The morning is off to a nice start, I awaken to the smell of fresh coffee and crispy bacon permeating through the apartment. I manage to roll into a sitting position, my body still a little sore from last night's chain of events.

I toss on one of Brian's shirts and make way to the kitchen. I sneak behind him and hold him close, kissing his shoulders. "Hey precious." I say sleepily, pressing my head against his back. He caresses my hands gently. "Hey sleepy head. I know this isn't much, but breakfast is almost done. I probably should have paid more attention when Lynda was teaching me this stuff..." he says, mildly amused. I hug him tightly. "I'll give you the whole 101 before you head back, this is pretty simple stuff."

With a quick squeeze to his side, I go over to pour our coffee. My cup in hand, I head over to the computer and find Gus perched and asleep on my chair. With a little kiss to his forehead, I concede the fact he won't move and go over to Deathscythe. I plop myself on the couch and boot him up.

Nothing of interest in terms of my daily ritual of checking Email, forums and various Magic sites. Within a few minutes, Brian takes a seat next to me. His coffee and a huge plate of bacon in hand. I grab a few pieces and cuddle up against him. Again in comfortable silence and affection.

After breakfast, we catch a long and hot shower. As we're drying off and getting dressed after the fact, he reaches in his suitcase for two PS2 memory cards and a handful of games. "You up for a little friendly competition?" he asks with a smirk. I give him a nod and a light slap on the butt. "Load up Soul Calibur 3, I'm gonna fetch us more coffee." I tell him, and make my way to the kitchen.

I find Gus in the kitchen, his tail wagging and him eyeing the last of the bacon. I reach down to pat his head, he gives me an affectionate nudge with his nose. I give him the last of the bacon and he walks off happily in Brian's direction. Awaiting all the loading screens following the game, Brian takes a seat on the couch. Gus leaps up and sits his fat a** on his lap.

"Ooof! He's a heavy bugger." Brian says, sounding like he just got the wind knocked out of him. I look over at the two, amused. "You want me to get him off?" I ask, carrying two more mugs of coffee. I lay the mugs down, giving Gus a little scratch behind his ear. "Nah, let him be. I've never had a dog be this cool with me." he says, laying his elbows on Gus and holding his controller.

I go over to plug in my controller and we start up versus mode. My own curiosity gets the best of me, and I peek at his custom characters. Nothing I deemed too impressive, but one caught my eye. "Vandale? Something you made for Sarah, I assume?" I ask him. He nods. "From a long time ago, as I progressed through unlocking classes. I made her a dancer, but she never seemed particularly strong or quick." He says with a little disappointment.

I decide to choose her first, while he picked one of the normal characters. "Dancer's are a little tough to use. If you're good with Voldo, then you won't have much trouble." I tell him, hoping my skills are still up to snuff. Our first match off to a rocky start, both of us trying to recall and tap into abilities long rusty.

After about half an hour of "practice" runs, we start going at it. And quite viciously. I figured he was good, but I had no idea he was this good. He certainly wasn't going easy on me, but the win/loss records turned out pretty steady in the end. After an hour, about thirty two wins for him, twenty eight for me.

We take a much needed break, the adrenaline pumping through me still. I haven't had this kind of fighting game action in quite awhile. After a few minutes, I get up and change games. King of Fighters 2000, I've been looking forward to this for a long time, ever since Brian and I first started talking again.

I give him a smug look as I sit back down. "For your sake, I hope you've been practicing." I tell him, waiting for the title screen to load up. He rolls his eyes at me. "Didn't have time to do so, but you're still going down like a Saigon hooker." he says defiantly. Gus hops off Brian and finds a corner to sleep in, apparently disinterested in us.

We start off quite casually, not putting much effort into our playing and still getting a feel for each others nuances. After only five matches, we start going serious. This goes on for two more hours, plenty of epic matches going down. Our defining moment was a close double KO, our health bars non existent by that point. That lead to a sudden death round that I barely won.

He acknowledges my win with a deep breath and a kiss to my cheek. "You're every bit as good as you say you are, good show." he says, getting up and stretching. I follow suit to deactivate everything. "I think we killed enough time, let's head over to the dojo. But before that, I have something."

I walk over to my room. He turns his attention to Deathscythe, I can hear the tap of the keyboard just barely. I grab two objects from the bottom drawer of my dresser and head back to him. He looks up at me with mild fascination. "Lightsabers." he says, eyeing one of them. I smile and clip one to my belt, and hand him the other. He does the same. "We'll have plenty of room for dueling. Just take it easy on me, weaponry isn't quite my expertise." He nods, patting my shoulder. "Once you're eased into it, I think you'll do fine." he says reassuringly. He looks over at Deathscythe one last time. "I'm gonna leave this on, got some torrents downloading."

We hop in the car within a few minutes, after Brian has a quick smoke. After a short ride downtown, we're at one of the few martial arts schools in the general area. We head inside, catching the last few minutes of one of Carol's classes. She looks behind the batch of children and smiles. "Class, we have visitors." she says softly.

The group of students reverses themselves and bows. "Hello, Sensei!" they say in cheerful unison. Brian and I bow back. Everyone turns their attention to Brian. He looks them all over. "Umm... hi, everyone." he says nervously. "I'm just a friend of her's, and of your teacher." One student pipes up, "Do we call you Sensei too?" He shakes his head. "Not at all, you lot are more experienced than I am. It's an honor to be amongst such fine young people." he says. Carol smiles at this statement, then turns her attention to her students. "Everyone, fall in." Her students snap to attention, facing her. "Everyone did well today, you all make me proud. Class dismissed."

They all go about their business. Some heading to change clothes, some lingering around to talk and practice on their own a little. We take our shoes off and head towards Carol. "How're you two today?" she asks, gulping down her water. "We're good. Is Emma around?" I ask, Brian giving a slight nod in response. "She's in the office, I'll go get her." Carol walks off to do so.

Brian walks around, taking in everything. He stops by a punching bag and gives it a light jab. Three of the kids and myself are watching him with curiosity and fascination. He assumes a wide legged stance, something more akin to kung fu. He wails on the bag with a series of quick strikes and ends with an awkward looking roundhouse kick. The kids seem impressed, and I walk over to him.

"Wu shu style?" I ask him, leaning against the punching bag. He nods, reestablishing his stance. "What little I learned back home, anyway." Without warning, I try a side kick to his back leg. He reacts well enough, grabbing my ankle. He looks at me and sticks his tongue out. "What was that for?" he asks, surprised. I hop a little to keep my footing. "No reason." I say, smiling innocently. He releases my leg. I motion for him to follow me to a bigger tumble mat, the kids watching us the whole time.

I assume a loose stance, he sticking to the most basic one I've taught him. He comes at me with a few front and side kicks that I manage to block with my hands and right leg. As one kick came my way, I planted my foot against his at an angle at the same time. The motion of his kick launched me half a foot in the air. I try to knee him in the chest, and he sidesteps to his right.

Upon landing, he nails me in the hip with a light kick. Not nearly enough to hurt, but enough that I lose my balance. "Where did you learn to kick like that?" I ask him, quite impressed. "I didn't." he says with some surprise. "It just came to me." I raise my eyebrows in surprise. "That's a little more typical of Tae Kwon Do, you know. Even at my prime, I was barely doing that." Before he could respond, we notice Carol and Emma walking toward us. "I saw about half of that." Emma says. "That was pretty cool." Carol nodded in agreement, her attention diverted to our belts. "Hey, what's with the sabers?" she asks curiously. I smile playfully. "I wanted to duel with Brian, maybe learn a few things myself. He says he's alright in swordplay and kendo."

Carol raises an eyebrow. "Is that right?" She looks over at Emma and the few students still lingering. "Everybody spread out, give them room." Brian steps back three feet, unclipping his lightsaber. I unclip mine and whip out a plastic blue blade. With a Gundam-like arm snap, his whips out a green blade.

I step carefully to my right, arms and blade extended. He watches me carefully. I made an overhead strike, and he blocks. He pushes me back, keeping a distance between us. He comes at me with a slash and a poke, both of which I barely sidestep. That two-stroke attack, I recognize easily enough. "Alvein style? Really? Stop playing around." I tell him, and he smirks. "Who says I'm playing?" He hops at me for a mid strike, and I block. Our blades locked. "A style from a video game likely isn't effective." I tell him seriously.

With a hmph sound, he breaks the struggle and leaps back. He assumes another stance, his blade tilted upward and in one hand. He comes at me with many quick strikes, most of which I cannot block or dodge. And I'll say this, those plastic blades hurt like a b***h. D:

Emma is watching the fight with much fascination. Carol looks on, arms crossed and a neutral look. I keep trying quick pokes, and Brian parries with a large and sweeping upward motion. After the final poke, he spins for a vertical slash at my head. I duck and do a weak shoulder tackle to his chest. He stumbles back some. "That wasn't bad." he says, deliberately dropping his guard. I go at him with a series of slashes, he dodges and sidesteps with whatever martial experience he can manage. And then, he trips. xd

I extend my hand at him as he looks up at me, breathing hard. While he grabs my hand, he pulls me down and hugs me tight. "Good fight." he says, I can feel his smile forming against my cheek. As we get up, we look at the impressed and intimidated faces surrounding us. Carol walks up to us and pats Brian on the shoulder. "If my love were here, you guys would have fun. While you have a lot to learn, you have potential." She then turns to me. "And you, miss. You're on par with me in terms of basic training." She gives me a soft smile. We both bow at her.

After a few minutes, Carol and I find a spot to sit down. We get to watching Emma and Brian doing kata, and him struggling a little. To his credit, he doesn't quit. And I'm proud of him for that. Carol pokes my shoulder, and I turn to her. "Hmm?" She nods toward Brian. "Your boy toy there, he's better than most beginners I've seen." I smile shyly at her. "I suppose my explanations have something to do with that, he's really quite attentive. Not afraid to ask questions. Well, with me anyway." She chuckles softly. "He's a real winner. Very humble and kind. Easy on the eyes too, if you don't mind my saying." I nod in agreement. "He's a great guy... keeps to himself a lot, but reliable and compassionate. Our mutual friends love him dearly." She lays down on my lap, looking at me quizzically. "Explain to me again why you two aren't together?"

I try not to roll my eyes at this age old discussion. "To be perfectly honest? I probably don't deserve him. I've hurt him twice, but I'm glad we could still be this close. He's still quite bitter over his ex, even years after the fact. I tell you, I could strangle that prissy little b***h."

Her faces contorts into an annoyed expression. "Whatever her problem was, it's her loss. I'm sure Bri has his faults and weaknesses, but he's still so respectful and nice." She turns her head to watch Brian awkwardly show off some kata I'm not familiar with. She giggles at his oddball motions.

I look back at Carol. "I wonder what that is... but anyway, I'll take him any way I can get him. At least until someone comes along that'll appreciate him. And if he'll allow for it, I should say. That Rachel story he talked about last night, it seems obvious she has the hots for him." I look back at him and Emma, now she's trying to mimic this series of steps with him. "Perhaps if she had a little more self control, at least from what I could figure out, they could probably make it work."

She sits up, watching them. "Looks like some style of kung fu, I can't quite tell." She glances back at me, gently elbowing me in the ribs. "I still say, don't give her the chance. Take him for yourself, you two look like you're meant to be together. At least, in my eyes." I snuggle my dear old friend contently, watching Bri and Emma. Those two might also make a good couple... "That's up to him, in the end. I could imagine these two together too, you know. Brian's always had a mild interest in medical science, one of many common elements between him and her."

We both get up, Carol dusting off her gi. "A jack of all trades, he is. Gotta admit, I always liked that quality." I nod in agreement. "With a little more focus and confidence, I feel he's capable of anything he puts his mind to." I say, walking towards the pair. I tap Brian on the shoulder. "What was that kata?" I ask curiously. "Something I learned from that one class Sal invited me to a few months back. I still can't quite do it correctly, even with all my practice." he says, a little annoyed with himself. Emma smiles at him, kissing his cheek. "Thanks for teaching me what you could, every bit of knowledge counts." He gives her a polite nod. "Anytime. And thanks for teaching me as much as you did. Could I treat you to a drink later, in return?" She touches his shoulder lightly. "Sure. When are you guys headed to the club?" Brian looks over at me. "Er... dunno. Karli, what time should we be going there?" I take out my phone and check the time. "Hmm... how does nine sound? The others should meet us there, and I wanna bring you to meet the guys in a bit." I say as a I type out a mass text out to the involved parties.

Emma nods. "That works. Carol? You still game?" She shakes her head. "I'll pass, sorry guys. Wanna give Jim a call and have some time with him." Brian reaches for his cigarettes, counting the remainder of his pack. "I can sympathize, I'd be the same with anyone I was dating." He goes to hug Carol and Emma. "Ladies, it's been fun. Thanks for having me." He then goes to kiss me softly. "I'll be outside, doll face." He winks and takes his leave.

We all watch him like schoolgirls, smiling cheek to cheek. Emma pokes me and I jump a little. "I'll catch you cuties later, I gotta run home for a shower and change of clothes." We exchange a brofist as she heads back to the office. Carol rubs my shoulder gently. "His very presence leaves me at peace, he's a joy to have around. You two should get going, I'll give you a call later." I nod at her. "Alright, you two have a safe ride home." I start heading out myself and sneak hug Brian. He reaches his free hand behind to play with my hair.

We head to the car after he finishes, and make another common stop for me. A little place called Pro Sports Cards, my typical stomping grounds for all things Magic. "I'm not sure whom is around today, I imagine some might be out of town for the holiday." I tell him, mentally kicking myself that we both neglected to bring our decks. He takes a sip of water, waiting a moment before exiting the car. "Even if I just meet one of your friend's, it'll be worth it."

We exit the card and like a gentleman, Brian opens and holds the door for me. I give him a polite bow before we both enter the store. The cashier averts his attention from a clipboard and regards us. "Good to see you, twiggy. Who's the fella?" he asks, a wide smile on his face. "Hey, Jerry. This is Brian, the New Yorker I've mentioned. Possible Pro Tour material." I say, with a hint of pride. "Bri, this is Jerry. He owns the place."

Brian steps forward, shaking hands with Jerry. "A pleasure to meet you." Brian says, diverting his attention slightly to the showcase. "Same here, bud. Hey, you a Mets or a Yankees fan?" Jerry asks. I head over to the tables and greet two of my friends, waving them over to the front. "I'm not much into baseball." Brian says. "However, the former Shea Stadium is practically in my backyard. I support the Mets all the way." he responds.

I tap Brian's shoulder, and he gets up. He looks over at the two standing by either side of me and gives them a polite nod. The fellow on my left extends his hand, Brian shakes it. "Jeff, nice to finally meet you. Karli brags about you quite a bit." Brian looks over at me and I wink at him. On my right, arms crossed, he regards Brian quite neutrally. "Ken. A pleasure." He stares down Brian hard, their eyes locked. Brian doesn't say a word and continues on window shopping, Jeff making small talk with him.

I pull Ken aside, a little annoyed. "What was that? I don't expect you to give people a warm welcome, that was not not necessary." Ken keeps his gaze on Brian. "I wanna see what he's made of, my respect must be earned." he says flatly. "We forgot our decks, let it go." I tell him bluntly. He looks me over coldly. "I've got an Esper Ramp deck he can use." He calls over to Brian. "Hey, I'd like to challenge you. I've got a deck for you."

Brian looks over at him slowly, his expression serious. "You're a hard core one, ain't you? Feels like I'm back home... let's do this." They both take a seat and start shuffling. A twenty sided die is rolled to determine who goes first, Brian wins the roll. "I'll play first." Brian says, sliding his deck over to be cut.

The two go at it while I watch. Ken uses a mono black devotion deck. In English, meaning trying to fill the field with cards. Adopting some resource gathering and defensive playing. Brian takes in the details and is in no rush to make his plays.

Brian switches tactics often, between rushing for damage and focusing on his defenses. Try as he might, he steadily sinks to a disadvantage. Little by little, he's forced into adopting a strictly defensive style of play. By late game, Brian realizes his folly and makes a troll move. "Two life after combat, I'll draw. Main phase, tap for two black. Casting Sign in Blood, targeting myself. Ends game."

Ken smirks at this final move and extends for a hand shake. "You're not bad, really hung in there. I see Karli wasn't all talk when it comes to you." Brian nods. "Heh, thanks. But she wouldn't speak so highly of me without good reason." Brian gets up and heads back to the showcase, resuming his hunt for nothing in particular. I head over by him and start flipping through the binders. Nothing too spectacular, till something caught my eye.

I pluck out three cards from a page. "Hey, Jer. How much for these here Tek's?" I ask, Brian's attention gained from the inquiry. Jerry glances at them and shrugs. "For your pretty face? $5 even." I pay for the cards and give them to Brian. "Merry Christmas, my precious." I say, smiling at him. He carefully puts them in his pocket and hugs me. "Thanks, doll face."

We look around some more, pointing out cards and comparing notes. Ultimately, there was nothing we truly wanted or needed. Jeff comes up to us. "Hey, I'm gonna see to setting up a draft for tomorrow. You guys free?" I glance over at Brian. "You up for it?" Brian nods. "Yeah, sure. I'll spot for your entry, darling." "Cool. Jeff, keep me posted? We should have no trouble making time for this." His focus on sending texts, Jeff acknowledges me. "Sure, sure."

I glance at my phone for the time and poke Brian. "Hey. I wanna head back home and change clothes before we meet with the girls. But, we should have time for lunch." He closes a binder he was looking through. "Got'cha. What'cha feel like?" he asks, taking one last look at the showcase. "Hmm. Subway?" I ask, almost expecting a sandwich joke in front of so many guys. The four of them give each other a knowing look, but keep their mouths shut. I scrunch my nose at the lot of them and stick my tongue out. "Yeah, yeah. If you're not gonna say it, you're just ruining my fun." Brian pats my back, already heading out. "Lucky for us you have a sense of humor, but let's mosey. I'll catch you guys tomorrow." he says, flashing a peace sign. I give the remainder of our company a two fingered salute. "Catch you boys on the flip side." They all make some noise of acknowledgement before I take my leave.

We cross over to Subway. A bit of a dive, but the food is still clean. I head to the cashier, wasting no time and wanting my usual. "Meatball sub, Italian bread. Lots of mozzarella." Brian chimes in. "Make that two." As the order is being made, Brian takes out his wallet. I grab his hand and push down gently. "This is on me, love. Find us a table." He kisses my forehead and does so.

I bring the food over and find Brian lost in thought. "Penny for your thoughts, dear?" I ask him, concerned. "Nothing serious. I never drafted Theros before, just trying to formulate some ideas." I chuckle at him. "Scry lands, definitely. Even if you're gonna counter draft them. Black, blue and white seem especially strong this season." He strokes his beard stubble before taking a bite of his sandwich. "So many options..." he says absently, sinking into quiet contemplation.

I look at him in silent admiration. His gears obviously turning as he silently works out whatever he's thinking about. It's really quite cute to see. whee

I urge him to finish eating, and he lights up a cigarette as we're leaving. We cross back over by the shop, standing by the car. I poke his side gently. "Come to any conclusions?" I ask, curious of his feelings of the current meta game. "If fate is kind to me," he says, still gathering his thoughts, "I'll go green if I open that damned Bow. Depending how things go, I think devotion-type decks will pop up. Aggro, too. No one will be able to ramp for bestow and monsterous-type cards, of that I am certain."

Thinking about it myself, his theory is logical enough. Stranger things have happened at these tournaments, but I can get behind this well enough. He discards his smoke and we get back to my place in record time. I send a text to Steph and the others that we'll be around within the hour.

Heading to my room, Brian lays down. He watches me undress, and I give him a sexy smile. "Help me decide what to wear." I tell him as he watches me. He motions for me to come to him and rubs my sides. "I liked that skirt you were wearing when you picked me up, very chic." "That's a favorite of mine, too. $90 thing, but boy it was worth it..." I explain, grasping his hand lightly. "And a top?" He considers his options. "Black top, it goes with purple well enough. I think. And that fuscha-looking vest you have hanging on your door."

I pluck the vest off the door hanger and a nice, tight black shirt from my wardrobe. "You have a decent sense of fashion, love." I tell him. "It's nice, not too plain. But not too eye catching either. Accessories?" He fumbles around my jewelry box, and out comes an ahh sound. "These." He hands me a pair of emerald earrings and a dragonfly brooch he bought me some time ago. I smile at the sight of the brooch in particular and put the items on. A quick brushing of my hair and a touch of make up later, and I'm set.

I can tell he's left breathless. He licks his lips while looking at me, and I blush. I kiss him softly, running my fingers through his hair. "You seem well dressed enough for this endeavor, just ditch the hoodie. I can do something about your hair, too." He tosses his hoodie aside, giving me a curious look. "When my hair gets this out of control though, it's tough to gel it up." he says hesitantly. I sit him down on the bed and get behind him with a squeeze tube of hair cement. Working the stuff in his hair, I smooth the rear side down. The rest, I work into medium-big shocks, giving him a Saiyan-type look.

I can't help but be amused by this. "Would you like Vegeta's armor to go with that?" I ask teasingly. He looks in the mirror, looking satisfied. "I could probably poke someone's eye out with this, but it looks great. Thanks." he says, as I wipe my hands clean. With that, we head to the car and our destination.

We head inside a place called Box Studios, one of the better clubs in the area. And my favorite Friday night haunt. We step in to some nice techno playing and make way to the bar. We see Steph and the others, squeezing through the crowds.

"Hey girl!" Steph yells, her voice drowned out by the music significantly. I give her a big hug, Brian already hovering over Emma. I turn my attention to our other two friends. "Lindsey, Amy. This is Brian" I say, gesturing towards him. "Brian, these are the rest of my crew." Brian regards them with a nod. "A pleasure." he says, smiling shyly. Lindsey goes over to hug him. Amy shakes his head, also with a shy/goofy smile on her face. Quite uncharacteristic of her.

We try to huddle around each other, difficult as that is. Brian speaks first. "Anyone want drinks? First round is on me." We tell him our drink orders. Steph, Lindsey and I make our way on the dance floor. Amy stays at the bar with Brian and Emma.

Much fun was had, and the night is just starting. The music is great and cute guys abundant. We dance for about two songs, and head back to the bar. I couldn't quite hear what Bri and Amy were talking about, so I didn't pay them much mind. I reach other for my Dirty Martini. Brian raises his Apple Martini and clinks his glass with mine. I smile at him. "Having fun?" I ask him, looking amidst the crowd. He nods, downing his drink with minimal effort. "So far. I just need liquid courage before you go dragging me on the dance floor." he says, semi snuggled into Emma.

I laugh and order him another drink, then pinch his cheek. "Fair enough. Hey, look towards your three o' clock. The brunette in red." He glances in that direction, the girl giving him a small wave. He looks back at me. "I'm not going over there." he says flatly. Emma nudges him, bringing him to his feet. "Dude, she's checking you out. You gotta!" she urges him. He looks back at her. "Are you nuts? Guys like me don't approach women." he says, shaking his head. I set my drink down and grab his hand. "Come, love! Take a chance and have a little fun!" I tell him, laughing.

We stop by the pretty lady in question, she looks over at us with a pleasing smile. "Hi there!" she says, giving Brian a once-over. "Hi!" I say, releasing Brian's hand. "My friend here is a little shy, but he's cool. I'll just leave him here with you." Brian has a shocked look on his face, looking at me. "Wha?! But..." he stammers. I pat his shoulder. "I'll catch you in a bit, I gotta get the DJ to change up the music a little." I start heading towards the turntables, not looking back.

Once there, I get the attention of the DJ and rattle of a list of songs that he hopefully has. He gives me a thumbs up. "Three more minutes, babe! This song is almost done." he manages to yell out. I give him a brofist and head back to the girls.

Emma tugs at my sleeve. "Check out Brian, he seems to be doing alright with that chick." she says. I glance over at their direction. They seem to be talking calmly, the girl chewing on a swizzle straw absently. I turn back to Emma, smirking. "He's more charming than he gives himself credit for." I say, ordering a soda from the bar. I start looking around. "Where are the others?" I ask, they were here just a minute ago.

She starts looking around as well. "Don't know. Probably off doing their own thing." She shrugs. "I can hold down the fort if you're gonna look for them." I shake my head. "Nah, it's cool." I start looking over past the bar. I see the girl from before, but no Brian. "Excuse me a minute."

I head over to the girl. "Hello again. I'm Karli." I say with a smile. She returns it with a nod. "Elizabeth, a pleasure. Looking for your friend?" she asks. "Yeah, where'd he go?" "Out for a cigarette, he was following another girl. I think one you two were with before." I thank her and make my way outside, eyeballing a cute Asian on the way out.

Once outside, I see Brian and Amy just talking and laughing. I walk up to them. "Ah, I was wondering where everyone started disappearing to." I say with amusement. Brian wraps an arm around my shoulder, his other hand holding his usual cigarette. "That girl was pretty nice." he says, taking a short drag. "Visiting from Florida, apparently." I give him a small poke. "Oh? Any place you're familiar with?" I ask. He nods, "Yeah, Jacksonville. I've got some friends down there. Sorta." Amy looks over at him. "Sorta?" she asks, slightly confused. He shrugs. "Well, two of them I hardly talk to nowadays. And the other, I keep a distance from. And only recently started 'talking' to again." He takes another drag before flicking his cigarette.

We head back inside just before a new song starts up. I elbow Brian in the ribs lightly, getting his attention. "This next song should be familiar to you." I say to him. His reaction goes from surprised to giddy. "Drifting Away... nice." Before he could do anything else, I grab his hand and hurry onto a free part of the dance floor. He stiffens like a frightened bunny. "I... never danced, you know" he says, his eyes darting across the crowd. I start moving to the music, drifting in his direction. "Just move to the beat, focus on the music. It's a little like DDR." I tell him.

He looks around trying to mimic those around him. And concedes pretty quickly, slinking away back to the bar. After the song is over, I head over to see him sitting with Emma and Amy. I wrap my arms around his waist. "You'll get the hang of this kind of thing with practice, love." He pats my hand gently, taking another swig of his drink. "A lot of practice!" he says, laughing. "Okay, has anyone seen the goofs?" I ask, a little concerned. Everyone shakes their head, just as curious. Brian glances over at me. "Text them?" he asks. "I tried, nothing yet." I tell him.

I pay for Brian's next drink before I go looking around. Ah, finally... I see Steph talking up some cute looking guy, usually her sign that she'll find her own way home. Lindsey, however, is a mystery. No sign of her in the bathroom or anything. I take another trip outside, and find her. In her car and talking to a boyfriend I had no idea she even had. Smiling ear to ear, I got the picture. She's ditching us for this guy, I give her a wave and bid her safe travel.

Making yet another trip by the remainder of my companions, Elizabeth now joined in, I find a seat next to Emma. "No need to worry about the others, it seems. They're fine." I tell them. I look over at Brian, whom is trembling a little. He looks back at me, with a tired smile. "Low blood sugar, Emma gave me some candy. I just need a minute." he says. "Ah, good thing one of us was prepared. Em's, I owe you one." I response, patting her shoulder. Elizabeth gives me a concerned look. "Once he's recovered, why not take him home? I'm sure all his drinking doesn't help things." she says. I nod in agreement. "Yeah, will do. Thanks for watching over him, you guys." Brian gets up wearily, and likely inebriated. He bends his knees a little, almost in a fighting stance. "Man... sitting on these stools is murder on my back." He turns to hug Amy and Elizabeth. "Amy, it was a pleasure. Beth, nice meeting you." He goes over to Emma, they both exchange a bear hug. "You be good, b***h. Give Carol my love." he says. I give everyone a hug as well and we take our leave.

I hold Brian close and have him move slowly. Once outside, he has a cigarette. I dig in my purse for a snickers bar and open it for him. "Here you go, darling. Take your time." I tell him as I pass him the snack. He takes half the thing in one bite, which surprises me. I thought maybe to make a blow job joke, but I could tell it was gonna fall short. By the time he finished his cigarette, he looked like he was back to normal.

"Sorry to ruin the night like this." he says quietly. I punch his shoulder gently. "You didn't ruin anything, dork. You still had fun, yes?" He nodded, and I smiled at him. "Then that's all that matters. You wanna grab dinner on the way back or would you like me to cook for you?" I ask him. "Wanna head to that diner again? Maybe we could split something." he says, checking his pack and counting his cigarettes.

"Sure, let's get going." I say, unlocking the car doors. "I take it you aren't that hungry? Quite surprising of you..." I say teasingly. He gets in. "Still working off that sub, if you can believe it." he says. The engine struggles a little as I try to start it. "You need more smokes?" I ask, focusing on trying to get the engine to turn out. It does, after two minutes. "Looks like it, is there any place I can get some that won't involve that 7-11?" he asks with some reluctance.

"There's a 24 hour deli close by the diner, you're all set." I tell him as we drive, and hoping the engine won't go and die on me randomly. He picks up on my nervousness. "You think we'll run into car trouble soon?" he asks, concerned. "God, I hope not. I don't mind paying for a tow if I need to, but I really don't feel like walking back. Or springing for a cab." I tell him, looking around for parking. Perfect spot, in front of the restaurant.

We walk in to a familiar face. The same lady from last night, she treats us to her pleasant smile. "Welcome back, you two! Ahh, the lady is looking especially radiant tonight." she says, and I blush slightly. "Hi again. Table for two, please." I say. "This way." she says, grabbing our menus and taking us to our table.

I don't bother looking at the menu. "I think I could go for a burger and mozzarella sticks. You order whatever, I'm treating." I say, Brian looking through his menu. "Actually... that's not a bad idea. I'll have the same, and a diet coke." He calls the waiter over and our order is taken.

The next half hour came and went quickly. We talked, ate, joked around... like a pair of teenagers. Just the little things with Brian are pretty fun. I pay the check, and we bid our farewell to that pleasant woman.

We head back to my place with no trouble, minus the cruddy parking. When we step in the apartment, I see Gus sitting on the couch. Staring at an open Deathscythe. I turn Brian's attention at this, he just looks back at the pup. "Maybe he's on Youtube and waiting for a video to buffer?" he says amusingly. I walk over to Gus and glance at the open Bit Torrent window. "Whatever you were downloading, it's at 10%." I call out to Brian, hanging my vest on my bedroom door.

He heads over to my computer. "You serious? What a waste..." he says, disappointed. "What Star Wars movie should I load?" he asks as I change clothes. "Surprise me." I say, grabbing his hoodie off the bed and putting it on.

I poke Gus off the couch. "Go on, now. Take the big chair." I point to where Brian is sitting as he gets up. He does so, and Brian sits next to me. "Early warning, its a Rifftrax version." He says. I grab Deathscythe and basically start writing this very entry. "That's cool, I liked the commentary behind it." I tell him. He snuggles me as we watch. We eventually start the original trilogy as well, halfway into Empire by this exact moment in time.

In the back of my mind, I start plotting for tomorrow. It'll be a spectacular day, that much I'll say right now. smile