So many times I’ve been tempted to write during the holidays and simultaneously wondered if I was, in fact, a masochist. After all I still plan special events for a living. From the beginning of September until the very end of the year, I’m usually eyebrow deep in menu planning, table counting, decor decisions, invitation design and RSVPs.
Still the heart wants what it wants and I want to write… all the time. To that end my friends and I, #4writers4love: Rae Lamar, Jacinta Howard and Nia Forrester will be sharing some short pieces with you over the holiday season. I’ve decided to go with the flow so mine may all be part of one longer piece or I might be inspired to introduce you to something brand new. In either case, you’ll find them here and on social media. Hearing from you about what you like may help me decide.
Joy to the world and to all of you this holiday season.
Home At Last
“Hey, Laura.” Garrett smiled.
The surprise on her face was so palpable she resembled most cartoon characters he could pull from the recesses of his childhood memories.
“Oh my God.”
She stood with her hand outstretched against the door in a white cotton nightgown that cradled her curves. In a different moment, it might have proven suitable as a protective shield from his longing for her. But it had been too long since he’d been able to see her. He was helpless to do anything but gaze boldly up and down her frame. Her mouth was open in shock and just as beautiful as Garrett remembered, more so even.
He’d come to her in his uniform recalling that she’d often said he looked so sexy in it. It felt like a lie but he had hoped that seeing it and him, together, would lead to a quick and warm reconciliation after so much time apart.
Hungry for that and more, he acted impulsively. Stepping past the doorframe into her house, Garrett grabbed Laura around the waist, pulling her up completely off her feet and tightly against him. With one hand holding her waist, he forked his other hand through her braids and pulled her still open mouth to his. The kiss was passionate and reflected all he couldn’t say with words, about how much he’d thought about and needed her.
Initially frozen solid and stiff, Laura slowly began to liquesce in his arms. Soon she started to kiss him back with equal ardor. Laura seemed to be responding to him unconsciously, wrapping her arms over Garrett’s broad shoulders, her legs slowly opening to coil around his waist.
Moving his hand from her head to under her buttocks to secure her against him, he immediately realized that she was naked under the gown. Pulling his lips from hers with a groan he looked at her and said, “I missed you so much.” Then, without giving her a chance to speak he kissed her again and stepped further into the room shoving them both, none too gently, against the wall behind her.
The small table they rammed into teetered sending the mail and house keys to the floor. A small canvas and a picture frame fell off the wall too, neither distracting them from the immediacy of their apparent joy to be in each other’s arms again. Holding her against the wall with his own body Garrett moved his hands to the front of her, kneading and manipulating, through the soft cloth that both irritated and excited him. The mission was clear; finesse her out of the nightgown all together as quickly as possible.
“What the hell is going on? Laura! Who is this guy?”
The kiss stopped abruptly.
Catching his breath, Garrett looked at Laura who did nothing to ease his sudden trepidation because she just looked scared and mortified. Turning his head he looked down and saw the guy’s bare brown feet first. A bad sign. Looking up to his face Garrett realized he had never laid eyes on the man standing in Laura’s living room with nothing on but a pair of jeans and a righteously indignant look on his face. He turned back to Laura who had averted her eyes from both men. Another bad sign, he thought.
“Oh my God,” were the first and only words that had popped out of Laura’s mouth since he’d arrived. It wasn’t exactly the way he’d hoped to hear her say those words today but now, he realized maybe he should have given her some time to say another full sentence before he jumped her. Letting her slide down his body seemed like a good idea too, but then of course he’d forgotten what that would do to him. Groaning again as she landed on the floor, Garrett took one careful step back from her, his hands still on her waist making sure that she, at least, was steady on her feet.
“I asked you a question Laura. I think I deserve an answer.”
Garrett glared pointedly at the guy. He didn’t much like his tone. Granted the situation was murky and uncomfortable but still, be a gentleman or else deal with me directly tough guy, Garrett thought.
Ken, I think you’d better—” Laura started.
“I’d better what… exactly, Laura?” Ken said.
Garrett turned to face Ken fully. Laura had obviously dumped him for this guy so it seemed likely he had some attractive qualities. Ken, in fact appeared perfect on the face of things. Perfectly chiseled face, arms, and abs, the man looked like he actually belonged in a Barbie convertible. Kicking his ass all over this house was going to be a real pleasure, Garrett decided.
Laura, nobody’s pushover, stepped in front of Garrett and hissed like a cat protecting a Doberman from a Pit bull. Enunciating each word, “I’d better figure out what’s going on myself before I answer your questions, hadn’t I? Garrett is an old friend who… who I haven’t seen in a long time. He and I are going outside for a few minutes to talk. Then I’ll come back shortly and answer any questions you have.
“You’re going out in that?” Ken asked.
“Oh, dammit.” Laura said looking down at her now very rumpled nightgown, which gathered at the waist and showed significantly more of her thighs than was seemly. Pulling the gown down hard and sighing, Laura turned to open the coat closet. Then taking out a dark blue trench coat, she quickly pushed her arms through the sleeves, and turned to Garrett indicating with a hand wave that they should head outside.
Old friend. Outside. Garrett didn’t like where this was headed but he also didn’t see much way around the circumstances.
They were almost out the door when Ken tried one last time to impose his superior knowledge on the situation.
“Laura. You do realize it’s December and you don’t have any shoes on.”
All three of them momentarily looked down at the thick wool and sand colored socks Laura had on her feet.
“Oh, Jesus H. Christ, Ken I’m not going that far.” She snapped, giving Ken a dirty look Laura turned and flounced past Garrett out the front door.
Garrett took that opportunity to give Ken one of his most winsome smiles. One of the smiles he knew had nearly melted the panties off many a woman in his youth, including his teachers. Then, he too followed Laura out the door closing it behind him.
He stood on the porch watching Laura for a moment as she paced back and forth in front of the house muttering to herself. He couldn’t make out all of what she was saying but, he had a feeling he didn’t have to in order to get the message loud and clear.
“You aren’t back ten minutes Garrett McClellan and I’m swearing, saying the Lord’s name in vain, and letting you almost tear my clothes off.”
Despite how much she seemed to enjoy his greeting initially she now sounded upset. Very upset. Forlorn, he knew he shouldn’t grab her again but oh, he wanted to. Instead he stayed where he was, keeping his arms down and his hands open in a global sign of passivity if not, complete surrender.
“I’m back Laura. I promised I would be and I am.”
She looked at him then, her brown eyes shiny with tears.
“Yes. You did promise.” She said quietly her voice breaking.
“And you said you’d wait.” The second it was out of his mouth, he regretted it. He knew it had been the wrong thing to say. Her eyes narrowed and she swiped the tears away quickly sticking her chin out.
“It’s been fourteen months Garrett.” She said, her teeth clenched.
“I kno—” He started.
“No. You don’t. Over four hundred days Garrett. That’s what fourteen months adds up to for your information. I know because I counted every damn one of them while I waited for word — word from you!”