Jump to the first story
Jayme was thunder struck. “Here? In our home?” She’d heard enough. She opened the car door and climbed out. He did the same, and came quickly around the car to stop her before she reached the door into the house.
“Jayme…” He grabbed her shoulders.
She shrugged him off, and placed both hands on his chest to give him a shove. He held his ground, and stopped her.
“Get away from me, Lou.” The tears fell. There was no stopping them now. There was no reason to hold them back. She struggled as he folded her into his arms, more gently than she expected.
“No. This isn’t how it was supposed to play out. I’ve totally blown this and I have to make it right before you walk in that house.” He firmly held her in place, and made eye contact as she looked up at him.
“What am I going to find in the house? What’s missing now, the rest of your things?” She fell against his chest, not wanting to see his face.
“I’d already bought your present. I couldn’t get it under the tree myself. I had to have help. Kelsey…”
“Helped you wrap a gift?” This was making no sense at all. “You already have several gifts under the tree for me. I doubt Kelsey’s ever wrapped anything in her life, except maybe herself in furs.”
She felt his chest vibrate in a silent laugh. “She didn’t exactly help wrap it but she had to be here. It took longer than expected and I’m sorry for that. I wanted to surprise you.”
“You did that,” she snapped.
“Not with what you think.” He pressed her to arms length and looked into her eyes. “Jayme, no matter what you are thinking, I love you. I’ve loved you from the moment I first met you. I don’t intend to ever stop loving you. I don’t always think things through, but I have good intentions. I want this to be a special Christmas, our first one together in our own home. I don’t want it to be the last. Can you give me five minutes to see if I can repair this damage and make you happy?”
Jayme swiped the tears from her cheeks, crossed her arms over her chest and cocked her head to the side. She fought to maintain her calm. “Okay. It’s Christmas. I’ll give you five minutes.
“Perfect.” He stroked her arms. “Umm… where to begin.”
“I’m waiting and it’s getting cold.”
“Okay. I wanted to get you something extra special for our first Christmas here. Something that would surpass anything anyone had ever given you. I found what I wanted about a month ago but it would be tricky to get it under the tree without you finding out about it. Kelsey offered to help me. I borrowed a couple of her friends, too. The party tonight was planned to give me the opportunity to take care of the gift. That’s why I was talking to Kelsey on the cell, to get this set up.” He paused.
“She was helping you?”
“It was more like she was supervising the project. Once you were at the party we all met here to take care of the gift. It took a little longer than we expected but we got it handled. It was perfect that you said you wanted to find something under the tree that wasn’t here before. I think I was able to make that wish come true for you. I hope you don’t mind seeing the gift before morning though.”
Jayme felt like crying again. He’d been taking care of her holiday wish. How could she have been so jealous? But wait a minute. “How does that explain you having Kelsey’s lip gloss on your mouth?”
Lou grinned. “She said I was such a romantic and so good to you that she’d be looking for someone just like me. Then she kissed me for being a good guy. If I’d thought about her lip gloss I would have wiped it off. It didn’t mean anything to me, Jayme. You are the only one who means anything at all to me and I hope you forgive me again for making you so upset tonight.” He held his arms open to her and she flung herself into his embrace.
“I’m so sorry, Lou. I have a hard time believing how lucky I am to have a man like you. I’m so afraid of losing you I can’t help but be defensive when I feel threatened.”
Lou kissed her. “I promise you there is no threat of losing me. I’m here to stay, Babe. I hope you forgive me for making such a mess of this.”
Jayme cuddled to his chest, enjoying his closeness. “I’ll forgive you if you’ll forgive me.”
“Deal.” He grinned down at her. “Ready to see your present?”
“Actually I’m enjoying this.” She wrapped her arms around his waist, and held tight.
“Come on, Jayme. After all I did to get this set up, you want to stand around in the cold garage?”
Jayme laughed. “I think you’re more excited about it than I am.”
“I am.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and guided her toward the house. “Close your eyes.”
She complied and allowed him to lead her through the house to the living room. “Can I look yet?”
“Not yet. I want you a little closer.” He shifted her across the floor a few more steps. He let go of her and stepped away. “Okay, open them.”
Jayme peeked through her eyelashes and then her eyes flew open wide. In the space where his entertainment center had been now set a white grand piano, the one that had graced Kelsey’s living room at Thanksgiving. Jayme covered her mouth with both hands, stifling the joyful cry that tried to escape. She turned to look at Lou, back at the piano, and back at Lou.
Lou shrugged. “You don’t like it.” He frowned and pushed out his lip in a pout.
Jayme flew at him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and nearly strangled him as they both laughed. “You know I just hate it.” She laughed again, and kissed his whole face.
“I thought you would. Can you at least play it once before I throw it out?”
Jayme sat down on the bench and opened the cover to the keys. Her eyes popped wide again. In the center of the keyboard sat a small velvet box. She held her breath as Lou sat down beside her. They both stared at the box for several heartbeats.
She cleared her throat and nodded at the box. “Lou?”
Jayme bit her lip. “I don’t think I can.”
Lou took the box and opened it. The diamond sparkled in competition with the lights from the tree. Jayme gasped as Lou slid to one knee beside the bench.
“Jayme, I only have one wish for the holidays, one thing that I’ve asked Santa for.” He took the ring from the box, placed the box on the floor, and turned back to her to take her hand. “Will you grant me my gift and become my wife?”
Jayme could hardly speak. The tears fell once more as she bobbed her head up and down, and hoped she could muster her voice. It took a long moment to collect her emotions but she was finally able to squeak a timid, “Yes.” Lou slipped the ring on her finger and slid onto the bench beside her. He hugged her and kissed her. A tear slid from his eye as well.
Jayme wiped it away and held his face in her hands. “Looks like we both got just what we wanted.”
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to You All!