Merry Christmas week, y’all!
Something about the #holidayszn is so ripe for short story potential, and I couldn’t let this year pass without getting in on the fun 🙂
Let me be clear, this super short is not a romance, so don’t expect any sort of HEA, HFN, etc. But it is a fun, fictional holiday read worth the few minutes it’ll take you to finish ❤
(note: this was something super quick, and fun, and free for me to do that is only lightly edited, so please don’t hold grammatical errors against me lol.)
For a second, I thought I was at the wrong house.
I mean, it had been years since I’d been over here, so it wasn’t like the mistake was impossible to make. But with another blink, the familiarity of standing on this particular front porch damn near every weekend of my teenage years settled in even though I still didn’t recognize the extra fine man who had answered the door.
He knew me though.
It was all in his energy when he asked, “Why you bein’ weird, CeCe? Come ‘ere, girl.”
So he knows me, knows me?
Honestly, I felt bad for not being able to return the vibes when he pulled me into an embrace that felt a little too good, the smell of his cologne and the warmth of his squeeze eliciting a slight moan that straight up embarrassed me once I heard my high school bestie, Olivia, exclaim, “Move, Christian!”
While I was still trying to process the fact that it was her little brother who was hugging me, she was busy pushing him off of me so that she could pull me into a hug of her own that I was only halfway mindful of because… that was Christian?
Like… Little Chris?
When did he get grown and fine?
Considering he’d been a freshman when we were seniors over a decade ago, it wasn’t fair for me to act like he should’ve still been a child. But just because biology had allowed him to grow up didn’t mean that I was prepared for scrawny ass Christian to be… well… still kinda thin, but with facial hair, and beautiful long locs, and a grin that was borderline sensual even though it didn’t seem like he was trying to be.
Like, he was fine enough to not even have to try now.
And that was crazy.
Instead of obsessing over that fact, I decided to focus on Olivia who was as excited as excited got when she pulled me further into the house while singing, “I’m so glad you could make it, CeCe! It’s been way too long.”
That lowkey felt like an understatement since it had truly been forever since the last time Olivia and I were even in the same city, let alone the same room. But with the both of us finally making our way home for the holidays this year, it was a no-brainer to link up; especially once Olivia mentioned she was throwing a basement party at her parents’ house like old times.
If nothing else, I was a sucker for nostalgia.
Following Olivia down the stairs, I agreed, “It has been a minute, and I appreciate you inviting me over cause Lord knows my mama would’ve happily turned me into one of her elves otherwise.”
I wasn’t sure how my mother had become responsible for wrapping gifts for half the families in her neighborhood.
Actually, I take that back.
I knew exactly how she’d become responsible for wrapping all those damn gifts.
It was one of her favorite tasks during the holiday season, holding a prime spot on the list of things she claimed she missed doing now that “her baby was grown” as if I no longer enjoyed presents just because I was an adult. But surely all it had taken was one person mentioning that they were overwhelmed with all the stuff they needed to wrap this year for my mother to turn her house into Santa’s factory and start offering her services to other people she knew could use the help, an energy I admired even if I wasn’t quite ready to join her little assembly line just yet.
“Soon enough though,” I thought as Olivia asked, “How is Mama Parker doing?”
“She’s good,” I answered as we stopped in front of the basement bar, our destination feeling timely once I added, “Newly engaged to a man who’s closer to my age than hers.”
That was another reason I was happy to get a break from my mother’s house.
Seeing her all boo’d up with her man was like a constant reminder that I no longer had one, making me feel especially single even though I was just as thrilled for my mother as Olivia was when she replied, “Oh wowww. Go ‘head Mama P!” before she giddily followed up, “So… is she the only Parker woman who’s gonna be headed down the aisle soon, or is fine ass R.J. about to make it a double wedding?”
The mention of my ex made me cackle, our landing spot at the bar once again feeling right on time since I’d most certainly need a drink after I shared, “Girl. Fine ass R.J. already had a wedding.”
“Wait a minute, what?” Olivia asked confusedly. And I was grateful to see she was already pouring us each a shot of something dark when I explained, “We broke up a couple days before Halloween, and that man was married by Thanksgiving.”
“Like, all the way married? Not even just engaged?”
“Would that make it any better?”
“A little!” Olivia squealed, though my side eye of a response had her quick to amend, “Okay, maybe not that much. But still! Damn.”
“Tell me about it,” I sighed. “It is what it is, though. On to the next.”
“That’s right, girl,” Olivia agreed, handing me a shot glass and taking one for herself before she offered, “To new beginnings.”
After a cheers, I rushed the glass to my lips just as I heard a now semi-familiar voice ask, “What we drinkin’ to?” And for whatever reason, his presence made me have to swallow especially hard to get the liquor down, his sister easily doing the same before she answered, “None of your business.”
Instead of being offended, Christian chuckled as he reached past me to grab the same bottle of dark liquor Olivia had us drinking. And after a quick splash to refill the red cup that was already in his hand, he looked over at me with that same unintentionally sensual grin from earlier on his face, his eyes zeroed in on mine when he said, “To none of my business.”
Opting for more of a sip than a shot, Christian kept his gaze trained my way as he drank, making it hard for me not to get completely caught up in how damn attractive he was. But thankfully, before I was too far gone, his sister was once again pulling me away, this time to introduce me to the folks I considered her “new friends” who were also in attendance.
They were all cool people, easily fitting in with the cast of familiar faces that mostly included old friends from the neighborhood and Olivia’s family. But even with the crowd, there was still one particular set of eyes that I caught looking my way on more than a few occasions, his attention making me a bit uneasy since I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about it.
I mean, Christian was fine now, so it was natural for me to be flattered. But Christian was also still… Little Chris, automatically making the whole thing feel wrong even though it really wasn’t.
Or was it?
In the moment, I didn’t have to answer that question. And as the night went on, I thought I’d never have to. But of course, it was just my luck that my desire for some fresh air became the cause of a direct run-in with the culprit himself, the sight of him chillin’ alone on his parents’ walkout basement patio smoking a blunt leaving me with a choice to make as I went back and forth between the risky option – sticking around – and the obvious option – taking my black ass back inside.
Instead of choosing either right away, I took a minute to just observe him, completely enthralled as he slowly exhaled the smoke into the night’s sky. But once he noticed I was there, I slipped into a bit of a panic, immediately growing nervous when I told him, “My bad. I didn’t mean to disturb you. I’ll just…”
Before I could actually head back inside like I should’ve already been, Christian chuckled and groaned, “Here you go acting weird again…”
“I’m not acting weird,” I defended. “I just thought you might… want your privacy.”
“Nah, I’d rather have your company instead,” he insisted with a grin, approaching me as he arrogantly added, “I mean, unless I’ve just been imagining the way you’ve been staring at me from across the room all night…”
Again, I found myself on the defense when I responded, “I was only looking at you because you were looking at me.” And since that was only partially true, I wasn’t surprised that Christian was easily able to challenge, “That’s really the lie you’re tellin’ yourself, Celeste?”
“Okay, so maybe I did look at you a time or two,” I admitted. “But it was only because I couldn’t believe how… grown up you are now.”
Now that he was standing in front of me without any other people around us, I was really able to take in just how fair time had been to him, the gold chains around his neck only adding to his appeal as he argued, “You sayin’ that like you’re so much older than me.”
“Boy, I literally used to babysit you.”
“Wowww. You really tryna play me,” Christian responded with another chuckle that made it hard for me not to chuckle too even as I questioned, “So now I didn’t babysit you?”
“You were more like a chaperone,” Christian suggested. “And that was only cause my parents were scared I was gonna burn the house down after I forgot to put the water in the Cup Noodles that one time.”
“Which is still hilarious by the way,” I chimed in. “You’ve been doing high shit since before you even started smoking.”
As if my statement had reminded him that that’s what he’d been doing before I showed up, Christian brought his blunt to his lips for another quick inhale before he mentioned, “Nothin’ tops the high shit you and my sister used to do back in the day though.”
Knowing all too well how right he was, I found myself cringing prematurely when he asked, “You remember that time I had to pull your ass out of the fireplace after you got stuck tryna prove to Olivia that you’d make a good Santa?”
“Yes. And that’s exactly why I’ve stayed away from drugs ever since,” I told him with a giggle, moments like that making me grateful that I’d gotten to do all of my dumb shit – most of my dumb shit – before the explosion of social media.
Still, just because it wasn’t immortalized by the internet didn’t mean it was forgotten, Christian’s softened grin making me wonder if he was fondly reminiscing like I was or if the weed was finally starting to affect him when he said, “I can’t even lie. I used to think that shit was so sexy when you would come into our crib with your eyes all red and that goofy ass smile on your face smelling like Bath and Body Works on steroids.”
“As if an ordinate amount of body spray made us any less suspicious,” I groaned, rolling my eyes at how stupid we’d been back then as Christian amusedly agreed, “It definitely didn’t. But it still had a young nigga sprung.”
“I mean, what’s the point of even having a big sister if you can’t crush on her cute friends?” I suggested playfully, thinking nothing of it until Christian very firmly corrected, “Her cute friend. Singular.” Then he took a step towards me, the closeness forcing me to look up at him when he continued, “And if I’m keepin’ it a buck, seeing you tonight lowkey got a nigga feelin’ like a kid again.”
“But I’m not even high right now.”
With a sexy huff of a chuckle, Christian responded, “I never said that was the only time I found you attractive, Celeste. And yo’ ass has only gotten finer since.”
Obviously, the same could be said about him. And I suppose that was why I was so into this moment, tempted to let it go wherever Christian had in mind. But considering how foolish that would’ve been, I was grateful that I somehow managed to find some sense, using Olivia as an excuse when I told her little brother, “I appreciate the compliment, Christian. But I should umm… probably get back inside. I’m sure your sister is wondering where I am.”
I was already making a move for the door when Christian agreed, “I should probably do the same,” only to stop short of actually doing it once he realized, “Hold up. I think I might owe you somethin’ first.”
When I looked back at him confusedly, he responded with a long glance above my head, cueing me to look in the same direction where I discovered a decorative mistletoe hanging right above the entryway. And even though I thought the Christmas tradition was silly, I still let him have it, smirking as I stepped up to him and said, “Make it quick.”
I thought for sure he was just trying to be funny once he gave a dramatic lick of his lips. But when his gaze suddenly became heated, I damn near choked, easily getting sucked in as Christian slowly began to lean in for a kiss that had me tingling all over once our lips connected.
And then he had the nerve to add his tongue into the mix.
And a slight grip on my waist…
And… shit was quickly spiraling out of control, but I had no desire to contain it. Though I wished I would’ve once I heard Olivia yell, “CeCe! Girl, you out there?!”
With a gasp, I hastily extracted myself from Christian’s light hold just as Olivia stepped out of the house, my face growing hot as she looked at me, then looked at her brother, then suspiciously looked back at me for an explanation of what the two of us had been up to. But as I struggled to come up with a lie worth telling – and found Christian struggling to hold in his laughs – I realized there was no use in even trying to make anything up, especially after his high ass very loudly whispered, “Damn. I can’t believe we almost got caught.”
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