"Sit down," Richard insisted, pulling the chair out for Meredith, "and I'll get you some wine."
"Thank you, Richard," Ellis said graciously as she sat down to the chair Thatch pulled out for her.
Richard came back with the wine he promised and the same light-haired waiter Meredith had seen taunt Derek earlier that evening. "This is Dr. And Mr. Grey," he told the waiter. Then he turned to the two daughters and said, "Mer, Lexie, this is your waiter, Alex Karev. Yale medical school," he said as he jerked his thumb at Robbie and nodded at Ellis. Meredith noticed as Alex's eyes rake over Lexie with a disgusting, calculating expression.
Richard turned back to Robbie and said, "These people are my special guests. Give them anything they want." Richard smiled diplomatically at them all, a smile that Meredith was beginning to realize was his fake one. "Enjoy."
"Thanks, Richard," Ellis said as he walked away.
An hour later, the table was crowded with plates of half-eaten dishes. Thatch looked at across the table and sighed, his elbows on the flat surface and his chin resting on his hands. "Look at all this leftover food." Then he turned to his oldest daughter and asked, "Are there still starving children in Europe?"
"Try Southeast Asia, Pa," corrected Meredith.
Thatch nodded. "Right."
When Alex came back around, Ellis gestured to get his attention. "Alex, Mer wants to send her leftover pot roast to Southeast Asia. So anything you don't finish, wrap up." Then Richard came around and Ellis smiled at her older daughter. "Richard, our Mer's gonna change the world."
Richard grinned and turned to Lexie. "And what are you going to do, Missy?"
Meredith smirked at her younger sister. "Oh, Lexie's gonna decorate it."
Lexie glared her older sister, but Meredith simply grinned back. Alex, however, said under his breath, but loud enough for everyone to hear, "She already does." Lexie's cheeks flushed in embarrassment as Meredith shot a sideways glance at her sister.
"Doc, I want you to meet someone," Richard said as he waved a young man to his side. "My godson, George O'Malley."
George was a young man of average height and looks. He had curly brown hair a little on the long side and brown eyes that matched his hair color. He looked like he still belonged in high school, honestly, with the innocence portrayed in his features. But along with his inexperienced air, there was a hint of snobbishness written in the corners of his haughty smile.
"Goes to the Cornell School of Hotel Management," Richard announced to them.
"Mer's starting Mount Holyoke in the fall," Ellis told him.
"Oh, great," George said with a smile aimed at Meredith.
After dinner, everyone migrated to the ballroom where the live band already started the evening with a fast swing song. Couples of all shapes and sizes started to form and dance on the floor, including Lexie and Alex. Meredith watched the two of them closely—there was something that she just didn't trust about Alex. Unfortunately, she couldn't watch as closely as she would have liked because George ended up asking her to dance.
"Are you going to major in English?" he asked her when they began dancing.
Meredith shook her head. "No. Economics of underdeveloped countries." Then she added as an afterthought, just to make this guy feel like a real tool for assuming she would go into something so useless, "I'm going into the Peace Corps."
George grinned in a way that made Meredith wish he'd stop. "After the final show, I'm going to Mississippi with a couple of busboys. Freedom ride."
Meredith nodded, as if to tell him, "That's nice." In all honesty though, she thought he was kind of stupid; it was almost as if he was only telling her all of this just to impress her.
All of a sudden, the band began to play an upbeat Latin tune, much like she had heard in the gazebo earlier. George's face lit up as he shook her arms. "Mambo! Yeah! Come on!" Meredith attempted a smile and let him wrap his arms around her as he tried to get her to perform the correct steps.
Meredith had been too preoccupied with trying not to be disgusted with George that she hadn't realized that there was a wide, empty space in the middle of the dance floor. She looked up and saw that everyone had drifted towards the edges and formed a gigantic circle around one couple dancing. She looked over and saw Derek dancing with their merengue instructor from earlier that afternoon. Their movements were absolutely flawless and smooth; it was almost as if the two of them were reading each other's minds. The girl knew that he was supposed to lead her, but Derek knew that she was the flashy one, the one that attracted the attention from all the onlookers. With every turn, every twirl of the girl's skirt, Meredith felt even more entranced by their movements, and Derek's deep blue eyes. At one point in the dance, the redhead lifted her long leg into the air and brought the ankle to rest on Derek's outstretched arm as he dragged her from the middle of the dance floor with her head thrown back.
"Who's that?" Meredith asked, straining to keep watching over all the people in front of her.
George glanced in the direction Meredith was looking and rolled his eyes. "Oh, them. They're the dance people. They're here to keep the guests happy." He stopped dancing as the redhead took a running leap at Derek and he caught her spectacularly. George planted his fists on his hips and glared at them disapprovingly. "They shouldn't show off with each other. That's not gonna sell lessons."
They resumed dancing as Ellis and Thatch mamboed their way over to them. "Hi kids. Having fun?" Ellis asked them.
The two of them nodded as Meredith watched her feet to make sure she wasn't stepping on anyone. "Actually, I've got to excuse myself," said George. "I'm in charge of games tonight." Then he turned to Meredith just as she looked up. "Say, would you like to help me get things started?"
"Sure she would," Ellis said. Meredith looked up disbelievingly at her mother. Sure, she liked to help people when they were in need, but the longer she had to be around George, the more he would chip away at her already waning sanity.
And she had her mother to blame when she found herself lying down on her side in a magician's box, getting sawed in half. She looked on at the sideways audience, laughing at the cheesy jokes the magician kept cracking.
"This'll only hurt for a minute!" he said theatrically as he struggled to get the saw through the box. "You've got Blue Cross, right?"
I am so going to give it to Mom after this, Meredith thought to herself as the magician finally separated the boxes that took him almost ten minutes to saw through.
When she was finally "put back together", Stan called her out to the stage. "And for being such a good sport," he said into the microphone as he faced the audience, "here ya go!" He handed Meredith a chicken with a pink ribbon wrapped around its neck. Meredith took it into her arms and held it tightly to her chest to keep the thing from flapping its wings in her face.
Scratch that, she thought, I'm making Mom take care of this stupid chicken.
A/N - Review if you want more! Oh, and be sure to check out my writer's blog (listed as my homepage on my profile).