Antares is at one end of a long table in the Denny's a bit after 2 AM, laughing into her phone and smelling a bit of Miller Time. "Haha, no, that's fucking awesome, poor Yed. Tell him it's fine, I changed shirts and he can apologize for being a cockblock some other time."
Antares "And--hey, company, gotta go." She hangs up, waving to someone who's just come in.
Merope walks in, with Ras trailing behind. They are not holding hands.
Merope "Oh hey, Antares!"
Antares "Boy School! Pull up a chair."
Antares "Yo, Mero. You too, plenty of room."
Merope is momentarily nonplussed.
Merope "Wait, you two know each other?"
Antares kicks out a chair, grinning at the two of them impartially.
Merope gives Ras a very searching look. "Gee, Ras, had you been round all the girls at this school before you got to me?" She laughs, but with a slightly nasty edge.
Furud pulls into the parking spot with a melodramatic screech, and turns off the car. "So were you really friends with Johnstone's kid before he died?" He hops out of the car, and heads for the diner. "I didn't even know he HAD one."
Ras Alhague Ras rolls his eyes. "I needed something to do before third period." He pulls out a chair and plops down into it.
Antares "Relax," Antares says to Merope. "Ras is safe from me if he keeps his punk ass off a soccer field."
Algol shrugs, "Sure, y'know I'm good with everyone."
Merope "Oh, so you two are old friends? Funny, he never mentioned you."
Ras Alhague "We've had other things to talk about."
Furud "Yeah huh." He notices the others and hesitates, then heads over. "Well... sorry about that. It must have been hard."
Ras Alhague turns to the waitress, who's just arrived. "Yes, a coffee would be fine." She hasn't asked for it yet.
Antares "Mero, this thing you see hovering between me and Ras, it is not sexual tension. It is my beer breath. Sniff if you don't believe me."
Algol waves to the night manager (He sometimes does maintenence work for him) and follows Furud to the others. "Uh, he was weird, always scared about stuff."
Antares nods at Algol and Furud, waving them at seats after a hesitation echoing Furud's.
Maia walks out of the bathroom, heads back towards Antares's table, and stops, shooting Antares a wild look, and swaying slightly.
Merope "Oh, hey Furud. So this is fun, Ras has an old friend, and I have an old friend. Aren't we old friends, Furud?"
Furud "We're... yeah?"
Algol returns Antares' nod, recalling her strange behavior in the chem lab.
Merope "And Algol too. Why, we're a whole night sky!"
Antares "Sit," Antares snickers at Maia, slapping the booth seat beside her, "before you fall down. Lightweight."
Merope looks a bit flushed in the cheeks.
Maia "Man, superstar, you're POPULAR."
Furud looks between Merope and Ras. "Hi Maia."
Maia "Hi...all you...people."
Maia "Whoooooo....are you?"
Ras Alhague "Hi Maia, nice to meet you." Ras turns to Algol. "And you, too."
Furud "You guys know Algol?"
Antares "So get this," Antares says to Maia. "Mero here," pointing, "thinks I have a thing with Ras, which is /hilarious/ because just this morning I was explaining to him that he is an asshole if he expects his girlfriends to be doormats."
Algol offers a hand to shake to anyone who takes it.
Antares "And that's Algol. We have science together."
Furud smiles halfheartedly at Antares. "ha ha."
Merope "Gosh, Ras, am I a doormat? That is SO FUNNY."
Maia "Oh. You're Ras Alhague."
Maia "I'm Maia."
Ras Alhague "It's Alhague." He pronounces it sliiightly differently. "But just call me Ras, it's easier."
Furud "Merope is a doormat?"
Ras Alhague "No. She's not."
Merope "Apparently." She smiles glassily.
Ras Alhague kicks Merope under the table. "You're not."
Furud "Well I was gonna say. She can pitch a fit with the best of us."
Maia "No, she pretty much is."
Antares leans from Maia to Algol, who's sitting on her other side. "Sorry you showed up yet?" she whispers loudly, grinning.
Merope looks into Ras' eyes for a second. "Ras, we should brought the wine. I want some more wine."
Maia "I mean, not to be the disagreeable one here."
Maia rolls her eyes at Antares. "You know, I could have gone home with the guy with the piercing."
Maia then realizes that whisper wasn't meant for her, and also that she's WAY louder than she intended.
Merope "I see you're your sunny self as ever tonight, Maia."
Algol smiles at Antares' joke(?), not knowing how to act in this situation.
Ras Alhague "You drank the whole bottle, Merry. There wasn't any left."
Maia "I know right? I'm SO CHEERFUL!"
Maia "So where's our waitress?"
Furud "So, Algol, remember when I mentioned that girlfriend you might get along with?" He points at Merope.
Ras Alhague The waitress drops off Ras's coffee.
Merope "Where indeed? Ask her if she has wine!"
Waitress "Y'all ready to order?"
Maia "Moons Over My Hammy! Over easy! With extra ham, please." Maia hiccups.
Algol nods to Merope after Furud's mention.
Furud "I'll have some of those mozzarella stick things."
Antares "Cheese fries, coffee. Two coffees--she's going to need one too," Antares says, elbowing Maia.
Maia "Oh, yeah. I wouldn't want to FALL ASLEEP," Maia says, elbowing back.
Furud digs into his pocket and tosses a flask to Merope. "It's not wine, but don't say I never gave you anything." He grins widely.
Ras Alhague takes a sip of his coffee. "I've been craving waffles for days now. Two belgian waffles, and some sausage on the side." He looks to Merope, to see if she wants anything they actually have.
Merope takes the flask, unscrews it, and gives it a sniff, gingerly. She recoils, makes a face, shrugs, and swigs.
Maia "Did you guys not finish ordering yet?"
Maia "Jesus, people, the woman has OTHER TABLES."
Algol "A skillet scramble with extra crispy hashbrowns and a grilled cheese with tomatoes and pickles and an onion flower and two sides of bacon with syrup and two large orange juices, please."
Merope "I'll have what he's having." she says, indicating Ras.
Furud "Wow, hungry huh?"
Maia leans into Antares. "What's up with THAT guy?" She means Algol.
Antares "Thanks for the assist in science," Antares says to Algol. "If you hadn't turned in that lab report for me, I'd be tracking for an F even faster than usual."
Antares shrugs, leaning back into Maia and whispering, "Growing boy?"
Maia "Don't you ever think of ANYTHING else?"
Algol "Yeah, no problem. It was a dull lab anyway. Stupid enzymes."
Ras Alhague "She thinks of kickball, sometimes."
Antares chokes laughing, punching Maia's arm, before straightening her face to answer Algol.
Furud "What the fuck, kickball?"
Antares "Faking my handwriting was an extra good touch, especially since I didn't think you knew it."
Furud "I haven't played that for years."
Maia "Oh man. I loved kickball! That game was great."
Merope "This stuff is pretty good. I mean, once you lose interest in feeling your tongue." says Merope, much to herself.
Furud gives Mero a 'give it here' gesture
Maia "Merope, have you been DRINKING?"
Maia "SHAME on you. It's a SCHOOL night!"
Maia "You should be in BED," she says, then collapses into giggles.
Antares "Oh-em-eff-gee, Maia, that's RIGHT!" Antares snorts, leaning against Maia as she catches the laughter helplessly.
Merope regards Maia unsteadily, smiling lazily. "Ras and I were celebrating." She kicks him in the shin. "Weren't we?"
Ras Alhague "There's always something worth celebrating."
Furud , seeing that Merope is not going to give his flask back, just leans over and grabs it. He takes a long swig and wipes his mouth. "Ahhh shit that's good."
Algol gets up and talks to the guy at the register before going back into the kitchen. When he comes back a couple minutes later, he has a box of blush wine six mugs. "Here, just keep the box on the bench, out of sight."
Maia "What were you celebrating?"
Ras Alhague "Twenty-four hours without conflict."
Furud "whoahh nice, Algee. Can I call you Algee?"
Merope "You wish, honey-pie."
Merope "No, we were celebrating Ras' new arrival."
Algol "Uh some girls at the college have been calling me 'Al' I guess that or Algol would be my preference." He looks uncomfortable having to say that.
Merope waves expansively.
Maia "What? But he got here Monday!"
Furud "You're in college? You don't look old."
Maia "Therefore MONDAY was the appropriate day to celebrate."
Merope "Nonononono, his new friend."
Algol "I just take a couple classes over there."
Antares "I think they've been celebrating a LONG TIME," Antares says to Maia.
Maia attempts and fails to look scholarly.
Ras Alhague "Hey! I'm going to be in college next year. Or so."
Maia "Oh, a new friend?"
Maia "What're they like?"
Furud "Oh, nice. Are the girls hot?" He moves onto the best part of college, as he imagines it.
Merope "Oh yeah. A new special friend."
Maia "Ooh. A SPECIAL friend. HOW special?"
Merope "Tell them about your special friend, Ras."
Algol fails to keep up with the conversation but sips at the awful wine while looking attentive.
Ras Alhague "Not as special as Merry."
Maia "Yeah, you just keep staring!" Maia yells at the next table. "I kinda like it!"
Furud pours some of the whiskey into his mug of wine and sips it speculatively. "So are they?" He nudges Algol, dreaming of hot college girls.
Antares "Easy, tiger," Antares says, pulling on Maia's jacket collar a bit.
Maia "Well, who could POSSIBLY be as special as Merope Abigail Wildvine!"
Ras Alhague looks at Merope. "Abigail?"
Antares "Ahahahaha!" Antares collapses against Algol this time, laughing.
Algol "Sure, I guess. You know, it depends what you like. Some of them are."
Antares "I mean, wow. Every once in a while some kid asks me if Amiri is some kinda towelhead name and I gotta bounce his head off a wall, but Merope Abigail Wildvine? You fucking WIN, girl." Antares toasts her.
Maia "What?" Maia adopts a totally innocent expression, with mixed success.
Algol attempts to join the conversation. "Is Abigail a family name? 'Fountain of Joy' is nice. But it's too bad we don't know more about the biblical Abigails."
Merope "Was 'm grandmother." says Merope, indistinctly.
Maia "Aww, don't be mad. I love you Merope. I don't think you're a doormat."
Ras Alhague "Was my mom's name too," Ras says. He tries to pitch his voice for only Merope to hear, but... it's a small table.
Maia "I meannnnn...yeah, not usually."
Merope "I love you too, Maia. I don't think you're a frigid bitch."
Merope She smiles broadly.
Antares takes a firm grim on Maia's arm.
Maia opens her mouth, and leaves it open for a couple moments, thinking about that.
Furud "You know what's hot, Algol? Girls who aren't bitches."
Furud "Do they have those in college?"
Merope "As for Wildvine, look, my mom was kinda a hippy when she had me, ok? At least it wasn't my FIRST name."
Algol mumbles something.
Ras Alhague "I don't think they have those anywhere. Maybe some magic land, where guys aren't assholes."
Furud drains his bastardized wine
Algol whispers to Furud. "_These_ are the...uh chosen ones?"
Maia "That wasn't very nice, Merope."
Merope "You're right, it wasn't. My brother is an unpleasant fellow for ever saying that about you."
Furud puts his arm around Algol, and whispers back, "See, just like everybody else. No need for books on experiments and shit."
Ras Alhague catches Algol's whisper and looks at the two of them.
Maia "I know! I've been saying that all along!"
Merope "But I want you to know 'm on your side, see?"
Maia "What the fuck is his PROBLEM?"
Merope "I KNOW!"
Merope "It's just NOT TRUE!"
Maia "Where the fuck are my eggs?"
Ras Alhague leans back and sips his coffee
Algol "Look! here they come now."
Furud lets go and swipes some utensils from a nearby table.
Waitress "Okay, who had the waffles?"
Maia "Hey! Twenty-four hours service doesn't mean the food TAKES twenty-four hours."
Ras Alhague "That was me. And my girlfriend. Sausages, too."
Algol apologizes to Henrietta with the look in his eyes.
Merope "Did I order sausages?"
Waitress looks Merope over, as if to wonder if she could down two belgian waffles, then shrugs and drops the food in front of them.
Furud looks at Merope for a second, then breaks out laughing.
Ras Alhague "You said same thing as me..."
Ras Alhague "Oh wait, I forgot. You're Kosher. I'll eat them."
Algol tucks into his food greedily when it's delivered on the second trip.
Waitress passes out the rest of the food without a hitch.
Maia begins scarfing down her ham and eggs.
Furud punctuates his statements with mozzarella sticks
Maia "So...what are you all doing up this late?" Maia cracks up again and coughs through her breakfast.
Furud throws a wrapper at Maia
Merope looks at her food, makes a face, and elects to try and lean into Ras' shoulder instead.
Ras Alhague "Oh, I couldn't sleep..."
Maia "Really? ME NEITHER!"
Ras Alhague puts his arm around Merope
Merope "Yeah, 'cause there's a bald chick in your bed."
Merope says this to Ras.
Maia "What? No, I was born this way."
Antares Whispering to Maia under the cover of eating and other conversation, Antares says, "I miss something, or did he tell her what she wanted to be eating and she took it?"
Merope "Well, I say bed..
Maia "I mean."
Maia "Not quite that drunk."
Maia "This drunk."
Furud "What? You have a bald chick? Who'd you shave?"
Maia "God, I'm drunk."
Antares "Lightweight," Antares repeats affectionately, and shoves one of the coffees at Maia.
Maia blinks at Antares. "Well, she IS kosher, he's right."
Antares "Oh good."
Maia "I don't know...hey, Ras? How'd YOU know Merope's Jewish? The nose?"
Maia glances at the coffee and starts putting sugar in it.
Algol "So um, wha'd'you guys expect out of the next five years?"
Ras Alhague "She TOLD me. I almost cooked her pork chops last night."
Merope puts a hand to her nose, and frowns.
Maia "Oh Jesus."
Furud counts on his fingers. "Five? I'll probably be..."
Maia "You make plans FIVE YEARS in advance?"
Maia "I'm pretty sure I will be at my home sometime in the next six HOURS."
Maia "But I won't GUARANTEE it?"
Furud shrugs, "I have no clue."
Ras Alhague "Five years? We're going to change the world."
Furud "The way shit's going, I'll probably be DEAD."
Algol "But how do you know if thing'll work out?"
Ras Alhague says this matter of factly, then starts digging into his waffles.
Maia "Change it to what?"
Merope tries to make herself comfortable on Ras, without regard for his discomfort.
Antares "Guitar, beer, dating assholes. Maybe drop out, maybe not."
Ras Alhague "That's not certain yet," Ras says, gesturing with his fork between bites. "But it ain't going to be the same."
Antares "Mm, and maybe some more of these cheese fry things."
Maia "If what'll work out, Algol?"
Maia "Man, you're really SERIOUS, you know that?"
Maia "Do you get out much?"
Ras Alhague "Me, I'm hoping for 'better'." Ras moves on to his second waffle.
Merope "Algol is ver serious."
Ras Alhague "Algol, it doesn't matter what plans you make, or what you know will happen, things will always surprise you. You can't plan for everything."
Algol "You know...life? Will things be OK? Job? Relationships? Even stuff like wars and politics? What is our place in the world?"
Furud "A wise man."
Merope "...s'not his fault though.."
Maia "...Jesus, how old are you, thirty?"
Ras Alhague "How the hell are relationships on your itinerary? Do you even have the girl picked out?"
Furud "I don't think any of us have had a relationship for more than a few MONTHS. Christ, five years?"
Maia "I'm a PUNK ROCKER, man. My place in the world is to ROCK THE FUCK OUT and YELL A LOT. I AM ONNNNNNNNNN TRAAAAACK."
Antares "Oh, that." Antares waves a fry, narrowly missing Furud with a wayward cheese blob. "Life sucks, then you die. It's sorted already."
Antares "FUCK YEEEEEEAH!" she adds to Maia's answer, helpfully.
Furud wrinkles his nose, "Gross, Antares. Watch where you're blobbing your cheese."
Maia highfives Antares.
Maia glances at her cheese-covered hand in some dismay.
Ras Alhague chows down on a few sausages. "Aren't you going to eat, honey?"
Algol "But like, punk is dead, no? You're just kind of a wannabe in the wake of a genuine movement that ended ten years ago. I don't really know you, but your anger seems kind of...I dunno...plastic?"
Maia "NOW he's telling her to eat," Maia whispers helpfully to Antares.
Maia "That sounds like the kind of thing a thirty-year-old would say."
Furud sticks two mozz sticks in his mouth like fangs. "BE CAWRRFLL. DARRKH THINSH STAWK THU NIIIGHT"
Maia "I think YOU should spend less time wearing a tie -- "she reaches over and yanks on it -- "and more time having FUN."
Merope " 'm not hungry."
Maia glances at the cheese-covered tie in slight concern.
Antares "That wasn't a napkin, you awful plastic anger girl," Antares scolds Maia.
Maia "Is NOW!"
Ras Alhague "Okay." Ras kisses Merope's forehead.
Furud "Algol, you need more to drink." He pronounces, having eaten the cheese sticks.
Furud thumps the mostly-empty flask down in front of him. "Bottoms up!"
Algol removes his tie and leans across to Maia where he can "help" her put it on.
Antares "Woah," says Antares as Algol leans across her. "Watch the coffee."
Ras Alhague finishes the second waffle, and the fourth sausage patty.
Maia glances down in some bemusement. "Why are you putting a tie on me?"
Ras Alhague "Honey, if you're not going to eat, you mind if I do?"
Maia "Now he's TAKING her food," she hisses.
Algol "Don't you want it? Maybe you'll like it."
Merope "Go ahead."
Antares snorts at Maia, watching Algol with some bemusement.
Maia "No, not really. I don't like ties."
Maia "But, thanks, I guess."
Antares "I think," she says to Maia with a thoughtful frown, "Algol is trying to say you owe him a new goddamn tie. But I don't speak nerd very well."
Maia takes the tie in her hand and ponders it.
Maia "How does giving ME a tie mean that I should give HIM a tie?"
Maia "They're not like...handshakes."
Antares "On account of you ruined it," Antares explains helpfully. "On account of you being a bitch when you're drunk. Well, not just then, I guess."
Maia thinks about that.
Furud "You know what ties are good for?"
Maia "Hey! I'm not a bitch when I'm drunk! I'm a bitch when I'm sober! I'm totally nicer when I'm drunk!"
Antares "Am I right?" she asks Algol. "'Cause we're totally good for it, as long as it's a cheap tie."
Algol "No, no, no...she doesn't need to give me a tie...this is a gift."
Merope "It's true, sober she is pure evil."
Furud "Tying." he says, and snickers to himself.
Maia tries to clean the cheese off the tie.
Maia "It's not ruined! It's...hmm, maybe it is ruined. Man, they don't make ties out of very good material."
Algol "It's silk" says Algol flatly.
Maia "I have to do that with my jacket too."
Maia puts the tie in the pocket of her jacket.
Algol "I didn't figure you'd actually go to the effort, but if you want to..."
Maia "It's LEATHER," she confides.
Antares rolls her eyes at Maia. "We'll get it cleaned, Algol."
Merope "I do with my jacket too! My jacket is STOLEN."
Furud starts piecing together bits of tonight's conversation with the hot college girls he was picturing earlier.
Merope She giggles.
Algol leans across Antares again and finger's Maia's jacket. It's very nice? Is it Spanish?"
Maia "Why do you get me in trouble all the time, Antares?"
Maia "Spanish?" Maia peers down at it.
Maia "Maybe? I dunno."
Algol "Check the tag. I bet it is."
Antares "Because I owe you for all the times you do it to me," Antares explains, reaching over Algol for her coffee.
Maia struggles out of her jacket to look for the tag.
Maia "I don't see a tag."
Maia "I thrifted it."
Maia "So maybe it doesn't have one any more."
Merope "Why don't you steal things for me, Ras?"
Algol "Hmm. Oh well. If you tell people it's Spanish leather, you'll probably be right."
Furud "I stole things for Merope alla time," he confides to the air in front of him.
Ras Alhague "Do you WANT me to?"
Maia "Okay. I'll do that!"
Antares "How do you tell stuff like that?" Antares asks Algol, genuine curiousity in her tone.
Maia "It's Spanish!" she pronounces solemnly, then giggles and falls against Antares as she puts it back on.
Ras Alhague "Well, let me know."
Algol "Read about it. Go places. Talk to people. Learn things."
Algol "You just pick it up here and there if you pay attention...at least I do."
Maia "Hey! Remember that guy, who was so..." snorted laughter. "'I just WINTER in Spain,'" she mocks, waving a hand around in the air.
Merope "You could get me anything, that would be nice."
Antares "Al, you being way smarter than me, I'm pretty sure you've already noticed that we pick up different things. It's cool that you can see that stuff, though."
Maia "Merope. Stealing is WRONG." Maia wags a finger at her.
Algol "I bet it resists stains like crazy. That's part of the surface treatment they do."
Ras Alhague "I remember all the punk songs that have that exact moral.
Antares "Hahaha, oh god, don't remind me about that guy," Antares says, pushing Maia upright. "What a dick."
Merope "Oh, I know, Maia, but we're God's chosen people so I guess we get away with it in the end, right?"
Maia glares at Ras...then snorts, and laughs.
Maia "Hey, what's your deal with Tyler, anyway?"
Maia "Merope, I'm not sure that's how being Jewish works."
Algol "Hey, do you guys always sit at this table?"
Ras Alhague "No, they don't always sit here."
Merope "You're right, it's totally not. But it should, right? You hear me, Jehovah? Where's the gold membership perks?"
Ras Alhague "Tyler?" Ras furrows his brow, trying to remember. A lot has happened since Monday. "Little guy, big mouth? Tried to say I was a contract killer or something?"
Maia "He said you were hassling him in detention on Monday."
Maia "What were you even DOING in detention on Monday when it was your FIRST day?"
Merope "Ras makes waves, don' you honey?"
Ras Alhague "Some jock was using his fists on his cheerleader girlfriend. I said stop." Ras shrugs. "I got detention, jock got to go to practice. Go Hydras?" He pumps his fist in a sarcastic 'yay' motion.
Furud continues zoning out and talking to himself.
Maia "Well. That's...very heroic of you."
Ras Alhague "Well, if I want to change the world for the better, why not start now? The years pass like THAT." He snaps his fingers.
Maia "If only it really were that easy."
Maia "You know she's going to go right back to him."
Maia "You can make all the grand gestures you want, but that's not how things change. They change slowly and painfully. And you don't hurt people. You get hurt."
Maia is getting quieter.
Ras Alhague "Slowly isn't the way of the future." Ras shakes his head. "Painful, yes. But I wasn't kidding - five years, it'll all be different. Mark my words."
Antares "Shit, is it maudlin drunk o'clock already?" Antares looks at her empty wrist. "Well, I'll be damned."
Merope "I'll drink to that." She looks around. "Wait, where's my drink?"
Maia shoves Antares, then throws an arm around her. "Take me home, superstar, I shouldn't be out this late."
Ras Alhague "Good luck tomorrow."
Maia "I need somebody to take care of me."
Maia glances over at Ras. "Thanks. Youuuuuu...too."
Antares "Yeah, little girl, you'll get lost. Ow, punch me again and I'll drop you, I swear." Antares stands, staggering only slightly.
Maia "I'll be good."
Merope looks up at Ras. "Are we leaving now? I don't wanna walk."
Antares "Hahaha, not fucking likely." Starting for the door, Antares calls back over her shoulder, "Seeya at school, kids."
Maia "Goodnight! See you guys later!"
Maia clutches Antares tightly.
Merope "Seeya, Antares, Maia. Looking forward to hearing you play again!"
Antares "Whoops." She fishes a crumpled bill out of her pocket, bounces it off the salt shaker onto Algol's twenty, and weaves on out.
Maia beams at Merope as they leave.
Ras Alhague "I'll carry you home," Ras says, throwing his own bills on the table.
Merope "You don't have to do that."
Merope makes no effort to move on her own, however.
Ras Alhague "I'm not doing it because I have to."
Ras Alhague reaches under Merope and lifts her from her chair.