Thanksgiving was always a big deal in my family. My mother would get up before dawn to put the turkey in the oven, and she made all the trimmings from scratch. Dinner would be served in the dining room, and we all wore our Sunday best. Uncle, aunts and cousins would join us, and other years we’d spend Thanksgiving with them at their home.
When I became an adult Thanksgiving was still a big deal. During the years when I lived close to family my mother and sister-in-law took turns hosting the big family gatherings. After I moved away I would either spend Thanksgiving with my own spouse or friends. Other years we would fly back to Arizona and spend it with my family. Regardless of where I was, Thanksgiving was always the second biggest holiday of the year.
Years later, when I wrote my debut contemporary romance novel, The Reunion, I included a chapter a Thanksgiving chapter. Cassie and Jeremy hit it off over dinner, and afterwards they stepped outside for a walk. While they were away Samantha has a serious talk with Gillian, and the two women make a surprising wager.
A Thanksgiving scene from The Reunion
Samantha smiled to herself. It was looking more and more like Jeremy would become a good friend to Cassie. After dessert, Cassie suggested that he take a walk with her to work off some of their dinner.
“Good idea,” he said. “Would you two ladies care to join us?”
“Not me, thanks,” said Gillian.
“Me neither,” said Samantha. “We don’t get to hang out together very often. You kids go and take your time.”
Jeremy and Cassie quickly grabbed their coats. They were discussing the apartment in Colorado Springs as they went out the door.
“They seem to have taken a liking to one another,” said Gillian once the front door closed behind them.
“Yes, they have. Gillian, can I ask you something?”
Samantha’s voice had a serious tone. “Exactly what is the nature of your relationship with him?”
Gillian grabbed the wine bottle and refilled their glasses. “Let’s go have a seat in the living room.” They picked up their wine glasses and Samantha followed Gillian to the sofa where they made themselves comfortable.
“Jeremy is a very special friend,” said Gillian. “We got off to a bit of a rough start, but then it worked out. I truly believed he’d be my stepson someday, but then Ian threw the brakes on that.”
“Gillian, if this is none of my business just say so, but is there anything more to it than just a friendship?”
Gillian hesitated for a moment. “You mean, have I ever slept with him?”
“Good heavens no. I’ll admit that first night we were together in Las Vegas, I had a moment, and I mean a very brief moment, of temporary insanity while we were out on the dance floor. He’s a good dancer, I’d had a glass of wine, and I sure thought about it, but nothing happened between us that night, or any other night for that matter. Later on, when I thought about it again, I realized I’d wanted to turn him into another Ian, and I could never use Jeremy like that. He saved my life, Sam. Whoever he eventually ends up with will have to understand that he and I will always have a very special relationship. It’s not romantic, but we share a very special bond. One that will last for both of us for the rest of our lives. So please, don’t worry about your daughter. I’m not going to be jealous of her. In fact, I think they’re a good match.”
Samantha sighed in silent relief and gave her friend a knowing smile. “Gillian, do you have a hundred dollars?”
“Of course I do. Why?”
“Because a hundred dollars says that come next Thanksgiving, Jeremy really will be your stepson.”
“Oh, come on, Sam,” said Gillian with a laugh. “I can’t take your money like that. I’m not taking Ian back. No way, no how.”
“Of course not. You’ll just go out and have yourself tattooed in his honor.” Both women burst out laughing, and then Samantha turned serious once again. “Quit kidding yourself, Gillian. You’re going to take him back, and you know it.”
“Fine. Then I’ll lose the hundred bucks. It’ll be the easiest money you ever made.”
Gillian gave her friend a smile. “All right then. One hundred dollars says I won’t be married to Ian Palmer a year from now.”
“You’re on.” The two women shook hands on their bet and Samantha grinned once more. “Just be prepared to pay up.”