Here it is again, time to leave another message or two. Since it's getting close to Christmas, I want to wish you all a good one this year.
Now, I'm going to leave an excerpt of one of my Christmas novellas for you "Let it Snow".
Three days later, she was relaxing by the fire, and soaking her feet in a plastic pan, when Mark came over.
She started to get up, but instead just hollered, "Come in?"
He opened the door hesitantly, "Judy, Lori?"
"My aunt is at choir practice, come on in." She sighed.
He glanced at the pan and her barefeet wiggling in it. "Tough day?" He asked.
"Just for my feet," She chuckled.
He looked down at her and suddenly, he bent to take her feet from the water and dried them off with the towel she had lying on the floor next to the pan. "Looks like you need a foot massage." He laughed.
But the minute his fingers began to work around her aching feet, she had to sigh aloud. "Oh, My God! That feels wonderful."
He chuckled. "You are tired."
"We were very busy. Once Frances customers saw she had help, she seemed to be swamped with people coming in wanting up-dos for parties and such."
He glanced up at her as he manipulated her foot between his large hands.
"Oh…"She sighed again, "You could get a lot of money for that."
"You think so?" He chuckled again.
"I'd pay you!" She laughed.
"Just relax, we'll have you feeling better in no time." He smiled up at her as he watched her facial expression change from pained to total relief.
"So, you didn't sign up for the choir too?" He asked.
She glanced down at him and made a mock frown, "Me, I can't sing."
"Everyone can sing; it's just some don't sound as good as others."
"Yeah, and I’m one of them." She replied, as she leaned her head back and let the feel of his hands on her foot take her to another realm.
"Is this why you came over, to rub my feet?" She asked in a teasing tone.
"I came over to see how you liked your job?" He said taking her other foot out of the water and drying it. The way he handled her feet, so gently made a tingle run through her.
"I love it. The people here are so friendly, a little noisy too, but very friendly. Frances turned half her clientele over to me. She said if I stay she might actually get a vacation every now and then." Lori was saying as she relaxed and let him work his magic.
When he was finished, her eyes popped open and she saw him staring at her.
"Maybe you should invest in some better shoes." He told her as he sat down at the table by her.
"Yeah, I guess I should, I haven't bought any in a while and these are pretty worn out." She glanced at the clogs she had worn for the past five years.
"Maybe the first paycheck I get I can invest in a pair." She sighed. "So, what have you been up to?"
"Working. I've been patching Bernie's roof on his shed so he can work in there again."
"Oh, kind of chilly weather for that, isn't it?"
"A little. All work has its hazards, I guess."
She looked at him and smiled, "Want some coffee or cocoa?"
"Hmm…cocoa sounds wonderful." He smiled and stretched.
She liked the way he seemed so comfortable around her, even though they hadn't known each other long.
Her cell phone rang and she glanced at it and ignored it.
"Aren't you gonna answer that?" He asked curiously.
"It's Jason. And I know what he wants. I really am through with him and don't want to encourage him." She told Mark as she brought the cocoa to the table.
"You're kind of hard on him, aren't you? I mean just because he doesn't like Christmas?"
"That's not the only thing."
She set her mug down and run her finger over the edge of the mug. "Our relationship was fading into nonexistence. I don't want that anymore. He doesn't respect my work."
"That can be a drawback. I mean look at me. Why do you suppose Heather isn't interested in me?"
She turned her head in question. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, I'm not ambitious, I'm not a go getter like her dad wants for her. She wants big things, big opportunities. I just want to enjoy my life." He smiled. "To me, working, and helping means happy."
"I totally get that." She sighed. "Jason used to ask why I was a hairdresser in the first place, if my feet hurt every day and I was wasted tired."
"What did you tell him?"
"I told him I enjoyed my work, seeing the ladies and men's faces when I was done, was a real boost, and when I came home tired, I knew I had put in a good day's work. I feel as though I accomplished things."
"And his reply?"
"Hairdressing was not an accomplishment. I should have higher goals, better education and want to better myself. Where was my pride? He just never understood."
"Well now, let's see. You take an ordinary lady, turn her into a princess so she can go home and impress her husband or her boyfriend. You build her confidence in herself so she can face her tasks. I'd say you accomplish a lot in very little time, too." He reflected.
She stared at him and for the first time in a long time, she felt very proud of herself, and was a bit in awe of Mark that he even noticed. Most men wouldn't.
She tried to shrug it off, "I guess it takes someone who feels the same about careers as I do, to see it. Just like I see your worth when you fix something for someone and they appreciate it. When you use your time to help others. Why doesn't everyone seem to recognize that it takes all of us in different capacities to make this world function right?"
"Now that's profound," He chuckled.
"When you help someone else, and you do your job well, why should anyone feel as though they should be ashamed of themselves for not going to college?"
"Jason thinks you should have a degree and make big money?"
"Exactly. I make enough money to support myself and to have little things I want. I don't have a huge appetite for things. Give me a decent television, a good laptop, a few clothes, and I'm happy."
"What does he say about you not driving?" Mark asked her.
"Oh," she rolled her eyes, "We don't want to go there. He thinks I can't emotionally get over things. But I can. I just allow myself the time to. Driving isn't a top priority for me. And it only serves to remind me of my folk's deaths, which, I've made peace with lately. Aunt Judy and I have talked about it a lot. Jason never would talk about death with me. Maybe someday I will drive again, but I'm not ready for that."
Mark stared at her. "When my father died, I didn't have time to grieve much myself. My mother came unglued and needed me to be strong for her. I tried my best to be. Mainly because my other siblings weren't around as much. But I'll admit, I haven't totally gotten over it myself."
"I'm so sorry. I know how you feel. But, you've got to let yourself grieve before you can ever, 'get over it'." She told him.
He looked at her, all over, and that look went through her like an electrical current. "You're right."
"How old was your father?"
"He'd have been fifty this year."
She nodded. "My folks would have been in their fifties too. And to tell the truth, I'm a whole lot better than I used to be about them. I was young when it happened, but I'm over it now. Although I still miss them every day."
"I don't know if you ever get over that."
"No, I don't guess you do. Someone once told me that you don't really grieve for them, but for yourself. I didn't understand that for a long time. But now, it makes sense to me. I think if I had more family, I would have gotten over it sooner."
"I believe that too! My brother Seth kept me hanging on."
"You have a nice family, what I've met of them."
"I guess I do." He looked at her, this time deep inside her. "At least you have your Aunt Judy."
"I've come to realize though, that if anything happened to her, I’m not sure I could go on…"
He reached for her hand and his thumb absently stroked it, "Yes you could…We all go on."
She smiled. Then looked at their hands. When she glanced up, he was staring again.
He stood up and he stood right over her. She tossed her head, and her curls fell over her shoulder as she looked up at him. He bent and touched his lips to hers, and suddenly the door burst open and her aunt came inside.