Standing on the porch of Ms Henderson’s house was the most terrifying thing since Eleven had tried skateboarding with Max. The jittery energy of the boys and the tension in Hop’s shoulders hadn’t helped either but El had been adamant on seeing this through. From the moment Dustin had walked up to the bike rack on Tuesday morning, inviting her over for dinner, saying his mum had heard so much about the mysterious El and was eager to finally meet the girl all of the boys and now Max had been talking about for the past year.
Standing there on the porch, El recalled the chaos that had ensued when she had stepped through the door into her and Hop’s cabin. Steve had already been there, not having any classes last period and the boys right behind her, doing everything but dragging her through the door. It had been three hours of Steve coming up with outfits created from clothes the boys, Steve and Hopper had as well as the few articles of clothing El had. El brushed a hand over her hair thinking of Steve’s handiwork with the Farrah Fawcett spray he had forced on her. Through all the chaos, Hopper always made sure they knew he didn’t like it and she didn’t need to dress up, she was already pretty enough but they had continued as if he had said nothing. Before Steve went to go drop them off, Hopper had given El a hug, a whispered “I love you” and a meaningful look before letting the boys drag her out of the cabin and to the car.
Standing there now right in front of the door, Steve having left nearly ten minutes before, she tries to make herself press the doorbell.
“You look perfect, you’ll do amazingly. Trust me, my mum will love you.” Accompanied with this reassurance, Dustin looks her over, sweeps a bit of lint off her shoulder and smiling. Being turned once again, this time by Lucas, she is brought into a strong hug before a “you’ll do perfect” said into her ear. Next came Max who gave her a nod, one she returned before coming to rest her eyes on Will. He looked at her like the proudest brother ever, giving her arm a squeeze and turning her back to the door where her hand was met with Mike’s hand and a look of love. Feeling ready, she raises a finger to the doorbell and waits for an answer.
“Oh darlings! Mike honey, how’s your mother doing? Oh Will dear and Lucas, lovely to see you again, as always. How are you boys? Max good to see you again my lovely. And you dear must be Jane.” She chirps as she sweeps El into a big hug leaving El in a slightly panicked state.
“She goes by El, and she’s not a huge fan of hugs” Mike tried to get in seeing El’s panic when Ms Henderson had come in for the hug. Not hearing him, the hug lasted until Dustin practically dragged his mother off of El who was at this point, prepared to use her powers to get the woman off.
“Sorry honey, I just love meeting all of Dusty’s friends. Especially when he has been talking about them for a year but has never let me meet them.” She says the last part as she gives Dustin a look that the others were glad they were not on the receiving end of.
With introductions out of the way, the six children went inside for dinner. Dustin leading the way, they ended up at the dining room table where they each took a seat. Dustin and his mum at either end with Lucas and Max sitting on one side and El, Mike and Will on the opposite side. Eleven’s first experience of eating chicken pot pie was a good one despite the rocky start. After dinner, they all end up spread out in the living room with a dozen or so photo albums filled in photographs and polaroids from when the boys were still in the fourth and fifth grades. While the boys didn’t seem to appreciate the trip down memory lane, both El and Max couldn’t get enough of it which added to the boys disdain. In the space of two hours, El had fallen in love with this woman who had offered her seconds and thirds which she had taken gladly.
When Steve turned up at the door to drive all of the kids home, Ms Henderson forced him inside for a cup of tea and some cake. Ever since the Snowball, Ms Henderson had anointed Steve an honorary member of the Henderson family, a title he wore with pride.
With all goodbyes and promises said and done, they all piled into Steve’s car save for Dustin who waved goodbye through the window before helping his mum clean up, and were one by one dropped off home. Since El lived the furthest out, still in the woods Hopper still being worried about the people from the lab who could be out there, she was allowed to ride shotgun next to Steve. Once Mike had given her a kiss on the cheek and they had been on there way again. Hopper was already waiting at the side of the road for El when Steve pulled up. Handing her the cardigan she had brought with her, Steve gives her a hug, gets out, opens the door for her and guides her around to her father.
“Harrington” Hopper says with a glare straight at Steve.
“Sir” He replies before giving a nod, getting into his car, watching until the pair are out of sight, and then driving off home.
With an arm wrapped around El, snuggled up on the couch, she told him all about what had happened and he would pitch in every now and then with an off hand comment that would earn him a glare before she continued with her re-telling of the night. A night that she had enjoyed profusely.