For this holiday, I put together a little romantic fiction for you. Created between shopping trips and pre-meal preparation, it hasn't been revised. I hope you enjoy it anyway. Have a great holiday everyone!
The Thanksgiving Treat
An familiar smell filled the air in his kitchen and Eric frowned. He inhaled deeply, recognizing the delicious aroma wafting from next door. Peanut butter cookies.
Not good. Not good at all.
This was the third Saturday in a row that his gorgeous next door neighbor, Evie Walters, baked some kind of delectable treat as opposed to the comfort foods she usually prepared after a Friday night foray into the dating scene. Over the last several months, her pattern hadn’t changed.
A so-so date netted some kind of chicken or potato dish, while a bad date meant a casserole of some kind. A horrible date translated into a pasta dish with which Evie could enjoy a relaxing and somewhat analgesic glass of her favorite port. Good dates, which had been few and far between to Eric’s secret relief, meant the neighborhood kids would enjoy cupcakes or cookies or fudge, and so would he. The good dates never got past one Saturday treat, so three meant Evie was serious about someone, and it wasn’t him. His gut tightened.
His cell buzzed, drawing away from his misery. He checked the caller and sighed.
“Hey sis. What’s up?” he asked, knowing this conversation wasn’t going to make him feel any better.
“You’re an idiot,” his sister Jessa stated. Great, just what he needed. He tried not to let his irritation show, but as the essence of the peanut buttery treat engulfed him, he snapped.
“And why is that?”
“You haven’t asked her out yet, have you? And you’ve got a perfect excuse. You need a date for Thanksgiving next week or the entire family is going to roll their eyes at you for being such a weenie.”
“How’s that? None of them know about Evie except…”
“I told them. I told them you’ve been waiting for her to get over her divorce before asking her out. For over a year. They laughed, and they’ll laugh at you if you show up alone next week.”
Eric rubbed his hand over his face. He loved his family dearly, but Jessa was right. Most of them served with distinction in the military, including Jessa, who made a much better sergeant than a confidante. They’d think, even after his service in Iraq and his heading his own security firm, that his situation qualified as hilarious.
How could he tell his sister that he’d waited too long and now Evie found some other guy to give her goodies to? He pictured her curves and her smile and her long brown hair and her sparkling eyes. Damn it! Jessa was right. He was an idiot.
Her voice brought him back to reality.
“What’s she cooking today?”
“Peanut butter cookies. The third Saturday in a row she’s baked treats,” he answered glumly, mentally kicking himself. He should have gone over and stopped this madness after the chocolate cupcakes last week. With the marshmallow icing. How could he have not seen this coming?
It’s not like he and Evie weren’t friends already. It’s not like they didn’t get along well and sometimes even went grocery shopping together. It’s not like they hadn’t sat on his porch sipping wine a couple of times.
“Those are your favorite. Stop being such a dork and ask her for one.” With that command and a click, Jessa ended their conversation.
If Eric hadn’t already decided to follow Jessa’s firm advice, the sight of Dirk the Jerk, the neighborhood lothario, strutting up to Evie’s door would have convinced him to do what he should have done months ago. He stormed out the door, his mission set.
By the time he made it to Evie’s walkway, Dirk the Jerk, smirking and hands full with a tray of pastries he probably coaxed her into creating for one of his half-baked schemes, swaggered toward his car parked at the curb. He winked at Eric.
“Nice goodies, huh, Eric? They love ‘em at the bingo parlor,” he said, his emphasis on “bingo parlor” making it clear he’d made it up to get a chance at Evie.
Eric resisted the urge to pummel the scumball and stalked toward Evie’s porch. She stood in her doorway, rocking a day dress and apron combo that hugged her figure and made Eric’s heart pound. She smiled, and every part of him tightened. He opened his mouth, but words failed him. Evie stared, her expression expectant.
“I-May I have a peanut butter cookie?” Eric stammered, and Evie grinned.
“Thought you’d never ask,” she said, her perfect pouty lips suddenly more inviting than ever.
“They’re you’re favorite, aren’t they? Figured so. I’ve been watching what you put in your shopping cart. I've cooked all your favorites--chicken, potatoes, every casserole I can think of, pasta... I thought I'd never get you over here."
Eric grinned and stepped closer, plucking a peanut butter delight from the plate in Evie’s hand. This Thanksgiving was going to be much better than he thought.