tagMatureThe Christmas Job

The Christmas Job


"You're the best, Alex." Virginia smiled and lifted the champagne flute to her lips. The right side of her face was still glowing pink from the orgasms he'd given her.

She lounged between his legs on the faux fur rug, her back to his chest while he leaned against the sofa. An endless mix of Christmas music piped into the room at low volume.

His lips brushed her thin, white-blonde hair. "You're not so bad yourself."

There was a long, peaceful lull until the chiming clock reminded him he didn't have much longer with her.

If only Robert hadn't given him the Preston assignment, he could spend the night and all day with her tomorrow. It did no good to dwell on it, so he turned his thoughts back to a pleasant time, just an hour earlier when he and Virginia had stumbled into the house, kissing and laughing.

He'd stripped everything from her body except the pearls at her throat. He pulled off his suit, and they made it to the den just in time for him to lay her back on the rug and push himself inside her.

Now in her red, silky lounge clothes decorated with Christmas trees and presents, she set her champagne down and reached up, running her fingers over his forehead, through the receding hairline, and down behind his ear. She left her trembling hand at the back of his neck.

He stroked his fingers down her up-stretched arm, slowly, languidly, and by the time he traced the curve of her breast, her breathing had quickened.

Virginia's hand lowered slowly to rest on his, and she sighed. "I couldn't wait to get home for this."

His voice was a murmur against her ear. "I would have had you in the car if you hadn't insisted on giving Mr. Donovan a ride home from the party."

The side of her face pulled up in a smile. She tilted her head to give his lips better access to her jaw. "I couldn't refuse poor old Mr. Donovan a ride after his wife left with Brad again."

Alex planted kisses on her. "Well...you were definitely worth the wait."

He didn't miss the stealthy attempt to bring her hand to her side, where she lightly pressed in and out, her fingers softly working to stave off whatever discomfort she felt.

He took a sip of his champagne to pretend not to notice her efforts or the grimace on her face.

After a moment, he leaned back and set his champagne down. With both hands free, he wrapped them around her neck. A haunting voice sang "Silent Night" in Gaelic while Alex stroked his fingers around her neck and shoulders.

Virginia relaxed, soft moans and sighs from her as she leaned back against his hands.

His thumbs slid under the string of pearls and gently worked on the muscles there. He'd put her to sleep this way before. She fell asleep frequently these days. She sagged forward now, dozing a little.

He caressed her shoulders gently, and pulled her hair away from the side of her face. As he watched her peaceful rest, his thoughts turned -as they always did these days, to putting a bullet in her skull.

The idea calmed him. Instead of feeling helpless, it was a real action he could take to help her, though he hoped he didn't have to do it. But it would be quick and merciful. Unlike what he knew she was in for.

She insisted that the treatments were working, and there'd be no need for the bullet --they'd have decades longer together. He tried to stay positive for her. But... He willed thoughts of her cancer prognosis from his mind, and looked over at the rustic tree.

This particular tree had the natural theme, showcasing Virginia's love of the outdoors. Pinecones scattered about, and small resin squirrels and birds perched and played on the limbs. White lights added to the cozy, romantic glow in the den.

It was just one of the many real Christmas trees she had throughout her home every year. Virginia liked to do most of the decorating herself, though this year she had to get lots of help.

The natural scents of pine and burning wood were new to him, something he'd only known since he met her. For him growing up, Christmas was no different than any other winter day. He and his siblings would huddle around the kitchen stove with the burners on high, trying to stay warm. His mother was either out with a boyfriend or passed out in her bedroom.

But Christmas with Virginia was perfect. The flames in the fireplace crackled, and Elvis crooned "Blue Christmas" softly from the corners of the room. Warm and relaxed, his hands on Virginia's soft skin, his mind drifted back fifteen years.

December 1, 1994, and the first thing he saw when he walked into the office at Whitney Agency were eyes as blue as a tropical sea. They belonged to the woman on John Whitney's arm-she was his new boss's wife.

Virginia was tiny, with flawless skin unmarred by too much makeup, and straight, pale blonde hair in a sensible, elegant bob. A single strand of pearls that he'd come to know as her trademark drew his eyes down to soft curves under an impeccable red suit. Underneath the tailored material was the body he'd come to know so intimately. In her heels, she was second in command at the agency, and out of her heels, she drove him crazy in bed.

He chuckled against her.

It woke her from her light sleep. "What?" she asked, a laugh in her voice. She reached for her champagne.

"I was just thinking back to the first day I saw you. I'd already been told that although John ran the agency, you ran John. And I could see it for myself as plain as day."

She giggled, but when she spoke, her voice was wistful. "The good ol' days. Do I still turn you on like I did back then?"

He spoke without hesitation. "Even more. You look exactly the same to me as you did fifteen years ago. I saw beauty wrapped around such power and wisdom."

She sighed, either from the memory, or the way his hands were having their way with the slight muscles in her shoulders. "When I saw you," she said, "I looked into your hard, blue eyes and I knew you'd be dangerous -more dangerous than anyone I'd ever met. And I've been letting you in all these years. I don't know how wise that makes me."

"I'm glad you're unwise where I'm concerned." His voice softened in her ear. "But you know you couldn't keep me out if you tried."

He let one hand slide over her shoulder to caress her upper chest.

She trembled. "I just worry I can't keep up with you now. I tire so easily." She leaned forward, her hand on her side again.

Alex relieved her other unsteady hand of the champagne flute. "That's probably enough drinking for you tonight. You wore yourself out at the party."

"It was just one slow dance with you."

He turned her gently in his arms. She closed her eyes and balled one hand into a fist, tapping it gently against tight lips. He stiffened at the sight of her in pain.

"Let me get your medication."

But she stuck her hand on his arm, pressing. "No, I'm fine." She opened her eyes and blinked a few times.

Keeping watch on those eyes, he grabbed her glass of water and held it out to her. She tried to take it herself, but he kept his hand around it, the other on her back. He let her hands wrap around his to guide the glass to her lips, and drink her fill.

When she pushed the glass away, he set it down and held her shoulders, looking her in the eye. "You don't have to suffer, you know that."

"It's not that bad right now. Besides, I don't like that pain medication, I can't think clearly when I'm on it."

She paused a while longer, shaking, looking down. After a few long moments, she let out a rush of breath, straightened up, and gave him a weak smile. "I'm turning into a frail old woman."

Alex pulled her small frame to his chest, wanting to crush her against him and never let her go, though he didn't dare. She was so thin and fragile now.

Her arms went around him, and he felt and heard the deep sigh that shuddered through her. She seemed to melt against him.

"I need your strength," she whispered.

"Virginia, you're the strongest person I've ever known. In every way."

"I appreciate you saying that, Alex." She reached for her champagne and finished it all in one long drink. A little later, her expression was brighter, and the color that returned to her cheeks, encouraging.

"Do you think Barbara should come in after I leave?"

She shook her head. "I've done so well lately, and I wanted her to spend time with her little boy...not have to work and nurse an old woman on Christmas."

"Stop saying you're old, Virginia. You're not. You're a hot woman."

She tittered, and he enjoyed the blush in her cheeks. "I do try to take care of myself."

"Oh, I know." He slid his hand down her chest, brushing against one of her small breasts clothed in silk. "You're firm where you need to be...soft where you need to be..." His caress elicited a moan from her, which hardened his cock. "You'll always be beautiful to me."

She gave a short laugh. "Alex Kohler, you flatterer. I'm 50 years old, and you have your pick of girls."

His hand paused on her chest. "I'm only seven years younger than you."

"Nobody would ever know that, and you're lucky." Virginia turned in his arms, reached up and gently squeezed his cheeks. "You've got the kind of fresh-faced, boyish look that makes girls just want to fawn over you."

Her fingers moved down to his mouth, tracing his full lips that always turned up slightly at the corners. She said it was his default expression -made him look perpetually pleasant...sweet. It was a bonus for him in his line of work that looks were deceiving.

He stared straight into her eyes." I don't want girls, I want a woman."

"Alex, I never understood this thing you have for older women."

"Just you, Virginia. I just have a thing for you." His voice became teasing. "A rather big thing, but I'm sure you can feel that."

Her tinkling laughter made him smile. Her face had no lines except when she smiled or laughed, and then it crinkled up in the most interesting places. He liked to study her face when she was happy.

"You might just be after my money," she said.

"Nope...I'm just after your body." He leaned down and drug his lips across hers, then swept them down to her jaw.

She giggled, and her hand touched down on his cock. "Patient, boy," she said. "We'll play again shortly."

"Don't use the word 'short' around him. You might give him a complex."

Virginia continued patting, stroking. "Oh, he has nothing to worry about in that department." She tilted her head to him, her translucent blue eyes glazed with desire.

He bent down and kissed her lips. Then he moved to her ear and nibbled there until she pushed him away.

"It's time for your gift," she said.

"You tease, you already gave me my gift." He reached for her silky shirt. "I want to open it again."

She laughed and scooted away to the tree. She pulled a perfectly wrapped box from beneath it. She joined him again, holding out the box with shaky hands.

He took it from her. "What's this? We said no gifts."

"Open it, darling."

She snuggled up next to him, and he made no pretense about slowly unwrapping the delicate paper.

He lifted the lid and shoved aside the tissue, displaying a colorful piece of paper-one of her homemade plane tickets, sticking out of a pair of red silk boxers. He picked up the ticket and stared at it, then his eyes flashed up to hers. "You're flying me to Israel the day after tomorrow?"

Her eyes and voice were bright with excitement. "That cancer treatment I told you about, in Herzliya. We have a place overlooking the Mediterranean. Just you, me, sex and food...and warmer weather."

He looked back down at the ticket in her flawless handwriting. He spoke slowly. "You know I can't take time off work."

"Who runs the agency? I do. Robert may be ready to push his old mother out, but I still call the shots right now. And I say you've earned a vacation, with me. We can call it a business trip if we have to."

He still didn't know what to think. "How long?"

"Two months."

A breath of air escaped his lips. He'd never had two weeks off in a row in fifteen years, let alone two months.

Her expression turned serious, the 'business look', as he thought of it. She cleared her throat. "That gives you a day to take care of things."

"The Preston assignment. A day is more than enough time." He slipped the ticket in his pocket, then held up the boxers.

Virginia giggled. "I cheated a little. That's actually my Christmas present, because I get to see you in them...and out of them." Her manicured fingers brushed his thigh.

He caught her hand in his much larger one and brought her wrist to his lips. Then he got up, gave a stretch, and walked over to the Christmas tree. As he reached in among the branches, he looked back at her with a mischievous grin. "My turn."

"But we said no gifts." Her expression was innocent as she watched him pull a tiny velvet box from within the branches.

He knelt down in front of her. "Merry Christmas."

"Oh no," Virginia said, giggling, one hand against her chest. "That's not what I think it is, is it?" She took the box and slowly lifted the lid. Her gaze widened at the brilliant diamond flashing out in the fire light.

"Oh, Alex." She stared at it from every angle. After a long pause, she looked back up, eyes shining. "It's truly exquisite."

He took her hand and the box. She pulled her knees up closer to her chest and curled her thin arm around her legs, smiling in anticipation.

He held up the ring that cost him half a year's pay. "Will you marry me, Virginia Whitney?"

She held her expression a few seconds longer, then broke into laughter.

Just like that, he let go of her hand and snapped the box shut. He gave her a smile that he didn't feel.

It had become their little joke, their tradition. He proposed every year with that ring. He'd started the Christmas following her husband's death in their swimming pool.

The proposal was something they laughed about, but deep down, her refusal always stung him. He really wanted her to say yes. And he was a little surprised she didn't accept the ring this time. With her deteriorating condition, it would be their last Christmas together.

His usual calm expression intact, he carefully set the ring aside and pulled Virginia's legs away from her body, making her slide slowly onto her back between his legs. He wasn't so gentle with her shirt. He ripped open the front and buttons went flying.

Her eyes widened, her breath caught.

He stared down at her. "You're gonna wear that ring, Virginia, if it's the last thing you do."

"Is that a threat?" There was breathy excitement in her voice, as he expected.

"You know I don't make threats." He held onto the waistband of her flowing pants, ready to yank them down her body. "I always get what I want."

There was a sound outside the window-a small cry, and clanking metal.

In the next instant, he was on his feet, gun in hand.

Virginia looked up with wide eyes. "What is it?"

"Stay down." He was already at the window, every muscle tensed. He peered out over the snowy landscape lit softly by moonlight.

"Alex, come back here," Virginia said, too loud for his taste.

He didn't speak, just listened and looked.

"It's nothing," she said. "Just the wind."

The sound came again. A couple of raccoons scurried several feet from the house. He lowered the gun. "You need to make sure Helena doesn't leave scraps lying around for wild animals."

Virginia sighed. "I started letting the help feed the deer and anything else that comes along. It doesn't hurt anything."

He curled his hand into a fist and turned to the wall. He leaned against it, trying to stop shaking.

Even with her, especially with her, he never lost the appearance of complete control over himself and everything else. It would disappoint her, and he didn't want to see that look on her face.

Virginia's voice came through clear and direct. "Alex, I know what's going on with you lately. This isn't about someone or something outside my window at night. It's about the cancer."

She was right as usual, but he didn't want to talk about any of it.

He slowly turned around and took in her disheveled form. She was sitting up where he'd left her on the rug, her unbuttoned shirt draped over her small breasts, the outline of her nipples clearly visible under the thin silk. It was the gun in his hand that had turned her on.

He swallowed, ready to say something. But mercifully, Virginia let him off the hook.

"You're worrying about me so much lately, and there's no need. My treatments are coming along fine. You put my security system in yourself. You're the best. I'm safer than anyone in the world. Now get back down here and make love to me."

He walked over, set the gun within reach on the table by the couch, and took a seat. "I wish you didn't live out here by yourself."

She looked up at him. "Ed and Helena are around. Barbara is here almost daily. I'm not alone. I'm won't leave the house where I raised my family." Her voice shook on the last word.

Though she rarely talked about it, he knew she was thinking of Amelia, the daughter she'd lost on her son's eighteenth birthday. Amelia had gone with Robert and a large group of his friends to the beach that night. They'd returned without her. Later, her body washed up on the sand.

He kept his voice soft. "No one's asking you to leave." He let that hang in the air. She'd get his meaning. He still didn't see why she wouldn't let him move in with her to take care of her, protect her.

Virginia struggled to get up and join Alex on the couch.

He leaned down and picked her up. She was light as a feather, getting lighter every day.

He tucked her under his arm. "I promised John years ago that I'd take care of you...promised myself I'd take care of you."

"You do, darling."

"It's just that if anything ever happened to you, I'd lose it. Do you understand? Being with you, all the wonderful things you've brought in my life is what keeps me together. If something happened to you, I'd tear this world apart."

She rubbed his bicep. "I'm safer with you than anybody in the world."

He couldn't believe that anymore. He could protect her from anyone, that was certain. But the cancer intimidated him. It was the one thing he couldn't fix by putting a bullet through it. He held her a little closer.

"You're concern for me means so much, Alex. You've been my rock with all the tragedy. My mother's death, the trouble with Robert, then John's passing...and now my diagnosis. You're my best, in more ways than one. You've made sacrifices for me."

He flashed his most charming grin down on her. "I guess you're my only weakness."

The twinkle in her eyes was the desired reaction. Then she said, "Maybe we'll retire together."

His grin faded away. "We both know retirement is a luxury I'll never have."

"We could find a way to make it happen for you."

His face remained placid as always, belying what he felt inside.

Whitney's operatives could only "retire" if killed on the job or canceled by the agency. It didn't happen often, but it happened. Then, the traitor was hunted down, and Alex was the man John Whitney had always sent to do it.

He did everything Whitney asked of him because he understood it was ultimately for a greater cause. Secretly, he'd been burned-out for some time, but kept going for Virginia.

"I knew what I was getting into when I signed on."

"Did you really?" she purred. She reached up and stroked his jaw. "You were always our best, and John looked on you like family."

John had full knowledge of their love affair, but the old man didn't mind where his younger wife found her pleasures as long as Alex kept up the good work in the field as well.

Virginia smiled. "We knew if a job needed done, you'd see it through. It got to the point where our closest friends requested you specifically."

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