Logs:Homes for Floaties

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Homes for Floaties

Characters: Ashton, Cat, Charity, Darcy, Essie, Eva, Gilles, James, Kayid, Ophelia, Prism, Rafael, Simin andSlip
Date: 2020-07-02
Summary: A pool party at a rental house during which people are thrown into the pool, a phone is hacked in full view of its owner and surprise mead is enjoyed.

The sign on the gate reads: FLOATIES - FREE TO GOOD HOMES! (except the pegasus)

The fenced in backyard of this AirBNB rental not far from the French Quarter doesn't have much actual yard to it. Most of the space is dominated by an in-ground pool and the patio which stretches between it and the modest two story home to which it belongs. The pool itself is longer than it is wide, ranging from three-feet deep on the near side to a modest six-feet deep on the far side, and most of the water's surface is currently covered in floaties. The inflatable innertube animals range from flamingos and sharks to unicorns and pandas, and all of them now wear some combination of leis and mardi gras beads, funny hats and plastic sunglasses. There are stranger options, too, like the donut from The Simpsons and a sandy yellow 'island' with a palm tree. There's even a curly, triple-looped, two-headed purple serpent. If it weren't for the fairy lights strung up around the pool, reflecting off the surface, it might be difficult to see the water at all. Luckily, there's plenty of space beside the pool to push them out and make a little room if need be.

A couple of folding tables and several folding chairs have been added to the patio furniture that probably belongs to the place, the more comfortably cushioned selections including a quartet of poolside loungers set together in angled pairs. Open coolers provide an assortment of craft beers, ciders, hard seltzers, sodas and water. The food is local and low-budget, but gooey and good, ranging from a stack of pizzas with assorted toppings to tubs of gumbo from that little place up the road. There are crab-topped nachos and crusty bread next to a bowl of shrimp dip, and those piles of powdered sugar surely hide some beignets.

The party's official HOST is easy to identify by the colorful button which identifies her as such pinned to her black swimsuit's straps. Slip's skimpy, strappy bikini top is paired with high-waisted, full-coverage bottoms, offering a nod at modesty without really making good. She's stripped down her accessories for the evening, limiting the collection to just three pieces: the locker key and glass hand charms hanging from her neck and an engraved, masculine ring on her right index finger. Even her make-up's minimal, though that seems to be from necessity given that the humidity and a pre-party dip have left her eyeliner blurring already. At the moment, she's sprawled out in one of the loungers with a bottled IPA near at hand, fussing with her phone to get music pushed out to bluetooth speakers set close to the house. Settling on something chill and summery, she looks over to Kayid and asks, "How's this?" with an appropriately lazy smile.

The humidity is dreadful, and even though she's done her hair in a loose braid, it's still frizzy. Little black feathers, peeking out here and there. Even the fur of her wolf-ears speaks to the horrors of this much humidity. When Charity comes into the party, she has a brightly colored kimono over her white bikini. It's a low-cut number, both in the top and where it sits on her hips. A little cheeky, to boot. She has on a pair of wedge heels and faint makeup. And a wide, crimson smile as she beholds the bounty of floaties. "Brilliant!"

Prism arrives at the pool party while wearing a lovely wide-brimmed colorful straw hat with a just a colorful swimsuit that shows off all the colors of the rainbow ( https://imgur.com/eMIF4AM ) She looks thankful at the floaties and grabs an inflatable gecko for herself before she makes her way towards the shallow end of the pool.

Early to a party isn't normally Essie's style but traffic wasn't an issue when arriving on foot. No bike means no leather jacket, exchanged for more seasonally appropriate cut off denim shorts and a black one piece suit, beach towel tossed over her shoulder and shades on despite the sun having already set. She's clearly got her own priorities straight, heading right for the pizza and a beer.

As the name on the rental, as much as he might regret that later, Kayid had been here for some time now. He's just pouring a fresh bowl of ice over one of the coolers when Slip asks after the change in tunes. His attention turns up towards the middle-distance sky, like maybe he can see sounds displayed there rather than listening for them. A few bars and he gives a short decisive nod. "I believe that will do," added as he moves to drop his backside on the edge of one of the nearby loungers. It's white board shorts and a fire engine red Hawaiian shirt for him, bare feet to the patio, and an old school polaroid camera hanging from his neck. The later finds itself into his hands, his attention turns to the arriving voices, nodding greetings as they come up.

Darcy arrives arm-in-arm with Ophelia. He parks his GTO Judge outside and when they come in, he's in a pair of salmon-and-cobalt swimming trunks and a white t-shirt with a seal clapping its flippers on it with the words: SEA WOLF on it. His flip-flops go flipitty-flop as he ambles, mirrored shades covering his eyes and a light, beige trilby on his head, tipped back. "Heeeeeeey, party people."

Considering the heat, it might be no surprise that Simin might have shown up a little early and takes a moment in the bathroom to stip down to his cargo shorts and bare toes, letting his hair hang back in it's tight braid like a tail. The duffel bag with his clothes are stuffed away somewhere convenient so he can wander out to the pool area and pause long enough to see who's already present, lifting a hand to wiggle fingers at Slip and Charity and Prism.

James is slung across one of the poolside loungers with a bowl of gumbo perched precariously on one thigh, a cider perched on the other and balanced with her hand. She wears a skimpy black bikini bottom exposing more black ink down both legs than most people have on their entire bodies. She wears a wide-neck black tee with a visible bikini string at the shoulder. Judging by her hands and throat, she's tattooed just about everywhere but her face. Long blonde hair is secured up in a messy blonde knot, and a pair of black-framed glasses are perched on her nose. (https://i.pinimg.com/originals/cc/e4/72/cce472498cafbbf6ac41a740a8fe4977.jpg) James Labat wastes no time when there's food and drink to be had. She can introduce/be introduced when her mouth is full. When did she arrive? Who knows. Where are the rest of her clothes? Who knows. Gumbo is srs bsnss.

While an unusual way to invite people Cat didn't hesitate to walk right on into the backyard with a happy grin on her lips and an attentive look in her eye. The place however... makes her hesitate, pausing at the presence of so many people and things going on, but she eventually moves on and starts a slow circle around the pool area during which she looks over each floatie she passes and also asks people she's passing if there's any bathing suits available.

Ophelia's eyes are obscured by a pair of sunglasses, as well, though hers are more of the big starlet variety than Darcy's mirrored shades. She's in loose olive overalls a top a goldenrod-colored bikini. She looks around curiously, not knowing most of the folks here, but offering a smile all the same when Darcy greets everyone with his general greeting of 'party people.' Essie catches her eye and she lifts a hand to that acquaintance, before moving to the refreshments table to set down a bottle of rum she brought to add to the offerings there.

A party's bound to have a lot of food and cold drinks, nevermind a pool party. That along with the promise of a nice swim to cool down on a hot summer night brings Ashton out in his own poolside gear. The young man's wearing a hideous purple and orange Hawaiian shirt with black swimming trunks and a pair of flip flops, having left his regular clothing back in his car. He's still carefully tying his hair back with a black band when he steps into the scene. "Oh hey! People I know!" he exclaims, one hand shifting away from his head to give a wave to a couple of people - Prism, Simin and Charity. A low whistle comes from him while he surveys the bustling location. Then, he's trotting quickly towards Prism to give her a long look from head to toe. "Looking really good there, Prism!"

Gilles arrives as he often does bearing food and drink, though in this case it is really just drink. In this case the drink takes the shape of a large 59 gallon banded oak barrel filled with a light spiced mead with the faint smell of clover.

He's probably one of the least appropriately dressed people for a pool party, still wearing his brocade vest over faded jeans and a blue linen shirt, but at least he left the apron at work. Wheeling the the barrel over onto the table on a handtruck he says, "Could someone give me a hand lifting this onto the table?" with his heavy French accent.

Prism offers an excited wave hello to Simin as she sees him wiggling his fingers in hello. She begins to make her way towards him. She give Ashton as hang as he meet up with her and responds, "Thank you. I was lucky that found when out shopping. But I like muchly. You look niee to." Her attention then back towards the water as she asks, "Were either going in yet? I not want to go near deep end. Still nervous about swimming where can't touch ground."

Slip blows an air-kiss toward Kayid as he approves of the tunes, a low-lashed look lingering on him when he sinks down nearby. She might be on the verge of saying something more--maybe even something more salacious, given her crooked little grin--when the influx of visitors tugs her attention to the gate instead. The look her co-host gets as she stands clearly reads that he got lucky that she got distracted, whatever she had in mind saved for later. A quick swig of her beer, and both it and her phone are abandoned to the table between the loungers so she can get to her feet and make good on that HOST button tacked to ehr chest. "People!" comes with a wide swing of her arms. Which close around Charity's shoulders, the wolf-eared Lost earning a kiss on the cheek and an affectionate murmur of, "Gorgeous." The arriving elodoth gets a big smile, an announcement of, "Darcy!" that's maybe possibly to help Kayid identify him. To Ophelia, she croons, "And you must be the computer genius. Slip. Nice to meet you." To the rest, she offers, "Make yourself at home, but not too at home. Like, try to keep it outside. Take a floatie home with you! And, uh." With a little bit of a grimace for Gilles, "Somebody help the brewer?" Cuz, yeah, she's not gonna be any help with lifting things. Look at those skinny arms! And the aversion to manual labor.

"All right. So that's Charity -- you've met her --" Darcy is telling Ophelia, "-- and that one over there is Slip, she lives right above my apartment." When he hears Gilles asking for help, he pats Ophelia on the rump and jogs over to snag the barrel from the opposite end that Gilles has it and then he just --HUP! -- pops it up with the Frenchman onto the table. "No fuss, no muss, bud." He pats Gilles on the shoulder.

Hands full, Essie raises the pizza slice in her hand as a pseudo-wave when she catches the wave from Ophelia and gives an upnod of greeting to Darcy as if she should greet him by association, or the whole Party People comment. With a few steps, she heads back to the end of the refreshment table, over towards the pair and conveniently also grabs a second slice of pizza while she goes. "Funny seeing you here." The arrival of a whole barrel of beer gets a sharp whistle of appreciation. "That should keep the party going for at least few hours..."

Arms are thrown around her, and Charity returns the embrace and cheek-kiss. Taking a step back, looking Slip up and down. "And you too, as always, Slip." A fond little rumble to her voice. Her gaze follows the Host, to the Elodoth and his cohort. "Mister Darcy. Ophelia. Good to see you both." One amber eye eclipses in a wink, even as she returns Ashton's wave. It's Simin's wiggle of fingers that has her gaze caught though, and she looks him over with a wide grin. Grabbing a cider, and starting to meander her way on over there.

Simin turns his head to look when Gilles comes in after he does and talks about needing help getting the barrel onto the table. He flashes the fainted of smiles at the approaching Prism and lifts a finger to warn her off while he sidesteps over to help Gilles move the monster vat of brew, murmuring, "You brought the booze. I am starting to wonder if a keg magically follows you around, wherever you go..."

"Merci," Gilles says with a smile to Darcy before extending a hand in greeting. "I am Gilles. Pleased to meet you." Although he has a pronounced accent there seems to be little problem with his vocabulary or cadence. "Of course they do," he says, grinning to Simin. "They follow their papa around like the little ducklings follow their mama."

"Yeah, I'm going to pick out a floatie and just relax in the water for a bit soon. That Panda over these is calling to me..." Ashton points towards one of the floaties close to the edge of the pool. He reaches out to give Prism a reassuring pat on the shoulder. "I'll stick close to you, so if you fall in, I can just give you a hand. Oh hey, there's Gilles! And Miss Essie. Wow, lots of faces that I recognize." The two people that he mentioned gets a wave from the young man. "Gilles is the guy with the booze that Simin walked over to. Want to meet him? He owns an amazing French restaurant that I should bring you to one of these days."

Kayid's brow had lifted in expectation of whatever tease was coming his way, but it's exchanged for a lazy grin when luck apparently plays in his favor. He's quick to raise the camera to snap a shot of that look cast down his way. Maybe. He'll find out in a few moments when the film comes out to be dutifully and needlessly shaken. Darcy is marked visually with Slip's greeting, that could wiat for the barrel to be dealt with. Instead he finds his feet, pacing along the edge of the pool toward the congregation.

Prism offers an excited wave to Gilles as Simin goes off to aid with the vat. Her attention then looking back to Ashton and as she sees Essie, she lights up and offers a bright smiles with a wave hello. She then says to Ashton, "I know Gilles. I like what he serves at restuarant. Was there other night after performing in park. But always willing go again!" She gestures to the water as she hugs the inflatable gecko, "We can go in. I has floating friend."

"Right. I recognized her," says Phe regarding Charity. She returns the wave with a "Hey, good to see you," before turning to address Slip. "Thanks for the invite... well, by extension. Genius is a really strong word for what I do these days," Ophelia says with a shake of her head. "Mostly I just hashtag a lot of things and try to make some jocks look better than they are. It's a struggle." She watches Darcy go off to help Gilles, and turns then to Essie. "You too. I, uh, did the thing that I talked about last time. It didn't go great," she murmurs under her breath. "Darcy, this is Essie, Essie, Darcy," she waves between the two of them in a louder voice, before grabbing a beer, and lifting it in a little salute to Slip's request of 'not making themselves too at home.'

"Hey, folks!" Rafael strolls along into the backyard with a sweep of both arms open as he announces himself, one of those hands carrying a small duffle bag with - presumably - a towel, maybe a change of clothes, since he's just wearing a pair of monochromatic swim trunks with back-and-white designs of tentacles trailing downward ( https://tinyurl.com/ycvc4fxm ). His broad chest is shadowed with hair dusting downwards, and across chest, arms, and back there are lines of keloid scarring here and there that he wears shameless. "Hope I'm not late."

Catching sight of James settled in comfortably already, he heads over in her direction, gaze sweeping over her slowly before he whistles, "I was going to make some pithy comment, but I failed at it. You look damn good in that."

Darcy catches Gilles's hand and shakes it. "Darcy," he says, and then winks at the guy and heads back towards some of the others. "Hey, Essie. Nice to meet you." He flashes her a grin. He puts a finger to his lips in mock-shush and then ambles up behind Charity and spreads his arms, wrapping around her in a bear-hug with a 'raaaawr', lifting her up and shaking her a little. When he puts her down, he kisses the top of her head.

Whatever the case about bathing suits Cat certainly didn't find any but what she did find seems to have pleased her enough either way; a large panther floatie that laid in among the others and she brought out. It is with that under her arm, carried with some difficulty due to the size making it hard to get an arm around, that she sets off towards the first other changeling she spots. "Hello." she greets Ashton rather cheerfully, directing a bright smile to him and Prism "Do you know if there are any bathing suits available? I didn't bring one."

Essie gives a nod of greeting to Prism, caught mid-pizza bite. Her eyes widen a bit as she catches the somewhat familiar sight of Rafael and less familiar sight of all those scars, but she doesn't call out, just swallowing her food and chasing it down with some beer. Ophelia's news gets a headtilt. "Really? Damn... well if you ever need someone to vent to, I can at least understand." At the introduction, she gives a nod. "Nice to meet you." And she certainly won't betray his stealth attack. There's food to be eaten after all.

Ashton eyes Prism with astonishment. "Really? You've already met Gilles? Small world after all... Ok, let's grab that Panda and head into the water. " He's about to lead his friend to the pool when Cat approaches, causing him to halt midstep. He looks her up and down and tilts his head to one side. "Uhhh... Maybe there are some spare ones inside? I'm not really sure, since I came wearing this..." The young man gestures at his own Hawaiian shirt and swim trunks. "Maybe the hostess would know. She's right over there..." Ashton nods in Slip's direction. "I can accompany you if you haven't... signed up yet and is worried about approaching her," he offers, but gives Prism a glance to make sure that his friend won't mind the detour.

The sound that comes out of Charity as she's grabbed, and lifted into the air? It's not dignified *at all*. There's a squeak to it, and then a eep, and then it disolves into a peal of laughter. Once her feet are on the ground, and her head is kissed, she turns around to tap Darcy on the nose with a finger. Fond amusement, there. "Hey, you. Good to see you somewhere a little less sketchy than normal." She bumps her forehead against his, and then lifts the cider that she managed not to drop for a sip.

Prism looks to Cat as she gently shakes her head befor she respodns, "I know not if they have such here but I got this before came." She then looks to Ashton to see if he may know if they have bathing suits here. She laughs a bit as she says, "Oh yes. We can go and speak with to find out about swimsuit. Not mind." She gestures with her free hand that she will follow after.

"Sounds like magic to me," Slip croons to Ophelia before her attention, too, is drawn to the hefting of the keg. Had she ordered a keg? No. Do magical kegs just sometimes appear because people are amazing? Apparently! She's certainly not going to complain. To the contrary, she murmurs to Gilles, "You're amazing," on her way over to snag herself a sample of the keg's meadful contents. Her IPA will just have to wait. Or get warm and be forgotten. More likely the latter. When she turns back to take her first sip, she scans the crowd, Rafael earning a sad sorta smile before her curiosity turns to others, lingering on Ashton curiously as she gets pointed out. A smile's turned thattaway, but her focus drifts toward Kayid to see how he's managing the explosion of people and arrival of free booze at what's ostensibly his party. She offers a little shrug, smiling fondly.

James waves to Raf with her spoon, which she then dips into the gumbo to take a huge bite, complete with jalapeno slices added on top. She gives a glance down his ensemble for the pool day, brows arching at the tentacle swim trunks. She waves hello to anyone who happens to glance that way, make eye-contact, or wave first, gaze skimming the arrivals, noting the brew hefted in, tipping back to enjoy the music. "I know." She grins. "Hungry?" She wiggles her bottle of cider. "Pull up a chair. Nice shorts, Castillo. Nice to see you topless." There's clearly a comment she isn't making, but that's nonverbal in the curve of her grin.

"Try the cider!" James calls. "It's really tasty."

Cat glances in the direction indicated, stares for a moment, then turns back to give Ashton a shake of her head as answer "That's fine, I won't take you from your date. She looks nice enough. Thank you and have a good party." Then, a little awkwardly carrying the panther-floatia she can barely get her arm around, she turns and wanders off towards the woman pointed out to her and trying to avoid bumping anyone either with her shoulder or the large-inflated toy. When she gets there she stops a few steps away from Slip, a respectful distance perhaps, and smiles just as happily as before. "Hi! I hear you're the host so... are there any bathing suits to use? I didn't know there was a party so didn't bring one."

Gilles smiles and returns Ashton's and Prism's waves with his own as he tries to greet them across the crowd. He then gives a small dip of his head and another smile to Slip as she compliments him. "I did not want to show up empty handed," he says, "and besides, it is good word of mouth advertisement for L'Auberge."

Simin chuckles at the commentary, making sure the booze is indeed secured, "I would not doubt that...." But as greetings get handed out, the Winter gravitates to the shallow end of the pool, casting a gaze around before simply hopping in, feet first, a soft groan escaping him as he sinks in down up to his neck. With a bit of a look of relief on his face, he looks around again until he can catch sight of Ashton, lifting a hand his direction to try and get his attention, "Do you know if Jacob is coming? I did not ask him before I left this afternoon."

Ophelia flashes Essie a small smile. "Thanks. It's good to have someone who does." She nods in Darcy's direction. "He knows, now, so that's new. Figured it out after the last procedure." Her voice is kept low, below the bass line and chatter of so many people. "It's nice not to have to hide shit anymore at least." She lifts a shoulder. "It wasn't as bad as it could've been, I guess. I mean, I'm here, right?" She lifts her bottle. "Memento mori, or something."

Ashton smiles and shrugs his shoulders when Cat heads off on her own to greet Slip. "Ok, Prism, guess our original plan stands," he comments before walking over to the pool where Simin is soaking. Ashton shakes his head at the other guy's question. "Nah, I didn't talk to him today yet, but I won't be surprised if he's coming, wearing those utterly inappropriate suits of his. Hell, look around... food, drinks, lots of cute guys in shorts... including you. What's not to like?" He gives Simin's a wink leans over to snag the Panda floatie that he had his eyes on. Ashton removes the lei and glasses from the floatie, only to place both on himself and pose for his friends. "What do you think? Snazzy?"

"Maybe I'll swing by with my cohost sometime," Slip poses to Gilles of his restaurant, her green-eyed attention set on the man with the polaroid camera prowling around the pool. Cat's approach captures her focus, the stranger earning an easy smile. Then a wide-eyed look. Thoughtful, probably, if the head-tilt is any indication. "Don't think so?" is a gentle way of saying no. "I, uh, could prolly find you a tee shirt or something?" It might not be her tee shirt to take, but she could probably find one. "And I, for one, have no issue with skinnydipping."

Rafael's chin lifts up in an affable motion in the direction of the few people he recognizes - Essie, Slip, though the look the latter gives him earns her an eyebrow's raise - before he's flashing an ear-to-ear grin back to James for that comment. "Yep. And you didn't even have to order me a pizza to get it." One of the seats is snagged, and he drops himself down to sit beside her, stretching out one leg as he makes himself comfortable, "You might need to give me some of that gumbo, though."

"You know anyone else here?"

Prism gives Cat a nod before she looks back to Ashton as she responds, "I like it. And there are many cuties in shorts and things. I do agree." She begins to slowly go down the steps into the water of the shallow end of the pool and hoists herself up onto her gecko pool float.

Darcy winks at Charity and then wanders up along behind Slip to place a kiss on the top of her head, too, before ambling back towards Ophelia and Essie. James's call to try the cider is heeded by the werewolf and he finds some, coming to a stop afterward next to Ophelia and Essie. "She's not wrong. This stuff really is good," he tells them, re: the cider.

Kayid seems just fine with the crowd, it's whatever's drawn his attention to his phone that has a small frown on his face. He sets the photo aside on one of the folding tables - out of frame but at least catching the lower half of the expression in a corner of the picture - and looks out over the crowd for the more familiar head. He holds up the offending device, mouths an apology, and double-steps it toward the door leading into the house.

Gilles nods to Slip and smiles once more. "D'accord," he replies to her. "My door is always open. Just let me know in advance if there is anything special you would like. I cannot make any promises right at this moment since I am still working out my suppliers for some of the more difficult to get ingredients, but I will be happy to see what I can do."

Essie raises an eyebrow as she glances in Darcy's direction. "Really?" But then again, she did just see him help lift the massive beer barrel like it was no big deal and so she just shrugs. "Then again, I ended up accidentally sparring with a psychic who figured it out. Freaking telepaths, man..." She keeps her voice fairly low as well, at least low for normal ears, shaking her head. "But otherwise sounds all good?" She'll toast to being there. "Had some leg surgeries myself recently." As Darcy comes up with a second recommendation for the beer, she gives a bit of a nod. "Might have to keep it in mind. Though I have heard there's no laws when your drinking the Claw." Not like she ever needed an excuse for that.

Cat looks politely non-plussed for a moment at the answer she gets but then just resumes smiling and shrugs "I... dunno about that, but thank you. I'll just have to see if I can find a drink and then try to convince someone else to give me theirs instead. Or be boring and not bathe at a pool party." She looks over her shoulder, at all the guests, and then turns back to Slip "Oh, and you can call me Cat. Thank you for inviting me to your party by the way, very neighbourly. I'll make sure to leave a guest-gift before I leave."

Shoes are taken off, and Charity tucks them off to the side along with that kimono coverup. Her cellphone taken out, to tap out a quick txt, before that's tucked away too. She pads over to the edge of the pool, considering the floaties available. Like this is going to be a terribly, terribly important choice she's making here. Another, longer sip of her cider, before she drags a toe along the water's surface.

"Fee free viewings, Raf," James replies, scooping another bite of gumbo. "With snacks. Couldn't ask for much more than that." She slurps the spoon clean and plunks it back into the bowl, passing it over to Rafael. "I hope you like spicy," says Labat to //Castillo//. If he can't take the jalapeno heat in that gumbo and she can, he's never gonna live it down.

James flashes a thumbs up to Darcy, re: the cider agreement. "If you see those bottles running low, snag a couple," she says out of the corner of her mouth, ostensibly to the cthulu fan. Maybe Raf just really likes cephalopods tho.

Simin chuckles at Ashton, "Very nice indeed. And if Jacob shows up to THIS in his suit, then he has to swim in it. Its only appropriate." He bobs a little in the water, shooting a faint smile at Charity when she sits down and dips a toe in the water, offering her a hand to see if he can 'help' her get in, "There are still floaties left and the water feels very good..."

"Yeah, one of those clocked me once, too," says Phe with a smirk to Essie. "There are no secrets these days, I guess!" Darcy's return earns him a toothy smile, and she slides an arm around his waist. She takes his bottle from him for a second, takes a sip, hands it back. "It is good. I never know if I can trust you, given your penchant for Everclear." He won't live that one down anytime soon.

The kiss to her head catches Slip by surprise. Quite a feat, really, but there's enough distraction here to leave the habitual eavesdropper open to ambush. She looks back just in time to catch Darcy wandering off, smiling his direction. "Or just float fully clothed," she proposes just before looking back to Cat with that same easy smile as before. "Slip." A name that's posted on some roster somewhere, likely at the Changeling Community Center. "I'm glad you could make it." Her words are distracted, her gaze off across the crowd, where Kayid holds up his phone and mouths that apology. A faint frown is promptly replaced with a sad smile, a nod. She gets it. She watches him go and murmurs, "Just lemme know if you need anything," to those nearby before taking a more-than-healthy swig of her drink.

"While pleather works better with wet it doesn't work well with it." Cat answers Slip lightly before shrugging and dipping into a very shallow curtsey "Either way, I hope your evening is pleasant Slip and hope your house gains many blessings this night." she says before she, with just a brief pause for an answer, wanders off to see if she can find some alcohol.

When Simin offers her that helping hand, Charity takes it. "I was considering my choices. That sea serpent is a strong contender..." She slides on into the water, giving Simin his hand back if he so desires to have both. "You're right, darling, it does feel good," the Brit murmurs. "How many months does summer last here? Ten?" A flash of smile, towards Ashton and Prism.

"Hey, Charity. How's it going?" Ashton seems satisfied with the assurances that he looks good in his lei and sunglasses, so he joins the small group in the pool, but not directly in the water. The Panda floatie turns out to be just about the right size for him, and he leans back into it to trail his fingers through the water. His flipflops remain on his pale feet, which he kicks gently to slap against the water without doing it so hard as to risk sending footgear flying at other people's heads. "Doing ok so far, Prism? Since we're all here to watch you, maybe you should slip into the water when you get more comfortable. It's really not too deep."

Darcy doesn't seem to mind when Ophelia takes his bottle. He waits for her to hand it back and takes a drink. He shrugs. "It's not my fault I need a little kick to my drinks," he tells her, at the dig about Everclear. "You're just jealous." He asides to Essie in a stage-whisper: "She's just jealous." And then he spots the moping Slip and puts his cider bottle in Ophelia's hand. "Hold on, my friend's moping, I have to do something about it." Sneak. Sneak. Sneak.

"Noted. That's Essie, over there," Rafael offers up with a vague motion of his hand, before reaching over to accept the bowl offered his way, "That's Slip, over there, and... yeah, I think that's everyone that I know, actually. Maybe if we sit here with the gumbo for long enough someone will come over to beg for some and introduce themselves. So how've you been, anyway, beautiful? I've still been working that case."

"For real!" Essie completely agrees on the topic of no secrets as she folds up her last slice of pizza and makes quick work of polishing it off. She doesn't really judge the mention of everclear liking, just giving a shrug. "It's efficient, especially on a budget." But she will give a nod as the werewolf stage-whispers. Apparently free pizza and beer puts her in a super agreeable mood, but as he sneaks off, she lets out a whisper of her own, "He turned his back. The cider's your's now! Them's the rules."

"Oh, it's not my house," Slip notes wryly to Cat at the offer of blessings. There's plenty of booze to be found, from that keg of magnificent mead from Gilles to bottles and cans of craft beers, ciders, hard seltzers. Okay, so there's no hard liquor anywhere in sight, but still. Options. She gives her own cup a thoughtful wobble, weighing what's left of its contents, if she wants to go back for more just yet, but she's distracted upon catching her name, those keen ears of hers really just too sharp. Rafael and James get a lazy little wave, a smile that's... just not as bright as it might've been a moment ago. Give her a minute to get through her moping. She'll be back to her easy-going spring self soon.

Eva slips into the poolside area, glancing about brightly; the slightly greenish-skinned woman is dressed in a somewhat retro-cut bikini with a high waist and a halter-top, black polka-dots contrasting with the pale lilac of the material. A loosely-fitting, gauzy cover-up in a sheer black material ties about the waist, and matching sandals lace about her ankles. She's carrying a large straw shoulder bag containing at they very least a towel and a bottle of wine, to judge from the items poking above the top. Smiling warmly as she spies familiar faces, she finds somewhere to put her bag and slip off her sandals.

"Yes, I just worry you burnt off your tastebuds, is all," Ophelia retorts to Darcy, then nods as he goes to cheer up Slip, watching after him for a moment. She laughs at Essie's words and looks at the two drinks in her two hands. "I would, but I still have the beer. And look like I have a serious substance abuse problem," she says with a sigh. Then laughs a little at the irony of that statement. "Yeah." When she catches sight of Eva, she lifts one of her drink-toting hands in her direction, two fingers splaying out in a quasi wave.

Prism looks nervous, so immensely nervous as she lays on the gecko and lightly kicks her legs. "I um. I think so. Just anxious? I think right word. Still not know how swim so just. Want to make sure not go in deep end."

Sneak. Sneak. Sneak.

Darcy slides up behind Slip and then ducks in, scooping her up with both arms and walking towards the pool. "It's a pool party, Slip. You gotta set the example!" Darcy tells her. "Hey, Eva!" He says, and then he waves. How does he wave when his arms are full of Darkling? Easy.

He tosses her in the pool. Splash!

Simin ughs at Charity and murmurs, "Entirely too long, but as long as I have access to one of THESE somewhere, I can probably survive the heat and the humidity as long as it doesn't get too much worse." Once Charity's actually IN the water, he reaches back to hang onto the floating doughnut for a second, floating onto his back a bit and tilting his head to shoot a look over at Prism, "See? We just need to lean on Jacob a little more to get one of these at the plantation."

"Ashton. It's good to see you floating about. And I'm doing well. You?" Charity's amber eyes are constantly moving things, taking in this and that, those ears atop her head flicking and swiveling around to catch sounds and snips of conversation. When Eva arrives, there's a lift of hand in greeting to the woman, a flash of a fanged grin. Towards Prism, she muses, "You have friends that ..." It trails off, as she watches Darcy scoop up Slip, and then throw the Spring Darkling on into the pool. Splash. "Will keep an eye on you. I fully support Jacob putting in a pool. I'd have to borrow fewer ones." She may be talking to the group, but she's watching the spot in the water that Slip disappeared under.

Slip is just about to greet Eva, a smile offered in the polka-dotted wizened's direction, when suddenly there are arms scooping her up and disconnecting her feet from the patio. She yelps, eyes going wide as her cheeks flush brightly. A half-horrified, half-giggled, "What the fuh--!?" is all she manages before splash! The floaties rock in the crowded pool as water laps up over the edges and the darkling disappears beneath the surface. She pops up with a gasp, snagging onto a toucan floatie next to her with one hand. After a second or two spent orienting herself, her other hand splashes water out at Darcy as she laughs and declares him a, "Jerk!" with too big a smile to mean it sincerely.

Gilles spies Eva as she arrives and gives her a quick wave of greeting. The wizened keeps half a pointed ear open to the various conversations going on and as he hears about Darcy's Everclear addition addiction he makes a bit of a face. Glancing around he locates an empty bottle and takes it to wash it out. Returning a few minutes later he fills it from the tap of the mead keg and then goes to locate Ophelia. "Perhaps you friend would enjoy this," he says to her as he offers her the bottle, "once he has finished throwing our host into the pool."

Ophelia, Gilles, and Charity's greetings are met with another smile from Eva, along with waves. Darcy's greeting while holding the host has her arching a thin eyebrow skeptically, then her eyes widen as Slip is thrown pool-wards, one hand flying up to cover her mouth; those oddly-colored eyes follow the Darkling's trajectory to determine if the gesture is welcome or not. When it becomes obvious that their host isn't upset, she smiles brightly, making her way over to the side of the pool. "Hello, Slip; this looks like fun."

"Anyone calls you on it, chug one of them and toss the empty in their direction!" Essie gives a wink with the bad advice, followed by chugging the rest of her beer. "Think I'm gonna claim a float before all the good ones get taken." And with a wave, she's off to stash her shorts and towel somewhere safe before she leaps into the pool, sticking an improbable landing onto one of the colorful donut floats, causing a little bit of a tidal wave from the impact, but she just relaxes into the float.

"Yeah, what happened to that idea anyway? I thought that Jake would be all over it, but it's been -days- and no pool!" Ashton complains lightheartedly. He watches with interest when Slip gets tossed into the water, smirking a little before patting Prism's floatie. "And don't worry, we won't do that to you," he tells the little Russian woman, nodding in the sheenanigan's direction. Ashton folds his arms behind his head, leans back some more and crosses one leg over the other. "Hey, is that Miss Eva?" One arm is briefly removed from behind his head to swing a lazy greeting in the air.

Prism brightens up as she responds to Simin, "Oh! Jake actually said that he is going to have them start installing it soon. Told me over text messages!" She is super excited about this, it means she has been working on her English reading. She looks to Charity with a curious smile as she inquires, "I have friends that what?" She looks relieved at what Ashton says before she comments, "I not think you would. You know I can't swim well." She gently hugs onto her gecko floatie.

Simin erks and ducks a little as a Slip goes flying into the water, bobbing his head up to look an maybe make sure the Host is actually fine. With that assurance made, he turns his attention back to Prism's answer and nods, "Good. Good, good. I can take a swim in between running my rounds at the property. C'mon in. Its not too deep out here, easy to put your feet down and just float though the toys."

James shoots a wave right back to Slip, catching that, though she doesn't know her well enough to really notice the lackluster brightness to her smile. She sips her cider, now nearly half-gone, fingers wrapped loosely around the bottle. She mhms. Essie. Check. Slip. Check. "The yoga mat from hell case?" That's a really weird phrase for someone to utter in public, but James utters it, and not quietly.

The blonde glances over to Raf at last. "Oh, I'm... good." She smiles at the compliment. "Business is steady. A little more steady than I'd like, but it's not like I can ask people to stop dying, thank you, please, etcetera." She brushes her thumb over the mouth of the bottle. "Making any headway?"

Phe backs away from the water before getting splashed, then watches as Essie decides to show off her jumping skills. "Oh, that leg surgery," she mouths to her fellow guinea pig. She hands Darcy his cider back, clinking the neck of her beer bottle against it. "Nicely done, Darcolemew." She turns to smile at Eva. "Hey, lady. I wanted to tell you, I've gotten so many compliments on the stuff I got from your shop. One of my bosses even told me it was nice to see me dress like a grownup." That's maybe not the kind of compliment she wants, but she does seem to think it's high praise for Eva. "You know, because wearing dinosaur t-shirts under blazers makes him think I'm immature or something."

Charity laughs when Slip comes up, splashing the offending werewolf. "Have any of you met Slip, by the way? Lovely woman, beyond hosting fantastic parties and making getting tossed into a pool look good. And friends that will take care of you." She turns, and puts her arms up on the edge of the pool, chin on them.

"Oh, and... there goes Slip," Rafael's eyebrows raise in a sharp arch as the hostess goes into the water, and he barks out a laugh before calling out towards the pool, "Gotta work on that footwork!" The spoon delves into the pepper-spiced gumbo bowl, coming back up from the depths before vanishing into his mouth. He doesn't seem to mind the heat at all, swallowing contentedly after a moment and bringing his hand away from his lips in a 'chef-kiss' motion.

"Perfect," he compliments, flashing James a grin, "And yeah, we got some info on the person we're looking for. Won't be long now, I hope."

Ashton shakes his head at Charity. "Nah, not directly. Might have seen from a distance at that Summer gathering we had? I forget, considering how big the crowd was." A little shudder goes through his body. "And the fireworks. You don't think they'll be any here, do you? That stuff needs a permit, right?" Ashton slides down his sunglasses a little to peer suspiciously over them, eyeing the surrounding pool area for any telltale setup of fireworks. After a moment, he pushes the shades back up the bridge of his nose. "You think we should go introduce ourselves?" her murmurs.

Darcy blows Slip a kiss and then heads back to Ophelia, watching Essie fly by. "Dang. Girl's got some air." he clinks his bottle with Ophelia's and smiles at her. "Thank you, thank you." He takes a drink and then laughs at Ophelia's comment to Eva. He takes a long series of guzzles of his cider and then sets the empty bottle aside. "Come on," he tells Ophelia, arms wrapping around her and starting to nudge her towards the pool. Dun. Dun. Dundun!

"Heya, Eva," Slip croons sweetly as she leans a bit more heavily on the toucan. Utterly unnecessarily. She could stand up and be about waist-deep in the water, but it's more comfortable to lean. There's a, "Hey," started in Darcy's direction before Essie's splash wobbles her aside, requiring a moment of reorientation to look at the werewolf again. "I lost my drink." Somewhere between the keg and the pool is a red solo cup on its side, a little bit of mead spilled onto the patio. "No fair." Her eyes go wide as her lower lip comes out in a mostly faked pout that turns into a smirk at Rafael's commentary. "My footwork's fine when I'm not being ambushed." She might have to put her money where her mouth is if she wants to pull up through the floaty she's claimed for the moment to make good on that claim of gracefulness. Fuck.

Ophelia turns to Gilles and shuffles one bottle to the other hand so both hold two bottles, to reach for the offering. "Thanks, I'm sure he'll appreciate it," she says with a laugh. More alcohol is always a good thing, right? Well, unless one's an alcoholic. Once Darcy's returned, she hands him Gille's offering. "That's from the guy with the keg," she says. "He's trying to get you drunk, I think." Wink wink. But then he's pulling her to the pool too. "Wait, I have too many alcohols, something's going to spill!" she protests.

Eva blinks at that extremely impressive jump from Essie, momentarily distracted, then glances towards Ophelia as the other woman begins to speak. A warm smile greets that compliment. "I'm glad to hear that." Her eyes twinkle for the remark about dinosaur t-shirts. "Dinosaurs are their own fashion statement," she says cheerfully, "Even if your boss can't appreciate that." Shifting her attention back to Slip, she laughs, then moves to get herself a drink not already claimed by someone.

Prism carefully lets herself lower into the water, lightly flutter kikcing her legs until she is stand on the bottom of the shallow end. She swallows softly as she says to Simin, "Is not so bad suppose. Still a little scary though." She wans;t letting go of the pool floatie for anything it seems.

James goes give Raf a little side-eye while he's eating the gumbo, the spice of which was amped up considerably by the way she topped it. He doesn't immediately fall over dead, so she assumes it's fine, and doesn't appear to have been splashed by any pool antics. At least not yet. "It'll work out for you, I'm sure. As long as I don't meet you in //my// professional capacity, I'd say you're doing it right."

"Ah, New Orleans," James murmurs, smiling at the people and ridiculous floaties bobbing in the pool. She reaches over to touch Raf's arm. "You go in if you want. I spent an hour blowing my hair out this morning." Oh no, she's one of //those//.

"Introductions are always polite things to do," Charity offers towards Ashton. She blows a kiss towards the Hostess, before turning her gaze to Eva. "That suit is adorable, by the way. Very you. I'll admit I had no small amount of curiosity, as to what you'd show up in. No Nicolas?" There's a flash in those fox-eyes, amusement.

"Oh, you can't go to a pool party and not go in," Rafael observes with a crooked smile starting to tug up at the corners of his mouth, "I showed up topless and everything just for you." His gaze slants back over to where Slip was just tossed in, and then back to James with obvious and almost exaggerated consideration. It doesn't take a genius to guess just what he's thinking of.

Too many alcohols! Oh no! Darcy grabs the bottles from Ophelia's hands and sets them on a table. They left their cellphones in his car because she is a walking cellphone anyway, so he grabs her again and starts towards the edge of the pool, kicking his flip-flops off. "Come on. Come on. Come on." Closer. Closer. Cloooooooooooooser.

Simin smiles at Prism, letting himself dangle by one arm from the doughnut while he eases his way around the chatting Charity, murmuring something complimentary to her as he eases around. Addressing Prism as he scoots closer, he keeps his voice down, "Plenty of things floating in the pool as well. Just grab hold of something and you will be fine..."

The petite brunette helps herself to a bottle of cider, then makes her way back over to the poolside, perching on the edge and dangling her legs into the water so as to better be able to speak with Charity. At that question, Eva gives the other Lost a wry look. "I hadn't asked him if he was coming; I assume he is busy with something else. Or perhaps he doesn't like swimming." She sips from the cider, then suggests, "You could ask him?" White-traced violet eyes twinkle at that.

Slip scans the pool for her pegasus, releasing the bead-draped toucan back into the wild. When she finds her chosen stray, she goes back under the water and comes up in the center of the winged ring. And then pulls herself up further to draw her legs up and drop them over the back with the horse's behatted head playing headrest for her. It's not the most graceful move. There's a little bit of flailing. But once she's settled, well... the floating is effortless. Even as she pushes off to navigate toward Charity and those clustered around her. "Other things come up," she murmurs on the wake of Eva's words, a half-formed frown on her lips. "Any chance you might snag me a cup of that mead? Anybody? Halp? Please?"

Ophelia manages to kick off her own shoes and even starts to try to unhook her overalls so they'll be dry later. But that's hard to do with a werewolf's arms around a person, so she gives up the dream. "You know I'm taking you in with me, right? You can't just throw everyone in without consequences, buddy."

Prism giggles as Simin's words before she responds, "Well keep in mind." Her cheeks flushing a bit before she looks about in the water. She looks curiously over towards where the mead is before she mentions, "Think want to try. Could get some if want Simin?" She offers as ahe slowly makes her way to the edge of the pool and then hoists herself up and out easily enough.

Whatever it is that Simin says to her has Charity's lips curving into a grin. Is that a blush on the wolf-eared woman? Maybe. She leans back to murmrur something in return, before she grins to Eva. "I'd gladly ask him for you, Eva love. Give me your phone, and I'll dial him up right now. Let him know what he's missing out on." There's an impish light in those eyes, and she slants a grin towards Slip as she moves near. "Slip, love. What a fantastic floatie."

"Oh, no. You're saying I'm going to have to go _into a pool_ while _at a pool party_?" Darcy inches closer to the pool with Ophelia, wrapping his fingers on her overalls, until they're at the very edge and then he just tips them both in. FWLOOSH.

Ashton runs one hand through the water on one side of his Panda floatie, sending it around in a slow spin. "Charity just mentioned that I should introduce myself to you," he says with a broad grin on his face as he comes around to face Slip. Since the young man's still lounging with his limbs spread over the edges of the floating doughnut, he couldn't bow properly, but he does incline his head at the hostess. "Ashton Choi, at your service. I believe we might have seen each other in the crowds at gatherings of mutual friends at some point, but it's nice to finally talk face to face." He lifts his dripping wet hand to pat the Panda's head. "By the way, nice choices."

Slip's approach on the pegasus causes Eva's eyes to brighten with mirth as she sips from her bottle of cider. The request has her laughing. "If no one closer will come to your rescue, I can get some for you," she replies. Glancing back to Charity, she laughs. "If you can find it and unlock it, then you certainly can feel free." The corners of her lips quirk at that. As Darcy manages to inch Ophelia to the edge of the pool, she notices just in time to laugh again as they tumble in.

"Castillo, I just said I spent an hour and a hal -- " James notices the direction of Rafael's gaze, and she doesn't even have to //look// to know what he's thinking. "I'd like to remind you that I have long fingernails, I fight dirty." She doesn't explain what she means by that in the context of a pool party. It's implied menace, you see, but not entirely serious either. She reaches up to gather her hair up, and twist it, slowly, slowly pulling several feet of hair into a messy knot secured by a rubber band pulled from her wrist. When you can feel an oncoming storm, you prep how you're able.

Simin chuckles softly at Charity and nods his head, murmuring, "I think we can do that..." do whatever she might have said to him. Prism's offer of possibly retrieving some mead hashim considering for a moment, then slowly nodding his head, "I am not sure if I am thirsty enough for one all by myself, but if you get some, I would happily steal a drink from it to try it out. He makes very good mead, I have been told."

"You're implying that I would not, in fact, enjoy that more than be afraid of it," Rafael points out with an even more mischievious tilt of a grin, one hand coming up to rub against his chin thoughtfully, "I didn't say a thing, though. Not a thing. I'm just saying, you should enjoy the pool while you can."

As James begins to wind up her hair, he very politely does not try anything, although he does push himself up to his feet, "Let me go grab one of those ciders, though, before they're all out."

Despite knowing it was coming, Ophelia still squeals a little as she falls in to the water, her eyes scrunching closed and her mouth closing just in time to avoid swallowing a bunch of chlorine-flavored water. When they come back up to the surface, she flips her hair back and shakes it like a dog, and wraps her arms around Darcy's neck, kissing him lightly. "Such a bully."

"Her name's Ernestine," Slip declares of the pegasus upon which she's floating. Eva's assurance that there will be booze one way or another earns a set of heart hands and a fond look, some of that warmth transferring easily to Ashton as his panda pulls up close and her head tips his way. "Slip," comes with a smile. And without a surname. "I spend a lot of time on the sidelines. Listening." One of her ears gets a little pivot-wiggle, all out in the open like this with her hair wet and slicked back, obvious for those who can see past her mask. "But Kayid gets the credit for the floaties. All him. But, uh. Work stole him away. Always a story to chase." With a shallow loft of her dark brows, she asks, "How ya settling in?" before offering in an aside to Chastity, "I might be able to help with that, if you're really determined."

"I arrived when Ian held the reins, so it was pretty easy to settle in. Actually living at the center near Miss Eva here," Ashton tells Slip, flashing a grin towards Eva. "Hopefully, I'm not a terrible neighbor, slipping in and out all at times of the days. I'm a bit of a night bird." The young man glances around the small group of people. "Hey, who wants pizza? Or other snacks? I'm going to go grab some food, so might as well make myself useful while I'm at it!"

Charity's grin shows those sharp teeth as she looks up to Eva. "I like a challenge, and I remember what you were carrying when you came in, lovely." And oh, how she brightens, when Slip offers a hand. "I'll get that drink for you," she offers, a clear exchange. A glance towards Rafael and James, taking in the tattoos of the woman as she pulls her hair up, before she's hoisting herself out of the pool. Taking the quick way out. Padding around, to hunt her quarry. Mead, first. Two cups full. And then? After that bag Eva had on her shoulder. She at least dries her hands off, before she goes digging through it.

The corners of Eva's lips quirk at the introduction of the float, then she smiles cheerfully at Ashton in greeting before she starts pushes herself to her feet, moving to retrieve a mead for Slip. As Charity offers instead, however, she laughs, sipping from her bottle of cider again. Surely she doesn't have a pocket in the bikini for her cellphone, does she? That said, she doesn't dash over to stop the foxlike Lost from digging.

Prism easily goes to grab herself a large cup of the mead, lightly sipping on it and mming softly as she swallows. Then more sipping occurs as she slowly makes her way back over towards where she got out of the pool, sitting on the edge instead of going inside with the drink.

Darcy grins at Ophelia and then grabs a random nearby floatie, bopping her onna head with it before he climbs up on it like he's finding his balance on a bronco. "You knew what I was when you decided to come to this shindig with me," he points out.

"You and me both," says one darkling to another about nighttime habits. "Part of why I moved into my own place." Slip looks like she might take Ashton up on that offer for food, but Charity chimes in, offering a drink, and her lips close, curling into a wide, delighted smile. Oh, she's going to watch this to see how it goes. And, for a moment, that's all the darkling does, drink in the chaos around her and watch Charity in that white bikini as she fishes for Eva's phone.

Eva seems content to drink cider and watch Charity go through her bag as well; she doesn't appear at all concerned, and if anything, looks highly entertained at the the other woman's search. Maybe she knows something. Maybe she's just waiting to see how serious the other Lost seems to be. At least she isn't humming? Oh, wait, she is.

It's a good view, really, when she digs. Drinks placed down, bag on the chair. Charity's bikini is on the cheeky side, not flashing full-on rear, but more than normal briefs might offer. She wriggles as she hunts, too. Wolf ears perked up, twitching excitedly. A bottle of wine is half-lifted out, and she eyes the label. "This gives TERRIBLE hangovers, by the way," she calls back to the woman. "Bloody hell, woman. Is this thing a Tardis? Did you mug Mary Poppins for this?"

"True," Ophelia says, treading water in the deep end rather than pulling herself up onto one of the many pool floats. When Ashton asks about getting people food, she asks, "Did all of your guys' parents instill the fear of eating and then swimming in you when you were kids? I literally thought that somehow getting a cramp while swimming meant instant death or something. You had to wait an hour or else," she swipes her fingers across her throat. The search for a phone gives her an idea and she turns to Darcy on his mount, holding up her hands as if she's placing him into a framed shot, then winking at him. Memory made and saved, in animated gif form.

Ashton waits a little while longer to see if anyone takes up the offer on using him as a waiter before paddling the short distance to the edge of the pool. He hoist himself up after parking his Panda floatie and pads over to where the pizza is, wiggling fingers at Prism on the way pass. Food, food, food... Now that he's been reminded of it, Ashton's stomach lets out a loud rumble at being neglected for so long. So even though he's the only one he's making a plate for, several slices of pizza and some of those crab-topped nachos end up on the stack. And some of Gille's brew, because why would a person walk pass that and -not- fill up a mug? Ashton juggles all of this as he returns to sit next to Prism at the edge.

Ashton shoots a curious glance at Ophelia. "Really? My parents never said anything like that to me. But they did have the weirdest idea that if you go to bed with wet hair, you'll wake up crippled. Don't ask me why, they couldn't explain it to me either."

Prism returns her wave to Ashton as he walks by her to grab some pizza for himself. And when he returns to join her on the edge of the pool, she lightly bumps his shoulder. "I like pools. Can see bottom which make it less scary" Her hand reaching over to steal one of the crab topped nachoes, just one!

Simin lazily watches the snacks and beverages get slowly attacked, hooking his arms behind him over the ring of the doughnut so he can just hang there and allow his feet and hair to trail behind him in the water, lulled into relaxation by the cool of the water and the conversations going on around the pool, though he keeps shooting a glance between Prism, Charity, and Ashton, just keeping an eye on where each has gotten to, like some kinda buddy system he didnt tell anyone about.

"My grampa --" Darcy pauses to look at Ophelia and flash her a winning smile "-- convinced me and some of my siblings when we were really little that if you _swallowed_ watermelon seeds, a watermelon would grow in your stomach and you would explode!" Darcy does a little gesture in his stomach accompanied by a "bwooooooooosh" sound. "Like a watermelon xenomorph."

"Only if you drink more than a few glasses," Eva replies innocently Charity's comment about the wine; despite her mild tone, her eyes gleam impishly. She sips from her cider, trailing her legs in the water as she continues to watch the digging. Or the bikini-clad bottom. Possibly both. "My parents told me that thing about swimming," she remarks absently to Ophelia. "But we'd still have lunch on the beach and nobody ever waited an hour before swimming - or died."

"We did not really have swimming pools where I was growing up," Gilles says as he takes a seat in one of the chairs near the edge of the pool with a cup of mead in his hand. "For us it was swimming in lakes. Streams were all right but not lakes. You would get polio from the dirty water."

"Total myth," declares a distracted Slip in answer to Ophelia's question as she watches Charity's hips sway. "Not that we were actively trying to kill anyone or anything, but there might've been a whole lot of reassurances offered to this real little shit of a girl who did not, in fact, drown like we probably didn't actually hope. Like... when I was eight or something. Forever ago." Looking to Darcy, she tells him, "But that one's true. Especially if it's Hedge Watermelon."

"In my defense, I had every reason to drink the rest of the bottle that night." There's a soft 'A-ha!' as the Beast finds what she was looking for. The cellphone is withdrawn from the bag, triumphantly. Waggling it. But then Charity has a problem. Two hands. Two drinks. One phone. Hrm. There's a bit of juggling things around, and she drapes a towel over an arm. Cellphone in one hand. Using the rim of the red solo cup to hold it with her teeth. And then the second cup is picked up. VICTORY, that expression on her face says. Padding back to the edge of the pool, and doing a bit of dangerous balancing as she lowers down to her knees, holding a cup out to Slip, that arm also holding the towel. "Mrrhphone." Eloquent.

Ashton's parent warning draws a laugh from Ophelia. "That's even weirder," she concedes. He gets the point for weird parent advice. Darcy's story draws a laugh. "Did you test it out anyway?" she asks, while Eva and Slip get a "Right?" in reply. "In Korea, a lot of people believe sleeping with a fan on will kill you. Strange. I guess I defy death every night." Gilles' casual mention of getting polio makes her brows rise and she nods slowly. "Beach for me. Back in California. I mean, we all had swimming pools, too, but the beach was where it's at." She sighs a little wistfully. "I miss California weather."

James rises from her seat, standing there a moment once her hair is secure. She reaches up to slip her frames off, putting them down on the seat, finishing her cider, and glancing over toward the pool again just in time to see Charity come out to hunt for booze. "Mhm," she says to Rafael. "Stash a cider or two." Just in case he's really going over there to do that. She reaches down and pulls the tee off. Her top is just as delicately tied on as the bottoms. She is indeed tattooed all the way down her body and is quite pale. "Is that mead?" She glances over curiously.

Ashton probably notices Prism taking a bit of his food, but he doesn't say anything about it. He's also too busy devouring one of the pizza slices that he brought back. For someone so short and slender, the young man sure packs away a lot at once. The first slice is gone in a few bites, almost as if he's gulping it down with barely any chewing. It's quickly replaced by a second one. He pauses in order to lift a finger towards Ophelia. "Hey! That's another one that my parents used to tell me. The fan thing. It's apparently a pretty common warning in China too, except they also said that it'll happen if the fan's trained on you the entire night. Like, give you hyperthermia or something, we always set it to swivel, no matter how hot the evening is." His teeth snap down on his pizza again, only for him to choke slightly and thump at his chest. "Wait, really? The watermelon thing?" Ashton stares at Slip.

Eva mmms? an inquiry at Charity's defense, then she gives a rather resigned sigh, for all that her expression still looks amused. That amusement only deepens at that obvious juggling conundrum, then she laughs for the toothy solution. The Wizened sips from her bottle of cider, idly swirling her legs in the water some more, then grins a little at Ashton's remark to Slip. "Well. Hedge watermelon. Who knows?"

As it happens, Rafael is in fact fetching a bottle of cider! Two, even, perhaps as an advanced apology for the terrible fate that he has strongly suggested lies in wait for the tattooed mortician. The man saunters along back over to James, the gumbo, and everything, setting the bottles down beside where they were sitting-- and shamelessly letting his gaze sweep over the extra skin she's just revealed, a smile widening briefly. "Not quite even for getting to see me topless," he teases, before reaching down without any further preamble to try and scoop her up from the chair. "Now c'mon, we're going to go be social."

"Of course we tested it out," Darcy tells Ophelia with a HRMPH. How dare she challenge his courage and conviction and sense of adventure?! "I made Zoe swallow some. She's the youngest." Offfffff course they did. Man, siblings are mean.

"More likely to give you bad dreams, I think," Gilles says to Ashton, "but it probably depends on the melon. There are so many different kinds." He pauses to think for a moment and then amends, "Well, bad dreams or perhaps pregnancy," before taking a sip of his drink.

Prism looks curious as she inquires, "Hedge Watermelon? That sounds interesting. Does it taste like seedless kind? Or is it different?" She looks like she is brimming with curiousity as she inquires about this fruit! She does adore food after all. When she catches Simin looking over towards her, she offers him a friendly wave and lightly holds up her cup of mead to see if he did still want to steal a sip of hers.

"Asphyxiation, I think is the common fear," Ophelia says with a nod to Ashton. She drops below the water's surface for a moment, and when she comes up, she's out of the overalls, which she tosses on the ground to hopefully dry. Then, she reaches for Darcy's floating, pulling herself up onto it carefully so as not to capsize both of them. As fun as that would be. "Poor Zoe. You're the worst. Even worse than Lennox." Helpfully she adds to the chatter, "I think it's Japan where they grow watermelons in boxes so they fit better in the refrigerator."

Ashton makes a face at Gilles. "Uhhh... Pregnancy? No thanks. One of the best things about knocking around with a guy is the inability to get pregnant, not that it's ever a risk -these- days, but now there's melons in the mix...? Bleh." He wipes at his lips with a napkin, balls it up and tosses it next to his plate, which he stares suspiciously at for a while. Checking for weird fruit maybe? "Definitely did -not- need to learn about that while eating," he laments quietly to himself.

"Mmhmm." Slip's sure of it, that there are some hedgefruits whose seeds will grow in bellies until they swell up and boom. Okay, there are probably treatments before explosion, but still. Nevermind that she's making shit up. She tips up to accept the offered cup with a murmur of, "Thank you, gorgeous." She takes a long swig before she addressing the mrrhphone that Charity's holding. "Okay, so. We need a, uh. Mini-to-mini cable and my phone." The phone's the easy part. It's right over there. She frowns at the prospect of fetching the cable, but pushes off the wall to launch herself toward the stairs at the front of the pool. She's gonna need to get out and go inside. "Sec!"

Simin considers the offer from Prism for a moment, then shakes his head in the negative and pushes himself towards the steps, apparently deciding to just climb out, himself, for a moment, while he gravitates towards the snacks, craning his head in to get a better look, "I was getting hungry watching people munching away on things...which of these do you like so far, or have you tried any yet?" Yes, he's already acquiring himself a cup for alcohol. Priorities.

James is already rising, but so scooped. She's tall, and she may be thin, but she's got enough muscle tone that Rafael may regret the decision to heft the mortician from her feet. Her hand finds the back of his neck, but her nails only dig in a little. "Pool parties." At least her bikini matches her usual work attire: all black. "This is so much easier in a bar with several drinks down..."

Eva wrinkles her nose at Gilles' remark about Hedgefruit, then gives Ophelia a curious look. "I thought square watermelons were for aesthetics, not storage. Are they really?" Then she's distracted by the exchange between Slip and Charity over the contents of her phone. "Just don't drop it in the pool, yes?" She drains the last of her cider, then pushes herself to her feet, apparently planning on getting more food or drink or both.

Rafael can't help but grin down at James as her nails dig in against the back of his neck. "You should've drank more earlier. Also they should've set up one of those floating bars," he says as he carries her towards the pool cradled against his broad chest, one arm under her shoulders and the other under her knees, "That would've been perfect honestly..."

As he closes in on the pool, he sees Slip heading for the stairs. "Hey, Slip," he calls out cheerfully, "I wanted to introduce you to--" At this point he reaches the pool and just jumps in with James.

Gilles shrugs his shoulder slightly. "A half remembered story," he says to Ashton. "I could not say anything more about it. I doubt that the story I am recalling was actually watermelon seeds. Probably apple seeds or something similar."

Charity looks so, so victorious right now. She is the proudest wolf. And they haven't even gotten into the phone just yet. She watches Slip excitedly, and in tracking the Darkling's progress, watches Simin for a moment as well. It's an appreciative look. She's on the right side of tipsy to not bother trying it, especially after she sips that mead. A blink, a shake of her head to clear it, just in time to see Rafael dunk himself and James in the pool. A soft laugh, and a lift of her red solo cup in salute. To Eva, she chimes, "I won't drop it in the pool. If I did, that would ruin my *whole plan*." Perhaps the Beast should've eaten something today, before drinking.

"Both, I think. Easier to cut, easier to store, look interesting, win-win-win situation, I guess," Ophelia says to Eva with a grin, before turning to say something to Darcy and falling into a more quiet conversation with him as they float and bob on the water.

"Okaaay," Ashton drawls slowly. "I'm just going to be super careful about what I eat from now on." He shakes his head and gives his plate of food a slightly dejected look. Appetite gone for now. At least that doesn't stop him from picking up his mug of mead and sipping on it. "Prism, Simin... you want the rest of what's on my plate?" He nudges it across the ground closer to Prism.

Prism's nose wrinkles at the idea of pregnancy, making a 'bleh' face. Though she doesn't really comment on it herslef beyond that. She then bumps into Ashton's shoulder as she mentions, "Pretty sure pizza is melon free? And nachoes too. I not taste any." Trying to assure Ashton about the food. She then easily responds, "Can take nachos. You feeling ok Ashton?" Her worry is written all over her face.

Another laugh greets Charity's response, then Eva nods to Ophelia. She makes her way over towards the drinks and disposes of her bottle before collecting a cup of mead for herself - along with some snacks. Idly making her way back over to the edge of the pool, she smiles at Rafael and James as the two wind up in the water, then settles on the edge herself again, nibbling from the food before washing it down with a sip of mead.

Slip reiterates the, "Sec!" when she hears someone else call out to her. She's not gone for long, she and her mead emerging from the house maybe a minute and a half later with a short black cable with a weird little adapter on one end. She holds this up triumphantly and then moves over to the lounger where she'd been sitting earlier, to her abandoned phone and the warm beer, her fresh mead set down beside it. "Okay, just gotta..." She plugs one side into her phone and then reaches out a hand for Eva's phone, from Charity. Once that's pluged in, it's a matter of unlocking her own device, starting up an undoubtedly unsanctioned app and letting it run. It'll be a couple minutes. Phones down, she plucks her drink back up and looks over to the pool to again wave toward Rafael and James. "Hey! Sorry. Hi. Just a little bit of totally avoidable mischief," with a wave toward the hacking going on over there. "Good to see you again."

Simin mmms softly at Ashton, "I might take a few things to go. I'll need to head back to the house and make my rounds here in a few, anyway. You wanna lift back to the house?" He arches a brow in curiosity as he waits for an answer from Ashton, bending down to snag a munchie off of the offered plate an d pop it into his mouth to chomp away happily.

Charity hands over that phone when it's time. Helpful. Excited. She doesn't quite hover over Slip, though, one of those canine ears swiveling towards other conversations. Looking to Simin as he mentions heading out, her head tilting. "Catch you another time, then?" She still has her mead, and takes another sip, before offering to Gilles, "This is fantastic, by the way."

Prism begins to pick up the nachos and finds something to wrap them up in before she is going to gran her towel she off to the side and her beach bag to put her later snack in. She moves towards Simin and Ashton as she says, "I am ok with heading back to house. Want to check on Tochek."

Ashton gently bumps his shoulder back into Prism. "Yeah, just a little weirded out. I'll probably make myself another plate later. I'll just stick to this for now." He lifts the mug of mead and jiggles it slightly, sloshing the liquid within. He eyes Simin, a smirk spreading across his face. "Why did you assume that I'm heading back to the plantation? I may spend a good chunk of my time there, but I still live at the center. That said, why yes, I'd love to stay overnight." Ashton waggles both his brows at the man in an overexaggerated motion. He waves at the rest of the people in the group. "Nice seeing you all. Looks like I actually have a guy taking me home tonight."

"I hate y -- " The words aren't finished, mainly because James goes from above water to splashing down in while Rafael's doing his best to introduce her and soak her, and probably splash everyone in said process. Her nails tighten when they're in the air, but once down and in the water, the woman's grip eases. "You."

A moment later she turns to look at Slip, "Hey." She reaches up to swipe some damp strands of hair back off of her face, ones she missed, like she didn't just get dunked. Brushing water from her eyes, she holds onto Raf with one arm, but also tries to get her feet under her. "James." She wipes her face again.

Eva shakes her head, gaze rueful, then makes rather quick work of the snacks before she sips from the mead again - just a little more buffer for the alcohol, it seems. She gives Ashton a sympathetic look at his comment about being weirded out, then glances to Simin, lifting a hand in cheerful farewell, since it seems the man is heading out. "Another time, perhaps, yes?" she says.

Simin chuckles softly at Ashton, "I don't mind droppign you off at your place instead if you want to go home, or if you want to just stop by there." He wiggles his fingers at Charity and Prism, clearing his throat, "Maybe see you both later on back at the house?" Slip is offered a small bow of his head in thanks rather tahn trying to yell across the pool, before taking a step back to go retrieve his bag and his clothes and helmet.

"No you don't," Rafael replies with a laugh as he tosses his head back, now-wet hair sending a scattering of chlorinated droplets through the air to scatter like rain in the water behind him. One arm curls around her as she keeps her grip on him, hand settling familiarly on her hip. He grins down at his 'victim' and then looks back up, chin nodding upwards towards the returning Slip.

"Yeah, it's been awhile. This is James. Like she said."

Slip lifts her cup in toast to Ashton at his parting words. "Nice meeting you! Good pull!" Simin's the one who earns a sly little eyebrow waggle, though before she refocuses on the pair in the pool. Just in time to duck behind her arm somewhat needlessly, the splash not carrying quite far enough to hit above her knee. "Slip," comes on a comfortable laugh. "I'm glad you could make it. Dig the ink." Dark lashes dip low with threat of flirtation before her phone buzzes, a quiet vibration to tell it something's happened. Oh! Hey! Look! Eva's phone is unlocked. Unplugging the sorta-stolen device, she hands it triumphantly over to Charity. "Your mischief, darling." She keeps an ear turned toward the wolf-eared changeling as she looks back to Rafael. "Definitely been a while. You look like you're doing alright."

Prism laughs softly as she mentions to Simin, "I want a ride home too silly." She was already packed up and ready to go. She looks to Slip with a smile, "Party was great. Thank you for hosting!" She then looks between Ashton and Simin as she inquires, "Ready?"

Charity's ears do a little droop, brief. "I'll send you a text," she offers towards Simin, "And see if you're still up, or busy." The ears perk back up, and she gives a flash of a smile to the departing trio. But then she's being handed the prize of an unlocked Eva phone, and the world is full of brightness again. "Brilliant. Thank you, Slip." A quick kiss on the cheek, and she's padding over. Red solo cup emptied down her throat, and a quiet corner moved to. Poor Eva. Or Nicolas. OR both.

As Slip announces success and hands the phone over, Eva laughs; once Charity starts to paddle off with the phone, however, she gets to her feet and walks after the Autumn. "I would very much like to hear this," she says, expression still amused. "All things considered." She sips from her mead.

Ashton is still smirking when he hops to his feet and gives everyone another wave. "You're getting less fun to tease," he stage whispers to Simin, just in case anyone mistook his comments for the truth. He offers Prism his arm and nods firmly. "Back to the plantation it is."

James shakes her head and tips her head like she got a little water in her ear, but for the protests earlier, she doesn't seem all that put out to be in the water. Once you're in, it's actually pretty nice, so sayeth her posture. She smiles at Slip when introduced in kind. "Oh, thank you." She brushes a hand across her body and then lets it sink into the water. "Nice place." She pokes a floatie in the snoot. "These are pretty fantastic. The food's delicious, and I need that cider in my life." She waves as a few people make their way to leave, giving a wave though she knows approximately none of them.

"Yeah, things are going pretty well. Business is good, I'm in a pool with a handful of beautiful women, there're some bottles of cider back over near the chair..." Rafael's free arm raises up into a 'what can you do' sort of shrug, "So I don't have any complaints, honestly. How've you been? Bar going good?" The mischief handed over brings his attention towards Charity, and he up-nods to her as well before she's withdrawing with her new toy.

It doesn't take long, all things considered, for Charity to make her call from Eva's phone. Oh, she looks so happy. Like a kid at Halloween. Bare feet damn near skipping back, and holding the phone out to Eva. Bright smile. "Here you are, lovely." A glance to where Simin and the rest went off to, and she worries her lower lip with a sharp fang. "Slip, Eva, loves. I'm going to go chase a dragon. Believe me, I deserve it. More pool borrowing and gummies, soon?"

Slip isn't going to let that phonecall go entirely unheard, one of her inhuman ears angled thattaway, but she keeps her focus, now, on Rafael and James, the kind words from the latter softening her smile. "Glad we could help." With a thumb hitched toward the building, she explains, "Not my place, and the friend who's renting it is moving soon, so. Bit of a send off. And we had to get rid of all the strays he's taken in." Her smile goes wide and stupid for a second. Refocusing, she takes another swig of her mead and gets back up, setting the cup poolside as she moves to reclaim her pegasus, flopping back into it this time. "It's good," she tells Rafael. "Work's picked up with everything reopening. Better tips. Better booze to share with friends." A little softer, she admits to him, "Missing my PI," with a shrug. A belated explanation, maybe. Charity's return pulls her attention out of the water, though, a blown kiss sent her way. "Definitely. You're delicious."

Eva accepts her phone back from Charity, clearly having stayed close enough to listen in on the voicemail; she laughs, then nods. "Thank you; I'm glad you had fun. And enjoy your chase." Her eyes twinkle, even as she steps in to give the Brit a farewell kiss on the cheek before moving back over to her bag. Phone and coverup are dropped inside, then she walks back to the pool, selecting the rather ridiculous two-headed purple serpent and managing to drape herself and her glass of mead over it, sipping and and relaxing.

Charity does not leave empty handed! Oh no. She grabs a floatie after some consideration - an absolutely hysterical looking t-rex, complete with tiny arms. It drapes over one shoulder, as she grabs her things with the other hand.

James casts a brief glance back to the chair. Is she perhaps worried the cider is so delish it might walk off on its own as people file out? Maaaaybe. She turns her pale-blue-eyed gaze back to Raf soon enough, then looks to Slip. "Oh, that's... I hope they're headed for something better. I'm the friend who usually does the moving on, but I //do// have plenty of experience with send offs. I heard a lot of laughing. I'd say success."

"Mnm." A perhaps-understanding sound that comes from Rafael at her fragment of an explanation, a sympathetic smile offered back to her. His hand comes up to scratch under his chin, then drops back down to sweep through the water about him. "So what're you up to these days," he inquires, admitting, "I've got a bit more of a-- formal job these days, I suppose, more than just collectibles at least. Which I'm sure you know." A glance back down to James, one brow lifting as he teases, "Clearly I'll have to keep close to make sure you don't escape."

Slip laughs lightly and gives her head a little shake. "I mean, it's probably gonna be a shitty little apartment like mine, but he'll be closer. And it'll be cheaper. Bit more within the sustainable budget range than a place like this." She flashes a grin toward James and admits, "But I'm the moving on sort, too. Usually. So's he, so maybe it'll work out." She takes a moment to consider that before, instead, considering the distance between her floating self and the mead she left settled by the side of the pool. Is it worth the effort to pursue? A bit of lazy paddling that direction says yes. "Saw that," she notes of Rafael's steadier work, though she doesn't mention how, not clear on how in-the-know his friend is. "I'm still doing the same things I was in spring. Half of it's just under somebody else now." As she bumps against the side of the pool, she looks curiously between the two like there's a question forming. But it doesn't manifest just yet. Blame the mead.

James eyebrows tick up when Rafael teases her about keeping an eye on her so she doesn't escape. "You should have said that in a deep voice with no expression so it was extra creepy." She nudges Rafael's body with her own, one arm still loosely wrapped around his waist under the water. "Closer to friends is worth far more than a rental, even if you gotta move into a shitpartment."

James and Rafael seem to have some kind of companionable thing going, but they aren't overly couple-y, which probably only leads to questions. And Questions. Mmm. Mead. James' gaze follows Slip's gaze-direction. "What do you do?" Why she persists in asking that question in this city is anyone's guess.

"She's got a point," Rafael agrees with James' estimation of the value of being near friends, "A support network's more valuable than anything else in the world, in the long run. It's one of the reasons I'm glad I have the Constables to fall back on." A hint, perhaps, at how clued in the woman by his side is. At the question from James, he looks back over to Slip with a brow's lift, curious perhaps to see what she answers.

Constables! That seems to answer her question. One of them, at least. Slip relaxes some when the word's spoken aloud, a handy little clue that it's okay for her to speak a bit more directly about, well, what it is she does. "I tend bar at a nightclub in Marigny. And I serve as chamberlain to the Crimson Queen of the Freehold, the, uh, local Lost. Changelings. Fairies." She gives her recently reacquired cup of mead a waggle and adds, "Though most don't like that last word." It's just an easy point of reference for those who might be otherwise unfamiliar. With a nod to Rafael, she adds, "That's the way freeholds work for us, cept that we can find one in nearly every city. Always a community waiting for us wherever we go, though some are more welcoming than others."

Slip appends, after a sip, to James, "How about you?"

"That's the biggest thing I miss about being new to town. The old support network. I mean I was lucky with coming across you, Raf, and Eerie in my first... well. First four hours in town." That was rather fast, James stumbling across them in the accorded bar. "And all that entails." //Constables//. She hms and glances from Raf to Slip. The look on her face says it takes James a hot second to dredge up the meaning to the information she's being fed. She does a passable impression of understanding it, even if she only gets part. She nods. "Sounds like they keep you busy. Ah, yeah. I met Mingzhu that same night in the bar."

What does she do? "Mortician. Labat House in the Quarter is mine now. I've taken it over for my uncle Jimmy." Jimmy's been serving NOLA for over forty years, but he's recently fallen ill, not that many in the community outside the death industry know it. Labat House is an old funeral home used by many of the old families in town. James doesn't sound like she's from here, by her accent, but Jimmy Labat certainly is.

"Don't worry," comes Rafael's tongue-in-cheek comment as he notices that pause and look from James, "I don't understand half of anything she just said earlier. I heard 'works for the Queen of the Lost' and pretty much the rest might as well be Greek to me." A wink's offered over to Slip, "No offense. I try not to poke my nose too much into other groups' business and all that, so I don't know all the fancy titles and lingo."

One hand drifts idly through the water, stirring up waves, "Which reminds me, I do need to stop by and help with those renovations."

Slip, too, isn't from around here. There's nothing especially southern about her accent, but it doesn't really fit anywhere up north all that well either. Poor girl might be from Florida. She lifts her cup at the mention of Mingzhu, toasting to the absent Moon. After she takes a sip of her mead, she says, "One of our sharpest," of the fairest. With a lazy smile and a shake of her head, she assures there's no offense taken. "We're fancy people," says the damp darkling with the smudgy eye make-up sprawled in a pegasus-shaked innertube with a party hat strapped to its plastic head and a red solo cup in her hand. Super-fancy over here. "C'I ask you guys a question?"

James issues a little sigh of relief when Raf pretty much echoes half of what she just thought. A nod and pretend you got it situation is how she usually rolls, but it's nice not to be the //only// one sort of going errr cheat sheet, please? "Right. Yeah, same. I mean, I don't mind knowing a bit, but -- " Anything she says after that's gonna sound racist against the Lost. How to politely say //I don't trust faeries because of all those contracts and things and too many fantasy books as a kid//. James thinks every last bit of this with a smile on her face.

"Yep." There's a pop on the p when she says that, grateful for a subject swerve. "That wall isn't gonna knock itself down and I'm not taking off these nails." Her lips curve in a bit of a smile when Slip raises her cup and James tips her head a little at the question about askin a question. "Sure. Fire away."

"...why can't I be telekinetic," Rafael squints over in the direction of the ciders he'd retrieved before dragging James into the pool (quite literally) and mumbles under her bvreath before looking back over to Slip, a grin flashing to his lips, "Go for it. I can't promise I'll have a great answer, but hey, shoot."

"That is a good question," Slip declares with a finger extended toward Rafael. If only she'd had budget for staff for their thrown-together backyard party. Or, sure, access to the Force. The way she's easily moved right on past all the Lost business implies she's not at all bothered by their disinterest. Role mentioned, in case it's ever relevant, and moved right on past. Back to floating and drinking, for as long as her mead's gonna last before she needs a refill, and asking potentially stranger questions. "How important do you think it is to be, like, honest and up front about everything in a relationship?"

"Everything? Fuck that. I mean, I think it's different for everyone, and each relationship. So for me..." James doesn't even have to think too hard about that question. "If you mean friends, they're entitled to nothing but what you reveal. If you mean sex, they're entitled to nothing but your full attention when you're with them and you both want each other. If you mean a partner, honesty if that's what you agree on, once you reach a point you think you want to be around each other enough to bother. Either you trust each other to share what's important when it becomes relevant or you don't. When it becomes clear it's a disconnect, either you want to fix it or you don't. No keeping score and no lying outright. Just say it's none of your fuckin' business and move on." She hasn't even had all that much to drink tonight. "You'd think that would sting, but if the sex is good enough, you get over it."

"I'd say that what's important is - like she said - shit that's relevent to you, to the other person, to the relationship. I mean if I was aiming for a relationship and I wasn't up front about certain of my associations and my own peculiarities, that'd be kind of shitty. But for a one-night stand or a drinking buddy I don't need to tell all that," Rafael opins, glancing down to James as she speaks-- nodding a little to himself, seeming to generally agree. Then he's drawing away from her (his hand /possibly/ getting a little fresh under the water as it slips off her hip) and heading to the edge of the pool, "Be right back. Grabbing those ciders."

Given how quick Slip is to grin at James' prompt fuck that, it may well be a satisfying reply in and of itself. She lays her head back on her pegasus to tilt her gaze a little more skyward as she listens. Though Rafael does get a bit of a sidelong look for his remark about peculiarities. "Says the people who happily hurried past my fairy business," she points out with dry amusement. As her eyes go skyward again, she murmurs a contented, "Thanks," without any explanation. Or follow-up. She just drifts for the moment, falling into thoughtful silence.

James glances after Rafael, both of her hands dipping under the water after he turns his back to wander off. She re-ties her bikini bottom. Surely his hand only got caught in the loop by accident. She's standing in water that doesn't quite come all the way up to her collarbones, so doesn't seem to mine when Raf abandons her to fetch drinks. "Yeah, sure. Nothing worse than someone who expects more of you than you ever promised. Then you both feel betrayed and nobody actually did any betraying." She has no idea why Slip asked, no idea if that addition is warranted, helps at all, but it's relative to her last disaster, so she shares it.

"It wasn't our business, really," Rafael replies with a laugh, hauling himself out of the pool and heading over to grab the pair of bottles on the table, "Unless you wanted to hire me for something that makes it my business, but this doesn't seem like that kind of discussion." Padding back towards the pool, he notes, "Dating for the accorded is even more complicated, of course, especially if you're dating out of your-- social circle."

"Prolly not," Slip confirms for Rafael with a quiet snort of laughter. No official business to be done tonight. "Though, I mean. If you're looking..." But that's probably a convesation for later. James' addendum earns the sort of quiet, "Yeah," that has a weight to it, that says she's been there, felt that, but no elaboration follows. Not on that anyway. It's the point the constable brings back toward the pool that has her looking at them again, a finger pointed up and circling, referencing all of this, the place, the party. "Unaccorded. Uninformed. Chasing my strangeness. I should probably leave well enough alone..."