Mike spoke minimally over breakfast Wednesday and only half-nodded when asked by his mum if he wanted to go to school that morning.
He planned to spring during dinner that night, or whenever Nancy happened to be in earshot, if he could not go tomorrow. For show, he'd be home right after school and crash into bed.
Elsewhere, El woke up on the wrong side of bed, an expression Hopper explained to her during breakfast. She huffed back to her room afterwards, grabbing the encyclopedia, composition book, and teddy bear.
After school, he wished his friends a happy Thanksgiving and biked home, though in a not too frantic speed. He made a point of bumping into his mother, partially delirious, and declined the offer of chicken soup for some early shut eye.
At dinner, Mike didn't even have to bring up not going to Thanksgiving dinner at their in-laws. Karen suggested to Ted that they come home earlier from it, but Nancy volunteered to keep Mike company and manage a meal for them both. She earnestly commented how he shouldn't be home alone on Thanksgiving.
Nancy was awarded for her thoughtfulness with praise, causing Mike to smirk and earning a snub in the toe by his sister.
Not wanting them to change their minds, Mike finished his dinner and said he was heading in for an night early.
Later on, as Nancy was retiring to her room, Mike gave her a tight hug. Earnestly, he said "thank you" and she hugged back, quite touched by this display of gratitude.
Meanwhile, El had fallen asleep on the couch. Hopper came home late to a rapidly opened series of locks. This happened when El was awoken from a slumber and was only half-heartedly controlling her powers.
She read continuously for a good portion of the afternoon, with Hopper finding evidence of this from the closed, bookmark-less encyclopedia. Instead of waking her up again for dinner, he just cleared away the notes and book from around her and tucked her in for the night. He thought it kinder to her than being awake and feeling dismayed by Mike's absence.
Karen checked in on Mike the next morning, he scratchily noted that he was feeling the same. She noted that there were some small dishes in the kitchen that Nancy could reheat for dinner. Kissing his forehead, she bade a Happy Thanksgiving and told him to get some more rest.
Mike waited a few minutes after his parents drove off with Holly before finding Nancy in the kitchen.
"Pretty good haul," she said as he came in.
"Nice, I'm taking a shower. Hopper should be here in an hour."
Nancy couldn't resist a dig, upended to her serious question, "What should we wear and that's your second morning shower in preparation for El."
"Uh, umm," flustered and not sure how to respond to the latter query. "Sweaters? Somewhere in the middle of dressy and normal?"
"I can work with that, go get ready, though I'm sure you already have something picked out," smirking and leaving the room.
His attempts at casualness clearly not working to hide his vast preparations.
Meanwhile, Hopper and El woke early to roast the turkey. At the crack of dawn, they trudged out and dug a pit and then layering it with stones and foil. The pot with the turkey was descended with him noting that it'd take several hours.
The two then worked on putting several things in the oven, with Hopper noting when to reduce the temperature. Meanwhile, it was time to pick-up Mike and Nancy.
Those two were currently wrapping everything up and carefully arranging them in a box.
Hopper had laid out some nice sweaters for El. She chose, obviously, the orange colored one out of the handful. El decided to take a shower beforehand and washed her hair in the flowery scent that Mike adored and reminded her of flowers that Hopper once brought home.
As soon as the car stopped, Mike jetted out and around the traps to the front door. El was waiting for him and they embraced, with him momentarily propelling her off the ground in a seconds long twirl.
"Hey," they said at the same time in a tone that conveyed how much they absolutely missed each other. And kissed. They only noticed after they slightly disentangled their matching wardrobe of orange sweaters, with Mike wearing one that was decorated with a fall leaf pattern.
Mike had felt her wet hair before actually seeing it. Stepping back he noticed for the first time that it was straight as compared to the usual curls.
"Different," she murmured.
"Yes, and nice as he ran his fingers through them and graced her head in a gesture that she continued to find positively electrifying.
Taking a more leisurely pace around the tripwire, Nancy snarkily commented, "Wonder why he's so excited?" as she carried the box.
"Those two are a thing. It's like they haven't seen each other for weeks. Less than 24 hours have passed."
"I'm pretty sure my brother was the same. He slept the entire day after school yesterday."
"Hmm, El did too."
Hopper and Nancy arrived as El and Mike broke apart, embarrassed at the presence of an audience that included each other's families. Mike took the box from Nancy and placed it on the kitchen counter, while El and his sister shook hands, before settling on hugging each other.
Hopper said he was going to check on the food outside and El put on her coat to join him, while Mike showed Nancy around.
"Cozy," she said aloud, after taking a glance of everything in the cabin.
"You've been here before," Mike said from the kitchen, checking on the dishes in the stove and preparing to warm up the ones they brought.
"Yeah, in the middle of the night," she replied, joining him to help.
"It's even cosier at night, with the fireplace on and imagine it snowing."
She maneuvered to his ear, so that only he would hear her reply, "I'm sure you'll get there." This caused Mike to choke on a non-existent mouthful of water.
Hopper and El came back to note that it was almost ready. El and Mike took this time to collect their leaves, with Nancy being dragged along to hold their proudly constructed cornucopia. She indulged and joined them if only to see what they were like as a couple.
They took a circuitous and loopy route around the trees, being sure to visit the ones that had the most leaves. More than once, El used her powers to snap one or two branches off.
"Ooh, over there," they both said in unison and ran off together hands coupled. So, so worth the detour thought Nancy.
By the time they neared the cabin, they had a full cornucopia filled with brilliant oranges leaves to contrast the crude brown construction paper.
Hopper was at the door waiting for them. Camera in hand, he had everybody group around for a photo. After a few snaps, Nancy ducked out of the frame, so that there could be several candid shots of El and Mike.
This caused the subjects in question to blush as they entangled their arms together. After two or three shots where the duo were intensely blushing, Mike decided to embrace it and kiss her on the cheek, hoping that it would get captured one way or another. For her part, El felt this coming and leaned into it, both smiling when they gazed into each other's eyes after the picture.
"Happy Thanksgiving, El," he breathed into her ear as they embraced again.
"I am so, so thankful for you. And everything about you," she whispered back.
"Love you," they quietly said at the same time.
Nancy whistled, while Mike rapidly suggested that that El and Hopper should take some pictures. He of course gave his sister a glare as he walked out of frame to stand beside her.
They eventually went in to find that that the food was majestically laid on the table, with every open space on it consumed by a bowl or plate.
The variety was overwhelming to El. Use to microwaved dinners and single dishes, she was facing an overflowing table of sides and the centerpiece turkey. Only a few days before, her only experience with this food was the old cookbook with faded pictures and minimal descriptions specifying how exactly the food tasted.
El found herself partial to the cornbread stuffing made by the Wheelers, though was hesitant with the whole cornbread that they brought over. Meanwhile, Hopper — which he let Mike and Nancy call him as Jim was too informal for the pair — ravished the cornbread, nothing that you can't beat warm, fresh, homemade bread.
He encouraged El to try a bit of everything, including the vegetable medley which she was more open to when dipped into the cranberry sauce. However, she on her own volition enjoyed the candied yams also brought over. The turkey was found to be delightfully juicy by all with Hopper noting that it had been ages since he'd attempted this.
Conversation was light, with Mike giving a brief recount of how El ended up here, while Hopper added details that were also new to Mike. They shared past Thanksgiving experiences, with Nancy having the repertoire of particularly amusing Mike-related stories about occurrences around the dinner table related to new foods.
By the time the main meal was finished, Hopper said that he would put the bountiful leftovers in containers and return the Wheeler's dishes.
But before that, he corralled everybody to the living room couches for pumpkin pie with whip cream that he picked up from the bakery the day before. Mike and El curled up at their usual spot on the couch and talked about this and that. El noticed they were yawning more frequently and Mike briefly recounted about something in the turkeys that made them nod off.
Mike leaning on the edge of the couch, while Eleven was laying on his chest, just under his nose. One pair of hands were intertwined, while Mike's other was around her shoulders.
Nancy grabbed the camera to snap two pictures before leaving them to head to the kitchen, she mouthed an hour to Hopper, who draped a blanket around them.
Hope this served as a nice prelude to your actual dinners. Happy day of thanks to all you readers wherever you are.