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A Bradford Holiday Meeting: Part II
An R.L. Mathewson Chronicle
“What’s the name of the restaurant, sweetheart?”
“Will you make sure that I get to cook Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner?” she asked, watching his expression through narrowed eyes.
He opened his mouth, but abruptly shut it and shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”
“Okay,” she said, nodding thoughtfully. “I understand.”
“You do?” he asked, sounding surprised and for good reason.
She’d never given up this easily before.
She wasn’t exactly giving up now.
“It’s okay,” she said, smiling as she walked up to him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. She pulled him down and kissed him on the cheek. “Watch your game, sweetie,” she said with a warm smile as she stepped away, trying not to laugh at the confused expression on his face.
“I think I’m going to grab something to eat and go upstairs and read for a little while,” she said, giving him a reassuring smile as she walked towards the kitchen.
“Is everything okay?” Jason and Uncle Jared asked, getting to their feet as she pushed the kitchen door open.
Time for phase two, she mused, biting back a smile.
“Everything’s fine,” she promised with a smile as she made a show of taking a plate out of the cabinet and carrying it over to table. “Why don’t you go join Trevor for the game?” she suggested as she walked over to the refrigerator and started pulling out the generic paper brown bags that she’ placed in there a little less than a half hour ago.
“So, you understand about Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner?” Uncle Jared asked, shifting anxiously right along with his son.
“Oh, I understand,” she said, smiling, “Don’t worry about it.”
“We love you, Zoe,” Jason mumbled distractedly with a frown as he watched her unload several white carryout containers packed with food.
“Yeah, we really do……,” Uncle Jared muttered, licking his lips hungrily as he watched her pop open the top off the container holding fried chicken. “Wh-what’s that?”
“This?” she asked, feigning innocence as she picked up a large chicken breast and placed it on the plate.
“Yes,” both men said, licking their lips as they watched her every move.
“Oh, just some food I picked up from the buffet,” she explained with a careless shrug as she added a big scoopful of mashed potatoes on the plate.
“T-that’s from the buffet?” Jason asked, shifting closer.
“Mmmhmmm,” she said, adding corn, cornbread stuffing and green beans to the plate.
Uncle Jared swallowed hard. “C-can we have some?”
She pretended that she didn’t hear him as she placed the plate in the microwave and made up a second plate with the rest of the food. When the microwave beeped, she pulled out the plate and placed the second plate in the microwave and started it.
“I suppose it couldn’t hurt,” she muttered thoughtfully as she opened the last container and scooped up a big spoonful of cranberry sauce and placed it on top of the food since there was no room left on the plate.
She grabbed a fork, picked up her plate and headed for the living room door. She paused at the doorway and looked over her shoulder, “You boys don’t mind sharing a plate, do you?”
“Open the goddamn door!” he shouted, banging on the door.
“Are you going to let me cook?” came the smug reply from behind the safety of their bedroom door.
“Then I’m afraid that I can’t do that!”
“Open the door!” he demanded, licking his lips, eager to savor the taste of that incredible fried chicken that she’d given him.
“That’s my chicken, you bastard!” came the shout from downstairs that had him glaring at the door.
She’d done this to them on purpose…..
She’d given them a taste of heaven and got them hooked, leaving them desperate for another taste. God, he could still taste the herbs and seasoning on his tongue. He needed another piece, just another piece and everything would be okay.
“Zoe, baby, please…..,” he groaned, closing his eyes and pressing his forehead against the door. “I-I just need one more bite.”
“Can I cook Thanksgiving dinner?” she asked around what sounded like a bite of his fried chicken dinner!
“Then sorry, can’t share,” she said, not sounding sorry at all!
“Damn it, woman! Open up!”
“What the hell are you doing?” his uncle demanded, suddenly by his side. “Break the goddamn door down!”
Sighing heavily, he shook his head. “I can’t. It would scare her,” he said, pushing away from the door.
“Then beg!” Jason snarled.
“It won’t work,” he said, dropping his head in defeat.
“Then what will?”
“You know the answer to that,” he said, rubbing his hands down his face.
“Our wives and children will never forgive us,” Jason said with a resigned sigh.
“No,” Uncle Jared said, gesturing for Trevor to do what needed to be done, “they won’t.”
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