|Cristobal Rodriguez ♦ Coyote (coyoti) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-05-06 11:13:00
|Entry tags:||ares, coyote, maui|
i eat my candy with the pork and beans
Who: Kal, Chris, & Daniel.
What: Kal and Chris take Daniel to their old hangout spot.
When: Saturday, May 6.
"I want to reiterate that I am doing this under duress, Kal," Chris muttered as they lingered just outside Pax, waiting for Daniel. Kal had invited Chris' not-boyfriend for a lunch date, saying that he and Chris could take Daniel to their old watering hole as a sort of get-to-know-you. Chris, unable to find a feasible excuse, at least insisted on driving; hands were shoved into jean pockets, a neat, pressed, collared purple shirt covering his top half. Fingers clutched keys, and Chris turned away from the building to scowl in his friend's general direction.
"So is this legit you trying to play matchmaker, or do you just really miss Panns' fried chicken?" He squinted in the sunlight, Kal's massive form outlined by the fiery ball just a tick above his head.
Kal smirked and shook his head as his hands reached for his long hair and tied it up into a messy top knot. He wasn’t as well dressed as his friend but wore a nice pair of jeans and a clean t-shirt, so it was better than nothing. “Why play matchmaker? You both already found each other,” he said with a wolfish grin. “And you know I can’t go a long while without Panns’ fried chicken. You always thought I was joking when I’d ask you to find a way to ship it to me when I was in Hawaii but that chicken, damn, it’s so good.
“You think our old waitress is still there?” Kal asked with a wolfish grin and a wiggle of his dark eyebrows.
Chris shrugged, the line of his shoulders taut not at the idea of seeing the familiar waitress and more on what Kal would end up telling Daniel that he hadn't already. He opened his mouth to make a retort, but he was interrupted by the sight of the one they were waiting for; his grumpy face softened, though he did not smile. His reaction was muted but clearly aligned with Daniel's appearance.
Daniel strode up to the pair, looking comfortable (and typically overconfident) in dark skinny jeans, black boots, and a flatteringly fitted red tee. He toyed with the heavy onyx ring on his hand, a bright grin on his face as his gaze swept over Chris. He glanced to Kal soon after, but not soon enough to hide that appreciative look.
"Why, is she hot?" Daniel chuckled, his question pointedly directed at Kal. "I'll be your wingman if you need..."
“Oh, your words are music to my ears,” Kal responded, his grin firmly secured on his face. “She’s just this gorgeous woman who I always found I can’t not flirt with and she sadly just doesn’t seem to understand all that I have to offer.” He held out his arms indicating what a package he was for the ladies of the world. “But let’s get moving, fried chicken await.”
"She's also probably in her sixties, if she's still there at all," Chris added, leading them at his own slow pace toward his vehicle. He hit his key bob, making the car chirp in reply, indicating all the doors were open. "So if anything, at least she won't be able to move too fast away from you, Kal, if she's less than accepting with your attention. More your speed, you know? No wonder you haven't settled down yet." He moved to the driver's side, glancing up.
"Also, you take the back. Not because I want Daniel in the passenger seat more than you--" Daniel interrupted with a smug, self-satisfied sound. "But I think you'll fit back there better. Not my fault you never stopped growing," he added, pulling his own door wide.
“Forties, at most. She had to be in her thirties when we were in high school and that wasn’t that long ago. And you know she was always flirting back, in her own way,” Kal replied before immediately frowning. He pulled open the back door of the car and got in, immediately stretching his long legs out to the other side of the foot area. “Just don’t be all handsy in the front seat, you two, or I’ll Uber home.”
"How handsy is all handsy," Daniel mused. He slid into the passenger's seat, reaching for the driver's side before Chris was fully in the vehicle; Chris rolled his eyes, visibly ignoring the gesture as he set about preparing the car for drive. It was obviously for Kal's benefit alone; the moment Chris was settled in, Daniel's wandering fingers moved to a somewhat more appropriate place: the radio. He flipped from one station to another, at last landing on something with a suitably rumbling bass.
"Just so everybody's aware, I have very high standards for fried chicken. Expect a little more judginess than usual."
"Just when I thought it wasn't possible for you to be more arrogant," Chris teased, glancing at his passenger as he turned the car on, then put it into reverse. Then they were propelled forward, onto the street and toward the diner in question.
"It's good enough; Panns is a staple around here. I don't know how it'll measure up to Georgia, but the South sets the bar pretty high," he added, glancing into the rearview to see if Kal had anything more to add.
“I definitely have had some great fried chicken in the south but Panns…” Kal sighed happily, folding his arms behind his head and closing his eyes as sun shined down on him through the car windows. “Panns is good for growing boys. I obviously ate there more than Chris. It was our hangout. We’d hatch plots and talk about the typical shit teenage boys talked about.”
"Oh, plots," Daniel laughed. A quick peek in the rearview mirror assured Daniel he had a modicum of privacy; he assumed Kal would open his eyes soon enough, but as long as he hadn't, Daniel intended to take advantage of that fact. His hand slid into Chris's lap again, toying more than a little suggestively with the inseam of his jeans. "Do tell. What kinda plots do two teenagers get up to over fried chicken?"
Chris' gaze bobbed down, only momentarily long enough to pull it away from the street. He nearly glared at Daniel, until he saw Kal's eyes closed as he leaned against the back seat. Then one hand detached itself from the steering wheel and pressed down on Daniel's hand, putting the other man's palm flush against his leg. He let it slowly inch up toward his crotch.
"Ways to ditch school, avoid tests, cheat -- nothing super out of the ordinary," he replied, glancing back up into the rearview before looking back to the street, trying to time how long before Kal caught them.
“We’ll have to catch him up on the shit we pulled in school,” Kal murmured, his eyes still closed, but only a moment passed before his voice sounded from the back seat again. “And if you’re looking to grab his dick, you need to move your hand up a little.” Kal leaned forward, sticking his face between the two seats and looking at both Chris and Daniel. “Am I going to have to separate you two?”
"I have no idea what you're talkin' about," Daniel said. He shifted in his seat, long fingers plucking at a minuscule bit of lint on Chris's thigh. He made a great show of dropping the little piece of fuzz to the floorboard beneath Chris. "He just had somethin' on his jeans. Get your mind outta the gutter." He turned around, his hand on the headrest behind Chris, his wolfish grin turned to the man currently filling the back seat. "Wait a sec… are you jealous?"
“I just am looking out for my braddah,” Kal replied with a shrug. “Gotta make sure you’re treating him right.” Kal grinned and reached to pinch Chris’s cheek and winked at Daniel, knowing full well that the focused attention on Chris would likely bring on a scowl.
Chris quietly muttered something under his breath about having Daniel's hand in his crotch as being treated right, and then quickly changed the subject to something else.
"Kal, tell him about the time we got out of class just so we could go spend the rest of the day at Panns. I guess you can tell him about your waitress lady friend," he said, dragging them back on topic. His eyes glanced up into the rearview, brows rising as they made contact with Kal's own gaze. They started onto the onramp going toward L.A. proper, sweeping them into traffic and away from snoozy little Newport Beach.
“Ah, yes,” Kal replied, remaining with his head stuck between the two seats. “We artfully made detention slips and gave them to Chris’s mother and my grandmother. They both flipped a shit and grounded us from here to eternity but it gave us free time to go to Panns. I lost my car privileges and Chris was grounded for two weeks. But it was glorious and they never figured out that the detention slips were fake.” Kal sighed happily before cocking his head. “You know, it would’ve been even better if we had figured out a way to go hang out at Panns without getting grounded.”
Chris shrugged. "I think it says a lot that we figured out how to cross both the school's and our parents' wires enough to slink away for a few hours for two weeks. I mean, most everything was within walking distance anyway, so what'd you really need a car for?" He glanced mischievously into the rearview, then over his shoulder as he changed lanes. It was a quick trip; he could see their exit coming up fairly soon.
"Not a bad plan at all," Daniel agreed. "There's worse things than being grounded. And time to yourself is hard to come by at that age. Gotta get it when and how you can." He turned in his seat, settling back against the passenger door, where he could best see both his companions. "You had to get up to more than just fried chicken and waitresses, though. C'mon. Gimme some real dirt."
“Chris had a great idea about harassing people’s Christmas decorations that ended up with him with his pants getting pulled down and caught to a light up deer,” Kal offered, grinning mischievously. “I was supposed to drive the getaway car but I was laughing too hard.”
Their driver rolled his eyes, then turned on his blinker to switch to another lane, heading for the off ramp. "Not my fault those lights are so goddamn prone to tangling. If you'd gotten stuck I think you would've pulled all of Santa's sleigh team to the car and then down the street." They moved off the highway and hit a red light, pulling to a stop.
"How about the time you replaced Mrs. Peterson's hand soap with glue?" Chris glanced into the rearview, making eye contact with Kal once more. Kal had been of the opinion that the glue couldn't possibly have any effect once it'd passed from one bottle into the next, the air having some chemical effect on the solution; Chris prompted him to put his money where his mouth was, and Mrs. Peterson had had to remove herself from the classroom when all the chalk had gotten unceremoniously stuck to her hands.
Daniel cackled merrily. "You two little assholes. I almost feel bad for your teachers. I mean points for creativity, though. But now, Kal, when you say harassing the decorations, be honest… was he tryin' to fuck a fake reindeer? 'Cause if so he and I need to have a serious chat. I think y'all missed some conversations about safe sex and high voltage play."
“Of course he was,” Kal replied with a laugh. “Well, not literally but you know…” he made a motion as if to hump at the air, all the while laughing. “To be fair, neither of us were the brightest bulbs but Chris has gotten a lot smarter over the years. He’s also much less of an asshole now. Same can’t be said for me, exactly.” He grinned and sat back in his seat.
"Same can't be said for you at all," Chris shot back, glaring into the rearview before the car took off across the intersection. "The light in the living room came on, so I thought we were about to get caught. I made to get back to the car, and of course my foot just happened to be placed just right to get tangled in the lights. Hence, running from a fake reindeer." His cheeks blazed, his explanation only damning him further, but at least they were only five minutes away from their destination. Much of the street had changed thanks to gentrification, but Panns was still ever-present with its large, rotating sign that was reminiscent of retro times in the 50s.
Chris turned the vehicle into the restaurant's parking lot, coming to a stop in the nearest white-limned spot.
"Now the both of you can get the fuck out of my car," he added jokingly, shutting it down and making motions to pull himself from the driver's seat. "And you're paying for my food, just so you know," he finished, looking over his shoulder at the behemoth in the backseat.
Continued laughter marked Daniel's exit from the car, and the entirety of his short walk to front door of the restaurant. He held the door for both his companions, taking care not to show any particular attention to the one who most interested him. He was on his very best behavior, in fact, aside from the sly smile that seemed permanently affixed to his lips. Once inside, he was distracted well enough by the sounds and smells of frying chicken. He sucked his lower lip and made a quiet sound of pleased anticipation.
"This does smell good." He elbowed Kal in the broad barrel of his ribs. "All right, man. You see your waitress anywhere?"
Kal was looking about the diner and frowned. “No, but let’s go sit at our normal spot. Maybe she’ll come around.” He pushed forward, leading the way to the back corner table with the flickering light--now fixed--and slid into a booth and spread his arms over the back, allowing his two friends to sit side by side. “This is the best seat in the house,” he explained to Daniel.
"If by that you mean the best seat to hide daring each other to drink a water glass full of salt and drawing on the table in ketchup without getting caught, sure," Chris interjected, motioning for Daniel to slide into the round booth before him. Chris didn't even glance at the menu, instead turned around to look at the hostess stand before coming back to the table.
"Don't look now, Kal, but I'm pretty sure your girl's here," he offered, gently kicking Daniel's foot with one of his own. Settling into his seat, Daniel returned the gesture, pointedly looking at nothing but the menu all the while.
He flashed a bright grin, put on full display as he placed the menu back on the table. His order decided, he could now focus fully on the pair seated next to him. Already his mouth was watering at the thought of grits and collard greens, as ready to eat as to judge. "Good," he said. "Kal, maybe you can lay it on a little thick, see if we can get some extra biscuits."
“I excel at laying it on thick,” Kal flashed a grin, already eyeing the woman as she walked over. She looked older than before, but they all did, and Kal was already grinning happily when she came to the table and let out a sigh. “Remember us?” Kal asked, his voice deep--much deeper than in high school--and his eyes not leaving the woman.
It was the same woman, though her temples had started to gray; her face was filled with more lines than Chris remembered, but the general shape, features, were the server who had marked them as troublemakers from nearly day one. Her eyes studied them for a moment, and then went wide as she put one hand on her hip, clearly already exasperated.
"Thought you guys had moved on past this place; aren't you a little old to be here harassing me again?" Despite her words, the edge of her mouth curved up. Chris mirrored it, though it was clear that his smile was perfectly facetious.
"We missed having the best, obviously," he tried, hands folded neatly on the table like a choir boy. The waitress' eyes moved over his face, appreciative, but she made no other comment. Instead, she licked her thumb and pulled out an order pad, untucking a pencil from behind one ear.
"Low standards, as ever," she said, sighing. "I hope you're ordering enough to make waiting your table worth it. Though I'm betting you could probably eat the kitchen empty, huh?" The stub-end of her pencil pointed gently at Kal, clearly remarking on his size. Finally, she looked at Daniel. "And now we're bringing others, too? That's a surprise. Not sure if it's a good thing that it took this long for both of you to make a new friend."
Daniel grinned up at her. "Not everybody can put up with 'em," he answered. "Lucky for them I have the patience of a saint. And I'm easily bribed with fried chicken." He toyed with the menu before him, as though he hadn't already made up his mind about what to order. Beneath the table his foot still pressed flush to Chris's, but his eyes remained solidly elsewhere all the while. "How's your sweet tea, sugar?"
The woman’s expression was still one of mild annoyance but there was a small crinkle to the corner of her eyes and a raise of her eyebrow. “A lot better than any of those chain fast food joints around here. You willing to try?”
“Three sweet teas all around,” Kal replied with a toothy grin. He leaned forward, his eyes on the woman. “You were always my favorite lady around here. Do you remember what I used to order?”
The woman’s eyes nearly rolled out of her head. “Beside half of the menu, you used to eat his food too,” she motioned with her pen towards Chris. “No wonder he didn’t grow much taller since last I saw you.”
Chris muttered under his breath, shaking his head before withdrawing his hands from the tabletop.
"I'll have the same as well," he said, kicking Daniel's foot under the table again. He picked up his menu and offered it to the waitress with as much of a smile that he could muster. She took it, not returning the expression, and glanced at Daniel. "And you?"
"The two-piece dark, obviously," he said, attempting to avoid any juvenile jokes about thighs and legs. "Grits and collard greens. And all the biscuits you're allowed to bring to one table." He held his menu out, but his gaze was already turned to Kal and Chris, each in turn. His grin was solely for the two of them. He did not wait for the waitress to leave, even as a pointed comment slipped free: "This better be as good as y'all said. Swear to god I'll drag you both cross-country for real food if it's not."
“The bucket of fried chicken for me,” Kal said with a smile, still all eyes for the server. “Mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes as the sides. Now tell me--” he hunched forward a little and lowered his voice. “You wanna join us?”
The woman huffed, a sound that was guttural and close to a laugh, and rolled her eyes. “I’ll leave you three to yourselves and get your orders in. Nice try, by the way. I see you haven’t gotten much better with talking to women after all these years.” The words were harsh, but the wink she offered Kal made his grin widen. She turned on her heel and walked toward the kitchen.
Kal turned to his friends with a smile still on his face. “Still got it,” he said, his voice serious although he was joking… sort of.
Daniel barked a laugh. "Do you, though? 'Cause…" He nodded at the waitress, walking away without a backward glance. "Also I'm definitely gettin' into that mac and cheese of yours. Just a bite, I promise."
"Don't even encourage him," Chris replied, kicking Daniel gently again. He'd been sitting back in his seat, rolling his eyes at the exchange between Kal and the waitress. Now he fixed his gaze on his friend and shook his head, frowning slightly. "Some things never change, huh?" And for the most part, they hadn't, which was a comfortable reality that Chris found himself sinking into. Daniel was the only aberration in the scene, aside from both of them being older; and yet even he fit into it with an ease that spoke to his confidence.
The three of them lapsed into conversation, Chris and Kal describing more of their high school hijinks until the food arrived; and then there was a minor war of cutlery as dishes were shared, forks stabbed into meat, sneaky attempts made to steal. It was a scene that none wished to have end too soon.