In today’s chaotic world, I am grateful for many things but can narrow it down to this – I am thankful for another sunset with my family, with full bellies, clear minds, in warm beds, under one roof.
Lily was hungrier than a pilgrim on Thanksgiving. She hadn’t been to the grocery store lately for anything more than bread, milk and eggs, so when she tore through the kitchen it was no surprise to find the cupboards and refrigerator bare. The empty pit of her lovesick stomach groaned, encouraging her to throw on some clothes before foraging for food in town.
All bundled up, she headed outside. It was like stepping into a time machine. One whiff of pungent chimney smoke reeled her back to her early childhood before life took a nosedive. The familiar fragrance didn’t affect her any other day. Only certain holidays got her so choked up she couldn’t see straight. A fresh fire on Thanksgiving was more memorable than the smell of roasting turkey.
Walking ought to release enough endorphins to improve her dreary disposition, as ominous as the opaque sky.
Almost everything was closed on Thanksgiving, so her choices were limited to grabbing a bag of beef jerky at the gas station’s mini-mart or daring to go into the dreaded diner. She didn’t like eating alone in public, which worked perfectly because she didn’t have enough cash for the bill, plus a tip.
Studying the Specials posted on the glass door, she debated on ordering something to go. She could eat it at a picnic table in the park.
A man’s thick voice behind her shook her deep contemplation. “Going in or coming out?”
“Sorry.” As Lily jumped aside to free up the doorway, she recognized Nick’s superlative smile beaming like the sun, warming every cell in her body. His nose was rosy, and his quizzical eyes shimmered with moisture as if he’d been in the frigid wind for too long. She bit her tongue to prevent any wild thoughts from rushing past her shivering lips.
“Hey, are you following me?” He winked.
“I, um…” His distinctive musk and cinnamon scent derailed her train of thought. She hid her smile while brushing away an escaped curl tickling her chin. Did her best to contain the butterflies fluttering in her belly.
“Well?” Nick cocked his head. “I’m cold and hungry. How about you?” He grimaced, underdressed for the blustery weather in a black leather jacket with a red scarf tucked into the collar. “Care to join me?”
Of course, she wanted to join him but the rapid fire of her treacherous heart made it difficult to breathe, let alone talk, and her feet were too stunned to move.
“You don’t have to if you don’t wanna. But why eat alone when we could eat together? Unless, of course, you’re not here alone.”
“I…I’m not here with anyone.”
“So, how ’bout it?”
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Debra Druzy is a married, stay-at-home mom, writing romance in between running errands and doing household chores. SLEEPING WITH SANTA is her first published book, but there are plenty of unfinished stories in the closet and under the bed, which is probably bad feng shui but a good lesson in persistence pays off.
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Debra Druzy Online: http://www.debradruzy.com/