DISCLAIMER: I'd love to own the rights to this wonderful series, but sadly I don't.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Spirit of Giving
This has got to be the worst headache I've ever had, and for once, Princess isn't the cause. Nope, this time my head hurts for no apparent reason; no tension, no stress, no Blair. Pulling the pillow over my face to block out the light coming in from the window, I try my best to relax. I sure hope these pain pills kick in soon.
My brief solitude is cut short when the door to the room impacts the wall, sounding like a shot out of a cannon. I groan aloud when I recognize the voice coming my way.
"Jo, I need your help," Blair says as my bed rocks when she sits down next to me. Too bad it's not rocking for another reason; damn, my aching head won't even let me enjoy my own humor.
"Go away, Blair," is my muffled reply.
"Not until you promise to take me down to Harrison's department store. They're getting in a new shipment of Glo Worms this afternoon, and I need you to take me. Mrs. Garrett has another engagement, and my usual driver has to take the car in for repairs," Blair explains as my head moves to a new level of pain.
"I'm not supposed to go back there. Remember the little shoplifting incident?" I manage to answer coherently despite the sound of the drum tune currently playing behind my eyes.
"Oh Jo, that was years ago. I'm sure Mr. Harrison's forgotten all about that by now," Blair replies as she somehow manages to wrestle the pillow from my grasp.
Opening my eyes, I'm almost blinded, but I can't tell if it's from the intensity of the light or the beauty of the girl sitting on my bed. I quickly close them because, this close, Blair might be able to tell what I was thinking or at least wonder why I was staring at her with my mouth agape.
"What's wrong, Jo? Are you sick?" Blair asks, placing her hand on my forehead.
Where my hands are rough and calloused, hers are soft and, oh so feminine. I keep perfectly still in hopes that she will maintain contact a little longer, but it's not meant to be as Natalie bursts into the room.
"Hey guys, whatcha doing?"
Blair quickly removes her hand from my head, and I reopen my eyes just in time to see her jump from the bed as if she's been shocked. What the hell?
"Er, Jo's . . . um, not feeling well," Blair says in an uncharacteristic stutter.
"That's good to know. Oh, not because you're sick Jo, but because it looked like Blair was leaning forward to kiss you," Natalie explains.
"What? I was doing no such thing. I was merely offering Jo some comfort," Blair protests a little too vehemently.
"Well, you certainly looked comfortable to me," Natalie mutters.
"What?" Blair asks in a raised voice.
"Nothing, just remarking that Jo needs to get more comfortable," Natalie smoothly replies.
If my head didn't hurt before, it certainly does now. Thinking hurts and thinking about the prospect of Blair kissing me doesn't help at all. A couple of hours of peace and quiet would go a long way to remedy what ails me.
Deciding to do whatever it takes to ensure some solitude, I ask, "What time do you need to leave, Blair?"
Smiling, she replies, "The manager said the shipment wouldn't arrive until 3:00, so I thought we could leave at 2:30."
Yes, perfect. That will give me several hours to sleep this headache off.
"Fine, why don't you take Natalie with you and come back around 2:15 to wake me?"
Blair loops her arm through Natalie's and heads toward the door.
"C'mon, Natalie. Let's go downstairs and let Jo get some sleep."
The door closes behind the two of them, and I roll on my side away from the light. Now, if I can only get Blair out of my head, maybe I can get some sleep.
A soft touch to my face awakens me, and I lean into the touch with a smile.
"Jo? Jo, you need to wake up. It's almost time to go," the voice sweetly whispers.
Blair always sounds so nice and sexy in my dreams. Why can't she sound like that when I'm awake? Turning my head, I lightly kiss the phantom hand only to discover a solid form.
Shit! I think I just kissed Blair. Well, her hand anyway. I quickly turn back over and feign sleep. Maybe she'll think I'm dreaming or something.
"Jo, you said you'd take me to Harrison's," Blair says in a whiny voice.
Turning back over, I make a big production of yawning and stretching. Blair immediately stands and adds, "Okay, you're awake. Let's go."
She walks out the door, and I grumpily rise to put on my shoes. Checking my appearance in the mirror, I shrug my shoulders and head downstairs to meet up with Blair. At least, my headache seems to be gone.
When we arrive at the store, there's a line from the entrance through the parking lot and around the corner. Blair, of course, ignores the mass of humanity and walks up to the front door. Entering, she makes the attempt to turn down the corridor leading to the toy department; however, her progress is stopped by a big burly security guard.
"Ma'am, you can't go this way. You'll have to go to the end of the line," the large woman explained.
"I'm sorry, Miss ...Jones," Blair replies after squinting to read the woman's name tag.
Smiling, she continues, "I just need to run to the toy department and pick up a Glo Worm. Mr. Thomas, the store manager, called to let me know there was a shipment today."
The guard stands in the middle of the corridor with her arms folded. Shaking her head, she replies, "No one gets down this hallway unless they've waited their turn. Mr. Thomas, himself, instructed me to make sure no one, and I mean no one, breaks in line."
"If you'd be so kind as to call Mr. Thomas, I can assure you he wouldn't mind if I quickly made my purchase," Blair assures the guard.
Several minutes later, we are both escorted outside by the security guard and her friend, the incredible hulkess, and the customers waiting in line cheer as we're booted out the door.
"Well, I never," Blair protests as she straightens her clothes.
"That would be your problem, blondie," the hulkess replies as she turns and re-enters the store.
"Jo, are you going to let her get away with that?" Blair asks of me.
"Are you kidding? That woman could bench press me over her head without having to strain. Of course, I'm going to let her talk to you like that."
Blair turns on her heel and heads around the corner to get into line while I slowly follow behind. Maybe I should have at least acted like I was upset about her treatment, but it's high time she learned that she can't always get her way.
We stand in line for well over an hour until we finally make it to the store's entrance. Just as we step foot in the doorway, the security guard from earlier announces, "If you're here to purchase a Glo Worm, I'm sorry to inform you that we've sold out. The next shipment should arrive on January 7."
The customers begin to yell and shout, but Blair stumbles away and walks to a nearby bench. Leaning over, she puts her face in her hands and begins to cry. Oh crap, I hate it when she cries.
I make my way over and take a seat next to her. Placing my hand on her back, I softly rub up and down her spine.
"What am I going to do, Jo? This was my last hope. My dad has even called a few friends, but these damn worms are so hard to come by. I promised Ella I would get her a Glo Worm for Christmas. I can't let her down," Blair says in between the resulting hiccups from her crying jag.
"It's okay, Blair. Why don't we go to the toy department and pick out something else for Ella?"
"No, Jo. You don't understand. Ella is one of the orphans I read to on Wednesday afternoons, and Glo Worms are all she's talked about for the last two months. She doesn't have any family so getting her a Glo Worm would hopefully make this Christmas special instead of sad. I can't let her down," a distraught Blair explains.
"Let's just go into the store and find something, just in case you're not able to find a Glo Worm. She'd be more disappointed if she didn't get anything, don't you think?"
Nodding her head, Blair stands, and I reach down to take her hand. Together, we walk into the store past both security guards on our way to find a substitute gift.
We look at all the stuffed animals, but none of them is a suitable substitute for the stuffed Glo Worm. Finally, Blair settles for a soft teddy bear, but she is clearly disappointed when she pays for the purchase.
I've now got a new goal for Christmas; somehow, I have to find a Glo Worm for Blair to give little Ella.
Weeks pass and still no luck. I've even enlisted the help of my uncle Tony, not caring what means are used to secure one of those damn Glo Worms. My luck finally changes two days before Christmas, and the day Blair is going to take Ella her present.
I walk into Mrs. G's den with brown paper bag in hand and find Blair sitting in the middle of the floor wrapping presents. She doesn't even acknowledge my presence as I watch her hold the teddy bear and sigh. Placing the bear in a box, she very slowly begins the process of wrapping.
"Hey, Blair. I got you something," I say as I move to sit next to her.
"I don't want anything this year, Jo. Poor little Ella is getting a stupid bear so I shouldn't get one thing," a disappointed Blair answers.
Sliding the bag into her lap, I reply, "This is one gift I think you're going to like."
Turning toward me, she frowns and then looks back at the simple sack.
"You didn't even wrap it, Jo. Christmas presents are supposed to be wrapped," Blair explains as she reaches for the top of the bag.
Looking inside, her eyes widen, and she slowly pulls the Glo Worm out of the sack.
"Oh, Jo. Where'd you find one?" Blair asks as she hugs the stuffed toy tightly to her chest.
"I had a friend who was able to find one for me," I answer with a shrug.
There's no way I'm telling her who gave me this. Although, I think she would even accept this from Uncle Tony, but just to be safe, I keep the donor as a friend.
I'm literally caught off guard when Blair suddenly jumps into my arms, and we both topple over with Blair on top. Looking down into my eyes, she smiles and slowly leans down to kiss me.
Holy shit! Blair Warner is kissing me . . . on the lips . . . and is that her tongue?
Uncle Tony is now my favorite uncle, hands down.
Releasing my lips, Blair grins as she sits up and pulls me with her. Good thing, too, because I'm sure I would have been frozen in that position for at least a couple of hours.
"Jo, you've made my Christmas. Ella is going to be so happy," Blair says, reaching over to tear the wrapping off the bear box. She removes it and gently places the Glo Worm into the box; once again, she begins the process of wrapping.
I sit in my position next to Blair watching as she wraps this gift with infinite care. Satisfied with the result, she places a big red ribbon on top and quickly kisses me again before she rises from the floor.
Maintaining my position on the rug, I look up as Blair hands the bear down to me. Confused, I take the bear and sit it in my lap.
"Keep the bear, Jo. You've earned it," Blair says as she walks toward the stairs with her newly wrapped present.
Half-way up the stairs, she turns and adds, "Oh, I should be back on New Year's Eve so the bear should keep you nice and warm until then. Don't get too attached to it though; I plan to take its place at the stroke of midnight."
With my chin on the floor, I watch as Blair walks the rest of the way up the stairs. As she disappears into our room, I'm thankful that I'm already sitting because I fall backwards in shock and hit my head on the floor.
I smile when my head begins to pound knowing that Blair is responsible, but this time, I welcome the reason for the pain.
It truly is better to give than to receive, but hopefully, I'll be on the receiving end as well come New Year's Eve.
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