"The rain’s here, and Ethan called. He’s going to be slightly late, but he’ll be here.”
“That’s good.” Gavin munched on celery stick. “Your mother brought rabbit food with her.”
“It’s good for you,” Janet Nichols retorted from the kitchen. “You said so yourself you’d had steak two days in a row. And probably not many vegetables.”
“I ate plenty at the ranch the other night,” Gavin grumbled. “Meddling women. Give me good Buffalo wings or fried onions? No…they’ve got to force me to eat this shit. That’s why I stay single. Remember that, Brad.”
“I didn’t observe Emma forcing any healthy food down your throat,” Brad joined him at the table, greeting Emma’s parents.
“She’s young enough to know better than to pull that on me.”
Emma joined her mother in the kitchen. “When you have your heart attack, I’ll be right there by your side, making you eat right…or I’ll have Nora do it.”
“I’m too ornery to have a heart attack.” Gavin stood up as Nora entered, carrying several pie containers. “Now there’s a sensible woman. Brings me pie.” He reached for the containers and got his hand slapped.
“They’re for after dinner,” she scolded, and joined Janet in the kitchen. “It’s starting to really pour out there. I hope Ethan and Lori make it.”
“Lori?” Neil raised his eyebrows.
“The therapist,” Gavin returned to the table. “I told her to come around four-thirty.”
“Good idea. Eat first, alienate Ethan second,” Emma said, helping herself to a beer and offering one to Brad. She joined the men at the table and munched on a carrot. “Need any help, Mom?”
“Now honey, I’ve told you. Stay out of my kitchen, and I’ll stay out of your stable,” Nora admonished.
Brad laughed. “I take it you don’t cook?”
“I can too…I do a very good microwave,” Emma said, reddening. “And I can make a few things.”
Neil coughed. “I don’t think hot dogs count as cooking, sweetheart.”
“I can also make a good meatloaf.”
“She and Hamburger Helper are good friends, Brad,” Nora winked at him.
“Ooh! I get no respect in this house!”
Gavin patted her hand. “Stick with me, kid. I like your meatloaf.”
“At least someone appreciates me.” Emma glared at Nora.
“She does a mean take-out, also,” Gavin added.
“Okay, ha ha. I get it,” Emma grabbed her beer and stormed over to the fireplace. “It’s pick on Emma day.”
“No, honey, it’s called warning the boyfriend that you can’t cook,” Gavin laughed. “See Brad? She and Nora are a package deal.”
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