(2018-09-01) Tailgating
Almost trouble, but not quite. Students meet before the first big game of the season.

It's Saturday on campus and there's a TON of people milling around. A vast majority of them aren't even college students. What on earth could they be doing here? Well, with all of the signs and banners and grills on the back of trucks around, it shouldn't take too long to figure out that folks are tailgating before the first football game of the season. And while UCC may not be a powerhouse by any means, it does give people an excuse to gather, hang out, drink and be rowdy. And hey, they can watch a bunch of people beat up on each other afterwards, which is just an added bonus.
Currently strolling through the milieu with his hands in the pocket of the hoodie, Everett's eyes are wide as he looks around at all of the people and vehicles and fanfare. They told him that opening day was kind of a big deal on campus, but having grown up in Willow Heights, he'd never actually had the chance to experience it until now. And, while he's currently ON the football team, as a freshman recruit, he's pretty unrecognizable by anyone except maybe the most die-hard fans. Especially given the fact that he's got a hoodie on OVER his jersey, disguising the fact that he's on the team. Much easier to avoid talking to strangers that way!

Delilah is a joiner. Back in Forest Park, she was even a cheerleader since the ninth grade. It's something she's outgrown or rebelled against and now she's more focused on her studies and parties. Her path doesn't take her in any certain direction, but she's at least wearing school colors. A nod to the coming fall weather, she has on a UCC hoodie over a jersey shirt and a pleated skirt with knee high socks and plain tennis shoes. And a bottle of 'water' on one hand that smells something more like vodka.
There are a few familiar faces to her, most from going to school with them back in high school, but she was a bit older than some, since she was a junior now. She meanders her way through the crowd, looking for her crew at the back of one of the vehicles, but with so many around, she'd not been able to find them yet. So it is she is on the balls of her feet trying to get a better view over taller people to try and find them. Her eyes graze over the taller guy and she flashes a smile towards him. Mostly since she can't see over him.

Everett was minding his own business, people and crowd watching, just taking in the sights, when suddenly he's being smiled at. He blinks a couple of times, then smiles back instinctively, his head ticking up mildly in greeting. Then he realizes that she might not have actually been looking at /him/ and he grimaces and turns to look over his shoulder. He doesn't SEE anybody else paying attention in the girl's direction, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. At least he didn't wave!

The surprise was almost comical, well not almost, it kinda is and Lila laughs a little. "If it was someone behind you, I'd not be able to see anyway. You're so tall." Maybe a foot taller than her. Or so. And she does seem to be talking to him. The smile remains, "So you go to school here too? I guess I've not seen you before. I'm Lila Dixon." Neatly, she switches hands with the water bottle and offers her right hand to him in a good old fashioned handshake.

Aw, snap. Everett grimaces sheepishly, his shoulders shrugging up high. "Hadda make sure?" he offers, stepping forward and shaking her hand. "Everett, but just call me E," he replies without giving his last name. "And yeah, I started this fall, so I ain't really met many folks yet. Pretty cool," he says, nodding as he looks around at the tailgating. "It like this e'ry Saturday?"

"E?" Echoing his instructions, Lila gives a slight tilt to her head, the curiosity she has in the nickname shown in the gesture. "I think I like Everett better. Everett." Blatantly disobeying his request with a crooked smile. "So you're like, super new here. Maybe I can introduce you around? I'm a junior. Surely you did the freshman orientation though, right? You must have met people there, and are you staying in a dorm?" So many questions. "Most Saturdays. Every home game for sure. The away ones, not so much. The pep rally will be a little later and by the bonfire."

And there's another grimace when she decides to use his full name. He shakes his head a little, but doesn't argue. Then, his eyebrow quirks a little bit as the grimace becomes a smirk at the girl's questioning. He waits until she's finished, though, before shrugging his shoulders again. "I mean, if you want? I ain't tryin' ta keep you if you're headed somewhere, tho'. You ain't gotta walk the freshie around. I know we like cancer on your social status," he offers. "And yeah, it ain't like I know NOBODY. I mean, I grew up 'round here, too, so I'm not a total stranger. Just sayin' it ain't a surprise you ain't recognize me. And yeah, I'm on campus now." He then looks her attire over a little, the smirk becoming a little bit more of a genuine smile. "You like football?"

"I don't have anywhere pressing to be. I was just going to look up some friends. They'd understand I've got other things to do. I could probably introduce you around to some people too." Delilah toys absently with the cap of her water bottle as she tries to contain a smile. "Oh I'm not worried about my social status. It's secure, we're good there." Amusement at how vain that sounded is written all over her features. "I grew up here too, though I guess you are a few years younger than me." She unzips her hoodie a little with her free hand to show her jersey. A numberless one though, but certainly one from their school. "I love football. And hockey, and basketball. I try and go to all of the games. Do you play?"

Everett does smile when he sees the football jersey under the girl's hoodie, since he loves football, too. But, then she asks if he plays and the grimace returns again. He looks off to the side as his shoulders shrug again and he looks around at the tailgaters again. "I mean, I'm on the team, sure. I'm just a freshman, tho', so it ain't like I'm starting or anything," he admits quietly. "So it's not a huge deal. But it's cool that you like sports. That's cool." And no, he doesn't appear to realize he's repeated himself.

The zipper of the hoodie is pulled back up some, to that midway point just below the curves above. Watching him as he looks away, Lila offers him a smile when he looks back to her. "I guess you just go out there and practice like you play and the coaches will take notice. Then I'm sure you'll be starting. Did you play great in high school?" She does seem to realize he repeated himself, but she doesn't really focus on it, to save him the embarrassment. "Do you play any other sports?"

"Oh, yeah, nah, I put in work, fa sho'," Everett claims, looking serious about it. "But, like I said, I'ma freshman, they got starters already, so I just gotta put in my time and wait til I get my shot, ya heard?" When she asks about his high school playing, Everett smirks, his shoulders rising to his ears and falling again as he examines her shoes for a minute. "I mean, I played /aight/. Good enough to walk on. I played QB in high school, but they might use me as running back here, so … we'll see? And yeah, I played basketball and track in high school, but it'll just be football here. You do sports at all?" he asks, glancing at her without lifting his head back up yet.

"I know how that goes, really." Lila laughs a little when he looks down all sheepish like and she slides her free hand into the pocket of her hoodie, the water bottle hanging loosely at her other side. "Quarterback. That's pretty amazing. Why settle for anything less than the star position on the team? I hear you get your pick of the cheerleaders then." Another soft laugh indicating she just may be teasing on that one. "Back in high school I was a cheerleader and I played volleyball. Now I'm just too busy for anything like that, I work part time in the summer at the public pool as a lifeguard, and year round at the country club." Since it's an inside pool. "Have you lived here all your life?"

Everett rolls his eyes at the cheerleader comment. "Nah, it ain't like that, really. I mean, so … I grew up in Willow Heights, and yeah, girls was tryin' real hard to be on my jock when they found out I wasn't bad. But … I mean, I 'on't know," he says, his hand finally making its way out of his pocket as he scratches at the back of his head. "Besides, I just want a shot. Whatever I can do to get on the field, I'ma do. If coaches think I'd be better at one thing or another, then I'll try that. Really, running the ball ain't bad, either. I grew up dyin' ta be LaDainian Tomlinson. He could throw and run, too."

"Then it sounds like it's exactly like that. I mean really you could have your pick. From their point of view anyway. Status. I have enough on my own by now, I got it in high school. Dated the quarterback, you know how it goes." Lila rolls her eyes in a self-deprecating kind of way. I was a snob and I know it. I knew it then and didn't care. Now? I guess there's better things to look for in somoene you date than status." A light shrug over her slender shoulders and she untucks her hand from her pocket to open her water bottle and take a drink. "Yeah the best bet is do what the coaches want you to do. You're smart, I'm sure you'll be indispensable to the team in no time."

Everett smirks a little at the girl's bragging, watching her and trying not to snicker. "Nah, what I was sayin' was, I ain't get down like that. My momma woulda kilt me if I'd run around with whatever shorties was passin' by, and my dad woulda been right behind her make sure I /stayed/ dead," he explains. He puts his hand back in the pocket of his hoodie once more, back to his comfortable slouch. When the girl opens her water bottle and lifts it, though, the aroma becomes noticeable and his eyebrows quirk up. Then, he smirks again ahd chuckles, eyeing the bottle. "Someone's sneaky, uh?" he teases. "But yeah, I mean, you did sports, so you know the drill." Aaaaaand that's when Everett spots someone over Delilah's head that immediately causes his brow to crease. He turns a little to the side and pulls his hood up, though he tries to play the manuever off as casual. Quick! A distraction! "So what do you do now, since you ain't cheerleading or playin' volleyball no more?"

"Sounds like you've got some good, concerned parents. Though sometimes, you know? It doesn't hurt to let loose and have a little fun. Maybe not on game nights but other times." There's a wiggle of her bottle and she laughs. "None for you tonight, maybe another night?" The offer extended, she watches his reaction to something. Or someone. And she takes a look in that direction. "I'm a lifeguard." Another glance back as she tries to see who cause this reaction.

<FS3> Delilah rolls Alertness: Success. (7 4 1 1 3 2)

Just entering the area is a group of five males, ranging from teenagers to adults, who are NOT wearing any sort of college paraphenalia. Instead, they're all wearing some form of orange and have the general look of trouble. They are strolling slowly, scanning the crowds and passersby, obviously on the lookout. "Hah, not even after the game?" Everett asks. But, when Delilah starts trying to look where he was looking, Everett moves to block her view, eyes shifting to the sides. "So, hey, were you gonna introduce me around or whatever? Or you change your mind on that?" Sure, the tactic is much more obvious now, but also probably more important.

Lila doesn't get a really good look, she does allow herself to be distracted but only because it seemed important to him since he moved to block her view. A concerned look is given before she puts on a bright smile and she hooks an arm through his to lead him off somewhere else quietly. "Maybe after the game. Do you drink?" She tilts her head to look up at him and the smile becomes more real. "But you're not even close to old enough. I will be soon, but for now I raid the parentals liquor cabinet."

Visibly relieved when Delilah lets Everett distract her, he tenses up for a second when she takes his arm. This time, however, it's more just out of surprise as he blinks down at her. It only takes him a second to relax and he reaches up to run his hand over his waves again before returning it to his pocket as he follows her lead. "Well, I mean, I'm no alcoholic, but if there's a li'l su'm su'm go'n around, I ain't go'n /not/ have a taste. I'm responsible with it, though," he explains, not even seeing the irony in his statement. "Really, my parents wasn't fittin' ta provide or nothin', but they ain't got mad the first time they caught me. Just wanted to make sure I stayed away from the harder stuff, which was cool with me."

Feeling the tensing of him, Lila gives him a curious look though this time a smile accompanies it. "Just getting us out of there, I realize something was going on, I'm just not sure what." She releases his arm now that they are walking in a direction away from whatever was going on behind them. "I'm not an alcoholic. One day I want to be an elementary school teacher, so I can't let myself get too sloshed too often. Sometimes it's good to forget some things though." A ripple of a smile returns and she opens the bottle again and takes a bigger drink. Once she's lowered and recapped it, she looks at him again. "So tell me about you? How old are you? Freshman, I'm guessing about eighteen unless you took a year off between?"

"… oh … okay. Well … I mean … you ain't had to let go," Everett says quietly, looking away again. And, since they've distanced themselves, he hazards a look back over his shoulder, then shrugs and shakes his head. "Nothing goin' on. Not yet, anyway. Like to keep it that way, is all." He doesn't offer more of an explanation, though, leaving it at that. "That's cool. Shawty teaching shorties," he says, grinning at Delilah as he pointedly looks over her head to tease her. "And yeah, I'm a freshman, but I'll be 19 in a couple months. But you already know pretty much e'rything. Grew up in Willow Heights. Play football. Got in to college …." He shrugs once more. "What else you wanna know?"

For what Lila takes as mixed signals, she looks a little amused, but she doesn't take his arm or anything, leaving her hands free for that bottle of hers. When he looks back, she looks at him instead of behind them. "Trouble makers?" That's all she can think of as being the issue. "So, once college is over for you, what is it you plan on doing? Are you taking any specific majors right now or just getting the general classes out of the way?" It's one question. Another follows. "Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

"Yup. Trouble makers," Everett agrees. And then, he grimaces a little. "Sorry, maybe I oughta just say explain. I got picked up in a stolen car one time. I ain't do the stealin' and didn't know, but I was in it and so they made me out like I was an accomplice. I wasn't, but what can you do? So they offered a deal and I took it and now e'rybody says I'm a snitch and snitches get stitches, so." He conlcudes the explanation with another shrug. "I'm sho it being the first day of the season and stuff got them wanting to get at me again. So, thanks for keeping my cover." And this time, he looks directly at Delilah to emphasize his appreciation. "You real cool for that. And I'll understand if you got somewhere you gotta be, now."

"A stolen car? I'm glad that didn't mess with your football career." Lila's features pucker in a slight frown. "So people are after you for.. taking a deal?" No judging in her voice, just making sure she understood it right. The frown deepens. "People want to hurt you? Or they want to kill you?" That was alarming, if her expression was anything to go by. "No," she says firmly. "I don't have anywhere else to go, but is there anything you can do about it?"

"Hurt, mostly. … I think. I mean, it ain't like I checked or nothin', but if they wanted ta kill me, they'd just drive by and pop me," Everett says with another matter-of-fact shrug. "And yeah, the reason I took the deal was because they'd let me off with community service and it would go in my sealed juvie record, which would let me have a chance at playin' ball." Everett doesn't seem overly upset or worried about it, though, which may seem odd to Delilah. "I mean, the hood don't like ta let go, you know? So I figure they'll pro'ly be around for the next four years tryin' to remind me. And yeah, I mean, I could try and get restraining orders or somethin'. But that ain't never stopped a bullet. They been already jumped me right after, so I kinda thought that was it. But, the fact that I ain't around no more pro'ly got them worked up again." Everett shakes his head and then gives Delilah a reassuring smile. "I'll be aight, Lila. You ain't gotta worry. I got this."

"I mean, it's not like dead but they could seriously maim you so that you couldn't play anymore. Or break something.. or any number of terrible things." Lila doesn't let up much. "No, I don't really know much about the hood. I grew up in Birchwood Estates." The very posh neighborhood. "The only child of doctors. I don't know much about the hood at all, except it's where my parents always told me to avoid because it was dangerous. You're painting me pretty much the same picture they did." Apparently, she is worried about it despite his reassurances. Then again, she does realize it's not anything she can change.

Everett shrugs helplessly. "Well, they wasn't wrong. It can be dangerous. And yeah, they could really hurt me. They might even try, which is why I was glad you helped me walk away." He pulls his hand out of the pocket of his hoodie, now, reaching over to place it on Delilah's shoulder, hoping to give her a reassuring squeeze. "I ain't tryin' to fight nobody if I can help it, though. How you think I got so good at running and avoiding tackles?" he jokes, grinning. "I appreciate you bein' concerned, for reals. But I don't want you to worry or get caught up in nothin'. You seem like a real sweet girl and a good person and stuff. So just trust me and lemme worry about it, aight?"

"Well if you need me to tug you off any time, I will." Lila still looks concerned, nothing has lessened about it. Even when he puts his hand on her shoulder to reassure her, it sort of works until he jokes about it. Then she's balling up a fist and mock punching his shoulder. "You better take it serious. And you know what you should do? Get a bigger group of friends than that group that will have your back and hang out with them. It just may keep them at a distance." Or that's wishful thinking. Her nose crinkles a little and she ducks her head a little, "I'm not trying to be sweet, but it is worrisome. I don't want to be sweet, I want to be tough." She flexes an arm and bares her teeth in a teasing, "Grrr," sound, then smiles after. "Fine, I will let you worry, but if you need a friend or something, just look me up alright?"

Delilah's first sentence gets a /very/ peculiar reaction from Everett, who's head cants to the side as his eyebrows bunch together. However, when she continues talking about the bad guys and stuff, realization sets in and he can't help but to shake his head and chuckle, hand moving from her shoulder to his face. The punch is taken easily and he shrugs again. "I mean, I'm on a football team, Lila. There's like seventy of us, most of us bigger and stronger than them. They ain't scared of that, what else I'ma do?" When she flexes at him and growls, though, he feigns fear, raising both hands out of his pockets and holding them up as he backs away defensively. "Whoa, whoa, aight, mama, sho you fierce," he says, smiling at her. He then winks, adding, "But I don't think you can help being sweet. Seems like that's just part of ya."

It completely goes over her head, but his further reassurances ease the frown a little. "Yeah, that's true." Agreeing in a soft spoken voice, reluctant to give up her concern completely. "I guess I see your point." Laughing at his reaction to her mock fierceness, catching the wink he gives her before glancing back the way they came from, just in case they were followed. "You know, you sort of stand out in a crowd even when you don't try to."

"What? Really?" Everett asks, blinking in surprise. He looks down at himself, holding his arms out, then looks back up at Delilah. "How so?" he asks.

Oh no, he'd asked her to elaborate on it. Lila hadn't exactly expected that. "Oh. Um. Well you're super tall." For one. Because at least to her he was. Maybe the rest of the team was too, who knows. "You're not bad looking or anything. Surely you must know you attract attention from both genders?"

"… from … both …," Everett starts, letting it trail off as he gives Delilah another bewildered glance. And then he's laughing again, shaking his head. "Oh man, you killin' me, smalls," he says, smiling at her. "I ain't never had no dudes tryin' to approach me. Hopefully, it's pretty obvious which way I'm pitchin'." He then folds his arms across his chest and smirks at her, puffing up just a little bit. "But you think I'm just 'not bad looking'? I ain't even get up to 'decent' or 'nice' looking? Just 'not bad'?" he needles.

"Well, I meant from both like.." Why was she twisting her words up so bad? Lila stumbles through an explanation. "Like guys want to be you, girls want to date you maybe?" It's as good as that explanation is going to get. Then he's looking at her like that, all cocky, or that's how she takes it and she rolls her eyes and groans, still smiling though. "You don't look like you need a boost to the ego. You seem pretty sure of yourself as a matter of fact. So yes. Not bad." She grins. "Decently nice looking." Combining it just for fun.

Everett laughs and grins, relaxing again and sticking his hands back into his hoodie. "I can get up to an 8 if you find a reason for me to be in a suit," he agrees. "But, really, maybe in high school I got attention. But here?" he offers, looking around at all of the different people. Then, he turns back to Delilah and smiles. "Back to being a needle in a haystack. And I'm totally cool with that. You're one of the beautiful people. I am real cool just being aight."

Lila doesn't object, if only for the fact she'd look like she was fishing for more compliments, but she does smile, "Thanks." Just taking the compliment for what it was and appreciating it. "Almost all Freshmen are needles in haystacks, but like I said, you stand out. Something about you." She lifts the water bottle again. "So, you heading over for the rally before the game? I am looking forward to seeing how the game goes this year."

Everett nods to her accepting the compliment and then shrugs when she repeats her claim. "Well, hopefully it turns out to be a good thing, whatever it is," he offers. Then, he shakes his head and tosses his head towards the stadium. "Nah, I actually should be headed for the lockers. Get some food in me before we start getting ready for the game." He then smiles at Delilah and pulls his fist out and holds it towards her. "But hey, it was real cool meeting you, Lila. Cheer loud, 'kay? And if we win, most of the guys will pro'ly be at the party house, so … maybe I'll see you there?" he asks, crooking an eyebrow at her.

"It'll be good. Just wait and see. This is college! It's freedom!" Lila laughs and spins a circle before focusing him again. Maaaaybe she drank a touch too much, but she was still on her A game, just having fun. She fist bumps him with a grin. "Definitely the after party and you bet I'll be cheering on the team." Stepping back, she smiles and gives a little wave before heading off for the pre-game festivities with the cheerleaders and the crowds. And to find herself a good seat.

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