It’s a Thanksgiving edition of Wednesday Briefs. Avery worked on a stand alone story just for the holiday. She hopes you enjoy the foreign setting in addition to Cam and Marcus. By the way, she’s been learning Spanish so hopefully her vocabulary is up-to-par in the story!
This week’s prompt was “mashed potatoes.” Trust her, it’s in the story! And, yes, her story comes in under 1,000 words.
Blessing in Disguise
Twas the day before Thanksgiving, and all was…well, normal, considering Argentinians didn’t celebrate the occasion. Just another working Wednesday.
Why haven’t I heard from Brett? Cam had spent the day checking his email in between meetings, hoping for a message from his sort-of boyfriend back in the States. He’d tried to reach him last night, but no luck. Brett’s flight was due to arrive in Buenos Aires later today. Maybe his cell phone was dead or didn’t have service? Or maybe something worse…like Brett wasn’t coming. Cam felt like a fool, dreaming about spending a cozy long weekend, trying to cement their crumbling relationship.
Cam dropped his head into his hands. “Should’ve known better,” he mumbled Ever since he’d been assigned abroad, Brett had been pulling away. Cam hadn’t wanted to acknowledge it, but the generic break-up email shouldn’t have been a surprise. “Asshole,” he muttered, “at least he could’ve called.”
A knock sounded on his door. “Cam, do you have a minute?”
He looked up between his fingers. “No, Jillian, I really don’t.”
She walked into his office anyway and helped herself to a seat. “Come on, tell me what’s wrong.”
Jillian had adopted him the moment he started. She’d been in Buenos Aires almost two years and treated him like the little brother she never had. They’d shared margaritas on more than one occasion, and Cam whined to her whenever he got homesick. He took a deep breath and sat up. “Brett canceled. Oh, and he broke up with me. All via email.”
Her face brightened. “Well good. Then you definitely have time for the visitor in the lobby.”
“You’re happy about me now being single?” He shook his head. Not what I’d expected. “You’re going to have to explain this to me. Can’t I get a little sympathy here? Some support maybe?”
“Cam, you know I love you, but this thing with Brett has been over for a long time.” She leaned closer to his desk. “Don’t make me say ‘I told you so.'”
“Don’t you dare,” he growled.
She quickly stood and sauntered to his door. Looking back over her shoulder she said, “Let me show Señor Aguirre in. I think he likes you. Maybe he can cure your surly mood.”
“Fine.” Cam straightened his tie and ran his fingers through his hair. Señor Marcus Aguirre did have a thing for him. The guy had stopped by before, and Cam was polite, but distant. He and Jillian actually ran into Marcus at a restaurant near the Embassy. He’d stayed for drinks at Jillian’s urging, but then excused himself when Cam didn’t respond to his flirting.
Maybe he should cut the guy some slack. He had the cutest smile and an adorable little dimple on his chin. Quit thinking about his lips and what they might taste like, Cam, you don’t have time for that.
“Buenas tardes, Señor Carden.” Marcus extended his hand as he approached.
“Gracias. Buenas tardes, Marcus.” Cam gave him a warm handshake, enjoying the smooth skin of Marcus’s hands. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Well, I was hoping you might have some time to talk.” All of a sudden Marcus released Cam’s hand and fidgeted with the strap on his leather messenger bag.
“For you? Of course.” Cam indicated one of the chairs in front of his desk. He took the other.
Marcus slowly arranged his bag on the floor and then smoothed his pants. He didn’t speak, just nibbled on his lower lip.
Cam wasn’t known for having patience. He had no idea why the man was so nervous. He sat forward in his chair and placed his hand on Marcus’s arm. “Please, just tell me what’s going on.”
After clearing his throat, Marcus met Cam’s eyes and began. Hesitantly. “I know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving for Americans. I was, ah, wondering if you’d like to come to my apartment for dinner. I can’t promise you turkey and mashed potatoes, but I’ve been researching your holiday and think I can make something close.”
Marcus’s suggestion caught Cam completely off guard. His mind side-tracked, he once again found himself focusing on Marcus’s lips and wishing the man would quit biting that bottom one. It didn’t deserve such punishment.
“I-if you have other plans or if you have family coming, I understand,” Marcus hurried on at Cam’s pause.
Cam gave Marcus’s arm a squeeze. Maybe he needed to give the guy a chance. Brett had never offered to cook for him. He knew Marcus worked in IT, but his family owned a successful restaurant. Surely, the man would be good company, even if he hadn’t gotten any “chef genes” from his parents. “That’s very kind of you. I would be honored to have dinner with you.”
Marcus released a big breath. “Sorry, I don’t mean to be so nervous. It’s just…well…Jillian mentioned you were homesick. I thought maybe I could help you out.” Cam nearly melted at the smile Marcus shot him. He’d have never guessed that Marcus would be so thoughtful. And speaking of…he was going to have words with Jillian. That damn woman needed to stay out of his love life.
Chuckling, Cam leaned back in his seat and crossed his legs. “This is the first big holiday I’ve been away from my family. I really appreciate your offer. Can I bring anything?”
“Oh, no, please. Just bring yourself. Well, maybe you could wear those charcoal gray trousers. They, um, fit you really well.” Marcus ducked his head, likely to hide the red that filled his tan cheeks.
Cam shifted in his seat. He’d bring some wine or tequila for dinner. And speaking of pants, his were growing tighter by the second. So Marcus had been checking out his ass. Even though he was far from his family in Burlington, Vermont, Thanksgiving might not turn out so bad after all.
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