When I get out of the shower, they're in the kitchen, cooking. Together.
"Come on, Jase. It doesn't take a genius to flip pancakes."
"These are patented Newsted family pancakes. They have to be done right."
"They're already made. I can flip them over."
"They have to be flipped at the exact right moment."
I can almost hear Kirk roll his eyes. "They're *pancakes*. It's not rocket science."
"Get away from my spatula," Jason growls. He glances up and sees me waiting in the doorway. He moves away from the pan, still holding onto his spatula, and pours me a cup of coffee.
I take the mug from him and wrap my hands around it. "Thanks."
He nods and goes back to scrutinizing his "patented Newsted family pancakes." After he flips them, he starts pulling plates out of the cupboard and silverware out of a drawer. He adds some napkins and hands the whole stack to Kirk.
"Why do I have to set the table?"
"You wanted to help."
Kirk makes a face at him. "I wanted to help with the pancakes."
"You can't, so go set the table."
Kirk mutters, "Bastard," under his breath as he passes me to go into the dining room.
"I heard that!" Jason yells after him.
"Good!" Kirk yells back.
Jason chuckles and flips the pancakes out of the pan onto a plate he sticks back in the oven. "You feeling any better?" he asks me as he pours more batter into the pan.
He sighs. "Sometimes I think you take this strong, silent type thing way too seriously."
I sip my coffee while he watches the pancakes.
Kirk comes back and peers at the pan. "Aren't they done yet? I'm hungry."
"Great food takes time. Get the syrup and butter out of the fridge and put them on the table."
"Make James do it." So he does know I'm standing here.
Jason flips the pancakes. "James isn't wandering around my kitchen getting in the way."
"Of course he isn't," Kirk sneers. "James wouldn't do that."
"Kirk," Jason says sharply.
"Well, why shouldn't I be mad?" Kirk throws open the refrigerator. "He's the one who waltzes in here with his problems and ruins our morning. He always does this." Kirk slams the refrigerator door shut and takes the syrup and butter into the dining room.
I set my coffee cup on the counter. "Maybe I should go."
"He's probably just blowing off steam. At least stay for breakfast." He flips the pancakes onto the plate with the others and turns off the oven and stove. "There's enough food." He hands me Kirk's juice and grabs his own coffee cup. I pick up my coffee and follow him into the dining room.
I sit down across from Kirk and hand him his juice. He scowls at me. Jason puts the plate of pancakes in the middle of the table and sits.
"Dig in," he says cheerfully.
Kirk glares at him for a moment, then grudgingly takes a couple of pancakes. Jason takes some next, then passes me the plate. I take some pancakes and wait for Jason to pass me the butter and syrup.
"God," Kirk says after his first bite. "These are the best damn pancakes I've ever had."
Jason beams. "I told you they'd be good."
"You didn't say they'd be this fucking good." Kirk crams another large bite into his mouth.
Jason laughs. "Jeez, Kirk. Slow down. No one's going to take them away from you."
Kirk gulps down some juice and takes a smaller bite. I take a bite myself. Kirk's right. They are damn good pancakes.
Kirk finally pushes his plate away and heaves a sigh. "Damn good pancakes."
"Thanks." Jason quirks an eyebrow at me.
I echo Kirk. "Damn good."
Jason grins and starts gathering up plates. He waves me back down when I get up to help. He takes the plates to the kitchen and comes back with the coffee pot and the orange juice carton. He pours more coffee for me and juice for Kirk. Then he goes back to the kitchen, leaving Kirk and me at the table. Alone.