Jack looked around his kitchen and laughed at himself. Oh, he was trying to impress the Sarge, wasn't he? He had a stuffed turkey in the oven, gravy, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, candied yams and homemade rolls along with pumpkin pie and whipped cream for dessert. He'd made dips and cheese balls and the sausage balls Sarge had mentioned. Sarge was bringing the chips, but he'd cut up vegetables as well. He even had a sweet dip and fruit for after dinner munchies.
There was no way the two of them were even going to make a dent.
He liked the man, though, and he enjoyed cooking. That was his story and he was sticking to it.
Jack checked the turkey and took off his apron. The bell rang and he grinned. Sarge was on the dot on time. He opened the door, blinking at the site of the sarge in -- real clothes. Damn. Black and grey striped button-down, black slacks, low-quarters. The man looked almost sharp.
He was glad he'd decided to forego his jeans for dress slacks.
"Come on in, Bill."
"Hey, Jack. Merry Christmas." The man had a couple of six-packs of Sam Adams and some Coors, along with canned cranberry sauce and chips and a plastic plate of store-bought Christmas cookies and a card in a red envelope. "Smells great in here."
"Thank you. I went on a little binge -- I hope you're hungry." He laughed as he took the chips and cranberry sauce from Sarge and led him to the kitchen. "I hope you're very hungry."
"Oh, sweet Jesus. Look at all this!" Sarge gave him a shocked grin. "Is this all for us? Just you and me?" At his nod, that smile got wider. "Good. It looks delicious."
His own smile had to match Sarge's. "Thank you."
He got the beer into the fridge. "It's not too early to have one of these, is it?"
"Hell, it's five o'clock somewhere." Sarge grinned and took a bottle himself.
He poured the chips out into a bowl, grabbed his own bottle and nodded to the den. "We should be just in time for the pre-game show."
Sarge nodded and followed him, sitting a bit slowly, but that cragged, strong face never winced.
"You ever play sports, Sarge?" He set the chips down next to the three different dips, feeling a little silly about how overboard he'd gone.
"I used to, when I was younger, yeah. Used to play football every Sunday afternoon and was on the unit's competitive baseball team a few dozen years ago. You?" Sarge didn't seem the slightest bit shy and dug into the dips, munching happily.
"I'll catch a pick up game down at the park if the weekend's nice. I'm not very competitive though -- it's more just for the camaraderie, you know?"
He helped himself to the chips, flipping until he hit a channel where the announcers weren't too damned annoying.
"Yeah? I know lots of guys who go out there real regular. They have a lot of energy to expend." Sarge nodded. "Watch out for the munitions guys -- they're evil."
"Oh, no one's more evil than those Airborne fellas."
"That's because they're pissed they aren't marines." He started to chuckle. The Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines rivalry was fierce and he had to admit it was fun sometimes, to bait the tigers. Pale blue eyes twinkled at him and Sarge winked. "Either that or those C130s knocked their sense loose."
He laughed, almost choking on his chip. "Funny, they say something similar about the Marines."
"Yeah, but you can't trust them. Me? Me, you can trust."
"And why's that?"
Both eyebrows went up. "Because I'm a marine and an all-around good guy, Jack. Surely my reputation precedes me?"