Alameda A public walkway or promenade shaded with trees
Jamaal knocked on the door politely. Hello, he was here. With like... chips and soda and stuff.

He was dressed casually, with his crucifix on a gold chain and with a jersey over a tee shirt and with jersey shorts. Clearly kinda sweaty from having been riding here across the town. His bike was chained up outside, helmet in his other hand.

So, yeah. Knock on the door.

@Ahha @Leaf?

Outfit bucket hat included

There’d been a weird energy in the house. Nothing majorly detectable, nothing that’d changed how easily her and Natalie got on, nothing bad. Just... different, and totally intrapersonal. Something about the last few weeks, about how she’d been feeling like her and her wolf were on the same wavelength.

It was probably irrelevant.

She flung the front door open. ”Jamaaaal!” Katya greeted, squinting because she was grinning way too hard. Hands went to help him with the soda and stuff. ”You found the wolf lair.”

No like, there was literally a dog sculpture at the entrance.
Whoa, feeling. He'd been pretty sure he hasn't felt that kinda Wallace-y vibe from Katya before, but maybe he hadn't paid much attention??

He laughed as she greeted him and handed off the stuff to her, eyes definitely catching on the wolf thing. Didn't make his fox very happy, but whatever.

"S'a nice spot."

He had no idea what was in store so instead he just took off his shoes and decided to wait to be guided on what to do next!
It was. The grin melted into a happy smile.

”Thanks. How’d you get here anyway?” Katya asked, having noticed that he was sweating but having not noticed the bike.

Barefoot, she would lead him into the kitchen so she could deposit the chips into a bowl. ٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و
"Bicycle. Locked it up outside. Abraham's teaching me how to drive but, like. You know."

He couldn't afford a car and really didn't want to say that anywhere because then he'd probably get pity and he wasn't real about that life.

Also yes he followed.
Her eyes widened but she kept the expression to herself, turning to snatch a clean bowl.

”That’s cool of him,” Katya admitted. ”You guys do that a lot? Hang out outside of work?”
"Well, yeah kinda. He'll pick me up to and from work on bad weather days. Or make me drive."

He'd taken Jamaal for his very first drink! Jamaal didn't drink much after but it was kind of okay.

"Can I help with anything?"
Abraham really was the worst kind of person. He was the asshole dude who you knew wasn’t really an asshole dude based on the way he treated others, on the things he’d put up with in the past, but he was an asshole to you.

Like. What the fuck was she meant to do with that? Weird shit.

”Yeah! Actually, siiince you brought soda...” Katya turned the idea over in her head, glancing Jamaal’s way. ”You ever had an ice cream float? We got vanilla ice cream in the freezer.”


When the knock at the door sounded paired with the presence of a were, Natalie quickly tried to wrap up her work for the day. An email sent, a note made, and she was done. Closing the laptop, she pushed the chair out from under her desk.

They were in the kitchen, a helpful thought brought forth by the wolf all too eager for them to weasel out of the room and check out the not wolf. Making her way down the hall and over, she was treated to the scene of Katya offering to make floats to a young guy, tan fur a blip of presence over him.

”Mind if I have one, too,” she asked with a wide smile, a small wave paired with it.
Jamaal had definitely not ever had an ice cream float before. Just when he was going to say so, another lady showed up.

His inner animal gave all sorts of wary sounds because, hey, once a wolf had tried to eat him. But chill, little dude.

He smiled and waved back.

"Never made it before. Tell me what to do?" he asked, and would move to do it if she did.

She felt her closing in metaphysically, like how you felt gum when it first got stuck on the bottom of your sneaker. Gross but in this context it was just deserving of glee. So Katya looked gleeful. Cool but gleeful.

”Natalie Jamaal, Jamaal Natalie,” she gestured between them, before bringing down three mason jars. Ice cream. Ice cream scooper.

”So. Do one big dollop of ice cream in each glass, or maybe a lil’ more.”
Ahh, introductions! ”Nice to meet you,” she was quick to butt up with their names, the happiness from Katya radiating the entire kitchen and having Natalie herself feeling more light and sing-songy in tone.

And he hadn’t ever made floats before? That was a travesty that needed to be fixed pronto. Quick on the draw, Katya was already grabbing mason jars and a scooper as she leaned against the counter to watch.
How big was a dollop? Jamaal would do his best. Ice cream was fun in that it was moderately unpredictable, so it took a few passes to make sure all the cups had the same amount, roughly.

"Alright," he prompted for the next step.

How was soda involved?
The best part about saying a dollop? No one actually knew how much a dollop really was. Katya included.

Jamaal was being really particular about precision though, which was fucking adorable, and as Katya cracked open the sodas she glanced to Natalie with stars in her eyes.

Were life could be so good if you let it be. For the first time, she felt genuinely thankful for what she was.

”And then... literally just pour the soda. But make sure to do it slowly because the ice cream’s gonna bob to the surface outta nowhere.” Preference, though. ”I’ll take sprite for mine. Natalie?”

When Jamaal finally did pour the soda, it’d kinda look like it was foaming up like beer.
Instructions given, the guy was scooping out very methodically the amount he considered to be appropriate. She’d never considered that kind of care besides just generally making sure there were the same amount of scoops and it was endearing. Watching as Jamaal made to double back on one of the glasses, Natalie felt eyes on her and looked up at Katya, breaking out into a smile at the expression.

Onward to the next step then. A quick explanation of an easy process, but the idea of sprite in a float caught her off guard. Could you do that? ”I’ll have the classic root beer,” she confirmed.
Katya went with Sprite. Natalie went with "the classic" root beer. He didn't know what was classic about it; were there different flavors or root beer? Anyway, Sprite sounded like a better pairing for vanilla ice cream, he thought, so he nodded and grabbed one of what appeared to just be regular root beer and two sprites.

"Coming riiiiight up," he said, and poured Natalie's first. And it did foam up!!

"Whoa!" he laughed, and then passed it to her before it could overflow.
Nice and easy. Katya laid out three long-handled teaspoons in case anyone wanted them for their floats. And then she watched as Jamaal developed the potion. ๑>◡<๑

She giggled before groaning out a single, Lookssogood.” Nyum nyum nyum. ”You can make them with like, coke and bourbon too. But that sounds next level to me.”
And Jamaal was grabbing a Sprite too? Was she missing something here? It was something to maybe try herself later.

Rootbeer in, the fizzing and foam had her laughing softly at the reaction. ”Thank you, this looks amazinggg,” she gushed, taking the cup gratefully. Taking the long spoon that had been prepared, she pushed down the floating icecream some as it bounced back up each time.

Katya’s information share though had her blinking over with some surprise. ”I didn’t consider you could do that.” Not that she wanted it right now, but it just was a thought that had never occurred by any means. It however, seemed like such a no brainer that she was surprised it had never come up before.
He worked on Katya's next, handing it off to her, and then his own.

"The first time I ever took a shot of liquor I almost shifted," he grinned to the anecdote. Abraham had felt bad but it was mostly just funny right now.

His fox made continued grumpy noises in his head about how they were trapped.
”Forreal,” she chimed in to what Natalie said, before Jamaal blessed them with the start of a story.

”No way,” Katya laughed. She took the mason jar which was being handed her way and shoved a spoon inside. ”Have you tried again since?”
Scooping a small part of the soggy icecream up with the spoon, Natalie couldn’t help surprise bursting on her face as she took the bite. That was super bad luck and she’d had some stupid reasons for shifting herself. ”What kind was it?”

Eagerly waiting to hear the answer to the questions, she tilted her head somewhat.
He shook his head no to Katya's question, and then to Natalie's, he scrunched his face in thought. "I really don't remember. Maybe tequila? It was something. I kinda stay away from it now, at least like shots."
Everyone everywhere seemed to hate shots. It was so sad. She wondered if she was just genetically immune when it came to knocking them back. She should research that later.

For now, Katya sipped the sprite from her glass, vanilla ice cream leaving a moustache which she then licked away. "You know Jamaal's gonna study law," Katya elaborated, glancing to Natalie all impressed. And then she began towards the back door, kicking it open to reveal a cute seating area in their yard. "He's super fucking smart."
Tequila was not something she would’ve considered shift material for, but she guessed the fox had some intense opinions about it. Would her wolf had reacted similarly if she’d tried when everything was so new to it? Maybe or maybe not, it was hard to know. ”That’s smart,” Natalie concluded. No need to tempt that outcome out again.

She’d take the icecream left out and quickly chuck it back into the freezer so it didn’t melt as Katya gave a fact about Jamaal that was super impressive. ”Whoah, that’s really cool. Is there a type you like more or you still feeling things out?” She’d follow them out of the house once the freezer’s door was shut and the treat was cradled back into hands safely.
OH GOD Katya was full on embarrassing him.

"Umm... criminal defense, mostly," he huffed, which maybe showed his youth. But it was a special kind of vindication to be able to help someone who had been wrongfully accused, so.

”To help Weres,” she contributed right after Jamaal, because intention was an important thing to mention. ತಎತ

Katya fell into one of the seats at the outdoor table, squinting as her eyes adjusted to the sun.
That one had definitely been top of mind, but then the elaboration had her eyes widening. ”That’s super cool. I didn’t even consider that that could be a thing, but it makes so much sense.”

Sitting down in her own seat, she took a sip of the soda, avoiding the blob of icecream decking her face.
Yep. That. Yep. He nodded and grinned. "Yeah. Just figure like. Our types don't really get much representation, you know."

Slight shrug. "What do you do?"
Jamaal was all grins. Natalie was all cute. The sun was all warm.

Katya stuffed a mouthful of ice scream onto her spoon and licked it upside down, leaning back against the seat.
That was empathetic and really such a good idea, She nodded to the explanation, definitely onboard with his train of thought.

”I’m a freelance copywriter,” she answered. Not nearly of the same caliber that Jamaal had his eye set on, but she liked it. ”So I write a lot of like, marketing pieces or I help with emails or anything that a company needs help with.”
"Ah, cool cool," he grinned, and then moved to copy Katya with the ice cream because he had no idea what else to talk about! The nice thing about older people was that they always got distracted by something.
Katya could bask like this all day. Just chill. She took a gigantic sip of sprite as they talked, leaning her head back for it.

After that went down-

”Imma nude model,” Katya lied, deadpan as she scraped another bit of ice cream.
Another scoop of the the icecream and rootbeer together. Katya’s burst in with a job title that didn’t seem right had her blinking over in surprise. A new job yeah, but that hadn’t… that hadn’t been it right? Was this a side job?

Jamaal closed his mouth around his spoon and kept it like that and kept his eyes to his soda ice cream thing and would not make a single glance astray.
Fuck. Their reactions.

”Yeah, so it’s like,” Katya began, putting her glass on the table and standing up so tall. She took a step back and fixed the ends of her hair. Clapped her hands together.

”You walk in. They pay you $85 an hour.” That number was pulled straight from her ass, please don’t analyse its legitimacy. ”And then when they say disrobe, you do, and you just gotta strike like, a Zeus style pose.”

Katya imitated one, looking over at them both with an innocent grin.
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