Graupel Canyon Lodge Lay Low

Putting back up the open since it was deaded :3

A ski lodge. It was the sort of place she’d realized was nearby and just couldn’t fucking let it go. Tourism was a huge boon and the year round crowd from locals? It was practically begging for her to check it out for a variety of reasons. The only thing she needed to be cautious of was the very heavy presence of a group. She should be easier to miss as not being tied to anyone, but there was always the outlier who rounded up on her too hot for their britches. Not today, not today.

Leaning against her chair, she waited for the phone in her hand to blink back to life, the charging cord the only tether to the two foot by two foot space Viv found herself in right next to one of the trash cans. A cup of water sat next to her on a tabletop, a backpack that’d seen better days right up against the chair as her attention roamed over the patio, trying to figure out where to score lunch. Maybe that couple over there with the kid? Or that guy with the pizza box…

As someone came close, she spoke up. ”Got anything left in that?”


Waylin needed to stretch his legs, and what better way than to take the motorcycle out for a spin?

No more smelly Ubers for this guy!

He still had to take it easy with the shoulder, but he was free to do as he pleased, and that's how he ended up in Graupel Canyon. The last time he had been here, he ended up meeting a vampire at the hot springs, and the time before that had been Asha. Neither had been bears, and while he wasn't actively searching for them, he was curious to meet one, but really, he needed a distraction that wasn't someone he knew. It's not a fight, per se, just a new face to either befriend or annoy. People watching in the lodge during the middle of the summer wasn't as interesting as he had thought it'd be. He knew this place would be bustling come Winter, and the people loitering about had to be locals, but none, in particular, seemed to catch his eye as he feasted upon an all-meat pizza.

Maybe better luck next time? With a sigh, he picked up the remains of the pizza, making his way through the crowd towards the exit.

That changed when a voice spoke, and for a moment, he didn't think he was being addressed until he turned. Silver eyes landed on a woman sitting with her phone charging in one hand and a look of hunger in her gaze. The backpack propped up had seen better days, and her entire vibe screamed homeless, but maybe she was new to the area. Or, perhaps, this was just her style.

Waylin hadn't planned to take it on the motorcycle, so he promptly turned the box around and offered it to her with a smile," Sure! New to the area?"
Silver eyes met her own and she inhaled on reflex. Were. The cheetah pressed the concept of food back. Small then. And he was offering the pizza box free of charge. There’d hopefully be more than crusts in it… Viv took it, safely pushing it close to her, elbow moving on top of it. No take backs.

Was she new? ”Eh, kind of. Been here since winter.” And it was nice to not deal with snow for a bit. And what was his whole story with the eyes?
Since Winter.

Waylin wanted to whistle, frown, and ask if she had a place to stay, but then two things crossed his mind. One, he didn’t have a place to offer, especially with the house not done. Two, she was a complete stranger. It couldn’t be helped, the desire to help someone in need, as the Clowder had helped him back in his youth as a fox.

He gave a curt nod and then figured that, with her being a Were, he could help in other ways.

”There’s a few slices in there but I can get you more if you want, perhaps something to drink as well?” Then, he shifted from foot-to-foot, not wanting to offend.

He had, after all, been on both sides of this.”I don’t want to offend, or assume, and I’m not looking at you like a charity case. Just…sitting by the trash can asking people for food, figured a couple slices isn’t going to fill you up.”
Her gaze narrowed at his offer, not sure where this was all coming from. If he wanted something for it, he was fat out of luck. Nope, he was pitying her and that was worse. She’d had enough of that for life, thanks.

“I don’t want to offend” was always said by someone offending with every word that stumbled out of their mouth. “It was going in the trash anyways.”

She put the phone down.

“But if asking has you assuming things, forget I ever did.”
Ah, he should have known that would have been the wrong thing to have said.

It seemed he was doing that more recently. Putting his foot in his mouth where it didn't belong, and at least he had the decency to look apologetic.

He should have just kept it at 'Do you want more alongside a drink', and did that. There had been no reason to add on the 'charity case' bit, but Waylin wasn't perfect. It'd be stupid to continue by saying, 'I didn't mean to offend' because that clearly didn't work, stating it before.

"Sorry...really need to learn to keep my mouth shut,"he winced, refraining from correcting her that the food itself wouldn't have gone into the trash. He never tossed good food in the trash, not when someone he'd pass on the street could eat it or make it easier on scavenger wildlife. Or, Weres. Both. The box would have gone in the trash, but not the few slices that were nestled within it.

Could he get a fine for it? Potentially, but no one came after him for it, and it wasn't every day that he had leftovers.

"I'm not intentionally trying to look at you one way or the other; I should have just asked if you'd want more because what's in there isn't fulfilling."
She looked at him critically at the apology that immediately slid right off her. Viv was still here and he was still there with his flannel and messed up eyes.

Not intentionally judging her, but still doing so. “You really gotta learn to shut it while you’re ahead.” Said even toned, an observation.

”What’ll you want in return if I said yes, anyways? Social media clout?”
Social Media Clout?

Waylin's face formed a look of disgust.

"Ew, no thanks. There's enough of that nonsense in the world,"he huffed. Did someone do that to her before? Cause, man, if they tried that with him, he probably would have broken someone's arm or shifted and mauled them back in the day. "No, nothing. I want to make sure you have food. It'd be one thing if I weren't, you know, but I am, so I know two slices of pizza aren't going to fill squat."

He almost said it'd be better than begging the next person for more scraps, but he managed to keep that as a mental thought, not a verbal one.
Well that was a no if she’d ever seen one, but then what else did he want? Nothing came for free, that’s how the world worked. So Viv didn’t believe him at the nothing comment and wasn’t understanding the gesture at all. She was a stranger, there wasn’t a reason for this other than him feeling bad. But, nope, apparently the dude felt like he had an obligation because they were both running around with an animal under their skin.

”They won’t,” she agreed, giving him that.
”Do you have a preference?”

Waylin beamed, taking her two words as an opportunity to help. He was tired of the downward spiral that he may or may not bring upon himself. Ha! It felt good to help people, to offer what he could in return to those that helped him when he needed it.

Plus, he did offend her and he hated that.
Of the flavor she was guessing. The practicality of the statement he’d made was something she leaned on, allowing herself to go ahead and take it. It would be stupid to say no, but she didn’t fully trust him that there wasn’t a catch.

”The more meat the better,” Viv answered. The more protein rich something was, the better for hunger, but also to keep all parts of her happy.
"You got it!"

Waylin wanted to clap his hands together but refrained as he did an about phase and headed back towards the front to order. Unlike him, where he planned to carry the slices out by hand, he grabbed a go-to container so the woman didn't have to lug around a large pizza box. Could she have gotten it herself? Yeah, but he didn't stop twice to think about it when the fresh box was handed to him after ten minutes, and he was meandering his way back toward the woman.

"You never said what you wanted to drink, so I got you two bottles of water and a Gatorade,"he grinned, offered out the box with one hand, and raised his other to show meticulously balanced bottles that he had no intentions of drinking. Gatorade is for electrolytes, and water is for hydration; it's not that she was looking on the verge of passing out or anything!!

He didn't want to show up with alcohol, and it not be her thing...
And off he went and she watched after him with some kind of confusion. That had really happened. The cheetah chirped for it and all Viv could do was grumble to herself.

Ten minutes was enough time for Viv to give a few looks and inhales after the guy had left before flipping open the pizza box. There sat two slices as he’d said, surrounded by a circle of grease showing where others used to be. There wasn’t anyone else here, right? No, it didn’t seem like it. Even though it was a territory of some kind. Picking a slice up, she’d polish off the leftovers in no time, the empty box shoved to the side by the time the stranger was back.

Speaking of, he was back and her gaze whipped from his face, to the box of food as promised, to several bottles that hadn’t been the plan. Some variety of stunned and confused, she took the offered pizza, practically feeling the ghost of claws under nails. ”You sure?” Even though at this point she wasn’t above decking him and running to keep the box in her grip.
”Positive!” As if to show he was serious, he released the other side of the box for her to tuck away if she felt like it. He had noted she had done so with the other box and wondered if she was used to people trying to take back what they offered if she didn't comply with their demand.

If so, they were a bunch of pricks because you don't help someone with a hidden motive. Waylin tried not to crowd as he moved to set the bottles down before his hand could cramp.

That would have been embarrassing, and once the bottles were out of his grip, he stretched out his hand and fingers.

”Also, promise there's nothing I want in return. If you really need a reason for all of this, consider it me paying it forward for help I received in the past,”Waylin shrugged, scratching the back of his neck. He didn't know if that'd be enough to settle her into believing him or not, but he seriously didn't have any ulterior motives.
So eager! He let go on his end and she suddenly had a full pizza in her grip, other hand coming up to balance the thing. The heat under the box radiated through her skin, the smell so much more heavy than the leftovers. Bottles were set down and he reiterated, reassured, that there was nothing else wanted.

She let out a breath, wrestled with herself somewhat, before moving out a leg to push a chair out. An invitation sorta. ”What kinda help?”
Waylin wasn't expecting the offered chair and debated whether to accept it. Ultimately, he took a seat because the last two strangers had been interesting to talk to, so why not this one? She appeared to have stories, and he was using this time to take a break from everything else in his life.

”Food…shelter…a sense of stability,”he spoke with a shrug, looking at his hands rather than watching her if she decided to eat. He could continue to say patience, comfort, and a whole list of things given to him over years after the clowder discovered him. ”Over the course of years, not immediate…the uh…stability thing.”
Wasn’t no skin off her back if he didn’t take it, but sure enough, there went the chair.

Viv reached for a water, twisting the lid off as he went on about an answer. Stability sure did feel heavy there. ”You with a group here or somethin’?” That could do it.
" group,"Waylin hummed. "Not yet at least, and definitely wouldn't be in bear territory."

No harm in discussing something that wasn't set in stone.

They were still shy a fox to form any group and after the clash with Matthias...

Still much to discuss.

"Hope to have one in Valencia one day, but until then, just little ole me."

He nearly asked her you but context clues sorta told him that would be a stupid question.
No group and this was bear territory. Duly noted. But, he was looking into Valencia for the future which may indicate others like him. There were a lot of weres here.

She took a drink, screwed the lid back on before flipping the pizza box open to reveal the cheesy meaty glory of it all.

”What’s under your skin?”
What's under your skin?

Waylin nearly replied, 'Muscle and tendons' because he liked to think he was funny, but he had already pushed his luck at the beginning of this meeting.

"Fox." See! He could keep things to the point even if it were difficult. "You?"
She looked up at him, hand pulling a slice from the pie. Fox, got it. So that’s what that little thing was that smelled of possible food. How big did he actually look when in that form, she really had to wonder.

”Cheetah,” Viv provided before taking a bite that was a hundred times better than the other two slices. Something about melting cheese would always elevate.
Cheetahs weren’t common compared to other cats, and he couldn't help the excitement in his eyes. They were dangerous, but not as hefty as jaguars, and if his fox were unbothered staring down a jaguar, then he wouldn't flinch at a cheetah.

Plus, there was no hostility here, and it would be silly to try to start something that would alert the bears in the area. Those were a threat normal or Were.

”Would it be too pressing to ask why you decided the ski lodge in the middle of summer? to prowl?”

His tone was light, his head cocked to the side as his eyes shimmered curiously. She could tell him to fuck off, but if she was looking for food…why here?
When she looked back up at him while chewing it was like staring at a kid who’d just seen Santa. Over what she’d said? Was having a cheetah cool or something? Viv would have to find out more at some point.

Why a ski lodge and to prowl. She huffed, swallowing. ”I’ve never been to one and there’s lots of people.” Lots of potential. A shrug. Another bite before prompting with the slice in her hand, a look, for him to answer.
It made sense.

Crowded places led to more opportunities to either gain sympathy for food or, in his case, steal. He learned early on how to swipe things without being caught, and while he hadn't done it in a decade, he was sure he could still do it. He didn't need to, not unless he wanted to test his theory but that wouldn't be in bear territory.

He wanted to meet the bears on a friendly encounter, not hostility.

”I like being out here, not so much the people but the area itself. It reminds ne of home,”he shrugged, looking out the window. ”I prefer in the Winter, but I recently recovered from an injury and I wanted to drive my motorcycle so I left Valencia and winded up out here. Great pizza doesn't hurt either,”he grinned.
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