Larry and James smelled it as soon as they walked into the grocery store. Where exactly in the store it emanated from was unclear, but there was no denying it. The whole store smelled like cinnamon, nutmeg, and all the other spices that pull double duty between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“They must really want us to buy a pumpkin pie,” Larry joked.
“As if we needed more convincing,” James chuckled, heading towards the bakery department to do exactly that. Larry went the other way. This was their typical tactic: divide and conquer.
After a record-speed tour of the store, Larry finally reached the produce section. He absently grabbed the onions, potatoes, and garlic, but he stopped at the zucchinis. He told himself it was because the spice smell in the air reminded him of that zucchini bread recipe they wanted to try. But try as he might, despite his disdain for Freud, despite the fact that he was in a public grocery store, he couldn’t help but think of his husband as he wrapped his hand around the squash.
“Stupid,” he muttered to himself with a grin. He put two zucchinis in the cart and moved on to… the carrots. “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” he muttered again, now aware he was starting to blush.
Suddenly, he felt James’s familiar hand grasp his rear.
“Whoa, hon, save it for home!” He held up a particularly large carrot and winked. “Trust me, I’ll make it worth the wait.”
James kissed his husband as he unloaded his basket into the cart. “Sorry, hon. Couldn’t help myself. Those pants really show off your ass.”
Larry couldn’t help but laugh. “James, there are people here!”
“Oh, look!” James reached for the last item in his basket, a small leafy ornament. “I found what’s making that pumpkin spice smell, and it’s not the Starbucks. Here, try it.”
Larry took a long, luxurious inhale of the trinket. Spice flooded his nose, spreading warmth and a tingling sensation all the way down his chest… and down to his crotch. “Holy shit.”
“So, it’s not just the pants.”
“I mean, the pants help. That’s why I bought them for you.”
“But they just sell these things?” Larry looked in wonder at the unassuming little ornament.
“Damn right they do.” James gestured to an elderly lesbian couple who had entirely lost interest in the melons on the shelves in favor of other options. “And it seems like other folks are getting in on the action.”
“Well hot damn,” Larry said, putting the ornament in the cart. “Why are we only buying one?”