Sorry for the ten-month lapse in updates. I had major writer's block and then I got extraordinarily busy. But here's the new chapter. Read and review, por favor! Also, this is AU and takes place after the firt-season Thanksgiving episode, so if you're confused you might want to recheck previous chapters. Sorry this chapter is so short, btw.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing but a DVD and several Adam Brody magazine clippings.
CHAPTER 6: What You Wish For
Anna was a little subdued when Ramona arrived with her macaroni. That was odd. Not to mention a bit worrying. "Hey, are you okay?" Ramona asked, concerned.
Anna glanced up from her Monday special, the tuna melt, and shrugged. "Eh."
"I know, Monday. But it could be worse, it could be Thursday."
Two heavily-lined eyes gave her a quizzical look. "What?"
"You know, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams. 'It must be Thursday. I could never get the hang of Thursdays.'" Anna tilted her head, thinking.
"Sorry, not a big sci-fi fan."
"Me neither, but it's good. You should read it." Anna nodded in response. "So what is it? General blahness, or something specific? The Turkey?" Ramona had adapted the habit of calling the Thanksgiving boy the Turkey—she thought it was funny. In actuality it was just corny, but, Anna figured, who cared? Everything corny in the world was invented by someone who thought it hysterical. At least she hadn't gone to the extreme of calling him Turkey Jerky.
"Surprise. What've we got for her, Johnny?" Anna smiled fakely.
"God, he's such a loser." Ramona narrowed her eyes at blondie, who was laughing with the supermodel girl—Marissa—as Seth ate his sandwich. Then she narrowed her eyes at the said sandwich-eater. How could Seth hang out with such a player? How can he do that? He definitely knows Anna, they have all the same things in common. Honestly. Then again, he was so sweet! Forget about it, her brain reminded her, he said he can't, so he can't. You need to respect that.
But his hair is so cute, she protested.
Forget the hair! her brain yelled. Focus on the subject at hand!
"I'm sorry, Anna," she apologized. "Seriously, the guy does not deserve you. And where is that stride-through-the-room, to-hell-with-it attitude? Am I gonna have to put up a missing poster? Advertise on a milk carton?"
Anna laughed. "No, not necessary." She stared, hard, at Seth's table. "To hell with it. With him." Ramona punched the air.
"Solidarity, sistah!" Pause. "Wow, I said 'sistah.' I am definitely too pale for that."
Seth sat on his bed, contemplating. This entire situation was a little too General Hospital for him. He wasn't down with that; Spanish sudsers were more his style. Maybe if he had a cool handlebar mustache like Victor he could take control of it, but as it was he wasn't even going to take control of dinner. And all that involved was ordering food through a phone line.
"Seth!" A booming voice echoed up the stairs. Seth sighed and got up.
"What's shakin', Dad?"
Sandy Cohen stood at the bottom of the stairs, arms wide. His hair was slicker than Seth remembered—apparently the old man overdid it on the pomade that morning. "Nothing, son, nothing, except I've barely seen you since Thanksgiving. It's time we had dinner together, as a family." He clamped his arm around Seth's shoulder the second his son reached him.
"Okay, sounds great. Except, oh wait, the last time we did that Mom passed out, Ryan was practically killed in Chino, the Gruesome Twosome complained, and I screwed myself over."
"Ah, yes. The Fateful Thanksgiving of 2003. But that's one time, come on." Sandy steered him into the kitchen. "Your mom's on her way home from work, she'll be here any minute. Here, call a place. Your choice." The phone flew through the air and clattered on the counter. Shaking his head, Sandy gave Seth a I-love-you-but-that-was-ridiculous look.
"Hey, you of all people should know I can't catch things. Two father-enforced seasons of kiddie baseball ought to have taught you that."
"Anyway," Sandy continued, brushing aside the comment, "you'll never guess who I ran into today."
"The Dalai Lama. Weird Al. No, no, John Travolta."
"Funny. No, Sam!"
"Sam?" Was he supposed to know this Sam? Seth cocked an eyebrow.
"Sam! Joe's son!" Sandy gestured emphatically. Honestly, his son should know his own family. This just reaffirmed that they'd spent far too much time in Newport Beach. There was a whole world outside this bubble, and his son was missing out on it!
"Wait..." The name registered vaguely. "Sam, as in Cousin Sam?"
"YES!" Finally. "I ran into him at the supermarket, can you believe it? I was getting bagels and saw him at the register! He's coming by for dinner."
"I didn't realize that when you said 'family,' you meant family," Seth said, surprised.
"Come on, can't you be excited about this? He's your cousin and you haven't seen him since you were seven!"
"Uh, because he lives in Boston," Seth pointed out.
"Boston?" They turned to see Ryan standing at the glass door, Marissa behind him. "The cousin from Boston is coming here?" He and Marissa exchanged a look; Marissa stifled a laugh. What was that? Seth thought, and shrugged it off. Probably some weird couply thing he wouldn't know about.
"Exactly. You're welcome to stay too, Marissa, if you want to."
"It's tempting," said Marissa, adjusting her Chanel bag, "but I promised my dad we'd eat dinner together. Have fun though," she added, weaving her way through the kitchen. "Bye!"
"They'll be here in about an hour. Now call in some food," he said sternly.
"They? Sam isn't married, is he? Isn't he, like, 24?"
"Okay, sheesh. Just natural curiosity."
"Well, you've heard the saying, son."
"If you mean the completely irrelevant cliché about a cat, then yes."
"Phone, right." Hastily he began dialing.
"We're going to your uncle's?" Ramona asked blankly. "Any relation to me, or no? Distant, long-lost relatives perhaps?"
The Volkswagen halted to a stop at the intersection. "Not long-lost. Long neglected, more like," said Sam, looking at his cousin. "And to answer your other question—no. Not technically. They're on my dad's side." The car roared off.
"Oh. Okay." Pause. "Is that why we came here specifically?"
Sam glanced at her, momentarily caught off guard. "I forgot you were so intelligent. Yeah, that was definitely part of it. He's my favorite uncle, like my second father."
"But... you said they've been long neglected..." There was a question in her voice.
"Yeah, long neglected, and there's a long story there too. Too long to explain on the way there," he added.
"Okay." Ramona sensed she shouldn't push it. Sam could be a secretive guy, and he could shut himself off sometimes, but he was nice enough to take her in and for that she could lay off. "Well, you must be psyched," she tried.
"You can't predict the future by the stars, but you can wish on them," he replied cryptically.
They zoomed off into the night.