Lucas took the kids upstairs to tuck them into bed. “It’s your turn to pick a story to read, Beth.”
She chose SECTOR 7, by David Wiesner, one of their favorites. Beth settled on Lucas’s lap, stretching her legs over his, and Jordy pressed against his side. The book had no words, only big, wonderful pictures—each one advancing the story. They stopped at each page to decide what was happening on it.
When Lucas closed the book and put it away, Beth leaned her head back against him. “We used our crayons to trace our hands and fingers at school on Friday, and then we made turkeys out of them. Mom always makes turkey for Thanksgiving. Can you cook a turkey, Uncle Lucas?”
Ah, so she’d made a turkey out of her hand like so many kids had done before her. That’s what must have triggered all the attention on the next holiday. She sounded too serious.
“I always hang my turkey upside down and make it like Peking duck.”
“Like what?” She frowned at him.
“Haven’t you seen those ducks hanging in the windows of Chinese restaurants? Only I like to keep the feathers on mine. They tickle when they slide down your throat.”
“You can’t eat feathers!” she protested.
“Why not? They don’t have any bones in them.”
She grinned at him. “Feathers are for dogs. People eat the meat.”
“Is that so?” She’d caught onto the joke. “I’ve never cooked a turkey. I think I’ll cover mine in spaghetti sauce. I know how to make that.”
She wrinkled her nose. “No one cooks turkey like that.”
“Then I’ll be the first.”
“You put a turkey in the oven,” Jordy informed him.
“Then I’ll cover mine with bacon slices.”
Jordy’s eyes went wide. “I like bacon.”
Beth shook her head. “Mom never put bacon on a turkey.”
They discussed recipes until Beth yawned. Then he scooted them under their covers. Hercules couldn’t decide which kid to sleep with until Jordy started scratching near the base of his tail. That always did it—his secret weakness. Then Lucas kissed each kid on the forehead and turned out the lamp on their night table. The night light always stayed on.
Lucas grabbed a beer on his way to the couch. He nabbed the book he’d been reading, but before he opened it, he leaned back to think. Surely Dulcey would be home in time for Thanksgiving, wouldn’t she? There were no guarantees. He knew he could order an entire turkey meal at his local grocery store. It would have all the trimmings—stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans. He could make some of those, if he found the right recipes, but some of them sounded difficult.
For the first time in a long time, he wished that he had a woman in his life. A homemaker. Most women didn’t want that anymore. They had careers. They were busy. But he’d always wished his mom would cook for them. She made turkeys, but they tasted like jerky. Her gravy had more lumps than flavor. Desserts came from the bakery—basics with no flair. She was a whiz at boxed noodle mixes and frozen family dinners, but she even complained about making those.
More than anything, he wanted to meet someone he could just get along with. He didn’t want to argue all the time like his parents did. He and Mariah didn’t argue. They just rarely agreed. That didn’t work either.
He hadn’t realized it until now, but he was tired of being alone. He thought about Miss Doore. Plenty attractive. She liked kids. She loved to cook. But if he dated her, and they didn’t click, how awkward would it be for Jordy?
Not a good idea. There were plenty of women to choose from. It was time he started shopping around. He reached for his phone and went to a dating site. Too many options. He scrolled through a few pages and then gave up. He’d wait to worry about women until Dulcey came home and took the kids. Right now, he had enough going on, and it looked like meeting one woman after another for coffee or drinks might take more time than he’d thought.