2019 Christmas Special - Thank you so much for reading!
MAJOR SPOILERS!! DUH! <3
NOKOSI – 1 week to Christmas
“Will Santa bring Mommy back this year?” Lily asks and my heart clenches.
“I don’t think Santa has the power to do that.”
“B-but… but… Mommy said maybe Christmas.”
“She said that I might see her at Christmas.” Lily pouts adorably and I can’t help but notice how much she looks like her broody bitch of a mother right now. The thought makes me smile.
“When did she say that?” I ask, my tone soft as I wrap the lights around the tree and give them a gentle tug to ensure they are securely in place.
“In my dream da udder day,” she replies, her words young and improperly formed.
“Other,” I correct, grinning as she struggles to hang one ornament on a low branch. Her scowl definitely reminds me of her mother. Fucking Lilith… even now after five years the ache in my chest is incomparable. I’ve resigned myself to the belief that she was my soulmate. I’ll never move on, I could never. She was it. What a cruel fate to have left me alone to. “You see her in your dreams?”
“Uh-huh.” The little girl, my little girl, cheers when she manages to hang the ornament but then growls and throws it when it falls from the branch. “Sometimes we play.”
“On unicorns and rainbows?”
“No,” she snaps, huffing comically. “We do the stick fishing.”
I almost fall from my stepladder. That’s impossible… I’ve never taken Lily spear fishing. Only normal fishing. I always thought spear fishing was too barbaric for her age, she’s not even five yet.
I rationalize it in my head. I must have told her at some point. We always talk about her mother. She’s obsessed with the idea of her and rightfully so. I’ve definitely told her at some point and her wild imagination is creating these scenarios.
Or perhaps she has the sight like Elisi.
No, that’s another scenario I won’t accept.
“Anetúte,” Lily calls, drawing my eyes back to her. “Will Santa bring Mommy?”
I shake my head. “I wish he could, Lily bug.”
“Maybe next year.”
“Maybe.” I scoop her up into my arms and nuzzle her squishy, soft cheek with my nose. “I’m enough though, right? We have fun?”
“Your beard is scratchy,” she replies, giggling girlishly. I growl and bite her neck, forcing more laughter from her until I know she can’t take anymore.
When I drop her on the ground, I help her with another ornament and we do this silently for a while, listening to the soft lilt of the radio coming from the kitchen.
My other thoughts, however, get the better of me. “Did Mommy catch the fish in your dreams?”
Lily’s big eyes widen with excitement. “Yes, Anetúte, every time.”
Nathan & Gwen – Christmas Eve
“Every single bloody time,” I sigh, looking at the mess of pine needles scattered throughout the wide, wooden floor of the entrance hall. “GUINEVERE?”
“Uh-oh,” I hear Emily call around a giggle. “Dad’s got his stern voice on.”
“GWEN!” I shout, kicking discarded tinsel to the side.
She appears in the doorway to the kitchen, looking warm and disheveled and so entirely sexy. For a moment I forget my annoyance and eye her from head to toe and then back up again. Savoring every inch of her delicious body.
Her brow quirks and her smile becomes one of mischief. “Shall we go upstairs?”
I almost say yes but then remember my point and the importance of it. “My business associates will be here in an hour and this place looks like a barn.”
“I know, sorry. It’s Emily’s fault.”
“Hey!” Emily whines. “Not true.”
“Don’t worry, Nathan.” Tyler, my son’s better half, pushes around Gwen with a broom in hand. “I’ve got this. You go take a Xanax before you give yourself hives.”
“Again,” Emily adds and the three women giggle.
“Where’s my son?” I question, looking for male support.
“Out back clearing the log burner,” Gwen replies and I kiss her as I pass, pressing my lips firmly to hers until she backs up against the wall. I never forget to kiss her whenever I greet her. I’ll never take what we have for granted again. I knew the moment I saw her on that beach that I’d be with her until the day I died, now I’m hoping that day comes a lot later in our lives and I hope I go first so I don’t have to suffer a moment without her.
“I love you,” I whisper, kissing the tip of her nose, grinning when she crinkles it.
“Awwww,” Tyler sighs wistfully, looking at us both with a soft smile. “I hope Dillan still loves me this much in twenty years.”
“New house, who dis?” Dillan jests as he passes me with a bin liner full of rubbish from the back garden.
“You’re not funny,” Tyler snaps, scowling playfully at him.
He pinches her hip and touches her cheek with his tongue. “Fair maiden, I will love thee forever.”
“You’re an idiot,” she grumbles, continuing to sweep a pile towards us.
“I tried, you all heard me, I tried.” Dillan grins as he exits through the door backwards, carrying the heavy bag behind him.
“Don’t worry, Em. You’ll meet Mr Right eventually,” Tyler consoles my daughter who I have yet to see as she’s still in the kitchen doing whatever it is she’s doing.
“I already did. How is your brother these days?”
I tense, I can’t help it. The idea of my daughter with any man is abhorrent, but the idea of her with a man almost a decade older than her, no matter how successful he is, makes me angry.
Gwen, sensing my inner tirade, pats my cheek and kisses my lips. “We have a lot to do and you need to shower.”
“Are you saying I smell?”
“Nathan, you have never been less than fresh our entire relationship.” When she squeezes out from between me and the wall, I grip her delectable rear and sigh happily. No other woman has ever nor will ever make me feel the way she makes me feel.
“You’re not getting with my brother!” Tyler suddenly yells and my good mood swiftly vanishes.
“Why not?” Emily yells back. “You got with mine!”
“Okay, yeah, that’s fair.”
“Right? You owe me.”
“Emily, stop before you give your dad an aneurism or something,” Gwen snaps at our daughter who just laughs as though it’s hilarious which it is not.
My other daughter Ashlyn pokes her head over the banister of the staircase. “Sup, fam?”
“You’ll never have a boyfriend, right, Ashlyn?”
She turns back the way she came and I hear her bedroom door slam seconds later.
Gwen snorts and pats my arm. “It’s a losing battle, baby.”
“You won’t have to worry about her anyway,” Dillan comments, calling attention to the thing we’re all pretty sure we know already. Ashlyn, now thirteen, has had a girlfriend who she insists was never her girlfriend even though we know for a fact she was. We’re just rolling with it. Though it does make gauging sleepovers that little bit more awkward.
“Don’t push her, Dillan,” I admonish, looking at the stairs where my baby girl, no longer a baby, was just standing. “She’ll let us know how things are when she’s ready.”
Emily, who seconds ago appeared in the doorframe beside her brother with suds on her hands, smiles at me. It’s not her usual smirk, this smile seems genuine.
“I love you, Dad,” she says and I open my arms to her, feeling choked with emotion.
I hold my middle child and kiss her hair. “I love you too.”
Amelia & Kaiba – Christmas Eve
“Boo.” Soft hands cover my eyes. Not calloused and rough like a man who has done years of hard labor. I don’t like them, but then, I don’t like him.
A year of working together hasn’t diminished that dislike either. Though we have an easier relationship than we did. At work we don’t yell at each other anymore, we only casually insult each other.
“Get your hands off me,” I snap, digging my elbow into his ribs and winding him momentarily.
“You’re so sweet and gentle,” he wheezes, gripping the railing that I’m leaning on as I look over the grounds at the beautiful Christmas décor that my grandmother had professionally done.
“Why do you insist on coming to my family-hosted gatherings when we hate each other?”
“I love watching you fight your urge to punch every man your grandmother throws your way.”
“She just won’t stop,” I whisper and he snorts. “Why she keeps tossing you my way is beyond me. She knows I don’t like you.”
“I’m a good looking, well-bred man.” He puffs out his chest. “Wealthy too. I’m her favorite choice. Look how handsome I am.”
I laugh so hard tears well in my eyes. “You’re an idiot.”
“You trying to say you don’t find me attractive?”
“Absolutely.” I pat his chest, turning to grin at him. “That is exactly what I’m trying to say.”
He cringes. “What is that face you’re doing?”
My smile becomes a scowl. “I despise you, Kaiba Wantanabe.”
His smile broadens. “Yet you still find me better company than all those chumps in there. Does she really think Gerald could satisfy you? You?”
“What exactly are you trying to say?”
“You’d chew him up and spit him out.”
I nod thoughtfully. “Pretty much.”
He chuckles, a gentle, low noise that has me smiling from the contagiousness of it. “I actually want to see it, just to watch him cry. The guy is a moron.” When he leans back against the railings, the bespoke jacket he is wearing tightens on his arms. He’s got a great body. I see him working out sometimes in the gym by the office. We’re both members but typically avoid hitting it at the same time.
This moment is one of those rare occasions where we aren’t at each other’s throats.
He’s definitely not an unattractive man by any means. In fact, if I were just viewing a photo of him without knowing the man behind the mask, I’d consider him to be quite beautiful. Dark, almond-shaped eyes, perfect lips that have a soft V. The kind of lips you could kiss for hours. His chest is toned and broad. He always smells incredible.
Maybe he’s right, maybe it’s the whiskey talking. Or in my case, gin and champagne. I’ve had a large amount of both.
“Why are you staring at me like that?”
“I want to have sex with you,” I admit and he blanches, stiffening like a scared goat. “Shall we?”
He opens and closes his mouth, trying to find the right way to respond. Finally, after some startled consideration he chokes out a reply. “Sure.”
“Meet me in my old room in three minutes.” I look through the glass doors at the party and wet my lips. “You remember where it is?”
“Here? You want to fuck here? While your family is in there?” When I nod, his shocked gape becomes an encouraging smile. “Three minutes.”
He grabs my bicep again. “You’re kidding, aren’t you? This is a joke. I’m going to go up there and you’re gonna be waiting with your camera ready while doing that evil laugh that you do.”
I do not do or have an evil laugh!
I blink slowly. “I’m about to change my mind.”
His grasp of my arm falls away immediately and I head back into the party, smiling… okay… grimacing as I go.
“Going to get laid, cover for me,” I tell my aunt Maya as I pass when I notice my gran leaving her intimate group of friends to accost me.
Maya laughs loudly. “I got you.” I duck away and hear her cry, “Sylvia… did I tell you yet how fabulous—”
Her voice trails off, getting lost in the noise as I avoid anybody who might stop me on my journey to my old room. There’s a certain thrill I’m feeling from being this naughty. My grandmother would have a fit if she found out.
I almost giggle at the thought.
When I’m in my old room, I look around the space and start to reconsider my life choices. I hate this guy. Despise him even. He grates on my every nerve. But I haven’t had sex in about a year and he’s not the worst I can do. In fact, visually, he’ll be the hottest man I’ve ever bedded. I just hope he doesn’t insist on talking. I might be able to pretend he’s somebody else if he doesn’t open his mouth.
The minutes tick by and I pace until finally the door clicks open and shuts.
He steps inside, looking unsure and suspicious. “I almost didn’t come in.”
“Don’t do that,” I snap as I approach.
“What?” He looks at me with big, naturally smoldering eyes as I push his jacket from his shoulders.
I crush my lips to his for the first time since meeting him back in law school. I never had the urge then and I don’t particularly have the urge now.
At first it’s tense, our bodies are confused. Mine is asking, “Why are these two brains commanding enemies to touch each other?” It has to be the whiskey and the gin but damn it if my belly isn’t on fire right now with lust and desire.
I hum, tilting my head a fraction when his large, soft hands grip my waist over the velvet material of my tight dress. But only for a moment until he finds the door lock with his hand while tasting my tongue, and I hear it click, then he starts to fully explore my body.
His flavor is surprisingly delicious. I detect the whiskey but mostly he’s just sweet and different. It has me humming against his lips and deepening the kiss. This man is incredibly hygienic orally so far. Always a plus.
Our hands get more frantic, his touch on every available part of me as mine work his belt. I don’t bother with his buttons or his tie. I want his dick in me. The rest is just a waste of time.
“Wait,” he mumbles against my lips when I try to push my hand down the front of his pants.
I stop but let my fingers glide over the front of his impressive bulge. “Yes?”
“You don’t have to look so irritated.”
“I am irritated.” I blow a loose tendril of hair from my face. “Can you just put it in, make me come, spill your seed on the rug and then go back to the party?”
“That’s kind of the plan, but if we’re doing this, I want to see you naked. I’m not just hiking up your skirt and fucking you.”
Oh Jesus… “Fine.” I lift my arm and find the hidden zip and then raise my arms. “Pull it off, then.”
“If you wanted romance, Kaiba, you’re in the wrong room with the wrong woman.”
“Fair point.” He tugs the dress over my head and drops it on the ground by our feet.
His dark eyes feast on my body, clad only in a gray lace bra and matching thong. I love lingerie, it’s one of my many personal pleasures. “How can you be so fucking gorgeous but so fucking evil at the same time?”
He cups my breasts and my eyes close. I let my head drop back slightly, exposing my neck which he immediately kisses, relighting the fire he just almost doused with his chatter.
I pluck at his buttons until his shirt falls open and scrape my manicured nails down his bare chest. It’s as tight as I knew it would be.
“Now will you put your dick in me?” I demand, finally grasping it through his boxers after shoving his pants down a few inches.
He groans loudly and his cock twitches aggressively. It’s swollen and heavy in my hand. An impressive bulge for sure.
I’m surprised when he ducks and lifts me, wrapping my legs around his waist, only to stumble on his falling pants.
I lie on the rug after a jolting landing, dazed and annoyed.
“That didn’t go as smooth as I hoped,” he utters, looking embarrassed when he pulls his arm from under my back and hovers over me. “Are you injured?”
I shove him onto his back and throw my leg over his. Then I yank my thong to the side, free him from the confines of his white boxer briefs and sink onto him as fast as my adjusting sex will allow.
“Well, okay then,” he whispers after a long, deep groan that has me writhing with need.
He has a really great, really solid penis. I’m so glad I demanded this.
I start rotating my hips at first, then I start bucking while digging my nails into his chest. I love this position, I love the control, I love the fact I can kiss him as often as I like and fuck him as fast as I like. But something isn’t right. I think back to his every insult, to every time he has inserted himself into my working life to make it hell.
“You know where a clit is, right?” I ask, panting from the exertion, desperately needing to switch my brain off the only way I know how.
He glares at me. “Yes.”
“Then get off my tits and touch it!”
I’m surprised when he immediately complies but I also see him fighting laughter and wonder if he’s even enjoying this. I’m not sure I am anymore. It’s all very forced and clinical.
When he shifts beneath me, I stop and glare at him. “What now?”
“There’s something under my…” With some shuffling and wriggling and the slight softening of his penis, he pulls a bouncy rubber ball from under his back and throws it across the room but it bounces back and hits me on my shoulder blade. “Sorry.”
“What on earth?” I blow that tendril of blonde hair from my face again.
“It’s all good, we can recover,” he insists, his thumb hovering over my clit, his other hand now on my hip.
“This sucks,” I admit, sitting back, wincing at the discomfort of how deep he is despite the fact he is no longer even solid.
“Yeah,” he agrees. “It’s not working for me either.”
I stare at him for a few seconds. “We don’t have good chemistry.”
“This was a stupid idea.”
“Yep. I take no credit for it.”
I climb off him, letting his dick fall free, glistening against his hip with my juices. That is a really nice penis.
“Maybe it’s the alcohol?” he suggests.
“No, it’s us. We are not compatible.” I motion between us with a hand as he stands and starts to button up his shirt again.
“It doesn’t help that you’re so disgusted by me on such a personal level.”
“I imagine that has a lot to do with it.”
He gapes at me. “You were supposed to tell me you aren’t disgusted by me.”
“I try not to lie out of work,” I retort and his answering growl is feral.
“You’re such a bitch, Amelia.”
“You knew that already.”
The buckle of his belt rattles as he seethes beside me. I pick up my dress, ready to pull it on but the fabric gets tangled.
“What a disappointing ending to a disappointing evening.” I pat Kaiba’s cheek. “Thanks for the shit lay.”
“Fuck you, Amelia.”
“We’ve both established that you can’t.” I finally yank my dress over my head and zip it up at the side as the door closes behind Kaiba. I love hearing him grumble and rage when I do something that particularly pisses him off.
I kick the rubber ball that was hidden in the shaggy rug and straighten myself up in the mirror. After reapplying my dark, matte lipstick, I pin my loose hair in place and leave my old bedroom.
What a mortifying moment that should have been. Truly it’s more tragic than mortifying, he might have the best cock I’ve ever seen and I can’t even use it.
Back to the party I go to avoid men I don’t like, women I can’t stand, and my family who I love but just don’t want to interact with right now. I’ll have them all day tomorrow.
“I was kind of hoping we’d be those people that despise each other but have great sex, like the kind you read about in books,” I tell Kaiba after meeting him at the bar a few minutes later.
“Me too.” He surprisingly laughs and I surprisingly join in. Soon we’re both laughing loudly amongst ourselves, it’s the first time and probably the last. “Do you want a drink?”
I nod, still grinning as he puts in my order and the hired mixologist makes it with ease.
“Let’s never talk about this again,” Kaiba suggests, holding his glass up to my own.
I clink mine against it, and with a wry smile, I inform him, “I’m never going to stop.”
He sighs heavily. “How did I know you were going to say that?”
Laurie & Rose – Christmas Morning
“Hey… HEY! Kid,” Laurie hisses at my sleeping three-year-old daughter, Bella, while poking her pudgy little cheek. “Wake up.”
“I’m pretty sure she’s supposed to do this to us,” I reply, equally as quiet.
“YOUR ANUS IS SHOWING, EZRA!” Laurie’s particularly loud tic and jolt of her arms has Bella blinking open her eyes and looking around, confused. I can’t stifle my laughter. I love it when her tics bring my husband into it. “Merry Christmas, angel.”
I smile, adoring how much my best friend loves my kid and now that Bella is a bit older and less likely to bolt, Laurie has her more. It was hard seeing Laurie’s face when Bella was little, it crushed her every time she saw other people hold her when she couldn’t. Though she used to sit with her for ages as she kicked on her mat, or bounced in her bouncer, or gurgled in her high chair.
I place my hand over my swollen belly that holds baby boy Conti, and watch as Laurie coaxes my daughter out of her bed and into the bathroom to wash her face.
Bella is a kid that wakes up super rough. We have a routine in place to help her not be a nasty little brat in the AM. If we don’t do the routine, it’s like withholding coffee from a forty-year-old single mother of six boys. It’s not pretty.
She gets it from me, the need for routine and a clean room. She also hates sticky fingers and cries if her hair gets tangled. I am so fortunate I had her with such a patient man who accepts me and my own quirks without complaint. He has done the exact same with our daughter and I know he will with our son too, should he need to.
“Okay, she’s good to go,” Laurie announces, kicking open the door.
“Presents, Momma?” Bella asks, her eyes alight with excitement.
“I don’t know, should we go and see if Santa came?”
She nods eagerly and I hope Ezra, who is waiting downstairs with a camera, is ready for us. I wanted to capture her expression when she sees all the gifts under the tree.
Laurie beams at me, looking more excited than the little girl between us.
“Is she ready?” Ezra’s sister hisses, her hair in curlers as she peeks around the door of the guest bedroom. “I told you to wake me!”
“Laurie,” I hiss but secretly I’m laughing. I adore Ezra’s sister but Laurie gets a bit jealous of her, so the fact she didn’t give her a knock when she promised she would does not surprise me at all and certainly amuses me greatly.
“I knocked,” Laurie lies and I can so tell she’s lying.
Erika shoves my friend. “You’re such a B-I.T-C-H, Laurie.”
Laurie just grins and grins and grins.
Erika glowers at me. “Stop laughing at her, you’re only encouraging her bad behavior.”
“Bad,” Bella declares and points at her auntie Erika.
“What did I do?” Erika looks adorably ganged up on.
“No pushing.” My little girl glares like a little pro, she looks like her father when she does that. He’s the scowler out of the two of us.
“Yeah,” Laurie snaps, her tone as childish as the tongue she just poked at Erika. “No pushing, Eric.”
Travis & Raven – Christmas Afternoon
“JESUS FUCK CHRIST!” I scream as pain ripples through my belly, tightening the skin to near cement status. “Take my mind home, please, Trav… I can’t take this. Leave my body here, call me when this shit is over.”
“You’re doing so well,” Molly promises me as my contraction subsides.
Travis strokes my hair until I slap his hand away, only to climb onto my knees and wrap my arms around his neck. Our foreheads touch as I breathe, getting ready for the next one. “You’re amazing,” he whispers. “You’re so amazing.”
“It sucks. This sucks. You suck. Your penis isn’t worth this. No baby is worth this.” Another contraction starts to build. I want to sob. I am sobbing.
“How are we doing?” my doctor asks, smiling with sympathy when Travis shakes his head at her, likely because when he asked me how I was doing I threw a handful of ice chips at his head. “Mind if I check you?”
“Reach up in there and pull it out. I don’t want to do this anymore.” I press my forehead against Travis’s head as the doctor stuffs her hand up my vagina like I stuffed my hand up a turkey just three hours ago. When I started getting twinges I assumed Braxton Hicks like I’ve been getting all week. I’m not due for five more days. THIS SUCKS.
“I don’t want a Christmas baby.”
“I do,” Travis replies and lurches away when I try to twist his nipple. “Raven, at the speed you’re going with this, we’ll be back home in time for dinner.”
“Give me the drugs,” I demand, sounding demonic as my doctor removes her hand and chuckles.
“Easiest labor of the month, you’re ready to push.”
“No way… I am not pushing him out without an epidural. I’ve seen women tear front to back. I’m not going through that without something.”
“I’m sorry, sweetie, it’s too late. It’s all going so quickly. It’s up to you now how we deliver.”
Molly rubs my back until I lie on it and Travis helps me lift my legs into the stirrups.
I know how this goes, and as another contraction claims all my senses and pain tears through my womb, and pressure thuds against my cervix, I scream. I’m not even ashamed. I don’t even try to be quiet. But then I get the urge to push and my screaming stops and all sounds blur out of focus.
I push, and push, and wait, and wait, and push, and push.
It’s a torrent of painful wave after painful wave and time blurs. I start to panic wondering if this is my life now and then start to panic more when more people enter the room after an alarm sounds.
Travis’s mouth is moving, he’s crying. Molly is squeezing my hand.
“Stuck.” I hear the word but I knew it already. The head is there but the baby is stuck. His heart rate is dropping.
“They’re going to dislocate his shoulder,” I say to Travis, feeling less foggy now. “But he’ll be okay.” They’re also going to cut me front to back but I don’t mention that part.
The room is a bustle of movement and I try to stay calm even as tears stream from my eyes. I can see him out of my body, half of his head, a wrinkly eyebrow, thick, dark hair like his father. God that hurts.
“Ready?” my doctor asks and I nod. “On the next contraction… breathe and don’t push until I say.”
“What are you doing?” Travis asks, horrified when she brandishes the weapon that is going to ruin my vagina for a while.
There’s burning, stinging, tearing, pain, and then finally…
“Oh thank God,” Travis breathes and lets out a sob as our boy wails to the heavens. Molly cries too, pressing her forehead against my hair. I relax. My job is done, he’s safe.
“He’s okay,” Travis whispers as a gunky-looking baby is placed on my bare chest. He’s a fatty. He’s a mixture of healthy colors and he’s making some very healthy sounds. Though he stops the moment I wrap my arms around him and squish his ear to my chest. “He’s perfect, Raven. He’s so perfect.”
“I love him so much already and I haven’t even seen his toes yet.”
Travis touches our son’s cheek and wipes his eyes on the sleeve of his T-shirt. “You were amazing, Raven. You’re so strong.”
“I’m with him,” Molly agrees. “That was intense.”
“But it all worked out in the end.” My doctor pats my knee.
“Except my vagina is now a gaping chasm.”
The nurses and other doctors in the room stifle their laughter as they filter out and I finally hand my son to Travis so as to receive my stitches down below.
Travis looks so awkward at first, he doesn’t know what to do with a baby and that’s fine, he’ll learn. But after a few seconds, his entire body relaxes and instinct kicks in. I fall in love with them both a little more.
“Is he definitely a boy?” I ask and Travis nods while beaming with pride. “Henry the eighth would have been so happy with me.”
Travis sighs and presses his lips to the tip of our son’s nose before reluctantly handing him to a nurse for weighing, cleaning, and everything else he needs. Molly holds my hand while I’m threaded back together down below.
“Merry Christmas,” I say a half hour later when my dad and Shonda both arrive. “Don’t say I never get you anything good.”
Shonda laughs but then sobs when her son hugs her, tears in his eyes again. My dad is mesmerized by the covered lump against my chest. He’s snoozing after a short feed and lots of skin to skin.