tagRomanceThe Seventh Snowfall

The Seventh Snowfall

byUnsung Muse©

Angels landed seven feet from our front door. It must have happened while we napped by the fire this afternoon. I am surprised we did not hear them – the playful flutter of their wings should have stirred us, their contaminated laughter should have funneled into our sleep.

In the twilight, the evidence of their trespass is very real and very fresh.

* * * *

This afternoon, time was ours. We languished in front of the fireplace sipping hot chocolate and reading excerpts to each other from our respective magazines. Celia had her freshly painted toenails stretched toward the fire to dry. The strong scent of the polish fought with the cocoa. My feet idled in her lap hoping for attention.

I rummaged for the Christmas story highlighted in the index of my magazine, knowing Celia would appreciate the sentiment. She often mistook my distaste for the Holiday Season as a flippant dismissal of its forced importance to her. This year, I vowed to make an effort.

I announced the title in triumph when I found it and a warm smile of delight lit up her face. She quickly abandoned her own magazine – humming her excitement and popping a couple more pillows behind her back – before reaching for the candy-striped tube of peppermint foot-rub next to her on the floor.

I smiled and raised my eyebrows. She settled and removed the cap.

She worked the fragrant lotion into my perpetually chilled feet, using slow circular motions and the perfect amount of pressure. This was a rare and special treat. Celia and I share the same mild aversion to giving foot rubs. Of course, we're both fanatical about receiving them.

This had become one of those quiet simple moments – the ones that remind you how good life can be. It eased the marked tension that had built up over the past few weeks. As the Holidays loomed, Celia ached to recapture childhood memories, something of home and family. It happens right around this time of the year, every year. It matters little that the archives in her mind omitted eighty percent of reality and candy-coated the rest. We share a life for which Celia had sacrificed.

Celia closed her eyes and listened as I read. She continued to hum an unrecognizable song to herself. I am grateful for this sweet respite from the heavy fog of Christmas anxiety.

Too soon, the Rockwellesque pictures painted by the little fluff piece I was narrating began to muddy this sweet holiday scene of our own making. I felt Celia tense as the children in the story donned skates next to a frozen pond. I stumbled over words and my voice cracked a few times. Her movements grew restless and her attention wavered.

Her fingers started trailing up my calves. I understood she was ready for a firm change in direction. Celia had a propensity for combating uneasiness with sex. She needed to shift the dark cloud's weight before it sullied our perfect day.

I cannot say it was unwelcome.

Celia plucked the magazine from me with a decisive wink and began to crawl up over me as she removed some of the pillows that were supporting my back. Straddling my hips, she began untying her bathrobe with a playful air. Once again she was humming her tuneless tune of happiness and I was warmed by it.

She held her downy white robe open to let me drink in her nakedness.

She had shaved herself bare – another special holiday treat – and she seemed quite pleased with what she saw in my face in response.

I inhaled deeply. Her skin was angel food cake, wild cherry and almond. My ghost of Christmas present, past and future – all rolled into one. I emitted an audible involuntary "mmmm".

She didn't remove the robe, but let it fall open as she purred and hummed and crawled up over my chest. She slipped a stray cushion beneath my head and spread her legs wide. My early Christmas present opened itself willfully before me. I purred back at her as I brushed my lips back and forth over her softness, letting her moisten them for me.

I opened my mouth a little and exhaled a short breath, knowing it would still be heated from the hot cocoa. Her humming became a sweet moan laced with a soft giggle. She recognized my intension to draw this out. She knows there is nowhere I'd rather be than beneath her like this – I've made no secret of it over the years.

I ran my hands up the front of both her thighs. The soft slip of my hands confirmed the origin of the delicious scent I was enjoying. She must have rubbed almond oil into her skin after the bath. Who needs cakes and pies and cookies for the holidays, when I have this sweet feast for all the senses? With my hands spread open – one on each of her almond-slick upper thighs – I let my thumbs slide up between them until they reached the exquisite softness of her lips.

With the slightest pressure I part smooth velvet to reveal glistening silk and I – my heart, my will, my resolve to take my time – melt away in her wetness.

My mouth waters in expectation, as I place one light kiss right between my thumbs and say goodbye to all hope of lingering over gentle teasing. I slip both my hands up between Celia's legs and let my fingers come to rest on her lovely yielding ass. My thumbs resume their posts and – demonstrating much more authority now – spread her open for my impatient extended tongue.

Celia gasped in surprise as I plunged into her without the usual kitten-lick formalities. I opened my mouth wide to bathe her in my warm breath without withdrawing my tongue. My fingers kneaded her almond-oiled cheeks and drew her downward, as I rocked her against my face.

I filled with the warmth of her pleasure – her silken flesh swelled and liquefied around my meticulous tongue – and I responded with deep hungry sucks that carried sweet new whimpers to my ears.

As I enveloped her clit in my delighted mouth, my envious thumbs merged and thrust up into Celia's moist heat. They were greeted at once by intense hugging tremors. She cried out. Her intoxicating wails rang through the room and echoed back in a melodious concerto of pleasure.

Celia went limp with a loud exhale, as her body fell back and slid from me in a clumsy slump. My used-up angel, a pretty pile of wilted limbs on the floor – beautiful and tragic – the sight filled me with love and sorrow.

I tightened the robe around her and pulled some blankets from the couch. I snuggled in next to Celia and we drifted together into a rare afternoon snooze.

* * * *

A couple of hours later, I awoke to the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. I called out for Celia, but then I realized I could hear the shower running upstairs.

I pulled myself up off the floor with a lazy groan and made my way to the kitchen. While I sipped my coffee, I set my mind to starting dinner. A frozen turkey-pot-pie was the closest thing to a festive holiday meal on-hand. Still, I thought the sentiment would be appreciated.

While the oven pre-heated, I returned to the family room to stoke up the fire. Celia came down in her favorite silk sleep-set, her hair wrapped up in a towel.

"I'm going to get the mail", she chirped. She bounced over and planted a noisy kiss on the top of my head.

"You shouldn't go out there with your hair still wet," I called after her. "Make sure you at least throw on a coat". I heard the front door close.

I knew she was waiting for a Christmas card or a letter – some imagined Holiday token that was never going to come – from people who denied her existence.

I wished she wouldn't let herself get caught up in the futile fantasy. God, how it broke my heart to watch her monitoring our mailbox for a sign of life, love or forgiveness – an olive branch extended from little more than a mile-and-a-quarter away.

I returned to the kitchen, popped the frozen pie into the oven and set the timer. Then I poured myself a fresh cup of coffee and took it back to sit in front of the fire. While gathering a soft knit blanket around my shoulders, I blew a stream of cool air into the steaming mug. My eyes cast downward as I did this and I noticed my magazine still lay open to the ill-chosen Christmas story on the floor next to the fireplace.

I tossed it in and enjoyed watching the pages smoke, curl and blacken.

The wooden front door blew open with a howl. I could hear Celia's frantic sobbing even before she was back inside the house. The metal screen-door slammed with a crash behind her and then so did the heavier inner door. I turned to see her slide down the wall and slump to the floor. I ran over and crouched before her, trying to make sense of the garbled gibberish that was fighting to get out between sobs.

Celia stammered and pointed toward the door. Her eyes were wild with distress.

I stood up to look out the window in the top of the door. There was no one in sight. The streetlights were already on, though the sun was just beginning to set.

"Love, what is it? What happened? You're scaring me," I pleaded, my eyes still searched through the window for answers.

Her sobs had quieted some, but her first intelligible words were still quite difficult to hear. Her teeth chattered and she shivered as though she'd just been pulled from an icy pond.

"Go. The snow. Look... the snow," Celia labored to get the words out.

I opened the front door, mindful not to hit Celia's feet – precariously clad in flimsy slippers coated in fresh snow – and I ventured through the screen-door onto the porch.

It had been snowing for the better part of three days. It came down steadily, but feather-light. It was quite lovely, especially now in the bluish cast of pending dusk. The streetlights bounced from tiny jewel-like facets. It was breathtaking, in the figurative sense, until my eyes scanned the blanketed yard.

An icy chill ran through me when my eyes came to rest on an unnerving impression in the otherwise perfectly smooth white plane. The breath was sucked from my chest and my knees buckled. I felt dizzy. I felt ill.

I squeezed my eyes shut and reopened them, but the blemish remained.

I felt Celia's presence behind me, but I could not move or speak. She had stopped crying. She wrapped a blanket around my shoulders. Then I felt her leave and return, saw the coffee mug extended in front of me. My hands shook as I reached for it – even more when I raised it up to my trembling lips.

"I didn't imagine it," she was saying. Her voice was thin and distant. It sounded like she was far away, though I felt her hand grip my shoulder. "Come back inside, okay." Her voice trailed off, as she turned. "The snow will cover... it, they", she cleared her throat fighting fresh tears, "won't be there tomorrow".

I heard her walk back inside. I closed my eyes again and bit my lip hard, trying to rally the strength to move. If it was a trick, it was a cruel one. If it wasn't, it was far worse.

* * * *

Seven years ago this Christmas, our daughters were born. We only know this to be true, from the last form of correspondence Celia received from her Father – a Christmas card depicting Mary atop an ass with Joseph by her side.

The loveless scrawl inside delivered a cold cruel blow. It left us both in as many tattered shredded pieces as we together soon rendered that vile card.

The Good Lord has taken pity on your sister's unclean soul. He took her this night as she brought forth the fatherless spawn. Praise be, within blessed few hours, He took pity on her unholy seed as well. His forgiveness knows no bounds.

Give Thanks and REPENT, so The Almighty may deliver you from the foul clutch of evil.

Your Mother prays for you, as ever. ~ Pastor J. Harmen

* * * *

Celia's youngest sister Charlotte appeared at our front door one mild May night. It was seven years and seven months ago.

She'd fled her father's home – seventeen, pregnant, terrified – quite certain the wrath of God was going to come down upon her. Charlotte was awkward and quiet with us at first. From what she'd been taught, just setting foot inside our house might be an even greater sin than the one that brought her here.

We gave her refuge without a moments hesitation. We welcomed Charlotte into our home and she soon changed our lives forever.

Though she'd been conditioned to abhor us, all her young life, she came to love us. She studied us openly. She asked profoundly intimate questions that kept us 'in stitches', if not 'on our toes'. She filled our lives with youthful curiosity. Celia and I rediscovered the boundlessness of our love – through new eyes – right along side her.

By the middle of July, Charlotte's deep new affection for the lost eldest sister she was never permitted to know, and for me as well, reached out and granted us a paramount gift: the life that grew inside her. Our daughters.

The four months that followed were precious and full. Our home buzzed with love and laughter and anticipation. We helped Charlotte complete college applications, while we shocked and delighted her with our school-day stories – her eyes alight with the prospect such adventures might lay before her. She indulged the vicarious experiencing of every little pang and thrill and discomfort and sensation throughout her pregnancy. Charlotte, and the twins she carried, became the very center of the family Celia and I never dreamed we'd have. Life was rich with promise.

One afternoon in December, the three of us stood huddled together on the front porch. We watched the snowfall and sipped hot chocolate. We took turns forecasting our upcoming and future Christmases together – made up of all the most romantic notions, sugarplum visions and winter wonderlands.

Propelled by our collective imaginations, Celia took me by the hand and dragged me running and laughing out onto our front yard. She fell back with a squeal, taking me down with her. We lay side-by-side in the powder-light snow and swept our arms and legs in well-remembered vigorous motions. Celia giggled the whole time, while shouting breathlessly to Charlotte that the twins would make their very first snow angels right here. Charlotte glowed with her delight at the image, as she applauded our clumsy grownup portrayal.

After we helped Charlotte into bed that night (it took both of us to manage the task by that time), Celia and I made love in front of the fireplace.

We held each other long into the night, whispering like a couple of kids up way past their bedtime. We'd been trying to remember what the gift was on the eighth day in "The Twelve Days of Christmas", with no real luck but with much fun-loving laughter. Celia concocted a wildly smutty version of the old Holiday favorite, over which she had me holding my sides in hysterics. We were far too giddy to sleep.

"I'll have everything I ever wanted this Christmas", she cooed, running her lovely fingers over my tummy and drawing lazy little circles around my naval.

She nuzzled into me and planted a series of light quick pecks from one shoulder all the way across to the other. Having distracted me with this ribbon of little kisses, she succeeded in easing her soft warm naked body up on top of me before I realized she had moved.

"You're always crawling on me," I teased, laughing. "I never climb all over you like this."

"You're welcome to, my love," she quipped. "I offer myself up as your own personal playground, anytime you please". She giggled as she whipped her long flaxen hair back and forth across my chest. "But right now, I am going to fuck you senseless," Celia adopted her sexiest take-charge voice. "And, this time, I want to hear you scream like a banshee. Remember, very soon you and I won't be the ones making all the racket in this house... plus, there's a chance I'm going to have to clean up my language a bit." Celia bit her bottom lip in mock diffidence.

"You make a very good point," I smiled back with a wink. "It's probably best you get it all out of your system, right here and now."

If Celia craved 'naughty' over 'nice', I had no objection. I melted beneath her at the thought. I lulled my head back and turned my body over to her. She did not disappoint. She flicked her tongue over my left nipple and then gave it a mischievous little nip, before placing her lips close to my ear. She hissed and moaned the most delicious unbridled filth, as she eased her skilled fingers into me. She worked me into a dizzy frenzy with her wayward dialogue and her willful hand, before sliding down to spread my legs.

"I love your pussy," she breathed. A throaty laugh-come-moan rose up from me as my hands reached down to tangle in her hair. "Prove it, bitch," I drawled. I drew her in. As much as I ached for her decadent oratory to continue, I touched heaven as Celia's wicked little tongue was quieted – purified in the asylum my eager flesh.

We played into the wee hours and beyond, until sleep finally caught up with us. As the sweet perfection of the day and the delicious pleasures of the night rolled together into our sugarplum-fairy-dance dreams, Celia and I had no way of knowing our beautiful winter wonderland world was going to shatter – crash cruelly down around us – in just seven short days.

* * * *

Celia and I will never know what took Charlotte back to her parent's home on Christmas Eve. A hallowed apparition may have sent her back to fall at the feet of her Father and atone for her transgressions. The stern Pastor himself might have had her taken from our home, while we slept – oblivious. We only know that the card was placed in our mailbox before we awoke the following morning. We only know that she was gone.

* * * *

This evening as I stand hugging myself in the doorway – watching the powder-light snowfall glimmer in the halo surrounding the streetlight – trying to come to terms with the imprints in the snow, I am strengthened by my enduring love for Celia. She is my heart.

Celia is my family. Celia is my home.

I hear the oven timer chime followed by the sweeter ring of her voice. I realize my reluctance to leave this disquieting sight, is more than she should have to bear tonight.

She was right. The snow will continue to fall and they'll be gone. We'll wake together on Christmas morning and they'll be gone.

I heave a full-body sigh, as I look upon the two perfect little snow angels imprinted side-by-side on our yard one last time.

On the warmer side of our front door, I am greeted by the hearty smell of store-bought 'turkey pot pie' and a glass of wine that Celia is now presenting in exchange for my chilled coffee mug. I bask in her ageless beauty. She has combed out her hair and donned a little makeup, though she's still in her favorite silk pajamas. She glows.

Celia raises her glass to mine and flashes a warm smile.

"Merry Christmas, my love," she toasts.

I try to return the spirit of the toast and the smile, but her bright demeanor is too lifelike for me to process.

What fantasy has she concocted in her head? What had she convinced herself of while I lingered, mute and useless, outside? Does she tell herself this was the message she's been freakishly checking our mailbox for all these years? If she does, God help us, dare I guess at what she's decided it means?

A cruel chill runs through me. I know what she's thinking.

In a way, I've always known.

* * * *

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