Thursday, November 24, 2016


Zöe, balancing two pies from the Teashop in one hand and her purse and keys in another, struggled to ring the doorbell.  Success!  Nothing crashed.  That might have been a first she had not screwed up something for Thanksgiving.  She heard footsteps, the door opened and light and laughter spilled out into the cold evening.

"Zöe," her sister exclaimed, "hey, everybody, Zöe's here!"

And so it began.  Another "family" tradition or, rather, obligation.  Zöe would make the best of it, laugh, tell jokes, play with the kids and pretend to like everybody but if she had her wish she would rather ...

Rather what?  Zöe didn't know.  Something else.  Something where she felt a real connection, a real heart connection.  Something with Ryan.

"Ryan, now, where did that come from," she thought, momentarily distracted.

Zöe caught her foot on the threshold, stumbled into the foyer; her sister catching the pies as Zöe ended up sprawled on the carpet.

"Always one for the grand entrance," Zöe's sister exclaimed and everybody laughed.  Zöe got up, smiled sheepishly, straightened her clothes and said, "Well, that deserves a drink.  Who's buying?"

Ryan checked the InstantRead thermometer - 170.  OK, another 30 minutes or so, then out to rest.  Everything else looked good:  stuffing, cranberry chutney, sprouts with chestnuts and pies in the lower oven.

Ryan topped up his chardonnay and looked across the den to the TV playing a Harry Potter movie.  Oh, that Emma Watson, he thought, she's going to be one to watch.  He then buried his Emma Watson thoughts for another time.

Presently, dinner was ready.  Ryan arranged two plates with turkey, stuffing, vegetables, his special gravy, filled glasses with vintage chardonnay and sat down at his table. 

Ryan's condo overlooked the sound, boats floating in the marina, lights reflecting off the water, and the city in the distance.  It was quiet, peaceful, tranquil even, and ... alone.

Ryan looked across the table to his guest, raised his glass in a toast and said, "Cheers.  To Thanksgiving."

The guest chair was empty.  The guest's wine glass condensed moisture that ran off into the tablecloth.  Ryan ate quietly, appreciated the view and thought about Zöe.

Aaron Gant, aka Coffee Guy, thrusted hard and quickly, his breaths coming in gasps, sweat running down his face, chest and arms.  He ended with a strong quiver, gasp and collapsed on his partner who, if he had only known, was just getting started.  Coffee Guy rolled off, breathing hard.

"Whew," Coffee Guy said, "I bet you never had that before."

"Not since 8th grade," his partner replied, somewhat annoyed.

"Hey," he said, "I can't help it if your frigid or something.  Maybe you should consider a C to D upgrade.  Might boost your sex thing."

She reached for the tequila, took a long pull and said, "Yeah, right, I'll get on it."

Coffee Guy lit up a cigar, blew a cloud of blue smoke and said, "Happy Thanksgiving, baby."

"Whatever," she replied.

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