Meet Marmalade

Marmalad Prize Rooster

Tyler stalked thru every last tent, and he literally crawled between them as well. Still no bird. And no one had seen any more roosters running around.

He checked out the main entrance and wished he hadn’t left his jacket in the pickup. A fine drizzle and diminishing light were going to make the next half of his search miserable. For Kolby, he would do this in his bare feet in the snow. She had kissed his face, and her lips had felt like clouds. He stepped out into the weather.

After a fruitless search that took longer than he wanted, and probably not half the time that was needed, Tyler returned empty-handed to the rooster tent.

Kolby sat on the table. Her torso and arms draped over the crate holding the smaller of the two roosters. Her dark hair, in a thick braid, hung limply over her shoulder. She wiped at her nose, still sniffling.

His heart broke to see her so sad. He had watched, from too far away, as she established herself as a Marans breeder. Her birds consistently produced the desired dark brown eggs. Her hens were full and fluffy with dark feathers, and the roosters were picture-book quality. To lose her spokesmodel and top show bird had to feel like a kick in the teeth.

And here he was again, watching her from too far away.

He would give anything to be her hero but he’d failed miserably.

“Kolby?” He didn’t want to startle her, didn’t want to cause her any more grief.

Her puffy red eyes lifted to meet his steady gaze. When she saw he had no bird in his arms, she didn’t smile the way she usually did when she saw him.

He shook his head and opened his empty arms. He was so sorry, so unbelievable sorry. He would give anything to see her smile again, but he was only able to deliver bad news.

Kolby rushed into his arms, holding onto him as fiercely as if he was the only person who could save her.

©2017 Lulu M Sylvian. Three French Cockerels from The Twelve Strippers of Christmas. Available October 2017

Meet Tom

Meet Tom. The Twelve Strippers of Christmas by Lulu M Sylvian

 

How’re you doing?” The man she’d inadvertently ogled had a square jaw lined with a thin beard, nice lips, and a voice like liquid chocolate. He gave Alexa a little upward nod of his head. It was a shapely head with close-cropped, tightly curled hair. He had everything nice, and that was why Alexa figured he had mesmerized her as he carried cases of beer and water from a delivery pallet on the sidewalk into a building.

No, no, I’m good,” she stammered. Oh my God, wrong answer stupid. And he’s wearing a Santa hat.

Red stocking cap with white pom-pom, tight jeans, and a T-shirt with the long sleeves pushed up. He didn’t seem to be bothered by the cold. Alexa sighed as she watched him pick up another box and disappear into the dark of the building. His jeans displayed his ass to perfection. He even whistled. Could he be any cuter?

You sure you don’t need anything?” he asked again. This time she registered hints of a British accent.

Just enjoying the show,” Alexa gushed.

By all means, enjoy away.” He rolled his shoulders, did an extra flex of bicep, and carried another box into the building.

Alexa’s brain, not firing on all cylinders, took a moment to realize that she had just come across as the vilest, most sexist pig ever. Had she been a man doing that to a woman, she should have been slapped. Instead, he flexed for her.

I just objectified you in a very demeaning manner, and you don’t mind?” she asked him after he jogged down the few steps to the sidewalk.

The man paused. Damn, he was tall. Then he shrugged. “It’s all part of the job. Look, if you want to objectify me without guilt and enjoy a real show, come by tonight. Doors open at eight.” He pointed to the marquee on the building behind him. Manfred’s Manly Male Review.

Oh. Right.” Alexa felt a little awkward, but she smiled. Alliteration always made her happy. Manfred should have used manifestation instead of review…more Ms that way. She had been ogling a stripper in his day wear, and he had just invited her to ogle him some more. “I think I just will.”

©2017 Lulu M Sylvian. Perfect Cup from The Twelve Strippers of Christmas. Available October 2017

 

Meet Seth

Meet Seth, The twelve Strippers of Christmas by Lulu M Sylvian

 

Bethy stared mournfully at the remnants of Christmas tree selections. The live trees were all dead and brown, and of the pre-lit trees, the only choices were too big and expensive or unnatural colors. She was not convinced this was going to be a good idea.

Seth tossed another box of frozen appetizer snacks in the cart. “I don’t know about you, but on Thursday I think snacks and movies all day sounds perfect.” His smile faded when he looked at her.

“Whats wrong, Bethy girl?”

Bethy sighed, the sweet and the bitter all mixed up into one. Seth already had a nickname for her, that made her heart soar. But the lack of tree options felt like a holiday kick in the backside. “No trees.”

“What do you mean no trees? There’s this one over here.” He gestured broadly at the huge example.

“Too big.”

“Okay, then we go avant-garde and get the white one and do all black and silver ornaments.”

Bethy giggled. “That sounds too chic for me.”

“Then we do white with candy colored ornaments. It will be festive.”

“A white tree? Will it work? Maybe no tree is best.” She shook her head skeptically.

“Of course it will work. It will be Whoville meets Willy Wonka. Ridiculous and sweet. C’mon.” Seth spun a pirouette in front of the tree then slid across the floor on his knees to be right in front of Bethy. “I’m begging, can we can we can we? Huh?”

Bethy’s face felt like it was going to crack in half with her smile. An older lady paused and said, “When a boy that good looking is on his knees in front of you, you had better say yes.”

Bethy started laughing. “Okay, okay, we can get the white tree.”

©2017 Lulu M Sylvian. Partridge in Her Pear Tree from The Twelve Strippers of Christmas. Available October 2017

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas- Cover reveal

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas is a collection of short stories all around the theme of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

With a twist

and a thrust

and some break away snaps.

Available in paperback and ebook October 26, 2017. Presale info coming soon.

chestsantatease

Teaser Tuesday: All I Want

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Jason led Amy out of the restaurant. He dropped her hand and then he spun on the ball of his foot, completing several full turns. He stopped with a jump, planting his feet. “Whoo!”

“I guess you enjoyed your supper?” Amy ran after him as he danced down the street.

Jason leaped onto a planter before jumping and landing with another spin.

“If you were singing, I would think I’d been transported into a musical,” she said, looking up to Jason as he spun around a lamp pole.

He smiled down at her.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because you’re dancing up the street like a mad man.” She laughed.

Jason twirled and executed an undulating body wave before coming to a stop in front of Amy.

The breath caught in her throat as he merged their personal spaces. “You are music that makes me feel like dancing,” he confessed in a low whisper.

Amy expected her face to burst into flames with the heat of her flush, but instead it suddenly was cold and wet. She lifted her face to the sky to watch the sudden downpour overtake them.

She laughed. “It is like a musical, and now it’s raining.”

“You know what that means, don’t you?” Jason asked.

Amy shook her head.

“It means the hero gets to kiss the girl now.”

 

©2017 Lulu M Sylvian

WIP-IT Wednesday Camp NANO time!

Camp NaNoWriMo is a virtual writer’s retreat, designed for maximum flexibility and creativity. We have Camp sessions in both April and July, and we welcome word-count goals between 30 and 1,000,000. In addition, writers can tackle any project they’d like, including new novel drafts, revision, poetry, scripts, and short stories.” –from their website

I am taking this opportunity play along with Camp NANO, and the writer support I find there to power through the rest of the stripper shorts. This excerpt is “RAW” and unedited, cranked out just this month.

white figures in santa hats

The music changed dramatically from loud and booming, to tinkling and light. Christmas music filled the air, and Katie could hear the woman next to her singing along with the music.

The stage curtains slid open revealing a man half dressed in a Santa suit lounging on a throne. Two ripped men dressed as elves pushed the throne forward down stage. The audience squealed in excitement and delight.

The “Santa” lounged on the throne. It was elaborate, tall gilded, ornate, it was everything that a throne should be. The “Santa” was not. He defied anyone’s preconceived notion of what a Santa was. There was no body fat on the man, he was lean and muscular. His long limbs betrayed his extensive height. His long scarlet robe of velvet, lined in ermine fur, cascaded around his frame, open, displaying an impressive collection of chest and abdominal muscles. Matching red britches and knee high boots completed his costume. There wasn’t a gray or white hair anywhere on his head or face. Thick wavy ginger hair graced his head under a crown of holly leaves and berries, no stocking cap with a ball of fluff on the end for him. The smirk across his face denoted his withering scorn for the scene before him. He kicked lazily in time to the music.

Now that’s a bad-ass man who clearly drinks tea. Holy Crap! Katie covered her mouth in an excited silent scream as she realized she could leverage tonight’s show for her blog. She let out a particularly loud cat-call to celebrate that this evening had just become a tax write-off. It looked like the wishing tea really did work.

The elves slid the throne back and to the side. Katie recognized her morning ogle victim as one of the two elves. Katie’s jaw dropped open. She had thought he looked hot and cute wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Now, shirtless with an open vest, poofy pants, and curly-toed shoes, he made a ridiculous elf costume look sexy. Santa deigned to get off of the throne. He tossed his long velvet cloak back onto the throne, the elves flanked him.

Three sexually-intimidating, ripped, with more abs than should be legal, Christmas characters stood poised ready to thrill.

“That’s one elf that can be on my shelf anytime.”

©2017 Lulu M. Sylvian

Wip-It Wednesday: Celebrations

This is unedited RAW, straight from whatever project I happen to be typing away on.  I definitely have a goal in mind, and this (in some edited form) should see the light of day this time next year.

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X dragged behind her friends, This isn’t exactly what I meant when I said I wanted to celebrate Chrissmis.

“What you don’t want to see nude males in zero G?” Zora flopped her finger around mimicking humanoid -male genitalia in no gravity.

“But this is how we celebrate.” Yaz whined.“How is your Chrissmis different?” X looked up into her friend’s large eyes. Yaz blinked slowly waiting for an explanation.

“It’s an old earth celebration, where you get together with friends and family. It’s quiet, and there is a lot of food.” X explained.

“And they burn trees right?” Zora asked.

“I don’t exactly know, I think it’s just a log. I read about it once and it sounded like fun.”

“Logs are trees.” Zora muttered.

“You burn trees?” Yaz blinked in amazement

“No, we don’t burn trees. Besides, I seriously doubt they would let us do that here.” X looked up as Asteroid Station Fergus extended thousands of feet above them, until it anchored again to a second asteroid.

Artificial grav fields and manufactured atmosphere, no, large open flames would not be a good idea.

©2017 Lulu M Sylvian.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the twelfth date

12

My True Love

I sat, despondent, on the couch, staring at the credits scrolling past on my TV. I did not have it in me to get up and change the DVD. I looked at the remote, hit the menu button, then started the movie again. Chris had gone into work, leaving me alone. I wanted to take another pain pill, but I couldn’t, not for three more hours.

I hurt, and I was alone.

Someone knocked on my door.

“Hold on, I’m coming, but I’m moving slow,” I called out.

It felt like an ice age to get me from the couch to the door. The pain management medicine skewed my perspective. For all, I know I actually sped over to the door.

I peeked to see Pat standing outside my door. I unbolted the chain and opened the door.

“Oh honey,” Pat said as soon as she saw me. She stood there with her arms full of grocery bags. What is it with the urge to feed people when they get sick or hurt?

She put her bags down and folded me into a large warm mommy hug. I needed a mommy hug, it was the best thing ever. So, of course, I started crying.

She eased me back onto the couch, pulled her bags in from the landing, and closed the door before joining me.

“What’s wrong?” She eased my head onto her shoulder.

I gulped and kept crying. “I just miss my mom, and I hurt. And I’m alone.”

“Sweetie, that’s why I’m here.” She patted soothing strokes along my hair and back.

“What?” I asked sniffing back my tears. I honestly did not expect to see Pat. I pretty much figured she didn’t like me and had just been playing nice since I was a surprise guest in her house.

“I’m here because my son is in love with you, whether he’s figured it out or not, and he is worried about you. You don’t need to be alone right now. I came figuring you could use a mom seeing how yours is across the country.”

I rested against her shoulder, just taking comfort that someone was here to mother me.

We sat like that for several minutes before I adjusted and let Pat get up.

“I brought all the ingredients for the butterscotch bars, and Chris said something about you liking bacon cheddar mashed potatoes. So I brought bacon, and cheese, and potatoes. You can tell me how to make that for dinner.” She carried the bags of food into the kitchen and began pulling things out onto the counter, and away into the refrigerator. “It looks like you are well stocked.”

“Yeah, my coworkers pulled out the stops and brought over all kinds of stuff. Which is good, because I didn’t have any food.”

Pat made herself familiar with my kitchen and began baking butterscotch bars.

I picked up my phone and texted Chris to let him know his mom had shown up.

He called me back, I picked up on the first ring.

“Hi.” I may have been overly enthusiastic to hear his voice.

“Hi, yourself. So mom’s there? Good, she said she would drive down.”

“I was definitely surprised, but I’m glad she’s here. She’s already baking. I think there is enough food in this apartment that I can safely eat myself into a food coma for the duration of my recovery.”

“You should rest, take a nap if you need to. You’ve got mom in case you need help with anything.”

I nodded and yawned, the nap suggestion was already working on my fuzzy brain.

“Are you coming by tonight?” I asked.

“I have to swing by my place to pick up some more clothes after work, but after that, I’ll come straight home.” He said.

“I like that. I like that a lot. I’ll see you later.”

“Call me if you need anything at all okay?”

“I will,” I said then I hung up the phone. I got to my feet and shuffled into the kitchen. “I’m going to go take a nap. You’ll be okay if I go pass out?” I asked Pat.

“You go rest. I’ll be fine. I can figure out how the TV works if I need anything I’ll just call Chris.”

I nodded and made my way back to my bedroom.

When I woke up the apartment smelled heavenly.

“I made butterscotch bars,” Pat announced as I shuffled into the living room.

“I can smell.” I closed my eyes and thought of Chris. I would forever associate this with him. “Can I have one? Or ten?”

Pat chuckled, she handed me two after I made myself comfortable on the couch.

“So what’s the plan?” I asked between bites.

“No plan, you don’t need anyone to cook. So I’m here for company, and to make sure you don’t need anything. A little later, I’ll let you talk me through those fancy mashed potatoes.”

I smiled as Pat took a seat. “I’m glad you’re here. I was really feeling sorry for myself after Chris left for work this morning. I didn’t want to be alone all of a sudden.”

“Good thing he called home, and that I have a flexible schedule. Grace is at work, and Mike is in school, so here I am.” She shifted in her chair. “Nat, I need to apologize again for what you overheard.”

I shook my head. She had apologized several times before we left. “You were expressing concern for your son. Nothing you said was really a personal attack. Just pointing out I am different. I’ve had time to think about it. I’ve met his ex, so I think Mike got it in his mind that women Chris like all look a certain way, and that Chris is a certain way. However old Mike was when that impression was made, it had been that way for a while. So in Mike’s head that’s the way it should be. Chris has changed along the way. Chris has been different for a while, even before I showed up on the scene. But with me being so much more different than his last girlfriend, it just pushed Mike’s buttons, and his reality is shifting, on top of that he’s sixteen, so his reality is already skewed.”

“You are being very understanding.”

“I think it’s the drugs talking. I’m not typically this insightful. He was still rude, and I’m not going to give him a pass on that. I just think I understand where it’s coming from.”

None of our other conversations for the rest of the afternoon were that deep.

Pat fried bacon, and I sat in the kitchen grating cheese. She had already boiled and mashed the potatoes, we were now preparing the goodies to be mixed in before it was put back into the oven to bake. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I typically use the frozen pucks of mashed potatoes or instant potato flakes. This would taste better with real potatoes anyway.

Chris walked in the door much earlier than I expected. He came straight to me and gently wrapped his arms around me before kissing me. He stroked the hair back from my face, “how are you feeling?”

“I’ve been good today. Your mom has been really helpful.”

He looked up, still holding me, “hi mom. Thanks for coming.” He released me, then gave his mom a quick hug.

I saw the look on her face. It was a mixture of pride and a touch of sadness. The pride that her son had found a woman to love and take care of, sadness that she had lost him to me. And that’s when I knew for certain, that on the twelfth day of Christmas I had found my true love. 

The End

catch up on the eleventh date.

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

 

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the eleventh date

11th

Piping Hot Tamales

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my hot date gave to me some pain pills, and some cute gay men brought me tamales.

I groaned and tried to move. Everything hurt.

“Shh, its okay.” Chris wrapped around me. I relaxed into his warmth.

“I need to pee,” I said.

Chris was up and helping me to the bathroom door, then left me on my own.

I wasn’t so bad off I needed help going to the bathroom, and our relationship wasn’t to that point yet. At least I didn’t think so. I carefully made my way back to bed.

Chris followed me with a glass of water and some pills. “Here, you can have more pain meds.”

I swallowed the pills and handed him back the glass. I noticed the clock across the room. “Shouldn’t you be at work?” I felt groggy with sleep and groggy from the muscle relaxers. “I need to call in. It’s so late.”

“I’ve already called in for both of us. They know you won’t be in all week. I even sent over a picture of the orders from the doctor.”

“Thank you.” I whimpered.

“I’m taking the day to take care of you, and to deal with my car. Insurance is supposed to get me a rental today or tomorrow.”

“You can borrow mine if you need to run errands. I’m not driving anytime soon.” I volunteered.

“Thanks, I will this afternoon. Right now it’s be lazy in bed and hold you.” He indicated I needed to lay back down so he could curl up around me again.

I moved slowly and carefully back into him. He wrapped his arms around me and nuzzled his nose into my hair by my ear.

“I’m staying with you today because I need this. I was scared last night, scared I had let you get hurt. Scared because they made me deal with my stupid car when they took you away to the hospital. I had to tell everyone we were engaged just so they would let me into the ER with you.”

My stomach did a little flip at the idea.

“I’m falling in love with you Nat. Last night made that clear to me.”

I tried to roll over to look at him. Instead, I gasped with pain and tensed up.

Chris sat up. “What? Are you okay?”

“Come over here so I can see your face,” I said through winces of pain.

The black eye he got had really bloomed over night. He looked worried and beat. I lay my hand against his cheek. “That’s the most wonderful thing I have ever heard. All I wanted was you to be near me last night. I wasn’t scared when you were around.” I ran my fingers through the thick hair on top of his head. “I love butterscotch. Be my butterscotch?”

He gave me the sweetest, most toe-curling kiss. It could have progressed to something hotter, and more intense but Chris kept it in check. I’m sure my flinching with pain in the middle of it put a damper on things.

We spent the day just hanging out in quiet company, watching movies on TV.

Chris put me down for a nap before he left to run some errands and get a few things from his place.

I felt muzzy headed after my nap. Chris came back and changed the DVD for me. It was nice to have him around, nice to have someone bend over for things I currently could not manage on my own. And nice to have around simply because I liked him.

“What do you want for dinner?” Chris asked as he rummaged through my cupboards. I didn’t have too much food on hand since I hadn’t gone shopping over the weekend like I typically did.

“You gonna cook?” I asked.

“If I can find something to make I will.”

“You cook?” I asked jokingly.

“You’ve met my parents. Of course, I cook. I can do more than run a grill too.”

I leaned against the wall and watched as Chris started to pull food out.

We both turned when there was a knock on the door. I stayed put as Chris went to open it.

“Boyfriend you look beat up. How’s my girl?” Blake asked as he swept in, followed by the good looking man I saw him at the movies with. Both of them were laden down with groceries and aluminum foil pans.

The food brigade had landed. The department I was in at work had a support system, whenever someone was sick and going to miss work for more than a few day, or was injured, or had someone at home in bad shape, we fed them. Those of us who lived close enough went home for lunch and cooked. Others hit the delis and grocery stores.

“Natalie this is Scott. Scott, Chris, Natalie.” Blake introduced us as he unpacked a variety of homemade meals and deli contributions from pre-sliced fruit and a rotisserie chicken to several casseroles and bags of chips. They also brought bottles of soda, and a six pack of beer.

“Oh wow, Jane and Lupa really outdid themselves,” I said eyeing the tamales and enchilada casserole. My standard contribution of bacon cheddar mashed potatoes was missing, then again this time I was the recipient of all the food.

“You probably have a few holiday leftovers here from the look of it,” Chris said as he started putting stuff away in the fridge.

“Even better,” I said. “I don’t have to worry about cooking or anything for at least a week.”

“How long you out?” Blake asked. “I thought someone said you broke your back.”

“No, I sprained it. Nothing is broken, it just hurts like a son-of-a-bitch. I should only be out this week.” I explained.

“Well good, we need you.” Blake kissed me on both cheeks, then turned to Chris. “You take care of my girl, okay.”

“I will,” Chris said with a grin.

And then Blake swept right on out, dragging Scott in his wake.

“I didn’t realize you and Blake were that close,” Chris said.

“That makes two of us,” I said. I eased my way into the kitchen. “Now that we have all this food, what’s for dinner?”

 

catch up with the tenth date

The story continues on Jan 5, the twelfth date.

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the tenth date

10th

Leaping

I leaned over the edge of the bed and watched Chris sleep. He really was handsome, even in sleep with his features slack, and making light snoring noises.

He snorted and shifted. I watched as he blinked a few times, and ran a hand over his face. I giggled seeing his shorts tented in the front.

He blearily looked at me, then followed my gaze. He put a pillow over his lap.

“That’s natural.” He said, his voice still groggy with sleep.

“I know it is. It’s still impressive.”

“It’s trying to show off for you. Giving you a sneak peek for tonight.” He chuckled.

I giggled some more. Chris rolled over, then crawled to the side of the bed and kissed me. “Good morning. You are beautiful when you wake up.” He kissed me again.

There was a soft knock on the door.

“Come in,” Chris called.

“Good morning,” Grace said as she eased into the room. She paused when she saw our sleeping arrangement. “Oh dear, this isn’t because of yesterday?”

Chris cut her off. “No, this is because of where we are in our relationship. This has nothing to do with Mom or Mike.”

“You should have said, we just assumed. That’s what I get for leaping to conclusions. You should have said something, we could have figured something more comfortable out. You haven’t brought someone home in so long. Well, we figured she was,” Grace paused. “Special.”

“This was fine, we were plenty comfortable.” Chis looked up at me, reaching for me, “she is special mom. I don’t have to be sleeping with her to know that.”

I blushed hard.

Grace smiled. It was a lovely warm smile that showed how much she loved her son. And it felt nice to have the same smile directed at me. “I just wanted to let you know we were going to be off running some errands this morning, but we’ll be back for lunch. How late are you planning on staying today?”

Chris looked up at me and shrugged. “I guess we’ll head back after lunch?”

I nodded in agreement. I was eager to get Chris home. Alone.

She closed the door and we were alone again. Chris stroked the side of my face. He looked at me with an expression that made my gut clench and my toes curl. There was a lot of emotion in that look.

“You are very special Natalie, I hope you know that.”

I closed my eyes and leaned against his palm.

“I am so totally in like with you Chris.”

“I’m in like with you too Nat.” He laughed and kissed me.

I’m special and we’re in like. It was a good feeling. I’m not sure if I had changed, or if Chris had, but there was a definite change in us today, knowing what would happen when we got back to my apartment. I held on to his hand a bit more, I leaned against him a bit more. It felt like he held on to me longer when he pulled me into his embrace. We were constantly touching.

Lunch with his parents was pleasant, made more so by the noted absence of his jerky brother, who had decided to go hang out with friends.

Grace hugged us both, and Pat actually gave me the rest of the butterscotch bars to take home. The butterflies in my stomach started a riot as soon as Chris pulled out of the driveway. In less than two hours we should be back at my apartment.

“What are you so giddy about?” Chris asked.

“I’m not giddy. I’m nervous.” I confessed.

“What is there to be nervous about?”

“Seriously?” I glared at him.

“Oh right, that.” He chuckled. “Yeah.” He sighed.

“You aren’t nervous?” Why wasn’t he nervous? Why is it that the girl has to be the nervous one about being seen naked for the first time, and guys seem to be perfectly fine with it. Like its no big deal.

“I wouldn’t say that exactly. More excited than nervous.”

I watched the golden hills of dead grass roll past my window. Yeah, butterscotch definitely. Chris’s hair was butterscotch.

Chris navigated through neighborhood traffic once he pulled off the freeway. He pulled into a corner drug store and shut off the car.

“I’ll be right back.” He announced as he jumped out of the car.

I stared at him when he slid back into the car. He handed me a small brown bag before he started the car and pulled out of the parking spot/

“Whats this?” I said as I eagerly looked in the bag.

It contained a black box with gold lettering.

“Oh.” I giggled nervously

There was a loud bang. And I jerked to the side.

“Natalie!” I heard Chris yell.

My head hurt. Bright lights and confusion. People kept asking me my name. My leg hurt. I sat in the car and was told not to move. I don’t think I could have moved if I wanted to. I groaned.

Large capable arms moved me to a board, then I remember seeing sky. Flashes of colorful lights illuminated the trees. I could hear faint arguing somewhere behind me. Someone was asking me my name and the date again.

“This will pinch.” A voice said, then I felt a sharp stab.

I vaguely remember them closing the box doors around me.

“Natalie, Natalie, I need you to wake up.” A gentle hand rested on my shoulder. I yawned, then discovered I couldn’t stretch or move. My eyes shot open in panic.

“You’re restrained, it’s okay,” the nurse soothed my fears immediately.

“Why am I restrained? My safe-word is octopus. You can let me go now.”

The nurse chuckled. “You’re restrained because they didn’t want you moving before they could find out the extent of your injuries. Do you remember the accident?”

“Vaguely. How’s Chris?” I asked.

“Who? Oh, the driver? My understanding is he’s fine and should be here soon. He didn’t ride over in the ambulance with you.” She explained nothing. I was strapped down in an emergency room,with no Chris to tell me what was going on.

“I’m supposed to ask, was there a dog in the car with you? Or a cat maybe?” The nurse asked.

“No.” I wanted to shake my head, but there was a strap across my forehead holding me still. “Why?”

“The EMT said you kept muttering about butterscotch. They thought it might have been a dog once they realized you weren’t asking candy.”

I snorted a small laugh. I started humming I want candy in my head. “No, dog. Huh. I wonder what I was thinking?” I said out loud. I knew exactly what I was thinking. I wanted Chris, even if he was just nearby, sitting in the room with me, or holding my hand. I wanted to know he was safe. I wanted his presence so that I would feel safe.

“Oh well. Sometimes those pain meds make people say strange things. Someone will be in here soon to take you for x-rays. We’re gonna keep you strapped down until we know for certain okay?”

“Okay,” I muttered. She left me alone, and I started to cry. This was not how I thought tonight was going to go.

“Nat?” Chris’s soft voice said my name.

“They won’t let me move.” I blinked away tears. Chris stepped into my vision.

He had a butterfly bandage across his eyebrow, A bruise had already started to develop around his eye, other than that he just looked tired. Or was that worry? He began stroking the side of my face.

“God, I’m so sorry. Does it hurt?”

I smiled weakly at him. “I’m on some good shit. I can’t feel anything. What happened?”

“Some asshole who doesn’t think the hands-free law apply to him t-boned us. He plowed right through a red light. Slammed into the back door, right behind you, as I pulled out.”

“Are you hurt?” I asked.

“Just a little banged up.” he touched the bandage above his eye.

“How bad am I hurt?” I was afraid to ask, but I needed answers. I started crying again.

“The EMTs said you looked ok, but because it’s your back they are being safe.” He brushed tears from my cheeks. The expression on his face was so gentle, so full of concern.

“I don’t like being on this board, it scares me,” I confessed.

“I know honey. You aren’t hurt bad, they are just being overly cautious. Once you get x-rays and they can tell what’s going on with you, they’ll let you off it.” His thumb stroked back and forth across my brow in a soothing motion.

“Knock, knock.” I heard a new voice and the sound of divider curtains swishing to the side. “Hi Natalie, I’m Diego. I’m here to wheel you off to get some scans done, then you can get off this board. Unless you’re really into this bondage deal.”

I heard Chris chuckle.

“I tried to use my safe-word with the nurse earlier. She did not go for it. I don’t think you guys understand how this bondage thing is supposed to work.”

Chris laughed, Diego laughed. That was good, I may be strapped to a board, but I at least had my sense of humor.

“Boyfriend you stay here, and I’ll bring her back as soon as we’re done. Natalie, I’m gonna need you to tell me more about this safe-word of yours.”

I got a great view of hallway ceilings and recessed lighting as Diego rolled me into x-ray.

They kept me strapped up for the x-rays, then Diego returned me to Chris.

“They asked me if we had a dog. Or if I knew why you kept asking for butterscotch?” Chris asked as soon as we were alone again.

I gave a small laugh. “Come here, I want to see you.” A second later, Chis stood over me. I wanted to reach up and thread my fingers through the thick hair on the top of his head. I couldn’t. I was still strapped down.“Your hair is butterscotch.”

“What?”

“I’ve been trying to figure out a color to describe your hair for days. And I figured it out at your parent’s house. Butterscotch. I must not have been confused from the accident, and instead of asking for you, I got stuck on the color of your hair.” I explained.

“I like that Nat.” I felt his fingers lace into mine.

I heard the divider curtains swish aside again. Chris looked up, then disappeared from my view, taking his comforting hand away.

“Hi Natalie, I’m Doctor Stephens. I don’t know if you remember seeing me earlier. You were a bit dazed from the pain killers.”

I didn’t remember him.

“Let’s go ahead get her off the board, and get her a corset.” I heard him say to someone.

Dr. Stephens stepped into my vision. “You hit your head on the window, gave yourself a goose egg and a small concussion. Your hip has a sizable contusion, but you’re x-rays are clear. You complained of pain in your low back, so let’s watch that. I want you in a brace for a week or two. I suspect you’ve sprained your back.” As he spoke he removed the straps from my arms and forehead. He grabbed my hand and elbow and helped me into a sitting position.

“Rest. I don’t want you going back to work for the rest of the week. Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right call my office. If its acute pain, come back into the ER.” He glanced at me, scanning me up and down. “No gym, no dancing, no physical activities other than gentle walking for at least two weeks.” He shifted his gaze to Chris, then back to me. “No physical activities that uses your lower back including intercourse, you do not want to cause further soft tissue injury.”

I was too doped up to blush. But I heard Chris clear his throat nervously.

“And don’t see a chiropractor for at least a month. Your bones look great. Heat then ice, then give it a break. No serious massages for a while either.”

He turned as the nurse came back in with a sizable package. He handed Chris a stack of papers. “Work excuse, and pain prescriptions.” Chris nodded.

“Follow up with my office in the morning, I’ll want to see you in two to three weeks.” He shook my hand, then shook Chris’s and left.

The nurse strapped me into the back brace and showed me how to get in and out of it. It was a corset. It sucked me in and forced good posture on me.

I was free to go.

Chris picked up all of my things. The EMTs had placed my purse at my feet when they wheeled me away from the accident. He walked with me slowly, as I made my way out of the room. I was stiff, and my head spun from the pain medication.

“Damn,” he whispered in my ear as we waited for our Uber ride. I turned to look at him. He had one eyebrow lifted as he smirked at me. Sigh. That expression was sexy as hell.

“I know it’s a back brace, but that is doing some amazing things to your figure.”

I glanced down. Yes, it was, extreme good posture, some waist cinching, and BAM! The boobs stood out even further.

Chris’s hand caressed my hip. “Looks like we have a dating schedule after all.” He chuckled.

“I guess so. I mean. Okay.” I turned to face him. “That was going to happen tonight, right? I’m not just imagining things. We weren’t just throwing innuendos around to flirt?”

Chris gently wrapped his arms around me. “I still have every intention of spending the night with you. Only now we will be actually sleeping.”

 

catch up on the ninth date

The story continues on Jan 3, the eleventh day of Christmas.

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas