Shonie came over for game night, the same way she always did. She brought the same things the guys did – dice, books, a habit of complaining about the rules – and the same things the other girls in the group did – which included some snacks, some bottled water, and a bribe for May, Dave Carter’s girlfriend and co-renter of the apartment in which they were gaming.
She brought something nobody else did, too – of course, in a group like this, everybody had a specialization. Shorter-Dave brought a habit of playing explosive rogues and a way of smoothing over conflicts. Jenn With All the N’s brought the half-elf girls, always the half-elf girls, and an ability to find any loophole, anywhere, everywhere. SeKDillimn brought the snake – and other things, but usually the snake. And Shonie brought Handling Dave Carter.
They were taking bets already, SekDillimn and Jenn-n-n-n and Shorter-Dave, Red and The Gangrel and Cass and the rest, about how long this one would last. It had been a month, and May was already beginning to show the edges of wear. She accepted the bribes, of course – she liked chocolate, she really, really, liked Imagine Dragons and Neil Gaiman and PS4 games – but she shifted her weight to one foot when Shonie got there, and moved closer to Dave-Carter the minute that the hug began.
It was a long hug. Shonie’s hugs were always long, longer with Dave-Carter than with, say, SekDillimn or Cass, but she ended her hug with Dave with a light punch in the arm – either not noticing or not caring that it make May flinch – and a list of demands. “Did you remember to do your homework?”
“I’m not in classes.”
“Doesn’t matter. Did you do the cat litter?”
“May did it.”
“Wrong answer.” They’d lived together for a couple years, and it seemed like Shonie forgot, sometimes, that she lived across the city now, that Dave-Carter lived with May. “Come on, did you at least remember to eat a vegetable this week?”
“Ketchup is a vegetable?”
“Dork.” Shonie flopped into her seat and May was suddenly cuddling Dave-Carter very aggressively. The group passed bets via text and pretended nobody could see them – and everyone ignored the fact that Dave’s shoulders had relaxed when Shonie hit him and he was, the way he always was when she bullied him, smiling.
May probably wouldn’t last that long. But Shonie was a constant.
Okay, first, names: That’s a combination of a friend’s childhood group (everyone is firstnamelastname) and my own gaming group from a few years back (Jen vs. Jenn-n-n-n, Other Dave and Other Jeremy, key-mash screenames and things from gaming & the SCA. We had first Bob the Gangrel & then Mark the Gangrel, so. Gangrel it is.)
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