Not A James Type Of Bond


hailey_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Not a James Type of Bond
Synopsis A mutual love for Gillian sets the stage for the best birthday ever.
Date October 29, 2018

Gillian's Brownstone

When the cat’s away the mice will play, and with Gillian at work for the day there’s plenty of time for work to be done.

Unlike mice, Hailey and Squeaks aren’t up to any real shenanigans. No pranks or plans for dangerous adventures, at least not the dangerous outside of the house types of adventures. Just the food making sort of adventures. So it’s really unlikely there’s glue and glitter or paint that will show up in any of it. But there is flour and eggs, which could be just as bad.

Squeaks has been staring at the supplies on the table for the last three minutes, her nose wrinkled and a dubious expression on her face. Even though she helped collect the things needed, she’s still not sure how it’s all going to fit together. She’s even said so at least twice. But Hailey seems certain of what to do and how to make it all work, so it really didn’t take a lot of talk to get the younger girl’s help in preparing.

“Is it like Thanksgiving,” she asks. She half squats, lowering herself so her eyes are almost level with the top of the table. It’s a whole other view of the food things that are covering the surface, but it doesn’t change the teenager’s vague uncertainty about this plan.

"Nobody eats popcorn and chicken wings for Thanksgiving," Hailey says with an air of authority, she knows because she's had a couple of really giant Thanksgivings. Not recently though, but in her distant past, back when Santa was alive.

She's at the stove with an apron on, covered in sticky handprints because she's sure Gillian wouldn't appreciate it if one of her menagerie helped clean her fingers with a few licks. Chicken wings need a good teriyaki sauce and since everyone was all up about Matsuri, there were plenty of ingredients to go around.

Turning away from the stove, Squeaks can see the puzzled look of confusion on Hailey's face as she brings the cookbook into view. "I think whoever wrote this book is a crack addict… greek yogurt and dill in teriyaki sauce?"

“Why don’t they?” Honest curiosity, she’ll have to take Hailey’s word for how Thanksgiving really goes. There’s no memory of the holiday inside her head, except for maybe a mention or two in found in a story. Squeaks straightens and pushes some things on the table aside. Others are picked up and set down after a look at the label, until she finds the ingredients being talked about.

Turning to face Hailey, the yogurt and dill are held up. The doubting expression remains, and maybe even firms. Because if the older girl isn’t sure about the book, then the younger definitely isn’t convinced. Even if it is in a book that’s all about cooking and has recipes. “I don’t know if they’re supposed to go in or not. I never made sauce before.”

The question is answered first with an accompanying look that is absolutely dripping with authority. "Because dawg, Thanksgiving is for turkey and green bean casserole and pumpkin pie and the only place marshmallows belong is as a topping on the sweet potatoes." There's a long pause as Hailey moves away from the stove to scour the counter. "Did we get marshmallows for the hot chocolate? We need hot chocolate and marshmallows."

She's pretty sure Gillian loves hot chocolate with marshmallows and tonight needs to be perfect.

The spoon and the book get tossed to the side and Squeaks can see the befuddling recipe page is a might thicker than it should be. But right now that's the least of their worries, the island counter loaded with foodstuff is missing the key ingredient to their hot chocolate.

“Can’t we make marshmallows?” How do you even make them? Squeaks wouldn’t know if it’s even possible, since cooking isn’t a subject she’s really studied yet. One day, after she’s found everything she can about her current fascination, maybe she’ll study cooking. Today there’s more important things. “Thanksgiving sounds really good. Maybe not so good as birthdays though.”

Another thing she doesn’t know much about, but obviously they’re really really good. She can tell by all the stuff she’s seeing Hailey do for Gillian.

When the book is put down, Squeaks sets the ingredients aside so she can look at the recipe. “If we can’t make them, can maybe we see if Lance has some?” Because the apartment is way closer than the market. She picks at the edge of the page. “Or Emily.” She peels the corner of two pages a teeny bit apart. “Hailey… your pages are stuck.”

"Oh crap on a cracker," Hailey exasperatedly utters (no it's not one of the appies). "I thought it was weird." Carefully, she peels the two pages apart and stares at the end of the teriyaki and beginning of the tzatziki. "Man that would have been gross… I don't think Joe would even touch creamy dilliyaki." Probably not. And yet, she eyes Squeaks for confirmation on that guesstimation.

"I think making marshmallows would be harder than trying to find them. I mean, I'm not exactly Martha Stewart?" She doesn't even look like the former homemaker millionaire. Then there's another problem. "Uh… I don't have a cell phone to get a hold of either of them. Do you?" Cellular communication isn't exactly something that's been high on the Hailey priority list.

Squeaks’ face draws back to look like she was just shown something really gross. “Probably not,” she agrees slowly. She scoots out of the way to let Hailey get back at eyeballing the cooking book and figuring out the teriyaki sauce. “Maybe if it was peanut butter, and not with dill.” Because that green leafy looking stuff definitely doesn’t look like something that should be in peanut butter.

She turns back to the supplies to sort through them again. There had to be marshmallows in there. “I don’t have one,” she says quietly. She’s never needed to have one before. “And phones don’t work where Lance lives. He goes to the library when he needs to call anyone.” She looks up from moving things out of the way, and tilts her head to watch Hailey. “It’s okay without marshmallows.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Hailey agrees, it’s unfortunate but sometimes you just can’t get a marshmallow and that’s alright. Turning back to the book, she runs her finger down the recipe for the teriyaki sauce. “Okay, so teriyaki wings, mashed potatoes, popcorn, cheese, hot chocolate, and Emily is baking a cake. That sounds like just about every one of Gillian’s favorite foods!” It’s an odd assortment, but the empath is sure that she’s remembering everything perfectly.

“Next thing we want to do is peel the potatoes and get them on the stove. We need to boil them until they fall apart.” She’s also not an accomplished cook but she’s pretty sure that’s how far you need to boil them to turn them into mush. “And popcorn!”

Nodding, Squeaks turns almost a full circle before she sees the drawer she’s looking for. “Peeler thing,” she explains while going into the drawer. Some of the kitchen tools in there rattle and clank together as she finds the vegetable peeler. Then it’s back to the island counter to start working on taking skins off potatoes.

After selecting a potato to start on, she looks up at Hailey again. “She’s going to be really surprised,” she tells the older girl. “For reals surprised.”

Hailey shoots Squeaks a wide grin and nods once before picking up a spoon to dip into the sauce. It's steaming when she plucks it out so there's a minute or so of blowing to cool the teriyaki off, for a certain little white goat to get a tasty treat. First she sniffs. Then she takes a tentative lick. Then her tongue is all over the spoon, and she is reluctant to allow Hailey the liberty of moving too far away without an insistent bleat.

"I think she likes it!" The joyful exclamation is made as the empath deliberates between putting the spoon back in the sauce or tossing it into the sink. Eventually, she chooses the latter. Sorry Snowy, but you know how other people get about goat germs. "Snow is our official taste tester. She's the best taste tester."

Another potato is picked up and worked over with the peeler. It’s a strange chore that feels weird in her hands, but she keeps at it while she watches Hailey and the little goat. She doesn’t say so, but Squeaks is secretly glad the goat germs are put in the sink and not back in the pot. Sharing with animals is okay, but she isn’t a fan of using the same utensils.

“She’s a really good taste tester,” the teenager agrees. Because that’s how goats are, great at tasting everything. “Do you want all of the potatoes or just lots of them?”

It doesn't even take a breath before Hailey interrupts the question with her answer. "ALL the potatoes!" Voiced like a maniac, mostly because, who doesn't like mashed potatoes? ALL the mashed potatoes. Gillian will be so happy, mashed potatoes for days.

The sauce is done. Just syrupy enough and according to the goat, delicious. Almost as delicious as the bit of shirt she had before breakfast, sorry Eve. The wings, which had been popped in the oven nearly an hour ago, have been remembered and pulled out with a squeal of triumph. "They're not burnt!!" Which, is just right for saucing.

ALL the potatoes? Squeaks doesn’t look very sure about that idea, since she’s going to be stuck eating mashed potatoes for days also then. Not that she’d ever really complain. But maybe someone will have ideas for how to make them different from just mush. “Okay,” is a vaguely hesitant answer.

“Can I taste?” If the little goat got a taste it seems fair, right? The younger girl finishes another potato and even starts on another. And there’s still millions to go. “We still have hot chocolate, right? Does that take a long time?”

Wings dumped into a bowl, pan tossed into the sink with other dishes, and the sauce is slowly drizzled over the wings. "iiiinnnnnn juuuuuuuuuussst…." the words are drawn out and then paused completely as the last drizzles of the sticky liquid are coaxed out of the pot with a spoon. "A minute." Wings are stirred and completely coated and then one is pulled out for Squeaks' final word.

"We're not going to let Snowy eat a whole wing, so yes!" Squeaks can have a taste. Of sauce on a wing.

The rest are left in the bowl as the empath moves onto the next chore. "Hot chocolate is for later… and we have it in a can, so it's easy!" As proof, she holds up the jar of instant hot chocolate. Not the best, but there's only enough food to go around and some of the people at the market didn't take 'Gillian's Birthday' as an excuse to hoard too many goodies.

Abandoning potatoes and taking the wing, Squeaks juggles it between one hand and then the other and blows on it in between. It doesn’t even matter that it’s covered in sauce, the whole thing is hot. Hot hot hot. “Like for movies later?” Because that sort of makes sense for when it’s time to have hot chocolate. She turns the wing over and bites into it, not even pausing to smell first. It already smells good.

The first bite is fast followed by a second before there’s any sort of answer. And then it’s a sticky one, with the younger girl nodding as she talks. “Yes. It’s good. Better even than what Snowy would tell you.” Because the little goat would eat anything anyway. “Today is definitely primal.”

"Exactly like for movies later!" Okay, unlike Lance, Squeaks knows what's up. Hailey beams at the young teen as she washes her hands in the sink and turns to look at the counter full of party ingredients.

Hands to hips, the empath stands akimbo, like a superhero after vanquishing her foes. With the wings finished, Hailey does feel almost that accomplished. "Need help with the potatoes? I think we need lots of them because I'm pretty sure Joe is starving to death. Plus, it’s too early to cut the cheese..” she makes a little raspberry sound with her lips before continuing “.. even though Jim has been doing enough of that.”

She doesn't grab a peeler, though, she picks up a paring knife and begins to expertly strip ribbons of jacket from the white tater.

Speaking of cutting cheese. “Jim needs to stop sneaking cheese.” Squeaks makes short work of that chicken wing, and even takes the time to make sure there’s no bits of meat or sauce left before she tosses the bone into the trash pile. “Or he should learn to go to the basement if he’s going to be farty. Nobody wants that around.” That’s her opinion, anyway.

While the older girl starts in on the potatoes, the younger one takes a quick break to squat in front of Snowy and rub the little goat’s head. And probably let her find any sauce that might have been missed. She shares with the animals. Usually. Then after, she’s washing her hands really good and back to peeling potatoes.

Sauce, fingers, hand, bits of sleeve, the baby pygmy doesn't really care what is in front of its mouth and nibbles on all of it. Any time that Squeaks tries to move one thing away, the little goat bleats, follows with a happy wag of its tail… and more nibbles.

"Oh, Jim doesn't eat cheese.. but whenever anyone leaves fruit out he can't resist it. That's what gives him gas. I can feel it when he gets the tummy aches." Hailey shoot a disappointed look toward the living room where the monkey seems to be playing with remote controls to entertain himself. At least he's not chewing them. "I think someone's been trying to feed him bananas."

“Not me.” Fresh fruit is too hard to find most of the time anyway, and very expensive when it is found, so Squeaks usually doesn’t buy any. “Maybe it’s Eve.” Because maybe the seer is leaving a stash of fruit around? She doesn’t really know.

“Jude gets really stinky eating cheese.” Because gas is the perfect topic for peeling potatoes. And that’s what the younger girl starts doing again while talking. “But he likes it. I don’t know if his tummy hurts after, he just goes and keeps eating.”

"That can be a big problem with dogs," Hailey says with a wrinkle of her nose. She pauses a moment to look out toward the yard, the place where most of her nightly menagerie spends time. "Especially ones that have been homeless at any point. They're kind of like people that way… they get worried that they won't get food again so they eat and eat and eat and eat."

She makes a mental note to leave space in the day to clean the backyard before the party starts. Usually, she would do it right about now, but there's other things to be done.

"I think Jude needs to come inside for a little bit," she finally says, grabbing another potato for peeling. "So he can be trained to be a good inside dog. Then he won't have to worry about having a home, also… I think it would be good for Lene."

“He won’t, I’ve tried.” Not this house, but other places. Squeaks’ shoulders bounce up as she shrugs a little. “He likes the outside, I think. He didn’t like the subway either but sometimes I could get him to follow me.” With food, of course. She looks down at the baby goat, then up at Hailey. “Can Snowy eat the skins?”

The little goat, unable to understand the words but can feel Hailey's trepidation, bleats and steps forward, resting one of her little hooves on Squeaks' foot. There's food, then again, there's always food for her. She eats whatever is within reach.


Snow wants the peels, both of the peelers can tell just by looking at her. The way she points her head up and tilts it just so. She's a baby, she's cute, it's hard to resist. Hailey relents. "Yeah, just not too many, we don't want her overeating either. I don't know how to deal with goat tummy aches." It hasn't been a problem with Snow yet, but she's still only a few months old. One of these days, both the goat and the empath will learn what a tummy ache is like.

Even the younger teenager might try to give sad eyes to Hailey if the little goat were denied potato peels. But when permission is given, Squeaks’ mouth ticks up in a second-long grin. A small-ish pile of the peels is scooped off the counter and plopped onto the floor for Snowy to eat.

The rest are gathered to be disposed of, composted or something probably, instead of being fed to the goat. And then she starts putting things away, so there’s less to do while the potatoes cook. It won’t be too long anyway before everyone else starts showing up.

With the baby goat happily munching on potato peels, a monkey entertaining himself with remote controls, and a cat sleeping on a pillow dreaming of something delicious, Hailey’s mood is definitely a good one. Everything is in control and well on its way to being ready. “Popcorn we leave for the movies,” she says as she helps sweep the rest of the peels into the little bucket that will probably be used to feed other things later. Maybe even Snow herself. “I guess we just wait for Brynn and Emily to come over with the rest?” She’s not so sure.

“OH!” As if she’s just had her own brilliant idea, Hailey grabs Squeaks by the wrist and practically drags her toward the stairs. “It’s Gillian’s birthday… we need to look the best.” No one else is in the house at the moment, Lene is at work and Eve mentioned something about grabbing dinner before leaving. “I bet there are closets and makeup drawers we can raid like crazy.”

Tonight, they will be dressed to the nines and both of them are getting makeovers. Because that’s what sisters do.

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