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Hanna Rockford’s cell phone always rang at the most inopportune times. Like now as she waited outside who-knew-whose door in a large box wrapped in glitzy, Christmas tissue paper. She only knew it was glitzy courtesy of Gaston. Her boss had talked nonstop as he’d packaged her up and finished up with a huge plaid bow on top of the box. Hanna hated plaid and was glad she couldn’t see it.
The cell phone chirped again. She scrambled around in the darkness to find the annoying device. She wasn’t wearing anything except a pair of spiked red heels and, of course, the obligatory Santa hat atop her dark curls. When whoever the message was intended for started opening the box, she’d jump out and shout, “Merry Christmas!” Then Gaston would whisk her away. He’d told her she’d make eye candy for one desperate gentleman and had chuckled when she’d thrown her arms around his neck and whispered, “You’re the only Christmas present I want.”
She thought she was in love with him but realised she wanted more adventure. Gaston was older and much more jaded than she was. He owned the walking telegram service that usually dressed the ‘gram’ in a costume specific to the season, like a bunny for Easter or a green-faced witch for Halloween.
The cell phone chirped yet again. This time Hanna flipped it open. Intent on answering to shut the damned thing up, she didn’t look to see who was calling.
“Hanna?” her mother asked in a worried tone. “Where are you?”
Like hell I’m going to say I’m naked, hunkered in a box and standing outside someone’s door waiting for them to get home or whatever. Time to lie through my teeth.
“Mom.” What’s got your underwear all knotted up this time? Carlie only called when she was worried or fretting about something inconsequential. She’d found herself in a messy divorce three years earlier when Hanna’s dad had decided his secretary had bigger tits and a better ‘bedroom style’ than Carlie did and had wanted an immediate divorce. “What’s up?” Hanna whispered into the tiny receiver.
“Can you speak up a little? I can hardly hear you.”
The worry in her mother’s voice was unmistakable. “Well, I’m listening to some music with some friends,” Hanna lied, hating herself for the untruth. Silence rang loud all around her. “You know they don’t like the interruptions.”
“But you’re okay?”
“Sure, Mom.” Only naked in a box, kind of like when I was in your womb waiting to jump out and surprise you.
“What would you like to eat for Christmas dinner? I know your favourite—”
“But Mom! Christmas is a whole week away!” Hanna interrupted.
Hanna’s brow furrowed. Carlie couldn’t possibly be thinking about dinner together on the most spectacular day of the year. She sounded as if she were smacking her lips and moaning about a delightful treat. Like a man. Like sex. But that was impossible. Hanna hadn’t heard her mother mention a man outside of her ex-husband—and good riddance to him!—since the divorce. Hey Mom! Are you making out while you’re talking about dinner or is it just my imagination.
“Mom? What did you say about dinner?”
“Sounds delicious honey. Whatever you’ve got planned.”
No, that wasn’t her mom at all. Not lonely Carlie who had sworn off men for life after her cheating husband had ditched her. “I didn’t say I was going to—”
Carlie cut her off. “I’m sorry, honey, but the static on this line on something awful. Gotta go.”
Hanna didn’t hear any. The line sounded just fine. Could’ve heard a pin drop. Thought I heard the sound of a soft moan though. A very male moan. The connection went dead.
“Well, fine, Mom. Way to go, Mom.” Hanna knew she wouldn’t be showing up for Christmas dinner, not with her mom’s old friends who were always talking behind her back about morals, social values and when they were kids, how life had been different. Snobby snots, but she did have to give them points for sticking by Carlie through the divorce. Hanna felt grateful for that. Dismissing her mother’s divorce from her mind, she wondered if she had time for a quickie before whoever came home and opened his surprise. Hanna wouldn’t want him opening the box to find a naked woman erotically doing herself. Although what the hell. Gaston hadn’t been fitting the bill lately for fun, uninhibited sex.
Heavy footsteps and the clicking of high heels down the hallway brought Hanna to attention. Was it the man she waited for? She bit her lower lip before she remembered there was crimson lipstick on her usually unpainted lips. Quickly, she stopped and wondered how in the hell she’d check to see if there was any lipstick on her front teeth without a compact mirror.
“Oh look, Henry! What a big present!” A high-pitched female voice exclaimed.
“Darling, it’s not for you, so just stay clear.” A set of keys jingled.
Relief flooded Hanna. There was still time to figure out how to check her teeth in the dark before the recipient of the box arrived.
Posted November 1, 2010
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