“You sure do spend a lot of time with them.”
Ryan blinks and looks away from BP before looking around. They’ve said scarcely a word to eachother since Penny was called up so it takes a moment before he can actually realize that yes, Penny is talking to him. He hopes he doesn’t look as stupid as he feels.
“Uh, with who?”
“The outfielders. Cabrera, Pagan and what’s-his-face.”
“That’s it.” Penny nods, sitting down next to Ryan. “How do you understand them?”
Ryan blinks. “What do you mean?”
“I only ever hear them speak in Spanish. I thought you only spoke English and Japanese.”
“I’m learning.” Ryan shrugs. “Spend some time around Tweedle Dumb, Tweedle Dumber and Tweedle Dumbest and you pick it up fast. Mostly out of self defense. When we first started hanging out, me and Melky could barely understand each other.”
“What got that started?”
Ryan blinks at Penny, considering it. He feels a little uneasy. He’s not sure where this is going and he doesn’t like that. It could be any number of things. “I don’t know really. Went out with the guys during spring training, ended up bonding over weird shots and hangovers. Why?”
“Just not something you see often.”
“The Latino guys usually stick to themselves, is all.”
“I think it’s the language thing.” Ryan frowns. “Had a hard time getting Melky to talk at first, he was kind of embarrassed that his English wasn’t always great. And god knows my Spanish sucked. I was the same way the first year or so in Japan. We met halfway, we’re both learning. Melky’s even picking up a little Japanese.”
“Right. The language.”
Ryan sighs, tossing aside his paper cup. “I don’t mean to be a dick, but is there a reason you’re bringing this up?”
“Well, I was wondering which one of them you were with. But now I’m getting the feeling that it’s Cabrera.”
That thing, about blood running cold? Ryan understands it now.
“Look, Penny. I don’t know what you’re trying to imply or what you’re trying to start but I’d stop before you dig that hole too deep.” Ryan warns, feeling angry now, downright furious because how dare this man try to threaten him.
Penny looks shocked, wide eyed and he shakes his head hard, hands windmilling in the air. “Nonono, jesus fuck, no! Christ, Vogelsong, I wasn’t… you think I was… aw fuck, NO. I’m so sorry, I just.”
“You just what?” Ryan asks wearily, slouching down on the bench and dropping his head back, eyes shutting.
“You just kind of were looking at one of them a certain way and I wasn’t sure which one and I just wanted to…”
“Penny, start completing your sentences before I decide to slap the shit out of you.”
“I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t the only one!”
“No. You’re not the resident gay guy, you’re not the token gay guy and I’m pretty sure you’re not the only one so deep in the closet he’s finding Christmas presents. The franchise has its share and then some. I’d make you a list but it’d take too long, I’m still a little hungover and I just don’t give a shit.”
“Sorry. I’ll uh, I’ll just… go over here.”
Ryan cracks one eye, looking Penny over and sighing. Penny looks lonely and miserable and now that Ryan thinks about it, he’s been that way since he was called up. He knows some of the guys from his last stint with the Giants but he doesn’t have any friends. Ryan shakes his head, patting him on the back. “It’s cool, man. Just relax. Tell you what, we’re going out tonight. Come hang out with us. I gotta warn you though, Blanco’s got this thing about new and weird restaurants. He told us he found one, won’t tell us what it is.”
“Yeah… yeah, sounds good.”
Penny looks the happiest that Ryan’s seen him since he’s came up.