Bowling With Friends


brynn_icon.gif devon2_icon.gif emily4_icon.gif geneva_icon.gif joe_icon.gif

Scene Title Bowling With Friends
Synopsis Emily introduces Devon to some of her friends, and it doesn't end with anyone storming out.
Date May 7, 2019

First Emily had texted Geneva. Bowling Friday? Bringing Devon.

Then she realized just her and Devon and Geneva would be weird and she didn't want any third-wheel feelings happening, so Emily texted Joe. But as soon as she'd hit send she remembered that would be equally awkward, so she also texted Brynn.

… So that made five. Five was good, right?

As Friday approached, she tried not to think about it.

Melody Lanes

Red Hook

May 7, 2019

Emily rocks on her heels, feet already snug in bowling shoes. One hand braces her phone while the other taps away at it, glancing over to see how everyone else is getting along in the process of getting their equipment, the last of the group coming in and getting together. The more she looks at the medley of people she cares about all together in one place, the more she marvels at it, her nerve level for the time being.

In spite of having made the suggestion, there's little about bowling that Devon actually knows. The idea of it seems simple enough, rolling a ball across a floor to a bunch of pins sitting thirty feet away. Simple right. He's made no show about choosing a ball, but he did make a joke about the shoes — clowns tap dancing had him laughing too hard for sensible discussion for several minutes.

He's gotten himself under control now, more or less, and works on filling in the score card.

Brynn has never been bowling. She came in with Joe, marveling at how the place looks. She's seen bowling on Grease 2… yes, they watched musicals, cuz it was all there was sometimes! Closed captioning is fun with those, when your TV can turn it on. But still, she's got no idea what this is going to be like. And wearing shoes someone else has worn? Not even a thought about that — she just finds it a little strange that we're only borrowing them for bowling in particular. She's wiggling her toes in them and slants a glance toward Emily. Have you ever done this before? Is it hard?

Joe walks in with his hands signing at Brynn, trying to explain to her how bowling works. Because he's been bowling lots and lots of times. (Exactly once.) So he's an expert. He's not talking as he's walking for once. Well, not talking with his mouth, but his hands are sure moving as he explains. Shoes claimed he's sitting down, getting out of his shoes and getting into the bowling ones, his hands too busy to to run as he gets ready to bowl. "Deeeevon. Feeling better buddy? Last time I saw you well… yeah. Beach. Half dead. All that. You look better." Joe glances up to Emily with a quick smile, but then goes back to getting his shoes on. Once that is done he shoots up and to his feet, sliding a bit in the smooth bottomed shoes, but turns the slide into an actual slide, skating across the floor a bit. "We need balls." He comments aloud, signing it at Brynn, and pointing to the racks where the balls sit. "How is everyone? Haven't really seen a whole lot of everybody lately." Of course he asks that as he's walking away, so his voice gets louder and louder as he moves to one of the racks of bowling balls and picks up the balls, feeling the weight of them in his hands, testing the finger holes, naturally getting a finger stuck in one of them, requiring a couple of good tugs to pull it free.

Unfortunately, Joe's whole one time bowling does make him the expert here. Emily's got the benefit of having seen competitive bowling on television, like, ten years ago… if that could even be considered an advantage. With everyone seeming to be settling in, she slips her phone away and glances to Brynn. With exaggerated irony, she replies I totally have an idea of what I'm doing here. with a knit of her brow and a fake grin. It lapses and she shakes her head, admitting more honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing here.

Of course it stands that the first person Emily had texted would also be the very last to arrive. No matter. Geneva makes her presence known in her own good time, striding up to where the quartet is already assembled in all the glory of her smart-red bowling shoes, her hands smushed into the pockets of her old black leather blazer. These are her own bowling shoes as well, if a hand-me-down from a dead sibling counts for the purposes of ownership: once upon a time, in a less crapsack world, Annette had taken a much littler version of her to such places.

"'Sup, you guys," is her blatant-sounding greeting to them, her eyes sliding to each familiar member of the group in turn before settling on Devon last of all. She removes her hands from the depths of her pockets to begin signing for Brynn's sake, but the bulk of her attention does not leave the sight of the one face she does not know.

"Hey, so is this the flame I've heard so much about?"

Very subtle.

The elation that Emily had come over her at first on hearing Gene, visible in the lift of her brow and the abrupt turn in her direction, is short-lived. Before she can even get out a greeting in reply, there goes Geneva cutting straight to the quick. Emily gapes for a moment before her expression flattening almost murderously.

"Speak for yourself, firestarter," she gripes in return, arms swinging by her side as she tries to play casual. Never mind the reddening of her ears. Her hair mostly covers that anyway! And it was warm in here. Maybe. "Anyway, we're grabbing balls. We're lane ten."

“Thanks.” Devon half grins at Joe, and the summary of how he'd last been seen by the younger man. “I’m good, actually. Clean bill of health.” Mostly, but they're here to have a good time, so it's left at that. He lifts a hand to wave hello to Brynn, after a moment of awkward observing. Sign language isn't within his bag of tricks.

His eyes shift from watching the three friends, feeling something of an outsider and a little odd about it, to include Geneva when she joins. And the greeting from her gets an upward tick of a brow. “Yeah.” He drags the word out, a look following Emily briefly then returning to Geneva. “I'm Devon.” An uncomfortably awkward glance goes to Brynn, apologetic that he's incapable of signing it for her.

She's been watching Joe's explanation, and she waves a little shyly at Devon because she's never met him — he's sweet. She can tell it bothers him not to sign, but despite having been raised in a place where pretty much everyone did, she's adapted to the fact that almost no one outside her own group now does. It's all good! It's Joe's comment on needing balls — he's automatically signing, which makes it easier — that makes Brynn quirk a brow. Borrow Gen's, I need mine for fending off bikers. Her wit is not always taken the way she might mean for it to be taken — it's difficult to joke when there isn't tone for context. But the people closest to her are familiar with the occasional zinger that gets thrown out.

As Brynn watches him get his finger stuck, she rolls her lips in over her teeth to bite back a giggle. Not nice to tease her brother too hard. And then Emily's expression flashes murder to Gen, which means the other teen said something but Brynn missed it. So she does as she always does and tries to smooth it over.

Hey Emily? Think you could introduce me to Devon? I know he used to come up to Canada, but we never met — I don't think — and I don't want him to think I'm ignoring him! She's gonna have to pull out her phone so as to be able to talk to Devon too.

Joe looks over at Geneva and sticks his tongue out at her. "It's Devon. He used to bring us supplies." Joe peers at her for a few moments, his lips parting to make a comment, but then, with dodgy eyes he closes his mouth, apparently having thought better of what he was going to say. Though the barely restrained laughter that strains his cheeks and mouth says he at least thought it would be funny. He swallows his laughter in exchange for a big smile for Geneva before he's off to grab a bowling ball and bring it back.

"Clean bills of health are good Dev. But they don't always cover everything that could be wrong." He offers the other guy a quick smile, but this one is more concern than anything else, watching him for a moment or two. "But bowling." He remarks with a wink for Devon, then turns to regard the others. "Alright Emily the expert. I think you should go first." He grins as he puts his selected bowling ball down on the little roundabout thingy and then drops down into a chair, leaning back, legs crossing at the ankles.

Gen came right out and called Devon the flame, the boyfriend, the romantic interest and all that. Joe's hands move for Brynn, a wide grin on his lips again as he sits and waits for everyone to be ready and have their balls selected. He hops up though and goes over to program them all into the computer. EMLY, PYRO, WOLF, BRAT and JOJO get programmed into the computer before Joe leans back with a self satisfied look on his face, eyes lifting to the screen overhead that shows their names and scores. Then he'll slink back over to his seat and sit there with a smug cast to his features.

But then Geneva is laughing in response to Emily's ferocious, slightly-embarrassed stare, and she leans in just enough to grant the other blonde teenager a playful punch on the upper arm. It’s good to see you again too, Epstein.

"It's good to finally meet you," she says right to Devon with no sign of reticence at all, sticking her hand out at him for a handshake. "Like I said, I have heard a lot about you. Don't worry. Most of it's good."

That familiar dash of a smirk on her face is a good-natured one, Joe and Brynn can tell, and she greets them slightly more properly (which doubles as a response to Joe sticking his tongue out at her) with a saucy little upnod. Her light-blue eyes flick up to the display above them for just a second, but that is enough to catch sight of the names that Joe has chosen for them all. There is only a short snort of entertainment at this, and she returns her focus to Devon.

Shoulder nudged, Emily's glancing again in Geneva's direction before she looks back between Brynn and Devon. "Devon," she lifts her voice and her head slightly before nodding back to the darker-haired girl. Her hands accompany the words. "This is Brynn. She's deaf, but if you guys swap numbers, you can text. She's smart as a whip and she'll give you shit in no time if you let her," Emily lets her mouth firm into a small smile that becomes a little more suffering as Joe calls her the expert and lines her up to go first. "… just like all the rest of them."

She turns away to grab a twelve, then a ten-pound ball, holding the scuffed-up thing with a measuring, distant look before she just decides to roll with it. "Thanks, Joe." she calls out, her voice airy but somehow still flat. She scoots toward the lane, shoes scuffing as she sheepishly approaches the line, fingers trying to find where they're supposed to go. All right, so you just… Emily thinks to herself, closing her eyes and remembering the long strides she'd seen on a tiny television, opening her eyes to glance to other lanes for confirmation. Yeah, you took … a few steps, and…

The weight of the ball almost seems to pull her weight to one side as she holds into it, taking one, two, three steps and rolling the ball away from her at the end her stride. It hits the ground heavily, soars partway down the lane before it starts spinning, and almost looks like it'll hit the gutter before it can even get all the way down. Thankfully, two pins on the end of the formation fall victim to the ball, allowing her to turn around and arch her brow at Joe, arms slightly away from her side. What now, Joe? she asks silently, a little smug her throw hadn't been a complete failure. "Geneva's turn now, right?" Emily asks confidently.

She's mostly only ever seen people throw strikes. She doesn't remember you're supposed to go twice.

“I'm really alright, Joe.” He is, as far as anyone can tell, and content to leave anything that isn't related to having a good evening with Emily and her friends alone. They're here to have fun, not worry about mysteries. It's a small relief when the younger man looks away. Devon flexes a lopsided grin as he returns Geneva's handshake.

Mostly good? He looks from Geneva to Emily, brows raising in question. “Do I get a chance to defend myself from what wasn't good?” It's said with a chuckle, like he'd expect to have to defend himself anyway. “Hey,” he offers to Brynn next, along with another wave. He follows the motion with some gestures, nothing as sophisticated as sign language, but the batch from the Lighthouse might recognize the shorthand used in covert operations. Read lips? is simply what he's asking.

He looks to the lane, after shuffling around the others to make sure he's out of the way of throwing. Dev claps for Emily's first attempt, while shooting a look at Geneva and Brynn again.

Brynn's grin at Emily is just a hint cheeky, a faint flush climbing her cheeks. She doesn't think of herself as someone who gives people shit. That's mostly Joe and Lance, right? Right. We'll go with that. But she offers Devon another wave, because at least now they've been properly introduced! Then she drops the hand and cuffs Joe lightly on the back of the head. BRAT? Really? He'll know exactly what it's for, and she just smirks at him.

Wow. I set it right up for you to spike it on Gen and you passed. Who are you and what did you do to my brother? she teases.

She is watching what's happening on the lane, it's just that with so many people to keep up with, she's having to split her attention a lot of directions. But when Devon uses military-sign-speak to ask, it definitely draws her attention. Gray eyes study him thoughtfully, and she gives him a nod with the appropriate acknowledgement sign in return along with another cheeky grin. He clearly knows what Brian taught them all. So they'll manage well enough!

Joe as always signs as he talks. Whenever Brynn is there it's automatic. Even… a good deal of the time when Brynn isn't there. His hands just move on automatic. And require him to stop himself from doing so. "Yeah. I mean you did set it up but it was too easy. Even I couldn't go for that. Where's Lance when we need him god." Joe's eyes roll and he leans back in his seat, the cuff to his head not doing anything more really than probably making Brynn's hand sting. Lance has hurt his hand pretty good before on Joe's head. He looks over and around at the group, a wide smile very much in place, happy to be there, amongst friends.

"Don't think I don't see you giving me challenge eyes Em. I see it. Gonna take you out. Figuratively I mean. Obviously. Wipe the lane with you. They'll be able to wax the floor with your tears." And a few more, rather stupid trash talking lines ensue… "'ll fine pieces of you in the pin machine yeah…. and… I'm out of… yeah." Another big grin as Joe waits his turn, watching people bowling. "Do they have food? I bet they have food. Probably SUUUUUUPER overpriced though huh? So what has everyone been up to? Stuffs been kinda boring lately. Just been going to school and… that's about it. Anything fun or exciting happening?" He looks around expectantly at the group.

"If you're lucky." Geneva's answer to Devon is short but roguish, and she soon turns to watch Emily bowl. "Yo, not too shabby, Ems. For next time though you get to go twice in one frame. Might get 'em all next time, yeah?" Now she definitely knows if she hadn't already. When the machinery finishes resetting the pins for the start of her turn, Gene bends towards the neatly lined row of balls, summarily grabbing the twelve-pounder that Emily had picked up first and then abandoned.

It is already easy to tell that her stance is more confident than the other girl's. She fits her thumb and fingers snugly and comfortably into the holes of the ball, hefting the thing squarely in front of her chin for a solid moment as she stands facing down the pins as though sizing down an opponent she is literally about to fight. Then: a few steps forward, and a powerful backswing that sees the ball go gyrating down the lane with probably more force than had been strictly necessary.


Still, five pins down on the first go, and two on the second. Not the most terrible attempt ever.

Geneva scratches at the back of her collar as she returns to the gaggle in time to overhear Joe. "I just passed my test and got my COM license. Dunno if that counts as exciting, but hey, now I'm officially qualified to get paid for heating shit up. So that's kinda cool, I guess."

Emily, wind out of her sails for multiple reasons, slides next to the terminal with a deadpan expression to pretend to be watching, to try and ignore Devon's look, to better pay attention to Joe's banter instead because somehow that is the least dangerous topic here. She'll regret it when she says anything that sends another string of questions in her direction, naturally, but that's just her nature.

For the time being, she just lets out a snorted breath of laughter at Joe and his failure to consecutively string together shit-talk. He's possibly too nice for it. "I'd throw you a curve, but I'll leave it for the lane instead," she replies, nearly even in tone, her signs not animated. There's a smile tugging at the corner of her expression as she looks back at him before she shrugs. "School, internship, home," Emily says, possibly lying. "More gaming than I have been." she admits after. That part must not be a lie, the way her gaze wanders off.

Before she can think on it too long, she adds, "There's that World Fair out on Governor's Island going on, that's made it a bitch getting to and from work." Which, it hasn't, really. All she has to do is go to a different pick-up and drop-off for the SESA ferry. Geneva's admission about her license draws Emily's attention back to her, brow arching. "Holy shit, really? Gene, that's awesome." It dawns on her after she says it that primal might be an applicable word to have used, but she's not quite there with that piece of slang yet.

Emily slides a step to the side so it's easier for Devon to step forward, glancing back at him with a small smile.

“Just getting back into things,” Devon admits while Geneva takes her turn. Which, for some, is very exciting. He's quite enjoying the rest and relaxation that's been imposed on him. Hands slap together for Geneva also, as she finishes her frame.

Stepping up to the rack, he fits his fingers into the holes of the ball he’d chosen, a dingy blue marbly thing that used to be brightly colored, now has seen better days. He steps up to the lane and eyes the floor, the pins, then strides forward.

His arm swings back then forward and the ball veers at a wide angle down the lane. Eventually the spin catches up with the momentum and pulls the ball away from the gutter just before it sinks. Eight pins go down. The second throw is a complete scratch, as the gutter claims its first victim.

Turning after his second throw, Devon opens the lane up for Brynn to take her turn. “If you guys want food, go ahead and order.” He moves in to stand beside Emily. “I got it covered.”

Brynn's quiet good nature allows her mostly to remain on the periphery. She watches how people manage their throws, assessing movement and the floor thoughtfully while keeping an eye on Joe's signing hands. The fact that her brothers basically sign constantly — and not just their own words but translations of other people too — means she misses a lot less of the conversation than usual.

If it's not stupid amounts of money and they have it, I'd love a soda, she signs. Devon's offer to pick up the tab for everyone is met with a level look. That's crazy expensive in this day and age — he doesn't have to do that! She'll let Emily and Joe argue about that, though, cuz… well, she'll just quietly put her own money on the table when Devon's not looking. No need to make a Thing of it.

She steps up to gingerly take a 10-lb ball from the rack and walks up to the line. She saw the more expert throws and the ones that didn't do so well… so she tries to find a balance in the middle somewhere, swinging it by the finger holes and sending it at low speed as close to the middle as she can. The ball takes out six of the pins, leaving two on either of the back corners. NASTY split. The second ball hits nothing. And she comes back looking rather sheepish.

Joe is just generally too nice for real trash talking. He's the kind of guy that shows concern for his enemies in the middle of a fight. Pulls his punches so he doesn't hurt them too much, that sort of thing. Trash talking his friends? It's just not really there. And it's obvious too. Even as he's trash talking his grin is growing until he's on the verge of breaking out laughing. "Primal Gen. Whatcha gonna be doing with it? Like do you have a specific job in mind?" Joe loves abilities, and the use of them. He's curious what sort of job Geneva might have found that she can use her fire powers for.

"Uhhh that's a dangerous invitation there Dev. I imagine a bunch of hungry young folks can eat the kind of food that a bunch of hungry soldiers can eat. I mean I'm sure the Hound money goes pretty deep but are you sure it goes deep enough?" Joe asks of Devon, snickering afterwards. His hands are all the busy. To be fair it's mostly with his own unending speech, but he throws in everyone else's too. They just… don't use as many words as Joe usually does. Joe hops up though and gives Brynn a hug, signing a couple words of encouragement at her. You did fine. Especially if that's the first time you've ever thrown a bowling ball. You'll pick it up over time.

He grabs up his own ball, a twelve pounder and makes his way over to the lane. He focuses for a few seconds, breathing in, then out, then in, then out, and he times his throw with an outbreathe. Like firing a gun. And it pays off. Joe picks up a spare between both frames. "Brian used to take me bowling. I mean not often. But every now and then. In the beginning. When we could sneak away to do something. Before well… before everything got too too crazy." He wanders over and sits back down next to Brynn. "So where or how do we order food?" He asks, turning his head to look around the bowling alley, looking for a food counter.

Thanks to the welcome reminder provided by the others, Geneva begins more consciously signing every word she speaks as well— something she is more forgetful about than she should be, but once she actually remembers, it more or less becomes a constant thing on its own.

"Gonna keep on doing industrial shit at Raytech, mostly. Welding shit, heating parts without having people need to get near open flames, that kind of thing. Helping I'll find out for sure in the next few weeks once my trainer finalizes stuff. It's probably not on the level of whatever cool SESA stuff Em and Lance are up to, but I am actually finding it pretty primal." Geneva cracks a pleased grin at Joe in response to his enthusiasm. It is an expected show from him, but it's also far from unwelcome. Brynn and Devon both receive cheers for their respective turns when they are taken, and Devon's offer of food is taken with a slight look of surprise— along with a little grin in the context of what Joe had added.

"Thanks, man. You sure you want to get food for all of us? You might end up regretting it."

When Joe offers his encouragement to Brynn, Emily nods emphatically along. "Hey, you did better than I did for sure," she notes, trying to sound cavalier about that fact instead of embarrassed. Her smile is strained, but she puts one on, looking back down the lane. She'll definitely do better this time, she tells herself.

She turns toward Geneva when she explains what she does, brow lifting. "That sounds way more useful than any of the low-level stuff they have us doing. You're actually getting to make things. Like you said—" Emily pauses a moment longer than she would otherwise as she struggles to remember the sign to ensure she's keeping up word-for-word as much as possible. "Primal."

The subject of food brings a long look in Devon's direction. "These guys will eat you out of house and home," she warns. She remembers the Pie Fiasco when Joe ordered all of the pie when they went out to that country diner. "But I doubt that's going to stop you from offering." Emily looks away, inclining her head to tip her chin down, down the lanes past where they'd picked up their shoes at. "Pretty sure there's a counter down there, but if I'm remembering right…" she trails off, peering over the top of the little machine Joe had used to put in their names. "There should be a button here we can press and put orders in. Real fucking fancylike."

Aha. There it was. She looks up, finger just below it on the panel. "You ready?" Emily asks, knowing full well she's probably about to be hipchecked out of the way.

“I'm serious.” That's to Joe, along with a small shrug. Devon follows it with a thumbs up to Brynn — he has no idea what she's saying before she bowls her first frame, so it's congratulatory for her score. And Geneva's question just gets a flat look before he turns to Emily.

“Just get burgers, fries, and drinks for everyone.” That'll make it easy and won't break the bank. It's not like he can't afford to splurge some, his pay from Wolfhound has hardly been touched. “Everyone here eats meat, right?” It's asked lightly, even with a skeptical look at the Lighthouse trio. “I know Joe does.”

Brynn chuckles and then she nods to Devon while Joe translates for her (and throws his own spin on everything), As long as it's actual cow burgers, I'm good. Deer and moose don't taste remotely right in burgers.

Is she serious? She probably is, though there's a little hint of a grin. After all, everyone lived through the war years. You ate what was available.

"I guess some of the Lighthouse Kids could have developed a more vegetarian approach but growing up there was no option. You ate what was available or you went hungry. Which also wasn't really an option. The adults wouldn't have allowed it." Joe grins at Devon as he leans back in his seat, content to stay there.

"YOU TAKE THAT BACK!" Joe gasps in surprise when Brynn says deer burgers don't taste right. "You heathen!" His signing is equally bombastic to go with his shock, a hand going to his heart as if she's personally wounded him. "How dare thee Brynn. How dare thee." His head shakes in mock shame at her behavior. "What sister of mine could possibly make such a statement?" He gives a loud and dramatic sniff before flashing Geneva a quick grin.

"That sounds fun. I guess… I should try to find a job job. Like more than just the odds and ends and working for the store. Since SCOUT fell through and I don't really have… anything else going on. Not sure I could work for Mister Shades though." Joe taps his chin a little bit in thought, his head tipping backwards to look up at the ceiling. "Emly. You brought the Great Pie Fiasco down on yourself. I made extra extra sure before I ordered all of the pies. And it was only a slice of each." He tilts his head up long enough to stick his tongue out at his friend before flopping it back over.

"Oh you'll find something, Joe. That's something you've always been good at. Either that, or something will find you." Geneva sounds quite confident as she makes this comment, returning Joe's grin with a brow arched in humor. She is being serious though— even with his larger-than-life personality aside, there would certainly be a use for his ability somewhere.

She can't but grin slightly, too, at Emily's attempt to consciously use 'primal' as slang. "Yeah, true, I guess so. You have the opportunity to actually change the world though, or at least get up to that point eventually. Me, I'm just sitting on my ass and making doohickeys for fun." There is a laugh to this, but also an approving look. "You gotta tell me more about that shit sometime, by the way. Been too long since we properly caught up."

Back to Devon: "Yeah, def not a vegetarian here. Burger and fries sounds fucking good right now."

Emily's missed a sign somewhere, one that causes great offense to Joe. She blinks rapidly, looking back and forth as she tries to figure out what in the world happened. Hesitantly, she turns back to the panel and shouts the order through — meals around! — and leans back once that's done.

"Jesus, Brynn, what'd you do? Insult his favorite food?" she asks belatedly, awkwardly, with a grin. She's lost track of whose turn it even is to bowl and she doesn't care at the moment, taking some small comfort in there being enough conversation going she can just get lost in it. Geneva's suggestion they catch up isn't returned with any words, but she turns, brow lifted up, and gives a small nod.

Yes, she would like that very much.

Whatever exchange just happened between Brynn and Joe is entirely missed. Devon’s knowledge of American Sign Language is next to nothing beyond a couple of the most simple signs. His understanding is rooted in the rough gestures used for strategic communication. So a raised brow follows Joe's outburst.

With everyone agreeing to his suggestion, and Emily taking care of the order, he sort of nods. The rest of the group is given another look, but he seems at a loss for what to say.

He shifts his weight from one foot to the other, turns his head to look at the scoreboard. Eventually Dev slides to one of the open seats to wait for his turn.

Brynn simply rolls her eyes in amusement at Joe's dramatics. Given that Joe's hands are in perpetual motion for her, she knows what Emily asked and makes the universal sign for 'he's loco'. She slides into a chair awaiting her own next turn and her gaze continually flits from the translations provided by Joe to the others. Tipping her head, she notes Devon's ill-at-ease body language, and she whips her phone out to text for him. Don't mind any of us. Joe's a drama queen. She flashes it at him with a grin.

Joe likes burgers. Really Joe just likes food. Any food is good with him. Well almost any food. "I hope so. Because I am pretty supremely bored if I'm being honest. College is nifty enough I guess but it's like… not the kind of challenge I want. It's a stepping stone to get somewhere else though, and a step I need to take. But, I shoooould totally come harass you at work at some point. I can go see Aunt Kaylee, and then come down and harass you. Or just tell folks I’m seeing Aunt Kaylee and harass you anyway."

Joe puts a hand to his chest though, and theatrics ensue when Brynn makes her comment. Emily's lack of understanding has his head turning to look over at her. "She said that deer and moose don't make good burgers. I mean moose is kinda tough. But deer? Venison burgers? How dare she?" He staggers around theatrically, waving an arm around as if genuinely wounded by what Brynn has said. He looks over at Brynn with a sad face, a dramatically sad face before his face breaks out in a grin. A poker face Joe is not usually in possession of. He wears his heart on his sleeve.

"So. Devon. What's up? How are things? How are you and Emily? Are you back together? Or were you back together before the beach? I can't even keep up most of the time with miss temperamental over there." A vague wave in Emily's direction, accompanied by a poor attempt to cover up the snicker that follows on its heels. He leans over and nudges Brynn to get in on the questioning. "Brynn wants to know too. Right Brynn?" And he signs it to her to double check. But he's quite confident in his Brynn prediction abilities. "Drama Queen??? She wounds me again! I mean it's totally true though. But still! My sister has claws tonight!" He breaks down giggling and leans over, laying across a few chairs as he has a little fit of hysterical laughing.

Like Emily, Geneva appears completely unconcerned with whose turn it actually is to go next. If anybody is keeping track, it certainly isn't her. Emily doing the ordering is a much more interesting task to keep an eye on right at this moment, and the anticipation causes her stomach to rumble; ability work is hungry work, at least for her, and she has been turning into a frighteningly voracious eater since the advent of the more rigorous parts of her job training.

Another reason for the kind warning to Devon, probably.

Girl, you crazy. Only excuse you have for not liking venison burgers is if Joe is the one that made them. Then that's totally reasonable. she says wryly to Brynn along with the accompanying signs, half-turning back to the pair in question afterwards with renewed interest from Joe's question.

It isn't just Brynn who wants to know!

Emily is in the unique position (read: has the excuse) that the question is directed at Devon rather than her. For that reason alone, she'll say, she doesn't immediately shout down Joe's attempts to pry and take digs at how she tends to be when people pry. She does rumble, though, dark and temperamental. A summer sunset storm on the horizon, it looks like, given the color that touches her cheek.

"Joe, you know just—" is as far as she gets in pulling forth that particular memory she has in mind, the surroundings for it soaked with complication, grief, and a dark, depressive pull. She drops the topic like a hot coal, the lance of pain it causes her visible for a flicker of a moment. "You know the answer to that." she recovers hastily, dismissively.

Abruptly deciding she needs either an outlet or an out, Emily roughly turns toward the ball return, grabbing one of them without looking at the size. It's heavier than her first, she notes, but she's not going back for seconds at the moment.

Conveniently, it is actually her turn.

With effort, she hefts the ball and studies the lane, wondering if the concentration will help center herself. Not at the moment, it would seem. Shit. She files that thought away for later, stepping in to make her throw. It's a wild miss, one stands still to watch dance down the gutter.

Mostly, the conversation is taken in the way a person might watch a television through a storefront window. Devon observes in his quiet way, missing little. Really, what he does miss is the sign language, he can watch hands move but it does him no good. Voices, though, and body language, those he's more keenly aware of.

He looks at the message when Brynn holds her phone to him. A nod and a half grin are intended to show understanding and assurance that he's fine. Because he's fine.

He's still fine when Joe starts asking questions. And the younger guy is vocal enough that it'd be a feat to act like he didn't hear. But it's fine. He's fine. Everything, it's all fine.

“I'm figuring it all out. All… what happened a month ago. I've got the best support though, so things’re good.” Dev leans forward as he answers, resting his elbows against his knees. A glance flicks in Emily's direction, lingering. “We… yeah. Not totally before the beach, but… we’re together.” His head turns and he looks over at Joe. “If you're looking for advice, you should go talk to Richard Ray.”

Both of Brynn's eyebrows shoot upward on her forehead. The name is familiar, but she's got no firsthand experience with the man himself. Devon knows the guy who was associated with the tapes? Well… okay. She grins toward Emily, though, at the news that Em has a booooyfriend. Not that she says that or anything!

She moves to pick up a bowling ball, since it appears to be her turn once again. It means she misses any conversation behind her. But well… she's also not too great at the game. That said, the ball does go straight — if slowly — down the lane again. Some minor curve at the end of the lane nets her 5 more pins and no split! That's a win, right?

This looks like it should be a heckuva lot easier than it is! she complains mildly.

Joe makes a face at Emily, because he knows. He's a pest. He knows, and she knows he knows. And so he makes a face at her, grinning wide before he turns his head, only to stop and glance back at Emily. "I so do not. You're mercurial." He winks at her though, a smile still in place. Yes he saw the flash of pain. But no he doesn't draw any attention to it. Yeah Joe will pry, but he also isn't going to force her to linger on a painful memory by poking at it.

For instance there's no comment on her guttering her ball and not hitting a thing. Because Joe isn't always a social sledgehammer okay? "Well that's awesome. Everyone deserves some happy yah know?" He shrugs his shoulders a bit. "Same thing I've said to her. Grab the happy while you can and don't let it go as long as it's still happy. I'm rooting for you guys. Also yeah no. Totally not going to the guy who…." He pauses, coughing a couple times.

"Totally not going to Richard Cardinal or Ray or whatever he's calling himself these days, for advice. Not a chance. Now Aunt Kaylee? His sister? Sure. She's good people. Miss Liz? She's also awesome people. But Richard is… well he's too willing to do whatever he needs to do, to do the right thing as he sees it." Joe's shoulders lift in a slight shrug. "And I quite acutely remember Brian stomping around the Lighthouse back in the day. 'Goddamnit Cardinal.'" Joe actually does a pretty good impersonation of the man too. And he caps it with one of his big wide grins. It is isn't it? Like you'd think just throw the ball down the way, knock stuff over. It's fun though, whether you're smashing pins down or not. It's a good time. Joe signs at Brynn with a quick smile for his sister.

Joe is a bona fide pest, but Geneva is probably more used to him than Emily is from the experience of long years alone. Hence, she only grins knowingly at the thundercloud that forms on the other girl's face, pleased that she may be about to get some desired answers without putting herself in the hot spot for once.

Nothing to say, either, at the series of gutter balls that happen within a short span of time. She had been about to make some offhanded comment, but that's promptly dropped when she hears Devon's jibe about taking advice from Richard Ray.

"Nooot sure Em would agree with that assessment," she remarks, shooting a flippant side glance at Emily. But she appears amused, as well. "He's not all that bad, though. I should know, I work for the guy. And yeah, you should totally drop when I'm working sometime, Joe— that goes for any of you. If for nothing else just then to see all the robots and funky shit. Some of the shit's pretty primal."

No, Emily does not think much of that advice about Richard Ray. Feet still mostly planted on the ground, she turns to look over her shoulder Devon's way with an arched brow. When Brynn steps up to take her turn, she finally moves back to the larger group with no lack of skeptical tension at the mention of the cat-burglar-turned-CEO. (You're never living that one down, Richard.)

For once, she tips her head in Joe's direction to echo what he's said rather than disagree with it. "Richard has the tact and subtlety of a bull in a china shop that's been stung by a conspiracy-theory bee. He might think he's got good intentions behind his ideas, but he's more a 'deal with the consequences' kind of person than someone who…" Emily tapers off into a shrug, not wanting to go on at length about it.

She looks to Devon finally, standing at a comfortable distance still. She nods at him, though. Her voice carries cleanly, evenly. "After the beach," she clarifies. "I asked him. He'd tried before, and I never gave him an answer."

With an arch of her brow, she recounts with some amusement, "Because you were an emotional terrorist about it and I didn't know what to do. 'Hi Em, I'm leaving on a dangerous mission, also, I love you.'" It's a bit oversimplified, she realizes after she's said it.

Over simplified, but not inaccurate. It does, however, leave Devon staring at Emily, trying to process the statement. Or the fact that it was stated so boldly. Amazingly, color doesn’t rise in his face, and he doesn’t try to redirect with some random comment or joke as he had when actually answering Joe’s question. He doesn’t even mention at how serious everyone is taking the idea of anyone going to Richard Ray for advice on dating. He’s learned, after all, that it’s not exactly even a quasi-good idea.

“Well, it’s true.” Dev’s reply is a quiet one, slow as though thinking aloud, and done without glancing around. “But it’s true for you also.” He half grins, watching Emily for a moment longer, then looks away. Now’s the time for that diversion, and he twists to look over his shoulder. “Burgers and drink should be here pretty soon, right?”

Brynn looks less than thrilled at her own performance but hey… it's not like she's the most competitive one in the group either. She blinks as she turns around and catches that there's something happening but she misses the context. Only that it makes Emily get a look on her face that seems part embarrassment and part defiance. What the….?

Returning to her seat, she resumes watching the group. She'll either catch up or she won't — she misses a lot sometimes.

Joe turns a level look at Geneva. For once Joe doesn't speak with words. He doesn't need to. The sarcasm is written across his face more clearly than if Brynn wrote the word on his skin with her power. Both brows lift and he just gives her a level stare after she says that Richard Ray isn't all that bad. His stare lingers long enough that he's sure she's seen it, and then some before he turns his head away. He's not surprised that Emily agrees with him, even if the occurrence is as rare as a New York sewer without rats. He knows that's one thing they definitely agree on.

Joe takes his turn when it comes up, doing poorly on his next roll, a little too much power put into the first throw, driving it into the gutter. The second picks up half the pins before he's retaking his seat. "Emotional terrorism? That's a new one. I like it though. Consider that stolen Ems. Going to use that for sure." His hands are moving as always, translating for Brynn, also cracking jokes here and there that aren't spoken aloud, but it's just Joe being snarky.

Joe's not oblivious though, he realizes something just happened between Em and Devon, and his eyes shift back and forth between them before he slooowly leans Geneva's way, his hands though signing for Brynn as he speaks. "Something just happened. I feel like I missed it. What did I just miss?" Stage whispered. Not at all subtle.

He sees that Brynn missed some of what is going on, so he leeeeeeans back the other way, towards her, his hands signing for her filling her in on everything. I'm pretty sure Emily just said that Devon told her he loves her, in front of everyone, and Devon totally just confirmed it. In front of everyone. Now we're waiting to see what further drama shall ensue. It's better than a telenovela I swear. Joe's grin is wide and unrepentant as he bumps his shoulder into Brynn's.

"Oh god, you guys are awful." No signing of this is required. It's perfectly clear what Geneva's reaction is to Joe's exaggerated jibing, if it hadn't already been obvious from the eyeroll she does. There is no trace of secondhand embarrassment from her, either, even though she certainly hadn't missed what had just passed between Emily and Devon— and it's for the sake of her friend’s dignity that she prods an elbow swiftly and sharply into Joe's ribs.

It's not like it will hurt him anyway. But he still deserves it! Probably on two accounts— that, and the long, sarcastic stare he had just given her in regards to Richard.

"Rich's got his rough edges, but fuck, so does anyone I guess. Speaking of which… what sort of 'dangerous mission' were you on, Devon? Or is it one of those things you're not supposed to talk about?" In which case, tell us anyway, says the somewhat expectant look on her face.

When Devon turns it back around on her, Emily quirks an eyebrow at him, head tilting at the near-challenge to it. "So it is," she acknowledges evenly, not shying away from it. But neither has she said it out loud. It could be her Han Solo moment, if something dramatic like a carbonite bath were about to happen.

But instead, there's only the mundane.

"Yeah," she segues, peering down the other lanes to see if it looks like their food is being brought out yet. "Any minute now."

Emily glances sidelong in Joe's direction, grateful for Geneva's intervention. It leaves her to provide only one gesture of her hand for him, a surreptitiously awarded middle finger with that same arch of one brow. Mercurial as ever.

“It was a government contract.” Devon's tone implies that the mission in question wasn't any big deal, but his gaze slips to Joe then seeks out Emily. They were both there, that day at the beach, and know that mission was anything but no big deal. “We… were bringing in the last of the Institute. I guess some of them've gone to trial already.” He's not too sure of that, the timing is fuzzy at best.

He angles somewhat so that he's better including Brynn in the conversation too. Even though Joe’s got it covered with signing. “It uh… my team got ambushed.” Dev hesitates over going into more detail, eventually deciding to not. He brushes it off instead. “It was a month ago anyway. I'm home now, let's just have fun.”

Casting a look at her brother that's half amused and half exasperated, Brynn signs back, Well, that isn't news. Did you see the way she teared up when she found out he was back? I mean… it's news that she admitted it, cuz she's Emily! But seriously! Turning back to the group, she grins a bit wickedly at Ems. He seems like a real nice one, Ems, don't let Joe chase him off. Someone around here needs to have a date now and then. And it won't be her!

Oh thank god food. Joe hops up as the food arrives, moving to help the woman with her tray as she arrives. He grabs the burgers off, passing them to the individual who's they are until the food and drinks are all handed out. Then the normally quite talkative teen goes back to his seat and busies himself with nomming on his food. Nope he didn't start any trouble, not Joe. Joe is innocent. Why would you accuse Joe of such a thing? Yeah, he saw the middle finger he got from Emily and it earned a smirk from him, a rather smug little smirk. When people are devolving to insults you have won.

Joe nods his head along at Brynn's signing, his hands moving to sign back at her, his mouth full of burger so he doesn't speak along with it. Oh yeah. I mean Emily admitting to having feelings is like Robocop shedding a tear. But yeah, Devon is good peoples. He used to bring us supplies, surprised you don't remember him. But then you did hide a lot whenever people came around. He nudges Brynn with an elbow before going back to his food, stuffing his face in rapid order, his eyes on Devon and Emily mostly, unable to stop the grin, which with his mouth full makes him look not unlike a chipmunk.

"No fucking shit? The Institute?" The way Geneva's tone suddenly arcs upwards at the end is coupled with a matching look that she levels Devon's way, arched brow and all.

The way she says it reveals— rather loudly— that it certainly doesn't sound like 'not a big deal' to her. "Alright. Shit. You're definitely telling me the full story sometime. Or at least one of you is." She is obviously eyeballing both him and Emily now, even as she spares a momentary glance in the direction of the arriving food just long enough to gratefully receive her own bag.

Maybe not now, sure. Now is food time. (Fucking finally.) And also time-to-ignore-Joe-because-he's-being-a-boob, which isn't different from most of the time, really.

Seriously, though, that food arrives not a moment too soon. Even though Joe's helping pass all the plates out, Emily still gives him a look because she suspects his telenovela comment wasn't the last she'll hear tonight. She glances up at Geneva out of the corner of her eye with a careful tip of one shoulder. She's not exactly confident she'll be able to answer any of the kinds of questions that might be put to Devon through her, but Geneva seems fired up about the matter.

Emily catches Brynn's comment out of the corner of her eye, putting her burger back down to address it. Come on, let's not—

She'd say make a big deal out of it, but then there goes Joe, too. Her look flattens, preparing to address the comment when he moves on and takes what passes for a potshot at Brynn. Emily's brow ticks upward at that, her posture settling.

She supposes he's in for it now. Oh shit. Get him, Brynn.

Log of RP goes here.

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