with thanks to [livejournal.com profile] neecerie for the quick check for blatent Britishisms, and in hope that it might cheer [livejournal.com profile] k_woman's day a little. Set the July before Dale leaves for college. - Happy Fourth to those of you as celebrate it. :)

***** ***** *****

He's worked July 4th weekend at the diner the last two years, and this year he's able to cover the lunch shift so Mason can go to his daughter's barbecue, which means extra hours, getting to celebrate himself and everyone thinking he's the good guy. It also means heat and sweat and the thick smell of hot grease soaking into his clothes and hair, but he's kind of used to that. Still it's bliss when he gets a break – ten till seven is way busier than his usual graveyard shift.

Late night on the holiday weekend, after the parties, most customers are happy and buzzed and there's a bit of a celebratory atmosphere going on. This lunch crowd are mostly families with too many kids and places to be later in the afternoon, and that makes the waitresses stressed and impatient. Seeing as Sam never showed up and it's just Dale and Cally working the grills and trying to keep up with the dirty dishes, Dale growls right back at them when they start tapping on the hatch like that's going to get the food cooked faster.

Shutting the door on all of that and steeping out into the shade of the back lot for fifteen minutes is wonderful. The air dry and fresh, and the smooth wood of the steps is cool where he sits. He'd poured himself a big gulp quantity of Pepsi, and the cup is slick with condensation, the liquid cold and sweet and delicious, soothing his throat as he sips. Cooking like this, for hours at a time in this heat has killed his appetite but the sugar and caffeine will keep him going a while yet. He'll eat later when he roles up to Pete's place later with a sack of leftovers and a catering pack of burgers for the grill. The agreement is that he'll bring the meat, and someone else will cook the damn things and Pete's got a couple of kegs ready, a sound system all set up and plenty of crash space. Everyone at the piercing studio reckons his place is the best to watch the town fireworks from, and it's pretty much the party that the guys have been talking about for a while – people driving over for Tuscow and Hammilton, and all sorts. It's pretty cool that he's been able to say yes to the invitation for a change. He's kind of looking forward to it.

Independence Day his dad normally gets tanked and it's just easier that he's not going to be going home tonight. He's got a change of clothes and his cameras in the back of his car, along with a sleeping bag and a couple of towels. He's hoping Pete will let him grab a shower so he won’t have to stink of fry kitchen all night. The other guys will be working the party, hoping to get laid, and Dale knows better than the let himself imagine for one second that he'll dare do any such thing, but it would be nice not to be gross. Maybe the guys will lay off with the teasing if they see him chatting to some of the girls.

In any case, he'll have the camera to hide behind, and he thinks he might get some cool shots tonight – both of the fireworks, and of the party goers. Just thinking about jewellery glinting in the red lights of a bonfire makes him smile. Julie's already agreed to pose for him – rather than just snapping candids – and Dale reckons that if the others see her doing it he might be able to persuade some of the others. Mack's a definite too, and if he gets enough good shots he might even have something new to add to his portfolio for college – maybe even a credit in the local paper, although they'll never print a shot of some girl in fishnets and chains with a part-shaved head and metal though her nose. Something scenic and civic-pride inducing, like a spill of red and blue in the night sky with the parkland silhouetted across the bottom of the frame, maybe. He can almost see the shot in his mind's eye – Pete's had the guys over to his house a couple of times before so he knows the spread – and he thinks he'll do a good job, even if it's the portraits that really have him eager for his shift to end.

He gets as far as imagining Mack striping of his shirt to let the firelight get to the rings on his muscled chest before he remembers where he is and just how much shit he could get into. He downs the rest of his drink in three long gulps, and peels back the plastic lid to crunch on the remains of the ice. Three more hours of burgers and chilli-fries and then he reckons he's due his own independence celebration.
ext_1650: (Brennan electric)

From: [identity profile] turps33.livejournal.com

Is Dale from another one of your series? Different to the other two? I'm still learning all your guys and get mixed up sometimes, sorry :(

You write so vividly. Your stories are always shapes and colours and vivid contrasts. Jewelry glinting, a girl in fishnets, shirtless Mack, they all combined to create a wonderful scene.

Thank you for showing me that.

From: [identity profile] ephemera-tales.livejournal.com

Dale is actually a new boy - at least to You The Readers - I have a bunch of his story from his future written - its a co-write and we were holding out till we had the whole thing done - so for the time being, this is a stand alone. [did you see the indexes on the info page - does that help keep the boys straight?] [cue muses either snorting or raising eyebrows at the idea of being straight - oh - except Mal. Who's been *loud* ever since we saw the dykes on bikes on Saterday]

Thank you! - you leave such lovely fb - I hope it's a good thing that I paint pretty pictures - I worry sometimes that it drowns out whateve thin excuse for a plot I might have going on. I think maybe it makes sense for Dale's POV - he's very pragmatic and down to earth, but he's a good photographer, so he sees the world very graphically.

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