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Authors: Ros Baxter

Home for the Holidays (5 page)

BOOK: Home for the Holidays
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But she only had to endure his assessment for a moment, before his head lowered to the object of his interest.

Beth’s breath hitched as he took first one nipple, then the other, in his mouth.  As he sucked and bit at one, his fingers worked on her other breast, opening a floodgate of wanting in her.  She bucked and pushed against the thigh that had again taken up residence between her legs.  And he responded, driving his thigh against her in a rhythm that drove her higher and further as she waited for the next push.

Then one hand reached down and lifted the sensible skirt she was wearing until it bunched around her waist.  Her stomach clenched at what she knew was about to happen.

But he was determined to make her wait.  His fingers licked long trails up her thighs, skirting the edge of her knickers time and time again while he moved from one breast to the other.

Just as she began to mewl in an agony of impatience, he slipped a finger under the soft cotton, patting her like a kitten in long, sweet strokes.  She wanted more.  She pushed herself against his finger but he would not be rushed.  He made his way back to her mouth, and covered it again with his, kissing her hard as he continued to pat her.

Then his tongue pushed into her mouth again, and as it did, he pushed his finger inside her, swift and insistent.  Her insides clenched around the long finger, but he pulled it out again almost immediately, bringing it up to tease her from outside before plunging it back in.  This time he pushed another finger inside her as well, and brought both up to rub and tease her from the outside.

Just when she was sure she could stand no more, he sat up between her legs, and looked down at her, wild and demanding.  “Stand up,” he said.

Was he serious?  She could no more stand up than she could fly to the moon.  “Erh,  I don’t think I can,” she whispered.

But again he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  He picked up her hands and pulled her to a sitting position.  “Now stand,” he said.

Something in his voice was so mesmerising, so commanding, she wanted to comply.  “Why?” she croaked.

“Because I want to take all your clothes off,” he said.

Okay.  That seemed like as good a reason as any. 

She stood, her legs shaking under her.  But he stayed kneeling, so that she was standing between his thighs.

He reached up, almost casually, and yanked her skirt down so that she was standing before him in front of the fireplace clad only in her knickers.  The firelight played across her belly and legs. 
“Perfect,” he said, reaching up and stroking her through her knickers.  Her knees buckled under his attentions, but he wrapped one arm around both her legs, holding her in position as he continued to stroke her. “Almost.”  He unwrapped his arm from her legs and placed a hand on either side of her knickers, yanking them down brutally and then tapping his hand on her feet to encourage her to step out of them.  She did, and stood before him naked but for the play of the flames on her skin.

“Now,” she said, her voice gathering force and intensity.  “It’s your turn.”

He nodded, and stood, lifting his shirt over his head casually and throwing it to the couch.  His chest was broad and beautiful, with the hard, functional lines of a body earned at work, not in the gym.  This was no little boy.  Jim Canning was four years older than her, so he had to be pushing 35. She reached out a hand to touch his skin, revelling in the warmth and the shiver that ran through him at her touch.  He stepped out of his jeans and she saw that he was completely naked, the hard length of him resting up near the trail of hair that made its way down from his navel.

An old joke about a crowbar formed in her mind and for once she was glad she found the will not to blurt it out.  But my God. The size of him. 

He turned a little circle in front of her, affording her a quick view of high, sweet buttock and a lush back.  “Satisfied?” he asked.

She nodded.

“Good,” he said.  “So am I.”  And with that he stepped forward and kissed her hard, pressing the full length of him against her nakedness.  She felt his hardness press into her belly as sweet shivers laced her skin.

He stepped back, sweeping his eyes over the length of her.  “I’ve gotta tell you, Beth, I’m not going to able to wait.”

“Good,” she said, licking her lips.

Her words were like a match to tinder.  He picked her
up, wrapping her legs around his waist, and carried her over to the window, where the curtains were open and a white wonderland was revealed.  He rested her buttocks on the tiny window seat and kissed her again.  As he did, the tip of him pushed hard against her, and he began to stroke her again.  Her heart rate began to climb, and her tummy clenched.  She wasn’t going to be able to wait either.

“Hurry,” she whispered against his lips.

“Yes Ma’am,” he drawled, pulling back and taking one last look at her before he reached down with both hands and grasped her buttocks, pushing himself hard and deep into her.

Beth’s insides yelped at the intrusion, before settling into an orgy of sensation.  Jim took a hand from one buttock and continued his sensual assault on her from the outside, while he thrust slowly into her, drawing back almost completely before plunging into her again.  It was a wicked onslaught, and Beth’s self-control began to unravel like a ball of string.

Jim’s mouth moved down to her breasts, focusing on one nipple with particular precision, biting and licking it mercilessly before moving to the other.

“Now,” Beth commanded, as her sex began to hum and contract.

Jim drew back from her again, grabbing both buttocks as he watched her face and drove hard inside her.  “Like this?” he asked, his voice full and raw.

She nodded, feeling the pieces of herself start to splinter and shatter.

As she came hard, he drove wildly into her, pushing again and again against her, taking her higher and further and that little bit more that she’d always wanted.  And then he let go.  His face was dark and shuttered, and his breath was jagged.


Later, they lay on the rug, staring at the fire.

“Don’t go back to the city,” Jim said, running the soft pads of his fingers across her belly.

“What?” She sat up.  “I have to.” 

No you don’t, Beth,” he said, rolling her back down next to him and playing with a piece of her hair as he looked into her eyes.  “You can do whatever you want.”

“But I have a job, and… stuff.”

“Nick?”  His face was dark.

“No,” she stammered.  “No, not Nick.  He’s… he’s a house-mate.”

He grinned at her, all white teeth and green, green eyes. “So then?”

“So, I can’t just up and leave,” she said.  “I…”  She
paused, looking for the words.

Beth sighed, imagining it.  Imagining the reckless perfection of just walking away from all the unsatisfying things of her life, and coming back to Glory.  To Jimmy Canning. Such an impetuous thing.  So unlike the woman she had worked so hard to become, since the annulment.  Beth. The woman she hadn’t necessary liked, but who had made her feel safe.

“Jim?”  She traced the fine line of his jaw.

“Yep?”  He was studying her warily.

“Call me Lizzie,” she said.


Home for the Holidays
?  Read on for a sneak peek of
Lingerie for Felons
, a romantic comedy that will make you laugh, cry, and think about the world a little bit differently.



Part One
: The first time

Handcuffs and heartbreak — b
ack seat of a police car, NYC; March, 1998


Underpants should be the last thing on your mind when you’re sitting handcuffed in the back of a police car and your heart’s broken.  Shouldn’t they?

The lights and sirens seemed kind of unnecessary, but I also knew they were going to increase my credibility when I told the story to Heidi later. I mean, I was hardly Lee Harvey Oswald, but I’d definitely been arrested. The stereo was oozing bad R&B, punctuated by hoarse squawks from the police radio.

You know, it’s not just empty vanity to fret about underwear during an arrest. 

It’s SSP: Subconscious
Stripsearch Paranoia. 

Why? Why couldn’t I have done the damn laundry?
Washed my nice, sensible, protest rally underwear, and some nice, sensible jeans. Then I wouldn’t have had to borrow from my stripper roommate. Well, she says gentleman’s escort, but potato, po-tar-to.

I felt hot prickles scratch the back of my neck.

I imagined a prison guard slapping a truncheon lasciviously against an open palm.  A beefy, unsympathetic guard who thinks girls in red lace thongs are ‘askin’ for it’.

I groped for some perspective. At least I had underwear on, unlike some of my comrades that day. I usually went ultra-sensible when scaling fences. Happy as I was to change the world with them, there was no way I wanted any of
those Clan of the Cave Bear types getting a peek at my own private wilderness. Lest they felt inclined to erect something far more serious than a placard there. 

I bit my lip and watched the streets slide by, looking sad and dirty at this time of year.  We passed a corner where a few men were gathered, their belongings strewn around them in plastic bags. One of them lunged out onto the road, holding up a piece of cardboard with something scrawled on it. As I strained my neck to try to read it, the driver honked at the men and grunted.
‘Fuckin’ hobos. I’m votin’ for the other guy next time.’

‘Huh?’ The baby cop in the passenger seat stretched big hands to touch the roof.

The driver spoke again. He was short and bald with a strange little beard. I could see the sides of him spilling over the seat. He reminded me of an unhappy leprechaun. ‘That ex-marine guy. The one what’s gonna clean up the streets.’

Yeah, right.
Takes guts to get tough with people who live in cardboard boxes. I bit my tongue though. First time for everything.

The younger cop turned around with an apologetic grin. The back of his neck was bumpy with old acne scars, and he smelled like ironing spray. ‘Dunno what you
was thinkin’ tryin’ to go over that fence? Razor wire’s real dangerous. And you in that nice skirt n’all.’ 

His accent carried me back somewhere half-remembered. He sounded like he came from an even smaller town than me. 



‘It’s a dress. Not a skirt.’

Why don’t men know the names for garments? You don’t need to be Sarah Jessica Parker to know if it starts at the waist it’s a skirt, and if it goes all the way it’s a dress. I’m hardly any
fashionista myself, but surely we all learn that in our first readers. Look, Dick, look. House! Dog! Dress!

The driver spoke again. ‘Well then, I guess the point my buddy here’s trying to make is what the fuck were you doing on a razor wire fence in your itty bitty party dress?’

‘Look it’s probably hard to understand —’

I wanted to say for a mean old leprechaun but didn’t.

‘— but it’s like this. One: it’s a fact: the death penalty kills innocent people. Two: it’s incredibly barbaric, and those people, they’re just like us —’

Well, actually, hopefully not like you. Didn’t say this either.

‘Three: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights actually says —’

He cut me off with a belch. ‘Yeah, well, some Americans actually say that being arrested for trespass is pretty stupid’. He started laughing — a horrible sound through which I swore I could hear the twanging of his hardened arteries.

‘Don’t worry,’ Baby Cop said. ‘They probably won’t even charge ya. First time?’

‘Yes,’ I sniffed, poking my glasses up my nose.
‘First time’.

But Leprechaun wasn’t finished. ‘You people should just get a job.’

Little did he know.

I contemplated telling him, just blurting it out.

But he wouldn’t believe me. I’m not like other mathematicians. What are other mathematicians like, you’re wondering? Well, take my thesis supervisor, who thought U2 (you know, Irish pop band?) meant U squared. He stayed up ‘til two in the morning to watch Live Aid, thinking it was a mathumentary. I love him, but like how you love an elderly uncle who buries guns in the backyard and chews tobacco even though he lives in the city. Then there’s the Dean of the Math School. He only wears clothes donated by a friend of his who runs a morgue. I once saw him wearing jeans with a bullet hole in them.

I ran a finger down the window glass, playing with the condensation. The car shuddered as it stopped and started in the mid-town traffic. Baby Cop fiddled with the radio and that song
came on, the one where the guy declares ‘they could never, ever, ever tear us apart’. I snorted, and tried hard to think about the eleven place orders of pi.  So perfect, so soothing.

But that song, that raspy seduction, kept insinuating itself into my brain.

Never tear us apart.

I argued with it. 

I tried telling the voice that it was wrong, that the chances of evisceration were actually quite high when it came to love. In fact, directly proportionate to the depth of feeling. I mentally reminded the singer that love takes perfectly nice, sane people and turns them into cartoon versions of themselves. Metaphorically running off a cliff, not realizing there’s nothing below but air until
it’s too late.

Until they hurtle like Wily Coyote to their doom. 

Had it really been only a year ago?

‘Welcome home, Princess,’ the driver said as we pulled up at the sixth.

I gave myself a mental Chinese burn. I had more important things to worry about.

Like what happens when you wear a red lace thong to a strip search.


Some things in life just don’t count. 

Like cookies’n’cream ice-cream eaten straight from the container at 2am. 

High school proms where you wear Doc Martens instead of a frock.

Adolescence where your only boyfriend is your Math Quiz partner.

In a similar vein, my first arrest didn’t really count because, in the end, I didn’t actually get charged after all, just as Baby Cop had predicted. 

And as it happened, the worst did not come to pass either. 

Strip search was apparently reserved for people going to actual prison, and nerdy girls in dresses borrowed from strippers just get taken to the holding cells to cool down. 


You know, jail’s not at all like you imagine. You know how it goes, in your head.
Long, hard benches. Steel bars running the length of one wall through which you look out at cops eating doughnuts and reading dirty magazines. Or strapping pistols to their groins while placing pins into maps of the city. In imaginary jail, the cell is occupied by three other inmates — maybe one scowling, ratty type wreathed in tattoos of skulls and dragons; one washed up looking prostitute; one (insert ethnic minority of choice) drug-dealer-looking type (hard to describe, but we all know what he’s meant to be when we see him on CSI). 

Too much TV, that’s the problem.

The reality was different. Bit disappointing really. More like a dentist waiting room.  I was alone and there was lots of white; a bed, a chair. My cell even had a little TV where I could watch cop shows explaining how prison is really supposed to look. And I was alone.  No hookers, dealers or low-grade muscle. 

No-one to distract you from the inevitable march of your thoughts.


‘How do you spell protest?’ I could see Baby Cop, crunched over a desk.

The cop who’d been driving belched and I swear I could smell gingivitis.

‘Forget it, Linus. I’m not doing paperwork for this shee-yit.’

Baby Cop flicked his pencil. ‘Oh, that’s
awlright, Kevin. I’ve already started it now.’

Linus,’  the Leprechaun belched again,  ‘but that girly’ll be dead before you get the charge sheet completed. Tell you what, she’s gotta see the public defender before she goes, right? Let’s call her folks. We’ll scare the shit out of ‘em, they’ll give her the third degree and we’ve done the city a service.’

Scare the shit out of my parents? I mentally clapped my hands as I settled back to wait.

An hour later, sudden noise alerted me as an ashen-faced Leprechaun ushered in my mother and father. His voice had completely changed. It was soft and oily.

‘Um, look we don’t usually let visitors here in the cells, but I think in this case we can make an exception. She’ll have a bit of a wait for the duty lawyer anyway.’

The Leprechaun motioned toward a room down the end of the corridor where I could see the back of a harassed looking young guy guiding a middle-aged black woman into a meeting room. He was incredibly blonde, like a Northern European, and she was screeching, ‘Was a fuckin’ set-up! Fuckin’ sting! Fuckin’ assholes!’ 

I couldn’t hear what the young lawyer was saying but I could see him lay a hand on her back and I swear I could see her shoulders lift a little as she turned towards him. Like the lawyer could feel me watching, he turned around, and smiled and shrugged. Like, sorry about the bad language, I’ll be with you soon.

He was tall with floppy hair. Sort of like a blond Hugh Grant before the whole blowjob-in-the-car thing made him look seedy and kind of corpulent.

Interesting. The Public Defender has a cute ass.

I dragged myself back to the moment, and the Leprechaun. What was he gibbering? 

‘Erh, so, anyway, take your time. Like I said, we might have a bit of a wait.’

I was immediately suspicious. ‘What’s happened?’

Mom pulled at a thread on Dad’s sleeve. ‘What do you mean?’ 

‘I can tell you’ve upset the Leprechaun. What have you done?’

Dad sighed, rubbing my shoulder as he pulled out a chair. ‘Oh dear. Well, the...Leprechaun was playing bad cop, sweetheart. Suggesting they might be pressing charges. Your Mom may have sort of intimated we had…mob connections.’

Mom looked mutinous. ‘I did no such thing,’ she dismissed with a sniff.

‘Yes honey, you did. And you were good. He was scared. Actually, I was too, a bit.’

‘Humph, well, no thanks to you. You wouldn’t scare a flea.’ But she smiled a small smile as she sat down in the chair Dad had pulled out. It was the first smile I’d seen on her since The Breakup. I looked at Mom and Dad sitting in my cell.
Traitors. I’d tried to tell them all the bad things about him. What he did for a job. How he’d never been to a protest rally.  How he thought Joni Mitchell sounded like a harp seal being battered to death. How he’d probably vote Republican if he had voting rights in the US. They just looked at me disbelievingly, like I’d said Clinton was a pro-lifer. And went right on loving him. 

Right up until two weeks ago.
The day I dumped him.

‘So, honey, how are you? How’s the thesis coming along?’ Math impresses Mom.
Up to a point. A bit like thinking it’s cool that someone’s a forensic scientist but not wanting to know about when they sliced up some body last night. 

Erh, fine thanks.’

‘How’s Harry?’ My thesis supervisor had taught Dad as well, back in the day. 

I poked my glasses back up my nose. ‘What is this? A social visit? I’m in jail. Don’t you want to know what happened?’

‘What do you mean?’ Mom’s hands flew to her throat.

‘With the arrest,’ I bit out.

‘Oh, that.’ Mom exhaled a great sigh and beamed. She flicked a quick glance at Dad and sighed again. ‘Oh God, Lolly, we were worried you were going to talk about Wayne. And really, even though we love you and totally respect your decisions, we really just can’t bear to talk about it. Every time your Dad turns on the chess, he cries.’

Dad contributed a limp nod. ‘Absolutely, sweetheart. Couldn’t agree more. A hundred per cent behind you. But let’s not talk about it, eh? Breaks my heart. Let’s talk about more cheerful things. Tell us about the arrest.’

Oh. My.
God. My parents were mourning him. My parents, who volunteer every spare minute at their local soup kitchen. My Mom, who teaches poor kids to read, and blockades and boycotts every other week. My Dad, who’s so smart he could’ve been a nuclear scientist but teaches math because he thinks it makes kids better. Like a Whitney Houston ‘I believe the children are the future’ thing. My parents, who told me since the day I was born that ‘everyone can make a difference and together we can change the world.’

BOOK: Home for the Holidays
12.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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