Hi and welcome to the Jingle Bell Hop! If you’ve stumbled here first, click here and check out the Blog Hop from the beginning. Really, it’s more enjoyable that way. And now, the 4th day of Christmas:
Four Ex-Boyfriends Calling
Breakfast in bed. Braith smiled sleepily and stretched, careful not to disturb the tray of goodies.
“Good morning,” Jake said and kissed her just as she was about to wish him the same.
“G’mornin’,” she replied. “What’s all this?”
“Oh, this? This is nothing. Just something to get you into holiday spirits. I have the whole day planned.”
Braith raised an eyebrow but left it at that. She already knew there was no point trying to pry anything out of Jake. When it came to surprises, he was worse than the sphinx. So instead she ate her breakfast, croissants, fruit and coffee with a healthy side of Jake. It was cold outside, the windows white with frost. She didn’t want to leave the bed, but Jake had other plans.
When they were finished with breakfast he left her to wash up. Her cell phone was ringing when she got out of the shower. Scrubbing a towel over her head, she didn’t even look at the caller ID, just answered. “Hello?”
Braith held the phone away from her to frown at the screen. “Matthew?”
“Yeah, just wanted to wish you happy holidays, you know?”
“So listen, are you busy today? I’m in town and I really wanted to see you before I leave. Just to talk.”
Talk. Braith shuddered. That’s all he’d ever done in their three month relationship. Talk. About everything. His work, his friends, his family, his plans for the future – which somehow turned into plans for their future… “Yeah, Matt, I’m busy. My new boyfriend’s taking me out on the town.”
“Huh. So… you don’t have a half hour to grab a cup of coffee or something? I really want to see you.”
“I’m sorry, Matt,” she said. “Don’t… don’t call me again, okay?”
Braith was still frowning when she got dressed. She’d broken up with Matt two years ago, why would he be calling her now? That was weird, right?
“Hey, babe, everything okay?”
Braith shook herself. “Yeah, fine. I just had a really—”
Her phone rang again.
“—weird phone call.”
Jake frowned. “Who’s that?”
Braith checked out the caller ID. “What the…” She held up a finger for Jake to wait and answered. “Tommy?”
“Braith, hey! I’m so glad you didn’t change your number.”
What the hell? “I’m starting to think I should have.”
Jake was giving her a strange look and all she could do was shrug helplessly. All she wanted to do today was spend time with her gorgeous boyfriend and at this rate she’d be lucky if she got out of the house with him. What was it, day of the exes? Someone should have told her.
“Oh, you funny girl,” Tommy said. “Hey, you wanna grab some lunch today?”
“No, I don’t. You broke up with me a year ago.”
“Uh, yeah, that’s kinda what I wanted to talk to you about.”
Braith hung up and threw her phone on the bed.
“What was that?” Jake asked.
Braith stared at the phone as if it had grown a head. “I have no idea. Can we just go?”
“Yeah, come on.”
He took her to the ice skating rink. It was so cold that the rink was almost deserted, and they got to skate around any which way they wanted. They danced to a slow song, and Jake spun her around to a fast one, and she laughed until her face started getting numb with cold.
Afterward he took her to a cozy little café to warm up and they spent two hours sitting in a plush love seat by the fireplace, sipping hot chocolates and joking about Christmas presents.
At four in the afternoon her phone rang again. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Who keeps calling you so much?”
“I swear, it’s like the holidays bring all the bugs out of the woodwork.” The caller ID said Jonah. Sweet merciful God, was there some evil fairy screwing with her today? Just his name brought up godawful memories of the fiasco that had been their break-up. She’d ended up the butt of jokes for weeks afterward.
Disgusted that his number was even still in her address book, she rejected the call. “For some reason all my exes seem to thing today’s a good day to get back in touch,” she told Jake.
“I’m not sure what to think about that.”
“Yeah well, I’ve told you about some of the guys I’ve dated.”
“Yeah,” he said, just as her phone rang again. “That’s what concerns me.”
It was Jonah again. Braith rejected the call. Three seconds later, he called again. “Oh for the love of God.” She picked up. “Stop calling me.” And she hung up again. For a couple of minutes, both of them stared at the phone, waiting to see if it would ring again. It didn’t.
Breathing a cautious sigh of relief, Braith stuck the phone in her pocket and hugged herself to Jake’s side. He put his arms around her instantly. How did she ever get so lucky?”
They went Christmas gift shopping. Braith only had a few people left on her list but Jake, the male that he was, had left everything to the last minute. She helped him pick out presents for his entire family and two of his friends, and by the time they were finished, the car was loaded and she was exhausted.
She was so happy to be back home she almost missed it when Jake said, “I made reservations for dinner.”
That usually meant somewhere fancy. Braith stifled a groan. He had that come-and-get-me smile on his face that always made her want to take a nip of his lower lip. She could deny him nothing when he smiled at her like that, because she knew he reserved it just for her.
So she dressed up, put on mascara and lipstick, and met him at the front door. He was holding her fancy coat out to her and looking very pleased with himself. “What have you got up your sleeve?”
In answer, he showed her his sleeves. Nothing.
There was fancy in this town, and then there was La Riviere, a French restaurant people made reservations in months in advance. To say she was slack jawed didn’t even cover it. They ate three scrumptious courses by candle light, and then dessert arrived in the form of a small chocolate cake for them to share. It had two sparklers stuck into the top and it wasn’t until they had burned down that she could see the diamond ring perched in a chocolate boat between them.
Braith’s breath caught. She looked at Jake to ask if they’d delivered it to the wrong table and saw a look in his eyes that almost made her cry. “Marry me, Braith,” he said softly.
Her phone rang.
Braith couldn’t form a single word while he kept holding her gaze. He hadn’t moved a fraction of an inch and it was like the world had frozen around them.
Except for her ringing phone.
Braith looked at the ring, a beautiful engraved golden band with a perfectly round diamond in the middle. It was one of a matched set she’d once seen in a magazine. The other would be a pure band that would fit into this one. It was a Celtic design she’d admired for maybe ten seconds. How could he have known?
Her phone rang louder.
Braith fished it out of her jacket, barely glanced at the screen. Richard the Rich. Also known as the pompous dick who’d cheated on her with the French maid with fake boobs. She accepted the call. “Dickie? Hey, I’m getting married. Bye.”
Jake’s smile lit up her soul. He took the ring and slid it on to her finger, then clasped her hand in both of his. “Now I’ve got you all to myself.”
Her phone vibrated with a text message. Braith turned it off. “Forever and a day. I hope you’re ready.”
**None of these pictures belong to me, they belong to their respective owners and are only used here for decoration **