When Barry woke up, Ramona was cuddled up to him.
This in itself was a new thing, since they had only recently started sleeping in the same bed. Ramona wanted to take things slow, and though they had been dating for more than a year, it was only in the last few months that she had finally felt comfortable staying overnight. And every time they did, he noticed that she was curled around him in the morning.
It wasn't long before she woke up too, of course, because the thing that had roused him was the alarm, telling them in no uncertain terms that they had to get up or Ramona would miss her flight. She was flying back west in only a few hours.
It was the morning of December 24th.
"Ungh," she said.
"It's time," he said.
"Ungh," she said. "Why did they decide they needed to do things by the afternoon."
"Probably to make up for missing you last year."
"We did give them quite a freak-out. 'Why couldn't you have called, even for five minutes?' Mom was on me for months about it ... Actually, she's still on me about it."
They had met on ski slopes on December 21st, the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. By the time the sun set, they both agreed that it had been too short indeed. For the next six days they spent every waking moment together, laughing, learning, talking, touching, kidding, kissing. At the end of the week he felt like he had known her forever—something he planned to keep on doing, forever.
But the upshot was that they missed Christmas. Not only did they kind of forget it was happening, but they canceled all their plans too, preferring to stay with this wonderful new person. Barry at least had the presence of mind to call his folks; by the morning of the 25th, Ramona's voicemail was full of panicked messages. By the time she actually checked her voicemail, on the morning of the 26th, a missing-persons report was already percolating through law enforcement.
So the day after Thanksgiving, her parents called. Are you coming this year? Are you sure you're coming? Of course you can bring your new boyfriend if you want, but if you flake out on us again, we will kill you. So Ramona said that yes, of course she'd come, and Barry would love to as well; but then his parents called, with much the same sentiment. Neither thought their families would forgive them if they missed two Christmases in a row; and, to be honest, neither of them wanted to miss two Christmases in a row. But the downside there was that, for their first Christmas together, they wouldn't be together.
"I guess we could have been a little more responsible about it," he said.
"They really haven't forgiven me," she grumbled. "You'd think none of them had ever fallen in love before."
"Does your family normally do things on Christmas Eve?"
"No, they don't. That's the thing. They're so crazy about me being there that they're, like, making up new stuff to celebrate or something."
"Well ... it's good to be loved."
"Too much loved. 36 straight hours of Christmas. I might go insane."
"36 hours of my family would drive me insane."
"That too," she said, and turned her face up. In the dark, their lips touched.
As they kissed, sprawled out on the bed, he let his hands drift lower, down to her panty-clad hips. Her hand spidered its way down his chest, digging under the elastic of his boxers; at a touch, he felt himself surging to his full length. Here was another thing she had only done a few times; her touch still had the power to make him hard at an instant. He felt the smile against his lips as he came to attention at her call.
He began to kiss his way down her neck, towards her covered breasts. She was there before him, her bra falling away to reveal her breasts, pale in the dim light and capped by wide pink nipples. He loved her breasts—their heft, the smoothness of their skin in his hands—but above all the taste of her nipples, warm and thick in his mouth. He tasted one now, feeling its texture against his lips, the little bumps and ridges; feeling her respond to him, her hand curling around his neck, her chest pressing up to his mouth, offering her breast to suckle. Would he ever get tired of them? He had only had them a few times, but it seemed to him that they were perfect, as beautiful as breasts could be.
Soon her nipples were stiff and at attention, and his hand was wandering between her legs. He was unsurprised to find her wetness already beginning, and begin to kiss his way down, to bring her to full arousal. But her hands prevented him, catching him, pulling him up. She pushed him over onto his back, kissing him, reached down between them; and before he knew it, he was positioned at her entrance, the tip of his cock kissed by her warm wet lips.
"Are you sure?" he breathed.
A long pause.
Though she was not shy about her heart, with her body she was careful. Only since Thanksgiving had she felt comfortable going beyond heavy petting. And so far, sex—actual intercourse—was right out.
She cursed and climbed off him.
(Evidently, it still was.)
"I'm sorry, Bear," she said. "I want to, I just..."
"It's okay," he said, though it wasn't. But you didn't say that to your girlfriend. Not if you still wanted to be breathing in five minutes.
"It's such a big step," she said.
"It is a big step," he agreed. "If you want to save it for something special, I totally don't blame you."
"What do you want to do," she said, catching his eye. Her reddish mane glinted in the light from the windows; her eyes were wide and solemn.
The truth was that he wanted to have sex with her. But what he said was, "I want to do whatever you're comfortable with." And that was also the truth. He knew she would probably yield if he pushed her. He knew she would never forgive him if he pushed her. He knew he would never forgive himself. A man who forced himself on a woman had no right to hold his head high.
But it was more than that: there was something special at work here. A man wasn't supposed to be the one thinking about permanent arrangements, but the truth was that he did think about them. When he looked into the future, he saw Ramona by his side. He liked seeing that. He hoped she saw the same in her future. And—all moral pontifications aside—was it better to get a little sex now, or a lot of sex for the rest of his life? The answer to that was obvious.
"If you're not ready, we don't do it," he said. "You've always set the rules for this side of things and there's no reason to change that now."
He knew it was the right thing to say by the light in her eyes, by the enormous smile on her face. "Well, there's things I am ready to do," she said, and began to kiss his way down his chest towards his manhood, still at firm attention. And that told him it was the right thing to say too.
The thing was, neither of them were virgins. Barry had had his share of conquests in school, and no matter how Ramona might downplay her level of experience, the quality of her blowjobs gave it away. She knew what she was doing around a cock, and Barry was quite happy to be the beneficiary of her talents.
Her technique was impeccable: she seemed to know exactly which spots of him to attend to, which places to ignore—and not only that but how long, how hard, how swiftly. Whoever had taught her, they had taught her well. Her tongue swished up and down his shaft, around the crown, along the ridge on the underside; her hand circled his shaft, imitating her movements. As he threatened to peak, she backed off, only to increase the pressure as he calmed; and back and forth, again and again. But not only her technique was perfect: she looked up at him throughout, her eyes wide and bright, a look of love on her face—maybe even adoration. It could not have been clearer that she wanted him to enjoy every instant. It was certainly working. And when he came, orgasm rushing volcanic up his shaft to gush forth onto her waiting tongue, she smiled and swallowed every drop.
"Mmm," she said, with that pixie grin he loved so well.
He smiled back. "I love you too," he said. For wasn't that what she had said?—with her mouth, with her body, with her heart?
Then, of course, there were showers to take, breakfasts to eat, last-minute packing to do, a car to drive. Their planes were going in opposite directions, and if they weren't fast, both of them would leave without them. Life, with all its petty cares and demands, reasserted its dominance for a time, and the next thing he knew they were standing in the terminal to go their separate ways.
"Presents after we get back, right?" she said.
"Yeah. I mean, we didn't do them now, so..."
She gave a sly laugh: "Oh good, that'll give me time to find something to give you."
"I'm sure you'll think of something," he said. He had gone the route of traditional bling: a diamond pendant he hoped she would like. Jewelry was a foreign arena to him, but the darn thing had looked nice on the blue velvet display; and it was extravagant, which couldn't hurt. "You don't really have to get me anything," he said, not for the first time.
"Yeah, but I want to," she said, for at least the fiftieth time.
There was a short silence then, as last-minute travelers bustled around them.
"So," he said. "I'll see you in 48 hours."
"Same airport time, same airport place," she said, and leaned up to kiss him. "I love you."
"I love you too. Mer—"
"No," she said. "Don't say it until we're together again."
He shrugged. "Okay."
.... There is more of this story ...