With exams a week away, Brad knew he wouldn't have been able to travel anywhere
for Thanksgiving meal. So Toby, in his infinite wisdom, had invited both of
their families to share the holiday with them at their home.
By nine that morning, with the Macy's Parade starting coverage in the background
and the turkey in the oven, Brad was already bouncing off the walls with nervous
energy. Brad's oldest brother was scheduled to arrive at 1:00 with his wife and
two kids. All of the rest of his family were arriving by 1:30 that afternoon.
Toby's family would also be there in time for the first joint Thanksgiving.
"Hey, Tigger, you have got to stop bouncing. How much coffee did you have
today?" Toby questioned.
"None. But we have to finish cleaning the house. And set the table. And
finish cooking. And I have to get a bit of studying in today. What if there's
not enough food. Maybe we should have made a green bean casserole and we should
Toby gently grabbed his lover's hands and stilled his mouth with a sweet kiss.
"Breathe, Tigger. Breathe. It's going to be fine. The moms are both bringing
some sides. Your brothers are bringing bread, veggies and salad. Mine are
bringing deserts and wine. All we had to do was the turkey and it is in the
Brad took a deep breath and leaned into the hug from Toby. "I still say we
should have deep fried the turkey when my brothers got here."
"No way in hell am I letting you and your brothers near that deep fryer. You
lot would throw the frozen turkey in just to see the `pretty fire'" Toby said
landing a swat on Brad's backside as he released him. "It's going to be fine
today, sweetheart. I promise."
"What if the parents don't get along? What if they hate each other? What if the
food doesn't work out or we don't have enough?"
"What if the world exploded?" Brad hated it when Toby used reason. "You need
to calm down. I'll finish up here; you need to go to our room, please."
"But Toby …" Brad whined while looking around at the kitchen and dining room.
"Now. The laptop is open and on. Go calm down and stop your hysteria."
"But Toby …" Brad's voice had a decidedly different tone as he looked at his
lover with a grin.
"Now, please. Would you prefer I come and help?"
"Toby, I am not a 19th century woman. But, yes, please." Brad said grinning.
Toby checked the oven one last time, took Brad's hand, and led him back to the
Half an hour later and decidedly calmer, Brad sat in the family room watching
the floats and leaning into Toby.
"I should go get some studying done before the hoards descend." Brad said with
a half-hearted effort to rise from the overstuffed coach.
Toby tightened his arms around his lover "First, we need to talk about today."
Toby pressed the mute button on the TV remote.
"We are about to be invaded by 16 people. I know you, Bradley. This is well
beyond what I expect you to deal well with, especially with exams coming next
week. However, you need to be here and present when your family arrives. And
you need to be here until the meal is over."
"I'm here and not going anywhere, Toby."
"No, here and present. Not in your head and disappearing into yourself like you
do sometimes when too many friends come over."
"The whole time?"
"Yes. I promise to get you through this if you promise to stay calm and try."
As it got closer to the D-day invasion, Brad was jumping at every sound or
When Toby walked up behind Brad and wrapped his arms around him, Brad jumped a
mile high. "Breathe"
"Your brother and his family get here in 10 minutes. We can try the 19th
century method again, but they might get here early. It's up to you. Your
brother is very understanding and accepting, but that may be too much
information for even him." Brad laughed at Toby and could tell by the answering
grin that that had been Toby's intent.
"Thanks for the offer. Maybe between courses." Brad teased leaning back and
wiggling his hips as they heard a car in the gravel drive. "Here we go."
As more and more family on both sides started to arrive, Brad tried his hardest
to be an attentive and generous host. Filling wine grasses, flitting around the
small groups of talking in-laws and never still for more than a minute or two.
More than once Toby passed by his lover as Brad was moving about and brushed his
hand over Brad's butt. Once, as they passed in the doorway leading from the
living room to the kitchen, Toby pushed Brad against the doorframe and kissed
him until Brad couldn't focus on anything but his lover.
As it was closing in on time for the big Thanksgiving meal, Brad could feel
Toby's eyes on him from across the room. Brad clearly needed a respite from the
masses. "Brad, we are short some chairs for the table. Could you please go get
the ones out of the back of the storage room upstairs?"
Brad's oldest brother, James, started to get up to help his little brother, but
Toby discretely grabbed his arm and pulled him back down onto the couch. "Brad
doesn't need any help, he can do this alone." Toby said, with a slight emphasis
on the word "alone"
James, knowing and loving his little brother, relaxed back into his seat and
smiled at Toby, recognizing the chair ploy for the break that Brad so
The twenty minutes that it took to find, wipe down and bring out the chairs was
the perfect break in the hectic day. By the time Brad returned, he was calmer
and ready to face the meal.
Hours later, as both sets of family drove off after hugs, a few motherly tears
and discussions of plans for Christmas, Brad and Toby stood on their front porch
"Thanks, Toby. That wasn't nearly as bad as I thought." Brad said, as Toby led
him inside and locked the front door.
"You did an amazing job staying calm and with us today. I am so proud of you
"You helped. You and your 19th century calming methods. No wonder women were
in hysterics all the time, if that is the prescription they get. "
"Where do you learn these things?"
"Well, that history major must have been worth something." Brad said, grinning.
"It was always hilarious to hear Professor Edwards talking so calmly about the
different methods of `stimulating' women and the invention of vibrators.
Edwards was like 80 when he taught 19th Century History."
"Well, no matter how you know it. It worked on you. I can help calm you again,
anytime you like."
"I think I am starting to feel anxious about Christmas. I think I may need some
help calming down again."
Grinning like the Cheshire Cat, Toby led Brad back toward their bedroom to help
ease the new onset `hysteria'.