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    AquariusGuy
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The Michaels Family Holidays - 1. Chapter 1 - Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating.

Please note suicide is mentioned.

This chapter takes place before the last chapter of Tristan's High School. The boys are not engaged yet.

Tristan's POV

As I pulled up to the house in Rhinebeck, Dom and Justin let out a gasp.

"This place is huge," Justin exclaimed.
"I love the woodsy feel," Dom chimed in.
"TJ and Jackson wanted a place out of the city everyone could go to relax, and this is their place," I said.
"Is this where we are staying?" Dom asked.
"No, my grandparents bought a place not too far away, and we are staying there," I said gloomily.
"Are you going to be ok?" Xander said, touching my arm.
"It was an unfortunate and tragic end, but I do miss them," I said, tears welling in my eyes.
"I'm sorry, Tristan," Justin said from the backseat.
"Are you sure you'll be ok?" Xander asked, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the door fly open, and out flew Emerson and Jeff.
"Unca Twistan," Emerson shouted, running to my side of the car.
"Hello, boys," I said as I opened the door and saw Josh standing in the doorway with a smile.
"Hi Unca Wander," Emerson said.
"Hello to you Emer, where did your brother go?" Xander asked.
"He's wrapped himself around my leg," I said and laughed.
"JJ, get off the dirty ground," Josh said, coming over. "I swear they only get this way when you're around."
"They love their Unca," I said and smiled brightly.
"Boys, come in from the cold," Jackson said from the door.
"I swear, since he became a grandpa, it's like he aged rapidly," Josh said.
"Well, when you are trying to help your son raise two rambunctious kids," I said, looking at him with a smirk.
"They offered," Josh said, raising his hands.
"Stop giving the boy a hard time," TJ said, appearing out of know where.
"Hey, T2," I said.
"Good afternoon TJ," Xander said.
"Hello boys, everyone can go inside, except you," TJ said, locking eyes.
Everyone headed in, and I could smell the food wafting out the open door.

"Have a seat," TJ said as he sat on the bench in front of the garden. "Jackson told me you're staying at the other house."
"Yeah," I said, sighing.
"Look, Tristan, everyone is worried about you and the memories it could bring back. Thanksgiving is about being thankful, and we are thankful for every day we have with you." TJ said, tears forming.
"It's my fault they are gone," I said, falling into TJ bawling my eyes out.
"I was afraid you were still feeling this way. Are you still seeing Mason?" TJ asked, rubbing my back.
"Yes, but I can't get it out of my head," I replied.
"It was an unexpected tragedy, but I understand that it is tough to move on from," TJ said.
"Jackson blames me, doesn't he," I said.
"Abosultely not," TJ said. "He blames himself."
"Why," I asked, shocked.
"Had he answered your call, it would have saved Jack and Tracy," TJ replied.

"Grwampa," Emerson called from the door. "Poppop said the pie weady."
"Ok Emer, tell him I'll be right there," TJ replied. "Look, I want you to stay here and let your brothers stay at the other house. I can't have you falling to pieces again."

TJ got up and went inside, and I was left there with my thoughts.

"Hey buddy," I heard in Grandpa Jack's voice.
"Grandpa," I said, wiping my eyes.
"Hey, kiddo," he said, taking a seat next to me.
"I've missed you," I said, leaning in for a hug and falling onto the bench.
"I'm a spirit," he said with a hearty laugh.
"I forgot," I said and sat back up.
"I heard your conversation with TJ and Tracy, and I agreed one of us should come to talk with you," Grandpa began. "We don't blame you one bit for what happened, Tristan; it was our time."
"No, it wasn't," I replied, tears falling.
"It was; your father missed that call for a reason," Grandpa said.
"No, I shouldn't have called you," I said.
"Look, you were in a terrible place mentally and recognized you needed help. That my boy shows how far you've come," Grandpa said, smirking. "You had no idea that Tracy and I were up here working on the house when you called or that the snow was so bad the roads were terrible."
"Why didn't I just teleport," I said.
"Look, you can't say what if your whole life. What if this happened or what if this happened. You'll land up with a pile of what-ifs and be nowhere. Xander loves and supports you, as does your family," Grandpa said.
"He's right, Tristan," Grandpa Tracy said, taking a seat next to him.
"TJ and Jackson would move heaven and earth for you, and they have," Grandpa Jack said.
"When you called, Jack said Tristan is having a crisis we need to go. I didn't give it a second thought as we rushed to leave. It was the ice at the curve we didn't count on," Grandpa Tracy said.
"We didn't feel a thing," Grandpa Jack said. "We saw our parents, and that was it."
"It took days for them to get you out," I said, sobbing as I felt someone embrace me from behind.
"Hey, Dad and Pops," Jackson said as he held me.
"Son," they replied.
"I'm glad you finally gave in and talked to him," Jackson said sternly.
"Don't look at me," Grandpa Tracy said, pointing at Jack.
"We both visited Trace and Jackson afterward," Grandpa Jack said.
"That's how you knew," I said.
"Yes," Jackson said. "This family loves you unconditionally."
"So much," TJ said, wiping tears.
"Go into the house and do what your fathers have asked and stay here," Grandpa Tracy said sternly, sounding like Grandpa Jack.
"Where did that come from?" Grandpa Jack admonished.
"When you live with someone for years, they kind of rub off on you," he replied, laughing.

I walked into the house, and I could hear laughter from all directions.

"Don't worry, your brothers and sisters are busy embarrassing each other to their significant others," TJ said, walking toward the kitchen. "Come pull up a stool as we finish making the Turkey and side dishes."

"How are things going with your master's capstone project?" Jackson asked.
"I finished weeks ago," I replied.
"That's my boy," TJ beamed. "Always done ahead of time."
"I don't recall seeing it in my email to look over," Jackson said.
"Xander looked it over," I replied as I sent him a text that I was in the kitchen.
"Xander is probably with Mack and Rory," TJ said, not looking up from the cookbook. "What the heck is a healthy serving of sugar? Darn Tony and his recipes."
"I thought you figured that out years ago, dad," Hunter said, taking the stool next to me.
"Hey, squirt," I said and bumped his shoulder.
"Hey, little brother," he replied and grinned evilly.
"TJ, stop feeding this boy miracle grow," I said between laughs as Hunter was tickling me. "What are you 6 foot 5?"
"Try 7 feet," Jackson said.
"A big boy," I said.
"Oh, you want to see? What would Xander say?" Hunter said, cracking up.
"You pervert," I replied.
Hunter got nervous and fidgety.
"Something wrong?" I asked.
"I met someone," Hunter said.
"You did? Finally," I said. "Congratulations."
"Well, you see, it's a guy," Hunter said.
"You think I care? As long as he treats you right and you remember I'm gay too," I said.
"He gets me, Tristan," Hunter said.
"That's always a plus," I said, thinking about Xander.
"You'll never guess where they met," TJ said with a smile.
"Now I'm intrigued," I said, facing my brother.
"There is this place near Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport where you can watch planes take off and land. I go there frequently and took a date a few times. Well, he was always there off to the side watching planes too, and when Holly and I broke up, I went there to take my mind off it. I saw him sitting there looking lonely and decided to say hi as I needed a friend. We landed up talking for hours, and things progressed from there," Hunter said.
"I'm happy for you, Hunter. You deserve someone who loves you," I said.
"Give me a second and let me get him," Hunter said, running from the room.
"He wants his big brother's approval," TJ said.
"I figured that," I said. " Is he still having issues with the others?"
"To an extent, yes," TJ replied. "I sometimes think they are jealous, but Hunter's always been different."
"I agree, he's a smart young man, and when he was going through a tough time, you were there for him," Jackson said.
"I always will be," I said, getting misty-eyed.
"We know," TJ said as he started chopping onions. "For the salad."
"No to hide the tears," Jackson said.
"Hush you," TJ teased.
"Um, Tristan, this is my boyfriend Evan," Hunter said timidly.
Standing before me was not what I expected. I expected someone similar to Hunter, but I was met with a thinner-looking guy. I wouldn't say I like this term, but he looked like a geek.
"Hi Evan, I'm Hunter's older brother," I said, sticking out my hand, which he shook.
"Nice to finally meet you. Hunter talks about you all the time, non-stop. All good, though," Evan said and blushed.
"All the time?" I said, moving my gaze to my brother.
"Well, not all the time," he replied sheepishly.
"They love to watch Air Disasters," TJ said as he started mashing potatoes.
"You still watch that show?" I asked, surprised.
"You know they made on about the Senator?" Hunter asked.
"No, I didn't. Is it out yet?" I asked.
"It airs tomorrow. Maybe we could watch it as a family," Hunter said enthusiastically.
"I'm down," I said, smiling at him.

Evan and Hunter left the room, and I sat there watching Jackson and TJ finishing everything.

"I figured with the number of people in this house, someone would be in here helping you," I said.
"Well, Mister Secretary of State here didn't want any help," Jackson teased.
"I'm sorry I couldn't make your ceremony," I said.
"Nothing to be sorry for, you were taking care of yourself, and you needed to be where you were. Look, I didn't want to say anything outside, but I want to make one thing crystal clear," TJ said, eyes narrowing. "You ever decide to attempt suicide again, I'll kill you myself."
"Yeah, I know," I said with my head hung.
TJ came around the counter and sat next to me, and pulled my chin up.

"I know things have been super tough on you, with the flashbacks of the car bomb resurfacing and then losing your grandpa's," TJ said as he brushed the hair from my eyes. "You mean everything to Jackson and me; when I got the call from Jackson, and I was halfway around the world and having to use air transit to get back. I just sat there wishing for you to be ok and to wake up from the nightmare—watching you come back from it all and Xander being by your side and seeing your determination has made Jackson and me super proud. The one person, though, who took this the hardest was Hunter. He moped around and was causing chaos at the airports, and I found a way to subdue him and fix things. You are loved, Tristan."

I fell to pieces right there, and TJ and Jackson both embraced me.

"Gwampa, I hung-we," Emerson said, cutting the tension and making us laugh.
"I'm on it," TJ said, giving Emerson a salute.
"Yous k Unca?" Emerson said, looking up at me, arms stretched, so I picked him up.
"Yeah, buddy, I'm ok. Grandpa made me cry." I said, hugging him.
"Gwampa, you no make Unca cry," Emerson scolded.
"He didn't mean to, buddy. He was telling me how much he loved me," I said.
"I wove you to Unca," Emerson said and kissed my nose.
"I love you," I said and reciprocated the kiss, making him laugh.
"Dinner is ready," TJ said, and Emerson's stomach rumbled, causing me to laugh.

Everyone gathered around the tables in the dining room and adjoining living room. Jackson headed the table and TJ was to his right and the flow around the table was by the age of the child and time of birth. With the few extra guests weaved in, Hunter and Evan finished us off back at the beginning.

"Before we begin our glorious feast," Jackson began. "I would like everyone to go around the table and say one thing they are thankful for. TJ and I will go last, and we are skipping Tristan and Xander."

Josh said he was thankful for TJ and Jackson and their help with the twins. We skipped over Jeff and Emerson as they didn't know what was going on. Jake was grateful that he had found his true love, Chloe. The rest of the family said they were thankful for their significant other except when it got to Hunter.

He began with tears in his eyes, "I am thankful every day that I met Evan, but what I am most thankful for is the fact that my big brother Tristan is still here. I'm thankful that my crazy pop left his glasses and came back home to get them and found you."

"Buzzkill," Jamie said
"Shut up," I said harshly.
"Let your brother speak," TJ said, glaring at him.
"Go on, Hunter," Jackson encouraged.
"You have been my supporter since day one, and I will always be thankful for you," Hunter said.
"I love you, Hunter," I said.
"Now that the love birds have finished, can we eat," Mattie asked.
Before anyone could speak, Mattie's face became covered in a big glob of potatoes.
"Hunter," Jackson scolded.
"Not Hunter, me," TJ said, sliding his chair back and standing up. "I am sick and tired of you guys ragging on your brothers. I noticed no one other than Josh and Hunter were thankful for family."
"I'm pretty sure we all are," Jamie replied sarcastically.
"There, it's comments like that," TJ said. "We raised you better than this."

"TJ, could I say something," I asked.
"Oh no, another love fest," Jamie said.
"That's it," Jackson said, throwing his chair back and standing up, and I held my hand up.
"What I have to say will shut this all down," I said. "When I had the nightmares and needed help, do you know that Grandpa Jack and Tracy were the LAST people I called? I called EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU SORRY ASSES, and not ONE of you answered. I know for a fact you guys weren't busy. TJ and Jackson were in D.C., and Hunter was in a final exam, so I called the Grandpas. They stopped what they were doing because, to them, family meant everything. While I sobbed my eyes out, the only people I knew as Grandpas died because you all couldn't be bothered."
"Tristan, you never said anything about that," TJ said, taking a seat.
"It wasn't important," I said.
"Like hell, it wasn't," Jackson fumed.

The room shook.

"Everyone, SHUT UP!" echoed through the house.
"Tristan is right," Grandpa Jack said in ghost form. "To Tracy and I, family always came first. We instilled that value in your Pop and Trace. We also thought we instilled it in you, but I must be sadly mistaken."
"Grandpa," Jamie began.
"Can it, boy," Grandpa Tracy said.
"What a show," Grandma CC said, appearing. "I miss the theatrics of this family. All of your grandparents instilled family first in their children; sometimes, we had to teach it several times, no offense TJ. You all will get along with each other and respect each other or else."
"Or what," Jamie retorted.
"Big mistake, bucko," Grandpa Jack said.
"I think we have a challenger," Grandma said and snapped her fingers. "Good luck getting it up."
I snorted, knowing what she did.
"What's so funny," Jamie asked.
"Not a thing," I said, turning beat red, and so did TJ and Jackson trying to hold in their laughter.
"Now, the food is hot; everyone eat," Grandpa Tracy said.
"TJ, Jackson, a word please," Grandpa Jack said, and they and the ghost left. Evan was shocked as he'd never seen a ghost.
TJ and Jackson both quickly returned, and we ate in silence. Everyone helped clear the table.

I went outside and sat on the bench and was looked at the surrounding sky when Xander sat beside me.

"Penny, for your thoughts," he asked.
"Just thinking how fucked up my family is," I said.
"That they are," he chuckled. "One question, did your grandmother steal your signature move?"
"She sure did," I said with a giggle.
"Hello, Honey," Grandma said, appearing.
"Hi Grandma, you remember Xander?" I said.
"I do. Would you mind giving us a minute?" She asked, and he nodded and went in.
" My friend, you have been busy," she said, sitting where Xander was. "If Tracy and Jack didn't get Jackson to turn around."
"They did that," I asked.
"We did," Grandpa Jack said, appearing.
"We are always here for you, no matter what," Grandpa Tracy said.
"If you need us, we are here," Grandpa Jack said.

With that, they were gone.

Thanks for reading.

We will get periodic chapters as the family celebrates holidays.

Copyright © 2021 AquariusGuy; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Perfect subject matter for Thanksgiving.I get Tristan grief but if you see said loved ones in ghost form like that then they are really still around just not the same way I would love to speak to my mom in ghost form(I don't worry about people thinking I'm nuts I already am)

I hope Jamie condition is temporary he didn't seem to know yet how will he find out?When he tries to take a leak?🤔

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