Blue Thanksgiving

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 "How much longer?" I ask Ash as she peers at the time on the oven.

"Forty minutes," she replies, standing up straight again.

"When did they say they were coming?"

"What time is it right now?"

"It's 5:30," I say, checking my phone.

"They said they would be here before 5:30. I swear, those dorks are always late." She shakes her head.

"Should we go ahead and put out the salad?"

"Sure. It's their fault for being late," she laughs. I open the fridge and get out the roasted squash seeds that we'd prepared a few days ago. Grabbing six bowls, I dole out the salad before sprinkling the seeds on top. I put the rest of the seeds in a bowl, and Ash takes two of the salads, taking them into the dining room. I grab a tray and place all the bowls on it, following her into the dining room.

"Where are you sitting?" I ask as I place the salads on the place mats.

"I'll sit here," she says, patting the seat beside her.

"I'll sit next to you, then." I put the seeds in the middle of the table before going back into the kitchen.

"Should I call them or something?"

"Go for it. They probably won't answer, though," I say with a shrug.

"Ok, true," she laughs, pulling out her phone and leaving the kitchen. I check the roasted sweet-potato salsa that had been cooling on the counter, and it's cold now. I dice some tomato, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice and dump them into the mix. Adding some salt, I toss the mixture, and Ash comes back into the room.

"Did anyone answer?"

"I tried all of their cells, and none of them picked up," she sighs, checking on the turkey again.

"They really need to stop being so..."

"Them?" Ash finishes.

"Yeah," I respond with a chuckle. I open the cupboard for the crackers but can't reach the top shelf where someone decided to put the package. "Ash, I can't reach."

"Excuse me, Jess, but what makes you think I can reach?" She raises an eyebrow at me.

"Well, who even put it up there?"

"Luke," she replies, rolling her eyes.

"Oh, come on," I laugh. "Is he trying to keep everyone away from his precious crackers?"

"Most likely, yes." She starts laughing, and I hear the front door open and close.

"They're here!" I shout, running out of the room.

"Hey!" Michael says, taking off his jacket and dumping it on the floor.

"Sorry we're late," Calum adds, hanging his coat on the wall.

"Michael. Coat," Ash says pointedly, crossing her arms over her chest. Michael mutters something incoherent but picks up his coat, hanging it beside Calum's.

"Luke, come here," I say, gesturing for him to follow me. He puts his coat on the wall beside Michael's.

"So, how's everything going here?" Ashton asks Ash, and I hear them all talking animatedly as Luke and I go into the kitchen.

"Can you grab the crackers?" I point to the open cupboard, and Luke nods.

"As you wish," he says, making me smile. He reaches up, grabs the package, and hands it to me.

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