Dinner was a trial, but for the first time in her life she was glad to have kitchen duties. It meant she could hide in the kitchen. Steph came in to help with peeling potatoes, but for the most part it was blessedly non-confrontational.
Jon even tried to help with dinner, but she shooed him back out to entertain the kids and his parents. She listened to Elvis’ Christmas album as she did every year while she cooked. When Blue Christmas came on, Jon popped through the door and swept her into a smooth dance.
Giggling, she wound her arms around his neck as he gave his best Elvis impersonation and twirled her around the kitchen. She thought about that first Christmas and just how far they’d come. He really had become her family, opening her up to his kids and a whole new world in the city. Slowly and surely they were making this marriage work.
When Stella nudged between them on the last turn, Jon stuffed her down and seared her lips off with a breath stealing kiss. The room slipped away, the music slipped away and the happy barking drifted into the distant background.
Two years from now, ten years from now, forty years from now that man’s kiss would always feel just this intense. Not all the time, maybe, but when he wanted to put some power behind his kiss, she was always going to feel it.
When he pulled back he was just a tiny bit smug. “Was there a reason you came into my kitchen, Mr. Bon Jovi?”
The smirk was full blown now, and his blue eyes were as clear as glass. “Yep.”
“Oh really, and what would that be?”
Stella yipped and tried to shove between them and Jon just held her head away from his crotch, and thankfully hers. “Kiss my wife stupid.”
“Or is that, kiss your wife into not going postal on her favorite Floridian guest?”
He wrapped a copper curl around his two fingers, letting it slide over his skin. “Side benefit.”
Her pulse gave one hard knock as he looked down at her mouth, then back into her eyes, then over her shoulder. She followed his gaze, and found the pantry door. “Oh, no. I definitely don’t have enough wine in me for that.”
“C’mon, you know you want to give me my seven minutes in heaven.”
“I do believe that’s seconds, there Rockstar.”
“I can last longer than seven seconds, I can assure you that.” The burst of laughter that came out of her, made his eyes sparkle even more. “In fact, I can make do with seven minutes.” He traced his fingers over the buttons on her blouse, taking care to follow each gemstone that laid across her chest before dipping into her cleavage.
He nibbled her jaw until her head tipped back to give him additional access. God, he knew just where to go to make her….she moaned, losing track of thought as the tip of his tongue flicked behind her ear. He grabbed her knee, dragging it up against his hip to let her know just how quick he could make that seven minutes work for her.
Pushing her back a step, she sidled around the table and let him back her into the pantry door. She hit the wood with a thud, his knee sliding between hers as he scraped his teeth along her neck and worked the zipper down on her dress pants. Her fingers dove under his shirt, inching under the fitted cotten until she found the soft hair at his belly and then up to the crisp, heavier patch at his chest. Her nails dug in as her thumb found his nipple. He fumbled for the doorknob and the swinging door to the kitchen bounced along counter.
Carol stood there in her Christmas red shell, with matching lips and a disapproving glare.
“Well, shit.” Jon muttered into her hair and zipped her up before stepping back. “Hi, Mom.”
“Honestly John Francis, we’re right in the other room. Hold your glands until we go home, can’t you?”
Tessa pulled down her blouse and buttoned one of the little pearl buttons he’d managed to get free somewhere between the table and the door. The man was very sneaky. She wiped her mouth with a pointed look at Jon. Her own festive lipstick was smudged around his mouth. She fought down the need to laugh.
You’d think they were teenagers and not well past adulthood with the look in Carol’s eyes.
Jon pressed his lips together, his thumb wiping away the coppery lipstick. He looked back at her. “Did I get it all?”
The laugh couldn’t be contained and she passed him a towel from the butcher block. “You look like a drag queen.”
“I’m glad you think this is funny,” Carol said stiffly.
“Christ, Ma, lighten up. There was mistletoe.” He pointed above the pantry door.
Tessa stared down at her potatoes, cutting them into precise chunks and dropping them into the water. Jon put mistletoe above the pantry every year, and every year he got her in there for a little nostalgia.
“The natives are getting restless. Don’t you have appetizers or something? I swear, I don’t know why you get rid of Lottie this time of year. Or at least hire someone to take care of things while we’re all here.”
Her make-out glow dimmed drastically. “Because,” Tessa said through clenched teeth, “Lottie is with her family. I like to do Christmas dinner for everyone.”
“Let’s hope the turkey’s not dry this year because you were too worried about doing nasty things in the kitchen.”
Jon let out a bark of laughter. “There were plenty of times I caught you and dad kissing in the kitchen.”
Carol simply sniffed and fled back to the living room.
“Holy Christ, really?” Jon laughed, leaning into the counter. “You’re my wife, I’m allowed a little snogging in the kitchen.”
They’d passed snogging and went all out into groping, but who was she to judge. “Grab the cheese and fruit platter in the fridge, will you?”
Jon sighed. “No seven minutes, huh?”
“Nope, just seven more hours of hell.”