Home > Jett (Arizona Vengeance #10)(13)

Jett (Arizona Vengeance #10)(13)
Author: Sawyer Bennett

“Apple in the fridge,” Jenna answers.

“Do you like apple juice, Felicity?” I ask, and her head pops up once again to give me her attention.

She nods. “I do, but grape is my favorite.”

“I like grape better than apple too,” I affirm, and that’s not pandering. It’s the truth.

I pull down four wine glasses, pour three for the adults, and a moderate amount of apple juice for Felicity. As I’m returning the juice to the fridge, I have to sidestep Emory, who is walking toward the table with a casserole dish in hand. She smiles in a way that tells me she’s touched I included Felicity.

The next five minutes is a flurry of activity as we get all the food from the pots, pans, and grill—for the cheeseburgers—to the table. Jenna moves around, putting spoons to serve in each dish, and pursuant to Emory’s orders, I get glasses of ice water to go with our wine.

When all is set and every square inch of the table is taken up by dishes of savory food, we take our seats. It’s a table that seats six and I note that Felicity put little place cards on each plate. She has me sitting next to her, directly across from her mom, who sits beside Jenna. The ends of the table are left empty.

Emory lifts her glass of red wine and Jenna and I follow suit. I give a little nudge of my arm to Felicity, who, with both hands, picks up her glass I’d filled halfway with apple juice.

“This isn’t an official celebration of Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t grateful for the bounties in our life. Let’s revel in our family and friends, eat foods representative of our own heritages, and have no shame in undoing the button on our pants if we consume too much. Cheers.”

“Cheers,” everyone echoes, and I try to banish the thought of the button on Emory’s jeans coming undone because I’m not thinking about that maneuver in the same way she is.

I take a sip of my wine and set it down. All the bowls and dishes in the center of the table are easily accessible by the adults, and Emory looks across the setting to Felicity at my side. “Hand me your plate, Pip.”

“Pip?” I ask, my head turning to look from Felicity to Emory.

“Short for Pipsqueak,” she explains with a smile. “It was a nickname when she was little and part of it stuck.”

“Jett can fill my plate,” Felicity replies and looks up at me expectantly.

I have no qualms with helping the little lady, so I pick up the dish before her and ask, “Tell me what you want.”

“Cheeseburger,” she replies, and that was a no-brainer. I use the tongs beside the platter of fully assembled cheeseburgers to transfer one to her plate. I had been advised as we were placing stuff on the table that Felicity likes hers plain. I decided to brave the steak and kidney pie, so we didn’t set out any condiments.

“What else?” I ask.

“That’s it,” she replies with a grin, and I frown at her. “I don’t like vegetables.”

“But they make you big and strong,” I reply.

“I’m fine being petite,” she quips and reaches out to take the plate from me. I set it before her on the table.

I glance over at Emory who isn’t watching us, but is clearly listening as she dishes food onto her own plate, because she’s smiling with what I assume is both amusement and frustration over her picky eater.

“You don’t like any vegetables?” I ask the little girl.

“French fries.” She picks up her burger.

“Aha,” I exclaim. “A potato girl. It just so happens the dish I brought has potatoes in it.”

Her burger stops halfway to her mouth, her expression dubious.

“Kroppkakor is nothing but mashed potatoes stuffed with fried pork, and the sauce that goes on top is yummy. Give it a try?”

She’s unswayed, and I know this because her nose wrinkles. She opens her mouth to decline but Emory cuts in. “What’s the rule?”

I glance from mother to daughter, who gives a dramatic sigh and drawls in an exaggerated tone of dismay. “I have to try something new at least once. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to continue to eat it.”

“Exactly,” Emory says and then nods at me. “Toss one of those kroppy things on her plate.”

I laugh and correct her. “Kroppkakor.”

After one bite, Felicity deems the kroppkakor to be no cheeseburger and passes on further bites.

To my surprise, steak and kidney pie is delicious, as is the kroppkakor, and I had two helpings of trifle. There were a host of other side dishes and I tried a little of each, the only thing ignored being a cheeseburger. I could have one of those any day.

All of us clean the kitchen, packing food into containers, including a doggy bag for me to take home. When we’re done, I’m prepared to say my goodnights and many thanks for great food and even better company, but to my surprise, Emory asks, “Want another glass of wine?”

I only had the one with dinner.

I’m even more surprised when Jenna puts her hand on Felicity’s shoulder and moves her into the living room. “Let’s find a movie to watch, kiddo.”

“We’ll sit out on the back patio,” Emory announces. “I have one of those nifty little gas fire tables.”

I am all in on another drink with Emory, away from Jenna and Felicity, in the glow of a fire table. I wanted some alone time with her, a desire that falls strictly outside of the friends-only label I keep putting on us.

The covered patio is nothing but a square concrete slab surrounded by low-growing succulents in rocky beds, but Emory has managed to make it an oasis. At the two post corners of the roof, there are super large pots planted with some type of green vine that crawls up the posts and disappears. I imagine it might cover the outside and top of the patio roof, but it’s the little white flowers on it that make an impression as the sweet perfume hits my nose.

She has an l-shaped wicker couch with square cut cushions, and in front of it, a square tiled table filled with colorful stones. Dotted all around the perimeter of the patio are various sized pots on stands of varying heights, all green and flowing, some with flowers and some without. It’s a stark contrast to the browns and taupes normally associated with the scenery of Phoenix and almost has a tropical feel to it.

Emory filled our glasses before coming out onto the patio and efficiently lights the table with the push of a button. It casts a pretty glow but isn’t designed for warmth, which is fine, given it’s a fairly mild night in the mid-sixties.

Taking the short end of the couch, I sit just adjacent to her. It puts us close enough that our knees could touch if we angled them in, but seems appropriately far enough away to sit as friends.

Emory curls her feet under her, angles more to me, and lays an arm across the back of the couch. She curls her wine glass into her body as she studies me.

“So, how did you manage to pull off such an amazing authentic Swedish dish?” she asks.

I laugh, draping my arm over the couch to mimic her, which also lets my entire body turn more her way. “My mom has a friend, who has a friend, who has a friend, who has someone she sort of knows, who knows someone else in Scottsdale.”

Emory cocks an eyebrow. “That’s a tenuous relationship.”

One shoulder lifts in a semi-shrug of disregard. “Let’s just say money made things easier. I was asking for it on short notice, after all.”

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Sweet Temptation
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Den of Vipers
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Serpent & Dove(Serpent & Dove #1)
» Credence
» Archangel's War