Thanksgiving Day, Year 6
“Do you think anyone will show up?”
“Kaia, you invited half the school. I’m sure someone will come.”
“I hope someone shows up…” Kailani frowned at the tables. “I wanted…”
“I know.” Conrad patted her shoulder. “I don’t think families would have worked. I think this’ll be better. Even if it’s only four or five people, everything smells delicious. It’ll be fine.”
Kailani had originally wanted to invite biological family — her Aunt, Regine; Conrad’s father, Reid Solomon; Shahin and Emrys’ father, Ambrus, and their great-grandfather, Feu Drake; and so on – but Conrad had suggested, since Regine was no longer Keeping Ambrus and nobody knew where he was, things might get little awkward, and then they would be leaving out the staff they weren’t directly related to or inviting just teachers…
Conrad could be, when he had to be, extremely convincing.
He hadn’t been able to talk her out of her second plan, which was to invite all of the Kept in the school, although he had managed to get her to invite Keepers-and-Kept, rather than start a battle with half of the upperclassmen in the school. “Save that ‘til your third year?” he’d offered. “Then, at least, I’ll be in my fourth year and better able to back you.”
Neither of them wanted a repeat of the horror that had happened when she went against Agatha last year.
Or the mess that had happened when she went against the Thorn Girls.
Well, several of the Keepers had turned her down, some more politely than others, but here they were, at half an hour until go time, with no idea how many people would show up.
“Even I know what an RSVP is, even if it’s a little old fashioned,” Kai fretted. “Do you think – do you think this is silly?”
If it was silly, it was far too late to worry about that. Conrad was not going to say that.
“You wanted a proper family Thanksgiving.” For which she hadn’t meant him, her, and their two children, nor their crew and all the kids, but … this broad definition of family that seemed to include the whole world. Conrad assumed he’d understand it eventually. “Like on the TV shows.”
“My mother never wanted anything like that.” She’d told him this – in bits and pieces – over the last two months. Conrad was beginning to get an impression of the woman that he didn’t much like – but he’d started on that within a week of meeting Kailani. “We usually didn’t celebrate at all. Take-out or something with tofu or some Indian dish she looked up. I —” The smile she gave him was naked and so bright that it hurt. “I believe that I have a lot to be thankful for, and that I should share some of that largess with everyone else.”
“One of these days,” he grumbled, both not-really-serious and dead serious at the same time, “you are going to try to feed the whole world Thanksgiving dinner and I’m going to be in the kitchen, figuring out how to carve up half a billion turkeys.”
“I have faith in you,” she assured him. “You’ll figure it out.”
A knock at the door saved him from figuring out if she was teasing him, or if she really would, some day, expect him to come up with five hundred million turkeys.