WhatAHoliday Chapter 5

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Anno Domine
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The other part of our convoy arrived thirty minutes later, and I spent most of that time staring out the window and trying to go over what kind of story I would tell the police when they arrived. Garrett was sure they were not coming and that she said that as a scare tactic.

“And it worked,” I replied.
“People can be strange. I mean you serve a few of them each day.”
“Reverend Al is not weird,” I retorted as I waved at Danny as the group approached the door,
“Not even after the fourth bowl of cornbread?”
“He tips well.”
“I’ll accept that.”

Danny and Lena staggered in and sat down across from us as my parents walked toward the restroom.
“Remember when I said I’d strap Dad to the hood?”
“Yes.”
“I should have strapped myself. I have not heard so much NPR since leaving Starbucks.”
Lena laid her head on the table and mumbled something the three of us could not understand but everyone was too afraid to ask as she raised her head with a scowl. “Make this trip end, please.”
“We’re almost there. Maybe ten minutes to go.”
“Ten?” I asked. “You could have told us where to go and we would have met you at Adam’s house.”
“I tried, but Dad wants us all to arrive together. He said he wants to make sure there’s peace.”

I frowned at those words. Not because I thought Dad had something against me but because he knew Adam and wanted to be there in case the “old Adam” reared his ugly head. It was disappointing to think Adam could be like how he was, even through everything seemed rather cool for the past year. Maybe “cold” was the better word to use as Adam never called to talk to me. Mom and Dad would relay things to me about Adam and the family in Texas but they never gave me any details and I never asked for them.
Mom came up to the table and laid her coat down.
“It feels great to stretch my legs. How long have you been here, Nikki?”
“Long enough to have refilled this Dr. Pepper three-”
“-Four,” Garrett pointed out.
“Four times. We also got threatened by this homeless woman.”
Everyone looked at me, except for Garrett who looked to the ceiling and took a sip from his drink.
“There was this little girl standing by herself in the parking lot. I went to try and help her and this lady stats screaming about calling the police.”
“That’s how kidnappings start,” Lena said,
Garrett continued to look at the ceiling and sipping his drink. I was hoping he would jump in and assist me with the tale.
“I was trying to make sure she was okay, but the crazy woman dragged her away.”
“And we’ve been waiting for the police to arrive,” Garrett finally chipped in.
“Police?” Das asked from behind us. “Were you speeding?”
“John Walsh would like to speak to you,” Danny replied with a smirk.
“Who?”
“Did you order yet?” Dad asked Mom.
She shook her head.
“I’m pretty hungry. I want that bacon burger with barbecue thing we’ve seen signs for the past hour or so.”
“Excuse me!” Lena scrambled form the table and ran into the restroom.
After multiple trips to the restroom myself, are caravan was once again on the road with Dad leading the way. We drove a half a mile down the road to see a mess of tents in a small area on the side of the road in front of a drugstore. There was a light dusting of snow along the tops and a few people pacing back and forth. My eyes lit up as I recognized the crazy lady.
“Garrett!” I grabbed his arm and just about drove us off the road. “She’s over there!”
“Camping in December? Couldn’t do that. Grands tried to tempt me by saying he’d get me a new car if I could help him catch a deer.”
“But your truck is new.”
“Yep, didn’t go hunting. Hit the deer instead on the way to the woods.”
“Okay, I’ll ask about that later. Garrett, look at them. They’re in tents on the side of a highway.”
He glanced at them for a moment and then accelerated to keep up with my dad.
“Can we come back and check up on them?”
“What if they’re some kind of cult?”
“A cult, seriously?”
“Seriously. They’re just out in the open about it. Brazen and in your face kind of thing.”
“In the snow?”
“They’re dedicated.”
“We are coming back here, tomorrow,” I said as I continued to look back. I thought I had caught a glimmer of the little girl.

We continued down the road and took a slight fork to the right that led to a large house in the middle of a lawn that would take an eternity to mow by hand.
“This is your brother’s place?”
“I guess so. They never said it was huge. Karen Anne always said ‘our little home’ whenever she talked about their house.”
“It’s like the house on ‘Dallas’,” Garrett exclaimed with a whistle. “Does he have a butler?”
“I’ll be surprised if one doesn’t meet us at the door,” I said as Garret parked behind my parents and killed the engine.
“Okay, you can do this, Nikki.”
“I know,” I replied with a nervous nod.
“Remember what he said at the party. Right?”
“Yeah, I want to think he meant it.”
“I’m sure he’s going to open the door and greet everyone with a smile on his face.”
“More like Karen Anne will be the one answering the door.”
“There’s always the chance of a butler.”
“Kind of hoping for me,” I replied as Garrett climbed out, closed the driver’s side door, rushed around the front to my side and opened the door.
“We have arrive, m’lady.”
“Thank you, m’lord.”
He grabbed me by the waist and lifted me out of the truck and onto the ground. It was a wonderful tension breaker. “No towers. Perhaps he has a dungeon.”

We walked up to front door and Dad rapped his hand against the humongous door.
The door clicked a few times to reveal Karen Anne standing in the doorway. She looked pregnant.
“Oh, it’s so great to see all ya’ll,” she exclaimed as she gave my parents a hug. Karen Anne then turned to Danny and gave him a hug as well before she turned to Lena.
“We have something more in common.” Lena said as they did a side-hug.
“We do. You look like you’re ready to pop.”
“Just about,” Lena replied with a sigh.
Karen Anne turned her attention to us. She reached out and took my hands and noticed the ring on my finger. “It’s great to see you again, Nikki. And who is your friend?”
“This is Garrett Thomas. Garrett, this is Karen Anne.”
“Ma’am,” Garrett replied.
“Well, come on in, I’m sure you’re tired from the trip. Unpack later, okay?”
“Thank you, Dad replied as we filed into the house.

The foyer was able to accommodate our group without anyone having to touch a wall. In front of us was a grand staircase with passageways to the left and right. I hoped there were going be a few of those maps that read ‘You are Here’.

The halls were decked indeed with enough holly, garlands. and lights bordering the large bookcases on the side of the room.

“Adam’s in the living room with the kids. Adam!”

She swung out a set of double doors to reveal the living room that appeared to be the size off our house back in Tennessee, minus the garage.

Adam stood up and as my niece Amelia and nephew, James, turned to see us.
“Grandma! Grandpa!” They shouted in unison.

I looked at Adam’s face, he had a Cheshire Cat grin as the kids slammed into my parents like they were running backs like Travis Henry and Eddie George. My Dad absorbed the full-on blow by James and Amelia stopped short in front of mom in order to jump up and down like had eaten a bowl of caffeinated Frosted Flakes. As crazy as it looked, it made me feel happy. Maybe the holiday could work. Perhaps the dark feelings I had of over a year ago were just that, bad memories, made better by my brother relaxing his intolerance and embracing me for who I was. It could be a merry Christmas indeed.

“Hey, Unca Nik,” my nephew James, shouted at me.

And, it was gone.

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Comments

Misgendered

joannebarbarella's picture

Nikki's welcome has been spoiled from its first moment. So much for tolerance or acceptance. She should turn right around and march out of there.