Baltar had stuck a pose, legs wide, belly out, and beer cans thrust towards Walter and Dad. Walter slid his shoulder slightly in front of Dad and actually looked like he was enjoying himself. Dad’s eyes looked like they were darting from side to side, but maybe I was projecting that onto him.
Joan leaned over to me. “Now Walter is asking him about how things are going.” Walter did appear to be asking Baltar a question. The first question anyone had really asked him since he had barreled into the backyard. “Walter also knows that Baltar just got dumped by another girlfriend?”
“He did?” I squealed, causing Dad to look over my way. I lowered my voice and studiously looked away from the grill. “I mean, that’s too bad.”
“Mmm,” said Joan. “It is but he’s also an ass. It’s a miracle anyone dates him at all. I don’t think he realized he was going to get dumped when he brought up what a drag Ann was being.”
“Oops,” I said.
So Baltar had served himself, harassed the ladies, and was now making himself at home among the men. There were six of them clustered together as Dad steered Baltar back towards the grill. I wasn’t overly fond of any of them, but they were all pretty bland compared to Baltar. I wasn’t sure if their loyalty to Dad would keep them by the grill or if the would all suddenly remember that they had wives and children at this picnic.
I sipped my soda, wondering how a similar scenario would go down at school. I supposed that I would just stand there, dealing with the jerk and everyone else would go somewhere else. Or maybe even just back up enough to watch me squirm. Sort of like what I was doing right now to poor Dad. But I wasn’t about to suddenly sacrifice myself for Mr. Tube Socks.
I jumped when a hand landed on my head, even though I could see Baltar, and he was on the other side of the yard. Twisting around, I realized Joan had come over to my shady haven. “Can I join you?” she asked.
“Uh, sure,” I replied.
“I like the view,” she said, and grinned at me.
“It’s pretty safe,” I said. “Although, I thought that I would notice anyone trying to sneak up on me.”
“Ha!” snorted Joan. “You discounted the quality of the entertainment.” She gestured at the group of eight men, who were suddenly breaking up like a pack of confused dogs. “Just wait. It’s going to be your dad, Walter, and Baltar in about 2 minutes.”
“Why Walter?” I asked.
“Cause he’s a sweetheart,” replied Joan, smiling. “And he knows your dad will buckle under the pressure.”