A Dartmoor Christmas
In her younger years, Whitney always thought being someone’s wife would feel drastically different from her regular life. As it turned out, it wasn’t so different after all. She lived in an apartment above a bakery, and she had this whole new family of in-laws…who were outlaws. And she, if anything, had more freedom than before; answering to a husband was nothing like answering to an overprotective sibling. But for the most part, her second Christmas with Tango felt a lot like every other Christmas – only enhanced.
And plus this pressure she felt to make the holiday extra special for her husband.
Tango had never suggested that he needed or wanting anything from her for Christmas. Just last night he’d caught her around the waist and pulled her into a deep, wet kiss, smiling as he pulled back, happiness and contentment radiating off his skin like steam. “I love you,” he’d said, and held her close while he admired their Christmas tree, wedged into the corner by the TV, draped in colored lights and shining its holiday spirit across their living room.
“I have no idea what to get him,” she confessed across the phone.
On the other end of the line, Ava said, “Hmm. I’d give you advice, but Tango isn’t like Mercy or Aidan when it comes to gift-giving.”
“What are you getting Mercy?”
“A new knife.”
Samantha and Ava were together, wherever they were, because Sam said, “Aidan wanted brass knuckles. Brass knuckles.”
Ava snorted. “You didn’t expect something normal, did you?”
“No,” Sam sighed. “But I hoped.”
“Tango, though,” Whitney said. It was sometimes an effort to call him by his club name, but he’d told her he preferred that; there were too many negative memories tied up with Kevin. “He won’t want that.”
“I wouldn’t think so,” Ava agreed. “But riding gear is always a good option. Gloves, glasses, boots. That sort of thing.”
“Yeah.” Whitney felt a tug of disappointment in her gut. She wanted to buy something special, something that held meaning beyond riding for Tango.
“I’ve got the kids, so…” Ava started.
“That’s fine, I’ll talk to you later,” Whitney assured.
They hung up, and then Whitney was alone with the tree, and their small apartment, and the scent of fresh bread that wafted up from the bakery below. She knew that Ava had been helpful – at least she’d tried to be – but she was a little miffed when she thought about how generic her advice had been. Tango was in the club, sure, but that had nothing to do with their connection as husband and wife. Biker and old lady. Whitney wanted her gift to be something special.
The sound of a key in the door signaled Tango’s arrival. She stowed her phone and turned to greet him. “Hi, baby!”
“Hi,” he greeted, smiling in a way that lit up his skinny face. Damn, but he was beautiful, with his blonde hair tousled by the wind, and his face nipped with cold, pink in the cheeks and nose.
She loved him so much.
“Hungry?” she asked, moving to the stove where she had chicken cooking, breasts and thighs drenched in butter and herbs.
“Yeah, smells good.”
All the while she opened the oven and pulled out the chicken, Whitney pondered what she ought to get her husband for Christmas. He was always beautiful, no matter how tattered and road-worn his clothes. She loved the way his cologne mixed with the salt-tang of sweat and sun and Knoxville. The most immediate answer was a phone, or tablet, or some sort of technical gift. He didn’t read much, or spend any time anywhere save the clubhouse and Bell Bar, and that was just to spend time with his club brothers.
Long story short, Tango didn’t have wants and needs outside of their home or his club.
That left Whitney feeling a little inadequate.
“Mercy called,” he said as he toed off his boots and walked into the kitchen. “He said we’re invited to Christmas dinner at their house.”
“Mercy and Ava’s? Or Ghost and Maggie’s?”
“Mercy and Ava’s. They’re hosting this year, what with the kids and all.”
Ugh, why did she feel so awkward?
He finally stepped into the kitchen, slipped his arms around her waist and hooked his chin over her shoulder, nuzzling into her neck. “Hi, baby,” he whispered. “Missed you today.”
She clasped her hands with his where they rested against her middle. “Missed you too,” she whispered back.
They stood like that a long moment, swaying back and forth to a rhythm in Tango’s head.
“I need to go shopping,” she said, finally.
His hands moved to her hips, palms cupped around her hipbones, and squeezed. “You’re not shopping for me, I hope.”
“I…” She had no clever, covert response to that.
“Aw, baby, no, you don’t need to.”
“Well, I…” He ran his teeth down the back of her neck, nipped at the tender skin just above the neckline of her sweater. “I have to get you something,” she blurted inelegantly. “What do you want?”
He chuckled, and his hands ducked beneath the sweater’s hem. “I have an idea or two.”
“Oh no. Sex doesn’t count as a present.”
“But what if that’s what I want?”
“Too bad. Pick something else.”
“Can there be sex in addition?”
She laughed – she had to. “Sure. Sex in addition.”
“Okay, good. Socks and underwear just weren’t gonna cut it,” he teased.
Really, Whitney thought, smiling to herself, him being loose and comfortable enough to joke with her like this was the best gift of all.