Round Two fifth life


It definitely felt really weird to be waiting for someone he didn't really... know? The last time he'd been here it had been to meet up with Maxine, and that had been very easy by comparison. Maxine, for all she had fallen out of his life for a few years, still counted as one of his few known contacts. Kara? Well, he had her name and her alleged face and a hopeful knowledge of the fact that she was willing to nerd out with him. It was enough, right? Well, enough to not have him ghosting her, which was great!

Nervous, but not too nervous. Just... a normal average sort of nervous. This wasn't a date so it wasn't a big deal. Just meeting up to game and hang out and... not rely entirely on typed words for getting to know another person.

Wasn't going to count on her being a were. Wasn't going to count on her being actually interested in him in any more than a usual way. Maybe this would be a bust. Maybe it would be great. Wow, Wallace, was to narrow down the possibilities here.

He hung out near the front, not really wanting to hang out near the bar and not wanting to get lost in the sea of arcade games. Also didn't want to wait outside, as that seemed way... way too expectant. Still, he felt very conspicuous, looking at every single person who entered on this afternoon hour like they might be someone he knew. Should he have gotten himself a little placard with her name on it, like he was waiting on her at the airport?

No, that might have been misconstrued as flirty. And he was definitely overthinking this.
hey buddy don't forget to wrap it before you tap it good luck

Sent right about when Abraham figured Wallace and his not date would be meeting. He'd kindly leave it at that.

end phone cameo



Here’s the thing, Kara absolutely did not see this as a ‘date date’. It was just a meeting of similar people and some kinda initiation to see if he was cool enough to hang with in the future. Worst case scenario, she left after wasting an hour or so of her afternoon, but at least with a beer and some pinball down. Best case? She’d found someone to geek out with that could take a light tease and hey, if an actual date came out of it that was cool too, but that fully depended on him not being human which was honestly some kinda crack dream. Wallace being anything, but human was a probability the universe had already set super low so it wasn’t even worth registering as an option. Cat Lady was absolutely a human.

Except, for some reason that law so stated by God or whomever had completely flipped the game plan, shooting pretty clear signals that this was a were. The guy was tall, duh. The shirt, absolutely nerd material. It was the flash of something other, something big with familiar stripes she’d seen twice before that had her making a face as Kara stood there not even five steps in at one Wallace as Spots sang out an alarm. Well, would you fancy that? He was a were.

Striding forward confidently after she slapped herself out of that initial moment of shock, she smiled with a determined brow. ”Hey how's it going? Glad to see you didn't bail," Kara greeted.
Wallace unfortunately had just enough time to check his message he got before his company for the day arrived.

Regrets! Partially in telling Abraham at all--it had been a matter of debate--but mostly in the fact that he had fallen for the trap of looking at the tease before this officially got going.

Fuck you. revolvinghearts
master chef

And that was all he got because OH SHIT SHE WAS HERE and he hadn't been paying attention for a second. Hastily pocketing he uh! Uh! Uh wait, wait, was that her? That vibe of... what was that? There was a sudden lot of tiger attention, and it WAS her. On approach. Pull yourself together, man! Admittedly he didn't look very shaken, but he did look a bit like someone had just played a 'look at that!' trick and he'd looked and there was nothing there. Only there was something there.

There was something... famliarish about her, he realized. He wasn't sure what. Maybe just from seeing pictures on Tinder. Had to be, right? He never really met anyone, and he was fairly positive he had no idea... what she was. He stuck out a hand on reflex. "Hi, yeah. Me too." Meaning... he was glad she hadn't bailed? Or glad he hadn't bailed? Unclear! To him, too! "Glad you... made it safe." His overthinking had not prepared him enough and he was floundering.

She was like him! Ish! What now!
With his hand coming out she took it, giving it a sure shake that served also as a punch in the gut as the dog’s fur ruffled in alarm in a very clear ‘we know him’ sorta vibe as it sniffed heavily at the mass. Well, he wasn’t that punk of a kid who’d been butt naked at ass o’ clock… maybe this was his washed up sire. Or… Hmm...

She took her hand back, following the conversation with a light chuckle at the follow up. ”Well thanks, but I don’t think either of us have to worry that much, huh," she questioned with a smirk. Were case in point, but it was a nice gesture all the same.

”How you wanna do this? Order a drink first or tokens?” Kara gestured inward towards either direction, filling in on the next steps since standing here wouldn’t get them to games or talking more than hellos any faster.

Wasn't wolf, for sure. Didn't... think it was coyote? But suddenly Wallace could not think of a single type of other wild dog. And something... coloring was weird. Cattish.

He almost halfway didn't even hear her follow up quip, but he laughed anyway in that polite way one did when they were distracted. Hobbes suggested taking her head in his mouth to figure out what she was. This was both impossible at the moment and ill advised anyway.

Then she asked him a question and he had to answer it, "Uhhh..." he wasn't much of a drinker and hiding behind games would probably have been really great, but he said, "We could get drinks," out loud and that seemed to be decision enough even as he wondered what he was doing. The plan! What was the plan? He liked her as much as anyone could ever like someone after a single text conversation, as a person. But she was also a were and did that change anything?

Slow down, it wasn't like there was a rush. But they could get in and maybe talk at the... counter. Bar. Whatever you'd call it. Right?
There was something up with him and she was more or less putting it on his nerves or shyness here as she carried forth, glad a point to the next direction was given out of the options. Alright, dude wanted a drink first, that worked and honestly made it easier to talk. ”Cool.” Giving him a smile, she’d begin heading that way, dog eyeing the giant right by them with an interest that felt like an itch between her shoulder blades. Spots was very convinced they could take him.

”So you mentioned you’d been here before. What’s your normal fix on the floor,” Kara questioned with a look towards the various machines they passed on the way to the bar in question.
"Well... last time I was here with a friend of mine, discovered air hockey is a riot," he admitted, but that wasn't really her question, just a fond remembrance and a slight joke. "But really... street fighter? TMNT? I like the fighters, I guess. I always felt like they were the most quintessential arcade game. Just really built for this environment."

He would have normally hedged a little more against being so blatantly informed about this, but it was how they'd bonded! Completely safe territory to nerd out in.

Mentally he shuffled to try and identify species. Dingo? Maybe. Were weredingos a thing? Almost certainly, but he'd never met one.
Air hockey brought a huffing smile out of her. That one was always a fun time and could get rather competitive if you played your pucks right. Wallace had an actual personal preference of fighters, she’d partly been betting on racers which was a surprise, because they were…. Quintessential, something that stood out in the explanation as Kara wasn’t exactly sure she’d ever heard that word aloud before. Well educated maybe?

”Yeah, I def know what you mean. Those only ever feel right in arcades. Having a controller and being by yourself for it just doesn’t have the same vibe.”

Coming up to the bar, she put a hand to it, continuing. ”Kinda the same with the shooters I like. Its hard to beat taking down a t-rex with a plastic gun while shouting and laughing together with someone.”
Nod nod nod. He was glad for this level of conversation. Something he could talk about without fumbling around it at all. Quickly the fact that she was a were slid towards the back seat of importance, at least for the next little bit. "Exactly!" he agreed, glancing at the bar. No immediate bar tender, which was fine by him. "I do play shooters at home sometimes, but it's not the same. It's good when I can split-screen with my roommate, though."

Ah, such fondness.

"Video games are nice, though, in the sense that some are enjoyed well alone like a good book, where others are loads more fun with friends. Like sports. I guess."
Wallace understood her on that regard which was nice and the wistfulness of the roommate being brought up didn’t escape her. That sounded fun. Man, if she had a roommate, she’d be doing the same. Maybe, Kara could get Natasha to come over and have a game night sometime.

Leaning, she nodded to the sentiment, smile quirking back up. ”Yep, totally! They’re versatile.” Catching the eye of the bartender who looked like it’d be a minute, she kept going, attention back to the tigerman. ”There’s a place kinda like this on the boardwalk back home that my pa- group would go to a lot." Oops, they were in public so many don't drop words like pack around. "It was honestly the best way to spend a night.” Besides shifting to tussle or kicking it on the beach.
Look at miss fancy pants and her former pa-group! But no actually that was cool, a nice little tidbit, and an acknowledgement of their shared secret.

"Love it," he told her, offering it up with a smile that was as real as anything. She was pretty cool so far, even in person! What a big deal that was. Hadn't expected it and he was slightly mad at Abraham for being even a fraction correct. Still... not a date!

Yeah? YEAH.

It was a feeling made mostly out of defiance towards the concept of tinder than any real feelings, truthfully.

"I've never really had friends like that in all the recent relevant years, but it is nice to come out with the individual folks I like. I'm admittedly horrible at getting out of the house, so the arcade is very motivational."
Well, that was probably the best response she could get even if he’d and her both had noticed the almost slip literally at a public bar and Kara returned the smile. Still, no up-tightness from him, no enforcing of rules or pushing of hottiness, so hey, that was reassuring to not have to worry about any ridiculous behavior when it came to that. He was chill and she was grateful.

Though he was a homebody it would seem, maybe even a shut in which, yikes. There was some burst of pride in herself in being able to pry him out of the safety of closed doors and her grin widened at his own recognition of that fact. Yeah! Look at her, getting tiger man out of the house. Dude needed to live life and she was happy to be part of the reason he’d done so today.

”Well, I’m glad you took me up on it.. This is a lot easier than text by a long shot and I’m looking forward to crushing you at Mortal Kombat,” she teased.

Bartender finally free, she’d order a beer, looking to Wallace as he ordered.
That made him laugh. "Well I guess I look forward to being crushed." Which sounded weirder when he said it out loud, but he'd ignore that in favor of... ack, all this overthinking and he'd not prepared himself to get something to drink. He really didn't love beer but going straight for anything else--or wussing out entirely--seemed... incorrect. So hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh okay. He ordered himself something he'd had a few times at home when Abraham had used to bring things around more often. The sort of thing he could sip on without too much intent and not hate.

And as they waited for that, he decided... curiosity had him. He leaned in to ask much quieter. "I always feel stupid asking, but I can't but wonder what sort of... dog you've got?"

Had to be canine, right?
The line from him had a buffet of a laugh escaping her, sobering as he picked through his drink options. Bartender off to get them everything, Wallace addressed the elephant in the room, getting close to speak for only their ears.

As always, she was a bit let down about no one knowing what the hell she was here, but also finding it fun in its own way. A smirk let loose. ”Ha, a painted one.” Did he know what those were? She blinked and waited to see, ready to further explain if needed as the dog in question chirruped.
A painted one.

Immediately he imagined one of those dogs with fancy dye jobs and haircuts made to look like tigers and Lisa Frank monstrosities. But he knew it wasn't that, and he felt like he'd heard that term before but... Great! He just really didn't know! He hated to make her explain further, but outside of very conspicuously googling that when she wasn't looking, he was at a loss. And yes, he could have done that, but was it worth the effort of deception?

So... Nope!

"I feel like I've heard that before but I can't picture it."

Hopefully she enjoyed honest confusion because that was what she would get.
She’d lost him on the appearance, but at least the name was kinda familiar. ”No prob, here.” Fishing out her phone, she’d unlock it and start navigating to a browser.

”There’s a lot of names for them. Basically canines from Africa with big splotches of different colors and giant ears.” Google pulled up quickly and within a second or so, Kara brought up a picture, turning the screen over to him to see with a wide grin. Of course, none of those were exactly how she looked, but it’d get the idea across nonetheless.
"Oh yeah, I've seen those! In like... zoos, I think." It had been ages, and ages, but they were a unique looking animal. "Beautiful, really." Which he realized just a moment too belatedly that that was maybe a weird thing to say to someone who harbored said animal. Was it? Was it weird? He didn't know! "I mean, you know, really different than... like coyotes and stuff. Wolves." Cringing inwardly at himself, he sat back from looking at her phone. "Didn't realize they were... you know. We could be them."

English, do you speak it?
Zoos made sense. Hell, the one in town probably had some of her non-were brethren too. Wallace adding offhandedly ‘beautiful’ had a smile right back on her face which only got much more big as he suddenly seemed to realize what’d been said, quickly backtracking even though she knew exactly how he’d meant it. That was a trait of his she was noticing, wasn’t it? Kinda cute.

”Aw, thanks I think I’m beautiful too,” she teased good naturedly, nudging him in the side before locking the phone to black as it went right back into the pocket whence it came. ”Nah, I get it,” Kara reassured. ”I wouldn’t have thought it a thing either, but y’know, hindsight twenty-twenty.”

And with that a tap down of a glass of beer finally sounded for her.
She was incorrigible at his expense. How did he find and befriend people who were so good at being mean to him? :'[ But really he... she was nice. About all this and about him being awkward as fuck. "Yeah, guess you got got." Hopefully not an insensitive way to put it. They all... got got in some way or another.

With the bartender so close he couldn't offer his own identity so easily. But... chances were maybe she already knew? He couldn't say. Giant cat with stripes wasn't hard to pick up on, he didn't think, and it was a common identification. He was, after all, the first public face of what a 'shifter' was. Whoops, don't think about that!

As soon as they both had a drink at hand, and a little more distance, he asked, "You got a lot of similar-minded friends?" Could be interpreted a bit.
That was one way of putting it and she lifted up the cool glass in agreement before back down to lips to take a drink. In the end, they were all weres for a reason, a bite, a scratch, some choice spit or whatever was your fancy. They did all get got.

Bartender moving away, it wasn’t long before he was asking more questions that she was more than happy to answer. ”Nah, not in town, I’m one of a kind here.” The glass was placed on some cheaply printed coaster with the logo of the place on it that she slid over from a haphazard pile. ”The group down in Camp Baron makes up for it though.” An adoptive family that she’d wiggled herself into by one lovely Natasha.

”How ‘bout you?”
One of a kind. He'd known how that had felt for a while. He had ended up liking it more than he'd expected to, and as such kept his world pretty small. It was a whole complicated thing, and probably nothing to get into on a first... not-date.

Camp Baron, though? He knew the bears were out that way, but he didn't go out that way enough on his own to say with great certainty that things hadn't changed. But, that was only slightly beside the point as she asked him a big question he'd asked himself a lot this last year.

He shrugged. "Few others like me around. Some have come and gone. I don't really hang around any, though. I mostly stick with my roommate--he's not with any group either, but he's chill with a couple of them." It was like, half a hint that his roommate was a jaguar, and even then it was only a hint at all if she knew anything about the various groups around town. He wouldn't count on it. "Got a couple other solo types who work at my shop, too, and that keeps me happy."

Kara had sort of earned the opportunity to know where she he worked, officially unworrisome as she was.
Kara slightly tilted her head as she listened, having figured there were some other stripes around just from running into two, now three even, herself. Wallace here didn’t keep much track of them, instead preferring the company of his roommate who was groupless too, but for apparently no grudging reason other than preference. Solo peeps even followed Wallace into his job and it was a different web than other weres typically had that the dude was constructing in front of her, but not unheard of. All and all, Wallace was happy and that was great and best way to live life. Was she happy without one? A question to put a pin in and forget about.

She tapped the bar, finding a good enough metaphor, something her brother would probably be proud of even while rolling his eyes. ”So you're basically Batman? Preferring to be alone except for really close friends, but not against teaming up for something once in a while with similar people, y’know, like your job?”
The comparison was unexpected and made him laugh. It prompted him to sheepishly sip at his drink even as he was shrugging, flattered to be called Batman even in the loosest and silliest sense.

"I suppose so!" he agreed, choosing to accept it instead of picking it apart. "I'll have to tell Abraham he's Robin now." Wouldn't he just loooove that?
That one earned her a laugh from him and she let a breath, glad it’d hit right. Even better, the roommate, Abraham, was Robin now so win win. ”He should be honored, that's the best roommate title," she grinned.
"He'll just call me a nerd and say something about I'm the one who ought to wear tights," Wallace foretold. The Veloster was clearly a bright orange Batmobile, too, it was perfect. But he didn't have time to get lost pondering what roles Julian and Jamaal were meant to fill, because he had company!

"But yeah. Cool. I mean, I get totally wanting to have friends. I know... a few of the Pine Peak people, if that's who you meant. They seem like pretty cool people. One of them is a friend of mine." He felt confident in calling Maxine a friend, anyway? More these days than maybe before? She had at least become one of the people who thought about him from time to time, so vice versa right back at her.
She chuckled into her beer at that. Seemed like a match made in heaven, his roommate and him. If you couldn’t have fun with the person you lived with then what was the point?

Wallace understood the want for friends, a point she raised both her brows out in a ‘oh, really’ way just to tease at the wording before placing the glass back down. She hoped he understood the want for friends, he had some himself.

Nodding to the use of their name and their status as chill, she honed in on the fact he was close to one. Was it big bear Cliff? Possibly. ”Yeah, who?”
She didn't outright guess, which was honestly easier. "You know Maxine?" He didn't suppose, necessarily. Maxine hadn't been back long. But she was around, and friendly, so it could very easily go either way.
She grinned, giving a nod at the familiar name, the girl’s face popping up easily enough. What a small world. ”Yeah, I met her. She seems super nice, easy to talk to.” A bear Spots to this day was crowing she could beat like Mary.

”Said she’d recently moved back and such.”
"Yeah, I knew her like, way, way before. Three years ago or something. She left for a while but we've chatted since. Actually she's the one I played some air hockey with not too long ago." Yeah, small world. Wasn't so often he felt that way, but hey. "Funny that we have similar friends, but I guess it goes with the whole... culture."

Were-culture. Dun dun dun.

Because they were both weres somehow, remember?
Wallace had the receipts on past Maxine and turned out she was air hockey pal and, man, seriously though, what a small world. Seems he had the same thought and Kara nodded for it. ”Yep, small network no matter where you go I guess. Similar friends are a good character tell too though outside of everything,” her hand did a wavy fingers at that in leu of saying were culture stuff. ”If you’re friends with their friends, it prob means you’ll get along so we’re both Maxine approved by that logic,” she smiled toothily with some of an exhaled laugh. Yes, she had gone ahead and put herself in that grouping, but Kara hardly considered herself an asshole.
That made him laugh, a little toothy for a second before he took a drink and shrugged. "I'll take it, honestly. I know it's silly, but I wasn't really planning on meeting anyone at all, but I get the feeling being brave was the right choice here." They could be friends, right? So far it felt like it. She wasn't hard to talk to at all, and they had things in common beyond it. "So you know Cliff, too? Who else?" Maybe they could draw more lines of familiarity.
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