Today is Thanksgiving. All of the parents and children are at John’s house. The adults are making dinner, Henry and James are playing together, and the Hamilsquad is hanging out upstairs. Someone knocks on the door, and excited screams can be heard from downstairs. They all rush down to see what the commotion is about.
John’s older sister, Martha, is here for the holiday. Currently, she’s hugging her parents, with Henry and James clutching her legs.
“Martha!” John shouts, running over to her.
“John!” she cries, holding out her arms. These two were really close as children, and still are today.
“How’s college?” he asks her, pulling back.
“It’s wonderful! Oh, I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve seen you,even though it was in August!”
John’s friends stand by, watching the happy reunion. Henry asks, “Martha, will you play hide and seek with us?”
She laughs kindly. “Of course I will!John,would you and your friends like to join us?”
John turns to his friends, who just shrug. “Sure!” he replies.
Martha is first to count, and everyone rushes off to hide. She finds Alex first, because he tried and failed to hide behind the couch. She then finds James and Henry, who are giggling inside of the closet upstairs. Martha finds Herc nearby, who was trying to shush them. That only leaves John and Lafayette to be found.
She looks in John’s room, and finds him deep inside of the closet, hidden behind a pile of clothes. They then join forces and look for Lafayette. He should be easiest to find, since he’s the tallest, but they can’t seem to find him.
When they head into their parents’ room, he jumps out from behind the door and shouts, “BONJOUR!”
They all jump, but then burst into laughter. You’re never too old to play hide and seek.
Alex is counting next. He counts to thirty before going on the hunt for everyone. He’s having trouble finding everyone, and that’s partly because they all keep switching spots.
He finds John first, trying to go from the bathroom to his room. “Ha, found you!” Alex shouts.
“Oh come on!” John pouts, standing up.
As they’re walking, James thought it would be funny to trip Alex as he’s passing by. He falls down, his arms flailing. John was walking behind him, and when he lurches forward to try and catch Alex, he falls, too. He lands on top of him.
He quickly rolls off, laughing. “James! What was that for!” Alex shouts. He comes out, smiling.
They continue finding everyone, until everyone is too tired to play anymore. Then Martha joins the Hamilsquad in talking.
“So, Martha, anything exciting happen at college yet?” John asks, crossing his legs underneath him.
She shrugs. “Oh, you know, lots of classwork, living off of coffee, eating Ramen noodles every day, making new friends, getting a new boyfriend-”
“WHAT!?” Hercules shouts. Everyone immediately shushes him. “What?” he whispers.
“Yeah. But don’t tell mom and dad yet! I want it to be a surprise when he comes over tomorrow.”
This time, it’s Alexander’s turn to shout, “WHAT!?” Everyone tells him to be quiet.
“Stop doing that you guys!” Martha hisses.
“Sorry about them mon ami,” Laff replies.
“My love life aside, what’s going with you four in terms of relationships? If, you are in any, of course.”
Herc and Laff both glance at each other and look down. Alex rubs the back of his neck and looks nervously at his friends. John’s eyes widen, and he glances at Laff and Herc. It would be dangerous to say anything here, but at least he can trust Martha. But still…
“I’m dating a girl named Eliza Schuyler, and have been for most of the year,” Alex says.
John pipes up and says, “Hey, do you want to see my new turtle?” His eyes say it all, and Martha understands that they all need to talk in private.
They go into his room. He locks the door behind and shuts the blinds. He then whispers, “You can’t tell dad anything you’re about to see or hear.”
She nods. John looks over at Laff and Herc, who then hold one another’s hand. “We’re dating,” Laff whispers.
Alex has to cover Martha’s mouth to keep her from squealing. When he takes it away, she whispers, “Oh my gosh! That’s wonderful you guys!”
John then explains, “You know how homophobic dad is. He would freak out if he knew. So, um, keep it secret, okay?”
She nods, and he unlocks the door and opens the blinds. “Martha, meet Squirt, the turtle that my friends got me for my birthday!”
She smiles and says, “He’s so cute! Can I hold him?” He nods and hands him to her. “So, what about you, John? Anything interesting?”
Alex replies, “He has a crush on someone that he code named Lexi, but he refuses to tell me who she really is. Laff and Herc seem to know, too.”
Martha raises a knowing eyebrow and gives her brother a look that Alexander can’t decipher. He nods slightly. “Oh, Lexi? I think I might have heard of h-her before.”
“What’d you stutter?” Alex asks, suspicious.
She turns a little pale. “Oh, I just stumble over words sometimes,” she lies.
“Anyway,” John interrupts, “Who’s your boyfriend? What’s he like?”
She smiles. “His name is Zach. Zachary Hawkes. He has curly brown hair and bright blue eyes the color of the sky. He’s really sweet, and he’s studying to be a doctor.”
“Oooh!” Herc says, interested.
“Show us a picture!” Laff exclaims.
She pulls out her phone and shows them a picture. Alex remarks, “Handsome. But does he have a good personality?”
“Alex, my sister wouldn’t date a guy if he didn’t have a good personality. Right?” he asks.
She nods. “He’s a really great guy. You’ll see tomorrow.”
“But if he’s not, do we have permission to beat him up for you?” John asks, crossing his arms in a tough guy manner.
Martha laughs. “Sure, why not?”
“He better be a good guy, then,” Herc remarks. “Especially since Alexander has such a temper.” Alex playfully hits him on the arm. “What? We all know it’s true!”
From downstairs, John’s dad calls, ”Come downstairs!” They all head downstairs. The TV is on, and it’s the beginning of a football game. John inwardly groans. He hates football. “Time to all hang out together and either help cook, watch football, or talk to one another.”
All of them inwardly groan. None of them enjoy football. And sometimes, talking with family members can be… weird.
“I’ll help cook!” Lafayette volunteers.
“Me too!” Martha says.
“I might be able to help,” Herc adds, going into the kitchen after them.
John can kind of cook, but he doesn’t want to leave Alex at the mercy of all of the parents, since he can’t cook that well. And besides, there is WAY too many people in the kitchen right now.
So, they sit down on the couch as the conversation begins.
Henry asks Alex, “How is debate club going?”
“It’s going good. I’ve beaten all of my opponents so far. The only person that has the guts to go against me anymore is Jefferson.”
“Who is this Jefferson I keep hearing you guys talk about?” Herc’s dad asks, holding a bag of chips and watching the football game.
John replies, “This really mean kid that’s rude to us for no reason. He has dark skin, an afro, he’s about 6’ 2”, looking creepily similar to Lafayette, full name Thomas Jefferson.”
“Like the founding father guy?” his dad asks.
“Yeah. Except he is anything but what the real Thomas Jefferson is portrayed as,” Alexander answers, leaning against the couch and crossing his arms. “He’s also the person that got me drenched in glitter water, and he stole all of my clothes and replaced them with pink girl stuff. At least I was able to use John’s clothes. Otherwise I would have looked ridiculous.”
Suddenly, Herc’s dad jumps up and shouts, “YEAH!” Alex and John both look at the TV screen and see that a football player is on one end of the field, and his teammates are celebrating.
“Um, did someone score?” John asks, not understanding a thing about football.
“Seven to zero, what a great start!” Mr. Laurens exclaims.
Alex leans over to his friend and whispers, “This is why I don’t like sports. They’re too loud.”
John tries to hold back a small laugh, but he fails, and it comes out as a quiet snort. He puts his hand over his mouth, trying to hold back more laughter. His giddiness is contagious, and Alex smiles while also trying to hold back some laughter.
“What?” Herc’s dad asks defensively.
“Nothing,” John giggles.
“What’s so funny?” John’s dad presses.
Alex shakes his head and replies, “You wouldn’t get it.”
“Trust me, Alexander, I’ve been around a long time, and I’m pretty sure I could understand.”
John leans over to his friend and whispers, “I thought old people couldn’t understand anything.”
This makes Alex burst of laughing. He tries to cover his mouth, but it doesn’t work. From in the kitchen, Laff and Herc are watching their friends crack up, small and knowing smiles on their faces.
“Tell us what is so funny!” Herc’s dad asks, his voice having the same tone as a little kid who doesn’t understand a ‘grown up’ joke. He then turns his face to the television and whines, “Ah, you made me miss another touchdown!”
“Who cares about football?” Alex says, intending it to be quiet, but he says it loud enough that they can all hear. He realises his mistake too late.
“What?” Mr. Laurens whispers, his voice like a sharpened dagger.
“Uh oh,” John murmurs. “Good luck with this one,” he tells his friend.
John’s dad asks, “Did you just ask ‘Who cares about football?’ in front of me?” He seems to be flaming, while Herc’s dad doesn’t seem to care at all that he doesn’t like football.
“Um…” Alex says uncertainly, looking at John for support. He just shrugs. “Yes?”
He looks like his head is going to explode. He growls, “Go. To. Your. Room.”
Alexander’s temper flares. John spots this, but before he can do anything, Alex erupts.
“Go to my room? Go to my room? You’re sending me to my room just because I don’t like some dumb sport? Well listen here Mr. Laurens, I don’t know about you, but I actually like to focus on more important things, like schoolwork, reading, family, and friends. So if you are too stupid to do anything productive, then don’t go blaming me for not liking a game that you watch on a box in the wall. Because that’s what football is. Entertainment for stupid people that are too lazy to do anything productive.”
John puts a hand to his mouth, his eyes wide. From the kitchen, Laff and Herc look at each other fearfully. Even Mrs. Laurens can see the danger.
Alex realizes what he said, and for a second shame and regret cross his face. But then he realises he’s just been holding this in the whole time, and it felt good to get it out, so he’s just to accept whatever the consequences will be.
John’s dad is flaming with anger. He points a shaky finger at Alex and says quietly, “Go to your room young man, and don’t even think about coming out until dinner. And no phone!”
Alex crosses his arms and retorts, “At least I don’t have to have a screen to stay entertained! You see, there’s this thing called a ‘book’. You should try reading one sometime.” He then stomps off to his room, slamming the door behind him.
John jumps up to follow him, but his father tells him, “Don’t even think about following him.”
He hesitates for a moment before going up the stairs anyway. Laff and Herc glance at each other before going up the stairs with them.
Mrs. Laurens tells Henry and James, “Why don’t you two go play upstairs while daddy and I talk?” They obey and go upstairs.
John opens the door a crack and peeks his head in. Alexander is sitting on his bed, his reading glasses on and a book in his hand. He opens the door and walks in, followed closely by Lafayette and Hercules. John sits on the edge of his friend’s bed while the other two sit in the desk chairs.
“Alex, are you okay?” John asks quietly.
Alex sighs and closes the book. He sets down his glasses, leans his head against the wall, and replies, “It’s just so stupid that we have to watch football with them. Can’t we just socialize like real people, and not try to have a conversation in between goals?”
“Touchdowns,” Herc murmurs.
Alexander throws his hands up in the air. “Exactly! It’s stupid that in each sport, when you score a point it’s called something different! It’s all just so stupid.” He closes his eyes and sighs. “Sorry for yelling,” he apologizes. “I’m just so worked up because-” He cuts himself off there, realizing he almost said too much.
Tentatively, Laff asks, “Because why?”
“It doesn’t matter,” he says quietly, rubbing his eyes.
John puts a reassuring hand on Alexander’s leg and tells him, “Alex, you can tell us anything, you know that, right?”
“Yeah, I know,” he replies. “But this…” He shakes his head. “This is different. I just…” He sighs again. “I just can’t.”
“Alright, mon ami. But know that you can always tell us when you’re ready,” Laff reassures him.
Alex gives them all a weak smile. “Thanks you guys.”
“Hey, what are friends for?” Herc says.
“Friends are for helping one another figure out how I’m ever going to be able to confront John’s dad ever again,” Alex replies with a laugh.
John cracks his knuckles and says, “Well, that happens to be my expertise. All you gotta do is go down there right now, apologize, and watch the rest of the game with him. Either that, or you apologize and tell him you want to go fishing with him.”
Alex groans. “And if I do neither?” he asks.
“Then it just takes time. But he might ground you from something during that time.”
“Like what?” Alexander asks, nervous.
“At first electronics, but eventually he’ll take away your books, because he knows that would get to you,” John answers, wishing it wasn’t true.
“Ugh! You know what, I’m just going to go down there and apologize, and see how it goes from there.” He gets up and walks downstairs.
John tries to follow him, but Lafayette holds him back. “No mon ami,” he says quietly.
Alex doesn’t get nervous until he’s at the bottom step. He takes a shaky breath and heads into the kitchen, where both of John’s parents are talking quietly. It looks like Mrs. Laurens is scolding her husband, who looks slightly ashamed. Alex clears his throat to get their attention. They both turn to him, and he can see something dangerous flash in Mr. Laurens’s eyes.
“Um, Mr. Laurens, I’m… sorry, about what I said. I shouldn’t have lost my temper like that.”
He looks like he’s about to say something rude, but then his wife elbows him in the side and gives him a glare. His face softens and he replies, “No, no, I shouldn’t have lost my temper. I can’t make you like something by force.”
Alex is a little bit taken back. He didn’t expect him to say that. “Um, thanks, Mr. Laurens.” He then heads upstairs.
Finally, Thanksgiving dinner is ready. They all help set the table with various types of food. Once everyone is seated, John raises his glass of apple cider and says, “Raise a glass to freedom in this country, and for this wonderful Thanksgiving feast that has been provided. Cheers!”
“Cheers!” everyone replies before taking a sip of their drink, whether it be apple juice, apple cider, or wine. Then everyone begins to dish out food. When the parents aren’t looking, Alex gives Henry and James a little bit extra pistachio fluff, while John takes some of their veggies away. They do this every year, as long as both of them promise to not disturb the Hamilsquad during their sleepover. And the parents have yet to notice.
Everyone has a good time, and once everyone has eaten so much that they feel they might burst, Lafayette’s mother brings out the apple and pumpkin pies. Suddenly, everyone isn’t full anymore, and they all dig into the pie.
Afterward, James and Henry are put to bed, the adults go back home, and the Hamilsquad goes up to John’s room for their sleepover. They grab tons of blankets from the closet, and just like little kids, they build a blanket and pillow fort in the center of the room. Now that they’re older, it is WAY more sophisticated than it used to be.
“This. Looks. Amazing!” Lafayette yells, crawling inside. “Come on mes amis, take a look!”
They all crawl in. “It’s so much more spacious than in the past!” John remarks.
“I agree,” Herc says.
Alexander yawns. “I’m going to bed. ‘Night y’all!”
“Did you just say y’all?” John asks.
“Since when did you say y’all?” Hercules asks.
Alex is silent for a moment. “Since now, I guess.”
“Why are we getting worked up about this?” Lafayette asks.
“No idea,” Alex replies, laying down on the far right of the fort. John yawns and lays down next to him, leaving Laff and Herc together on the left side of the fort.
After a while, John whispers, “Laff? Herc? You guys awake?”
“Mhmm,” Laff replies.
“Now I am,” Herc murmurs.
John looks over at Alex to make sure he’s asleep. Thankfully, he is. “Um, I need some advice.”
Lafayette props himself up on his elbow. “What is it mon ami?”
Hercules turns to face John. “How can we help?”
“Um… how do I… um… talk to, uh, Lexi?” He looks over at Alex, who is still asleep, thankfully.
Herc and Laff glance at each other. “Um, mon ami… I think the only way you can ever have a chance is if their relationship is broken. And… that might not happen for a while,” Lafayette tells him sadly.
“Maybe if they weren’t so blind, they’d realise what they’re missing,” Hercules adds. “But, I think you’ll just have to watch what happens.”
John lays down and sighs. “I’m so sick of this. I’m so sick of hiding my feelings.”
Right about now is when Alexander wakes up. But he stays still, listening to John.
“I’m so sick and tired of pretending my feelings aren’t there. And how has Lexi not seen it yet? How is that even possible?” His voice is beginning to rise above a whisper. “And I don’t want to pretend anymore! But how do you tell someone you have a crush on them when they’re already in a beautiful relationship?”
Hercules clears his throat and motions toward Alexander. John turns around and sees that he’s awake. “Well shoot,” he murmurs. “Um… how long have you been awake?”
Alex sits up and rubs his eyes. “Long enough to hear you ranting.”
John gulps, nervous. What’s he gonna say? He wonders.
“And I think you should just tell her.”
John’s eyes widen, and he looks at him like he’s crazy. “You want me to just tell her.”
“Yes,” Alex replies simply.
John flops back onto the pillow. “Ha, yeah, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. Besides, I doubt she’d ever break up with her boyfriend.”
A thought suddenly occurs to Alex. “Do you like Theodosia?”
“What? No!” He sits bolt upright and looks at Alex. “What makes you say that?”
He shrugs. “Burr is in a similar predicament, remember?”
“Oh, yeah.” He then lays back down and says, “G’night.”
Speaking of which, Aaron Burr’s Thanksgiving has been very… interesting. At about eleven o’clock in the afternoon, he got a message from someone through Angelica’s app.
He opens it up, and it’s from Love, Theo. His heart soars when he sees her name.
Love, Theo: This is Aaron Burr, right?
Wait-er: Yep, that’s me! What’s up Theodosia?
Love, Theo: Um, there’s something I need to get off of my shoulders, and I thought you’d be the best person to ask.
Aaron’s heart soars even higher. Wait-er: Ok. What is it?
After a moment, she replies, Love, Theo: My boyfriend broke up with me.
Burr is in shock, but at the same time he sees this as an opportunity.
Wait-er: WHAT!?!? Why?!
Love, Theo: He said… 🙁 He said that he couldn’t do a long distance relationship, and that I was too ‘typical’ and… he found someone else.
Wait-er: 😡 How dare he! That is the meanest thing ever!
Wait-er: Do you want to talk about it?
Love, Theo: Yeah. But can I call you? I want to be able to say it.
Wait-er: Yeah! My phone number is ***-***-****
Love, Theo: Thank you!
He waits patiently, and twenty seconds later she calls him. He makes sure no one else is in the room before answering.
“Hi Theo,” he says.
“Hey,” she replies.
“You ready to talk?”
“Yeah.” She begins to go on about how she was feeling, and how upset she was. He could hear the sadness in her voice, and a few time she had to choke back a sob. When she was finished, she sighed.
“That felt good to get off my chest,” she says, sniffing.
“I’m glad that I could help. Is there anything else?”
She is silent for a moment, and Burr can hear his own heart beating rapidly.
“Um, yeah, there kind of is something else. Just… don’t take this the wrong way, okay?”
“Okay…” Burr answers. “What is it?”
She’s about to say something, but then Aaron can hear someone calling her name in the distance. “Oh, I gotta go, my mom needs my help for dinner. Bye!” She hangs up, and Aaron is left wondering what she was going to say.
Later in the day, after he’s eaten dinner and he’s laying down on his bed, Theodosia calls him again. He answers immediately. “Hello?”
“Hey Aaron. Okay, I can tell you know.”
Butterflies flutter in his chest when he says, “Fire away.”
“The thing is, I don’t feel as upset about breaking up with him as I thought I would. I just feel kind of… let down, I guess. Maybe the fact that I like someone else has lessened the pain.”
Burr sits bolt upright. “What!?” he shouts.
“Uh, yeah, I might have a crush on someone else.”
“Who is it?” Aaron asks, trying not to hope it’s him.
“Oh, I gotta go now, bye!” She hangs up, and she doesn’t call until the next day.
John wakes up in the middle of the night to everyone sleeping. He realizes it’s colder than usual, and he gets out of the fort to find the window open. His eyes widen as someone slides a cloth over his mouth. He tries to scream, but whatever gas the cloth was soaked in makes him pass out.