We are in the downhill slide to the end of the year and the holidays are fully upon us. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Seems like yesterday was Halloween. Time is so weird. Anyway, todays #1lineWed THEME is something of a no-brainer–**GRATITUDE**– and since I have a scene in FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE that’s centered around Thanksgiving, I figured y’all could deal with a fairl long snippet. That’s the only set-up you get. 😉
“Why is he even here?” Brooke perched on one of the kitchen stools. She was supposed to be arranging a relish plate but she ignored the cans and jars of olives, pickles, and other munchables.
Justice continued rolling out dough for the yeast rolls. The turkey was in the oven, and the kitchen smelled heavenly. Potatoes were ready to be mashed. The green bean casserole would go in soon. Elena and Pops were bringing dessert and the cranberry sauce. “He’s here because the sheriff is my friend and I invited him.”
“Your friend?” How her niece could sneer, smirk and put air quotes around a word all at the same time had to be a teenager talent.
“Yes. My friend.” Oh, Jack was so much more but for two months now, she’d managed to hide the fact that Jack shared her bed on multiple occasions. Thank goodness the man was sneaky and they’d had no close calls causing him to vacate the premises via her bedroom window. The mental picture of him scrambling down the side of her house put a big smile on her face.
“Ewww. Stop that, Aunt Jussie. I know what you’re thinking about and it skeeves me out.”
Jack walked up behind Justice and dropped a kiss on the top of her head. “You’ll be thinkin’ different in a year or so,” he told Brooke.
“Ewww,” Justice responded. “No boys for you, young lady.”
The teen rolled her eyes. “Boyfriends are for losers.”
“Says the girl who doesn’t have one,” Justice mumbled that for Jack’s ears only. She glanced at the neon clock on the wall. “Elena and Pops should be here any minute now.”
In response to her statement, a red truck pulled up in front of the house. Elena and Pops climbed out and then Pops helped someone out of the front seat.
“Is that Miss Reba?”
“Appears so. I’ll go help Pops with the food.”
Jack passed the ladies on the way in and directed them toward the kitchen. At the truck, Pops handed him a fancy food carrier with handles and everything, along with a pie container. Breathing deeply, Jack smiled. “Pecan pie and sweet potato casserole.”
“Both compliments of Reba.” Pops carried a brown bag with handles and two stacked food carriers—one pie, one cake. “Tres leches cake, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and Lena’s hand-made tamales. Can’t have a holiday meal without those!”
Jack’s stomach growled. “Good.”
Laughing, Pops preceded him into the house. “A man after my own heart.”
They delivered their items and then the ladies shooed them out. Brooke sulked when they detained her and insisted she help.
“How’s that goin’?” Pops asked once they were in the family room with the TV loud enough the women couldn’t hear.
“Good days and bad days. Gettin’ to be more good lately.”
“And you and Justice?”
Jack scowled at his best friend. “What about me’n Justice.”
“How’s that going?”
“Not rushin’ her.”
Pops leaned his head back and laughed. “Not rushing her? Swear to God, Jack, you are slower than the Medina River in a drought.”
A growl escaped before Jack could swallow it. “Leave it be, Pops.”
His old friend studied him for a long time but didn’t say anything. Then he faced the TV and asked, “Who’s playin’ today?”
Jack let his anger go. Prolonging things with Justice was gettin’ damn old. His wolf was acting as sulky as Brooke, but Jack couldn’t move things faster. They were together. They weren’t hiding they had a relationship. He managed to get into her bed most nights and the ones he couldn’t, he patrolled her ranch in wolf form. “Houston and Detroit. Cowboys play Washington later.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
An hour later, Brooke slouched in and collapsed on the couch. She glanced at the TV and huffed out an aggrieved sigh. “I hate football,” she announced in an imperious voice.
Jack slowly turned his head to stare at her. She met his gaze for about half a second then she dropped her eyes. “Parades are over.”
“I don’t like them either.”
“Is there anything you do like?”
Pops burst out laughing. Man and girl both stared at him. “Lord but I do not miss this stuff. I’ll take a toddler’s tantrum over an angst-filled teen any day of the week.”
“I don’t even know what that means,” Brooke groused.
“Is emo kid still a thing?” Reba called from the kitchen. “I’m old and I don’t keep track of the hip slang anymore.”
“I am sooo not an E-girl. Jeez.”
“E-girl.” Jack pondered the phrase. “That anything like email?”
Brooke rolled off the couch. “I don’t have to put up with being dissed like this. I’m going to my room.”
“Did you set the table?” Justice called.
“Yes.” Brooke trudged up the back stairs like the weight of the universe hung around her neck.
Jack glanced at Pops to find the other man staring at him and grinning. “What?”
“Watching you and that young’un. Makes me proud and grateful that I’m standing here watching.”
“Shut up, Pops.”
I’m grateful I bought a freezer-to-oven turkey breast that will take about 2 1/2 hours to roast and then we’ll enjoy turkey sandwiches and the trimmings because turkey sammiches are the best part of Thanksgiving around this house. The kids are coming and I’m grateful for that, too. I’m also grateful that this book is almost done. Yay! Writers, any gratitude words to share? Readers, what are you grateful for? If you are celebrating, have a very happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!