A Christmas Wish.
The night started out like so many others. Tyce and I had talked about for weeks, but it still ended up the same way. Our counselor said we needed to schedule more time together alone, without the kids, for 'us time'. Obviously he didn't know what it meant to trade stellar earnings reports with three governments and sixteen bloodthirsty shareholders. The time he spent juggling political hand grenades made our lives financially comfortable, but it felt damned lonely watching Tyce walk out of our life at a moment’s notice. And yes, I was a smidgen more than bitter about it.
But this Christmas was going to be different. We’d made arrangements. The calls were going to be handled; the meetings were scheduled to be attended by Tyce's CFO. The world wasn't going to burn down around our ears for one night without him. For my part I arranged for our precious cherubs to be corrupted by the finest grandmother this side of Alpha-Centauri. They were already amped on gingerbread and hot chocolate, staying up so late it was nearly morning. I was getting regular texts that detailed the arrangements they’d made until finally I got a picture of them asleep on the couch where they’d waited for the sound of reindeer on the roof. They were also on the other side of the planet. Close enough to get to them in a few hours in an emergency, but not so close as to come home when one of them stole the other's last marshmallow.
Our plan was as simple as it was romantic. Candles were lit everywhere, the dinner was catered from the restaurant where Tyce proposed to me. We had our wedding china set for two, the music was via live-stream of the Philharmonic where we first dated and then attended religiously every Christmas until we moved out to Theta. I spent the afternoon getting ready, while he did the same. We avoided each other as if warding off a prenuptial curse. It was sweet, thinking back on it now.
I had my long dark hair styled and flocked with a gold and silver shimmer. The way it was pulled up left my neck open for Tyce to kiss while the few stray wisps of my bangs framed my face like a portrait of seduction. My makeup was a maddening application of almost nothing. I used the thinnest coat of eyeliner, a hint of mascara, a breath of blush. It was the best job I'd done in years. I had bought a strapless black dress that hugged my chest and hips, but then flowed like water down to my toes. It felt like satin on my skin, and the bra and panties were a lace pattern as smooth as the dress itself. I wore blue diamonds in my ears and around my neck; the same ones I wore at our wedding. My fingernails and toes were kept natural, but I had them buffed and they reflected the candle flames like mirrors. The thin strapped heels added a delicious three inches that made me exactly the same height as Tyce.
He chose to wear a very elegant-looking tuxedo. The jacket was an impressive cut that showed off his chest. It tapered down to his waist matched seamlessly to the waist. When I first saw him I thought he looked so relaxed. Even polished to the nines he looked like he was born to dress elegantly every day of his life. His black hair was also perfectly tousled, and every grey hair he had gleamed like tinsel. He wore the watch I'd given him on our first anniversary, too. It wouldn't pay for even a single cufflink that he had on now, but he'd still had it polished up and it was great to see it on his wrist again. I also wondered how long he’d been waiting for me by the bay windows that overlooked the dark skyline. The way the distant planets glowed behind him was breathtaking.
I saw the ghost of my reflection in the glass as I walked up to him and took the flute he offered. The orchestra started to play softly in the background, right on cue. He turned his head toward the speakers and smiled. My god how his eyes lit up with the memory of what we heard. It's funny how a sound can take you back in time faster than any machine. He took my hand and led me closer to the fireplace as we talked for a while. We went back and forth about the songs, about the food waiting for us on the table, but we weren't in any hurry. It was the most relaxing half-hour we'd had alone in a long time.
When I went to refill our glasses I brought the remote control I’d set aside back with me. I'd been working on the design of our Christmas tree for weeks, placing ornaments and lights. I spent countless hours uploading images, spacing the branches and making sure none of them would bleed into the light from the fireplace. I held out the control and his glass, then stepped back from him and let him do the honors. The wide open space in front of the fireplace suddenly erupted with light and the reflected glitter and glow from more than a thousand ornaments. The virtual tree was fifteen feet tall, and the wide base stretched from the hearth to my knees. His mouth actually hung open for a moment before he stood up and stared from tip to base before looking at me.
"Jorna, you made this?"
"Every single needle and bulb. Let me show you." I took his hand and pulled him into the center of the tree and held him close. "You see the ball near the top? It has our wedding picture engraved in the ice." I said pointing above our heads through the cluster of virtual lights and branches. "And over there is Xavier, and there's Belle over there."
He looked over the tree with the same look I'd seen in the eyes of our son, Xavier, when he looked over a new video game. His eyes moved constantly, trying to take everything in at once. "This is amazing, Jorna. I love the snowflakes, and the icicles are radiant." He turned around to the fireplace and knelt down. "They look beautiful against the fireplace, too."
I felt myself blush and covered it by taking another sip of champagne. We held hands and drifted slowly to the table. We sat with our eyes torn between the planets, the tree, and each other. It felt like the perfect Christmas Eve. We talked for a few hours, about nothing and everything in bursts as we ate. The more we spoke, the more words rushed out of us. We were rediscovering each other again. He was charming, detailed, and so damned sexy when he spoke about his dreams. He made them seem tangible, like I could reach out and take them in my hands if I wanted to. And he listened to me; he soaked up every sound I made and kept thirsting for more.
And then the most incredible thing happened: the power went out. We were plunged into darkness and silence, and then a distant ‘wump’ from an explosion ricocheted off of the steel canyon walls of the city beneath us. Everything rattled in the darkness. We stood and looked out over the rooftops, waiting. Then both of our phones rang. Tyce had left his in the kitchen and I toward our bedroom. The public safety message was vague, but it tried to assure me that everything was being done to restore vital systems as fast and safely as possible. The way that it didn’t expressly say that it wasn’t a stellar attack was a bit ominous, but when I carried my phone back to the living room windows I could see the clear starfield above us.
When the announcement started to repeat, I turned it off and sent a quick message cross-world just to check in on the holiday revelers. The minute and a half holding my phone in the dark felt eternal. The reply confirmed that whatever was happening was isolated to our own little corner of existence. I could hear Tyce in the kitchen, and it sounded like a volcano was about to erupt. There was an edge to his voice that he gets when he’s becoming focused on something. Like an eagle searching for prey. If they had any sense, whoever was on the other end of the phone would have been looking for a good place to hide.
Regardless, I could also hear the writing on the wall. It was the sounds of the world encroaching in on us. It was also gratifying in a way: that an explosion was needed to break down our walls. Within a minute he’d be moving toward his office down the hall. The dynamo generators would fire up and the meetings would start. And, as if reading my mind, the kitchen door opened. The scowl etched across his face in the light of his phone told me everything I needed to know. His eyes hung onto mine for an instant longer than they usually did and he looked out the windows toward the horizon for just a moment before glancing at me again. I smiled despite myself and nodded toward his office. He straightened up and turned down the hall. I turned to stare out the window for a minute longer, and then drained my flute. I could hear the hum of the generators starting as I picked up the bottle and carried it to the couch.
The fireplace was still warm, even though the fire had died out. The gas lies were still intact, but the dark hearth had something to do with the ventilation system. I made a quick couple of texts on my phone and by the time I was done, the backup systems of the building were online. The air system came back on, and with the press of a button, the fireplace glowed brightly again. I watched the flames for a moment, and then turned the tree back on. I slipped out of my heels and pulled my feet up under me on the couch. I slipped a few code changes into the tree’s interface and the whole thing started to slowly rotate. I had planned to show it to Tyce in the morning, but it seemed like a shame to waste it now.
The more that I drank from the bottle the more I felt like I wanted to hate what had happened to us, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t make the desire outweigh the warm bubbly glow I felt from the champagne. I’d never thought of myself as an angry drunk, more…flirtatious. And I could certainly feel the warmth radiating from the fireplace now. I thought about turning down the thermostat, but the light from the flames dancing in time with the glow of the tree was too beautiful to interrupt. With the bottle empty, I leaned back against the soft cushions and felt my eyes get heavy.
I think I must have drifted off for a moment, because I suddenly felt a warm sensation press against the side of my face. It lingered for a moment and then slowly slid down my neck to my collarbone. I opened my eyes slowly, still feeling that full-body warmth that the champagne had filled me with. I could see the tree shimmering and suddenly smelled pine. It was deep woodland pine like the kind in the richest forests back on earth. It smelled timeless and powerful. The more I stared at the tree, the stronger the smell became. I felt another warm sensation on my other cheek and it too lingered for a moment before dropping to my neck and settling against my collarbone. The feeling faded and the smell of the forest was slowly joined by gingerbread, baking apples, and nutmeg. It was as if every scent of Christmas was filling my lungs. It created a heady sensation thicker than anything you could possibly pour into a glass.
Warmth spread from my forehead to my cheeks and then moved down to my neck again. It caressed me, and then changed direction and moved to the back of my neck. I felt it seep into my muscles, moving in slow circles against my spine and then it moved out toward my shoulders and upper back. I lowered my head and closed my eyes. I’d never enjoyed a sensation like it before. The warmth moved back and forth for what must have been half an hour or longer while my mind drifted on the scents in the air. I breathed deep, deeper, and then I noticed something new, a smell closer to the fireplace, like the wood from a hearth on Christmas morning. It was the perfect addition that made everything else complete.
The warmth at my neck spread out to my shoulders again, but instead of returning to my spine, it started to spread down over the top of my shoulders and drift over my arms. It moved just as slowly as before, as if time was inconsequential. It lingered and seeped into my muscles making me fall deeper into the trance I enjoyed. I remembered moaning lightly, but like on the edge of dream where I didn’t know If I’d actually done it or not. Further down my arms and back up, lower down my arms, and then back to my shoulders. The feeling drifted down my back and stopped at the edge of my dress and pooled over the zipper in the back. The warmth hesitated there and I arched my back just enough to open a space. I felt the fabric shift as I moved and then I stretched it tight and the zipper parted a fraction. It was all it took. The warmth seeped down over my back and as I pressed against the couch cushions the zipper parted even further. The more skin that I exposed the more that delicious warmth touched me. The more I enjoyed it, the stronger the scents filling the room became.
When the zipper finally stopped at my waist, I could feel the movement spread over my exposed back. It went from my spine out to my shoulders, down over the clasp of my bra and then to the edge of the dress at my waist. The heat of the fireplace felt so good against my face that I reached up and pulled the front of my dress down. Instantly the warmth coiled around me in its arms. The sensation moved from my back to the tops of my breasts and it cooled over the lace of my bra, but heated up deliciously again as it reached my stomach. I remember letting myself sink into the feeling, but it wasn’t long before I wanted more. I leaned forward where I was sitting on the couch and shifted until I was able to bring my legs out of the dress. I stretched out on top of it and the feeling of rapture against my skin traced over every part of me. It wasn’t just one sensation anymore, either. I felt the warmth multiply. Heat against my shoulder rubbed slowly into my muscles while another gentle pressure kneaded my calves. I felt it against my arms and my hips, too. Cooler sensations worked at the lace, as if tracing the pattern with the faintest of winter kisses. I lifted myself up so that I was sitting on my knees again and I could see a dozen small versions of myself in the distorted reflections of the ornaments on the tree. I looked so wanton, yet peaceful, so innocent, and so damned sexy. I suddenly felt like a winter goddess.
A wicked idea crossed my mind and I stared at my revolving reflections as I reached back to unhook my bra. The lace clung to my nipples but the warmth encircling me moved toward my chest. I watched as the cloth fell from my shoulders into my lap. I felt heat reach into my breasts and I closed my eyes as I felt it lift them, savoring the feel of me as much as I savored it. My nipples hardened, and the heat multiplied again. My knees parted and I felt the same winter breath flutter down over my abdomen and trace the pattern covering my labia. Heat swallowed over me. It saturated my neck, shoulders, back, breasts, thighs, calves, stomach, nipples, and pressed greedily against the wetness growing hotter between my legs. I remember leaning back and feeling the roaming moments of heat circle me. I lifted my hips and hooked my thumbs into my waistband. I hesitated, but only because I wanted to savor the feeling of my panties leaving my clitoris. I clung to them so faintly, but it was enough to send a chill through me that only fed the warmth surrounding me.
The moment the panties left my ankles the sensations swarming around me intensified. I gasped as the hint of winter’s breath traced a lazy pattern across my labia. It circled my clitoris even as the heat massaged my upper thighs. Heat teased my nipples, it startled my body with a cool touch that lasted just long enough to make me start panting for more. I arched my back and the warmth responded. I opened my legs and the cool breath responded. I reached down to touch my own wetness and the heat multiplied again. I felt enveloped, wrapped completely, and the feelings coursing over my skin were incredible. I felt like I had a hundred hands caressing me so tenderly, with just enough pressure that I had to have more.
I heard the crackling of logs on a fire and the smell of the hearth grew more intense. The heat intensified to match it. I moaned again as my fingers found my clitoris and began a slow circular motion that seemed to stir the winter breath as it kept time to my ministrations. I used my other hand to slip a finger inside me and the cool breath followed. I caught a glimpse of me spread open in the ornaments of the tree and I smiled at myself. I thought I heard an ornament clink as it rotated, and then the sound of crackling wood filled my ears again. I felt my finger slip inside me deeper and I curled into myself. I moaned deeply and turned onto my stomach. I lifted my hips up but turned my head so that I could keep an eye on myself in the cascading reflections. My thoughts were filled with visions of the deep woods again, and I could feel myself being lost to a fantasy I’d never had before.
I imagined the sound of sleigh bells and the scent of the woods that gave way to the musk of reindeer. I added another finger to myself and felt a constant throb of the winter breath as it tried to fill me. I was pushing in time with it, rocking my hips to meet myself. Heat suddenly swelled against my ass where I imagined a welt from a strap. My nipples felt pinched beneath me and I ground down even harder against them. The reins of a sleigh filled my mind, and I envisioned being tied, spread open as I waited for anything. I pressed my thighs apart painfully and added a third finger to myself. The coolness was pushed out and it felt like it separated around my fingers. I felt it tickle my ass and collect against my clit. I pumped into myself and bit back a scream as I came. I almost choked from the effort, but I didn’t want the feeling to stop. As my fingers retreated, that coldness rushed into me. I felt it from my lips to my core, deeper than anything I’d ever felt. I felt myself rocking back and forth, swaying my hips against nothing like a lover who was taking me deeply from behind. I pushed myself up on my hands and knees and lowered my head as my nipples were pinched again. I could smell everything of Christmas, I could even feel it coming. I let it take me wherever it wanted.
I pulled my arms tightly to my sides and imagined being bound by a massive black belt. I could almost feel the coldness of the buckle against my back. Between gasps I could just make out the scent of the leather. I felt another rush of heat against the cheeks of my ass and it was like a silent strike that lingered with every crack of a sleigh whip. I could feel a pattern of welts rising. At the same time the feeling pressing steadily between my labia was relentless and agonizingly beautiful. I felt another rush of heat on my ass, and then on my breasts. It became o blur of sensations before a rush of wickedly intense cold filled me. It was like an ice cube had slipped inside me and pooled against my cervix. My muscles clamped down on it in a spasm that almost turned into a cramp that could have crippled me but it didn’t. It warmed just enough to keep me on edge and almost instantly I gasped as an orgasm wracked through me.
I panted against the couch trying to catch my breath and I imagined another belt strap and how it would feel wrapped around my thighs. I thought about how it would feel to be bound so I couldn’t let the coldness penetrating me slip out. I knew what was coming next and I pressed my forehead against the couch while I waited. Heat rushed against my thighs, my calves, and my ass. It coated me in warmth, again and again, slowly melting the cold and making my hips sway. When I felt the breath of winter against the edge of my ass, I was ready. I turned my head and caught a glimpse of myself. In my imagination my body was bound, arms folded at the elbow and tight to my sides, legs strapped together with my hips up in the air. The cold entered me. I felt a rush of heat everywhere but in my ass as it slipped into me just as fully as it was between the lips of my vagina. I groaned, begging without words, thrusting back against the empty air as heat surged through my clitoris and burned against my nipples. My orgasms suddenly started to come in waves. One peaked after another, from my chest to my core, from my ass to my clitoris, then back to my nipples. I became lost, bucking against myself until I felt another jet of ice pierce me. The shock of it made me choke on my breath and I felt locked, frozen in my final orgasm, waiting to see if I would ever breathe again.
When I finally stole a breath, I slowly leaned forward and felt my imaginary bonds loosen. I stretched my arms and separated my thighs. I turned onto my back and looked up at the tree, watching the lights move in a lazy pattern against the ceiling. I felt the gentle warmth touching me again, but I could tell it was fading. It kept its touch on me for every moment it could, lingering against my skin. After a while the smells of Christmas faded too, but slower than the warmth against my neck. First it was the nutmeg and the leather, then the pine forests and the apples.
After it was all but gone I glanced down at the far end of the couch. Against the arm and mostly hidden from view was a hint of color that I hadn’t noticed before. I crawled over to it and pulled out a gilded package that had a note from Tyce to me. I smiled and opened the present. Inside was a white blanket so soft it could have been the down of an angel. He’d always promised me a white Christmas, and it seemed he had found a way to deliver one. I pulled it over me on the couch and watched the tree turn. My eyes fluttered and my head was slipping into sleep. I was thinking back on everything, trying to savor the feeling when I saw a hint of soot at the base of the hearth. In the twinkling light, it almost looked like a boot.