you okay to go home?"
Kevin watched for any signs that would indicate Suzie
couldn't drive home.
but why bother, it's so lonely there," Suzie blew out
a breath and her bangs flew up in the air.
Now she was upset that she had let her anger slip over
the gifts. At first, she was delighted that Anne, Jackie,
and MeeMaw had thought enough about her to buy her presents. Then she was pissed off when all the items
were decorated with the country cow
about I go with you and you won't be so lonely?" Nick stood in the door.
shriek she let out was enough to give Kevin a headache.
we have a ton of shit to do, so kiss and makeup then go home." Bron tossed her shoes off.
how was my Santa impression?"
Nick grinned sheepishly.
was you?" Suzie
looked at all the parties involved and studied their faces;
it was the truth. "You groped me."
wasn't a grope, it was a touch, besides
you called me a pig!" Nick
tilted his head and turned on the Carter charm. "I just wanted you to sit on my lap,"
a good thing she didn't," Kevin smirked. "We might have found out where all
those elves come from."
up when you leave or go to bed," Bron was already towing
Kevin downstairs to the storage room to carry things upstairs.
It was time to play Santa.
guess we're going to stay over, if you don't mind?" Suzie stood at the bottom of the staircase
as Nick had already ventured up the steps.
why the hell would we mind?"
Kevin waved a wrench in the air as he stood over the
coffee table in the pit.
grabbed the wrench from him, "Give me that, I'll do it. Go find something easier to do."
supposed to be easy but everything is written in friggin'
Chinese," Kevin tossed the instructions to Bron. "We should have put all this shit together
and Suzie left the parents to contend with the mess downstairs. "Wow, those kids are really spoiled,"
Suzie saw the mound of gifts, which were
wrapped to be placed under the trees.
all the bling I sent you, you don't
have much room to talk," Nick mumbled as he climbed the
stairs. Nick was on autopilot as he headed for the
room that was deemed his place when
the house was built. Andrew
opened his door, hearing noises in the hallway.
He stopped and smiled, "Thanks Santa."
time," Nick waved good night as he shut his door after
Suzie followed him.
you know that they gave me half interest in the Bed and Breakfast? I'm totally floored." She watched Nick undress and then landed
on him as he lay down on the mattress in his boxers. "I'm a business woman! I own a business,
well half of a business. I have so many plans for that place. I'm going to re-package
the place for different times of the year. A spa get-away for
women, a re-treat type thing…"
would have kept talking but Nick's lips placed on hers halted
the conversation. "Shut
up so I can give you your gift. If
I were you, I would be nervous. You didn't earn
a GG, and it came from Bron. Something is up, guaranteed."
that is an awful thing to say about my best friend,"
Suzie sat up and wondered why he would say such a thing.
got a motive. Bron
didn't give away half a profitable business for no reason
at all." Nick got up and reached into his coat pocket.
brow creased, "She didn't, Mc
did. Don't look at me like that."
Nick withdrew the velvet box from his coat and walked to the
bed. "There is something behind that entire
deal. Later, don't say I didn't try
to tell you so."
"Whatever. Come to bed, I want to show you how much
I care about you." Suzie
"Care? Care? You care about me?" Nick stood up as fast as he had sat down.
He paced and ran his hand through his hair. "You
care about me!"
lips twisted from side to side, she couldn't
figure out what she had said wrong.
"Yes I care about you."
out a huff, he sat down hard and shook the entire bed in doing
so. His face in his hands, he took a calming breath. "Here," he thrust the box at her.
I say something wrong?" as she pulled the simple ribbon
on the box.
Nick grumbled, "Merry Christmas."
she felt bad, she didn't have his
gift. "If I had known you were going to be
here, I would have brought your gifts with me."
almost swallowed her tongue when she looked at the necklace. This gift was worth more than anything anyone or he had given her combined. It was a three-diamond pendant, which was
silver and round. Turning
it over in her hand, she smiled as she read the words aloud
that were inscribed on it, "Heart, Body, and Soul.
Love Nick." The
last two words meant more than anything did to her.
She hadn't expected them since they had insisted that there
were just dating for so long.
"It's beautiful Nick.
Will you help me put it on?"
Suzie pulled the necklace from the box and handed it
to him. Turning around on the bed
she put her back to him.
on the bed behind her, he opened the clasp, dropped it around
her neck, and then re-hooked the closure.
up on her knees, she turned on him suddenly, her eyes were
watery, "Do you mean all those words… I mean all of them?" She didn't want
to get her hopes up only to have them dashed. Nick was young and not ready to settle down
but she would take the stronger commitment that he was offering
his hands on her upper arms, he pulled her into an embrace,
"Yes, I meant them. I
do love you. I'm not
ready to get married or nothin'
but I want you to know that I do love you."
take that. I'm not
ready to get married either," she whispered as she kissed
him into infinity. The kiss was a prelude to a wonderful night
for both of them as they drifted to sleep in each other’s
arms late into the night.
one in the morning, Bron and Kevin fell into bed, exhausted.
Even though his thumb hurt from getting it
caught on the hinge of the Barbie dollhouse, he was
still caught up in the Family Christmas.
"That was damn fun!"
"Whoo-hoo, we get to do it all over again in three hundred
and sixty four days."
Kevin commented as he dropped his dress pants over the chair.
shook her head no, "The scale isn't as large," she
dropped her dress to the floor.
Kevin mumbled as they cuddled together in the big bed.
Her back to him as he wrapped an arm around her and
pulled her closer. Both of them lay in silence watching the
light snow fall outside.
a beautiful night," Kevin sighed.
"I wish we could have taken a sleigh ride, just
the two of us."
next year, we can do that," Bron stretched and yawned
as she backed into him.
didn't say anything as she drifted
off to sleep. He was
still wound and having difficulty going to sleep.
Eventually he did drift off only to be
woken up far too early.
he heard the small squeaky voice.
He could have sworn he had just fallen asleep.
"Dad?" came louder this time and he moaned. Opening an eye, Bron was still asleep and
the numbers glowed four zero seven on the clock next to the
bed. "Go back to bed Bounce, it's too early."
said he was coming at three," Kaylin's voice pleading
dies," Kevin whispered to Bron.
"We don't need the cute blonde anymore,
we're men, married men, men with families." Bron who had cracked an eye open but wasn't letting on that she was awake.
whine was a little too shrill for four in the morning. "Go to bed!"
Mom, Santa said…" She
stopped when Kevin sat up in bed and wiped his eyes with his
you don't go back to bed, you won't open any presents until
was pissed, three hours of sleep wasn't cutting it.
He had finally broken Kaylin of the habit of getting
up when her mother did and now she was doing it again.
she pouted and added a sniff.
Kevin pointed to the door and watched her leave. Lying back down, he waited for Bron to say
you mad at me?"
too tired to be mad, go back to sleep," Bron yawned and
closed her eyes.
exactly what she had told him to do, he slept soundly for
two more hours before Bron was standing over the bed and yanking
on his foot, "Okay now you have to get up."
"Why?" he nearly cried. "I'm not Superman; I can't keep your
to bed at a normal time and you could.
Get up, breakfast is after presents. I've started dinner
and both of them have waited very patiently for the last hour. Hell, I've waited patiently for the last
opened his eyes to see her standing next to the bed wearing
a cute little nightgown and that very short pink satin bathrobe. He smiled, "C'mere."
no, no, not happening. Get
up," Bron left her unsatisfied and half-asleep husband
lying in bed.
on a pair of gym shorts, he headed down the stairs to Kaylin
patiently waiting with a pile three times the size of her
in front of her. He was going to ask but a coffee cup was stuffed in his
hand. Automatically he sipped, "Damn,
you do make good coffee."
His eyes went back to Kaylin who sat cheerfully on
the floor with a big grin on her face.
could tell he was studying what had taken place. "She sorted everything for everyone,
wasn't that nice of her?"
very nice. It's more
like who got the bigger pile."
Kevin looked at Andrew, who was old enough to know
better but seemed just as excited.
His eyes fell on the two small piles on the couch,
"I think we got ripped off."
laughed, "Oh you big baby."
Bron set the coffee carafe on the table along with
pastries that were piled on a plate. "Fire up the camcorder Kevin,"
Bron sat Cooper on her lap to help him open his presents.
dear," Kevin blinked, hell he wasn't
even functioning yet. Lifting
the camera from the couch, he popped the cap off.
Hearing noises coming from the stairway, he moved the
camcorder with him while he was looking through it.
The first official Christmas taping had begun. "Well good morning Mr. Carter and Miss
to join us? Sleep well? Did
you know Santa swung by the house at three?
Do you know how I know that? My daughter woke us up at four to check!"
food," Nick was in the Pit to munch faster than a four
year old. "Santa is cool," he laughed as he stuffed an
entire doughnut in his mouth.
"You old people can take a nap later on."
some things will never change," Kevin grunted as Kaylin
begged to open her first gift.
tape everything. If
anyone ever sees this tape, they'll think Santa overindulged
our children." Bron helped Cooper open his first gift, which
was a Fisher Price foot piano for the crib.
pushed the buttons and the light flashed and flickered. "He likes it," Bron laughed as
Cooper stared at it and then tried to kick at it with his
don't know if he likes it or if he is blinded by it,"
on Bounce, open a present," The camera moved to Kaylin.
ripped the paper like a pro, "ARIEL!"
Disney," Kevin mumbled.
"I'm going to buy stock in the joint."
scene continued for a while until Kevin insisted that Nick
run the camcorder for a while since he was freeloading while
Bron and Kevin opened a few things. Bron
handed him the small square box.
Kevin smiled when it was finally unwrapped.
He blew her a kiss, "Thanks."
Kevin hung the "Our First Christmas" ornament
on the tree.
received a Baby's First Christmas ornament from Suzie and
Nick. Andrew received the usual CD's and misc. stuff such as
socks and underwear. He
frowned after he opened the underwear and he looked at his
worry, everyone got some," Bron laughed at her son's
opened a box that showed a toaster on the outside. She tossed Kevin a suspicious look and wondered
if he really was that stupid. Opening
the box, she smiled and pulled the object out.
"I love it!"
romantic, a new tool belt," Suzie laughed.
up," Kevin laughed, "It's what she wanted."
Bron opened the gift certificates that Kevin was stupid enough
to buy. One was for an eye doctor even. "What the hell is that for?"
waited, truth or fib time, truth won.
"To get your eyes checked. You've
been squinting a lot when you read."
have not," Bron was hoping nobody had noticed.
you have Mommy; you had me read the Brownie box the other
day. You told me they shrunk the print."
Bron frowned at them.
They were laughing at her, all of them.
all those manufacturers are in league to shrink the print
so you can't read it."
Kevin chuckled. "Don't be so vain."
to mention the magazines, the newspapers," Suzie added.
the monitor on your computer," Andrew snickered.
I get the point," Bron let it go.
have one for Daddy," Kaylin went to the gifts that sat
in front of Kevin. "This
is from Andrew, Coop, and me."
I," Kevin corrected.
not from you, from me," Kaylin crinkled her nose up.
laughed, "You're just like your Momma."
heard Bron cough, letting him know, she wasn't amused.
He stared at the gift for a long time and then tears
"Aww man, Kaylin, you are always making your Dad cry." Nick shook his head at Kevin
don't like it?" Kaylin's
love it. It's the best
gift anyone ever gave me," Kevin used the tissue that
his wife handed him. It was a simple framed 11 x 14 piece of
grumbled stopped Nick from opening his mouth before he mentioned
Bron herself as a present.
began to explain, "That's my picture and my hand. Mommy painted my
hand and I pressed it on the paper.
Then Mommy did Cooper's and Andrew did his own. We all drew the pictures on it. Mommy got the frame and had 'My Family'
wrote on it."
was too busy crying to correct wrote to written, "Thank
you Bounce. It's the
best." Kevin gave her hug, a huge one. Kevin casually hugged Andrew who stood up
when Kevin walked towards him.
handed Kevin an envelope and gave him a quirky smile when
he sat back down. He
opened the enveloped, removed the booklet that was
tucked inside, and flipped through the book.
Suzie craned her neck to look.
certificates," Kevin looked at his wife suspiciously. Clearing his throat, "Redeemable
time, that's what it says," Bron snickered
an evil little laugh.
perked up, "Sounds interesting, can I see?"
Kevin slid the envelope under his butt and sat on them.
I worked hard on that," Bron looked at him in horror.
going to work a hell of a lot harder when I cash them in,"
Kevin licked his lips and smirked.
it's one of those gifts," Suzie covered the lens of the
went to the tree and reached way under it to find the one
gift for Bron that he knew Kaylin wouldn't
find. "Since you gave me something so special
with those gift certificates, I have something special for
you." Kevin handed her the box and then braced himself.
He knew she wanted it and had been watching the price
fall but he also knew that as accomplished as she was, it
intimated her so she couldn't justify buying it in her head. He planted his feet firmly.
MY GOD!" Bron
screamed and launched herself at him.
shit," Nick jumped, not used to Bron reacting that way. He focused the camcorder on them as Bron
very neatly and basically ran up
the front of Kevin and hung on.
did you know?" Bron
hugged and hung on.
have my ways," he winked as he returned her to the ground.
the hell is that?" Nick
my naked people program," Bron ripped the book out of
we talk about this in front of the kids?"
Suzie questioned, knowing what the program was and
what Bron's intentions were. She cast a side-glance to Kevin and mouthed,
"You'll be sorry." Clearly, he didn't
know her intentions or never would have brought it in the
leaned closer as Kevin pulled the camcorder from him.
Backstreet," Bron laughed.
no," Kevin closed his eyes.
told you so," Suzie laughed.
will not be used in that manner, will it darlin'?"
Kevin pointed the camera
until I'm good enough."
moan was hilarious.
guys are going to hate you buddy," Nick laughed then
looked at Bron. "Don't
you dare do me."
wouldn't," Bron smiled a toothy grin.
lying," Suzie shook her head.
straight," Kevin laughed.
for you daddy," Kaylin bopped him on the leg. "It's from me."
camcorder was passed along to Suzie. Bron didn't know
what the gift was. The
gift was chosen by her and her Uncle Mc. Suzie held back any
signs of what was involved in this gift, but she had a feeling
it would be a serious smack down after what Kaylin had repeated
to her and Mc at the department store about the nightgowns.
opened the box eagerly, lifted the lid, folded the tissue
paper aside and stared. He
had no idea what the hell it was
but it was blinking at him.
Shaking his head, he pulled the gift out of the box
and held it up.
and Andrew lost it as Kevin turned the object around.
Suzie was snorting and Bron was laughing harder than
any of them.
them on Dad, they're Rudolph boxers. Look
his nose blinks. Uncle Mc said that
you can wear them to sleep in and Mommy can find you in the
it off Suz!"
Kevin was trying not to laugh too hard as she taped
away. Suzie wasn't going
to turn the camera off, he could see that. "Baby they are umm… umm… great thanks.
I've never had my boxer's
was it, Bron lost it, Nick fell of
the couch laughing. Andrew
just sat shaking his head.
Suzie was egging it on.
"I think you should try them on so you know they
fit. You wouldn't want
to have to return them."
them? I don't think
so," he laughed at the offending apparel.
them on Dad," Kaylin was proud of her Dad's gift, but
unaware to what amused the adults so much.
don't think I need to do that honey.
I'm sure they'll fit just fine."
Kevin was watching Bron; she was having a hell of a
good time a t his expense.
me I'm not going to do this," Kevin sat down and slid
them over his feet. Standing
up he pulled them on. A
new round of laughter started from all of them except Kaylin
as Kevin stood in his living room with Rudolph plastered on
the crotch of a new pair of boxers and it blinked at them.
him on, turn him off," Suzie snickered.
new batteries?" Nick
like a beacon for Mom," Andrew smiled.
opened her mouth as Kevin crossed his arms and stood there
smiling at her. "I…
I'll plead the fifth, it’s safer."
move on your part…" the doorbell rang and Kevin sighed. "That would be Mc, he's getting even.
I'll show him, I'm a better man than that and I will
proudly where any gift my daughter gives me."
Kevin marched to the door and threw it open, "Very
funny…" Kevin stopped.
It wasn't Mc, closing his
eyes he waited and mumbled what a dumb fuck he was to himself.
very attractive. It's
sort of like a set of landing strip lights for the wife."
groaned and jogged up the stairs leaving the door open.
yelled from the couch, "Come on in Keith."
shit," Nick started laughing as Kevin came back down
the stairs sans the new drawers.
smiled, looked at Bron, "Did you get that on tape?"
did," Bron cackled.
pay for that tape. I'll
indenture my first born to your business."
"Nobody ain't payin' for shit," Kevin pulled
a laser green bead on Keith.
"Ya know what I mean."
Ebay," Suzie laughed and closed
her mouth when Kevin stood up, but he poured more coffee instead
of coming after her.
Honey," Bron handed Andrew his last gift. Kevin had one more too, but it was a companion
for the one she handed Andrew so he had to wait.
was grinning like a damn fool.
Nick, Keith, and Kevin were checking it out as they
all came off the couch.
started her lecture and thanked herself for buying a couple
extras. "You don't load it the house. You don't aim at people, animals, or things
that aren't appropriate."
know Ma…" Andrew rolled his
the same face you gave me when I gave you the sling shot,
may I remind you." Bron
was thankful for the extra three gifts she had.
She had a feeling that the men might be a tad jealous.
is really cool. You
should've gotten all of us one, then
we could get a game going," Kevin peered down the barrel.
is that?" Suzie
burped a just fed Cooper.
a paint gun to play war games.
Ya know G.I. Joe stuff,"
Nick uttered while touching it.
here you go boys, one for each of you.
Don't aim them at my house or my kids," Bron handed
each man a box including Keith and Nick.
cool," Kevin grabbed his and ripped it out of the box.
Nick looked at her as he licked his lips.
plane leaves at four," Suzie could see the excitement
in his eyes.
is at two," Bron added knowing damn well the adult men
would charge out of the house to go off and play in the woods
like little boys.
ten now," Kevin looked at his watch.
"Clothes?" Keith pulled at his brand new sweater.
got extra," Kevin grinned. They started to charge upstairs.
you forgot something," Bron grabbed his hand to make
he was so excited. He
wanted to go play with the fellas.
"Andrew? Big Gift?" Bron looked at him like
he was crazy. How
the hell could he forget?
They fought for over the damn thing.
Yeah. Andrew you have
one more gift. It's
down at the barn. Your
Mom and I have fought over it for a month or more, needless
to say she lost and I won. We
bought you a new truck. For
all the money your Mother has, she drives shitty cars."
Kevin charged up the stairs to change with
three grown men behind him.
for the truck Mom," Andrew turned over his head and shouted.
stood in her spot with her mouth hanging open. "Ungrateful little shit," she
could see the disappointment on Bron's face. "He's grateful. He just wants to play with his new toys
and the bigger boys right now.
Let's make more coffee and I'll help you in the kitchen."
gee thanks," Bron rolled her eyes as Kaylin played with
her new dollhouse. “Hey you know, just for the record I would
have given Nick at least eight ounces on the sausage thing.”
groaned as she thought about what she had said the previous
came bouncing down the stairs and kissed her as the guys
breezed by him. "Thanks
for the fifty-two inch widescreen in the bedroom.
I'm liken' it."
got you one of those big ones for your bedroom?" Keith looked at him.
Kevin nodded as he pulled on an old camo
coat. "Got the
College football and basketball ticket channels on it, Pro
a spoiled son of bitch," Keith laughed.
know, it's great," Kevin kissed Bron.
"She did it because I bug her when she's trying
to write," he announced just before the four men went
to tramp through the woods like soldiers and shoot each other
with paint balls.
he's got your number," Suzie washed some potatoes.
telling me. I can't
get Jack by that man."
Bron headed for the phone hearing it ring.
"Hello… Hello… Hello… Who the hell is this?"
This page © 2001 - 2007 Bronwyn
All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.
Used with Permission
No part of this text may be copied or reprinted
without the author's permission.
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