Once I found out that Hallmark, for this weekend only, would be bringing back Christmas movies (my two favs are pictured), to help lift people’s spirits in this crazy, uncertain time, I couldn’t resist to offer a discount of my story “The Winter Date”. Rates will start at .99 on Friday and return to original 2.99 on Sunday.
When I arrived at his lovely, picturesque ranch-style home already beautifully decorated with blinking white lights, Chad had fallen asleep. I watched him rest, smiling at his alcohol-induced snore, as the Christmas lights shone through my windshield. I knew him so well as my friend, but lover was a different story. He has nice lips, fuller on bottom. Would I even like the way he kissed? I touched my neck. Yes, I would.
Chad slowly opened his eyes. “I’m home already.”
“You want to come inside and have some hot chocolate. I got those marshmallows you like.”
“Mm… sounds good. Raincheck…It’s late.”
“So what? We have Christmas break soon, you’re not really teaching now. And you can sleep all you want then.”
“I do have nachos for Autumn.”
“Forgot about that.”
“Yes, and they probably already cold in this weather.”
“Yeah, I’d better get inside,” Chad said but didn’t make a move to get out the car. “What kind of man you want?”
“You’re asking me this right now? Chad, it’s late. I do have to get up early and deal with children hyped up on sugar and the anticipation of Christmas. I just told you, the nachos for my sister are getting cold and I need to go.”
He responded calmly, “In the time you took to say all that, you could have answered my question.”
Tapping the steering wheel, I couldn’t argue his valid point. “I never thought about it seriously because I was supposed to be with Jared forever.
His head fell back against the leather rest. “It’s been months now, Winter. And you haven’t even thought of what you want or don’t want next? You were used to waking up to someone, having someone check for you, be there for you. I know you want that again. Do you think Jared is the only man who can do that for you? I mean do you plan to be alone for the rest of your life?”
“No, I don’t want to be alone anymore period. Every morning I wake up, either my temples are throbbing or my whole body feels heavy. I guess I’ll believe I’m ready for the next man when that awful feeling goes away.”
“Do you feel like that all day or just in the morning?”
“When he first left me, it was all day. Now, it’s just when I wake up.”
“So as long as your mind is busy then you don’t think about him? Because when you and I are together you seem good. Not at first, of course, but I see you smile and laugh more, and I can see you’re healing whether you believe it or not.”
Looking at Chad, with his bright eyes and enchanting grin, I poked the dimple in his right cheek. He had been such a good friend to me these last few months. “Sometimes I wish that day when you sat next to me in class that I wasn’t in love with Jared.”
“Why?” He asked quietly.
“I’m almost twenty-seven years old and I can’t even answer a simple question like what I want in a man.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Maybe if I gave you a chance back then, I wouldn’t have gone back to Jared. And when you and I ended things, I would have had at least some experience with another man. Hell, even my baby sister had more action by the time she was eighteen than my whole life.” I clasped my hands together, feeling embarrassed even in front of him. “I don’t know how to date, Chad.”
Chad lifted his head. “That’s why you’ve never given anyone else a chance?”
He clapped his hands loudly and I looked up at him. “I’m going to take you out on a date…show you how it’s done.”
“Yes. This weekend.”
“Sunday is my reunion meet and greet party.”
“Then this weekend is perfect because on Saturday we’ll spend the day together and then by Sunday you’ll be ready to waltz in there and date any man whose been crushing on you since high school.”
“Is that the point or to make Jared realize he made the biggest mistake of his life?”
“Why not both. He’s used to the wallflower Winter, not the vivacious, witty, intelligent, strong, sexy woman I see every day. You were different around him”, he said the last part quietly.
“I wasn’t always.”
I had become more passive the longer Jared and I were together, giving in to Jared even when I disagreed. “His ego grew and we both changed. He used to care about making me happy and my opinions and he just stopped.”
“Because you didn’t require it.”
“That’s a cop out and blaming me for his actions. You love someone, you do whatever it takes to make them happy.”
He shook his head. “Rule number one. You must require that a man treats you special, that you are deserving of the best of him and when he doesn’t give it. You call him on it. I know you didn’t call him on his shit. You let him run all over you and the Winter I know would never allow that. Yes, you need my help before the next man.”
“Very.” He beamed. “Once I get you under a new man, my job is done.”
“Why do you care so much about me being with another man?” I wanted to add “besides you” but figured that he may not want to risk our friendship either.
He tilted his head slightly to meet my eyes. “I love you. You’re my girl.” I blinked to shield myself from the intensity in his gaze, the emotions evident in his words, the sexual energy that had been flowing between us lately. He continued, “I want you to be happy. You’re meant to be in a good, loving relationship – one that can stand the test of time. You’re not like most of the women I date who play games.”
“Chad, one thing I do know is that most women want to be in a monogamous relationship, and they play games hoping to get your attention. Maybe they come across that way to you because you my friend are a catch that doesn’t want to be caught.”
“I told you the other day on the phone, for the right woman, I’m ready.” He leaned closer and for a breathless moment he seemed drawn to my lips. I moved slightly toward him, suddenly yearning for his kiss. Chad then bit his bottom lip and nodded before he opened the door. “See you at school tomorrow. And I’ll pick you up around nine in the morning on Saturday.”
His abrupt shift in mood startled me I was so ready for the soft touch of his lips on mine. I settled back in my seat, soothing my errant loins with the notion that maybe because he’d told me he loved me like I was his woman instead of his friend, aroused me. Or maybe he meant it as a friend, and I perceived more since I hadn’t had sex in months. “Ugh…nine on a Saturday morning? What are we going to do?”
He eased out of the car and looked down through the opened passenger door. “Trust me?”
I smiled. “Always.”