Antares is coming off the basketball court at the park, soaked in sweat and limping a bit. She turns from waving over her shoulder to the pick-up crowd and sees Ras. "Yo, boy school."
Ras Alhague "Hey Terry. Finally giving up kickball?" Ras grins.
Antares "The sweet thing about hobbies is, you get to have more than one," Antares grins, faking a move to throw the ball at his head. "Shit, I'm thirsty. Slurpee?"
Ras Alhague "Sure. It's hot as hell out here - someone needs to tell summer it's not June yet."
Antares starts walking in the direction of the 7-11 near the park, dribbling instead of talking for a little while. Eventually she says, "You get things sorted with Mero?"
Ras Alhague "It's... getting there. She still wants me at the party, at least."
Ras Alhague "How are things with you? Find a boy yet?"
Antares coughs. "Uh, not exactly."
Antares "Okay, so there's this thing."
Ras Alhague raises his eyebrow at the 'not exactly', but keeps quiet, listening instead.
Antares bounces the ball off a fence.
Antares "So what would you do if you had this friend, right, and you tried to talk to them about something important."
Antares "And your friend didn't want to talk about it, and basically said that you were fucking their shit up by even saying anything."
Antares "So you're like all right, it's cool, won't happen again."
Antares Rapid-fire dribbling for a few seconds.
Antares "And then the friend goes and talks to someone who sorta hates you, and finds out some shit that maybe makes them think they're better than you."
Antares "So now, when this friend has stuff to hold over you, they want to talk about it again."
Antares "I mean, that's pretty fucking magical, right?"
Antares gradually limped along faster as she talked, not really noticing. She scowls at the sidewalk ahead, then shoots a look sideways at Ras.
Ras Alhague "So it's like... getting blackmailed into having a heart to heart, or something?" Ras rubs his scar. "It sounds kind of... dickish, to hold something like that over a friend."
Ras Alhague "Is it really that important? The thing, whatever it is? Not the blackmail thing, but the other thing - the original topic."
Antares "Well, okay, that's what *I* thought. But, uh, it's been noted I have a bit of a temper problem."
Antares They get to the 7-11 and she heads for the Slurpee machine, filling up with a Coke-pineapple-cherry mix before she decides how to answer.
Ras Alhague "Hey, there ARE times when anger's not irrational." Ras nods. "This sounds like it might be one of those times."
Antares "Yeah, it was important. It was something I don't like to talk about, so it was hard to even bring it up."
Ras Alhague "Well, maybe you should talk about it? I mean, if you need to." Ras shakes his head. "But not with the blackmail-person. Someone who's maybe more trustworthy, less... manipulative."
Antares "He's not manip--wait. Why the fuck am I defending him?" Antares says, shaking her head.
Antares She sighs. "Boys suck."
Ras Alhague "Here, let me get your Slurpee," Ras says. He hands his card to the guy at the counter. "Anyway, I don't know the whole story. I'm just telling you what it looks like from here." He leans down to sign the card receipt.
Antares "Sure, but don't tell Mero," Antares snorts, stalling a bit while she thinks.
Antares "Well, okay."
Antares "I'm not an idiot, right? I know I'm sorta touchy, and I got a mean streak, and those are basically my good points."
Antares "But this friend, y'know? Half the time we talk to each other, we almost end up knocking the shit out of each other. And I'm like, wait a second, that CAN'T be all me."
Antares Outside again, she drinks from one hand and dribbles with the other.
Ras Alhague "Yeah, it takes two to have an argument." Ras takes a big slurp. "Sometimes you meet someone that just pushes your buttons, you know?"
Antares "So how do you talk to a guy like that?"
Ras Alhague "I don't know. Maybe you don't?" Ras shrugs. "If you can figure out how he's pushing your buttons, maybe you can figure out a way to make them harder to push. Maybe if you notice it when it's happening... I don't know. That's the hardest time to focus, when people are making you see red."
Antares "I don't think he's doing it on purpose. Mostly." She sighs, looking like she's chewing over an unpleasant conclusion.
Antares "I guess if he's really my friend, I gotta work it out," she says in a small voice after a few seconds.
Ras Alhague "Back when mom was still around, she used to say - whenever you're feeling angry, close your eyes and count to five before you answer. It works for me, sometimes. It can't hurt?"
Ras Alhague Ras takes another long sip.
Antares "That's five with no hitting, right?" Antares grins crookedly at him.
Ras Alhague laughs.
Ras Alhague "She never said no hitting, but it was probably implied."
Antares "I remember your mom. Good people. For a while I wanted to be a cop when I grew up, because of her."
Antares takes a thoughtful slurp, spinning the ball in one hand.
Ras Alhague "Yeah? Me too. Too bad all cops weren't like her."
Antares "Yeah." Antares thinks for a couple seconds. "I'll give it a try, anyway. Who knows, maybe it'll work?"
Antares "Either way, I'll stop by and tell her how it went."
Ras Alhague "She'd like that. You were always her favorite, of my friends."
Antares "Goes to show there's no accounting for taste," Antares says, grinning at him and then throwing her arm around his shoulders for a quick squeeze before moving away again.
Antares "Hey, Ras, thanks."
Ras Alhague "Anytime, Terry. And good luck."