I always have so much fun with these, and I hope you do too. 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
(note: this was something super quick, and fun, and free for me to do that is only lightly edited, so please don’t hold grammatical errors against me lol.)
I almost dropped an entire pan of macaroni and cheese when I saw him.
It had been almost two weeks since we’d last laid eyes on each other, but my body was still very familiar with how he’d made me feel, literally tingling all over as I forced myself to regain my composure before my mother got to fussing about what was taking me so long. But even after the pan was safely delivered to the line we’d be serving from as a part of our family’s Thanksgiving Eve tradition of feeding the neighborhood, I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off Julian, the obsession only reminding me of why I’d needed to put some space between us in the first place.
He was too much of everything.
Too handsome, too intelligent, too charismatic, too… good of a lover. And even though I was very much deserving of someone with every one of those qualities and more, the instant attraction I felt – we felt – was overwhelming as hell; especially after his crazy ass had the nerve to tell me I was going to be his wife.
We’d only known each other for twenty-one hours exactly when he said that, sounding extremely confident about his feelings and our future after what was supposed to be a hook-up somehow turned into a day-long affair. But I knew it was just the high of our sextravaganza talking, forcing me to disconnect from the moment – and him – before I got too caught up.
Obviously, I’d made the right decision since even now I couldn’t seem to keep it all together with him simply being in the same room. And I was just antsy enough for my big sister, Kristen, to notice as she served a man a scoop of mashed potatoes while asking me, “Blayke, are you okay?”
“What’s wrong? You don’t feel good?”
Shaking my head, I answered her question with one of my own. “Do you remember that guy I told you about last week?”
“The one who called dibs on being your husband?” she correctly identified, prompting me to nod as I served a scoop of macaroni with a smile before I told her, “He’s here.”
“He’s here working,” I further explained. “He’s a news reporter.”
That tidbit of information was enough to have Kristen looking around the room, her eyes eventually landing in the corner Julian must’ve been reporting on the annual event from as she said, “Wait a minute. That’s the guy you ghosted?”
After another short nod from me, Kristen used her plastic glove covered hand to smack me in the arm as she asked, “Bitch, what is wrong with you?”
“Ouch,” I hissed as my mother chirped from the other side of her, “Language!”
“Sorry, Mama,” Kristen responded, turning back towards me and using a quieter voice to say, “Girl, that man is…”
“Everything. I know.”
“You know, but…”
“But that’s crazy, Kris! I mean, all of that certainty after only knowing each other for like a day?”
As much as I wished I could be one of those people who believed in that sort of fairytale love story, I just wasn’t, choosing skepticism even as Kristen explained, “The salt and pepper in his beard tells me he’s just not the type of man who plays around when it comes to getting what he wants. And he wants you, sis. Even though you have a whole willing and ready older sister right here.”
Before I could explain that the gray in Julian’s beard was a bit premature, my sister whispered, “Shit, here he comes,” straightening me right up as I pretended to focus on the adorable little girl who was already struggling to hold her overfilled plate when she extended it my way for mac and cheese.
“Here, baby. Let me help you with that,” I told her, taking the plate to squeeze some more food on it before I left my station so that I could carry it to where she was sitting with her family. And chatting with them ended up serving as the perfect distraction, keeping me busy until I heard my mother call my name.
Excusing myself from the family, I turned back her way to find she and my dad both standing nearby as she casually asked me to return to my post so that they could go off and do an interview. But I could hardly pay attention to what she was saying, too engrossed as I stared back at the man who was standing only a short step behind them with the most lust-filled look in his eyes.
The same one he was wearing when he told me I was going to be his wife.
“Did you hear me, honey?”
Snapping out of my daze, I answered, “What? I mean, yes. Of course.” And with that, I was once again excusing myself, this time from my own family as I shot a strained smile in Julian’s direction on my way to join Kristen at the serving table.
“About time you got your ass back over,” my sister groaned. “Got me sweatin’ and shit tryna keep up with all these people by myself.”
Because the line really had gotten backed up in the absence of well, mostly everyone who was supposed to be helping, it was easy to once again distract myself with serving the people. And the routine of it all was actually a bit relaxing until I heard a familiar deep voice ask, “Is it alright if I get a second scoop? That mac and cheese looks good as hell.”
Peeking up to find the most gorgeous set of hazel orbs staring back at me, I damn near choked on my tongue as I rattled, “Uh yeah. I mean, sure. Why not?”
Kristen was already giggling at my weirdness as she asked Julian, “You want some extra mashed potatoes too?”
“Absolutely,” he answered with a grin, extending his plate her way the second I got done while telling her, “Appreciate it.”
“Not a problem, handsome,” Kristen responded flirtatiously, my expression tightening as I aggressively smacked a scoop of macaroni and cheese on the next person’s plate. And even he was confused by my energy, frowning as he shook his head and followed Julian in line for mashed potatoes while I asked my sister, “Really, Kris?”
“What?” she replied, shrugging as she insisted, “You fumbled the ball, and now it’s time for me to recover that thang.”
“Fuck that,” I snapped, snatching my gloves and apron off so that I could approach where Julian had just made himself comfortable at a table with his camera crew. And since they were all already nose deep into their plates, I didn’t feel as bad about interrupting when I tapped him on the shoulder before asking, “Julian, can I… speak to you for a minute?”
He didn’t answer with words, too busy wiping his mouth as he stood up from his seat so that I could lead us to somewhere a little more private. But the entire way, I was worried my heart was going to beat straight out of my chest after I realized my bold move was not at all backed up with any sort of plan; only the energy of not letting my sister even pretend to take what felt like mine.
I was the overwhelmed one, the skeptical one, the one who’d disappeared like a fart in the wind after the time we’d spent together. And if this was the other way around, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted Julian to feel entitled to my attention after ghosting me.
Still, I couldn’t help staking my claim, giving a bit of a smile when I finally asked him, “So… how have you been?”
“I’ve been straight. You?”
“Pretty good,” I answered airily, gnawing into my bottom lip as we shared an awkward moment of silence before Julian said, “Look, Blayke. We really don’t have to do this.”
My eyes flashed back his way as he continued, “I mean, an explanation would’ve been nice. But I’m honestly not even trippin’ anymore.”
“Nah. It is what it is,” he answered with a shrug. “You obviously wasn’t feelin’ me like I was feelin’ you, and that’s just somethin’ I gotta deal with on my own.”
“But what if I…”
“I’m good, Blayke. Really,” he interrupted, putting a hand against my arm as he added, “But it was nice seeing you, though.”
His touch alone was enough to send a spark through me. But with his words considered, that reaction apparently no longer mattered, a somber expression on my face when I responded, “Nice seeing you too, Julian.”
Stopping to press a little kiss to my temple, he made his way back towards the table while I stood there dumbfounded, trying to figure out how I’d managed to mess up the situation even more than it already was. And it was almost like my sister could sense how badly things had gone the second I made my back towards the food, meeting me with a half-hearted grin on her face when she gave a toss of her hand and insisted, “His loss.”
I grinned back, but there was no enthusiasm behind it since I knew the losing aspect of this was mutual. And that was all I could think about going into the actual holiday the next day, grateful for all the food my mother had prepared since it gave me the option to stuff my face instead of having to explain my shitty mood.
Of course, that didn’t mean those closest to me wouldn’t pick up on it, Kristen being the first to ask, “Still bummed out over the news dude?”
“It hasn’t even been a full day yet, sis,” I reminded her; though I also shouldn’t have been surprised when she muttered more to herself than me, “Took him less than that to decide you were destined to be his wife…”
“Is my life a joke to you?”
“Sometimes,” she answered with a giggle. “Seriously though, sis. Yesterday’s little run-in doesn’t have to be the end if you don’t want it to be.”
Even though I knew there was some truth to what she was saying, I still couldn’t help whining, “But he said he’s good, Kris.”
“Which is a fair reaction for someone who’s been ghosted,” my sister replied. “I mean, why would he be nice about inviting you into his life again after you dogged him?”
“I didn’t dog him,” I defended. “I just… took an immediate break from him. Without telling him first.”
“That sounded as ridiculous to you as it did to me, right?” Kristen asked rhetorically, giving a little roll of her eyes before patting me on the thigh when she insisted, “You made a little mess, and now it’s time to clean it up, boo.”
“Clean it up how, though?”
“Why don’t you just go over to his house and tell him how you feel?”
“And you say my suggestions are ridiculous,” I muttered as Kristen urged, “I’m serious, Blayke. I mean, not right now this second since he’s probably still with his family and what not. But maybe you can stop by on your way home later tonight.”
“So I’m just supposed to pull up on some random shit and baby-baby-please his ass?”
Shaking her head, Kristen giggled when she answered, “I mean, you don’t have to beg for anything. But you can at least apologize for playing Houdini and tell him how you truly feel.”
It sounded like a fair plan. But knowing how I would react to someone just poppin’ up at my place, I decided to text him and get permission first, already feeling nervous about it long before I’d even pressed send.
“Hey. Would you mind if I stopped by a little later? So we can talk?” – Blayke
“My bad. I don’t have this number saved. Who is this?” – Julian
Honestly, it was very… healthy of him to have deleted my number, so I couldn’t even be mad when I responded with my name. And once he found out it was me, he offered me the option of stopping by after ten, time not going fast enough as I waited until exactly 10:01 PM before I finally rang his doorbell.
Of course he answered the door looking good as hell, smelling like dark liquor and a second helping of my favorite Thanksgiving foods that had me gnawing on my lip when I asked, “Hey. Umm… is this a bad time?”
“Nah, you’re good,” he answered, standing in the doorway instead of letting me in when he asked, “What you wanna talk about?”
“I just wanted to tell you sorry… to your face. Disappearing on you the way I did wasn’t right, and honestly it wasn’t even a reflection of how I really feel. I was just… scared, because feeling the way I was feeling in the very short amount of time it took for me to feel that way was already a lot. And then you started talking about me being your wife, and I just… I freaked out, okay?”
“Okay,” he responded way too calmly for my liking, my eyebrow piqued suspiciously when I repeated, “Okay?”
“Yeah, okay,” he nodded. “Anything else?”
His nonchalance made me stumble a bit as I answered, “N-no. I guess not.”
“Then I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday,” he responded with a pleasant smile, getting ready to close the door on me until I interrupted, “Julian, wait.”
With a sigh, he cracked the door open again, giving me a look that urged me to explain, “I didn’t only come here to apologize. I also came here because seeing you yesterday made me realize that those feelings from that night didn’t just up and leave. And I may still be scared shitless about the entire thing, but I… I’m ready now.”
“You’re ready to…?”
“Ready for more of whatever that night was, ready to explore what’s really going on between us, ready to throw caution to the wind and see where we land, ready to…”
“Make it official?”
“Umm… see… about that…”
“I’m just messin’ with you,” he chuckled, stepping out to join me on his porch where he pulled me into a loose hug and said, “I ain’t mean to scare you off, baby. I was just letting you know how I felt, which I understand now probably sounded wild as hell so I guess that’s my fault for comin’ on so strong.”
Honestly, just being in his arms again made me feel silly for trippin’ so hard to begin with since it was very clear to me that this was exactly where I belonged. And even though I’d played him off for a minute, Julian was thankfully still there too, looking me dead in my eyes when he continued, “But I meant what I said about seeing a future with you, Blayke. And I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to prove it.”
At this point, it wasn’t even a question. In fact, I was the one who was glad he was giving me a second chance.
Still, no matter which way we spinned it, one thing was for certain.
On this particular Thanksgiving, I had every reason to be grateful.
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