Do You Want Me Now - Chapter 17: Jaskier’s First Thanksgiving
Find it on AO3
Jaskier Thanksgivings at the farm. With Family.
Shortly after the boxer brief incident, it was still early November, and Geralt was getting nervous.
Larkin hadn’t mentioned anything about Thanksgiving plans. He didn’t know if she went to Renfri’s, or if she did anything at all.
He mentioned it in passing to Vesemir one day when he was at the farm.
“Son. Bring her here. You know she’s welcome; she’s family by now. Just ask her.”
He did, that night, over dinner.
“Are you doing anything for Thanksgiving?”
“Oh, what? Um, actually I wanted to talk to you about that.”
“My brother and sister actually want to come up for a visit, and they were planning on coming around Thanksgiving, would you mind if I cooked for us here? I mean just the three of us, I figure you have family stuff at home y’all do – you’re welcome here, obviously, it’s your house, I just figured you’d have better things to do than eat with us.”
“Actually, I wanted to know if you wanted to come to the farm for Thanksgiving, Jas,”
“But I’ll have two extra people. That’s…a lot of additional guests you weren’t planning on, for a holiday dinner.”
“It’s fine, Jas.”
“Can we please check with Eskel or Vesemir first, to make extra sure?”
[White Wolf 9:10 PM]: Please tell me it’s ok I just told Larkin it was all right that she could bring her brother and sister (who are all right, they’re the good family) to Thanksgiving dinner at our house because she is fucking delighted and SO HAPPY that they’re coming here if I disappoint her I might have to just kill myself.
[Lambert 9:10 PM]: SNORT. WE GET TO MEET HER FAMILY OH MY GOD THEY HAVE TO COME.
[Eskel 9:11 PM]: Of course it’s fine. They have a place to stay?
[White Wolf 9:11 PM]: Hold pls.
“Hey, Lark – do your brother and sister have a place to stay yet?” Geralt called upstairs to Larkin, who was brushing her teeth before bed.
“Nuh-unh, no, why?”
[White Wolf 9:15 PM]: No, they do not have a place to stay.
[Eskel, 9:15 PM]: They do now.
“They’re welcome to stay at the farm, if you want,” Geralt called back up to Larkin. He heard Larkin spit, and do the quickest mouth rinse in the history of ever, and she positively leapt down the stairs to land in front of him, eyes wide, cheeks pink.
“Really?” She asked, her voice excited, but trying for calm. Geralt could tell she was almost vibrating from excitement. “Really?”
“Yes, Larkin,” Geralt said, a smile on his face he couldn’t wipe off if he tried.
He almost died when Larkin started bouncing up and down and clapping because she was so happy. “I haven’t seen Lilly in three years, Geralt, because she still lives at home and it’s…complicated, and I haven’t seen Andrew in a year, oh my Gosh, Geralt, you have no idea how much this means to me, thank you so much, and thank you so much to your family, I’ll be sure to tell them.” She had tears in her eyes now. “Can I hug you? I know you’re not much of a hugger, but I need to hug something and I’d rather it be you,”
“Of course you can hug me, weirdo,” Geralt said, standing up. Larkin almost knocked him down with the power of her hug.
“I miss them so much, Geralt, thank you thank you thank you. This is such a gift. I apologize in advance for the level of extra you’re gonna see, and no, I will not be able to tone it down.”
In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, Larkin made sure to check in with Eskel (the main Thanksgiving cook at the farm) to see what his routine was, and what she and he would need to do to accommodate three extra mouths. Larkin was there on the weekends helping clean the guest rooms and made sure she was the one who bought and paid for any additional items that might be required for her family while they were there. She and Geralt had talked about it, and decided while her brother and sister were in town, she’d stay at the farm with them, so they wouldn’t be staying in a stranger’s house alone (although Larkin assured him that wouldn’t really be a problem, her brother and sister were really easygoing).
Geralt didn’t want to admit he was pouting just a little bit because Larkin wasn’t going to be home with him, to the point Eskel asked Geralt if he just wanted to sleep on the couch, while rolling his eyes. Geralt said no, but he honestly thought about it.
Larkin, Eskel and Geralt decided that Larkin and her family would handle desserts, Geralt and Larkin would make the dressing (stuffing) and Eskel would handle the rest.
The week before her family arrived, Larkin sat everyone down to explain that Andrew and Lilly would probably refer to her as something other than Larkin, or Jaskier.
“Well, what would they call you; Larkin’s your NAME,” Lambert said, making a face.
“I was named Julian when I was born, Lamb. My full name is Julian Larkin Pankratz De Lettenhove, but I changed it when I was at Julliard because of that whole mess. Andrew calls me Jules. Lilly will either call me LaLa or Jules.
“LaLa?” Geralt asked, looking at her oddly.
“She couldn’t say ‘Larkin’ when she was a baby; that’s what my dad called me. So, I’m LaLa. It stuck.”
“LaLa,” Geralt said again, smiling at her.
Jaskier narrowed her eyes at him. “If you start calling me that, Geralt,” she started, kind of pursing her lips.
“What?” he asked, shooting her a look and a smirk.
“You will be the second person to call me that,” she said, laughing.
The day of her family’s arrival finally came. Geralt had to admit he was going to kind of miss her daily updates of “Five Days, Geralt! They’ll be here in five days!” or “T-minus Three Days, Geralt!” or his favorite “TWO SLEEPS, Geralt just TWO MORE SLEEPS.”
Geralt wasn’t sure if he had ever been as excited for anything as Jaskier was about seeing her brother and sister. He had asked if she wanted the house to herself when they arrived, so they could just have some time together but Jaskier wouldn’t hear it.
“No, Geralt, I want them to meet you! You are important to me! It’s up to you, obviously, if you don’t want to stay, but I don’t want you to leave.”
Andrew and Lilly were not what Geralt was expecting, to say the least. Jas was waiting in front of the front window, bouncing on her toes, waiting for Andrew’s car to pull up. Geralt had expected some kind of fancy car, like a Lexus, or maybe a BMW, but apparently the Honda love in this family was strong. Andrew drove a Civic, too.
Jaskier actually squealed when she saw Andrew’s car. She flew out of the house without even putting on her shoes, and went to the passenger side first, pulling the door open and yanking the passenger out of the car.
It was Lilly. Jaskier pulled her into a hug Geralt was sure probably broke at least two ribs, the two women clinging to each other while Andrew leisurely unbuckled himself from his seatbelt, and levered himself up and out of the car. He walked over to the passenger side and leaned up against the hood.
“Yeah, yeah, I know, I’ll get my turn; you haven’t seen Lil in three years, yadda yadda,” Andrew said, and Geralt could hear the fond eye roll in his voice.
Andrew was tall. He might even be taller than Geralt. With him slouching on the hood of the car, it was hard to tell. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a blue sweater. He looked like a good-looking kid. Jask had never actually said how old her siblings were, but Geralt didn’t think Andrew could be more than 20. Although…he hadn’t done so well estimating Jask’s age, all those months ago, so maybe the Pankratz De Lettenhove kids were hard to carbon date.
Geralt had no idea what Lilly was wearing, or even what she looked like, because Jaskier still hadn’t let her go. He watched Jaskier kiss Lilly all over her face, and actually take Lilly’s cheeks in her hands and squish them. Lilly, for her part, was being very patient with her overenthusiastic ball of human sister.
Jaskier finally let Lilly go, and moved on to Andrew, who was not so easily intimidated into a hug, because he was much bigger than she was. Andrew physically picked Jaskier up, wrapping her in the same kind of hug she’d just given Lilly.
Geralt was standing in the front doorway for all this, just watching, a soft smile on his face, when the spitting image of Jaskier, just a little bit shorter, with shorter, darker hair walked up to him, a bright smile on her face.
“Hi! I’m Lilly. You must be La’s roommate, Geralt, right? Because you haven’t called the cops yet?” Lilly stuck out her hand, and Geralt, against his usual nature, took it and shook. “Boy howdy, Geralt, you’ve got quite a grip!”
“Hi, Lilly, it’s nice to meet you,” Geralt said, smiling. “You’re welcome to come inside, if you’re cold,”
“Naw, and miss this show? They’ll be done eventually. We like hugging,” Lilly said, simply.
Geralt snorted. “I noticed,”
Lilly turned to look behind her, taking in the façade of Geralt’s townhouse. “This is your house, right? You guys have a nice place!”
Geralt couldn’t tell if Lilly was joking or not; from the little Jask had told him, it sounded like she’d grown up in a small palace.
She must have seen his face, because she put her hand on his arm and then started waving a hand in the “stop” kind of motion. “No, no no, I’m not joking, Geralt – Andrew showed me pictures of her last apartment and eeeeeek!”
“You’re not wrong,” Geralt said, chuckling.
“So La said you rehabilitate horses?” Lilly asked, looking up at Geralt with a look of pure curiosity. “And your family owns a farm?”
“Correct on both counts.”
“Oh, coooool!” Lilly was watching her brother and sister roughhouse by Andrew’s car. “We love horses.”
“So Jas said.”
“Well, La is the biggest horse person out of the three of us, because that was a safe space at home – oh.” Lilly stopped, looking at Geralt with a look of dawning horror. “Oh, I’m sorry, that…I shouldn’t have said anything. Um. I’m sorry.”
“Lilly – Jas hasn’t told me much about what happened at home; I know she doesn’t like talking about it, so we don’t talk about it. I won’t pry.”
Lilly visibly relaxed. “Well, you’re coming to Marion’s wedding, right? That’s….that’s at our house. La hasn’t been home…in a really, really long time.”
Geralt thought Lilly was trying to tell him something without actually saying it, but he wasn’t exactly sure what it was, other than WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO HIS LARK JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.
Geralt’s thought process was interrupted by Andrew and Jask walking up to the front step; well, more accurately, Andrew walking up to the front step, his sister dangling over his arm held at his side; he was actually holding her like you would hold a sack of potatoes, just not over his shoulder, she was held at his hip.
“Geralt, this is Andrew, Andrew, this is my friend Geralt.” Jaskier said casually, looking for all the world like this was just an everyday occurrence.
Andrew stuck out his hand not currently holding his sister hostage. “Hey Geralt, it’s really nice to meet you.”
Geralt, bewildered, shook with Andrew.
Apparently Jaskier’s siblings were just like her.
After giving her siblings the nickel tour, Jaskier took Lilly and Andrew over to the farm to meet Eskel and Vesemir. Lambert was stopping by the farm that night after work.
[White Wolf 11:10 AM]: Jask’s brother and sister are exactly like her.
[Lambert 11:10 AM]: What, unreasonably good looking? So what’s the problem exactly? IS there a problem? Geralt – are you in love with all THREE of them?
[White Wolf 11:11 AM]: What? No. Not all three.
[Lambert 11:12 AM]: SNORT. THEN THAT MEANS AT LEAST ONE OF THE THREE.
[White Wolf 11:13 AM]: I fucking hate you, Lambert. Shouldn’t you be teaching someone something?
[Lambert 11:14 AM]: You texted ME, loverboy, LOLOL. So, what is the problem? Jask is a goddamn delight. Are her brother and sister also delightful?
[White Wolf 11:15 AM]: So far, yes. I kind of thought they’d be stuck up.
[Lambert 11:16 AM]: I can’t wait to meet them.
Jaskier knew she was in trouble the second Lilly got one look at Eskel.
“Hello, I’m Lilly, La’s little sister, and you must be Eskel; La didn’t tell me that all of Geralt’s family were so good looking!”
Eskel wasn’t sure if Lilly was joking. He was still self-conscious about his scars.
“Lil, please tell my good friend Eskel that you are indeed serious, and weren’t joking, please. He thinks you’re teasing.” Jaskier was pinching the bridge of her nose, wincing.
“Sir! I am wounded! Yes, of course I’m serious. I would never be so rude to tease about something like that. Well, in any event, I am still Lilly, La’s little sister, and it is a delight to meet you, and thank you for hosting us. You’re being so gracious and the three of us are very grateful for it.”
Andrew walked over to shake Eskel’s hand.
“Hi, I’m Andrew, and I’m not gonna make this weird, man. Thank you for having us.”
“Esk, you still have to work, yeah?” Jaskier asked. “I’ll get lunch started here, and take Andrew and Lilly up to meet your dad. I think Geralt will be along in…a while. He may need to…decompress, after his introduction.”
“I didn’t flirt with him, La! I know he’s off limits,” Lilly said, rolling her eyes the way only a barely-still-a-teenager could.
“Is he now?” Eskel asked, shooting a look at Jaskier.
“Eskel, if you start with me, I will cancel Thanksgiving, so help me,” Jaskier said, glaring at him, making Eskel laugh out loud.
“Wouldn’t dream of it, Jask,” he was smiling indulgently “Although Geralt is pretty bummed you’re staying here, and not at home,”
“You better watch it, Eskel, your Thanksgiving desserts are in jeopardy,”
“I’m serious, Jask. That wasn’t a joke.”
“Uh-huh. I think he’ll be glad of the calm,” she said, making a face. “Go work, goat-herder.”
“Jules! That was not nice!” Andrew called from across the room.
“No, Eskel really does work with goats, Andrew, that wasn’t an insult,”
Eskel was laughing too hard to respond.
That night, at dinner, conversation turned toward how Geralt and Larkin had come to know one another.
“You guys met through an art class, or something, right?” Andrew asked, looking between Jaskier and Geralt, seated next to one another across the table from him.
“Something like that,” Geralt said, mildly.
Andrew did not miss the snorts of laughter coming from Lambert. He raised an eyebrow in interest.
“A class!” Lambert cried, tears rolling down his cheeks.
“Lambert,” Geralt’s voice was a warning.
“Lamb, I love you, man, but those papers won’t grade themselves,” Jaskier said, airily.
“So?” Andrew asked, really interested now. “Was it a class or not?”
Jaskier shot Lambert a look so icy he immediately shut his mouth, afraid to continue. “It was not technically a class. Geralt was looking for a model for a painting, and I said I’d do it.”
“Oh.” Andrew said, sounding disappointed. He thought there was more of a story there. “Is the painting finished?”
“Yes.” Geralt replied, simply.
“Can I see it?”
“No.” came the resounding reply, in unison, from both Geralt and Jaskier.
“Andrew, no one else has seen it, either,” Eskel told him.
“Wait, no one?”
“No, because Geralt is a stingy jackass that doesn’t want to share his art with the world!” Lambert threw in, because he could.
“Jules, but you met Lambert and Eskel first, right? I remember you talking about them last year.” Andrew had a thoughtful look on his face, trying to fit the pieces together.
“Yeah. I’m Lambert’s TA at school, and Lambert brought Eskel to a gig I played last year.”
“Geralt, how come you didn’t go?” Lilly asked, her curiosity genuine.
Geralt didn’t know how to respond to that, but Jaskier put her hand on his knee under the table.
“Geralt isn’t a big fan of crowds, Lil.”
“Oh,” Lilly sounded sad.
“It’s ok, Lil, Geralt’s come to a bunch this year.”
“La’s amazing, isn’t she? I’ve only been allowed to go to one of her shows, but she’s so good! She used to sing me lullabies with Daddy, when he was still alive. I don’t understand why Mother-“
“Lilly.” Andrew said, voice firm.
“But Andrew! I don’t understand! She hasn’t been home in-“
“Lilly, that’s enough. This isn’t the time. We can talk about it later,” Jaskier said, gently. “Not everyone here has a beef with mom, all right?”
Yes, they do, Geralt thought. Everyone at this table did, Geralt was sure of it.
Later that night, after dinner had finished, and dishes had been cleared and washed, and everyone had visited, Jaskier and Lilly were alone in ‘Jaskier’s’ room (the one she’d shared with Geralt).
“La, are you still awake?” Lilly asked, staring up at the ceiling.
“Yup. What’s up, Little Bit?”
“I’m sorry I said stuff about Mother, at dinner.”
“Don’t worry about it, Lilly. It’s all right. Everyone knows I was dis-inherited. That’s not a secret.”
“But…the other stuff. You haven’t told Geralt about that.” It wasn’t a question.
“No. He doesn’t know.”
“Are you going to before the wedding? I…don’t know how easy it’ll be to keep it a secret, at home.”
“I guess I’ll have to.”
“Are you scared to tell him?”
Jaskier sighed. “No, not scared. I just…don’t like talking about it, is all.”
“Are you glad he’s coming with you? I would be. He looks like he could take on an army single handedly and win.”
“Yes, I’m very glad Geralt’s coming with me. It was either gonna be Geralt or Renfri, and you know what mom would have done if I brought Ren home.”
“Oh, GOD. And at Marion’s wedding, too. UGH.” Lilly paused. “Are you two dating?”
“Me and Ren? No, silly. She’s coming over tomorrow, by the way. She can’t wait to see you.”
“No, not you and Ren. You and Geralt.”
Jaskier shot Lilly a look. “No…we’re not. Why…would you ask that?”
“La. I may only be 18, but I’m not fucking stupid. You like him!”
“It’s…possible,” Jaskier said, trying her hardest to sound as uninterested as possible.
“Oh, you stop that shit with me right now, I’m your sister, for God’s sake. You don’t have to protect yourself from me, stupid.”
“Gee, thanks, Lilly, I feel so much better,” Jaskier said, dryly.
“But you do.” Again, it wasn’t a question.
“Do you love him?”
“Unknown, ask again later.”
“I’m serious, Jules.”
“I am too, Lil. Besides Ren, he’s my best friend. What happens if that’s the wrong move to make? I don’t want to lose him.”
“I’ve known him for less than 24 hours and I know that would never happen.”
“Oh, lookit you, being so wise.”
“I am serious, Julian. He looks at you, and it’s like he sees his future there.”
Jask didn’t quite know what to say. “I, uh, oh.”
“La, I am a writer. You need someone to narrate your love story, I’m your girl.”
“Speaking of writing. You thought about colleges much? Is that a thing that’s happening?”
Jaskier had not been given the choice to go to college. She took it, fighting tooth and nail along the way.
“Yes. Mother relented after you left. Well, she didn’t put up a fight with Andrew because he’s a BOY,” the irritation in Lilly’s voice at that was palpable “But I’m allowed to go, too.”
“Honestly, I wanted to take a look at Oxenfurt, while we’re here. It’s no Julliard, mind you,-“
“Lil, Julliard is for music.”
“You know what I mean! Oxenfurt’s a good school. And, you’re here. Win-win-win.”
“Huh. That’s…huh. Huh!”
“Are you mad?”
“What? NO. Are you kidding? My baby sister would be within hugging reach ALL THE TIME. I could spare poor Geralt,” Jaskier said, laughing.
“From what little I’ve seen of the two of you together, I do not think he sees your hugs as a hardship.”
“All right, relationship counselor, it’s time for sleeping,”
“Oh, La, you’re no fun,”
Thanksgiving for the Wolf and Lark family was a resounding success. Things settled down once Vesemir and the boys had a chance to get to know Lilly and Andrew over the next couple days.
Lambert and Jaskier took Lilly on a tour of Oxenfurt, while Andrew stayed behind and got to know Geralt, Eskel and Vesemir a little better.
Geralt took Lilly out to meet the horses, and it turned out that she was just as much of a horse person as her older sister was. Jaskier had asked Lilly to be gentle with her Wolf as he was a little on the shy side, and like the sweet soul she was, Lilly listened to her big sister. Geralt opened up a little, telling her stories about what he, Eskel and Lambert got up to when they were little.
Out of Jaskier’s siblings, Geralt was the most curious about Andrew. Unlike his sisters, Andrew was a tech guy. Like a tech guy. Geralt had known a few when he was still active duty. Andrew was enrolled at MIT, in the Information Sciences department. Andrew had told him, privately, that he’d already started doing work on the side, for the Department of Defense, even though he was only 21 years old. Andrew also told him, privately, that he managed Jaskier’s public persona, making sure unsavory articles or mentions were discretely removed. Andrew had mentioned he’d done quite a bit of search and destroy damage control regarding the Countess debacle, but wouldn’t say any more. He did say he’d left the Countess a parting gift, but Geralt didn’t know what that meant. It probably didn’t mean anything good, but Geralt didn’t blame him. He was glad Jaskier had someone with skills like that.
Thanksgiving itself was a lively affair; Vesemir hadn’t heard that much laughter at his dining room table in a very long time. The turkey was perfect (Eskel fried it); the dressing was superb (Jaskier made the bread for it); the pies were flaky and tender (the Pankratz De Lettenhove kids were taught by the very best cook EVER); everything was wonderful.
It was the first Thanksgiving Larkin had had with family in over 10 years. This was the happiest she had been since her father was alive. Even while they were eating, Jaskier never let go of Geralt’s hand under the table.