** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations, language and mature subject matter **
CHAPTER 2 - Mr. December
A month later, I had all but forgotten about Ben. Sure, I thought about him in passing a few times after our encounter at the hospital. However, I fell back into my routine soon after and moved on with my life. My sister felt strong and comfortable enough to spend some time with her friends this weekend. She would start chemo in a week. She felt like she needed to make the most out of this short interlude to have a little fun until she was too exhausted by her treatment. I pushed aside my over-protectiveness and let her go. I would have the appartment for the next 48 hours and could use some me-time. Free of guilt. I had lunch with Jonathan. Then, I had booked myself a one-hour massage and a mani-pedi at the beauty institute followed by a visit to the hair salon. It would be the best day ever!
This morning. I found it difficult to hall myself out of bed. My pillow felt way too soft. My mattress way too comfy. My comforter way too warm. Another hour. It was still early. I’d get up at 10. I ignored the door slamming shut loudly. Thanks Sophie! Bye Sophie! I moaned and pulled a pillow over my head.
Next thing I knew, someone was knocking at the door. I swear if Sophie had forgotten her keys, I’d kick her butt. I pushed the covers away and walked to the door in a white tank top and cotton short shorts, bent on telling Sophie off. When I opened the door though, I was in for a surprise. Ben was standing in front of me, just as stunned as I was. He recovered quicker than me and smiled with an expression both surprised and amused. It turned into a sexy grin when he realized that I was in my PJs. I looked down at myself and lifted a finger.
- Just a sec. Let me grab a robe.
- Sure thing.
I blushed at the husky tone of his voice and his roaming gaze. Oh wow, I couldn’t believe my luck. Was it luck? Was I happy to see him again? What was he doing here? How had he found me?Decent at last, I went back to the door and offered my most confident smile. I tried not to focus on his incredible eyes and the fact that he was checking me out a second ago.
- Ben, what a pleasant surprise. What brings you by? How…How have you been?
- I’m fine, Camille, thank you.
Holy shit! He remembered my name. Sweet.
- I volunteer at the fire station and, every year, we sell calendars to the locals to raise money for the families of the men lost doing their duty.
- You are a firefighter? I asked impressed.
- Just a volunteer. I work as a freelance web designer mostly.
- That’s pretty cool.
And hot too! I wondered if I’d see him someday in his uniform…
- Are you interested?
Very much so. Whenever. Wherever. Is he asking…? Oh. The calendars. Of course.
- Hum… Sure. How much is one?
I went back to the living room to get my purse.
- You give whatever you want, he said with a shrug.
- How about twenty bucks? It seems to be all I have in my wallet.
- That’s great! For twenty bucks, you get to choose the one you want and I’ll throw a hug in the deal.
We laughed and he showed what he had. Kittens, puppies, nature… half naked firemen! BINGO!
- Ouh I want this one!
He shook his head, obviously amused by my choice and…was it…was it embarrassment? His face was turning a dark shade of red. Avoiding my eyes, he pushed a hand across his jaw to the back of his neck.
- What is it?
- I wish you hadn’t seen this one.
- Why? Are you in it?
Ben laughed nervously but said nothing.
- Well, ARE YOU?
- Afraid so. Are you sure you wanna see this? This is just plain embarrassing…
Damn, he was cute. He distracted me for a second with his straight white-teeth smile. Unfortunately for him, I was having too much fun making him uncomfortable. He may have had the god-like looks but I had the sense of humor and derision.
- Which month are you? I asked super excited.
- Oh dear God!
I didn’t think it was possible to see someone turn from red to redder in a heart beat.
- Hey, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about posing in the nude for this calendar. Need I remind you that you’re doing a charitable thing here? You’re collecting money for a good cause and you’re fueling the imagination of hundreds of lonely women. There’s nothing better than that!
- First of all, I’m not in the nude. December provides an appropriate amount of coverage. Second of all, do you mind me asking if you’re one of those lonely women in need of inspiration?
I gulped. My turn to blush involuntarely. My vagina was screaming YES. My head had more self-control.
I laughed but it came out as a nervous shriek. Yeah, that was not convincing at all. I sounded like a strangled cat. Or one in heat.
- I mean, if I have to pick for a calendar, might as well be the one I’m actually planning on checking out once a month.
- Good point, he answered suppressing a smile.
Nice save! Quick thinking was indispensible when you were a publicist. Keep it up, smarty pants…
- So, december huh?
He chuckled and handed me the calendar in exchange for the twenty dollar bill. We stayed silent for a minute. Eventually, I was the one to break the silence.
- How about that hug?