Home > A Little Christmas Romance(6)

A Little Christmas Romance(6)
Author: H.M. Ward


I twist the knob, but Chris throws himself into the door.

He’s looking down at me like he can’t believe it. I might as well be Santa. “You’re not leaving.”

I want to cry. My voice is lost somewhere between a squeaking sound and a hiccup. “I can’t stay. Chris, I’m sorry.”

Gently, he takes my face in his palms and uses his thumb to wipe away a tear. “Stay with me.” He leans in and presses his lips to mine, softly, lightly.

“I can’t,” I breathe and he does it again. His lips brush against mine and my mind evacuates my skull. My eyelids become heavy and I find myself watching him through lashes, trying to think of reasons to leave. He’s kissing me. Oh God…

“Stay.” His lips press to my cheek this time and the sensation is heaven. My hands find his waist and linger at the top of his sweats, right by his beautiful bare skin. I long to feel him under my palms, and slip my hands over his chest, but I don’t. I shouldn’t. Not because I don’t want him. It’s so much more than that.

My voice is a whisper. “I should go.”

Removing his mouth from my cheek, Chris looks me in the eye before offering languishing kisses on the other side. “You should stay.” His breath drifts across my skin and I feel my head tipping to the side.

Raw fear flutters in my stomach. What if I lose him? Can I tolerate it? Can I survive something that devastating? No no no, a small voice whispers at the back of my mind and then it’s snuffed out like a candle in the wind. “But…”

Chris lifts his head to look me in the eye. He strokes my cheek with the back of his hand, softly caressing me. Watching from under dark lashes, he says, “No buts. No regrets. Not this time. Say you want me. Tell me that I matter to you.” His last sentence lacks the normal confidence he has. How could he not know how I feel about him?

Then it hits me. I’m the one who left last time. I’m the one who ditched him without a backwards glance, but it wasn’t because I didn’t care about him. I have no words. My mouth hangs open as I try to tell him, but words don’t form.

No regrets. I can’t imagine that life. For once I’m bold, but it’s only on the inside. My eyes stay glued to the floor as I speak. “Of course you matter to me. You matter so much that I’m afraid of what will happen to me if I lose you. I’m a neurotic mess, Chris. I’m not worth your time or affection. The truth is—I’m crazy about you. I always have been.”

By the time I finish, I can barely breathe. Did I seriously just say that? I must have, because he scoops me up in his arms and spins in a circle, laughing. When he stops, he puts his forehead against mine. Looking into my eyes, he smiles brighter and more beautiful than I’ve ever seen. “That was the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten.”


“Yes, by far.” He carries me back to the bed and sets me down on top of the snowman blanket. “Stay. I want you here. I want you so much it hurts.”

I can’t help it. I smile back. “I’ll stay.” When he sits next to me on the bed, I wrap my arms around his shoulders and pull him back into the pillows.

He wraps his arms around my waist and gives me a slow kiss, the kind that makes your head spin and your heart pound. Every inch of me is electrified, craving his touch. Chris’s hands slide up and down my sides and he pulls me to him. I can feel the warmth from his skin soak through my clothes. The room is much cooler than by the fireplace. We both crawl under the comforter and he pulls me to his chest. My body is plastered against his seductively smooth skin.

I want to touch his muscles and feel the dips and shapes of his body, but before I can do that his lips are crashing down on mine. I’m breathless, laying in his arms, kissing him like I can’t stop. And I don’t want to. Chris’s hands move up and down my sides, feeling the curve of my waist and hips. I’m floating, savoring this second, and losing myself in his arms.

His hot mouth trails down my neck, over my shirt, and when he looks up at me, he smiles. “I think you have on too many clothes. They’re detrimental to me kissing you properly.”

“And you intend to kiss me properly?”

“I intend to show you exactly how much I’ve missed you, kiss by kiss. All night long.” His lips curve into a sinful smile.

A girlish giggle, which is totally unlike me, slips out. Chris raises his eyebrows and says, “I wonder what other cute noises you make.”

“There’s only one way to find out.”

“All you had to do was ask.” He winks at me and the night continues on like that in whispered tones, and sultry touches until we’re both spent with sleepy smiles on our faces.


It feels like a dream, but I’m awake. Chris has his fingers intertwined with mine and is pulling me up the steps of his mother’s house. I’ve been here before, but it’s been a long time. Nervous butterflies fill my stomach and I kind of hope that I’ll slip on a patch of ice and break my leg. I’d rather spend Christmas dinner in the emergency room. That’s less frightening than facing whatever Chris’s family is going to think about me and him together.

I pull on him, “Chris, I can’t do this. What if they—?”

He doesn’t let me finish. “They adore you and I already told them that you were coming. You can’t back out now. Come on.” Chris doesn’t ring the bell. He pulls open the door and we walk inside, hand in hand. He smiles and laughs when his brothers see him. “Look who I found!”

“Brooke!” Matthew, his older brother greets me and pulls me inside. The barrage of scents hits me hard, and when I see the food on the table I drool a little.

“Matt, hey.”

He holds out his hand and then pulls me into a hug. “It’s about time!”

Chris laughs and yanks me away. We head toward the kitchen and find his parents and the rest of his family. They pass me around, hugging me, and saying the same thing as Matt. Confusion covers my face. I glance at Chris, but he won’t hold my gaze. It’s a worried glance, like he knows what they’re thinking and is worried about what I’ll think.

When we sit down for dinner, Chris is next to me. Before we start eating his mother looks up and down the table. She takes her husband’s hand and beams at me. “I’m so glad you’re here.”

“Thank you for having me.” I feel awkward. Everyone is looking at me with a weird expression. Matt can’t stop grinning at me and his Dad looks proud. Seriously, what the hell? Meanwhile, his mother is smiling at me like I’m their long lost daughter or something. It’s freaking weird and the silence doesn’t help any. No one eats. They just sit there staring at me with those goofy expressions.

Chris sighs and slumps back in his chair. Covering his face with his hands, he grumbles, “Dear God. Just say it.”

They’re going to drop a bomb and Chris just gave them the go ahead. Nervously, I twist in my seat. For a second I think about running away. The door isn’t far, and I’m pretty sure I could run out the front door before anyone would catch me.

Matt looks at me and laughs. “Don’t even think about it.” Bastard. How’d he know? As if he can read my mind, he answers, “You glanced toward the door too many times.”

Chris’s mother cuts Matt off. “It’s just that we’re so happy to see you and Chris together. He was always fond of you.”

Smiling, I look up and down the table. I can’t believe it. My eyes are a little too wide when I speak. “Fond?”

“Yes, dear.”

Matt jumps in again, “More like obsessed with all things Brooke. The guy hasn’t dated in years. If he couldn’t have Brooke, he didn’t want—” Matt makes an oof noise as Chris elbows him in the ribs.

“Don’t make me kill you.” Chris hisses under his breath and looks positively bashful.

I scoot forward and grab the table cloth. “Wait a second, what are you saying?”

“He’s adored you for years.” His mom smiles at me and then hands carving utensils to her husband. “When you were gone, he just wasn’t the same, and now here you are and it’s like we have Christopher back. I mean, look at that smile. Doesn’t it make you melt?” She presses her hand to her heart.

Chris glances over at me. “Major crush.”

“Half a decade. Yeah, I’d say so.” Matt moves before Chris can smack him.

When Chris looks back at me, he’s worried. “I already told you, but you seemed to think something else.”

“I thought you—” My jaw drops and I don’t know what to say. It takes me a second. I press my lips together and ignore the stinging in my eyes. “You’ve been alone all this time?” He nods. “Because you wanted me?” He nods again, which triggers the most horrific reaction.

All of a sudden I gasp-wail. It sounds like someone is ripping the legs off a cat. My hands slap over my mouth and I get up and fly from the table and race outside.


Tears sting my eyes and I can’t stop gasping. Chris grabs my shoulders when he reaches me in the middle of his front yard. I’m holding my face and my stomach. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me. I’m laughing and crying. There’s snot, giggles, and tears. It’s the ugliest thing ever and yet, Chris stands there watching me like I’m the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.

“Well, if I knew you’d react like this…” he grins and steps toward me. I punch his arm lightly and nearly fall over. Chris grabs me and pulls me into his arms, crushing me against his chest. “I told you how I felt.”

“I never noticed. How did they realize how you felt, but I didn’t?”

“Well, back then I didn’t exactly let you know, and when you left, it was like part of me died. They all noticed. You light me up, Brooke. You always have.” He pulls back and holds up a little box wrapped with a white bow.

I smile nervously and stare at the little box in his hands. “What’s this?”

“Your Christmas present.”

“When did you have time to get me something?” My bottom lip wants to poke out, but I suck it in. He got me a gift?

He nods slowly with a half-smile on his face. “I got it for you a long time ago. I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to give it to you. I waited too long and almost missed my chance.”

Reaching out slowly, I take the box from his hands and suck in a shaky breath. I can’t imagine what’s inside this thing and so my mind runs away with me. A lump forms in my throat because I don’t have a present for him. I pull off the bow and rip open the paper as the cold air makes me shiver. Chris steps closer to me, wrapping his arms around my waist. His breath turns white in the frosty air.

After all the paper is removed, I’m holding a black velvet box. Slowly, I open the lid and look inside. I don’t like jewelry, so I can’t imagine what he got me. Something glitters and catches my eye. I blink. For a second, I don’t understand what I’m seeing, then I get it. A laugh tickles my tummy and I close the lid, and glance up at Chris. “What is this?”

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