Posted by Lieutenant Nathan Harland (Counselor) in Happy Thanksgiving and Welcome to the Family…Baby Harland
Posted by Lieutenant Nathan Harland (Counselor) in Happy Thanksgiving and Welcome to the Family…Baby Harland
Posted by Lieutenant Nathan Harland (Counselor) in Happy Thanksgiving and Welcome to the Family…Baby Harland
Posted by… suppressed (14) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Chloe clicked off the comm and let out a deep, heavy sigh. Moving slower than normal, she walked into the living room draping her arms around Nathan’s neck. He was busy writing reports but this was important. “Hey baby,” she kissed his cheek resting her head on his shoulder.
Nathan paused as he leaned into the kiss as he placed the PaDD down. “You only get this snuggly when you either want sex or have news.” Nathan said with a smirk as he moved back from his chair as he stood up so he could wrap his arms around her. It had gotten harder in time to come around her completely as her belly grew, but Nathan always took the effort to shower her with some love whenever he could.
“So… which is it?” he asked, in a teasing sultry tone. He hopped for the latter, but he knew what day it was and doubted there was much chance for any stuffing outside of a turkey.
“That was your cousin. Matthew is coming to dinner along with my parents, your dad, and my brother. That makes ten of us for dinner. Meredith, Delaney, and Thomas wanted to come but they have to go to the other families.” Chloe knew that at least the name Meredith being taken off the guest list was the best gift Nathan could receive to the start of the holiday season. He liked Kevin’s wife and who didn’t love Molly but Meredith was the one family member Nathan always seemed to have the locked jaw posture whenever speaking to her. Meredith’s bouncing from relationship to relationship, which was always true love at the start, and her ability to poor mouth all situations drove him up the wall.
“Such a shame about Meredith, I guess I don’t need to bring out the brimstone air fresheners to make her feel comfortable after all.” he said with the most sincerest of tones in his voice as he looked back to Molly in the other room who was helping Logan.
Chloe raised an eyebrow with a smirk. There no love loss between Meredith and Nathan but as the brother in law he did manage to be civil. It was all anyone could do at times around her however when he wasn’t around Meredith, Nathan was more public with his opinions of Chloe’s sister.
“Hey Mol dear, you can put back the pitchforks we won’t need them to eat with today Merridth is coming…” he added, really laying it on thick as Molly couldn’t help but laugh at her Uncle some as Logan seemed confused as to why any pitchforks would be needed at all as he squinted and ran over to Molly as he whispered in her ear.
“Really? Really,” Chloe raised an eyebrow. The feud was well known but the kids were getting to that age where they just started to realize something as secretive but not the good sense to keep that secret. “See. You’re going to be the one to explain that mister,” she winked at Nate seeing Logan starting to put two and two together.
“No, your daddy is just being silly… Aunt Meredith and Uncle Nate haven’t really gotten along since Aunt Meredith tried to get rid of her pitbull on Christmas eve a few years back.” Molly said as she put down the last plate as she plopped down on the couch with an exhausted sigh before instantly taking her iMapple Infinity out as she began to talk to her friends.
“Might not be the only reason, but I am glad to hear the rest are coming… we haven’t had this many in such a long time.” Nathan said as he remembered so many missed thanksgivings due to him often hiding away or finding ‘vacations’ to take their family on for the past few years.
“It’s the polite reason,” she corrected her husband with a smile the kids would only assume as their mommy happy with their daddy. “Thank you for agreeing to have everyone over. I am so excited to do this. I always wanted a huge dinner in my own home like I had with my family around the table. Perfect turkey…you carving it,” she tickled his side happily. “It is going to be everything I have ever dreamt of and more. It is our first!” They had only just arrived on the Outpost for all intents and purposes and the baby was literally on the way this month, but this was going to be the first holiday without Maddie. Chloe was going to make it the best holiday she ever could.
“Well… I didn’t really have great holidays… figure our kids shouldn’t have the same burden. It’ll be fine.. it’ll be more than fine.” Nathan said as he kissed Chloe’s cheek as he went to go check on the rest of the family.
” I need to go out and get some things today. If we replicate everything we will never hear the end of it. My mom mentioned she could spend the night and help me with the turkey. ” Chloe let the news hang in the air testing the waters. Nathan and her family were a complicated situation. They loved and adored him as much as they were beginning to become annoyed with his constant testing of the Kendrick boundaries. The Kendrick boundary wasn’t exactly a boundary but a sharp cut off like a cliffs edge. When one was allowed to enter the Kendrick clan, one embraced the Kendrick clan’s traditions and rules. Holidays were strictly observed with a schedule and plan. Of all the holidays, Christmas was the my holiday or the highway event. Thanksgiving was a bit more flexible but it was like a dry run.
“We can cook a turkey… we have that Jordan Cramsey home cooking on the subnet, we can try the bacon glazed turkey and it’ll be fine… if the worst happens we can contact Aedan one of his restaurant chefs can just cook for us.” Nathan said as he wasn’t about to let her mom dictate the turkey, or anything to do with their celebration at all.
“Oh my god no we need to invite them,” Chloe clapped her hands excitedly. “Who wants to go to a restaurant? Besides, it will give Mara someone to play with.”
Chloe let out small grunt as she stood up poking her side. “Your baby is using my ribs like a jungle gym,” she laughed. Taking a few deep breaths she began to walk away to get dressed. “Come with me to the store?”
“Sure, just lemme tell Molly to watch the kids.” Nathan said as he was heading back to the living room before he felt a buzz in his pants.
“Molly is busy. Leave your name at the beep,” she overheard Nate and already started to scheme.
Nathan’s phone began to buzz as Chloe left to get more coffee. Surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly a name flashed crossed the screen: Jennifer Kendrick
“Seriously Uncle Nate I have plans,” Molly set the phone down only to begin the teen debate. Since he was on he phone with her grandmother, that meant he had to multi-task. Like all households, the second a parent answered a call, the kids revolted. Molly toed Mara just for extra measure. She was a shoe in to get underfoot when someone got on the phone.
“One second.” he said as he grimaced slightly. “She has bat ears…” he said softly before answer the device as a holo of Chloe’s mom popped up for him to smile softly at.
Looking up Mara immediately let her attention go to the cookie jar on the counter. Eyeing Nate she stood up and slowly walked the length of the couch never taking her eyes off her Dad. It was similar to a thief hugging a wall on a stake out only this thief was wearing a sweet pink dress with a polar bear on it and out in the open.
“Hello Nathan,” her voice was warm and friendly. “I just got off the phone with Chloe and I was hoping to talk to you privately.” This request was not really a request but more of a polite declarative statement.
“I have a huge assignment due in two days. Andorian history and how they entered the Federation. I need to meet up at the library to finish it,” Molly began to plead her case.
“I wuv woo,” Mara stopped her trek along the edge of the couch giving Nate a huge smile as her eyes met his. In her last year of cookie stealing, she didn’t know much but she knew if they saw you, you didn’t get the cookie. Playing with her dress, Mara stood still but kept her eyes on Nathan as she scowled. He needed to be away from the kitchen not in it.
“Sure…” Nathan said as he quietly slipped into the kitchen area as he waited for Chloe to be out of earshot.
A tug on Nathan’s pant leg added to the confusion as Logan handed him a pair of shoes to untie. Since Nathan and Chloe decided to work things out and Nathan moved back in Logan was his shadow. He had gotten over crying when Nate left or work fearing it would not be hours but weeks until the next time he saw his dad. The shoes in his hand was a boon for Molly. If they were taking one they could take both and she could hang out with her friends.
Nathan smiled softly as he sat down as he took the shoes from Logan as he had his son hope onto his lap as he squezed his son softly as he began to untie the shoes for him as he continued talking.
“You know I mind my own business but ten people in your apartment might be a bit tight. I would absolutely love to come over but do you think the stress and confusion will be too much on Chloe? There is so much to do and she is due any day now. We can always do next year after the baby is born if you think it would be best for her to just nap, sit with her feet up, avoid stress…” Jen gave him plenty of excuses. All she needed him to do was pull the cord and turn the reins back over to her.
“No… she wants this, I am helping we have Molly, Logan, and Mara chipping in… this is important to her and this…” he said pausing to indicate the requests she just made. “This will cause more stress than doing it. I will find a way to make it perfect, or as close as our family calls it perfect… you guys just show up and be hungry.”
“Well, our shuttle made amazing time. We will be in tonight instead of three days from now. It’s amazing how efficient it is,” Jen lied through her teeth. Space travel was fast but the only way it was three days early was due to changing a flight and making it basically non-stop. Whatever Drew and Jen paid for was not the tickets Nate and Chloe sent them. Even a Federation ship on warp 10 couldn’t make it that fast. It was clear that Jen did not trust her daughter to do this unsupervised.
“Everyone will be thrilled… look I am going to have to get going soon to get the rest… we are all excited… I will be at the shuttle bay to pick you up.” Nathan said as he finished untying the shoes as he handed them to Logan as he kissed his son on top of his head.
“Wait Nana and Grandpa are coming tonight,” Molly groaned from the couch. “Uncle Nate I have plans!” Flopping back on the couch, she flung her hands dramatically to the side. Holidays were great if you were the only ones celebrating them but holidays on the outpost were not the same as holidays on Earth. She had already learned that fact with July fourth and Labor day. Uncle Nate and Aunt Molly had planned the traditional picnic type activities but with no one else celebrating the days, she missed a great concert. Until this moment she hadn’t thought of the implications of spending five days alone with her family.
“Oh is that Molly,” Jen said. Knowing the plight of teenagers having raised four of her own, this was her way to seamlessly insert herself into the fray. “Tell her if she has plans I can help Chloe out.” This would be a great chance to streamline the event as it was supposed to be and not let it turn into some chow hall Starfleet event.
“Yes yes… and no she can help out, she knew you were coming and she’s just trying to make excuses. We are going to have a happy thanks giving.” Nathan said looking up as he winked at Chloe.
Chloe exited the bedroom hearing her mother mention her name and helping out. No. Help, she mouthed to Nate. There was no way she could say no to her mom. It never worked. Making a pleaded prayer gesture with her hands, she closed her eyes as if praying he would handle Jen. She rarely did this…put him on the spot but Chloe did want to spend time with him making the turkey and crappy gravy. It was all part of the experience.
The added confusion of Molly whining and Logan making her dad look at him and not here was super helpful to Mara. Oh sweet cookie. You will be mine, she thought with a devlish smile on her face. By now she had made it almost to the kitchen. The jar was on the counter but she could slip it off and head to her room.
“Uncle Nate,” Molly moaned low so her voice could not be picked up by her grandmother. “I can still go out with Phillip right? I don’t have to spend the entire five days with them. I will go nuts. You can’t do this to me. You know what they are like. You ran away from home too!”
“No! We are going to be together!” Nathan shouted with a sharp look at Molly. “We are going to cook a turkey, I am gonna get the Christmas decorations out… we are going to have a happies little thanksgiving ever and you will like it… you all will… now do as you are told.” Nathan said, feeling his last nerve being stamped on.
Two hours later.....
Chloe looked at Nathan and chewed her lip. Her stare was intense, boring holes into his profile. Nathan seemed almost more excited than she was about her family arriving. She however had some reservations. Her parents always came to visit some time during the holidays when she and Nate lived in Massachusetts but the main events were always at her parents home. This afforded Nate and Chloe to slip away because they were not hosting. This time it would be full on Harland help for the next week until they left. Staring at the arriving shuttle schedules showed it was to late to back out. A vibration in her pocket made Chloe look down. They were on leave and with Jessica as the XO, there would be no emergency calls into Sick Bay. This meant it could only be Molly or her mom. Reading the message Chloe’s eyes widened and her mouth opened some. She had no idea how she was going to tell Nathan about what she was reading. Turning slightly she put her back to Nathan as she texted back a reply.
Tiffany scanned the crowd rising up on her tip toes. She was so nervous. She knew who she was looking for yet finding him in a sea of people was easier in theory than practice. While very few people actually celebrated this North American tradition, a space port always had throngs of people embarking and docking. It gave the feel of being back home with people bustling about in a rush. Eventually she found him. Taking a deep breath she let it out slowly as she crossed the space. Fixing a smile to her face she made her way over to him.
“Nathan,” she said almost timidly as she adjusted the bag she was carrying on her arm. “Hello.” Her statement was both declarative and questioning. Looking up at the man she could see what everyone said about his eyes. They were the most brilliant blue. That paired with his dark hair and slight beard gave him an edgy almost dangerous persona. It also made him extremely attractive. Looking back casually over her shoulder, she bit her lip not knowing what else to say to him in the moment. Maybe she should have spoken to him once before jumping on the shuttle and showing up at his door but sometimes life did not give you those little luxuries.
Nathan paused as he locked eyes on Tiffany as his eyes grew wide in a sense of shock. “What…” he paused as he looked around, is if trying to find out if this was one of Aedan’s new prank shows and see if he could spot the hiding cameras. “What are you doing here?” he finished with a feeling in the pit of his stomach. Tiffany had been his ex before he hooked up with Chloe. She was perhaps one of the longest relationships he had held until his wife. Nathan wasn’t quite known for being very comital when he was younger.
“I know I should have called first before showing up but that might have made this even more awkward than surprise I’m here.” The spontaneous jaz hands punctuating her sentence and the almost staccato feel of her sentences clearly indicated she was nervous talking to him.
“Yes… but… why?” he said as he looked over at Chloe, knowing she knew of Tiffany, they knew of all their ex’s, but he wasn’t sure if she knew what she had looked like. It had been some time since the two had been around each other. “I mean… you are super far from London… like.... light years… and yet… here you are.” he said with a tone that seemed to be lost for words as he tried to understand what exactly was going on.
“Here I am,” she smiled happily brushing the hair out of her eyes which continued to have the habit of falling and framing her face. After a pause that seemed a bit longer than necessary, she countered with “ready to spend the holidays with you.” Tiffany held her breath slightly waiting for Nathan to reply.
“Nathan we have a problem,” Chloe stated. Reaching behind her she grabbed Nathan’s arm with urgency and yanked once sharply. “We have a hugh....” her voice trailed off mid-sentence seeing the surprised expression on her husband’s face as he spoke to a dark-haired woman. Chloe had been so focused on reading the text from her mother, she hadn’t noticed Nathan seemed to be involved in a discussion of his own. “Problem,” she finally spat out the last word repeating the sentence. Her face took on a neutral expression seeing the raven-haired beauty standing in front of Nathan, This wasn’t the first time a woman tried to talk up her husband in public. When Nate sang at Aedan’s club, Chloe joked that she had to beat the young chippy’s off with a stick. It was odd however for a woman to randomly do it not in a club or casino. Chloe let her eyes take in all of the details that separated her from the woman looking at Nate like she knew him. The woman’s hair was curled and falling in soft ringlets around her face and shoulders while Chloe’s was pulled back in a slightly sloppy high ponytail. The woman’s clothes were fitted, pressed, and accentuated her body like they were tailored for her. Chloe was lost under Nathan’s old Oxford college sweatshirt and stretch pants. The only thing you could discern about Chloe’s figure was that she was round.
“Hello,” Chloe brushed a stray piece of hair away from her cheek. “Nathan are you going to introduce me to…” She left the bank for him to fill in.
Taking a deep breath Nathan smiled brightly as he looked over at Chloe as he pulled her next to him. “Chloe, this is Tiffany Leer… you remember me talking about Tiffany, old… very long forgotten… college flame?” he said as he felt a nervous chill down his spine. He had been in battle, worked on people’s brains, cut them up, and sutured them back. Yet now, with past and future colliding, he felt a feeling he hadn’t in a long time.
“I wouldn’t say old,” Tiffany laughed sticking out her hand to Chloe. “We were in college together so unless you lost that smolder and roguish goth adjacent vibe I don’t think we are really old. Nice to meet you Chloe. You can’t believe how much I have heard about you. It’s going to be so nice getting to know you better over the holidays.”
Chloe squeezed Nathan’s waist slightly harder than necessary and smiled up a him. “She knows about goth adjacent,” Chloe kept her tone light and happy. It had always been a joke with them but one that was only coined with them as a couple. Nathan had always walked the line between rocker and respectable. He always did what was needed but was not always happy when doing it. “Maybe you have something to tell me?”
“I think I might need to know more… why are you here?” Nathan asked Tiffany with a befuddled look. He couldn’t quite grasp why of all the gin joints in all the world an ex from what felt like an eternity ago would be showing up now of all places. Tiffany was the longest relationship he ever had until Chloe, having last almost two years. Outside of the pair of them, almost everyone had been mere flings and various seasonal trists.
“Last I heard you were in Perth working for a charity for Talaxian refugees…” Nathan added as he was desperately trying to piece together just what was going on with the sudden appearance of an old flame.
“Yeah, but I left in May remember,” Tiffany nodded with an expression as if Nathan had suddenly developed short-term memory loss. “I messaged you but,”
“Oh that was when you were transferring to the Thor for us,” Chloe smiled sweetly starting at the well-put-together woman in front of her. “It probably got lost between you transferring stations.” Chloe smiled warmly as if she really cared about the woman’s answer. It was Nathan’s answer she was more concerned about. Had he been entertaining the idea of old flames when she was threatening divorce? Had he been talking to her when she was talking to Ben? Okay so she had done more talking than just talk to Ben but Nathan wasn’t the type to just go talking up women past ‘hey how are you doing’.
Before Chloe could stake a claim to higher moral ground another voice broke through the crowds. “Chloe…Nathan,” Meredith said happily waving a hand above her head frantically. Chloe’s face fell. In the excitement over Tiffany, Chloe hadn’t had time to break the news that Nathan’s favorite sister in law had changed her plans and decided to come with her parents. “You surprised to see me,” Meredith hugged Chloe before moving to Nathan.
Nathan looked over as his eyes widened at the sight of Meredith as he looked back to Tiffany as he felt his blood pressure rising. “Oh lord, I don’t think I could be more surprised right now if I got mind swapped with a Ferengi sex worker than I am right now,” Nathan said as he began to run his hand through his hair. “What are you here for? I thought you were staying at Hartford this year for the annual Christmas in Connecticut Galla? Surely that’s more important, plenty of doctors and lawyers there.”
“Nothing is more important than family and John turned out to be a weasle. I need someone who wants to stand up next to me and not just stand there because he feels like he needs to be,” Meredith tossed her hair over her shoulder. “I also got so tired of listening about all his work problems. It was all just excuses as to why we could never go anywhere.”
“John was the one who was the commercial developer,” Chloe asked peeling her attention off the woman standing in front of her husband who hadn’t seemed ready to move along yet
“No that was John Watson. John Michaels was the guy I was seeing that was the social worker. All day long it was ‘babe I got a meeting’,” Meredith rambled rolling her eyes.
“Well, he was trying to help kids in crisis. That can’t be an easy job or a nine to five thing,” Chloe tried to smooth things over slightly. Of the copious men, her sister had dated, John M had been the one the family was rooting for to pull through and marry Meredith.
“That still doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have time for a life. I mean look at Nathan. At one time he was head of psychiatry at Mass General and still had time to give you four kids. Not now of course,” Meredith patted Nathan’s arm reassuringly. “Sis I’m no asking for anything less than what Nathan was doing at his prime.” Meredith had no idea why Chloe could not understand this concept. Chloe and her brother in law had it all until they gave it up to move to the equivalent of a backwater town in the middle of rural America. Glancing around for her parents, Meredith’s eyes fell on Tiffany.
Nathan could feel his head beginning to throb as he was unsure of which to talk about first but had little time as Meredith began to interact with Tiffany.
“Um hello,” she looked her up and down taking in the woman. “Great shoes. Are they Manolo Blahniks?” Meredith had high tastes and apparently so did this girl.
“Lolo,” Drew came out of no where swooping his daughter into a hug. “God I have missed you. I am so glad to see you here but you didn’t need to come. I thought you would be home in bed resting. Molly had been texting up all day saying you and Nathan were out shopping. Are you sure you are not overdoing it with the baby coming?”
Chloe’s hand found Nathan’s and she closed her hand around it tightly. The holidays with her family might not have been the best idea she and Nathan ever thought of. “No daddy I’m fine. I love my job at,”
“Wait your still working. She is still working,” Drew directed his question to Nathan. “Is that odd for someone about to have a baby in less than three weeks?”
“No women in many cultures work right up until they deliver. Take the Talaxian refugees I was working with in Perth,” Tiffany added trying to be helpful.
“You don’t say and you are the receptionist here,” Drew looked at the woman. “If you are then can you help us find our bags. It seems they misplaced three of them somehow on reroute.”
“No this is Tiffany, which… I’m sorry what the hell are you here?” Nathan asked, growing tired and a little irritated at the moment. “I thought you went to your mom’s for Thanksgiving and then dad’s for Christmas… so why in Odin’s name are you here?” Nathan asked with a less than polite retort. It was going to be hard having his father with his aunt and uncle and his cousins with Chloe’s parents and now Meredith, but he couldn’t help but feel like right now there was some weird monkey wrench in his family holiday with Tiffany here.
Nathan Harland, CNS
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