Chapter 21-A Welcoming Thanks to Remember
“All right, that should do it.” Trent said as he opened the
oven and placed the turkey inside.
“So long is it going to take?” Conner asked.
“I’d say about 2 ˝ to 3 hours.” Trent replied.
“Well, it’s a pretty big turkey, y‘know.” Trent
said. “Even though yeah, it’s quite small compared to the other ones I saw at Wal-Mart.”
“But dude, it’s only going to be the seven of us, not twenty-eight.”
“I know, but I figured if anyone wants second helpings…”
Conner thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, you do have a point
there. But let’s just hope those 2 ˝ to 3 hours pass by soon, ‘cause I’m already getting hungry just thinking
about it.” Conner said as he stared into the small window of the oven.
“Bro, you’re hungry 24/7.” Trent pointed out.
“Hey, come on! I’m an athlete, I can’t help it.”
Trent nodded in agreement. “True.” he said. “Oh yeah,
by the way, any luck with those sweet potatoes?”
“Well, I’m making progress, I think.” Conner replied
as he looked at his cutting board with the sweet potatoes sliced up. It had been around 4:00 in the afternoon when Trent had
made his way to Dr. Oliver’s house to help him get things ready for the small party they were going to have that night.
Ethan, Kira, and Conner came by shortly after to lend a hand themselves. When the foursome found that their teacher had no
soda available, Ethan volunteered to go to Wal-Mart to get some along with Kira as well. Tommy agreed, and said that he could
drop them off while he went to go pick Kat up at her hotel and then pick them up on the way back to his house. Conner on the
other hand decided to stay and help Trent prepare the feast, even though he knew next to nothing about cooking. Luckily though
Trent was more than willing to show him a few things so he wouldn’t be completely lost.
“Whoa, you did pretty good.” Trent remarked.
“Thanks.” Conner said.
“All right, now all that’s left to do with those now is just
“Yeah.” Trent replied as he reached into the Wal-Mart bag that
he brought and pulled out a small plastic container with cinnamon inside it. “I know it sounds a little weird, but believe
it or not, the potatoes actually taste better with this added to it.”
“Mmm. Sweet.” Conner mused.
“You can say that again.” Trent said.
“So how much of this do we put?”
“Just sprinkle it on the potato and count to 3, but don’t put
too much though. Just put enough so when we put it in the oven, it’ll settle into the potato itself so that way
when you’re eating it, it won’t be like, oh, I can only get the cinnamon on the top, you know?”
“For some reason, that actually made sense to me.” Conner said
as he unscrewed the cap and began to sprinkle the cinnamon onto the potatoes, following it more or less the same way Trent
showed him to.
Once he was done Conner then showed it to Trent, who took a look at it
and okayed it.
“All right. Looks like it’s time to put them in.”
“In the oven?” Conner asked.
“Yep.” Trent then took the gloves that were lying on the counter
and handed them to his friend. “Here.”
Conner’s eyes narrowed. “Me?” he asked, pointing to himself.
“No, the other Conner standing next to you.” Trent said sarcastically.
“You seriously want me to put these in the oven?”
“Conner, you said you wanted to help, didn’t you?”
“Well then, come on. Do the honors, man.”
Swallowing his pride Conner put the gloves on and took the oven pan with
the sweet potatoes on them (with aluminum foil, of course) while Trent took some spare gloves so he could open the oven door
and pull out the top rack since the turkey was on the bottom one.
Once Conner put the pan on the rack, he and Trent then closed the oven.
“There, now that wasn’t too hard, was it?” Trent asked.
“No, not really.” Conner replied. “So how long do those
“Only an hour.” Trent said as he snuck a peak at his watch.
“Well, that’s a relief.” Conner said as he wiped his
brow. “So what do we do now?”
Tommy was fidgeting nervously to himself as he walked up to the door of
Come on Tommy, take it easy. He thought to himself. It’s
just a small party, not anything else…
Despite the fact that he was trying to convince himself to calm down, Tommy
couldn’t stop his hand from trembling somewhat. Even as he tried to knock on the door he was already beginning to sweat
bullets on his forehead. Finally after taking a few deep breaths he then knocked on the door.
Kat almost jumped at the sound of the knock as she was trying to figure
out what to wear. Even though she, like everyone else knew that it could be casual.
“Who is it?” she asked.
“It’s me, Tommy.”
Oh, thank God. Kat thought, her heart rate going up a few
“Can I come in?”
“Just…give me a few minutes Tommy.” Kat said as she fiddled
through some of the clothes she had taken out of her suitcase.
“Oh, all right.” Tommy said.
A few minutes later the door opened and as Tommy saw her standing in the
doorway he had to blink his eyes twice. She was wearing a denim jacket with a light pink T-shirt underneath with blue jeans.
Her blonde hair had been curled up a bit so it had a wavy look to it and hung around her shoulders nicely and she had very
little makeup on. Even though she was dressed pretty casually, she still looked very beautiful.
“Wow.” Tommy said which immediately caused Katherine and him
to blush beet red and stay in a flustered silence for a few seconds.
“So…um…are you…ready to go?”
“Uh-yeah.” Kat said, doing her best to stay calm, although
inside her heart was beginning to beat a little bit faster.
“All right, come on.” And with that Tommy then led Kat to his
jeep which was parked in the parking lot.
“So are the others already there?”
“Sort of,” Tommy replied. “I dropped Ethan and Kira off
at Wal-Mart to get some soda ‘cause we were pretty much out. And Hayley’s talking to the people at some glass
repair company to see if they were able to fix that broken window, so we’ll be picking them up on the way.”
“What about Conner and Trent?”
“They chose to stay at the house to see if they could try and get
the food ready somewhat.”
“They know how to cook?” Kat asked.
“Well, Trent does. Or so I’ve seen.”
Once they arrived at Wal-Mart, they found Ethan and Kira waiting for them
by a bench outside one of the main doors.
“Hi, Dr. O, hi Miss Hillard.” Ethan said as he and Kira got
on the back seats of the jeep.
“Hi, guys.” Kat replied sweetly.
“So, what did you guys get?” Tommy asked.
“Well, we got one bag of Tosito’s tortilla chips, one Sprite
bottle, one Dr. Pepper, and one Coca-cola.” Kira said.
“Great. Well, let’s head to Hayley’s and then we’ll
head to my place.”
“Wait, Conner’s not here?” Ethan asked.
“No, he stayed to help Trent prepare the food.” Tommy said.
“Well, if weren’t for Trent being there as well I would probably
be waving the red flag right about now.” Ethan said.
“Why’s that?” Kat asked.
“Well, it’s just that Conner’s not a cook-savvy guy,
so let’s just hope Trent can keep him from unintentionally blowing up the house.”
“Let’s hope.” Tommy said as he quickly switched to drive.
“Hah-ha!” Conner yelled at the TV screen which was giving a
game between Manchester United and Chelsea. “That’s giving it to them!”
“What’s going on?” Trent asked as he stepped from the
kitchen to the living room.
“Manchester scored 3-1, and there’s only ten minutes left in
the second half.”
“All right.” Trent said enthusiastically as he took a closer
look at the TV.
“You know, thank God Dr. O’s got satellite.”
“I’ll second that.”
Conner and Trent looked at each other. “It’s probably them.”
“I’ll go check on the food.” Trent said as he went back
into the kitchen.
Conner then got up from the sofa and walked up to the door. Once he opened
it he saw Hayley, Tommy, Kat, Kira, and Ethan standing in the door.
“Surprise!” Ethan said sarcastically.
“Hi guys.” Conner said. “Hi, Miss Hillard.”
“Hi, Conner.” Kat said.
“So, were you guys able to get what we needed?”
“Of course.” Ethan said as he raised up both his arms, which
held the bags containing the chips and soda.
“Now I take it you guys didn’t blow up anything, right?”
Tommy asked in a tone that was half sarcastic, half serious.
“Look, just because I can’t cook doesn’t mean I’m
accident-prone in the kitchen.” Conner said as he closed the door.
“Well, something smells great in here!” Kat said as she helped
Ethan put the bags down on the dining room table.
“That would be the sweet potatoes.” Trent said from the kitchen
as he reached in and pulled out the sweet potatoes from the oven.
“Is the turkey done? I’m starving!”
“Conner, do you think maybe you could be just a little more patient?”
Kira asked. “Trent’s on top of it.”
“I know, I know, it’s just…it’s just that my stomach’s
starting to drive me crazy, that’s all.”
“Okay guys.” Trent said as he walked over to where the others
were. “The sweet potatoes are done, but it’ll probably take another half hour for the turkey to finish.”
Damn it! Conner thought.
“Bro, just grit your teeth.” Ethan suggested. “It’ll
probably be done before you know it.”
Within a half hour the turkey was finished. Ethan, Trent, Conner, and Tommy
went to work laying the food out on the table in a sort of buffet while Hayley, Kat, and Kira set the dining room table.
Once everything was done, Conner couldn’t help but salivate as he
stared at the turkey.
“Uh-I don’t suppose I could have a quick taste, could I doc?”
“No.” Tommy said.
“Oh, come on! It’ll be just a quick taste.”
“Dude, your quick taste would be the entire turkey.” Ethan
said. “Plus we’d be lucky if you even left us with some dark meat.”
“Okay, okay. Just asking.”
Once everyone took their seats at the table Tommy then stood up and faced
everyone. “Now before we eat, there is something I want to say.” He then took a deep breath before continuing.
“Well, for starters I would like to say thanks to everyone for coming. Now I admit, this was something you guys didn’t
have to do, but as Ethan put it best, ‘We’re friends as well as a team.’ And in a lot of ways that really
means a lot to me; more than you realize. And as such I would like to give thanks to all of you guys-Conner, Ethan, Kira,
Trent, and Hayley for being probably the best friends/protégés/comrades I never thought I could ever have. And most importantly
I would also like to extend a warm welcome to a very dear friend of mine, Katherine.” He continued as he looked at Kat,
who was sitting right next to him and gave her a warm smile. “Now I know that these past few days have been a little
bit ‘interesting’ but with all that aside, on behalf of all of us-” Myself included. “-Welcome
to Reefside, Kat.”
Kat felt her eyes begin to water a little bit. “Tommy, I…I
don’t know what to say.”
“Tommy smiled brightly as he unconsciously found himself staring
right into Kat’s beautiful sapphire eyes again. “It’s okay, you don’t have to.”
Good grief! Why doesn’t he just kiss her already? Conner
Tommy then took a paper cup that already had soda in it and raised it into
the air. “Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.” He said. “Here here.”
“Here here.” Everyone said as they raised their own cups.
“All right, let’s dig in.”
Conner sighed in relief. “Finally!”
As everyone then began to get their food Kat then began to think about
everything that had happened from the moment she arrived in Reefside to now. As far as she was concerned fate definitely
had a way of working in mysterious ways; originally she had arrived in Reefside hoping to make yet another fresh start in
her life, not even knowing that Tommy happened to live in Reefside and that he taught at the high school there, much
less end up running into him again.
Not only that, but she discovered that through a series of events Tommy
had not only become a Ranger mentor to four high school students but he also ended up finding his own Dino gem, thus reigniting
his Ranger past once more and being an even greater help to his protégés.
As she pondered this she then began to wonder if this had been what her
instincts had been telling her to do back when she was contemplating going back to America to teach dance. Now as she looked
from Tommy’s students (seeing them laugh and talk), to Hayley, who just shook her head in amusement…to Tommy who
then looked from his protégés to her, Kat realized that her instincts had been right all along.
As she smiled back at Tommy, it was then that Kat realized that once again,
her life would never be the same.