Please enjoy this exclusive Thanksgiving Day bonus excerpt from A Model Boyfriend!
By the end of her shopping, she had only half the ingredients she needed before she’d run out of money, which didn’t matter much as there was only so much that she could physically carry. Twenty-pound turkeys had to weigh at least one hundred pounds.
Looking at the cost per pound from that perspective, she got a great value for her dollar, but really, she was pretty sure that shopping close to midnight the night before Thanksgiving gave retailers the right to gouge.
As she rode up to Brandon’s apartment with her loot, she wondered how Thanksgiving dinner would be a surprise. What was she going to do, shove the turkey under her shirt and claim to be knocked up? And Oh, don’t mind the cooking sounds or smells, that’s…part of the birthing process?
Okay, so, the plan was slightly harebrained, but her intentions were good. Going into debt for a dinner is kind of sweet, right?
The doors rolled open.
She was too far down this path to stop now.
Unable to reach her keys or even raise her hand to knock, Andy kicked the door. “Brandon, I can’t open the door.”
The locks clicked, and Brandon threw open the door. He stood aghast. “What have you done?”
She tried to raise her hands but failed. By now she was thoroughly freezing and damp from the flakes of melting snow. She probably looked like a drowned rat. “Happy Thanksgiving?”
Brandon stood there for a moment, his arms crossed over his chest, eyes wet like he might laugh or cry.
“Brandon, I can’t feel my hands.”
“Right!” He lunged forward and tried to untwist the many plastic bags wrapped tightly around her wrist. “You’re crazy. You realize that, right?”
“Yeah, well, tell it to your mother.”
Giving up on unwinding the bags from her wrists, Brandon tore through the plastic to free her from the turkey. “My mother? Oh, I had to call her using your phone. I’ll pay you back the minutes.”
He carried the turkey inside. She followed him, waiting for his train of thought to reach the station.
When it did, Brandon whirled around, clinging to the turkey. “She called my phone.”
Andy nodded. “Yes.”
He beamed. “You talked to her.”
“As one does when one answers the phone.” She kicked the door shut behind her and half carried, half dragged the potatoes and other heavy poundage to the kitchen.
He divested her of the carton of milk, the butter, the potatoes, everything, stacking the food up on his limited counter space. “And she talked you into this?”
Andy massaged her wrists to get the blood flowing back into her fingers. “No, I told her I wanted to cook Thanksgiving dinner, and she mentally called me a moron and gave me her recipes.”
Brandon chuckled to himself as he took inventory. “Oh, if she thinks you’re a moron, she’ll tell you to your face. Er, or your ear. My God. How did you pay for all of this?”
Andy pulled off her cap. “Turning tricks.”
“You’re racking up quite the debt with Helen. I hope she’s not a secret loan shark.” He put the perishables in the fridge and then leaned against the closed door.
“The bank of Helen has very generous terms.” Andy looked at the counter laden with all the food she’d bought. She’d managed to do a lot of damage in a very short time. But she had her notebook of recipes and the will to start tackling the prodigious amount of cooking before her. “Okay, so I need to get started. I need a turkey pan.”
Brandon’s eyes widened. “A what?”
She tilted her head. “A turkey pan. For baking a turkey.”
He looked around, bottom lip in his teeth. “Um. Come here.”
Confused, she walked closer to him. “What?”
He gently took her hands and looked into her eyes. “Honey, I hate to tell you this, because you’re wonderful, and this is beyond what I could imagine anyone doing for me, but I have something to tell you.”
Andy’s heart sank. She threw her head back and stared at the ceiling. “You don’t have a turkey pan.”
“I have three pans: one of those really big pots with handles, one smaller one for soup, and a frying pan.”
“Well, that’s two more pans than I have.” She closed her eyes and threw herself dramatically at Brandon’s chest.
He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head. “I love that you even thought about making me dinner, Andy. You don’t have to cook for me. And hey, you talked to my mom. That’s a major hurdle for you; I appreciate that you did.”
Andy couldn’t help herself. The welling of emotion came from deep in her chest, slowly growing up to her face until her cheeks were wet. Before she could rein in her feelings, she started sobbing, so frustrated with herself and stupid Thanksgiving traditions.
He clutched her tightly. “Oh, Andy, it’s okay. It’s okay, really. Sweetie, don’t cry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
She sniffled and tried to speak but got overwhelmed with the ridiculousness of herself and the whole situation. She looked up at him. By now, her mascara had run into her mouth, which made for an unpleasant taste. The thought of how she must look to Brandon right now perturbed her even more.
“I never…really…had a…Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to have one with you. Stupid, right?”
Brandon kissed her cheeks, holding the back of her head gently. He bent over to bring his face level with hers. “I will get you a turkey pan.”
Jesus. What in her life went so wrong that she was crying over a turkey pan? She shook her head and put her hand on his shoulder. “No, it’s okay. I don’t need a turkey pan.”
She must’ve brightened over the pan despite her words. Or he took her being able to speak as a positive sign.
“I will get you a turkey pan, and one of those things that mashes potatoes, and a…a wok. Do you want a wok?”
She wiped away the mascara with her palms. A wok? This wasn’t a stir-fry Thanksgiving. What would she do with a wok? “No, I don’t want a wok.”
But he was already grabbing his keys. “Okay, no wok, but I’ll get you pans and a, um…oh, a spatula. Those are good, right?”
She followed him. “Where are you going to get a spatula at this time of night? Come back. It’s okay. I just needed to let it out.”
Brandon held his hand up and looked at her very seriously. “I don’t know where I’m going to get a spatula or a turkey pan, but I will find one for you.”
She looked at all of the food and then back at Brandon. “It’s okay. You’ve had a long day. I’ll put the food away. It’ll keep.”
He crossed to her and swept her up in a big hug. “Nope. I’m going to go do my hunter-gatherer thing. It’s a matter of male pride.”
When he pulled away, his eyes were sparkling. “Besides, I had a nap while you were gone. You go have a bath, brew some coffee. You will have your Thanksgiving, Miss Gibbons. Even if I have to convert a hubcap into a turkey pan, you will have your day.”
With that, he swept out of the apartment.
So how did it pan out? Buy now to find out at any of these fine e-tailers!