CHAPTER FIVE: Yes, We Have No Smoked Turkey
The house smelled terrific with all the delicious scents of Thanksgiving – minus the turkey, of course. I’d dressed early and snuck out while May was still asleep so I could catch up on my newest book. It was almost noon, already. The only help Grandma ever wanted when cooking was for someone to set the table, so I wheeled into the dining room, grabbed the silverware, and began plunking it down onto neatly folded cloth napkins.
“Shhh; can you keep it down with the silverware, Tash?” Great; she’s up. May pointed her finger at the IPhone attached to her ear. “I’m talking,” she whispered, obviously frustrated with me. She continued with a “Yeah; I get that; but I’m here in Brooklyn, so there’s not much I can do – oh, wait; we can Skype later! Would that work?”
I’m happy she’s talking to anybody but me; that girl never shuts up. I hope Grandma gets tired of it, and won’t extend the invitation to Christmas, too. “I’m stuck here for Christmas vacation, too,” I heard May whine into the phone. So much for wishful thinking. My solution will be to grab as many extra hours at the Precinct as I can. Just then my cell phone rang. I twirled my chair around and barely missed May’s foot in the process.
“Watch what you’re doing, Tash! You hurt my foot!”
“The chair never came close,” I fibbed. May glared at me. “Okay; a near miss, but a miss just the same.” I smiled my apology as May huffed off to what she calls "the guest room" – it’s my bedroom, actually. Lucky me, I get to share. Not the highlight of my evenings. I know as long as my cousin’s here visiting, she’ll be in my room more than me, with the door closed, yapping non-stop on her phone or taking selfies after three hours of putting on makeup. For a fourteen-year-old, she sure has a lot of makeup.
I heard May through the closed bedroom door, voice all high-pitched and hysterical-sounding with whatever drama crisis was going on. My cell phone rang, again. I ‘ignored’ the call, and tossed it onto the bookshelf. It’s Thanksgiving, for crying out loud; who calls at dinner time on a holiday? Grandma came into the dining room with a platter full of falafel burgers and baked potatoes. It smelled okay, but it wasn’t turkey.
Grandma came into the dining room with a platter full of falafel burgers and baked potatoes. It smelled okay, but it wasn’t turkey. I was betting those baked beans didn't have any bacon in them, either.
“May,” I called out, then wheeled over to the bedroom door and knocked. “Time to eat.”
The door opened; she was still on that damn phone. “Just a sec, will ya?” she huffed, shutting the door in my face.
“Come on, May; this turkey looks delicious,” I lied.
The door opened immediately and May ran past me to the dining room table, preparing to be aghast with horror only to see the platter of falafels and baked potatoes. She turned and stuck her tongue out at me. “So mature,” I said with a smirk. Just as May started to go back towards the bedroom, Grandma intervened with another “time to eat.”
Dinner passed without much said between May and me, though she insisted on telling Grandma every little detail of her phone conversation from the past hour. Seemed there’s this guy who cheated on this girl, then the girl messaged May and called her a slut, at which point May told the guy they had to Skype, and there were four people were on the call …
I couldn’t stand it any longer. “I have to go to work soon as I’m done eating, Grandma.”
“On Thanksgiving? Can’t you get out of it?”
“Nope; got a call and I have to go.” It wasn’t really a lie; I did get a phone call right before dinner, but ignored it. I grabbed my cell from the bookcase and saw that the call had been from the 84th. Good; I hadn’t lied. What did they want me for on Thanksgiving evening? No matter; I had an escape route and planned to take it.
“It’s really cold out, tonight; better grab a jacket,” Grandma insisted. “May and I will miss you ‘til you get back.”
“Doubt it.” I heard May mutter under her breath.
“I doubt it.” I said. May’s head jerked up with that look on her face that said ‘I will lock you out of your room and you’ll be sleeping on the couch’. Vindictive is just one of May’s middle names. “There’s some really good stuff on TV tonight plus Grandma picked up a new board game, May.” I smiled, delighted with May’s look of ‘Oh, No!’ as I grabbed my coat and wheeled toward the front door. “It’s snowing,” I called out. Big mistake.
“Can I ride with?” May eagerly called out.
The thirty-nine-minute drive to the 84th on Gold Street took longer than usual, what with the snow falling and May’s continual chatter clanging in my right ear.
“Why are you in one upset mood after another?” I questioned, wishing I could keep my mouth shut.
“You just have to realize that when I’m in a bad mood it isn’t all about the family.” She said it like the fact was staring me in the face but I was too dumb to see it. I couldn't win with this girl. Everything I did was wrong or not enough. Poor Grandma; she just couldn’t see that May was all about the thrill of turmoil. I hoped Grandma’s heart would hold out.
We arrived at the Precinct; the parking lot was full except for my space. I pulled in, got my chair to move from the car to the lobby over the already snow-covered parking lot, and went up to the fifth floor where May and I were greeted with a scene out of 21 Jump Street. It looked like everyone and his dog had been called in to work.
Two hours and heaps of paperwork later, I closed my laptop, stretched, and looked around for May. There she was; ‘Lil Bitch had finally stopped flirting with every person in pants and was sleeping, sprawled out on one of the long benches at the side of the room like a kid – which she still was. May’s pretty face wasn’t a blessing; it was her curse - a distraction to how creative and big-hearted she was ... or could be, when she wasn't dramatizing every little thing in life.
I looked around and saw Nate Adams, staring in May’s direction. Damn! Maybe he IS another Nick.
Nate turned, saw me watching him watch May, and smiled.
“Cute kid; your sister?”
“Cute, yes; sister, no. She’s my cousin, staying with Grandma and me for the holidays.” Now it was my turn to smile.
“You live with your Grandma? That’s nice for her, I’ll bet; having you around to help her out.”
It was like he totally got the situation without even knowing it. He wasn’t assuming that I lived with her because I needed help, but because I was the one helping. I think I’m in love.
“About my first day here.” Nick began, walking towards my desk in a hesitant manner. “I hope my brother doesn’t always treat you like a red-headed stepchild; I’ve seen how hard you work and you deserve better.” He pauses. “If it bothers you, maybe Detective Morrow should be told,” he suggested.
“It doesn’t bother me.” I grinned. “Okay, it kind of bothers me … yeah, really bothers me! But if you look around, you’ll see I’m the only female on the block and I’d rather not whine about what can’t be fixed.”
“Don’t you believe it; anything that’s broken can be fixed.” Nate looked serious. “I know that for a fact.”
Was he talking about what goes on between me and Nick, or between him and his brother? There’s definitely something ‘off’. I’d heard rumors about this Adams; that he’d been put on suspension from the LAPD because of some scandal. But ever since Nate’s first day here at the 84th , he’d been nothing but respectful, helpful, friendly. Nick, on the other hand, had started hovering over me like a mother hen. Completely out of character for red corvette guy, which is how I think of him when I’m not mentally calling him other names, like douche-bag - which I still think he totally is.
“Well, gotta go wake up my cuz and get back home before too much snow sticks to the road.” I pulled on my coat, wheeled over to where May was sleeping like the dead, and gave her a nudge. She took her coat out from under her head, pulled it on, and slowly shuffled toward the door like a zombie. I followed close behind.
“Drive safe!” Nate called out. “I’ll make sure to send a guardian angel your way.”