“Fabulous party, Kat! Thanks so much for inviting us. You really do know how to put on a dinner. Such a shame David couldn’t be here.”
Kathleen smiled and said good night to the last of her guests, wishing them a safe drive home through the snow. As soon as the door was shut, her smile disappeared. She turned back with a sigh to look over the mess of her living room and kitchen. Oh well, she thought, these dishes won’t clean themselves, so might as well get started.
Would it have been better if David had made it home? She wasn’t sure. Things had been a little tense between them before he left for this latest business trip, but they had always managed to hide such things behind an easy facade of marital bliss in front of guests before. Still, he should have been there, but the snow was coming down thick and who knew what the airport was like. She let the post-party melancholy wash over her, almost relieved to not have to be happy and cheerful for others any longer.
Kathleen started the first load in the dishwasher and began rinsing the remainder when the musical chime of the telephone interrupted her. David’s cellphone. His flight must have finally landed.
“Hey. Where are you? Everything ok?”
“Yeah. We got diverted to Grand Rapids. The airline offered everyone a hotel room.”
“Oh.” So he wasn’t coming home tonight. Kathleen wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She should have been disappointed, but her lack of disappointment was what disappointed her more.
“So how was the party? Sorry I missed it.”
“It was good. The Johnsons showed up after all.”
David laughed over the poor connection. Weather must have been interfering with his signal.
“Did they put on their usual show? Emily get drunk and flirt outrageously in front of Mike?”
In fact, Emily Johnson had done just that, as Kathleen had known she would. The previous year Emily had draped herself all over David at the party, whispering things into his ear, putting her hand on his hip, pushing her breast against his arm. Her husband Mike had silently steamed, drinking more and more while watching his wife with a frown, and Kathleen briefly entertained the idea of causing her own diversion. David had looked uncomfortable, but his erection had been pretty obvious through his slacks. This year had been no different, except instead of David, Emily picked on someone else. Kathleen had hoped they wouldn’t actually come, but they did.
“You know she did.” Kathleen hoped the bitterness wasn’t obvious in her voice. Really, she didn’t know why still threw these Christmas Eve parties, they just made her feel dejected, but everyone expected it of her.
“Hey. Kat. Really, I’m sorry I couldn’t be home. I know these things are draining for you.”
“Really, David? You’re not home for Christmas Eve; are you even going to be home for Christmas day? Did you have to wait ’til the last minute to fly home? Couldn’t you have come a day earlier?”
“Kat. Honey, I’m sorry about that.”
Kathleen felt awful. She knew it wasn’t David’s fault he’d had to go on this trip, and the client demanded he be there until the last minute. He wasn’t responsible for the weather or flight delays, but she just couldn’t help herself, taking her frustration out on her husband.
“I’m sorry, David. I know that was uncalled for. I’m just frustrated.”
“I know. I understand. Maybe I have a way to make it up to you.”
Was that a hint of something sly in his voice? What was he planning?
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me what you’re doing right now.”
“I’m doing the dishes and cleaning up, what else would I be doing?”
“Uh huh. Are you wearing your cocktail dress? The slinky little black number?”
Kathleen took a breath and let some of her frustration ebb away. It really was one of her favorite dresses, and now she remembered that David bought it for her last year.
“You know I’ve always thought you incredibly sexy in that dress.”
She smiled. “Yeah, well, right now it’s covered up with a kitchen apron so I don’t splash dirty, soapy water on it.”
“Wouldn’t it be even safer to take the dress off, and just wear the apron?”
“David! What, feeling a little lonely in your hotel room, are you?” Kathleen giggled.
“Just saying. It would be a shame to stain the dress. You’ve still got the fire going, right? It’s not cold? So why not go hang up the dress, nice and neat, and not take any chances?”
Despite herself, Kathleen felt a small tickle of arousal at his suggestion. Why not? Who was going to see, anyway, and it would make finishing the dishes more interesting to play along. She cradled the cordless phone against her shoulder and walked out into the living room, where indeed the fire still roared bright and warm, toasting the room.
“Ok. Ok, you win. Hold on a sec, I’m going to put the phone down a moment.”
She imagined she could hear his smile of satisfaction through the call. Now she felt silly about the idea, and considered just telling him she was removing the dress but not really doing it. After all, how would he know?
Then she looked at the photo of the two of them, together, on the mantel above the fire. They had taken that picture — was it a selfie? or a dualie? with both of them in it? — four years earlier while on a cruise in the Caribbean, and they both looked so happy in it. It had been Christmas then, too, except Christmas in Tortola was an entirely different affair from Christmas in Chicago. She had been happy then, she remembered. Very happy. David had made her feel so treasured, loved, and desired. She looked good in the photo, as did he — he was a very handsome man, was it his fault that drunken bitch Emily made a move on him? — and she realized that he made her feel sexy.
Kathleen shucked off the apron, then slinked out of the black dress. She was momentarily self-conscious, standing before the fire in nothing but heels, hold-ups, and panties. She carefully draped the dress over the back of a chair, then put the apron back on. Her nipples pebbled at the slightly rough texture of the apron brushing against them, and she began to feel a little naughty and, yes, sexy, doing this, even if there was no one to see. She picked up the phone.
“Ok. I did it.”
“Panties too, darling. I want you naked under that apron. You can leave your shoes and stockings on, if you’re wearing them.”
Kathleen blushed, which was silly because she was alone.
“David! I don’t know what’s come over you.” She thumbed her panties over her hips and let them fall to her ankles, then stepped out of them and bent down to pick them up and put them on the chair beside the dress. “There. I’m essentially naked, only the apron to cover me, and you know it doesn’t cover much.”
“Good thing you aren’t cooking with hot oil, then, eh, darling? Are you back in the kitchen now?”
“Tell me what you’re doing.”
“Well, I’m washing dishes, of course. I mean, most of them are in the dishwasher, but I’m rinsing off the extras.”
“Uh huh. Are you bending over the sink?”
Kathleen blushed again. How could he make such an innocuous thing feel so wicked?
“Um… yes. A little bit.”
“Bend over more. Make sure that pert little bottom of yours sticks out while you rinse those dishes.”
Kathleen couldn’t quite believe how turned on she was. Heat pooled in her belly and between her legs and her breathing deepened. She ran the tap to rinse away scraps and added the plate to the pile.
“Do you have much more to do?”
“I’m just about finished.”
“Mmm, yes, you are, aren’t you?”
Kathleen squirmed, not entirely sure about that, but feeling delightfully naughty from the simple act of washing dishes in the nude.
“Now, darling, I want you to touch yourself.”
“That’s right. You know what I mean. And tell me how it makes you feel.”
She couldn’t quite believe she was doing this, but she played along, reaching under the apron to cup her own breasts, enjoying the weight of them in her hands, and taking the nipples between thumb and forefinger.
“You aren’t talking to me, darling. What are you doing?”
“I… I’m touching my breasts.”
“You know you have the most gorgeous tits, don’t you? I’ve always loved them. Now put a hand between your legs and touch yourself there.”
“For the sake of a stranded traveler?”
Kathleen took another deep breath, then did as he asked. She wasn’t very surprised to find herself incredibly wet. Why did this turn her on so much? They had never done phone sex before, but she couldn’t deny the arousal she felt from hearing David’s voice and knowing he was hearing her. She wondered what he was doing on his end of the phone.
“Are you wet, my love?”
“You do know I love you, right?”
She did. He did love her, and she did know that. And she loved him, too. Somehow they had allowed themselves to forget this all-important fact, but it was still true.
“Yes, David. I do know. And I love you, too.”
“So you miss me right now?”
“Oh, David! You’re getting me all worked up over here, when you’re off in another city, hours away, with a snowstorm between us. Is this a special kind of cruelty?” She said that with a strained bit of laughter, then moaned very softly into the phone while continuing to touch herself. “David, I wish you were home. Right now.”
“I’ve sent you a gift.”
“A gift? How could you send me a gift? You just got off a plane in another city from where you’re supposed to be, another city from me.”
“I arranged for a special delivery. Open the front door.”
“What? I can’t do that! I’m naked!”
“No one will see, my love. Do this for me. Trust me. It’s waiting for you on the front porch. Just open the door.”
Kathleen had serious doubts now, but it was after Midnight, after all. David was right. Who would see? She would be quick, she wouldn’t actually step outside, just open the door and quickly grab whatever it was.
“Ok. You’re unbelievable, you know. I can’t imagine how you arranged a special delivery late at night on Christmas Eve in a snowstorm while stranded away from home.”
“I have my ways.”
She almost heard the smirk in his voice. She wondered if the gift was going to be something naughty, a sex toy or something of that sort. That would explain his mood and the phone call. She went to the door and peeked through the peephole. No one was there, of course, and the porch light was already out after the last guest had left, much earlier.
“All right, I’m opening the door. If I get mugged, it’ll be your fault!”
Kathleen unlatched the deadbolt and pulled the door inward. She was confused; there was nothing on the porch.
“There’s nothing here. It didn’t arrive. I hope you didn’t pay extra for this delivery.”
“Ah, but it did arrive, my love.”
David stepped into view from beside the doorway, cellphone to his ear, snowflakes covering the shoulders of his overcoat and sticking to his hair. Kathleen was so surprised she nearly dropped the handset. He grinned at her, taking her in from top to bottom, barely concealed behind the apron, then looked straight into her eyes and spoke into the phone again, so she heard his voice live and a half-second later as an echo through the handset.
“Merry Christmas, Kat. I love you.”
[I have entered this story into Marie Rebelle’s “Wicked Wednesday” #134 for “Christmas 2014.” Click the button and be sure to read all the other entries!]