Rhia sighed and snapped her phone shut as she rolled her eyes. She bent over and finished tying the laces on her bowling shoes. Cora looked at her quizzically but didn’t say anything until she finished lacing her own shoes.
“What’s the matter Rhia?”
“Daniel just sent me a text. He said he won’t be able to join us for bowling tonight,” replied Rhia.
“Is it just me, or has he been doing that a lot lately?”
Rhia paused. Daniel’s job sometimes required him to work late nights, but that didn’t happen very often. “Well, his company does have a game coming out pretty soon. I suppose Dan is just making sure all the visual development is correct so far.”
“Hmm… you have a point,” mused Cora. “Who else is coming?”
“Tix, Toroak, and Tyler. You haven’t met them yet.”
Rhia bent over to finish tying her bowling shoes. Cora opened her mouth to ask another question but was interrupted by loud commotion in the doorway. Rhia looked up to see Tix, Toroak, and Tyler all trying to squeeze through the doorway at the same time. She caught Tyler’s eye as she tried to suppress a smile. She looked over at Cora and they burst into laughter.
“I have a feeling this is going to be one of the most eventful bowling games I’ve ever played,” giggled Cora.
“I’m going to have to agree with you there,” agreed Rhia.
Tix, Toroak, and Tyler finally managed to get through the doorway in an orderly fashion and approached the counter. Cora and Rhia got up and looked for bowling balls they wanted to use while the threesome paid for their games and collected their shoes.
Toroak spun around, “Hey Rhia! What lane are you two ladies on?”
“Eleven!” Rhia shouted.
She went back to the lane with Cora and they proceeded to enter their bowling names. When the boys approached Cora turned and asked, “Okay gents, what names shall I put you under?”
They mumbled to each other as they tied their shoes. “We don’t know yet. What are yours?” asked Tyler.
“Rhia is Bruiser and I’m Whirlwind,” replied Cora.
“In that case, I want to be Gutter Slut!” said Tix.
Cora looked pained. “Um…okay. You?” she said pointing to Toroak.
“I want to be Thor!”
Rhia quirked one eyebrow and Cora giggled.
“Alright then. And you, sir?” Cora looked up at Tyler.
Tyler looked over and said, “I’ll go with Flash.”
“Wait!” Toroak cut in, “I don’t want to be Gutter Slut anymore. I want to be Goliath.”
“Done. We have Bruiser, Whirlwind, Thor, Flash, and Goliath the changeling. We are bowling in that order,” Cora announced with authority. Tyler grinned.
“Now that we have that settled, Cora, I would like to introduce you to the Triple T,” Rhia said. “This fine gentleman is Stephen Tixfenthaler. We call him ‘Tix’.” Cora nodded at Tix. The curly blonde with light blue eyes had a tall, muscular frame. He looked to be about six foot two or so, she guessed. He had a great smile. “Next to Tix, is his brother, Toroak Tixfenthaler.” Toroak was the brown-eyed, dirty blonde version of Tix. Only he was about five foot eleven. If it weren’t for the height difference, she could have mistaken them for twins. “And finally, we have Tyler Roland, the leader of the pack.” Tyler’s red hair framed a strong face with kind green eyes. He was the shortest of the three, about five foot nine. Rhia gestured to her, “And this, gentlemen, is the lovely Cora. My roommate who will be moving into my new home with me as soon as we have it ready, “She paused and smirked “She’s also the interior designer.”
Cora smiled, “It’s nice to finally meet all of you.” She looked at Rhia, “Bruiser! Start bowling, we have a bet to win.” Rhia moved to pick up her bowling ball.
“Hold it! What bet are you talking about?” Tyler looked at Cora quizzically.
She looked him square in the eye, “If the girls win, the guys pay for dinner. If the guys win, they still pay for dinner.” Cora grinned as Rhia laughed and released her ball down the lane. Cora looked triumphant, “Strike! You heroes better watch out, we’re off to a good start.”
“Hey! No fair! We’re paying for dinner either way,” Toroak whined.
Tix chimed in, “How about this, if we win, you ladies pay for dessert.”
Rhia and Cora glanced at each other and replied in unison, “Deal! Bring it on gents!”
Although the girls were outnumbered, they managed to win the game. Of course, it had nothing to do with the different bowling styles that were used. The girls couldn’t help it if Tix bowled granny style half the time and Toroak threw gutter balls every other turn. Regardless, that was what made the game fun and eventful.
As they left the bowling alley, Tyler turned to Rhia, “Where are Dan and Aly?”
Rhia sighed, “Well, he texted me just before you three got here and said he wasn’t going to make it. He told me it was because of an urgent project has that to be done by tomorrow morning. Cora got a text from Aly that said she was feeling really sick.”
“Oh.” Tyler, Tix, and Toroak exchanged a quick meaningful glance with each other. Cora noticed this and hoped that Rhia had not, but she wasn’t sure. Cora knew something was up, but she didn’t know what.
“Okay boys, where are you taking us for dinner?” asked Rhia.
Tix grinned at them. “You might not like it, but we’re going to the new all-you-can-eat buffet on Main Street.”
“That’s fine with me. Since when did we get this new buffet? It’s not a chain restaurant, is it?” Cora queried.
“Nope! It’s an original buffet restaurant started by some new rich fellow in the area with a passion for cooking up a storm,” Tyler replied.
Rhia looked interested, “Ooh. This sounds pretty intriguing. How do you know so much about the owner, Tyler?”
“Well, he is an old friend of mine from college and we just recently discovered that we’re both new to the area.”
“This chap sounds interesting. What’s the name of his restaurant?” asked Toroak.
“It’s called the Bullfighter Buffet,” responded Tyler.
Toroak grinned, “This just keeps getting better! Now I have to ask, what’s his name?”
“Clampton Skiffington Holder. He likes to be called Holder, but I like to call him Skiff.”
“Well, before this next adventure at Bullfighter Buffet, Cora and I would appreciate it if Tix would be so kind as to drop us off at her car. We’d like to go to our apartment and change out of our work clothes.”
“I thought you ladies drove!”
“We were close enough to walk from where Cora parked. You don’t mind do you, Tix?”
Tix smirked, “No, that’s fine. You’ll just have to squish in the back seat with Toroak.”
A few minutes later, Cora and Rhia pulled up in front of their apartment. “Are we taking my car or yours to the buffet?”
“Let’s take yours, Cora.”
They ascended the stairs to the second floor to hear Aly giggling and a man chuckling. It was unusual for Aly to sound so upbeat when she was sick. Rhia opened the door and stepped inside. She stopped immediately at the scene before her.