"Not going to do it," I said stubbornly.
"Please?" Artemis begged. "It's not as hard as it seems! I promise it's not!"
"Look at it! It's huge!"
"It's just a turkey!"
I crossed my arms and he narrowed his eyes.
"You will cook this turkey, Deidre," he said.
"Oh yeah? And you plan on forcing me to?"
"Yes," he said simply. He picked up the 10 pound turkey and put it in the grocery car. "You did an amazing job on that lasagna, you will baste this turkey."
I glared at him.
We were in the grocery store doing last minute food shopping for Thanksgiving. There were a lot of people coming over and Artemis and I would be doing most of the cooking. So far he had put me in charge of the stuffing, green bean casserole, and broccoli. Evelyn and my mom would be covering the baking while Artemis and I were going to do the turkey together.
"I'm not bending over a hot stove to stick a baster up a turkey's butt," I said when we got in line.
A woman behind me laughed loudly. "That's what my husband keeps saying," she laughed.
"See! I'm not the only one!"
"Oh, but I make him do it anyway," she said, her eyes shining. She looked familiar.... "Is this your first Thanksgiving together?"
"What do you mean?"
"You can't fool an old lady," she teased as we moved forward. "I can tell you guys love each other."
I blushed as Artemis answered. "Actually, it is." He put his arm around me. "She managed a very good lasagna but she's afraid of a silly turkey."
I looked at it doubtfully as he lifted it onto the belt behind everything else with a grunt.
"You can barely lift it!" I said.
He ignored me and put a divider between our stuff. He helped the woman put her things up.
"Oh, you don't have to do that, young man," she said quickly.
He smiled. "It's not a problem, I promise."
I smiled at the sight of him helping out the woman. I then noticed she was in a boot.
"What happened?" I asked.
She waved her hand. "Honey, when you get to my age, you sprain something new every other day. Do I have something on me?" she asked when I kept staring at her.
"Sorry. It's just... you look very familiar," I said. "I feel like we've met."
"Probably not," she said kindly. "I just spend my days at the soup kitchen and-"
"Margie?" I breathed, my eyes starting to water.
She looked surprised. "Yes. Have you volunteered- Oh my!"
I hugged her tightly. She laughed a little and patted my back. I held her hands, crying.
"You don't recognize me?"
She tilted her head and squinted her eyes. "You look like a girl I used to serve. She was the sweetest thing. She would always help her mother out. Poor girl was-"
"Bullied out when she was by herself," I finished and her eyes filled with tears.
"Deidre?" she whispered and I nodded. "Oh, Deidre!" She hugged me again. "It's so good to see you! Wait, then that means...."
"Yes," Artemis said quickly, looking around.
She laughed. "Even if I wanted to tell, no one would believe an old lady like me." Artemis moved around me to go pay for the groceries. "He's a fine young man."
I smiled at him as he talked and entered his information for his credit card.
"He really is," I nodded. "I got lucky. How is the kitchen doing? I want to come volunteer but, after my last time in there, I don't think I'd be welcome."
She smiled sadly but didn't say anything. She didn't need to. Then she sighed.
"It's not doing very well, Deidre," she said. "If we don't get funding soon, we'll have to close."
I stared at her but the large group of shoppers forced me to leave. I hugged her one more time before walking out with Artemis.
"What's wrong, babe?" he asked as we put the groceries in the back of the SUV, ignoring the people taking pictures on their phones.
It was getting easier to block out the people following us. Now that the holidays were here, though, I was sure they'd pick up soon. I wondered when we would be announcing the engagement.
"I'm just worried about the kitchen," I said.
"What's wrong with it?"
"They might have to close down if they don't get any funding," I said sadly. "I wish I had money to donate. They do such great work."
"Let's talk to Mom when we get back," he suggested.
"I was going to talk to her a while back but then...."
"Life happened," he whispered, holding my hand as he drove carefully through the streets.
"I think it's a great idea!" Evelyn said.
Artemis was putting the groceries away and I was sitting with her and my mom at the table. I had just asked her, explaining my run in with Margie.
"They took such good care of us," I said. "I'd hate to see them close down."
Evelyn got out her checkbook. "How much do you want to donate?"
"I have no idea," I admitted. "The most money I've ever had at one time is $100."
"Hmm." She clicked her pen and bent over the check. I couldn't she what she was writing. She put it in an envelope and passed it to me. "We'll go by tomorrow after we get off work. I want you to come this time."
"Okay. What about you, Mom?" I asked. "You haven't been going to the restaurant lately." When she didn't answer, I held her hand. "Mom, were you-?"
"Technically laid off," she interrupted and I sighed. "But it's okay! Evelyn has offered me a position at Kilgore Productions in the marketing department."
I looked between the two of them. "Is that what you've been talking about all the time?"
"Yep," Evelyn said happily. "She just finished training a few days ago."
I smiled and Artemis passed around a glass of champagne, sitting beside me.
"I feel like we should make a toast," he said and held his glass up. "To Kilgore Productions."
"To family," Evelyn said.
"To life," Mom said.
I smiled, leaning into Artemis a little.