Authors: Clare Lydon
Tags: #Gay & Lesbian, #Literature & Fiction, #Fiction, #Lesbian, #Romance, #Lesbian Romance, #Genre Fiction, #Lgbt, #Lesbian Fiction
THE ALL I WANT SERIES
All I Want For Christmas (Book 1)
All I Want For Valentine’s (Book 2)
All I Want For Spring (Book 3)
First Edition April 2016
Published by Custard Books
Copyright © 2016 Clare Lydon
Cover Design: Kevin Pruitt
Story Editor: Laura Kingsley
Copy Editor: Gill Mullins
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All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. All characters & happenings in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons (living or dead), locales or events is purely coincidental.
ALSO BY CLARE LYDON…
The All I Want Series
All I Want For Summer
The London Series
London Calling (Book 1)
This London Love (Book 2)
The Long Weekend
Nothing To Lose: A Lesbian Romance
Coming in 2016
All I Want For Autumn
New book in The London Series
Table of Contents
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS: BOOK ONE
Friday November 25th
“You know, I don’t want a lot for Christmas.” That was me, Tori Hammond saying that. Lover of all things Christmas and festive. Even I couldn’t believe the words were coming from my mouth, but they were definitely mine.
“Thank you, Mariah.” That was my best friend Holly replying.
I pulled my thick grey scarf around me and shivered in the early evening air. We were sat on our bench at the top of our hill, looking up at the charcoal sky. It had been our hill since school, where we’d met 16 years ago. As teenagers, Holly and I had sat and discussed boys here because we thought that’s what we were meant to do. Now aged 27, we sat and bemoaned women and pretended our world had evolved.
Behind us was a path lined with bare chestnut trees, their leaves long since dropped. Ahead of us was the smudged outline of the city, fogging up with every breath we took.
“No, I mean it,” I said, my breath a ghostly circle swirling in front of me. “I don’t need any new clothes or shoes, jewellery or perfume. My mum keeps asking me what I want, and I don’t know what to tell her.”
Holly rapped her knuckles lightly on my skull. Her long legs were crossed, her green duffel coat done right up, her short dark hair peeking out of her hat on one side, part-shaved on the other. In the darkening light, her pointed features appeared almost sinister, but Holly was one of the kindest people I knew — she was anything but sinister.
“Hello, Earth to Tori — is that you or have you been taken over by some alien invaders? You love Christmas! You’re the biggest Christmas lover I know.”
I shrugged. “And that hasn’t changed — Christmas is still my most favourite time of the year. I just don’t want any big presents this time.”
“I’ll remind you of that when I give you nothing,” Holly said. “You could tell your mum to give you a Good Gift — a goat for a family in Africa or something. My gran bought my mum the gift of sight for five children last year.”
I turned my head. “How did she react?”
Holly smiled her lopsided smile. “Mum said it was a nice gesture, but a bottle of gin to go with it wouldn’t have gone amiss.”
I smiled as I turned to face front again, looking out over the city skyline that was twinkling in the inky gloom before me. “Does it mean I’m getting old? Soon, I’ll be leaving presents to open till after lunch. I might even fall asleep before opening them. Imagine that.”
Holly nudged me with her elbow. “Does anyone in your family do that?”
An image of Christmas Day with Mum, Gran and Aunt Ellen ripping open their presents one after the other and holding their favoured loot aloft came to my mind. They could hardly contain themselves till after breakfast.
I shook my head. “Not really.”
We sat in silence for a few moments, the air stained and blurry. The smell of flattened mud and grass filled the air, the path in front of us chilled and damp. Holly wore black jeans, a green beanie and a new pair of black and gold Nikes. She’d always followed fashion way more than I did, mainly because she had the 6-foot-2 frame to pull off any item of clothing she fancied.
“You know what I really want for Christmas?” I said.
Holly sunk lower on the bench. “A minute ago, it was nothing, but do tell.”
“I want a girlfriend. Last year I didn’t have one, but that was okay because it was too soon after Amy. But this year is different. This year, I want to share my favourite time of year with someone special. I want to really enjoy the holidays.”
I heard Holly grin — her jaw always made a noise when she did. “You want a girlfriend for Christmas?”
“Well that’s easy enough,” she said.
I sat up and looked at her. “Is it?”
She nodded. “Sure. We just make you a billboard, drop you in the middle of Oxford Street and away you go.”
I scowled. “I’m being serious.”
She smiled. “So am I.”
I stood up and paced around in front of Holly, the nearby trees creating eerie shadows. “If I had a girlfriend, she’d have to buy me something —
have to think of an amazing present, wouldn’t she?”
“Which is the perfect reason to get one.” Holly was being ironic, but I ignored her.
I cast my mind back to the last time I’d had a serious girlfriend. Amy. For Christmas, she’d bought me a hot-air balloon ride one year, a ski jacket the next. I wanted that this year. I wanted to receive presents not bought by my mum or gran. I wanted to go ice-skating and kiss while we held hands. I wanted drunken Christmas sex. And I wanted it all now.
“But it’s November 25th — Christmas is only a month away,” Holly said. She was far more practical than me. Holly favoured order and spreadsheets, so I could see how this sudden plan troubled her.
I wagged a finger in her direction, twisting one way, then the other. “It involves a deadline though, and you must admit I work well to deadlines.”
Holly nodded. “You do.” Then she cocked her head, holding up a single finger. “But I have one question.”
“Is this all because of Melanie Taylor?”
I paused, then bit the inside of my right cheek. “No.” It was, but I wasn’t about to admit that right away.
“So it’s just coincidence we heard she’s getting married this morning, you think she’s an idiot, and now you want a girlfriend?”
I bristled at the suggestion, mainly because it was mostly true.
“It’s not to do with her — it’s just time. It’s been nearly a year and a half since Amy, and I’m ready for another relationship. I’m not talking about marriage, I’m talking about getting a girlfriend. There’s a big difference.” I turned my head to Holly as the wind whipped my hair in my face. I swiped it left. “It would just be nice to meet someone who gets me.”
“I get you,” Holly said, spreading her palms.
“Is that an offer?” I asked.
Holly and I had always flirted, it was part of our make-up. But we’d been friends for 16 years now, and we both knew that flirting was as far as it was ever going to go.
Holly grinned at me. “Do you want it to be?”
I rolled my eyes and resumed my pacing. “You know what I mean. Yes, you get me, but I want a romantic partner to get me. I want someone to take me to dinner, have a conversation and laugh at my jokes. I want to be wooed.”
Holly’s laughter punctured the descending gloom. “Laughing at your jokes? That’s a tall order.”
“My jokes are legendary,” I said.
“In your head,” Holly replied. “That one about the stick?”
“What’s brown and sticky? That’s a classic.”
We both laughed now.
It had been one of those crisp, sunny autumn days that I loved, the kind that made you want to snap out of your normal life, roll up the sunshine and start afresh. Sometimes in autumn, the barren trees left me feeling empty, but today, they were lining a new path, setting me off in a new direction.
Holly was silent for a moment, her nose pointing skywards, her cheeks flushed from the cold. She sat forward before speaking. “You’re a romantic, Tori. Always have been, always will be. But I’ll help if that’s what you want.” She crossed her legs in front of her. “How do you plan on scoring said perfect woman?”
I rubbed my hands together and breathed on them, even though I knew it wouldn’t do any good. We needed to get inside where it was warm. “I don’t know, I only just decided. But the internet seems a good place to start.” I started to hop from one foot to the other.
“If you like weirdos.”
“I love weirdos, you know that. I thrive on them.” Of course, I hadn’t really thought about exactly how I was going to snag my perfect mate — the idea had only come to me today after getting Melanie Taylor’s news.