Disclaimer: Ya'll know I don't own anything…

A/N: I am fast-forwarding a year… I don't want to waste a chapter trying to get where I want to be on details that don't really affect the story. Oh and Italics are going to indicate thought when around others.

Chapter 4: Holidays are Here Once Again…

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving….

Mary is still living with Ben, since his roommate left for parts unknown. As Ben put it when asked about Mary living with him, his only comment was, "Hey the rent still has to get paid somehow. It was and odd but natural transition for Mary to gradually move in with Ben. Mary felt like she needed to be home more, you could say, she had what you might call survivor's guilt. Needless to say she got a job promotion to working at the ticket counter for the airline, with all the great benefits. The only true difference was she now had to put up with passengers who were a wee bit nastier.

Ben also got promoted to Chief of his current firehouse when Dougherty left to take a "desk job" – downtown. He was home a little less, but for him it was nice to come home to Mary after a long, long, shift. Now with all the extra paperwork and stress over his crew, he needed something to be happy to come home to.

Mary and Ben attempted to get together and have dinner with Matt and Sarah at least once or twice a week, or month depending on schedules. It helped everyone all around to deal with stress, and being so very far away from home.

"Ben! You have to be at the airport in two hours, don't forget! You need to bring my suitcase and the small one with small gifts for everyone. Thanks… sweetie….Love ya!" Mary's voice called out through the apartment via answering machine.

Ben stood in the bathroom silently laughing to him self. He had just gotten home less the twenty minutes ago thanks to traffic, paperwork, and a four alarm fire that none of his guys had gotten hurt at. He hadn't been home in two days. He finished drying off and got dressed. After packing he walked over and erased Mary's message, it was definitely going to be an interesting Thanksgiving to say the least.

As he grabbed the bags and locked the door, he headed out front to his cab. After loading it up he silently thought back about his earlier thought. An interesting holiday... more like a mad house. This would be the first holiday in family history that everyone and he meant everyone would be there:

Julie and Hank were housing the Colonel and Ruth, with George and his fiancé and in Erica and Jake and that was the first eight.

Now add in the fact that his sister, his mother and their significant others would be crashing at Kevin and Lucy's along with Ben and Mary. That brings the total up to seventeen with Savannah.

Then Matt was playing it safe with Sarah and staying at Rabbi and Mrs. Glass house, bringing the total up to twenty-one.

Add in the fact that Mary and he were flying in Peter and his parents to surprise Ruthie who had been kind of lost with out him, bringing the total up to twenty-five including Ruthie.

Simon was a whole other story; he was bringing home some girl that wasn't Georgia, because they weren't on speaking terms; now bringing the total up to twenty-seven.

Yet, if you add in Martin and his friend Kyle whose parents went away on business, the total gets taken up to twenty-nine.

Throw in Martin's dad and Roxanne who the Colonel, arranged for a special trip home the total get's taken up to thirty-one.

Now you can't leave Annie's small side of the family out and you have Ginger, her daughter, Annie's sister and her husband we now have thirty-five people.

Finally add in Eric, Annie, Sam, and David and you have a grand total of thirty-nine.

"Man, oh man. I don't know how "Mom" Annie does it. I would be going nuts." Ben thought as he pulled up to the airport and went inside to meet Mary, Sarah, and Matt.

A few minutes late Ben was sitting with Mary and Matt and Sarah were a few rows back. Mary grabbed his hand as the plane took off, giving him a misty smile. Holidays were still a major sore spot for her, understandably so. Ben gave her a hug once the unbuckle seat belt light lit. After the hug Mary pulled out some magazine, and Ben got lost in thought once more.

He began to think about his and Mary's "weird" relationship. They were roommates who acted more like lovers with out the making love, both preferring to spend the night snuggled on the couch watching a movie then going out. Falling asleep with her in his arms was such a comfort and because they more often then not both ended up sleeping on the couch it made it hard to sleep with out the other.

Hadn't Mary made that comment last week about not sleeping at all unless she was snuggled in his arms? Was Mary developing feelings for him again? Wait! Do I still have feelings for her? Or were mine just kind of shoved off to the side when she chose… what's his name? Did he really still lov…? Wow! I'm so confused! I need to have a major talk with Kevin alone. We need to talk as soon as I land….

"Ben, you okay? You have a pretty perplexed look on your face. You having a deep thought moment there?" a voice asked.

"Yeah, huh? Wait a minute? When did you switch places with Mary? I swear she was here a minute ago." Ben asked.

"Quite some time ago, actually. She finished through her magazine and you looked so in thought she didn't want to disturb you. So being the kind and loving big brother I am, I let her take my seat so she could talk with Sarah." Matt answered.

"So just as you convinced Sarah to join the mile high club, Mary came over and told you to get out she needed girl talk." Ben summed up.

"Pretty much! So what's the deal with you and my sister? Are you putting the moves on her again? Are you two even dating again?" Matt asked.

"All passengers would you please return to your assigned seats and buckle up. We will be landing shortly. Thank you, and enjoy the rest of your flight!" A flight attendant's voice rang out.

"Ha, saved by the plane landing! Bye Matt! Time to go back to your own seat!" Ben said as he began to buckle his seat belt.

Matt just laughed and started making his way back to Sarah, as Mary came forward and settled in.

That's it for this chapter as you can see Thanksgiving is going to be a long, long chapter with all the surprise people and 3- different people I have to write in… so give me patience and we'll see if I can tackle this calmly and maintain my sanity… Please review…