The story continues!
Christmas Eve: December 24th, Part 4
“Ebony, baby, wake up.”
I awakened in the dark room to find Brian looming over the bed, his blond hair illuminated by the light streaming through the bedroom window. “What time is it?” I rubbed my eyes. After a day spent shopping and preparing for tomorrow’s activities with my mother and Mrs. Young, I was exhausted.
“Nearly midnight. You were supposed to meet me outside ten minutes ago.”
The mattress lowed on one side of the bed as Brian sat down. I reached out and rested a hand on his thigh. I wanted him to crawl in-between the sheets with me and talk in bed. But I knew my man. Talking would lead to cuddling which would lead to kissing and end in sex. I had no problem with all three activities, but his mother’s rules about un-married couples sleeping together in her house were finite. I was not about to break them.
“Are you sure we can’t talk here? It’s warm and I’m comfortable.” I put on my best smile, but it was no use; he couldn’t see it in the dark.
“Don’t tempt me.” He ran his finders along my hand. “Let’s go, I promise you’ll be comfortable. Be sure to grab a jacket.” He stood and offered his hand.
I still wore my clothes from earlier in the day in preparation for our late night rendezvous. I shoved off the sheets, got out of bed, and slipped on my tennis shoes.
Our fingers linked, I followed Brian into the hall, tiptoeing past the guest room where my parents slept, and his parents’ master bedroom. The lights in both rooms were off, but a faint blue glow ran underneath his parents’ door.
“They sleep with the television on,” he whispered.
We crept slowly down the steps.
“Follow my lead, step where I step,” he instructed.
I nodded and did as I was told; only missing one spot. The creak of that step sounded like a gunshot in a quiet room. We froze; no doors opened. I suppressed a giggle while Brian stifled a laugh.
We made our way through the dark house and out of the sliding-glass door in the kitchen. Instead of stopping at the patio table and chairs on the back porch, Brian retrieved a flashlight from the railing and led me across the backyard.
I looked at the newly built gazebo. “We’re not going there?”
“No. We need privacy. If they wake up and look outside, they’ll see us. We’re headed for the treehouse.” Brian handed me the flashlight and lowered the rope steps. He reached for the light, stuck it between his teeth, and climbed.
I inclined my head and watched. When he reached the top, he looked down. “Come on.”
“I must be crazy,” I murmured, testing the rope to be sure it would support my weight. “If I fall on my ass I’m kicking yours,” I said, loud enough for him to hear.
When I reached the top, I crawled through a small door into a room that was big enough for us to sit facing each other. The flashlight sat on its flat base, the light reflecting off the ceiling and bouncing off the wooden walls. I wiped my hands on my jeans and looked around. Pictures, drawings, and posters lined the walls while a box filled with a variety of toys sat in the corner.
“My father and I built this when I was eight. Now my niece and nephews play here when they come to visit.” He chuckled. “You know, my sisters used to sneak out of the house late at night to make out with their boyfriends when our parents were asleep.”
I laughed. “I assume you did, too.”
His lopsided grin I loved so much appeared. “Of course.”
I shook my head, trying to ignore the green-eyed monster of jealously. It wasn’t often that I thought about the women from his past.
“Don’t worry, I never got past second base with anyone up here,” his eyes turned mischievous. “I’d love to do it with you, though.”
I covered my mouth and laughed. “But your mother’s rule─”
“Only applies inside the house. We’re outside.” He wagged his eyebrows, then reached into a box beside him. “And, I’ve come prepared.” He pulled out candles and a lighter. A large blanket, a small bottle of wine, and plastic cups followed.
Brian always had a way of bending rules to meet his needs. My heart warmed. “When did you have time to do this?”
“When no one was looking.”
We maneuvered around the small space and lay the blanket down. I held the candles while he lit them; he held the cups as I poured the wine.
“This is perfect,” I said after sipping the chilled liquid. “I thought today would never end. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I’ve missed being with you.”
“I missed you, too,” he said, settling against the opposite wall. “So, what went on with you guys?”
I sighed. “In a nutshell? I was told we don’t need to drag our feet with starting a family. Oh, and deciding where to have our wedding is going to be a pain in our backsides.”
Brian lifted his head from the wall. “What?”
I nodded, sipped again. “You heard me. Apparently waiting a few years to have kids is going to make us ancient by the time they get to be teenagers.”
Brian laughed. “Which one of our mothers said that?”
He cringed. “Yikes. And the wedding?”
“Remember when I told you the last time my mother assumed I was getting married she started planning the event?”
“She informed me she’s already talked to the pastor back home and has the church reserved. All she needs is the date.”
His eyebrows went up. “Okay…”
“Oh, that’s not the half of it. Your mom insisted the church your sisters were married in is the perfect location, especially since your family is so big.”
He whistled. “What did you say?”
“Nothing other than we haven’t decided on a date yet.”
Brian shook his head.
“How was the ride with my dad?”
Brian’s brow rose as he looked down at his near empty cup. “Enlightening and informative.”
It was my turn to look confused. “How so?”
“Do you want the long or short version?”
“Short, that’s all I think I can handle.” I emptied my cup and reached for the bottle.
“He admitted he had reservations about me being white, but said since meeting me and my family, he’s happy if you’re happy.”
“Hey, that’s great news!” Then I realized Brian wasn’t exactly smiling. “Did I miss something?”
His eyes turned intense when what he was about to say was important. “Can I ask you a question? I need you to be honest.”
“Always.” I gave him my undivided attention.
“Your father made some good points about what it takes for a man to support his family. It’s funny, even he mentioned kids.”
I nearly choked on my wine. “You’re kidding.”
He shook his head. “Nope, I got family advice, too, the practical side that is. He made me think about something I haven’t considered before. With both of us determined to see our careers grow, what happens if get you get pregnant before we’ve reached them?”
Instinctively, my hand went to my belly. His eyes followed.
“Would you want to go right back to work, or would you prefer to stay home?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. After talking to my sister, I know daycare can be expensive, and I don’t like the idea of someone else raising my child during the day.”
“Neither do I. But what if we needed the money?”
That was a sobering thought. “What are you saying, Brian?”
He took a deep breath. “I’m saying…maybe I should cut back on the music and focus on building my business. It was a way to supplement my income while I focused on my career. It worked when it was just me, but now…,” he looked down at his cup. “The business has grown over the last few months. If I focus on it, with my cousins help, I can make it into more. We’ll need that type of stability in the future. I can make a decent living off my contract with the studio and playing gigs. The major money is in touring, but I’m not about to go down that path again. The last time was…,”he looked away. “I’m not leaving you like that again, especially if we have a child.”
“Brian, are you saying you’re going to give up everything you’ve worked for because of something my father said?”
He scooted around, as if suddenly uncomfortable with the thought. “I want to provide a good life for you, for us. You’re about to be my wife and─”
“And I want you to be happy about it.” I set my cup down and moved closer to where he sat. His eyes were cast down. I lifted his head until our eyes connected. “Can you honestly say you’d be happy if you put your dream aside?”
I gazed into the cerulean eyes I loved and saw him at war with himself, trying to make himself say something I knew he wouldn’t believe.
“No,” he admitted.
“Then don’t walk away from what makes you happy. That’s like asking me to quite school and give up on becoming a veterinarian because I was pregnant. Not about to happen. I’m this close,” I held up two fingers in demonstration, “this close to earning the degree it took eight years to get. Walking away now would be throwing away eight years of my life. The same for you. You’ve got talent like I’ve never seen before, and you are good at what you do. There’s nothing worse in life than giving up something you love. You’d be miserable, and for what? I’m not pregnant. We have time. I don’t want you regretting our relationship because my father is making you doubt your career. I’m happy with you and your career…now and in the future. What happens next is our decision. Where we work…where we get married…when we start our family.” I swallowed hard, forcing the lump I felt in the back of my throat to go away. If I wasn’t careful, tears would follow.
“Your right.” He pulled my hand that rested on his check to his lips, and kissed my ring finger. Then he chuckled. “And to think, a month ago, we were worried your parents wouldn’t support our relationship. Now we’ve got support, but it’s the real life issues that are stressing us out.”
“Tell me about it.” I settled into his embrace as he pulled me next to him. “What are we going to do about the wedding? Tomorrow is Christmas Day and your entire family will be here. They’re going to expect us to announce a date.”
Brian kissed my forehead. “You’re right. You know, we could always do like my cousin and run off to Vegas. We could sneak away for the weekend, then Skype everyone with the good news.”
I laughed. “Don’t tempt me. I say we don’t worry about what our mothers want. It’s us getting married. Why don’t we find someplace neutral?”
Brian nodded. “I like the way you think. Got someplace in mind?”
“The perfect place. I’ll need to make a call in the morning. What time is it anyway?”
Brian dug his phone out of his pocket. “Damn, it’s way past midnight.”
“You do realize this is our first Christmas together.” I let a seductive smile play across my lips and saw his eyes light up in response.
His focus went to my mouth as the deviousness I loved came out to play. “Indeed. What are you thinking?”
I scooted away from him and settled down on the blanket. It wasn’t a bed, but it could work.
“I’m thinking we celebrate early. We may not be in our house, but I’m sure I can knock out the memory of Betty Sue or Sara-what’s-her-name who wouldn’t let you get past second base.” I beckoned him over with the crock of my finger.
Brian laughed, put his cup down, and moved the lit candles out of the way. He settled in the space of my open legs, resting his elbows on either side of my head. “You know, I think your right.”
Our lips fused together as my hands dug deep into the blond waves of his hair. The feel of my son-to-be-husband’s body pressed against mine would never get old. I pushed all thought and worry about family aside and focused on what was important…the here and now. The love that we shared. The future we were building.
Now all I had to do was keep from moaning too loud. The neighbors had dogs. No need to wake up the entire neighborhood.
Brian’s mouth left mine and traveled the expanse of my throat. In-between kisses he said, “I love you.”
I sighed. “I love you, too.”
Come back tomorrow for the conclusion, Part 5!
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- Family for the Holiday: A Ebony and Brian Short Story- Part 3 (authormjkanebooks.wordpress.com)
- Family for the Holiday: A Ebony and Brian Short Story- Part 2 (authormjkanebooks.wordpress.com)
- Family for the Holiday: A Ebony and Brian Short Story- Part One (authormjkanebooks.wordpress.com)