all.

By the time Silvia gets to Joaquin's blue gift, it's just as representative of the guy himself. She gets an index card holder box. But inside the box: a pocket knife newly sharpened and shined, a tiny travel-size first-aid and sewing kit, and behind it all, actual index cards. Handwritten on each card, a different recipe of varying food types with occasional substitutions when said item is unavailable. Overall, a homely sort of gift.

“It’s a survival kit,” Silvia says with a grin. “I mean, I’ll be surviving in the Lanthorn, but that’s where this will really come in handy. It’s all stuff I’ll use, I’m certain of that.” She glances over in Joaquin’s direction and smiles. “Gracias.”

Joe has a mouthful of food when he looks over at Joaquin. There may be bits of gummy bear now mixing with the beans and rice as he chews on his food. His head wobbles up and down in a rapid nod at what his LHK sibling has said. "You're right." He finally comments after swallowing his food. "It's the best meal. Not a replacement. A meal in and of itself." He flashes a close lipped grin at Joaquin, he's at least conscious of the fact that he's eating beans and they love to get bits of skin stuck in teeth. "Oooo lots of good presents." Joe remarks as presents are opened. Chocolates. Nice. Where did you find those? I can't find anywhere with good chocolates.

Joe's gift is a box right around the size of a notebook. Inside of the box are art supplies. Good art supplies. The kind you'd go to a high end supply shop for. There's a hard backed sketchbook of medium tooth paper, as well as jumble of other supplies. There are a couple sets of charcoal sticks, a couple sets of graphite sticks, an assortment of sketch pencils of various hardness, a set of different sized blending stumps and even one of the little metal pencil extenders for when your pencil starts getting short. The packages are all aged but the products insides are still sealed away. "I found an art supply shop in the ruins. Was tricky getting to it, which is why it wasn't raided before now I'm guessing.”

“That’s very thoughtful, Joe. These are really nice…” Silvia grins. “I’m impressed you went rummaging in the ruins just for art supplies. Kind of figures you’d go on an adventure for this.” She pokes through the different supplies before she offers a small nod. “Thank you. I really appreciate it… and I’ll make good use of it. I’ll have to owe you a picture!”

Brynn shoots a smile and a nod of acknowledgement back to Silvia, and then she aisles sideways to be more out of the way. The scent of beans and rice draws her to Joaquin's side. That smells great, she signs, though she knows he's not one of the better signers from the Lighthouse. Still, her genuine grin and the appreciative sniff should give him the compliment just as well. She helps herself to a little in a bowl and watches Lynette's young ones take to the art supplies with gusto.

"Emily, lovely to meet you," Lynette says and she comes over to offer and handshake to the young woman.

Manuel comes with her and mimics the gesture as well. "I'm Manuel," he says in a tone too serious for his age, but it just makes Lynette drape and arm around the boy's shoulders.

The other Lighthouse Kids get a greeting from her, mostly through ruffled hair or a gentle grip on their shoulder. "It's good to see you all again. If you all need anything, you know where to find me." She probably means for the party, but then again she also probably means in general, too. But she gathers up the young ones, saving Evie from having to listen to stories about her mother as she leads them to the door. But she doesn't leave before giving Silvia a somewhat embarrassing kiss to the top of her head. But at least she keeps the visit short instead of extending the embarrassment.

Joaquin screws up an expression that can only echo the 'ew' of gummy bears together with the beans and rice that Joe manages to shovel in. It's his choice though, so no further verbal chastisement comes from the meal provider. Instead, he turns to Brynn and smiles for the sign. He nods understanding, offering back the very basic response, made stilted by time and disuse. You. Eat. It good stuff. He likewise spoons out a couple more bowls, setting them to a side for the departing Ruizes to take with. "Two for the road," he says.

Thankfully, Silvia’s now at an age that the kiss to her head and short visit are less annoying and more cute. It’s legitimately nice to see her family and be reminded of just how much they appreciate her. “Bye Mom,” she says, then waves at her two siblings before looking towards the art supplies. “So… there’s all kinds of stuff to play around with, I thought people could just have fun with whatever they felt like. The big canvas is for everyone, I figure it can be something everyone can work on together. Don’t feel like you have to do anything either… I’m just happy you’re all here. I’m not just saying this to sound sentimental or something—the best gift is having people here with me.”

With that, she proceeds to move for the big canvas, snatching up a small handful of brushes and some paint.

The handshake from Lynette— Emily expects as much. The second one from Manuel is a surprise met with a brief smile. "It's good to meet you both," she tells them before sliding back, trying to become one with the background again as much as possible. She lets out a slow breath to even herself out, keeping Lynette in the corner of her eye until she leaves with the kids.

She seemed so poised for someone she'd heard had been through so much. For her part, Emily didn't want to be one of those people who brought up the Ferry or the war or some other dark time, but she found it hard to keep it just to niceties, somehow. She was struck by how Lynette, at a glance, had seemed to move on with her life in ways others close to her hadn't.

The attention moving back to the painting though is a good mental segue, Emily's attention snapping to it instantly. "Yes," she interjects halfway through Silvia's explanation, heading back for the food to grab Joe by the arm. Joaquin gets a polite glance of excuse me, I'm borrowing him as she makes a solid effort of dragging Joe to the large canvas.

"Let's figure out what we're putting on this thing." Emily directs him all too seriously. "If this is what Silvia wants for her birthday, this is what she's getting." Said by the way of you don't want to let her down, do you?

Joe watches hand shakes go round, and his mouth opens as if he feels the need to say something, but then miracle of miracles it closes without words coming out. Shocking. He watches Emily and Lynette and the little Ruiz for a few moments before he goes back to trying to gobble down an entire bowl of rice and beans in record time, while not giving up the gummy bear onslaught. Until that is his hand is empty. He doesn't go back for more just continues on eating. Until that is Silvia is speaking up and his head wobbles up and down loosely a few times. "Definitely." He confirms after swallowing the mouthful of food he was chewing on, and probably didn't finish chewing on. "People are definitely the best present. Having people. Friends. Family." And then more food is shoveled in.

Joe is skilled at eating and walking, even if that walking is being pulled along by an Emily. "This is delicious Joaquin!" Joe calls out as he's pulled away. When Emily plants him in front of the big canvas his eyes go slightly wide. He looks over at emily, then back to the canvas, then over at Emily. "Uhhh." He mumbles around his food. He chews slowly, tilting his head one way, then slowly the other. "Why do artists do that? It didn't inspire anything. They always do that, then shout ah hah as if they've had some break threw because they looked at their painting funny." He's signing it too, but this time in Lighthouse Cant. Because shorthand is easier when you're trying to snarf food as well.

"We could each do ourselves up there. Like a reminder of the party and all the people that came to spend time with her. Good memories and stuff. I could draw me. Or! Or! Each of us could draw one of the others. I get to draw Lance!" And then more food. "Bye Miss Lynette!" Joe shouts belatedly as if just realizing that Lady Zeus is leaving. Which he probably is just now realizing it, letting the conversation catch up in his head.

Amused by the handshakes, Joaquin looks on at the interactions of the young Manuel in a sense of nostalgia seeing the younger boy reflecting a vision of his own younger self. A short sigh escapes him as well, seeing Lynette dispense parental affections. A longer sigh lets out once Lynette herds the younger children away. "I haven't seen Lynette since…" Since everything blew up, he wants to say, but doesn't. It's supposed to be a celebratory scene. Instead, he shoves a spoonful of the stewed beans into his mouth.

"Glad you like it Joe," he says after a swallow, better to not choke on a laugh. Not yet moving towards the canvas, Joaquin focuses on getting in at least a half bellyful of beans before the arting begins in earnest. And, to hide the fact that he utterly doesn't understand Joe's signing in the Cant. Doesn't help that he breaks off watching to look towards the others for hints and context, just in case there's hidden messages in the signing that aren't in Joe's rapidfire topic-hopping.

“‘Bye, Mrs Ruiz!” Lance grins after the ex-Ferrywoman and her other kids before turning back to Silvia with an even wider grin, “I thought you’d like it, I mean, we talked about it and then I saw it at a pawn shop and I thought - hey this is karma or fate or whatever so I figured I’d pick it up and hopefully it’ll work with whatever computer we try and hook it up to, cause it’s kind of old and— “ Lance. Lance, you’re babbling.

A breath, “Right! Art! Hey, if you’re drawing me, Joe, I’m drawing you.” To the canvas he goes, before he says something else!

“You’ve never looked at something from a different perspective? A story looks different depending on who’s telling it. A shift in your point of view and you might find something ordinary something beautiful,” Silvia directs at Joe. She settles herself next to the large canvas before turning her attention to Lance and his babbling.

“You definitely got lucky. Guess some things are meant to be, right? La mano del destino.” She beams at him, then nods. “But you’re helping me hook it up. That might be quite a project. We’ll work on it together.”

She picks up a brush, then squirts some paint onto an empty spot on the white butcher paper laid out on the table. “Alright, if we’re doing each other, I’ve got dibs on Emily.”

Emily, whose brow knits at the sudden turn of events. "Okay, family portrait it is," she teases without teasing, voice deadpan as she tries to figure out what exactly is going on between the various states of heightened emotion at the moment. She catches Joaquin's gaze briefly in his search of other faces, giving him a look halfway-inquisitive and part 'it is what it is'. For her part, time to start figuring out what— or who she's drawing.

"Do we swap back and forth or…" Emily trails off, realizing of the people left, most of them are skilled artists in some way. "Ah, shit," she mutters under her breath, reaching over top of other arms to snag a black marker from the supplies pile before someone gets ahold of the exact Sharpie she had her eye on. Surreptitiously, she glances at the others around her as she gets started.

Maybe if she doesn't say who she's drawing out loud, she can lie and say whoever it ends up looking most like was definitely who she planned to sketch after all.

"Whatever you guys want to do," Joaquin puts in mildly, hiding the nervousness about the sudden choice of art subjects by the casual lowering of his volume. He stays back by nature, giving way to the more boisterous of the crew. But with everybody pairing off, then, that leaves him and… Brynn? You and me? Sorry. Me bad draw you, maybe. Sorry. His signing is horribly stilted as he expresses pre-emptive condolences.

The fact that Joe continues to sign without really always paying attention to what he's signing (because her brother has become very adept at signing without paying attention, just relaying everything that gets said!) is what brings a tinge of pink to Brynn's face as her gray eyes flicker to Silvia and back. Wait, what?? Silvia's doing what with Emily now???

Shaking her head because she's pretty sure Joe either signed that wrong or that he missed something, she dismisses it without snark. Her attention is more fully on Joaquin if only because he's struggling with the signing happening around him. She keeps it to simplest form for him with a happy grin. Love to!, she assures him. It doesn't matter about bad drawing, it's just about drawing! She grabs some pens from the table after setting her bowl down and offers with her silent hand gesturing to share them with him. They can take over a corner of the canvas.

Silvia takes a moment or two to peek up at her friends as they work, a smile on her face before looking back down at her own painted version of her friend. “Good,” she says, half to herself as much as anyone else. “I need something for the wall in my new place—this way, I’ll always have everyone with me. And I always will.”

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