Misha waited while Lynda petted the old dog. Once Lynda finished, the two went to join the rest on the deck. Jenny followed them to the steps, where she stopped and laid down in the shaded grass.
“They’re not allowed on the deck,” Lynda explained.
Once the two stepped onto the deck proper Dave held out two Yuengling’s for them, the caps already twisted free.
“You guys brought enough beer for the whole farm,” he remarked.
Henry, having taken up the time honored position of grill commentator, shrugged and said, “Figured we may as well stock up if we had the chance.”
Lynda took the proffered beer and raised an eyebrow at Will, only now noticing the chicken on the railing staring at him.
“The coal’s ready yet?” she asked.
Will, wearing an apron and backwards baseball cap to keep his hair out of the food, his eyes on the chicken, didn’t answer. Henry leaned around Will’s other side so as not to disturb the staring contest.
“Not yet,” he replied.
Misha sipped her own beer and watched Will and the chicken’s contest. Dave, meanwhile, handed Henry and Will glasses of Jack and soda.
Lynda eased into a chair under the umbrella, watching the guys cook. Dave, his own Jack and Coke in hand, took the seat next to her. His cigarette twitching lightly, he pointed a finger at her.
“You got some ‘splainin’ to do.”
Lynda rolled her eyes, “Look, I’m sorry I lost touch. I promise I’ll keep my Facebook better updated like some high school dork.”
Dave sighed and sipped his drink, “It’s cool –you’ve been busy, I get that. But now you’re here, I wanna catch up. So let’s start with her,” he pointed a finger at Misha, who was now talking to Will about grilling, “how’d you meet? Why her? How the Hell did you make up with your mother?”
Lynda smirked and took a long sip of her beer.
Meanwhile, Misha and Henry were discussing the various ways to grill corn. Will continued to stare down the chicken, a difficult proposition as chickens blink very quickly. Suddenly, the chicken ruffled its feathers and hopped off the railing, flapping madly to ease its descent.
Will harrumphed in triumph, “Thank you for your honorable admission of defeat, Lula.”
Henry glanced at Will, “You named the chicken?”
“No,” Dave interjected, “her name is Lula. Well, Lula XX, but nuance.”
Henry sighed and glanced at the chimney, “Coal’s are ready.”
Will proceeded to ready the grill with one hand while drinking with the other, Misha and Henry watching and providing commentary as needed. Lynda, meanwhile, caught up with Dave, finishing her beer and a quickly proffered glass of water in the process. Her only real pause was a quick bathroom break and to point out to Dave that the dogs were eyeing the grill.
Dave raised an eyebrow and turned toward the grill, where several dogs’ heads poked out between the railings.
“Hey!” Dave spat the remains of his cigarette across the deck, “Scoot!”
The dogs retreated while Henry stepped on the stub, picked it up, and tossed it in a nearby can.
“Thanks,” Dave said a she pulled out his pack and lighter, “Anyway, you were saying?”
“As you can see,” Will was explaining to Misha and Henry –mostly Misha, “timing is vital when grilling this much food. Hey! How does everyone want their steaks?”
“Medium rare,” Dave replied.
“Medium,” Lynda and Henry replied.
Misha grinned and said, “Well done, please!”
Will glared at her over his glasses, pointed to the corn field, and snarled, “Get. Out.”
“I’m kidding~,” Misha assured him, “Medium, please.”
Will sighed in relief and focused on the grill, his commentary slowed by three shots of Jack and the need to time the steaks to his anal retentive standards.
By the time Lynda had finished retelling the last several years of her life to Dave, the food was almost ready, and the dogs’ eyes so insistent Dave had to withdraw for a moment to feed them. Once he’d done so he resumed his seat, eyeing Lynda thoughtfully.
“Sounds like you’ve been busy,” he declared.
Lynda nodded, “Yeah, but it’s worth it. Hey Will, should Dave go get the tater salads?”
Will turned toward Lynda, “Ron White’s here?”
Dave rolled his eyes and hefted himself up, “I’m going, I’m going. Henry, you mind setting the table?”
Henry shook his head, “Not at all. I’ll start the coffee for after dinner, too.”
While the two headed inside Misha plopped herself down in Dave’s former seat, partially consumed beer in one hand.
Lynda smiled and grabbed Misha’s other hand, “Having fun?”
Misha grinned and nodded, “Uh-huh~! It’s so different from anything we’ve done before!”
“Glad you’re enjoying it,” Lynda remarked, “probably almost as much as I enjoy seeing you in those jeans.”
Misha smiled, then glanced at the grill and sighed, “Will cooked so~ much meat… I’m going to get fat again.”
Lynda squeezed Misha’s head, “You were never fat.”
Misha smiled, “Thanks. Love you.”
Dave reappeared onto the deck as the two let go of each other’s hands, his own holding two large bowls of mixed potato goodness, “Henry right behind me, how’s the meat and corn?”
“Everything’s done or resting,” Will replied. Taking off the cap, he ran a hand through his hair, sighed, and added, “and my hair is severely frizzed.”
“Its sacrifice will not be forgotten,” Lynda deadpanned.
A few moments later Henry appeared with the plates and flatware, and once he set the table Will and Dave started setting down the food.
“Alright,” Will started explaining, “I’ve labeled the steaks with multi-colored toothpicks, we have redskin potato salad, mustard potato salad, bratwurst, lightly grilled buns, mustard, and grilled corn.”
“Mom made a cherry pie for dessert,” Dave added, “and we have ice cream. Oh, and Jim Bob gave us some of his moonshine.”
Lynda shuddered, “Ugh, I’m out –that stuff fucked me up even when I didn’t care about my meds.”
“Misha can have it,” Will suggested, “so everyone grab a seat. Wait, where’s the butter?”
“I got it,” Henry said, placing a stick of butter on the table, “I’ll grab the waters and beers, too.”
“Thanks,” Dave said before turning toward Misha, “So Misha, what d’you think of the country so far?”
“Big,” Misha replied, “and tall.”
Dave raised an eyebrow, then shrugged, “Fair enough… wait,” he turned to Lynda as she took a seat at the table, “you mentioned going to Japan a few times, right?”
“Huh,” Dave smirked at Henry as he placed a beer in front of Lynda, “How much did that grind your gears that she got to Japan first?”
“She buys me souvenirs so it’s fine,” Henry replied, “Now grab a seat so Will can set your steak.”
Once everyone had taken a seat and Will placed the steaks, Dave bowed his head, Lynda and Will following suit. When they finished Misha carefully clapped her hands together, said thanks for the food –in Japanese to amuse Henry and Dave- and everyone started passing around platters and bowls.