I wrote this short story as a continuation of A Man to Fall for back in early September, but since it is Thanksgiving themed, I’ve been sitting on it until now! If you want to see how Emma and Heath met, click on ‘A Man to Fall for’ above!
The creamy flavor of hazelnut cappuccino fills my living room, complementing the salty, fatty smell of the turkey cooking in the kitchen. The underlying aroma of roasted potatoes, yeasty rolls, and green bean casserole makes my mouth water. I can’t wait to start eating.
My younger sister Claire drops down beside me on the couch.
“Em,” she takes a sip of her cappuccino. “Have I told you how happy you look? And…fuller, somehow.”
“Fuller?” I laugh. “Are you trying to tell me I gained weight?”
She raises an eyebrow. “Well, if you have you look good!”
“Thanks, Claire,” I hug her.
“Emma,” Mom pokes her head into the living room. “How do I know if this turkey is done?”
“I’ll help,” I say as I release Claire with a quick kiss on her forehead.
As I busy myself checking the turkey and making deviled eggs, I can’t help but feel as happy as Claire claims I look. It’s my first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but so far it’s going really well. The turkey is a perfect golden brown color and Mom brought her pumpkin pie for dessert (which I hate, but I know that Dad, Claire, and Heath all love).
To be clear, I’ve always hated the taste of pumpkin. That’s the only thing Heath and I argue about. At our wedding, he had the caterers make a secret pumpkin pie to give to me, which I promptly tried to put in his face, but he dodged me. Apple pies are my thing. Who can resist the sweet, almost caramel taste of an apple pie? Especially if there’s just the right amount of cinnamon. Perfection.
It’s not only the food that’s making me so happy, Claire has finally found a new boyfriend who isn’t controlling or rude. He’s genuinely sweet and seems to really listen to her. He’ll be joining us later, just in time for dinner.
Watching Heath and my dad set the table, my heart swells even more at the sight of them bantering back and forth. My dad cracks terrible dad jokes and Heath laughs appreciatively. They’ve always gotten along, but somehow I never appreciated it before.
Maybe Claire is right. I am full. Full of love, family, and the spirit of Thanksgiving. And the secret.
Clapping my hands, I announce that the turkey is ready. My dad carves the meat, cheerfully teasing us about how big the turkey is and how he didn’t bring the right pants. Claire chirps that Matt will be here in five minutes and begins making him a plate.
Matt arrives just as Heath is about to lead us in a round of prayer and thanksgiving. Matt joins us, giving Claire a loving smile as he sits. Then, holding hands, we pray and talk about the things we’re most grateful for.
“Family,” I say when it’s my turn. “I’m grateful for my family.” The urge to tell them my secret is overwhelming, but I quench it with a smile.
Mom squeezes my hand before letting go so that she can try the roasted potatoes. I feel Heath kiss my hair as he leans past me to get another roll.
“Look here!” Dad holds something up for us. “The wishbone! I usually cut right through those, but this one’s intact.”
Then, with a ceremonial air, he hands it to me. “For our hostess.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I laugh. Turning to Heath, I grin at him. “Do you have a wish?”
He winks at me. “I think my only wish is sitting in front of me.”
Claire makes a mock gagging face but winks at me. I throw my roll at her.
“Emma!” Mom gasps, but Claire just laughs.
Gripping the wishbone, I hold the other side out to Heath. He takes it and we both pull.
I hold up my piece in triumph.
“What did you wish for?” Claire asks immediately.
“Claire, you can’t ask! Then the wish won’t come true,” Matt nudges her.
I grin around the table. “I think I can tell you guys.”
“Well?” Claire ignores Matt who tries to tickle her.
“I wished for a baby,” I say.
Mom gasps. “Oh! Am I going to have grandchildren soon?”
“Mom! She just made the wish!” Claire says. “It’ll be a while, calm down.”
Looking sheepish, Mom shrugs. “I just can’t wait to see a little Emma or Heath running around here!”
Heath kisses my cheek and grins at my mom. “Me neither.”
The rest of dinner goes by too quickly. Before I know it, I’m groaning as the buttons of my pants pinch my stomach. Standing, I announce that I’ll start clearing up. Partially because I hate a mess, and partially because standing helps relieve my too-tight tummy.
I usher everyone else into the living room, telling them that they deserve the rest. Because they do. Everyone deserves to be pampered from time to time.
Still, Heath ignores my protests and comes to help me. We move around each other in a strange tango, passing plates and grinning when we catch each other’s eye.
Finally, everything is clean and put up. Heath pulls me in for a hug. “I’m proud of you.”
“Yeah. You did great. And I love your wish. That’s what I wished for too, actually.”
I lean back to look at his face and he takes the opportunity to kiss me. For a split second, it’s like I’m nineteen again, kissing him for the first time. It’s still the same tingling, melting experience. Even the way his hand cups my chin, making me feel like the most precious thing in the world, hasn’t changed.
Then we pull away, our faces so close that I still can feel the air vibrating from our kiss. He nuzzles my nose and I grin at him, feeling once again full of love.
“I love you, Emma.”
I lean in to kiss him once more, and this time when I break away, I tell him. “Heath, I’m pregnant!”