The day before Thanksgiving. Gail, it seems weird to call Dawson's Mom that but ever since I started as a cook here at Leery's Fresh Fish she has insisted on it, expects today to be busy. There is already another cook on hand and we have an hour until the restaurant opens. I'm starting to wonder why I ever agreed to work the entire day today. Still, she's not only my boss but my best friend's mother as well, and I lost count of the number of times I had crashed the Leery's house growing up. As soon as she had asked me to help I knew I couldn't say no. Besides, I'd have tomorrow off more or less.
For the first time since the restaurant had been opened, it would not open at all on Thanksgiving day. Still, with the help of Bodie, I'd be cooking Thanksgiving for the private party Gail was hosting. She had invited my family, the Potters, Jack, Andie, Jen and her grandmother. I think mostly she was just happy to have Dawson home from California, but it would still be nice to see everyone again. This was the first time we'd all be together since Jack, Jen, Dawson, Andie and Joey graduated in May.
After graduation we had all gone our separate ways. Dawson had gone out to Hollywood to pursue his dreams. Last I heard from him, he was doing odd jobs trying to get by. Audrey had generously given him a place to stay. Still he was determined to make it. Jen and Grams had stayed in Boston. Jen worked full time as radio DJ. She had her own regular show during the night and was having the time of her life. According to Jack, she was out with a different guy each week. Joey had gone off to New York City. She got a job as a secretary at a publishing firm for now. Andie was in med school now in Boston having completed pre-med at Harvard. She said she wanted to be closer to her brother now that there father had passed away last winter. Speaking of Jack, he ended up back in Capeside with me. He was a teacher at Capeside High. It was a rocky start to the year, what with all the publicity of having a gay teacher at the highschool, but things have settled down. His students love him and he's enjoying himself.
"Hey, I didn't realize my Mom payed you to stand around and daydream."
Dawson's voice cut through my thoughts. Looking toward the door to the kitchen I saw, him standing there, same boyish grin on his face that he had never grown out of. I looked from him to the bowl of shrimp in the sink in front of me, that I had been peeling.
"It's not like my work is going to run off on me," I told him trying to keep a grin off my face. "Now flying off that's a different story," I said tossing the half-peeled shrimp I had in my hand at him.
"Hey," he exclaimed trying to get out of the shrimps way and not being able to do it. "Is that anyway to greet a friend."
"Works for me," I told him with a shrug. I wiped my hands on a towel and then crossed over to him. "It's good to see you," I said hugging him.
"Same to you. It's just good to be home."
"Yeah speaking of that, I thought your flight didn't get in until tonight?" I asked returning to my bowl of shrimp.
"Yeah, well I was able to get an earlier flight so I decided I'd surprise everyone. Looks like it's a good thing I did to. Heard airports in the Pittsburgh area are experiencing delays due to a snowstorm and its heading this way."
"Hope Joey's watching the weather."
"She is. Talked to her on the drive here. She was getting ready to leave the city. Called in sick to work."
"What? Quick call an ambulance," I said putting my hands over my heart.
"Cut it out," Dawson said. "Joey ain't quite as uptight about things as she was back in highschool. If nothing else, at least dating Eddie loosened her up some."
"Is that a hint of jealousy I hear in your voice."
"Joey and I are . . ."
"Just friends," I said finishing for him. "How many times have I heard that."
Before Dawson had a chance to reply, the door behind him opened up and Gail walked in.
"Pacey, Al how are pre . . ." she trailed off as she noticed her wayward son standing in front of her. "Dawson how did you get here so early?" she asked enveloping him in a hug. I could see tears glistening in her eyes, and went back to inconspicuously peeling the shrimp.
"Early flight. Figured it be nice to be home a little longer."
"Well it will certainly be nice to have you here. Have you been to the house yet?"
"No, my stuffs in the rental I got at the airport. I figured I'd head home, drop my stuff off and then come back here and help out."
"Dawson, you're suppose to be on vacation. You don't need to do that."
"I want to. Besides if it gets as busy as it did last year you're going to even want my lousy help," he told her, kissing her cheek. "I'll talk to you later Pacey," he said waving to me as he headed toward the door.
"Okay. Just don't get lost going home. These back roads can be tricky after spending so much time in the city," I called after him. Dawson didn't even bother replying.
"Now as I was saying, how are those preparations coming along?" Gale asked turning toward my fellow co-worker and myself.
I hadn't even gotten through my front door when I heard my cell phone ring. I unlocked the front door and walked inside. Closing the door behind me I pulled the cell phone out of my jacket and looked down at the number. As I figured it was my Dad. Hitting the button to silence the phone, I put it back in my pocket. I had a hunch as to why he was calling and with any luck I could dodge him.
Shrugging out of my police coat I hung in up on the nearby coat rack and then headed for my bedroom. After the twelve hour shift I had just worked, the only place I wanted to head was the shower and then to bed.
I took an extra long shower, letting the hot water flow over my tired muscles. It felt good, and I slowly felt all the tension melt away. Turning off the water, I stepped out of the shower and dried off before slipping into a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt. In the bedroom, I could hear the cell phone wringing again. There was no way I was going to answer it.
As I headed to the kitchen for a glass of water, I heard the house phone start to ring. I grabbed a glass out of the cupboard, and filled it with water as the answering machine picked up.
"Hey Doug, its your father. I know you're there so how about picking up."
With a sigh, I crossed over to the phone. Somehow ignoring a ringing phone was so much easier to ignore than someone pleading to you to pick up the phone. I just knew I was going to regret this.
"Hey Dad, what's up?" I asked picking the phone up and praying he wasn't calling for the reason I thought he was calling for.
"I've been trying to reach you for the last forty-five minutes."
"Just got out of the shower," I told him. It wasn't the complete truth but it wasn't a lie either. Somehow I didn't think telling him I was ignoring his calls would go over too well.
"Well, anyway I was calling to ask a favor of you."
I cringed. That was what I was afraid of.
"Davis called out tonight. With this storm coming in I don't want us to be short handed tonight."
"Dad, I've worked the last six days straight, can't you get someone else?"
"I've tried son. They're even harder to get a hold of then you are."
I sighed. So much for the day off. Why did I ever picked up the phone? I should've done what my co-workers were doing and not answer. Of course, then my Dad would have probably showed up on my doorstep. Sometimes it sucked being the sheriff's son.
"Work tonight and I'll take you off the schedule for tomorrow night."
"What time do you need me?"
"Can you be back here at seven?"
"Okay," I told him.
"Great, see you at seven. Thanks son."
"Anytime Dad," I said not really meaning it at all. "Bye," I said hanging up the phone. Taking my glass of water with me I headed to the bedroom to try and get some sleep before going back to work.