When Justine brings Lucky home for Christmas, the family isn’t shy in expressing their dislike of the quirky, single mother. Even Grandma’s taking pot shots at Lucky all through dinner! Sure, Lucky’s tattoos and tight clothes make her an easy target in Mother’s prim and proper dining room, but there’s so much the family doesn’t understand about the woman Justine loves. When they do find out more about Lucky’s past, will they be willing to accept her at all, or will they be able to embrace Justine's new love?
A short story from our Nibs literary line.
“Was that stuffing cooked inside the turkey?” Lucky had been bouncing the baby on her knee, but she stopped now to peer at the dish, making a face everyone else at the table would probably view as uncouth.
“That tray was, yes.” Justine’s mom plastered on a smile, but it was obviously fake. “But I baked another little dish of stuffing all by its lonesome.”
Lucky breathed an exaggerated sigh of relief. “Oh, that’s good. I won’t eat anything that’s come in contact with meat.”
Justine knew that Lucky didn’t mean to be rude. She’d been looking forward to the tastes of Christmas dinner ever since Justine had invited her to this family gathering, and she obviously didn’t want to miss out on the best part. Thanksgiving and Christmas were the only times stuffing made an appearance on this table, and Justine’s mom’s cranberry-and-walnut was to die for.
Beaming that same irritated smile, her mother said, “Justine’s the same way. That’s why I made a special batch for the two vegetarians.”
“Three,” Lucky said. Her slick black hair tumbled over her shoulder as she gazed at the baby whose tiny feet rested on her thigh. With his fat little face tilted to one side, he looked like an old man asleep standing up. “Looks like Zadyn needs a nap before nom-noms. He’s vegetarian too.”
Justine’s brothers’ jaws dropped, and her cousin Andrea laughed unapologetically. Justine shot them a death glare, but they were focused on the woman they’d already labelled a freak.
“Your baby’s vegetarian?” Andrea let the laughter fade to a faint giggle instead of trying to talk over it.
Grandma Thornton didn’t seem half so amused. The tight purse of her lips broke to say, “Children need their protein. They need nutrients to grow. You must feed a growing child meat!”
Andrea’s titters continued as Justine’s youngest brother leaned forward. In an overstated show of mock-concern, he lisped, “I don’t mean to alarm you, but the stuffing was baked in the same oven as the meat products. Terribly sorry for the inconvenience.”
Insufferable little red-haired Andrea pulled the zipper on her hoodie up over her lips. She was laughing silently, but with such force her eyes teared up. Justine’s head buzzed. If these people weren’t family, she’d have taken them out back and taught them some manners.
Rising from the table, Lucky heaved tired baby Zadyn to her hip. One of the things Justine admired most about the girl was her deliberate obliviousness. She grabbed the side of Lucky’s chair and slid it out of the way so it wouldn’t tumble over. In her peripheral vision, she saw her mother’s scowl as the wooden feet screeched against the floor. God forbid the hardwood should suffer!