A Dream By The Fire
Chapter 1

Caution: This Erotica Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa,

Desc: Erotica Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Scott has been in love with Tabitha, the single mother next door, almost since the first day he moved in. The problem is that Tabitha is in love with someone else '" a married man who has all the right excuses for why he's still with his wife. And then one snowy Christmas Eve...

It was Christmas Eve, 1995, and, in Heritage, California, it was about as cold as it ever got. The mercury was hovering in the mid-thirties and a cold, freezing rain, driven by an artic wind from a low-pressure system over Oregon, was falling all over the area. There were reports that snow was falling as low as one thousand feet in the nearby Sierra Nevada foothills, dusting the exclusive Heritage suburbs of Cypress Hills and Andiron. There were even cautious predictions that as the temperature continued to drop in the late evening and early morning hours that snow might fall in Heritage itself. If true, this would be an extremely rare occurrence. At an average elevation of forty feet, Heritage had only received measurable snowfall six times in recorded history. And never had it snowed on Christmas.

Scott Black was twenty-seven years old on this most frigid evening. As he drove his battered, eight year old Chevy Cavalier home from his parent's house just before nine o'clock, his nostalgia for a possible white Christmas was being overridden by the fact that he was freezing his ass off. The Cavalier's heater had given up the fight about two months ago for reasons unknown and, as a struggling post-graduate student at UC Heritage, he couldn't afford to even have anyone diagnose the problem, let alone fix it. He was shivering madly as he drove through the wet and mostly deserted streets, peering myopically through a windshield clouded with condensation from his exhalations. His only consolation was that the tape deck still worked. It was currently cranking out track three of one of his favorite albums of all time: Intemperance's It's In The Book. Those hometown boys really knew how to rock. It was a shame about what had become of them a few years before.

The neighborhood Scott lived in was not one of the best. It was in the suburb of Lemon Hill, in an area constructed in the early sixties. His street was called Cucamonga Avenue and consisted entirely of duplexes that had been converted to rentals more than a decade before. It wasn't exactly a mansion in the sky but it was all he could afford on the bank teller's salary he was being paid while working on his Master's Degree in structural engineering. He lived in the left half of the duplex and shared a large driveway with the right half, which was occupied by a twenty-five year old woman named Tabitha Loggins and her six-year-old daughter, Katie. Tabitha — or Tabby to her friends — was a medical assistant who worked in a large, HMO sponsored practice in Shining Oaks. A gorgeous, well-built blonde who only displayed a few of the intelligence shortcomings usually associated with people of her hair-color, Scott had been more than infatuated with her since the moment he'd moved in just over nine months before.

Scott was prepared to be upset and irritated as he turned down Cucamonga and drove the last two hundred yards to the driveway. Tabby had told him several days before that her so-called "boyfriend" (she had even been known to refer to him as her "fiancé" a few times), Dr. John Williams, would be visiting on Christmas Eve in order to help her set up the Santa presents for Katie and to bask in the love of his future family. She had been very excited about this prospect, especially after the hurtful fiasco she'd endured just the week before at their office Christmas party. Whenever the ultra-charming, ultra-rich, and ultra-married Dr. Williams showed up at Tabby's place for one of his visits he always parked his 1994 Lexus in the left side of the driveway, the part that belonged to Scott, thus blocking Scott's access to his garage.

This parking problem was an issue that, months before, had already been discussed, compromised over, settled, and then the settlements disregarded. Dr. Williams refused to park his Lexus on the street in "a neighborhood like this". As to why he thought someone would not break into his car because it was in the driveway, where it could not be observed from inside Tabby's house, but would break into it out on the street, where it could be observed, had never been adequately explained. Tabby, trying to keep the peace with her "duplex-mate", as she called Scott, had promised that when Dr. Williams was coming over she would move her Toyota Celica out into the street so the good doctor could park on her side of the driveway, thus leaving Scott's side free and clear. It was a good plan on paper but somehow it never seemed to work out in practice. It was at least a weekly event that Scott would come home from work, or from school, or from the library and find Tabby's Celica and Dr. Williams' Lexus parked side by side, blocking his garage door entrance. He knew better than to knock on Tabby's door at times such as these because it wouldn't be answered. The doctor did not show up at her house to sit on the couch and watch television, after all.

Scott generally just sucked such events up and let them go. He would park his own car on the street until the doctor left and then move it into the garage where it belonged. If he did talk to Tabby about it later it was never in a stern manner. He found it impossible to remain mad at Tabby once he was actually in her presence and looking at that long blonde hair, at the shape of that gorgeous body, once he was listening to that sultry, sexy voice coming out of her mouth. Perhaps if she had been a stuck-up bitch like most of the truly magnificent women Scott had been acquainted with throughout his life it might have been different. But Tabby was far from a bitch. She was one of the sweetest, good-hearted women Scott had ever met and she liked Scott, not in that way unfortunately, but as a friend and confidant. They talked often and well, usually during the early evening hours on nights that Dr. Williams couldn't seem to make an appearance. She invited him to have dinner with her and Katie a few times a month and he did the same for them. She told him of the frustrations she sometimes had to deal with in this "unconventional relationship" she was involved in. More than a few times she had cried on his shoulder after Dr. Williams had cancelled plans with her at the last moment or just failed to show up when he was expected or, most common, had been forced to delay the serving of the divorce papers to his wife for any number of financial, familial, or legal reasons.

"Sometimes, when I'm really feeling depressed about this," she had confided to him just last week as she'd cried on his shoulder about the Christmas party debacle in which he'd showed up with his wife on his arm and had happily danced the night away with her while completely ignoring Tabitha all night, "I start to wonder if he isn't just using me for sex."

Scott had been able to suppress a sharp, contemptuous laugh from emerging from his mouth but he hadn't been able to suppress a roll of the eyes. Fortunately her face had been buried in his shoulder at that moment and she'd missed it.

And, of course, the good doctor had charmed his way back into her graces the very next day by buying her a pair of diamond earring and explaining to her that his wife had insisted on going to the Christmas party and that he had to pretend to be happy so as to avoid fueling the rumors that were already passing around the office about he and Tabitha. She had known going into this that they couldn't reveal their love for each other until the time was right, hadn't she? She had agreed that she had and Dr. Williams' Lexus had remained in the driveway until well past Scott's bedtime that night, forcing him to leave his Cavalier out until the morning. When Tabby talked to Scott the next day she gleefully told him that the doctor had told her that the strife between himself and his wife had now reached the intolerable stage and he'd promised her that he would start looking into the divorce proceedings as soon as the new year began. By this time next year, that divorce would be complete and she would be the new Mrs. Williams. And furthermore, she had added, Dr. Williams had talked the current Mrs. Williams into taking their three children to Mill Valley for the holiday and that he, Dr. Williams, would be staying home.

"He said it'll be just like we're family," Tabby had explained excitedly. "He'll come over for Christmas Eve and we'll have a big dinner and sit in front of the fire and let Katie open some of her presents and then, after she goes to bed he'll help me set up all the Santa things. In the morning we'll get up early and watch her open everything and then have Christmas dinner together. Oh, Scotty, it's like a dream come true for me."

"That sounds great," Scott had said, feeling the familiar stab in his own heart he felt whenever she forgave and forgot the sleazebag adulterer's latest escapade.

But now, as the duplex came into view, Scott saw that the left half of the driveway was conspicuously empty of a Lexus. The entire structure was lit up with the twinkling Christmas lights Scott himself had put up a few weeks before (complete with a large, inflatable Santa that was now blowing precariously back and forth in the gusty wind) but there was no doctormobile to be seen. Had he not shown up yet? Was he here as planned and had taken his 'future family' out for a ride? Or had he flaked on her yet again? As Scott pushed the remote control button on his dashboard and waited for the garage door to roll up on its track, he thought that the flaking out theory was, by far, the most likely. After all, Dr. Williams had a long history of flaking out even on non-holiday promises. Scott tried not to savor the gleeful emotion that accompanied this thought but he really couldn't help it.

He pulled his car into the garage and then unloaded the leftover turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes his mother had insisted he take home with him. He walked into the house and found that his heater in here had apparently decided to give up its battle against the elements as well. This was hardly surprising. The heater worked fine when the temperature was in the fifties outside. When it dropped into the forties, however, it started to lose its will to live. When you started talking thirties, like it was now, you were lucky if you could keep it warm enough in the house to avoid seeing your breath.

"Eighteen more months," Scott muttered as he stepped out the back door into the small yard and pulled a couple of pieces of firewood from a pile out there. Luckily he'd remembered to weigh down the tarp that covered the wood and it was reasonably dry. His plan was to get a blazing fire going and then sit in front of it and drink decaf coffee spiked with brandy until he felt warm enough to go to bed.

The phone started to ring. He looked at it, knowing that it was Tabby and that Dr. Williams had flaked out on her again. There was no one else who would be calling him right now except Tabby and Tabby wouldn't be calling him on Christmas Eve unless something was wrong. He set the wood down by the fireplace and went to pick up the cordless handset.

"Hello?" he said casually.

"Hi, Scotty," her voice said, it's tone without much inflection. "It's Tabby."

"Oh hi, Tabby," he said as if he hadn't recognized her voice, as if he had so many women calling him day in and day out that he had to have a name attached to know which one of his bitches it was this time. "What's up?"

"I saw you pull in," she said. "I was just wondering how your Christmas Eve went. Did you have fun with your parents?"

"It was the usual," he said. "My dad spent all night telling me how much money I could be making if I'd been working at his car dealership this year, my mom told me how skinny I was getting and unloaded a bunch of food on me, and my brother went on and on about how those damn capital gains taxes are going to kill him again this year. They all took turns telling me that taking out more student loans to get my master's degree when I could've gotten a job as an engineer with just my bachelor's was one of the worst financial decisions known to man."

"Sounds like the usual," she agreed. Not wanting to let her monopolize their previous discussions with descriptions of her own problems, Scott had spent more than a few hours telling her about his family, who were the constant thorn in his side.

"And... uh... how about yourself?" he asked. "I couldn't help but notice that I was able to park my car in my garage. Did your holiday plans hit a snag?"

There was a brief silence followed by a sniffle. "Oh god, Scotty," she said. "I'm sorry. I'm always dumping all my problems on you, aren't I?"

"What are friends for?" he asked, trying to keep the bitterness out of the word 'friends'. "He flaked on you again?"

"He went to Mill Valley with his family," she said. "He didn't even have the guts to call me and tell me in person. He sent me an email two hours ago from his fucking Hotmail account. He said his children were so sad that he couldn't be there that he just had to go. He promises he'll make it up to me."

"An oldie but a goodie," Scott said.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Nothing," he said. "I'm sorry things fell through for you."

"And that's not all," she said. "The damn heater isn't working in here and Katie and I are freezing. Not only that but..." she paused for a second and Scott heard her voice speaking softer, away from the phone. "Katie, hon," she said. "Can you go get Mommy's slippers out of my bedroom?"

"Okay, Mommy," a faint voice replied.

A few seconds later Tabby's voice whispered at him. "And that's not the worst of it. He was supposed to help me set up all the stuff from Santa. I got Katie a bike and a dollhouse that needs to be put together. I don't know how to do stuff like that. Scotty, hon, could you be a dear and come over to help me?"

"Help you put the toys together?" he asked. "Sure. What time does she go to bed?"

"She'll probably stay up until about ten tonight, but can you come over now? Maybe with some of that firewood you have in your backyard?"

"Uh... sure," he said. "I guess I could do that."

"And not just for that either," she said, her voice a little softer. "I really don't want to be alone tonight, Scott. Neither does Katie. She's always liked you and I thought... you know... that having you over here before she goes to bed would be... good for her. You know what I mean?"

"Yeah," Scott said. "I know what you mean. I'll be right over."

"Thanks, Scotty," she said. "You're a dear."

He showed up at her door fifteen minutes later, a large box of firewood in his arms and a couple of wrapped presents sitting atop the wood. Katie answered the door and her face lit up with happiness as she saw him. At six years old she was a small copy of her mother: blonde-haired, blue eyed, and almost achingly pretty. She was wearing a pair of thick green flannel pajamas with Santa Clauses and reindeer all over them.

"Scotty!" she squealed, jumping up and down. "Mommy said to let you in. What are those presents?"

"What presents?" he asked nonchalantly as he stepped into the living room.

"The presents you're carrying!" she said.

"I don't have any presents," he said. "I just brought some wood over for a fire."

"Those presents on top of the wood!" she exclaimed, exasperated.

"Oh... these?" he asked. "They're just some presents for me."

"For you?" she asked, furrowing her brow.

"Yeah," he said. "I thought after I got the fire going I'd open them up and see what's inside of them. It's probably some shirts and socks and things from my mom."

Katie wasn't buying this. "Those are for me and Mommy," she said slyly. "You're too old to have a mom."

He laughed, shaking his head. "Out of the mouths of children," he said as he carried the box over to the fireplace and sat it down. "Why don't you go put these under the tree, hon? Maybe later we'll see what's inside of them."

"Okay," she said brightly.

Tabby came out of the kitchen just as Katie dashed across the room with the presents. She was looking her usual lovely self tonight, Scott saw. She was wearing a pair of tight, low-riding jeans and a white turtleneck sweater with green Christmas trees on it. Her long blonde hair had been done up identically to Katie's, in two braids that spilled over her shoulders and onto her breasts.

"You got us presents?" she asked, walking over to him. "You didn't have to do that, Scott."

"Sure I did," he said. "You are my two favorite duplex-mates, aren't you? I had to get you something."

"I didn't get you anything," she said. "Now I feel bad."

"Give me a hug and we'll call it even," he said.

She complied, putting her arms around him and hugging him tightly. He felt those pouty lips he'd fantasized so much about smack him wetly on his right cheek. He shuddered a little at the feel of her soft, luscious body against him, at the soft smell of her perfume.

"Are we even?" she asked.

"I think you overpaid," he said, feeling flushed. "You have some change coming back to you."

"Oh you," she said, slapping at him playfully. "You're such a flirt."

"Yeah, that's me," he agreed. He turned serious. "Are you doing okay?"

She nodded. "Yeah, I think so," she whispered. "It's not like it's the first time, huh?"

"Or even the second," he added.

He got a fire going in the fireplace while she retreated to the kitchen and made him a drink. By the time it was starting to blaze she came back and handed him a steaming cup that smelled of chocolate and peppermint.

"What's this?" he asked.

"It's called a snuggler," she said.

"A snuggler?"

She nodded. "Hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps. Haven't you ever had one before?"

"I don't believe I have."

"Just the thing for a Christmas Eve in front of the fire," she said. "Drink up."

He drank up. It was very good, the chocolate and peppermint flavors mixing well and with just enough of an alcohol kick to make him feel warm inside. Of course, being a guy, he could never admit to another guy that he'd actually consumed a drink called a "snuggler", but Tabby would keep his secret.

"Can I open my present now?" asked Katie, who was sipping some hot chocolate of her own — a virgin snuggler, if you will.

Tabby gave a mock sigh. "Are you sure you want to open one now, sweetie?" she asked. "It's not really Christmas yet, you know."

"Yes yes yes!" Katie screamed. "You said I could. You promised!"

"I suppose I did," she said. "Okay, go get one."

Katie immediately tore across the room and picked up the one Scott had just brought over. "This one!" she yelled, carrying it back.

"Are you sure you don't want to open the one in that box from me?" Tabby asked her playfully.

"No way!" Katie said. "That one feels like clothes!"

Scott and Tabby laughed while Katie went about the task of ripping open the wrapping paper with everything she had. Her eyes widened when she saw what was revealed. "A skydancer!" she yelled happily. "Just what I wanted! Look, Mommy, it's a skydancer!"

Tabby was looking at Scott with something like awe. "How did you get your hands on a skydancer?" she asked. "Every store has been sold out of them for weeks."

"I have my sources," he said mysteriously, which was true. One of his brother's clients was the K&L Toy Factory in the Heritage downtown mall. Scott had asked him to ask them set one aside a few weeks ago during the height of the skydancer madness.

"That was very sweet of you," Tabby told him. "Katie, what do you say to Scotty?"

"Thanks, Scotty," she said absently. "Can I play with it now?"

"It probably won't work very well inside the house," Scott told her. "The ceiling's too low."'

"Awww," she said, dejected.

"But how about you bring your mom her present and we'll see what we can do."

"Okay," she said brightly, grabbing the wrapped present from beneath the tree.

Tabby unwrapped her present a little slower but with the same eagerness her daughter had displayed. She was also just as pleasantly surprised by what she found inside the package. She had complained to Scott on several occasions about not being able to listen to her favorite music in her car because all she had was a tape deck. Though it had cost him a bit more than he really could afford, he had gotten her a CD converter that plugged into the tape deck and would allow her to listen to her compact discs like a civilized person.

"Oh, Scotty," she said, smiling happily. "You shouldn't have." She giggled a little. "But I'm glad you did. Thank you." She leaned over and, for the second time that evening, planted a wet kiss on his cheek. As before he flushed and felt warmth spreading throughout his body, making him decide the money he'd spent had been well worth it.

Scott had been entirely correct about the ceiling being too low in the house. Katie's first attempts to fly her new skydancer ended prematurely when it slammed into the ceiling and crashed to the ground. After some help from Scott and some simple experimentation, however, they were soon able to figure out the proper pull strength and angle of launch that allowed it to achieve an unimpeded, though short, flight from one end of the hallway to the other. Once discovered, Katie went about doing it over and over and over again.

Scott and Tabby watched her from in front of the fire, sipping from their snugglers.

"She didn't get a present from John," Tabby said with a sigh.

"Nothing?" Scott asked.

"He was supposed to bring something over today," she said. "But, of course, since he's in Mill Valley with his wife and kids right now I guess it slipped his mind."

"I'm sorry," Scott said. "You shouldn't have to put up with that. Neither should Katie."

She nodded. "It's what I get for involving myself with a man who hasn't left his wife yet," she said. She shook her head angrily. "He didn't forget to bring me a present though."

"He didn't?"

"No," she said. "He brought mine by yesterday. Of course he was on his way somewhere and couldn't stay for more than five minutes, but he made sure I had the present."

"What was it?" Scott asked.

"Do you want to see what it was?" she asked bitterly. "Wait here."

She got up and disappeared down the hallway during one of Katie's pre-flight cycles. When she came back she was carrying a small, flat white box with the distinctive lettering of Victoria's Secret on it. She tossed it down in his lap. "How's that for a Christmas present for the one you love?" she asked.

He opened the box and beheld a Santa hat with the words "Santa's little helper" written across the white part in red. Beneath the hat was a very tiny piece of artificial silk lingerie designed to look like a sexy elf's outfit. It was red with green trim. It had an extremely pronounced vee in the chest portion and a hemline that was less than three feet from the shoulders.

"Wow," Scott said, holding it up and imagining what she would look like in it. The very thought gave him the beginnings of an erection. "Were you going to wear this for him tonight?"

She nodded. "I was going to," she said. "Now I'm seriously thinking about tossing it into that fire, box and all."

Scott shook his head. "The man is insane if he chose not to come over here and see you in this," he said. "He's absolutely insane."

She blushed a little and tussled his hair with her fingers. "You're sweet," she said. "Do you really think I'd look good in it?"

"I strongly suspect you would," he told her. "Of course, in order to be sure beyond a reasonable doubt I'd have to actually see you in it."

She laughed, slapping at his shoulder again. "Nice try," she said. She took the lingerie from his hands and stuffed it back in the box. She tossed the box over by the chair instead of throwing it into the fire.

Soon it was time to start coaxing Katie to bed so the ritual of setting up the Santa Clause toys could begin. Tabby was expert in this particular kind of persuasion and knew all the standard lines. She told Katie that Santa couldn't come until she was asleep and that Santa would probably want to hit this particular part of the world first so he could get in and out before the weather worsened. Katie agreed with this logic and reminded both Tabby and Scott that they'd better get to bed soon too. She then left a plate of cookies and a glass of milk next to the fireplace, kissed her mother and Scott, and headed off to her bedroom.

"We'll give her a half an hour or so to make sure she's really asleep," Tabby whispered to Scott. "She's already up later than normal. Once she's out she'll be out for good. You could fire off a gun in her bedroom and she wouldn't wake up."

"Sounds like a plan," Scott said, picking up another chunk of wood and tossing it onto the fire.

They sat on the floor close to the fireplace and basked in its warmth, staring into the flames.

"Thank you again for coming over to be with us tonight," Tabby said.

"It was my pleasure," he said truthfully. As always, he was thrilled just to be in the presence of Tabby even though he knew she saw him as nothing more than a friend.

"I thought Katie would be sad and disappointed when I told her that John wasn't going to be able to be here tonight," she said. "She wasn't though. She didn't even bat an eye."

Scott couldn't help himself. "Maybe she's getting used to being disappointed by him," he suggested.

Tabby sighed. "Maybe," she said. "John has been somewhat of a trial these past few months. Sometimes I wonder just what the hell I'm doing."

"What do you mean?" he asked casually.

"I love him," she said, "but it's really hard sometimes, like tonight for instance. He promises me that we're going to be together soon, that he's going to divorce his wife soon, that he's going to be here for me on Christmas, and then he goes off to Mill Valley with his family. And it's not like this is the first time this has happened either. He told me he'd spend Thanksgiving with me too, and Labor Day weekend, and the Fourth of July. But he always seems to have some reason to spend it with that bitch he's married to."

Scott resisted the urge to give her an eye roll. "I think you've hit on the key word of your problem, Tabby," he said.

"What's that?" she asked, not getting him.

"The word is 'married'," he said. "The doctor is married to another woman. He has a family."

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