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seaQuest: The Dawning
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"Now what the hell is that supposed to mean?" She snapped. "I am capable of carrying a box up to the house."
"Never said you werenít." Lucas knelt to grab the second box. "I was just offering to help. Howís Stanford?"
"Fine."
"Still teaching computer science?"
"Yes. Though theyíre trying to convince me to take on the AI Class next semester as well." She shrugged. "Personally, Iíd rather just take on the AI class and drop the computer science class."
"Is Professor Kania still around? Didnít he teach AI?"
"He may have when you were there. But heís retiring in the spring, and wants a light last semester."
"He was a good teacher. I got an A in his class."
Natalie smirked.
"Lucas, you got an A in every class. Like me.  Students are still trying to crack our  GPA."
"No, thatís not true." Lucas grinned. "I got an  A- in sociological research methodology. But then, Iím a scientist, not a sociologist."
"In other words, you prefer your subjects  to be silicone and not human?"
"Not all subjects."

          Lucas looked over and smiled at her, pointedly. She couldnít help but look down and blush. "How long are you staying?" He continued. Natalie sighed.
"Well, I have to be back at the school on Tuesday for a class, and I was going to stay here until then. But now that Nathania is hereÖI think itíll depend on which one of us  Uncle Nathan throws out first."
"You know, I donít get the hostility between you two. But, maybe Iíll just have to distract you so you keep your claws out of her."
As soon as the words escaped his mouth, Lucas blushed. He couldnít believe that he had just said that. Natalie looked at him, and smiled. She liked it when he was off guard. Normally, Lucas had all the answers.
In fact, Natalie had spent most of her life trying to prove that  she could be just as quick as Lucas. Call it sibling rivalry between two of Nathanís adopted children.
"Lucas Wolenczak, are you hitting on me?"
"Yes. Is it working?"
"Hmmm guess youíll just have to wait and see, wonít you?"

          They arrived at the front door and exchanged a quick look before they entered the house and stepped into the kitchen. Natalie noticed an interesting smell and finally looked into her box.
"Crawdads! Uncle Nathan, what kind of Thanksgiving dinner has Crawdads?"
"The southern kind." Bridger grinned, motioning over to the deck.
"Hey, thereís nothing wrong with crawdads." Miguel said, grinning from the kitchen table where he and Jim were peeling potatoes. Jim looked at him.
"I thought you were Latin?"
Miguel nodded.
"Iím Cuban, remember? Caribbean food is in my blood. But I grew up in Miami, so Southern food was always on our table as well. But the question is, Captain, what are we doing with these crawdads?"
Bridger nodded towards the deck.
"Iíve got a kettle out there. I thought we could have a crab boil."
"Which explains the acres of gulf shrimp and the crabs I just put out there. Sounds good, Uncle." Anya grinned. Tony shook his head.
"You people. Just give me the turkey, stuffing, and cranberries and Iím good."
Bridger walked over to Nathania and kissed the top of her head.
"Iím glad you think itís such a good idea, Natty, because I thought you would be the best cook."
She stepped back and raised her eyebrows.
"Since when did I become the chef? Jeez, one would think that you only invited me here to cook for you all." She teased.
"So, THAT was the reason." Natalie muttered under her breath. Lucas lightly slapped her hand as Anya glared at her. She opened her mouth to reply, but Nathan raised his hand to silence her. Instead, she bit her lip and looked down at the counter.
"I am not going to spend this vacation  playing referee for you two. If you canít get along for the few days you are under my roof, then leave. Now."
Natalie looked away, feeling guilty. Anya shook her head, and looked at Tony standing beside her.
"Sorry." She muttered.
"Sorry." Natalie whispered.

          Tony and Lucas looked at each other in confusion while Jim and Miguel pretended that peeling potatoes was the most interesting job they could have been given. Anya sighed and grabbed the box of crawdads and slipped out the sliding door that led to the deck. Tony followed behind her. Natalie sighed and grabbed the spices that Anya had been putting together  and followed behind them.
          Anya was standing over a 25 gallon kettle of boiling water when Natalie handed her the  large bowl of spices.
"Here."
"Thanks." Anya took the bowl. Tony looked nervously between them.
"Um, what can I do?"
Anya handed him a knife.
"Can you please chop up those onions, oranges, and lemons?"
"Sure." Tony took the knife and walked over to a wooded picnic table where the fruits and vegetables were. Anya poured the spices into the boiling water. Natalie tried to make her voice sound light.
"So, what do you have in there?"
"Zatarains, peppers, cayenne, and  assorted spices." Anya pulled the basket off the ground and started to pour in the shrimp.
"Here, let me help." Natalie said, steadying the basket.
"Thanks." Anya poured in the rest of the shrimp and then reached for the crawdads.
"So, how are we going to get through this week?" She asked. Natalie sighed.
"Look, Iím sorry about earlier. I didnít mean anything, itís justÖwell, I didnít expect you to be here, thatís all."
"I know. I wasnít exactly expecting to see you either. But evidently this is really important to Nathan, or he wouldnít have invited us both."
"Yeah." Natalie steadied the basket as Anya poured. "You donít thinkÖyou donít think somethingís wrong do you?"
Tony was trying not to listen, but his ears perked up at that comment. He looked up as Anya shook her head.
"I donít know," she confessed. "But I get the distinct feeling that something is going on. He knows that you have your life, and I have mine."
"You donít think itís his health, do you?"
"He said something earlierÖsomething about an old man wanting his family around him at Thanksgiving."
"Thatís an odd thing to say."
"Thatís what I thought."
           Tony stood up, a bowl full of chopped fruits in his hands.
"Where do these go?"
"In the water." Anya glanced at Natalie, suggesting silently that they suspend their conversation about Nathan while his crew was present. Natalie nodded. Tony saw the look, but decided to keep his mouth shut and poured his bowl into the water. Natalie and Anya each took a handle and lowered the basket into the boiling water.  One by one, they dropped in the Dungeness Crabs and Gulf Shrimp. Natalie grabbed a paddle and stirred the seafood while Anya grabbed a lid.
"There." She said, lowering the lid onto the kettle. "Now, we wait."

TO CHAPTER 4