Hang All the Mistletoe

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"Carson, we have to finish decorating this tree. Get your ass in here."

Carson answers, but the distance eats his reply. I stomp over to the section of the house where he is. A strand of garland hangs from my grip.

"Shouldn't you be the one doing this? This was your idea. What are you doing back here?"

I turn the corner and find Carson in the primary room, bent over a cardboard box wearing a pair of  fitted jeans that mold perfectly to a pair of thick, long legs. I force myself to concentrate on the box and not on him. He stands to his full height and towers over me, mouth stretching into a grin. My heart pangs..

"Relax, Brianna. We'll get it done. Look." His grin widens. From behind his back, he presents me with a bunch of mistletoe with a suspicious twinkle in his eyes. Visions of us making out beneath the aforementioned mistletoe dance in my head.

"Nice," I deadpan.

"Bri, you're such a scrooge. Come here." Before I muster up another snappy response, Carson uses one powerful hand to grasp me at the waist, dipping me backward, making me gasp. The ends of my box braids drag against the hardwood.

"What are you doing?"

He dangles the mistletoe over my head, and I glare at it. "What are you planning on doing with that?" My ugly Christmas sweater suddenly feels too tight.

One side of his lips quirk into a lopsided grin, "I'm going to kiss you." Leaning forward, he swings the mistletoe like a promise. Carson and I are friends, and we definitely do not kiss.

I swing my head. "Friends don't kiss each other."

He scrunches his brows. "We've kissed."

When we were five and had no inclination what a kiss meant.

"You can't kiss me."

He raises me but maintains a firm hold at my waist. The heat of his palm threatens to cinch my shirt.

"Why are you being weird?" Carson squints as if he's trying to see inside my head to gauge my thoughts. I push his hand away, my body protests,  and I step back. 

"I'm not being weird." I avoid his gaze. "We need to finish trimming the tree before your Mom gets here."

"And we will." He reaches for me and I step back, not paying attention to where I step and tumble into a box.

Carson's tilts his head back and laughs. The rumble of his laugh vibrates beneath the box where I fell.

"Help me up," I hiss, frustrated.

Carson crosses his arms across his chest defiantly. My gaze falls on his pecs showcasing themselves beneath the tight fit of the sweater. My mouth waters.

"Uh uh." He shakes his head. "I'm not touching you."

I shuffle in the box. Something is poking me. "What the hell do you mean? Help me up. Something is stabbing me in the ass."

I grab the box sides with both hands and try to wriggle out. Carson chuckles and moves to stand in front of me, putting me face level with his crotch. Heat creeps up the sides of my neck.

"I don't want to do something disagreeable... like kiss you, or touch you, or save you from the threatening jaws of a cardboard box." His eyes lift at the corners, and he tucks his lips between his teeth. I amuse the bastard. Beautiful bastard.

"Carson, if you don't help me up, I'm gonna kick you in the balls." I move to kick him with my free foot, and he grabs me at the ankle, yanking me, including the box forward. 

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