I looked from Will to Cayden. Cayden to Will. Will to Cayden. Then I looked behind me to read my sisters' facial expressions. We were all thinking the same thing: Cayden and Will could have been twins. Will was a little darker, but other than that, they both had shaved heads, the same facial hair, slightly big ears, and they were practically the same size. I never thought I had a type, but with those two standing next to each other, there was no denying it.
"They look exactly the same!" Meg whispered across the table.
"I was just thinking that," Jay whispered back.
Cayden and Will introduced themselves while I sat there with my jaw on the table, trying to compose myself. Then Will made his rounds, hugging or shaking hands with the rest of my family.
"So, y'all went to church?" Will asked with a puzzled expression on his face. He knew we weren't the church-going type.
"Yeah, we went to hear a friend sing. It was amazing," I answered.
I had a flashback of the one time I went to church with Will. For an assignment in one of my college courses, I had to attend a religious service that was different from my own. Being that I didn't have one, per se, the door was wide open. I knew I wouldn't survive through a Catholic service because at times I have the attention span of a fly. And I can't sit without bouncing one of my legs, which can be quite a distraction to anyone else on my pew. Then I thought about attending a Buddhist service. But then I had the perfect idea: I wanted to go to a predominantly black southern Baptist church. Will was my escort. Needless to say, I didn't fall asleep during that service.
We all gathered around the dinner table with our full glasses of wine or Shiner Cheer Beer and bowed our heads over our meal while Will said grace. Then we held out glasses up and clinked them against each other before digging in. We had ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and cranberry sauce. There wasn't a moment of silence at the table. Even with our mouths full, there's always something to talk about when the whole family is in town.
I kept one hand on Cayden's knee under the table as we ate. Whenever he was on town, I felt like I had to touch him every chance I got. I knew how much I'd miss it when he was gone. He kept one hand on top of mine and smiled at me any time we made eye contact. I loved knowing that from that day on out, I'd never have to spend a Christmas without him. If all went as planned for his move over in May, he'd be all mine all the time. I got lightheaded just thinking about it. Or maybe that was the Cheer Beer.
"So, what's the plan for tonight?" Will asked as we were scraping the last bit of dessert off our plates. "We hittin' up Papa Gs??"
Papa Gs was a holiday tradition at my house. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, you name it, the night usually ended with us stumbling home after 2am with a bag of Whataburger after a night of drinks at the G (also known as the G-spot. I know, we're so mature).
"It's closed," Meg announced, looking up from her phone in shock. She'd just received a text from a friend who'd driven by and saw that the "open" sign was off. "It was closed last night and tonight. What the hell is going on?"
Papa G's never closed. It didn't matter if it was Christmas day or the rapture, Papa Gs was was always open for business.
"Now what?" I asked, looking at my sisters and brother for an answer.
We all shrugged and stared at each other.
I wouldn't admit it to my siblings, but a small part of me was grateful it was closed. All I wanted to do was curl up with Cayden in front of the fireplace and watch Love Actually or The Family Stone. I could tell my the weight in Cayden's eyelids that he was grateful as well. Jet lag was kicking in.
"Drinking games?" Noelle suggested.
"Can I have people over?" Corbin asked.
"They better bring their own liquor," Mom answered.
"Anyone up for a game of Scattergories?"I suggested, partially to be funny and partially because I'm a 60-year-old lady at heart with a penchant for board games.
Scattergories it was.