Chapter 27

I sit at the window seat in my room, Friday morning, watching the snow fall softly from the sky. It’s stops just as suddenly as it came and I know that even if I run all the way to the door, by the time I get outside it will have melted away.

It’s been a while since I last saw snow fall. Especially near Christmas time. Back when I was in Australia we always had a sunny, warm Christmas day with a barbeque out the back and swim in the pool. Even our Thanksgiving dinners were different. There wasn’t a fire burning in the fireplace. No home-made sweaters – not that Jenny would have made one for me – just singlets, shorts and thongs/flip-flops.

We just had Thanksgiving yesterday, McLane style. As you can imagine that was quite eventful.

From the moment I woke up, I knew this wasn’t going to be the normal, quiet celebration which I was used to. But I hoped. I wished. And I got exactly the opposite.

It wasn’t until I had a turkey and cranberry sauce all over my face and salad in my hair that I realised that some other-worldly force takes pleasure in seeing me suffer. Sure, Claire absolutely cracked it at the boys – especially Dylan and Jake – for starting a food fight and we had to eat out but it was a good experience all the same. A warm, happy Thanksgiving which I hadn’t had in a while.

We’d had a great night in, all of us sitting in the living room, having movie marathons, pigging out on reeces pieces cereal [Another thing I re-discovered and the culprit to my weight gain] and having a massive board-game tournament after Claire ripped out the wires for the TV and demanded that we act like a normal interactive family and, well, interact. That was the day that we all found that it’s futile trying to win monopoly against a certain business-savvy 4 year old.        

Once again, I was reminded how lucky I am to know the McLane’s and to be invited into their family so easily. I truly felt like I belonged.

Since Thanksgiving’s over now it’s now time to catch up with the relatives. All of whom I have no blood-relations with… I’d asked Claire if she’d really wanted me to be at their family reunion which was taking place at their house and she’d insisted that I had to be here. So now here I am. Waiting for the bathroom to be vacated so I can wash my personal turkey essence off and get ready.

“Bathroom’s free.” Chace calls out and I leap up, grabbing my pre-organised toiletries bag, towel and  clothes.

I dash out my bedroom door at the same time Jake does and soon we’re sprinting down the hallway, past a couple of cheering brothers, Dylan’s commentary booming after us. I am having that shower right now, even if I have to put up a fight. I shove Jake with my elbow before diving into the tiled bathroom.

I instantly go for the bathtub and clutch at its rim as Jake grabs my legs, trying to drag me out, “I really need this shower!” I wail at him, kicking my legs to make it harder for him.

“Well I need it more!” he shouts back tugging my feet even harder.

“Like hell you do! You’re the one who hid in the pantry after chucking that stupid turkey at me! You don’t even smell like roasted vegetables!” By now I’m basically in mid-air, the bath-tub being the only thinking keeping me grounded as Jake tries to haul me up.

Suddenly he lets go of my feet, letting them fall down to the ground with an ouch-inducing thwack and immediately goes for my sides and starts to tickle me.

“This is so dog!” I gasp in between laughs as his fingers dance across my skin, making me laugh and feel equally embarrassed. I feel a blush coming on and I know I’ve got to make him stop before he realises that my laughs are now turning fake as I try to cover up my less-than-decent thoughts. So I kick him, square in the chin. His head snaps back and he’s soon on the floor holding it and swearing at me.

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