“And then she said, ‘Yeah, and you’re the guy in the expensive fur-suit.’”
Employees turned their heads at the only large booth in the back as cackles echoed through the tiny diner. They made for an odd group, different people of different backgrounds, made up mostly of adults in their mid-twenties with four little kids sitting in booster seats. They were a bit loud, every now and then, their laughter drowning out the punchline of a joke, but they were polite to the employees and quite possibly the most interesting things to come into the dingy diner. The employees didn’t mind that it was almost three in the morning and that one of gingers had asked for more food than the cook normally made in an entire week.
Mal shook his head as he wiped the tears from his eyes. “Man, Stephanie is one cool kid.”
Dick couldn’t help chuckling. “She’s not so bad. Good kid. Too bad her and Tim broke up. She was good for him.”
“How is Tim, by the way?” Lilith asked in between bites of her fries. She was a bit bedraggled being the most visibly tired of the group, having only bothered to slip on yestereday’s jeans and one of Garth’s sweatshirts before heading out with her friends. She originally refused to join the team in their midnight snacking (if she could even call it that anymore, Donna was already on her second burger and Dick was eyeing the menu for the third time) only conceding after Garth had convinced her to join. She was glad she did. Aftering having their memories erased of each other and a turbulent beginning in their re-forming, they finally felt like more than just a team again – they felt like a family.
Dick waved his hand dismissively, looking over the deserts. “ Same as always – reclusive and aloof.” Lilith envied Dick’s ability to keep his hair so nice and neat even though from the intense shine it hadn’t been washed in almost a week.
“Mia’s been telling me that Cassie almost throttled him,” Roy pipped in. He was cutting Tommy’s burger into child-friendly pieces. The little boy had insisted he wanted a “big kid” meal and had ordered one of the biggest and greasiest burgers Lilith ever laid eyes on. Roy had only laughed when Tommy’s eyes comically widened at his plate and had offered to cut the sandwich for him into smaller pieces. Lilith smiled. For however hard Roy may try to keep up this façade of a cool and uncaring womanizer, he easily melted the second his and Donna’s kids appeared.
Robbie tugged at Donna’s hand. “What’s throttle?” Robbie’s bright red curls stood on end, his eyes dropping lower and lower with each bite. Lilith imagined she looked the same way.
Donna smoothed down her son’s hair. “It’s just another way to hurt someone.” Out of the entire team, Donna seemed to be the most awake at this time of the night. Mr. Jupiter always likened Donna and Lilith to night and day and he was well within reason to do so. Whenever Lilith was preparing for her day at the crack of dawn, the sun only beginning to peak over the horizon, the boys complaining over Lilith’s noise, Donna was winding down, bringing her day to an end.
Robbie nodded his head in understanding and turned to his plate of chicken strips and onion rings.
Mal cooed at his daughter. The smallest of the children at two-years-old, she had a tendency to repeat what the adults said. “Tro-tle! Tro-tle!” she cried.
Karen threw her straw at Roy with deadly accuracy. If it wasn’t for his sudden moving, the straw wouldn’ve poked him in the eye.
“Hey!” he exclaimed. “What was that for?”
“For teaching my daughter bad words!”
Lian gasped, the excitement a little too evident in her face. “Throttle’s a bad word?” She turned her head to Robbie and dramatically threw her arms around him as she play-wrestled him. “I’m gonna throttle you, Robbie.”
The two fell into Wally’s lap as they prtended to fight each other.
Donna sighed, shooting Roy a look that said, Now, look what you’ve done.
Roy lifted his hands in defense. “Hey! What have I done?” he cried. His hair fell into his eyes. The trucker hat that normally kept his hair in place was fighting to remain on Lian’s head as she wriggled in Dick’s grasp, he and Wally trying to break her and Robbie apart.
Garth laughed as he took one of Lilith’s fries. Lilith leaned closer into her boyfriend, hoping that maybe this time he wouldn’t be as cold as a fish and would emit a semblance of warmth. A chill ran down her back. Nope, still cold as ever. “You opened your mouth, Roymond.”
Roy narrowed his eyes at the obvious challenge. “And you’re such a smooth talker all the time, Garthield?”
Lilith groaned. “Garthield? Really, Roy? Is that the best you’ve got?” Lilith spoke for the first time that night since she ordered her food.
“She lives!” Karen cried. Her amber eyes shone brightly with laughter.
“Ooh, tell us what you’ve got, Lil!” Donna prodded. Mal and Karen’s daughter somehow made her way into Donna’s lap and now she sat entranced by the Amazon’s silver nail polish.
Lilith’s lips twitched upward. “Gartholomew.” The others howled in laughter.
Any other night, they were the Titans, teen-sidekicks-turned-adult-heroes. Tonight, they were just a strange group of friends who had somehow ended up in a quaint little diner on the outskirts of New Jersey.