Title: Thanksgiving, thanks? 1/1
Author's Name: Scott B. Smith
Author's Email: rating: T
Brief Synopsis: Jake's away on a mission while Diane's with her parents for the holiday.
Diane was alone in her room; actually it had been her room when she was growing up in this house. Her mother now used it as a sewing room, but much of the teenage science geek still remained. The periodic scale still hung over the daybed, plaques and awards she had won had been added long after her move to Boston then D.C.
It had been a bad day; Aunts and Uncles she barely knew, cousins she really didn't know and her flaky sister. It had taken her mother a total of 30 minutes before the questions began about the mysterious man in her life: "Yes he really existed. No he wasn't hiding. He is shy, but wants to meet them. No he couldn't get off work. Yes he likes children. He would have stayed at the hotel. Yes he had a reservation. Yes, she's met his family. They were in D.C. They are very nice. He has a brother. No he isn't with them. No, he's not in jail..." The interrogation went on until she had snuck out after Thanksgiving dinner for a walk, she managed to be gone most of the afternoon.
Mom served snacks that evening; lunch had been so huge that snacks went over well that night. Diane had grabbed a bag of chips and a drink and taken them to her room to spend the evening watching the JMD screen on her PDA. It gave her a small feeling of nearness to him. Jake's idea to integrate her monitoring device into an ordinary PDA had worked well. No longer did every geek in the area want to examine the new technological toy.
Earlier in the evening Jake's nanites had been fully activated, but that had been hours ago, before the house had quieted down. The one saving grace had been when Jake had caused the nanites to pulse three times; a signal to her that he was safe and healthy, two pulses would have meant he was safe but injured, one pulse could be an accident and no pulse would mean Jake was injured or going to be for forgetting to signal Diane. Fran knew the signals so she wouldn't report it as an anomaly to be investigated.
Diane felt lost, no reports to work on, no Jake to fuss over, nothing to prep. She thought about going down stairs but didn't want to run into anyone. Feeling board she got ready for bed, stuffing her clothes into her bag she donned Jake's favorite grey Georgetown sweatshirt. She liked the way it hung down almost to her knees and smelled of Jake with just a trace of fried peppers from the deli he lives over. When she pulls her hands into the sleeves and wraps her arms around herself, just for the briefest of moments it feels like Jake's embracing her.
She jumps when her cell phone rings. Her heart rate and respiration are already racing when panic sets in - the CID shows Kyle's number!
"Kyle!" she barks into the receiver.
"Hold up Diane, it's me!" Jake did his best to interrupt.
"Take a breath." Jake pleads, "Take a breath."
"Okokok." Diane gasped a breath. "You scared me."
"I didn't mean to," Jake tried to sound soothing, "I'm Ok, Kyle's fine and my 'business trip' is over. Didn't you see me pulse the 'I'm Ok?"
"That was hours ago."
"We just finished the debriefing."
"That was quick."
"Didn't feel like it from this end."
"What happened to your phone?"
"Let's just say it's not a reusable offensive weapon."
"Sounds like a story."
"Best told around a campfire at Fort Meade."
"I'll be home tomorrow."
"Have you seen my Georgetown sweatshirt?"
"Yes, I'm wearing it."
"You stay right there, I'm going to come get it."
"But I can be home…."
"Stay there! Make sure you don't leave anything in it."
"Jake... I don't under…."
"Anything you leave in it I'm keeping, Forever."
"What did you say?"
"Anything I find in my sweatshirt I am keeping, Forever."
"Jake are you…."
"Coming up there to retrieve my sweatshirt? Yes."
"I haven't met your folks."
"I don't want your father's first words to be '...give her to him? I've never seen him before."
"Taking a bit for granted, aren't you?"
"Jumping the gun little, maybe. At least your mother's been asking you about it hasn't she?"
"Yes, but I won't marry just to shut her up."
"Of course not. Does your father own a shotgun?"
"Jake! I'm not..." She yells, then softly," I'm not pregnant!"
"I know, just thought it'd be nice to follow the family tradition."
"You mean you were?"
"Diane!" Jake interrupted," You were at my parents Thirtieth anniversary remember."
"Yes... right... You're 25, so where did the shotgun come in?"
"Let's just say grandpa was a bit old fashioned and never let the truth get in the way of a good rumor."
"He must have been surprised at how long it took you to arrive?"
"Yes," Jake laughed," rumor has it he was getting the shotgun ready for something else."
"So you started life as a hero."
"I never thought of it like that... Listen I've got to move it, do me a favor and find me a hotel room?"
"Of course. When do you think you'll get here?"
"Just a sec."
There were two minutes of fidgety silence before Jake came back on the phone.
"Diane, ETA is 9:45am in Maine, 10:30 at your parent's house, give or take. See you soon."
"Um... I love you."
"I love you too... They're ready to go, here's Kyle."
"Hi Diane, good Thanksgiving?"
"So-so until now. Is he really alright."
"Outside of missing you? Ten fingers, ten toes, one goofy smile..." The unmistakable roar of a military jet taking off drowns Kyle's voice out.
"How is Jake flying here?"
"As safely and quickly as he can. The rest you can find out Monday, understand?"
"Yes. Oh Kyle, thanks for letting Jake use your phone."
"You're welcome. You might say I owed it to him."
"Monday Diane, Monday."
"Ok, ok; have a good weekend."
"You too. See you Monday."
Diane sat there looking at her phone a minute before deciding to charge it; if she and Jake have to share it, it had better have a full charge. Grabbing the empty chip bag and drink bottle she headed down to the kitchen.
"That must have been some phone call." A voice from the darkened living room said.
"Momma! Quit skulking."
"My dear, someday when you have daughters you will understand the value of a good skulk. Now about that phone call."
"How did you know I had a phone call?" Asked a suspicious Diane.
"Because that lilt in your step wasn't caused by a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and a diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Now give."
"It was Jake, he should be here about 10:30 tomorrow morning. He really wants to meet my family."
"Are you that serious?"
"He... well...he he..."Diane closes her eyes and allows the truth to come out." I am."
"I'm pretty sure. He told me anything he found in his sweatshirt he would keep forever." Diane said fondling the sweatshirt.
"And you took his sweatshirt because it smells like him?"
Diane's blush and silence is answer enough.
"Go to bed sweetheart, he'll be here all the more quicker."
"Alright momma. Oh, don't let me forget to get a hotel room for Jake in the morning."
"Nonsense, he'll stay here."
"But he's traveling all night, he'll be exhausted."
"There will be room, besides we want to get to know your beau, especially if... well you know."
"Ok, goodnight momma." Diane started towards the stairs. "Momma, how did you know about the shirt?"
"When your father's away I wear one of his." She admits with a sly grin.
The morning seemed to stretch forever. After a restless night she had gone out and bought black slacks and black high-heeled pumps early that morning. She had styled her hair half a dozen ways before just shaking it out and donning her glasses. She added her usual minimal makeup, much to her mother's dismay, and she felt complete; a complete wreck that is. Jake's sweatshirt was warm, but not much comfort, and the front porch she was pacing on seemed to keep getting smaller...
"You look nervous Princess."
"Oh Daddy. What if's keep coming up."
"Do you love him?"
"Does he love you?"
"I believe so
"Yes he does very much sir." Came a reply from behind them.
"Jake! " Diane nervously squeaked.
"Good to meet you son." Her father said sticking out his hand.
"And you sir." Jake replied taking the hand and smiled broadly at the attempt to crush his hand.
"Humph... I'll give you two a moment and let mother know company has arrived."
When they were alone Jake stepped onto the porch and embraced a quivering Diane. "What's wrong?"
"What of sweetheart?"
"That you'll change your mind. That this is a passing fantasy brought on because you were on a dangerous assignment."
"Well. I can prove that I've been planning to propose." He says while reaching into his shirt and pulling up a silver necklace holding an engagement ring. "Hold out your hand," she complies and he slips it on her finger - a perfect fit - then he pulls it off the stunned Diane, placing it back on the necklace and into his shirt.
"What... when... why?"
"Remember when you showed me your Harvard graduation ring."
"Your size is on the inside. Today however is about meeting your family. Since you're wearing my sweatshirt it would appear that asking is academic. Next week, or soon enough, I will wine and dine you and ask proper."
Diane cups Jakes face in her hand, looks deep into his eyes "Who are you and what have you done with my bumbling geek?"
Jake laughs, "When you fly all night in a fighter there's nothing to do, so I thought about what I wanted out of us and I have a toast ready for most plan able occasions up to our ninth kid graduating college."
"We wont be having nine."
"Well so much for little Shurla Belle."
"Julliard trained pianist, looks just like her mother."
"How about two with and option for two more."
"Sounds good." Diane smiles brightly and leads Jake to the wicker loveseat her mother likes so much.
As they sit arms around each other. Jake slides into slumber and Diane has a moment to think.
She aches for this man and loves him completely. But a future; he could die on a mission or end up locked away as a failed experiment. He's shown poor judgment around gorgeous women and undying loyalty to his friends. They might not be allowed to marry. They would always be under scrutiny.
But the scariest thought of all was that nine didn't seem like such a large number...
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