Weekendz Work Company Picnic

((Arriving from Teruko's Apartment))

Teruko showed up along with the more responsible (or hungrier) of her group to ACDC park on a sunny mid-morning, bringing with her a variety of vegetable dishes, fruit and vegetable beverages, and just plain vegetables for the others to enjoy. She had an idea that if she brought as many items as she could carry, she'd offset everyone else's meat and junk food to the point that it would only seem normal to chow down on vegetables. "This is a company picnic for a gym, right?Everyone really oughtta be drinking kale smoothies anyway!" she reminded herself, not that she had a guilty conscience about forcing anyone anyways. In a flash, her own food was set out across the picnic table's checkered cloth covering, then Teruko herself was off to help the others set up the canopy covering, that being the only laborious part of the pre-picnic setup.

That too was done rather quickly, so the next step was to head over to where a few blankets had been spread on the grass (she hadn't brought one for herself, given that her arms were too full of vegetables), so she decided to one of her coworkers instead, plopping down happily with a smile on her face. "Becky! Don't make things weird around my boyfriend again, okay?" she requested right out the gate, keeping her smile on but giving her friend a bop in the arm to show she was serious.

Becky, dressed in her white running shirt and red bloomers despite everyone else's casual clothes and her own age, gave a smile that said "no promises." "I haven't given up, Teru. I won't stop until this whole picnic is transformed into my paradise!" she responded confidently, reaffirming Teruko's fears.

This time, however, Teruko could laugh it off. "You wear what you want to, you weirdo! Last time you tricked me-"

"I'm pretty sure you put my class's bloomers on yourself!"

"-You tricked me into wearing bloomers, but this time, we're in a normal place where it's just going to be fun, sun, and all the vegetables I can make everybody eat! I'll get my revenge today! Mwa ha ha ha!" Teruko cackled, rubbing her hands together excitedly.

"Those shorts are sacrilege! Cut off the legs!" Becky complained, giving a thumbs down and sticking her tongue out with a short raspberry. "Whatever, Teru, whatever! I'm gonna go get a cookie right now and you can't stop me!"

Teruko decided to let Becky run off- for now- and instead refocused her efforts on straightening out the blanket so it was nice and neat when Bruce showed up. She was thus occupied when two other figures showed up, standing silently for a moment; she turned her face up, squinting at the sunlight (though it was a little hard to tell whether the sun was causing it or that was just her default expression). The first was a face she recognized, although she couldn't quite place the name... a big, strangely pale, white man with gray-white hair, cut very short, though not balding. He seemed to be wearing a judgmental frown every time Teruko met him, though she sensed it was not for her... she couldn't remember if she'd ever seen him make another face. Other than that expression of his, he was pleasant enough, from what little she'd worked with him. Today, he was dressed a tee matching her own, tight over his muscular chest, and the pants of a gray track suit, with white socks and black running shows visible from the ankles and below. It was impossible for her to look up and fail to notice his imposing figure first.

However, the next figure she spotted was certainly the more important of the two. "Terumi!" Teruko identified her, with a loud, inhaling gasp beforehand. She recognized her sister, who shared her clear Electopian descent and brown-black hair, but little else. Were Teruko's hair was short, Terumi's was very straight, and where hers was done into a tail, hers was held into a part with a simple clip, parted to one side in a way that made her look younger than she was. Being Teruko's youngest sister, she was on the low side of twenty; she shared none of her older sister's metabolism issues and remained fairly thin with only token effort compared to Teruko's daily endeavor. She was currently dressed in a red-and-white checked, sleeveless flannel shirt, collared, buttoned up to all but the top button and tucked into jean shorts with wide legs that made her look still further childish. She wore red sneakers, but those appeared to be the only part of her outfit as closely tuned to sports as everyone else's, and she clutched a black-and-white colored, rectangle-shaped PET in both hands. "What are you doing here?!"

"Is it so weird that I stopped by for a visit?" Terumi asked, her eyebrows horizontal in an unamused expression over her bright brown eyes.

"Uh... yeah! You went to study abroad in Netopia, right? I haven't seen you in like, years! Or talked to you over message in like, uh... actually, we still do that pretty often. But wow! In the flesh!" Teruko exclaimed, standing up and pinching her sister on the cheek as thought o make sure she was real. The other girl slapped Teruko's hand off with an irritable murmur. "What was that?"

"I said, don't worry about it! I just returned from overseas and I heard you were at the picnic so I showed up," she insisted, gaining some distance and tucking her PET into her back jeans pocket. "Not like you've invited me to stay with you stateside recently..."

"Yeah, but you were overseas! You said not to bug you while you were studying," Teruko complained, placing her hands on her hips. "Aw, I can't be mad at you! You're here now, and that's what counts! Sisters and best buddies, together again at last!" she giggled, grabbing her sister up from beneath the armpits and raising her into the air. "Woof! You're a little heavier than I remember!"

Terumi grew red-faced, both from the embarrassment of having her weight commented upon and from being lifted up. "Of course! I'm a couple years older now, alright? It'd be weird if I was still just the same!" she complained, kicking her legs futilely until she managed to give Teruko one in the gut, causing her sister to release the grip. "Geez... And you're just as silly as ever. So where's your boyfriend?"

"Huh? Oh! Did I tell you that I had a boyfriend?" Teruko laughed, pressing her hands to her cheeks excitedly with a noisy pat. "He's coming, don't worry! How about you, Terumi? You find anybody in Netopia?"

"No," the other girl sighed, crossing her arms severely and cutting off that line of questioning.

"... Oh! And why are you with, umm..."

"Russel," the large man introduced himself, thumbing through his PET as he stood waiting. "I am afraid we are unacquainted. I simply made my way to this spot and found you two together. Is your navi with you today, Teruko?"

Something seemed strange about that question, but Teruko couldn't put her finger on what, exactly. "Oh, sure! I take my pal Ante with me everywhere. I'm going to jack her in for a mission with my BF's navi! Ha ha! They're practically girlfriends themselves! They hang around all the time!" Teruko joked. Ante either hadn't heard her or didn't care to speak up just yet. "How about you guys?"

"My navi is busy," Russel commented plainly, showing no reaction one way or another to what Teruko had said regarding Ante.

"I didn't bring my PET with me," Terumi responded, fidgeting her fingers over the part of her hair self-consciously.

"... Yeah you did! I saw you carrying it when you walked up!" Teruko pointed out, grinning stupidly as though waiting for some sort of joke punchline to be revealed.

"A-Ah! I did bring it! I just forgot because I've been in Netopia so long!" Terumi replied, her eyes widening to a range that Teruko's never really reached.

"Whaddya mean? Ha ha ha! You've gotten silly while you were away!" Teruko guffawed, patting her sister on the back again, then grabbing her in a headlock and noogie-ing away her carefully smoothed out hair parting for good measure. "Hee hee! I can't resist picking on my little sister!"

"L-Let me go! I've studied law in Netopia! I'll have you arrested and charged!" the younger sister complained, kicking her legs futilely. Bruce would probably find them that way when he showed up, with Russel looking on with an unreadable, unhappy looking expression and Becky off at the food tables.
Bruce pulled up on his motorcycle at the public parking next to the lot, putting out his kick and removing his helmet with a wide frown he'd hopefully fix before meeting Teruko's co-workers. "First I agree to this company picnic, then I almost got run over by a dang truck on the way..." The stuntman scanned the park and quickly identified Teruko due to her flare-like topknot. "And she's spreading out the whole garden bar, geez..." Bruce couldn't identify many of the others, but he figured he'd get to know them before the day was over.

The operator was glad he'd correctly guessed the dress code for the event, walking up in his workout clothes, a simple grey tee, dark green running shorts, socks, sneakers, and a plain green headband. Funnily, he always wore his helmet driving, but he didn't give much thought to what would happen to the rest of him if he took a spill. As one does at such a function, he made an effort to beeline to Teruko's position without making too much small-talk with strangers. In particular, he made a point to keep his head down as he passed the bloomer-clad familiar face grabbing the first snack. "Hope she doesn't eat the last non-veggie before I- oh dang!"

Bruce quickly turned back around and jogged back towards his bike, realizing he'd left his token sandwich contribution for the picnic with his vehicle. He started, however, then picked up speed as he realized a large, polished, jet-black pickup truck was parked in the opposite corner of the lot. "Hey! Hey jerkwad, hold up while I-" he yelled, now running as he saw the truck immediately fire up and shoot into reverse, then fly out of the parking lot. Despite his best efforts, Bruce had no time to memorize the license plate before it was gone. "Geez! What a douche!"

The operator took a moment to catch his breath before picking up his sandwich box and making his way back toward the park. He'd packed half of his favorite: ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, and half of his new "favorite": some preposterous cucumber nonsense he'd looked up online. He felt like he needed every one of those sandwiches as a picnic pick-me-up now, even the gross ones, after seeing the car that almost ran him over creeping around his event.

In any case, Bruce knew that would be a nasty first impression to give Teruko's friends, so he made an effort to discretely drop off his sandwich box and head to his destination. His steps slowed down, though, as he got a better look at who Teruko was meeting. "Crap. Is that her... her sister? This is one of those 'meet-the-family' events? I shoulda shaved... And this guy. Crap! Could he be Coach? The guy whose clothes I accidentally stole? I wonder if he knows who I am... And he's looking right at me!"

Russel was actually looking at the food table, unknown to Bruce. The stuntman hadn't slowed his walk as he contemplated, and suddenly found himself face to face with the unhappy looking man. "Coach!" he yelped stupidly, slapping a grin on his face. "I mean, uh, hey, man! Are you a Coach?! Wow, that's crazy, I'm Bruce," he said, extending his hand and trying to get away after as quick of a shake as he could. He shouldered his way past to Teruko and her sister, extending a hand intending to offer it to the one he hadn't met. "Hey! Bruce. You must be Teruko's sister. I don't know if she's talked about me, I'm-" he began, before realizing he had no idea if Teruko had spoken about him to her family or not. "I'm a stuntman. You know, for the Von Derzel movies? Yeah, I'm-"

The operator shut up, realizing he should probably say hey to his actual girl rather than show off for her sister. "Well, enough about me. Hey, Teruko! You been waiting long? Dare hasn't shut up about hanging out with Ante again, no surprise. Seen a place to jack in around here?"
"Coach is not quite right," the man began dryly, beginning things on an awkward note. "Trainer is correct. I am a physical fitness trainer. Instructor, yes. You may call me instructor or trainer. Russel, good to meet you, Bruce. I do not recognize you from work," he spoke, then silenced up completely, like a statue. It was hard to tell if the man realized how uncomfortable this opening introduction had made things, but thankfully, Teruko would rescue him from any prolonged conversation there.

"Woah! Bruce is here and he's in gear! Nice headband," Teruko giggled, tugging at her own scrunchy and releasing her sister. "Wow, most people don't recognize we're sisters by looking at us! I guess, you know, physical fitness instructor, law student-"

"Lawyer," Terumi corrected, redoing the part in her hair.

"Yeah, yeah! Hey, before she tells about it, ask her where she's been for the past year. Go on, ask!" Teruko laughed, slapping her sister on the back.

The girl walked forward and accepted his handshake in a practiced shake. He'd notice no ring on her finger... and if he didn't at first, oddly, he'd get plenty of chance. The handshake lingered for a weirdly long time, with the younger Hotta sister sizing him up critically, even tilting her head slightly. "Bruce. I guess my sister hasn't mentioned anything about me..." she murmured. "Though she's said a lot about you."

"Ha ha! You were studying overseas, right? Out of sight, out of mind," Teruko non-apologized. She was smiling and acting like it was no big deal, but it was a little strange, in hindsight, to think that she'd never mentioned it to him before. "Well, now that introductions are out of the way- you can let go of his hand now- we should talk navis! There's a gal that knows a thing or two about a looong handshake, huh? Ante, sheesh! Ha ha..." Teruko yukked, pulling her suspiciously behaving sister away from her boyfriend. "Hey dude, there's jack-in ports all over the dang place. I hear even the park statues have jack-in ports! We can jack in at the park tables, then we ought to be able to stay connected as long as we stay in the park. Let's do it!"

Teruko began a spirited jog to the nearest empty table, her topknot (and other things) bouncing in a way that emphasized her innate peppiness. Thankfully, Terumi had finally released her grip, so he could get away with no trouble, but Bruce could still feel her piercing gaze on him for whatever reason. It might be the second time he'd felt that way today, although hopefully, she wasn't planning to try to run him over with a pickup truck like the other stalker had been. "Whew. Okay! Let's get Ante in there," she sighed, jacking her navi in quickly before turning a big smile back to Bruce. "Hey... Thanks for coming to this thing. I know it's uh, not your jam, but trust me, it's gonna be a lot of fun! I won't let it not be fun," she reassured him, placing her hand on his shoulder in a familiar gesture and rubbing it slowly. "And if you get tuckered out, maybe I'll give you a nice shoulder massage. It'll be maybe a little too sexy to do in front of my coworkers, gotta warn ya!" She was probably up-selling it a bit, but it could feel pretty nice.

"Teruko, sexy massages are not appropriate for public places," Ante spoke up from the PET. "Hello, Sir Bruce. I look forward to another pleasant outing with Miss Dare."

"Nya ha! She called you 'Sir!'" Teruko snickered. "Now that our navis are jacked in, let's get our fun on, 'Sir!'" she continued, giving him a playful but annoying jab in the arm. "That starts with snackage!"

"Yeah!" another voice agreed; Becky had found her way over again, her eyes locked on Bruce with a mischievous smile in them. Something about that look made it seem like she hadn't given up on bringing him into the fold of bloomers fanatics yet. "Man, somebody just stuffed a bunch of hummus and cucumbers and like, fake eggs, into bread! It's totes gross," she warned them.

"Totes yummy is more like it! I gotta go try it! Come on, Bruce; I'm going to get you to try one too, then, I'll bet cucumbers to cauliflower that you're gonna love them!"

"Oh, barf! I don't wanna even think about cauliflower in them," Becky complained, following along with the two of them, despite being an unwanted presence.

"Spoilsport! Well, we're going to enjoy our cauliflower, and you just enjoy those stretchy pants you like so much. Liking cauliflower is like, a lot less weird than that. After we get some snackage in us, we can talk about some of the games we've got planned," she finished, now dragging Bruce along to the place where he'd left his unwanted deposit of cucumber sandwiches.

((Jacking in, headed to Internet City Mission BBS))
Bruce continued to give Russell the "just here to do my job, man" grin he normally reserved for actors who wanted to hold him up on set and chew his ear off as a way of throwing their weight around. "'Instructor,' huh... Yeah, I'm uh..." he started, gladly dropping that conversation when Teruko got him out of it. If Russell wanted to know more about him, Bruce figured he could just listen in on the introduction he was about to give.

The stuntman gave a genuine laugh as Teruko and Terumi gave different accounts of her profession. "Aw, c'mon! You two are practically identical. Twins?" he joked. He didn't bother pointing out that he'd really only made the assumption from the fact that noogie-ing was an age-old tell of a sibling relationship. He shook Terumi's hand, giving her his broad smile. He didn't bother asking her where she'd been for the past year. For one thing, not knowing where she normally was, he didn't particularly care, and for another, he figured if it was something really earth-shaking (space; a volcano; the house next to his) he assumed Teruko would eventually spit it out herself.

His smile failed a bit, not to a frown, but just a curious smile as Terumi didn't let go. "Only good stuff, I hope? I wouldn't worry about her not mentioning you seeing as you're not a carrot or a piece of broccoli..." He probed his mind to see if he could remember they'd met, or if Teruko had mentioned something specific... "Nah, not at all, unless I'm blanking hard..." Teruko finally freed him again (he wondered how many times that was going to happen today: most people didn't pay him enough mind for an extended handshake). "I know how jack in ports work, bozo, I just wanna know where in particular," he rolled his eyes at Teruko, smirking.

Bruce followed Teruko, jogging to keep up. "Great, I'll hold you to that. You know Ante and Dare are always getting up to some fun, I'm gonna need some really special service if we don't want to lose out..." he joked, ignoring Ante's interruption and hoping Teruko would as well. Evidently that wouldn't happen, as she ran with it while they were seated at the table. "It's 'Sir' like a knight! You know, that's the way Ante talks," he reminded her, wincing briefly from the jab as he finally got Dare in the Net.

That soon became a secondary annoyance as Becky re-appeared; even worse, she was trash-talking his sandwiches. "Hey now! Fake eggs are like the chicken of the... vegetable," he remarked defensively. He didn't want to claim credit for them himself until Teruko and he had their hands on one and he could take or buck credit depending on her reaction. "Let's go get some before somebody eats each and every one of them. I mean... whoever made those probably put a lot of effort into, you know, testing them and making sure he could eat them without ralphing last night. So I'm sure they're gonna be flying."

((Jacking in, headed to Internet City Mission BBS))
Something about Terumi's reaction at being called Teruko's twin seemed a little off; she looked a little affected, possibly even shocked, but not in a bad way. Whatever the case, it was quite clear no one had ever told her that, joking or otherwise. "Ah, wait!" she murmured quietly, as Teruko freed Bruce so that they could continue the quest for jack-in and chow.

"Hey, for all I know, you have no idea how jack-in ports work! I assume nothing when it comes to you knowing things!" Teruko snickered, ignoring all of the previous times where she'd watched him jack Dare in. "Ha ha ha! Yeah, she does talk that way! She calls everyone 'Sir' and 'Miss' like she's somebody's maid. Well, I guess she kind of is, for today!" she giggled on; Bruce might find it favorable that he could change the target of his girlfriend's taunting to her navi with minimal effort. "Oh, but you're saying you think she sees you as a knight, huh? Her knight in shining armor? Pfufufu!" And there it was; he was back in her iron sights once again.

Luckily, things didn't get more awkward than that, since Ante had to focus on her work for now. Well, for a little bit; it became awkward again once Becky injected herself back into the scene. "Huh, you're a fake egg guy? Wouldn't have thunk it! I dunno if I want any fake egg guys in my Bloomer Paradise. Although I guess you guys who like healthy food like that probably look better in shorts..." Becky murmured, looking Bruce over, seeming insultingly unconvinced that he had the kind of body that someone who likes fake eggs ought to have.

"Quit worrying about how my boyfriend looks in shorts, you jerk," Teruko grumbled, grabbing Becky in a headlock remniscent of the one moments ago on her sister. Teruko was probably fortunate to be surrounded by so many girls of smaller stature than she was; it was a stroke of luck, given she was the athletic type, not the massive type. "The only short you should worry about is your own shortness! Cause you're begging for a noogie!"

If Bruce found that entertaining, he could watch, but he might earn some brownie points if he took this time to grab himself and Teruko some of those sandwiches (he might also want to head off at the pass any options that might look better than his sandwiches). Whether he did or didn't, Becky would worm her way out of the hold a lot more quickly and ably than Terumi had managed to. "Well that was a laugh and a half, but weren't you going to tell Bruce about the games?" Becky pouted, straightening out her bloomers rather than her hair for whatever unknowable reason. "There are games, Bruce, thought maybe not as fun as whatever games you guys were getting into last time I ran into you."

"Who knows! The first one's gonna be super fun- a wheelbarrow race! I've always been the best at this one. You just grab up your partner by the legs and you have to walk forward, racing to the finish! If you wanna do good, the key is don't eat too much if you're going to be the wheelbarrow, cause doing it on a full stomach suuucks. I never eat too much, so I'm a great wheelbarrow," she insisted, giving a confident grin. "We're gonna smoke the rest of the competition!"

As if some trigger somewhere had been flipped, Terumi seemed to materialize nearby Bruce. "You know, I've been overseas-"

"You don't say?" Teruko laughed.

"... And while I was overseas, I studied law. And when we study law, we learn a thing or two about what's just. And there's nothing just about you doing this contest with my sister! She's the reigning wheelbarrow champ of the Hotta household and while most of the folks here are going to be teaming up with strangers, you're trying to team up with your girlfriend! That would make your performance much, much higher than it ought to be. For that reason, it is only logical that you instead team up with someone who you know very little about," she reasoned, finishing with a smirk and raising one finger, as if challenging him to refute her ironclad argument.

"... Your household had a wheelbarrow championship?" Becky asked, incredulous, from the background.

"Oooo! You jerk, I really wanted to do that with him, I've had so much practice! I was gonna show off. But now that you've challenged me, I can't help but accept the challenge! Bruce, you're gonna have to pick another partner. I'll team up with... uuuuh..." Teruko pouted, looking around. The only others nearby were Becky, Terumi, or Russell... It looked like somebody was going to end up sitting out the competition if it was just their blanket playing together. "You pick first, Bruce!" she urged him.

"... You've practiced?" Becky asked, looking increasingly perplexed.
Bruce thought to himself that only a little while ago, if someone had called him a "fake egg guy" he might have thrown them the bird or thrown a fist depending on their gender. Recently, he'd begun to accept that might just be part of his new lot in life. "A bad name is probably a drop in the bucket in terms of embarrassment I need to brace for if I keep hanging around Teruko."

Distracted by his thoughts and musing over the fact that, really, it seemed like Teruko intended to noogie anyone she could throw around a size advantage on, the hungry stuntman missed his chance pig out before Becky got to the games. His eyes popped as Teruko filled him in on just what kind of game they had in mind. "Woah! Are you kidding me, a wheelbarrow race?! How crazy is- Did you decide that, Teruko? I mean, cause we-" he started, before deciding much too late that he wasn't sure he wanted to share that story with a bunch of people he just met. "But yeah-"

His thought was cut off, there, as Terumi revealed a surprising level of interest in ethics in wheelbarrow racing competition. His eyebrow raised in time with Becky's. "Oh, sure, I get it! Something as high stakes as a picnic wheelbarrow race, lucky we had an honest-to-God student of law here to keep things honest," Bruce joked. The joke was on him, though, as it turned out Terumi's objection meant he was going to be picking a different partner. "Seriously...? Uh... let's see. There's Becky, which might not be too bad... but with the bloomers, I dunno if Teruko would get mad with me wheeling another girl around bare-legged. Also, if I keep messing with Bloomers Paradise, I'm scared I might get to like it too much. There's, uh, the instructor-" he started, before cracking a bemused grin at that image in his head. "No."

Bruce turned his head back to Terumi, raising an eyebrow as he gave it some thought. "Actually... For Terumi to make a fuss like that, was she hoping to...?" Bruce was self-absorbed enough to immediately consider that Terumi was not-so-secretly hot on him. "Nah, even if she was, getting used as a human wheelbarrow isn't exactly a popular romantic kickstart. No, I bet I get it. She knows I'm the thoroughbred here, and she's making sure Teruko doesn't get me all to herself for this contest," he decided, opting for narcissism after all. "If it's a household contest... And can I just say, seriously? ... If it's a household contest, they might have a score to settle or something."

"Okay, I made up my mind. If you're the champ, Teruko, it's only fair that your sister gets the certified best wheelbarrow support man in the group. I've been practicing, after all!" he ribbed, rubbing his hands together. "You know us stunt guys on set, pretty much all we do is human wheelbarrow stunts." Bruce got into crouching position to accept legs, displaying a perhaps embarrassing eagerness to get started. He was also making an assumption in the fact that they'd be starting right away, and had no idea where they were racing to or any other details. In short, he was jumping the gun, but he showed Terumi his confident grin, apparently confident in both his ability to win and his ability to get the person he just met to act as a human wheelbarrow for him. Finally, he turned back to Teruko, his grin clenching to something more challenging. "No problem with this set-up, right?"
"Okay, yeah! I picked the first contest, okay? You should thank me! I picked a good contest, who knows what the other goofballs picked!" Teruko scolded the others preemptively, as though she wasn't the goofiest of them all. "C'mon, we practiced... I mean... er," she murmured, seeming to catch too late that he didn't want to clue the others in to this. "We practiced... what to do... if... we were forced to do a human wheelbarrow thing."

"Forced? You suggested it!" Becky complained.

"Okay, fine! Me and Bruce may have done a little human wheelbarrowing in the past!" Teruko pouted. "But only because it's super fun-!"

"I've heard enough! Let's see how much fun you have wheelbarrowing me around!" Terumi interjected, sounding oddly like Bruce's opponent rather than his ally for the event. She watched him adopt a stance, prepared to accept her spread legs, and stared at him with a perplexed frown, making it clear that, despite her various delusions, she recognized a ridiculous scene when she saw one. "Uuuh. Hm... I suppose that's how we have to start, isn't it?" she murmured, rubbing her chin as though the thought had only just occurred to her. "... I wonder if I should carry you instead."

Becky and Teruko stared at her for a moment, both smiling vacantly. "You're joking, right? You're not actually a gym instructor or a professional stuntman, remember, Sis?" Teruko asked, sounding bemused.

"J-Joking, of course," the younger sister agreed, seeming as though that thought hadn't occurred to her yet either. It was pretty clear that she'd never been wheelbarrow champ of the Hotta household before. "Okay, so... So first, we go over the rules! I studied law, you know? I think I'm best qualified to explain the rules!" Terumi swerved, pointing towards Russel in the distance. "That man is the goalpost! The egg sandwiches are the other goalpost! You reach the first, then turn and go back to the second! First to touch the first goalpost, then, and only then, the second goalpost, wins!" she explained with excruciating clarity. "And remember: if you exit wheelbarrow position- that is, with one standing, the other walking on hands with legs hoisted upward by the other- you lose, immediately!"

"I think I get it!" Teruko added.

"I think I get it too, somehow!" Becky pitched in.

"Very good," Terumi nodded, seeming satisfied. "Please say that you get it too, Bruce. I can't have my partner dropping me because he doesn't understand wheelbarrow rules." Provided he gave a satisfactory answer, she'd nod again. If he didn't, she'd frown sternly, explaining the rules one more time. If he still didn't get it, she'd sigh deeply.

"Ooo, Terumi! Show us how to wheelbarrow!" Becky added.

"... Of course. As a student of Law, I understand how important it is to fully show you how it all works," she agreed. "You just... get into wheelbarrow position," she repeated, putting her hands onto the grass and kneeling in a runner's pose. She course-corrected a bit, though possibly not in the right way, spreading her legs to either side and balancing on her toes. "I think this is it. Now... just... pick me up..." she encouraged Bruce, poking her butt up suggestively and raising it in place like that would help. Teruko stifled giggles while Becky put on a contemplative expression, trying to think of the one crucial difference in this picture that would make the scene even more fun to watch.

Out in the distance, Russel fixed the four with a stony glance, betraying no hint of joy in watching the festivities.
"Y-yeah, let's...!" Bruce agreed, awkwardly, trying to decide why his partner was making that potential fun sound like a threat. His awkward smile grew a bit wider as he struggled not to laugh at Terumi's half-formed thought. "No, trust me, this is the best way. You know those warnings, 'professional stuntman, don't try at home?' Us stuntguys are always practicing for this part. It takes incredible physical conditioning-!"

He decided to cut off his hammy joke as Terumi was obviously seeking to bury that discussion. "So, let's get-" he started, shutting up again with a sigh as he wondered how many rules they could possibly need for a picnic human wheelbarrow game. He followed Terumi's directing with his eyes, setting on Russel uneasily and gulping. "C-c'mon, man, we're the only two guys here! You're just gonna stand there and judge me, huh? Not cool, bro!" He thought about protesting the rule that he'd have to touch the "goalposts"... "Um, of course, the person who's on their hands is the one who has to touch the goalposts. Hopefully those crazy-awesome sandwiches will still be there when we finish the lap. Anyway, uh, yeah, I'm cool with it if we're all good with that," he told Terumi, flashing a quick thumbs-up.

Bruce continued to smile, laughing along as the others must be as Terumi tried to maneuver into an appropriate wheelbarrow position. As she tried to accomplish this by lifting her rear, his chuckle tapered off, while his smile remained. "Don't get horny with Teruko's sister. Don't get horny for Teruko's sister." Bruce reasoned that there was no part of this competition that required him to actually look at Terumi. Instead, it'd make much more sense to get an eyeful of Teruko and Becky, who he assumed would be his opponents.

Assuming Terumi didn't have a change of heart, he would get her legs under the crooks of his arms with no hesitation and little gentleness, lifting both at once and putting a lot of faith in Terumi's ability to immediately prop herself up with her hands. As he did so, he'd pretty immediately break his promise to himself, trying to use this opportunity to get a better look at Terumi from an interesting angle and stack her up against her sister. He quickly realized that if she hadn't done anything about it, he might also get a chance to get an eyeful down the wide cuffs of her shorts. Acknowledging that would be a bit rude, he'd act as a true gentleman and tear away his gaze after only the briefest possible peek.

"I'm good over here, but you two hurry up and get ready! Wouldn't be fair to get our pair all tired out before we start." If everyone got ready and there were no last minute rules to hear or objections to be made, Bruce would do his part to get the group moving. Considering he was more or less in shape and Terumi seemed pretty light, he didn't expect he would be the weak link in their team. As such, he'd do his best to match Terumi's pace while keeping moving at least gingerly forward to make sure she didn't stop. For all his making fun of the contest, he really was trying to win... That said, while he was a good physical fit for the role, there was a pretty good chance he was at a mental disadvantage, as he was equally invested in keeping a watchful eye on his opponents' progress.
"Well... as a professional who studied law and uses it in her everyday life, I suppose it would be hypocritical of me to deny you the right to utilize the fruits of your own study, via wheelbarrow carrying me," Terumi reasoned, seeming to have bought Bruce's absurd logic. "Very well. Just be as careful as you would if you were doing your real job."

"Of wheelbarrow carrying?" Teruko reiterated, smiling.

"Yes," Terumi sighed, as though explaining things to her dumb sister was beginning to get tiring for her. She also accepted Bruce's additions to the rules, perhaps having had them in mind already. As she adopted her position, Becky and Teruko managed it in a much more natural fashion; Teruko had more practice and thought devoted to this than most and Becky was naturally light, so they seemed like a good team for such a contest. They'd be hard to beat, if Bruce was really worried about that.

"Getting carried like a wheelbarrow while I'm wearing my gym shorts... it's not bad. He he he," Becky giggled lecherously. Teruko might be rolling her eyes, but it was hard to tell, given the difficulty of seeing her eyes in the first place.

Terumi, in the mean time, was already protesting a bit. "I studied law, remember! I'm almost a lawyer! So I'll definitely make sure you're prosecuted if you do anything you shouldn't!" she piped a few times. If that part of the experience was getting a bit grating, it would be offset by the fact that Bruce could confirm that the booty ran in the family... it had been hard to say for sure, given the fit of her shorts and the relative comparison to Teruko's, but Terumi's own hindquarters had a nice, round shape that, while not Teruko's, was plump enough to beg a touch if one found the opportunity.

He would also perhaps, in gentlemanly fashion, catch only the very briefest glimpse of undergarments, with white panels and orange sides, relatively plain from everything he would see at this angle, apart from the coloration.

"As a student of law," Terumi's voice would rudely snap him back to attention, "It is best if I count us down to start. Ahem... five... four... three... two-one-go!" she finished suddenly. It might sound like the student of law had suddenly decided to break the law, but from this distance (i.e. no distance), Bruce could tell she had just realized that dragging this contest out was going to be no fun for her.

If Bruce had hoped to see Teruko and Becky bumble into a giggling pile at the starting line, he'd be disappointed; the two gained an early lead and were pulling well ahead. Bruce was right that he wasn't the weak link... Terumi was slowly and deliberately making her way across the racegeounds, but lacked the athleticism to pick up speed. It was difficult to move faster without simply running over her. It might occur to him that the more control he could take over the process, the better... that is, waiting for her was the problem. In order to eke out a win, he was going to have to make her move faster, and... fast.
Bruce got his gentlemanly eyeful and forced himself to put his eye back on the prize for two reasons: one, he was seeing more than he'd expected and was realizing now the awkwardness of getting a reaction in this position; two, it looked like he was dealing with more of a handicap than he expected. He'd assumed Teruko had some weird in-joke with her sister about a family competition she was best at for this event, but now, he wasn't sure at all. "Shoot! I totally underestimated her, but I forgot how weird that wheelbarrow thing was for both of us at the time. Of course she'd be better at it now."

The stuntman's mind was racing, but unfortunately, it was racing in the wrong direction. Rather than thinking about how he should react on losing, or how it was just a game, or how he should be careful with his partner for the event (who had just threatened to bring litigation against him), his thoughts were entirely on how he could turn his "L" into a "W." Unconsciously, he was already pressing Terumi's pace enough, as he was practically threatening to step on her hands if she didn't keep moving. That alone wasn't proving enough to close any gap.

"Right! Wheelbarrow position, one standing, other walking on hands," Bruce muttered. "But sometimes... it's easier to drag a wheelbarrow than it is to push it!" With that warning, Bruce maneuvered clockwise around Terumi until his back was facing the goal and she was facing the starting line. Turning his head back and putting faith in Terumi's ability to keep up, he began rapidly stepping back, something he appeared to have a surprising amount of experience in. He was also displaying a remarkable amount of stubborn will, really pulling out the stops to pick up the pace. "Uwoooagh! I'm gonna be the new Hotta family champion!" he shouted nonsensically, roaring and pursuing in a relentless gait that would probably only be stopped by either the failure or forced braking of his partner.
"If I break my wrists doing this, you can bet I'm suing," Terumi managed to get out with some difficulty, as she struggled to keep up with Bruce's breakneck, or breakwrist as it was, pace. "Th-The legal and hospital fees will be a lot worse than either of us are making doing this!"

The time for such rational statements was over; Bruce was initiating his plan B, to be deployed in the case of bad wheelbarrow event partner. "No, no, there will be no dragging!" Terumi complained, before the dragging started. Bruce's wheelbarrow continued to threaten litigation as he picked up to a great speed via some flexible interpretation of wheelbarrow race rules.

With this new technique in place, Bruce managed to succeed in overtaking the others, given that Teruko and Becky were still wheelbarrow racing while Bruce was essentially running backwards while dragging a carry-on bag. He might have time for a smile of satisfaction, before he was forced to remember an inherent flaw in his plan: the goalpost they had chosen for the event.

Any other goalpost probably would have been knocked into the dirt when Bruce barreled into it at race-winning speeds, but Russel remained completely still; the collision hurt like running shoulders-first into a wall. The big man seemed to be glaring, but only as much as his face always seemed to be. "You... ambition suits no one," he warned cryptically. "Nor does disregard for the well-being of others. Something to work on, perhaps?"

Bruce likely hadn't wanted a life coach any more than he had wanted to smack into a coach, but he was now going to have to deal with both that and lost time. Terumi had ended up pressed up against his front, with her feet at his shoulders and her head somewhere between his feet, dragging in the dirt. Her protests had probably faded into background noise at some point, but they were increasing in volume. Becky and Teruko took a slingshot around Russel, with just enough time for Teruko to pull one eye-lid down and stick out her tongue.

"Hotta family... champion..." Terumi muttered, then spit out dirt. "You are right! The two of us must come through for the good of the Hotta family! You and me, together!" it was hard to see her face, but she seemed to have found the spirit of camaraderie somewhere. "Let's go! You'll see that my years of law school weren't for nothing!" It sounded like Bruce might be able to trust Terumi a little more than before if he wanted to pull out all the stops.

Meanwhile, Teruko was not lamenting the fact that she didn't get to run the race with her boyfriend, but rather, was relishing the chance to laugh at him and her sister when they lost. "Hmm... I wonder if Dare thinks about running this kind of race with Ante sometimes? Ante's skirt would get in the way, though. Not like that's ever a problem long term," she giggled to herself. As the hare in her tortoise and the hare story, she had the luxury of idle thoughts, which slowed her pace only a little.
Unreasonably pleased at his success in gaining a lead, Bruce allowed himself some time to gloat, laughing at Teruko and Becky directly with little-to-no regard as to where he was going, keeping his course as straight as he could based on his mind's eye image of where the picnic's designated stick-in-the-mud had been. "Nice try ladies, but I'll be seeing you at the finish line-"

He would, in fact, be there to see them pass the goal post, as he suddenly crashed into the goalpost backward. Bruce had enough experience crashing bodily into things from his job to have a pretty good tolerance for falling in tangled body heaps with people, even other men. To his chagrin, though, that didn't happen here: he felt even more awkward as he glanced up from where his shoulder had contacted Russell to see the man's looming over him like a monster in a movie. Furthermore, if he was honest, he was a bit personally embarrassed that he hadn't had enough strength and momentum to bowl the man over.

As such, Bruce was in no mood for a life lesson from the contest's waypoint marker and paid it very little mind as he tried to readjust and get back on his path. "Yeah, for sure buddy, I'll get right on that after I win," he told Russell, quickly putting his mind back on the race. It sounded like Terumi had the passion required to be dragged through the dirt at high speeds for a little while longer, and while Bruce wasn't sure what law school had to do with it, he appreciated the enthusiasm. "We caught up once, let's do it again!" With that, Bruce began to initiate his plan again, quickly accelerating to top speed and barely bothering to watch where he was going at all this time, confident there was no Russell for him to crash into in this direction.
"I hope for everyone's sake you are more serious than your tone implies. Humility is the hallmark of-" Russel responded grimly, his low voice quickly lost as Bruce resumed the race, the professional stuntman paying little attention to the exercise indtructor's rambling. The guy made it sound like a lot more was riding on Bruce's shoulders than the title of Hotta Family Wheelbarrow Champion.

"You're right! I'll foil my sister's plans as many times as it takes! And she'll never, EVER... claim the title of wheelbarrow champ!" Terumi agreed with Bruce, although it sounded like she had something else she wanted to say. "A-And if somehow I do lose, we will settle this in court!" A lawsuit didn't sound like such a great picnic game, but it may not be necessary, as she appeared to be motivated even harder now to scamper with her hands, allowing Bruce to essentially run unhampered.

"The key is to overtake her at the last second," she strategized from behind. "The weakness of their unimaginative formation is that neither of them watches the back. A burst of speed will put us in front!" Terumi huffed from behind, sounding like, to her credit, she was working very hard at this meaningless game. If he for some reason decided not to heed her expert advice as a lawyer, she would put on the burst of speed herself, giving a noisy battle cry as she gave her all toward propelling them forward herself.

Having lost, Teruko would give out a "hubbawhat?!" that would likely be far more satisfying to her boyfriend than he ought to admit. "Your crazy backwards wheelbarrow worked? Aw, I love taking crazy gambles... Terumi, I hope you don't get too used to taking my genius boyfriend out on joyrides!" she protested. "I get to team with him for any other stuff we do, law or not!"

"What am I, long-legged sweatpants?" Becky asked, as if those were an appropriately useless article to replace chopped liver in her metaphor.

"Wh-what do you mean? Why would I be used to taking your boyfriends? Objection! Slander!" Terumi protested in a noisy mockery of courtroom procedure. She seemed hugely out of breath as while, while Teruko was barely phased.

Teruko squinted a bit more than usual and crossed her arms. "You know, that you mention it...oh well, probably nothing," she shrugged, putting back on her smile. "For my lil' sis's sake, lets take a break! Don't chow down on too much, though. If you eat too much you won't be ready for our highly competitive next challenge!" she insisted. She grinned to Bruce, placing her hands on her hips. "Of course, if you do pig out, spare the pig! You can eat way more stuff if its just fruits and veggies!"

Bruce may suddenly be forced to imagine what it would be like to be sandwiched by one girl who insisted he embrace a vegan lifestyle and another who insisted he follow the rules of the courtroom outside of the courtroom. At any rate, there was a short break in the action while Becky left to get some props for the next game, leaving Bruce with food and the sisters Hotta. Russel seemed content to watch like a overprotective helicopter parent from the original spot where he had spread his sheet out.

"You remember that time Ante and Dare did that game with the water ballons? I never get tired of remembering it! It's so funny watching Ante do dumb stuff," Teruko joked with her boyfriend idly as she loaded more snacks onto a small paper plate. "I know what you were thinking, though! 'To be a balloon between the lower backs of those two. Humina humina! Shwing!'" She had a pretty vivid imagination when it came to Bruce. Terumi just watched over the lip of a cup of lemonade, staring a hole through her sister and her sister's boyfriend. "Come to think of it, does Dare have a boyfriend?"

Bruce would have just a little time to defend his honor and ponder his navi's romantic life before Becky returned, carrying hoola hoops and loaded water guns, which were set inside buckets of ice, for some uninterminable reason. Before she could get a word in, Teruko jumped between Bruce and Becky. "Hey Brucey! Guess what game we're playing next!" she beckoned, issuing a nigh-impossible challenge out of the blue. "I'll give you a hint: I haven't practiced this one!"
Having come in first, savoring the defeated cry of his cocky girlfriend, Bruce didn’t have the heart to tell Terumi that he hadn’t put on any burst of speed: his speed had been the fastest he could manage, without any careful planning of when to kick it into high gear. In any case, he petitioned her for a high five, raising his hand and offering it she’d take it once she was on her feet, turning to make his way over to Teruko. He just laughed at their banter, finding it easy to imagine Teruko had been the one picking up boyfriends, especially if this was before she’d gone on a vegan kick. “Yeah, uh, if we’re doing another contest like that today, I’ll probably eat light. Let’s all get a drink.”
Bruce took a seat and started munching, not even seeming to realize he’d picked up one of his own egg sandwiches, not remarking on the taste as he filled his tank back up with water. On the second bite, he realized: his mouth moved slowly as he weighed his pride versus his stomach, ultimately gulping it down and keeping on powering through it. Thankfully, Teruko introduced a fun topic of conversation that gave him an opportunity to put it down. “Yeah, to be honest, I’m surprised at what Dare can drag her along for,” he smirked, shrugging off her attempt to get a rise out of him in spite of the fact it was something he’d actually thought of before. Her next question made him thoughtfully chew his sandwich again, gulping some water down before responding. “Uh… Boyfriend? Y’know, I’ve kinda been thinking she’s-“
That thought was coming out too slow, and was interrupted by the much more immediately important topic of Becky’s arrival. He looked between Teruko and the buckets, his mind racing even before Teruko gave her useless hint. He remained silent for a moment before chuckling, raising an eyebrow. “I mean, this doesn’t have a name, right? Is this gonna be like… somebody’s gotta hoola hoop while somebody else is shooting them with… ice water…?” Somehow, he felt like he’d feel a lot less dumb doing what he’d just described then actually saying it.
Terumi accepted the high five, smiling, although with a somewhat devious expression that was a little out of place. Her face said "just as planned," but was she really so pleased just because she had won a wheelbarrow race against her sister?

As they got down to eating, Teruko appeared to be putting down the fake egg sandwiches fast enough that one would really have to worry whether her vegan lifestyle was really going to help her overcome her metabolic issue in this situation. She snickered with her mouth full for a moment, then corrected herself by drinking down water and swallowing her food. "She's got a magnetic personality! I'll bet she gets all the boys," she giggled, complimenting Dare carelessly, before Becky interrupted.

The gamemaker's face lit up with a big grin as Bruce did his best to answer the questions. "Of course it has a name! Everything does! This is the Ice Water Hoola Hoop Challenge!" she informed him with an unearned sense of pride. "And you couldn't be more wrong, as usual! For this game we're going to- wait, no, you're right. Uh. Anyway, this time, I'm on your team!" The concept of frequently switching teams seemed like it was going to make keeping score at the end pretty meaningless.

"Uuuh, you sure you wanna do that?" Becky asked, lowering her eyebrows.

Teruko squinted harder and crossed her arms, looking between Becky and Bruce. "Uh, yeah! I mean you're great, but Bruce is my BF! Best friend! Er, boyfriend," she responded hastily.

"Okay... cause you remember the rules, right? Each team has a gunner and a hoola hooper-"

"I'm the hooper!" Teruko informed Bruce with a glowing smile.

"-and a gunner. And the gunner shoots the other team's hoola Hooper. So that means if you two are on the same team..."

Teruko wracked her brain, trying to figure out the issue, before realizing the problem with her hasty decision. "Ah! We're split up again!" she finally exclaimed, grabbing both hands to her head. "No, we gotta split up-!"

"Not a chance! We already agreed that we would change teams so you would be on Bruce's before this competition started. If you want to renege on your word now... I'll see you in court!" Terumi interjected dramatically, pointing one finger forward. "Anyway... I want to be the gunner for my team."

"Really? You're gonna make this contest between the Hotta sisters a contest between Teruko and Becky instead?" Becky asked, looking critical. "I think I speak for Bruce when I say we wanna see the Hotta girls face off in hoola competition! You're gonna piss him off."

That seemed to make her reconsider, for whatever reason. "F-Fine... but we must establish clear boundaries," she insisted, grabbing up her hoop. Bruce could grab his water gun, green or red, from the ice water bucket when he was ready. It would be uncomfortably cold... it probably should have been kept outside the bucket. Terumi held up two fingers to continue. "One! And this is critical... Bruce cannot spray my shirt! A-As you can see, I am wearing a white shirt that will become very transparent when-"

"No way! Who doesn't shoot the shirt in a contest like this?!" Becky protested angrily. "That's a non-starter!"

"No way!" Terumi reiterated, resolute in her intent. "Secondly, no physical contact between any players! I don't want anyone cheating," she huffed and puffed. "Beyond that, the rules are simple. The last one hoola hooping wins. You, the gunner, will shoot me, the hoola hooper, in an attempt to distract me."

"But I've already won! Terumi may be a law student and the new Wheelbarrow Champ, but I am the Hotta Family Hoola Hoop Master! Nobody outdoes me when it comes to the hoops!" Teruko announced, with a cocky smirk. It was not hard to imagine she hoola hoped well, given that she was so frequently involved in silly athletic contests... and that she had the perfect figure for it.

"Hmph. Tactics will win every time. Do we all accept the terms?" Terumi asked, extending her hand to shake Bruce's.

Teruko was already shaking Becky's. "Yep! All of them!" she agreed. Both Teruko and her sister were watching Bruce, but if he paid attention, he would notice a smug smile on Becky's face. What could it mean?
Bruce rolled his eyes at Teruko as he finished polishing off his sandwich, swallowing the last of his water immediately and rising to his feet after. “Yeah, okay. After a beating like that, I can understand wanting to switch it up.” He said that, but as soon as Becky started trying to get a word in edgewise, he realized what must be up. He let out a little chuckle, putting his palm to his face. “No need for a court case. Let’s do it this way. Teruko doesn’t want me blasting her with ice water as much as she thinks.”

Bruce kept smiling but raised an eyebrow when Becky suggested he might have a problem with Terumi’s arrangement. In any case, it didn’t seem like Terumi was fighting it, so he reached down to grab a red water gun, nearly fumbling it when he brought it from the cold water. “Gah! What the heck-“ he started, then, cursing under his breath, took off his headband to wrap around his hand, doing so carefully to insulate his hand from the cold. His tongue working at the corner of his mouth, he withdrew it and grinned when his preparations were complete. “No rules against that, huh?” he asked whoever happened to be watching… Which was likely no one, considering they were all engaged with Terumi’s first point he’d completely missed.

He considered Terumi, rubbing his stubble as Teruko declared her victory. Terumi had shown a lot of heart and drive in the last contest, but, truth be told, he definitely couldn’t see it this time. Tactics were one thing, but he had a hard time imagining Terumi keeping the hoop going with or without the ice water. He wasn’t planning on taking it easy on her, either.

He shook Terumi’s hand, watching Becky and Teruko distractedly. He caught Becky’s expression, staring at it vacantly. ”Becky looks confident, but there’s no way she thinks she’s gonna win this. I’m gonna soak Terumi from top to bottom before she has a chance. I feel bad for her and Teruko. Have we got more competitions after this? Or at least, do they have a change of-“

He paused… A smile suddenly formed on his face as he thought he’d finally realized what was going on, his empathy immediately replaced with devious purpose. If Becky wasn’t expecting it, she’d probably be creeped out by his apparent mimicry of her own expression. “Yeah, I’m ready to go. Time to get those hips moving, Terumi,” he said, not managing to keep all of the sleaze in his mind out of his voice. “Oh, and Teruko!” he added, remembering to give the most important hips their due. “I’m counting on you, partner! Hotta family ice hula water hoop champions, let’s do it!”
Teruko snickered at Bruce's screw-up, finding it endearing, while the other two only watched fully from the corners of their eyes, busy with other matters. Once handshakes were completed, Bruce announced his readiness, and Terumi squirmed a bit, as if in imitation of her upcoming hula hoop session. "Objection! You shouldn't be concerned with my hips! ... Or my sister's," she exclaimed, though it tapered into a mutter under her breath, almost too quiet to hear.

"I'll count us down! On your maaaarks...  that's one! Get sweet! That's two-" Teruko began, wearing a big, goofy smile as she gave an especially original countdown.

"What is this confusing count?! It's as though you're counting six instead of three, when you explain each one like that!" Terumi complained, looking pale with anxiety.

"Fine, fine! Okay, I'll start over. Oooone for the money! Twoooo for the show! Threeeee-!"

Upon hearing three, Becky enacted her master plan, turning to blast Terumi with water instead of her own opponent. Terumi hadn't even started twirling her hoop yet and her expression made it look as though she were going to begin spitting fire, as her airy white top began clinging to her perky chest, slowly revealing the shape of the bra underneath.

Bruce would probably end up wondering what had possessed Becky, given that he hadn't heard the rules that him shooting Terumi's top was off limits. Moreover, whatever action he took upon hearing the three-count might serve to exacerbate Terumi's bad mood. For her part, Teruko had already given in to gut busting laughter and wasn't hula hooping either yet, since her count had been interrupted.
Bruce clutched his cold pistol, preparing to spray Terumi with devious intent written on his face. The only thing stopping him was trying to figure out where Teruko was in her count… Hotta Family Counting Champion was probably a title her sister would be able to claim. He thought he was on the same page with Becky…

… But was caught completely off guard when she began spraying her own partner, putting a literal downpour on Terumi’s mood. He was momentarily distracted by an attempt to sneak a peek at the topside like he’d gotten the downside earlier, but he realized how dumb he must look standing there with his stupid face frozen and his stupid gun freezing. ”Okay… so what am I supposed to do…? I thought the idea here was we both just blasted the clothes, then Teruko and Terumi would need to change, then Becky would oh-so-conveniently have a particular change for them, but… why is she blasting Terumi instead of Teruko?” Bruce had no idea, of course, that Becky might be trying to achieve that same goal while sparing him threatened legal action. ”Well, heck, I can’t start blasting her now. If you and me both do it, it’s like we’re bullying her!”

Figuring he didn’t have much longer before Terumi blew her lid, sued everyone present, and shut down the party, Bruce acted without further thought, throwing himself in front of Becky’s stream. He hoped that Becky would stop in light of that, allowing him to make a plea on Terumi’s behalf. “Hold up, hold up, cut it out!” With that count, it’s four to go- wait, dammit, that’s besides the point! Why are you shooting Terumi?! Did you not get the rules?” If, at this point, Becky hadn’t “come to her senses” and was still blasting him, Terumi, or both, he would take retaliatory measures, opening cold fire on his assailant.
Bruce jumped in the way to shield his own opponent, a move so chivalrous it could only occur during a water-gun / hula hoop battle. Becky didn't lay off and ended up getting a matching stream of water for her troubles. "You didn't listen to all the rules, did you?!" Becky asked as she changed targets to start shooting the man once known as Coach in the face instead of the chest.

Terumi had never started hula hooping and instead stared dumbly at the image before her. Teruko also had one eyebrow raised, but she began hula hooping regardless. "I guess I win, right? Right?" she attempted to shout over the others. Becky gave her a blast of cold water to set the story straight. Remarkably, she kept on hooping as though it wasn't a problem, though it was unlikely anyone was thinking about applauding her technique right now. "You all never stood a chance!"

With the competition over before it ever begun and both water guns having emptied out their initial load, Becky was not quite so silly as to start refilling the loaded gun. She raised her hands for truce instead. Assuming Bruce complied, he could survey the damage. Although Terumi had been the first target, she somehow ended up the best off, though her angry expression didn't convey that as she crossed her arms, clutched her fingers to her shoulders, and shivered. Teruki had planned ahead, perhaps because she was the event's organizer, and while her WEEKENDZ WORK shirt was clinging now, it was not transparent due to the color. Becky was in about the same boat, as she was wearing a matching shirt. Bruce had also gotten it pretty bad all over, ironically.

Breaking up the battle, Russel seemed to appear out of nowhere, patting one hand onto Bruce's shoulder with a wet, heavy thwack. A disturbing fondness was evident on his stony face. "Do not worry, friend... I have a change that is more or less your size," he assured Bruce, before walking towards the park entrance. The sudden comraderie between the two remained a mystery and the girls turned their attention back towards themselves.

"Huehuehue, do not worry, friends! I have a change that is more or less Terumi's size and strategically slightly small for Teruko!" Becky announced, running to grab her duffle bag, which she had apparently been so sure she would get a chance to use that she brought it to her picnic blanket instead of leaving it in the cars.

"Ho ho ho! Who do you think you are speaking to, Becky? I planned ahead!" Teruko announced, reaching into her duffle bag. For a moment, it looked like she might reveal a change of clothes right there, but instead, she pulled out a fluffy white towel with a panda print and began vigorously scrubbing her face.

"Fool! Even if you wipe yourself down, those clumpy, non-bloomers clothes will only weigh you down!" Becky cackled, mounting a second strike. "Wait, no... impossible!"

Teruko smirked as she finished pulling off the company picnic gear, revealing a black tank top and matching running shorts below. She towered them off briefly, then placed her hands on her hips. "Still good to wear!" she announced to all, flashing two peace signs. The fact that the shorts rode all the way up her upper thighs and stopped at the buttocks did not appear to factor in for her... that was the only way they could hide beneath the shorts she had on a moment ago.

"Drat and double drat! Well, I still have Terumi... let's get you changed-!" Becky began, only to be interrupted.

"I'll s-s-sue," Terumi snapped through clenched teeth.

"Into my lovely-"

"Suuuuue," Terumi hissed.

"... You know, uh, I didn't bring anything else, so it's kinda the bloomers or nothing," Becky retorted, losing the predator voice. Terumi gave a sigh that seemed to go on forever before she finally left.

Awkwardly, Bruce was now left alone with his girlfriend. She beamed and patted him on the shoulder in imitation of Russel's earlier gesture. "You big softy! You jumped in to protect Terumi!" she mocked/praised him. "D'aw! Anyway, you want this towel?" she asked, handing over an unfortunately pre-dampened panda towel. "And... it looks like Russel likes you too! That's... yeah!" she continued smiling, unable to define what that was.
“Me? What did I do?!” Bruce sputtered and complained, quickly becoming soaked as he made no attempt to dodge. He raised his hands as well for the truce, letting his gun fall to the ground as his headband remained wrapped like a soggy bandage around his hand. “Geez. What the heck?!” Anyone who cared would have a good eyeful of man-service as the stuntman’s shirt clung to his pecs, although with him rubbing his arms and knocking his knees in a caricature of coldness, he probably wasn’t making anyone swoon at the moment.

In his sad, saturated state, Bruce jumped when a slap hit his back. He wasn’t able to hide a look of minor horror as Russel made a friendly proposal. “Oh yeah, cool, great, buddy… I, uh, was…” he tapered off, happy not to finish that conversation as Russel made off to make good on his offer. “Oh crap,” he whispered, looking to Teruko. “Do you think he knows I stole- ah- accidentally wore and maybe forgot to return his coach shirt? He’s the coach, right? I bet he knows! Aw hell…”

Bruce’s personal worries would probably take back seat to the antics he’d expected Becky might get up to: it seemed a true believer in Bloomers Paradise was always prepared. He was prepared to be disappointed as it seemed Teruko had a trick up her sleeves (or rather, her pants legs) that would spare him a sight of her thighs… It turned out the end result was something that suited him just fine, so he smiled appreciatively and once again turned his back on the shaky alliance his aligned goals had let him form with Becky. He wasn’t really particular about the bloomers, himself.

He accepted Teruko’s towel with a quick nod of the head and used it to dry himself off as best as he could. He couldn’t help but chuckle, bringing up an old memory in spite of his better judgment. “Hey, remember the last time I asked for a towel and ended up seeing this face?” he asked, turning the panda face of the towel towards her. “Good times! Good times…”

Bruce turned his head around the park, now thinking. “Actually, where is everyone going to get changed? I think Russel is seriously gonna come back with a change of clothes for me, though I’ve got no idea why. Is there some place to change…? Or do I have to, like, use his van or something?” Bruce asked, feeling his chill return at the concept.