I step over to Rayne and take her into my arms and hug her gently. “Surprise?”
“This…I never thought…you guys…” she talk sniffles.
Dad smiles. “No, it’s not a big deal. The place needed some TLC that’s all and as for your room you’ve been busy and hurting. Stuff like this gets to be just one big thing you have to do that you don’t have the heart and energy for. Besides Angel’s cooking one of my favorite meals and it’s always been something we did….have a big feed and get together and have a whole lot of hands to get things done.”
“We never really did that home, just different I suppose…we just had like big holiday dinners or stuff or once in awhile there’d be a baby shower and stuff but we really didn’t work and stuff.”
“It’s sort of our take on the whole barn/deck building tradition.”
I nod. “Dad’s actually from the Maritimes and I guess they do stuff like this there.”
He laughs a bit. “Any excuse to party really, home back in the days these get togethers usually revolved around food and cold beer. Especially with friends me and Mitch had out in the countryside when it came to stuff like cutting a winters firewood and storing it or helping out with the hay.”
“Yeah a lot of people can’t afford to hire guys to help and hay bales don’t get on the trucks or in the barns themselves.”
Rayne nods. “My dad told me about barn dances and stuff after haying.”
“That usually is a bit different that when farmers and friends all help each other in a co-op sort of way. They do the meal and beers thing too but when everyone’s done and stuff they thrown a big barn dance to celebrate getting a hard job done.”
“Hard it’s just hay?”
“And it’s hot and heavy after awhile, you’re walking besides the trucks, then getting it in the barns and hay dust and stuff can get just as itchy and stuff as fiberglass pink. It’s a hard job.”
“I’d love to play one of those things Dad.”
“I’ll ask around, there’s lots of farmers I know too.”
I look at Rayne. “Maybe we’ll do that sometime?”
“Yeah old rock might go over well.”
We untangle and get back to doing things with Dad making sure her bed was set up and Rayne and I going through her books and her novels and putting them into the bookshelves and then actually setting up her record collection…yes actual records and a good stereo with a turn table, stack racks for cassettes and CD’s…she had all these things just she really hadn’t had the time and had been living out of boxes more or less for awhile.
And with that is a whole bunch of clothes and bedding is making the pile on the floor for stuff to get tossed or washed and maybe reused.
Wow she’s has a lot of magazines, Music yeah but also some car magazines, Omni? (I’ve never heard of that one.) Fangoria and other goth magazines and a big miscellaneous bunch too…including some Playboys and some Hustler’s and Lingerie catalogues.
I hold up a few and look at Rayne. She blushes but grins shyly saying. “You have a cool lesbian girlfriend?”
“Yes, yes I do.” I grin and smile back.
There’s some that we set aside because there’s pictures that she likes in them or posters and we’re just taking things down to the wash when the girls are there back from detention and are raving about how cool things are looking and we actually laugh when we hear both of them squealing. “Carpet! Oh my god we’ve got carpet in our rooms!”
Kim actually screams. And she’s having a freak out in her room. We all kind of rush in to see what’s up. I hadn’t been in there since helping Dad move the furniture out to put the carpet down.
There’s a hand made wall unit for her TV and stuff and room for all of her DVD’s and stuff but built into the corner of her room at the foot of the bed. Her vanity table in just past the inswing of the door on the other side but in the far corner Dad or Dad and the guys built a six inch high hardwood flooring covered mini stage with her drums all set up on it, a poster for the drummer from Rush and another one with the girls from Final Fantasy 10-2 on it as a band in the on stage scene…I had the game, loved it.
But it’s her very own really decent looking sound stage for her to play her drums. And she’s completely over the moon for it.
Brooklyn’s hugging her then herself and we check out her room that has new carpet too but I can actually see her closet now and there’s been hooks set up where she can set her guitar cases like mounting them on the wall. Two of her guitars are already up there and they look good. There’s also a mandolin mounted on the wall like that and she has a vanity desk that’s really nice now that I can see it with that white painted sort of Victorian look? I like the matching chair.
The thing is I know the rooms won’t stay like this but right now they look really nice and at the same time it’s like…I don’t know? Scratching my decorating side? I like stuff like this I’m finding out, maybe like the way that Mom felt about having our house just the way that she liked it.
I leave the girls to enjoy and explore each other’s rooms and go down and check on the corned beef dinner and I start putting the raisin bread in the oven.
“Dessert? I should make a dessert.”
Hmm…I look through some of the cupboards and take out graham crackers and buzz them up in the food processor and then I melt some peanut butter in the microwave and add it and some brown sugar and a little salt.
It’s a peanut butter version of the graham crumb crust for desserts. I try some and it reminds me a little of the flavors in a Butterfinger bar.
I press it into a pie tin and then I make Jell-O Chocolate pudding and I use two packages and just shorten the milk a little so it gets thicker like a mousse. I pour it into the pie shell and have just enough peanut butter in the bowl I used to re-melt it in the microwave and pour out a decorative swirl. I toss it into the fridge and enjoy a few moments licking the beaters clean and the spatula before washing the dishes.
Mike comes in with this insert for the kitchen table. “I found this in the hall closet and figured we might need it.”
“Yeah I think the table came with the house so that’d make sense.”
“Not a lot of room here though.”
“We don’t really have a dining room though.”
I think about it for awhile there’s not a lot in the hall really and it should work it’s either that or the living room and we’ve got all our band stuff in there.
“Yeah that’ll be the best bet I think.”
We get the table out into the hall first and then set up the insert and really sort of want a table cloth so I head up to my room and get one on the sheets I bought when making the drapery around my bed. It’ll work in a pinch.
(Smile.) More things for the home list. Oh yeah there’s a list.
I get the table set and there’s bowls of rolls and there’s a loaf of bread that I slice up but the supper itself I take out very slowly. The thing about a corned beef and cabbage supper is the food is boiled together for a long time, this is not the semi cooked veggies kind of food. I have separate dishes for the cabbage, the meat which I get Mike to take out for me because he’s got a better reach and we’re sliding a rack under it so the brisket doesn’t fall apart. The potatoes get their own dish and then the turnip, parse snip and carrots get their own dish.
I cover everything with dish towels so it doesn’t dry out and I bring the liquor to a boil…this is the great stuff it’s the liquids off the boil with bits of all the veggies and the flavors from the stock from before and that chickpea paste I added to it. Now’s the time I add it the fat rendered off the corned beef that I added flour too and made a gravy base with. I add it together and whisk it together and it thickens pretty quickly. It’s not really a gravy but it is at the same time and sort of looks like split pea soup but it tastes…sweet in that good veggie way and savory too and then there’s the smoky salty hints from the corned beef and all those little bits of everything in it.
I add some pepper and it’s pretty great. I really wish Mom was here for a bowlful of this.
I carry the gravy out in a clear plastic juice pitcher and see everyone there getting seated and mile at the looks on their faces as I take the dish towels off. The huh…okay…looks like old people food of the girls to the pure pleasure smiles on Dad and Mitch who know what’s coming.
It’s another great family meal and I go for a bit of the meat, and some turnip but lots of carrots and three potatoes…I love the potatoes from a meal like this…they just suck all the savory flavors in and they’re still a bit crumbly dry when you leave them whole as you cook them. I get a bit of the cabbage too.
The girls are still sort of being teens about it and Brook’s got that not fussy thing going on and she’s a potato girl like me and Rayne seems to like it all but she’s really about the bread and the gravy. Kimmie’s into all of it and she’s never had turnip or parsnip or corned beef in her life.
The boys are like…
I used some small cabbages but a couple of them and me and the girls ate maybe a third of one of them. The guys ate the rest…they ate the rest of everything even doing the rolls and bread thing with the gravy. Both Dad and Uncle Mitch having two plates and Mike having three.
And I’m not saying that we girls didn’t eat I had a stacked plate and two rolls and the girls ate good too. Both Brooklyn and Kim with decent plates and Rayne even ate pretty good even if she was looking guilty about it a little.
We all have that post good meal …oh yeah thing going on and I get up and clear the table but Rayne stops me. “Me and the girls got this honey.” She leans over and kisses me and it’s sooo good. It’s that make your heart roll over happy kind of kissing. I look at the guy’s. “Movie?”
They agree and we head into the living room and set up the movie on Netflix and decide on “Paul.” the movie with the Alien and the guys from Shaun of the dead. Only Mike’s seen it and he’s excited about us seeing it because it’s supposed to be funny.
Dishes done and everyone comfy we settle in to watch the movie and I’ll admit to the movie being funny, really funny especially with the religious girl trying to swear. It feels good to just laugh and forget the bullshit that’s been going on.
I’m snuggled on the end of the couch with Rayne and I really can’t help but notice the way her hand sort of cups my not-breast while her arm’s around me.
After “Paul” we cue up “The Mummy.” with Brandon Fraser and I make coffee while we settle into eating dessert.
It’s really, really good…so can’t go wrong with a Reese’s peanut butter cup pie and girls. I swear I’m really starting to get the chocolate thing. I wonder if it’ll be different on female hormones? What the guys did to supper we do to dessert…enough really that I could’ve made two and it wouldn’t be pushing it.
I’ll admit I fell asleep in Rayne’s arms despite all the sugar, chocolate and the coffee. It just was so perfect and with everyone here and the way she smells. I just ended off drifting away in her arms.
“So what’s this plan?”
“Marshal’s thinking he’s got us over a barrel but he’s one arrogant little shit.”
“Yeah no shit.”
“So guys like him don’t think that we got a clue, he thinks that he’s untouchable.”
“Yeah but he’s getting us to do this and if we don’t he’s going to cause shit to our families.”
“Uh-huh, but we’re checking in just chill Kirk, I got this.”
They pulled into the old parking lot of the lumber storage yard and waited. They were both inside a brown metallic Monte Carlo. They dumped the truck after getting tis new ride and after wiping it down they dumped it in the lake in a time honored Ontario criminal tradition.
They smoked and waited on Marshal to pull in. He got out alone this time and he still had that rich boy swagger.
Dane got out and spit then took another drag off his smoke before flicking the butt away and then leaning on the side of the car. Kirk took a minute to get out looking intimidated.
Adam looked at the two. “I heard the police report, you didn’t actually do a whole lot to Mike. I thought I told you two to actually make sure he gets the message.”
“He’s our business Marshal we owe him lots of pain but y’know you want Mike to suffer then you’ve got to be a bit more specific.”
Adam sneered at him. “Look I was nice and clear. I want him to get hurt, I want him out of my life and out of my hair. He’s looking too closely at me and my people for my liking given what he did to you and your family. It’s why I reached out to you. I want it to look like it was payback.”
“And it will be, but you’re not getting the way the food chain works rich boy…look over there.” Dane’s finger pointed to a video recorder set up in a niche of a leftover wood pile.
“Oh…you recorded it.”
“Yeah and I’m going to tell you how things are going to work rich boy.”
The camera exploded into bits as Adam swung the large pistol effortlessly into Dane’s face. He wasn’t even looking pissed off just amused.
“You’re going to do what you’re told, plain and simple. I’m a Marshal you idiot I grew up with people doing this taping and recording stuff in meetings my entire life…you honestly think this was a fucking good idea?”
Dane looked pissed, shocked but pissed. Kirk moved a little and Adam smiled at him. “Make a move big guy, I grew up with guns too it comes with the territory of being a Marshal.”
Kirk backed off actually looking a bit scared of this kid.
“So what now Mr. Marshal?” Dane asked sarcastically.
“You put the contents of your pockets on the hood of the car and go for a walk. I leave taking your phones and I don’t put a forty-five hollow point hole into you two.”
“Yeah…I meant about Mike and them.”
“I still want him hurt, I want him out of my hair and scare Jem…Hurt her friends…I want her scared…scared enough to take my help.”
“She don’t like you Adam even I’ve seen that from her show on Wednesday.”
“Good…it’ll make it that much sweeter when she does.”
“You’re a real fucking piece of work y’know that kid.”
Adam smiled. “You don’t have a clue. I’m still being nice.”
Dane stepped back from the car his things and Kirks on the hood. This kid was dangerous, he knew guns and the kid wasn’t lying about having grown up with them. He didn’t need to sight in that much and more telling he didn’t look to be carrying.
But the calm and almost smiling way he was after this was scary. Honestly he knew a lot of really bad guys but this really was the first time that he ever met someone that really gave off sociopath.
He watch Adam take their phones and walk over and take the camera bits and pieces and smile as he left walking backwards then getting into his car and left.
“So what do we do now Dane this guy’s crazy?”
“We go check the other camera’s Kirk, this is going to get bloody if he doesn’t back off.”
“Maybe we should send this up the road.”
“No, we didn’t clear this before coming after Mike…we clean this up ourselves.”
“Yeah and we get out of this fucked up town.”
“Yeah, but we get Mike…the stooges will be good for that. Them we pin it on them and we set him up that he hired the stooges to do the hit.”
“Then we get out of here?”
“After we deal with rich boy... after we deal with that little fucker.”
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