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this job comes with a family

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“Are you ever going to tell them?” Ford asks one afternoon as she and Nursey are sitting on the reading room.

“Tell them what?” Nursey is lying on his back, sunglasses on and looking like he’s staring at the clouds, though she suspected he’d been sleeping for at least part of the time they’d been out there.

“That you knew me before the team hired me?” She shouldn’t prod, she’s not really sure she wants to know the answer… But…

“Does sitting in on rehearsals for two weeks actually count as knowing you? I think we might have had one conversation that consisted of Sit there.”

“I probably said stop talking at some point,” she giggled despite herself. “But really, you don’t think it was like… a conflict of interest?”

“Why would it be?” He rolls over to look at her. “It’s not like I went ‘Hey Lardo, hire this girl cause I met her once and I think she’d be good at it’, I wasn’t even at the interview.”

“But-” She stops herself.

“Ford, as an ASM, would you work with someone who shouldn’t be there just because they were a friend? Or an acquaintance?”

“I tried it once, the friendship almost ended.”

“Okay, so do you think I would help put someone in charge of all the details of my hockey career for the next two years if I didn’t think they could hack it? Like, I don’t wanna show up at a hotel one night after a roadie and find out there aren’t enough hotel rooms booked, or that our bus was running late or something.” He takes off his sunglasses so she knows he’s making eye contact with her. There’s no hint of a smile on his face, nothing that would indicate he’s joking or pulling her leg. “Again, not that I had anything to do with the process, because other than the flyers I didn’t, but you can’t honestly think that any of us would have put you in this position if you weren't the best person for the job.”

“You really think I’ll be good at it?” She looks down at her hands. She’s a great stage manager, she knows that, but this is completely different and she can’t help but worry she’s going to screw it up for them. She doesn’t have a stage crew team behind her to help out, to delegate to; it’s all on her now.

“Of course. If you can handle that jackass who didn’t even know your name after months of rehearsals, you can handle a hockey team that is gonna actually be happy to see you.” Nursey smiles at her and rests a hand on her knee. “Honestly, it’s a lot of logistics but I know Lardo’s been talking you through everything, and she seems really happy with how you’re doing. Poindexter is probably the one you have to worry about, and he seems cool with the change.”

The window slides open and Dex sticks his head out. “Are you talking shit about me again Nurse?”

“Your ears must have been burning, cause I sure was,” Nursey teases him.

“You’re the worst,” Dex mutters, climbing out to sit on Ford’s other side. “Team bonding?”

“Yeah, just telling Ford she’s the best and we’re lucky to have her,” Nursey pats her knee once and smiles at her.

“She’s pretty great,” Dex agrees, bumping his shoulder against hers.

“Ugh, you two are embarrassing,” Ford grouses.

“But you looooove us,” Nursey singsongs.

“I will actually fight you,” she tells him.

“Who’re you gonna fight?” Chowder climbs out onto the roof and squishes between Ford and Nursey.

“Nursey,” she tells Chowder as he drapes his arm around her shoulders and she leans into him.

“Sorry, you can’t fight him, I need him for the PK tomorrow,” Chowder shakes his head at her.

“Then I’ll fight him after the game,” Ford says stubbornly.

“I’m okay with that,” Dex agrees.

“Dex!” Nursey feigns being shocked.

Chowder considers it for a moment, then says, “Yeah, I’m good with that too.”

“C! Betrayal!” Nursey throws himself dramatically across their laps. “Dex I expected it from, but you?”

Chowder laughs at him and Ford cracks a smile, while Dex had flung an arm over Nursey’s torso to keep him from rolling off the roof with his antics.

“Nursey, could you try not being clumsy for five seconds?” Dex huffs.

“You love it,” Nursey pokes his stomach.

“You always seem to think people love you when they don’t,” Ford says, and Dex and Chowder ooooh in the background. Nursey pouts up at her and she laughs and blows a kiss at him. “I guess you aren’t the worst.” She concedes.

“Aw thanks Ford.”

“You’re welcome, you giant nerd. Still going to help edit my theatre paper this weekend?”

“Yeah, okay. Then a movie with these losers?”

“Yes, team bonding!” Chowder practically cheers while Dex mutters “I’m the loser?”

Ford smiles and Nursey winks at her, and she’s squished between two hockey bros and under a third on a roof that probably shouldn’t be able to hold their weight and the sun is shining down on them, and it maybe, kind of, feels a little bit like home.