It’s a few days before Christmas and I love Christmas. In fact, Tim Minchin pretty much summed up all of warm, cosy feelers my atheistic little heart has about Christmas in this song (which totally makes me cry, by the way. Big feelers).
I normally do at least one Christmas story for the blog, but December’s been crazy and I haven’t written anything that didn’t make me want to stake myself with mistletoe, so I decided to post a story I wrote for Rose Caraway a few years ago for a Christmas edition of The Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast.
This story, “Christmas Yet to Come”, is an unapologetically romantic take on Scrooge’s redemption in A Christmas Carol, one of my favorite Christmas stories, especially when performed by the Muppets (don’t judge). And, if you’re looking for a distraction while you’re wrapping presents or baking or cooking food for an army, you can listen to Rose Caraway read “Christmas Yet to Come”, as well as her own sexy take on the Dickens story (this one involving candy-striped knee-high socks), by clicking here.
“Christmas Yet to Come” by Malin James
“If I have to say merry Christmas again, I’m gonna kill someone….”
Mark adjusted his glasses and picked up the invoices he’d been trying to file all morning. It was Christmas Eve—the world wouldn’t end if he left them. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that Claire was about to leave early, so he was stuck on the register saying “Merry Christmas” when he’d rather be in his office ignoring the holiday altogether.
“Are you sure it’s okay?” Claire, asked as she shrugged on her bright red coat. “You don’t look good, Mark. I hate thinking of you here all alone. I mean—”
“It’s okay. I know what you mean.”
Mark ran a hand through his rumpled hair, frustrated to a degree he knew was unreasonable. The divorce had barely gone through, and his ex, Bethany, was spending the holidays with her new fiancé—their former marriage counselor, Travis Dean. It was the first time in five years she wouldn’t be with him at the store on Christmas Eve.
“Look, Mark,” Claire said, straightening the bookmarks in their little, metal rack, “why don’t you come to my sister’s house? She made goose! And plum pudding…whatever that is.”
Claire’s brows crinkled beneath her fluffy white hat. Mark tried to smile. He knew she was only trying to help. Everyone and their mother was trying to save him from a lonely, miserable Christmas. The only problem was that a lonely, miserable Christmas was exactly what Mark wanted.
“Thanks, Claire. Really. I just want to keep it low-key. Go and enjoy the goose.”
“Are you sure? I mean…it would be great if you to could come.”
Claire met his eyes and blushed. Despite everything, Mark’s stomach flipped. For a moment, they just stood there, looking at each other. Finally, Mark shook his head.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m sure.” Then he handed handed Claire an old umbrella. “Here—you’d better take this. The storm is getting worse.”
Claire smiled, but couldn’t quite hide her disappointment. Mark turned back to the invoices. Her pretty, blue eyes were almost enough to change his mind.
“Okay, then. If you’re sure…” Claire said, as she headed to the door. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow. Merry Christmas, Mark.”
“Merry Christmas, Claire.”
Despite the busy morning, the store remained empty all afternoon, thanks to the massive storm hitting the Bay. They’d always stayed open on Christmas Eve to catch any last minute business. Needless to say, he wasn’t up for that this year. This year, Mark’s big plan for the holiday was to bury himself in paperwork and turn off the Christmas music. Now that would be nice, Mark thought, contemplating the silence. More than anything he just wanted Burl Ives to shut up.
Mark flipped the Closed sign and locked the door before eying the Christmas lights Claire had insisted they put up in the window. He was itching to turn them off, but that would have required rummaging through a tangle of cords and power strips, which wasn’t worth the hassle, so he left the lights blinking and headed back to his office.
His office. Not his and Bethany’s. Because Bethany was in Peru with Travis Dean.
Mark pinched the bridge of his nose, torturing the headache he’d had for months. Bethany loved Christmas, and she was missing it because Travis Dean loved Peru. Fucking Travis Dean…. Every trip they’d never taken twisted Mark’s gut as he shoved past Bethany’s chair. Then he shook a handful of Tums out of an industrial sized bottle and tried to get work.
Mark squinted, trying to make sense of the inventory screen, but the numbers kept bleeding together. He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He was so goddamned tired. He could have slept for days….
Mark heard something, but chose to ignore it.
“Dude, wake up.”
There it was again. Mark shifted but didn’t open his eyes.
“MARK! WAKE THE FUCK UP!”
Mark sat up and slammed his head on the shelf above his desk.
“OW! Fuck! What?”
“There you are! Finally. You’re a super heavy sleeper, huh?”
Mark blinked and rubbed his head. There was a girl sitting on his desk. She was wearing a pencil skirt and cowboy boots and a leather jacket over a Metallica shirt, but despite the thrown-together look of her clothes, her hair was glossy, and her cat’s-eye make-up looked airbrushed on.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“I’m Marley,” she said, kicking her feet.
“Marley? Like Marley in A Christmas Carol?”
“No,” Marley said, rolling her eyes. “Don’t be a dumbass.”
“How did you get in here? Did you break in?”
“No! Of course not!”
She looked indignant, as if he’d really offended her. He almost felt bad, but then he remembered she was sitting on his spreadsheets and he still didn’t know why.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, before standing up and whacking his head again.
“OW. Never mind. Just go.”
“I can’t go,” the girl said. “You’re my assignment.”
Marley smiled and patted his arm.
“Why don’t I start from the start. Strictly speaking, I’m not here. The only reason you can see me is because you’re asleep—see?”
Mark looked down. His body was slumped over and his head was on the keyboard. The screen was filled, appropriately enough, with zzzzzz’s. He didn’t look good. He might have been drooling. Embarrassed, he tried to shake himself awake, but his hand passed right through his body. Marley smirked.
“Sorry, dude. You can’t touch yourself.”
“Then why could I hit my head?”
“I dunno,” she said, shrugging. “It’s your dream. Look, I just need to give you the skinny on what’s about to happen. Then you can go back to sleep for real. Okay?”
“Sure,” Mark said, edging into Bethany’s empty chair. It took his weight with a groan. He gave Marley a look.
“Seriously, why can I sit in this chair but not shake myself awake? Is it dream logic…? Or something else?”
“I told you I don’t know. It’s your dream. Jeez, you think too much. Anyway, like I was saying, I’ve been assigned to you. Every year I get sent to someone who needs a little perspective. You’re my someone this year.”
Marley paused, swinging her legs back and forth. Mark shifted uncomfortably. She had really good legs.
“Thanks,” she said, grinning. “They’re not my best feature, but they’re all you’re gonna see!”
She gave him a wicked grin. For the first time in months, Mark felt his cock stir. All of a sudden, Marley jumped down off the desk and into his lap. Mark tried to shift away, but his cock only got harder.
“Aw! That’s super sweet! I haven’t given anyone a hard on in ages! Yay me!”
Mark stared at her, vaguely horrified.
“Don’t worry, dude. I’m older than I look,” she said. “So anyway, here’s the deal—”
“Let me guess,” Mark interrupted. “I’m going to be visited by three spirits.”
Marley rolled her eyes.
“God, you’re such a dork. No. They’re busy with people in way worse shape than you. You’re going to have a dream.”
Mark shook his head.
“I thought I was already having a dream.”
“You are having a dream, but not the real dream. Pay attention to the real dream, because the real dream is going tell you something you need to know. Plus, it’s gonna to be good, if you know what I mean.” She wiggled her brows suggestively. “You’re going to wake up happy.”
Marley ruffled his hair and jumped down off his lap. Mark tried to ignore the fact that his dick missed the curve of her ass. He wanted that hard-on gone. Suddenly, Marley shoved a finger in his face.
“Keep that hard on. That hard on is good. I swear you’re gonna have a merry Christmas if it kills you.”
“Okay, okay,” he said, warding her off. “Take it easy. Why do you care?”
Marley cocked her head. Suddenly, she looked serious, and much, much older than she’d first appeared to be.
“Because I get where you are. I remember. And because I’m assigned to you. Okay?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Okay.”
“Cool. Don’t flake on the lesson thing. And don’t think too much—you think way too much. Just have a good time. But learn something. I don’t want to see you next year.”
“Sure,” Mark said. He was starting to feel drowsy again. It was getting hard to process what Marley was saying.
“Poor guy,” Marley said, softening. “You’ll be okay. I promise.”
The little clock on the desk began to chime. Mark squinted at it, but couldn’t see the numbers straight. It looked like midnight, but that didn’t make sense if he’d only closed at four….
“Oh shit! I gotta go! Good luck. And Mark?”
Suddenly, Marley was gone. Mark looked down at his body, but even as he did, things got blurry and he drifted back to sleep.
Mark heard something ringing. At first he thought it was the clock on his desk, but it was too insistent for that. Groggily, he sat up and wiped the drool off his chin before stumbling out of his office. His head ached like a sonofabitch, and the ringing didn’t help.
Outside, the storm had picked up—the wind was rattling the windows, and it would have been dark as midnight if it weren’t for Claire’s Christmas lights.
The chime rang again. Mark looked around, rubbing his head. The phone wasn’t ringing and nothing was on. He couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Then he heard a knock at the door and peered through the gloom.
Claire was outside, stomping her feet and blowing into her mittens. Even through the glass he could see that she was soaked.
Pushing his glasses up, Mark turned the lock and let her in.
“Claire, what are you doing here? I thought you were at your sister’s!”
Claire took off her sopping woolen hat and wrung it out before stepping over the threshold.
“Jeez, Mark. I wish you’d listen to messages. I forgot my sister’s present so I had to come back. Then is started to rain and there were no cabs, so I had to walk but when I got here, I didn’t have my key, so—”
“I got it, I got it,” Mark said. “Come on in.”
He was just about to close the door when the wind snatched it and slammed it shut.
“Whoa. It’s bad out there.”
“Yeah. I’m soaked.”
Mark glanced at her. It looked like someone had shoved her into the Bay. Her blonde pixie cut was plastered to her head and red woolen coat was soaked through. He didn’t usually notice how little she was because she was such a dynamo, but right at that moment, she looked like a miserable fairy. Then Claire started shivering and Mark’s protective streak kicked in.
“C’mon. Let’s warm you up.”
“Thanks,” she said, teeth chattering like a wind-up toy.
“The heater’s on in the office,” he said. “Take off your coat. I’ll dig up some towels.”
Mark went into the tiny stockroom and brought out a bath towel leftover from who knew what.
“Here,” he said, passing it to her. “It’s old, but I think it’s clean.”
“Thanks,” she said, giving him a lopsided grin. “I don’t suppose you have any spare clothes too?”
Claire plucked at her ruined leather pants.
“Uh…,” he said, noticing her figure for the first time.
She usually wore layers, but in tight pants and a wet sweater, he could actually see her proportions. She looked like a dancer—tiny breasts, slender waist, hips like a champagne flute…. Mark’s cock stirred. He wanted to see more, but he wasn’t about to con her into getting naked.
“Let me go check,” he said. “I might have a sweatshirt somewhere.”
“You know what,” she called, as he turned away. “It’s okay. I’m already warming up.”
Mark looked back at her, surprised by the husk in her voice. Claire was not a flirt. She was bookseller. Not that a bookseller couldn’t flirt, but she wasn’t that kind of girl–
the kind with a come-hither voice, who stripped down in her boss’s office. Except apparently she was.
Mark watched as she drew her fingertips down over the little metal button at the top of her ruined pants. Then she popped it and drew the zipper down, before working the wet leather slowly down her legs. He’d only just noticed her pink satin thong when Claire lifted her sweater up and slid it over her head. Mark caught his breath. She wasn’t wearing a bra. Naked, her breasts were as beautiful as he’d thought they would be—sweet and round with little pink nipples that were puckered from the cold.
Mark wanted to fill his mouth with her. He wanted to slide in between her slender thighs. He’d have given anything to see her without the useless little thong.
Claire smiled. Then she wiggled her hips and kicked her panties off as if she’d read his mind.
“Merry Christmas, Mark” Claire said.
The playfulness was gone, replaced by a lovely, sweet softness he was starved for. He wanted softness from her. He was tired of hard edges and strain. Mark cleared his throat.
“Merry Christmas, Clai—”
Before he could finish saying her name, Claire closed the distance between them and fit her hips against his, pressing his now massively hard dick into the hollow between her legs. Then her mouth was on his, gentle and sweet, despite the insistent push of her hips.
Mark, the man who never stopped thinking, stopped thinking then. Every ounce of his awareness sank into the silky chill of Claire’s skin. He felt as if he’d been asleep for years, and that her mouth was waking him up. He wanted to touch her everywhere, he wanted to touch every inch of her, but she broke the kiss before he could push her back against the shelv
“So,” she said, grinning as she unbuttoned his shirt, “all I needed to do was drown in a rainstorm and strip in your office? If I’d known it was that easy, I’d have done it months ago!”
“Well, the leather pants didn’t hurt,” Mark said, grinning as he shrugged out of his shirt. Then she sank to her knees and his smile faded.
“You don’t have to do that,” he said
“Do what,” Claire asked, clearly confused. “Suck your cock?”
Mark didn’t know what to say. Bethany had hated oral. On the few occasions she’d done it, it had always been part of a “gift.” He was used to his partner not wanting to suck his cock, so the fact that Claire was kneeling in front of him, unbuttoning his fly with the intention of doing just that made him feel a bit gun shy.
“Uh, yes.” he said. “That.”
Claire slid his boxers down and stroked shaft, slowly, from base to tip. Mark’s knees almost buckled.
“Of course I don’t have to, silly,” she said, angling her head. “I want to.”
Then she kissed his cockhead and slid it into her mouth. She sucked once, then twice, long and slow, before she released him with a smile that said she could have sucked him off for hours.
“You don’t understand, Mark,” she said, working his dick with her hand as she settled herself more comfortably on her knees. “I’ve been wanting to do this for years, but you were married, so there was no way. Now though…it’s okay, right?”
Mark’s pulse throbbed.
“Yeah,” he said, trying to see straight. “Yeah, it’s okay.”
“Good,” she said, licking the tip of his oversensitive head. “Then I’m going to get back to it.”
Mark braced himself on the doorframe, and began to thrust cautiously into her mouth. His ex had hated having her face fucked, but Claire seemed to be urging him on, pressing her fingers into his ass, and moaning when he began to move with less restraint.
“It’s okay,” she said, glancing up at him, before going right back to it.
She tongued his shaft and sucked him back in so hard that her mouth pulsed around him tighter than a cunt. He felt the tip of his head nudge the back of her throat, but even as the muscles contracted, Claire softened and pressed him deeper. Suddenly, Mark couldn’t stand it. He hauled her up and kissed her before she could protest.
“I need to fuck you. Now.”
He’d never said anything like that to a woman. But then he’d never needed to fuck anyone like he needed to fuck Claire.
She smiled as he picked her up and carried her back into the office. Her hair was a mess and her lips were swollen. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. Suddenly he knew he’d been waiting. He’d been waiting for this. He’d been waiting for Claire. Claire’s heart-shaped face was the only thing wanted to see, and he wanted to see it every second of every day.
Mark backed her up against the messy shelves and lowered her onto the desk. The keyboard and a pile of invoices fell to the floor, but Mark didn’t care. Not when Claire was spreading her legs and tilting her hips with a dreamy, peachy smile lighting up her face. Mark reached down and touched her clit, rubbing gently as she whimpered and ground against his hand. Then he slid into her sweet, wet warmth.
She was an impossibly perfect fit. She was made for him, he thought.
“Are you okay,” she whispered, stroking his back.
Mark pressed his face against her neck and thrust in long, languid strokes, as if fucking her answered every question he’d ever had.
“I’m happy,” he said, smiling against her neck.
“Me too. Now, answer the door, okay?”
Mark looked at her, confused.
“Answer the door, silly. I’m standing outside. Let me in so we can do this for real….”
Mark’s head began to spin. He squinted, trying to control the vertigo that was twisting the space around him. Then it stopped.
Slowly, Mark opened his eyes and saw the computer screen blinking like a Christmas tree. Mark rubbed his jaw and grimaced. He had drooled. He hoped the keyboard would be all right.
Very faintly, he heard a knock at the door. His cock was still hard. So hard, he was amazed he hadn’t come in his pants. Marley hadn’t been kidding—it really had been a good dream.
Knock, knock, knock.
“I’m coming,” he said, shaking his head to clear it. The dream was still vivid in his mind—he could practically smell sex and Claire’s sweet, violet scent. Shoving it aside, he hurried out to the tiny sales floor.
Claire was standing in the window. The rain had stopped. She was dry but her nose was rosy from the cold. Mark’s heart slammed hard enough to break his ribs. Telling himself to pull it together, Mark adjusting his glasses and opened the door.
“Hey,” he said.
He felt breathless. He felt like he was going to pass out.
“Hey,” Claire replied.
He stood there for a second, taking her in. This was the Claire he’d known for years—not the soaking wet minx wearing leather pants, but the bright-eyed sweetheart with her hand knit beret….
“Hey, wait. Are those leather pants? You have leather pants?”
Claire gave him a quirky little look.
“Sure I do. I wore them to work last week. You said you liked them…remember?”
Mark nodded. “Yeah. Now I remember.”
He remembered her looking hot.
They stood there awkwardly as something fragile passed between them. Mark wanted to pull her into the store and wrap his arms around her. He wanted to kiss her. But the dream was just a dream. He couldn’t assume….
“Hey, Mark? Look up.”
Mark looked up. Dangling over the doorframe was a sprig of mistletoe.
“Where did that come from,” he wondered.
“I hung it up the other day. Silly….”
She smiled shyly and leaned into him. Her hand was cool and sweet on his face.
“Is this okay,” she asked. Her mouth was a whisper from his.
“Yeah. This is okay.
Then her lips were on his, as soft as they’d been in the dream.
“Merry Christmas, Mark,” she whispered.
“Merry Christmas, Claire.”
For more on the holiday theme, check out the links below. An most importantly, Merry Christmas. May it be full of all the best feelers a holiday can bring.
In the Bleak Midwinter (nonfiction)