Friday, November 28, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

“God, I’m stuffed,” he said. “I think I just broke a commandment or something.”

“A deadly sin, you mean,” she said, smiling. “Gluttony, right?”

He glanced at her legs folded on his couch. Her skirt rode higher when she sat like that.

Black stockings.

“Yeah, right.”

“I didn’t know a table could hold that much food,” she said. “I think I heard wood groaning.”

He bit the flesh of his cheek. Hard.

“Nah, that was my dad’s chair. Begging for mercy.”

She swatted him on the arm. They caught the glow of the TV in one another’s eyes. Quiet laughter died.

Staring at the muted football game, each grew painfully aware. The silence dragged into the fourth quarter. Game tied.

“Well, thanks for inviting me, Steve. It was a really nice gesture.”

Her feet struck the ground. Slipping those heels on.

“Oh. No problem. I know it sucks to be away from family on Thanksgiving.”

“And thanks for the record player! Yeah . . . wow.”

She was nodding really fast. Wine glass now consigned to coaster.

“Sure. I never really use it anymore.”

“Speaking of which,” she said, jabbing her thumb toward the door. “I should go ahead and load it in my car.”

“Really?” He cleared the whine from his voice. “I mean, it’s pretty cold out there.”

He shivered to prove it.

“Yeah, I should get on the road. ”

“It’s supposed to snow . . . ”

Her lips curved. A bit.

“Probably all the more reason I should go. Otherwise, I might be trapped here. Overnight.”

“Oh. Right.” His cheeks felt like two chestnuts, roasting. “Sorry.”

“Unless . . . ”

He pounced.


“Unless you have some good records here?”

On the television, some guy kicked a field goal.

“I think I can find something.” He stood, passing into the hallway. His pace struggled to match his smoking blood, but it was a losing ballgame.


He turned.

Her ankles crossed on his coffee table. No heels. Wine glass cradled in her lap.

She grinned.

“Make it something warm, okay?”


[Ray Charles and Betty Carter singing the holiday classic]


Anonymous said...

That really made me smile.

Such a mountain, that moment. So much desire and fear. But they crossed the summit and survived!

Soon the wind will be whipping their hair on the downhill ride. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Promising! Promising!

Aine said...

:) Now I feel all warm and cozy...

Interestingly, I thought they were an established couple at first because they seemed so comfortable together. Nice capture of those awkward moments.

I've got a version of that song to send you...

Sarah Hina said...

Jason, I like that they pushed on through. It could have gone the other way, yet they were just brave enough to seize the moment, and cross that line.

Too bad it has to be so hard, though! :)

Charles, all I can say is, touchdown. (sorry, had to do it)

Aine, I'm glad this gave you a warm glow! :)

I think they were comfortable as friends together. It was taking that next, precious step that caused all that delicious agony. ;)

(Send it already!!)

KA Cole said...

Aaah! The delicious, passionate BREVITY of this piece! ;> So much is conveyed with sweet, little morsels...

Every time I check in here now, I am inspired to write. Thank you!

(I might get a chance to actually write after the holiday, and if I can get my girls to sleep ;>)


Sarah Hina said...

Kimberely, yes, brevity!

If you do ever read my novel, you'll see my more self-indulgent, writing side. Trust me. ;)

And thanks for returning some of that inspiration to me! I really love your blog. So glad we made that connection. Kundera and tree porn...what more could I ask for?? :)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

What a wonderfully written scene.

Their banter is so natural - the friendly chit-chat and the awkward small talk - so very real.

And - what a treat to hear Ray Charles and Betty Carter!

I found this delightfully romantic. It makes me want to dig out my records! Thanks! :)

ChrisEldin said...

I love the teasing in your romance!

(The song isn't loading for me, but I'll be back....)

Sarah Hina said...

K, there is nothing like that scratch of a record player. :)

Thank you for your wonderful comments! I enjoyed writing this more light, and flirtatious, scene. Those are the cringe-worthy moments we play on repeat after. Both for their pain and pleasures. ;)

Chris, thank you! I had a little fun with the playfulness here. Who knew Thanksgiving could be sexy? ;) I usually just want to take a nap...

laughingwolf said...

the nap comes after, as if you didn't know :O lol

Sheri said...

You're the master at dialogue - the spoken AND the unspoken!

Sarah Hina said...

Laughingwolf, you're right, of course. LOL! :)

Sheri, thank you! These dialogue-filled vignettes are coming much easier to me now. I really like trying to say as much as I can with fewer words. :)

Vesper said...

I’m so looking forward to these vignettes of yours, Sarah. You have an exceptional gift with dialogue and with capturing “little” things – feelings, gestures, moods, silences – in wonderful words.
This is a lovely, lovely piece!

His cheeks felt like two chestnuts, roasting. :-)

Barbara Martin said...

At first I thought they were friends, and men being men, who can't help it when their blood surges. It was the pregnant pause of indecision that caught me, when I realized they weren't close friends. You covered the awkwardness of the moment well.

David Cranmer sent me over and I'm glad I made the trip.