family dinner

by renegadekarma

“Who do you think peeled all the potatoes, Zacchy-poo?” she replied.

“Don’t call me that, Ginger,” he replied at once, nudging her with his elbow.


 

#2 Sweethome Lane was alive with the sound of boiling water, silverware being slapped onto the table, and the faint sound of puffing from the living room. Zach stood contentedly against a counter, arms crossed over his chest as he watched his mother bustle about the kitchen. “Aren’t you going to help?” she inquired of the twenty year old man, who merely shrugged in reply, adding, “It’s a lot more fun watching you do it.” Kitty rolled her brown eyes at her son like he’d known she would before unexpectedly shoving a stack of plates in his arms. “It’s a lot more fun watching you set the table, then?” she replied sweetly.

He shook his head but obligingly proceeded to the dining table, laying out the plates just as his sister stepped in. She was, as usual, dressed impeccably, and he gave her a quick glance in amusement. “What, family dinner and I get all the chores while you get all the time in the world to dress nicely?” he asked. Felicia jostled him with her elbow in amusement, picking up the silverware and beginning to set it up on the table beside her brother. “Who do you think peeled all the potatoes, Zacchy-poo?” she replied.

“Don’t call me that, Ginger,” he replied at once, nudging her with his elbow.

Kitty, after dumping the boiled pasta into a colander at the sink, turned to her children. “You two are married adults – can’t you learn to get along for one night?

The two siblings, glancing at each other for a split second, had the same reaction: “It’s not my fault,” they each said in unison, pointing to the other.

Kitty gave another roll of her copper eyes before squinting into the living room. “What’s your father doing? Didn’t I tell him to get ready half an hour ago?”

“He’s inventing, Mum,” Felicia explained, straightening a fork before adding, sounding exasperated, “Dad says he’s on the brink of a breakthrough or something.”

From the living room, the puffing intensified before Jonathan called back, “Oi, I am on the verge of creating something magnificent, Ginger! Just you wait and –“ A billow of smoke issued from the machine, and the three in the kitchen coughed suddenly before Jonathan’s voice, quieter this time, added, “I think it’s time I cleaned this up and changed.”

Kitty, now satisfied, turned back to her children and glanced at the time. “Where are your wives again?” she questioned the two.

“Tess said she’d be here at half past six,” Fee replied just as Zach added, “Audrey should be here any minute now.”

Kitty nodded at them but was distracted by the arrival of her husband into the kitchen, his face blackened with soot, and she gasped. “Jonathan!”

“Well, it turns out that I finally got the flowers to spring out, but they also come with a lot of soot,” he replied as his wife seized his shirt front and dragged him to the sink at once, wetting a cloth and rubbing vigorously at her husband’s face. It didn’t stop the sappy grin from spreading across both of their faces, and back at the table, Felicia and Zachary simultaneously glanced at each other in disgust, the sickeningly sweet expressions of their parents never failing to give them some common ground.

It was then that the doorbell rang, and both siblings sprang to get it while Jonathan ran upstairs to replace his blackened shirt. Felicia got there first and seized it before pulling it open, to reveal both Tess and Audrey standing on the doorstep. “Come in!” Kitty called from behind her children, beaming as she untied the back of her apron and slung it on the hanger.

An hour later, with the Nyte parents, their two children, and the spouse of each of their children sitting around the magically expanded dining table, the sound of laughter filled the air. Even Jonathan, normally tight-lipped, was speaking freely with his daughters-in-law, heaping a third helping of mashed potatoes onto his plate. “I don’t expect we’ll hear any announcements from either of you two anytime soon, will we?” Kitty asked, delicately twirling pasta around her fork.

The Nyte siblings exchanged a look. “What sort of announcement?” Zach ventured.

Kitty shrugged as she chewed before swallowing and replying, “You know! Am I going to have grandchildren anytime soon?”

“MUM!” came the simultaneous, slightly scandalized outburst from Fee and Zach as Jonathan and Kitty burst out in laughter, noting the redness coloring the cheeks of both of their children.

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