lysapadin: pen & ink painting of bamboo against a full moon (Default)
[personal profile] lysapadin
Title: You Have One Invitation
Characters/Pairings: Dadsona, the other dads
Summary: Sometimes there's comfort in numbers.
Notes: I had a lot of feelings about the Joseph route. Like, a lot of feelings. Second person pov, 1596 words.

~~~~~~~~~~


You Have One Invitation

So this is how you find out that you can have groups on DadBook: you meet up with Craig the morning after Amanda's party (ugh, mornings), he takes a look at you, and says, "Bro," with the same kind of sympathy he'd had after things with you and Sam had gone south back in school.

Curse your inability to maintain a solid poker face, anyway. You've really gotta work on that.

"Good morning, River!" you say as cheerfully as you can manage. "You ready for a good run today?"

River blows a spit bubble and smiles as she waves her fists around.

"Awesome! Let's do this thing!" You tap your fist against one tiny baby fist and take off running. "C'mon, Craig, we're burning daylight!"

There's no way you're fooling him, but he falls in step with you and doesn't say anything else. You're going to count it as a win. Good ol' Craig. Too bad you didn't—

Yeah, no. Not going there. You pick up the pace and use the rhythm of your feet on the sidewalk and then the burn in your muscles to keep yourself from thinking.

No one, not even Craig, can run forever, and you're never going to be half as athletic as he is. The two of you slow to a walk well before you're ready to cool down; he passes over a water bottle without saying anything.

River seems to have fallen asleep, but then, she's used to being bounced around in a chest sling. She'd probably cry if you tried to rock her to sleep.

Craig has his phone out when you go to pass the bottle back to him; he's fiddling with something on it. An email for his business, maybe. He looks up from his phone and gives you a fleeting, lopsided smile. "You don't have to talk about it, but maybe this will help." He takes his water bottle back from you before you decide whether you want to ask what that means or deny needing to talk about anything. "Catch you around, dude."

He jogs off, waving a hand over his shoulder.

In your pocket, your phone dings.

 
 

It's a notification from DadBook: Craig Cahn has invited you to join the group That Fucking Dickface.

What?

 
 

No, really, what?

 
 

Every time you try to see what's up with That Fucking Dickface, DadBook won't let you. This is a private group. You must be a member to view its posts, the computer informs you.

That seems just a little bit unfair. How are you supposed to know whether you want to accept or deny that invitation if you don't even know what you're getting into? Ugh.

You'd ask Amanda, but. Yeah, if this has anything to do with what you think it does, there's no way you're gonna lay this mess on her.

 
 

Okay, fine. Anything you can join, you can probably leave again. You hit Accept the invitation and wait to see what happens next.

 
 

The first thing you see is a post from—Damien? Most esteemed brethren, it begins. Yeah, that sounds like Damien.

Most esteemed brethren, while I have no great desire to stir up controversy, might I suggest that it is time to consider an alteration to the name of our little club? While it possesses a certain pungent je ne sais quoi, it lacks elegance. I believe we are better than this, gentlemen.

There are comments replying to the post. Er. A lot of comments. And a lot of familiar names. Good grief, is everyone you know a member of this group?

It kinda looks that way.

Craig's got a comment in there: yo dudes it is kinda harsh. Which Brian—Brian?—has replied to with a brief If the shoe fits…

Dang.

Mat and Hugo and Damien have a lot of comments. Between Damien's old-fashioned diction, Hugo's ability to spin out a sentence for a full paragraph, and Mat's tendency to ramble, it takes a while to figure out what they're saying. You're not actually sure you're interpreting it right, either, but you think Mat's arguing for the high road and Hugo's arguing about the inherent classicism in disdaining vulgar language, or maybe he's arguing about the semiotics of—what the heck is a semiotic? And Damien is just doing the written equivalent of wringing his hands, you think.

The very last comment is from Robert, consisting of a single word: no.

 
 

Wait, Robert?

 
 

You keep reading.

 
 

The next post is—about you. What the hell? It's from Mat, who says, We need to tell him, guys, I hate watching this happening again. Joseph roped him into helping out with a youth group dance last night, for crying out loud.

Hey, now, you didn't get roped into anything. You volunteered! Sorta. Look, what kind of world would it be if people didn't help their friends out?

A world where you felt like less of a gullible idiot, maybe.

Damien agrees that a warning would be the sporting thing to do, and Hugo is just pessimistic: It won't do any good. It never does.

Craig jumps in there: hey bro no, don't be like that, you did your best, not your fault I didn't listen.

Brian just says, Don't think I'm the right person to try it, considering.

You narrow your eyes at that—what's that supposed to mean, Brian? Huh?

Wait, now's not the time for your whole thing with Brian. Now is the time for figuring out why the other guys have a private DadBook group going on and why they're talking about you. And, uh. Joseph.

Mat jumps back in again: I can't help it, I've gotta try. He's too nice a guy to let Joseph happen to him.

Mat thinks you're nice? Aw, Mat thinks you're nice!

At least you can stop worrying that the group is named after you. Also, that makes some of the stuff Mat was talking about last time you and he went looking for records together make a lot more sense. All that stuff about "Anything you wanna talk about?" and "So what do you think about the neighborhood?" and "Joseph is kind of weird, you know."

…damn, sometimes you're really stupid, huh?

 
 

Looks like they started talking about you way back when you first moved in. There's a post from Brian about it: Looks like Joseph's already made his move. That new family just unloaded their truck this morning and I saw Joseph taking over a plate of cookies just now.

Damien is the first to respond to that. Do we know anything about the composition of the newest family to grace our neighborhood?

Mat mentions that you and Amanda came in for coffee, but it's Craig who says, bad news bros, it's a college buddy of mine and his daughter. and he's a widower.

You're offended at first by how dismayed the guys are at this, until you get to Hugo's comment: At least this time Joseph isn't going to be breaking up any marriages.

Wait. Waaiiiiiiiiiit.

You look at the name of the group, and all the members. It's pretty clear that Joseph is the fucking dickface the group is named for, but… seriously? Did he fuck all of them? He told you about the thing with Robert, yeah, but Robert propositioned him first…

Robert did proposition him first, right?

Considering that you got that information from Joseph, you have to wonder about just who propositioned whom.

 
 

Now that you're thinking about it, that whole Margarita Zone thing was… pretty elaborate. Like, really elaborate. Maybe even—dare you say it?—suspiciously elaborate.

Especially for a married father of four.

 
 

Shit.

 
 

If you're an idiot, though, you seem to be among good company: you spend the morning scrolling back through old posts. They confirm what you've already figured out. All the members of That Fucking Dickface are members because they've slept with Joseph. Not that there's a lot of gory details or anything, which is a good thing, but—there's commiseration. You're not the only one who was told that the Christiansen marriage was over. That one got Hugo and Damien, too. You're not even the only one who fell for Margarita Zone. Hugo confesses to that one in a post that's a few years old, according to the date. Joseph got to Brian through the grill, and suckered Mat in by being supportive of him during the first few months after Rosa passed.

Wow. Wow.

 
 

No wonder Mary drinks. You could use a couple glasses of wine right now yourself. And maybe a good, hot shower.

 
 

Before, that, though, there's something else you want to do. You click on the little Add post button and hold your fingers over the keyboard.

Here goes.

Hi, guys, you type. I guess I'm the newest member of the club. Can't decide if I'm more angry or embarrassed or what. Live and learn, though, I guess. Or something like that. Thanks for trying to look out for me—sorry I didn't catch on sooner.

Is that enough? You've never really done this kind of thing before.

It'll have to do. You push Post. Time for that shower, and then—

Your computer dings. Someone has responded already?

Yeah, someone has—Robert, with one of his signature one-word comments: welcome.

You sit there and look at it for a long time; the computer dings a couple more times with new replies before you finally get up to go grab that shower.

You're smiling as you do. Maybe things are gonna be okay after all.

end

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lysapadin: pen & ink painting of bamboo against a full moon (Default)
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