Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Part 6 in Thurmount Holiday (see the category Thurmount Holiday for the other entries).

Insignificant preamble. You all weren’t getting a segment of Thurmount Holidays for today’s daily prompt because I didn’t think I could write one after going to a Christmas Party so I wrote something earlier in the day. However, I kind of like Will and Kayla and when I got home, I thought: well, let’s just see if I can write something, anything. So, here it goes:

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

For years predating me, Will’s family, Blake’s family, Layla’s family (you haven’t met Layla yet, but hang on) and mine have gotten together for a Christmas tree trimming party. The party alternates years at different houses. Will, Blake, and me have missed it for the past three years.

When I was pudgy, it was not a fun time. Blake would have all manner of condescending remarks about my weight. And, yes, I know what you’re thinking. How could you date a guy like that, much less think you were in love with him?

Simple. Try being fat.

I have no doubt that it’s a psychoanalyst’s daydream. A fat girl turning svelte and falling in love with her tormenter. Geez, when I read it, it’s just plain sad. I am sincerely boo-hooing in my cheerios. However, it’s probably also the reason why I have never considered Will as anything more than a friend. He’s never treated me badly. He has always, 100% of the time, treated me well. He’s been there; he’s been fantastic; and I have never looked at him as a sexual being until this morning.

I hang back as the families come in. The house crowds quickly and eggnog, wine, beer and bourbon are poured and then there’s the cutting of the spirited fruitcake from Granny Tyler that’s made with her spiced cherries, dates, apricots, apples, roasted pecans and lots and more of bourbon that would have you rethinking every nasty thing you’ve ever heard about fruitcakes.

Megan has Christmas music jingling from multiple mobile speakers around the house. The fire is snapping in the living room. The house is rowdy and yet nostalgic, making me hunger for the holidays more than I have in years, maybe just because I haven’t been back and immersed in them.

I watch Will and Blake. Will keeps glancing around and I realize he’s looking for me, but I stand back for a few moments. I feel like I just need to really see him because the atmosphere is changing between us, and it may even be an atmosphere of my own manipulation, but I need to have a slight understanding of it.

He’s drinking an oatmeal stout that I recognize as one he and I had loved at a bar on one of our stops in Santa Fe. He and Blake don’t talk; they don’t even hang near each other. Blake is trying to be the life of the party, but he forgets that everyone here has always known him and, while he might be a star in Nashville, in this house he’s just Blake Hunter, son of William and Brenda.

When I enter the living room with the three boxes of Christmas ornaments I’d been sent for, Will looks up and smiles. I keep trying to find a way to tell you about Will’s smile. It transforms a perfectly nice looking face into a handsome one with straight white teeth and crinkles at the corners of the kindest blue eyes that are like the Caribbean sea off of Cancun. I wish he’d trim some of the errant beard that seems to want to creep up his cheeks, but it’s not like that’s something we can’t handle

Blake shows me his surly side with his nose inching upward and his lips pressed tight. He’s called me a fat bitch in the past and right now he’s more than willing to call me the latter half of that.

Megan hands me an eggnog. It’s only after I’ve taken a sip that I realize that it’s mostly creamy colored bourbon with lots of nutmeg. Hallelujah!  I sip deeply and hang on.

As if on cue Layla enters. Layla is immune. She’s immune to the cold. She’s immune to bad press. She’s immune to Blake Hunter. She’s immune to any and every butt kicking negative thing that could ever be said about her. She’s my hero. Up until she decides that Will is going to be her conquest for the night.

“Will Garrett?” she asks as she sidles up to him. He looks momentarily taken aback. He has never been on Layla’s radar before.

“Hiya, Layla.”

“You have just become the most delectable thing I have ever seen.” Her fingers run over those errant beard whiskers.

I watch feeling like one of those people who dawdle by traffic accidents, except I’m pretty sure my lower lip is dipping and that I’m about to pout or do something mean. It could go either way. I have never had an issue with Layla, like I said, she’s my hero. But right now….

Megan thrusts a bourbon neat at Layla. How my little sister knows what drink to provide without asking, I don’t know, but Layla looks happy and actually throws back the contents of the glass. See what I mean? That’s kind of awesome, except for her grabbing the corners of Will’s collar and pulling him close. Will looks out of his element and his eyes search desperately. I hope for me.

I sashay forward, at least I hope that’s what it looks like, and grab Will’s arm and smile at Layla. “Layla, so good to see you!”

Will moves his arm around my waist. I’m sure it’s for self-preservation, but he also pulls me close against him. It is in no way unpleasant.

Layla is smart. She looks at us, our arms, our faces and shrugs and grins as if it were all a game. And maybe it was.

“I brought my karaoke machine,” she says and then holds a black box up at us. “I can’t abide y’all not singing!”

I shrug. “I don’t really sing.”

“You’re a hoot,” she says.

“No, you are!” I say, laughing. We all laugh. It’s silly, I know. But even more silly is singers doing karaoke.

“Let’s do ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’” Will says, still holding me close.

“Okay.” My breathing has sped up. Severely.  I’m wondering if I’m getting a cold.

 

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