The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the seventh date

7th

Seven Swimming Swans Court

I dumped my bags in my cubicle and headed upstairs to see if Chris was in his office yet.

His hair stuck up in different directions, and if it wasn’t for the change of clothes, I would have sworn he had been at work all night. I tapped on the door frame.

He swung around with an exasperated sigh. Clearly expecting it to be a work related interruption.

“Hi,” I said.

Without a word he got up and grabbed me in for a bone crunching hug. As he held me I could feel him relax into the embrace.

“How long have you been here?” I stroked his hair, no not peanut butter. Maybe gold was the right color.

“I’ve been here since before six. But the good news is I should be done before four, so we can leave on time.”

“And how late were you here last night?” I asked.

“I was home and tucked into bed by midnight.” He smiled at me.

“So you crashed, and face planted fully dressed into bed at 11:59 right?”

“Pretty much.” He laughed. “Let’s go get some coffee, I could use a break.”

I sipped my coffee slowly as we headed back upstairs from the coffee shop in the lobby. The elevators were crowded, and neither of us felt awake or energetic enough to take the stairs up four floors. Chris walked me back to my cube. His eyebrows shot up when he saw my bags in my cube.

“Oh, I took Uber in. I figured it would be easier coming back on Monday to not have my car here.” I explained.

“Smart.” Then he kissed me.

We skipped lunch so Chris could get all the reports finished that he needed complete by year end.

At three forty-five, an exhausted sexy man showed up in my cube to sweep me away for the weekend.

We necked in his car in the parking lot for at least thirty minutes before leaving. I was breathless and giddy when we stopped kissing.

I watched the golden, water-starved hills pass the car window. That was close to the color of Chris’s hair. I sighed. Dead grass. Nope. It might be a great color, but it was the opposite of sexy. Dead grass hair. I couldn’t do that, Chris’s hair was sexy, it deserved better.

Chris pulled into a subdivision. I giggled at the street names: Leaping Dolphin Drive, Flying Bird Lane, Swimming Swans Court. He pulled into a long ranch style house on Swimming Swans.

We left our bags in the car, and I followed him into the house.

“Moms, I’m home.” He called out.

A tall woman with similar bone structure to Chris came from one direction, and a slighter, smaller woman greeted us from another.

“You brought someone with you!” The taller of the two women exclaimed as she hugged Chris. She held out her hand to me. “I’m Pat. And this is Grace,” she said turning to introduce the smaller woman. Grace had the same eyes as Chris. I was confused. I swallowed down my surprise and smiled, and hoped I didn’t say anything stupid.

“This is Natalie.” Chris wrapped an arm around my shoulder as he introduced me.

“Nice to meet you both,” I said as we shook hands.

“Mike is around here somewhere. You can meet him later. Why don’t you get your bags, and Chris will show you to his room.”

Pat made noises about having something baking in the kitchen. She and Grace disappeared in what I assumed was that direction as we headed back outside.

I blinked and stared at Chris as he handed me bags. I followed him silently as he led me down a long hallway and into a guest room, that clearly had been his bedroom in the past.

“Where am I gonna sleep?” I asked. I had too many questions in my head, but this was the topic I felt safest dealing with.

“You can have the bed, and I’ll sleep on the floor.”

“Isn’t there another room for me?” I wasn’t ready to sleep with Chris just yet, at least I didn’t think I was.

“Not unless you want to bunk in with my little brother. And he’s smelly. If you want I can sleep out on the couch.”

I nodded. “I’m sorry, I just wasn’t expecting this.” I motioned to the room.

“It’s okay. Moms probably aren’t sure either. I forgot to mention I was bringing you along. I wanted it to be a surprise.” Chris pulled me into his embrace. “You okay?”

“I’m fine. You’re full of surprises by the way. Two moms? You could have warned a girl.” I scolded.

“Think of it as a litmus test, you passed with aplomb.”

“Why thank you. So is it tacky to ask which one is your bio mom?”

“Grace is my biological mother.” I could see that, after all, they had the same eyes. “And Pat is my biological father. She started transitioning about sixteen years ago.” He continued.

I’m pretty sure my eyeballs popped out of my head.

“And your parents stayed together?”

Chris nodded. “Mom decided she loved Dad no matter what, and when he started to make the transition she supported him.”

“Wasn’t that hard on you?” Chris seemed completely at ease with it, and I think it would have freaked me out. “You were what? Fifteen?”

Chris nodded. “I was an asshole for a year or two. But Mom’s unconditional love really helped me to open my eyes and realize it’s not about body parts, it’s about love. Now here’s the kicker, cause I know you’re gonna do the math. Mike is my sixteen-year-old brother. You can say, he was their last hetero hurrah.”

Now I know my eyeballs popped out of my head.

“You’ll do fine. I kind of sprang everyone on each other. I’m not driving you to a hotel or back to LA tonight am I?”

“No Chris you’re not. Besides if you did, who would kiss me at midnight?”

He kissed me again, and the cares of the world went away.

I followed Chris into the kitchen.

Pat had pulled the most amazing smelling cookies out of the oven. She handed one to Chris then one to me. It was gooey and falling apart. Pecans, cookie, and melted chocolate and something else I couldn’t quite place.

“Oh my gawd,” I said around the hot goo in my mouth. “What is this? It’s divine.”

“Butterscotch bars. They’re Chris’s favorite.”

I looked at him. He smiled and nodded. Butterscotch. That was it, that was the perfect description for Chris and his hair. And it felt nice on the tongue. Butterscotch.

“His favorite? I can see why. So do you make these too?” I asked Chris.

He shook his head.

“I’m surprised if they are your favorite. I learned to make my grandmother’s sweet potato pecan pie since it’s my favorite.”

“I don’t make them nearly as well.”

“Sweet potato pecan pie? That sounds delicious. Would you mind sharing the recipe?” Pat asked.

“Of course. I ah, I don’t have it with me, but I can email it to you when I get home. Do you mind a swap, and giving me the recipe for this?” I asked.

I wanted to make Chris’s favorite food. I had an overwhelming need to cook for him, to show off my culinary skills, such as they were.

Pat shewed me from the kitchen and told Chris to get the grill started for dinner.

I sat on the back deck with a cold beer and watched Chris show off his grilling skills.

Every time I offered to help I was told everything was under control.

Mike cruised through. He gave me a glaring once over, was a brat to Chris, then left to hang out at his friend’s house for New Year’s.

Dinner was pleasant, then we just hung out and watched TV. Seeing Grace curl up against Pat, I took as permission to be able to curl into Chris’s side.

“Is this okay?” Chris asked. “I’m just beat from year end. I didn’t have time to plan anything. And honestly,” he sighed and ran a hand through his hair, “I don’t have the energy for much more.”

“This is fine.” And it was, besides I got to curl up against him and have his arm around me.

When midnight rolled around, Grace handed out champagne flutes.

We watched the ball drop for California and toasted in the new year. Chris’s kiss was the best way to start the new year.

catch up with the sixth date

continued on Jan 1 with the eighth day of Christmas

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the sixth date

the 6th date of Christmas

Ducks, Geese, Whatever

It seemed appropriate that on the sixth day of Christmas Chris and I sat on a bench next to a duck pond. I felt stupid, I did not even know there was a duck pond back here. But we sat and fed ducks and geese. As far as I could tell none of the geese were laying eggs, so much for six geese a laying. Chris was quiet today. Even his kisses felt toned down.

I tossed a chunk of bread from my sandwich to the ducks and geese that had gathered around us in hopeful expectation. We weren’t talking, just eating in companionable silence. I was nice. It didn’t feel awkward, or like we needed to be talking. Actually, I really liked it. We could just be together and that was good.

Chris yawned. “I’m sorry Nat, I’m not good company.”

“Pish, you’re perfectly fine company. I kind of like just hanging out with you.” I scooted closer to him and rested my head on his shoulder. “How late were you here last night?”

“After midnight. But the good news is that I will get everything done tonight, and we can get out of here around four tomorrow.”

I rested my chin on him and watched his face as he spoke. I really liked how his lips moved. This close I could see the patches on his cheek where he accidentally missed shaving this morning. I trailed my finger down his sideburns and along his jaw.

“That tickles.” He complained with a smile.

“So I have a question for you,” I said.

“Hmm?” He chewed. I liked watching his jaw move.

“We aren’t exactly dating are we?”

“Not in the past few days simply because of my schedule this week, but I’ll take you out over the weekend. Promise.” He said.

“But are we dating?” I asked.

Chris turned to look at me. He didn’t say anything just looked me in the eye. We sat like that for a long minute. He lay his hand against the side of my face and leaned in.

“Chris? What the hell are you doing out here?” The voice was sharp, female, and bitter.

We both turned.

A fit sweaty woman stood before us with her hands on her hips. An iPod was strapped to her upper arm and she plucked ear pods out with one hand.

“Hi, Jess. Running on lunch?” Chris said slowly. “I’m working over there these days.” He pointed back to our building.

“I always run at lunch, or did you forget? Why aren’t you running?”

I really didn’t like her tone, she sounded like she was scolding him, like she had the right to nag at him.

Chris breathed out through his nose. “I don’t run all the time anymore Jess. There are other things to do.”

She made a face that spoke volumes. She did not approve of his attitude.

“You should run, you’ll get soft.” She glared at both of us, then raked that glare up and down me. If lasers could shoot out her eyes, I would be crispy fried. “Suit yourself.” She slammed the earbuds back in then took off running again.

I stared at Chis as he watched her trot away.

“Who was that?” Please don’t say, girlfriend, or wife.

“My ex,” Chris stated flatly.

“And she’s a runner like you used to be?”

Chris nodded.

“Look, Nat,” Chris sighed.

I could tell he was about to get heavy with whatever he was going to say. I had started it asking about our dating situation, so I pretty much couldn’t blame him for things getting uncomfortable.

“I ran, a lot. My girlfriends for a while were also runners. I pretty much exclusively dated runners. It’s what we did. No movies, no drag shows, running.”

“How long were you and Jess together?” I felt myself easing away from Chris. I’m not a runner, I am so not a runner. We’ve talked about this, and yet, I still felt this was a big deal for him.

“We were together for three, almost four years. We were actually engaged until I wasn’t committed enough for her. I think it was over some half marathon that I was not interested in. I wanted to do something else that day. I try not to remember honestly, being over it and all, but it was my parents’ anniversary.” He shivered as his memories came back. “We broke up over having to choose between a half marathon and my parents’ anniversary.”

“How long ago?” Now I was worried that I was rebound girl.

“Over two years ago.”

“And rebound girl?” I had to be certain.

“She was cute, and we dated for about three months. I’ve mostly been single and dating since then. What about you?”

“I had a serious boyfriend in high school. Lost virginity together, going to get married, the whole bit. We made it through a year and half of college. I think it was a mutual dump. Did date one guy for about two years, but nothing real long term since maybe six months here and there. I’m seeing someone now.” I said. I watched Chris’s face fall. “He’s tall with dark blondish hair. Used to be a runner, but does weights and stuff. Likes to do just about anything, a really nice guy.” I liked watching his grin come back as he realized I was talking about him.

He moved closer to me and started to lean in. “Is he any good at kissing? You seem to me to be the type of girl who likes to be kissed.”

“He’s the best,” I said against his mouth as he began kissing me.

Ducks and geese protested as we kissed because I had stopped tossing bread their way.

“I hope Jess didn’t upset you,” Chris said as we headed back towards the office. “I don’t want you to think that because she was my type that I don’t like you.”

I turned and smiled at him. “Hey some people have a set type, and others are all across the board. It’s no big deal.” I shrugged.

“Look Nat. You asked me earlier if we’re dating. And as corny as it sounds, I want to say no. I want to say we’re past the dating part and we’re a couple. I wasn’t expecting any of this when I asked you to go to dinner. I just didn’t want to be a sorry ass alone on Christmas night. But you turned out to be the most amazing woman. You are nothing like anyone I have ever dated before.” He held his hands in front of him, inches from my body, indicating my figure. “Not in shape, and not in sense of humor, not in anything. And I really like you.” He nervously ran a hand through his hair. “Not one girlfriend in the past has ever brought me a pizza and offered to hang out with me when I’ve had to work late. Not one.”

I blinked at him in stunned silence.

I know that the thing on Christmas was by chance, and I know it really was just to not be alone. That didn’t make his confession sting any less. But everything else he said took the sting all away.

“So this kind of does away with that whole relationship timetable huh?” I finally said. “We skipped right over dating and fast-tracked to the exclusive couple part. Huh?”

“That’s not exactly what I meant. I don’t want to make you feel like you can’t date other guys. But. Yeah, no. That is what I mean. Damn it. I don’t want you seeing anyone else. I want you to be my girlfriend and not just a girl I’m dating.”

Chris walked in a big circle. His hands raking through his hair. He was stressed. My initial reaction to be snarky was put on hold. I didn’t want to be the cause of his stress. I seriously liked him.

“Hey.” I pulled him into my embrace. “I can’t think of a nicer plan, to be exclusively your girl, and you being exclusively my guy.” I could feel the tension leaving his body as I held him.

He wrapped his arms around me. “See this is what I’m talking about. You are different. You aren’t putting me on some timetable, and you are okay with how fast this is happening. You want to know why I was at work until after midnight?”

I nodded. “You got dumped on by your coworkers. You had a lot to do.”

“I was distracted by you and that damned pizza. I kept thinking I should have let you stay, but then I know we would have ended up making out more. Of course, that led me to thinking about making love to you on my desk on top of all of those papers, and then I couldn’t focus at all.”

I blushed and swallowed hard. We weren’t even into heavy petting yet and he was talking about the sex. Not that I hadn’t thought about that too, but hearing that I did that to him too was, wow.

“I guess I had better not volunteer to stay late with you tonight then?” I asked.

“Knowing you are willing to just hang out with me, and not be the center of my attention is a lot. Most women would demand that I focus on them, even if they know I have a job to do. I know you wouldn’t but I’m still gonna say no thank you. Because even though you wouldn’t, I would want to give you all of my attention.”

I was falling in serious deep like with this guy. I definitely wanted all of his attention, hanging out while he worked was a bad idea.

“Can I at least stop by for some making out before I head home tonight?” I pleaded.

“Please.” He began nuzzling my neck. He groaned then stopped nibbling on me, he rested his forehead against my shoulder. “Damn.”

He stood and looked down at me. “I might be in a meeting.”

“So call me, let me know what’s going on. We’ll figure this out. It’s only one more night then we have a long weekend together right?” I tried logic on him.

He kissed me, it wasn’t a soul searing kiss. It was a nice simple kiss, a basic kiss because we both knew it wasn’t the last one. We knew there were plenty of more kisses coming. For a split second, I realized this may be the first real grown-up-in-a-relationship kiss of my life.

catch up with the fifth date

continued on Dec 31, with the seventh day of Christmas

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the fifth date

5th Date of Christmas

And a Side of Onion Rings

I forgot how wonderful it was to feel this way. Chris and his peanut butter hair made me so happy. Not peanut butter, it’s too dark and too sticky. But it’s a step in the right direction. It’s definitely better than beer. But beer is a cleaner description. Oh, it doesn’t matter. He’s lovely, and each day he’s more mine, and that’s what matters.

My stupid-happies did not defeat the morning commute traffic beast today. But it didn’t matter. Chris sat spinning in my chair when I got to work. And that made up for all of it. What is it with men and spinning in my chair? I may have squealed.

“Good morning.” He stood and put his arms around me.

I dropped my bags and threw my arms around him. “Hiya. What are you doing in my cube? Not that I’m complaining, or anything.”

I really didn’t care if anyone in the office was going to be offended by our PDA: public display of affection. Besides, my cubicle was fairly private. Unless someone walked past it, like Blake just happened to do.

“Well, are you going to kiss her or not? I can’t stand around all day waiting for you.” Blake snarked.

Chris dropped his arms.

I glared at Blake for killing our moment of joy. “What do you need Blake?”

“Nothing.” He shook his head. “I just wanted to see how straight people do it, ya know.” I really don’t know how to describe his expression, but his face contorted from super pretty boy to comically-derpy with screwed up eyebrows and lips. “For science.”

Chris’s arms were around me a second later. “Watch and learn science boy, watch and learn.” Chris leaned in and the world disappeared. His lips were soft and he tasted of coffee. He gently prodded my mouth open and his tongue found mine. I swear his kisses were getting hotter every day. Soon flames would burst from me, and we would be consumed in passion’s flames. I shoved my fingers into his hair, and he grabbed onto mine. We kissed deeper until I was floating in space.

When he pulled back, his hands cupped my face. We were both breathing heavily. I had actually forgotten that we had an audience.

Blake began a slow clap. “Well done, nice technique. I give you a 9.8 for style, and a 10 for partner satisfaction.”

I dropped my forehead against Chris’s chest. “Go away, Blake.” I groaned.

“Kay-kay girlfriend.” He said in a highly sassy tone then he left.

“What was that?” Chris asked.

“I have no idea.” I didn’t, but I was laughing. “Hi.” I mooned up at Chris. That was an amazing kiss. I wanted more. But we were at work. So that wasn’t going to happen.

“I wanted to kiss you again, and I didn’t want to wait. So I figured you would come here first.” He explained.

“I like the way you think. Can you do lunch today or is it another day of all day meetings?” I asked.

“Yesterday happened because half the department isn’t even here today, they came in specifically for the meetings. Leaving the rest of us to do the actual work.”

“Bummer.”

“Yeah, but that does mean I am available for lunch.” He slowly twisted with me side-to-side.

“Ya know, if we grab something to go from the roach coach in the back parking lot, we can go find a bench and make out.” I fluttered my eyelashes at him.

“I knew you were a smart girl.” He kissed me again. This one didn’t quite take me out of my body, but it still curled my toes.

I waited for Chris in the north stairwell. My pulse would surge every time I heard feet pounding down the stairs. I watched with anticipation for his figure to turn at the landing and make his way down to me. With each new not-Chris person, my excitement diminished. By the time Chris did arrive I wasn’t expecting it to be him. So I was completely surprised.

“Oh,” I gasped as he grabbed me and kissed me without saying anything.

His kisses were hot and urgent. And they didn’t stop even after a few people cleared their throats nervously as they passed us.

“You hungry?” He asked.

I nodded, but I wasn’t.

“I’m hungrier than the food truck can handle, mind if we hit the cafe across the street? We can eat on the patio, its nice out.” Chris pointed with his thumb over his shoulder indicating the matching building to ours.

“Sure.” I nodded.

He held my hand as we cut across the parking lot to the other building. My stomach did somersaults.

“How’s your day been?” I asked. All those practiced topics of conversation from the other day deserted me. Work seemed safe enough.

Chris grunted. I stopped walking, forcing him to stop and look at me.

He gave me a weak grin. “It’s better now that I’m with you. I feel like I’ve been dumped on with everyone deciding they can cut out early. Which means I’m working late every night just so I can leave on time on Friday.”

“Can’t you just cut out early without the late nights?” We resumed walking.

“No,” he shook his head. “Too much to get before year end. I’ll be here late tonight and late tomorrow, and I’ll have to come in early Friday if I can’t get everything done.”

We stepped up to the counter to order. I ordered a hamburger.

“You want fries with that?” The lady behind the counter asked.

I felt like throwing caution to the wind. After all the very first thing we ever did was go out to eat, so I didn’t need to shy away from food now. “I’ll have a side of onion rings, oh and one of those big pickles.” Chris looked at me with one eyebrow raised. Oh, that was a hot look, but right now I think that was him giving me a funny face. “What? It’s a vegetable.”

We found a seat on the patio.

“So, you have big plans for Friday?” I asked.

“Actually I do and I’m hoping you don’t.” Chris shifted in his chair. “My parents got back last night and they want me to come up for New Year’s.” He looked nervous. “And I was wondering if you would come up with me? Take the long weekend in Santa Barbara and hang out with the moms.”

Uhm. Wow. Meeting parents already? Plus spending a weekend away together. Breathe Natalie. This meant the sex thing might happen. Not necessarily, not if we’re at his parents. But still, the chances of the sex happening just skyrocketed.

“I can change my plans,” I said trying to be cool. I did not feel cool. I was flummoxed.

“Your friends won’t get mad?” Chris asked.

“My TV won’t care either way, the DVD player might feel left out, but I think they’ll be fine without me.”

Chris’s grin made my heart skip a beat or two, before running in circles at top speed with glee.

“Great. Bring your stuff and we can leave from work. You said you skate right?”

I nodded.

“Bring your skates, there’s a great beach walk.” He began.

“Oh, the place you took me after the Prince thing?” I interrupted.

“Yeah, it’s great for skating or biking.”

“Or running.” I finished for him.

“Or running.” He agreed.

“So just how serious is this running thing with you? Weekend warrior or what? You’re a little beefier than what I think of as a runner.” I asked.

“Track in high school. Mostly weekend warrior type thing. It’s easy cardio. I’ve done a few marathons. But not so many since I’ve added more weight lifting. I’ll hit the gym three or four times a week, run a few times, or do something else, like roller blades or biking. Depends on the weather, and if I have company.” He shrugged.

“So fit and active lifestyle is your thing?” I asked as I sank into the greasy pit of onion rings, hamburgers, meaty thighs and big boobs. One look at me and most guys who are into fit and healthy turn tail. Not that I’m not fit or healthy, I just don’t fit the physical stereotype. And to be honest, my lunch of choice did not support the argument that I was either.

“It’s an activity, not a lifestyle. I like to go to back-to-back movies with beautiful women. I like to hang out at friends’ houses and play video games. I go to the gym, so I can eat hamburgers and french fries, and convince myself that a pickle is really a vegetable.” He said nodding at my lunch. His wasn’t much healthier, the only vegetable he had was the lettuce on his cheeseburger.

“Fair enough. I used to work out more, but not so much since I moved here.” I thought about telling him how much I used to hit the gym, and how much I skated, but I decided to save that for the weekend. Give him a little surprise.

“I watch entirely too many movies. Theater, DVD, and streaming. I’m on social media too much. I like long walks on the beach, piña coladas, getting caught in the rain, I’m not into yoga.”

“So, you like making love at midnight do you?” Chris caught me. We both laughed at my attempt to use the piña colada song as my personal dossier.

I leaned in and looked up at him through my eyelashes. “I like making love at midnight. But not on sand dunes. That shit gets everywhere and gets in cracks you didn’t realize you have. Or so I’ve been told.”

Chris started choking he laughed so hard.

Chris held my hand on the walk back to the office. I loved the feel of his large warm hand wrapped around mine. His fingers were long and tapered. And he held on like he wanted to keep my hand.

“Want to find a secluded place to neck for five minutes before we get back in there?” He asked, nodding towards our building.

“I had onions and a huge pickle for lunch,” I complained.

“And I had garlic fries. We should taste amazing.” He said as he pulled be around the corner, and pressed me against a metal fire escape door.

The pressure of him leaning into me took all my resolve. His lips descended on mine. He was right. We tasted delicious.

I brushed his hair back into some semblance of order. Mine was too far gone to be saved so I pulled it into a ponytale. Chris kissed me again once we reached my cube.

“I have to stay late so I can’t take you out tonight. Come up and kiss me before you go home?” He asked. He was so cute and timid, like a little boy.

“Of course,” I was so smitten with this guy, like I would turn down a chance to make out for a bit. “Do you want me to hang out with you, keep you company?”

He made a soft growl low in his throat. “I won’t get any work done. But thanks for the offer.”

He kissed me again, then left to return to work.

I flopped down in my chair. I did not feel like working. I felt like making out with Chris, garlic and onion breath and all.

“Did I see you trying to suck out boyfriend’s tonsils outside?” Blake stuck his head in my cube.

“Probably.” I sighed, yeah that was some heavy necking.

“When did this all start. I don’t remember the two of you even talking before. And now its all suck face all day.”

“Blake. Stop it. Why do you even care?” I asked.

“Cause it’s cute and nauseating all at once. So for how long?”

“He was my Christmas present. Question.”

Blake raised his perfect eyebrows at me.

“You barely said word one to me since I’ve started here, and now you’re all up in my business. What gives?” I would have killed to have him talk to me a week ago, and now, I just didn’t get it.

“You’re snogging one of the finer specimens of manhood in this building, that’s what gives. And what do you mean don’t talk to you? I email you all the time. We’re always talking.”

“Email isn’t talking, but okay.” I nodded. He was right, we did email, but it was always work related. “And you’re right, Chris is fine.” I sighed. Fine and a really good kisser.

“Girlfriend I’m always right. Now get back to work, those sheets aren’t going to spread themselves.”

I snorted softly as he disappeared around the bank of cubicles.

I ordered a pizza before the end of the day and personally delivered it to Chris before I left. I gave him a quick kiss goodnight that lasted about thirty minutes. He was getting bolder with his hands. He really had been my Christmas present. Best one I had received in a really long time.

need to catch up on the fourth date

The story continues on the sixth day of Christmas

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the fourth date

the Fourth Date of Christmas on www.lmsylvian.com

Calling Birds

On the fourth day of Christmas I woke up happy. Stupid stinking happy. Princess movie happy, birds were chirping, cute little chubby rodents made my breakfast and made me an entirely new wardrobe kind of happy.My lips were still a little tender after all that kissing. But man, oh, man, oh man. It was so worth it.

The stupid happies carried me all the way through my morning commute (a miracle by LA driving standards). It wasn’t until I went to take a sip of coffee I realized I didn’t have one. That’s the power of stupid-happy.

I turned on my computer and opened my email as I moved into my cubicle for the day. I stroked the side of my monitor in response to an email request from Blake, clearly a habit now.

I slid open the bottom desk draw to drop in my purse when my desk phone started ringing. “This is Nat.”

“Did your drive in go incredibly smooth? Mine did.” It was Chis, sigh. He sounded stupid-happy too.

“I’ll see your good commute and up you a coffee-free morning.”

“Seriously?” I could hear the smile in his voice. That of course, made me smile more.

“Yeah, no coffee. Are you having a good morning?” I asked.

“I am now.”

“What are you doing for lunch?” Lunch seemed like hours away, but I wanted to see him again.

“I have an all-day meeting. That’s why I was calling. I need to drop off some forms to your department, and was wondering if you wouldn’t mind meeting me halfway?”

“North stairwell in five minutes?” Oh a clandestine meeting in the stairwell, I wondered how much making out we could do.

“Make it three.” He countered.

As calmly as I could, I hung my phone up, finished putting my stuff away, and tried not to run to the stairs. Once in the stairwell, I pounded up the stairs. Chris was running down just as quickly. We met on the landing between the two floors.

His hands were empty.

“Looks like you forgot your paperwork.” I cooed. I played with the front of his shirt.

“That was just a ploy for anyone who was listening. I couldn’t very well say I wanted to make out with you some more over the company phone. You know those lines are monitored.”

I finished in a stilted computerized voice, “for quality assurance.” He smiled a dazzling grin at me. “So you want to kiss me some more?”

“Yeah. I really liked that last night.” His hands slid onto my hips, and he stepped in closer. His head tilted down, and his eyes closed. We heard footsteps on the stairs. He stood straight and stepped back. I stared at the floor. I didn’t see who passed us.

“You know,” Chris’s gaze landed on my chest. “These are very distracting. I honestly keep thinking about them.”

“Oh really?” I arched my back, giving the boobs a bit of a lift. “You didn’t seem very concerned with them last night.” It was true. I had half expected him to be super handsy, yet he had barely even gotten close.

“Truth? I am in awe, and a bit intimidated by them.” His fingers barely brushed the tops of my breasts as he zipped the front of my shirt up another few inches. I had worn the zipper a bit lower than usual for him.

I laughed. “Intimidated? It’s not like they bite. Actually, they like you.”

“Oh yeah?” He moved in a little closer.

“Yeah, they would like to play with you sometime.” I can’t believe we were talking about my breasts as if they were a complete and separate entities. I mean, at times I swear they are, but for the flirting, it was kind of lame. Lame, but it was clearly working for the two of us.

He smiled and nodded. The rest of our conversation was mostly just mooning at each other and sighing. His watch beeped, pulling us out of our mutual gazing stupor.

“I’ve got to go. I’ll call you when I’m out.”

I nodded, bit my lip, and watched him sprint back up the stairs. I went from stupid-happy to lonely despair in the blink of an eye. I slogged back to my desk. When I got there Blake the Beautiful swiveled back and forth in my chair. He was so pretty with his smoky skin and his dapper beard. But he didn’t make the butterflies in my lower abdomen flutter anymore. I leaned against the opening to my cubicle.

“What can I do for you, Blake?” Blake never visited for the sake of a chat.

He continued to spin around, his fingers steepled together tapped against his pretty mouth. I had wanted to kiss that mouth the first time I met him before I knew he liked boys. Heck I had wanted to kiss him even after I knew he liked boys, he is just that pretty. Now, it was just a good looking mouth, like it belonged to some actor in a movie, nothing more. It wasn’t Chris’s mouth.

“So,” he began. Twist. “What did I see you and Chris Jones getting up to in the stairwell? Hmmm?” He continued to twist around in the chair.

Busted. I flushed.

“Oh it was something, look at you blush.” He leaned forward in the chair.

“What did you see?” I asked. He saw nothing because Chris and I did nothing.

“Somebody was a little too close, a little too predatory.”

“And?” I prodded.

“And someone else seemed a little too pleased with herself.” He continued.

“And nothing else, because nothing else happened.”

“You aren’t denying it? You aren’t going to say it was a random meeting while you were running errands?”

“Blake what’s the problem? You caught us flirting. No big deal.”

“I love a good juicy office romance.” I had not pegged Blake the Beautiful to be sassy office gossip. He always seemed so aloof.

“Out!” I pulled him from my chair and shushed him from my cubicle. “Be gone purveyor of whatever it is you’re purveying!”

A week ago I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the fact that Blake was sassing off to me, let alone been able to actually grab his arm to pull him out of my chair. What can I say? My hormones act funny around pretty boys. And really hot men.

I sat and quickly typed an email to Chris. “Blake was in my cube, he basically thinks he’s busted us on some hot office romance. FYI, I did not deny it.”

I hit send and hoped I handled the situation right. It hadn’t occurred to me that Chris might want to keep this on the down-low until that very second.

I stared at my monitor waiting for a response ping. Chris was in a meeting. I had to be patient.

I was in the middle of sorting my email inbox when it pinged with a new message. “Good. I’m not worried about keeping it a secret if you aren’t. – Chris.”

Big sigh of relief. Double sigh, because it always bothered me when a guy wanted to keep the beginning of something a secret. I kind of wanted the world to know that I got to make out with Chris Jones, and hopefully on a regular basis. This also meant he didn’t have another girlfriend that I didn’t know about. Triple sigh.

I spent my day sorting and matching invoices to packing slips, and forwarding the matched sets on to the people who handled the money. It was a very long day.

My phone rang again just before I decided to head out for lunch.

“This is Nat.”

“I have a hot minute, and wanted to say hi.”

I smiled, the stupid-happy flooded me again. “Hi, Chris.”

“So that was Blake in the stairwell?”

“Yep,” I confirmed.

“Well everyone should know we are dating by the end of day tomorrow. He’s pretty fast.”

“But.” I stopped. Dating. Yeah. “I didn’t peg him as the gossip monger. He’s so quiet.”

“Stealthy, the man is stealthy.”

“Hey Chris? What ya doing this evening?” I wanted to ask him if we were really dating. But it seemed stupid, he had just said we were.

“Work. It looks like this meeting is going to last a few more hours. Then, I’m going for a run. Do you want to join me?”

“Running? Have you seen my boobs?”

“Yeah.” His voice was kind of breathy.

“These boobs were not made for running.” He started to make a noise on the other end of the phone, and I panicked. I didn’t want him to stop dating me because I didn’t run. “But I hike, and I skate, things that don’t jostle or cause multiple black eyes.”

He laughed. I really did like that sound. “Skate like roller blades?”

“Yeah, like roller blades.”

“Cool. If the weather holds let’s go skating this weekend. I have to go, they’re starting up again. I’ll call you later.”

The rest of my afternoon lagged.

My evening was lonely and dull.

I lounged across my couch watching mindless TV. A soft tapping knock sounded on my front door. I slid the chain across before opening the door to peek out.

“Chris!” I closed the door so I could unchain it, and open it all the way. He stood there in his sweaty running clothes. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to say good night.”

I stepped back so he could come in.

“You could have just called me.”

“Yeah but I can’t kiss you over the phone. And I really missed not kissing you today.” He wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me to his chest.

The kiss was warm and searching. One of his hands found its way to one of my breasts.

“Good night,” his voice was raspy after the kiss. He let me go and headed out the door.

“Good night.” I managed to say after I got some of my wits back after that kiss.

Oh, I liked this guy. I liked him a lot.

 

Catch up with the Third Date

The story continues on the Fifth Day of Christmas

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the third date

thirddate

Chicken Tacos and French Kisses

On the third day of Christmas, I lay on the couch contemplating the meaning of that not-quite-a-kiss kiss. Would Chris have given me a proper kiss if that jackass hadn’t threatened to tow his car? Or had Chris seen it as an opportunity to get away and give me a nothing of a kiss when he felt pressured to kiss me but really didn’t want to?

I had barely felt him at all. A slight pressure, then nothing. My lips longed to feel his lips. I wanted a real kiss; a real kiss and a good word to describe his hair. Another beer commercial– what channel was I watching again? All the ads were for beer, cars, or ED medication. Malted barley, roasted hops, liquid amber ale. The color was close, but the connotation of beer wasn’t sexy enough. It didn’t play right across my tongue.

Beer just didn’t stir my loins the way a good description of Chris should: kind of blondish, with dark blue eyes. It just didn’t do him justice. Dark blue almost wasn’t the right color either. His eyes were indigo. Now that’s a sexy color, mysterious and comforting. Sigh. I was enjoying hanging out with Chris, last night’s date had been so much fun. I just hoped I wasn’t reading more into all of this. There are girlfriends, and there are girl friends. That space between words is all the difference. That space is the “friend zone,” a wonderful platonic location or the pit of hell. In my case, that space is the writhing cesspool of doom. And that kiss, well, it really wasn’t enough to properly close that gap between words.

My phone rang.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Movies start in forty-five minutes, I don’t have time to come get you. Meet me?”

Sigh. Chris had the nicest voice. I closed my eyes and let the tones of his voice caress me. I hadn’t heard a thing he said. “What?”

“Movies, you’re still doing this right?”

“Oh right, yeah.” I sat up forcing my body to focus.

“Meet me at the theater. I ran out of time and I can’t pick you up.”

“We never really arranged that, but yes, I’ll meet you there in thirty.” I shoved my feet into sandals. Fortunately, I was already dressed, even though my hair was still wet. Oh well. I didn’t have time to get all gussied up. Chris would have to take me as I came: damp hair, no make-up, and ratty jeans.

Unfortunately, on the drive to the theater, I had time to panic about my wash and wear state. Look if Chris didn’t like me this way, then he really wasn’t interested. This was how I was on most non-work days, and pretty much as soon as I got home from work. I wasn’t going to change for him. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel a touch of panic for not dressing to show off my better assets, read: the boobs. It just meant I accepted that this was me. I needed a boyfriend who accepted me this way. I more than kind of hoped that would be Chris.

Somehow, overnight I forgot how cute Chris was. He stood there with his hands in his pockets waiting for me. For me! Broad shoulders and beer colored hair. I started to pull my wallet out of my bag. Chris’s big hand was on mine and pushing my purse down.

“I’ve got this.” He said reaching for his own wallet.

“I invited, so I pay. Besides, you paid last night.”

“Last night was practically free, thanks to your clever chest.” He smirked. He made a circling gesture in front of his own. “How’s the burn? They gonna be okay?”

“It’s still a little pink, but it will be fine. You get the tickets, I’ll get the popcorn?”

“Sounds good,” he nodded and proceeded to purchase the tickets for the two movies we agreed to see.

Lunch was theater hot dogs and more popcorn.

We sat shoulder to shoulder as the credits of the second movie scrolled past. We were the only ones left in the theater.

“I always stay till the end,” I said munching on more popcorn.

“You never know.” Chris completed my thought. I really liked this guy. But I still didn’t know was I in the friend zone gap or not?

“Man those guys are unreal. I think they have CG muscles.” He tossed another handful of popcorn into his mouth.

“You’re pretty buff.”

“I’m not ripped like that. That’s almost inhuman.”

I laughed. “You could get like that with focus and training.”

“Naw they are too unreal. Their shoulders are so freaking wide.”

“Only in comparison to their hips. It’s these muscles here.” I reached under his arm to poke him in the ribs. “That make them look so wide.” He squirmed and giggled. I tickled him some more.

He reached over and began tickling me in the ribs. Next thing I knew, the armrest between our seats was up and out of the way, his hands were on my back, and his mouth was on mine.

I sank my hands into his hair, whatever color it was. And pulled him in. I consumed him hungrily, and he consumed back. Tongues twined and breath mingled. He tasted like popcorn and salt.

A light hit us in the face. “Hey movie’s over! Get a room.”

Chris grabbed the bucket of popcorn and my hand. We were both laughing as we ran past the kid who had hit us with his high-beam flashlight. I smiled like an idiot. No gap, no friend zone. That was definitely a girlfriend kiss.

We ran all the way to the parking lot. Chis stopped by his car, dropped the popcorn, and pulled me back into his embrace. I liked kissing him, I liked being pressed against him. He was built like one of the movie guys with nice broad shoulders and big muscles. Okay, maybe not as big. He didn’t work out professionally, but he was still firm and hard, and I liked being squished against him.

“Now what?” I asked when I came back up for air.

“Dinner and more necking.” He suggested.

I couldn’t think of a better plan.

“I buy dinner, we neck on your couch?” I asked.

He shook his head. “Roommates. I buy dinner, we neck on your couch.” He countered.

“Sounds like a plan. What do we want to eat?”

We both said tacos at the same time. We laughed and he looked into my eyes. “I like how you think Natalie. Where to? Lead and I will follow.” Why did I want to think he was talking about more than tacos?

I led Chris to a corner with a terrific local taco truck. I ordered three chicken tacos, he had four. We ate them leaning against the hood of his car. I kept blushing and glancing over at him. He kept doing the same.

Back at my apartment, my nerves got the better of me. I turned on the TV for a distraction. “You want something to drink?”

“Sure what you got?”

“Beer, wine, soda, water.” I gave him an inventory of my kitchen.

“Wine.”

“Chardonnay ok with you?” I asked as I brought out the bottle and two glasses.

He smiled and watched me sit down, then pour and hand him a glass.

I watched him over the rim of mine as I took a sip. He reached forward and took my glass. I followed his motions as he set it on the coffee table next to his. He reached for me again, this time hooking his hand around my neck and pulling me forward to him.

“I’m done with wine. I’m here for you.” His lips slid across mine. I closed my eyes and breathed him in. My face began to feel raw from all the kissing. His hands never traveled higher than my ribs. He kissed the side of my face and sucked on my ear. I know I moaned. It felt wonderful.

We didn’t come up for air for what seemed like forever. And when we did, it was never for very long. Mostly it was tongues and lips, and teeth.

Chris pulled back and looked at me. His mouth was red, and beginning to look like it might be getting sore. His hair was a mess. I’m sure mine was too. I gently ran my fingers across his lips. He closed his eyes and kissed my fingertips, “I,” his voice was raspy. He cleared his throat. “I should get going.” He said.

I nodded. I would have loved to have him stay, but we were clearly still in the necking phase of things. Of course, I could change all that by pulling my shirt off. But I didn’t. I kind of liked that this developed on a daily basis.

We stood up and awkwardly adjusted our clothes.

“I have a long cold shower to take.” He said as he made his way to the door.

I followed him, a smile on my lips. “I’ll see you at work tomorrow?” I asked.

“Absolutely.” He leaned in for another kiss. “I’ll see you tomorrow Nat.”

“Night Chris.” I leaned against my door as I watched him walk away. It was a really nice view.

Sigh. Tomorrow was work after a long weekend. I sighed again. I looked forward to getting back to work, the first time since that new job honeymoon phase had worn off. Tomorrow I would see Chris again. And maybe we could neck some more in a back stairwell.

the second date

the story continues tomorrow with the fourth date

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the Second Date

seconddate

Turtle Sundaes and Purple Doves

I’ve been thinking about color all day. Well, two colors specifically. Purple and yellow. Well, not yellow exactly, but a golden amber, almost the color of a nice beer. But beer isn’t a romantic description, and dark blonde tends to make people think of light brown. Blonde is too pale, too yellow. And he’s not a ginger, he does not have orange hair. His hair is more like amber waves of grain. His hair is the color of beer, scotch, hell I could even say whiskey, but that just makes me sound like an alcoholic. I’ve been obsessing over Chris’s hair all day, and how to describe it. I want it to feel good on my tongue, the way thinking of him does.


I really hope this evening’s date is good. And that brings me to the other color I’ve been thinking about: purple. Purple is not a Christmas holiday season color. At least not in the stores that I was willing to brave this morning. So I stood in front of my mirror, dressed in all black, hoping that I had just enough purple streaks in my hair (thank you hair extensions) to be acceptable for a Price review show.

I waited for Chris to pick me up. I freaked out because I was going to be in a car with Chris for around four hours. The first two hours were either going to be really painfully long and full of awkward silence or what I really hoped for, not long enough to be with him. I had been running pretend practice conversations with myself all morning. Making sure I had topics to introduce, and that my light tinkling laughter didn’t sound like a rabid barking squirrel.

I didn’t expect him to knock on my door, but to text letting me know he had arrived. But he knocked.

“Hi, Chris.” I beamed when I opened the door.

It wasn’t him, it was the UPS guy delivering a day late, my “Christmas” present from Mom. A box of hand-me-downs. Mom still didn’t quite get my personal professional dress aesthetic. Nor did she fully grasp that I worked in an extremely business casual setting, or that it wasn’t 1985 anymore and I don’t wear pastel colors.

My phone buzzed. /knock knock I’m here/

Now that’s what I actually expected from Chris. No one I know in my age range knocks on doors or rings doorbells. It’s getting to be a lost art.

I threw open the door. “C’mon in.” I was simultaneously distracted by the box of fugly clothes from mom, and Chris on my doorstep. My insides twisted in an excited twitterpated manner.

“Uhm, you thinking about going all out eighties style for this?” Chris gestured at the blouse I had draped across my chest. Side buttons, shoulder pads, and ruffles that ran from the shoulder to the bellybutton in a V-formation. Oh, and it was yellow. I look terrible in yellow.

I snatched the offending garment from my person and tossed in back into the box. “No,” I said a little too loudly. “My mom just sent me a box of clothes from when she started working. I guess she thought that fashion recycles, maybe I could use them.” I shivered.

I noticed Chris still staring at my chest. Score! I typically downplay the boobs, since they can be distracting at times. Today was not one of those times. Full cleavage exposure. Colliding boobs and a low plunge bra were my weapons for this evening. Chris’s distraction proved that they worked.

I locked up, and he led me out to his car. Let me rephrase that, he escorted me. Allowing me to walk in front along the narrow walkway, placing his hand on the small of my back to guide me around the block, he even opened the car door for me.

So far, this was better than my idea of spending the day at the movies. This was a date with a gentleman. Damn, he had manners. I cannot even begin to express how incredibly sexy it was. I didn’t expect it, after all, he texted me from outside my front door when he could have knocked. I was not going to think about that, I was going to enjoy it.

“I like your purple tie,” I said as he slid into his car.

I hadn’t really paid much attention to the car last night, after all, he drove us into the hills to look at Christmas lights in the dark. In the daylight, I noticed it was spotless. I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been so spit-polished clean last night. I grinned like an idiot. He had cleaned his car for me.

“Thanks, I like the purple hair.” He replied.

“I actually don’t own too many purple clothes that would be acceptable for the theater,” I confessed. “So do you really like Prince? Why is this all the way up in Santa Barbara?” I asked.

“My sister really likes Prince, and therefore everyone really likes Prince. He is great, no denying that. I think she got these tickets more for her, but since I’m somewhat local, I was the excuse. My parents live in Santa Barbara, so it’s reasonable to expect that I would be there for Christmas. And honestly, it really isn’t that far away.” Chris explained. “I’m not sure what this place is, we are going to. I think it’s a theater. When I looked it up for directions they had a lot of stage-shows listed. We’ll see.”

I watched Chris’s profile the entire drive up. His hair, the color was still giving me fits for a name, golden amber like scotch, swept up and away from his brow. Mirrored aviator sunglasses covered half of his face, but did not hide his chiseled good looks at all. I never really stared at him, or focused on his features before. Typically it was notice Chris from the fifth floor, get flummoxed, blush and run away.

The drive to Santa Barbara took no time at all. I never once had to resort to one of my practiced conversation topics.

Chris drove by the theater first, to make sure he knew where we were going. It looked like a dive bar to me, with big banners advertising the Prince Review featuring Smokey Haute. If nothing else, we were in for an interesting time.

“You like Italian?” I said yes, and he took us to a little family owned restaurant he said he had been going to for years.

I thought dinner was going really well until I fed the boobs. My boobs are practically an entity all of their own. They seem to require feeding daily. It does not matter how hard I try to not spill, but I always do, and I always spill right on the boobs. Sometimes I wonder if they leap out to save my lap. Are they purposefully collecting food to later? Are they god-lings I am not adequately offering sacrifices to? Maybe I should just always offer my first bite of the day to my boobs, and then maybe I wouldn’t have grease stains in the middle of all of my shirts.

Well, tonight my clothes were saved the shame of marinara sauce stains by raw boob flesh. Unfortunately, the delicate skin of my décollitage was not spared the hot sauce. I may have screamed. Chris may have jumped up and wiped a napkin across my chest before he realized he was fondling me in public. He was beet red from embarrassment when I returned from the ladies’ room after cleaning up. My glorious cleavage was bright pink, and a bit tender.

“I am so sorry.” His eyes bounced between my eyes and my cleavage. “Are you okay?”

I laughed, “I’m fine. They got a little excited from being let out, and forgot not to jump after hot foods.”

I pressed a cool damp napkin to my chest. “Ow. Isn’t this just great? My best asset, and I have to burn them.”

Chris leaned in conspiratorially, still blushing. “You still look terrific, and, uhm. They do too.”

It was my turn to blush.

It was my own clumsiness, but the restaurant still comped my meal and gave us free desserts.

We thought we had plenty of time to get back for the show. By the time we parked and made our way to the entrance, a line had already formed down the street. Based on how everyone was dressed, this was a night club, and not a dive bar. I was glad I wore flats, then I could dance. Looking around at who was in line, it was hard to say, but I was fairly certain we were at a gay bar.

By the time we made it inside, I knew it was a gay bar.

We found a small table near the stage, and Chris got us drinks.

“I thought this was going to be a play of some kind. I feel overdressed.” He said as he slid a pink frothy drink in front of me. The glass had almost as many curves as I did, and the fruit spilling from the top made it look more like Carmen Miranda than a cocktail. He loosened his tie and undid the top button on his dress shirt. My mouth went dry at the sight of his neck. I took a quick sip of my drink.

“Maybe it’s a cover band?”

“Is this okay?” He asked, looking around. “You aren’t disappointed?”

“What that it’s not a play? Not at all. I think with this many gay guys and a Prince Review we are in for something interesting.”

Interesting really didn’t begin to describe Smokey Haute when they took the stage. Gender fluid to the extreme, and sexy as hell, Smokey took Prince’s feminine twist and masculinity and tied it all up in knots. Dressed like the purple rock god’s early days of the 1980s, Smokey defined cross-gender sex appeal.

I leaned into Chris’s shoulder, “I’m not sure if that’s a he or a she, but day-um.”

“I know what you mean. I’m drawn to the her, and confused by the him. They have me questioning my sexuality.” He confessed.

“Which is?” I asked.

“I’m firmly hetero.” I was pleased with that answer, mostly because he directed his gaze straight back to my boobs, as if to confirm that they did, in fact, hold some attraction for him after witnessing Smokey Haute.

It turned out that Smokey was our MC for an evening of drag performances of nothing but Prince tunes. It was fabulous. I don’t think that stage ever saw so many purple sequins and feathers before, or since.

The show ended with Smokey telling all of us to go dance. I jumped up and grabbed Chris, dragging him to the dance floor.

“I don’t dance.” He complained.

“So you can hold my drink.”

“I’m not going to be your floor table.”

“Then just stand there and pretend to dance. Please?” I begged.

His smile told me he surrendered. Chris was right. He didn’t dance. He sort of twitched back and forth, and not on rhythm at all. He moved like a jerky sloth. It was pitiful. But he moved because I asked. I on the other hand, danced like a spaz on speed. I more than made up for his lack of movement.

A long, glittery, sweaty arm draped over my shoulder. I turned to see the overly made up face of Electra Shock, one of the queens from the floor show. “Honey, tell me he screws better than he moves. I don’t think dance lessons could help that boy.”

I laughed and probably blushed. I had no answer for her yet, but I certainly hoped so.

“I saw him earlier, and I thought hmmm, mmm, mmm that man is fine. He is so well dressed, I bet he swings both ways. But now I have seen him dance. He is all yours. Straighter than a stick.” Electra Shock swiveled her head and snapped her perfectly manicured fingers before sashaying away.

Chris leaned in. “What did she say?” He had to yell so I could hear him.

“I’ll tell you later,” I yelled back.

Chris put up with my spastic gyrations for one more song before grabbing my wrist and pulling me from the floor. “Let’s get out of here.”

I nodded.

He drove for a few minutes before parking the car. He opened my door and helped me out. He had driven us to the beach walk. The evening was cool with the wind coming in from the ocean. The waves roared as they washed up on the beach. It was a welcome relief after heat and noise of the club.

“Oh, this is so quiet after the club. That was fun, thank you.” I spun around. My skirt twirled out a little further than expected. I giggled nervously as I patted it back into place.

“That was. So, are you going to tell me what that drag queen said that made you blush? Or are you going to blame it on the lighting?” He slid his hand into mine.

I couldn’t think for a moment, his hand felt so warm. No, I wasn’t going to tell him all that Electra Shock said, because if I did then I would blush even stronger. So I edited. “She said she could tell by your dancing skills that you were straight.”

“That’s not all she said.” He laughed and tried to coax me to tell him the rest.

“I’ll tell you that later. Like next week or later. When I know you a bit more.”

“But you’ll tell me?”

I agreed.

“You know what I want?” He suddenly asked.

I shook my head. To kiss me?

“Ice cream.”

“We had dessert,” I told him.

“That was hours ago. Let’s go find some ice cream before I have to drive us back.”

Apparently, Chris already had a place in mind as he pulled up to an all night diner. I slid into the booth across from him. We both ordered turtle sundaes with caramel sauce, hot fudge, pecans, and lots of whipped cream.

“So,” he cleared his throat. Then he nodded at my boobs. “You plan on feeding them again tonight?”

I laughed, “no they have had their allotted quota.” I tenderly poked at the still pink flesh. “Besides, it’s still a little tender.”

“Well if you do. I volunteer to lick any ice cream off.” He smirked.

I know I lit up like a Christmas tree. I was speechless, flustered, confused. Part of my brain said I should slap him for being impertinent. Part of my brain was ready to dump the entire sundae into my cleavage. All of me buzzed. Chris’s intentions were pretty clear, and while my body said ‘oh hell yes.’ I did need to make sure he knew I wasn’t that kind of girl, exactly.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I managed to say when I finally found my tongue. “But not on the first date.”

“So are you the kind of girl who has dating rules?”

I cocked my head to the side and looked at him like he just grew three green heads.

“You know, kissing but no tongues right away, no sex until the fifth date. I don’t get to see you in your underwear until I meet your parents. Sex right away, but no sleeping over for at least six weeks. That kind of thing.” He explained.

“That sounds like entirely too much work. I take it you have encountered that a lot?”

“You have no idea.” He answered.

We finished our ice cream, I did not feed the boobs, and Chris began the long drive home.

“Do you need that kind of structure while dating?” I asked. What were my rules of dating? I didn’t like to sleep with guys on the first few dates, but it doesn’t mean it never happened. When it did it also typically turned out to only last a few dates, thanks for the shag have a nice life.

“No, I don’t need those kinds of limitations for dating.” He laughed.

“How about we play it by ear, and see what happens? Does that work for you? I mean, do you want to keep seeing me?”

“You saved my Christmas, Nat, and I had a really good time tonight. Yes, I would like to keep seeing you. And I don’t mean running into you in the break room at work. Playing it by ear sounds like a good plan. No pressure for expectations by deadlines.”

Again the car ride took practically no time. I had Chris pull in behind my car in the car park. “You can’t stay here long, or they will tow you.”

“Do I have enough time to walk you to your door?”

I nodded, “and that’s about it.”

“Fair enough.” He followed me upstairs to my front door.

I proceeded to become incredibly shy. I wanted to kiss him, so I shoved the shy down and began playing with his neck tie. “I had a nice time. What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Hanging out with you and watching movies?” He answered.

“Move this car or I’m having it towed!” We heard someone yell.

He kissed me quick, then took off down the stairs. “I’ll call you in the morning. Night Nat!”

“Good night Chris,” I called out after him.

“Shut up!” Someone else yelled.

 

the First Date

this story is continued with the third date on Dec 27

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: Christmas Day

TwelveDatesbyLuluMSylvianThe First Date of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love came to me. I just didn’t realize it at the time.

I spent the morning having breakfast with my family via video chat. I staged a decorated tree and purchased red plaid flannel pajamas. As planned, I made the same breakfast in my little apartment in the big city as mom had over 2,000 miles away. It didn’t matter that I had to get up crazy early, and I had the AC running to keep me from sweating while wearing full flannel pajamas in 60-degree weather. I smiled sweetly and let everyone believe I was having a wonderful time.

Video conferencing was as good as being there. Actually, it was better. I didn’t have to listen to my sister and her future ex-husband arguing for hours at a time. (I secretly held a betting pool with myself on how much longer the two of them would last. Every year the arguments grew louder and longer.) I did not miss my mom fussing at my dad. I did not miss being asked if I had a boyfriend or if I was seeing anyone. I did not miss making up a boyfriend to have Christmas dinner with every few years, just to run away and get people off my back. There was so much I was not missing.

But, also, there was so much I was missing. I missed the Christmas lights in the snow, and the way hot cocoa and marshmallows warmed my toes and my soul. I missed watching the look on my nephew’s faces when they opened their gifts from Santa. Or the way my mom looked as she watched all of us sitting on the floor around the tree, surrounded by shredded wrapping paper. Video conferencing was not as good as being there.

“I love you too. Merry Christmas!” I waved.

“Bye sweetie, call me again tonight.” My mom blew kisses, my dad waved.

I tapped the screen and the video feed winked off. I was faced with a reflection of myself as my camera showed me what it saw. I lay the screen face down on the table. I let me face relax. My cheeks felt like they wanted to explode from my false enthusiasm.

I ripped off the flannel and slipped into jeans and a t-shirt. It was at least a festive shirt and had fake knitting stitches and a reindeer printed on the front.

I opened the front window and switched the AC off. Winter in Southern California was comfortable. All I needed was a light hoodie if it wasn’t raining (which it hadn’t for entirely too long). So drought aside, the weather was perfect. Which is exactly why I planned on spending the day sitting alone in the dark, watching movies.

I shoved another handful of popcorn into my mouth. My lips were beginning to feel shriveled from too much salt and soda. It made complete sense that I got up and refilled the popcorn bucket and my drink.

I crept from the theater, careful not to step on toes in the packed theater. Previews for my second movie of the day were still running, so I figured I had time to refill my goodies and get back to the theater on time. Blake the Beautiful walked past me. I almost dropped my bucket on the way to the concessions stand when he nodded and smiled in recognition at me.

Blake. Now that was a Christmas present I could handle, instead of the Amazon gift cards from mom. Blake was hot, and I not too secretly had a crush on him at work. Of course, there was no one to confide this secret to. No one actually knew that anytime Blake emailed me requesting documents I would pet the side of my monitor as if he had sent me a love note instead of some generic department request, and me being the generic department recipient.

Blake was everything I thought I wanted in a man, slender and yummy, bearded, tattooed and stylish. Not the only problem in our way, but pretty much the only major problem was that I had nothing Blake the Beautiful was interested in. I had boobs and I didn’t have a dick. Blake the Beautiful was gay, so very very gay. And then there was that little issue of never actually talking to each other. He still took my breath away with his beauty.

I returned to my movie and sank deeper into a depression. Alone in a theater, surrounded by strangers on Christmas day, and the closest thing I had to any interest in the opposite sex was a fabulously gay man.

I followed the throngs of moviegoers from my last matinee out into the parking lot. Like a caravan, cars made their way from the theater into the parking lot of the closest Chinese Buffet. Maybe we should have figured out a ride-share plan? Maybe if we all talked to each other we would find out each other’s stories? Maybe pigs will fly.

I waited my turn anxiously. Alone, away from my family, in a strange place (trust me LA is strange when you are from middle America), my Christmas was sucking hard.

“How many?” The hostess asked me.

“One.” Her eyes rolled so far back in her head, I almost expected them to start spinning like a slot machine. She moved on to the next group. They had three. They were seated.

I guess the restaurant had too many singles, and not enough tables, so they were seating groups first. I turned to leave, having had enough humiliation just by being alone today.

I literally ran into the second best-looking man at work. Chris. Running into Chris was like running into a side of beef. He was tall and muscular. And really hot.

“Watch it. Oh hi, Natasha.” He said as he recognized me. Not my name, but close.

I stuttered. “Ha, ha, hey Chris. It’s Natalie actually.” He smiled. I withered inside, he’s so cute. While Blake is beautiful, Chris is handsome with a square jaw, cute with a little nose, good looking with sparkling blue eyes, gorgeous perfect body, and straight. “Sorry.” I frequently dorked out around him. I dorked out on him every freaking time I had to run anything upstairs to his office. My brain stopped all proper functionality when I was anywhere near Chris.

“You leaving?” He asked.

“Yeah, I don’t have it in me to wait. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea. Everyone and their missing half-cousin are here.” In self-defense, I relied on heavy sarcasm.

He scoffed. “You wanna get out of here? I know a little Thai place that’s open.”

“Aren’t you here with people?” I asked, looking around expecting to see a girlfriend, or a parent or two.

“Flying solo. How bout you?”

“My folks are back in Indiana, I’m on my own too.”

“Great,” he smiled.

Chris’s smile was the best thing to have happened to me in days. I grasped on to that and knew I would cherish this moment forever. The moment Chris smiled at me. At me, and not just in my direction. I had thought it was enough he actually almost knew my name, but to also get a smile, that was great.

Oh, I was in serious high-derp mode.

“Let’s ditch the traditional Chinese Christmas dinner, and try for something a bit different.”

“Sounds good to me.” Squee!

I knew better than to think this was an actual date, but it was still nice to go be a warm body so that Chris wasn’t alone today also.

Maybe it was a date, an impromptu, unexpected date.

“So Nat, why are you here and your folks in Indiana?” Chris asked as he blew on the hot soup, before wrapping his perfect lips around the spoon. This was a friendly dinner, yet every hormone in my body shot off like fireworks.

I sat across from him in a small cozy booth, in a slightly seedy little Thai restaurant, that frankly, had some of the best food I had ever eaten.

I smiled between bites of grilled satay sticks. “My first year out here. Figured I would attempt to save some money. You know, be the responsible adult I have fooled people into believing I am, and not fly home this year.”

“And you moved here for the job?” His lips wrapped around another bite of food. I dearly wished to be a bite of Thai food at the moment.

“Yeah. I stumbled across a job fair at my alma matter, and these guys hired me on the spot. The relocation package was decent, and I’m here living the dream in Southern California.”

“So you’re using Zephyr Tech as your gateway to what? Getting into the movies and making it big?”

“Yeah, no. No dreams of Hollywood. I’m using Zephyr as my gateway to a 401K, and job experience. And the chance to live in California.” I explained.

“I never really quite understood that. Why up and move thousands of miles from everyone and everything you know?”

“Seriously Chris? Where did you grow up?”

“Santa Barbara.”

“Where did you go to college.”

Again he replied “Santa Barbara.”

“And you don’t see why people want to live here?” He shook his head.

“It’s what I grew up with, so I guess I take it for granted.”

“Ok, lets put it this way. Would you up and move to, say Oklahoma City for a good job opportunity, if an equal opportunity was available here?”

Chris scoffed, “no, why would I leave here?”

“Exactly. You’re already here, so you can’t see the point of wanting to be anywhere else. Well, when you live with anywhere else, in the landlocked midwest, you dream. I dreamed of living somewhere near the ocean.”

“Somewhere with traffic congestion and water rationing, and raging wildfires?” The sarcasm was strong with this one.

“Somewhere with ocean, a job that paid enough to cover rent and pay off my student loans, in a location where I didn’t have to spend the rest of my paycheck on seasonal clothes. Honestly, I was actually looking at Chicago before being able to come out here. It was the logical big-city. But moving here was a happy opportunity.” I explained.

“What do you at Zephyr exactly?”

“I’m in Enterprise Acquisitions.” Chris nodded in understanding. This typically meant that the listener had no clue, but didn’t want to appear to not understand corporate buzz terms. It meant the team I worked with was responsible for helping the company get the things it needed to run as a company.

“You?” I asked, knowing he would throw some more buzz words back at me.

“Asset Projection.” I nodded as if I knew what he meant. He meant the group he works with figured out what the company was going to need to purchase in order to run as a company. Basically, his group told my group what to buy.

“Do you think anyone in upper management actually knows what any of us actually do? I mean why am I in Enterprise Acquisitions, and not Purchasing?” I asked.

“With fancier names we can charge the clients more, and you and I can expect bigger paychecks.” Chris winked.

I couldn’t help myself, I giggled.

“There is a neighborhood up in the hills, they do up everything crazy over the top with Christmas lights. You want to go for a ride and look at the lights?” Chris asked. This was turning into an almost real date.

“That sounds like fun.”

On the ride into the hills, I found out that Chris’s folks and brother did the travel thing, and this year they were spending Christmas in Australia. His sister was with her family in Oregon. He wasn’t with them because of year-end issues with work.

When he dropped me off at my car, I more than hoped he would say something that would indicate that this was a date-date. As a modern woman, I wasn’t going to sit on my laurels and wait.

“Chris that was unexpected and pleasant. What are…”

He started talking at the same time. “Would you like to go out again tomorrow?”

“I’d love to go out again tomorrow. I was just going to ask if you had any plans.”

He smiled at me. My toes curled. Damn if my body reacted that way to a grin, I really wanted to know how I’d react to a kiss.

“My sister got me tickets to a production called ‘When Doves Cry,’ it’s some type of Prince review. You wouldn’t be interested would you?”

“I love Prince. That sounds much more interesting than what I had in mind.”

“And what was that?” Chris’s eyebrow shot up. Ooh, he could lift one eyebrow. I’ve tried for years, and never managed to master that expression.

“Hang out and watch movies,” I said shrugging.

“Isn’t that what you did today?”

“Yeah, but there are more movies that just came out that I haven’t seen, and we could share popcorn.”

Chris chuckled. “I’ll pick you around four? We can eat first.”

“Four? Isn’t that early?”

Chris shook his head. “Not at all. This thing is up in Santa Barbara. That should give us time to have dinner before it starts.”

I bit my lip. Chris was asking me to be stuck in a car with him for at least 4 hours of driving time, and to see a live show. Now that sounded like a date.

“It sounds great. I’ll text you my address in the morning.”

“I look forward to it Nat.” He nodded, then gave me a little wave and pulled off.

I had a date and less than twenty-four hours to get ready, lose twenty pounds, look like I had four days of sleep, grow my hair to my butt, and bleach my teeth. I looked down at what I was wearing, jeans, a ratty hoodie, and a food stain right in the middle of my boobs. I groaned. Food on the boobs and he still asked me out. This Christmas day had not sucked.

I needed to go home and call my mom.

 

The story continues tomorrow, Dec 26, the second day of Christmas.

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

Author Interview Savannah Kade

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Today, Savannah’s newest series Touch of Magick  is released. The entire series, so you don’t have to chomp on your fingernails waiting for the next book!

I was lucky enough to get her to answer some questions for us about her books, writing, and sock preference.

Your first contemporary romance series, the Wilder Books, follows the lives of each member of the band Wilder. In Touch of Magick what is the common thread that ties the three stories together?

The Touch of Magick series follows a family of witches — Tristan, Delilah, and . . . well, the youngest sister (Juliet) is deceased (more on that in book 1-WishCraft.) Delilah’s story is  first and the second book goes to Yasmin, one of the employees in the family’s magicks store. Tristan finally finds his place in book three.

Can you provide a Twitter-length description for each book?

WISHCRAFT – Delilah is heartbroken over her sister’s betrayal and her own broken marriage. She’s picking up men in bars and casting forget spells on them. But Brandon’s spell just won’t take and he keeps coming back.

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DREAMWALKER – Yasmin (tired of waiting on Tristan to notice her) casts a love spell (which she knows she shouldn’t do.) Messing with destiny leaves her with police protection in the form of one Luke Salzone, non-believer.

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LOVESPELLED – Megan is fleeing an abusive family situation. Her ‘gift’ is that she can hear what everyone around her thinks and feels. The bolt that Tristan feels when he touches her may not be enough to make up for all the ways he doesn’t understand her.

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Will we see more paranormal stories from you, or do you plan on focusing more on contemporary romance?

All my stories are contemporary–I’d even call these contemporary. Though they have a paranormal element, the stories are still based in real-life love. I do have plans for other series in the future with paranormal elements, though.

What’s the next series we can look forward to, and when should we look for it?

The Hollywood Nights series will release the first two books on May 4th, 2017. There’s already a link to those books on my website, so you can see blurbs and more. The remaining two books in that series will be out later in the year.

You write other genres under different names. Would you mind sharing?

I write dark, twisted suspense under the name A.J. Scudiere.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t even know. I know I wrote my first ‘book’ at age eight. It was 80 pages and I thought it was an adult romantic suspense novel. It wasn’t. I’d always told myself I’d be a published author by the time I was thirty. Then one day I realized thirty had passed by and I hadn’t even given it a shot. That very day, I made a plan to finish a novel and get it submitted.

What inspired you to start writing romance?

The same thing that inspires me to write anything. I have stories–almost like full-emotion movies–playing in my head. Some have been in there for more than a decade. Writing them releases them so I can move on to the next story. Some of those stories are suspense and some are love stories. So I had to write romance.

The Wilder Books released in June of this year, and now Touch of Magick is released 6 months later. Approximately how many books do you write in a year? And how far in advance do you write?

There is no average year! My first book took a year and a half to write. The second only two months. I thought I had this writing thing nailed and got pulled up short when the third book took almost three years to finish! This year, however, I will complete four full-length novels, beginning to end, edited and everything. So that’s a really good pace.

On your website you say you believe in characters with human flaws, how do you find your characters? Or do they find you?

It’s both. They find me and I also work to make sure the characters are fleshed out. I hate when characters do dumb things or out-of-character things because that’s where the author (or tv show writer) decided the plot should go. Some things just don’t fit. And real people are full of flaws and troubles and even things they don’t see. So there’s plenty to use to write a good, real story with. And I personally need more than just a ‘that’s nice, they’re together now’ ending. I love when I fall in love along with the characters and I try to give my readers that same experience.

As an author what’s been your biggest book-related thrill?

Honestly, there are a lot of them. I loved the feeling of awe when I held my first copy of my first book in my hands. Though I admit it’s not the same anymore, there is still a good sense of the world stopping when you get your new book. My day is made when people write to me and tell me how much they loved one of my books. Or when I see a new review. The first time someone stopped me and asked if I was ‘her’? That’s unreal!

I’m a big fan of the Wilder books. I totally want one of their albums. What band or combination of bands would you recommend listening to get the Wilder sound?

Oh! That’s so great! So, I taught myself to sing “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen like a singer–all the deep lungfuls of air, all the diaphragm movement. I wanted to know what TJ felt. I had songs in my head the whole time. I have pieces of “Jump” — the song TJ writes for Norah — in my heart. And later, after I wrote that book, I finally heard Keith Urban’s “Once In A Lifetime” which has that same vibe. I hear a male version of the Dixie Chicks when I’m thinking of Wilder and their sound. And some Rascal Flatts with all their harmonies. I hear sweet but southern sounds like Phillip Phillips’ “Home” and old INXS — so it’s definitely a mix!

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What’s your hidden party trick?

That for everything above–about me singing like a singer and writing songs–I have absolutely zero singing and musical talent! ha.

Coke or Pepsi?

Mexi coke. Hands down. Nothing else.

One last important question regarding socks. Why is it shoes and socks and not socks and shoes? On a more personal note is it sock-shoe, sock-shoe, or sock-sock, shoe-shoe?

Linguistically, it’s “shoes and socks” for the same reason it’s a “big, red wagon” and not a “red, big wagon.” For me, it’s sock-sock, shoe-shoe because I have no natural body heat, so those socks have to get on fast. The second foot cannot even hang out bare while the first gets a shoe!

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You can find Savannah’s book on Amazon here.

You can find her website here.

You can find her on Facebook here,

and Twitter here.