Dog Run (band only) we gather here today

feel free to assume you've been here already for whatever length of time unless your name is wes

Eli was so happy to bring the coyotes together. He didn't even consider himself a socializer, but something about drawing the flock of dogs together... he loved it. It had been a bit too long. Certainly since before Heidi had left. What a great time to rectify...

...with a pizza party!

Leigh, like the perfect person she was proving to be, had offered to bring drinks. Eli had brought the bulk of the kill: two pepperoni pizzas, one with the addition of sausage, another with the addition of bacon, and then his personal favorite: meat lovers with jalapeno and bacon. (He'd already stolen a piece of this before he got it to the clubhouse.)

King coyote was in a good mood. Eager to get Wesley attached to the band. As far as he was concerned, it wasn't a matter of if, just when.

Who didn't love a bunch of other coyotes, after all?
Brooke had come burdened with an assortment of cupcakes, full of pumpkin sprinkles atop swirled icing. They sat happily right next to the pizza boxes that she was diligently opening, trying to find the right flavor.

”Do y’all know when Wesley is coming,” she asked out.
Kai's contribution, as usual, had been alcohol. A variety pack of seasonal beers, boasting the likes of... fucking pumpkin spice or some shit, she didn't really know. Apples or whatever. She hadn't paid much attention to it, and had simply plucked something out for starters - an amber ale that did, if nothing else, taste better than straight tequila. She'd never confess as much. It didn't matter anyway - she was trying to behave. Casual drinking it would have to be.

Slouched in a chair, beer between her legs and phone in hand, Kai was playing a particularly violent round of Merge Dragons. Brow furrowed, half-listening to the room around her, she muttered, "I thought his name was Winston."
She had brought a bucket, ice and drinks. Soda and water bottles had been organized in the front half of it. The back half she had been content to sort Kai's provided beverages.

Sure, a fridge could have been used just as easily but this was atmosphere building.

Brooke asked a question, Kai mumbled something not caught by Leigh.

"It better be before food gets cold." She answered in good humor to the younger coyote.
Winston. Eli chuckled. He liked Kai more than he should, he knew this about himself.

"Should be any minute now, he's close," he assured, putting those kingly perks to use. Unless there was yet another unknown rogue coyote who just happened to show up and some very convenient time!

"Do try not to scare him too badly."

This he pretended to direct to the room, but it was really mostly at Kai.
Wesley was a bit nervous. Standing in front of middle schoolers all day? No problem. Meeting a group of coyotes like himself? Nerve-wracking. He wanted to fit in and make a good impression; particularly since he'd liked Eli. He, too, had brought some food. Wanted to get on everyone's good side. For his contribution, it would be chips and dip. Regular potato chips with a french onion dip, specifically.

He followed the directions given to him and soon enough found the building with the door standing open, inviting him inside. He walked up a moment later, pausing at the threshold to give a quick, "Heyyyy," before walking inside. Wanted them to know he was there first before just bursting in.
Wait… what? She blinked over to Kai. ”Is it?” How had she gotten the names wrong?

Before she could double check, Brooke was glad to find Leigh and also Eli confirming and then saying when. So, soon!

”Scout’s honor,” she promised for them all. They were super unscary.

Pizza slices to a plate, a knock to the door had her attention and soon there was an unfamiliar face. Coyote sniffing towards the newcomer, she smiled and offered a soft wave. ”Hi.”
Nobody corrected her, and so Kai was left to feel haphazardly confused about it, especially as Brooke voiced her own uncertainty. It definitely... started with a W, and that was about all she was sure of.

Privately, she decided that when she did learn his name, she'd call him something else instead anyway! How was that for being scary, Eli? >:)

The stranger approached not so long after, his presence and scent moving just ahead of him. He crooned out a greeting, and Kai's thumb-tip battle was lost on screen. With a huff, she looked up, laying her eyes on a man who could have been Eli's brother. If his hair was a little darker, and his nose a little sharper, they could be fucking twins. Weird. WEIRD.

"Sup, new kid," she greeted, grin crooked, eyes mischievous.
There was a chirrup of various greetings as Wesley peeked into their lair, and Eli had been prepared, quick to stride over to offer him a gesture further in and a hand of hello. "Wesley, glad you made it. This is... well, everyone! Kai, Brooke, Leigh," he said with gestures to each. "Kai bites, the others don't, feel free to act accordingly. Pizza over that way, make yourself at home."

There, preliminaries were taken care of, and now it was time to see how Wesley would be absorbed into a band that would be more than happy to have him if they could.
It was always awkward meeting a new group of people who already knew each other. So after stepping inside and smiling at all the greetings, he stood there with his arms close to his body. He gave a small chuckle at being told one of the girls was a biter- the one who'd even called him kid despite the fact that he was sure he was older than her.

He looked towards the pizza and figured he'd go ahead and head that way. Announce he also brought food and get it set up for them. "I brought some potato chips and dip," he said, masking some of his nerves the way he always did at the start of a brand new year at school. He opened up the bag of chips and got the dip set up. Grabbed a plate, a slice of pepperoni pizza, and some chips. Started with a soda first, but was definitely eyeing the beer too.

Wesley made his way back to the group to sit among them. "So what do all of you do around the area?"
He was a good kind.

Definitely seemed like if somebody had turned down the saturation (in all regards) on Elijah. Out came this wonderful, new coyote. One with chips and dip! It was easy to decide he was likable after that.

So she bit first.

"When I'm not organizing events and schedules around here? It's cliché but you can't pass up on the local scenery for hikes or day trips."
It was in fact, Wesley! Okay, so she’d had it right the first time and Kai was tripping her up either on purpose as a joke or genuinely the woman hadn’t known. It was hard to tell in this instance.

At the mention of her name, Brooke waved before finishing up with the pizza and standing off to the side so as to give him space with the food should he want it, the coyote lowered and sniffing towards his with cautious interest.

”I work and perform, mostly.” And wow, way to condense her life to just three words.
"Brooke lives with me, so I makes sure she keeps out of trouble." If he wanted trouble, he'd need to speak to Kai... but he got the feeling Wesley was definitely not looking for trouble.

"Leigh helps me keep Dog Run going, when I'm busy at my other job. And when I'm not busy with my day job I do like to hit the prairie for a while. Two legs or four--plenty to do around here if you don't mind weather."

It wasn't too hard to endear to Camp Baron if you were the outdoors type. Harder sell if you weren't.
And one by one, they all talked about what they did. He nodded along with each. Nobody asked about him, but he'd tell them anyway. "Cool, cool. I'm a teacher at Hawknell Middle. New to the area as of this summer." Chased back his little introduction with a bite of the pizza. He nodded in appreciation. "Good pizza," he said around the chewing.
Winston made himself at home, slithering through whatever nerves he might have in a new crowd. Making small talk, the sort that bored her but was kinda necessary for first steps and all that bullshit. She let her phone drop face-down onto her stomach, watching each of them speak in turn, chewing idly at a hang nail. Leigh, too hot to be a dog, doing fancy decor shit. Doctor Eli. Brooke, just a little baby, lucky to have these ding-dongs. Winston, a fucking school teacher. Kai laughed, harsh and loud.

"Middle schoolers are the fucking devil," she announced, reaching for her lame beer. "I can't tell if you're brave or stupid."
Not mutually exclusive traits, was what Eli wanted to say. But for Wesley's sake...

"Brave and bold is my bet," he piped in, easy, casting a sideways glance to their new friend to see how well he was handling Kai. She could be a lot, but she was part of the deal! Eli would be loathe to let her go.
At Eli’s comment about her, she offered a,”Hey,” and grudgingly let him continue onward.

Wanting to find her own place so she wasn’t hovering near the food, the coyote was adamant at not doing that and so here Brooke was, one with the table’s end.

Speaking of coyote, he was a teacher and new to the area which was cool, though she had to wonder how the job worked considering. Definitely questions to hit him up with later.

Brave and stupid, brave and bold, two sides of a coin, maybe?

”Where were you before here?”
Wesley looked to the floor to give a small chuckle. Hearing middle schoolers lambasted wasn't anything new. Pre-teens and young teens were a notoriously difficult age, but that was why he liked them so much. They were emerging from adolescence and trying to figure out their place in the world, and they just needed a lot of patience and grace. But he got it.

Brave, bold, stupid. Nothing new there. Wesley looked at Kai now with a smile. "Yeah, the kids say the same thing." It was a dig on himself, but was he really being dogpiled on when he was the one jumping on top of the pile? He glanced to Eli, appreciative of the attempt to take away rather than add on.

He was happy to move on from whether he he was brave, stupid, or both. Looked towards Brooke. "Originally from New York. I've been making my way west for the past few years now."
"Ah, New York... never been." Eli chimed in helpfully. "Never been east of Wyoming, if you can believe it. You liked it out that way, or was your slow escape one of fear?"

Teasing. Wesley was going to definitely have to get used to... teasing, if he was into the idea of the band. Not from Leigh (thought maybe a little from Leigh) and certainly not from Brooke, at least not straight away. But him and Kai? Absolutely. No one was safe.
From the Big Apple! Eyes wide, she got a bit starstruck and wanderlust at once. Man, how she wished to visit New York sometime. It was one of those places that could make you big or also crush you under boot from what she’d heard. But, why had he left and continued to move further out this way?

Eli hit the question right on the nose and she waited expectantly, chewing through another bite of pizza.
Ha! Case and point. Kids sucked. Kai huffed a sound of combined distaste and amusement, rolling off of the couch to dispose of her now-empty beer. Winston looked like he could be a New Yorker for sure, she decided, plucking a new drink from among the herd of bottles and cans.

"You didn't pick a much warmer place," she quipped uselessly, marking it as good behavior that she was not being a bitch about this boring get-to-know-each-other shit.
Wesley certainly didn't mind the teasing. In fact, he could dish it out too, but he decided to hold back for now. Let these new friends get their razzing out before he started dropping anything in. He gave a grin to both Eli and Kai.

"Hard being a coyote in a big city. I was always worried about accidentally infecting someone. I think the band I was with thought so too. We moved around a lot until everyone just went their own direction. And I ended up here."
"Moving with the band is certainly a choice." He could not imagine having followed his own first one anywhere, but... maybe he could imagine it with this one. Though he could scarcely imagine it becoming necessary.

"But glad you're here. As you can see we're small but I think that makes us rather cozy. Kai is our fire, as I'm sure you've noticed."

Flippant, passing remarks, really. But it was the tiniest sales pitch to someone he was fair positive was interested in joining regardless. Who put up with group social gatherings if they didn't want to be a part of said group? Just madness.
So, he hadn’t moved for the weather. Instead, he’d been all around with his pack, something she hadn’t even considered. If the band all left town, would she also go with them? At least they were spaced out here, less shoulder to shoulder with others so it didn’t seem like anything Brooke would have to worry about anytime soon.

Kai was their fire and she was? ”And I’m their kidnapped adopted daughter.” Har har.
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