Hello Friend, and welcome to the continuation of my 2019 holiday contest story, ‘Twas The Night Before…
If you haven’t read Chapter One, you won’t get this story at all. You’ll be shaking your head with that confused look I usually get when I have to do long division, so don’t do that to yourself. Go read Chapter One, then come back. It’s short, and I’m a patient lil’ author.
Thanks to my beta-reader ArmyGal33 and extra shout out to my editor, AwkwardMD. She makes me a better writer everytime we go through this.
~~ Arlington, Virginia, December ~~
“Is this okay, Mommy?”
Caitlyn knelt on a chair at the kitchen table, carefully stirring the contents of the bowl in front of her. Kathryn stepped from the stove to where her four-year-old was laboring with her wooden spoon. Kathryn had chopped up a bag of cranberries, an apple and an orange in her mini food processor, then dumped everything in a mixing bowl with a cup of sugar, which Caitlyn had pretty thoroughly mixed by that point. Kathryn patted her head and gave her a big smile.
“That’s perfect, baby. Good job!” Kathryn turned back to her apartment’s little stove and said, “Now we just need to mix in the Jell-O.” She had all four of the tiny burners going, as well as the oven, which was roasting the world’s tiniest turkey, and the kitchen was uncomfortably warm. In fact, it was the only turkey she could afford.
She picked up the smallest pot she owned off the stove and carefully walked it over to the table.
“You keep stirring while I pour this in, okay?”
Kathryn slowly poured the steaming liquid raspberry Jell-O into the bowl as Caitlyn kept stirring the mixture carefully, but with the enthusiasm of a four-year old helping with a Very Important Job.
“Okay, now we need to put this in the freezer for thirty minutes, then it will be just like you like it, okay?” she said, taking the bowl.
“What can I do next, Mommy?”
Kathryn looked at her daughter and smiled again. Caitlyn was almost giddy with excitement at the thought of having a guest for their ‘Christmas party’. She had flour all over her clothes from the biscuits she’d rather enthusiastically helped make.
“I think we’re almost ready. Can you go change into your pretty Christmas dress for the party?”
“Yay!” she yelled, as she ran out of the kitchen to their shared bedroom.
Kathryn watched her go, rubbing her hand across her stomach. She was as nervous as Caitlyn was excited. Perhaps more so.
Her daughter’s excitement was grounded in the fact that other than a few playdates with kids from the daycare, they rarely had guests over to their apartment, much less for a meal. Much less for something like the fancy Christmas dinner that she’d been working on all morning.
Kathryn’s nervousness was based on the fact today would be the first time she’d seen Megan since Christmas Day, and it was their first ‘official’ date. She and Megan had spent most of Christmas Day together. Megan had made love to her twice more after their morning wake-up session and Kathryn had reveled in the attention, in the feeling of being wanted, and in the sensuality that Megan had shown her. However, once Megan had gone home that night, the doubts about what they’d done together began to creep in.
The next day, she’d met her daughter’s grandmother, Amanda, in the Target parking lot on Route 50, the usual rendezvous spot for her to pick Caitlyn up from a visit to grandma’s. Steve, Caitlyn’s dad, was along for the ride this time. As usual, he’d made some awkward conversation, not-so-subtly hinting that they should get together socially sometime soon.
Kathryn knew it only was because Amanda was pushing him to do so, and that his heart wasn’t in it. She surely had no interest in getting together with him, but it reminded her that her fantasies about a happy family life as she’d raised Caitlyn by herself had centered around finding a handsome, gentle, caring man; one who would fall in love with Caitlyn as much as herself. A man who would make himself a part of their lives, and make them into a happy little family.
Over the last four days, she’d caught herself thinking over and over, “What are you doing, Kat? Having a woman over for a date? And with Caitlyn here?”
The fact she was now thinking of herself as ‘Kat’ spoke volumes. No one had called her that since high school. She’d stopped using that name for herself in her mind years ago. After one day with Megan, though…
The cheerful, quirky bartender/paralegal/law student had immediately taken to calling her ‘Kat’, and now she was using the nickname for herself again.
Also, very present in her thoughts, was the very real awkwardness of being with a woman that she’d felt each time Megan had initiated more lovemaking. But there was no denying that Megan had made her feel things that none of her post-high school party boys had ever made her feel. She was a patient and thoughtful illegal bahis lover, focused on Kat’s needs as much, if not more, than her own. and Kathryn couldn’t deny, despite Megan not being a man, she had an undeniably powerful attraction to her. The amount of time she’d pictured Megan’s naked body over the last few days was proof of that.
She’d wavered back and forth from excitement and cautious hope, to see how Megan would interact with her daughter, to nervous butterflies and the urge to text Megan to call the whole thing off. But now, it was too late, it was almost—
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sour note of the buzzer of her apartment’s ancient intercom.
Shoot, she thought, I’m so not ready for this.
She pressed the button by her front door, “Yes?”
“Hey Kat, it’s me!” Megan’s voice sounded tinny through the intercom, but still carried the cheerful enthusiasm Kat had come to appreciate in the short time they’d spent together.
“Come on up,” Kathryn said, then held the button to buzz open the building’s security door. She looked down at herself with dismay. A day of putting together that little Christmas dinner had her in disarray, with stains and splotches all over her apron. No time to change. She took off her apron and hung it back on its hook in the kitchen next to the stove, then grabbed a dish towel and started furiously wiping at any remaining stains on her simple blouse and jeans. All too quickly there was a knock at the door.
Caitlyn came flying out of their bedroom, resplendent in her green and white striped Christmas dress. “I’ll get it Mommy!” she said, beating Kathryn to the door.
Kathryn stood behind her as her daughter unlocked and threw open the door.
Megan stood there with a huge grin on her face. Kathryn slapped a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing. Megan was wearing jeans and a soft, green vee-neck sweater under her leather biker’s jacket, and had a huge canvas bag hanging from one shoulder. She was also wearing the green stocking cap trimmed with white faux fur she’d been wearing at the Christmas village the first night they’d met, and her big, fake elf ears were poking rather obviously out of her black, shaggy hair. She looked down at Caitlyn and immediately squatted down on her haunches in front of her, the strap of the bag slipping off her shoulder.
“Hi Cait! It’s so good to see you again!” She said, using the high, squeaky elf voice she’d used at the Christmas village.
“Miss Elf!” Caitlyn happily exclaimed, “Are you our guest for the party?!”
“I am! My name’s Megan, remember? Your Mommy invited me, because she knew I needed your special help!”
“My help?” Caitlyn’s eyes grew round.
“You might be the only one who can help me, Cait,” Megan said seriously. “I’m back from the North Pole on a mission. Santa sends me to watch over little boys and girls during the year for him while he’s busy building toys, but my disguise magic is stuck.”
“Disguise magic?” Caitlyn was hanging on Megan’s every word while Kathryn stood in rapt fascination.
Megan ignored Kathryn and focused all her attention on the little girl in front of her. She turned her head, and pointed at one of her elf ears. “My magic lets me hide that I’m an elf so I can more easily watch over kids. But it’s stuck.”
“Oh no! How do you unstuck?”
Megan smiled. “It can only be unstuck by the goodest little girls. And I think you might be one of them. Can we try?”
Kat had never heard Caitlyn giggle so fiercely. “Okay! What do I do?”
“I’m going to close my eyes, and when I count to three, you concentrate really hard, then gently boop my nose with your finger and say Zap! Okay?”
Caitlyn’s eyes grew wider, as did her smile. “Okay!” she said, holding up a finger.
Megan slid her hands up into her hair on either side of her head, and said “I’m going to hold my ears, ’cause sometimes there’s a big pop when my magic unsticks. Okay, ready?”
“One… Two… Three!” Megan squeezed her eyes shut and waited.
Caitlyn reached out, gently pressed Megan’s nose like it was an elevator button and said “Zap!”
After a few seconds, Megan opened one eye, looking worried. Her voice grew even higher and squeakier. “Oh no, it didn’t work! I thought you were the goodest little girl, Cait, I thought for sure that… wait… wait… ah… Ah… Ahhh…” Megan let out a loud, fake sneeze, “Ah-choo!” and threw her head forward. Her elf hat flew off to land on the floor and her shaggy hair flopped over her face, making her look like a raven-haired Muppet.
“Oh!” Caitlyn exclaimed and took a step back.
Megan tossed her head, clearing the hair back off her face, and Kathryn saw she’d neatly palmed her fake ears while her hair was obscuring them.
“Did it work?” Megan said in her normal voice. “My voice! It worked! You did it, Cait! You fixed my disguise magic! You are one of the goodest illegal bahis siteleri little girls! Do I look like a normal girl now?”
“Yes!” Caitlyn shouted, pointing at Megan’s hair, “Your ears are gone and you don’t sound like an elf anymore! I did it!”
“Oh, thank goodness! I knew I could count on you, Cait! Here, Santa gave me something to reward you in case you could fix my magic for me.” She reached into her big shoulder bag, and pulled out a fluffy, pink stuffed unicorn. It seemed to double in size, uncompressing as it escaped the confines of the bag, until it was almost as big as Caitlyn.
Caitlyn squealed in delight, grabbed the unicorn, and rubbed her face in the soft, plush fur before throwing her arms around Megan’s neck.
“Thank you, thank you, I love her, thank you!” she bubbled.
“Thank you, Cait. You fixed my magic for me. What are you going to name her?”
“Megan! Her name is Megan Unicorn!”
Megan giggled, and stood back up. “Wow, I’m honored, Cait! I hope Megan becomes one of your best friends.
“She will! I know she will! C’mon Megan Unicorn, let’s go meet Miss Spot and Banana Bear!” She ran away into the bedroom, tightly clutching her new stuffed friend.
Megan stepped in from the hall and closed the apartment door behind her, finally turning her attention to Kathryn and grinning. “Hey Kat, hope that was okay. I thought if she recognized me from the Santa village it might cause you some problems and that seemed like a good dodge.” Her grin faded into a look of concern. “Oh no. Did I mess up? Was that not okay?”
Kathryn had a tear running down her cheek, but she was smiling too. “Megan, that was… so sweet of you.”
Megan gave her a look of relief. “You scared me there for a second. I mean, it wasn’t a big deal. Anyone would do that for a kid, I hope.” She bent over to retrieve her elf hat and stuck it in her bag along with the fake ears.
“No, not everyone would. That was really, really thoughtful. You sure got off on the right foot with her.”
Megan stepped closer to her. “Well, Kitty-Kat, that’s what I was hoping for.” She leaned forward to kiss her, but Kat shied away, glancing at the bedroom. “Whoops, right. Sorry…” Megan said, not taking offense. “How about a hug for now, is that cool?”
“Yes, very cool,” Kathryn said. Megan embraced her and Kat closed her eyes, taking in the scent of Megan’s hair. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed that smell in the four days they’d been apart.
Megan pulled away, then looked around, drawing in a deep breath through her nose. “Wow, whatever you’re cooking smells amazing! My mouth started watering the second Cait opened the door.”
Kat smiled. “Thanks. I hope you like it.”
“I live off bar food and the food court at Georgetown most of the time. This will be my first home-cooked meal in ages. I promise I’m going to love it. I should warn you though, I’m a terrible cook. Whenever it’s my turn to feed us, I’ll probably just take us out somewhere.”
“Really? But you do everything else so well! Bartender, paralegal, student, elf… Santa,” Kathryn said, teasingly, as she took Megan’s coat and hung it up in the closet.
“A girl has to have some weaknesses. Otherwise I’d be boring.”
“That’s true. Sometime we’ll have to teach you how to make our homemade pizza crust.”
“I guarantee you, no matter how easy the recipe, I could make a mess of it.”
Kat led her into the kitchen, smiling as they heard Caitlyn introducing the new arrival to the rest of her stuffed menagerie. She checked the pots on each of the burners, turned the heat down a touch on the gravy, then leaned back against the counter and hugged her arms around herself.
“Listen,” Kathryn started, peering towards the living room to make sure there were no little ears listening, “I just want to… I think I…”
Megan said quietly, “Kat, if you want to set expectations, you aren’t going to hurt my feelings.”
“What?” Kat looked up surprised.
“I get it, this is just dinner. Granted this is maybe one of the most serious, important dates I’ve been on in my life. You’ve never dated a woman before. Also, I’m auditioning for your daughter, whether she knows it or not. But I just want to put your mind at ease a bit.” She looked back towards the bedroom, then said, in a quiet voice, “I know that most of our dates won’t end up like Christmas did.”
Kat blushed and said “Listen, Megan I—”
“It’s fine. I know I’m young. I mean we’re basically the same age, but you definitely come across as the mature, responsible one between the two of us. But… I can be patient.” Megan continued, nodding her head back towards Caitlyn. “I know there are logistical problems with that. I won’t be spending the night with you most dates… or any date, for the foreseeable future. And I also know, Christmas day notwithstanding, you probably don’t want to move that fast.”
Kat looked down at her feet. “No, canlı bahis siteleri I don’t know that I can move fast.” She looked back up at Megan. “I’m sorry, I hope that after what happened on Christmas it’s not too unfair to slow down now.”
“Don’t be sorry.” Megan reached up and caressed Kat’s cheek. “I really like you. I’m not here because I want to jump your bones every time I see you. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do because you’re smokin’ hot.” Kathryn blushed as Megan continued, “I know this is all new to you, me being a girl and all, but I like you. I’m not sure why, I don’t usually like someone as fast as I like you. I just want to see where this goes, okay? Don’t worry, I’m not going to treat you like a booty call. Anyway, sorry about trying to kiss you at the door. Won’t happen again until you want it to, okay?”
Just then, Caitlyn thumped into Megan from behind, wrapping her arms around her legs and almost throwing her off balance.
“Megan! Come see my room! Megan Unicorn has met all my other friends, but they want to meet you too!”
“Caitlyn! We’ve talked about this. You may call her Miss Megan, okay?” she said, admonishing her daughter.
“Sorry Mommy! Miss Megan, will you come see my room?”
“Sure thing, Cait! Let’s go,” Megan said, taking her hand and winking at Kathryn, then following Caitlyn into the bedroom.
That went better than I thought it would, Kathryn thought, I didn’t have to awkwardly sit through the evening and have that talk after I got Cait down. She just brought it up herself. She gave a heavy sigh of relief. Maybe this is going to be okay.
Kathryn turned back to the stove, checking everything, then removed the turkey breast from the oven and started slicing it. She filled three plates with turkey, stuffing, green beans and cranberry relish, added liberal helpings of gravy, and set the plates on the table along with a bowl of biscuits.
“Dinner’s ready!” she called out.
Seconds later, Caitlyn dragged Megan back into the kitchen by the hand.
“You sit here, Miss Megan!” Caitlyn said, pushing her into the chair next to the one with her booster seat. “I made the cram-berries, you have to have lots of cram-berries!”
Kathryn spent most of the meal watching Megan interacting with her daughter. She was impressed how she didn’t talk down to her, didn’t use baby talk, and listened attentively when Caitlyn spoke.
After the meal and the pumpkin pie, Megan suggested to Caitlyn that she bring her favorite game to the table. They played Connect-Four while Kat got some of the dishes cleaned up, and then Caitlyn insisted they had to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas since it had been a Christmas dinner. Caitlyn had watched it at least once a day since Thanksgiving.
Caitlyn asked if she could sit on Miss Megan’s lap while they watched, and Kathryn found she was almost jealous of how much attention Megan was giving her daughter instead of her. When she realized that, all she could do was shake her head and smile.
By the end of the Grinch, there was a heavy look in her daughter’s eyes signaling it was bedtime.
“Mommy, can Miss Megan read my story tonight?” she asked, after brushing her teeth and putting on her PJ’s.
“Honey, our guest has already done a lot for you tonight, and I don’t think—”
“I’d be happy to read you a story, Cait, if it’s okay with Mommy?” Megan said, from behind them. Kathryn turned to see Megan leaning against the door frame.
“Are you sure? You’ve done so much already.”
“I’d love to! Story time is right up an elf’s alley.” She came over and sat on the edge of the bed. “What story are we reading tonight?”
“Dog Man!” Cait exclaimed, happily.
“Just one chapter,” Kat admonished. “You can sleep in the bottom bed with me tonight, Cait. Scoot over against the wall and give Miss Megan some room.” She stood and took Megan’s place leaning against the door.
Megan flopped down next to Caitlyn on the bottom bunk with an exaggerated sigh, and opened the chosen book to the page that was marked.
“Let’s see now… here we go. ‘Dog Man was trying to…’ wait, this isn’t right. Hang on.” She reached up, crossed her eyes, pressed her nose, and said “Zap!” then continued reading the story in her high, squeaky elf voice.
By the end of the chapter, Caitlyn could barely keep her eyes open. Megan tucked Megan Unicorn under Caitlyn’s little arm then pulled the blanket up over her. She stood up, giving Kathryn room to lean over and kiss her daughter on the forehead. Then they quietly closed the bedroom door and made their way to the couch.
Kat sat down, then was mildly startled when Megan sat next to her and threw her legs over Kathryn’s lap as she leaned back against the arm of the sofa. It was unexpected, but also felt familiar. Comfortable. After a brief moment of uncertainty of what to do with her hands, she rested them lightly on Megan’s legs.
“You’re so good with kids. I wished you worked at my daycare. You’re at least as good as every other woman there,” Kathryn said.
“Well, I… whoops! Oh no!” Megan said, still in her high, squeaky voice. “My magic is stuck again. Help a girl out?” she asked, gesturing to her nose.