L.C. Chase, Thorny Sterling and Kris T. Bethke came up with a little flash fiction blog hop idea and it sounded like fun so I signed on. I can’t wait to see what all the other authors come up with!
My story is called Christmas Lessons and it’s inspired by this photo that L.C., Thorny and Kris found:
Here’s my free story! Enjoy. 🙂
I probably should have stopped after the third egg nog and rum. But I was pissed off at Trace. The tinsel on the tree moved lazily from the chill seeping in through the windows, and the little red and blue lights blinked on and off between the green branches. Christmas Eve. Wasn’t this the time of year you’re supposed to be snuggled up on the couch with your significant other? Maybe tearing each other’s reindeer sweaters off in a fit of unbridled passion? Instead here I sat, alone. Sadly guzzling my holiday beverage from a snowflake glass.
Everybody had warned me not to get involved with Trace. Brad, he’s immature. He’s incapable of falling in love. God, what a fucking sap I’d been. But when I thought about his husky laugh, or the way he wrapped his arms around me, resting his chin on my shoulder when we waited in line at the movie theatre my stomach fluttered like a teenager on a prom date.
I checked the time on my cell. Midnight. Awesome. Should I just call him and tell him never mind? Would I feel better about myself if I took a stand? Maybe a text would be better. That way he couldn’t talk me into anything. He had a way of doing that to me. Come on, Brad, don’t go to your family’s house this year for Christmas. Stay home with me. It’ll be amazing. You don’t want to leave me all alone, do you?
“No, Trace. Of course I wouldn’t leave you all alone on Christmas Eve. Only a heartless prick would do that to someone,” I shouted at the fireplace, and a log fell, sending sparks up into the chimney. “You need to fucking grow a pair and end it with him,” I mumbled to myself, dropping my hands to my lap feeling drained. The little pair of ceramic pug dogs on the hearth watched me with a pained expression. Jesus, even the statues had a date for the evening.
The doorbell rang and my stomach jumped. I sat there for a few seconds and the buzzer sounded again several times. Rising slowly I went to the door feeling numb. He stood on the porch looking gorgeous. Did he have to look so innocent? His black hair was ruffled from the cold wind and he was flushed, his eyes glittering in the light from the foyer.
“Now, I know you’re mad, but hear me out.” He started speaking the minute the door opened.
I stared at him trying to summons something other than the lust that radiated through me at the sight of him. God, he smelled so God damned good: cinnamon, vanilla. Whatever the mixture of fragrance was it made him smell like a delicious man cookie.
“You’re late.” I hated that I sounded like an angry fish wife. I’d hoped to come across calm, assured, unaffected by whatever this was I was ending with him. Was it a relationship? Were we just fuck buddies? I didn’t know anymore.
He shivered. “Can I come in?”
“I think you should go home.”
His perfect brows rose. “Are you kidding me? I just braved a snowstorm to be here with you.”
I waved my hand at him. “Don’t do that. Don’t start acting like I’m in the wrong here. You were supposed to be here at eight. The Moroccan chicken was delicious by the way. Yours is in the garbage disposal unfortunately.”
He dropped his head and sighed. “Brad, please let me in so I can explain what took so long.” He allowed a small, sexy smile and my gut tumbled. “I’m freezing my ass off out here.”
Well, we wouldn’t want that.
I exhaled impatiently and stepped aside. “Make it quick.” I held my breath as he walked by so I wouldn’t be seduced by his enticing scent. “But I have to tell you unless you were busy brokering world peace don’t get too comfy because you’re going home in a minute.”
He stood in front of the tree, and peeled off his jacket, supremely confident I wouldn’t be able to follow through on my threat of throwing him out. Couldn’t blame him really. I too was unsure if I had it in me. He was wearing a horrendous red and white blinking Santa Claus sweater and he watched me expectantly. It was so awful I was unable to hold back the laugh the erupted from me.
“What the hell is that?” I pointed toward his glowing shirt.
“This is me doing something for you for a change.” His smile faltered when I frowned.
“I’m not following.” He started to approach me and I took a step back. “I can hear you from there.”
“Aww, come on, Brad.” His pretty mouth turned down and my heart knocked against my ribs. How was it I felt like the bad guy for disappointing him?
“A corny sweater doesn’t make it all better.”
He grimaced. ‘No, I know that. I’m late because I drove to Buffalo to pick up something for you.”
I widened my eyes. “That’s a two hour drive each way.”
“Tell me about it. I made really good time. I did round trip in three and a half and during a blizzard too.” He puffed his chest out.
“I think you may have a brain freeze of epic proportions.”
“Brad, come on.” He ignored my go away motions and he pulled me in for a hug.
“You’re such an inconsiderate jerk,” I grumbled all the while melting into him as his hard thighs pressed against me, his lips finding mine. His kiss was warm, and gentle. I wanted to push him away but I didn’t.
Just one last kiss and then I’ll send him packing.
He lifted his head and studied my face. I could feel his heart pumping in his chest, like he was nervous. Trace was never nervous. “I know you didn’t go home for Christmas because I asked you to stay in town with me.” His voice was soft.
I nodded and buried my face into his throat, inhaling the spicy scent of him feeling sick at the idea this might be the last time. I was hurt he’d left me sitting here all night alone and I knew I couldn’t let him treat me like this. No matter how much I wanted to ignore his behavior tonight, I deserved better.
“You know Trace, I’m not in my twenties.” I pulled back and met his curious gaze.
He frowned. “Neither of us are.”
“Right.” I cleared my throat and took a step back, crossing my arms across my chest defensively. “You know the holidays mean a lot to me and I stupidly blew off my family to be here with you.”
“Then where the fuck were you?” My composure slipped.
He swallowed hard and he held out his hands. “You’re probably going to think I had a stroke or something, but early this morning I started thinking about how much you love the holidays.”
“So you decided to let me spend Christmas Eve alone?”
He winced. “Shit. No.” He glanced down at his silly sweater. “You told me your family always wears horrible holiday sweaters, right?”
I nodded and squinted at him.
“My epiphany hit me so late this morning I didn’t have much time to pull anything together.” He put his hands on either side of my shoulders. “Wait here.”
Turning before I could stop him, he disappeared out the front door. I stood there listening to the clock ticking and the fire popping wondering what the hell he was up to.
He came in carrying a bunch of packages which he dumped on the table. Breathing hard he turned to me grinning. “I got all the stuff you and your family usually have on Christmas day.”
I frowned and approached the table. “You did what?”
He stood with his hands on his hips. “I bought the Camellia smoked ham you guys always have, and I got those French onion ring things to go on top of that green bean casserole dealie you love.”
I stood with my mouth hanging open and he laughed nervously.
“That’s why I went to Buffalo. I called every place locally and nobody had the ham you and your family always have. So I drove up to Buffalo to this little Polish deli that had two hams left.”
I plopped down on one of the dining room chairs and stared at him and then at the bags. “You drove two hours each way to get me a ham?”
“Merry Christmas?” he said uncertainly holding his hands out in a sweeping gesture. When I didn’t say anything he hugged his body and sighed. “I thought you’d be happy.”
“I’m in shock.” He’d paid that close of attention to me when I’d talked about my family holidays?
He knelt before me and took my hands. His dark lashes rested on his smooth cheeks and he spoke quietly. “It occurred to me when I asked you to stay here with me for the holidays that I was in real trouble.” He glanced up with a semi-guarded expression.
“God, how I wish you would speak English right now,” I muttered frowning.
He exhaled sharply. “I feel like I’m being so obvious.”
“And yet I’m confused.”
“I’m trying to say I don’t do holidays. Holidays are how I dump guys. Nothing says I don’t want anything serious with you like avoiding someone you’re fucking on Christmas. It’s not like I have a family that I’m visiting, right? I just choose not to spend the holiday with them and they usually get the message.”
My heart tightened in my chest. He was being amazingly open with me right now, it sort of made me feel unbalanced, but happy. I thought back to sitting here alone tonight and how ready I’d been to be dumped. “I assumed that was why you weren’t showing up all evening.”
A line appeared between his brows. “That’s what I’m saying. Something’s wrong with me.” He really did look concerned.
“Hmm. So you got me a ham for Christmas.” I laughed.
“And green beans, wine, potatoes.” He squinted and then snapped his fingers. “Oh, and that cabernet you like so much.”
I pulled him to me and trapped him between my thighs planting my mouth on his. He gave a tiny groan and pushed his tongue between my lips, deepening the kiss. When I finally lifted my head I was breathless and we held each other tight, as if we were at the top of a roller coaster about to plummet.
“This is a turning point for us.” I spoke slowly waiting for his response.
“Yes.” I heard him swallow next to my ear. “The whole drive to Buffalo I was excited. I couldn’t wait to surprise you.”
I pulled back and fiddled with Santa’s button eyes on his sweater. “You should have called.”
He studied my face. “Yeah. When I saw how pissed off you were it occurred to me.”
I laughed feeling amazingly light hearted all at once. “I get to have a real Christmas dinner with you?”
He grinned and then his frown returned. “God, you do realize I don’t know how to cook at all, right?”
I smirked. “Not surprised.”
“I mean I literally burn water. I stink at it big time.” He stood and riffled through the bags.
“I know how to cook. I usually help my mom do the entire meal.” I squinted at him searching the bags. “What are you looking for?”
“Found it.” He pulled an apron out and held it up. It was lime green, with a big black buckle and legs painted on the front with elf shoes. “I bought a Christmas apron.”
I chuckled. “You expect me to wear that thing?”
He winked and pulled me in close kissing me gently. Then when the kiss ended he added. “The apron is for me. You’ll be cooking naked I hope.”
“What?” I asked, laughing. “You expect me to cook Christmas dinner au natural?”
He wiggled his brows. “Well, I should get what I want for Christmas too.”
I looked at the clock on the bookcase behind his head. “You know technically it’s Christmas day, right?”
“How about you put your apron on and I give you an early present?” I grinned and led him toward the bedroom.
“You’re getting me all turned on you’re so assertive tonight.”
“I did have three eggnogs and rum while I was waiting for you.” I slipped the neck of the elf apron over his head, and tied the straps behind his back.
“Was that before or after you dumped my helping of Moroccan chicken down the drain?’
I sighed. “I was lying. I put your plate in the oven so it would stay warm.”
His mouth softened. “I knew you wouldn’t let me starve.”
I leaned my forehead against his. “I can’t believe you remembered all that stuff I said about Christmas dinners at home.”
“It was a surprise to me too.” He grinned winding his arms around my waist. “So we’re good right?”
“God, as insane as it seems we’re really good.”
“Okay, well then let’s get our elf on.” He tugged me.
“Technically, I’m about to get my elf off,” I said, and we stumbled into the bedroom laughing.
If you like this story there are plenty of full stories for sale on S.C. Wynne’s website!