A Christmas Maggie - Part I
Part one is dedicated to Rebecca Stewart who gave me sock monkeys for Christmas! It's impossible to be cynical when so much Christmas spirit surrounds me. Read Daniel's first adventure here and his second here.
A Christmas Maggie - Part One
by Tiffany Reisz
When he’d heard “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” playing on the radio that morning, Daniel'd had a wonderful, awful idea. Anya looked so delectable in her little slip of silk negligee, he ordered her to stay in it all day long. Now evening, she still wore it...but not entirely without complaint.
“C’est l’hiver,” Anya reminded him unnecessarily. Of course it was winter. A foot of snow had piled up outside the windows of his New England estate, trapping them happily inside. “I should be in flannel.”
Daniel rolled his eyes at his little spitfire of a Québécoise lover.
“You wouldn’t wear flannel if I bribed you with a million dollars and threatened you with a beating.”
Daniel knew his Anya. She barely had a cent to her name, but that didn’t stop her from designing and sewing her own clothes—clothes that wouldn’t look out of place on the runways of Paris and Milan. Even the negligee she’d shimmied into and out of last night had been one of her creations.
Smiling, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her slight form against his. God it was good to have a woman in his life again, in his home, in his bed…especially a woman with Anya’s tastes.
“Perhaps if you bribed me with a beating…then I would wear flannel for you.”
“I like the sound of that.” Daniel cupped the back of her thighs and slipped his hands over her bare bottom and up her back. At moments like this he felt the age difference between them most keenly. She’d only turned twenty-three while he could reach out and touch forty with his eyes closed. His rough hands would never recover from his year of rappelling and mountain climbing in South America. The smoothness of Anya’s young skin served as a bitter reminder of how many years separated them. He didn’t like to think about what else should and could separate them.
“I only said ‘perhaps,’ Sir. No promises.”
Daniel dipped his head and kissed her. Anytime she called him “Sir” in that respectful tone he couldn’t resist a kiss. That word empowered him like nothing else. The second a “Sir” escaped her lips, he had to drag her to the bed, the floor, the sofa…
But today he pulled back. Too much to do.
“No. None of that.” Daniel gave her his most stern stare. “Work. Now.”
She flashed him a faux pout. “Yes, Sir.”
Anya turned her back to him, and he gave her a quick swat to hasten her retreat to the living room. They’d had the tree up with lights on it since December 1st but hadn’t decorated it with any ornaments yet. Now Christmas Eve, Anya tore into the boxes Daniel had brought out of storage and started digging through all the glass stars and candy canes and silver and gold garlands.
“So tell me why we had to wait until Christmas Eve to decorate the tree…?” Daniel asked as he opened a box and removed a small sock monkey ornament—a gift from his friend and former lover Eleanor.
Anya shrugged, a move that caused her nightgown to lift up high enough for Daniel to see the pale pink birthmark on the top of her left thigh. His groin tightened at the sight of so much skin illuminated by the Christmas lights.
“Ma mère…she always had us wait until Christmas Eve to decorate the tree. Papa had to work so much, he never had a day off until then.”
“That’s very thoughtful of your mother.” Daniel placed the sock monkey ornament high on the tree, front and center. Maggie would have gotten a kick of such a silly thing on the otherwise traditionally decorated tree. Maggie…where had she come from? Daniel exhaled and tried to away push thoughts of his late wife. Maggie had been dead for as long as Anya’s mother. Time to move on…both of them.
“She was far kinder to my father than he deserved.” Anya pulled a footstool to the tree so she could adjust a string of lights near the top. “She tried to make him a better man by treating him like a king. It didn’t work.”
“I’m sorry.” Daniel reached out and tickled the back of her knee to coax another smile out of her. She responded by hanging a candy cane on his ear.
“Lovely. Thank you.” He poked her in the stomach with the candy cane and she flinched harder than he expected her to. But she quickly laughed, tore the candy cane from his hand, and placed it on the tree.
They continued decorating. Anya had a habit of repositioning nearly every ornament he placed on the tree. At first he assumed she was showing off her perfectionist side again, but soon he realized she did it solely to annoy him. And it would have except the impish grin on her face only made him adore her more.
As Anya climbed back onto the footstool to put the star on top of the tree, Daniel reached into the box and pulled out one last ornament. While she was distracted, Daniel hid the last ornament on one of the bottom boughs. When he looked up from the floor he could see right up Anya’s nightgown.
“Anya, if you were one of Santa’s reindeer, you would be Vixen,” he said, tracing a line up the back of her leg with his fingertips. He slipped his hand between her thighs and teased her until she moaned softly.
“You ordered me to wear this,” she said, her voice breathless and soft. “You didn’t tell me to put any panties on.”
“And for very good reason.” Daniel pulled her off the footstool and dragged her to the floor.
“What is that reason, Sir?”
Daniel turned her onto her stomach and over his knee. He flipped up the back of her negligee and exposed her exquisite backside.
“Christmas spankings.” He swatted her hard a few times just for the pleasure of hearing that indignant yelp of hers.
“Spankings are for birthdays.” She squirmed on his lap.
“It’s Jesus’s birthday.” He gave her one more playful slap on her thigh before pushing her onto her back.
“Maman said he was actually born in Spring,” Anya protested as Daniel kissed his way down her stomach. With one hand he pulled the straps of her nightgown down her arms while the other hand yanked it up from the bottom. He could have simply ripped the damn thing off but that would have taken a second longer than he wanted to wait.
“You’re arguing theology with me?” Daniel pushed her thighs open wide and found her clitoris with his lips.
Anya gasped in pleasure.
“Not anymore, Sir.”
His mouth was too occupied to tell her to shut up and enjoy herself. But his tongue inside her seemed to work better than an order.
Once had had her sufficiently wet and more than sufficiently aroused, Daniel kissed his way up her body to her lips. He let Anya taste herself as he opened his pants and pushed into her. As he sheathed himself deep inside her, she raised her hips, and moaned into his mouth.
When he began to thrust, he couldn’t help but laugh as his back tapped the bottom boughs and sent all the ornaments tinkling and shivering. He lay flat along Anya’s body hoping to avoid knocking the tree over in his enthusiasm. Or hers. And her enthusiasm often eclipsed his. She’d come so loudly last week that his ears had rung for a few hours after.
As he moved in her, Daniel studied her face so lost in the moment, lost in the pleasure. Her eyes wore the most beautiful glazed look. A strand of red hair fell across her cheek and he blew it off with a puff of air. She laughed and he whispered an “I love you” in her ear.
“I love you too, Sir,” she whispered back, arching underneath him. He’d given her one explicit order at the beginning of their relationship—she was always to call him “Sir” when he was inside her. This was an order she happily complied with every time.
He held back and waited as long as he could before coming. Everything disappeared when he was inside Anya—his sorrow, his memories, the dreams that still haunted him on the bad nights that thankfully had become few and far between since bringing her home with him.
Anya clenched around him with a lusty cry. He would have laughed at her vocal acrobatics, but he was too pre-occupied with his own orgasm.
He pulled gently out of her and watched her face for any telltale winces or grimaces. The girl had been a virgin before him, and sometimes he left her raw from her thrusts. But she wore only a smile of angelic bliss.
“Simultaneous orgasm,” he said as he rolled onto his side and pulled her back to his chest. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
“It’s a Christmas miracle.” Anya pressed into him and sighed.
“I’m not sure if God gives Christmas miracles to sinners like us.” He gently bit the back of her shoulder.
“We are not sinners,” she protested and Daniel heard a note of hurt in her voice. “We love each other. I’m your…” she paused and searched for the right word.
Daniel grinned into her skin.
“Property is the word you’re looking for. A nice Old Testament concept. I think God would respect that.”
“Moi aussi,” she said, slipping into French. Me too. She did that often when tired or spent. On those rare occasions she didn’t fall into French after sex, he knew his job wasn’t quite done yet.
They lapsed into contented silence as they stared up at the Christmas tree from the carpeted floor. He and Maggie had made love so many times under the tree that he knew this view well. Maggie had been Christmas crazy. Her first husband had been both an atheist and an asshole and had outlawed Christmas in the house. When she and Daniel had married, it had been a December, Christmas-themed wedding and all seven years they spent together, Christmas had meant not only celebrating the season, but commemorating their love.
Anya stretched out her hand and tapped an ornament.
“What is this?” she asked, gently removing it from the tree to inspect it closer.
Daniel’s stomach dropped, but he kept his voice even and calm.
“Maggie gave that to me our first Christmas.”
A simple ornament, it consisted of nothing but a bell painted snow white with the words “Daniel and Maggie’s First Christmas” on it and the year they were married.
“It’s pretty.” Anya’s voice held only sincerity and no hurt that he could detect.
“Maggie loved Christmas.” He took the ornament from Anya’s hand. “She has an older sister named Carol. Maggie said when she was a little girl she drove her parents crazy. She thought it was so unfair Christmas was all about Carol. They sang Christmas Carols. They read Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Four-year-old Maggie was so jealous, her parents had to start singing ‘Christmas Maggies’ just to shut her up.”
“Did you read her A Christmas Maggie?” Anya asked, taking the ornament from his hand and placing it back on the tree.
“I did better than that. I found a beautiful leather-bound early edition of the book and had a bookbinder friend of mine sewed in a new title page that said A Christmas Maggie. She cried when she opened it our second Christmas together.”
Christmases with Maggie had been perfect, every last one of them better than the one before. Until the last one when they knew it would be their final Christmas together. And even then…
“Do you miss her?” Anya asked the question so softly he barely heard her.
“Of course. She was my wife for seven years.” He spoke matter-of-factly, almost brusquely, and only realized the error of his tone when Anya wriggled off the floor and fled the room, tears on her cheeks.
“Dammit.” Daniel came to his feet and followed her. She’d run not to the bedroom they shared but one of the guest rooms. He turned the knob and found the door locked. “Anya, open the door right now. That’s an order.”
The order was not obeyed. Nor the next one to talk to him or the one after to please please talk to him.
Daniel rested his forehead against the door and took a deep breath, cursing himself. Anya, barely twenty-three, virgin before him, he reminded himself. In other words…emotional, sensitive, scared, and fragile. His marriage had always been a touchy subject between them. Anya admitted once that she feared he’d never love her like he’d loved his wife. No amount of reassurance had made that fear in her eyes completely disappear. By saying that of course he still missed Maggie, he’d played right into Anya’s deepest fears.
“I’ll be downstairs,” he called through the door. “I’ll be there when you want to come out.”
He almost added “I love you” but the one bitter spark of anger at her overreaction stopped his tongue.
For the rest of the evening, Daniel straightened the mess they’d made of the living room with the Christmas decorations. He called a few relatives to wish them a Merry Christmas and pretended everything was perfect when they asked about his new girlfriend.
“Together since summer,” he told his cousin Matthew in Ontario. “She’s not a ‘new’ girlfriend anymore.”
“Lost that new girlfriend smell already, huh?”
“And your mother wonders why you’re still single at thirty-three, Matt.”
He considered and discarded the idea of calling Carol, Maggie’s sister. On the phone, their voices sounded almost identical. Hearing Carol on the phone was akin to coming face to face with the ghost of his dead wife. And Maggie had been haunting him far too much already today.
The time crept closer to midnight and Anya still hadn’t come downstairs to talk to him. He considered going to bed but didn’t want to sleep alone in the room they shared. So instead he sat in the big armchair Maggie had given him as a birthday gift one year. She’d called it his Masterpiece Theater throne and said any librarian worth his salt needed a chair that pretentious.
Before he closed his eyes, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny box of Tiffany blue. Opening it, he stared at the princess cut diamond engagement ring. In the low light of the Christmas tree, the diamond sparkled like the Star of Bethlehem. If he didn’t close the box soon, wise men and shepherds would start showing up on his doorstep. But he couldn’t close it. Not quite yet. Tomorrow morning, Christmas morning, he’d planned on surprising Anya with the ring as her last present—the ring and a promise to love her and keep her for the rest of his life. But now he wondered if the fight hadn’t been a moment of serendipity saving him from making a huge mistake. Anya…so much younger than he, so much less experienced and so sensitive. Until their fight this evening, he’d been absolutely certain she was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, the woman he wanted to raise children with. He didn’t even care if they were his children or her younger brothers and sisters she called every single day to check on. But now…now he wondered if Anya hadn’t been right to be afraid. Did he love her as much as Maggie? And if he didn’t, should he marry her anyway?
Sleep slowly stole into the room and crept up on him. The ring fell from his fingers as his eyes closed.
A few minutes or a few hours later, he felt a hand on his knee gently shaking him awake.
“What?” he asked, his eyes still shut.
“I told you that if you sleep in that damn chair, you’ll get a permanent crick in your neck.”
“Then you shouldn’t have bought it for me, Mags,” Daniel said as pried his eyes open. Mags? “Maggie?”
Daniel sat forward in the chair, suddenly more awake than he’d ever been in his entire life. In front of him kneeling on the floor by his feet with her chin on his knee was Maggie, his wife who had been dead and buried for years.
“What?” he asked again, his heart pounding wildly in his chest. “What are you doing here?”
She gave him a wicked blue-eyed smile, her chestnut hair falling in waves around her oval face. She didn’t look a day over thirty-five, younger than he’d ever seen her. In fact she looked breathtaking—so young, so beautiful, so untouched by the pain and suffering the cancer had inflicted on her, the cancer that had killed his beautiful wife.
“Merry Christmas, Daniel.”
To be continued…Click HERE.