That First Christmas
When she settled against his chest, he asked her about the quilt.
"It's just a quilt, JC."
"Tell me," he said quietly. "I want to know why you were crying."
"It's cold in Chicago in the winter," she began. "There's snow and ice, and you have to walk carefully or you could fall and really hurt yourself. And there's an awful lot of wind and that makes it even colder and more dangerous," she told him in a soft monotone, lost again in memories.
"It gets dark early," she continued, "and I needed to find a place to sleep before the flashy ones came out."
"The flashy ones?" he asked.
"The flashy ones - the men who dressed in shiny suits with lots of gold around their neck - the women with the low-cut dresses or tight sweaters and skirts who stood on the street corners smiling at the men." She looked back at him for a moment. "The whores and pimps, JC. All the kids called them the flashy ones because of the way they dressed."
"Did you know what whores and pimps did, Spencer?" His voice was soft, calming, coaxing her to relate the details.
"Not for a few years, but when I did, I avoided them."
"How old were you?"
"Eight or nine, I think."
"Go on. Tell me the rest," he encouraged, kissing the top of her head.
"There was a line at the local shelter and I knew there wouldn't be a bed so I hopped over to the church. The old priest was just inside the door so I had to go elsewhere. He and I didn't see eye to eye and I was chilly but not in the mood for one of his 'God is good' lectures. If the younger priest had been there, he would have turned his back when I sneaked up to the attic. Anyway, I checked a couple of other places I'd stayed in before but they were full, too. So, I went to the last place I had on my list of *safe* places to sleep. I went to a warehouse off of Adams Street."
She paused, remembering that night and shivered.
"So you went to the warehouse," he said softly.
"The wind was pretty strong and I was really cold. I had shoes and socks, but no boots and I was worried my feet would freeze. I had a sweater on under my long jacket but it wasn't enough and I remember I was scared I would have to stay on the streets all night. But I got to the warehouse and just getting out of the wind was a big thing."
"Was it empty?"
"Empty of people but there were plenty of big heavy boxes piled to the ceiling and I was small enough to wiggle between the stacks and hide in case I needed to. It was pretty chilly but it was much better than spending the night in a storefront," she said quietly, and falling silent.
"Tell me the rest, baby," he murmured, the ache in his heart weighing heavy.
"I found a stack of newspapers and pulled them around me once I wedged myself between the boxes. It was okay for a while but I was shivering. I knew I wasn't going to be able to sleep so I got up and started walking around the boxes to keep warm. And that's when I spotted the quilt draped over a box. I didn't know it was a quilt - I saw what looked like a blanket and when I picked it up, I almost dropped it. It was filthy and it smelled pretty bad. But it was thick and almost covered me. I couldn't afford to be picky and I wrapped myself in it and went back to the wedge between the boxes and slept." "The next day at school, my teacher said that a number of homeless people had died the night before. It had been one of the coldest nights of the year. As far as I know, that filthy quilt saved my life. It kept me from freezing to death."
"After school, I went back to the warehouse and wrapped the quilt in newspapers and hid it, thinking to save it for when I needed it again. The next day, Social Services caught up with me and I went to a new foster placement until the worst of the winter was over. I was a kid and forgot about it. Years later, I remembered it and just before I went to college, I retrieved it from that hiding place and washed it - numerous times. To this day, I am grateful for its warmth."
"Where did you hide it, baby?"
"Can't tell you, but if we're ever in Chicago, I'll show you."
"And when you found it among your things yesterday, it made you cry."
"I cried because I had killed the Christmas angel... I never thought I'd make it past my next birthday... When I saw the quilt, I thought God was giving me another chance. If I hadn't had it to cover me, I might have died that night," she said softly.
"Then we should put the quilt where we can see it, dolcezza," he said with quiet determination. "We should hang it somewhere so we can treasure it."
"It's old and faded and..."
"Doesn't matter. Without it, we might not have known each other, might not have loved, shared our lives..." He tightened his arms around her - the thought unbearable.
Spencer was quiet after that. She retreated to the sewing studio on the pretense of trying to get it ship-shape. JC's words had bothered her. She thought about all the things she would have missed if she hadn't made it through that winter all those years ago. But I did make it. And I made it through a lot of other bad times.
He had let her go without argument, giving her space, but now he had second thoughts. I stayed home to be with her and to be there for her. Quietly, he made his way to the sewing studio.
She was lying on the futon holding the tattered quilt, Mo at her side, his engine revving about as loud as an F-14. She was very quiet and he wondered what she was thinking.
"Room for your sailor on this bed?" he asked softly, kneeling next to her.
She put an arm around his neck and pulled him toward her. "I'm not sure I could bear it if you weren't in my life," she told him as he lay down next to her.
"I know I couldn't, bambina," he pulled her into his embrace and kissed her. "Are you okay, sweetheart?"
"Yes, very okay." Spencer hugged him fiercely. "JC, I love you and I want you. Make love to me. Don't ever stop loving me. Please," she said softly.
"My sweet imp," he murmured, holding her tightly, his hands rubbing her neck and shoulders as his lips roamed over her face. "I could no more stop loving you than I could stop breathing." He lay her on her back and leaned over her, cupping her face. "I need you more than I need anything else in this life," he whispered. "And I have to know you're there for me to hold and to love and to cherish. Siete miniera, bambina. You're mine, baby. You will always be mine."
He sat up, lifting her onto his lap. Her robe parted - she was nude and he feasted his eyes on her, enjoying the blush that tinted her skin. "I'm going to love you, gattina puss, all of you," he murmured, his hand sliding down to cup her bottom, his body turning so he hovered over her. Her legs ended up on his shoulders when he bent his head to kiss her mons and Spencer spoke softly, telling him how good it felt and how much she wanted him.
He teased her with his tongue, his hands kneading her round cheeks, slipping over the backs of her thighs and up again. Spencer's hands were around his neck when she peaked and she squeezed him hard, the satisfying shudders controlling her body. They seemed to have a domino effect - one after the other, they skated up and down her spine until her entire body floated back to earth and to the man who was kissing her inner thighs.
He didn't wait for her to relax. He continued kissing her thighs and then moved down her legs until he held one foot in his lap and the other with both hands. Raising her foot to his mouth, he licked the backs of her toes and then sucked the smallest one into his mouth.
"I'll get you for that, sailor," she promised, her breath still ragged, her fists hanging onto the sides of the futon. "I'll torture you and make you beg."
"Counting on it, imp," he grinned, knowing full well that licking and sucking her toes made her crazy.
"JC!" she pleaded. "I can't take any more."
"That's a shame, bella" he chuckled. "I've just begun."
He kissed his way up one leg, his mouth lingering on her thigh when she caressed his scalp and neck. "Do you have to know every inch of my body?" she asked quietly.
"Do you have to know every detail of my life?"
He lifted his eyes to her face and knew he had to hold her. Moving up, he leaned against the back of the futon, cradling her close to his chest. "Yes, I'd like to know every detail of your life," he admitted, "but I don't think that's going to happen. I especially want to know more about that little girl."
"What little girl?"
"The one you used to be and the one you protect so fiercely."
Tears filled Spencer's eyes. "I do that?"
"Yes, my love, you do," he said quietly. "I wish you'd let me protect her."
"How can you do that?"
"You can share her life with me and I can protect you. If your life is safe, your memories of her are safe within both of us," he said gently. "When you remember some detail that was painful, I'll be there to share it with you. The remembering won't be so hard and we'll make new memories - sweet ones," he added, cupping her face with a large and gentle hand.
"Are you going to tell me every detail of your life? All your dark secrets?"
"Are you going to tell me about the battles you've fought?"
"No, bambina, I'm not. There are too many horrible images I don't want in your head."
"JC, if I could reach in and erase them, I would. I'd replace them with sweet images - images of you and me loving."
"You already have, my love," he whispered, nuzzling her throat.
"You know so much about my past and you're strong for me. I think I should do the same for you. I..."
He cut her off by kissing her thoroughly. He didn't want to pursue this train of thought. Spencer could be very persistent and she had an uncanny knack of wringing information out of anyone, no matter who they were and no matter how reluctant they were to talk.
"I have a better idea," he said when he let her up for air. "Let's review what we know and love about this body." She laughed when he tickled her and he chuckled when she wiggled her bare butt on his belly.
"Bet you can't just lie there while I love you," she winked at him.
"Who says?" he growled, rubbing her bottom cheeks, prepared to spank and love her again.
"I do, sailor man," she said, pushing his arms over his head. "You have no willpower." She inched up his body, her thighs spread and the mouth of her sex barely within reach of his lips. "When it comes to me, you have no willpower at all," she said huskily, raising up on her knees and hovering over him. She was sopping wet and a drop of her essence fell on his chin. "Not any at all, sailor man."
"Damn straight," he groaned, pulling her down to his mouth and proceeded to devour her. His hands cupped her butt and pressed her down, holding her in place while he loved her. The scent and taste of her almost put him over the edge, his hard cock bobbing, and he wanted her so badly, it hurt.
Spencer collapsed on top of him when his mouth engulfed her and let the sensations rule. There was no way to resist JC's loving. She didn't want to. She wanted to be devoured, held, loved. She knew she belonged to him and she wanted to belong to him. Vaguely, she was aware that he had lowered her until her thighs straddled his hips and he was deeply seated inside her. She felt full - his size spreading her, the thickness of him filling her to capacity. She wanted him to stay forever.
His arms embraced her body as his hips thrust into her, his mouth bending, seeking any part of her he could reach. His hands lowered to her hips and he pulled her toward him, urging her to meet him in the age-old dance of love. She did and he shouted her name as he spilled into her, so loud the cat scurried from the room.
Afterward, they lay in each other's embrace and murmured their love of each other and the joy they felt when they were joined.
"You're delicious," he murmured. "I knew you'd be a good appetizer."
"Do you ever get tired of having the same appetizer?" she asked as she entwined her fingers in his furry chest.
"Never, my love," he smiled at the sensuous woman in his arms. "I want you for my appetizer, for my dessert and especially, for my main meal," he said. "Always - as often as possible."