Christmas Eve Eve
by Donna Lamb
One of the advantages of being divorced and living alone is no one cares what you wear around the house.
So, when I got home most days, I stripped off my businessman’s drag and slipped into something more comfortable. Tonight, I dressed en femme from the skin out.
After a long hot bath and shaving appropriate places, I patted myself dry and used my favorite scented powders. Panties, garter belt, hosiery and a bra holding a pair of breast prostheses from that place that advertises on my favorite website.
I did my makeup, too; foundation, mascara, glittery eye shadow, blush and red, red lips. Dangly earrings – getting my ears pierced was the first thing I did after Amanda filed for divorce – my best pearls, a faux emerald ring, and seven bangled bracelets helped me feel complete.
Then a green velvet dress with cap sleeves and a jacquard pattern just-so to enhance the appearance of a waist. High heels and my best wig finished off my dress-up — I was ready to party but I had nowhere to go.
A decorative lamp in the shape of a Christmas tree, complete with tinsel and lights and tiny presents, sat on the end of the counter between the kitchen and the living room. When you switched it on, it turned on its base and played Christmas tunes, a different one each time; so, mostly I left it off.
One more thing to remind me that tonight was Christmas Eve and no one on Earth cared whether I lived or died.
I didn’t want to cry and make my mascara run, so I got a bottle of white wine, a glass, a spicy romance novel, and settled down in front of the TV to watch comedies. I intended to get a little tipsy, read about pirates when the tube got too annoying, and basically ignore the world for twelve or twenty-four or thirty-six hours; however long it took to get through another lonely Christmas.
Outside, a bitter winter wind howled; or, at least, as bitter as the winter wind ever gets in Montclair, California. Mt. San Antonio, Old Baldy, had donned his cap of snow above the town, and the forecast predicted that the night would get down to the mid-thirties.
I shivered at the thought of such cold, or perhaps from imagining the pirates in my book. Either way, it felt delicious and cheered me up enormously. I had the heat set to a comfortable sixty-eight and a holiday afghan to throw over my feet if I got chilly, and I was almost happy for a while.
I know I drifted off to sleep because when I woke, someone was in the room with me. He was a large man wearing black boots, leather pants and a red silk shirt open to his navel, showing a lot of swarthy skin. His slightly receding black hair was shot through with silver and the same for his neat beard and mustache, but the hair on his chest was thick and black. He was at the bar, turning the decorative Christmas tree lamp on and off. Little snatches of Frosty the Snowman and God Rest Ye Merry played; he seemed to be clicking the switch off and back on as soon as he recognized the tune.
I gasped like the heroine in one of my pirate novels.
He glanced at me and left the little lamp on, playing Jingle Bell Rock at a low volume.
“Good evening, Eve,” he said in a rumbly voice that went all the way down and curled my toes. “It is Eve and not Evan, tonight?”
I nodded, not wanting to say anything for fear that I might wake up — because I must be dreaming, right?
“I’m Captain Nicholas, at your service.” He sketched a bow in my direction then reached down to refill my glass from the wine bottle.
He smiled, and his warm, brown eyes glistened under sooty lashes. “May I?” he asked, holding the glass ready to drink from it.
I nodded, and he sipped, then he moved closer. With one hand, he helped me to my feet and with the other he held the glass near my lips. “There’s not much wine left, we can share it,” he said.
I sipped, then we took turns. Wine had never tasted so good. He put an arm around my waist and set the glass down. The music from the tree-lamp changed to The Christmas Waltz, he pulled me close, and we danced.
At some point, he kissed me and I inhaled his musk, scented with sea-salt and wilder winds than I had ever experienced. He led me to the bedroom and my lonely, lonely bed.
Again, I knew I must be dreaming because when he undressed me, my breasts were real and when he made love to me, I felt him inside of me. I refused to wake up. Lying there awake propped up on one hand, I watched him doze for a few minutes after we spooned and cuddled between the sheets.
He lay there naked, and I had wonder for his body in its maleness and for my own very female dream-self. My nipples stood out in the cool air, and everything seemed so very real that again, I wanted to cry.
His eyes came open and they looked sad this time, their brown color darker and deeper. “Sweet Christmas Eve,” he said. “It’s almost morning and I need to get back to my ship.”
I protested. “It’s a hundred miles to the harbor….”
He laughed. “But my ship is right above your apartment.”
“How can it?” I glanced at the ceiling, not accepting dream logic for a moment.
“Magic, my love, Christmas magic.” He kissed me, and we cuddled again then he got up and began getting dressed.
“You’re just a dream,” I said, resentful that he was leaving.
“Merrily, merrily, merrily,” he said, still smiling.
I started to get out of bed, but he stopped me.
“Do you believe in Christmas magic?” he asked.
I stared at him, afraid to answer. I could feel my nipples, still hard from his caresses, and they were so real. I felt hollow with wanting him again.
“No matter,” he said. “Believe it or not, here is my Christmas spell. Stay in bed after I leave and wake up on Christmas morning still yourself. Or get up and break the spell, and you will wake up instantly as that… other person.”
He sat on the bed beside me to put on his boots. I kissed him and felt the scratchiness of his whiskers where he had not yet used a razor to shape his beard and moustache. He kissed me again. “Don’t cry, Christmas Eve, because soon it will be morning,” he said.
I closed my eyes on tears and when I opened them again, he was gone and the pre-dawn light came in my window.
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