John followed the voices and the spicy scent of food to the dining area where half of Tiom gathered.
“You made it,” Daryl called.
John turned briskly toward the familiar voice.
“Come on over and meet some people, if you haven’t already,” Daryl said.
John rolled his eyes and headed toward her. “If it weren’t for Steve, I may not have made it this far. I probably would have been starving in my bed, dying for a midnight snack.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention,” Jason spoke up from atop one of the chairs, not really needing the extra height. “Hello,” he continued tapping a serving spoon on a glass.
Eventually, all attention was focused on him.
“I would like to take this time to officially welcome the newest member of our roost. He flew all the way from Texas, and boy, are his arms tired,” Jason offered the familiar joke receiving only sporadic snickers.
“Okay, I see that went over your heads. “Anyway, I’m sure that you have many questions for him, but, please, for John’s sake, give him some breathing room. He will be here long enough to update everyone on life at home.”
“Here, here,” John said.
Someone in the background laughed out loud.
“Anyway, let’s make him feel welcome. So, without further ado, let’s eat some of this wonderful food. Doug, would you please lead us with a word of thanks?”
John decided immediately he liked everyone. It was hard to really talk to Jason as he couldn’t get past a greeting. He decided it must be all the fuss of the evening and dismissed it.
Later, burned out and grateful to be under covers, he lay his head down on the first pillow he had seen in a few days and fell into a deep sleep.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is an author of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.