Over the River 2

Alec stood from his chair, and after glancing at the living room and its empty sofa, shuffled to the seat at the far end of the table, between Umberto and this man they knew as Todd. His wife’s uncle, loud and outspoken at most times, had been subdued that afternoon and grown more withdrawn and distant with each bite of the heavy holiday meal, along with several glasses of wine.

“Bertie.” Umberto lifted his bald head slowly at Alec’s call. “You looked tired. You want to rest on the couch?” Umberto smiled, excused himself, and stumbled his way into the living room.

Todd lifted a fork from the table, and stabbed at the pecan pie on the plate in front of him. “Umberto’s a brave man, coming here today.” Alec agreed, commenting about the distance he had to drive, at least a couple of hours, as Todd continued eating his pie. Stella’s mother entered from the kitchen, and asked about Umberto; Alec waved towards the living room, and his mother-in-law left the two men at the table.

Alec shifted his seat closer to Todd. “Speaking of travelling, where’s home for you?”

Todd chuckled, and took another bite of pie before replying. “I’m staying at a Hilton just across town. Own a condo downtown, but I’m renting it out this month. Got condo’s all over the place, there’s no real place I call home.”

“That so?” Alec watched Todd eat his pie a moment. “Seems funny, a man who travels as much as you do, has his choice of where he could spend Thanksgiving — how you’re here, every year.”

Todd leaned back in his chair, and rubbed his amble stomach. “It’s the food. Grammie Alice — ”

“I had a conversation with her, about you. Today, in the kitchen, right after Stella and I arrived, and I saw you in the living room.”

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