The Man from Swift Current
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 49: Thanksgiving Times Two!

A week later, we had just finished eating dinner when my cell phone started ringing. I fished it out of my pocket and flipped it open.

Rick looked at me, "Who is it?"

"It's Mom," I answered him. I accepted the call and said, "Hello, Mom."

"How are my sons doing?" she asked.

"We're doing good Mom," I replied looking over at Rick.

"Good. I'm calling to remind you two to make your travel arrangements to meet us in St. Catharines for Thanksgiving," Mom said.

"We haven't forgotten Mom. Rick wants to drive up from here," I said.

"That's a pretty long drive. Are you sure you don't want to fly and we'll pick up at the airport?" she asked.

"No, we want to drive. We figure it will take us about 20 hours to get there from here," I said.

"Russell Glenn Nielsen you had better not be planning to drive straight through without stopping!" she exclaimed.

I knew I was in trouble when she used my full name! "No, Mom, we had planned to drive to North Carolina to visit Uncle Stan and Aunt Sharon then we planned to drive the rest of the way from there. It should take us about 14 hours to get to St. Catharines. We plan to switch off driving so that one of us can rest so we don't get over tired," I replied as I looked over to see Rick smiling.

Apparently, he'd heard my mother because he said, "Russell Glenn Nielsen are you in trouble with your mother?"

I looked daggers at him, "No, I'm not in trouble with Mom but you will be if you don't come over here and say, 'Hello'," I said.

Rick took the phone from my hand and said, "Hi Mom!"

"Hello Rick. I hope that Glenn is behaving himself," Mom said.

I saw Rick's grin broaden, "Yes, he's been behaving himself today."

"Good. Rick, I'm counting on you to keep Glenn out of trouble. I'm concerned about the long drive you have planned," Mom said.

"I agree with you Mom that we should be careful driving to St. Catharines. I think we'll be okay since the longest segment won't be longer than 14 hours at the most. If it stretches beyond that, I promise we'll stop and find a hotel until the next morning," Rick said.

"Thank you, Rick. I wanted to make sure that you two don't try to pull off some heroic marathon drive to make it to St. Catharines in one day!" she exclaimed.

"We won't Mom. We will check the weather before we leave and make sure we have everything in the car we might need in case of an emergency," Rick said.

"Good. What day are you leaving?" Mom asked.

"We're planning to leave next Friday morning so we have an extra couple of days to get there in case of inclement weather," Rick explained.

"Just remember to give us a call before you leave Stan and Sharon's, okay?" Mom asked.

"We'll be sure to do that, Mom," Rick said smiling.

"Give Glenn a kiss for me. I'll call you on Sunday to make sure your plans haven't changed," Mom said.

"I will, Mom. Good-bye," Rick said.

"Good-bye," Mom said.

Rick flipped my cell closed and handed it back to me. I pocketed it and looked up just as Rick took me in his arms and gave me a quick kiss on the lips, "That's from your Mom and this one's from me." He kissed me, again, but this time it was a long, extremely passionate kiss. Rick pulled back and looked into my eyes with a rakish grin on his face. "I think that we need to do some studying of a physical nature!"

I laughed, "And when will be have time for academic studies?"

"After I complete my experiments on you, we can return to our preparations for our tests tomorrow. Right now I need to try out different love-making techniques to determine which one achieves the maximum sensual pleasure in the test subject," Rick replied laughing as he picked me up and carried me into our bedroom. Let's just say the test subject approved of all the techniques employed!

Later that evening, we snuggled together in the family room as we watched a movie, having finished our studies. Rick pulled the blanket closer around us. I sat between his legs leaning against his bare chest with his arms wrapped around me.

Rick asked, "Why is Thanksgiving celebrated in October in Canada?"

"I don't honestly know, Rick. I'm sure they taught us about it in school. It's always been celebrated on the second Monday in October as long as I can remember which coincidentally is the same day Americans celebrate Columbus Day. Mom and Dad always took us to church that day to give thanks before we went home for the usual family get together. Since Mom is American, we usually had the traditional turkey, pumpkin pie, etc."

"It will make it easier for us to spend Thanksgiving with each side of our family since Grandpa and Grandma will expect us to spend it with them in November," Rick said.

"Yeah, I hadn't thought about it that way but you're right it does make it easier to spend the holidays with our loved ones," I said.

Rick said, "I'm excited to be going to St. Catharines. I want to know everything about you and you've talked about the great times you have spent with your cousins there."

I agreed, "Yes, I love staying with Uncle Carl and Aunt Hannah."

Rick asked, "Don't you have more family that live there, too?"

"Yes, I do. Uncle Gordon and Aunt Sylvia live in Fenwick but I try not to spend a lot of time at their house," I said remembering the events that had led to my aversion to going there.

"Why? I thought you loved all of your Dad's family?" Rick asked.

"I do with the exception of one person, my cousin, John," I responded. "He's Uncle Gordon and Aunt Sylvia's oldest son."

"Why don't you like him?" Rick asked. Rick felt me tremble from the memory. "Did he do something to you?"

"Yes," I said. I related to him in what happened that horrible day. As I talked, I tried to divorce myself from that had happened. I began narrating the events like a sportscaster giving a play by play commentary. When I got to the part I didn't to remember, I stopped and tried not to relive it but I couldn't stop the memories from destroying the calm detachment I had managed to maintain up until now. The tears started streaming down my face as I haltingly told Rick about being raped by John at age 12.

"Rick, I've never told anyone what happened between us. I have always been too afraid of John to say anything."

Rick turned me around to face him. He lifted me up onto his lap and wiped the tears from my face. "You mean to say you have never talked to anyone about it, ever?"

I looked up at Rick. I could see he was angry about what John had done to me. "No, I've never told anyone. I didn't want to cause a rift in our family. As a result, I've tried to avoid John at all times. I have always made a scene whenever my parents planned to stay at John's house so that they would change their plans and stay in St. Catharines with Uncle Carl and Aunt Hannah."

"Didn't they ever ask you why?" Rick asked.

"Yes, they did but I always dreamed up some reason for wanting to stay in St. Catharines," I said.

"You are protecting John from the consequences of his actions. Why?" Rick asked.

"I'm not protecting him so much as I'm trying to protect myself. Since we've been together, I've actually been able to think about it and try to deal with the trauma I still feel. Before now, I couldn't even think about it without completely breaking down and going into a major bout of depression. My parents took me to all kinds of doctors and counselors to try and figure out why I was so depressed," I said.

"Why didn't you tell them?" Rick asked in amazement. "Surely, you could have told one of them?"

"I couldn't, Rick. I didn't have enough self-confidence to do that. Until now, my self-esteem has been non-existent. I felt I deserved what happened somehow," I said willing him to understand. "I couldn't bring myself to discuss it because it hurt too much to do so. I tried to block it out of my memory. It's only now that I have you in my life, Rick, that I've begun to think that maybe I'm worth something."

Rick pulled me close and gave me a hug, "You are very special to me, Glenn. Don't you ever forget that fact!"

I nodded my head as I was so choked up I couldn't speak. When I finally got control of myself, I said, "You don't know how devastated I was when Ian dumped me. It seemed to reinforce the sense of worthlessness I already felt because of what John had done to me."

Rick said, "But you always seem so self-confident and so sure of yourself all the time."

I shifted on his lap so I straddled him and put my arms around his neck. I looked into his eyes, "It's all a show, Rick. It's the mask I show the world to protect myself. After my first suicide attempt, I spent a lot of time in therapy learning coping skills. The therapist couldn't figure out why she wasn't seeing as much success with me but I wasn't ready to talk about it at that time."

Rick asked, "Didn't your parents suspect something?"

"No, Dad just thought I was weak-minded. He doesn't hold with all the psycho-babble as he calls it. He pushed me into sports as a way to toughen me up. Dad's answer to my problems was to have me work more on the farm. He said that my self-confidence would increase as I experienced success in sports and at farming," I said. "I think Mom suspected something but I got pretty adept at avoiding her attempts to figure out what was going on inside my head."

"What made you decide to tell me all this?" Rick asked.

"First, I feel safe when I am with you. I trust you like I trust no one else on the planet. Second, we are going to Uncle Gordon and Aunt Sylvia's for Thanksgiving dinner and I'm certain John will be there since it's his parents' house. I didn't want you to think I was totally crazy if I have to suddenly leave if I can't handle being in the same room with him. I think I will be okay but I don't know what will happen. And I wanted you to know why I don't want to have anything to do with John," I said.

Rick kissed me and hugged me. "I'll be there for you, Babe. You don't have anything to fear from John, okay?"

I hugged my guy tighter as I mumbled into his chest, "Yes, I'm sure I'll be okay."

"Good. Let's forget about it for now and enjoy the rest of the movie," Rick said.

I returned to my favorite place between his legs and leaned back against Rick melting into the safety and comfort of his strong arms around me.

We made the drive to St. Catharines just as we promised Mom we would. We stopped overnight in Selma, North Carolina, to visit with Uncle Stan and Aunt Sharon. From there we headed north to St. Catharines. It took us little more than 14 hours to make the trip. We arrived late Saturday night at Uncle Carl and Aunt Hannah's house. We pulled in and were getting our things out of Rick's corvette when Mom and Dad came out to welcome us.

Mom hugged me while Dad shook Rick's hand. Mom said, "I'm glad you boys made it safely. Come inside and we'll get you settled."

Dad gave me a hug, "Yes, we're glad you made it. We were getting a little worried that you wouldn't make it in tonight."

Rick smiled, "We hit some traffic in Pennsylvania that slowed us down quite a bit. Otherwise, we would've made it right on schedule."

We entered the house and left our things at the door. Aunt Hannah had a full meal on the table when we entered the kitchen. She smiled her welcome, "Come in boys and have a seat. I'm sure you are both starving after your long trip."

I gave her a hug. "Thanks Aunt Hannah. You're the best!"

She beamed, "Thank you, Glenn."

Rick gave her hug as well. "Thank you for cooking for us."

"You're welcome, my dear boy. Glenn has told me so much about you I am glad to finally get to make my own assessment now that you are here. I have a fresh pecan pie waiting for you after you finish your supper."

Rick face broke into a wide grin, "Glenn told you that my favorite pie is pecan did he?"

"Yes, he did. I just hope you like it since it is my first attempt to make one. I'm pretty good at making pies but I've never had an occasion to make a pecan pie," Aunt Hannah said smiling up at Rick.

We sat down to eat while Aunt Hannah peppered Rick with questions. Rick was very patient and answered each one and didn't seem to mind that Aunt Hannah was giving him the same treatment I'd had from his mother.

Aunt Hannah served the pie warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. "Okay, Rick, tell me if I got it right!"

Rick took a forkful and put it in his mouth and took his time savoring it. He smiled, "Perfect! It tastes as good as my Grandma's!"

Aunt Hannah smiled in relief, "Good. I'm glad it turned out." She patted Rick on the arm, "You've been a good sport to answer all of my questions." She looked over at Mom and Dad, "Don and Eva, I think you've a keeper here." Aunt Hannah looked directly at me and Rick, "So now that we've settled that, when are you two going to get married?"

It was a good thing I had finished my pie because I think I would have choked. I was so unprepared for that question. I looked at Rick to gauge his reaction to her question. He smiled and responded for both of us, "We haven't discussed our marriage plans, yet. Believe me when I say I'm not letting Glenn go now that I've found him."

"I'm glad to hear it! When you finally get around to having that discussion, I want to volunteer to help Eva with the wedding arrangements if that's okay with you Eva?" Aunt Hannah asked looking over at my mother.

Mom smiled at her, "Of course, I'd be glad to have your help." She looked over at us, "Just don't go trying to have a quick ceremony at the courthouse like your brother did. So when you decide to get married, I expect to have enough time for a proper wedding and a reception."

I smiled and took Rick's hand in mine, "We won't let you down Mom."

Rick nodded his agreement, "Mom, we will let you know as soon as we've decided what we're going to do."

Dad smiled, "Good. You boys look like you could use some sleep. Take your things and put them in the spare bedroom. We will stop by in the morning to take everyone out for breakfast. Your Mom and I are staying at a hotel not far from here. Have a good night, boys."

We said good night to everyone and retrieved our things from where we had left them by the door. I led Rick to the spare bedroom and opened the door. As we put away our clothes, Rick said, "Wow! Your Aunt sure knows how to give a guy a hard time. I thought she would never stop asking me questions!"

I laughed, "But you have to admit that she didn't ask anything your mother didn't ask me, remember?"

Rick laughed as well, "Yeah, I guess you're right. The good thing is that Aunt Hannah has decided I'm good enough for you."

"You passed with flying colors. I was a little surprised at the marriage question. I never expected her to be so direct about it," I said smiling at Rick.

"Yeah, that one caught me off guard, too. So Mr. Nielsen, are you going to marry me?" Rick asked pulling me into an embrace.

"Yes, if you're asking?" I responded with a grin.

"I'm not asking but I wanted to know your answer so when I do ask you for real I'll already know the answer," Rick replied. He smothered my reply with a kiss. "Yes, Glenn, I do plan to ask you to marry me and I want it to be the most romantic moment of your life, one that you'll never forget. So you are just going to have to wait until I'm ready to ask you."

We gathered our toiletries and made our way to the bathroom to take care of our usual chores. Finishing up, we climbed into bed together and were soon fast asleep.

The next day we went to breakfast with Mom and Dad. Later, we went to church with Aunt Hannah and Uncle Carl. That evening all of the cousins showed up with their kids and we had a nice time playing games and visiting with them.

Monday morning came and we attended church services, again. Then we headed to Fenwick for the big family celebration. We arrived just as Randy and Shawn pulled up. They had flown in from Regina the night before and had rented a car at the airport. We greeted them warmly.

Shawn looked at Rick and said solemnly, "You are in pain still. You need to seek out some help with that before it overwhelms you."

Rick did a double take, "How do you know?"

Shawn put an arm around Rick's shoulder, "I just know and I'm worried about you, my friend. Glenn needs you as much as you need him. Don't wait too long before asking for help."

Shawn turned to me and said, "Glenn, I see that you've finally started to come to terms with your past."

It was my turn to do a double take, "Wow! Shawn you always seem to know stuff. Yes, I've started to face some of the things that have haunted me for years thanks to Rick."

Randy laughed at us, "When will you two learn that my partner has a special gift. You really shouldn't be so surprised. Come on, guys, let's go inside before they start without us."

We went inside to see that Uncle Gordon had set up several long rows of tables to accommodate the large crowd. As my glance swept the room, I looked directly into John's eyes. John smirked as he saw that I was holding Rick's hand. He came over to us.

"Hello, Glenn. Why don't you introduce me to your partner?" John asked.

"Hello, John. This is my roommate, Rick," I said.

John extended his hand which Rick ignored. Rick responded, "Hello, John."

John looked at me, "So you told him did you?" He dropped his hand and said, "Rick you should thank me for preparing Glenn for his role as your partner."

Before I could respond, Rick's fist sent John flying across the room. Randy and Shawn quickly stepped around us to take care of John.

Randy and Shawn pulled John to his feet. Randy was angry and started in on Rick when he was interrupted by John, "I guess I deserved that," as he rubbed his chin.

Randy turned to him in surprise and asked, "Why do you say that?"

John didn't respond immediately. I stepped forward, "He did deserve it and much, much more, but we won't be discussing it here, Randy."

Rick was still very angry, "I will say this just once, John. Don't you ever show your face around Glenn or me ever again. I promise you that if I ever lay eyes on you, again, I'll make sure you live to regret it."

With that, Rick turned and went back outside. I looked at Randy, "I guess we'll see you back at Aunt Hannah's tonight."

I followed Rick outside. I found him sitting in our car. "Come on, big boy, let's head back to St. Catharines," I said climbing in beside him.

Rick looked over at me, "I'm sorry, Glenn, I didn't mean to spoil your holiday with your family."

"You didn't spoil it for me, Rick. You just made my day. I have wanted to deck John every time I have seen him since he raped me but I have never had the courage to do it," I said.

Rick smiled at that, "Okay, let's go." He started the engine and put it gear. On the way back to St. Catharines, we had to wait for a tanker to pass through the Welland Canal. I asked Rick to park so we could go up on the observation deck. I have always loved watching the tankers as they move through the canal!

We arrived at Aunt Hannah's and decided to change into our running clothes and spend some time running around Guy Road Park. After a couple of hours of exercise, we headed back to the house and got cleaned up.

A few hours later, the rest of the family showed up. We were relaxing in the front room when Mom and Dad came in.

Mom was the first to speak, "What happened, boys?"

Before Rick could respond, I said, "Mom and Dad, I need to tell you something that John did to me that will explain why Rick did what he did today."

They sat down and listened as I narrated the events that had transpired at John's house in their absence that summer. As I described how traumatized I had been by the experience, Mom started to weep. I went on to narrate how I felt so worthless and the depression that had set in. I could see Dad's reaction to my revelations as the reality hit him that instead of supporting me he had made things worse.

When I finished, he said, "I'm so sorry, my son. I realize now how much damage I caused by treating you the way I did. Can you ever forgive me?"

I got up from the couch where I had been sitting with Rick's arm around my shoulders for support. I walked over to Mom and Dad and took each of their hands in one of mine as I knelt down in front of them. "I forgave you both a long time ago. I realized that you couldn't have known why I was depressed or why things weren't working right for me because I couldn't talk to you about it. I just wanted it to go away and never come back. You did the best you could given the circumstances."

I hugged each one and gave them a kiss on the cheek. "I love you," I said. They wrapped their arms around me and we shared a group hug as the tears flowed down our cheeks.

Later that evening, Rick and I sat with Randy and Shawn family room talking while the adults stayed in the kitchen. We had talked about every other topic under the sun except about what I had revealed to them a few hours earlier. There was a lull in the conversation and we sat in silence for a few minutes until Shawn finally said, "Glenn, I admire your courage. I am glad you have lanced the festering wound that you have carried inside you all these years. Now you can begin the healing process."

"I am glad Glenn has finally shared with us what happened but at the same time he has caused the rest of us to feel like cretins for not figuring out that something happened to him. I know Mom and Dad are feeling way worse than I am. We were too involved with our own little worlds to notice that something was drastically wrong with Glenn. I remember how withdrawn Glenn became after that day. We talked about it among ourselves but we attributed it to Glenn's passage into puberty," Randy said.

Shawn replied, "Yes, you, collectively, should have noticed something was wrong and your parents did notice. Didn't they, Glenn?"

"Yes, they did, Shawn. They did take me to a therapist but that is as far as it went," I said.

Randy said, "Uncle Gordon and Aunt Sylvia were livid. They have demanded that Rick apologize for assaulting their son. I don't know if Mom and Dad have told them about what happened between John and Glenn."

"They won't believe it because John has always been their golden child," I said. "I don't expect that they will believe anything we tell them that contradicts their image of him."

Rick said, "It doesn't matter, Glenn. I very much doubt that John will show his face anywhere near us."

I laughed, "I guess not after you knocked him to the ground with one punch in the face!"

Randy smiled, "That's true. You did hit him pretty hard, Rick."

"Unfortunately, it will cause some tension in the family," Shawn said.

Shawn's statement infuriated me, "Shawn, I don't care if it causes some tension in the family. What John did to me was wrong and if Uncle Gordon and Aunt Sylvia refuse to acknowledge it, shame on them! They aren't the ones that have had to deal with the aftermath of being raped!"

Shawn looked like I had slapped him, "I am sorry, Glenn. I didn't mean to infer that what John did to you wasn't a horrible thing to do, rather I was lamenting the fact that instead of apologizing to you and taking John to task for what he has done, they will deny it and go on the attack as a self-defense mechanism."

I was about to give Shawn an angry retort when Rick put his finger to my lips, "Glenn, it's okay. Shawn is on your side. You don't need to lash out at anyone here. Please calm down."

I knew Rick was right but I was having a hard time controlling my emotions. I looked at him and started to speak but he cut me off, "You need to put a lid on it, Glenn." Rick took both my hands in his and said tenderly, "It's me remember. I love you. Don't fight with me."

I held his gaze and then the waterworks began. I was so frustrated. I am such a cry baby when I get really angry and I hate it, hate it, hate it! Rick released my hands and put them on either side of my head and wiped my tears away.

Randy said, "Glenn, you have definitely found the right man for you! Rick knows exactly what to do to help keep you well grounded."

"Don't be angry with Rick for trying to help you," Shawn said.

I nodded my head and said, "I love you, Rick."

Rick pulled me into his arms and held me close. I leaned against his chest and tried to get myself under better control. Rick had been holding me for a while when my parents came into the room with Aunt Hannah and Uncle Carl. They sat down on the couch across from us.

Dad said, "We spoke to Gordon and Sylvia about what happened between you and John. They, as expected, have denied anything of the sort happened and blame you for the violence that happened in their home today."

Rick asked, "What did John say?"

Dad replied, "John is denying that he touched you, Glenn."

That made me so angry, I wanted to shout and scream at everyone in the house. However, I didn't get a chance to react because Rick tightened his embrace and whispered in my ear, "Not now, Glenn."

Mom said, "We believe you, Glenn, but they do not. So for the time being, we won't be going over there. I am sorry, Glenn."

"Son, I want you to know that we are behind you 100 percent. I am sorry that my sister and her husband have chosen not to listen to the voice of reason," Dad said.

I didn't respond because I didn't know what to say that wouldn't end up with me shouting and screaming at the top of my lung. Rick said, "I think we need to go to bed early tonight. Glenn is exhausted both mentally and physically. We will see you in the morning."

We got up and Rick took my by the hand and led me from the room. Once we were behind closed doors, I said, "Thank you for helping me keep control in there."

Rick smiled, "I know you were pretty close to blowing up and it was not the right place or time."

I nodded my head, "Will you take me to bed and just hold me?"

Rick nodded his head, "Of course." He helped me strip out of my clothes and I let him put me in bed. He quickly followed suit and joined me. Rick pulled me into his arms and I put my head on his chest, listening to the steady rhythm of his heart.

Over a month later, we were driving to Grandpa and Grandma's house for Thanksgiving with the Georgia contingent of our family. I turned to Rick and said, "I hope this Thanksgiving dinner is less eventful than the one last month with Dad's side of the family."

Rick took my hand in his, "I hope so for your sake, Glenn. It took you nearly two weeks to settle down from that experience."

I felt terrible about those two weeks. "I am sorry for putting you through that, Rick. I know I was very difficult to be around."

Rick nodded his head, "That is an understatement if there ever was one!"

I laughed, "You are not supposed to agree with me!"

"Okay, then I will say you were emotionally unstable," Rick said with a grin.

"And you shouldn't say that either!" I exclaimed in protest.

Rick patted my knee and said, "What disturbs me most, however, is that your nightmares haven't stopped."

"I can't help it, Rick. I keep dreaming about what happened and it wakes me up," I said miserably. "I am so sorry about keeping you awake at night."

Rick said, "We will get through it, Glenn."

As I gazed out the window, I noticed that Keith and Kerry still ahead of us but were signaling that they were getting off the freeway at this exit. I asked, "Did you see that Keith is getting off?"

"Yes, I did notice and I am following him off the exit. We need to get gas and I need to stretch my legs a bit," Rick replied.

We followed them to the gas station and filled up. Keith came over and said, "We are making good time. We should be there in plenty of time to help cook Thanksgiving dinner."

"Won't Grandma already have everything ready by the time we get there?" I asked. This was going to be my first Thanksgiving in the United States. I was looking forward to spending it with Mom's family.

"I am pretty sure she will have all of the pies made and the rolls but there will still be all of the other things like candied yams, salads of every kind and, of course, the turkey," Keith said.

Rick came over after filling the gas tank, "I am more than ready to eat a Thanksgiving feast. Let's get back on the road."

Keith agreed, "We are ready."

We got back on the freeway. I love riding in Rick's red corvette. It's his baby! Rick soon passed Keith and Kerry. I waved as we went by them. We pulled into Grandpa and Grandma's driveway and parked behind Uncle Stan's car. We got out and retrieved our gear. We were just entering the house when Keith and Kerry pulled into the driveway. They parked behind us and Keith jumped out and said, "You didn't beat by much, Rick."

Rick grinned, "I wasn't racing you, Keith. I just couldn't stay behind you when you were going so SLOW!"

Keith protested, "I was going the speed limit!"

"I know," Rick said still grinning.

We left Keith as he walked around the car to open Kerry's door for her. We were greeted by Grandma. "Hello boys! You know where your room is. Take your things on upstairs and then join us in the kitchen."

We took our things to our room and put away our clothes. We finished that chore and then Rick pulled me into his arms for what he called a "quickie." A "quickie" is a hugely passionate kiss that leaves me completely breathless and with a raging hard on!

When he released me, I complained, "You always get me so horny and then leave me without so much as a promise to fuck me later!"

Rick grinned, "Okay, I will say it then I promise to fuck you later!"

"You are so mean to me, Mr. Lernier!" I proclaimed with mock anger. I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him, again.

Rick pulled back and gazed into my eyes, "We need to go downstairs or we won't make it for dinner the way we are going."

I gave him an impish grin, "I know. That's the whole point isn't it?"

Rick laughed and took my hand, leading me from our room and back down the stairs to the kitchen. I caught the smell of the turkey roasting in the oven. I saw the many pies on the counter and the fresh homemade rolls Grandma had made. Grandma saw me eyeing the rolls and said, "Rick and Glenn, grab a couple of those rolls while they are still warm. There is some butter and raspberry jam on the table."

Rick said, "I don't have to be asked twice!"

"Neither do I," I said. We walked over and grabbed the rolls as directed.

Grandma pointed to the small plates sitting next to the rolls, "Use those plates, please."

We obediently placed our rolls on the plates and then took a seat at the kitchen table. Grandma passed us the butter and jam. I split open the rolls and took a deep breath. There is nothing like the smell of fresh, hot rolls! I slathered on the butter and jam. We made quick work of the delicious rolls. Keith and Kerry soon joined us and were given the same directions as we were.

Grandma saw me eyeing the rolls, again. She laughed, "Okay, Glenn, you can have a couple more rolls but that is it until dinner time."

Rick and I were quick to get our rolls. Rick grinned and said, "Grandma, these are the best rolls ever!"

"Of course they are," Grandma said. "They are my grandmother's recipe."

Kerry said, "They are very good, Grandma."

"Thank you, dear," Grandma said. "When you finish, go join the rest of the family. They are in the family room playing games and watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television."

We spent the rest of the day enjoying time with my cousins, aunts and uncles. However, the best part of the entire day was the Thanksgiving feast! Grandma and my aunts outdid themselves! I have never eaten so much in my life!

That night, I snuggled into Rick's arms and let out a deep sigh of contentment. Rick asked, "Are you happy, Glenn?"

"Yes, I am very happy. I got to spend time with family and now I get to sleep in my lover's arms. What more can I want?" I asked.

"Nothing. I feel the same way, Glenn. I love our family very much," Rick said. He leaned over and kissed me gently on the lips. "And best of all, I have you."

I put my hand on his cheek and said, "You are the best part of my day every day, Rick."

Rick looked deeply into my eyes and said, "I love you."

I replied, "I love you, too."

Prev To be continued . . .