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Twas The Night After Christmas, страница 1


Twas The Night After Christmas

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Twas The Night After Christmas

  Phaze 6470A Glenway Avenue, #109 Cincinnati, OH 45211-5222

  This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  eBook ISBN 1-59426-579-8

  Twas the Night After Christmas © 2006 by Susan DiPlacido

  All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

  Cover art © 2006 by Trace Edward Zaber

  Phaze is an imprint of Mundania Press, LLC.

  It was December twentieth, and they were looking for something new to do. Tired of the same old hangouts in their own neighborhood, they drove around the city, looking for some new excitement—or at least some new scenery around them—as they did the same old thing. "Hey, let's go in there, man, shoot a game of pool, decide what to do," his buddy suggested.

  Turning his head to look out the passenger window at the bar, Joe Lopez questioned his pal's decision. "What do you wanna go in there for?"

  Shrugging, Eddie answered, "I dunno. I'm thirsty, and there's a parking spot. How often you find a spot like that?"

  Joe agreed. "Alright, let's go have one in there. But if it sucks, we're outta there after one."

  He saw them as soon as he walked in the door, and was immediately thankful for the serendipitous parking spot. He noticed the redhead especially. Her back was to them, but she looked at them as they entered, and he caught a glimpse of her face before she turned away, a mass of flowing auburn hair falling down her back, warm and inviting above snug fitting, dark Levi's. Elbowing Eddie and nodding in their direction, Joe said, "Nice scenery in here."

  Whistling slightly, Eddie agreed. "Not bad at all. Nice to check out the view in new sections of town sometimes, huh? Hey, go rack 'em at that table. I'll grab us some beers."

  "Nah, nah, nah," Lopez smiled at him. "I know what you're up to. I don't want you wrecking our chances right off the bat by saying something stupid."

  "I won't say anything dumb! Fuck you, man. Like you're some hotshot Latin Romeo anyhow. We're here to shoot a game of pool. Go rack 'em."

  Like all customers in a not-so-crowded bar, the women had turned around to see who was entering when the two strangers came in. Taking a quick glance as they walked through the door, Marie had already been impressed by the stranger on the right. He was medium height with broad shoulders, short black hair, and gleaming dark eyes. Unfortunately, the one on the left was making his way to the bar while his buddy was taking off his jacket and settling near the pool table in the back. She liked the way he moved, a self assured swagger that began in his shoulders and moved with a subtle rhythm throughout his torso and legs as he walked. She found it sexy, and a bit cocky.

  Halting next to her, Eddie ordered a couple of beers then turned his gaze on her and immediately broke his promise to Lopez by uttering one sentence: "So, what's your sign, baby?" She answered crisply, "Yield." As the answer registered, a slow grin broke across Eddie's face and he chuckled to himself. Stuck up bitch, is what he thought about her. So he looked past her and to her friend. Eyeing her, he licked his lips as she returned his gaze. He winked at her. She laughed, and he thought that was a good sign. The bartender placed the bottles in front of him and he paid, but lingered until he heard his name being called from the back.

  "Yo, Eduardo," the voice rang, with perfect Spanish enunciation on his name. "I got 'em racked back here, come on." Slowly, eyes on the blonde, Eddie scooped up the bottles in one hand and turned and headed toward the back.

  Throwing a long curl of red hair over her shoulder, Marie turned and looked toward the back of the bar. The one she previously noticed was chalking a stick. Never removing her eyes from him, she told her roommate, "You know, that's our table. We won it, our quarters are up there. Our names are on the board." "Oh, come on, Marie. Let 'em have it. We aren't playing anymore." "No, it's the principle of the thing," she said. "Besides, it's getting late. It's gonna get busy soon. If they hog that table, we'll never get it back." "No, you just want to go back there and hassle them." Dropping her jaw and looking at her friend with mock offense, Marie raised a hand to her chest and exclaimed sarcastically, "Who? Me? Hassle someone? No, what's fair is fair. They want the table, they have to beat us. Come on," she instructed, picking up her drink and striding toward the back.

  As she got close, she saw the one she was interested in hovering over the end of the table, his left arm stretched out over the railing as his other one aligned the stick with the cue ball, the sinewy muscles of his forearm stretched taut. Just as he moved back, preparing to strike and break, she reached down and snatched the white ball off the table.

  He rose and stood ramrod straight, fixing his gaze upon her. She wondered briefly if she had miscalculated as she saw the knit of his brows and shadow of anger move across dark eyes. Not flinching, she realized she hadn't made a grave error as he looked at her face and the hostility dissipated as rapidly as it had appeared. A grin crept across his features, revealing defined cheekbones and softening his dark eyes.

  "What, you got rights on that cueball or something?" he asked as one brow arched.

  "No. I have rights to the table," she replied, nodding to the chalkboard behind him. "These," she pointed to the quarters on the railing, "are mine. And I last won on the table. If you want it, you have to beat me." Her friend smiled at Eddie apologetically behind her.

  Turning around, he inspected the chalkboard, and read the only name not crossed off. "Marie, huh? Okay," he said simply. "I'm Joe." When she didn't answer him, he asked, "You wanna break, Marie?" "Well, you shouldn't break your own rack, and it is my table," she answered, stepping closer to him and placing her hand above his on the stick, slowly pulling it away from him. "So that's your stick, too, huh?" he asked cockily. "Yeah, pretty much everything around here that I want is mine. Thanks for chalking it for me, though." Dropping the white ball back on the table, she leaned over the railing and adjusted it with the tip of the stick. Then with one fluid motion, she struck and sent the balls rolling around the table.

  She dropped the two on the break, called low balls, and leaned over to align a shot on the one ball at the opposite end of the table.

  Crossing his arms in front of him, Joe taunted her, "I dunno, lotta green there, you sure you wanna take that shot?"

  Carefully aligning the shot, when she was satisfied, Marie turned her head and looked at him, catching his gaze. Never taking her eyes off his face, she pulled the stick back and shot, sending the one ball into the chosen pocket, then smirked victoriously as his face dropped into shock. Behind him, Tracey and Eddie erupted into laughter. Winning the first game, Marie raised the stakes. "Play for shots,

  loser buys." After buying her four shots and drinking with her, Joe felt his own head humming and face warming. Watching her lean over the table and bank the eight ball in, costing him another round, he leaned into his friend and said quietly, "She's hot, man." "Yeah, forget it, Lopez," Eddie warned. "You got no chance there." "The fuck does that mean?" "Look at her," Eddie said. "She's not from our 'hood. She's got class. I think we're a little too, uh, ethnic for these chicks. You ain't getting nowhere with that chiquita. She's just taking you for free liquor, my man."

  Glaring at Eddie, Joe noticed Tracey slide up next to them. He switched to Spanish, not wanting to be overheard, but also not willin
g to let the subject drop. "Yeah, I'll bet you I can nail her. She digs me," he said as he watched Marie stride to the bar, appreciating her catlike saunter in her Levi's as she ordered another round, compliments of him.

  Eddie, still in Spanish, said, " No way are you taking her home tonight." "Maybe not tonight, but soon. If I want her, I can have her." "Yeah? What's the bet?" "Cientos," Joe said. A hundred bucks. Looking at the girl at the bar who had suckered Joe all night, Eddie

  answered, "You're on. I'll give you 'til Christmas. 'Tis the season and all." "Gracias," Joe said with a nod and walked up to the bar to pay the

  bill he owed. Sliding next to her at the bar, Joe placed a hand in the middle of Marie's back, checking to see if she would move away to evade his touch. She didn't. Instead, she shook her head once, sending the long tendrils of dark red hair over her shoulder to brush against the back of his hand. She turned to face him, raising a full shot glass. Still not removing his hand from her back, he picked up his shot with the other and looked her directly in the eyes. They were curled up, glistening green, and betraying the effects of the liquor.

  Marie could tell he was getting a little drunk, but she didn't care. She gazed into his dark eyes, certain she knew exactly what he was thinking as his mouth slowly curled into a smile. He was cocky, probably looking for an easy lay, but he seemed to like her in spite of himself.

  Never breaking eye contact, Joe raised his shot glass and clinked it against hers, speaking in a soft low voice, "'Tis the season," he said. Then they placed the glasses against their lips, tilted back their heads, and allowed the sharp liquid to rush down their throats with heat and intoxicating bite.

  Hours later, Tracey tugged at Marie's sleeve and Eddie at Joe's. They stumbled to their feet gracelessly from their perches at the bar. As he stood up, Joe realized just how drunk he was. He'd been talking her up, bickering the night away while drinking shots and hadn't even noticed just how looped he had gotten. She seemed in better shape than he was, even though she matched him shot for shot. She was one feisty

  chica . Pushing a muscled arm through the sleeve of his black leather jacket, he staggered slightly as he tried to pull it up around his shoulders.

  Next to him, Marie was fairly well composed, her body not detailing just how furiously her mind was humming. She liked him, alright, and he was hot. Normally, she'd let him walk her home, and then if he asked her out again, she'd let him do much more the next time.

  "C'mon, man," Eddie said. "We gotta get going. You're fuckin' drunk as shit. Gimme the keys."

  Unable to deny it, Joe fished in his pocket, pulling the keys out and then gravely looking at his friend. "Don't crash," he warned. "That's a new car." Turning to Marie, he asked, "You girls need like a ride? We'll take you home."

  "No, that's okay. We just live around the corner. You can walk us out, though," Tracey said to Eddie.

  Walking to the door, Marie stopped to adjust her coat and pull soft leather gloves out of her pocket and onto her hands. She looked up at Joe, leaned close, and brushed her lips against his. Hesitating there, she waited for him to respond, for his mouth to press against hers. When his lips parted slightly, she drew back, glancing up at the ceiling above them. His eyes followed hers, noticing the cluster of mistletoe suspended above them. "'Tis the season," she said. Walking out into the cold, he reached for her, slid an arm around her waist, and roughly pulled her close. Nose to nose, he looked in her eyes, as if making sure it was okay. Then, he leaned in, titled his head, and kissed her. Hard.

  Lips pressed tight, Marie's head hummed and she responded immediately. Her mouth parted, her breath escaping her as his arms squeezed her tight. Drunk, her head whirring, she liked it. Cold air whispered across her cheeks, but his mouth was warm and moist, his tongue flicking out against hers. She sucked on it, and he groaned. He pulled her tight and kissed harder, heating her up from the inside out. Marie reached up and took hold of his shoulders as he turned her and pressed her against the brick wall.

  The chill of the cold building permeated her jacket and brought her to her senses. He was hot, yes, and she was drunk, yes. But maybe she was too drunk and she had let him get far enough for tonight. She pressed the heels of her palms against his shoulders and pushed to back him off. That's when he moved from her mouth and sucked on her neck.

  Joe could feel her face and neck flushing under his kisses, the warmth of her skin egging him on. She took hold of his shoulders, first pushing gently as he kissed her neck. But when he sucked just below her earlobe, her hands pulled him in more closely. She tasted great; boozy, but subtle and warm, just a slight sweet smell to her hair. So different from the strong perfumes on most women. He licked her earlobe and sighed in her ear. She shivered, but he knew it wasn't from the cold. Drunk and eager, he moved back to her mouth and went to work there, one arm wrapped tight around her waist, pulling her into him while his body pressed her against the wall. His other hand started to roam. First, he moved down, boldly cupping one cheek of her ass.

  Marie opened her eyes to get her bearings, lifted her mouth away from his. Looking up, the dark sky was clear with dizzying stars. His hand, strong and bold, massaged her buttock, and he panted and kissed her neck. Marie shifted her weight and lifted her leg. His hand slipped to her upper thigh and pulled her against him, aligning her hip with his crotch. There he was; she could feel him under the fly of his pants, stiff already. She knew she should back off, but something about him being so drunk and yet being so easily and quickly turned on held her in place, riveted, lapping up his attentions.

  Joe stopped kissing to catch a breath, white plumes of smoke escaping both their mouths in unison. His pulse already racing and his cock at attention, he pulled her leg closer and ground his hips against her, delicious friction getting him higher—pressing his cheek against the softness of hers, panting in her ear.

  "Joe," she whispered to him. "Wait." She put her hands on the front of his shoulders, subtly pressing him back.

  Coaxing, he pushed closer to her. He let go of her leg and moved his hand to the front, between them. Brazen, daring, he held her tight around the waist, kissed her ear, and reached between her legs, planting his hand against her crotch. Marie gasped. Joe rubbed. And behind them, Tracey coughed. Loudly. Joe, his hand still buried between her legs, froze, remembering where they were. Marie took hold of his wrist and moved his hand off her when Eddie called Joe's name. Both of them grinned at each other, but when Joe leaned in for another kiss, Marie pushed back on his shoulders and shook her head.

  "You sure?" he asked, his voice husky. When she nodded, he stepped aside and she slipped out of his grasp. She backed away, moving to her friend's side. He stopped her by

  taking hold of her hand and asking, "Hey, can I call you or something?" "You know where to find me," she said, and then turned, let her hand slide out of his grasp, and left him to watch her walk down the street, headed for home.

  Sliding into the passenger seat, Joe pressed his forehead against the cold window and shifted uncomfortably, the heat in his hard-on turning to a dull, unsatisfied ache. He pressed his cheek against the cool glass. Taunting, Eddie spoke first. "You didn't bag her, amigo. Hundred bucks."

  Turning to glare at his friend, he said flatly, "Yo, fuck you, man. You said by Christmas. I got a few days."

  Eddie taunted again, saying, "You're too drunk to fuck tonight anyhow."

  "I ain't never too drunk to fuck, asshole," Joe muttered, using the opportunity to grab his dick in a show of bravado, but actually enjoying the sensation. When Eddie dropped him off, he told him to take the car and drive himself home, not really caring, just dying to get inside and rub one out before he passed out.

  Marie, she walked home with Tracey, the cold winds doing nothing to calm the heat Joe had created between her legs. In fact, the seam of her snug jeans created a pulsing friction. And even when Tracey told her what she'd heard, her hopes sank, but her body pulsed with the thought. And when she climbed into her bed, her head spun, but she cl
osed her eyes and let her own hand finish what Joe had started, imagining it was him and they were back on the street corner. * * * * The next night, Eddie didn't want to return to that part of the city. Joe prodded him to go, teasing, "Come on, man, that blonde kinda dug you."

  "What's with you, Lopez?" Eddie asked him. "One night and you're all cow-eyed over this chick already?" "No. Fuck you. I want my hundred bucks." "Ah, forget it, I told you, that was a sucker bet. You ain't gonna get

  nowhere with that chick. You're gonna make an ass outta yourself." "No, I won't. I'll get her." "You like her. That's why you wanna go back there." "I want my money. You don't wanna go there, then the bet's off. I gotta see her to fuck her." "I don't wanna go back there, Lopez. I'm gonna be bored. No. I ain't

  goin' back there." "Ah, man, fuck," Joe hissed. "You don't wanna pony up the cash

  when I do nail her." "No. Fuck it, I ain't goin back there. You wanna go, you go by

  yourself. I'm not going." An hour later, Eddie and Joe were shooting a game of pool at the bar, and Eddie sourly remarked, "See, she ain't even here. She ain't coming here again." "She'll be here," Joe said. "Yeah, how you know?" "You're here, ain't you?" Joe said cockily and turned as he heard the door open. He couldn't help but smile as he saw her. Nodding at him, she walked over to the bar and took off her coat, draping it over a chair. He knew he should wait, make her come over to him, but he didn't. He strolled over to the bar and grinned at her through upraised eyes. "How you doin'?" he asked. Smiling, she answered, "I'm fine, now. I was a little hungover this

  morning, though." "Yeah, me, too. You, uh, you want a beer or something?" Polite, he

  bought one for Tracey, too. They played some pool, had a few drinks, and Eddie started cozying up with Tracey, using his brand of doltish charm to grow on her. The place stayed nearly deserted though. Wondering why they had the place to themselves, Joe moved to the front of the bar and peered out the window. "Oh, shit," is all he said.

  "What?" Marie asked, as she moved up behind him, placing a hand on his back as he had done to her the night before.

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