Tavros ran around his backyard like a cluckbeast with its head ripped off making small adjustments here and there. That lantern over there was just a little off, the bowls were asymmetrically placed on the table, that single paper flower just slightly twisted to the left. Everything had to be perfect. It had to.
People would be here soon.
Dave and Bro were bringing their ecto-family, Kanaya as Rose's guest, and Gamzee as Roxy's, from the transportalizer hub. The station wasn't really that far away from his house, and they were due to arrive on the platform in a few minutes.
Aradia was taking care of a van rental for herself and some of the other trolls, and he knew his moirail was already in Houston by this point. Tavros hoped Equius didn't break the vehicle somehow, he would feel so guilty since they were coming to see him. Especially considering some of the other passengers who might slobber up the windows or leave claw scratches down the seats if left unsupervised.
Tavros didn't envy Aradia for her matesprit and his moirail at this moment in time, nor did he understand how Dave considered Terezi his best friend.
He never heard from John exactly when he, Jade, Karkat and Vriska would be arriving, but he thought he heard Dave say John planned to transportalize to Chicago first to pick up Sollux.
Eridan and Feferi couldn't make the trip from Nice. And he knew Jake was busy in the Levant with an archaeological project that Aradia couldn't stop going on and on about. And Jane didn't say why she couldn't make it, but she did send along some festive looking cookies.
The cookies! He forgot to set those out!
There was still so much else to do. Tavros had to make sure that the drinks were cold enough, check if the portable thermal box needed more frozen water cubes to chill it down.
Was the music too loud? Too quiet? Should he bring his chili pepper lights up from the basement in case it got too dark later at night?
The piñatas! How could he forget those inside after he made so many fairy bulls out of paper mache and crepe paper. After all the fretting about Dave getting just the right amount of candy for all of them. Painstakingly crafting them all to be perfect.
Tavros bounded up the stairs and inside the house, screen door swinging wildly in his panic. Two at a time, he carried them out and placed them near the smaller oak tree. The one with the low-hanging branch that he measured just enough string for the fairy bull piñatas to hang just right.
One last frantic dash inside and back out left him holding a wooden dowel wrapped in colorful crepe paper. Titters of laughter materialized from behind him. The troll twirled around to find three small older Tejana women in long white dresses all with dishes of food and one young lady with a stack of CDs in her arms.
“sEÑORAS, sEÑORITA, tHANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS, i DON'T THINK i COULD MANAGE WITHOUT YOU,”
“Torito! How many times must I tell you call me tía! Call me tia before I give you this dessert.”
“Pleaaase, Torito. You're doing fine. Anyway, Mama says to play this one here. The one on top. Yeah that one. When you are beating open those piñatas.”
“Here take these enchiladas. Keep them warm in the oven. Instructions on top if there are leftovers. Freeze them, they'll be just fine if you follow your tia's instructions, Torito.”
“The decorations are nice. You did nice work. Now take this bowl from this old woman. Hurry up, rice is heavy, don't keep your tía waiting!”
“Torito, this is a special dessert, special recipe. You tell me if you like it and I will give you the secret, okay?”
Tavros just stands and nods, dishes piling higher in his arms. Efenia, the young woman, takes some pity on him and brings the stack of CDs over to where his stereo is set up, waving the special CD with a grin and setting it off to the side. The troll excuses himself to bring the dishes inside, to keep them warm as instructed. The tittering of the old women commenting on his strength and youth makes him laugh. Even more so when they are all scolded by the fourth woman at least half their age.
“Torito! Torito!” he hears them call.
He laughs again at the nickname. There's something deeply ironic that Dave would appreciate if he ever heard it, being at least a foot taller than any of them.
Tavros ducks his horns out the door and peeks at them.
“Torito, we're going home now to our families. Be a good boy for us, okay?”
“oF COURSE THAT IS SOMETHING i WILL DO, tÍAS, aND THANK YOU SO MUCH, aGAIN, yOU TOO SEÑORITA,”
He waves them off, finishing putting away the large dishes of food and turning the over on to warm. With that all taken care of, he's sure he can find something else to make sure is in order outside. Tavros moves to straighten up the stack of CDs. It isn't long before he hears more voices, and cringes.
“Taaaaaaaavros! What a way to greet your guests. Not even going to meet us at the gate?”
“VRISKA SHUT YOUR SCREECHING WINDCHUTE BEFORE I STUFF ONE OF THESE HIDEOUS PLASTIC LANTERNS DOWN IT.”
“hey guys. no need to get rowdy just yet. the night is still fresh and ripe for all sorts of fun things.”
“ii have 2uch a headache from all thii2 2hiit riight now remiind me agaiin why ii saiid ii would 2acriifiice a perfectly good niight of codiing for thii2”
Tavros squeezes his eyes shut. Of course. Of course it would be them who showed up first. Not Dave and his crew. Not Aradia and those trolls. He stands to full height and bares his teeth in a forced grin, and then turns towards the human and three trolls. From behind his strained smile, he prayed one of the other groups would arrive soon.