Chapter 8 ~ Twas the Night Before Christmas
“You do know you handed in the brief like an hour ago,” Miki reminds me from the doorway to my office, looking at me over the wire rims of her glasses. “You can’t avoid this forever Tip.”
“You sure about that?” I sigh, tapping my pen against the papers in front of me.
“Knowing you? Hell no,” she chuckles, dropping her bags and jacket and slipping into the chair across the desk from me, eyeing me with a certain amount of amusement. “I just don’t get why you’re hiding out here though? I mean, you’ve got this amazing boyfriend and it is Christmas so why are you still here?” I stare at the papers in front of me, knowing damn well that I haven’t actually seen the words on any of the pages. It’s all sort of blurred together with the visions of happy families that have been playing in my head, making me sick to my stomach.
“I don’t get happy families,” I mutter, capping my pen and putting it away before I start doodling on my notes again.
“You didn’t mind hanging out with my family,” she points out, to which I can only shrug.
“That’s different,” I sigh, giving her that look that I hope will make her stop asking questions, that look that says ‘just believe me’ but she only smiles at me and shakes her head.
“C’mon, that boy is in love with you big time. How can you possibly want to sit in our apartment all by yourself when you can be with him? Besides, I thought you liked his brothers?” she points out. It’s a valid point. I just wish that they whole parental approval thing didn’t go along with hanging out with his brothers.
“I’ve only met one of them and yeah, I’m sure they’re fine but it’s…the whole everyone meet the new girlfriend thing and the whole being happy all the time…especially with the way things have been going lately,” I explain, dropping my head into my hands.
“Oh…yeah, that,” Miki replies knowing full well, without my having to tell her, just what I’m talking about. We’ve had many a late night chat over a hot chocolate about the one problem, really the only problem, I have with Marc. “I thought you were going to talk to him about that,” she adds quietly.
“Talk to who about what?” Ryan asks, bursting into my office with an armful of presents, resulting in my groaning out loud and whacking my forehead against the edge of my desk. “What the hell is with her?”
“She’s supposed to be leaving for Thunder Bay with ginger boy but she’s having second thoughts,” Miki explains as she makes room for Ryan to perch on the edge of her chair.
“Well if she doesn’t want to spend Christmas with Mr. Hotness I am so in there,” Ryan grins as he pushes a La Perla bag towards across the desk towards me.
“I don’t think you’re quite his type,” I smile over the bag at him, “and why do I think this is more for him than it is for me?” I add, lifting out a handful of tissue and glancing into the bag. “Holy…Ryan…oh my god.” I feel my cheeks burn as I lift out a flimsy black thong with fringe all around it and a matching black bra that looks a whole lot more like a flimsy spider-web than something that will hold up the girls.
“Well, I figured if you didn’t have the guts to tell him you need to be spanked, if those don’t scream it then girlfriend, I don’t know what will.”
“Wake up sleepy head.”
Blinking, I stare down the long, snow covered, drive way at the oversized farmhouse with all the rental cars and snowmobiles in the driveway and my heart begins to hammer against my ribs.
“I can’t believe I fell asleep over all those pot holes,” I mumble, pushing myself up and rubbing at my eyes. “Oh my god, this place is huuuge. You made it sound like some cramped little…,” Marc laughs as he reaches over to squeeze my hand.
“Well, can you imagine me and three others just like me fitting in anything else?” he teases, giving my hand a squeeze as he aims the SUV we’re travelling in towards the front door.
“Is it too late to turn around? We can always go to a Motel 6 and have a nice, romantic Christmas in front of a nice twenty one inch TV with four channels,” I offer, feeling slightly queasy at the thought of the curious and judgmental looks from his parents. Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath, reminding myself that parents always like me, that I know how to behave and that I already know that his brothers, well at least one of his brothers, likes me.
“C’mon sweetheart, you have nothing to worry about, I promise,” Marc says sweetly as he puts the car into park behind a raised up pick-up truck. “Just be yourself and everyone will love you, just like I do,” he promises quietly, his lips gently brushing my cheek. It’s hard not smile at him when he does such sweet things, and so I find myself grinning at him and feeling a lot more cheerful than I had a moment ago.
That is until a snowball thuds and spread across the windshield, nearly scaring the shit right out of me.
“Jared, you little fucker,” Marc laughs, letting go of my hand so he can slide out of the car. I watch him take a defensive stance behind the car door, dropping to the ground in a stealthy crouch and gathering snow into a solid ball between his big hands.
Thinking that they wouldn’t dare attack a guest, I open the door and step out, right into the line of fire.
Except the hand that’s raised and aimed at my head stops mid air and a pair of ice blue eyes stare back at mine, mirroring the same emotion I’m feeling – which is perfectly defined by one word which repeats itself in my head over and over again.
The second thing that goes through my mind is ‘it’s him’, the mischief filled blue eyes, the cleft in the chin, the scruff around the strong jaw line, the broad shoulders, and…oh god, the big hands and long fingers. These shameless thoughts are quickly followed by ‘damn, I should have known’. Looking from one brother to the next, the resemblance is clear and obvious. Well, if not between Eric and the others, then at least between the other ginger, Jared and this…this blonde brother is scarily apparent. The brothers look so alike they could be triplets.
How the hell could I not have known? All of those nights in front of a computer screen and not one time did I take the time to look up his family tree. And now? Now it’s too late to do anything about it. It’s Christmas eve and I’m standing knee deep in a snow bank, facing the man that made me scream and destroyed a hotel room with me attached to his penis.
“Duck!” Marc swings into action, stepping in front of me like an action hero, shielding me with the width of his body, stepping between me and his brother but I don’t duck. In fact I can’t move, as if my feet have frozen to the ground and I’m held in some kind of tractor beam coming from his blue eyes.
No. God no. Please…oh god.
I stare at Marc’s back, mortified and terrified and sick to my stomach all at once.
I can’t hurt him. I would do anything, would give anything not to hurt him and I put that plea in my eyes, sending it his brother, knowing my eyes are round and that my face must be ashen with shock.
‘Please don’t say a word,’ I beg silently ‘please, for him.’