CHAPTER FIVE: Yes, We Have No Smoked Turkey
The house smells terrific with all the delicious scents of Thanksgiving – minus the turkey. I wheel into the dining room to finish setting the table.
“Shhh; can you keep it down with the silverware, Tash?” May points her finger at the IPhone attached to her ear. “I’m talking,” she whispers, in frustration to me. She continues with “Yeah; I get that; but I’m here in Brooklyn, 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 is getting tired of it, and won’t extend the invitation to Christmas, too.
“I’m stuck here for Christmas vacation, too,” I hear May whining into the phone. So much for wishful thinking. My solution will be grabbing as many hours at the Precinct as I can. My cell phone rings; I twirl my chair around and barely miss May’s foot in the process. “Watch what you’re doing, Tash! You hurt my foot!”
“The chair never came close,” I fibbed. May glares at me. “Okay; a near miss, but a miss just the same.” I smile my apology; May huffs off to what she calls the guest bedroom – my bedroom, actually. I get to share; not the highlight of my evenings. I know as long as my cousin is here, she’ll be in there more than me, door closed, yapping 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 can hear May through the closed bedroom door, voice all hysterical with whatever drama crisis is going on. I ‘ignore’ the call, and toss my cell onto the bookshelf. It’s Thanksgiving, for crying out loud; who calls at dinner time on a holiday? Grandma comes in with a platter full of falafel burgers and baked potatoes. It smells okay, but it’s not turkey.
“May,” I call out, rapping on the bedroom door. “Time to eat.”
The door opens; she’s still on that damn phone. “Just a sec, will ya?” She shuts the door in my face.
“Come on, May; this turkey looks delicious,” I lie. The door opens immediately and May runs past me to the dining room table, preparing to be aghast with horror only to see the platter of falafels. She turns and sticks her tongue out at me. “So mature,” I say with a smirk. May starts to go back towards the bedroom when Grandma intervenes with another “time to eat.”
Dinner passes without much said between May and me, though she has to tell Grandma every little detail of her phone conversation from the past hour. Seems there’s this guy who cheated on this girl and then the girl messages May and calls her a slut and May tells the guy they have to Skype and four people were on the call …
I can’t stand this any longer. “I have to go to work after supper, Grandma.”
“On Thanksgiving? Surely you can 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 I ignored it. I grab my cell from the bookcase and see that the call was from the 84th. I didn’t lie. What could they want me for on Thanksgiving evening?
“It’s really cold out, tonight; better grab a jacket,” Grandma insists. “May and I will miss you ‘til you get back.”
“Doubt it.” I hear May mutter under her breath.
“I doubt it.” I say. May’s head jerks up with that look on her face that says ‘I will lock you out of your room and you’ll be sleeping on the couch’. Vindictive is May’s middle name. “There’s some really good stuff on TV tonight plus Grandma picked up a new board game, May.” I smile, delighted with May’s look of ‘oh, no’. I put on my coat and wheel toward the front door. “It’s snowing,” I call out. Big mistake.
“Can I ride with?” May eagerly calls out.
The forty-five-minute ride to the 84th on Gold Street was longer than usual, what with the snow falling and May’s continual chatter in my right ear. I don’t know why but I ask her why she’s so moody all the time. “You just have to realize that when I’m in a bad mood it isn’t all about the family.” She says it like the fact should be staring me in the face but I’m too dumb to see it. I’m really trying with this girl, but everything I do is wrong or not enough. Poor Grandma; she just can’t see that May is all about the thrill of turmoil. I hope Grandma’s heart holds out.
Two hours and heaps of paperwork later, I look around; ‘Lil Bitch has finally stopped flirting with every person in pants and is sleeping, sprawled out on one of the long benches at the side of the room like a kid – which she still is. May’s pretty face isn’t a blessing; it’s her curse - a distraction to how really talented and big-hearted she is ... or can be, when she’s not dramatizing every little thing in life.
I look up and see Nate Adams staring in May’s direction. Damn! Maybe he IS another Nick.
Nate turns, sees me watching him watch May. He smiles.
“Cute kid; your sister?”
“Cute, yes; sister, no. She’s my cousin, staying with Grandma and me for the holidays.” Now it’s 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 begins, walking towards my desk in a less-than-confident manner. “I hope my brother doesn’t always treat you like a stepchild; I’ve seen you work and you deserve better.” He pauses. “Maybe if it bothers you Detective Morrow should know.”
“It doesn’t bother me.” I grin in admission. “Okay, it bothers me … 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 looks serious. “I know that for a fact.”
Is he talking about what goes on between me and Nick, or between him and his brother? There’s definitely something weird going on. Ever since Nate’s first day at work, he’s been nothing but respectful, helpful, friendly; Nick on the other hand now hovers 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 is.
Another good reason to apply for the paid college tuition the NYPD offers; I think classes that work me towards being a detective is my early Christmas present to myself.
“Well, gotta go wake my cuz up and get back home before too much snow gets in my way.” I pull on my coat, wheeling over to where May is still sleeping like the dead.
“See you later,” Nate replies. “Drive safe; I’ll make sure to send a guardian angel your way.”