15 February 2011

Short Story: Home for the Holidays

Who doesn’t love a free story? If you like a good tug-at-the-heartstrings kinda story with a sweet, romantic, potentially a little sappy ending, look no further!

Deployed to Afghanistan for more than half of his two-year marriage, Trent is determined to make it home for the holidays. But which holiday, exactly? And will he make it?

I’ll be home for Christmas. Sweeter than the strains of Ave Maria floating through the speakers, Trent’s voice echoed through my head like a Christmas carol sung just for me. As I placed a sliver ball on the tree, the shiny surface reflected my smile back to me.

Of course, it was almost Valentine’s Day. The original plan was for Trent to come home on leave for Christmas, but that didn’t happen. Instead, he promised to be my Valentine, and I promised him we’d have Christmas in February.

My neighbor Janine stuck a bow on my head.

“You will be the only present he wants, I’m sure,” she said. “I think you should gift-wrap yourself.”

I was going to. Sort of. Trent had been deployed to Afghanistan for more than half of our two-year marriage. When he called Wednesday morning with the news that he would definitely be home for Christmas-Valentine’s, I headed straight for my favorite lingerie boutique. The thought of the sexy little velvet number in the closet perked up the corners of my mouth a little more.

Janine and her husband Robert hung the last of the ornaments on the tree. They’d done most of the work. I was still in a daze and daydreaming about my husband’s homecoming. The first Christmas without him was hard, and when I learned he’d be gone for a second, I didn’t bother with anything remotely festive. Not until he was home. Janine and Rob showed up this morning with a beautiful Douglas fir in the back of their pickup and helped me find my belated Christmas spirit.

I surveyed the finished product. The tree was only about six feet tall, wide with dense branches. It overwhelmed the room a bit, but it fit the occasion. Like me, it was full to bursting with happiness. Besides, I wasn’t even sure where they managed to find a Christmas tree in February so I wasn’t going to complain. There’s no shortage of tree farms here in rural Pennsylvania; I suppose they have evergreens year-round.

“When’s his flight?” Rob asked.

I checked my watch. The second hand counted down the hours, the minutes, sending surge after tingling surge of anticipation through my body.

“He lands in Georgia early tomorrow morning and he’ll be there a few hours before his flight to Baltimore.” I was tempted to jump in my car and drive the twelve hours down to Atlanta to get him instead of waiting for him to get to Baltimore tomorrow afternoon. The only thing stopping me was the three inches of new snow we’d gotten in the past few hours and the forecast for more overnight. Too bad he wasn’t able to fly into Harrisburg, only twenty minutes away. Two hours to Baltimore would be challenging enough. It amazed me how people forget everything they ever knew about driving once a snowflake hits pavement.

“Hopefully the snow won’t cause any trouble,” he said.

From his mouth to the Snow Miser’s ears.


I was too anxious to sleep later that night, so I slipped into a hot shower around midnight, hoping the steam would relax me. The snow had me worried. I tried to calm myself with the thought that if Trent’s flight to Baltimore was delayed or canceled, he had all day Sunday and Monday to try to get another one. We’d never placed much importance on Valentine’s Day, but this year was different. If he didn’t make it home in time, it just wouldn’t be the same.

I massaged strawberry-scented shampoo into my hair until my scalp tingled. It reminded me of my husband. He never complained about the girly scent because he knew how much I liked to smell it in his hair when we snuggled in bed at night.

As the suds dripped down my neck, I helped them along with my hands, spreading the silky lather down over my breasts.

Before he left for Afghanistan, we talked about having babies with his strawberry-blonde hair and washing them with strawberry shampoo and being a strawberry-scented family. But we couldn’t do that while he was away. He refused to leave me alone and pregnant, and I refused to bring a child into this world until its daddy could be there to see it born.

I rubbed the shampoo bubbles into my belly. No baby yet. Soon, hopefully. Trent and I would get lots of practice in during his leave, that’s for sure. My hands wandered low on my abdomen. My fingers teased at the top of my mound.

I had an idea.

Trent had asked me, once, but I was never brave enough. I would be brave now, to give him a spectacular combined Christmas and Valentine’s gift.

I grabbed my razor, shaving cream, and a hand mirror, and got to work.

Half an hour later, I stood naked in the bedroom, pampering my skin with shea butter lotion. I was smooth and silky from head to toe. Gently I massaged a bit of lotion on my inner thighs and over my newly shaved vulva. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Trent was going to love it.

I made sure to moisturize every inch. The skin there was even more sensitive now that it was bare. The slightest touch triggered the pleasure center of my brain. My nipples hardened. My knees trembled. I wanted to collapse onto the bed and tease my waiting clit into submission. But I didn’t. I wanted to wait for my husband.


The next morning I awoke to a nightmare. Three more inches of snow had fallen.

No sooner had I looked out the window when the phone rang.


“Damn, baby, it’s so good to hear your voice.”

Trent’s gravelly baritone made me shudder with girlish anticipation. It was good to hear his voice, too.

“Please tell me your flight’s on time,” I said. His sigh was answer enough.

“Delayed. Gotta wait to see if it clears a little up that way first.”

Tears stung my eyes. I’d waited long enough, damn it. I wanted him home with me today. Not tomorrow. Not a minute later than scheduled.

“You there, babe?”

“Yeah.” I took a shaky breath. “I’m here.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be home soon. I gotta go for now, but I’ll call you as soon as I know when I’m leaving.”

“Okay. I love you. And I miss you.”

“Love you baby.”

As the hours passed, the forecast grew more dismal. The snow continued to fall steadily, from northern Virginia all the way up to the New England states. All flights to and from Newark and JFK were halted by two o’clock. BWI had limited air traffic, but they were expected to shut down any moment as well.

Rob and Janine braved the weather to come sit with me and watch the news.

The phone call came just after six. Trent’s flight had been cancelled, and all flights going anywhere near us were also cancelled due to the weather. I couldn’t hold back the tears this time.

“It’s already Saturday night. Are you going to make it here by Monday?” I asked.

“I don’t know. It depends on if it keeps snowing or not. But I’ll make it eventually.”

“What about our holiday? Valentine’s Day is Monday. You have to be here.” Tucking the phone between my ear and shoulder, I snatched a twig of fake mistletoe off the doorjamb, then unplugged the Christmas tree. If Trent wasn’t going to be here, I wasn’t going to celebrate. Janine grabbed my hand as I went to start pulling ornaments off the tree.

“It doesn’t matter what day I get there. You’re the only thing I need for Christmas or any holiday.”

“It does matter.” I wanted this to be special. I wanted us to celebrate like normal people do – as normal celebrating Christmas in February could be, at least.

“I’ll get there, okay? I’ll find a bus, or the first plane out of here, or something. It’ll be okay.”

Overwhelmed with my tears, I passed the phone to Rob to say hello. He took the phone into the other room and Janine put her arms around me. She didn’t say anything. I doubt she could’ve said anything to make me feel any better, anyway. She just hugged me and rubbed my back until the tears stopped.

“Thanks,” I said, rubbing my face.

“No thanks necessary.” She looked around. “I’ll go see what Rob’s up to.”

She disappeared toward the kitchen and left me staring at a Christmas tree I desperately wanted to tear down. It reminded me of what I was missing. If I didn’t look at the tree, I’d have to look out the window at the snow piling up. That wasn’t a welcome sight, either. Instead I went in search of Janine and Rob.

I heard Janine’s voice as I came into the kitchen.

“…are you really going to drive that whole way? How long is that?”

“Who’s going where?” I asked.

Janine looked to Rob, who held up his cell phone.

“Just got a call from one of my clients,” he said. “His mare is in labor and having a hard time.”

Rob was an equine veterinarian and was always making house calls for pregnant or injured horses.

“It’s a ways out, though. I’ll probably be gone all night.”

Janine grinned at me. “Slumber party?”

Anything to take my mind off Trent not coming home.

To find out whether Trent makes it home in time for Valentine’s Day, read the conclusion of the story on my Facebook page. Make sure you click “Like” to receive my updates. I hope to post more stories soon!