Thanksgiving was… a blur. I barely remembered sleeping with Kat. I certainly didn’t remember drinking. I’d been making a point of staying sober, just in case anything attacked. Robin had said the same, but he’d given in a lot quicker than me. He still had his rifle strapped to his back, though, just in case. He was a good shot, but not that good. As for the others… Well, everyone just seemed glad to be able to forget about everything for one day. I had Alice to thank for it; she’d reminded me a few days before that Thanksgiving was coming up, and asked if we should do something to celebrate it. I’d discussed it with a few others, running it by Natch out of principle. We’d had a tiny argument over it when he’d said no, but I was determined to get my way. The others deserved a break; they weren’t soldiers, they weren’t used to living in a warzone, or to having to fight for their lives. Eventually he gave in, but told me he wouldn’t be attending. He thought it was stupid to practice old traditions in spite of things. Grovesnor wouldn’t be there either, he claimed he’d never celebrated Thanksgiving, and he didn’t intend to start now. I’d hoped Rainer would be out for the count, too, but he seemed willing to go, almost as if he were excited about it.
On the actual day, everyone was in high spirits. Gabriel was nearing two months, and was still as healthy and happy as before. We’d raided a few liquor stores a couple days prior, not able to find much but enough to get us by for the night. Rae had gifted us with a few bottles of wine from her store, and I pitched in one of my crates of beer, asking Rae to cover for me when people started asking where I got it from. People had started drinking by the time dinner was served; a few bags of frozen vegetables, and as close to a turkey as we could get – turkey dinosaurs. Rae opened up the wine, sharing it out as evenly as she could, while everyone took their seats. We’d tried to push all the tables together, so everyone could eat at the same one, but there wasn’t enough room. We did what we could, settling for two in the end. Everyone waited to start eating, all expecting the usual Thanksgiving prayer or something. I remembered one my mom had used to say, hoping it’d do.
“Our Father in Heaven, we give thanks for the pleasure of gathering together for this occasion. We give thanks for this food, prepared by loving hands. We give thanks for life, the freedom to enjoy it all and all other blessings. As we partake of this food, we pray for health and strength to carry on and try to live as You would have us. This we ask in the name of Christ, Our Heavenly Father.”
It was a little ironic, really.
I don’t remember when I started drinking. Robin probably had something to do with it. The first thing I remembered after eating, was waking up in the closet with Kat. Her reaction had been a little over the top; in situations like this, sometimes things like that just happened. One of the few times I’d been on tour, there was a woman in my unit who’d been out there for months. By the end of it, both of us were strained, and stressed, and it’d just sort of happened as a way of relieving the tension. That was all I saw this as, as well. I’d just staggered out of the closet, when I ran into Rae.
“For a big, macho man, you certainly can’t handle your drink” she said, amused.
I laughed sarcastically, making her smile. “How much did I even have?”
“I’m not sure, but you started on Houston’s bourbon and started telling war stories. How old did you say you were, again? Seventy five?”
“Watch it, I’m not too old to kick your ass” I teased.
“So charming” she laughed. “Anyway, I’ve been looking for you”
“You have?” I asked and she nodded. “What for? Is something wrong?”
“Why does something have to be wrong for someone to want to see you?” she sighed.
“Guess I’m stuck in my old ways”
“Want me to help unstick you?” she asked cheekily.
“I wouldn’t want to take advantage of you” I said, serious for once.
“You wouldn’t be taking advantage, Colligan” she said, taking my hand. “And you know that. If you’re not interested, just say”
“I’m interested, Rae, I just…”
“You’re seventeen, Rae. There’s nearly ten years between us”
“Does that really matter now?”
“I guess not” I sighed.
“If it’ll make you feel better, I’m eighteen in a month. Then there’s only six years between us, not that it matters to me”
“That would put me at ease, if I’m honest”
“In a month, then” she smiled. “At the very least, for now, humour me and let me spend the night. Nothing has to happen, I just want to stay with you”
“I think I can manage that” I chuckled, letting her lead me upstairs.
Everyone else was turning in for the night, and we passed a few people on our way up, wishing them a happy Thanksgiving and that their hangover wasn’t too bad in the morning. I knew mine would be. I just hoped Riley had enough painkillers to spare. We eventually made it up to my apartment, letting ourselves in. Natch had kept up the ‘no locked doors’ rule, but we were allowed to lock them if we weren’t inside.
Rae shut the door behind us, something I never did, and walked over to the bed. The apartment I’d picked only had a tiny single bed, and I wasn’t sure if the both of us would fit. Rae didn’t seem to mind, though, pulling back the covers and turning her back to me.
“Can you unzip me?” she asked, moving her long, blonde hair out of the way.
“Uh, sure” I said, a little awkwardly, undoing her dress.
“Thanks” she said, slipping out of it. “Have you got any spare t-shirts?”
I grabbed one of the few that I had, handing it to her. She pulled it over her head, getting into bed, flashing me a smile.
“Are you getting in, or just standing there?” she smirked, while I stood there feeling like a fish out of water.
I got out of my fatigues, feeling a little exposed in just a t-shirt and my boxers, and got into bed with her, pulling the covers back over us and feeling Rae’s arms wind around my waist. She rested her head on my chest, and I put an arm around her shoulders, smiling faintly. I heard someone knock on the door, but we pretended to be asleep, not wanting to be disturbed. I thought I heard someone push something under the door, though, and went to check it out once Rae had fallen asleep. Sat on the floor, was a small piece of paper with just a few words on it; Need to talk. Roof, 6a.m., next Thursday. S.