Every year, my family spends Christmas week in a ski resort. One year it's Aspen, the next Vail, and so on. My junior year in college it was Steamboat Springs. The fates intervened. The week before Christmas, I broke my leg in a pedestrian way - falling on a slick sidewalk. I was going to be a limping lad for three weeks, at least.
To top it off, I'd fallen leaving my girlfriend's apartment after breaking up with her. Ironic, isn't it? An emotional break and a physical one.
Mom wanted to call off the ski trip, but Dad said if I was alive, I was all right, and if I was all right, he was going skiing. They offered to take me with them, but being there and not participating in the fun didn't appeal to me. They went and took my siblings with them. My Aunt Sue and Uncle Jed promised to look after me. I had a lovely Christmas Eve at their home, but I went home to my own empty house.
Christmas morning was a bummer. I awakened late, ate a bowl of cold cereal, and plopped down on the couch to watch TV. I was even too depressed to beat off, that's how bad it was.
About noon, the door bell rang. I grabbed my crutches and hobbled to the door. A girl wearing a ski parka, jeans, walking boots, and a wool cap stood on my stoop. The hat was red with white trim. The coat was navy blue with gray patches and red piping. Her hair was long, blonde, and billowing in the breeze. She was carrying two large shopping bags and looking down at them.
When I opened the door, she looked up. I was staring into big brown eyes and a warm, wide, white-toothed smile.
"Merry Christmas, Tommy," she said.
She stepped across the threshold directly into me, raised her head, and gently kissed me on the lips, which blew my socks off. She set one of the packages down by the Christmas tree and carried the other into the kitchen. I hobbled after her.
"Have a seat. Christmas dinner will be ready shortly," she said. She stuffed the cap into a parka pocket, unzipped the parka, and tossed it on a chair.
I tried not to stare.
The Pattersons lived two doors down from us. Mr. and Mrs. Patterson were two of my parents' closest friends. Matt, the eldest child, was a year ahead of me in school. We played football and hung around together. Emily, my sister, and Melody were two years behind me. They were best friends and roomed together at college. And Mark, Melody's little brother, was best buddy to my little brother, Jason. Mark had gone skiing with my family.
I'd known Melody forever, but I'd never known her like this. Melody Patterson was smart. No doubt about that. And she was sweet. And pretty. But she was shy. Horribly shy.
The last time I saw Melody was May of that year. I was home a week before leaving for a summer at Yellowstone Park where I worked as a glorified janitor. She was Melody then. The one I knew. With brown hair, enough metal in her mouth to build a car, and flat-chested. The Melody who always wore, loose, baggy clothes so no one could see her body. The one who was too shy to date. I was dating Claire, and I had been for some time, but I asked Melody out thinking it would break her fear of dating. She wouldn't even go to a movie with me.
This was a different Melody. She wore a form-fitting, long-sleeved red sweater. And the form it fit. Wow! She was stacked. The jeans were tight, too, letting me see Melody had a nice, tight ass and narrow waist. And with that blonde hair hanging down her back? I was having impure thoughts. I bunched the robe in front of me. I only wore a tee shirt and boxers under my robe and I didn't want her to see me.
But the biggest change was her attitude. She was vivacious and flirtatious. Openly flirting. And instead of always keeping her mouth closed because of her braces, I was bombarded by big, beautiful, radiant smiles under sexy, twinkling eyes. And talk? I'd never seen her like this.
She served us turkey, dressing, potatoes, salad, rolls, and gravy. She poured the wine she brought. We sat and talked. In a few minutes, I saw the best part of the old Melody. The sweetness. The burst of conversation settled down to a genuine exchange. We talked about everything except boy-girl stuff like who we were dating. After dinner, I hobbled into the den and plopped down on the couch with my bum leg and attendant cast extended. She sat next to me.
"So? How do you like the new Melody?" she asked.
"She's fabulous, but I liked the old Melody, too."
"I know you did, and I did, too, but I like this one more. The braces came off right before graduation last May. The day after graduation, I dyed my hair. Clairol calls it ash blonde."
"I like it," I said.
"It sets off your eyes."
"I'm surprised you knew I had eyes," she said with that wide, happy grin. "I'd never look at you. I was too shy."
"Yes, you would look, not when we were alone, but in a group or when you were with Emily." She looked away shyly, but her eyes flicked back up to me in an instant. "Remember when I was helping you with Algebra? You looked at me then."
"Yes. You were sweet and patient with me." She giggled and covered her mouth with her hands. "But I didn't want to learn too quickly because I was enjoying the lessons."
"Ha! I knew it. I knew it."
"What can a girl say?" She shrugged with faux innocence. "Do you want more wine?"
.... There is more of this story ...