WHO: Lyra, Apollo, Rosario WHEN: Saturday afternoon WHERE: Interrogation city WHAT: Lyra goes deep undercover WARNINGS: None
Lyra took her promise to (subtly!) interrogate Archer seriously, but it was quite a few days before she found the time. High summer was peak window cleaning season, apparently, and a wave of sickness had cut through Taco Bell freeing up a lot of extra shifts, and if Lyra ever dreamed of getting her own apartment (and oh, how she dreamed) then she needed every one she could get.
Plus on her break she could get food for free. Granted, it had to be less than $5, but that was two 7-layer burritos, which weren’t her absolute favourite, but at $2.49 each they were the biggest thing she could get for free. That saved a whole bunch of money and made her feel both prudent and organised, which were both rather novel concepts.
Even though she hadn’t had the time to actually meet Archer, she’d messaged him. As she expected he had asked what was up with Rosario’s mom, and Lyra had followed Rosario’s suggestion and told him that Carla had just got some bad news, and just like Lyra had predicted, he didn’t ask any follow up questions.
Lyra had been right, though, when she’d wondered if Apollo was doing his own research into Carla and Rosario. He absolutely was. Lyra had made a big song and dance (literally written her a song and choreographed a dance) on Rosario’s last birthday, since she hadn’t been able to be in the same city for it, so Apollo had found out when she’d been born. It meant she’d been conceived in the early months of 1997, and that was the year he’d been dating one of the girls from Kappa Alpha Theta, and she definitely hadn’t had a baby, because she’d been Miss Vermont that year. So Carla had to have been some random fling, which didn’t help him place the night they’d met at all.
Carla hadn’t attended Colombia, she’d still been in high school (class of 97, he'd found out, so she’d graduated pregnant) and had married someone from the same class. Not too hard to figure out what happened there, but it did piss Apollo off that Carla hadn’t told him. Keeping his own daughter a secret from him, really?
A daughter who studied medicine, who’d been smart enough to get herself a scholarship, who posted excited comments about new telescopes, who worked at the bio-chem lab while she studied. She’d done well for herself, but think of how much further she would have been able to reach if she’d had him at her side her whole life?
Apollo had considered making some grand announcement at his brilliant daughter (alright, according to one of his recently graduated boys who had a side job as a TA and did a bunch of marking, her grades weren’t flash-hot right now, but Apollo was confident she would become brilliant, under his tutelage) but held off. For one, the fact that her mother had kept her a secret reflected badly on him – how could he not know she was out there? Some god of prophecy he was – and for another, brandishing the fact that he had a mortal daughter might be a little like waving a red flag under Ares’ nose, given what Apollo had done to his mortal daughter.
So perhaps he’d keep Rosario to himself, for now. Help her along her path to greatness and reveal her like a secret project once she’d done something truly brilliant, something in which everyone would be able to see Apollo’s reflected glory.
And in the meantime he had to work out how to insert himself into Rosario’s life and the easiest way was her highly convenient best friend.
She messaged him on Saturday morning – no Taco Bell shift, no window washing, a good clear, bright day for some interrogation – and casually asked what he was up to. I do have plans he messaged back. But I’d love to see you. Fancy a game of golf?
Lyra spat her breakfast Fanta over her phone, gasping wetly for breath and trying to regain control of herself as she wiped her phone off on her shorts. Golf!?
Was he serious? Was he self-aware enough that he was parodying himself? Did he really just invite her to play golf and was she actually going to go if he was?
Lyra looked at herself in the mirror, wearing a t-shirt she’d bought at an op shop and shredded herself, and thought, damn right she was going to go play some golf. Gonna… four the crap out of some… tees?
Gonna find a different shirt to wear and google some terminology on the bus, is what she was gonna do.
It was way worse than she’d imagined. Archer and the others were dressed peak frat. Every single one of them had a pair of sunglasses tucked into their polo shirts. Three of the guys were in identical Gucci belts and everyone’s belts matched their shoes. Archer wasn’t wearing a logo on him and still everything about him screamed money. Maybe he rubbed gold dust into his sunscreen. Jesus H Christ, Rosario was going to puke.
If anyone was hesitant about her being there though, they didn’t show it, especially not after Archer grinned to see her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, in greeting, offering to let her ride with him to the course. And the second the carload of girls showed up Lyra felt a little more at ease, because there was Hailey who’d been crying in the toilets at the party and had cheered up when Lyra braided her hair and there was Ava who’d followed her on Insta and had liked every one of her pictures and there was Savannah who was so damn gorgeous it made Lyra wonder if her ‘type’ in girls extended past ‘lesbian with an undercut’ to ‘sorority sister’.
So maybe there was a chance that Lyra was some weird kind of non-frat, non-sorority (hell, non-tertiary) mascot and they were making fun of her behind her back. Lyra accepted this was a risk, and didn’t think it would super bother her if the boys were, since she was kind of making fun of them as well, but she didn’t think Archer was faking and Hailey, too, seemed completely, genuinely happy she was here. But then bonds made in bathrooms were hard to break.
Lyra also honestly could not tell if everyone was being parodies of themselves or if they were all genuinely having a good time playing golf, and then, after she’d shouted “Fore!” (it was ‘fore’ not ‘four’, she’d learned on the bus) and smacked the ball off into the distance, Lyra finished her swing with a twirl and a flourish and made Thad and Savannah laugh, and she wasn’t even sure if she was parodying herself or not.
It was fun though. And every single one of the boys had managed to sneak alcohol onto the green, so it got more fun the further along they went. Apparently, Lyra shouting ‘fore’ at completely incorrect times was the height of humour.
And – best of all – the background of drunken golf turned out to be an excellent way to gather information.
Although... as certain best friends could probably have predicted, a large amount of strong alcohol imbibed in the summer heat didn't lend itself to clear and effective communication.