Chapter Eighteen

Michelle stood near the Doctor while the SUV pulled into the driveway and parked.

"What's so bad about these people then?" the Doctor said to Michelle as Uncle Dan turned the car off.

"Aunt Ruth's okay but Uncle Dan likes to drink beer and he gets drunk and says mean things," Michelle said.

"Sounds like a typical family gathering," Amy said.

The car doors opened and Aunt Ruth got out of the car. Ruth resembled Lori except she was slightly older, fatter and had bigger breasts. She was wearing a white cashmere sweater, black slacks and black flats. Her brown hair was short and curly with just a tinge of grey in it. Uncle Dan was tall, lean with salt and pepper hair, a deeply lined face with jowls and he wore glasses with wire rimmed frames. Both of them paused and looked at the Doctor and his family in confusion for a moment before shutting the car doors and heading up the brick steps to the porch. Brittany, Mandy and Tom ran to them and said hello but Michelle hung back with the Doctor before reluctantly trudging over to them. Ruth hugged all the children warmly but Dan walked past them and headed up to the door without saying hello or hugging any of them.

"So, who is this?" Ruth said, gesturing to the Doctor when she got done hugging the children.

"This is the Doctor, Aunt Ruth," Brittany said. "And this is Rory and River and Amy. They're traveling and they're eating dinner with us today."

"Well, good thing we brought enough turducken for everyone then," Ruth said. "Nice to meet all of you. I have to go in and say hello to my sister but we'll be back out to get our food in a minute."

Michelle hung back while the rest of the children went back inside. She walked over to the Doctor.

"Turducken?" the Doctor said.

"Yeah, they bring it every year," Michelle said. "It's turkey, duck and chicken all at the same time. It's turkey stuffed into a duck that's stuffed into a chicken."

Amy laughed when the Doctor gave her an odd look.

"Three different birds in one?" he said slowly. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah, Aunt Ruth likes to bring it because then people can choose what they want to eat," Michelle said.

"But…why not bring three separate birds or just pick one?" the Doctor said. "Blimey, you humans are weird sometimes. It's like when I ate that chicken/beef thing in the Crusader vehicle. Still, I can think of worst things to combine together. Your Aunt Ruth seems okay but your Uncle Dan didn't even say hello as he passed by."

"He does that. He'll say hello but if he's busy, he ignores everyone. And he gets really mean when he gets drunk. But they're not that bad compared to my cousins."

"Why? What's wrong with your cousins?" Rory asked.

"They like to hunt and shoot things," Michelle said.

"That doesn't sound that bad," the Doctor said. "I don't like to shoot things and I don't go hunting but lots of people hunt things and they're not mean to other people."

"But my cousins, they're…rednecks. They're racist and stupid and just…ugh, you have to see them to get what I'm saying," Michelle said.

"Do you think they'll come?" River asked her.

"Probably, they got great big trucks to hold all their hunting stuff. They go hunt every winter so they could drive through this snow," Michelle said.

They shut up when they heard yelling coming through the bay window. The Doctor listened closely. He could hear Jim yelling and a second male voice that he assumed was Dan's. A moment later, the front door opened and an exasperated Brittany came outside with Tom and Mandy running outside behind her, frightened looks on their faces. She slammed the door and sighed while Tom and Mandy ran to the Doctor and his family.

"It's started already," Brittany said to them while she walked down the porch steps.

"Why? What's going on?" the Doctor said as they walked towards her.

"Uncle Dan wants to bring his beer in and drink it and Dad's arguing with him now because he told him no," Brittany said. "This happens every year. I don't know why they bother coming."

"Don't they realize you lot are upset now?" Rory said.

"Yeah, Dad knows, that's why he told me to take everyone out here," Brittany said, sitting down on the side of the porch. "Ruth is mom's sister. Dan isn't blood related. He's a controlling asshole, to put it mildly. Aunt Ruth's been married to him for years and she doesn't want to divorce him so she lets him bully her. Aunt Ruth is nice like mom is, she deserves better than that twat, pardon my French. He's also upset that you guys are here because I think he doesn't want strangers seeing how he behaves when he gets drunk so Dad's defending you along with telling him he can't have his beer."

Brittany looked over her shoulder when the door opened and Ruth stepped outside, a sheepish look on her face while the yelling continued inside the house. She closed the door and gave everyone an apologetic look.

"I'm sorry about this," she said to them. "My husband likes to drink and his brother is telling him he can't which is making him angry."

"Well, I think that's a good thing, considering there are children present," River said.

"I know but Dan has a temper," she said. "He does this frequently."

The Doctor listened to her being evasive and wondered if she was being abused at home. The smile on her face was strained as she walked off the porch. She asked everyone to help her carry the food inside and the Doctor took Michelle's hand while they headed down the hill to the car. Ruth opened the hatch in the back while Brittany and Michelle opened the back doors. When the Doctor looked in the back door, he noticed a box of thirty beers on the floor on the passenger side and shook his head. He grabbed a white plastic sack filled with food and handed it to Michelle before taking another sack. River and Rory grabbed two more sacks from the other side. Rory caught the Doctor's eye and gave him a pointed look while he pointed to the box of beers.

"I know," the Doctor murmured to him. "I'm not carrying it in."

"Neither am I," Rory said.

They shut the doors and waited for Ruth, Amy and Brittany to unload from the back. Amy was carrying a bulky item in a glass pan. The item was wrapped with aluminum foil and it looked turkey shaped so the Doctor assumed it was the turducken. Ruth had a large pot that was covered and Brittany was carrying a brown grocery sack filled with food. Ruth thanked everyone before closing the hatch. They walked back up the hill with the food. By now, the house had fallen silent and the Doctor was thankful for that. Michelle was walking beside him and he could tell she was apprehensive about going on, although she said nothing while she slowly went up the brick steps.

"So, where are you from then?" Ruth asked the Doctor.

"Venus," Michelle murmured to herself.

The Doctor heard her and grinned at that.

"We're from London," he said to her. "We were traveling across Indiana and out hiking and we decided to see if we could find someone that would let us share their dinner with us."

"Frankly, you might regret coming here by the end of the day," Ruth said to him. "But I'm glad you're here. We always make more than enough for us so there's no problem feeding all of you."

They paused on the steps when they suddenly heard a high-pitched horn beep out the Dixie song and they turned to see a large white pick-up truck slowing down as it neared the beginning of the driveway.

"That's one of my cousins," Michelle said to the Doctor while she pointed to the truck.

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