Benson had to hand it to the Carver family--when they had a party, they had a party. Madeline's twenty-second birthday was on Wednesday and she, Cary, and Salinger had had a private birthday party for just the three of them that night, but her parents had hosted a blowout party for their families, the Retlins, and tons of friends of Mad's and Cary's. Benson was glad to get to see his roommate, Mad's cousin Garrett, and to introduce him to Mallory who had, of course. attended with him.
They had begged off as it approached midnight when it became evident that the party wasn't showing any signs of ending on its own. Even Benson's parents were having too much fun with Mad's parents and aunts and uncles to put their drinks down and go home, but Benson wasn't too surprised by that. After Salinger's birth four-and-a-half years ago, his grandparents had bonded and eventually made each other part of their respective families, just as Mad had done with Benson and Stieg.
It took almost a half hour just to make the rounds and say good bye to everyone that they needed to, but Benson and Mallory were finally in his car, driving away from the festivities. "You wanna go anywhere, Mal?" he asked, taking the wheel with his left hand and reaching over to take hers with his right.