The box showed up on our doorstep a week before Thanksgiving. We were confused. It couldn’t possibly have been the prep-by-step Thanksgiving dinner we ordered. It was way too early, and the box wasn’t nearly heavy enough.
“Do you think we got scammed?” I asked my boyfriend Paul.
“What do you mean we, Mr. Subscription Delivery Service Addict?” he said with a smirk. “I’m not the one who ordered it. I told you I’d be happy with pizza and beer.”
We’d done pizza and beer for two consecutive lockdown Thanksgivings. I was ready for something special, but neither of us was a great cook. I wanted premeasured ingredients and a simple chart to follow. Thanksgiving-in-a-box was the answer, or so I thought.
Paul tore the box open, and a blast of confetti shot from it, scaring the crap out of us both. I pulled a card out of the empty box as bits of autumn-colored ticker tape fluttered to the floor.
You now have everything you need for the perfect family holiday. Happy Thanksgiving-in-a-box!
Paul was amused. I was pissed. This was a massive clean-up job, and we had absolutely nothing for Thanksgiving dinner.
“At least we have a week to pivot,” I said, coming back from the kitchen with the broom and dustpan.
“Or there’s always pizza and beer.”
I woke up the following day to the noise of cabinets banging and dishes clattering in the kitchen. It was rare for Paul to rise before me on any day, let alone on one of his days off. I ambled into the kitchen and saw him sorting what looked like a thousand dollars’ worth of groceries, covering every available surface.
“Morning, babe,” I said, interrupting his focused, somewhat manic workflow.
“Hey!” he exclaimed. “I thought I’d get the shopping done for Thanksgiving. I think I got everything we need.”
“Great,” I said. “You seem really… enthusiastic.”
Paul stopped counting potatoes and wrapped his arms around me, pulling me into a tight bear hug. Of course, my boyfriend had his romantic moments, but he wasn’t typically this demonstrative.
“I know you wanted Thanksgiving to be special,” he said. “I want to make it special for you. For both of us.”
He released his grip on me and smiled. I looked at him curiously for a moment. “Did you do something different to your hair?”
I blinked a few times, thinking it was just sleep making me see things. “You’ve gone kinda grey at the temples. In the mustache, too.”
Paul reached into a drawer and pulled out a giant serving spoon. He held it in front of his face as if checking his reflection. “I don’t notice anything different. Why don’t you run along and let me take care of things here?”
I laughed. “Run along?”
The next few days got weird. While we were running errands on Saturday, Paul made an impromptu detour to the thrift store. He picked out an assortment of polo shirts, khaki shorts, and white sneakers. He roused me out of bed at six-thirty on Sunday, and we spent the morning raking all the leaves in the yard. After overhearing me on a challenging work call on Monday, he sat me down for a “heart-to-heart.” He lectured me for 45 minutes about having respect for my elders.
By Tuesday, things had gotten out of hand. Paul walked into my basement office in the middle of my weekly team huddle to tell me I needed to pick up our room. I gestured for him to leave, but he wouldn’t budge. So finally, I muted myself and switched off my camera to deal with this.
“I’ll do it after my meeting ends,” I said.
“No,” Paul said sternly. “You should have done it this morning. You’ll do it now.”
“I’ve been busy,” I said, exasperated. “I didn’t have time this morning. I’ll do it later.”
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have to do it over?”
The silence between us grew tense. I stared at Paul, and he stared right back at me. Then, finally, he broke the silence.
“As long as you live under my roof, you live under my rules.”
My boyfriend looked different. Older somehow, but also more… authoritative. He stood even taller and exuded a confidence I had never noticed in him before. My resistance started showing cracks. I didn’t want Paul to be mad at me. I loved him, but I wanted him to be proud of me even more.
I sat down at my desk and jumped back on the call.
“Hey guys,” I started, unsure how to articulate how I felt about what just happened. “I’ve got to take care of something quick. I’ll be right back.”
Paul folded his arms across his chest and smiled at me. “See how easy that was?”
“Yes,” I said, following him out of my office and upstairs to our bedroom.
I’d had enough of Paul’s weird new attitude by Wednesday night, so I called up a work buddy and managed to get invited to his Friendsgiving Eve pub crawl. Sure, I’d be the oldest guy in the group by at least a decade, but it beat staying home with Paul, my now domineering man-of-the-house boyfriend.
The pub crawl didn’t start until ten, which was my new weeknight bedtime—one of Paul’s “my roof, my rules” directives. I waited until he fell asleep in front of the TV and sneaked past the living room toward the garage. I didn’t get far.
“Evan, turn around and come here.”
Fuck. I mean, frick. I returned to the living room, where Paul was waiting for me. He was shirtless and wearing a pair of faded gym shorts. I stared at his belly. His grey hair reflected the glow from the fireplace. My cock stiffened. As much as I had wanted to avoid him these last few days, the way he looked now only made him sexier to me. The longer I spent around him, the harder it got to disobey or disagree.
“Where were you going?”
I stared at my shoes. “Nowhere.”
He pointed at the sofa. I instinctively went to sit down.
“I don’t like asking questions twice.”
I sighed. “Just out. With some friends.”
Paul dragged a chair over and sat down directly in front of me. He spread his legs to fill the space, and I could see the outline of his cock and balls in his thin shorts. “What if you’d gotten hurt while you were gone? You might be lying dead in a ditch somewhere, and I’d be up all night worrying.”
“Sorry, Sir.” Sir had become an almost automatic part of my vocabulary. I couldn’t remember exactly when. “I didn’t mean to disrespect you.”
“I know you didn’t.” Paul leaned forward and rested his elbows on his thighs. His pecs rested on his belly, and I felt precum on the insides of my underwear. “Now, why don’t you run upstairs and get in bed. Tomorrow’s a big day.”
“Yes, Sir.” We stood. Paul extended his hand. I shook it. When our hands touched, something happened to us both. Dizziness and disorientation caused us to stagger, and we gripped our hands tighter to keep our balance. My double vision cleared, and I saw Paul pinching the bridge of his nose. My eyes darted down to his shorts. He was tenting.
“You all right, son?”
I looked back up at Sir. He smiled like he always did when he caught me looking. I let go of his hand, and he massaged his bulging erection.
“Yes, Sir! Thank You, Sir!”
“Good boy.” He rubbed my neck with the same hand that had touched his cock. “Now go get some shut-eye. I need my number one potato peeler rested and ready to work bright and early.”
I hugged him tightly, ensuring our bulges made contact, and then ran up the stairs to our room. I was excited for tomorrow and hoped I would fall asleep quickly. I couldn’t wait for our special family Thanksgiving.
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