Episode 382: Winter ParadiseShelby’s jingle bell collar jangled down the hall at seven in the morning, waking Sebastian. He stretched his arms and yawned not really awake but knowing he wouldn’t fall back asleep. He gathered fresh clothes to change into, and wearing only blue pajama bottoms, he headed out into the hall bumping into Avalon on her way out of the bathroom.
"Merry Christmas morning!" She grinned. She’d been smiling a little more in recent weeks, like during the Christmas specials on TV and when he’d fumbled his way through helping her bake or while they’d made those paper dolls for Tansy’s gift to go along with Ava’s tin of gingerbread girls that they’d delivered Christmas Eve, also stopping off at Bowie and Lila’s.
But it wasn’t just the sparkly expression on her face that took his breath, that made him cross his arms afraid he’d pull her to him and kiss his way right out of his welcome in her home. She wore a winter white sweater dress; it’s wispy soft wool clinging to her subtle curves, her silky hair flowing down her back. He couldn’t decide where he’d like to touch her first.
"You look so beautiful," Sebastian blurted, ready to kick himself for it but she seemed pleased, not as if she felt he was crossing the line between them.
"Thanks. Even though it was most often just the two of us, mom and I always liked to make it a special day." A wistful look passed through her eyes as she held up her pearl covered wrist. "This is the first time I’ve worn them since I found out my mom- that my real mom in my heart didn’t give them to me. They make me feel closer to her though."
"You should absolutely wear them then," he said, forcing aside his lust-filled thoughts. The mention of Mary, a reminder of what a poor excuse for a boyfriend he’d been in the past. He was living with her as a friend, to be sure she was okay, not to make a move on her.
"I thought I’d make cinnamon rolls for breakfast, then we’d open our gifts, maybe snuggled in front of the fire awhile reading the Christmas parts of Little Women while the turkey-" She shook her head. "That’s the kind of stuff I did with my mom. You don’t have to-"
"I want to. It sounds really nice." The snuggling thing sounded dangerous but he’d behave for her. A friend was who she needed now. And even that little of the woman he loved tasted like paradise to him.