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That night after the party, all changed out of our dress clothes and into sweats, Derek and I are playing UNO in the guest room. I was recalling a memory to him of how good I am at UNO so he refused to let me say more until he could beat me in UNO

"There is no way you are winning," I say teasingly. His blue eyes glare at me as he places down his next card. "Hey!" I call out when he puts down a draw four.

He chuckles. "I'm gonna win babe, just watch." He says confidently and puts both hands behind his head, leaning back.

I draw my cards and smirk down at them. He takes another turn and then it's my turn.

I smile cheekily at him. He gives me a look to which I just start to do my turn. "Skip you, reverse back to me, skip you, skip you again, draw four, change the color to red, draw two, UNO, and four. I win." I say and smirk at him.

His jaw drops and he just stares at me. "What the fuck, Ash." He says totally shocked.

I throw my head back laughing and he playfully throws his cards at me. He then shoves the cards and box off the bed to tackle me. "Ahhh!" I cry out and we roll over so he hovers over me, my hands locked above my head by his hands. We just laugh and smile up at each other.

These are the moments I love with him. We just have fun and enjoy each other's company. Like a best friend. We don't get sick of each other and it's not forced. That's another reason why I love him so much and is also another reason why I'm scared to tell him.

We are finally at a good pace with each other and I'm scared I'd scare him off if I tell him. It could go both ways. It could be great and he says it back or he could say the dreaded "okay" and we get awkward and break up. I definitely do not want to break up so, until the moment is right, I'm not ready to blurt it out. Which is very difficult because when we part for a moment or he does something I have the urge to just burst my feelings.

Like right now, I could have just said it without thinking but I caught myself.

"You just have luck, Mayfield. Or you cheated, which is my argument." He says.

I roll my eyes. "How can I cheat? You're the one who made me draw four."

A defeated look grows on his face and he sighs in an amusing way, then leans down to kiss me. Our lips move as one and that fire returns. Lately, it's been more intense between us and he usually stops before we get too far. I'm pretty sure I'm not ready to go all the way before I tell him I love him. I just think that's the best way to have that connection with him by being open and honest.

His lips trail down my neck and I instinctively run my fingers through this hair. His hands like to roam but not too much. He usually has them in one place for a few seconds and then they move. I pull his head up so I can kiss him again and I nudge him so I straddle on top of him. Moving his hands, they travel down my back to my thighs and tighten there.

I can feel the growing need between us and I lift his shirt over his head and start to reach for his pants.

He releases my lips. "Hold that thought," he says and lifts me off of him, placing me onto the bed. He hops off the bed and walks to his suitcase. He pulls out a small box with a bow tied around it. He sits back on the bed and hands it to me.

I take it from him and look back to him. "What's this?" I ask. "It's not Christmas Day yet,"

He shrugs. "It's close enough," he says. "Open it."

I eagerly pull the bow off and open the box to reveal a small necklace. A gasp falls out of my mouth as I stare at a small star and a snowflake hanging from the chain. I look back up at Derek who has a handsome smile on his face.

"It's a star and a snowflake," he says. "I saw it at the mall when looking for some new dress shoes and when I saw it I remembered the night we met and then..." he trails off.

I smile. "Our first kiss," I say.

He nods. I take it out of the box and put it on. I stare lovingly back onto Derek's handsome face. "I love it. Thank you."

He smiles. "I'm glad you like it." He leans forward and kisses me.

At first the kisses are sweet and soft but then the fire ignites again and we pick up where we left off. My body goes back to straddling him and my hand flies back to his pants. He doesn't stop me this time but slowly moves his lips down my cheek to my ear. "Ash," he says breathlessly.

"Yeah?" I whisper.

He brings his eyes back to me. I've never seen that look on him before. His expression is as calm as it always is but there's something I can't place. He cups my cheek with his hand. Staring into each other's eyes he says, "Merry Christmas,"

I scrunch my eyebrows a little confused and he knocks his head to the clock on the bedside table. Sure enough, the time reads, 12:00 am.

"Merry Christmas, Derek," I say smiling. His fingers trail down to my necklace. He looks back up at me and we just smile at one another.

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