So after a lengthy conversation with Grandmama Murphy, She eventually agreed to come over early and help. She didn’t trust that I wasn’t going to go all comic book villain on her and I don’t honestly blame her. The past few weeks I’ve lost my temper and my control more times than I’m comfortable with.
Grandma Oberly would have told me that losing one’s temper is the result of having a family and feelings about them. I would have told her that when most people lose their control, they don’t run the risk of impaling the nearest person with something metal. She would have smacked the back of my head, but reluctantly admitted that I had a point.
I miss her. So much.
When Jude came back in, she saw the knives cleared away and we were all doing our best with the knives that I could fix.
“Need a hand?” She asked.
I handed over my knife. “Go, go veggie chop! I need to shower and clean up.”
I left and they were still laughing. I made my way upstairs and in to the shower without encountering anyone. I needed the time alone. I was leaning against the shower wall, letting the spray beat over my shoulders when I heard the door open and close.
“You’re late. I figured that you wouldn’t be joining me.”
“Lies. You’re naked. I just had to avoid my mother.” Ben said as he climbed in to the shower with me.
I leaned back against him. “I love you.”
I felt him kiss my hair and smile. “I love you too.”
“Do you think we can handle it?”
“My mother? Yes. Thanksgiving? There might be more blood. I heard Miles complaining about blisters. He was hand whipping cream.”
I laughed. “He does know my mixer is in the cabinet right above his head, right?”
“No and I wasn’t about to tell him.” Ben laughed.
“Evil. I love it.” I said, laughing with him.
“While we still have time to ourselves.. ” Ben hinted. I grinned and turned around to kiss him.
It was an hour and a half before we made it back down stairs, but we were laughing like idiots and feeling good. Walking in to the kitchen we were immediately drafted in to making pies. The turkeys were already in the ovens and everyone was making some sort of dessert for the oven we had left. We worked together, cracking jokes and making each other laugh until the pies were out of the oven and the only thing left was stuffing, gravy and turkeys, but those had to wait until the turkeys were done. So we spent most of the time left setting up tables, buffet style.
“Do you think we have enough seating?” I asked Ben as we shoved another couch in to the great hall.
Ben grunted and shoved the couch along a wall. “If we don’t, I don’t care. my back hurts and I’m tired of moving furniture into the hall.”
I watched him flop down on the couch we just moved with a sigh and then climbed in to his lap.
“Snuggle me.” I demanded as I curled around him.
“With pleasure.” He said.
The sound of the fire soon lulled us to sleep and we woke up to Grandmama Murphy standing over us, clucking her tongue.
“You two. Get up! The turkeys are done and there’s stuffing to be made.” She said. She then turned on her heel and went off to the kitchen.
I yawns and rubbed my eyes. Ben shifted underneath me and yawned.
“Hi Sleepy.” I said and kissed him.
“Hello Beautiful.” He looked around and found that it was almost dark. “What time is it?”
“Time enough to go make stuffing and gravy. Grandmama was just in here.” I said as I got up out of out nest and stretched.
Ben watched me stretch and when I noticed, wiggled his eyebrows at me. I laughed.
“No. We’re not sneaking off and leaving the mess for everyone else.” Ben pouted, but I held firm. “No. Turkey must be carved.”
Ben sighed. “Okay. Give me a hand up, will you?”
I grabbed his hand and tugged, but he caught me off guard and yanked me down on to the couch again and tickled me until I was out of breath.
“That was mean.” I said.
Ben nuzzled my neck. “But worth it.” He gave me another kiss and helped me up. We walked hand in hand in to the kitchen and found a mess. There was whipped creme everywhere. Ben and I stood in the doorway, mouths hanging open.
“What the bloody hell happened here?” I demanded.
Miles and Mark looked down and Jude started laughing. “Food fight!”
I could feel my lips twitching. “Well I’m not cleaning this up. I’ll take the dogs out.”
“I’m with you.” Ben said and we went out in to the main hallway to pile in to outdoor gear for the trip outside.
The dogs figured out what was going on and started dancing at the door to go outside. I opened the door and let the dogs out, laughing along with Ben as they rolled each other in the snow.
We’d been out for at least a half hour when the first of the guests started to arrive. It was the Sheriff and his twins. They were out of the car and rocketing across the lawn to roll with the dogs before Sheriff Stier’s could stop them.
“Oh let them be, Eric. It’s holiday.” I said as I hugged him hello.
He handed over a bottle of wine and shook Ben’s hand.
“I can’t help it. I worry.”
“They’ll be fine, but it’s time to go in. We’ve been outside long enough.”
Ben called the dogs and the Twins in and there was much groaning and complaining as we all piled inside and took off the outdoor gear.
“There’s a new board game in the great hall and Frosty is on the TV, go keep out of trouble.” I said and watched them take off running with the dogs.
“No magic!” Ben shouted at them.
A chorus of over the shoulder “okay!” was faintly heard as they were already in the Great Hall. I shook my head at them.
“They’ll claim they didn’t hear you the second they make something explode, you know.”
“I just hope it’s nothing that leaves squishy bits all over the hall.” Ben grumbled.
“Well, there isn’t any jello in there so this time it won’t be us cleaning it out of the rafters again.” I said as we led the Sheriff in to the kitchen. He was laughing.
“You two don’t tell me anything about my own kids. I’d have grounded them for that.” He said.
“We made them sit in time out for an hour, in different rooms. That was torture enough.” I said.
I handed off the bottle to Mark as we made the introductions. More and more people arrived after the Sheriff did, pretty soon we were looking at a full house. The party was in full swing when Grandmama Murphy brought out the turkey and we set up the buffet. The conversation hum was light and joking and I was just becoming hopeful that we were going to make it without an incident when Grandmama Murphy came up behind me and told me there was a problem. I snagged Ben and we met her in the hall way.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Well I don’t want you to be alarmed, but there’s a couple of FBI agents here and one of them is Miles’s ex-boyfriend.”
I swore. “Oh that’s all we need. I don’t care about them being FBI. I care that Miles and Denver, who are currently canoodling on my settee, are going to get in to another fight.”
“Another fight?” Ben asked.
“Just after they arrived. Something about pastries. I put a stop to it while you were chasing down Gibbs who’d stolen a shoe.”
“So, the FBI?” Murphy said.
I sighed. “Lead on, Grandmama.”
She led us all in to the kitchen where the agents were sitting at the table, eating pie. I smiled at that. Grandmama always looked out for us and whomever need a spot of food on a cold night. I coughed to bring attention to myself and they looked up.
“Hello. I’m Marlowe Oberly and this is Ben Solt.”
They scrambled to stand, but I waved them off and sat down at the table with them.
“I’m Vaughn Beazley and this is my partner Tucker Groue. We’re here to do the pre-investigation for the attempted bombing trial.”
“No offense meant by this, because I’m glad you’re here, but couldn’t it have waited until after the holiday?”
The man named Tucker squirmed in his chair. “We’re kind of pressed for time since the defendant exercised his right to a speedy trial. It means that the trial is moving up to the spring instead of waiting for all the pre-trial hearings.”
I swore. I was just about to ask more questions when Miles and Mark came in to the kitchen with empty platters. I nudged Ben and he got up to take the dishes before Miles saw his ex-boyfriend sitting at our table. I watched Miles turn around and see me, then look at his ex.
“You! What the fuck are you doing here!?” Miles shouted.
I laid my head on the table and groaned. Ben stepped in between Miles and Vaughn.
“Now Miles. Things might have ended badly last year but that’s no reason to shout at the Agent who’s helping your cousin lock up Steve.”
Miles glared at Ben, then at Vaughn and he stormed out of the kitchen.
“Well, that certainly could have gone better.” Tucker said.
Vaughn glared at Tucker and I smiled at him like I’d found a new best friend.