PART ONE CAN BE FOUND HERE
PART TWO CAN BE FOUND HERE
Christmas Morning, first light
Even though she was not a morning person, Dolly was up at dawn, showered and snug in her footy bunny rabbit pajamas and pink quilted bathrobe. She entered the kitchen from the back stairs, the non-skid soles of her PJ feet scuffing on the warm vinyl-tiled floor.
She went to the pantry and took down several foil packets. She stood by the junk drawer under the counter next to the fridge and cut the packets open with a pair of orange-handled Fiskars.
As she worked, she inhaled deeply of the rich aroma of Arabica beans being brewed in the under-counter pot. She knew by that that her lover had been through and started the coffee brewing for her. (He didn’t drink coffee, but was always looking for ways to pamper her, so customarily made her a pot of coffee on his way out for his run.)
On the counter near the coffee maker, there was a small silver tray laid out holding her favorite cold-weather mug, a pitcher of condensed milk and a crystal cup holding packets of aspartame sweetener.
Once she got the foil packets all cut up, she raised her voice to call, “Kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,” in a falsetto trill that drove Drummond nuts because he couldn’t emulate it. There was a thud of a small, four-legged body hitting the floor upstairs and the drumming pitter-patter of little cat’s feet racing down the stairs. In short order, a furry flood of feline flesh was pouring through the kitchen door. Six cats magnified in size and number by their eager movement.
Dolly emptied the opened foil packets one at a time into her palm and deposited a small mound of the moist treats in front of each of the cats. She worked quickly to make sure everybody got some right away and the slow ones didn’t get into fights with the more forward ones, who got theirs first.
By the time the first ones were looking around for seconds, Dolly was ready and doled out the remainder of the treats with a quick, sure hand, all the while singing, “Merry Christmas, kitties!” in her own inimitable voice, with its husky tone and its unerring pitch.
She stopped to stroke each one and assure him that he was loved and was the most charming fellow, (or the sexiest lady), on the planet, and she made those disgusting baby noises that people will make with pursed lips when they think they’re alone with their pets. Her best bud, Orange Jell-O (a.k.a. Jelly), of course came in for the most loving. He fell over on his back and miaowed for a belly rub, which Dolly indulged him in.
She straightened and brushed a wisp of her burnished copper hair out of her face with her hand, then puffed air out of her mouth to try to blow it aside, and finally gave it up. She’d have to go brush her hair again and put it up properly, instead of the half-assed job she’d done of it on finishing with the hair dryer.
“So whattaya think, guys,” she said, addressing the assembled cats, who continued daintily powering down the moist kibble treats while no doubt hanging on her every word–because cats are like that. “Is Mommy gonna get lucky again today? Think I’m gonna have to jump Daddy’s bones if I wanna get some before everybody shows up? He’s awful thick that way, sometimes. Like this morning. I practically had to shove my… well. You guys are too young for the gory details. Anyway: trust me, it worked. But Mama Dolly is feeling randy today. Must be all that fine winter air, or the snow outside and the fire, or somethin’. Cause I wanna fuck something.” The last was spoken with a heavy TV-western prospector’s accent and punctuated with a loogie shot at an imaginary spittoon. But then she ruined the effect by giggling.
She poured herself a cup of coffee and carried the tray to the table in the breakfast nook and sat at “her” place. There was an envelope with her name written on it propped up against the centerpiece. Dolly contemplated it while she mixed white and sweet into her coffee. When the mixture was seasoned to her taste, she picked up the card and slid a thumbnail under the flap to open it.
Then she noticed the flat black velvet jeweler’s box that had been hidden behind the card. Ever the acquisitive sort, she widened her eyes and reached for the box, which had a bow of gold satin ribbon tied around it.
She got the ribbon off and, trembling in anticipation, flipped open the lid. She gasped and set the box down, holding her other hand weakly over her fluttering heart. Her greedy, jewel-loving heart whose favorite colors were platinum and emeralds from Tiffany’s.
At least the box said Tiffany’s and New York. And if she knew Drummond, he wouldn’t cheat on something like that. He’d consider it beneath him. If he bought her a gift from the orange kiosk in the mall, he’d present it in the orange kiosk gift box.
When had he found the time to fly to New York? Even though there was a Tiffany’s in Cincinnati, it was also like him to go to the source, to interview a top jewelry designer, possibly have the thing custom-made.
And they were so exquisite! Perfect dangles, each made of three absolutely huge emeralds in the traditional rectangular cut, set in platinum, (it said so on the backs), hanging side-by-side, with white gold wires. She got teary-eyed as she inserted them in her earlobes and stroked them against her neck for an instant. Then she tore open the envelope and extracted the card.
The outside was a traditional-looking Christmas card that said simply, “Merry Christmas, My Love.” There was a snow scene on the front that, even though this was her first Christmas and she didn’t understand much of what was going on, made Dolly wax nostalgic. She opened the card. The inside was blank except for a note in Drummond’s hand… neater than usual, obviously written with great care. It said:
“Merry Christmas, Gabrielle. I love you more than life itself. I pray that we will have many Christmases together, and that we can grow old and naughty together. Go ahead, put them on.”
And she knew it was going to be a great day.
They were expecting a large contingent of loved ones later on that morning, and had agreed to exchange some gifts that morning with others to come that night after the others had gone home. The expected guests included Drummond’s ex, stepdaughter, and grandson, his mother, Aphrodite and Hephaestus teleporting in from Greece (air Olympus, of course), all of Dolly’s sister and brother dollies–Xe, Cally, Vel, Ma, and Auto. And Terry and Maxie were coming down from Groveport in a caravan with the dollies. It promised to be a crazy and hectic–yet hopefully joyous–occasion.
When Drummond got back from his run, he headed upstairs to take a shower. Dolly, having already showered, stayed downstairs and prepared them a simple breakfast that they could eat casually in the living room. She didn’t want to wait to open presents any longer than she had to.
Drummond, although he masked his anticipation better, was also eager. He was very much looking forward to seeing Dolly’s reactions to certain gifts and he hurried through his shower.
By the time he was back downstairs, dressed in soft tan slacks, a sky blue pullover, and loafers without socks, Dolly was just getting into the second stage of breakfast preparation. She demanded–and got–a kiss, then shooed him off to the living room.
She saw him filch a strip of bacon but said nothing about it. She smiled softly as he padded through the swinging door to the dining room and then down the steps into the living room.
Once Dolly had joined him in the living room, Drummond began playing Santa, picking out presents for her from the pile under the tree, while she played elf, looking particularly elfin in her green vest, shorts, and stocking cap, although had Santa had such skin-baring minxes around him at the North Pole, he would have been divorced from Mrs. Claus and probably not gotten much work done, either. Every time they brushed past each other, their hands roamed over each other, touching, stroking, teasing. They stopped for kisses many times, each time reminding each other that they had to finish before the others got there.
Dolly was as excited as a kid. Her acquisitive nature was encouraged and inflamed by the rich haul of presents, some opened and played with, some yet to be opened. She vibrated like a tuning fork with unconcealed and infectious joy.
Finally things wound down to two packages. Both for Dolly. Bits of ribbon and wrapping paper littered the huge living room and the cats were having a field day executing rustling hunting maneuvers through the underbrush of foil wrapping papers and boxes.
One of the packages was huge. Eighteen inches thick and almost four feet long. Dolly had prodded it and shaken it and could not figure out what it was. She took it up several times, could not suss it out, and had set it aside to come back to later. Now she was down to the end and had to admit defeat. She could not guess what was in the big box.
The other present felt suspiciously like another jewelry box. She was so obviously torn between the two that Drummond told her:
“Do the big one first.”
She looked at him quizzically.
“Yes, I do have an ulterior motive.”
“And that would be… ?”
“Open the package and find out.”
“OK,” she said happily and set about destroying the wrappings that concealed a box from: “Kotsovos?” A furrier in a northeastern suburb.
“Open it,” Drummond prompted her impatiently.
“Omigod!” she gasped when she lifted the lid. “A–a–” she lifted out of the box and held it up. “What is that? It’s not mink, right?”
“No. It’s ermine. A relative of the mink. A winter coat, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Wow! And it’s full-length, too!”
“Now there’s two rules that go with this,” Drummond intoned.
“Yeah?” Dolly’s lips twisted into a now-what expression. He always did this.
“Yeah. First, you’re not allow to wear it out of the house. Second, you’re not allowed to wear anything under it.”
Dolly’s sudden grin washed out the Christmas tree, the candles, the fireplace, and the sun outside. “Now, that I can get behind. I just love getting’ nekkid.” And in less time than it takes to tell, she shucked out of her clothes and was eagerly holding the coat preparatory to putting it on.
“Stop!” Drummond commanded.
“What?” Dolly asked, puzzled.
“I just want to look at you.”
Dolly smiled at that and did a slow little dance for him. All the different parts of her jiggled, bobbled, flexed, flowed or swayed according to their individual nature, and yet they all worked together into a movement that was pure poetry.
Then Drummond stood up and helped her put the coat on, and she snugged it around her, luxuriating in the feel of the smooth lining against her body, the tickling of the fur on her soft skin.
“Wow!” she enthused. “This is mucho sexy!”
“Muy,” Drummond corrected absent-mindedly. There were tears in his eyes, but he had no trouble seeing her. “God, I love you, Dolly. And yes, I know it’s a lot physical, but–Geeze–how can I help myself?”
She dimpled at that and took him by the upper arms and walked him over to the padded piano stool that stood by the white Baldwin in the bay window. “Sit down,” she instructed him, lifting her hands to his shoulders and pressing down on them. Then she opened the ermine coat, accepting as her due the sharp intake of breath that betrayed Drummond’s reaction to the sight of her naked body.
“So. What do you think of your coat?” he murmured as he dived into the valley between her breasts, bestowing the soft, firm flesh to either side with lingering kisses and teasing nibbles.
“I love it,” she said, kicking one leg free of the encumbrance of the fur and lifting it to rest her knee next to Drummond’s hip on the piano stool.
Drummond shuddered and ran a hand up her thigh to tease at her snatch with his fingers.
“Mm!” he grunted, pulling away from her.
“Hey!” she protested. Her mood evaporated suddenly, and she began to pout.
“You have another present,” he said with a husky rasp in his voice. “I want to see… I want you to open it. Now. Please.”
He stood up and made as if to step over to pick up the last present, but she stopped him.
“Only if you apologize for what you just did.”
“I’m sorry,” he said instantly and without prevarication.
“Kiss me, dammit!” She actually stamped her foot and pouted. He leaned down to kiss her, but she turned her face away from him. He drew back an inch, hurt, unsure…
But she couldn’t maintain her mask of disapproval. She laughed and pulled him to her, devouring his mouth in hers, draping her body against his in a manner calculated to arouse–and it did.
He took two quick steps to where the box lay on the floor and snatched it up, thrusting it at Dolly and hoarsely ordering her to open it.
Dolly suppressed her smile and meekly unwrapped the present. She had an idea it was jewelry from the shape of the box, but even so, she was almost totally unprepared for the positively decadent necklace she found therein.
It was clearly a one-of-a-kind designer piece. It matched the earrings she’d put on earlier. Or rather, they matched it. The workmanship was clearly superior, the design exquisite, the effect of the piece en large and in detail was simply stunning. It was large enough to cover her entire upper chest and yet was surprisingly lightweight for the quantities of emeralds, diamonds, platinum, and gold that went into its construction. It was the kind of things that kings and queens might envy. That a billionaire’s wife or daughter might expect as a gift.
But… She looked up at Drummond from under her bangs. “This is a kind of a wifey gift. Are you sure you want to give this to your doxy girl?”
“That’s redundant,” he said with a chuckle. “A doxy is a girl. And as for you, miss hot pants nineteen ninety-nine, the only reason I haven’t made an honest woman of you is because you won’t let me. Any time you want to get married, just say the word and we’ll look up a Justice of the Peace or something. Heck, Xe is ordinate in the Universal Life Church. She could do the dirty deed. At least then we’d be keeping it in the family.”
She looked up from the box with tears of joy in her eyes. Now she had some inkling of what it was that made Drummond liken loving her to a religious experience.
The prettiness of the bauble wasn’t in it. The high cost of it wasn’t either. It was that he placed that much value on her as to–just–give to her a pretty thing that cost as much as or more than his house.
At that level of things, it didn’t matter that the cost was nothing–pennies, one might say dismissively. What mattered was why he did it. Truly, is was the thought that counted.
“Let’s put it on you,” he said softly, picking up the necklace from the box. “Turn around.”
She did as he instructed and stood quietly while he lovingly arranged the necklace on her chest and fastened the clasp at the nape of her neck. Then he bent and kissed her there, tickling the flyaway hairs that had escaped the scrunchie around her ponytail.
She could feel the shudders that ran through him as he handled her, tasted her. The power of her sex flowed through her, a heady mixture of ecstatic madness and joy with abject surrender and self-abnegation.
He slid the coat down her arms and planted kisses on her collarbone and shoulders. He slid his hands up her body, spreading the front of the coat open and stroking her belly. His big hands cupped her heavy breasts, and she felt a tremor run through her that started in her lower belly and shook her entire body, making her muscles watery weak. She melted into his arms with a moaning sigh and reached up to guide his lips to hers.
Drummond caught sight of Dolly in the glass of a picture frame, naked in all her glory, clothed in barbaric splendor of jewels and furs, though none of it could match, let alone surpass, the natural radiance that was the bare fact of Dolly herself.
It made Drummond feel all primitive in wanting her, needing to plunder her, to take her and wholly own her, and yet to worship the occupant of this temple–this perfect vessel of naked girl flesh in his arms. The spirit within.
Stop thinking, Drummond. You’re not making sense. Just deal with loving her.
The coat hit the floor and Dolly’s eager fingers began tugging at Drummond’s belt. She bounced a little on her toes and wrinkled her nose in a smile. The girl was happy. She was going to get lucky.
Merry Christmas, Dolly.