neve & joel,
Joel saw the dog first and was considering how much conversation he would have to have with the dog’s owner before completely ignoring her and attempting to befriend the animal. He’s a beautiful thing: pitch black fur and hangs close to his owner’s side.
Then she’s turning to him, she’s familiar enough, but a new face nonetheless, and goddamn Dan Johnson is on a mission. Again. He’s not really saving the woman from Dan, but saving himself.
“Johnson!” Joel barks out, suddenly, making the shift from a slightly tipsy Joel to Staff Sargeant Biermann, looking over his shoulder at the once fast approaching guard now stopped in his tracks. “What did I tell you would happen if you got that goddamn mole of yours out near me?”
Joel quirks a brow. Johnson finds his voice after a beat.
“You said you’d cut it off—” “I said I’d cut it off myself, that’s right.”
Johnson’s deliberating whether to say something or to turn tail. Thankfully, he goes for the second option. With a sheepish nod at the woman, he leaves. He’s smart enough to not give Joel a dirty look. Never good to piss off the boss, is it?
It’s a near immediate switch back with an easy smile at the woman, “That man is a fuckin’ nightmare. Don’t need to worry about the drink, doll.”
“Who’s this?” Joel shifts his attention to the dog at her side, who he is honestly more interested in. Perhaps she’ll repay the favour by entertaining him for a moment and introduce him to her hairy friend.
people tended to be more drawn to robocop than they were neve, which suited her just fine. there was no pressure to make small talk or force conversation. sometimes she felt guilty that she couldn’t give the dog a normal life–lazy sunday afternoons, all the treats he could eat, dog park dates … but she was grateful that the end of all of those luxuries allowed for an end to most of that small talk too. people could get chummy with the dog, but it didn’t mean they had to talk about the weather together.
and there were worse things than small talk. like dan’s mole, for example, which her newest companion seemed seemed all too aware of. as they exchanged words, neve pretended to drink from an empty glass and murmured ‘if you cut it off yourself, it’d save us all a lot of unnecessary conversation.’ thankfully, the threat of that itself deterred dan and both neve and the man next to her were free of the mole talk, or worse, any new complaint dan might have rattling around in his head.
neve bristled at the term doll, but let it go in lieu of the pest control service he’d provided. something about picking battles flickered in the back of her mind as she returned his smile, laughing at the comment. “nightmare is an apt description.” flagging down the bartender, she ordered another drink and raised a brow, asking “sure you don’t want one?” before taking a sip of her own. “you must … work together?” it was her best guess. if he knew dan johnson like she did, he’d have to be stuck with him regularly. “not that hipaa’s really an enforceable thing anymore, but i wish we could swap stories.” it may not exist any longer, but the public trust still meant a whole hell of a lot to her. even for folks like johnson.
smile deepening, she glanced down at the dog. “his name is robocop.” the chuckle that accompanied the introduction went hand in hand, but at least he probably had heard of the movie. trying to explain the name to a twenty something had proven amusing if not futile. “don’t let his manners fool you. he loves the attention.” scratching an ear, she murmured to the dog arriba and he rose from where he lay at her feet.