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Christmas 1998

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Weariness weighed on my soul as I thought of my children, each with their own unique set of woes that I seemed powerless to ease, despite my many efforts. Eventually, I'd gone to bed, once Bart had stormed to his rooms and Melodie had gone upstairs, complaining of ill-feelings. Chris had offered to check on her, but she refused, and so he'd let her be, as was his way. I didn't see him again until I'd said my goodnights to Jory and kissed Cindy's soft cheeks.

Slipping into Corrine's suite, I gazed at Chris as he rested on the bed, his beautiful blue eyes hidden behind closed lids. My own eyes followed the lines of his brow and nose and cheekbones illuminated in moonlight. If he felt the same weariness as I, it did not show on his face, as relaxed as ever, not pinched with anxiety and furrowed with worry as mine. It seemed as though he really did believe everything would be alright, that Melodie and Jory would reconcile (which I secretly doubted, though I hoped beyond hope that Christopher was right and that my suspicious mind was misguided), Bart would come into his own enough, find enough assurance to stop antagonizing Chris, who had only ever tried to love him as a father, and Cindy would, if nothing else, have a wonderful time at Bart's Christmas party.

The thought of the party, the way that Bart had ignored Christopher's warnings about the weather, sparked my anixety. I turned from the bed and instead let myself quietly into the opulant bathroom. A warm bubble bath sounded wonderful, one of my lifelong joys, one of the few comforts once afforded to me in this house. Rather than turn on the water however, which I worried might disturb Christopher, I paused in front of the long mirror, staring at my reflection.

Slowly, I untied my robe and slid it down my shoulders. It pooled around my slim ankles as I pulled my nightie over my arms, dropping it into the silken pile. Once, years ago, I'd been punished for looking at myself such as this, for taking in the new curves of my developing body. I was a child no longer; my breasts were much larger, though softer than they'd been then, when they were but hard knots on my thin chest. I touched my stomach, still slim, though not as flat as it had once been, nor as hard. All of my features had been rounded out by time. Though growing older was a surreal experience, I wasn't displeased with what I saw. My skin was milky white, with the exception of my rosy nipples, protruding in the chilled air. Christopher's Christmas Eve diamond glimmered against my chest, catching every tiny beam of light from the long, thin windows or the vanity bulbs overhead and refracting them into a million sparkles.

"It's tear-shaped, Cathy - for all the tears I would have cried inside if you had never let me love you," he'd said. Tears prickled the corners of my eyes as I fingered the exquistie diamond, which must have cost a fortune, but that didn't matter to me. I'd wear it until the day I died, even if it had been cubic zirconia, for it just for me from my Christopher Doll, chosen with care and thought, a wordless statement to express all the joy and sorrow between us. I loved it desparately, just as I loved him.

"Catherine," Chris's deep, sleepy voice drifted from the bedroom, interrupting my thoughts. "Stop admiring yourself and come to bed. I'd like a chance to admire you, if you don't mind."

A blush settled over my cheeks at his timing and the implication of his words. Stepping out of my nightthings, which I left on the floor to retrieve in the morning, I floated to the bedroom. Christopher's eyes blinked from half-closed to fully awake when I entered, wearing nothing but his necklace, and a pleased smile spread over his face. I crossed the room to his waiting arms. He held me tightly, his strength making me feel safe and possessed in the most wonderful way. My soul stripped, naked as my body, truly seen, and completely loved.

"You're beautiful," he murmured, nuzzling my stomach before pulling me into the bed beside him, our bodies flush against one another. He was naked as well and warm, like a smooth stone on a summer's day.

How I missed him when he was away! Each time he departed for the university, he took a piece of me with him and I was not whole again until his arms were around me and his lips were on mine.

All of my worry fell away when he kissed me and threaded his hand in my long, golden hair. Opening my mouth to his tender kisses, I ran my fingers through his thick mane of hair, more salt than pepper. He'd aged gracefully and I meant what I'd said - he grew more handsome to me with each passing year.

"I love you," I murmured as our lips parted, though the words seemed terribly insufficient to express what I felt for Christopher. Sometimes I thought my heart would burst, unable to contain my love for him, my rock, my strength, my better half in every way. The only one who had stood by me no matter what, who saw all of my imperfect ways and kept right on loving me.

"I love you too, Cathy," he replied quietly, peppering soft kisses over my throat. His hands slid from my hair, down my arms, and encircled my waist. Exhaling a shaking breath, I dropped my head back, giving him more access to my neck. He kissed over my shoulders and collar, painting my body with kisses like a canvas with oils, creating something more beautiful with each press of lips. Opening his hands, Chris stroked his strong fingers over my sides, the small of my back. Before long I was quivering, but he was accustomed to this, for I often did, for one reason or another.

Slowly, he found his way down my body in a trail of kisses. I gasped softly as he nuzzled the curl of yellow hair above my private place. He’d never been shy of it, not like some of the other men I’d been with. Chris loved to kiss me there, to gently lick and suck my sex until moisture ran down my thighs and stained the sheets. Working his head back and forth gently, he positioned his face between the folds of my lips. It was a wonder he could breath, but as he wrapped his hands under my thighs and gripped my legs, it didn’t seem as though breathing was high on his list of priorities. He moaned into my body, mouth open, eyes molten with want.

If I allowed it, Christopher would stay positioned between my legs until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Even after I’d orgasmed, he’d stay put and lick diffidently, staring up at me pleadingly through his thick lashes, begging silently to keep going.

“Chris,” I murmured, outstreatching my hands to him. “Come up here. I want to touch you.”

He pulled back enough to speak, his lips brushing against my velvety lips with each word. “Cathy,” he said sternly, “let me finish.”

“No,” I protested. “You’ll be down there all night if I let you and I want you up here with me!”

Shaking his head a bit, Chris nonetheless acquiesced to my demand and climbed back up the bed until he could plant a moist kiss on my lips. Sliding an arm under my slim waist, he held me close. His other arm cradled my shoulders, his fingers brushing my cheek tenderly as he kissed my forehead. I reached up both of my arms and folded them around his broad shoulders, digging my nails into the flesh of his upper back.

Chris groaned, dropped his forehead against my own as I scratched across the wide expense of his back. I could feel the hot insistence of his sex resting against my pubic bone, rubbing through my soft hair with each subtle rock of his hips.

“Do you remember our honeymoon?” He asked quietly, nuzzling the hollow of my throat. “You were so innocent.”

“Innocent?” I laughed dryly, my head popping up to fix him with a disbelieving look. “You don’t know me at all, Christopher Doll.”

He didn’t return the laugh, just lifted his head and stared at me until I flushed under the intensity of his eyes. “Yes, I do,” he replied quietly. “I know you better than you know yourself, Cathy.”

As if to puncutate his point, he untangled his arm from my shoulders and reached between us. Grasping his hard cock by the base, he angled it to my opening and slowly pushed himself inside of me. Once the head was inside, he pulled his arm back and cradled me against his chest, groaning as he pushed the whole of his length into my waiting body.

It was so unlike how Julian used to make love to me, and Bart too. The closest was Paul, who had been so considerate, despite his age. I never shared these thoughts with Chris, whom I secretly thought liked to imagine I’d never been with anyone else, even though he knew that I had. I had the children to prove it. But unlike Jory’s and Bart’s father, it was as though my pleasure was more important to Chris than anything else. If I didn’t reach climax, he took it was a personal failure. Well, most of the time. Some nights, we were both too tired to even get that far and just fell asleep wrapped in each other’s arms after an hour or so of sweet kisses.

“Cathy,” Chris chided, biting my earlobe gently. “Come back.”

“I’m here,” I promised, smiling and meeting his eyes. I don’t think he believed me, but he didn’t say anything else. Rather, he just stroked my hip with a thumb then slid his arm out from under me so he could reach between us and stroke my wet sex with that same thumb.

“Oh,” I moaned quietly, pressing my face into his shoulder as he circled his fingers over my slick clitoris in time with his deep thrusts. So long we’d been together that he knew exactly how to turn his hips, knew precisely the intracities of my pleasure in such a way that he could elicit ectasy with every thrust. He slid slickly inside of me, filling me, striking the spots deep inside of my body that made my legs tremble and my breath catch.

My hands tightened on his shoulders and his breath sped up, coming in shallow pants in time with his quickening thrusts. Electricity tingled down my spine, shooting through my nerves all the way to my fingertips and toes. I was getting close and I groaned helplessly, clutching him as I got closer and closer to the edge of rapture and, finally, with one last skilled stroke of his hand, stumbled over.

Biting my lips, I kept myself quiet, not wanting Jory down the hall to hear me. Especially I did not want Bart to hear and I feared he’d resumed his childhood habit of spying through our door. But Christopher, who’d never suffered my hang-ups, moaned loudly when he came, pushing deep inside of me as my walls spasmed around him, and filled me with his hot, thick seed. Oh how I wished I could give him a child! I thought it as my grip softened and he withdrew, pulling me into his arms. How wonderful it would have been to bear Christopher’s child. I no longer believed tall tales about children born with forked tongues and hooves. Any child borne between Christopher and I would have been perfect.

“Catherine,” he murmured, nuzzling my hair. “What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing important,” I replied. “Just that I love you.”

He chuckled and kissed my temple. “That’s the most important thing I’ve ever heard.”

Flushing again, I smiled because I knew he was serious. During my life being so adored made me uncomfortable but it was different with Christopher. He truly knew me, didn’t idolize me as a saint or damn me as a sinner. He saw each facet of me and he loved all of it, loved me for exactly who I was, not in spite of who I was. Looking up at him through my eyelashes, I saw his face was already relaxing. Sleep would soon claim him, but not before I did. Pressing a kiss to his forehead, his cheek, his lips, I nuzzled into the arms of my Christopher Doll and relaxed into sleep.