I decided to do a quick blog story from Sunday thru Thursday for Thanksgiving. This story was a previous free-release short story which I expanded.
After a disastrous Thanksgiving a few years ago, Landon knows his partner, Maxwell, is determined to overwrite those memories with a fabulous, polished, and perfect Thanksgiving meal for their combined families. He didn't expect the overboard shopping, extensive planning, and crazy decorating to go along with his stressed-out lover. It's on the day where they realize, the holiday was far more than a fabulous meal, it was about thanks for having love, family, and acceptance.
Sunday, November 24
This big deal of creating the perfect Thanksgiving dinner for family came around because of a disastrous attempt over three years ago. Instead of a beautiful golden turkey, it was a blackened smoking disaster the entire family called Turkey Jerky.
Maxwell could never let go or forget about the humiliation, the laughter, and teasing both of their families did throughout the evening. It had been the first time their families got together for a big holiday since they moved in together.
Max was damn determined to outdo the Turkey Jerky disaster.
Normally an excellent cook, Max wanted to put his best stuff forward and invited, well, ordered, the family to their place for the Thanksgiving holiday. Other members couldn't make it for one reason or another, so the total was twelve. They could handle twelve.
Having to wait for their paychecks, Landon Travers leaned against the handle of the cart in the middle of a bustling grocery store the Sunday before the holiday. He followed his partner up and down various aisles. He wanted to drop in front of their big-screen TV and catch up on the latest episode of Once Upon a Time. He had a man-crush on both the dashing Prince Charming and the mysterious Captain Hook. Max indulged him with his fantasy crushes by handing over the remote.
Instead of getting ready for Once, he was yanked from the comfy cushion. Max stalked out of the kitchen, a notebook in his hand, keys dangling from fingers, and announcing they were going shopping. Groaning since he wouldn't be able to scoot out of the mission, Landon made sure the show was scheduled for the DVR before he followed.
Now they were moving through the aisles, passing other folks, as Max moved his finger across several pages of lists and recipes to collect everything he needed for his masterpiece Thanksgiving dinner.
There was already a large frozen bird taking space in the cart. It was a big fat one to feed everyone.
"You do know this sucker will need several days to thaw in the fridge," Landon reminded him. "There's no room in the fridge."
"Yes, there is. I cleaned out the fridge yesterday to make room for everything."
"Where are we going next?"
"What aisle are we in?"
"Aisle 4. Oils and Shortening."
"Go down it."
"Looking for what?"
"Mustard and vinegar." He took time to figure out which whole grain mustard he wanted to fit his recipes. He moved down to the shelves of different vinegar.
"Save money and get the store brand," Landon pleaded. "It tastes the same."
Max lifted an eyebrow.
With a sigh, Max chose a smaller bottle of the brand apple cider vinegar and added it to the cart. "Happy? If it doesn't come out right, it's your fault."
"I know. Blame me," Landon said. "Next aisle."
"Ahh, I need this one. It has spices and baking stuff. Go down this one," Max said, pointing to the next one. "I have several items from here." Max hummed to himself while he decided between several types of spices. He selected a few jars and added them to the mix.
"Don't we have those?"
"I need fresh. I can't use old spices." He moved to select three types of sugars, molasses, honey, several cans of pumpkin puree, and flour. He added both baking soda and powder.
"They still expire. I'm gonna put fresh ones inside the bird."
"Are you going to shove your fist inside the bid's cavity?"
Max turned and lifted an eyebrow.
Landon flushed at how his words might be twisted by his lover and partner. Not that they went so far as fisting because… umm... OW! Yeah, no, not going that far.
"Never mind," he mumbled.
"Okay then. Back to business," Max said returning to his list, marking things off with a pen. He stopped at the dried fruit and nuts and chose bags of cranberries and pecans.
"How much are you making beyond the bird?"
"Several different dishes since not everyone will eat everything. I wanted a variety for everyone to enjoy."
"It means we spend more money."
"It means it'll be a more enjoyable dinner with our families and we can handle the expense. I made sure with the budget. I also have coupons," Max said, turning to stare at Landon.
"You clipped coupons?"
"I did every Sunday for several weeks and searched online for more to get ready."
Grumbling, Landon banged his forehead on the cart's handle. He saw Max's shoes appear next to his on the floor and glanced up. Max leaned in and pecked a kiss on his lips. They heard muttering to one side.
Both turned to see a little old lady shaking her head and muttering more things.
"Sorry, honey, but he's all mine and I enjoy him whenever I wish," Max called out in a loud, almost obnoxious tone as Landon tried not to swallow his tongue.
Max whacked his back several times. "Better, honey pie?"
"Sure. Sugar lips?"
Laughing, Max danced ahead of him, adding more swing in his tight hips as led them through the next several aisles until they entered the dairy area.
"Are you getting food for the rest of our meals?"
"A little bit, but we'll order in."
Landon grumbled. He wasn't a complete fan of take-out, neither was his stomach. He was a sensitive guy when it came to food, so there.
"I don't want to get all bloated and stuff from take-out." Landon rubbed his flat stomach at the thought of the pain.
Max sighed and shook his head. "We'll get some of those frozen meals in a bag. How about that and you can be in charge of those dinners?"
"Do you trust me in your precious kitchen?"
"As long as you don't go near the bird and fixings, you can use it."
"Umm. Why would I?"
Max shrugged. "I'm making sure nothing happens to dinner."
"I wouldn't dare try to sabotage things." Landon pressed a hand over his heart, pouted, and created a sad-puppy eye look with his brown eyes.
"Don't! Not the puppy eyes!" Max held up his hands as he talked in a teasing fashion.
Landon gave him several kissy face looks and pushed the cart ahead. "Damn, this is getting heavy. Stupid damn bird."
"Don't make fun of Tom Turkey. You'll hurt his feelings." Max followed, flipping a page in his notebook after ticking off several items.
"You didn't say it."
"Yup. Be nice to the bird."
Landon bumped his head several times against the handle. "What's next on the list?"
"We head back to the produce section."
"Why didn't we do it first?"
"I don't want to bruise them."
As Landon turned the cart around, Max stopped him with a hand.
"You're our wine expert. I need three bottles."
"I need two to drink with the meal and one to cook with unless we need more bottles."
"Perhaps we should up the number for the meal."
"Good idea. Find a nice pinot noir and muscat for the meal. I need a dry white wine for the recipes. Also, if you can find it, a good bourbon."
"For a recipe."
"Okay. Meet you in produce?"
Max nodded, kissed his cheek, and pushed the cart away.
It took him longer than he wanted to select the bottles, finding one of those carry boxes to place them in, and get out of the crowded area. Keeping the bottles close, Landon went across the store to the produce section. Thanks to Max's height, he located the bright shock of honey curls and followed it. Max was intent on choosing from bags of fresh herbs.
"Hey, handsome," Landon said.
Max turned and smiled. "How did you do?"
"Good. They had several ones on sale I liked. How are you doing?"
"Almost done," Max said.
Landon placed the box on the top level of the cart and braced himself against the handle.
Max dropped the last few items and checked his list. "We're good. Off to the checkout area. Don't cringe or cry at the total."
After another hour, they returned home, lugged the dozen plus reusable bags in their home, and placed around the kitchen. Landon kicked off his shoes by the door and face-planted on the sofa.
"It wasn't that bad," Max said, still cheerful and full of energy as he dove into the hard task of organizing all the items.
"Is this holiday over yet?"
"Wake me when it's over," Landon muttered, covering his head with a pillow to try and block the sounds of his partner laughing. It was going to be a long long week.
(To Be Continued)