Reuben’s Billiards 8:30 PM, September 13, 2021

Rika dressed very comfortably. She waltzed right in, except she had to wait to be seated so she did >:[
Vanessa dressed up a little because she enjoyed dressing up. She stood close to Rika, waiting to be seated, gift bag that Grace would hopefully find amusing in hand.
Grace. Was. Ready. For these two. And as soon as she saw them, there was a yowl of ownership.

"THEY MINE," she called, and in a moment, she was whirling out from the back, jortsed and in her company shirt. She saw a gift bag, got further sparkle eyes, and flurried out to wrap her arms around both of them. A trio squish hug.

"You babes are the fuckin' BEST," she grunted into it, standing on her toes for the tallness of her enthusiasm.
Vanessaaaaaaa. Rika hadn't missed that she was getting Grace a gift. What a sweetheart.

Grace whirled on them megafast and she giggled into the triple hug.

"Sorry did you say we're the BEST??"
Vanessa had time to barely react to being called the best before Grace was wrapping her arms around her and Rika. She hummed happily and squeezed the girl back. "Ohhh, happy birthday girl!" she said through the hug, and when they were all finally separated, she grinned and held out the bag so Grace could open her gift. Who would really wanna wait until after they were finished working to get their gift? "I hope you like it!"
Smashed into a hug, Grace felt her heart mushing with a whole lot of fucking feelings. Birthdays were not her shit. She did not want to be older anymore. Every day was as old as she cared to get. But if she could put it aside and make it about herself and not the encroaching threat of adulthood, it was pretty solid.

The bag was excellent, and she lifted to admire it. Tried to guess the gift based on the weight but had no idea. Her best guess was- actually, zero fucking clue. But that was part of the fun.

"Fuck, can I open it now?" she asked, then waved them off toward a table, peeking inside the bag and real cool hip checking a pool table along the way.
"Yes yes yesyesyes please!" she squeaked, all excited as if it was a present for her. But mostly she was just into the surprise.
Vanessa had expected Grace to automatically open it, so when she asked, Vanessa gave her a laugh. "Yes, please. Why wait? Open it!" She grinned at Rika, happy to see that she, too, was excited about this gift.
Open it open it Grace was lucky she didn't fucking teleport out of sheer hype. She blast them toward a table, sliding her ass into the booth despite definitely being on the clock. It was fine.

"FinTASTIC," she gurgled giddily, shaking the bag in Rika's general direction because obviously the buyer didn't get finned. But then she plunked her hand within, pulled out a box, had that moment of brain scrambling when you looked at a gift but couldn't grasp what it was right away. (Gift receiving was a challenge even for Grace.)

But then she gasped big, eyes bulging, holding it up Simba-style at her table.

"Veeeeeeeeeeeee," she wailed, revealing a long personally held nickname. "Yo. This is going to make my whole little place glow. I'ma put it by my bed and watch it literally ev-err-yyyy night."

And get high and watch it. That was what she actually meant, but she was afraid to drugs in front of Vanessa just yet. She swept the box to her chest, squeezed it until the cardboard threatened to creak, absolutely buzzing with hard to verbalize affection.
Rika gasped when she saw it. HOW ADORABLE WAS THAT?!

"That's soooooooo perfect!" she praised Vanessa's gift giving, pressing her hands to her face. How so cute!!

"Do you think they'll get mad if we got birthday shots with you?"
Vanessa wasn't even phased by being called V. She'd already accepted that Rika and Grace had a million nicknames for her, and honestly- they were all fine. Better than being called Nessie, which she had to pretend to like when some immature asshole in elementary school called her that to be a bully.

But anyway, she was pleased as pie that Grace loved her gift. Rika liked it too, which maaaybe it gave her an idea to get Rika one when it was her birthday.

Vanessa grinned as she said she'd watch it every night. She could've added in the stuff about being high too because honestly, Vanessa didn't care what people did, as long as they weren't abusers. And Grace held down a job and had her own place and a social life, so obviously she was doing just fine.

Her eyes grew wide at the mention of birthday shots and she laughed. "Yeah! They'll let you, right? It's your birthdaaaaaay!"
She wanted to set it up right the fuck now. Pawed at the box some, beginning to open it before thinking better of it. You're at work, bitch.

"I can sneak like one shot but I don't wanna get fired," she said, voice lower. "You two wanna crash a pool table while you wait? What shots you want?"

Vanessa seemed like a wine type, which was not a shot. And. Really. How many shots did you actually need when you had Rika round?
Rika liked pool!

"Vodkaaaaa~" she said, slipping Grace a gift of cash money $50 to pay for all three and also tip her.
Grace was right that Vanessa was a wine drinker. But she’d been to college. She’d gone to parties. "I’ll have what she’s having," she said with a grin.

As to pool, it was something she didn’t know anything about. Weirdly, her friends had been into bowling. "I'm up for pool as long as you gals teach me how to play."
Hello, fiddy. Grace saw it for what it was, blew Rika a kiss. Birthday cash was never out of style.

"This bitch gotta work. But maybe Rika could teach you while I finish my shift," she said, swaying her hips and shimmying her shoulders for some reason as she flomped back to her feet. "And after shots. Watch my jellies."

And then she was off, stopping by another table along the way to bat her eyes and ask if they needed anything.
She caught the kiss and smashed it against her cheek.

Then, to Vanessa, moving to gather up the gift carefully.

"I'm pretty sure pool is just like. You pick solids or stripes, and try to get them all in pockets. And if you hit you're opponents's ball in, that's bad. And also if you hit the 8 ball before the others. Maybe some kinda order too."

She squinted.

Maybe Google would have to help.
Vanessa watched Grace saunter off and shook her head. She looked to Rika with a grin. "Please tell me that girl makes a killing here in tips. She's so damn cute."

But onto pool! It didn't seem too difficult to play, based on what Rika was saying. "Okay, that sounds easy. So do you wanna be stripes or solids?"
Rika agreed. Too cute >:{

"I'll do stripes. Ummmm... You can break if you want though," she answered, pulling out the triangle and piling them all in in no particular order. Also left the white ball out.

"You gotta hit the white ball to the ball you wanna get in the pocket, I think..."

(I'm not googling.)
Rika could've been a pool genius for all Vanessa knew. She wasn't gonna google how to play pool and just assumed Rika knew what she was talking about. She nodded and picked up a pool stick, trying to figure out how to best hold it. How did they do this in the movies? She tried, and ended up scraping the stick along the table. "Wow, they make this look easier in the movies," she said with a laugh, and then just gripped the stick like it was a sword and jabbed it at the white ball. It worked, anyway, as the cue hit the rack of balls and scattered them out along the table.
She laughed a bit too.

And then she decided to take her turn but she sent the balls moving and the only one that got in a pocket was one of Vanessa's >:0

"How early do you work?"
Vanessa didn't know if that was really good or bad. Continuing to hold the pool stick wrong, she hit the cue ball towards another solid color. The cue completely missed, bouncing off the wall and lining up in a nice play for Rika to maybe get one of the stripes in the pocket.

"I'm only preparing some arguments tomorrow and not meeting with any clients or going to court, so I can sleep in if I wanna." Perk of being in a firm of one.
Ohhhh wild.

Rika tried. She really did. But she scored another one of the solids in instead and made grrrrrrr noises >:(

"I'm fine, it's fine. What kind of, uh, cases? Do you take."
Rika was getting upset and Vanessa frowned. Likely just was a super competitive person. Vanessa could understand that. She was too. She tried a different way of holding the pool stick this time, trying to be more natural with it. Tried to line up and tapped the cue. This time, things seemed to go well and Vanessa grinned as she managed to get one of the solid color balls in. She grinned, but wouldn't celebrate it too much, since she didn't want to further upset Rika.

"Mostly divorces," she said with a frown. It wasn't her most favorite thing, but there were, sadly, always plenty of them. "But I handle other cases as well. Disputes and stuff."
Rika's dumb ass celebrated Vanessa's win.

Then she listened to the response.

"Any limits on what kind of stuff you'll take?" she asked, lining up a shot — and she got hers in!
Vanessa definitely cheered with her when she sunk one in. "Yeah, there's some stuff I don't know very well. And just some people I don't want to work with. I don't take landlord-tenant cases because I think it's awful for both parties involved. I mean, so is divorce, but in that there's a division of assets usually. I also don't do child custody cases." Because oof.

She lined up her shot again and took it, and while she hit the ball, it simply bounced off the wall again.
OHhhh. That was fair, yeah. "It's cool you get to decide that kinda thing. How long you been at it-"

And then she shot another one of Vanessa's bawlz in and pursed her lips. Why was she so bad.
Vanessa had to think about that a bit. "8 years. I was lucky that after I graduated from law school, I had a mother who was also a lawyer and brought me into the firm she worked at." It felt like she was getting close to winning, which always felt good. But also it seemed Rika was getting most of the balls in, even though they were supposed to be hers.

Maybe they could play another round? Vanessa went to shoot a ball that was right next to a striped one since it seemed to be the easiest one to get. A bit of concentration and then she hit the cue and watched as she sunk the striped ball instead of the solid.
Phew! Another one!

"What was it like? Working with your mom?"

Rika LOVED her parents but she would have gone crazy if she had to be around them for work. And HEY, she got one of her own in this time!

... She just realized she wasn't keeping score. Better not share that.
Shots shots shots shots shots SHOTS.

Grace had the shots. Three, with mid-shelf vodka, the last on a tray that had grown lighter with each stop as she approached. But now she was here, finding pool in progress. Look at them, playing like fucking regulars

"Someone order shots?" she asked, wandering near and looking in every direction but at those two.
Vanessa paused in the moment as she considered Rika's question. She leaned her chin on the tip of the stick, not realizing that there was blue chalk there. When she finally decided how to best answer it, she moved her chin away and was left with a little blue dot. "It had its ups and downs," she said, nodding. "My mom was good at what she did, so it was expected that I would be too. In that regard, it pushed me to be better. But my mom and I both changed a lot after my dad died and we were both dealing with things differently. Sometimes, she was really difficult to deal with."

But thank god Grace was suddenly there with the shots. Or well, kinda. Vanessa chuckled at Grace's antics. "Yeah, over here pretty lady!" she called, waving her hand and laughing, blue dot on her chin still prominent.
Awh, that sucked. She expressed as much, missing the blue mark at first as Grace arrived at last. "Shots for meeee!" she grinned, but only wanted one.

Took hers, looked at Vanessa again, and then laughed a little. "You got blue on your chin!"
Pretty lady, yeeowwww. She turned, grinned, lowered the tray out for everyone to grab their drink. Then verrrry carefully maneuvered her back toward the bar, wanting it to block any view of what she might be up to.

Then there was comment about blue, and Grace had a moment of confusion before recognizing it was poor V.

"Got chalked," she grinned. "That happens at least daily."
"Do I???" Vanessa asked, embarrassed, but still laughing. She pulled out her phone and opened up the camera to use as a mirror. She laughed again. "I'm such an idiot," she said softly, running her hand over the blue to wipe it off. Once she was blue dot no more, she pocketed her phone and took one of the shots.

"On the count of three?" she asked, holding up the glass close to her mouth.
Not an idiot, but she was ready to let it go with a shake of her head.

Instead she started them off, actually holding her shot glass out for a cheersing.

Not one bit an idiot. Grace horse lipped her thoughts on that, grabbing her own glass off the tray. Double checked no one else was watching immediately near her. Held it out, but didn't commit yet.

(Also, she had a chalk idea, but she'd have to wait.)

Such good friends :3

"Threeeeee!" she said and slung the shot back like she was 21 again.
Hell yeS. Rika wigged out at shot burn and then went full pink eyes, which was maybe a bit premature since Grace was still at work.

"How we feeling? Up down steady??"
She had to be quick about it, though thankfully that was the nature of shots. Grace knocked it back fast, made a few guttural sounds. Cleared her throat. The BURN.

Rika lit up fast, and Grace shimmied her shoulders at her.

"I gotta stay even, but I'ma be in and out," she said. "I'll cut outta here as soon as I can, yeah?"
Man, Vanessa had forgotten about that burn that came with hard liquor. She coughed into her elbow after it, and looked to Rika to see her pink eyes. She didn't really know what to go with though. "Maybe steady until Grace gets off?" But if Rika could go up and down, maybe they could go up and then come down when Grace finished? She didn't know!!
"Works for meeeee," she decided.

The time passed easy, occasionally getting to hang with Grace in between waiting tables and Also Rika Definitely Lost but it was fine.

Eventually, they were all together again.

"What kinda damage should we do?" >:3
Work was both better and worse with the rest of her trio around. Bumping into them and playing waitress was a kick, but she just wanted to be done with work. Free Grace, please. Pleaaaaase.

Eventually, it happened, and she was clutching the gift bag (jellies inside) to her chest.

"We got a couple options," she said. "Estrella is close but not that nice. Studio C is cool but BYOB."

Or bring your own Rika.

"There's Muse and Elysian for gay bars. Orrrrr we can hit up a liquor store and drink on the river."
Vanessa clued into what Grace said about gay bars. She wasn't sure how either of them would feel about going to one (though assumed it was fine since Grace was bringing them up). But she might wanna go to one by herself sometime and maybe just, you know, check out who was available there.

Liquor store and drinking by the river sounded nice. At least she could buy some wine that way. "I vote liquor store and river. That sounds nice. Don't have to worry about idiots who might try to hit on us."
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