Bah Humbug

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December 2016 Spirit of Giving Story Contest Entry

Bah Humbug

Nikkie Silk

Ben wasn't sure if he had heard the first knock on the door as he was
concentrating so hard on what he was doing. It was probably only the
second knock which penetrated his thoughts, making him sit back and sigh
in frustration. Shit, he thought, I don't need this interruption. His
research paper was due in a few weeks and he needed to focus on it.
He pushed back the chair from the table and with a frown on his face,
walked to the front door. As he passed the hall window, he saw the long
predicted rain had arrived. It was already mixed with sleet, and snow
was forecast later on. He opened the door coming face to face with a
bedraggled figure. It was a young door-to-door seller carrying a plastic
box full of domestic bits and pieces. He had seen them before, boys or
girls trying to make some money by knocking on doors to sell cheap
dusters and scissors for twice their real price.

Before he could say anything, the figure in front of him waved a
laminated card under his nose saying, ‘I'm not a criminal, I'm only
trying to make some money. Will you buy something from me? I need money
for the hostel tonight.’ It was a litany he had heard before, and he
was going to say no, when he noticed how wet the figure was. He put his
glasses on, thinking it was a boy, although with a baggy anorak and a
hoodie over the head, it wasn't easy to tell. Whoever it was looked
soaked to the skin and exhausted. Ben was afraid the boy was going to
collapse on the doorstep.

‘Are you alright?’ Ben asked.

‘Yeah, I’m OK, but will you buy something, please?’ Ben heard despair in
the voice.

The figure staggered a little under the weight of the box and Ben’s
hands went out instinctively to try to catch him before he fell. The boy
didn't look very old, and the wet hoodie and jeans didn't conceal how
thin he was. Ben knew he should send him on his way, but he couldn't
make him go back out in this weather in this state.

‘Look, you're cold and soaked through. This weather isn't going to ease
up. Come in and dry off. I’ll make you a cup of tea or something. It's
freezing out here.’ Ben already felt the cold seeping through his own
shirt.

The figure looked up and Ben thought he'd made a mistake.By the shape of
the face and the eyes it might be a girl under the hoodie. Ben supposed
he, or she, was trying to work out if he was a serial killer preying on
young door-to-door salespeople. The primal need to be warm and dry
seemed to overcome any reservations, ‘If I can come in for a few
minutes, maybe have a tea?’ The voice was quiet and Ben still wasn't
able to tell if it was a boy or girl. He opened the door wide to let the
figure past.

***

She had reached the end of her tether by the time she knocked on the
door of the cottage. It was the last one in the lane before the
countryside began. She didn't hold out much hope of a sale. The people
in these types of houses were more likely to call the police than buy
anything from her. When the young guy opened the door, a frown on his
face and glasses dangling from his fingers, she launched into her spiel.
Experience had taught her to say it quickly before they had a chance to
say no. She thought he was going to send her on her way, but he took a
second glance at her, even put his glasses on, then made the offer for
her to come inside for a tea. She hesitated, life had taught her to be
wary about offers like this. But, she was soaking wet, cold and hungry.
The thought of getting dry was enough to overcome her reservations. When
he moved aside to let her in, she stepped inside, her senses alert for
anything that looked off.

He told her to keep going straight, the kitchen was at the end of the
corridor. He closed the front door following her in. Her cheap anorak
and hoodie were so wet through they were dripping on the kitchen floor
as she stood there clasping the box tightly as if she feared he would
steal it.

‘Put your box on the floor, it won't hurt the tiles,’ he said.

She cautiously lowered the box to the floor, her eyes trying to take
everything in. It was a bright country kitchen with wooden cabinets,
pottery jugs and flowery curtains. She felt a sudden pang as it made her
think of her mother, back in the days when they were still talking.

‘Sit down. Here, use this chair.’ He pulled a wooden backed chair
towards the table and she sat down, feeling the exhaustion sweep over
her. She knew she shouldn't stay, but the chance to get dry and have a
cup of tea was too strong to pass up. He was filling the kettle,
glancing over to her. She looked at him properly for the first time,
thinking he looked OK, a bit nerdy, younger than she had first thought.
He flicked the switch on the kettle before walking across to her.

‘Hi, I’m Ben,’ he said, holding out his hand. She was so surprised she
shook the outstretched hand.

‘Oh, you're so wet. Hang on, let me get you a towel to dry yourself.’ He
opened a door, through which she glimpsed a washing machine and a pile
of laundry on a work top. He came back with a towel and she took it
gratefully, wiping her hands and face before starting to dry her hair.

‘Sorry, is it OK if I dry my hair on it?’

‘Yes, yes, of course, there are plenty more towels. Is tea OK? I mean
there’s coffee too, if you prefer?’

She wondered if she was dreaming. She never got asked in for tea, let
alone whether she preferred coffee.

‘No, tea’s good, thanks.’ ‘Milk, sugar?’ he called across.
‘Milk, two sugars.’

***

He was now sure it was a girl, but she looked so androgynous that he
forgave himself his mistake of thinking it was a boy. She had taken the
hoodie off, her long hair soaking wet hair hung in curls down to her
shoulders. Her face was devoid of makeup making her look boyish, he
thought. He tried to place her accent. Somewhere up North, Manchester
maybe, he thought, definitely not Birmingham or Liverpool. If so, she
was a long way from home down here in the outer suburbs of London. She
continued to dry her hair as he made the tea. Pouring the boiling water
onto the tea bags, he stole a glance at her. He thought she looked quite
presentable now her hair didn't resemble a rat’s nest.

He walked across to the table, put a mug down in front of her before
pulling up a chair for himself. He noticed the hoodie was still dripping
on the floor.

‘Look, your top is soaking, if you want I can put it through the tumble
dryer for you. It will never dry otherwise.’

‘No, no. I’m alright, it’ll dry in a minute.’

‘It's dripping all over the floor, let me throw it in the dryer, it’ll
be dry in ten minutes.’

***

She looked down at the floor where small puddles of water on the floor
had formed from the dripping wet hoodie. She knew he was right, but
every instinct she had was telling her to be careful. Sensing her
hesitation, he said, ‘if you want you can borrow something of mine to
wear while your top is drying. They’ll be a bit big but they should be
OK.’ He went back into the laundry room, returning with a baggy
sweatshirt.

‘Why are you doing this for me?’ she asked.

He paused before replying, ‘You looked so wet and miserable out there, I
wasn't going to send you on your way. Besides, tomorrow is Christmas
Eve. it's good to do something nice.’ She sat for a moment trying to
work out if he was playing her, but tiredness made her cave in.

‘Drying out my hoodie would be great.’

He grinned, and she thought his smile transformed his face. He passed
her the sweatshirt, ‘You can change in the downstairs cloakroom, it's at
the end of the corridor.’ At that instant her stomach rumbled loudly, a
reminder she hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

He smiled, ‘Do you want a sandwich? There's bread and ham and some
cheese. You’ve reminded me I haven't eaten, I get carried away when I’m
working and forget to eat and drink.’

She thought, in for a penny, in for a pound. ‘A sandwich would be great,
but are you sure?’

He grinned again, ‘Yeah, it's only a sandwich, I can do one of those.
I’ll have it done when you come back.’

She walked down the corridor and as she got to the door, she turned to
look back. He was cutting the bread, and she thought maybe she might
have had some good luck for once.

She closed the door of the cloakroom turning the key in the lock, just
in case. She stripped off the hoodie dumping the sodden mess on the
floor. Her t-shirt was also wet through and that joined the hoodie. The
jeans were soaked from the knees down and she wondered if she could get
them done too. She shrugged them off standing there in her knickers. She
instinctively checked her face in the mirror. She looked tired, but that
wasn't surprising. She ran her hands over her small breasts and when she
touched the nipples, they tingled making her shiver. She pulled on his
baggy shirt which came down to the middle of her thighs. She decided it
covered up pretty much everything well enough. She definitely didn't
want anything showing. After checking herself in the mirror once more,
she unlocked the door and walked back to the kitchen.

***

As he made the sandwich he thought, it's a good question. Why am I doing
this? He didn’t need the interruption, but he knew his concentration was
blown the moment he went to answer the door. Still, why had he asked her
in? Why was he making her tea and sandwiches? He hadn’t seen anyone
since Sean and Carol had left a few days earlier for their trip to the
Amazonian rain forest. It meant that he would spend Christmas here, but
that wasn't a hardship as he hated the Christmas holiday. The whole
commercial charade made him sick.

That had been part of the attraction though. House sitting for a couple
of friends for a few months seemed an ideal way to get on with his
research paper. He was, if anything a little ahead of schedule, so this
little distraction probably wouldn't cost him too much time.

He looked up as she came back into the kitchen wearing only his
sweatshirt and carrying her wet clothes. The shirt was short enough to
reveal quite a bit of her legs, and he felt himself go a little pink as
she caught him looking at them.

‘Do you mind if I dry my jeans too?’ she said.

‘No, not at all. Give them to me and I’ll put them through the dryer.
Your sandwich is on the table.’

He disappeared into the laundry room putting her wet clothes into the
dryer. She was attacking the sandwich as he came back in, making him
think she hadn’t eaten for a while. He watched her eat as he drank his
tea, and when she saw him looking said, ‘What?’

‘You didn't tell me your name,’ he said.

‘Sandy,’ she said, ‘short for Alexandra.’

‘Nice name, where are you from?’

She looked back at him without answering.

‘Sorry,’ he said, ‘none of my business.’

She nodded, ‘Yep.’

Feeling a little rebuffed he went back to watching her eat. Elven, he
thought, that's her look. She was small and slender, with a pretty face
and delicate hands, her hair tumbling down over her ears. He thought it
wouldn't be at all surprising if they were pointed. He smiled to
himself, imagining she had come from Rivendell, straight out of the
pages of Lord of the Rings.

***

She knew he was watching her, but she didn't mind that too much. She
probably shouldn't have been so rude when he asked her where she came
from, but it wasn't any of his business. He was nice looking, not
handsome, but interesting. She thought if he lost the glasses and got a
better haircut he would look attractive. Thinking she should be nicer,
considering what he was doing for her, she said, ‘Nice place you got
here.’

‘Oh, no, it's not mine. I’m house sitting for friends of my professor
while they’re away on an expedition. The Amazon. They're biologists.’ He
realised he was babbling. ‘I have some work to do on a research paper,
so it’s good timing for us all.’ God, he thought, why did he always have
to over explain himself?

‘What's it about? Your paper, I mean.’

‘Oh, it's not so interesting, honestly.’

‘Oh, you think I’m too stupid to understand?’ She meant it more
light-heartedly than it sounded.

He went bright pink, ‘No, no, it's just a bit obscure, it's about the
effectiveness of different therapies following male SRS. Sex
reassignment...’

‘Surgery.’ She finished it off.

‘You know about SRS?’

She knew she shouldn't have tried to show off by finishing off the
sentence, but for some reason she wanted him to know she wasn't stupid.

‘A bit, read about it. Friend of mine thought about doing it. Are you a
doctor then?’

‘No, a psychologist. Did you friend go through with it?’

‘No, no, only talked about it. Are my clothes dry yet?’

He went to check before coming back frowning, ‘No, I’m sorry I pressed
the wrong programme. I've never used this machine before. I've put in on
the right one now. I’m sorry.’

‘Ok, if you have to do some work, go ahead, I’ll sit here and wait if
you don't mind.’

***

His laptop was in the next room so he thought it wouldn't do any harm to
leave her here. He could do some editing and make a fresh start
tomorrow. He worked for a while, losing track of the time as he usually
did. He heard the dryer announcing it had finished the cycle with an
irritating electronic noise that would wake the dead. He listened, but
he didn't hear Sandy move as he assumed she would want to get her
clothes out. He pushed back his chair and walked into the kitchen as the
dryer continued to buzz its annoyance. Sandy was asleep at the table,
her head on her arms. She must have been dog-tired he thought, the
warmth and the food probably pushing her into sleep. He smiled as her
face looked so peaceful, so he decided to leave her to sleep a little
while longer.

He turned off the dryer, but she hadn't moved when he returned. He crept
past her to the room he had made his study sitting down at his laptop
once more. He started to edit his work again, becoming so engrossed an
hour had passed before he checked his watch. He listened, but couldn't
hear anything from the kitchen, so he walked through to find Sandy still
asleep. The only change was she had shifted her head from one arm to the
other. He hated to wake her, but it had to be done.

‘Sandy, Sandy, wake up.’ He spoke softly at first, but as she didn't
stir, he called her name louder and louder. When she didn't wake, he
rocked her shoulder with his hand but still she didn't wake up. He
thought she must have been exhausted to be in such a deep sleep. She
reminded him of his sister’s children. They fell straight asleep and
were out for the count. Nothing would wake them until they were good and
ready. What to do with Sandy? He knew he should wake her, but she looked
as if she needed the sleep.

There was a sofa pushed against the wall of the kitchen and he thought
if he could get her to lay there she would be far better off. Once more
he wondered why he was doing this. Fine, offering someone in need a cup
of tea is one thing, but then drying their clothes and making them food
is surely something else. Looking at her again, he thought there was
something about the girl which touched him. He knew he had a thing for
waifs and strays of all kinds, yet there was something more. He sensed a
vulnerability in her which compelled him to help her.

He couldn't think of a way to get her across to the sofa without
carrying her, and that was out of the question. He had dealt with
vulnerable people before and the risks involved in any physical contact
were too high to contemplate. All he came up with was to place a pillow
gently beneath her head and to cover her up with a blanket. He folded
her clothes, noticing how threadbare they were, placing them next to her
on the table. Glancing out of the window he saw the rain had turned to
snow. Small flakes being blown around by the wind like confetti at a
wedding. This wasn't going to let up for a few hours, so he thought he
would let her sleep, she wouldn't be able to go far in this weather.

He returned to his laptop and sighed as he realised he wouldn't be
getting any more work done today. It was coming up to six o'clock now,
so he logged off from his paper and spent the next hour catching up on
emails which he had been neglecting for the past few days. He hesitated,
then signed into his cloud account, where he kept his stories. He tried
to write at least a couple of pages each day. It was his way of relaxing
and to exercise his imagination in a way that the rigid demands of his
academic work would not allow him. These stories were definitely never
going to be published except anonymously in on-line websites, but he
felt compelled to keep writing them. He had written a few lines for the
story he was working on when he heard a noise from next door. He guessed
it was Sandy waking up, so he lowered the screen on his laptop as she
burst through the door. She had her clothes in her hands and an angry
look on her face.

‘Why did you let me sleep? I have to go. I need to get to the hostel or
they’ll give away my bed. Shit, shit, shit.’ She started to drag her
jeans on as she swore under her breath.

‘I tried to wake you, but you were out for the count. Besides you can't
go out in this,’ he said, gesturing out of the window where it seemed
the snow was still falling even harder than before.

‘Fuck, can't you do something?’ she said, getting increasingly agitated.

‘Like what? I can't stop it snowing.’

‘I don't know, can't you drive me or something?’

‘No, I don't have a car. Anyway, it wouldn't be any good if I did, I
can't drive.’

‘What? Everyone can drive.’ She was getting increasingly angry now. ‘You
have to do something. This is your fault.’

He paused, trying to control his impulse to snap back at her. ‘Well, I
can't drive, never needed to, or wanted to. What is my fault, anyway?’

She stared at him, ‘You let me sleep and now I’ll miss the deadline at
the hostel, I'll have to sleep on the street tonight, that's what's your
fault.’

She intended the words to sting, and they found their mark. He flushed
as he realised that his act of kindness had created such an unintended
consequence for the girl.

‘I'm sorry, I didn't realise, I thought it would be better for you to
sleep, especially in this weather.’

‘Yeah, my entire fucking life people have been making decisions for me,
without asking me first.’

He knew she wasn't being fair, but the words hurt all the same. He
absolutely knew that he shouldn't say what he was about to, but he said
it anyway, ‘Why don't you stay here tonight?’

She stopped trying to pull her jeans up and glared at him. ‘What? You
can't be serious.’

‘Why not? There's a spare room and I don't want you to sleep rough
because of something I've done. You can get a good night's sleep and be
on your way in the morning.’ He knew he was being reckless, but he found
himself wanting her to say yes.

***

She had woken slowly, trying to work out where she was, before
remembering how the guy had invited her to get dry. The first thing she
saw were her clothes on the table beside her. She thought she must have
dozed off for a few minutes. She stretched and yawned, then caught sight
of the clock on the wall. ‘Fuck,’ she said out loud. The clock showed
7.45, and she had to be at the hostel by 8 o'clock to claim her bed. Why
hadn't he woken her up? She grabbed her clothes and ran into the other
room where she found him hunched over his laptop.

His explanation for why he hadn't woken her was pathetic. Why did
everybody want to do her thinking for her? All through her life, other
people had been making decisions for her without asking her what she
wanted. He was just another one, deciding what was best for her. Why
didn't they ever learn to ask her first? She saw that her words had hurt
him, but she didn't care. She would have to sleep rough tonight because
of what he had done. She wanted him to know that.

Then, he made his offer. She didn't believe what he had said at first.
Stay the night here? Well, that was never going to happen. Then she
looked out of the window where he was waving his arm. The snow was
coming down hard like a white sheet covering the window. Her heart sank
as she knew she couldn't go back out in that. Should she risk staying
here? He seemed OK, but experience had taught her that was no guarantee
of safety. Living as she did though, had also taught her not to turn her
nose up at an opportunity.

‘Ok, if I stay, where do I sleep?’

‘There's a spare bedroom you can use.’

She was still hesitant, her senses on high alert. She tried to read what
his motives were from his face, but there was nothing she could tell
from the way he was looking at her. She looked out of the window once
more at the snow and made her mind up.

‘OK, I don't have much choice do I?’ She was still mad at him, but his
gesture had thrown her off balance.

‘Look, I'm sorry for what's happened.’ he said, ‘It's not what I
intended. Let me show you the room first.’

She realised she was still holding her jeans in her hand and hurriedly
pulled them on. She hoped his sweat shirt she was wearing had covered
her knickers. She followed him as he opened a door in the kitchen which
opened up into a small bedroom. It was basic, with a single bed, a small
chest of drawers and a bicycle standing against the wall. It looked
clean, and most importantly there was a lock on the door.

‘Sorry, it's my bike. I told you I don't drive, so I ride a lot. I'll
move it if you want.’ She shook her head, sharing the room with a bike
didn't worry her in the slightest. She had slept in many places worse
than this. What she didn't understand was why he was so keen to please
her. What was his game? Everyone had a game, but she couldn't work out
what his was.

***

He knew he was overcompensating for what he had done. It wasn't his
fault that it was snowing so hard. After all he had only meant to be
kind. But, there was something about her that made him want to make it
up to her. He shouldn't be inviting strangers into the house, but he
couldn't bear the thought of her sleeping rough. When she had burst into
the kitchen after waking up, her eyes had blazed with anger, yet that
spark of emotion had drawn him to her.

‘Sandy, I'm going to make some dinner, it's only pasta with a tomato
sauce I made and defrosted, would you like some?’

Her stomach growled at the thought.

‘Yeah, I would like that, thanks.’

He thought she must be hungry by the way her face lit up when he
mentioned food.

‘Ben, can I help with anything?’ she asked.

‘Thanks Sandy, can you get some plates out of the cupboard over there?
And some knives and forks from the drawer above. I'm going to have a
glass of wine, do you want one?’ He sensed her hesitation. ‘If you
don't, that's fine, there's water in the fridge, if you prefer. Can you
open that bottle of red over there and pour me a glass?’ She opened it
and looked around for a glass.

‘In the bottom cupboard, right where you're standing.’ He said. She bent
down, and he caught himself looking as the jeans tightened across her
bum. Her hair, now dry, was blonder than it had appeared when it was wet
and she kept pushing it behind one ear, a gesture that somehow made her
look even more vulnerable. He went back to reheating the sauce as he
heard the sound of wine being poured into a glass.

***

She felt his eyes on her, even though her back was turned. She didn't
mind, so long as it was only looking. She blushed a little as there had
been times when she had slept with a man simply to get a meal and a warm
bed for the night. She poured him a glass and thinking, what the hell,
she poured herself a glass. She handed him the glass as he stirred the
sauce, ‘Cheers, Ben, thank you.’

He grinned at her, ‘I am sorry, you know. I deserved what you said about
making decisions for you without asking. I should have known better.’ He
clinked his glass against Sandy’s and she wasn't able to stop herself
smiling.

‘Well, I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have gone off at you like I did. It
wasn't fair, but I was scared.’

‘Can we start again?’ said Ben.

‘Sure, I’m Sandy.’

‘And I’m Ben, pleased to meet you Sandy.’ He smiled and she liked the
way it lit up his face.

Ben brought across the bowls of pasta and sauce, serving portions for
both of them. Sandy was wolfing it down, and he felt a pang of
conscience as he realised how hungry she must be. She looked up and said
with her mouth half full, ‘S’great, thanks. Tastes wonderful.’

He smiled, ‘There's plenty more left. Help yourself.’ She piled a second
helping onto her plate while Ben refilled his glass of wine and offered
one to Sandy. She nodded, and he poured some into her glass. She held
her hand out to stop him, ‘S’enough, thanks.’

She looked around, noticing something for the first time, ‘You haven't
got any Christmas stuff up.’

‘It's because I hate Christmas.’

Sandy stopped, her fork halfway to her mouth, ‘You hate Christmas? How
can anyone hate Christmas?’

He shrugged his shoulders, ‘Well I do. It's an excuse for businesses to
persuade you to buy a whole load of stuff you don't want or need. People
end up getting into debt for the rest of the year to pay for it all. The
Samaritans take more calls at Christmas than at any other time of the
year because families end up fighting with each other when they get on
each other’s nerves. Plus, the whole thing starts about September so you
can't go into a shop between then and Christmas without hearing Slade
singing Merry bloody Xmas Everybody.’

Sandy looked stunned. ‘Wow, didn't you enjoy Christmas as a kid?’

Ben frowned, ‘No, I grew up in an orphanage. It was a hateful place.
Christmas was the worst time.’

She felt guilty, ‘I'm sorry, it couldn't have been much fun then.’

‘No it wasn't. So, I never celebrate Christmas, too many bad memories.’
He shivered a little as he remembered how miserable he had been at this
time of the year in the orphanage.

Sandy smiled at him, ‘Still, it's a real white Christmas this year.’ He
felt his heart jump a little at how her eyes sparkled when she smiled.
He watched as she took another helping before eventually sitting back
and burping loudly. Ben laughed and Sandy went bright red, covering her
mouth with her hand.

‘I’m so sorry. It was so good.’

‘Don't worry, in some cultures, that's a compliment.’

‘Ben, thanks for the meal and everything, but do you think I can get
some sleep. I feel so tired.’

‘Sure, no problem. I hope you get some rest.’

She stood up and started to walk towards her room. She stopped, came
back and gave him a peck on the cheek, ‘Thanks, Ben, you’ve been great.’

She giggled then ran back to the room, closing the door behind her. Ben
sat there for a while, staring at the door and wondering why that little
peck on the cheek made him feel so good. He finished his glass of wine,
stacked the dishes in the dishwasher before going to his bedroom. He
found it difficult to sleep, his mind going over what had happened, and
why he had acted as he did. He finally decided he had done the right
thing, falling asleep with a smile on his face.

Something woke him, and he lay there for a moment trying to work out
what it was. His mouth was dry, so he got up to fetch a glass of water
from the kitchen. He had filled the glass when he thought he heard a
noise, like someone sighing in the distance. He stood listening for a
moment, but heard nothing. it must have been the wind outside, he
thought. He was heading back to bed when he heard it again. This time it
seemed to be coming from Sandy’s room. He tiptoed across, and despite
feeling a little guilty put his ear to the door. He could clearly hear
the sound of crying. He tapped on the door, ‘Sandy? Are you OK?’

The noise stopped, then restarted. Ben tapped on the door again, ‘Are
you OK?’

‘I’m OK, please go away.’

He shrugged, short of breaking down the door there was little more he
could do. He walked back to his room. Looking back at Sandy’s door, he
felt something lurch in his chest as he heard the crying start once
more. He lay in his bed, wondering about how someone like Sandy ended up
living so close to the edge. He thanked his lucky stars that he had
survived his childhood, but he knew how lucky he had been. If things
hadn’t gone his way, it might have been him out there today. He finally
fell asleep thinking about that kiss on the cheek.

His alarm woke him up at seven o'clock as usual. Sometimes he went for a
run or a ride on the bike before making breakfast and getting started on
his work. One look out of the window convinced him that wasn't going to
happen today. By the depth of snow on the bushes outside, it must have
snowed even heavier during the night. Ben shivered just looking at the
flurries being whipped about by the wind, and the clouds looked heavy
with more snow. There was no sign of Sandy as he walked into the kitchen
and he assumed she must still be asleep. It was only when he had
finished making some tea that he noticed the piece of paper on the
table. He picked it up, his heart sinking as he read what was written
there.

Ben, thank you for last night. It was kind of you to take me in and to
give me some food and a place to sleep. I can't thank you enough. I have
to get going though, so thank you again and I hope you find out one day
that Christmas isn't all bad. You're a lovely guy, love Sandy.

Ben looked but couldn't see Sandy’s plastic box and he realised she had
already left. He looked through the window to see the snow had started
to fall again. It was coming down in big fat flakes and Ben knew it
would be freezing outside. How could she have gone out in weather like
this with only a thin coat and her hoodie? He looked out of the front
door and saw fresh footprints in the snow leading up to the gate, then
turning left up the lane. He went back inside, sat down and picked up
his tea. What could he do? She had made her own choice. It wasn't
anything to do with him anymore. He took a sip of the tea, then swore to
himself and looked around for his coat.

***

Sandy hadn't been able to get back to sleep after she heard Ben knock on
her door. She was grateful for his kindness. She hadn’t had a meal like
that for ages, and to sleep in a proper bed by herself had been
wonderful. But she knew this couldn't last. She needed to get back on
the road again, try to make some money from people who might feel sorry
for her at Christmas and buy some of her stuff. She got dressed and
crept out into the kitchen, picked up her box and was about to leave
when she thought she couldn't just disappear like this. Ben had been too
kind for that. She found a piece of paper, hastily writing a thank you
note. She thought her mother would be pleased about that at least if
about nothing else she did these days.

She slipped on her anorak and opened the front door as quietly as
possible. By the light of a solitary street light she saw it had stopped
snowing, but it lay deep on the garden path. She hesitated as she looked
out, but then squared her shoulders, closed the door behind her and
started down the path. She would get a bus back to the shelter, then set
out to try her luck in another patch. She started to shiver as the cold
cut through her thin coat and her shoes were soaked by the time she got
halfway up the lane. She looked back once, but even the street light
outside Ben’s house had disappeared in the snow.

She had to keep moving to keep warm, so she plodded on, the box growing
heavier in her hands, which were already shaking with the cold. She
reached the end of the lane and turned left to where she remembered
there were some shops. She would surely find a cafe to sit in with a cup
of tea to warm up. She found the cafe in the middle of the row of shops,
but there was no sign of life inside. It surely wouldn't be long before
the cafe opened, she thought, as she sat down in the doorway to wait.

***

Ben plodded up the lane, pulling his collar up to keep the snow from
trickling down his neck. You're barking mad, he told himself. She's long
gone, probably sitting on a warm bus right now. He half thought about
turning around, but something made him keep going. It was eerie walking
in the snow. There were the tyre tracks of one or two cars in the road,
but there was no-one else about. There was a spectral quality to the
light as it reflected off the snow, softening and distorting the edges
of everything it covered. The snow also seemed to deaden sound, and it
was eerily quiet as Ben walked further up the lane. Sandy's footprints
were clear enough in front of him, and he would keep going until he
couldn't see them anymore.

He got to the end of the lane, following the tracks which seemed to lead
to the small parade of shops. Even here there was no sign of life. Ben
wondered if this was what life after humans would look like. He followed
the footprints across the road towards a cafe in the middle of the row
of shops. The snow was falling heavier now, but he thought he could see
something in the doorway of the cafe. There were no lights on inside and
he guessed the owners had taken one look out of the window, then decided
to have an early Christmas. He began to run the last few steps as he saw
a bright blue box in the doorway, and Ben’s stomach dropped as he
recognised Sandy's anorak.

Ben stumbled as he reached her, almost falling on top of her. She was
hunched over with her head on her chest and her arms wrapped around her
knees. Calling her name, he shook her shoulder, but she didn't respond.
He saw her eyelids flutter as he tried again, but that was all. Her hand
felt like ice when he touched it. He knew he had to get her warmed up,
so he took off his coat, wrapping it around her shoulders. She moaned
softly as he did, opening her eyes briefly, but not seeming to recognise
him. He took off his hat and stuck it on her head before kicking the box
out of his way. He would come back for it, or pay for the whole thing if
it came to that. She felt as light as a feather in his arms as he picked
her up. He retraced his steps, slipping a couple of times in the
deepening snow. He stopped to wrap his coat around her as tightly as he
could before carrying on. Without his coat and hat he began to shiver as
he tried to walk as fast as he dared. He was shivering by the time he
got to the front door and in fumbling for his keys he almost dropped
her. She opened her eyes, smiled as she looked up at him, then closed
her eyes again.

Ben carried her through to the bedroom before taking off the coat and
hat which were now wet through. Her hands were still icy cold when he
felt them. He rubbed them between his hands, but he soon realised that
would do little to help as he was still shivering himself. He knew he
would have to get rid of all her clothes which had been soaked by the
snow before she could warm up. He hesitated for a moment. He was going
to have to take everything off, but the situation overrode any concerns
about modesty.

Pulling her upright he lifted the hoodie up and over her head. She was
wearing a t-shirt underneath which was also wet through, so he pulled
that off as well. He thought she would be wearing a bra but as he
removed the t-shirt he was surprised to see her small puffy breasts
appear. He stopped, slightly embarrassed, but this was no time to be
prudish. Throwing the duvet over her, he ran to his room grabbing a pair
of his pyjamas and a couple of thick sweaters. By the time he got back
she had begun to shiver, which he thought he had read somewhere was a
good sign, the body beginning to warm up.

With a little struggle he got his pyjama top on her and managed to pull
a sweater over the top. Her jeans had to come off next, but they were so
wet it was difficult to pull them down. He yanked hard, and they began
to move when Sandy moaned, briefly opening her eyes before closing them
again. He hoped he wasn't hurting her and tugged at the jeans one more
time before they slid down to her knees. The jeans had caught on her
knickers and they came down too. Ben looked up, almost falling over in
shock. Nestling in her groin wax a small but unmistakable penis.

He stared at it, not quite believing his eyes. For a split second he
wondered if it was real, then realised how stupid that was. Sandy moaned
again and seemed to be coming round, so he quickly wrapped the duvet
over her before going to fetch his own, laying that on top of her as
well. He touched her face which didn't seem quite as cold as it was
before. He felt himself begin to shiver as the adrenaline rush left him.

He needed to get warm as well. His hands were shaking as he made some
tea. Nothing in his life had felt as good as that cup of tea, he
thought. He sat by the side of Sandy’s bed and watched as she blinked
once or twice before her eyes opened fully. He smiled down at her, ‘Hi
Sandy. How are you feeling?’

She frowned, ‘Where am I? I’m so cold.’

‘You went out in the snow and I think you have hypothermia. You were out
for the count when I found you and brought you back.’

‘Oh. I can't remember.’ She tried to sit up but fell back on the pillow,
‘I'm shivering.’ Her teeth were chattering loudly.

‘I'll get you something to warm you up.’ He went back to the kitchen to
make another cup of tea. ‘Here, drink some of this. It will help warm
you up.’

Ben held the mug for her as her hands were trembling so much. He wrapped
her fingers around the mug to warm them up as she sipped the tea. She
looked up at him as if recognising him for the first time. ‘Ben, thank
you.’
‘You're welcome, Sandy. Drink the rest of the tea.’

She drank some more before laying back on the pillow again. ‘I feel so
tired and I have a headache.’

‘It’s OK, I’ll be here.’ He watched as her eyes closed again. She seemed
to be shivering less and her hands felt less cold than before. Ben
finished his tea, thinking about what he had just seen. It had been a
shock to see that she had a penis that's for sure. He recalled that
yesterday, he had been confused about whether she was a boy or a girl.
He now realised he knew why. That's fine, he thought, if she wants to
identify as female that's her choice. What he couldn't work out was the
thrill he felt as he thought about her. He looked at his watch, it was
already 11 o'clock so he knew he wasn't going to get any work done
today.

***

Sandy slowly woke up. The duvet wrapped around her felt so comfortable.
She didn't feel like moving at all. She opened one eye to see Ben
sitting on a chair next to the bed reading a book. She didn't move as
watched him. What was it he had said? She had gone out in the snow and
he had brought her back. Try as she might she couldn't remember
anything. As her mind began to clear she felt the duvet against her bare
legs. That meant she didn't have her jeans on. Shit, he must have
undressed her and put her to bed. She felt her face go red as she
realised he must know about her. Fuck, she thought, she had to get away.

He looked up from his book, smiling as he saw she was awake, ‘Hi Sandy,
how are you feeling?’

‘I have to go,’ she said. ‘Where are my clothes? I have to leave.’

He frowned, ‘Look, I didn't go out this morning to stop you from
freezing to death to allow you to try the same trick again.’

What was he saying? Freeze to death? She groaned as flashes of memory
flickered into her mind. Walking up the lane, feeling colder and colder.
Sitting in the doorway of the cafe waiting for them to open. Being
carried back down the lane. Feeling so cold she couldn't even shiver.
Drinking tea so hot it burnt her mouth. Oh shit. He must think she's a
freak. Maybe he's called the police already to have her picked up. She
had to get away. She struggled to sit up, but the weight of the duvets
pulled her back done. ‘I have to get going, thanks for everything, but I
can't stay here.’

‘Sandy,’ he said firmly, ‘You're not going anywhere today, even if I was
going to let you, which I’m not. It snowed so hard there’s no public
transport and the lane is closed to cars. It's still snowing. The
heaviest fall this century they're saying on the radio. So, you're not
going anywhere.’

‘Have you called the police?’

‘Why on earth would I call the police? I was going to call the ambulance
if you didn't wake up, but not the police.’

‘Because you think I'm a freak.’ She was close to panic. He laughed, and
flushed with anger and fear she said, ‘What's so fucking funny?’

‘I'm sorry, I wasn’t laughing at you. Just at the thought of me thinking
you're a freak. No, I don't think you're a freak. I assume you mean
because I must have undressed you and found you have a penis. Is that
it?’

She nodded, her face blazing.

‘Sandy, I don't care about that. That's your business, not mine. I have
not called the police and never would. I don't think you're a freak, all
I want is for you to get better.’

She sank back on the pillow. ‘I'm sorry. I'm used to people who hate me
for what I am.’

‘That's incredibly sad, Sandy. But I'm not one of them.’

Sandy looked away, unable to hold eye contact with him.

‘Do you want some more tea?’

She nodded.

‘OK, I’ll go make some. I couldn't get my pyjama bottoms on you, so if
you want to wear them, they’re right here. Your stuff is still drying.
It was so wet.’

He left the room, closing the door behind him. She unwrapped herself
from the duvet to find she was wearing a sweater and what must be his
pyjama top. She picked up the pyjama bottoms and pulled them on. They
were a bit too long and too loose at the top, but she managed to roll up
the legs and tie them tight enough to fit. She groaned as she looked at
herself in the mirror. Her hair was a mess and her face was deathly
white. Shit, what was she going to do? She hesitated before opening the
door, but she knew she had to face him. Ben was standing by the table
with two mugs of steaming tea.

‘OK, sit down and have some tea.’ She did as she was told as he plonked
the mug in front of her. ‘Are you hungry, do you want some breakfast?’

She nodded, still unable to speak to him.

‘Eggs, bacon, baked beans are my speciality. Would that be OK?’

‘I don't want to cause you any trouble,’ she said. Then realising that
after what he had done for her that sounded ungrateful. ‘I mean, thank
you for what you did this morning, but I don't want to cause any more
trouble.’

‘Well, I'm going to have some anyway, if you want some, that's no
problem,’

‘Yes please, then. If you're sure.’

She sipped the scalding hot tea as she watched him make breakfast. He
was humming to himself as the smell of cooking bacon wafted through the
kitchen. She smiled as she recognised the tune, ‘Fairy-tale of New
York’, she thought it was called. So he did have something about
Christmas in him. His hair was a mess, and he needed a shave, but she
thought he looked sweet even in jeans and a sweatshirt. He looked
younger this morning, somehow more boyish, she thought. His eyes were a
lovely shade of blue, and the corners of his eyes crinkled when he
smiled. Why had she not seen that last night? His hands looked nice with
slender fingers and his smile lit up his face.

‘I’m sorry, Ben, for causing all this trouble. I’ll be on my way as soon
as I can.’

‘Sandy, I’m just glad you're OK. You had me worried this morning after I
found your note. But you need to get back on your feet. If the weather
stays like this, you're not going anywhere for a while, anyway.’

She looked out of the window for the first time to see it was still
snowing with big fat flakes of snow drifting in the breeze. He brought
two plates to the table, piled with eggs and bacon, beans and slices of
toast as well. Her stomach rumbled. She had forgotten the last time she
had a breakfast like this.

‘Tuck in. Oh, by the way, is there anyone you want to get in touch with
to let them know you're OK?’

‘No, there's no need, but thank you.’ She looked around, ‘Where's my
box?’

‘I couldn't carry you and the box back. When we've had this, I’ll go up
there to get it.’

She started to panic again, ‘You don't understand that's my only way of
making money.’

‘Sandy, if it's not there, I’ll pay for the whole box, don't worry.’

She stood up, ‘I can't let you do that, I’ll go get it now.’

‘In my pyjamas? I don't think you'll get far.’ She sat down again and
began to cry.

***

Ben knew he shouldn't, but he reached over to take her hand. ‘Sandy,
I've finished eating, so I’ll go now. Stay here, finish your food and
keep yourself warm. I've lit a fire in the other room. Go in there, wrap
the duvet round you and I’ll be back before you know it.’

He grabbed his hat and coat before turning to look at Sandy. She looked
so sweet in his sweater and pyjamas. He wanted to hug her and tell her
everything would be OK, but he knew he couldn't do that. As he closed
the door, he saw her mopping up the beans with her toast and a blissful
look on her face.

For the second time that day he trudged up the lane through the snow. He
kept thinking of her laying frozen in the cafe doorway. If he hadn’t
followed her she might have become yet another homeless person to die on
the streets. Something else kept pushing its way into his thoughts. The
sudden frisson of excitement he had felt when he saw her penis.

***

She finished the food and sat there for a moment trying to think things
through. By the look of the weather she was stuck here for a while. Ben
seemed a good guy, but she couldn't work him out. Why he had gone to
find her this morning she didn't know. She also didn't understand why he
was so calm about finding out about her. In her experience, most people,
if they ever found out about her, either got angry or treated her as a
freak. Anyway, it looked as if she had been lucky, in more ways than
one.

She brought one of the duvets from the bedroom and took it into the room
where Ben had lit a fire. She settled down on the sofa to watch the
flames dance in the fire and the logs hiss and spit. The smells and
sounds of the burning wood took her back to the days before her parents
had separated. Nothing had gone right for her from the day they told her
they would be divorcing. She started to cry but tried to shake herself
out of it. Crying wouldn't do any good. She felt warm and cosy wrapped
in the duvet, and before long she had slipped off to sleep.

***

Ben found the box exactly where he had left it and as far as he could
see there was nothing missing. The snow was getting even deeper now as
he turned to go back. A few cars were trying to move, but they were
slipping and sliding all over the road. He helped push one woman’s car,
but she gave up, locked it up and walked off, without even saying thank
you to him. That’s the Christmas spirit he thought to himself. He
trudged back to the cottage and let himself in, snow falling from his
coat and hat onto the hall carpet. He smelt the wood burning on the fire
and he walked into the room to find Sandy asleep on the sofa, wrapped up
in the duvet. She looked so peaceful that he didn't wake her to tell her
about the box. He stood looking at her for a moment, and the word that
came to his mind was beautiful.

He let her sleep and when she eventually woke up she shuffled into the
kitchen where he was working on his laptop. He pulled the screen down
quickly when he saw her come in. She thought he looked a bit guilty and
wondered what he had been looking at. She squealed when she saw her box
lying on the floor and everything seemed to be there. She went over to
Ben, wrapped her arms around his neck to give him a hug. ‘Thank you so
much for getting this for me.’

He went red as she hugged him. ‘That's OK, I'm glad it was still there.’

She sat down opposite him and looked him straight in the eyes. He
shifted uneasily, not sure why she was doing this. ‘What?’

‘I am grateful believe me, but why are you doing this for me?’

He thought for a moment, ‘Because it's what I think we should do for
each other. I mean look out for someone when you get the chance. Not
just pass by.’ She tried but couldn't keep the cynical look from her
face. He asked, ‘Why do you look like that?’

‘Because in my experience that's what most people do. Just pass by
without a second look. Sometimes they even give you a kick on the way
past.’

He felt his face flush, ‘Well I'm not most people.’ He decided to change
the subject. ‘Do you want to take a shower?’

‘Why? Do I smell? It wouldn't surprise me if I did. But yes, I'd love a
shower.’

Ben laughed, ‘No, you don't smell, I thought it might help you to feel
better. The bathroom’s through there, between the two bedrooms. There's
a clean towel there as well. Use any of the stuff in the bathroom if you
want. I'll see if your clothes are ready.’

***

Sandy loved the chance to have a shower. She had become accustomed to
going without for days at a time. The hostel showers were not always
safe places to be, especially for someone like her. It was a pretty
bathroom with a large shower cubicle, and most importantly of all the
water was hot. She used his shower gel which made her think about him.
She still found it difficult to believe what he had done for her this
morning. Even in the heat of the shower she shivered at the memory of
how cold she had been.

Sandy thought he was good looking in a nerdy kind of way. In a different
time and place something might have happened between them. That thought
brought an extra warmth to her body that had nothing to do with the hot
water. Wrapping her hair in one towel and a bigger one around herself,
she walked out of the bathroom into the kitchen. She smiled as Ben
looked up from his computer, saw her, nearly dropping the mug of tea he
was holding. He also went bright pink which amused her and set her
wondering.

‘Oh, you’ve finished.’ His face was still bright pink.

‘Yeah, I wondered if there was a hair dryer I can borrow?’

‘Um, yes, I think so. There’s one in my room, I’ll fetch it for you.’

She smiled, ‘Thanks, Ben.’ He seemed to be embarrassed, and she wondered
why. He walked away to fetch the hair dryer. He had left his laptop open
on the table and she couldn't resist having a quick peek at what he was
doing. She assumed it would be his paper he was working on, but when she
read the first few sentences, she began to giggle.

‘Hang on it's here somewhere,’ she heard him shout. She managed to read
a few more paragraphs before he shouted, ‘Found it,’ She moved away
from the laptop, smiling to herself. He came back into the kitchen
handing her the hair dryer. ‘It's not the most powerful but I hope it
will do.’ he noticed her grinning as she took it. ‘Why are you smiling?’

‘Thanks Ben, you're a star.’ Once inside her room she sat on the bed
thinking about what she had read. It explains a lot she thought. Still
smiling she dried her hair and managed to make it look presentable.
Clothes, I need my clothes, I can’t go around like this all night. She
walked back into the kitchen to find Ben listening to the radio and
drinking more tea. God, how much tea did he drink?

‘Thanks for the hairdryer. Are my clothes dry? I need to wear something
other than this towel.’

Ben was staring at her from some reason. She cocked her head to one
side, ‘What’s up?’

‘Oh, nothing, it's only that your hair looks so nice.’

It was her turn to blush, something she thought she would never do
again. ‘Thanks.’

He stood looking at her for a few seconds before jumping up, ‘Oh, I'm
sorry I’ll go see about your clothes.’ He returned from the laundry room
with her jeans, her t-shirt and hoodie, together with a black bin liner
which seemed to be full of something. He laid her clothes on the table
and as she went to pick them up he said, ‘Look, I just remembered.
Carol, that's the woman who lives here, she packed up a whole bagful of
clothes to go to the charity shop. She asked me to take them for her.
Only, I haven't got round to it.’ He pointed to the black plastic sack
and went pink as Sandy stared back at him without saying anything. ‘I
mean It's all clean, she's about your size, I think. If you don't want
to it's OK, but if you do, that's fine too. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to
be condescending.’ He was gabbling and knew he should shut up.

‘Ben, I’m sorry but I can't possibly wear someone else’s clothes.’

She watched as his face dropped. ‘I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said
anything, I’ll take it back,‘ he mumbled.

‘I’m kidding you, Ben. It's a lovely thought, thank you. By the way, I
get most of my clothes from charity shops.’

***

Ben had been surprised when Sandy reappeared after drying her hair. He
had no idea how she had done it, but she looked so different from the
pathetic waif who had knocked on the door yesterday. He thought she
looked pretty, and he felt his pulse quicken as she stood in front of
him wearing only a towel which ended about mid-thigh. He went to fetch
her clothes from the dryer and had spotted the bag of Carol’s clothes
which he had forgotten to take to the charity shop. When he returned to
the kitchen Sandy was smiling about something, and he got himself into a
muddle asking her if she wanted any of the clothes.

She had got him with her joke, but it also told him she had a sense of
humour. When she had smiled, his heart did a little flip in his chest.
Sandy disappeared into her room with the bag of clothes which gave him a
chance to think about why she was having this effect on him? His
childhood in the orphanage had left him with a weakness for the
underdog, and a belief that we should help others when they needed it.
He shook his head. That would explain why he took her in, but not the
emotions he felt when he looked at Sandy.

His sex life had been sparse, to say the least. He’d had a few fumbles
with boys back in the orphanage, and he had a couple of very short lived
flings with girls, but they had dumped him pretty quickly. He had
focussed his energies on his studies which left little time to invest in
relationships. He had built a hard shell around his emotions, never
letting anyone close enough to penetrate his defences. At the orphanage
he had always had to look out for himself, and that self-reliance had
stayed with him. He thought he didn't need anyone else. He had also
concluded that he wasn't that interested in sex. If he had to find a
label for himself, it would probably have been asexual, so what he was
feeling now for Sandy was totally unexpected.

Sandy had thrown him completely. He didn't know why she affected him so
much. He admired the way she had dealt with the hand that life had dealt
her, but there was more to it than admiration. She aroused in him
feelings that he thought he had long buried. He couldn't stop thinking
about her, stealing little glances at her. His heart beat a little
faster when she smiled, and he felt a definite excitement when she had
appeared wearing just the towel. He had been surprised to discover she
was transgender, but that was the strangest thing. He liked her for who
she was. What she had between her legs seemed totally irrelevant. He
sighed, she would be moving on soon, so he would just have to conceal
what he was feeling.

***

Sandy sat on the bed looking at the bag of clothes. She had no problem
with wearing them. They were clean he said, and it wasn't as if she had
never worn charity shop clothes before. It was so sweet of him to offer
them, and his reaction was even sweeter when she teased him about it.
She liked him, but he had read that people who had been in danger were
sometimes attracted to their rescuers. She couldn't afford to get too
close to anyone because it always ended in disaster for her. It would be
best for both of them if she got away as soon as possible.

Tipping the bag onto the bed she sorted through what was there. It all
looked clean and freshly washed if in need of an iron. There was some
good stuff here, she thought. Well off people threw too much away, they
didn't value what they had. There were some dresses, skirts, blouses and
tops. There were some good labels too. She held up a dress which seemed
to be about the right size. Shrugging off the towel, she pulled it on
and looked in the mirror. God, she thought, how different do I look? It
had been ages since she had worn anything but jeans and a t-shirt. It
was a sleeveless shift, in a dark floral print that came down to
mid-thigh. Sandy giggled, twirling around to watch herself in the
mirror. It was a long time since she had felt as pretty as this. With a
rush, she realised she wanted to look nice, not only for herself, but
also for Ben.

Ben was adding fresh logs to the fire when Sandy walked into the room.
He had his back to her, so as he turned around and caught sight of her,
she giggled to see his mouth drop open.

‘Do I look OK?’

Two pink spots appeared on Ben’s cheeks as he struggled for his
composure. ‘Um, err, yes. I mean you look great. That dress suits you so
much.’

‘Thanks, are you sure it's OK to wear it?’

‘Carol wanted to throw the stuff away, sure it's OK.’ She sat down on
the sofa, tucking her legs beneath her. ‘I love the fire, it makes me
think of Christmas at home.’ As she said it, a pang of regret passed
through her as she remembered what it had been like when she had a
family.

‘It's still snowing out there, I think we're snowed in for a while.’ he
gestured out of the window, ‘But we have enough food in the freezer for
a few days, and there’s plenty to drink so we should be OK. I was going
to have a drink, do you want something? I'm having red wine. But there's
some other things as well I think.’

‘Wine Is fine for me, thanks.’

‘I was about to start dinner, how about a curry?’

She nodded, ‘Yes please, can I help?’

Ben asked Sandy to start the rice as he prepared the chicken. She liked
having something to do, and it felt nice standing next to Ben as they
prepared the food together. He poured two glasses of wine, giving one to
Sandy. She took a sip before saying, ‘You said you grew up in an
orphanage, but do you have any family at all?’ He turned to look at her
with a frown on his face and she thought she had over stepped the mark.

‘Oh, I'm sorry I shouldn’t be so personal.’

‘No, no, it's OK, I don't mind. The truth is I don't know, I never found
out about my birth parents, so I guess there may be some relatives out
there, but I don't have any desire to find out. I don't think I would
feel anything for them.’

‘Any girlfriends, or are you married?’ He wasn't wearing a ring, but
that meant nothing she knew from experience.

‘No, not married, no girlfriends. Totally boring, I know.’

She felt a little thrill at his answer. Clinking their glasses together,
Sandy said ‘Merry Christmas, Ben.’ He grinned, ‘Happy Holidays, Sandy.’

She laughed, ‘You really don't like Christmas do you?’

Ben served the food in big bowls on the table, and as they ate Sandy
thought carefully about what she was going to say next. As they finished
the food, she took a deep breath and said, ‘Ben, do you have any
questions for me?’

He looked at her for a moment, ‘Sandy, if you want to tell me something
then that's fine, but I don't want to put pressure on you.’

She was a little disappointed. She had opened up about herself,
something she never did, yet he seemed uninterested. Didn't he care?
Then, with a start she realised that was his way of caring. He wanted it
to be her decision to share anything with him. Strangely enough that
made her want to tell him her story. One which she had only told to a
handful of people. She hesitated, took a deep breath, and it all began
to tumble out.

‘My name was Alexander, not Alexandra. I'm 20, but I look more like 18
or so I'm told. My parents divorced when I was eight years old. It hit
me hard as I loved my father, but he and my mother couldn't live with
each other. He moved away, so I saw him at weekends for a while, until
he met someone else with their own family, and well, I guess he
preferred them.’

She took another sip of the wine before continuing.

‘By this time, I knew I wanted to be a girl. I didn't understand what it
all meant, but I didn't want to be with the boys, I wanted to be with
the girls. If there's a male equivalent of a tomboy, that was me. I was
small and slender, androgynous, I guess you would say. I hated the
clothes I wore as a boy, I wanted to wear what the girls did. My mother
didn't understand. Anyway, she was struggling with her own problems. She
resented my father for leaving her, and me, I think, for reminding her
of him. We fought like cats and dogs and It got so bad that when I was
twelve I went to live with my aunt. She was great to me. She hadn't had
children, so she indulged me a lot.’

Sandy ran her hands through her hair and looked away blinking back a
tear.

‘She was kind, clever, generous, didn't judge anyone, loved me, and I
loved her. Somehow she soon realised I was unhappy being a boy, and
after a few long talks together, she made me an offer. She said that at
weekends and holidays she would let me live as a girl. The only
condition was that at school I would be a boy and to work hard at my
studies. I jumped at the idea. To tell the truth, I think my Aunt got a
thrill from it all too.’

She brushed her hand through hair.

‘She taught me how to be a girl, about makeup and dresses, how to walk
and sit and behave as a girl. She said it was wonderful to have both a
nephew and a niece. I had to be a boy at school. An effeminate boy to be
honest, but it meant I was picked on a lot. I coped with it because I
went home to become Sandy. At weekends, I lived as Sandy full time, and
it wasn't long before I was able to pass quite easily as a girl. I
didn't grow much as you can see, so it wasn't so difficult to fool
people. Eventually, we used to go out together as aunt and niece for
shopping trips and days out. We even went on holiday when I could be
Sandy all the time. It was like one of those stories where a young boy
is taken in by his aunt and feminised. Except for me, it was real.’

She watched him but there was no reaction, not even a flickering of his
eyelids.

‘It was a blissful time, and I was so happy. I started to think about
transitioning fully when I reached 18. With my aunt’s approval I started
hormones and everything seemed like a dream. In return, I worked hard at
school and did well. I had an offer of a place at University and was set
to go until one day I came home to find my aunt lying on the floor. She
had suffered a massive heart attack and had died instantly.’

A tear trickled down her cheek and she wiped it away. ‘Oh my God, I’m so
sorry,‘ said Ben.

Sandy nodded, wiped away another tear before going on. ‘It was like I
had been hit with sledgehammer, it seems I had a breakdown of some kind.
I couldn't cope with anything and I spent time in hospital, but the
place I was in closed due to budget cuts and I was pushed out. I was
still in a bad way and hit the streets. I've been there ever since, two
years now.’

Ben reached over and took her hand, ‘How are you now?’

She smiled at him, ‘Don't worry, I not going to do anything bad. I'm
better now, I feel well, but it's been a long haul. I see a doctor, and
he took me off my meds a year ago and I feel good.’

‘Have you tried to get off the streets, get a job?’

‘Do you know how difficult it is to get a job when you're homeless?’

‘No, no. I guess not,’ Ben said, embarrassed by his naivety.

‘Anyway, about a couple of months ago, a solicitor managed to track me
down. He is my aunt’s executor, and it appears that she left me her
house and some money in her will. Except it's in a trust which I can't
get until I'm 21. She didn't expect to die so soon, I guess. None of us
do, I suppose. Anyway, I’m 21 in six months' time, so when that happens
I don't know what I'll do.’

She felt Ben squeeze her hand, and that felt good. ‘That's not too long
to wait.’ he said.

‘No, I guess not. But I’m still on the street. I've been beaten up more
times than I can count and have done some things to get by that I'm not
proud of.’

There was silence for a while then Ben said, ‘Did you contact your
mother?’

Sandy snorted, ‘When she found out what I had become, she freaked out
and wanted nothing to do with me. She hasn't spoken to me since. I could
be dead and she wouldn't care less. My father passed away a few years
back.’

Ben moved his chair next to Sandy and hugged her. ‘I’m so sorry, Sandy,
You’ve had a rough time.’

She looked at him, her eyes glistening with tears, ‘We both have,
haven't we?’

They hugged for a while before Ben said, ‘Come on, it’s late and you’ve
had a rotten day. Go to bed and let's talk some more in the morning.’
Sandy nodded, ‘Ben, thanks for listening to me. You remind me of my
aunt.’ He looked puzzled, ‘She was a good listener, and wouldn’t judge
anyone. Just like you.’ She leaned across to kiss his cheek. Their eyes
met and Sandy for a moment thought he would kiss her back. But, he went
pink and said, ‘You're welcome, Sandy. You deserve more.’

Without a word she stood up and ran to her room, slamming the door
behind her. She threw herself on the bed, punched the pillow thinking
she mustn’t let herself feel like this. It will be over soon, and she
would never see him again.

***

Ben sat at the table for a while and finished the bottle of wine. He
didn't normally drink so much, but Sandy had made him remember his own
childhood in the orphanage, and whenever that happened he knew he would
end up feeling bad. He thought about the moment when she kissed him on
the cheek. He had been so close to kissing her back until he stopped
himself. He couldn't get involved, it wasn't fair to her. He damped down
the fire before locking up and heading for bed. As he passed her door,
he raised his hand to knock on her door, but he shook his head and
walked by.

Ben rarely dreamt about the orphanage, but tonight he was back there and
it was Christmas. He was awake in his bed listening to two other boys
giggling somewhere in the darkness. He knew what they were up to because
he had done the same thing a few times for the comfort it brought. He
heard footsteps padding towards his bed and he felt the sheets being
drawn back as someone slipped into the bed beside him. He felt hands
sliding over his body and his lips were brushed in a soft kiss. As he
turned towards whoever it was, his eyes snapped open as he realised this
was not a dream. He heard someone giggle softly next to him, ‘Merry
Christmas, Ben.’

He started to say something but Sandy rolled on top of him kissing him
with her tongue in his mouth. He tried to push her away, but she was
like a limpet. He stopped struggling, his body responding to her, and he
began to kiss her back. His arms went around her, his fingers stroking
her soft warm skin. He felt her body press into his and his cock began
to harden as she kissed him. He felt something bump into his groin and
he realised it must be her cock. He froze for a moment, then thought, I
don't care what she has down there. She raised herself up and he made
out her face in the light from the window. ‘You're not going to scream
for help are you?’ she said with a giggle.

He laughed, ‘Not yet anyway,’ pulling her down for another kiss. Their
tongues fought a delicious battle before Sandy moved down, kissing his
neck, then sucking and licking his nipples with her tongue. He moaned as
she nipped a nipple between her teeth. Her hand snaked down to take his
cock in her fingers as she kissed her way down his tummy. Her lips
gently brushed his skin, making his insides flip and his cock swell. He
felt her hair and then her cool breath swirl across the tip before she
kissed the head, making him jump at the touch of her lips.

‘Do you want me to stop?’ he heard her say, the teasing clear in her
voice.

‘Don't you dare stop,’ he said as his cock was enveloped by her warm
mouth and tongue. He arched his back as she took him inside, her tongue
swirling around the head and a sound came from somewhere in his throat
as she rolled his balls around in her fingers. She teased him
mercilessly, taking him to the edge with her mouth, then slowing down,
so that he was panting for release. She let him slip out of the mouth,
using her tongue to lick up and down the shaft, flicking the tip with
her tongue until he was desperate. She recognised he was close and
whispered, ‘Are you ready Ben? I mean really ready?’ She enjoyed teasing
him, feeling his cock grow in her fingers and the tension in his body as
she held him on the edge.

‘Yes, yes, I'm ready, please do it.’

She giggled, and with one last kiss on the tip she took him deep into
her mouth. It pushed him over the edge and his climax crashed through
him, tensing every last muscle as his cock twitched, sending cum
exploding out through his cock into her mouth. She swallowed as much as
she could, but some of it leaked through her lips splashing onto his
tummy. He felt her tongue lick up what had escaped before she moved up
to kiss him, and he tasted the saltiness of his cum on her lips. They
kissed for a few moments before he lay back with a sigh and she snuggled
close beside him, pulling his arm around her.

‘Sandy, that was beautiful. But why did you do it?’

She turned to look at him in the din light. ‘Because I wanted to, and I
thought you deserved a Christmas present.’

He laughed, ‘You're not fat enough to be Father Christmas.’

She giggled, ‘I told you Christmas wasn’t all bad.’

***

She had lain in bed hoping that sleep would come, but all she thought
about was Ben. She hadn't met anyone like him for a long time. Someone
who didn't despise her, who listened and didn't preach at her, who
seemed to accept her for who she was. She was sure he was attracted to
her. The little looks he gave her, the blushing all added up. But she
sensed he was also unsure about his attraction to her and was unlikely
to do anything about it. So, if anything was going to happen she would
have to start it. Did she want to? She liked him, that she was sure of,
but did she want more? She didn't know, but she thought she needed to
find out before she moved on. She slid out of bed and made her way to
his room. She listened to him snoring inside before opening the door and
tiptoeing to his bed. It's now or never, she thought, and offered up a
prayer that he wouldn't scream the house down.

She need not have worried. After the initial shock had gone, he had
begun to kiss her back, and she could feel his excitement. It had been a
long time since she had been with someone who didn't simply want to be
sucked off as quickly as possible, and she never, ever let them come in
her mouth. Ben was different, she couldn't tell you why, but he was
gentle and sweet. She surprised herself by taking his cum in her mouth,
and he didn't seem to mind the taste when she kissed him afterwards.
Some guys had made her use mouthwash before kissing her again. When they
had finished, he cuddled her for a while which felt so good. She felt
his breathing slow down and before long she too fell asleep cradled in
his arms.

She woke and stretched, feeling warm and comfortable under the duvet.
Then, the memories of last night crashed like a breaking wave into her
mind. She looked around to see she was alone in the bed. Oh Christ, she
thought, what have I done? He must hate me. Her cheeks blazed with
embarrassment. She heard the door open, and she dived under the duvet to
hide. She felt the bed tilt as he sat on the edge and she tensed,
waiting for the abuse to come.

‘I've brought you some tea, although you’ll have to come out of hiding
to drink it.’

He flicked down the end of the duvet but she pulled it back over her
head again. He laughed, ‘I'm going to make some breakfast, nod once if
you want some.’ She thought he can't be that angry if he wants to make
me breakfast, so she nodded her head beneath the duvet.

‘I’ve brought the bag of clothes through, in case you want to get
dressed before you come out for breakfast.’ She felt him get up from the
bed and the door close. She stuck her head out to see that he had gone
and gratefully drank some of the tea. She fell back onto the pillow. She
had woken up in some strange places, but right now none seemed as
strange as this. Nothing for it but to face the music. Rifling through
Carol’s bin bag of clothes she found a pretty top and pulled on her
jeans which were dry again. Her hair looked like a disaster zone, so she
piled it up into a topknot telling herself it would have to do.
Taking a deep breath, she pushed open the door and walked into the
kitchen. The smell of cooking bacon made her stomach rumble. Ben was
piling food onto plates and he looked up and smiled, ‘Merry Christmas,
Sandy. Breakfast is ready.’

‘Merry Christmas, Ben. Thanks for this.’

She sat down and started to eat. She couldn't look at him, but she felt
his eyes on her. She felt she had to say something, ‘About last night…’
she tailed off, not knowing how to go on.

Ben waved his fork in the air, ‘If you want to know, last night was
great. But don't worry about it. We don't have to mention it again if
you don't want to.’

Damn it, she thought, what did that mean? He said it was great, but not
to worry about it.

‘Ben, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have jumped you like that. It wasn't fair.’

‘Do you regret it?’

‘No, I enjoyed it, but…’

‘But what?’

She covered her face with her hands and said, ‘I don't know, you make me
crazy.’

He laughed.

‘Don't laugh at me,’ she snapped.

‘I wasn't laughing at you, it's just that you make me crazy too.’

She stared at him, ‘What?’

‘Ever since you knocked on the door you've turned my life upside down. I
can't concentrate on my work because I keep thinking about you. I don't
know why but you make me feel things I haven't felt for a long time. I
don't let people get close to me, yet you barge in here and I'm in
pieces.’

Sandy’s mouth dropped open. ‘I'm sorry, but you invited me in, remember.
If I make you feel that bad, then I’ll go now.’ She stood up, her eyes
blazing.

‘Sandy, sit down, please. I didn't say it made me feel bad, did I?’

She remained standing as he went on. ‘I'm in pieces, but it makes me
feel good. You make me feel alive again. I’ve dedicated myself to my
work for such a long time, but you’ve managed to do something I didn't
think could happen.’

She sat down with a bump. ‘What's that?’

‘I haven't been close to anyone for a long time. You made me feel for
someone for the first time for a very long time. I tremble when I think
of you. I can't explain why, but you make me excited to be with you.
Something in you reached into me and shook me up like a rag doll. I'm
scared by what I feel for you, but I don't want it to stop. That's why
you drive me crazy.’

Sandy listened with growing amazement to what he said. Did he mean it?
She had been hurt so many times before, she didn't want it to happen
again. He knew what she was, and yet he still said those things. He had
looked as if he were about to cry as he spoke, yet could she really
believe him? Her heart did a quick flip as she reached out to touch his
hand. ‘Do you mean that, Ben? You know what I am.’

He looked straight back at her, ‘Every word, Sandy, every single word.
And I don’t care about what you are. It's who you are that's important.’
Sandy started to cry, tears rolling down her cheeks as Ben held her
hand, ‘I'm sorry, Sandy. But after last night I had to tell you.’

She wiped her eyes, ‘Don't play with me, Ben. I can't cope if you do.’

‘I promise I'm not playing with you. I mean it, but I'm as scared as
hell.’

Sandy moved to sit on Ben's lap, wrapping her arms around him. She
kissed him before resting her head on his shoulder. ‘Ben, it's been a
long time since I met someone like you. I've met a lot of shits, and
I've been hurt a lot. It's hard for me to trust anyone, so please be
patient with me.’

He stroked her back with his hand, ‘If you’ll be patient with me as
well.’

She giggled, ‘What a pair we make.’ She turned her head and kissed him,
tenderly at first, then with growing ferocity. Ben’s hands began to move
over her body, his fingers sliding under her top and finding her warm
skin. He pushed up the top revealing her small breasts with their hard
nipples. She sighed as he began to rub a nipple between his fingers and
her head went back as he twisted the little nub. He bent forward to lick
the nipple, and she almost jumped off his lap as his lips touched her
skin. She moved off his lap and straddled him on the chair, allowing him
full access to her breasts. She pulled his head towards her and he
responded by sucking and licking each tender nipple in turn.

Putting her finger beneath his chin she raised his face to hers and they
kissed hard, their tongues entwined. His hands were all over her, the
touch of his fingertips like small electric shocks on her skin. Sandy
could feel Ben’s cock hardening beneath her and she began to move around
on his lap making him gasp and grip her tighter. She felt as if every
nerve ending was on fire and she wanted him so badly. She slid off his
lap, turned away from him and tugged her jeans off. Ok, this is it, she
thought, as she turned around to face him.

***

Sandy slid off his lap and Ben watched as she turned away and pulled her
jeans down. She paused for a moment, and he looked up at her as she
turned around to face him. He thought she looked so shy and vulnerable
as she held a hand over her mouth. His eyes dropped to her groin, seeing
her cock for the second time. This time it was hard and pointing
straight at him. Although he knew Sandy had a cock, he hadn't been sure
how he would react when he saw it. He looked up at her to see her biting
her lip as she waited for his reaction. He looked back down and smiled
because he couldn't believe how beautiful it looked. It was smaller than
his own, with blue veins standing out along the shaft and the head
glistening in the light. He realised he had been holding his breath and
he let it out in one big sigh. Without thinking about it, he reached out
a hand and brushed the tip gently with his fingers. Sandy jumped as she
felt his touch, making her giggle nervously. That made Ben jump too, and
he laughed. He wrapped his fingers around it, feeling its softness and
its strength. He knew what his own felt like, but this was the first
time he had touched another cock since his days playing around in the
orphanage. For an instant, he thought he must be dreaming, but this was
all so real.

He moved his fingers up and down the shaft and above him Sandy moaned.
He liked the feel of it in his hand. It was warm and soft, yet hard at
the same time. From somewhere he felt an irresistible desire to kiss it,
so he bent his head forward and licked the tip with his tongue. He heard
Sandy hiss with pleasure, so he touched his lips against it and she
hissed again. He closed his eyes and tentatively pressed his lips
against the head. Sandy moved her hips forward, and the cock slipped
through his lips and into his mouth. He gagged a little but recovered
and held it inside. It felt just like he was sucking a thumb, he
thought. He tried to remember what Sandy had done to him and he used his
tongue to slide around the head, earning another hiss from Sandy. He
felt her hands on the back of his head and she began to move her hips,
sliding the cock in and out. It slipped out once and he felt lost until
she slid it back into his mouth.

It felt like a dream to Ben as he sucked on Sandy’s cock, relishing the
feeling of it within his mouth. He felt it twitch as she said, ‘I'm
cumming,’ He panicked, not knowing what to do next and it slipped out
just as her cum surged from the tip. He watched in fascination as it
spurted in pulses out of her cock. Some of it splashed onto his lips and
he couldn't stop himself licking it with his tongue. The taste wasn't
unpleasant, something like a salty oyster, he thought.

***

As her cock slipped out of his mouth, her knees buckled as she came
hard. She hadn’t expected Ben to take her into his mouth, but she wasn't
about to complain. He was nervous and inexperienced but the touch of his
tongue on her cock was like being plugged into the mains. She looked
down to see he had his eyes closed, and she could feel his tongue
swirling around the tip of her cock. Her hands instinctively went to the
back of his head, holding him in place as she began to move her hips to
and fro. She loved having her cock sucked, and she was soon close to the
edge. She was surprised as Ben licked some stray drops of cum from his
lips, and using her finger to pick up some cum she slid it through his
lips, watching as he licked the finger clean.

‘Thank you, Ben, that was beautiful.’

He grinned up at her. ‘Well, I had to give you a Christmas present too.’

She bent down and kissed him, the taste of her cum still lingering on
his lips. She pulled up her jeans and sat on his lap again.

‘Sandy,’ Ben stroked her face with his fingers, ‘What made you come to
my room last night?’

Sandy looked away, then looked back at him. ‘I don't understand it
totally, I think. I fancied you, I was horny, I thought you liked me, I
wanted to say thank you. All of those things.’

‘But how could you be sure I wouldn't go crazy, or throw you out?’

She blushed, ‘I didn't, but promise not to be mad.’

He looked puzzled and Sandy took a breath, ‘I read what you had on your
laptop yesterday when you went to fetch the hairdryer. It was a story
you were writing. I’m sorry I shouldn't have read it, but…’ She thought
he was going to be angry, but instead he laughed. ‘It's OK, Sandy,
although nobody else knows I write stories like that, so I may have to
kill you to protect my secret vice.’ He tickled her and she nearly fell
off his lap.

‘It's a way of getting away from my work, and it's also been my release
I guess. I had begun that one because of you. I was trying to sort out
my feelings about you. I was confused by how much I was attracted to
you, and I thought writing it out would help me understand it more.’

She giggled, ‘Well, from what I read you were beginning to work it out.’

He blushed, and she thought he looked so much like a little boy at that
moment. ‘Well, I do have a vivid imagination.’

‘Did it work?’ she asked. ‘Did it help you understand?’

‘A bit, but last night and this morning helped a lot more.’ he kissed
her again, and her tummy did a flip flop. Where was this going? She
needed to be careful, she was going to have go back to real life soon
and this dreaming would have to stop. He would go back to his work and
she would have to hit the streets again. She stood up and turned away
from him, so that he wouldn't see the wetness in her eyes.

‘What's up?’ He came up behind her and put his arms around her. She
shook her head, ‘It's nothing, honestly.’ He turned her round, and she
buried her head in his shoulder. She didn't want him to see her crying.

‘Sandy, look at me. I have something to ask you.’ he put his finger
under her chin and made her look at him. ‘I want to ask if you want to
stay here for a while. Until your trust fund comes through. I couldn't
bear the thought of you out on the streets again. You can stay in the
spare room. No conditions or anything. I just want to know you're safe.’

She searched his eyes to see if he was joking. He looked serious, and
she imagined what it would be like. She shook her head, ‘I can't do
that.’

‘Why not?’

‘It's not fair on you. I haven't got any money, and what happens when
your friends get back?’

‘Money’s not a problem. This is all paid for until they come back, and
two can live as cheaply as one. We have time to work out what happens
when Sean and Carol get back.’

‘I don't know. I don't want charity.’

‘I'm not offering charity. You can go looking for a job if you want. You
won't be homeless, so it should be easier.’ She knew that was true, at
least. The temptation was too great, and she kissed him, ‘OK, Ben, but
remember you should careful what you wish for. I can be a nightmare.’

He hugged her, ‘You’ve only seen me at my best so far.’ She had said
yes, but there were still big doubts in her mind. Maybe, he would get
fed up with her pretty quickly. Maybe, she would get fed up with him and
this place too. She thought she would give it a few days to see what
happened.

***

It was only when she said yes that he realised what he had done. Was he
crazy? Offering to share with her was something that just popped into
his head. He wasn't normally spontaneous, but Sandy had this effect on
him, and he was being just a little crazy. Let's give it a few days, he
thought. Everything might change then.

For the rest of the morning they drank tea and shared their stories. Ben
told her about life at the orphanage and she told him more about life on
the streets. Both of them cried at different points as they relived the
bad times they had experienced, bringing them closer together.
Eventually, Ben looked at the clock and said, ‘It's Christmas Day, we
need to make some food.’

‘You don't believe in Christmas.’

‘No, but I believe in eating, and Christmas this year hasn't been too
bad so far.’

They made the dinner together, then spent the evening watching old films
and drinking more wine than either of them usually would. Ben found
himself being drawn more and more to Sandy. He had never felt like this
about anyone before, and he wondered if this was what falling in love
felt like.

Sandy had fallen asleep on the sofa in the middle of one of the films.
Ben covered her with a blanket and sat looking at her sleep. She looked
so peaceful lying there that he hated to disturb her, but she would
sleep better in her bed. He picked her up and started to carry her
through to the spare bedroom. She woke up and looked around, ‘Where are
you taking me?’

‘To your bedroom, you need to get some sleep.’

‘Oh no, no. I want to sleep with you, tonight. I don't want to be on my
own, please.’ She locked her arms around his neck and wasn't going to
let go. He hesitated, this was yet another step towards something he
didn't understand.

‘Please, Ben, I don't want to be on my own.’

He had little choice he thought and carried her through to his bedroom.
He laid her on the bed and she grinned up at him. ‘Thanks, Ben.’

He went to use the bathroom and when he came back, she was in the bed
and snoring lightly. He smiled to himself and slipped in beside her. He
tried to remember the last time he had gone to sleep with someone in the
same bed and it was a long time ago. He lay there, unable to fall
asleep, while Sandy snored beside him. It must have been a little later
when he realised that Sandy had stopped snoring and he sensed she was
awake.

‘Can't you sleep?’ she whispered.

‘No, too much going on in my mind.’ he whispered back, ‘Go back to
sleep.’

‘I have a cure for insomnia,’ she giggled.

‘What's that?’

She rolled over and kissed him, her tongue sliding between his lips. Her
hands found his cock, and she began to stroke it as she kissed him. He
began to respond and rolled on top of her, feeling his cock rubbing
against hers.

‘Mmm, that's nice,’ she said, and she opened her legs, allowing his cock
to slide between her thighs. His cock was very hard by now and she
pulled his head to hers and gently nipped his earlobe between her teeth.

‘Ben, will you fuck me please? I want you in me so much.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes, I'm sure, Ben. Fuck me please.’

He knew this was yet another step into the unknown, but he didn't
hesitate. ‘OK, but you’ll have to show me what to do.’

She giggled, ‘Don't worry, you’ll work most of it out yourself. Have you
got any lube?’

‘What?’ he said, ‘Nooooo.’

She laughed, ‘Don't worry, we’ll just have to improvise.’ She jumped out
of bed and ran out of the room. What was she doing, he wondered, there
wasn't any lube out there. He lay there, feeling a little foolish, and
he stroked his cock to keep it hard. She was back a few minutes later
carrying a towel and a bottle.

‘There's always a way,’ she said. She spread the towel on the bed. ‘Now
slide over here.’ She unscrewed the bottle and smeared something on her
hands. ‘Olive oil,’ she giggled, it's extra virgin which seemed
appropriate. It could get a bit messy so that's why I brought the
towel.’ He couldn't believe his ears. She was going to use olive oil as
a lubricant. He started to laugh. ‘What's so funny?’ she asked.

‘I don't know how I'm ever going to cook with it again and keep a
straight face.’

She shut him up by kissing him and he felt her hands slide across his
cock. The oil was slippery and as she covered his cock with it, he burst
out laughing again. She squeezed his balls, and that shut him up. He
watched as she went down on all fours on the towel and used some of the
oil on her hole.

‘Slide up behind me and use a finger first to open me up.’ He moved as
he was told and positioned himself behind her. His cock bumped against
her bum as he pushed a finger gently into her hole. He couldn't believe
this was happening to him, but he was so aroused that he was going to go
through with it.

‘Push harder.’ she ordered, and he slipped the finger in deeper feeling
her close up around it.

‘Now use two,’ this time there was more resistance, and he didn't want
to hurt her, but she jerked backwards and his fingers slid in, making
her hiss as she felt them enter.

‘Now take your cock and fuck me. I need you in me now.’

He shuffled forwards and his cock tapped against her hole. He thought it
would never go in there, it looked so small to him. He pushed gently,
and the head slipped in a little, but then he felt real resistance.
‘Don't worry, push harder.’

He tried again and as he got a little further in, she pushed back hard
and he felt his cock slide all the way in. He gasped out loud as he felt
her tighten around his cock.

‘Now slide in and out, slowly at first then as hard as you can, it won't
hurt.’

He began to slide his cock backwards, then forwards, and he felt her
push back as he slid in. he couldn't believe how good this felt, any
reservations he had about what he was doing evaporated as he began to
move faster. Sandy was grunting now as he pushed deeper and deeper into
her. It was like his cock was being held by a slippery velvet glove, and
he could feel his excitement grow as he slipped in and out. Sandy was
grunting loudly now and pushing back harder and harder into him. His
climax almost caught him by surprise, and he fell forward onto her back
as his cum pumped into her. His cock seemed to twitch three or four
times before he was finished and pulled out of Sandy. He fell to the
bed, rolled onto his side as he watched her stroking her cock and with a
grunt, she came too, her cum spraying over his legs.

‘Fuck, that was good, Ben. How about you?’

He couldn't think straight for a moment as he tried to control his
breathing.

‘Oh my God, oh my God.’ was all he could manage.

‘I’ll take that as a good sign.’

She hugged him and pulled him up. ‘Come on. We have to clean ourselves
up, this stuff gets everywhere.’ She dragged him to the bathroom and
washed him under the shower until all the oil was gone. He was still
shaking as she led him back to the bed, taking the towel off the bed and
pushing him down onto it.

‘Not bad for your first time,’ she giggled.

They kissed, and this time it wasn't long before Ben slipped into sleep.

Epilogue

He woke to find the light already shining in through the window. It must
be late he thought. He smiled as he remembered what he and Sandy had
done last night. He turned over expecting to find her beside him, but
the bed was empty. She must be up already he thought. He couldn't hear
anything from the kitchen. Maybe she's in the bathroom. He yawned,
stretched, then put on his trousers and a shirt and walked into the
kitchen expecting to see Sandy making a cup of tea. The room was empty
and a sickening feeling grew in Ben as he looked around the empty
kitchen. ‘Sandy,’ he called out but somehow he already knew she wouldn't
be there. He dragged his eyes towards the corner of the room where she
had left her box but it wasn't there. He slumped on the chair, his head
fell forward and he wiped away tears from his eyes. She hadn't even left
him a note this time. He got up and looked out the front door to see a
thaw had set in overnight and most of the deep snow had gone, but there
was still enough left to show the unmistakable trace of footsteps
leaving the house.

What a fool he had been. How could he have thought she would stay with
him? She’d had a couple of days’ rest and food, before deciding to get
out as soon as she could. She had used him and thrown him a little sex
to sweeten him up even more. He cursed himself for letting her get so
close to him. He knew Christmas was the worst time of the year, so why
had he thought this one would be any different? He resolved never to let
anyone get so close to him again. All it brought was pain and
heartbreak.

He sat down at the table, unable even to make a cup of tea. He sighed,
no point in feeling sorry for himself. He would have to move on. Get
back to his work and forget that this fucking Christmas had ever
happened. He tidied up and opened his laptop to find the story he had
started to write which Sandy had read. He deleted it, then opened up his
research paper and began to focus on his work again.

He didn't hear the first knock on the door, but the second one broke
into his train of thought. ‘Shit,’ he said to himself. He opened the
front door to come face to face with a teenage boy with a box. The boy
started to say something, and Ben was about to tell him where to stick
the box, when he heard a voice from somewhere behind the boy. ‘It's no
good, Jimmy, he won't buy anything. He didn't buy anything when I
tried.’

The boy turned around and they both said. ‘Sandy!’ Sandy looked at Ben
and said, ‘I had to take my box back, got my money back.’ She saw the
look on his face. ‘Oh my God, you thought I wasn't coming back.’

Ben grinned, ‘Never crossed my mind.’

The End

I hope you enjoyed the story. Please let me know what you think at
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