Healing Love at Christmas
by Sam Crescent
Rebel Ink Press
eBook ISBN: RIP0001092
Christmas is supposed to be a time of learning, of love. It is a time of moving forward. Natasha and Jake had a terrible year. Away for the holidays, alone to work through their troubles, the couple wondered if the season could be a time to mend a broken heart and bring them together.
“It will be the perfect getaway, a place for both of you to make peace.” Natasha thought over her sister’s, Cassie’s, words. It seemed like the perfect opportunity at the time. Isn’t it brilliant, hindsight?, Natasha mused. Glancing out of the cabin’s window, Natasha cursed. Snow covered the ground as far as the eye could see. It wasn’t one of those light dustings. This was the real stuff. The snow was knee deep and cold, stopping anyone from coming in or getting out.
She was trapped here. Perfect!, Natasha cursed to herself. This was the worst mistake ever.
Jake felt further away now than he had before. He was outside cutting wood for the fire. Shivering against the cold in her heart, Natasha moved away from the window. Natasha and Jake had been married for five years. It began with lust at first sight, which over time developed into love. They were married a year later and the passion that burned between them lasted all of four years. Then six months ago the bottom dropped out of their safe, complacent world when Natasha discovered Jake was having an affair.
Natasha had never felt this deep sense of hopelessness before but ever since she found out about the other woman, she didn’t know what to do. It was like the past four years had been nothing but a lie.
Moving away from the dreaded scenery and putting the kettle on, Natasha pulled two large cups down and filled them with coffee and sugar. He liked two teaspoons of sugar, a heaped spoonful of instant coffee and full-fat milk. She stirred the liquid, watching it swirl inside the black cup. This was supposed to be their chance to reconcile, a chance to put the mistakes of the past behind them.
Instead they were like complete strangers. She didn’t share his bed anymore. They didn’t laugh and they most definitely didn’t talk anymore. It was strange that the man she loved had become a complete blank to her. Natasha knew all the little details about him, like how he liked his coffee. And that he preferred going commando rather than wearing any form of underwear. He liked his cereal with skim milk, his steak rare and loved a pair of fresh, clean socks. He could make love at all times of the day. He preferred her cutting his hair instead of going to the barber shop. She liked waiting for days to cut his hair, watching his ruggedly handsome face become surrounded by his silky locks. She used to run her fingers through it for hours because both Natasha and Jake, for different reasons, found the act extremely soothing.
He didn’t like football but loved watching movies. He wanted a big family. The one holiday, the season that brought Jake great joy and comfort, was Christmas. Christmas was special to him. For years, he’d fantasized about spending Christmas with Natasha and their future children (two boys and two girls), in their cozy, country home, oblivious to the world outside.
This was their fifth Christmas together and with the way things were going, Natasha believed it was going to be their last.
How could a couple stay together after one partner breaks the most important vow? She watched him gather logs and realized she didn’t have a clue.
Jake could feel her eyes on him. His body was on fire with the need to have her consume him. For six months she’d denied him her body. This came after five years of passionate, uninhibited love making four or five times a week. Some years it was daily. He gathered logs trying to figure out what the hell to do.
Adultery. Affair. Cheating. He detested these words. His marriage meant a lot to him. Jake tried to think back to six months ago when Natasha accused him of cheating on her.
He couldn’t for the life of him think why? He’d never cheat on his wife. And yet she said she saw him.
Since then, Jake had been living in a nightmare which was getting worse by the day. The woman he loved was broken inside. He could see it and feel it and no matter what he did, he couldn’t think of any way to change it.
Who was the mystery woman he was supposed to be having the affair with?
The worst part were the demands for a divorce. He cringed just thinking about the word. Six months ago he supposedly cheated. Four months ago he came home from work and Natasha demanded a divorce and told him to get the hell out of their home. The words still stung and left a familiar ache in the pit of Jake’s stomach. And here they were now.
Up to that point in his life, Jake believed the words ‘broken heart’ were overused and cliché. But that day he did indeed feel his heart break.
He picked up a couple more logs and made his way back to their cabin where his eyes were drawn to her presence. She sat with her feet under her on a weathered, wooden kitchen chair. She was looking everywhere else around the room but at him.
There was a time she would’ve thrown herself at him, kissing him hard, running her hands through his hair while he picked her up, pressed her against the wall and impressed his manhood hard against her thighs. Now he didn’t even get eye contact.
He placed the logs down in a neat pile and went to the table.
“I made you some coffee.” She handed him his cup, her hand gone before he could even touch her.
“Thank you,” he said, taking a sip. She’d made it exactly the way he liked it.
Natasha nodded but went back to looking out the window and Jake took the time to observe his wife. She was younger than him by two years. He was thirty.
Her blond hair lay down her back in a tangled mess. She hadn’t been up for long. Last year before all the trouble they came to this cabin for Christmas. In the morning, he would sit next to her on the overstuffed, taupe sofa, brushing her hair, untangling the knots. He loved seeing her blond tresses wild and free and felt an intimacy with her when she left him fuss over her. He missed the times they’d sit and watch television or the sunset. He missed the simple pleasures of sitting on the bed, laughing, talking and being completely at ease and content with each other. They’d lost so much the silken feel of her hair was a distant memory to him.
“I don’t think we’re going to make it back home in time for Christmas,” Jake said softly. They usually spent a few days in the cabin by themselves before the actual holiday then made it down to London to spend time with both of their families.
“I’ll phone Cassie and let her know.”
“Maybe we can decorate this place. Spend Christmas here, just the two of us?” He suggested. He really wanted to spend some time with her alone. They needed to work through their problems before facing their families given her sister Cassie and Jake’s brother were the only people who knew their marriage was in danger.
“Should we bother?” Natasha choked out.
Jake glanced up in time to see tears streaming down her face and his heart broke a thousand times over once again. He never, ever wanted to hurt her.
Getting up from his chair, Jake surrounded her with his arms. Her chest heaved with the heartbreaking sobs of loss and he held her through it.
Jake had severe trouble knowing what to say in emotional situations, a handicap which only worsened the trouble his marriage was in right at the moment. If only I’d demanded an explanation, demanded she listen to me, he thought. Maybe I could’ve put an end to this nightmare.
“Don’t cry, Natasha,” he whispered, kissing the top of her hair, smoothing it out of his way. He kissed her head, each of her eyes and the tip of her nose before his lips met hers. It had been six months since he last kissed her. Jake was dying kiss her long and hard.
His lips pressed against hers and felt the wonderful plumpness, the softness quiver against his own. He was unshaven and his kiss would leave a mark but that was fine. He wanted to see the marks on her skin. To know she was his woman. He loved her with all of his heart, the feelings so consuming they terrified him. He truly believed he’d die if Natasha ever left him.
Her hands came up but instead of circling his neck and dragging him closer., she tried to push him away and her lips became unresponsive. He cried out as he moved his lips away but his hands held her close. No longer could he live with letting her go.
“Stop , Jake,” she was breaking inside. He could hear it. He understood it because he was breaking too.
“Don’t, Natasha. Please don’t push me away.” His hands caught her head between his palms, forcing her to look at him.
“Don’t do this,” she begged him.
But he was begging her. “Don’t shut me out, Natasha. Don’t, please! I beg you. Love me, just love me.” He collapsed to his knees at her feet, his head in her lap.
“You cheated on me!” She threw her pain at him, anger and hurt forcing her to finally face up to the accusations.
“I would never cheat on you,” he cried.
“I saw you with her,” she accused. Her fingers tightened in the hair on his head as tears cascaded off her face, he raw pain too much for her to contain.
Jake shook his head, refusing to move his head from her lap. He didn’t know any other woman. He only wanted this woman.
“There is no other woman,” he denied it again.
Natasha sobbed and tried to move his head off her lap.
Jake stood up but he refused to let her run and hide.
Natasha was shocked by Jake’s sudden eagerness after months of being cold and aloof toward her. She moved out of the kitchen to the sitting room, taking in the early morning fire and the fluffy white rug spread out before it. How many times had they made love on that very rug by that very fire? Crying out in despair, she spun away. Too many memories flooded her consciousness.
She went to run up the stairs but Jake caught her around the waist, stopping any further movement she made. He lifted her against his chest, her back resting against his hardened chest. Natasha could feel his heartbeat rapidly pounding in his chest as she wriggled trying with all her might to get away. The more she wriggled, the stronger he held on.
“Let me go!” she screamed at him. Six months of bottled up anger were being released in an instant. Ironically, while they were trapped by Christmas, the season of goodwill and giving, and the earth’s natural elements outside, her emotions seemed free as could be. It seemed the snow had come thick and fast as if fate had already decided they should be together to finally face up to the suspicions and secrets threatening their marriage.
“I’ll never let you go.” He held her more securely against his chest.
Realizing she couldn’t overpower him, Natasha let go, allowing the anger and hostility to seep out of her tense muscles. A few minutes passed. Satisfied she wasn’t going to run off, Jake finally eased his hold on her.
Natasha spun round as fast as she could and slapped him across the face. He refused to give her a divorce. He refused to leave her alone. He was making her suffer. Now she’d do whatever it took to make him suffer the way she had these past six months. Her hands started to lash out at him hitting his chest, his arms, anything within her reach. She didn’t know what was worse, the fact that she was hitting the man she loved or the fact that he was letting her. It was like he was admitting to his infidelity.
Minutes passed and her arms ached, her chest felt like it would burst. She went to hit him one last time but then Natasha looked at his face, the beautiful, handsome face she’d loved these past five years. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t hurt him anymore.
Something inside her shifted and Natasha felt her resentment melting. She was ready to surrender to the love she’d never really lost for Jake. It had been poisoned by anger and fear but it never really left. She fell into his chest and her arms circled his waist. Natasha inhaled his scent and it triggered memories of lust, love and longing. She silently confessed to her innermost self, I love this man with all my heart and soul.
His arms held her close as he stroked her hair and back and he kissed her on the top of the head. Natasha looked up at him. She didn’t see a cheating scoundrel. She saw Jake. She saw her husband and she loved him.
Her eyes were watering from the onset of emotion as he bent down and pressed a kiss to her lips. Natasha responded pursing her lips to receive his. In the past six months, they’d kissed but it was nothing compared to the kiss Natasha craved.
“Kiss me,” she begged.
He moaned into her mouth. “I am kissing you.”
Her arms moved to wind behind his neck.
“Properly,” she said.
He opened his lips taking possession of her mouth. Invading her. Natasha gasped at the sensation as his tongue stroked along her lips, opening her up to receive his tongue.
She touched him with the tip of her own tongue. Groaning echoed along the walls of the cabin. The snow outside was forgotten as Jake and Natasha learned each other’s bodies all over again.
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