I was awoken the next morning, earlier than I would have preferred. My mom knocked and entered simultaneously, ordering “get up. Get up. There is much to do. I need you to pick up this room, shovel the sidewalk, clean your bathroom, and get dressed. You’ll need nice clothes today Daniel. Up. Up.”
She leaned down at the side of my bed and ripped the covers off of my warm body. I felt an immediate rush of cold air consume my near nakedness. She ran her hand through my hair and kissed my forehead. “I need cooperation sweetie. Let’s get started.”
As a parting shot, she turned back from my door before she walked out “oh, and bring all your sheets and bedding down with you. You’re aunt and uncle will be using your bed tonight.”
“What? Where am I going to sleep?”
“You and Jeffrey (my cousin) will have to make do with the couches downstairs.”
“Ughh.” This day just keeps getting better and better. I more or less sunk to the floor in a heap with all the other laundry. I picked myself up and hobbled over to the window to see how much snow fell overnight. Pfft. Not much more than an inch, by the looks of it. Shoveling shouldn’t be a problem.
I walked to the bathroom to unload the customary morning piss, and splash some cold water over my face. I threw on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt and some socks, and rolled up all my bedding. I looked over the railing and didn’t see anything important below, so I chucked the heavy pile over the edge.
“Daniel! Why do you insist on always throwing your laundry this way? Will you ever listen to me?”
“It was heavy” I complained, as I reached the bottom of the stairs.
“One day you will kill me with your senseless acts.”
“Sorry mom, but I did look before I dropped them.”
“Never mind. Just…do your chores. Please.”
I silently retrieved the pile of bedding and dragged it to the washer. I walked to the coat tree by the front door and grabbed a hoodie. I dug out my choppers (mittens) and a beanie and slid into my shoes. I walked into the garage and grabbed a shovel and waited for the door to finish opening. As I predicted, the snow wasn’t even enough to shovel, so I grabbed a push-broom and cleared both the driveway and sidewalk in under a half-hour. The whole episode seemed rather pointless, but questioning my mother would not be a wise choice right now. Instead, I disrobed from my outdoor wear, stepped into the kitchen, and announced “the shoveling is done. I’ll go pick up my room now” while wearing a slightly overdone display of enthusiasm.
“Great Daniel. Thank you.”
As I started to walk away, my mom stopped me with “wait. Hold on Daniel. You need something to eat. I put you right to work. I am sorry honey. Toast? Let me fix you some toast and orange juice. Yes. Toast and orange juice. Sit. Sit. What time did you tell your sweetheart to come over?”
I took my seat. At first it didn’t register what my mom had said. After noticing she was waiting for an answer, I reran her long dialogue and questioned, “sweetheart?”
“Well of course. Kayla.”
“Ughh mom. She’s my friend. I don’t have a ‘sweetheart.’
“Well whatever you call it these days. What time is she coming over?”
“I don’t know.”
“Oh Daniel. Tell her 2:00 and we will eat at 4:00.”
She spread some some fake butter and honey on my whole grain toast and presented it to me with a glass of orange juice. I inhaled it as quickly as I could, to avoid any further interrogation.
“Thanks mom” I blurted out, escaping quickly toward the stairs. I looked at my clock as I entered my room. 10:30! I still had three and a half hours before anybody arrives. Why did she get me up so early? I cleaned up my room, which took all of twenty minutes. What next?
I went into my closet and grabbed a pair of khaki pants and a dark blue sweater. This should be dressy enough. It’s about the dressiest outfit I own, so it’ll have to do. Just to make sure, I ran it downstairs to check with my mom.
“Huh? Oh, that’ll be fine. Leave the pants down here. I’ll have your sister iron them. Make sure you wear navy socks too.”
“Ok. I’m pretty much done. Is there anything else you need me to do?”
“Yes. You can vacuum the rug by the dining room table, and set up the folding table and chairs, for you kids. I’ll spread a table cloth on it for you. Thank you sweetie.”
I did as she said with no complaint. I can tell she’s pretty stressed out so any help I can give her, the better off everything will be. Also, I was already bored, and the clock was crawling.
With my latest set of chores completed, I decided to run upstairs and take a shower, and clean up the bathroom after I was finished. Now I was down to just over an hour, before our guests arrive.
A few minutes later, I received a text from Kayla:
“Hey. Is it cool if I come a little bit early?”
“I don’t want to be the last one to walk in and get stared at.”
“Lol. Ok. I understand. Come over whenever you want.”
“Thanks. C ya.”
“Soon 🙂 “
I readied myself, minus my pants that were downstairs, and took a final sweep of my room and the bathroom. When I got downstairs, my sister had not yet ironed my pants, so I moped around, looking like an idiot.
“Kayla’s coming early. Can you please iron my pants now?”
“In a minute, ok? Besides Kayla would probably prefer you dressed like this.”
“Very funny” I replied sarcastically. In my mind I was saying ‘shit! Kari knew.’
Five minutes later I was slipping on my freshly pressed, warm khakis.
About 1:45 there was a knock at the door, so I walked over to open it. I was seriously stunned when I threw it open, and didn’t recognize the girl smiling at me from the other side. When my eyes bugged out, I heard the unmistakable giggle that belonged to Kayla.
“Come in. Please. You look…stunning.”
“Thank you handsome. You clean up pretty good.”
She did look stunning. She had dyed her hair pitch black, except for a section of her bangs that glided across her forehead and rested beside her eye, that was dyed a midnight blue. The same color as her full length, sleek dress. Something else I had never seen before, she was wearing make-up. A thin sliver of color lined her eyes, and her long lashes were brought to life with some dark make-up stuff. Her lids wore a very subtle blue hue, and her full, pouty lips hinted a shade pinker. Unlike so many girls I see everyday at school, that overdue it with make-up. Kayla knew how to use it, subtly. Beautifully.
I ushered her into the kitchen area, and both my mom and sister gasped.
“My dear Kayla. You look gorgeous” my mom complimented.
“Thanks” Kayla responded, a little nervously.
“Great…you just raised the bar” Kari said with a smile.
I ushered her toward the living room, saying “let’s get away from these jealous women” after we got a safe distance away.
About ten seconds later, my mom called “Daniel. Come here please.”
Wow! Was she going to give me a hard time for that innocent little comment. I got up and walked into the kitchen.
“Did you ask Kayla what she’d like to drink?”
“Well hop to it.”
After two more trips, I handed Kayla a glass filled with Sprite and ice. We sat and talked a few minutes, until we heard another knock at the door.
In walked my aunt and uncle, and my two cousins. Jessica, who is 15, and Jeffery, who is 11. They live on a hobby farm about two hours west, in a town that’s actually smaller than the one I live in. After the hugs and kisses with my mom, Jeffery spotted me, and came over to sit down. I hadn’t seen him in a while, but he still looked about the same as I remembered him. He’s a shrimp like me, but his long, tangled blonde hair shoots out in so many directions, it actually makes him look taller. He looks as close to a real life anime character, as I’ve ever seen. Huge blue eyes, a pointed chin, and thin, red lips. It accents his bizarre sense of humor perfectly. You can tell he’s got something funny brewing in his head at all times.
“Hi. I’m Jeffery” he said cordially to Kayla, extending his tiny little hand.
Kayla reached out to his fingertips and said “hi Jeffery. I’m Kayla.”
Jessica walked past and waved as she headed upstairs to find Kari, who was still getting herself ready.
Jeffery and I worked out a plan to make tonight ‘fun’ given our circumstances of being banished to the living room. We agreed that I would bring my laptop downstairs and we’d log into his Netflix streaming account, and have a horror film marathon. We saw the advantage of being so close to the kitchen for cold turkey sandwiches and leftover pie and ice cream too. I could tell Kayla liked Jeffery immediately. She kept starting at him, smiling uncontrollably. At one point he excused himself to the bathroom.
“Daniel. He’s soooo cute and innocent.”
“Yeah…so don’t corrupt him.”
That comment earned me a punch to the arm and a long dialogue about her own innocence, and how I’d be more likely to corrupt him. I rolled my eyes in a ‘yeah right’ gesture, while rubbing my sore arm. Luckily I was saved by jeffery’s quick return.
A while later uncle Aaron and Avery showed up. My uncle slipped in a wink and a thumbs up, after he spotted Kayla chatting with Jeffery. It felt really weird with the whole acceptance thing going on with my family. I had never experienced anything like that before. I couldn’t help but wonder what the reaction would be to me presenting Mark as a special someone. I think it’d be a little less positive, except in my uncles case, I think.
My mom ushered everybody away from her crowded kitchen and put out some hors d’oeuvres and planted a drink in every available hand. She announced dinner to be ready in about an hour.
At that announcement, my dad emerged from the bedroom for the first time of the day. He was dressed and shaven, like he’d been up for hours. Apparently, due to flight delays, he ended up on a red-eye, and barely slept.
With his arrival, I suggested to Kayla and Jeffery, that we run up to my room to get my laptop and look through my small pile of DVDs. They agreed, so we ran upstairs. Along the way, Kayla asked, “is that your father?”
We hung out in my room until my mom sent Kari up to retrieve us. We went down and took our seats at the designated tables. The adults at one, us kids at the other one.
My mom had various platters and dishes set up at the tables, but it wasn’t enough space to accommodate the volume of food she prepared. The island in the kitchen was also piled with goodies. There was a huge turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, scalloped corn, stuffing, warm rolls, green-bean hot dish, corn bread muffins, a jello salad, a salad of greens, both fruit and vegetable platters, cranberries, gravy, and a few unidentifiable dishes. It was enough food to feed a village, and it looked, and smelled freaking delicious.
I’ve never been one to eat a lot in a single sitting, but Thanksgiving is my one exception. I stuff myself just like everyone else. Then, when you don’t think you can possibly take another bite, you rest up for cookies and pie. I proceeded to eat two respectable plates of heaping goodness, before I has to throw in the towel. Miraculously, I was outdone by an 80 lb. garbage disposal, named Jeffery. He ate a truly admirable amount of food. He continued to eat, when everybody else was done. It was amazing.
While everybody was chatting during the post-war cool down, my mom approached me, and told me the oven was preheating, and in about five minutes, I needed to get my pies ready to go in. I nodded, and rejoined the conversation that was taking place at our table. Aaron came over and Kari went I don’t know where. Aaron and Kayla were having an in depth discussion about some movie I’ve never seen. Just then I felt Kayla’s hand fall onto my thigh. She didn’t miss a beat in her cinematic debate, as her hand started to massage the inner part of my leg. I was sitting there in stunned disbelief, scanning the entire room, to see if anyone could see what she was doing. Nervous about being seen, I scooted myself further under the table, hoping to hide what was going on. In hindsight, it was probably the single worst thing I could have done. It moved her hand closer to my groin, and may have sent her a signal, that I was urging her to continue. That is exactly what she did, rubbing tight circles right near where my legs come together. I tried to fight the good fight, but soon realized I was losing. I tried in desperation to maintain some form of composure, as my heartbeat thumped loudly in my ears.
“What are your thoughts Daniel?” asked my uncle Aaron.
“About the movie?”
It was that moment when Kayla went in for the kill, gently squeezing my testicles, and kind of pushing them around.
“Oh!…umm…I…never saw it.”
“Awe dude, you need to see it. You’ll like it.”
Words did not come easy, but I managed to spill out “yeah…it does sound cool.”
It was then that Kayla turned to me for the first time, and said “don’t you need to get those pies in the oven?”
My eyes bugged out, and I stared into her smiling face. “Umm…yeah. You’re right. I do need to get to the kitchen. Could you…come with and help me?”
Kayla took one stroke upward and said “yes. Of course”, before finally releasing me.
Now I had the task of trying to stand up and walk through everybody, boned up, and undetected. Damn this evil girl! I invited her along, in an attempt to use her as a shield. Just walk closely behind her.
I pushed my chair back and stood up sort of awkwardly, while subtly pulling my sweater down with one hand. I guided her to the kitchen, walking close behind. I think it went undetected.
“What the Hell was that for?”
“Why do you like to get me boned up in front of my family? You knew I had to get up and do this.”
“Lighten up. No one noticed. Besides, I didn’t see you knocking my hand away.”
She had me there.
“Whatevs. Let’s get these pies in.”
“Awe. Don’t be mad. You’re just so adorable. I can’t keep my hands off of you.”
I snuck her a quick kiss, to let her know we were still cool.
“Don’t worry. I’ll make it up to you later nature boy.”