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“Oh no,” Miriam repeated the mantra as she threw open a window and started waving at the smoke in the air with a kitchen towel. The fire alarm was screaming at her and she prayed that her neighbors would have pity on her and not call the fire department. That would just be the cherry on the top of her day.

Clinging to hope that the open window would help get rid of the smoke, she pulled the burnt lump from the oven. The towel hadn’t been enough to keep the heat from her skin and she cursed as she tossed it onto the top of the stove.

“Just fucking great,” she hissed once she’d shoved her hand under the faucet. The pain wouldn’t last for long but it was just another thing that had wrong. She’d gotten the day off to spend with her boyfriend. It was their first Thanksgiving and she’d wanted to make it special.

But one thing after another had her running around like a chicken with her head cut off. It had been hard enough to get Odi out of the house and now she had turned the most important part of dinner into a blackened chunk that she wouldn’t even feed to the dogs.

It was her fault. She shouldn’t have left the apartment. Not while the turkey was cooking. But she couldn’t say no to the young faces that had come to ask for help with groceries. Her neighbor above her was an elderly woman who took care of three young grandchildren. Miriam helped out on her days off since the old woman had so much on her plate.

After getting called out to the bar to deal with a mistake from the night before and having to run out for ingredients that she’d forgotten, she should have known better. But she’d gotten lucky with all the other dishes. Had gotten back just in time to have them perfect. The crust on the pie wasn’t even burned.

Miriam nearly jumped out of her skin when a hand took her elbow to take her hand from the stream of cool water. Her ears were still ringing even though the alarm had gone off moments ago and she’d missed the opening and closing of the front door.

“What did you do? Grab the pan with your bare hand?” Odi tsked, his fingers pressing close to the angry red skin but not quite on it. There weren’t blisters, thankfully, but it was still painful.

“I had a towel,” she murmured, trying not to look at the failure on the stove. The whole kitchen smelled like smoke but thankfully the haze was gone. Fighting back frustrated tears, she forced herself to focus on Odi and his inspection. Though his fussing wasn’t surprising, his presence was. “I thought you weren’t going to be home for a couple more hours?”

“I was hoping to surprise you,” Odi looked up with a crooked smile. He only let her hand go long enough to pull out their first aid kit from under the sink and get back to work. There weren’t many kitchen accidents but she liked to be prepared. “I think we had the same idea.”

Miriam let out a bitter laugh as his gaze lifted from bandaging her hand up towards the stove. She could only imagine how nice of a surprise that was. “I wanted to make us a nice dinner,” she sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose in an effort to keep the tears at bay. Their first holiday together and she’s ruined dinner and turned him into a doctor. “But you can see how well that went.”

“Well, I’m not sure we can eat bricks,” Odi was joking, she knew that, but she still sunk lower into a chair and whimpered. Calling the bird a brick was probably the nicest way to describe it. “But there is plenty to eat still. Was that pie I saw on the table?”

“I got the sides and pie done first,” Miriam opened her eyes when he finished, flexing her hand experimentally. Odi wasn’t a doctor but he wasn’t half bad at getting the burn taken care of. “But it really isn’t Thanksgiving without the turkey.”

“Well, what about ham?”

“Ham?” Miriam stopped studying her hand to watch him. Not only had she missed him coming in, but she hadn’t seen the bags he’d set on the counter either. Out of one came a large plastic container with a fully baked honey ham. “How did you get a ham while you were at the bar?”

They worked at the same place so she knew full well that there wouldn’t be a ham there for him to bring home. If there had been ham at all it would have been sold out long before the dinner rush.

“Mister Roy brought it in. Apparently, his missus thought that since I was working today, we weren’t going to eat a good dinner.” Odi grabbed the serving plate that she’d pulled out for the turkey and started carving the ham. “So I’ve got a ham, some veggies, and potatoes. I think there might be some sweet potato pie in there too.”

Miriam was still processing that they basically now had two full dinners when Odi poked at her burnt monstrosity. Before she could do more than groan and tell him that it wasn’t coming back to life, he’d tossed it out the open window with an excited ‘bombs away’.

“You did not ju-“

“Mims, I think it bounced. Like actually bounced,” Odi whistled, sticking his head out the window to watch it. “I expected it to shatter.” A part of her wanted to feel offended by that but instead, Miriam broke down into a fit of hysterical laughter. The tears of frustration from early turned into ones of amusement as she leaned against the counter. Odi had an uncanny ability to turn her worst days into something good and today, she was truly thankful for it.

“Get in here,” she reached over to tug on his shirt to get him away from the window. “Going to really ruin the day if someone calls the cops on you for throwing that out the window.”