TEXT ME, CUPID // Episode 1, Scene 11
Previous: 1.1 // The Challenge 💘 1.2 // The Challenger 💘 1.3 // One Night Stand Gone Wrong
1.4 // Panties, Penises & Bank Vaults 💘 1.5 // The Negotiation 💘 1.6 // Cute, Fab In The Sack, Not Interested, Also, Psychic 💘 1.7 // Routine to the Rescue, Sort of 💘 1.8 // Methadone Fail 💘 1.9 // In Case You Missed It The First Time: Christmas Sucks When You’re Divorced 💘 1.10 // Lies, Groceries & Plans
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FAKE CHRISTMAS EVE FAILS & VICTORIES
Saturday, December 23 + Sunday, December 24
Will ended up taking Polly and Matthew out for steaks on Christmas Eve-eve, because, first, the turkey wouldn’t fit in his apartment-sized oven, and, second, googling revealed that even if it had fit, it would take almost five hours to cook, and not the 45 or so minutes he had allotted to dinner preparation.
The failure to provide a proper Christmas dinner for his children made him feel like shit. And angry. He should have planned ahead, he should have bought a smaller turkey—he should have just bought a chicken and slathered it in cranberries.
The dinner out was a disaster. Polly was whiny and Matthew was sullen. Will’s steak was overdone and Polly’s was too raw, and it didn’t occur to them to just switch them, because they were both too busy being miserable.
So it was shaping up to be a horrible Christmas Eve-eve… until they came back to the apartment, and the kids saw the tree, and Matthew found the turkey in the bathtub, and they all tried to cram the bird into the oven to prove him wrong—and failed—and they laughed, and he gave each of them a can of cranberries to eat as a bedtime snack.
They watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas in his bed, and when Polly fell asleep, he decided to just leave her there. And then Matthew didn’t want to leave the bed either, and instead of arguing, Will let him stay too.
He woke up on Christmas morning with a crick in his neck, but Polly in one armpit and Matthew in the other, and so he was very very happy.
They ate cranberries and pumpkin pie and Black Forest cake with real whipped cream and cherries for breakfast. Then Will made them fruit smoothies liberally laced with protein powder, which Polly left untouched and Matthew poured into the sink. Then they went skating at Olympic Plaza, and had hot chocolate and greasy hamburgers for lunch, and then they went sledding, and then chilled in the hot tub at his condo.
And it was a wonderful, amazing day and Will didn’t even hate Amanda that much when he dropped them off and chose to stay in the car, just in case Ranveer was already in his former house.
“Merry Christmas, Dadda!” Polly said, using the diminutive that she now thought, at seven, she was too old for.
“Merry Christmas, Dad,” Matthew said very seriously, nine and already practicing being a teen. But he let himself be kissed like a little boy.
“Merry Christmas, you boogers,” he said. And they went home, and he drove back to his apartment, where he would be spending Christmas Eve proper, and Christmas Day, alone.
He was aware of every bar he passed en route. He took certain turns just to avoid passing that particular bar, that old haunt. He didn’t stop at a single one. He made it to the underground parking garage of his building safe.
There was a liquor store on the ground floor of his building.
He knew this, of course. Thought it ironic.
He had never been inside, not even to get sparkling water.
It was really nice.
Fuck, it was beautiful.
He walked up and down the aisles, just enjoying the…
…he was just here to enjoy the aesthetic arrangement of the bottles and the…
…oh-my-fucking-god what was he doing?
He would just buy a small…
One drink. Not even one night. Just one drink.
And if it was one night—if he had a binge night one night every six years, what difference would it make?
Rosie, that morning, when he came to, started to explain: “Shit, Will, you fucked up.”
One night, Rosie! One fucking night!
Amanda, five years later: “I never got over it, Will. Do you understand? I never got over it!”
One night. One drink.
The best of reasons, right? His first Christmas without his kids.
He’d just get…
“Looking for anything in particular?” the clerk asked him.
“Just trying to decide,” he choked out.
Jesus. What was he?
Don’t do this, Will.
He went into the corner with the beer coolers and put his head against the glass. Cold.
Ok. He knew the drill. He had this. Never again.
Never, never, never.
Niko. That’s why… that’s the whole reason…
“Call me. Anytime.”
Fuck. Of course. Niko was on his way to Maui. On a plane. Or at the airport.
Will not ruin her Christmas Eve. And will not ruin… will not.
“Sir? Are you okay?”
Break a pane of glass and they will call the police and you will be safe.
“Just very undecided,” Will said. He was surprised how… sane his voice sounded.
“Ok, just let me know if you need anything.”
What the fuck was he supposed to say?
He stared at the shelves and bottles around him. Snapped a photograph. Hit send.
And a picture. Her face, smiling, grinning. Wearing a hot pink dress.
Think about cleavage.
Come on, Will.
She didn’t understand.
Don’t ruin her night.
“Sir? Are you sure you’re all right?”
No! Help me!
Someone. Please. Help.
Florence’s voice: “You’re an alcoholic.”
Florence. She knew. And. She was lost to him anyway.
She never gave him her phone number. And who would be checking OkCupid messages on Christmas Eve?
He tapped the app.
“I’m in a liquor store. Help me.”
She responded immediately.
He was sitting on the floor, in the corner beside the beer coolers, his head between his hands when she found him. Slid down onto the floor beside him. Said nothing for a long time.
Then, suddenly, kissed his cheek.
“You did good,” she said. He shook his head. She shook hers and then, put both her hands around his head and shook it. He swatted at her. “You did good,” she said. Looked around. “Nice place,” she commented. Frowned. “Isn’t your apartment just upstairs? Oh-my-fucking-god, Will, do you live on top of a liquor store?”
“I thought it would be… you know, ironic. Like a private joke? Between me and my… demon?” His voice was… very normal. A little distant. Tired.
“Or, stupid,” she said. “Well. Come on, let’s get out of here.”
“Where are we going?”
“To your apartment,” she said. “My babysitter is charging me an extortionate three-hour minimum, last-minute, holiday rate. I’m getting some mind-blowing orgasms out of this rescue trip.”
“So… you’re paying someone to have sex with me? I’m flattered,” he attempted a joke. It was a terrible joke. She laughed anyway.
“You can think that if you like,” she said. Pulled him to his feet. “Let’s go.”
MERRY MESSY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!
Check out the full RELEASE SCHEDULE & Table of Contents for links to published scenes.
Of course, if at any point, you can’t take it any more and want to read ahead, one-click Messy Christmas or buy the full Text Me, Cupid series. In this case, I thoroughly approve of your desire for instant gratification. 😉
(And if you’re on-track and devouring all the novellas as they release–Saving Christmas is live!)