My Dream Santa


"That's amazing!"

"Not really, it is logical, when you think about it. Did I get any right?"

"All of them. I suppose I am pretty predictable. Mmm, what about you, fly-boy?"

"Tea all the time, just a splash of milk, no sugar. I quite like pasta, but my all-time favourite meal has got to be roast turkey with all the trimmings."

"And your drink of choice?"

"Not really into drink, just the occasional sherry or brandy, one glass at the most, and I never drink when I'm flying or driving."

"And have you been good this year?"

"I'm always good, except for fooling your mother and rest of your family by helping a damsel in distress out for Christmas. Ah, here we are."

Jen peered out through the flurries of snow swirling around her car. She had been here at her Mum's new house twice before, both times in the late spring and late summer when it was light. She hardly recognised anything at all in the dark, especially when everything was under a thick blanket of snow. There were Christmas lights hanging off most of the eaves of the buildings in the area, but this really didn't help, as most of the houses looked the same. Yet 'Jeff' made finding the place look easy and he said earlier he'd never been here before.

"This is number 16," announced 'Jeff' as he pulled up and parked in the road outside one of the houses.

There were a couple of completely unidentifiable snow-covered cars parked in front of the double garage. She could just make out the sign for "16" on the wall between the garage and the front door. 'Jeff' opened the driver's door, which prompted Jennifer to get out her side and move to the boot. 'Jeff' already had the boot open, with his hold-all hooked over one shoulder, his red sack tossed over the other shoulder and gripped both with one hand. He had one hand free and looked at her expectantly.

"All right, 'Jeff Junior', I have one big suitcase, but it's quite heavy —"

"My cue I think," he reached in and pulled out her case with his free hand.

Jennifer was mightily impressed, it was a relatively heavy armoured case to protect her clothes, and she had a heavy pair of boots packed in anticipation of the winter weather. She remembered she had struggled to lift it, using both arms and putting her back behind it, to get it into the boot in the first place. Bodybuilder Scott used to complain about the weight of her case every time they went away anywhere. 'Jeff' had lifted it out as if it was full of fluffy duck down feather pillows.

"Anything else?"

"There's a couple of carrier bags of presents to take in, but there is one more essential thing we need to do before we go in."

She squared up to him, placed a hand on either side of his head and pulled him into a searing kiss. She pressed her lips against his, parted her lips and probed between his lips with her tongue. He responded by opening his mouth, allowing both tongues to meet and explore. 'Jeff' had a warm, sweet-tasting mouth, his lips and tongue soft and yielding, playful rather than the bullying tongue she had previously been forced to but up with. She broke off the kiss and opened her eyes, his were still closed but only for a moment longer than hers.

"What? —" he began.

"When we say goodnight in front of my mother later on, leaving you to sleep on the couch and me off to my single bedroom alone, we will be expected to kiss each other goodnight. I didn't want us to be awkward and act like it was our first kiss. I want it to look as though we were used to kissing each other, even if it had been only the once."

"Well, you caught me off-guard ... would you like to try that again?"

"Down, boy!" Jennifer laughed, somewhat surprised at how suddenly strengthened, confident and happy she felt, "just be expecting a kiss before bedtime."

"Expecting? I'll be insisting, don't you worry about that," he laughed as Jennifer pulled out her carrier bags from the corner by the back seat and slammed the boot shut. 'Jeff' still had the car keys in his hand, so he pressed the button to lock it and followed her up the drive towards the front door.

She had rung the bell by the time he reached her, and she stood there shivering. It was cold compared to the shared warmth off the car. He put his left arm, his fist carrying his sack now hanging loose, around her and pulled her into him. She felt warm and comforted by his involuntary action. She mouthed 'thanks', just as the door opened.

"Hello, Mum, sorry we're late."

"I was worried, dear," her mother said, as 'Jeff' released her daughter and she stepped forward to give her mother a hug, before pushing past her into the warmth of the hall, kicking the snow off her shoes on the mat before kicking them off to her stockinged feet.

"This is my Mum, Lisa," Jennifer introduced her mother to 'Jeff', while going through the shoe ritual, "oh, and Mum, this is my boyfriend 'Jeff', almost at the last minute he did manage to get tonight off work, and is working tomorrow night instead."

"Hi Lisa, it's a pleasure to meet you, Jen's told me so much about you." He leaned forward and kissed the open-mouthed woman on the cheek.

"But I thought ..." Lisa stepped back and let 'Jeff' in, and continued hesitatingly, "er, yes a pleasure for me to meet you, too," and closed the hall door behind them, shutting out the winter chill.

Jennifer had pushed on down the hall and entered the living room, where she let out a loud expletive.

"Holy crap!"

'Jeff' was still kicking off his shoes, so he followed some three or four steps behind her and looked around the room. Sitting comfortably at one end of a three-seater couch, with her long legs tucked under her, was an attractive blonde teenage girl, with an amused smile on her face. An older man had sat in an easy chair, but was halfway through the act of getting up to greet the visitors. Already standing at the other end of the couch was a third person, a handsome fellow, probably aged about thirty but trying to dress to look much younger. He had an overwhelming amount of hair gel on, making his hair glisten rather oddly in the flashing LED lights from the Christmas tree.

"Hi, everyone," 'Jeff' said brightly, flashing his own handsome smile, "I'm Jeff Nixon Junior, but you can call me Jeff or Junior, I answer to either. I've really been looking forward to meeting you all at last."

He put down Jennifer's heavy case and held his hand out to the older man, "Now you must be Jack," Jack took his hand, looking a little dazed, and accepted a few vigorous shakes. "Jeff' continued, "And you, young lady, have to be Stephanie, Jen's told me plenty of times that she thought you were gorgeous. I think we should add 'absolutely' to that."

The girl smiled broadly and got up from her seat to embrace 'Jeff', "Hi, Junior, you not only sound cool, you look pretty gorgeous yourself!"

With Stephanie reluctantly releasing him, 'Jeff' held his hand out to the younger man, "Sorry, man, Jen wasn't expecting Stephanie to have her young fella here as well. So, I'm Junior, and you are?"

"This, Junior," Jennifer said pointedly, as she moved across and put her arms through 'Jeff's' other arm, the one holding his sack, "is my ex-boyfriend, Scott. You know, the one that I told you so much about."

"How very interesting, having your two most recent boyfriends meeting up at your Mum's. What fun, eh!" Then in a loud stage whisper, holding up a hand between his mouth and Jennifer's ear, he said, "So, what do you think Scott is doing here then, honey?"

"That's what I would like to know!" Jennifer didn't bother to make it sound like a whisper, and she unhooked her arm from 'Jeff' and folded her arms across her chest.

There was an awkward silence.

"Er. Your Mum invited Scott to spend Christmas with us, with us all, Jennifer," Jack interrupted the silence, trying to diffuse the awkward situation, "But that was after he told us on the phone that he thought you had made up young Jeff here. He stated quite plainly that Jeff was a figment of your imagination, and that all he wanted by coming here was to clear up any misunderstandings and do everything he could to get back together with you again."

"Yeah, sorry Jenna, I was reliably, by someone we both know, but will remain nameless," Scott said defensively, "that you was living on your own at your tiny studio flat and that you weren't seeing no-one."

"Yes, Jennifer," Lisa chipped in behind her, "you kept stalling on giving me the details about your break up and, well, some of what you were saying about Jeff just didn't ring true."

"How could you Mum?" Jennifer was obviously, upset, her confidence of a few minutes ago was ebbing away fast. She had known instinctively all along that she could never carry off the deception and now, embarrassingly, all her lies were coming home to roost. "The last thing I expected, visiting my mother for Christmas, was to find my ex-boyfriend, the very one that I dumped, making himself look completely at home."

Her eyes welled up with tears, but 'Jeff' dropped his sack, stepped in front of her and held her head in both hands. He gently kissed her forehead and pulled her to him into a gentle embrace, his arms wrapped around comfortingly around her shoulders, her head resting on his chest.

"Don't get upset, sweetheart," he soothed, his voice sounded to her like a warm velvet cloak, "this is all a little misunderstanding, which doesn't affect you, or us, in the slightest. Just remember that it's Christmas and this is the time of goodwill, where we need to forgive and forget past transgressions, including those relationships that didn't work out. So, forgive Scott and your mother for this silly inconsequential little mix up and then you and I can get on with the rest of our happy lives together."

He pulled Jennifer's chin up and pressed his lips against hers. His lips, she thought, were soft and warm and gentle. All the tensions and upset drained from her as if this was where she truly belonged. She parted her lips, inviting him in as she wrapped her arms around his waist, on the inside of his warm, unzipped coat. 'Jeff' gently probed her tongue with his and she relaxed and sighed contentedly, all the arguments and deceptions faded into the meaningless background of minor hiccoughs.

In fact, all conversation had stopped while the other four looked on, as Jennifer and 'Jeff' continued to kiss, both seemingly oblivious of everything around them.

Stephanie was the first to speak, while laughing, "Holy shit, you two, get a room!"

'Jeff' pulled Jen from his lips and reluctantly she slowly opened her eyes. She looked so relaxed and contended she appeared almost sleepy.

"You go up and have a hot bath, sweetheart, and relax. I'll carry your case up to the guest room for you in a moment, after I've had a chat with Jack and Lisa," 'Jeff' said gently, "are you all right with that, Jen?"

"Yes, I am, OK," she said meekly, happily allowing Junior to take charge. She turned to leave the room, "I'll see you in a few moments then, sweetheart."

'Jeff' turned to Lisa.

"I must apologise, Lisa, for any doubts about my attendance here for the Christmas holidays. That appears to be the root of the misunderstanding here. Jennifer knows that Christmas is always a very busy time for me, being in the logistics business. To be honest, I may have laid it on a bit thick with Jennifer about whether or not I could get away. The whole lead up to Christmas and Christmas Eve is so intense that I am usually wiped out on Christmas Day and not fit to be anyone's guest. So, on one hand I didn't want to upset her by promising to come and then having to let her down or, on the other, to get her hopes up that I could get one of the next two nights off. Obviously with such a special girl as Jennifer wanting me to be here, and me also desperate to be here with her, I have pulled out all the stops I could to get here tonight. Now, I was expecting to sleep on the couch...."

"No, no, that's not happening now, of course, Jeff," said Jack, getting in before his speechless wife could gather her shattered senses, and embarrass his family further, "Scott, will you go up and collect your things from Jen and Jeff's room, now, please, I'm afraid it's going to have to be the couch for you. Thank you."

Lisa finally spoke up, saying, "But —"

"But nothing, Leese, it's the only solution, unless you want to kick your invited guest, poor Scott here, out into the blizzard."

He turned to 'Jeff' again, "I'm really sorry about this mix-up, but it is too late for Scott to make alternative plans for Christmas at this late hour, especially considering the weather, but he can sleep on the couch and, as our guest, he is welcome to stay for Christmas dinner. We have already had our evening meal tonight, as we couldn't wait any longer for Jen, but I'm sure Lisa can rustle up something for you both, can't you, love?"

"Yes, I can heat something up for you." Lisa's voice was small and humble.

"Thank you, sir," Junior smiled, "you are a good man and have an excellent solution to this little problem. I'll just pop upstairs with our luggage and make sure that Jen's got everything she needs for her bath."

"I'll come up with you and pack up my stuff," Scott said, in a subdued voice, with only half his mind on the immediate task. This really didn't turn out as he and Lisa had planned. But, his mind working overtime, staying on here, for tonight and all tomorrow, gave him a chance. He had been with Jenna for far longer than this interloper, he had seniority here, and he knew how to operate all her insecure buttons. This guy? He was just too nice, and definitely wasn't as toned bodywise as he was, a longtime bodybuilder with uncommonly good looks; no, he reassured himself, this Jeff, Junior, whatever he called himself, he didn't stand an earthly.

Scott led the way up the stairs, past the bathroom where Jennifer was drawing a steamy bath, the door left slightly ajar. 'Jeff' let Scott carry on to the bedroom, while 'Jeff' put the case and holdall down and tapped on the bathroom door.

"Hi," Jennifer said with a smile, then pulled him into the bathroom and closed the door behind them by leaning on it, whispering, "All Scott's stuff's in my bedroom!"

"I know. He's in there packing now. He's sleeping on the couch tonight and you know what that means, when there's only one couch...."

"Oh." Jen thought for a few seconds, about the implications of her Mum intending to allow Scott to stay in her room, after all those years of imposed propriety, and that now Scott would be sleeping on the couch tonight and ... then she remembered 'Jeff's' searing kiss downstairs. Decisions, decisions.

"Well, Scott snores like an elephant on a midnight march, but I am sure you'll get used to it as it is for one night only, unless, you know, you and Scott both get on well together. Clearly my Mum's much more open-minded than I—"

It is impossible to continue talking, with someone's hot lips pressed against yours, particularly when they are sweet, soft snd warmly welcome lips. That bathroom was becoming steamier by the minute, which appeared to be the minimum duration of that lovely kiss.

"I better move your case and my bag from the hallway," Junior said breathlessly at the end of the kiss, "before Scott trips over them."

"Mmm, I need my case. I used to sleep naked, Junior, but the last couple of cool months, sleeping alone, I've found that I get cold. So I have taken to wearing thick winceyette pyjamas, which I brought with me to wear tonight," she said, "so, what about you, what do you wear when you ... you know, sleep with someone?"

"I have never slept with anyone before."


"Never, so I find that I'm unusually nervous about it."

"I can understand that. But you are going to be a perfect gentleman towards me tonight, aren't you, Junior?"

"I am, I always am, you will be perfectly safe with me tonight. You do feel safe with me, don't you Jennifer?"

She nodded, "I do, actually, feel very safe. So, what exactly are you going to be wearing tonight?"

"The very same as you, it gets damn cold in those cabs at night, so I have packed a crisply ironed fresh pair of thick cotton PJs in my holdall."

"Thank you, I do appreciate that, and thank you so much for helping me out like this."

"The pleasure's all mine. Now, your Mum is talking about preparing us some supper, is there anything particular you fancy?"

"Just some soup, I think, l'm not all that hungry really, I'm more tired than anything else, drained emotionally."

"Well, don't fall asleep in the bath. I'll take your case through to the bedroom, first door on the left, right?"

"Yes, that's it. I'll just shut off the water and come through with you. I want to get my bathroom things out of the case and my robe."

By the time they got to the bedroom, Scott had vacated his temporary occupancy, leaving empty drawers open and the wardrobe doors swinging ajar. They grinned at each other.

"I love seeing his nose out of joint, Junior. Do you think that makes me a bad girl?"

Chapter 6

"Maybe, you might be considered a bad girl in some very strict circles," Junior replied, "but I confess that I quite enjoyed seeing his jaw drop when I walked in and introduced myself as your boyfriend 'Jeff'. And his eyes were almost bugged out of his head when we kissed downstairs."

"I think mine were too," she smiled and, throwing caution to the wind, melted easily into his arms again, "that's why I had them closed the whole time."

He lifted her chin and they kissed again. This time it wasn't a kiss initiated in response to any external influence or show of pretence, but a kiss shared, enjoyed, each lost in the other's being, until a knock at the door disturbed them.

It was her mother knocking. A few moments earlier, she had pushed the ajar door fully open to be confronted by the couple in an intimate embrace, and knocked afterwards, as it was clear they hadn't noticed her standing there.

"Oh, I'm sorry, kids, I should have waited before barging in after knocking, do forgive me."

"Of course, Lisa, it's not a problem," 'Jeff' smiled easily, "we were a little taken aback by the presence of Scott when we first arrived, but I am glad to say that I can now put a face to the stories about him that I have heard. And I think Jen's much more comfortable about everything now, aren't you, sweetheart?"

"Yes, I'm fine. I'm just going to unpack my PJs and go have my hot bath."

"Give me a shout when you're done, hon, so I can have a quick shower."

"Oh, you could shower in our ensuite, Jeff, then you could both come down for some soup together. I've popped the rolls in the oven to warm while you are up here. Any preference for soup flavours?"

"You're a mind reader, Mum, I was just telling Junior that I fancied some soup. Tomato, for me, Mum, if you have it. Oh, and you can call Jeff, Junior, if you like, I think I really prefer Junior much more than 'Jeff'."

"Tomato's fine for me, too, Lisa, if you've more than one can. And I always answer to Junior."

"Should have plenty, I usually buy a pack of four cans at a time. So, your father is a Jeff too?"

"No," he laughed, "Funnily enough, he isn't, but he has always called me Junior and it sort of stuck. My parents were never blessed with another baby after me, so I'm an only child."

"Sorry to hear that, Stephanie downstairs is an only child too, and for a long time only had the one parent. I think that is hard to go through life without a sibling."

"I think you're right Lisa. Well, you can be sure that Jen and I will include her as a much loved sister." He was looking Jennifer as he said it, and smiled as she nodded back to him when he had completed the sentence so positively.

"See you in a few minutes then, Jen, Junior. I really am so sorry about the embarrassing mix-up, but now it's sorted, it's great having you both here for Christmas. Now, I'll sort out a fresh bath towel for your shower, Junior."

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