"Mommy are we having pumpkin pie? Cause Allie says we never have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving."
"I think Allie might have meant, she's never had pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but yes we're having pumpkin pie."
"Yes!" said Lucas jumping from the chair he had climbed upon entering the room.
"See Allie, I told you Mommy was making pumpkin pie."
Callie laughed a little. She had never made pumpkin pie before, but figured it couldn't be that hard. Except that with everything else she was making, she was starting to feel a little overwhelmed. It didn't help that Lucas and Allie were constantly coming into the kitchen to ask a question about their favorite food. Allie wanted to make sure rice was still on the menu; Lucas was obsessed with pumpkin pie asking her how she would make it, how long it would take, did they have whipped cream to go with it, would she be using real pumpkin or canned. She had given him a look at that question which caused him to giggle. She was probably making entirely too much food, a result of the nervous energy pulsating through her today.
Erica was paged earlier this morning, but Callie expected her back any minute. That was good because apart from missing her, she was starting to freak out about everything she still had to do and the kids constant interruptions were making her twitchy. She needed Erica. She wiped her hands on her jeans and looked around for the list she had made of all the dishes she was preparing. The list was extensive as it included all the ingredients she needed for each dish along with a timeline of when she should start prepping. She was absorbed in the list, noting that despite the interruptions she was on schedule, when she felt long arms encircle her from behind and warm lips on her neck.
"Hey, sexy, I didn't hear you come in," said Callie melting into the embrace.
"I noticed," said Erica turning her around and kissing her properly. "Hi," she said after a languid kiss.
Callie sighed and just rested in Erica's arms. "Hey, do I have you here for the rest of the day?"
"Longer than that," said Erica kneading the muscles in Callie's back. "What can I do?" she asked.
"Actually, can you take the kids for a walk or something? They're driving me a little batty. I don't know what's gotten them so worked up, but they can't seem to sit still today."
"Lucas driving you nuts worrying about his pumpkin pie?" asked Erica.
"No...a little. You never said anything about his obsession with pie before I moved in here."
"And scare you away? Not a chance."
Callie laughed lightly. She sighed again and then squeezed Erica hard.
"Still thinking about your brother?" asked Erica.
Erica gave her a light squeeze and just waited.
"Okay, maybe a little. I don't want to read anything into it, it's just...he always comes for Thanksgiving and the whole I might not make it this time is just...suspicious. I need him to be okay with this, he seemed okay when I first told him about us."
They stood there holding each other for awhile longer.
"My family, my father especially is not...he is going to be hard, so I need Diego to be okay. I need someone in my family to be okay about this. I can't fight them by myself."
Erica kissed the top of her head. "You're not by yourself and why does it have to be a fight? It will probably be hard for your parents to understand at first, but you have a good family. They'll come around and as for your brother, Callie he's an FBI agent. Their schedule is like ours - sometimes beyond their control."
"He's never told me he might not make it before," said Callie softly.
Erica hugged her harder. "I'm sorry sweetie."
They heard a commotion from the other room. "What was that?" asked Callie not moving from her spot in Erica's arms.
Erica kissed her again before letting go. "Guys? What was that?" she asked.
"My building collapsed," yelled Allie from the other room.
Erica heard rapid footsteps and suddenly they were both there.
"It was so cool Mom, it toppled on its side really slow," Lucas was saying demonstrating by creating an arc with his hands.
"And then it just crashed and went kablooy," finished Allie with flair waving her hands in the air. "Pieces went everywhere," she finished proudly.
Callie looked at Erica and rolled her eyes.
"Guys, go pick up the pieces and then put your jackets on. We're going to take a walk to the park."
"But we've been helping Mommy," said Lucas.
"I know, but Mommy needs to concentrate on the pumpkin pie, okay?"
"Can we go down the slide?" asked Allie.
Erica gave Callie one last look as she ushered them out. "It's not raining, so maybe."
Callie heard their little exhalations of glee before turning back to her list, trying to concentrate on food and not on her absent brother.
She heard the bell shortly after their departure. She had just gotten all the ingredients for the very important pie laid out on the counter and absently went to the door. Maybe Erica forgot her keys.
"Hey gorgeous did you forget your..."
"...keys," finished Callie softly. She was frozen in place staring at the last person she expected to see today.
"Sis? You okay?" he asked.
"Diego! Oh my God. You came," she exclaimed coming out of her stupor and engulfing him in a hug.
He lifted her off her feet. "I don't know for how long. I think I got a few days, but if something happens in the case I've been working on, I may have to skedaddle and did you just call me gorgeous?"
She let him go and stepped away from the door. "No, I thought you were someone else."
He smiled as he walked in looking around at her new and somewhat chaotic residence. His sister was a neat freak. Her house did not do chaos. He smiled. She saw him take in the toys scattered around the living room, the books taking up space on the dining room table and knew what was causing the smile.
"I know and I'm trying not to let it drive me nuts. Erica got called into the hospital this morning and I had things to do so I let them create more chaos then I usually do."
"It's good," he said. "I like it."
He took off his jacket and handed it to her, setting his bag in a corner. "So where is everyone? I'm anxious to meet my new nephew."
Callie was hanging up his jacket when she heard him. She turned and smiled, hugging him hard. "Thank you," she said kissing him on the cheek. "Thank you for being okay with this."
He frowned. "Why would you think I wasn't?"
"I don't know. You've been coming here for Thanksgiving for five years and all of a sudden I get a message saying you might not come."
"Sis, I'm on a case. That had nothing to do with you. I was bummed that I might not get to come. I needed to come. I need to meet the woman that has you all giddy smiley. I can hear your smile over the phone, yeah just like that" he said watching her face light up again.
"Erica took the kids to the park because they were driving me insane. They seem all hyped up for some reason. They should be back soon. In the meantime, perform sous chef duties for me," she said as she dragged him to the kitchen. "Ever make a pumpkin pie?"
"I can make toast. That's it," he said following her.
He wasn't much of a sous chef, but he kept her company and suddenly everything seemed more manageable. He was currently mixing the pumpkin pie filling.
"I like pumpkin pie, but I'm not sure I'm that jazzed about how it's made," he frowned.
"Just keep mixing," she said.
"We never have pumpkin pie," he said absently.
"Lucas loves it. He's been bothering me about it all day."
"Ahh. So how's it going, living here, together?"
She smiled. "It's awesome. It's...I can't even describe it."
He laughed. "You can barely talk let alone describe something with that big old grin taking over your face."
She laughed. "Yeah, well it's pretty wonderful."
"I've never seen you so happy," he said wistfully. "I'm glad."
"Me too," she answered. "Now if only Mom and Dad can see that, things would be perfect."
"Dad's gonna freak, but Mom will be fine."
"You think so?" she asked closing the oven that held their turkey.
"Yes, Dad will be the freak and Mom will calm him down and then he'll be fine. It might take awhile, but eventually he'll be fine. After all you're giving him another grandchild to spoil."
"It worries me, not so much their reaction to me and Erica, I mean that worries me too, but Erica and I can handle that. I don't want any negativity when it comes to Lucas though. He's my son just as much as Allie is my daughter. I don't need them treating him differently. I won't tolerate that."
He nodded and got up. "Is this okay?" he asked as he handed her his bowl.
"Yeah," she said and began final preparations for the pie.
"Dad is stubborn, but I don't think it will come to that. Lucas is just a kid. I don't see Dad doing that to a kid."
They heard the door open and before Diego knew it two bundled up forms had raced into the kitchen talking simultaneously.
"Mommy, Mommy, is the pie ready?" asked the little figure in the blue jacket. He wore a hat, but no gloves and was clutching at Callie.
"Almost, baby," said Callie removing his hat and kissing his head.
"I wanna see," said the other small little human adorned in a red jacket, complete with hat and gloves.
"In a second guys," said Callie as she removed Allie's hat and kissed her as well. "Where's your Mom and Lucas what happened to your gloves?"
"Took them off. It was too warm for gloves."
Callie touched his flushed face and shook her head. "Go take your jackets off and then you can see. Oh and say hello to your Uncle Diego," she said with a smile.
Allie shrieked. "Uncle Diego!" She ran to him instantly.
He lifted her up and tossed her in the air. "I thought you were ignoring me," he said as he caught her.
She giggled. "I didn't see you."
He hugged her before setting her down and noticed the brown haired boy in the blue jacket still attached to his sister's legs.
"Are you gonna introduce me to your brother?" Diego asked Allie.
She pulled away from him rapidly and grabbed Lucas's hands.
"This is Lucas," she said dragging him to stand in front of Diego.
Diego bent down in front of Lucas and extended his hand. "Hey Lucas, I'm Diego. I'm Allie's uncle. Since she's your sister," he stopped. "She is your sister right?"
Lucas nodded as he shook Diego's hand.
"Well I guess then I'm your uncle too. You okay with that?"
Lucas looked around and found his Mom standing at the doorway taking in the scene. She gave him an encouraging smile. Allie was nudging him.
"Uncle Diego's cool, he brings presents and everything." Lucas's eyes widened.
"Yep, I am the bringer of cool presents."
Lucas smiled at him. "I've never had an Uncle."
"I've never had a nephew, so we'll just kind of figure it out together." Lucas smiled again.
"Alright then, someone said something about presents," said Diego getting up amidst shouts of "Presents, presents" from Allie.
"Guys," said Erica. "Go take off your jackets first."
Erica barely had enough time to move before the two figures were coming at her. She moved inside the room and watched Lucas and Allie race into the other room.
Finally it was just the three adults.
"Hey, I'm the brother, Diego Torres," said Diego extending a hand to Erica.
"Erica Hahn," she said awkwardly.
Callie was still preparing pie and watching the two of them. "She's the wife," she supplied. "Thanks for taking them out sweetie, but I can see it did nothing to deplete their energy."
"Hard to do on a normal day, but they seem to have extra today," answered Erica.
"Come here, sweetie because I can't come to you," said Callie smiling.
Diego watched Erica move across the room nervously. She stood a little awkwardly next to Callie until Callie wiped her hands. He had an idea of what Callie wanted to do. She finished wiping her hands and turned to Erica one hand reaching for the back of her head and pulling her closer. He could tell Erica was surprised and a little nervous, but she went with the kiss. He looked away momentarily before deciding to act like the little brother that he was.
"Ruining girl-on-girl action for me, sis. Don't need images of my sister macking on a hot woman."
Callie pulled away and looked at him. "Don't watch then."
Erica was standing with Callie still in her arms. "I love you," she whispered in Callie's ear before turning her attention to Diego and letting Callie get back to the pie.
"I guess that ruined my whole, we're just really close friends story," she mocked.
"Yeah, I'm not buying that one anymore," he laughed.
The kids came racing back. "Jackets gone," said Allie. "Presents now."
"Did you lose your ability to speak in complete sentences?" asked Erica lifting her up. Allie bounced in her arms. "Presents, presents, presents," she said with every bounce.
Lucas was bouncing on his feet.
"Go get ready for presents," said Callie. "I have to put the pie in, and then I'll be right out."
A few minutes later Callie and Erica were sitting on the couch wrapped up in each other with Callie in the crook of Erica's arm. Erica felt Callie relax for the first time since she had received the rather cryptic message from her brother that he might not make Thanksgiving a few days ago. She kissed her lightly as they watched Diego build the momentum by rifling, probably unnecessarily, in his bag while Lucas and Allie stood ready to jump out of their skin.
She had tried not to let on to Callie the worry she felt at this latest step in their relationship, meeting Callie's extended family. The only family she had left was her mother who had shown no interest in either her or Lucas after the adoption was finalized. She knew exactly what to expect from her mother and she was not subjecting Callie or Allie to that, but Callie's family was different. She had a good relationship with them, but something like this - coming out, deciding to completely change your life, adopt a son, those types of things didn't always go well with one's family and so Erica worried. She worried about their reaction to her, but most of all she worried about Lucas. It would be easy for Callie's family to treat him differently, not like a nephew or grandson. She knew they didn't have to. Technically he was not a blood relation to them and as much as she wanted to, she couldn't make them see Lucas and Allie like she and Callie did. If Diego was any indication, her fears were unfounded.
"Okay, I have two sets of presents and you have to share them, okay?"
The kids' heads bobbed up and down.
He pulled out two presents, both wrapped. "Remember these are for both of you. Do you want to each open one or do you want to open them together?"
"Together," they shouted still bouncing.
He handed them the first gift which they tore into like wild animals.
Erica turned to Callie. "Did we feed them too much sugar today or something?"
Callie shook her head. "They didn't even have cereal this morning. I made eggs and toast."
"Cool, it's all the Lemony Snickets books!" exclaimed Allie.
"More stuff coming into the house," muttered Callie.
Erica gave her a squeeze as she watched Lucas and Allie converse with each other about the books and whether or not they would be good bedtime books.
Diego watched for a while, before handing over the second present. "Okay one more, but again sharing is essential."
Lucas and Allie set aside the books and tore into the second box. Soon the air was filled with more oohs and ahhs and cools.
"More Legos? Are you freaking kidding me?" Callie muttered and then glared at Diego who was smirking.
"Can we open them now?" asked Lucas.
"Not yet. Dinner's almost ready. Maybe after dinner," said Erica knowing Lego pieces all over the living room might put Callie over the edge.
"Okay one more very special Uncle Diego type present," said Diego.
The kids stood up and resumed the bouncing. He looked in his bag and pulled out two Nerf footballs handing one to each kid.
Allie looked perplexed. Lucas threw his up in the air and tried to catch it, but it bounced off his head. Allie laughed and tried the same thing with the same results which had both kids giggling.
Diego pulled out what looked like two balled up shirts. "Okay, when my big sister told me I was getting a new nephew and sister, I got all excited because that would mean more people for football."
Callie groaned. Diego ignored her.
"So to start off our new expanded football team, I think the Hahn-Torres kids need some jerseys."
He handed one shirt to Lucas and the other to Allie. They unrolled them. They were Miami Dolphins colors, but the back of the shirts said Hahn-Torres while the fronts were adorned with Lucas and Allie's name.
"Cool!" said Lucas.
"This is really big shirt," said Allie laughing. The shirt came down to her knees. Lucas's fit him just slightly better.
"How about we start training?" said Diego picking up the two Nerf footballs. He looked over at Erica and Callie. "Moms okay with us going outside?"
"Yes," said Callie. "Please tire them out, but be careful and you will not start trying to recruit Lucas or Allie into your football fanaticism."
"I would do no such thing," said Diego innocently, but Callie could see his eyes sparkling as Lucas snatched the ball from him.
"Jackets," said Callie as she saw Lucas head for the door.
"Aw Mommy, but we have our cool shirts."
Allie seemed okay with covering her new shirt and was already putting on her jacket.
"Why don't we take it with us and if you get cold, you'll put it on," offered Diego as a compromise. Callie looked at Erica.
"They'll be running around, it should be okay," said Erica.
Finally the kids and Diego left, the noise level returned to normal and it was just Callie and Erica.
Callie snuggled closer. "I have to check on food, but you are nice and warm."
"I'm glad your brother made it."
"Mmm, me too. Turned out I was worried for nothing. He might have to leave quickly if something breaks in his case."
"He's great with the kids."
"Yeah, but this whole present business has to stop. The kids have enough toys."
"Hey, that's what Aunts and Uncles are supposed to do," protested Erica.
"Yeah, well welcome to the other side, because he'll be gone in a few days and won't be here to deal with a thousand Legos pieces all over the house. That will be on me and you."
Erica turned and kissed her. She pulled back quickly cognizant of their guest just outside. "I'm sorry I was gone most of the morning. Have I told you how much I love you lately?"
"Yes, but I can't hear it enough and you're here now, so everything is okay," said Callie enjoying the kiss and going for another. They got lost in the soft suckling for awhile. Finally Callie pulled away.
"We probably should not have started this little activity," she said through ragged breaths. "We have a long day ahead and too many hours before we can say goodnight to everyone."
Erica would have responded, except she was too busy enjoying the kissing.