Damn it to hell, it was Christmas Eve. I was curled up in my favorite chair listening to Bruce laugh his way through "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" while I sip my second glass of Shiraz — could it get any better than this? Of course it fucking could. For one thing, Stephen could have not been assigned as first officer on a three-day to Australia. And for another, he could have fucking taken me with him, the asshole.
Instead, I had to settle for wearing one of his favorite flannel shirts, along with a pair of my favorite silk panties. I reached for the remote, to change the fucking burning fireplace log to some other equally useless channel, when I felt my eyes begin to close. I jerked awake once and shook my head. It was barely eight o'clock. Maybe I should switch to Chardonnay. Reds always made me sleepy. Too late. This time I was off for good.
The song was still playing when I started to wake up, although I slowly became aware that it was a somewhat different version.
You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry / You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why / Santa Claus is going to town /Santa Claus is going to town / And Mrs. Claus is cumming tonight.
She's making a list, she's checkin' it twice / She's gonna find out whose naughty AND nice / Santa Claus is going to town / Santa Claus is going to town / And Mrs. Claus is cumming tonight.
She sees you when you're sleeping / She knows if you're awake / She knows if you've been bad or good - better be good for Rachel's sake / You better be good for Rachel's sake...
"Speaking of knowing if you're awake, welcome, honey."
It was the dark, honeyed voice of the woman who had been singing along with Bruce ever since I'd recovered consciousness. I could see her dancing around the darkened room, lit only by the roaring fire in the giant fireplace on the wall behind her and, incredibly, by the reflection of thousands of stars off a bare field of white snow that came in through the large windows on the other wall.
"Where am I?" I asked hesitantly. "Who are you?"
"Where are you, baby? The North Pole. I heard a snap of her fingers and the room was filled with light. It was an enormous room, with dark, hardwood floors covered with various rugs. There was a beautiful Persian rug underneath the dining area that adjoined the shiny stainless steel kitchen, and a deep blue, shag rug beneath the furniture that was grouped around the fireplace. It was a peninsula of a room, in fact; the windows on three sides looked out on the snow, with only one door near the kitchen that appeared to connect the room to some other part of the house.
"Who am I? Mrs. Claus, of course. But you can call me Rachel."
"What the fuck is going on?" I demanded. I tried to stand up, but found myself almost stuck to the chair. As my eyes got used to the light, I was finally able to make her out: a gorgeous woman with long black hair, porcelain skin, and red, pouty lips. She was obviously dressed for bed, in a red silk top lined with fur and tied in a big bow at her chest. The matching G-string made some sense; the matching hat looked a little odd.
"Funny you should put it that way," she said with a giggle. "What the fuck indeed."
"Look, lady, I don't know who the hell you think you are, but you better let me out of here."
She sauntered over to stand in front of me. "Who the hell I am is Rachel Claus. And since Nicky's gone for the night, I finally get to use my own list of who's been naughty and nice."
She reached down and unerringly touched a tip of her finger to my right nipple, still covered by flannel. It was like an electric shock.
"Oh, God," I gasped.
"And you seem to be very nice," she continued. "Nice blonde hair, nice lips, nicely pointed tongue, nice talented fingers."
I stared at her as she giggled again.
"They seem to come in handy when you're naughty, too." A giant projection television flickered to life just to her right. "Like when you got yourself off at the Chicago Symphony last month. And when you sucked off that friend of Stephen's while he was flying a trip to England in August."
Stunned, I realized that the television was broadcasting the very images she was describing.
"You're perfect," she said. "Just the right combination of naughty and nice."
There was a very sexy depth to her timbre that told me exactly what she had meant by that.
"I — I don't do girls," I stammered and shook my head. The whole thing still seemed much too unreal. "Anyway, aren't you a little old for this?"
"Do I look too old?" she asked. She stood in front of me, her legs spread, and slowly pulled the bow on her top. It fluttered slowly to the ground. Her figure was flawless. Her breasts were magnificent, like those of a particularly well-endowed eighteen-year-old girl who never found time to study the law of gravity. "I keep in pretty good shape. Jazzercise, yoga, reindeer games. What's a couple of hundred years, after all?"
I was still powerless to move as she pushed my knees apart and knelt between my thighs. Delicate fingers, their nails the same color red as her lips, carefully teased apart the buttons on the flannel shirt.
"Look, bitch," I said. "I told you, I don't do girls."
"No? That's not what my list says. It says you and — what was her name, Kara? — were the hottest thing going once upon a time."
By now she had pulled apart the sides of my shirt, and I knew she was well aware of the hot flush spreading across my torso.
"Everybody did it in college," I mumbled.
"Everybody didn't enjoy it quite as much as Samantha and Kara did. Or do it quite as often as you two."
I watched in horror as the screen shifted to a video of Kara and I writhing naked on the beds that we had pushed together our junior year, a finger in each other's pussy. And then a picture of Kara and I kissing in the school pool, where we had found a way to sneak in.
"Stop it!" I screamed.
"Stop what?" she asked softly. I looked down and realized that she had just pulled her lips off of my breast, leaving a circle of wetness around my brownish areola.
"Everything!" It was less a command than a whispered plea.