This takes place at least a year after the nano-book, and a bit after most of the other stories of this family. Each of the dates, except Gregor, have appeared before.
“If it’s too much, I’ll understand.” Encountering his family for the first time was certainly something to be ready for, entirely aside from the cultural connotations of “bringing a girl home to meet his mother.” “But I would love to have your company, and my mother would love to meet Mila and Henry.” He gave Marina his best charming smile. “For all of our oddities, we’re a family of very good cooks.”
“As long as you’re certain it’s no imposition, and as long as I can bring something,” Marina decided, helped, he was sure, by the way her children were bouncing up and down and making puppy eyes at her.
“I’ll be sure to find out what we’re lacking this time. Thank you, Marina. I’m so glad you said yes.”
“So,” Bishop said, moving chess pieces around on the back of his notebook. “We’re doing Christmas with Mellie’s family. Spring Break, we’ll spend a couple days with my family. And that leaves Thanksgiving for Summer’s family, right?”
“It’s the only holiday my family really gets together for anyway,” she nodded. “So it’s the best bet for meeting the most of them, and the most fun dates. It’s almost a contest,” she grinned. “Winter usually defaults, and Spring usually wins.”
“Are we your ace in the hole?” Bishop looked like he couldn’t decide whether to be happy about that, or mildly offended. Summer was hoping on happy; it would make everything else easier.
“Yep.” She kissed them both on the cheeks. “My beautiful aces.”
“Do both of us a favor, okay, and don’t try to map my family.” She loosened her lover’s tie and deftly traded out his expensive-and-showy cufflinks for another pair, less showy but equally nice. Winter would notice, and her mother would appreciate them.
“It’ll upset them?” He tightened his tie again. He was overdressed for Thanksgiving, so she’d gone a little further out there to complement him.
“It will give you a headache, and amuse them at your expense.”
“Don’t tell me your entire family are tanglers?” He pulled out one of her mis-matched earrings and replaced it with the matching hoop.
“No, no, but they all work with the strands in one way or another, and getting us all together can be… messy.”
She stared at the letter for a few minutes longer than required. She’d been fairly certain her Tattercoat lover would say no, but that hadn’t stopped her from asking. Either he’d give in eventually, or get tired of her asking and leave her. Inasmuch as they were together enough for him to leave.
She picked up her phone, then, and dialed. Not Tattercoats. She knew better.
“What is it, my lovely Autumn flower? No, don’t tell me, I can read the calendar. Has that knave you call a lover let you down once again?”
“Gregor….” she protested weakly.
“You know I’m right, lovely girl. And no, I don’t have any other plans for the holiday.”
“Thank you,” she sighed.
“You know I’m always there for you, beautiful.”
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