That First Christmas
They slept later than usual, the late rising winter sun finally waking them. JC skipped his morning run, content to stay in bed with the imp in his arms. She had slept soundly when he brought her back to bed and he wondered again what it was she was looking for in the wee hours.
Sitting on the side of the bed, he stripped and then pulled Spencer's nightshirt off. He couldn't resist dropping a few kisses on her rosy nipples and suckling her throat and when he did, she murmured his name in her sleep. The sound of her voice calling his name shot straight to his heart and filled it. "You are mine," he murmured as he lifted her onto his chest and took her into the shower.
He held her while the water warmed and then stepped into the stall, setting her on her feet but still holding her against him. Cupping her bottom, he pulled her hips close to him as his mouth nuzzled her neck. In moments, she opened her eyes.
"Is it raining?" she asked softly.
"I don't think so," he answered as he rubbed his face over hers, still keeping her balanced against him.
"I'm getting wet."
He chuckled. "That's not all you're getting, piccola."
They poured their coffee into travel mugs, intent on sipping it as they began their daylong shopping excursion. JC knew a little out-of-the-way place for a good, old- fashioned country breakfast and he was eager for Spencer to enjoy it.
He was a little embarrassed when the attractive 50-something woman hurled herself into his arms and kissed him soundly on the mouth. "Simone," he murmured a greeting.
"Mon cher!" she exclaimed. "How good it is to see you again and how very handsome you are. You are well?"
"Very," he smiled.
"And this lovely woman?" She turned to Spencer. "You are lovers, yes?"
"Yes," JC chuckled, familiar with the woman's blunt discourse, pulling Spencer closer to his side. "How is Henrí?"
"Very well, thank you," a booming voice replied as he approached and picked JC up in a bear hug. "How are you, squid?"
"I was better," JC laughed, "before you crushed my ribs."
"Who is this?" he asked, unceremoniously dropping JC and putting gentle hands on Spencer's shoulders. "You are a beauty. Do you love this sailor? He's not nearly as good in bed as I am," he said with great solemnity.
Spencer laughed at the bear of a man. Not too many men could pick JC up. He was as big as their friend, Michael but much more physical in appearance.
"Don't hurt her, Henrí," JC warned softly, pulling Spencer back into the circle of his arms.
"Never, my friend. She's too beautiful for an ugly squid like you. She needs my gentle touch."
"May I introduce Henrí Chabonne? " JC chuckled. "A Seal who was the scourge of the VC too many bad memories ago. And this is Simone Chabonne, the woman who..."
"Keeps me sane," Henrí murmured, grabbing his wife and kissing her deeply in spite of their audience.
JC and Spencer watched them embrace as if they were brand new lovers instead of a happily married couple of 26 years.
"Were you on JC's Seal team?" Spencer asked when they were finally seated.
"No, little one. JC was on a Seal team long after I killed all the really bad guys. Your little sailor came after me."
"Little sailor? Did you call JC a little sailor?" Spencer howled with laughter.
JC folded his arms across his chest and glared at her. "Don't you dare!" he warned, making her laugh even harder.
"My little sailor says you make the best country breakfast on the East Coast," Spencer announced, ignoring his warning and his subsequent growl.
Henrí and Simone laughed with her. "Your little sailor is right," Simone continued to chuckle. "Two Chabonne breakfast specials coming right up."
Henrí and JC reminisced and Spencer listened. It wasn't often she heard about JC's exploits in combat and knew they kept their stories light because she was sitting there. Regardless, it was nice to see the easy camaraderie he shared with Henrí.
"Do you know Michael Marks?" she asked.
"The marine, Michael Marks? The man who thought he could arm wrestle me and win?"
"He did," JC laughed.
"The jarhead who thought he could drink me under the table?"
"He did," JC quipped.
"The biggest, strongest, meanest marine in the Corps?"
"That's the one," Spencer laughed.
"Yes, little one," he cupped Spencer's chin. "The little jarhead and I are old friends. Are you sure you don't want to come live with me? I promise I'll take very good care of you. I really am a much better lover than this ugly squid."
"Thank you for your kind offer, Henrí," Spencer smiled graciously. "But I think I'll stick with my little sailor." She cupped JC's cheek, intent on squeezing it, but he pulled her hand to his mouth and kissed her palm.
"Wise decision, imp," he murmured.
Simone yelled to Henrí to help her with the overloaded tray of food. He did so with a flourish, bowing low over the table as he set a plate of strawberry crêpes in front of Spencer and then one in front of JC. There was a bowl of whipped cream, a plate of tiny sausages, and another of crispy bacon. Simone brought a large pot of aromatic coffee and poured a cup for her and one for JC. Spencer was doubly surprised when Henrí set a tall glass of milk by her plate and she looked at JC.
"Did my little sailor tell this big man I like milk?"
"He did," he growled in her ear, pulling her into a hug. "Overdo this little sailor business and I'll make you beg for mercy over my knee," he whispered.
"Promise?" the naughty scamp asked.
"Count on it," he chuckled.
JC consulted his list when they said goodbye to the Chabonnes. They had quite a few stops and he wanted to get started. "Did you enjoy the breakfast, piccola?" he pulled her close to him for a quick hug as they pulled out of the driveway.
"It was delicious. I ate more than usual, too."
"I noticed," he smiled. "We'll come back again soon."
"I liked them, squidlet. They're both so sweet."
JC's lips curved up. Sweet? Henrí Chabonne was one of the deadliest Seals he ever met. The man had done more damage to the VC than an entire Seal team. He was proud to call him friend. But the killing had almost done him in. If it hadn't been for Simone, the man would have killed himself after the war. She saved him from himself, but that was a story for another time. Right now, his goal was to ensure that his sweet birbantella had a Christmas to remember.
Spencer was delighted to find a perfect gift for Michael in the very first shop they visited. JC found a few things he wanted and while he paid for their purchases, Spencer roamed around the little shop. She spied a basket of kittens and was holding several of them on her lap when JC found her.
"Aren't they adorable, JC?"
She saw the pained look on his face and grinned. "Not to worry, little sailor. I'm not planning on adopting them."
"That's a relief," he chuckled. "Come on. We've got more shopping to do."
They visited several more shops - all unique - and found a number of items for friends. He wanted to buy her a warm fleece robe he saw in a shop window and she wanted to buy him a leather shaving kit. She purchased a few bright Christmas bags for the gifts of miniature wine bottles they would give as Christmas tokens at a party they were attending. When JC wasn't looking, she bought a few things for him and arranged for them to be sent to the house while he was at work. While she was doing that, he picked out a few things for her and arranged to have them delivered to his office.
By late afternoon, Spencer's energy was waning and he took her to the seafood restaurant she liked so much. He requested a corner booth so he could sit with his arm around her shoulder while they waited for their food. "Are you having a good time, sweetheart?"
"I am. I love spending your money, too," she grinned.
"I'm glad your little sailor is good for something," he chuckled, nipping her earlobe.
"Are we spending too much?" she asked, suddenly worried.
"No, we're not. Don't worry about it."
"What's left on the list?"
"A few Christmas ornaments," he told her. "There's a little shop down the road where an old salt I know sells wooden ornaments he carves all year long."
"Was he in Vietnam?"
"He was in lots of places," JC said evasively.
She perked up when she ate all the shrimp and scallops on her plate and most of his. Dutifully, she left the lobster for him.
It was a hole in the wall, the smallest shop Spencer had ever seen. Christmas Cove was about the size of their guestroom and overflowing with wooden toys, wooden ornaments, wooden plaques, wooden animals, dolls, and countless knickknacks. She was overwhelmed.
JC greeted the old sailor, respectful of his age and his many years in the Navy. He introduced Spencer and she left them to talk while she inspected the man's artistry. Picking up a small wooden ship, she was amazed at the intricate details he had carved. There were several Seal tridents and Spencer turned to look at the man who had carved them.
"You trained Seals."
"Aye, ma'am. That I did," his deep voice rumbled.
Spencer moved closer to him and put a gentle hand on his sleeve. "Thank you," she said softly.
Caught off-guard, the old man coughed to cover his embarrassment. Her simple thanks had caused his eyes to fill and he turned around to straighten some items on a shelf while he blinked back a tear.
JC squeezed her hand. "I love you, imp," he said softly.
"I love you, too, squidlet," she smiled and went back to examining the wonderful wooden creations. She purposely avoided looking at the tall wooden doll she had spotted the moment she walked into the shop.
She wanted the wooden ship ornament and the wooden trident. She also picked out two wooden sailors - one standing at attention and saluting, the other at ease with his arms behind his back. Finally, she looked at the wooden stars. One in particular caught her eye. It was multi-pronged and carved out of a wood she couldn't identify.
"Do you like that one, bambina?" JC asked softly, coming up behind her.
"Do you think it will break if it fell off the tree?"
He took it from her and turned it over in his hand. "I don't know. Let me ask."
The older man was surprised by the question and he hurled the star to the floor. It didn't break. Picking it up, he examined it for cracks. "No, it won't break," he said simply.
JC pursed his lips, wondering... thinking... and guessing.
Spencer ran her finger over every facet of the star. It was whole - no cracks - no dents - no damage. "What kind of wood is this?" she asked quietly.
"Magic wood," the older man said, smiling for the first time. "For a special Christmas tree."
"JC, I'd like to put this on our tree."
"It's perfect," he smiled, handing it over to be wrapped along with the other things Spencer had chosen. He added a wooden cat and also paid for the wooden doll he saw Spencer avoiding. Quietly, he arranged for the doll to be delivered to his office later in the week.
She chattered on the way home, making him smile. She was pleased with the gifts they bought - the special breakfast - meeting Simone and Henrí. She waxed enthusiastically about the kittens and told him how much she loved the wooden ornaments and meeting the crusty sailor. "He is crusty, isn't he, JC?"
"Never known him to be anything else, sweetheart," he grinned. "Until you came into his life," he murmured, pulling her closer and dropping a kiss on the top of her head.
Unexpectedly, she yawned and gently, he tugged her head onto his chest so she could lean against his side while he drove home.
They piled their packages into a corner of the living room to be sorted later. Spencer was tired and they agreed they'd decorate the tree the following evening.
JC was hungry for her. They were still honeymooners; it had been hours since he had touched her the way he wanted to touch her and he wasn't going to let any more time pass without loving her. He lifted his imp into his arms.
"JC!" she exclaimed, briefly startled. "What are you doing?"
"Having dessert, sweetheart. Interested?"
"Are you having me?" she laughed softly.
"Are you my naughty little sailor?" she teased.
"Sailor? Yes," he smiled, holding her while he sat on the couch and gently turned her over his knees. "Little? Not by a long shot, baby." He slipped his hand under her skirt and under her panties, a long slim finger gently probing between her soft folds. "Naughty? Uh-uh. I'm downright wicked," he grinned, delighted to feel the first few drops of her dew.
He held her on his lap murmuring sweet words as he kneaded her bottom cheeks and when she was sopping wet, removed her panties. And then he made short work of her clothes. When she was nude, he kissed the length of her back and her ivory cheeks and then delivered the light stinging spanks he had introduced her to shortly after they met. Spencer shivered... JC's mouth followed his hands, wet kisses on warm and rosy flesh, his love words as sensuous as his caresses.
"Gonna have dessert now, mia amore," he murmured, quickly pulling his clothes off. He leaned over her, his hips between her thighs, his hands caressing her. "I'm going to make you beg for mercy - again," he promised, lifting her hips and plunging into her heat. "And again," his hips thrust forward filling her with his hard shaft. "And again," he swore, "until you can't take any more." His hands cupped her bottom and he shifted the angle of his movements so she'd feel maximum pleasure every time he moved within her.
Her arms were around his neck and her breasts tingled every time his chest touched her. His hands on her pinked bottom were an embrace and no matter his words, his actions were both forceful and gentle at the same time. The tenderness of his lovemaking filled her as much as his hard body filled her.
"I love you, little sailor," she murmured, meeting his thrusts and tightening her inner walls around him. "I love you so much."