On the tall side of average, this man's build is strong and lean, with muscles that tend towards wiry rather than bulky. His dark hair is longish, but not long enough to pull back into a tail, and its nature seems to be wavy and seditious. The man's clear, smooth skin is a pale olive hue, the sort that darkens bronze in the sun, and his eyes are an ambiguous brown-gray-blue-green color that looks like a new kind of boring in every type of light. He has a long, straight nose and high cheekbones, and seems to be wandering though his early twenties. A glint of silver at one eyebrow draws attention to a piercing there, and he wears a ring on the index finger of his right hand. He's also wearing several necklaces with various types of pendants, collectively beginning to look a bit hippieish.
He is wearing... the atrocity. The horror. The mind-boggling fear of... A HOLIDAY SWEATER. It's red with huge white and blue snowflakes dominating the background, while a large and ferocious Christmas tree with REAL BLINKING LIGHTS and a creepy, leering knitted face is the main picture. It looks like maybe it can devour Joel's enemies starfish style, through the stomach. A herd of mutated reindeer on the back of the sweater feebly wish the viewer Season's Greetings, and he's also wearing his usual torn jeans and black chucks.
Young and wary are the first two words that usually come to mind when looking at this kid. The third word would probably CHRISTMAS! But we'll get to that later. A young man -- adolescent really -- who probably isn't through growing yet standing at about 5'9" and weighing around 155 lbs. His shaggy mop-top of brown hair looks like it hasn't been combed in weeks though it looks recently washed. His cheeks and jawline look as if they need only infrequent shavings. A grease smear of some kind on his left cheekbone is currently about as close to a beard as he can manage. His brown eyes lay nestled beneath a serious pair brows which seem to be drawn in a perpetual frown. Despite his best efforts to hide it, his face is very boyish -- cute, even. His face, sun warmed to a golden tan, has soft, disarming features. He's got that shy, self-effacing "aw shucks" look about him. Perhaps this is why he seems try so hard to cover it all up.
He's wearing what can't be described any other way as an awful, tight, Christmas sweater. It's tight red with snowflakes around the collar and wrists. He's wearing this over a white shirt with little blue pineapples on it. A short red tie classes up his ensemble, sporting a Christmas tree with stars, stripes, and presents. His thin legs are covered by a straight-forward pair of blue jeans. The leather belt holding them up also looks rather homemade. Finally, on his feet are a pair of simple grey canvas sneakers. These too look as if they've been patched a few times by a steady hand. Well loved or without means. Probably a bit of both. When he speaks his words are emphasized by a drawl that pegs him as someone from Texas.
Petra is leaning back against the tea counter, arms propped up on it and hands lightly gripping it. Liane is currently blushing and mumbling up a storm, also standing at the tea counter. There are two tea mugs and a package of fig newtons nearby, the latter being already opened. "I suggest flea markets. Or Etsy," she says thoughtfully.
Liane sighs, "I s-s-suppose. B-but I w-w-want s-s-something...b-beautiful. N-not t-t-traditionally so, b-but s-something with its own ch-character, or l-life f-for him. I d-don't see w-why he's s-so d-d-difficult!" Liane says, lamenting some stupid guy's difficulty.
Who rocks into the shop with holiday cheer? O smiles and joy, it's Zack and Joel who are here! Through the door they arrive and what could be better, each has a beautiful Holiday Sweater. "I'm just saying that I don't think that one was the best of the Lethal Weapon movies," Joel defends some really important point. "That's all." He beams when he walks in and spots... the food! "Hey! Fig newtons!"
"But the second one was -clearly- the best," Zack makes his counter point. "Diplomatic Immunity!" he says in his best Afrikaans. But then there are treats. And ladies! "Oh, howdy, y'all!" He offers like a true Texan.
"Yeah well, I really don't think you want to get something 'beautiful'. I mean, you maybe know him better than I do, I dunno, but--" And then Joel and Zack walk in and Petra's momentarily SPEECHLESS by their attire. Or maybe she's just staring cuz they're boys. No, it's definitely the sweaters. "Hey uh, guys," she says awkwardly. "You got a little, uh, cheer on your shirt. Might want to wipe that off before it spreads."
Zack is going to spread his joy all over this Holiday season.
Further they traipse towards ladies and food, the former so grateful! At least they aren't nude. Christmas in wool and Christmas in ties, evoking fond memories of pine trees and pies. Petra may balk, but no mind her humbug! Joel is determined to give her a hug. Evilly. Cause it seems he's fully aware of how awful how sweater is... he grins and approaches, arms open! "It's Christmas time, Petra! Where's your spirit!"
Zack makes like Joel's evil partner and crime and moves to give Liane a big hug as well! "Everyone loves Christmas," he reminds them. "Even the Jews!" Regardless of her reaction, love it or hate it, he'll move next to steal a Fig Newton.
"My spirit's been crushed beneath the weight of too many overly-sappy Christmases!" Petra protests, and at the hug offer from Joel, lets go of the counter to try and duck under Joel's arms and avoid the hug. She laughs a little, enjoying herself despite the humbuggery.
"Oh, looks like someone's getting coal for Christmas," Joel shakes his head sadly, as Petra evades. He seems to be more interested in the fig newtons than he is in catching her, but he could just be biding his time, lying in wait, as skillful hunters do. He's definitely grinning evilly again. "Coal, and a shamwow."
Katie exits from the back room into Christmas Chaos. She stares at the cheery and gaudy train wreck, with the counter to protect her.
Zack plucks a fig newton from the counter and pops it into his mouth, all smiles. He and Joel are wearing FESTIVE SWEATERS. When Katie arrives from the back room Zack moves to intercept and attack with holiday hugs. "Katie!" he greets her enthusiastically.
Ben is obviously in the festive mood! What with his not wearing anything different, his not singing cheerful songs, and his asking "Who is the fat guy in red who keeps accosting me with a bell for my change?" as he enters the shop.
"Coal is at least useful for something!" Petra rejoinders, grinning widely. "And that reminds me!" She heads over to the fortune reading table to retrieve a bag which we're just going to pretend was there the whole time because I said so. "I have THINGS for you, Joel." She walks over to Joel and just sort of shoves the bag at him, saying simply, "Presents." Her gaze turns to Ben as he enters, and she says, "Ben! Joel is giving holiday hugs out! Go get one!"
Katie can't help but get a bit of a laugh at Zack's crazy sweater, and Joel's "matching" one. "You two are in the spirit, I see." She doesn't flee from the holiday good cheer, or Zack, she lets both envelop her and she returns the hug. "Howdy."
Joel senses Petra hands you a bag with two items in it. One is a fabric monstrosity that vaguely looks like a pizza, if you were on psychedelics or something. http://www.regretsy.com/2009/10/21/domino-effect/ The other item is a framed print of a very unique painting. The painting shows the Madonna holding Baby Jesu-- oh wait, no. In her arms is fucking cuttlefish. http://www.regretsy.com/2009/12/09/calimari-full-of-grace/
She's stationary. Time to pounce! Petra has tried to avoid her fate with the bringing of an offering, but she has not appeased the Lord of Christmas, who sends his cheerfully attired servant Joel to punish her. With a hug. "CHRISTMAS'D!" he announces, gleeful at having gotten holiday all over her. It never washes out. Only then does he back off and accept the bag from Petra, greeting Katie and Ben with a grin. "Ugly Christmas hugs for everyone," he offers, then starts investigating the bag.
Zack picks Katie up and spins the girl around in his hug before he sets her down and plops a kiss on her cheek. He's all smiles. "Merry Christmas!" he says to her enthusiastically. Ugly Christmas Hugs indeed.
A grin splits Ben's face like an axe wound. Obviously, he's trying to look like he's in the Christmas Spirit. Trying so hard! You can tell by the teeth! "I'll take a holiday hug," he says, possibly as a threat, as he holds out his arms zombie-like and advances on Joel.
"Goddamn you, Joel!" is Joel's reward for spreading his holiday cheer all over Petra. Despite her words she laughs, caught up in the moment, and returns the hug before punching him lightly in the arm. "Merry Christmas, and all that jazz," she says casually, and wanders over to the tea station to retrieve her tea.
"Howdy ya'll," Katie says to everyone else, once she's done being spun around by Zack and her laughter has subsided enough to let her breathe. As she sees Ben advancing on Joel, she starts that way too. Maybe she's going to compete for hugs!
"CHRISTMAS'D!" Joel announces to Katie as well, as she gets scooped up in her second ugly sweater hug of the evening cause I powerpose like a goddamn twink, as soon as Zack releases her. He's perched his bag from Petra on the counter, and looks at it longingly, as though fearing he may die in Ben's fearsome holiday embrace without ever knowing what was inside. But Christmas cheer is for EVERYONE, by god, and he marches forth! With arms wide open.
Zack is totally in on this Holiday schmear. He moves towards Petra now that Katie and Liane are taken care of, arms wide and smile wider. "Merry Christmas, Petra!" he declares and tries, like the little engine that could, he tries to give her a hug as well.
Katie gives another amused yelp as she gets scooped up by Joel. "Merry Christmas!" she calls back, wrapping her arms around him and giving him a return hug. She seems to expect he's going to do some spinning too, so she hangs on him.
Fortunately, Ben's embrace is not instantly fatal. Although the frat boy does try to get out "Christmas'd!" before Joel can, clasping his arms around the man and... snuggling? Into him. Someone, perhaps, learned how to hug from late night television. Hopefully, Joel enjoys having his back creepily stroked, 'cause that's happening too.
"Howdy," Petra echoes to Katie, and at Zack's approach, tsks quietly. "You boys and your holiday spirit are going to be the death of me," she announces to no one in particular, and then throws her arms wide like she's just given up on being a curmudgeon for the moment, rolling her eyes exaggeratedly. Zack gets his hug, yay! She, unlike Ben, does not creepily stroke his back, so he'll just have to settle for watching the Joel/Ben action from afar.
Joel spiiiiins Katie around, then sets her gently back to her feet, and manhugs Ben, late night TV style. "It's okay," he soothes. "That guy with the bell is just an alcoholic pretending to be Santa so that you'll give your pocket change to kids with diseases you've never heard of. You don't have to be scared."
Zack really should give Petra a squeeze on the butt, but he's just not that kind of guy (yet)! So a more traditional hug is given and he releases her, though he keeps an arm casually about her shoulders. "Ben! I ain't seen you in ages. How the hell you been? I thought maybe you went home for the holidays or somethin'."
Liane has been hiding ducked behind a shelf, in a corner, with a mug of tea since the wild huggings began, praying fervently not to be seen while smiling like a maniac at all the Christmas cheer.
Oh, Liane already got hugged by Zack.
But she escaped right after!
The laughter doesn't fit with the late night theme, unless someone's controller randomly switched to Comedy Central. The bromance may suffer, as Ben begins cracking up, laughing against Joel's neck like a crazed clown turned ungentle lover. "This Holiday rules," he decides, releasing Joel from his clutches.
Leaning into Zack comfortably, Petra just smiles, watching everyone have their fun. Though after Joel and Ben's duo breaks up, she stage whispers in Joel's direction, "Psssst! Open it!" Somebody's impatient.
"You need a sweater," Joel informs Ben, with a grin as their relationship tragically breaks up. Did he just quit me? I think he just quit me. It will be hard to get over, but he moves on to the mysterious bag from Petra, seeking consolation and solace in material goods, as is the American Way. The first present plucked out of the bag is a... thing, which looks sort of like pizza and is made of fabric and other odds and ends. The second present is a framed print of a painting of... the Madonna and Cuttlefish. He bursts into laughter, apparently delighted at the bizarre, freakish, gifts. "This is fucking /amazing/. Where did you even find this??"
Regretsy indeed. "Wow," Zack replies, duly impressed with the goods Joel extracts from his bag. "That's somethin' else," he decides, smile on his lips. At Petra's insistence he extracts himself from her warm, curvy, soft feminine side and moves towards Ben and his hard angular countenance. Hug time!
Katie must have been stunned by Christmas cheer, as she stood where Joel set her down so nicely. Or more likely, she was stunned by all the Christmas man love going on in front of her virgin eyes. "Yeah, uh.. right," she says to no one in particular, and drifts over to see the ugly gifts. She smiles to watch Joel be so happy about them.
Liane is in her own little world of mirth behind that shelf, full of amusement and all that. She seems disinclined to ruin the general cheer by unhiding herself, so sips at her tea and watches the others, looking perfectly happy to see them be happy.
Joel stands a little closer to Katie, smiling as he approaches. "Cuttlefish," he tells her, happily, before he looks to Petra. "You were paying attention... no one has ever given me stranger things than this. I am delighted. Thank you."
Poor Zack only gets a kind of thug-hug, kind of awkward back pat out of Ben. Although, always one with the ready compliment, Ben offers, "Your hair smells nice," followed by a good, solid, sniffing of the follicles in question.
"A wonderful candyland I like to call Etsy. And I'm glad you like them!" Petra replies to Joel, beaming broadly at his reaction. "You can find so much stuff there. Some of it is really well made. The rest of it is... um. Stuff like what you ended up with. But I assure you that was by design." She watches Zack head over to Ben and says to the latter, "Your present's at my place." Hubba hubba. "Didn't know you were gonna be coming by, or I'd have brought it."
"I hope you are going to wear that to work," Katie says of the pin, grinning suddenly and looking over at Joel once the thug-hug is concluded. She watched that too. Maybe she's been hanging around with Liane too much? One can see the slash dancing in her eyes and the twitch of her fingers.. her thumb rubbing lightly along her fingertips, yearning for the slash-pen.
The I'm-Hugging-You-But-I'm-Hitting-You is completed as Zack extracts himself from Ben. "Thanks," he replies to the compliment. "Our shampoo is real good," he points out. Ben just witnessed it's awesome himself. Then he back up towards the counter and away from Ben and his "Roman Fingers."
Liane sees the hug-fest is slowing, and begins to slip from behind the shelf, making her way quietly to Katie's side. Cautiously. Like a rabbit approaching a fox's den.
A rabbit. Right into Ben's trap! "Liane! How's the Christmas Crazy!" Roll dodge or be hugged!
Katie is a foxy lady. Liane is right to be cautious!
"I might pin it to the dashboard of my car," Joel grins, at Katie's mention of the pin. "I'm sure it will bring good luck and good tips. I'd keep it at work, except I'm pretty sure my co-workers would ruin it or maybe try to eat it."
"Can't allow that to happen," Katie agrees with Joel, watching the assault of poor Liane out of the corner of her eye. "The Pizza Blessing, I reckon that's some powerful stuff. Your tips should double!" she grins.
Liane's eyes widen in panic at the approaching Ben and she hurriedly ducks and steps forward - Ben manages to hug the air above her, and almost gets her hair! Alas, however, the rest of her escapes. Two steps forward and several to the side, and she's fixing up her hair, quite red, but very relieved to have escaped. "Oh, q-the h-holidays are an-n-nother s-sort of c-crazy ent-t-tirely." Liane admits.
Sipping her tea quietly, Petra smiles, watching everybody in silence. She wanders over to the fortune reading table and takes a seat, putting one of her feet up on an opposite chair.
"Very much so," Ben agrees, not seeming at all disturbed at having missed his victim, turning to watch the rest of the crowd. "So, is this another bar be que kind of holiday? Or should I be ordering Chinese take out?"
"How can you not know what Christmas is," Zack asks towards Ben, asking the question everyone else is avoiding. "Or are you just pullin' my leg?" He gives Ben an 'out.' Then he wanders over towards the reading table.
Recovering from his near miss on Liane, Ben turns to approach Katie next. Arms wide, zombie shuffle, no moan for brains, but clearly the girl is going to be engulfed. Unless she dodges as well!
Katie stands by the counter, staring at the pizza pin and the picture yet. One just can't look away from that stuff. Silent Joel of Christmas Cheer is beside her, probably still gushing with regretsy joy at his gifts!
Liane shuffles to stand closer to Petra and Zack, both of whom have good reason not to randomly hug her (again), and who are thus safe. Still, she doesn't go too far from Katie, watching the zombie-Ben make his way towards her and deciding Joel is a manlier knight and better defender than she could ever be! I mean, zombies want brains, right? Obviously Joel should be safe.
Petra glances over at Zack and smiles, then turns to Liane. She lifts up a hand like she'll pat the woman on the arm, but then lowers it again, thinking better of it. Instead she just takes another sip of her tea, still quiet for the moment.
Zack doesn't seem too worried about Katie getting hugged by Ben. If he starts getting "handsy" we'll have words, but until then, it's okay. Katie is quite huggable! Zack plops down in the chair next to Petra and gives the young woman a bright smile. "I'm surprised y'all takin' a million pictures."
Oh, Katie is getting hugged! And not in a creepy, Joel-like way. No, Ben hugs Katie like one might a sister. In fact, much like how Zack hugs his sister. Complete with the spin, unless she's greasy enough to slide out of his grasp.
Katie doesn't attempt to escape Ben's Christmas Cheer Hug either, she's an equal hug opportunist. She puts her arms around his neck and hugs him back, letting him spin her around. She gives a light laugh when her feet touchdown again. "Lookit you, learnin'," she teases him.
Liane smiles softly at all the goings on, though she does look a bit...wistful. A little sad. Christmas is a depressing time of year! "I h-hope n-not, I'm hh-hardly d-dressed for p-picture t-taking." Liane murmurs. Despite wearing quite a formal little outfit, it's not festive!
"Oh my god," Petra replies to Zack, "You're absolutely right. My brain is addled!" She quickly uncaps her camera, and is just in time to get a shot of Katie being spun around by Ben. But she doesn't stop there-- Joel and Zack get snapshotted too, in all their gaudy holiday cheer. She grins over at Liane and says, after a moment, "Alright. No pictures of you, then. But I demand you put on a sweater for me later. And then take it off for the camera, ooooobviously."
Zack holds up his jazz hands for the camera, giving Petra a big smile! Mission accomplished, he leans back in his chair, laughing lightly. He watches the Ben/Katie hug until she's set down. "Y'all have to share those," he comments towards Petra. Presumably.
"I learn from the best," Ben agrees with a nod, setting Katie free and taking a measured step back. "What did you end up making with all that yarn, anyways? A peach gun cozy? Booties for my pig? A dashing scarf?" Someone is both excited to know, and doesn't bother checking descs for hints.
"I haven't had any time to make anything with it yet. It's waiting.. waiting for me to give it some crafty love." Katie slides her hands into the pockets of her jacket and leans back against the counter. "What did you end up doing with yours?"
"You will be certain to get prints later," Petra assures Zack, having made the assumption he's talking to her. "Unfortunately, I really need to head home now, much as I loathe missing out on any more spinny huggy action for my portfolio." She grins, recapping her camera, and moves to stand. "Good night, all."
Zack makes to stand up as well. "Y'all want a ride home? Or, you know... I could see you to yer car," he offers towards Petra. He slides his hands into his pockets possibly in preparation for the cold out-of-doors.
Liane leans over to murmur something into Petra's ear before she leaves!
Ben laughs softly, almost ruefully, as he looks around the store, "I gave it to my porcine guardian. I think he's making a bib out of it. Which will, hopefully, be awesome when it is done." Then his attention returns to Katie, his smile being far easier this time, "I'm sure you'll come up with something great. I look forward to seeing it, when you do."
Petra posejumps, cuz she's headed to bed soon RL! Liane's murmur to Petra makes her smile very broadly, and she simply nods her head, looking both pleased and amused. Then she turns to look at Zack, and squeezes his shoulder lightly. "Nah, I'll be fine tonight, thanks. Sleep well, when you do." And then she's OUTIE.