Anne's back arched as she came down on her husband. She hissed "Yesss...," as her orgasm hit.

Ray looked at his wife, his hands holding onto her hips as he thrust higher, releasing his hot cum into her womb. His cock spasmed and squirted, filling her until he felt it seep out of her pussy and run down his balls.

Anne collapsed, exhausted, onto her husband's chest, still trembling from her orgasm. She nestled her face into his neck, keeping him inside her.

She whispered, "I love you, Ray. Who would have thought, all those years ago...?"

Ray smiled as he stroked Anne's back and held her tightly. He thought back to their first meeting. It was homecoming, their senior year at UCLA. She seemed to take an instant dislike to him, but by the end of the evening they were locked in each other's arms. They were never apart after that.

Now, twelve years later, Anne was still as beautiful as she was in college. Her dark hair hung to her shoulders in soft waves. After the birth of their daughters, her breasts were still round, full, and perky, her stomach was fairly flat, and her butt and hips, nicely rounded. Her brown eyes, framed with long black eyelashes, sparkled each time she looked at him.

They were a striking couple. Anne, with her Chilean blood, and Ray with his Philippine background. He was the tallest in his family at five feet, nine inches, almond-shaped brown eyes, slight of build with short black hair. When their daughters grew up, he hoped they would have the best attributes of both.

Anne rolled off Ray and curled up against his side, on the rug in front of the fireplace. It had been a wonderful evening. The twins, Marie and Christine, were at Ray's parents' house. They had gone out for a quiet dinner, then came home and made love under the lights of the Christmas tree. It was, by far, their favorite time of year. There was a fresh covering of snow outside that gave their home a magical look.

They were startled by the ringing of the telephone, on the table above their heads.

"Let the machine get it," said Ray.

"But what if it's about the kids?"

"We're right here and we'll hear the message. Please don't worry," he whispered, and covered her mouth with his.

"Ray? Anne? Hi, it's just me. I was feeling a little lonely, but I guess you're out. Hope the girls are good. I miss you guys. I miss Carla, too. Oh well... guess we'll talk soon... well, bye."

The call was over and the room was quiet, except for the sound of Anne's soft sobs.

"Shhhh, baby. Come on, now. I know, I know.... I miss her, too."

Anne's twin sister, Carla, and her unborn baby had been killed by a drunk driver four months ago. Ann knew the moment it happened. Ray saw his wife double over in pain, then nothing. But she knew. All she could say was Carla's name, over and over again.

It had been instantaneous, so she didn't suffer. No, that was left to her husband, Noel. His legs had been crushed, and his left arm broken. He was in a coma for two weeks, and his wife was buried without him even knowing she was gone. When he regained consciousness, Ray and Anne volunteered to break the news to him. The three held each other and cried, until there were no more tears. Now, Noel was all alone. Carla and their baby had been his only family.

Noel sounded so forlorn on the phone, when Ray had calmed his wife and sent her off to clean up; he picked up the phone and dialed. At first he didn't think Noel would answer. After five rings, he finally heard the phone pick up and a very quiet answer.


"Noel, its Ray. Hey man, Anne and I just got back from dinner. You okay? I mean really. Are you okay?"

Ray could hear Noel's deep breaths. There were no words, only crying.

Finally, Noel said, "I miss her so damn much, Ray. What am I going to do without her?" The words came out in gulps. "I just don't think I can do this anymore."

Fear raced through Ray's mind. "Look Noel, Anne and I were going to call you tomorrow. Do you think you could come here for a few weeks? We've got the fold-out couch in the study and there's a small bath down here, so you wouldn't have to worry about the stairs. The girls miss their Uncle Noel, and it would be a good thing for all of us. No... no, it's no bother. We want you here. We need you here."

Anne stood in the doorway, listening to her husband. His voice was steady, but she could see tears forming in his eyes.

"Yeah? Good, okay. Call us tomorrow with your flight information so we can meet you. Don't worry, okay? We're going to get through this. Yeah. Sure. Hey, I love you, man. Uh huh... bye."

Fresh from her shower, wrapped in a terry cloth robe, Anne crossed to her husband when he hung up the phone. Ray pulled her onto his lap and they held each other close.

"I can't imagine ever losing you or the girls," he said in a hushed tone. "Anne, I was really afraid he might do something. He sounded that desperate. So alone. I know I should have checked with you, but...."

Anne held her finger to his lips to silence his words. "Shhhh, honey, its fine. You did exactly right by asking him here. We're all he has now. He was my sister's husband, my brother-in-law, the twins' uncle. He's family and nothing will ever change that. Thank you, thank you for being so thoughtful," she said as she kissed his lips.

The couple sat by the firelight, under the glow of the Christmas tree, each silently offering up a prayer that Noel would find peace.

They heard the beep, beep, beep of the airport cart, getting closer to the waiting area. Noel looked embarrassed holding onto his crutches, with his leg propped over the front of the cart. Except for the full leg cast, he looked well. Marie and Christine jumped up with excitement when he got off the cart, steadied himself, and walked through the glass doors. Anne and Ray tried to stop them, but it was too late. The girls took off towards their uncle, almost knocking him over. The six year olds chattered like little birds, each vying for Uncle Noel's undivided attention.

Ray and Noel swapped a "man-hug", looking at each other, knowing words weren't needed. When Anne stepped forward to greet her brother-in-law, Noel's heart skipped a beat. God, he thought, she looks exactly like Carla. It was almost painful to hold her, but he also didn't want to let her go. She stayed in his arms until he backed away with a light brush of his lips across hers. He looked into her eyes, seeing his wife looking back at him, for just a moment. Noel gently swept her soft hair away from her face, and then pulled back.

It was awkward, but they finally got Noel and his bags into the van. The ride to Anne and Ray's house was filled with the noise of excited girls. Noel couldn't help but smile at them; identical, but different. He occasionally looked at Anne, so much like Carla, but different. He assumed her softness came from being a mom, something Carla was looking forward to with great enthusiasm. Now, well now there was nothing any more.

Ray and Anne's 1800's stone house looked like something off a Christmas card. An evergreen wreath hung on each window and an electric candle glowed from inside them. The group carefully made their way up the sidewalk that now had a light covering of snow. The large wreath on the front door was decorated with red berries and a bright red bow. It smelled of the rich scent of balsam.

The only thing missing from Anne and Ray's home, to make the picture complete, was a big dog lying by the Christmas tree. Their home was warm and inviting, like walking into a hug.

They bundled up the girls and sent them outside to play, so they could get Noel settled. He was embarrassed at how much his sister-in-law fussed over him.

"I emptied the drawers in the entertainment armoire, and I made room in the hallway closet for hanging your clothes. The cabinet in the bathroom is empty and there are plenty of towels there and clean sheets on the sofa bed. Can I help you unpack?" asked Anne, while she flitted about.

"Anne, really, you've done enough. I can get this. I'm really pretty self-sufficient, even with the big cast. The only thing is keeping the cast as dry as possible."

Anne realized she was going to have to be careful, or she'd end up smothering Noel. "Take your lead from him," she thought.

"Okay, I'll let you alone and head into the kitchen." She looked at Noel and couldn't resist the urge. She walked to him, reached up and put her arms around him. "I love you and we'll always be here for you. We're family."

She let go of him and hastily left the room, so he wouldn't see her tears.

Ray turned to Noel, after closing the door behind his wife.

"What can I do, Noel? I'm not real good at this, but you know whatever you need, you got it."

Noel looked around the study; honey colored wood-paneled walls, a stone fireplace, miniature Christmas tree on the table, and big over-stuffed furniture. It felt like home -- no, better -- because he wasn't alone.

"I'm good. I'll put my stuff away and be with you guys in a bit."

Ray nodded and reached for the doorknob.

"Ray? Thanks. I mean that. You guys saved my life, asking me here," Noel said and dropped his head. "I, uh... I wasn't doing real well. After talking with you, I called my grief counselor and talked it out. I should have been doing that, but I had stopped going."

Noel's voice cracked. "I miss her so much. Damn it! I'm so god-damned lonely. She's all I had." His shoulders shook as the tears rolled down his cheeks. "I really need you guys."

Ray moved to Noel's side and held him. Together, they cried. Ray could only try to understand Noel's pain. He knew one thing -- he was not letting him go back until he was sure Noel was okay. Ray meant what he had said -- anything he needed. He'd give Noel his right arm, if he had to.

After dinner that night, Anne thought the girls were being surprisingly quiet; too quiet. She checked upstairs, the living room, the basement, but couldn't find them. Ray was shoveling the sidewalk, maybe they went out with him.

As she walked to the front door, she glanced in the study. Sitting on the sofa, little six year old bookends on either side of him, was Noel. The girls sat absolutely still as he read to them.

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Applause and screeching broke the quiet.

"Read it again, please Uncle Noel?"

"No! I want Polar Express."

Anne interrupted them, "Okay girls, that's it. One story a night is enough. Get your jammies and head to the bathroom. Brush your teeth before your bath."

The girls said goodnight and went upstairs, with the promise that Uncle Noel would eat breakfast with them, before school. After the twins were tucked in their beds, the three adults gathered in the living room. Ray had a crackling fire burning when Anne returned with a tray of coffee. The soft sounds of Kenny G's Holiday Collection played in the background.

"Tell me what you want to do tomorrow," Anne said to Noel. "I've taken off the next three weeks, so my van is at your disposal."

"I suppose I should get the girls some Christmas gifts. Actually, I need to get gifts for everyone."

"I can do that for you, if you like," Anne offered.

"No, no. I'd really like to do this myself, but if you could help me, I'd appreciate it. I wouldn't know where to begin with buttons and bows, and such."

"I'll take you to a small shop in the village. I think the mall would be a little much for your crutches. And, if you're good, I'll let you buy me lunch."

They stayed up chatting for a couple of hours, before settling down to sleep.

Anne wasn't sure what woke her that night. She grabbed her robe and went into the girl's room; nothing but silence. Still, there was a noise. She made her way downstairs, listening intently for the sound.

There -- it came from the study. Anne knocked softy on the door, and then opened it. The small tree glowed from the corner of the study. Noel appeared to be asleep, but the sounds were coming from him.

Anne's heart wrenched in her chest, when she realized he was crying in his sleep. She stood over him and bent to put her hand on his troubled brow.

"Shhhh Noel. Shhhh, its Anne. Come on, sweetie, wake up. You're having a bad dream."

Very unexpectedly, Noel blindly reached, took her hand, and pulled her down to him. His arms wrapped around her as she tried to pull away. Still sleeping, Noel sought her out and muttered, "Oh Carla, don't leave me."

Anne was startled by his words, and then by what happened next. As if in slow motion, he pulled her closer and found her mouth. His kiss was tender and brief. Almost as soon as it began, he fell back into a deep sleep.

Anne crawled out of his arms and left him. She was troubled by what had occurred. When she got back to her bedroom, her heart was aching over what she had witnessed. After she got back into bed, she found she couldn't settle down.

"Honey?" Anne rolled to face her sleeping husband, and put her hand on his chest. "Ray, I need to talk to you."

Ray's eyes opened and he turned to face her. Anne calmly relayed the incident, but then started to cry.

"Baby, please, what's wrong? Are you upset because Noel thought you were Carla? Are you upset because he kissed you? Anne, tell me."

"I wish I knew for sure. It's not because he was asleep and thought I was Carla. I think it's because he's hurting so bad. What were we thinking? What does he see when he looks at me? God, I never even considered that."

He held her tight, promising he would watch Noel and talk to him, if it looked like he needed it. In his mind, he had already decided to check out grief counselors. With the holidays, he thought Noel might need to know the availability -- and maybe Anne, too.

Breakfast was a hurried and noisy affair, but when the girls and Ray were out the door, it was almost too quiet. Anne looked to see if there was any kind of reaction from Noel, but there was none. He said he slept okay, after some fitful dreams. "He doesn't know," thought Anne.

Anne was just finishing up in the kitchen, ready to grab a shower, when Noel appeared in the doorway.

"Anne, can you help me?" Noel looked a little embarrassed. "I need to protect the cast from water, and normally I use large garbage bags, but I left them home."

"Well, we don't have any that large, but I can give you some plastic wrap and you can protect it that way. We'll get bags while we're out today."

"If you can help me that would be great. I can't reach my foot, so if you can start at the bottom, I'll be okay. Meet you in the study?"

Anne nodded, grabbed the wrap from the pantry and met Noel in the bathroom. He was standing in his robe, leaning on one crutch.

"I'll be glad when this comes off," he said. "After the first of the year, I'll be a free man."

Anne knelt in front of him, and carefully began to unroll the plastic wrap. She began to work her way up his leg, starting at his foot. Noel watched her as she worked. He knew he was looking at Anne, but the sight of her kneeling in front of him brought back a flood of memories. Carla had loved pleasuring him with her mouth and she was damn good at it. He looked at the top of Anne's dark head and remembered. His cock jumped and grew at the thought.

Anne glanced up. She thought she had seen movement. Noel's robe was clearly tented. Anne was nervous and as her hands moved higher up his leg, they started to shake. Noel could see her unease and then saw why. He coughed, shifted and reached for the roll of wrap.

"I can take it from here, thanks."

Anne beat a hasty retreat to her room, and made her way into the shower. The warm water trailed down her body. She thought about Noel's cock and immediately her nipples hardened. She wondered what he had been thinking about that caused his hardness. She knew her twin adored him and had enthusiastically told her about their love-making. He was her life and she his -- now it was over. Anne and Noel went shopping and she guided him through the little girls' department, stressing the importance of the twin's individuality. His pace slowed when they had to walk through the baby department, his eyes focused on the wooden cribs and soft pastel blankets.

That night, the twins went to sit with Uncle Noel for a story. Ray and Anne heard them telling him good night, and then came to find their parents. Ray and Anne liked to tuck them into bed together, as often as possible.

They had turned to leave when Christine whispered loudly, "Mommy, can I tell you a secret?"

"What's up, honey?" Anne asked.

"Uncle Noel was crying. Mommy, we asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he said nobody could give him anything, and then he started to cry."

Marie chimed in. "He didn't think we could see, but we did. Mommy, is Uncle Noel sad about Aunt Carla?"

Anne kept her voice steady and calm. "Yes girls, Uncle Noel is sad and that's okay. It's okay to be sad when somebody goes to Heaven. Now, don't you worry, we'll find Uncle Noel a perfect Christmas gift."

When they left the girls, Anne and Ray looked at each other.

"Should we talk to him?" asked Ray.

"I think we should ask if he's okay," Anne replied. "We'll listen if he wants to talk."

Anne made coffee and brought it into the living room. While Ray added another log to the fire, she called Noel to join them. When he came into the room, Anne could see that his eyes were red and puffy.

Ray and Noel sat on the sofa, savoring the quiet after girls had gone to sleep. Noel looked weary.

"You okay?" asked Ray. He reached over and put his hand on Noel's shoulder.

Noel's shoulders drooped as he quietly spoke. "I'm sorry. I'm trying so hard to be festive, but it hurts so badly. The girls are adorable and I love them, but God, it's so hard to see them and not think about what I'll never have. Anne, I look at you and I think of Carla. I'm sorry," he said as he started to cry. "I just want my wife and baby back, and I know I can't have that."

Noel's shoulders started to shake as he sobbed. Ray and Anne moved to him and the three held each other on the sofa. Anne's heart felt like it would break. In the past, she would have called Carla and asked her what to do. Now, as she held Carla's husband in her arms, thoughts raced through her head, and through her heart.

The three went off to the separate beds, emotionally exhausted. Ray was snoring before his head hit the pillow. As tired as she was, Anne was also restless. It wasn't long before she heard Noel again. She grabbed her robe and went to him.

Just like the night before, she found him crying in his sleep. Again, she put her hand on his forehead and whispered to him that everything would be all right. She should have known it would happen, but logic did not dictate her actions -- love did.

In his dreams, Noel reached for his wife, to hold her, begging her not to leave. He took Anne into his arms and searched for her lips. She didn't fight; she couldn't. She allowed his mouth to capture hers in a kiss reserved for the one you love.

He pulled away saying, "Oh God Carla, I love you." And fell back into his sleep, still holding Anne.

Anne continued to lie in his arms and at one point, dozed off. He woke her when his hands went to her breasts, kneading them and moving his hips against her. Anne rolled away from his reach and off the bed. When she went back to her bedroom, she wanted to wake Ray and tell him what had happened, but she didn't. She had a lot to think through.

Noel made an appointment with a local support group and he and Anne fell into a happy routine. Breakfast, group, lunch, shopping, and cooking. The girls hung all over Noel when they got home from school. Anne could see the kind of father he would have been.

Ray and Noel got into the habit of playing computer games at night, and Anne smiled at the laughter that would burst out of the study. "Boys will be boys," she thought.

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