Copyright© 2004 AceMcCloud, all rights reserved.
This story is my work, but it benefitted greatly from the suggestions of my friends Storymaster 69, Imagineer, Mr. Spock and Virtual 256. In addition, I would undoubtedly sound like a complete idiot without the help of my editor Mycroftxxx. There are probably still errors of one kind or another, but they're all my fault.
Please remember to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in your hearts for the entire year.
A Sweet Beginning
A closed elevator is no place to be when someone is singing Christmas carols slightly off key.
Standing behind her, it was hard to tell much about her, other than that she was shortish and pretty young. And she wasn't a very good singer.
"Excuse me, miss, but would you mind not singing?"
She paused and, for a second, a pleasant silence filled the elevator. Then she spoke, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."
The ridiculousness of her reply elicited an unthinking response. "You're nuttier than a fruitcake."
Why did I say that?
True, she was seriously getting on my nerves, but Dad was the only one I knew who used that expression.
She turned and looked me straight in the eye. "And what, exactly, do you know about fruitcakes?" The challenge was accompanied by a sly, smile. It was clear that something about my outburst secretly amused her.
"Well, they were made hundreds of years ago by monks using a secret, magic formula. They are denser than lead, last forever and are deadly poison to all mortals." I wasn't about to back down from a challenge. She got the last laugh though - literally. My response made her laugh so hard that she fell on the floor.
As I helped her up, I got a chance to take a close look at her. Her sense of humor was pretty lame, but her body was very attractive.
I always looked at a woman's face. If they smile regularly and have pretty eyes, I'm hooked. So far, this woman had done nothing but smile and her eyes were a gorgeous, brilliant light green. Otherwise, her face was cute and very expressive and framed by long, lustrous, light brown hair. I was so captivated by her face that I nearly didn't get past it.
Through the gap in her coat I could see her outfit and make out enough of her figure to want to see more. She definitely had some nice curves.
Looking back at her face, it finally dawned on me that I knew her. It was Ben's sister, Janice.
Ben had been a good friend in middle school and high school, so I had sort of known Janice for a long time. Somehow, in the four years since high school, I hadn't seen Janice even once. Those four years had been kind to her - she looked really good.
I was twenty-three, so that would make her nineteen.
"So, Janice, how is Ben? I haven't seen him since last summer."
Though Ben and I had been good friends, we weren't close friends. Ben going off to Berkley, while I went to the local state college had effectively ended our relationship. We were still friendly, but no longer had anything in common.
Janice seemed pleased that I remembered her, but annoyed at the question.
Ok, so she didn't want to talk about her brother. "What have you been up to?"
That question got a wry smile. "Since I didn't get the kind of scholarships that Ben did, I had to start at the local community college."
"How's that going? What are you majoring in?"
"I still haven't settled on a major, yet, but I have a 4.0 so far in the general electives classes that I've been taking."
"It's not that unusual for freshmen to be undeclared. Heck, I knew sophomores at State that were still undeclared."
"Well, I know what I'd like to do, but my parents aren't very supportive of my choices. They're pretty old-fashioned and are still holding out hope that I'll just get an 'MRS' degree and leave it at that."
It didn't entirely surprise me. Ben had complained about his parents on occasion too. This was one of my hot button issues, though.
"I've always thought that it was a terrible waste of human potential when parents didn't encourage their daughters to follow their dreams." Perhaps my reaction was a little strong.
I was gifted with a dazzling smile in response.
And then again, perhaps my reaction was just right.
She cocked her head to the left slightly, a mannerism that I remembered preceded a change of subject. "So seriously, Todd, what do you know about fruitcake?"
"Nothing, really. Just that everyone I know talks about how awful they are. Didn't that DJ guy have some kind of thing the other day about them?"
She snorted in disgust. Memo to self - don't mention that DJ anymore.
"But you've never actually tried one?"
"Ok, do you like walnuts?"
"Dried fruits like raisins, dates and such?"
"I'll bet you that you would like fruitcake then."
I'm a sucker for an interesting bet and she knew it. There was that time in tenth grade when Ben and I had bet on the Super Bowl and I ended up having to streak through his living room in my underwear. Janice was the only one who saw me.
"What's the bet?" I asked her. I tried to sound as bored and skeptical as possible. I was trying to break the betting habit before I got myself into trouble.
"Well, I wouldn't mind seeing you in your underwear again."
Two could play that game. I looked her up and down with a lecherous grin. "I wouldn't mind seeing you in yours."
"On second thought," she mused, "let's stretch the envelope a little... I've got it. The winner performs oral sex on the loser."
Darn it, there was no way I was going to turn that bet down. I could tell that she knew it too. At least it wasn't something that would get me into serious trouble - what's a little oral sex between two unattached consenting adults? Heck, as pretty as she was, I would be just as happy to lose.
"Ok, it's a bet."
She smiled at me. "My parents are having a little Christmas party tomorrow night. Why don't you come over as my date and we'll do the taste test then."
I thought about my work schedule. By some miracle, I was actually off tomorrow night. "What time?"
"I'll be there."
Gosh, I loved her smile.
Laying in bed that night, I thought about Janice, dredging up memories from my childhood.
We met during sixth grade, the first time that I went over to Ben's house to study with him. Ben and I found that, when it came to studying, he and I really clicked. For the next seven years, we were in and out of each other's houses constantly.
It didn't take long for our younger sisters to realize that they had a lot in common too. However, while Ben and I were only good friends, our sisters were best friends. Net result: I saw a lot of Janice during middle and high school.
I never really paid much attention to her - she was four years younger than I was after all. Even so, I have to admit with the help of 20-20 hindsight, she had always been nice to me - friendly even and helpful whenever she could be. She was certainly never the pest that Ben made her out to be, at least not to me anyway.
To be honest, if it wasn't for studying together, I doubt that Ben and I would ever have been friends - he really wasn't all that nice of a person. I mostly blame his parents for that. They had practically defined the term "self-absorbed" for me.
The Sibling Speaks
The next morning, I stopped by my parents house for breakfast. I had barely set foot in the door when my sister came up to me and wrapped me up in a big hug.
"What's up, Terry?" I asked, hugging back. She wasn't really a touchy-feely kind of person.
She pulled back and looked me in the eye. "You have a date with Janice?"
It was half question, half explanation, so I nodded in confirmation. "I'm going to be her date to her parent's Christmas party - no big deal."
"It may not be a big deal to you mister experienced college graduate, but Janice has never had a date with anyone - ever."
I was genuinely puzzled. "How can that be, Terry? She's such a good looking young woman, and she's a nice person, too."
She chuckled and patted my cheek. "Have a good time."
he knew something that she wasn't going to tell me. I hated it when she did that.
Party For Two
I knew that Terry was an extremely reliable source, so I could be sure that Janice had, in fact, never been on a date. I found it perplexing, but I wanted to come up with some ideas to help make it special for her. My final plan consisted of three basic parts. I dressed up in my best suit, I bought her a corsage and finally, I resolved that, no matter what, I would stick with her and give her my full attention for the entire evening.
Working in retail, I had learned how powerful and special one's undivided personal attention can be.
Janice's father opened the door in response to my knock. He looked at me like I had three heads."Hello, Todd. What can I do for you?"
"Good evening Mr. Jacobsen. Janice asked me to be her date to your family's Christmas party tonight."
His look changed. I must have grown seven or eight arms to go with my three heads. "Janice actually used the word 'date'? Are you sure about that?" The puzzlement in his voice wasn't half of the puzzlement written on his face.
"Yes, Mr. Jacobsen, I'm quite sure."
"Ok then, Todd. Come in and I'll get her for you."
.... There is more of this story ...