As Eddy drove home from work, his spirits were high. The radio played Christmas music because it was the season, and he absentmindedly hummed along until he knew the words. Then, he would break out in song and use his loudest voice to sing along.
Thanksgiving went well. Tom came promptly at two-thirty, and the only thing he brought was flowers for the hostess. Eddy's mother was thrilled and flushed as she looked for a vase to put them in.
Eddy was worried about his father's reaction to Tom's presence, but it was a moot point. The elder man was drunk before noon for the holiday football watching.
Eddy knew his mother was suffering from the holiday blues. Every year, she spent hours cooking the big Turkey Day meal, and it was only fifteen or twenty minutes at the table before the entire family returned to their pre-dinner activities. He was determined that he and Tom would help his mother clean the kitchen and tell tales of Turkey Day dinners of the past.
"Thank you, Lord, for these thy gifts we are about to receive. Bless us this day and bless those around us who are less fortunate. May this food nourish our bodies and souls. The glory be to you through Christ our Lord, Amen."
Like clockwork, Eddy's prediction was confirmed. Though the family all said their special version of grace, his father didn't even mouth the words. His sister, Andrea, said the words as quickly as she could, and his mother's eyes filled with tears.
Though Eddy raised his voice as loudly as he could, Tom didn't know about saying the new version created by Eddy's dad years ago. Suffice it to say that the dinner didn't get off to a good start.
Eddy's father didn't even ask to be excused when he shoved his chair back and lurched off to his favorite recliner in front of the TV. Eddy knew he'd be asleep before the first quarter of the game was over. Andrea's exit was a bit more formal. She asked permission to leave but was gone before her mother could even open her mouth to answer.
With just the three of them at the table, Tom decided to engage Mom in some holiday banter.
"Mrs. Evans, I think this is the best dinner I've had in a long time."
Mom took the time to finish her mouthful. After swallowing, she said, "Thank you, Tom. That's very kind of you to say. How does your family celebrate this day?"
"Well, we used to have a big dinner like this, but then my mom just stopped. She said we were all too ungrateful for her to go to all the trouble it takes to make a meal like this. That first year, she bought all of us turkey TV dinners. You should've seen my father's face."
"Oh. I can imagine how she did that. Sometimes I feel like just canceling this holiday, too. Did you see how quickly the table cleared out? It hardly seemed worth the time I spent in the kitchen. I mean, I was up at six just to get this turkey in the oven. Though, Lord knows why I got one this big. Oh - the leftovers will go on and on."
Eddy chimed in. "But I really like when you make the turkey pot pies."
His mother beamed. "I'm so glad. At least one person will appreciate my special crust made from scratch. I don't think anyone else notices. You're such a joy, Eddy."
Tom smiled widely. "Yup, he is. A joy, I mean. I know he brings a lot of joy to my life."
Several minutes passed before anyone else spoke. To say the moment was awkward would be an understatement. Eddy watched the flush move from his mother's neck to her cheeks.
Clearing her throat before she spoke, Eddy's mom finally said, "I hope you boys are being safe."
The two boys looked at one another across the table. Eddy ventured with, "Safe at what, Mom?"
"Oh, you know," the flush grew deeper. "I mean, you're practicing safe sex."
Both boys broke out into laughter. It was Tom who spoke next.
"Mrs. Evans, Eddy and I aren't having sex. Not like it isn't something we both think about - a lot. But we haven't had any sex, so you don't have to worry."
“Well, thank you for that! It’s such a relief. I was so worried about AIDS, you know?”
Eddy watched that flush slowly disappear from his mother's face. "I worried that you were both hormone-filled young men and that nature would take its course."
The two boys simply smiled at the woman’s naivety. Finally, Eddy broke the silence. “Mom, we know we are just starting this relationship. Dad still doesn’t accept the situation, and though we feel like we’re a couple, we know the dangers. Don’t we, Tom?”
Clearing his throat, Tom said, “Yes, Mrs. Evans. I mean, Eddy and I only went out a few times. We haven’t really spent a lot of time together. I mean, we just had that long break. Frankly, I was surprised your husband didn’t punch me out when I showed up today.”
“He very well may have if he weren’t so drunk when you got here. But don’t worry, I bet Eddy would’ve stopped him. Eddy has been more assertive since you’ve been in his life.”
Tom blushed while Eddy’s mom gazed at him with love and admiration.
A comfortable silence filled the room while they all finished their dinners.
It was when everyone cleared their plates that Eddy suggested they go into the kitchen to get everything tidied up.
"Oh, what a wonderful surprise! And then, when we finish, you boys can have a great big piece of pumpkin pie with a huge serving of whip cream - or ice cream, if you'd like."
In unison, the boys said, "Umm, sounds good." They gave one another a smile and then started clearing plates.
Mom turned on Christmas music, and the three worked in unison to tidy up, load the dishwasher and put the leftovers into the assigned containers. Eddy could tell his mother was pleased.
The promised pie was brought to the table on Mom's best Christmas china. After all, it was the season.
As Eddy put a large mouthful of whip cream into his mouth, his eyes met Tom's across the table. Tom mouthed the words, "Happy Thanksgiving, sweetie."
Eddy's heart was as full as his belly when he heard those words.
And the memory of that day was on his mind when he dialed Tom’s number later that evening.
“Hey, I think we should get together this weekend, don’t you?”
Tom quickly answered, “You mean like ‘get together,’ or just go out?”
After a long pause, “I mean, we should get together.”
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How did I miss this one? I love how the relationship is building through each story. I think I said this before but I can see this as a romcom on Netflix or maybe even a series. You are on to something here. Keep going!!!
Thank you!! Now that I'm feeling lots better, I will be returning to the boys' saga. It is SUCH a fun write, ~MP~
It's getting really good MP. Great job!
Hi, Sarah, The 'boys' are still thrashing around in my head - there will be more chapters; I'm just slow these days. Thanks for reading and commenting. ~MP~
Awww, I'm so happy Tom and Eddy are making up. I was devastated when they broke up, and it was surprising as well. I feel honored to read the talent of such an amazing writer! I hope to be a writer someday! I know who I'm looking to for inspiration :)
Hi there! THANK YOU so much for such a wonderful compliment! I truly appreciate it, and I appreciate how much you like these characters - they are truly wonderful to write about, ~MP~
Eddy and Tom get a holiday - woohoo! No better time to spice things up than the holidays!
Hi there, Thank you so much for continuing to read this saga - Eddy and Tom are two of my favorite characters, ~MP~