"Deep breath, Darling," Remington whispered in his wife's ear before he reached out to ring the doorbell.

Laura did as she was told and plastered a smile on her face as her mother opened the door.

"There you are!" Abigail said, ushering the Steeles into her home. She hugged each of them individually and offered to take their jackets.

"That's okay, Mother," Laura protested. "We've got to get the rest of the things from the car."

"Nonsense, dear," Abigail said. "Roger can help Remington with that. You and Kate come in with me."

Laura looked up at her husband with pleading eyes as her mother practically dragged her into the living room.

Remington nodded for Laura to follow her mother as Abigail turned her back to them.

"Traitor," Laura mouthed.

"Come on, Mom," Kate said, taking her mother's hand.

Remington and Roger made a couple of trips to Laura's Jeep. They carried in a few sacks of groceries and the Steeles' overnight bags.

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Abigail, Roger, Laura and Kate sat around the dining room table playing Scrabble. At first, Abigail had suggested another game, thinking this one too sophisticated for Kate, but finally relented when her granddaughter insisted it was her favorite and Laura confirmed that it was, in fact, appropriate.

After a few turns around the board, Kate was winning and her grandparents were suitably impressed with her vocabulary.

"I think I'll sit out for a while," Laura said, dumping her tiles into the box top with the others. "I want to go check on Remington… see if he needs any help in the kitchen."

She went into the kitchen to find her husband sitting at the table, reading the paper and sipping a glass of wine.

"Ahem!" she cleared her throat.

Startled, he put down the newspaper.

"Here I expected you to be slaving away," Laura said, walking around the table, where he opened his arms to her. "And here you are," she said as she sat in his lap, "drinking wine," she paused, wrapping her arms around his neck, "and reading the paper," she finished, punctuating her statement with a kiss.

As the kiss ended, he pulled her close. "I've been waiting patiently for you to join me, Mrs. Steele."

"Uh-huh," she answered. "So, does the bird still need your attention?"

"I think he's all settled in for now," he said, leaning in for a kiss. "But I do think someone else is in need of my attention."

"I believe you're right," she said breathlessly as he stood and held out his hand for her to join him.

"What say we turn in early, Mrs. Steele? After all, I do have to get up and check on the bird throughout the night…"

"…and you need your rest," Laura agreed.

They made their way to the dining room and stood in the doorway with their arms around each other's waist. They watched Kate playing with Abigail and Roger. She was in good hands.

"I think we're going to turn in early," Laura said.

"Have to be up to check on the turkey in a while," Remington added.

"But the game's not finished," Kate pouted.

"Sweetie, you don't have to go to bed yet," Laura told her. "It's a holiday after all. But no later than ten o'clock."

"And mind your grandparents," her father told her.

"I will!" Kate said with a smile. She jumped up out of her seat and ran over to tell her parents 'goodnight.'

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It was just after breakfast when the house began to fill with Pipers. Frances and Donald arrived first, with Laurie Beth. They brought with them a sack of groceries and Frances' famous broccoli casserole. Next came Mindy and her husband Mark, laden with pies. It was several hours later when Danny showed up, just in time to join his father, Roger and Mark around the TV watching the big football game.

"Remington!" Donald called out from his position in the easy chair, "Come and join us!"

"In a little while, Donald," Remington called back from the kitchen.

"Go on, Uncle Rem," Mindy encouraged. "We can handle this."

"Yeah, Kate and I are very good at basting," LB added. "Grandma's got the mashed potatoes and gravy well in hand, your stuffing is baking…"

"But I wanted to…" Remington began and then paused, obviously looking for something. "Oh, shhhhugar," he said. "I wanted to whip up some cranberry relish, but I've apparently forgotten the fresh cranberries at home."

"Don't worry Remington," Frances said, "we'll take care of it."

"Yeah," Mindy replied with a grin, "You go on. Aunt Laura can handle the cranberries." Before he could protest, she went on. "Don't worry, we'll help."

"They're right, Remington," Abigail instructed, "go on."

He looked at Laura for reassurance and noticed a hint of blush on her cheeks.

"Go on," she told him. "We'll be fine."

He wiped his hands on a dish towel and dropped it on the counter before walking over to his wife. He snatched a quick kiss before joining the men in the living room.

When he had gone, Mindy and LB looked at each other and burst out laughing.

"Did you really have to do that?" Laura asked, slightly annoyed but more embarrassed.

"What's so funny?" Kate asked.

"Nothing," her mother answered. Then Laura turned to her sister, "You put them up to it, didn't you?"

"I have to check on the vegetables," Frances said, turning from her sister. She was biting her bottom lip to keep from laughing.

Kate looked from her mother who was trying to keep her composure, to her aunt and her cousins who were trying to regain theirs, for a totally different reason. She watched as Aunt Frances held back her laughter and noticed that Grandma was conspicuously silent.

"Come on, Aunt Laura," LB prodded, "you have to admit, it was funny… and serves another purpose, too."

"We HATE that cranberry relish," Mindy completed her sister's thought.

"Why didn't you say something?" Laura asked.

"Laura dear," Abigail finally joined in, "No one wanted to hurt his feelings. He seemed so excited about sharing his family tradition with us…"

Now Kate was giggling.

"I don't like it either, Mom," the little girl said.

Laura just shook her head. She finally joined in the laughter as she took her daughter in her arms. Then she looked at her sister with a conspiratorial grin.

"Did you bring them?" she asked.

"They're in the refrigerator, Dear," Abigail answered out loud as Frances nodded.

Laura smiled, looking around at her apparently deceitful relatives. Then a thought struck her and she wondered just how deep this conspiracy went.

"I have a question," she asked, to no one in particular. "How could you know he'd forget the cranberries?" Involuntarily, her gaze met her daughter's.

Seeing this, LB jumped in to her cousin's rescue.

"We didn't involve Kate, Aunt Laura," she said, "although it sounds as if she would have been a willing accomplice." LB gave a quick wink in Kate's direction before continuing. "Truth is, he didn't forget them," she said.

"We HID them," Mindy jumped in.

And soon three generations of Holt women were once again swept up in laughter.

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Remington watched as Roger set the turkey down on the table. The ladies were bringing in the rest of the food. Abigail set down a huge bowl of mashed potatoes, while Frances brought in her casserole. LB had the green beans and Mindy the corn. Abigail went back to get the gravy as Kate set a basket of rolls on the table. Finally, Laura came in and set down a silver serving plate with what appeared to be three rolls of purplish gel, in the shape of a can. He looked at them curiously as she set it down and he looked up at her.

"WHAT is that?" he asked.

"All right!" Danny exclaimed. "Aunt Laura's special cranberries! We haven't had those in forever!" He leaned over and gave his father a "high-five."

Apparently, this answer did not satisfy Remington's curiosity and his confused gaze was turned back to his wife.

"It's cranberry sauce," she said.

"Cranberry sauce," Remington repeated, disbelieving. He poked at one of the rolls with his fork. "Doesn't look like sauce."

"It's jelled cranberries, Remington," she said, with a longsuffering sigh. As she sat down next to him, she went on. "When Frances' kids were little, I really wanted to help with Thanksgiving dinner. But as you know, I'm not so good in the kitchen…"

"I wouldn't say that," he said, taking her hand and flashing her a devilish grin.

Her eyes widened in warning as she went on. "… so they assigned me the cranberries. Not much can go wrong when you're just opening a can, right?"

Remington nodded, thinking that a reasonable statement.

"Wrong," she answered her own question. "I didn't realize you were supposed to stir them up in a bowl or even slice them. I just dumped the gel out on a plate and took it to the table. Mother and Frances thought it was hysterical, and it kind of became a family tradition…"

"…Aunt Laura's special cranberries," Mindy finished the statement.

Remington laughed along with the rest of the family, even as he squeezed Laura's hand in reassurance. He looked around the table at the family… his family. Their family was growing… the kids were growing up… Danny was working at the agency…Mindy had gotten married this year… LB was graduating college. And his little Katharine was growing by leaps and bounds. Even after all these years, it still astounded him that he could be part of such a large and wonderful family.

It was definitely a time to give thanks.

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Later that night, at home in their own bed, Remington held Laura tightly as she lay her head on his chest.

"It's good to be home," Laura said.

"Yes," Remington agreed. "But Darling, it was only one night."

"One incredible night," she said, with lascivious grin.

"A man has to keep his promises, and I promised to make it up to you that we had to stay there."

"And make it up, you did," she said, leaning up for a kiss.

"You surprised me," he said. "I didn't think I could get you to do that…"

"… I don't think there's anything you can't get me to do, Mr. Steele."

"I meant, in your mother's house," he said.

"That surprised me too," she admitted. "But desperate times call for desperate measures."

He smiled and held her close.

"Ah Laura," he said. "We have so much to be thankful for," he said.

"We do," she agreed.

"Nobody's life is perfect," he said. "But I think we're about as close as it gets."

"Mmm-hmm," Laura agreed, letting him go on. Spending time with the family always put him in a reflective mood.

"Life would be boring if we always agreed," he said, leaning down to kiss her. "Arguing is fun," he said with a smile, "because it means making up."

She smiled at that, thinking of the charge she got out of a good old fashioned shouting match. Not that they did it so often anymore, they'd come to know each other so well.

"I'm thankful for our family," he said. "For your mother and Roger, your sister and her family, and especially for Kate," he said, "but I don't think I can ever express how thankful I am for you, Love."

She smiled as she turned in his arms and slid up to face him. He kissed her with all the love that was swelling his heart. When the kiss finally ended, she snuggled up to him and he went on.

"I'm thankful to Daniel for raising me as best he could. For giving me a life that some might have questioned, but that ultimately led me to you."

They kissed again, this time tenderness gave way to passion, but before they got too carried away, Laura managed to say:

"Thank God for Royal Lavulite."

The End