I love that Matt knows exactly which buttons to press to drive the story forward, not just for the characters but for the players too. He knows what’ll make Taliesin’s eyes light up and what’ll get under Keyleth’s skin and what’ll shatter Scanlan’s worldview; he knows what’ll hook Travis and excite Liam and catch Vex off guard. And I know Laura mentioned how good he is at pulling in the real-world stuff, building the right in-game arc just when they need it, but damn, he knows his players and his characters and his world so well. It’s incredible to watch him weave his stories.
When Pansy is born, the very first thing her dad does is wrap
her a crimson-red Alabama blanket and high-five the delivery nurse.
“Roll tide roll,
baby girl,” he croons while replacing all her glittery pink pacifiers with the
ones shaped like footballs. “You’re just the cutest damn thing east of the
Mississippi, aren’t you?”
It isn’t a bad way to grow up, honestly.
Her childhood is a crowded grass-stained mishmash of uncomfortable
metal bleachers and screaming silver whistles, her dad’s rumpled white coaching
polos and his face plastered across a trio of Gatorade billboards next to
Sonic. There are candid ESPN interviews in the living room, three unauthorized
autobiographies about her dad’s affiliation with Bear Bryant, and the pungent
scent of crackling new leather practically embedded in the walls of the house—she
learns that Game Day is sacred, tailgating is more of a national pastime than
baseball, and that LSU is ‘where assholes
go to die, baby girl’.
She wears a pearl-encrusted cross around her neck—a family
heirloom—but she knows better.
Football is her religion.
Fast-forward a few years, and it makes sense, what she’s doing.
It makes sense that
she’s standing in the fluorescent-lit hallway of a shitty Holiday Inn in College
Station, Texas, a beige Burberry trench coat belted tightly around her waist
and a pair of oversized tortoiseshell sunglasses perched daintily on the bridge
of her nose.
Because Cormac McLaggen is USC’s star third-year quarterback—an
upper-middle class playmaking prodigy
grown like a beanstalk right out of a neatly terraced suburb south of Boston. And
he’s tall and he’s fast and he’s good with the fans but even better with the media and he’s the sole,
smarmy-grinned, Tom Brady-wannabe reason that her dad’s championship team is going to fucking lose the next afternoon.
Really, it’s her duty to
And she’s prepared. Very
prepared. She’s stuffed her panties in her pocket and invested in
smear-proof matte red lipstick, waxed her legs and plucked her eyebrows and practiced
exaggerating her molasses-warm Southern drawl in the rear-view mirror of her
car while listening to a Dolly Parton album on repeat.
She’s fucking ready
“Roll tide roll,”
she whispers under her breath, steeling her shoulders like a defensive lineman
about to take a particularly vicious hit—
She knocks twice.
The ice-maker whirs.
The door swings open.
A shirtless guy with designer-messy copper-blond hair and a huge
gold lion tattooed on his chest looks her up and down and then back up again before he smirks, winks, and
“I don’t really think of myself as someone who wears a lot of jewelry. I’ll wear a couple rings, my necklaces. Thai gold is distinct in how bright and yellow it is, and it’s something everybody has at some point. Maybe it’s a rite of passage. I have a Buddha-relic icon from my grandma. I have a connection with her, and it’s sort of spiritual. It’s just one of those things that make me happy.”
2. The Jeans
“There are a few brands that I feel comfortable revisiting all the time, and J.Crew is one of those. That’s where these jeans are from. I don’t dress like their catalogs, though I mix and match. The clothes fit me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of fit.”
3. The Bomber
“This jacket is from Our Legacy. I have a shirt from there, too. Like a lot of the stuff I like to buy, it’s a classic. Bombers are timeless. I knew when I bought this, I would have the potential, five years from now, to rediscover it in my closet.”
4. The Hair
“I don’t fuss with it too much. I use a Japanese matte styling wax called Gatsby. I’ll go to a Japanese market and buy sashimi and hair products.”
5. The Frames
“I got these glasses ages ago from the Moscot; a store on the Lower East Side in New York. I’ve bought other pairs of glasses since, but I wear these 99.5 percent of the time. I like them so much that I got the same ones as shades.”
6. The Tats
“When you’re thinking about making that leap from no tattoos to having one, names are a good bet. As soon as I turned 18, I got my grandfather’s name in Thai on my chest. I have between 30 and 40 I’ve lost count. I’ve gotten progressively better tattoos over the years, but my favorite ones are the jankiest: I even got a MOM one … drunkenly, at a tattoo shop in Vegas.”
7. The Watch
“When I started running my family’s restaurant in 2008, I worked a lot of hours and finally had disposable income. I went out and bought a vintage Rolex. This is a transitional model from the late seventies. It’s got an acrylic face instead of crystal and a jubilee band instead of an oyster band. It’s all scuffed up because I wear it every day.”
8. The Boots
“Thees Red Wingboots are new. The pair before this A.P.C. black leather army boots are really worn out. I wore those every day for however many years. I like the idea of boots having felt the ground of many different countries. I think you need to live in your clothes and have them form to you.”