The Cold Turkey
T A Y A
What the hell was that? That was definitely not just kissing.
The way Judah was kissing me, the way he was holding me, his hands on my body—it was sending all kinds of signals to my brain. Something in me was shaking in needs and wants at the sight of him. It was getting uncomfortable too. I couldn’t look him in the eye as we sat next to each other on the dining table.
My whole family, Judah, and I sat around the table as this mouthwatering thanksgiving feast was laid out before us. We had everything from Ryder’s favorite spam musubi, to my mom’s famous green bean casserole, and my homemade rice balls.
“Shall we say grace?” Uncle Peter spoke as he finished carving the turkey.
People started shuffling in their seats as we held hands with each other. My left hand was holding Kai’s, and my right hand was... well, I had to hold Judah’s.
Even holding hands with him was making me feel all kinds of ways. And we were in the middle of saying grace for crying out loud!
I needa be baptized.
“Amen!” I said a little too loudly as we finished the prayer and I pulled my hand away awkwardly.
Thankfully no one noticed since everyone was too excited for the turkey. Ry was sitting next to Judah and he kept looking at me and then to him, as if he knew something was up. Ry kept giving me this deadly stare, but I just rolled my eyes at him challengingly.
“So, Judah, I hear that you and Taya are in the school play together?” Mom spoke warmly. “I know she’s been practicing really hard. How’s that going?”
I knew mom meant no harm by that, but I couldn’t stop myself from blushing a little.
“It’s going really great. Taya here is a fantastic actress,” Judah replied. He gave me a wink as if he knew exactly what I was thinking.
“I can’t wait to see it. It’s gonna be on Christmas eve, right?” mom said again.
“Yes ma’am,” Judah answered.
That’s right. The play was only a month away from now.
I didn’t know why but somehow that made me kinda sad. Once this play was over, I wonder what would happen to Judah and I? Maybe we’d just go back to being friends...
But why did the thought of that made me so upset? Could it be possible that I was starting to develop feelings for him? For this pyscho!? That couldn’t be it!
“Want some gravy?” Judah said to me, breaking off my train of thought. He looked at me as if he was trying to figure out what I was thinking, but I quickly responded with a casual smile.
“Sure,” I said as I took the bowl from him, shaking off my depressing thoughts.
“So, Uncle Peter, how’s the yacht business going?” Kai spoke up this time.
“Great. Oh, I just got the most beautiful yacht, the Kona I’m calling it. It’s my greatest find up to date. We just need to fix her up a little and she’d be sailing in no time,” Uncle Peter was always excited when people talked to him about his yachts.
“You work all the time, Peter. Too much. When are you gonna have time to date at this rate?” mom interjected. She was always pushing for Uncle Peter to get back in the game. Every thanksgiving she would ask him to bring someone, but he never did.
“You know what, I heard, online-dating is the way to go nowadays. Maybe you should give it a go,” she said again.
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Uncle Peter shook his head and laughed.
“Kai’s good with computers, he can totally help you out,” mom offered.
“Yeah Uncle P, just say the word. We got Tindr, OkCupid, Match.com... Christian Mingle?”
The topic of Uncle Peter dating again wasn’t the most exciting thing for Ryder. Judah was quick to sense it too.
“Nice tats, man,” Judah said to Ryder, distracting him from the parent’s conversation. But Ry was just stoic, not giving Judah much attention.
“I got a few myself. But I couldn’t really commit to a whole sleeve just yet,” Judah spoke again.
“You have tattoos? Where?” I said. And I was truly curious. I had never seen his tattoos.
“Someplace you shouldn’t be seeing, Blondie,” he smirked at me, before turning his face back to Ry.
Suddenly the image popped to my head—places in Judah’s body that I hadn’t seen yet. I quickly shook my head in the hopes that those images would go away and I hoped to god no one noticed my face turning redder than this cranberry sauce.
“This design is crazy though. How long did it take you to get this one done?” Judah was busy trying talking to Ry, he was referring to the intricate design along Ry’s arm.
“I dunno, like 8 hours,” Ry shrugged, and he wasn’t even giving Judah his full attention.
“I was hoping to a get a sleeve done someday. But it’s probably not gonna be for a while. I’m putting all my money on my bike right now,” Judah was still enthusiastic in his replies.
“You ride?” Ryder’s eyes lit up all of a sudden.
Oh, right. Ryder was also into bikes. For the first time this entire dinner, Ryder actually looked enthused.
“Yeah, a 1993 Ducati Monster. I parked it outside,”
“Oh, dude, that’s a classic,” his voice warmed up.
“Yeah, took me my whole life to save up for it. I had to strip and rebuilt some parts, but man, it was worth every damn sweat and penny,”
"Bro, I’m also thinking of striping my BMW R1200GS,”
“Oh hell nah! It’s gonna be a pain in the ass. That’s a real bitch right there,”
Suddenly Ryder and Judah turned into these two nerds who just walked into a strip club for the first time. They kept going on and on about bikes, and engines, and whatnot. They didn’t pay attention to anyone and anything else at the dinner table. They had some serious bromance going on, it was even fun to watch.
* DING *
My phone’s notification lit up suddenly, but no one seemed to notice since they were all engrossed in their own conversations. I pulled my phone underneath the table and checked for the new message.
Blake: Check your door.
I gulped immediately, almost choking on my turkey. I was not expecting this at all. I hadn’t seen or spoken to Blake since the incident at school.
Don’t tell me he’s here?!
I excused myself from the table, telling everyone I was hitting the restroom. But instead, I stealthily went to the front door. I opened the door cautiously, thinking that Blake would be standing outside—but no. There was no one in sight. I let out a relieved sigh and as I was going to go back in, I noticed something was on the ground.
It was a real big book titled “Top Colleges and Universities in the USA”. I remembered Blake said it once, that he was going to show this book to me and help me find the colleges that I might be interested in.
I picked up the book and noted how heavy it was. There must be at least a thousand pages in there. I opened the first page, and there was a post-it note stuck on it:
I’ve highlighted all the places that I thought you might like. Hope that might help you with your search. —B
I flipped through the pages of the big book and noticed that Blake had went through the entire book, highlighting the ones he thought I would like. He even wrote notes and comments on why he thinks I should check them out. There were at least hundreds of them!
On the very last page of the book, there was another post-it note stuck on it:
I miss you :(
Oh shit on a stick. I had to admit, this was really sweet...
If a grand declaration of love from Blake was what I was looking for, this might just be it. My first instinct was to pull up my phone and give him a call, but as my thumb was busy scrolling down my contacts list, I was suddenly interrupted by a familiar voice—Ryder.
“What are you doing standing here?”
I turned around to see that Ry and Judah were standing right behind me.
“Ah, nothing,” I closed the book and quickly hid it behind me.
“What’s that?” Judah asked.
“It’s just this book with all these colleges. My friend just dropped them off,” I was trying to sound as casual as possible, “Where are you guys going?”
“I’m just showing your cousin my baby,” Judah smirked. Clearly he was referring to his bike.
“Oh, okay,” I mouthed as Ry slipped past me and out the door.
Judah was about to follow suit, when he stopped suddenly and turned around.
“Hey... are you okay?” he said lowly, as if to make sure that Ry wouldn’t hear him.
“Yeah, of course,” I mumbled out.
His eyes were searching me, trying to study my face. Perhaps I hadn’t been as convincing as I thought.
“About before...” he paused a second before saying, “What happened in your room. Just forget it ever happened, ok?”
His hand reached out to the spot on my neck where he once kissed me and I flinched at the contact. He was rubbing it, as if there was a stain there that he was trying to remove.
“Ah shit,” he muttered, as he realized his attempt at rubbing it away was futile.
“It’s alright, I don’t think anyone noticed,” he said instead as he pulled my hair around to cover it.
I pulled my phone up instinctively and checked the reflection on the screen. I gasped instantly at the sight. There was a clear hickey mark on my neck! No wonder Ry kept giving me the stink eye!
“I just got a bit carried away, I’m sorry if I freaked you out. Won’t happen again,” Judah continued on.
I wanted to say, ”please let it happen again“—but of course I bit my lip and swallowed instead. My heart sunk to my feet, but I tried my best not to let it show.
“Oh... yeah... sure, no problem,” was what came out of me.
I wanted to take those words back and said something else entirely, but I just didn’t have the guts to do it. Judah gave me one last look and a smile before he turned around to follow Ryder outside.
As I walked back inside, I found my hand trailing up my neck, touching the spot that Judah had marked. My chest was beating rapidly just at the thought of it.
I decided to go up to my room, quickly rummaging my make up bag for some concealer. As I applied the cream on my neck, I couldn’t help but remember that kiss again and blood rushed to my cheeks.
But then, my eyes darted to this big book I had laid on the bed, and I couldn’t deny that I was swooning over this sweet gesture from Blake.
I should call Blake... Should I?
Or maybe I should have another talk with Judah?
My mind was going crazy with all the possible scenarios. And I was also feeling a mixed of so many emotions. It was a cocktail of feelings enough to get me all dizzy and nauseous. Suddenly, I was feeling sick, as if I had just ate some bad turkey.
Perhaps I was getting a case of the lovesickness.
I decided that I need to pay a visit to a love doctor, and I knew just who to call.