Author: Latisha C
Upload: January 4, 2005 at 12:22 PM
Sari had just come from having a "nice" discussion with her cousin and grandparents. Of course when having a sit-down discussion with those three nothing is never truly nice. In fact, she had just spent the last 24 hours listening to her grandparents ridicule her about her posture or the way she dressed.
"A proper young lady never lets the men clean up after themselves," she spoke, mimicking her grandmother's Bostonian voice. Snorting, she kicked a tree that was nearby. "Stupid old woman," she muttered in her regular voice.
Still angry she ran full speed at the chain link fence on the side of the house, kicking it rapidly each time she reached it. Then picking up a long stick she swung it, hitting the ground with long hard cracks. Decisively deciding she was still much too angry to go back inside just yet, she picked up rocks and threw it at the fence.
About two hours later, Sari finally stopped taking her anger out on the yard. Looking down at herself, she noticed that she had dirt all over her clothes. As well as, dirt and a little bit of blood on her hands where the tree limb's ragged frame cut her hand. Smirking deviously she wiped her hand off on her pants and quickly went back inside the house.
"All through then are you," Jesse asked the minute she walked through the front door.
"For the moment," she responded, walking up the stairs. "Do me a favor and put the turkey in the oven while I take a shower."
"Already did it, Sari," Jesse responded, crumbling up something in his hand. "By the way, Steve, Mark and Sara are driving over together, so they'll be here in 45 minutes. Rey—who will be here in about two hours-says the family can't make it as they're all sick and so it'll just be him coming.
"Matt's plane just landed 10 minutes ago and so he'll be here within the hour," he said, pausing to read the writing on the sticky note on posted on the wall. "Oh and Vince called to let us know that they were getting settled at the hotel and that they'd see us around four in the afternoon."
"Okay, well be sure to be polite to the guests once they start arriving Jesse," she responded, running up the remaining steps and to the linen closet, grabbing for her towel and washcloth.
She quickly walked the remaining feet to the bathroom door and was just about to go inside when Paul stepped out of his shared bedroom and spotted her less than perfect appearance.
"What the hell happened to you?"
"Nothing, I was outside and some dirt got onto me," she coolly explained.
Paul raised an eyebrow but said nothing else on the subject. "Right then, carry on, soldier," he ordered in his drill sergeant voice.
Smiling Sari saluted and entered and shut the door behind her. She knew she was in the clear with Paul because he used his drill sergeant voice on her. That was Paul's little way of reprimanding her, while simultaneously dismissing her appearance as just an everyday occurrence of hers.
Meanwhile, downstairs Jesse and Shawn were in the kitchen cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Jesse was working on basting the turkey, while Shawn was preparing the pie crusts from scratch like Sari liked them to be.
"So, what exactly was your sister out there doing for two hours?"
Jesse snorted and placed the turkey back into the oven to cook some more. Joining his father at the counter he began kneading dough for homemade crescent rolls.
"I would say, some unconventional yard work," Jesse finally answered.
Shawn let out an audible sigh. "Was there any damage done," he asked, pressing a fork down into the crust to make a simple design.
"You tell me, Dad. I haven't even been out there yet to check," Jesse answered, placing the rolls off to the side for later.
Things were quiet for few minutes until Shawn cleared his throat to garner Jesse's attention. Jesse looked up at him, waiting for him to begin speaking.
"I know this is out of the blue but I was wondering if you could give me an honest answer here," began Shawn, garnering Jesse's curiosity as well as attention. "How have you been taking your mother's death, Jesse?"
"Do we have to discuss this now," Jesse asked, tightening his grip on the kitchen counter. "I mean its Thanksgiving for crying out loud."
"I know its Thanksgiving and that's the main reason why I'm asking you this question, son. Your mom's only been dead for two months now and this is going to be the first major holiday that we are celebrating without her here with us."
"Your point being," Jesse asked, trying to control the emotion in his voice.
"So I just wanted to touch base with you and see how you are taking the adjustment is all," Shawn spoke, holding Jesse's gaze with one of his own.
"I'm doing just fine, Dad. How are you doing?"
"Jesse, come on, it's just you and me right now. Please don't mock me with my own question," Shawn quietly spoke.
Jesse sighed, running a hand through his head of hair. "I'm sorry, okay. It's just that you kind of caught me off guard with that question and so I reacted the only way I could in this situation," he explained, still looking back at Shawn.
"So your using sarcasm is like a defense for you," Shawn asked, as Jesse nodded in response. "Even, if that person is your own father?"
"No, it's just that it was a reflex reaction, Pop. Stop trying to read more into this than necessary," Jesse answered, now leaning against the counter.
"Fine, now please…the truth this time Jesse."
"Its a little hard knowing that this is our first Thanksgiving without Mom, but I'm taking it all in stride, I promise you that."
"So, you're not just pretending to act happy about being back here so soon since the funeral?"
"Dad, I'm good, trust me. If I may be acting overly cheerful, it's only because I'm trying to keep my spirits up for the one person who's always looked up to me in this household…Sari."
Shawn nodded as Jesse continued on talking. "I've been in touch with her a few times since the funeral and she hasn't sounded like herself in a while. Sure she's back to joking around and stuff, but it almost as if she's using that to compensate for the emotions she doesn't show when people are around her."
"I know what you're saying Jesse. I'm glad you noticed it too. That just confirms that it wasn't just me imagining things."
They were quiet for a minute before Jesse looked up, curiosity once again shining in his eyes. "So now that I've been honest with you, will you do me a favor and be honest with me about something."
"Sure, son, anything you ask, I'll try and answer for you."
"Is Sari's abnormal behavior, the reason for this little talk of ours?"
"Well if you want to look at it from that angle, than yes I would say that it is a reason," Shawn answered though he paused for a few seconds before adding, "But the other reason is because I really was curious to see how you were handling things."
"Uh huh, and are you going to have this same talk with my younger sister, too?"
"Yes, Jesse, I had planned on it. Why?"
No reason, Daddy-O. Just checking, because you know it wouldn't be fair to put me through this conversation and not do the same to my, adorable sister, too," Jesse joked; now grinning.
Shaking his head, Shawn grabbed up the tray of rolls and placed them in the refrigerator. "No, now we wouldn't want that, would we Jesse?"
Jesse was just about to shoot back a sarcastic remark when a sharp scream met their ears. Then there was a loud thump, a slap and then Sari's voice could be heard drifting down the stairs.
Shawn and Jesse's eyes met and they screamed out, "Sari."
Dropping whatever was in their hands at that moment and together ran up the stairs, taking it two steps at a time. Almost colliding into each other at the top of the steps, they stopped to survey the scene before them. Kevin, Paul and Scott, who had only just arrived, joined them.
In front of them stood Sari, throwing hands with Carolyn and Benjamin. Sari and Carolyn were at it fast and fierce, but then Benjamin tried to step in and take a swing at Sari, which is when Jesse snapped out of it.
"I know he didn't just take a swing at my sister in front of me," Jesse now enraged muttered, before taking three deliberate steps towards Benjamin and striking him in the face. "Don't ever, ever try that again, as long as I'm alive."
Kicking him, Jesse stepped over his cousin's body and walked over to where his sister and his girlfriend were fighting. He watched as Carolyn aimed a blow at Sari's head, causing Sari to catch her arm in mid-swing. Sari then bent down positioning her body under Carolyn's and quickly lifted her right shoulder, flipping Carolyn over her shoulder and onto the hard floor. Still keeping a firm hold of Carolyn's arm, Sari cocked her fist back and brought it down hard onto her face.
"Sari, stop it," she heard Jesse firmly say.
Shaking her head, she tightened her grip of Carolyn's arm and punched her once more, this time aiming for one of her eyes.
"Damn it, let go of her," Jesse said, still slightly angry with Benjamin. "Come on, Sari. This is me talking here. Just release your hold on her arm, Little Lady."
Clenching her jaw, she did as Jesse asked. Slowly she stood up and turned to look at Jesse.
"Good, you let go of her arm. Now step away from Carolyn and go join Dad on the other side of the hall," Jesse firmly commanded.
Gritting her teeth, she did as he asked. But not before kicking Carolyn one more time and leaving another imprint of her combat boots on Benjamin's back. Blowing her still damp hair out of her face, she pushed past her father and went downstairs into the kitchen.
Bending down she picked up the fork that one of them must have dropped and placed it into the sink. Then after checking on the turkey, she took a seat at the table and began to place the fillings into the pies…all the while, listening to the conversation going on upstairs.
"What the hell was that about with my sister?"
"I don't know you tell me. She's the one who busted in there and just started beating the hell out of me," Carolyn responded.
"You expect me to believe that Sari busted in there and started all this for no reason, whatsoever?"
"Well, yeah, I mean she's been so mean to me since she met me, a year ago."
"What were you doing in there that made her punch you, Carolyn?"
"Nothing, I was just in there hanging out with your cousin Benjamin."
Sari heard silence, which she took to mean that Jesse was beginning to put things together for himself. Sure enough, she was not disappointed because ten seconds later, she heard Jesse's rage filled voice again.
"Get out of here, and don't come back Carolyn."
"Why…what happened? What did I do?"
"You were getting hot and heavy with Benjamin, right under my nose," she heard Jesse yell. "God, I should've listened to Sari."
"What do you mean you should've listened to Sari," she heard Paul say.
"Sari's been trying to tell me for months about Carolyn, but I just wouldn't listen to her. Now though, because for the first time in months my eyes are open, I can see what Sari's talking about."
Sari smiled in triumph. "Teach you to ever doubt me again, I bet," she muttered under her breath.
"Oh come on, Jess, she just made all this up, because she's jealous. She's a girl who's angry because big brother has a girlfriend who he pays more attention too now."
"Woman please, even you could come up with a better excuse than that. And for your information, Sari's only been jealous once in her life when it comes to me. I was 15 and she was 12, and I had just gotten my first girlfriend. Sari and I have always been close, even when we were both kids.
"She was and still remains to this day, my best friend in the entire universe. But because I had just started dating, I began to spend less time with her and more time with Alison. That really hurt Sari and ever since then I vowed never to do that again and so far I haven't. And don't think for a minute that I ever will, Carolyn. Now get the hell out of here."
"You're not serious."
"Don't make me call Sari back up here. I'm sure she'd like to take out the trash," Jesse spoke, interrupting her for the second time.
Sari, who was now sitting down on the steps, jumped up and walked the rest of the way up the stairs at the mention of taking out the trash.
"There's no need to call me because I'm already here," she spoke, from where she stood on top of the steps, before slowly walking to where Carolyn stood stock still. "I believe you were told to leave. Now in the interest of fairness, I'm giving you one chance to leave on your own. If you don't, then I will be forced to remove you from the premises myself."
Smirking Sari felt her brother come up and sling his arm over her shoulder, slightly leaning against her. "So, what's it going to be Carolyn? You going to leave of your own accord or is Sari here going to have to move you herself?"
"Fine…I'll leave, but not without my stuff," she finally huffed out.
"I don't think that you are in any position to make demands, Blondie," Sari snottily said to Carolyn.
"But what about my stuff?"
"We'll airmail it back to college for you," answered Sari.
After showing Carolyn out, Sari went and took a seat at the kitchen table, where Jesse and Shawn were sitting. Kevin and Paul were sitting out in the yard waiting for Mark to pull up in his car.
"The valley girl wannabe is gone," she stated with a smile on her face to Jesse and Shawn.
Jesse leaned over and kissed Sari on her cheek. "Thanks little sister. I should've listened to you about Carolyn a long time ago and I appreciate you not saying your usual 'I told you so' comment."
"No problem big brother. Just, next time, do me a favor and listen when I try and tell you about one of your girlfriends," she said, still smiling.
"You got it, young one. No more ignoring your warnings, I promise."
After that things were quiet, until Sari broke the silence with a question. "I just realized something. Where's Benjamin at?"
"Probably still on the floor where I left him…the slime ball. I swear, if he wasn't my cousin, he'd of gotten a lot worse than what I gave him."
Sari laughed. "Yeah, I can't wait to see what the grandparents have to say, after they find perfect little Benjamin sporting his new bruises. Guaranteed, they'll have a right little hissy fit, after everything is over and done with."
Now it was Shawn's turn to let out a little laugh. "My parents having a hissy fit would be considered an early Christmas present. No, mark my words, it'll be more like a conniption, or train wreck gone wrong."
"And this is the same man who says I must bite my tongue in their presence," Sari immediately piped up, sharing a look with Jesse.
"Thank you for the commentary, oh sarcastic one," Shawn shot back, without missing a beat.
"You know, I'd like to venture out on a limb here and say, we probably get our love of sarcasm from you, Dad."
"You didn't get it from Allie, that's for sure," Shawn responded. "Allie was always very sweet to the people she encountered."
"Even to people she didn't like, Dad," asked Sari.
"Yep, even to the people she didn't like. She believed that a kind word, took people a long way," Shawn paused before continuing on in his explanation. "That it was better to respond to anger with kindness, because showing anger would just be saying that you give up on that person."
Jesse looked down at his hands. "Yep, that sounds like something she used to tell Sari and I all the time," he silently responded. "Mom was always good for things of that nature."
"That and for giving out useful advice," Sari added; the table once again falling silent.
"Did you know that your mom had a big part is molding the Shawn that you see today," Shawn asked his kids, who shook their heads. "Yeah, see before I met your mother, I was quite the partying type. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, wherever I wanted. I also got whomever I wanted, but that all changed when I met your mother.
"See I was used to having women fall at my feet, but not your mother. No, she was the one who always treated me like a normal person. That first time I met your mother, I was trying to get her to go on a date with me…but she said no…that I probably wasn't even really interested in going out with her. Of course, eventually I got her to say that she'd at least think about it.
"From that night on, I made it my life's mission to show your mother that I was worth going out with. So whenever I saw her, I would hound her relentlessly for a date and she always told me she'd think about it. Until one night, almost a year later, I walked into the restaurant and took a seat at the counter. It was pouring down raining that night and I had just been through a particularly gruesome training, when I saw your mother.
"By now, Allie had already turned me down more than 100 times. See I figured she was just playing hard to get at first, but after the hundredth time of being told 'I'll think about it,' I had become really discouraged. That night when she showed up asking to take my order, I made up my mind right then and there that no matter what her answer, this would be the last time that I ever asked her for a date.
"Clearing my throat, I said 'Allie, after a year of your turning me down, I think that I've finally gotten the message. But just to be sure, I'm going to ask you only once more to go out with me. If you say no, I'll never come in here and disturb you again…I promise. But if you say yes, then I promise, you won't look back and regret your decision. So Allie, will you please give me the pleasure of taking you to dinner tomorrow night?' And you know what she said yes."
"I don't get it. What changed her mind? Did she ever tell you, Daddy," Sari eagerly asked her father.
Shawn was quiet a minute, a thoughtful look on his face. "I actually never got the chance to ask her, to be honest. But I would care to venture and say, your mother probably saw something different in me that night, because, after all, she did say yes," he finished with a watery smile on his face.
Sari, who was sniffling a bit, stood up and grabbed the rolls from the refrigerator, placing them in the scalding hot heat of the oven.
"Sari…you okay over there?"
"Yeah, Dad, I'm good," she answered, placing an unopened box of elbow macaroni on the counter. "Jess, you might want to start on that three cheese macaroni of yours."
"But I thought I'm supposed to put it on an hour before we eat dinner," Jesse asked, peering closely at his sister's facial expression.
"Well, yeah you are. But you forget that prepping takes about three quarters of an hour, when it comes to the way you make your macaroni and cheese specialty."
Jesse, rolling his eyes stood up and walked over to where Sari was standing. "Fine, Sari, you win. I'll get started on my portion of the dinner," he said, while lighting the fire under a big pot full of water. "Do you want me to put in the pies, once the all the rolls have finished baking?"
"Why not," she said in response. "Just be sure not to touch the lemon pies. I've put those aside in the refrigerator to set, as I'm not putting adding any meringue as topping to them this year."
"No meringue," a deep voice spoke, bringing smiles to their faces. "Why, that's my favorite part of your desserts, little girl."
"Mark," Sari yelled out in delight, running over and hugging him. "You're early for once this year."
Mark chuckled and looked over to Shawn, silently asking his permission to borrow Sari for a few minutes, to which Shawn just nodded and waved him away. "Well, now I wouldn't say that I'm early. More like, right on time, don't you think," he commented, carrying Sari out of the kitchen.
"Yeah, and last year you were just fashionably late…right," she countered, trying to release Mark's grip on her to no avail.
"Now you're catching on," Mark agreed, plopping down onto the empty couch. Grinning at the disgruntled look on her face, he adjusted her so that she was sitting on his knee like she used to as a little girl. "So what's this about no, meringue on the lemon pie, I hear?"
"I didn't feel like making meringue this time around," she offered up in response, shrugging her shoulders.
"You know that's my favorite part though, little girl," Mark spoke, pausing to see if she'd say anything. "So, you're really going to deny me your meringue?"
Sari nodded, immensely trying to stifle a laugh at the look on Mark's face. "Just because I'm not going to make it, doesn't mean you can't go in there and do it yourself," she replied.
"I would, but I'm a terrible cook when it comes to making meringue," he offered up in response. "Besides Sara and I brought you one of your favorite dishes for dessert…sweet potato pie, Sara's specialty. The least you can do, is make me my favorite dessert, right?"
"Are you going to keep this little act up until I give in and make you meringue for the lemon pie, Mark?"
"How about that…you're two for two, now," he replied, holding up two fingers.
"Alright Mark," she sighed, standing up. "I'll make you some meringue to go with the lemon pie. In fact, I'll even give you one whole pie, just for you to consume."
"Now, you're seeing it my way," Mark responded, steering her towards the patio in the backyard. "But before you get to work on making me some meringue, come say hello to Sara, Steve and Matt."
"When did Matt get here," she asked, walking through the open doors as Mark did the same.
"He pulled in the same time as us, actually," Mark explained, leading them around the bend and onto the patio.
Matt spotting her first, came running over and encased her in a gigantic hug. "You don't know how much I've missed you," he whispered to her, before placing her back onto her feet. "When are you going to come and visit me and the family in North Carolina girl?"
"Maybe spring break…we have two weeks off from school in April," Sari suggested, before moving on to Steve and Sara who were standing near by. "Steve…Sara, I'm so glad you guys could make it," she greeted, enveloping them both into a hug.
"Glad you could have us," Steve replied, taking a seat in one of the vast chairs on the patio. "So tell me, how's school going?"
"It's fine. I've passed all of my classes for the first and second quarters. Though I do wish the year would hurry up and pass us by already."
"You kids today don't realize how good you've got it. All you have to do is go to school and just be you," Sara began, causing Sari to roll her eyes and laugh.
"You sound like my father, when he decides to go on one of his lecturing binges," Sari explained, focusing on the bag of food lying on the table. "Are those your pies I smell in that bag over there?"
"You guessed right…they are," she answered, tenderly picking up the bag, "Five of my famous sweet potato pies."
Mark's eyes lit up at the word pies, and he quickly turned to Sari. "Speaking of pies, don't you have something you're supposed to be making for me, little girl," he reminded, smirking at her.
Sari rolled her eyes and looked at Sara. "C'mon Sara…your husband has requested that I make him some lemon meringue pie," she spoke, emphasizing the word meringue.
Sara laughed and led Sari back inside to the kitchen. "We'll just have to make sure, Mark gets you something really good for Christmas then, right," she said brightly, once they were back in the safe haven known as the kitchen.
"Oh yeah and I know just what he can get me…a new sound system," she replied, causing them both to laugh aloud. "And for Mark, I'm going to show him how to make meringue, so he can stop bugging me to make him some every Thanksgiving."
Sara snorted covering her mouth. "Good luck with that. I've tried to show him how to do, but he keeps claiming he doesn't get it. But if you ask me, he just doesn't want to make it himself, because he likes knowing that others will just do it for him."
"Well, not for much longer…because if it's the last thing I do, I'm coming to teach that man how to make meringue," Sari replied, fully determined to make her words come true.
"You do that and I'll take you shopping for your birthday."
Final Chapter: (tentative outline)
Thanksgiving Dinner at the Michaels' home.
Shawn finally talks to Sari about her mother, Allie Michaels.
The aftermath of Sari, Carolyn and Benjamin's fight.
End Note: I'll be back with hopefully the final update soon. I'm posting this while in Advisory. Hope you all had a good New Years Eve.