“I’m sorry,” he glared at the guy with the weird hand-gestures thing, “how old are you, again? Because don’t they have an age-limit in these places?”
“As old as your daughter, dude, what is that about stones and glass houses again?” the punk said snidely, obnoxiously chewing gum, as kids his age were wont to do.
Fuck. He did not just think of the phrase kids his age. Or wont. He definitely did not think wont. He thought something rad. Or random. Random was definitely the word he thought, like “dude, that is so random.” He’s totally down with the noughties.
It took him a while to recover before what the guy said actually registered, “daughter?”
The guy pointed to Annie, “that chick, who is like 200% the reason the manager didn't tell you to piss off when I waved the AmEx. Also, you’re supposed to remember your own daughter. I’m not the guy to consult on Family 101, but that seems to be a generally accepted thing.”
“That,” Jeff said, as dangerously as he could manage, “is not my daughter, she is my…Annie.”
Annie snorted somewhere to his left. So fine, his commitment phobia ensured the relationship still didn’t have a standard title, but it did have a lot of vacations and cuddling and watching Ellen and doing dishes and… fuck, he wasn’t in a relationship, he was married. How had he not realized that before this? If he could clearly picture Annie in a white wedding gown, did that mean his Bachelors Inc. Lifetime Guarantee Card was invalidated by just the imagery? He was pretty sure the PTB frowned upon that sort of thing.
The jackass turned to her, “you’re dating this guy? Wow, that must be one hell of a daddy issue, huh? Those are my specialty, by the way. I'll leave my consulting card, in case you ever want expert advice on the psychology of it.”
“Logan,” the blonde next to him said, reprimanding, but all soft, and warm, like she knew something they didn’t. Or she was really bad at picking the right emotions to go with words.
"My girl's a PI," the guy drawled with exaggerated pride, "does yours come with any special features?"
"You're such a pig," his "girl" hit him, and by the wince, apparently that five-foot-nothing could hit hard.
Annie laughed at that, a light tinkling sound; the universal alert for Danger Ahead: Do Not Proceed; With Caution, or Otherwise, "trust me, when you're with Jeff Winger, you tend to have much higher standards of pig."
"Ask the girl shacking with the the guy with a bright yellow jackass car, and porn in the glove compartment," the other girl said dryly, thumbing towards her boyfriend with the blonde, frosted tips; was there anything about this guy that wasn't screaming come on, take a swing, my existence demands that you beat me up! "your fancy, suited, lawyer boyfriend has nothing on mine in the department."
That made him stop short, “how do you know I’m a lawyer?”
She looked him over carelessly, and he’d be lying if he said the tightening of the boy’s jaw at that didn’t give him immense sadistic pleasure; so what if he was a little older than them, he was also hot, girls-chicks like-dig hot, “please, with the constant texting, that particular Catwoman-esque suit-cut in that particular color, and the saintly You Can Trust Me With Your Deep Dark Secrets expression? Lawyer.”
“Like I said, PI,” the boy kissed the blonde on her head, bending over almost double to reach, like he always had to too with Annie. It made him feel...it made him feel. Worst lunch ever.
“You’re digressing from the point,” Annie said sternly, “being a lawyer automatically makes him more of a pig. It makes him the gold standard of pig.” She leaned back, clearly content with the argument made. Her palpable satisfaction at a debate won made him hard, almost, all the blood rushing south. That was the weirdest fucking Pavlovian reaction to have ever.
“Does he make you critically analyze and then rate his sexual performance each time, on a scale of one to thousand, because the more the number of divisions, the greater the chance of an efficient analysis and a workable result?”
Okay, how had this kid thought of that before he did?
Annie glanced at him with a shade too much understanding, and a long-suffering expression, before looking back at the blonde, “no, but he will now. Thanks. Though he does make long inspirational speeches, with extensive metaphors and similes, the point of which is love and friendship.”
The blonde frowned, “that’s pretty bad. But mine makes grand drunken speeches on epic love and has hand-gestures to rival a differently abled mime artist's.”
The boy stopped midway through pulling his sleeves over his hands, “don’t see you complaining when those hands are between—”
“Logan,” the blonde said, going red, before an expression of triumph spread across her face, “see, pig.”
Annie turned to him with the wide, Disney eyes and just, why was this his life. She hadn't even said anything and he knew what she wanted, he was so whipped. Whips. Annie with a whip. Annie in leather with a whip. Annie in leather with a whip and a gun. Annie in the paintball costume with a whip and a gun and—
He felt a subtle, sharp nudge, and sighed, “Annie’s the contortionist in this relationship. You should see her twist on the bed, there’s no position she can't—”
She hit him. Hard. Goddammit woman, that is not how you do stage punches. Again, why is this his life.
Annie turned to the blonde with a bright, wide, maniacal, Annie-special smile on her face, “he’s such a pig, oh my god, it's so embarrassing, I just cannot keep him in check.”
“Speaking of checks,” their waiter said with a flourish. He was clearly the actor-type waiting for the capitalized Big Break, because that was some entry, and Jeff knew quite a lot about entries and exits because, hello, he was Jeff Winger.
“Next time,” he said slowly, deliberately, “it’d be a good idea to do your job and not double reserve a table with a rich brat who flashes daddy’s card and a lawyer who threatens federal offence. Just FYI.” FYI is cool. Hip. It means For Your Information in hip, cool-speak. He was totally down with this stuff, okay.
At least this was over, and he’d never have to see those college kids again, who were inexplicably Annie’s age. The whole thing was just completely inexplicable.
“Hey,” Annie was saying on the other side, “I don’t think we quite got a chance to finish this conversation, maybe we could have dinner tonight?”
“Absolutely,” the blonde chirruped, “just make sure it’s not ribs, because trust me you do not want to lose your appetite. Logan eats like an absolute pig.”
“Well,” said Annie, “you should really come over to our hotel room right now, then. I’m sure it’s been a while since you’ve seen a real sty.”
They got up, circling each other like professional Federation wrestlers, before walking off together.
"Jeff used to sleep around with everything that walked," he could hear Annie say, before she turned to give him the death-glare, and he wanted to say that he couldn't even think of sleeping with anyone after her, because it had... meant something or whatever, and he couldn't go back to it not meaning anything, and fuck he's not only young, he's apparently a thirteen year old girl.
"So did Logan," the blonde said, turning to give the other guy an equally potent glare, which he returned with a slow, lascivious grin that didn't make his please still be in love with me, please expression any less obvious.
"I don't know why I put up with him," he heard next, but they were too far away by then, he couldn't make out who said it. Well, fuck his life.
Logan tore his eyes from his girlfriend’s retreating form with an effort that made Jeff certain he wasn't the only one at their table with an invalid man-card. The guy then looked over at him with vague disinterest, “just you and me, then, dude. Bummer. I’ve heard they have a killer rec room though. Do you, like, play any video games, or were those invented after your time?”
Jeff put his head down on the table. And groaned.