Chapter 31

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Chapter 31

“Are we allowed to get dressed?” I asked James on Christmas morning. “I was just curious. I mean, I could rock the footsie pajamas all day again with no problem.”

He laughed, “Na you can wear whatever you like.”

“All righty,” I said, turning on my heel and heading back to my room. Two arms encircled my waist, pulling my back to an all too familiar chest. His breath was tickling my ear. “Happy Christmas, Holls.” I smiled and turned my head to look into his eyes. “Merry Christmas.”

We looked at each other until I had to look away for fear of kissing him again. He kissed my cheek and as he pulled away slowly his lips bushed from my cheek to my jaw and followed their trail across the side of my neck. I could feel my body heat spike and the sexual tension was palpable. He slid his arms from around me and retreated to his room. I felt too cool without him, as if my body righted itself when he was there and without him it was off.

I got dressed in a daydreaming haze, only snapping out of it when I opened my door and saw him waiting in his casual way, leaning against the wall, ankles crossed- the epitome of laid back. He took my hand pulling me to the living room. It was an unnecessary but welcomed move that had me confused about what it meant –if anything- and where we stood.

Everyone was already waiting for us. William was enthralled by a live Christmas concert put on by MTV while Olivia sat still with her perfectly rigid posture, the poster child of prim and proper. Nana and Caroline were chatting about the day’s plans. They greeted us and I guessed that Caroline would have some sort of enthusiasm for gift opening that forced us into a frenzy of tearing wrapping paper, ripping off bows, and tossing tissue paper. I felt a pang of guilt for not getting them anything. As it turned out, the gifts under the tree were almost entirely for the needy so Caroline and William headed to drop them off after notifying us that breakfast was still warm in the kitchen.

At the first mention of food James rushed to get a plate. I followed, in need of coffee and unwilling to be alone with Olivia and Nana who were whispering to themselves conspiratorially.

“Now that we’re older we don’t really do gifts with each other. It’s sort of a rule to make it about the quality time instead of the material,” James explained.

“Oh,” I mumbled, feeling dumb for getting James a present –even a silly one.

“Yours was the only gift I bought this year... I was hoping I could give it to you later, after dinner maybe?” he asked. I shouldn’t have been surprised that he’d gotten me something, seeing as he’d already gotten me the tree topper, but I was.

“That sounds nice.”

We finished eating and James suggested we take a walk in the cool brisk York air. I agreed, wanting to take in as much as I could of the rolling green landscape, remembering what I loved about England. What I hadn't counted on was that snow would have fallen overnight, leaving everything in a thick coating of soft white; It was even more beautiful.

I was dressed casual in dark jeans and a black Satan’s Soldiers hoodie with black Nikes when I met James outside. He turned and I saw that he was in jeans with his white tennis shoes, a red black and white flannel under a black leather jacket with a loose black beanie. He seemed to know where he was going so I stayed by his side without question enjoying the fresh earthy air of the countryside. It was late morning but there was still a chilly mist all around us.

Most of the walk was in a comfortable silence aside from the crunching of snow under our shoes. James told me about a few places we passed by and then finally asked if I was enjoying the trip.

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