A Holiday Meeting: Part III
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A Bradford Holiday Meeting: Part III
An R.L. Mathewson Chronicle
“You have no one to blame but yourselves,” Megan bit out as she glared down at the three men slumped on the couch.
“Weak,” Sebastian said with a disgusted snort and a shake of his head as he walked past them on his way back upstairs where the rest of the children were playing Monopoly. “So weak.”
Haley bit back a smile as Jason glared at the boy. “You wouldn’t have said that if you’d tasted that chicken!” he snapped at the boy.
Sebastian paused by the couch as he grinned that Bradford grin down at his “uncle.” “Mom brought us there five times before she even mentioned it to you and three times since. Unlike you, we know how to enjoy a buffet without getting banned,” he said, smugly turning and walking away with a jaunty whistle as Trevor and Jared were forced to restrain Jason from throttling the boy.
“That’s because you’re a lightweight, you little punk!” Jason shouted after the boy, who simply shrugged.
“This is just sad,” Megan said, rubbing the bridge of her nose with a tired sigh.
“She played us,” Jason grumbled, sitting back against the couch even as he glared at Sebastian’s retreating back.
“And now we’re screwed,” Jared, muttered pathetically.
Megan sighed as sat down on her husband’s lap. “She wouldn’t even let us bring dessert. At least we could have filled up on dessert.”
“I offered to help her cook, but she told me that she was all set,” Haley said with a tired sigh, wondering if she was going to end up hanging out in the emergency later before she was forced to cook enough to feed an army to make up for this.
“She’s been in there since five this morning,” Trevor mumbled defeatedly as he gestured lazily towards the locked kitchen door.
“The wait is the worst,” Jared said, pressing a kiss against his wife’s cheek.
“It wouldn’t be so bad if we had a television,” Jason pointed out with a frown as he looked around the living room. “Where exactly is the television?”
“She made me put it in the kitchen last night so she’d have it today while she cooked,” Trevor said, sighing heavily as he continued to stare at the locked kitchen door where the sounds of a movie playing drowned out the terrifying sounds of Zoe cooking.
“Maybe someone should go see if she needs help,” she suggested, not really sure if she wanted to see what was going on behind those closed doors.
“She doesn’t want any help,” Trevor said, closing his eyes and dropping his head back in defeat.
“It can’t hurt to ask,” she said, not really sure that was true.
“She’s not going to let you in there,” Trevor said, not bothering to open his eyes. “She’s locked herself in there and even drawn the blinds closed. She wants to do this all on her own.”
“I’m going to go ask,” she mumbled, but she didn’t move, too terrified that Zoe would accept her help.
“Maybe we should send one of the children,” Jason suggested, which had her moving her feet, because as terrified as she was, she couldn’t stomach the idea of one of the children being subjected to this horror.
Swallowing back her fear, she walked up to the kitchen door, took a deep breath and knocked.
“Who is it?” Zoe asked after a slight pause.
“It’s me,” Haley said, wondering if it was too late to come down with a debilitating illness that would save her from this meal.
“Good!” Zoe said, and before she could react or run, the kitchen door was opened and she was yanked inside where her world was turned upside down.
“Shhhhh,” she said, pressing her hand over Haley’s mouth as the small woman took in the activity in the kitchen. “I’ll explain everything. Just don’t say anything.”
Haley nodded, her eyes wide as she stared at the men and women cutting, chopping and cooking. Cautiously, Zoe removed her hand. “What is going on here?” Haley whispered.
“Thanksgiving dinner?” Zoe said, biting her bottom lip as she took Haley’s hand and pulled her out of the way as one of the men walked past her carrying two mile-high apple pies.
“I see that, but why are they here cooking?” Haley asked, as Zoe pulled her towards the kitchen table where she’d set up a little area for herself so that she was out of the way of the caterers.
“Because she saved our boss’s ass,” a man carrying a fifty-pound bag of potatoes said with a smile and a wink as he walked past them.
“Well, there is that,” Zoe said, gesturing for Haley to sit at the table where there was a lovely selection of snacks and appetizers for her to enjoy while she sat back, relaxed and watched movies.
“What did you do?” Haley asked, sitting down as she picked up a mini éclair and nibbled on it.
“I saved the caterer some money,” she said with a shrug as she sat down next to Haley.
“I see,” Haley murmured thoughtfully as she gazed back at the busy caterers working. “And how did you sneak them in here without anyone finding out?”
“The kids and Aunt Megan.”
“They’re in on this?” Haley gasped.
“Yes,” she admitted sheepishly.
“And the reason you’re keeping this from the men?” Haley asked, reaching blindly for a stuffed mushroom.
She could have made something up, could have given her a hundred and one excuses, but in the end she admitted, “Because it entertains me to screw with their heads.”
“So, you’re planning on letting them think that you cooked all this?” Haley asked, gesturing to the array of delicious looking platters covering the counters.
“Nice,” Haley said, nodding approvingly as she took a bite out of the stuffed mushroom and smiled. “Very nice indeed.”
“It looks good,” Jason leaned in and whispered. “Really good.”
“Then you eat it,” Uncle Jared bit out.
“You!” Jason hissed back.
“Someone eat before you hurt my wife’s feelings!” Trevor hissed, ramming his elbow into Jason’s side.
“You eat! She’s your wife!’
“I can’t! Someone’s going to have bring everyone to the emergency room later,” Trevor bit out, gesturing towards the women and children devouring the insane amount of food that Zoe managed to cook.
“I can do that!” Uncle Jared bit out.
“It’s my job so shut the hell up and eat before you make my wife cry!”
“Fine!” Jason snapped back, but he didn’t move to pick up his fork.
For several minutes they sat there, glaring at the food that was most likely going to send them to the ICU.
“Cowards,” Trevor muttered.
“Rot in hell.”