Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Love/sex ~ Romance between men and women and between women. Sex between consenting couples.

Sickness & death ~ There are some deaths in this story. If that's not for you, I hope you enjoy reading something else.

Author's note ~ Sorry for a lack of updating, been caught up watching the World Cup. This series takes place in the fictional town of Honeyport in the South of England. Questions, comments & thoughts all welcome. Loves_to_write_fic@yahoo.co.uk

© June, 2006 Cam Taylor

 

Chapter Nine

Thursday, 26th November

Thanksgiving morning.

K ate walked into her kitchen and smiled at the scene she was greeted with. Her mother and her daughter were standing next to each other, shoulders brushing, both of them looking down at something on the counter. Kate spotted the numerous ingredients surrounding them and realised they were getting ready to make something. Memories of her childhood flooded through her mind as she stopped next to Janet.

"Happy Thanksgiving, darling," the doctor said, as she kissed the top of Janet's head.

"Happy Thanksgiving, mom."

Kate walked over to the kettle and flicked the switch on. "What are you two making this early in the morning?" she asked, turning back to look at the pair.

"We are making my well-known gingersnap, pumpkin mousse torte," Irene Levens informed her eldest daughter. "And yes, I would love a cup of coffee, dear."

Kate smiled. "I was going to ask, mom. Jan, do you want a cup?"

"Hmmm? Uhh... yeah, sure," she replied absent-mindedly. "Okay, Nana. I think we've got everything. What do you want me to do?"

"Step one. Are you listening carefully?"

Janet nodded eagerly. She didn't get to see her nana much, so relished this chance to spend time with Irene, learning a family recipe.

"Okay. Mix together the gingersnaps, chopped pecans, and butter. While I... find the pan."

Janet got on with her task, her face a mask of concentration.

Kate filled the three mugs she had set out with coffee and sugar, then glanced at her mother searching through the cupboards. "Bottom left, mom."

"Thank you, Katie."

"Mother, why are you starting so early?" Kate asked, waiting for the kettle to boil. "It's only..." she looked down at her watch. "It's only 7.30."

Irene placed the pan on the counter. "Well, once we've prepared and cooked it, it needs to be chilled for six hours. I thought you might like to cook the turkey some time today." She turned her attention back to Janet. "Okay, now we want to press that mix onto the bottom and sides of this pan," she instructed.

After they had done that, Janet frowned down at it. "Now what?"

"We bake this for maybe ten minutes or until the edges are golden."

"But..."

"No buts, Janet. You'll see," Irene smiled lovingly and leaned forward to kiss her granddaughter's cheek.

Janet picked up her coffee and stood leaning back against the counter, next to her mom, listening to Kate tell Irene about the expansion at her practice. Her aunt Lou walked into the kitchen, already decked out in her New England Patriots football jersey.

"We're going to win today," Louise said, clapping her hands together. "I can feel it in my bones."

"Louise, I believe the traditional greeting is good morning," Kate told her younger sister, laughing at her excitement.

"What? Oh, yes, of course. Good morning all."

The other three women laughed.

"Aunt Lou," Janet said, a smile dancing along her lips.

"Yes, my favourite niece?"

"You do realise that the Pats aren't playing until Monday?"

"I know, but that doesn't mean I can't wear my shirt while I watch other rubbish teams play."

"You're also in England."

Louise frowned. "Yessss?"

"England is five hours ahead of Boston."

The auburn-haired woman blinked. "Does that mean they won't have the football on? They got coverage over here the last time I visited."

"They do, it just won't be on at the time you think it will be because of the time difference," Janet explained. "At 5.30 this evening it's the first game, which I think involves Green Bay, then after that it's the next game."

Louise scowled. "I see." She licked her lips, slowly. "So... it is on then?"

Janet nodded. "They have a trio of games on."

Irene removed the pan from the oven and placed it out of the way so it could cool off. "Don't confuse your aunt, Janet. Just tell her football's on and she'll be happy." She chuckled as Kate and Janet laughed, while Louise scowled at her mother. "All right, Janet," Irene said, turning to the young woman. "Grab a saucepan and mix together the sugar and unflavoured gelatin."

Janet grabbed the ingredients and a saucepan.

"You'll want to stir in the cream, egg yolks and water."

Louise took the cup of coffee Kate offered her and frowned at her older sibling. "What are they making?" she asked.

"Mom's apparently well-known gingersnap, pumpkin mousse torte."

"Ohhh, I love that!"

"Why have I never heard of this dessert?" Kate asked, frowning.

"You don't see mom as much as I do," Louise replied.

"Yes, but why has she never made it when I'm over in the States?"

"Okay, Janet, bring it over here," Irene instructed. "Stir over a low heat until the gelatin has dissolved and our mixture just begins to bubble.

Janet nodded and stood off to the side, stirring the mixture. "What time is Great-grams due?" she asked Kate. The other three women rolled their eyes.

Kate didn't have room to put up all her family that were arriving into town for the holiday. She had offered her mom Janet's old bedroom, and her sister and her husband, Brandon, the spare bedroom which had a double bed. Louise's three children, Whitney, Jeremy and Russell, were sleeping in the living room. The rest of the relatives had been booked into nearby hotels, much to Kate's relief. She had enough stress in her life at the moment without having to deal with numerous relatives under her feet and driving her mad.

"Did you have to invite her, Kate?" Louise asked grumpily.

Great-grandmother Ivy was Irene's mother-in-law and an old battle axe. She was snotty, opinionated, and critical of everything.

"I don't think I did," Kate defended herself. "I think she invited herself." The doctor frowned. "Who told her it was my turn to host?"

Louise shrugged.

"And uhh... when is Chris due?" Janet asked nonchalantly. "And Laurie?" she quickly added.

Kate smiled. "Around midday, I believe."

"Who's Chris? And the reluctantly remembered Laurie?" Louise asked, eyeing her niece.

"Chris is the young woman Janet has taken a liking to," Kate informed her sister.

"Mother!" Janet exclaimed, cheeks burning in embarrassment. The older women laughed. "Nana, this is done," Janet said, hoping they would let the subject drop.

"All right. Take it off the heat and stir in the pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice."

"So, my favourite niece..." Louise started, a naughty smile dancing along her lips.

"I'm not telling you anything,"Janet interrupted her aunt.

"She must be special if you're showing her off to us."

"Mom invited her."

"I can phone her up and cancel," Kate offered.

"No!" Janet protested. "I mean... it's too late to cancel now and..." She scowled at her mother. "It's okay."

Louise laughed in delight and walked over to the younger woman to wrap an arm around her shoulders. "Soooo?"

"It's... complicated," Janet growled, wishing they would change the subject. "What shall we do now, Nana?"

"Let it cool for twenty minutes, honey," Irene informed her. "I'll be back." The older woman left the kitchen.

"I could have done without this, mom!" Janet complained, eyes on Kate as she returned to the subject of Chris.

"What?" The doctor looked blankly at her daughter.

"Poor Chris and Laurie are going to be subjected to not only Great-grams, but cousin Delicia as well!"

"Oh, come on, she's not that bad!" Kate protested.

"Who are you trying to kid?" Louise butted in. "Did you hear what she did the other day? Instead of putting milk bottles out for the milkman to pick up, she took them upstairs to her bathroom!"

"That's not so bad. We're all forgetful sometimes," Kate replied.

"And she put the butter in the sink," Louise continued.

Janet stifled a laugh.

"All right, so she's a little batty," Kate admitted.

"A little!" Louise exclaimed. "Do you remember the time she went shopping and forgot she had taken the car? She walked all the way home, then remembered!"

"Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving," Janet's cousin Whitney greeted, as she walked into the kitchen. "Do I smell coffee?"

Kate smiled and nodded, before turning to make the teenager a mug.

"What are you guys talking about?"

"Your cousin Delicia," Louise informed her youngest.

"I can't believe she got here okay," Whitney laughed. She took the steaming mug of coffee Kate held out for her. "I'm surprised she didn't end up in Australia or somewhere!" The women all laughed.

As the doorbell rang, Kate sighed and knew her day had begun. "Ah, here's the rest of the brood," she said smiling.

* * * * *

While Kate, Louise and her family caught up with the new arrivals, Irene returned to the kitchen, dressed smartly for the day ahead, and helped Janet finish making the dessert.

"Now we leave it in the fridge for six hours and it'll be ready to eat in the evening," she told her granddaughter.

Janet smiled and hugged Irene. "Thanks for teaching me and letting me help," she said. "Come on, we better go and meet up with everyone." She left the kitchen and found her mother sitting with the other guests in the living room. After half an hour talking with the family and getting caught up with all the goings on, she excused herself to go and get changed.

Irene walked out of the kitchen holding a tray of drinks, which she set down on Kate's coffee table. Sitting next to her daughter, she wrapped an arm around the doctor's shoulders. "Now, Katie, when had you planned on putting the turkey on?"

* * * * *

Midday.

Chris rang the doorbell and stood nervously waiting at the front door. She had put off coming over to Kate's for as long as possible, even sitting with Harrison in the car until he had caught on to what she was doing and kicked her out. I don't see why I couldn't be switched back to the other case. All right, so I was invited, but I'm sure Kate would've understood that I don't want to be around her family, on a family holiday, she thought to herself.

The front door swung open. The two women stood in silence, appraising each other.

"Chris," Janet finally managed to say. "Am I glad to see you!" She smiled, meaning her words to be taken in more ways than one. "Happy Thanksgiving."

"Uhh... yeah... you, too," Chris replied, fighting the urge to grab the other woman into a hug and tell her how much she had missed her company.

"You look nice," Janet complimented, her eyes lingering appreciatively over Chris' ensemble.

The blonde was dressed smartly in black trousers and a blue shirt that almost matched her eyes. Over that, she had on her warm, black leather jacket. She was also wearing gloves as the weather was cold, as usual.

"Thanks. So do you," Chris replied, her eyes trailing down Janet's body, taking in the light green turtleneck sweater and dark blue jeans Janet had on. "Here," she said, thrusting a bag at Janet. "I uhh... wasn't sure what exactly to bring, but thought I couldn't go wrong with alcohol." She frowned. "Unless your relatives are tee-totallers. Damn, I never thought of that!"

Janet laughed as Chris grew more worked up. "Chris... sweetie, it's fine. We all drink." This time it was Janet who frowned. "Wait. That didn't come out right."

The two women burst out laughing, the tension between them disappearing.

"Come on. Come in and meet my mad family," Janet said, moving aside for Chris to enter. She led the blonde to the kitchen, where Irene, Kate and Laurie were discussing different ways of cooking a turkey. The large bird for today's feast had already been cooking in the oven for several hours.

"Chris, you made it," Kate smiled as she greeted the blonde. She wrapped her arms around Chris in an embrace. "I'm glad."

"And she brought alcohol," Janet added, holding up the bag Chris had handed her.

"Excellent. In that case, you can stay!" Kate joked.

Laurie, who had arrived a half hour earlier, gave Chris a wide grin, looking back and forth between her and Janet. She opened her mouth to say something, but closed it immediately as Chris pointed a finger at her.

"Don't you dare," the blonde growled.

Janet turned her back and stifled a giggle. "Uhm... come on, guys. I'll introduce you to everyone." She led Chris and Laurie out of the kitchen and through to the living room, introducing the two women to the family members sitting around. Uncle Rory, who was Kate's younger brother, was waiting to get into the kitchen. Rory's wife, Lois, Great-grandmother Ivy, a mean old lady who was to be avoided. In the adjoining room, were more relatives. Cousins Whitney, Jeremy and Russell Kingsbury, Louise's children, sat with their father. Uncle Daniel, Kate's older brother, and his wife Julie. And last but not least, cousin Delicia, who was best left alone, Janet whispered to the pair.

While the food preparation continued, Laurie remained in the kitchen with Kate, wanting to keep an eye on the doctor at all times. Chris sat in the living room with the relatives. More family had arrived and been introduced to the two investigators before settling in to catch up with their family. There was a serious poker game going on around the coffee table, while others played Monopoly. Chris felt awkward and out of place and wished she could leave, but, knowing she had a job to do, tried to concentrate on that rather than the fact that she was surrounded by strangers.

"I'm nineteen next month," Janet's cousin Whitney informed Chris, who began to feel uncomfortable when the strawberry-blonde moved her chair closer.

"Uhhh... that's... nice."

"Are you... seeing anyone?" the teen asked.

Against her better judgement, as the investigators weren't supposed to drink while they were working, Chris had graciously accepted a small glass of red wine just to be sociable and make out she was joining in the festivities. Now she quickly gulped down the rest of her drink. It was an excellent excuse to extricate herself from the persistent Whitney's presence. "Wow! Look at that, I'm all out," she said, holding up her empty glass. "Better get a refill." She stood, having no intention of actually getting another drink, and quickly walked away, only to bump into another relative.

"You're the English one, aren't you?" a small, scowling woman asked in a distasteful tone.

"Yes, ma'am, I am."

"Do you know Peter Jones?" the older lady asked.

Chris frowned. "I can't say that I do."

"You must! He is a lovely man. He was over in America for a vacation and we met and got talking. I've seen how small your country is on a map," the woman insisted. "Tiny little place."

"Well, just 'cause it looks small, doesn't mean it is. England is actually rather big, and..."

"Are you calling me a liar?" the woman asked, raising her voice.

"No, I..."

"You young people today, no respect for your elders!"

Janet happened to walk in at that moment and saw a wide-eyed Chris trapped by her Great-grandmother Ivy. Oh, God! Poor Chris! She's probably traumatised! Janet rushed across the room and took Chris' arm. "Hey, Chris, let's..."

"Ahhh, Janet. Is this one of your friends?"

"Yes, Grams, it is."

"No respect, you know. She called me a liar!"

"I..." Chris attempted to interrupt, blue eyes darting from the old woman to Janet helplessly.

"Have you found yourself a nice young man yet, Janet?" Ivy carried on, over Chris' protest.

"No, not yet. But I'll keep looking. Come on, Chris, we're needed in the kitchen." With that, she dragged the blonde investigator away.

"Are we really needed? Is something wrong?" Chris asked once they were out in the hall.

"No," Janet smiled. "I just thought you needed rescuing."

"I did! First, your cousin was flirting with me, then I bumped into your..."

"Grams," Janet filled in.

"And she insisted I must know a Peter Jones!"

A loud cheer came from the room adjoining the living room, where the uncles, cousins and one aunt had taken up residence to watch the live football game.

"Did you want to watch football?" Janet asked, pointing to the room.

"Football? I didn't know there was a game on."

"American football," Janet explained. "I'm not sure which game is on exactly, as I haven't been in there. My aunt Lou is in there. She's a nut, but a nice nut."

Chris laughed. "Sure. But only if you're positive your mum doesn't need help?"

Janet waved a hand in the air. "My uncle Rory has taken over the kitchen to whip up his pineapple cheese salad. God knows why he didn't ask the chef at the hotel he's staying at to whip one up. Honestly, I think he just likes to hear what my aunts gossip about."

They fell silent, eyes locked on each other, the air around them suddenly simmering. Unconsciously, they both took a step forward, the space between then disappearing as they were drawn to each other.

"Janet..." Kate called out, seconds before walking out of the kitchen. The two young women sprang back from each other, both turning to look at the doctor. Damn! I interrupted something! Kate thought, seeing that both women were blushing. "Janet, your aunt Mavis wants your help."

Janet nodded and walked towards her mother. Were we about to kiss? Walking quickly, she hurried into the kitchen.

"Chris, I know you guys are working," Kate said in a low tone. "But I feel really bad that Harrison is out in the car." The investigator frowned, a pale eyebrow lifted, as she waited for the doctor to continue. "I would like to invite him in, even if it is just for the meal."

"You've told your family about what's going on?" Chris asked in surprise.

Kate shook her head. "No. I've told them that you and Laurie are friends of Janet's and I can say the same about Harrison. I'm sure most of my family think you all work with Jan on the police force."

"Sure, Kate. I'll go get him." Chris returned alone and went to find Kate. Pulling the doctor aside, where they wouldn't be overheard, she relayed Harrison's message. "He said to thank you for the offer, but while there are so many people around, our guy could easily slip in if no one is paying close attention.

Kate smiled. "Understood. I appreciate the three of you working for me today. I know you can't be all that comfortable surrounded by the many relatives that made the trip."

"It's no trouble, Kate."

"I'll take something out to Harrison later," the auburn-haired woman decided.

"Or Laurie or I will," Chris corrected, with a raised eyebrow.

"Of course," Kate smiled. "Why don't you go and watch the football game or join in one of the games going on and relax," she suggested. "I'm perfectly all right in the kitchen. Laurie is keeping a close eye on me."

Chris nodded and walked into the crowded room where the football game was on, finding herself a small space to sit down next to Louise.

* * * * *

Football was eventually interrupted by the announcement that dinner was served. The table had been set nicely by Russell and his younger brother Jeremy, who both seemed to think they could do a better job of it than Delicia. Chris took a seat between Laurie and Janet's aunt Louise. Janet was sat opposite, sitting next to Whitney and her uncle Daniel.

The turkey and at least a dozen side-dishes were set out around the table, salt and pepper pots sat either side of a beautiful bouquet that was central. It all looked amazing. Louise's husband, Brandon, had the honour of slicing up the big bird, while everyone else handed around the other dishes. Uncle Rory said grace and now each person was taking a turn saying what they were thankful for over the passing year.

Listening to the thanks being given, Chris was startled when a foot trickled its way up the side of her leg. Oh, God, please don't let that be Whitney's foot! She leaned back in her chair, inconspicuously looking down under the table. Her eyes widened comically as she followed the leg back to Janet. Blue eyes shot up and locked onto amused green. Oh. My. God! She stared down at her plate, fighting the rush of feelings that flooded through her body. She's trying to kill me!

"Chris?" Kate frowned.

Laurie poked the blonde in the ribs to get her attention.

Chris looked up, her attention turning to Kate. "Yes?"

"Are you all right?"

"Oh. Yes. I'm fine, thank you."

"Well, it's your turn."

"To give thanks," Chris blurted out, realising why everyone was looking at her. "Uhhh... I'm thankful for my friends being kept safe and uhh... uhhh..." She swallowed hard as her eyes flicked across to Janet, only to see the hazel-haired woman innocently licking her lips in a way that was incredibly sensual. Yep. Definitely trying to kill me! "...for meeting Kate. She's a great lady and has invited me to my first Thanksgiving," Chris finally rushed out.

Kate beamed a pleased smile at her. "You're very welcome, Chris. And Laurie."

With the speeches over, conversation wilted as everyone turned their attention to the impressive spread of food before them.

* * * * *

Evening.

After the turkey dinner, followed by dessert, some family members had drifted back to watching the football that was on, while others retired to the living room and had started to play a board game. Kate and Lois set out a buffet, so anyone who wanted any more food could help themselves. Now being evening, people were beginning to get a little tipsy from the amount of alcohol consumed throughout the day. Someone had thrown a challenge out about being the best singer and everyone who disputed the claim started a singing game. They split into teams and had to try and guess what was being sung, with only a line to go on.

Chris sat back on the sofa, her sides aching from laughing so much. Delicia, Janet's cousin, had decided that a line wasn't enough and was killing "I will always love you.". When she finally stopped, the group gave her a round of applause and cheered, despite her terrible singing voice.

"Okay, who's next?" Aunt Julie challenged.

"How about we switch games?" Rory suggested, sick of having to think up a song he could pull off. "We could play Charades?"

A resounding "No!" chorused around the living room, followed by calls for Janet to go next.

The policewoman stood, swaying slightly, and moved to stand in front of the group. "All right, all right! I'll go next." She stood trying to think of a song that would get a reaction out of Chris. The alcohol she had consumed had made her bold and lowered her inhibitions. If Delicia is going to sing a whole song, I will sing a whole song, too, she thought, smiling crookedly. Now, to think of a good one....

"At Last,

My love has come along,

My lonely days are over.

And life is like a song."

Janet looked around the room, knowing she couldn't look at Chris. With all the feeling and emotion she was putting into the song, she knew Chris would see the truth and would see just how much she really cared.

"I found a dream, that I could speak to,

A dream that I, can call my own.

I found a thrill, to press my cheek to,

A thrill that I've, never known."

Chris couldn't explain the reaction she was having to the song Janet was singing. She knew, somehow she knew, the hazel-haired woman was singing to her, even though she refused to look her way. Janet was singing with such feeling, that Chris felt her throat tighten with emotion.

"Ohhh, yeah, yeah,

You smiled, you smiled."

Having trouble breathing, Chris stood up, intent on locking herself in the bathroom until she could get herself under control. I don't think anyone would appreciate me jumping Janet in front of them!

Janet watched Chris leave as she finished the song, wondering if the blonde had seen exactly what she felt and was disgusted.

"Ohhh, and then the spell was cast.

And here we are, in heaven.

For you are mine....At last."

Everyone seated in the living room applauded and cheered even as Janet hurried out of the room. Stopping in the hall, not sure where Chris had gone to, Janet spotted her mother at the front door. "Trying to make a break for it?" she asked, smiling.

Kate glanced Janet's way and laughed. "No. I've just sent Laurie off to take Harrison something to eat." The doctor turned to look at her daughter properly. "Everything all right, honey?"

"Have you seen Chris?"

"I think she headed upstairs to the bathroom."

"Oh... well, I uhh...okay. I think I'll go see if I can find her."

* * * * *

I have to go back downstairs eventually, Chris thought, looking around the light pink bathroom. I'll go in the other room and watch the television with the others. I'll avoid Janet as best I can and soon she'll probably leave. Or I will. Feeling better, the investigator stood up from where she had taken a seat on the toilet and walked over to the locked door. With a hand on the handle, she took a final deep breath and opened the door, only to find the woman she was trying to avoid on the other side. "Janet, wh-..."

Janet pushed Chris back into the bathroom and shut the door behind them. Placing a hand on the blonde's cheek, she smiled softly. "I've been thinking about you."

That one faint touch sparked the fire they both felt. Chris swallowed, nervous and confused with her conflicting emotions. I'm in so much trouble, she thought, looking helplessly into Janet's beautiful green eyes. Janet moved closer, her hands sliding around Chris' shoulders, not allowing the investigator to move away. Chris placed her hands on the other woman's hips and lightly brushed her lips against Janet's, softly at first, then with added pressure as her need and desire grew. God, I've missed her! Janet responded, returning the kiss and melting into it.

As the kiss grew more passionate, their arms slid around each other like they had been together for years. They held each other tightly, the hungry need to feel the other's warmth pressing them together. Chris slid her hands down the back of Janet's turtleneck, fingers slipping beneath and meeting hot skin. As Janet moaned softly at the gentle caress, Chris snapped back to reality and stepped back, arms falling to her sides. Jesus Christ! What am I doing? "I have to..." She swallowed hard, a frown etched on her brow.

They were interrupted by someone knocking on the door. "Chris? Chris, are you in there?" Laurie called through the door.

Chris was still staring at Janet, not quite comprehending what had just happened between them. "Yeah," she replied.

"We have a problem," Laurie said loud enough for Chris to hear.

Janet saw the freaked-out look on Chris' face and mouthed, "Go," to her.

The investigator nodded and opened the door just enough for her to slip out, without Laurie seeing in. "What is it, Laur?"

"Harrison is missing."

Continued...

 

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