“Merry Christmas Fiancé.” Xavier crooned, his arm, lay snaked around my waist moved, and tightened around me. “I love you.”
I smiled and curved into his warm body, I hadn't expected the proposal. Marriage wasn't something we had talked about. We had been so busy with the tour that our burgeoning relationship, and being together in the moment was more important than the future. In true Xavier style though, he had challenged my thinking and saying no had never been an option.
“I love you too Xavier.” I replied sleepily.
I opened my eyes and looked out the window of our hotel. “It looks like it's going to be a scorching day.”
“Is it bad that I just want to spend it wrapped up in bed with you?” Xavier murmured into my ear, his warmth breath sent ripples down my back. I liked the idea of spending the entire day together, just the two of us, but it wasn't possible, not today.
“I think our families might have a problem with that. We're supposed to meet in the conference room at 9am.” I yawned.
“Trust our fathers to rent out the conference room for Christmas morning gift swapping.”
I smiled, it was a completely typical thing for them to do, but I didn't care. Spending the holidays with our families on Christmas day was something that I was thankful for. With a great deal of reluctance I untangled myself from Xavier and sat on the edge of the bed.
“Come on sleepyhead, it's already 8:30, we need to get in the shower now if we're going to make it in time.” I moaned as I stood up and walked towards the bathroom.
“I think we ought to shower together don't you.” He jeered as I turned on the water. “Save time. Then we have more time to get ready.”
I rolled my eyes in jest and poked my head out of the bathroom door. “Come on then.”
It was 9:03am before we left the hotel room, Showering together had proved to be more of a time waster than showering alone because the minute we were in there, everything else was forgotten and we ended up fooling around like the lovesick couple we were. Time was not a factor, it didn't even seem to exist when we were together.
Once we were dry, dressed and running late, we ran down the corridor, Xavier held the box of gifts and I was busy tying up my still wet hair.
“Why do I feel like I'm late for a board meeting?” I groaned.
“Because our fathers are sticklers for punctuality?” Xavier offered. he was right, our fathers were partners in business. Punctuality was generally pretty important to them. Luckily for us, there was many others to capture their time in the time we had taken for ourselves.
We walked into the conference room and sighed with relief. The tables and chairs were up against the wall. They had redecorated the room so it had a genuine American Christmas feel, right down to a TV fireplace. Although we were in a boardroom, it felt like home.
“Xavier! Scarlett!” Isla rushed over and embraced us, interrupting my thoughts. “I have the best news”
Jay walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. They looked lovingly at each other and Isla giggled. “I'm pregnant.” She whispered softly, leaning in so no one else could hear.
“Oh my god, really?” I murmured, yanking her from Jay’s arms and into mine.
“Yes, we're waiting until 12 weeks to tell everyone, but I couldn't keep you in the dark. You're like a sister to me.”
“Congratulations!” I squealed.
Jay and Xavier shook hands.
“Hey guys, are we ready to start?” Dad called out as he walked over with two glasses of what looked to be eggnog.
I pulled back from Isla and looked over at dad. Xavier and I took the glasses then nodded.
The gift giving took well over an hour. By the time we were finished I'd had two glasses of eggnog and a glass of brandy. I felt tipsy and lightheaded.
“Just like a white Christmas back home.” I mumbled to Xavier. “Half cut before lunch time.”
He just laughed and wrapped his arms around me. “I'm just glad to be spending it with you.”
Before I could reply with the same sentiments, the boardroom door opened. DJ walked in holding a bag of presents. My stomach dropped. I'd told him when Xavier had proposed, that I was going to tell him about the change in tour plans the next night. Only I hadn't told anyone yet, least of all my fiancé.
I stared at the ground, trying to work out my best plan of attack. Keeping DJ and Xavier apart was going to be impossible. It didn't matter though, because I didn't have time to execute anything. DJ headed straight for us. He held out a present each, the same size. Slowly I unwrapped, while Xavier eagerly ripped his open.
“It's that new phone! These are pricy DJ!” He sounded like an excited school kid, while I just wanted to throw up with worry.
“They're awesome, some groundbreaking technology has gone in to those phones.” DJ murmured. He looked down at me, as I slowly peeled back the paper. My present was the same, except taped to the box was a list of cities.
“Those are the places the promo tour is going to take you. Six months of intensive promotion.”
Xavier's interest was piqued. He sat forward, I felt his arm slip from my waist. Fuck. “What's that?” he questioned, his voice was more than a little confused.
DJ eyed me critically then looked back at Xavier, then back at me. “You said you were telling him.”
“Not today...” I urged with heavy eyes. Today was not the day to drop that bomb.
“Telling me what?” Xavier placed his phone down and grabbed my hand. “Scarlett... tell me what?”
I sighed and handed the cellphone box to Xavier. He read it, then shoved it back in my hands.
“These dates start in January” He said tersely. “In three weeks to be exact.”
“Can we enjoy today and talk about this tomorrow?” I pleaded.
Xavier stood up and shook his head. “You're keeping secrets from me Scarlett. We're engaged to be married. We don't need to keep secrets from each other.”
He walked away, out of the conference room. I looked over at Isla whose face sat in a confused frown. She'd heard everything, I knew it. I could see the hurt in her eyes.
I stood up and ran from the room. I needed to sort Xavier out first, Isla and everyone else would need to wait.
I found him back in the room, sitting on our unmade bed, his head was in his hands. My heart pinched with guilt. I’d hurt him.
“He lied to me.” He croaked. “He said he wouldn't separate us.”
“It was out of his control.” I exclaimed. “The other executives overruled him. They're seeing it from a bottom line point of view. I'm not making them mega dollars while I'm flying around on your coat tails.”
Xavier looked up at me, his face contorted. He was angry, beyond angry even. I swallowed back my guilt and willed it away, but it was fruitless.
“I don't give a shit about some stupid record company’s bottom line.” Xavier almost yelled. “I care about you! About us. I don't think I can do a six month separation.”
“So we'll meet in the middle every moment we have spare. We'll call every night and send ridiculous snapchats to one another. We'll make it work Xavier. We have too. I love you, but we have a job where we can't be together all the time.”
Xavier pushed a pillow angrily off the bed and stood up.. “You should have told me. How long have you known.” he looked down, avoiding my eye contact.
“Two weeks.” I whispered, embarrassed that I had kept it to myself for so long.
Xavier sighed heavily and ran his fingers through his hair. He didn’t look up, yet all I wanted was to see his face, to get lost in his hazel eyes so I knew that everything was going to be okay.
“I am so angry right now Scar… I don't know what to say or do.” He walked over to the door. “I'm going for a walk. We'll talk when I get back. Oh and Scarlett... Merry fucking Christmas.”
The door slammed shut behind him, my broody lover, was still the same man he had always been. His emotions still got the better of him sometimes. Especially when I did stupid things that hurt him directly. Like not telling him about the promo tour. Guilt surged through me. I hated that he was angry with me. I sat down on the bed, the thought of going back to the conference room without Xavier and facing everyone alone filled me with dread so I just waited.
Xavier returned after 20 or so minutes. He was still stone-faced when he walked back into the room and over to me. “We can't get married if you don't talk to me.” he said calmly. my stomach dropped to the floor and tears lined my eyes almost instantly.
“You don't want to marry me anymore?” I whispered, my voice cracked under the sheer emotional strain. Xavier tensed and shook his head. “No Scarlett, I want to marry you like my life depends on it. I want to be the one you call your husband. I want to be the guy you wake up to every single morning, and I want to father your children. I just want you to talk to me. I don't want you to hide stuff from me.”
“I'm sorry.” I mumbled, I let my head fall forward, a couple of wayward tears fell from my eyes to the floor. I had been stupid to hide it. After hiding from the truth for so many years I should have known.
His face softened and he took my hand in his. “I understand why you didn't tell me. I'm not happy about the situation and I don't even want to contemplate being separated from you by thousands of miles. You were worried about my reaction, I get it.”
I nodded. “And I feel guilty for wanting to go.”
Xavier pulled into his arms and lifted my chin with his free hand. “It's a brilliant opportunity for you, the record company sees something in you, the same thing I see. The same thing thousands of people see night after night. It's not a surprise, and you shouldn't feel guilty.”
He pressed his lips against mine, momentarily rendering me incapable of thought once again.
“Just don't hide stuff from me Babe, Especially the important stuff.”
“We should go back down.” Xavier murmured, his gaze still firmly fixed on mine.
“You're not angry at me?” I smiled with hope.
“I'm still a little angry.” he replied. “But looking into your eyes is fixing that.”
I moved my hands down to my shirt and slowly lifted it up and over my head. “How about now.”
His gaze drifted downward, and I watched as his eyes popped. “You're not wearing a bra.” He spoke with a slightly high pitch voice. His hands slid over my hips and up over my breasts.
“Anger disintegrating.” He whispered, reaching down. He pulled at the button on my jeans until he managed to slip it through the eye.
“I know what you're doing.” he muttered, lifting his own shirt off. “And it’s working.”
I let out a girlish giggle. I was glad it hadn't got past him that I was using my body to salve the burn of my lie. “Good.”
We kissed as Xavier backed me on to the bed. I was naked apart from the lace boy-leg panties I wore. With expert precision Xavier removed them, then let himself drink in my body. His breathing hitched and he lifted me by the hips. “I need to be with you.” He murmured. “No mucking around.”
I nodded in agreement. Right now I just needed Xavier.
He pulled out a foil package from the side drawer. He teared it open with his teeth then placed it on. He buried himself inside of me and held me as tightly as he could. Our breathing entangled together low and hot. Connected in a way that bound us for eternity. His face lay rested in the curve of my neck. His tempo was hard and fast, and I could tell he was holding on by a thread. I lost myself, let go and floated into an abyss of pleasure. His arms held me like only he could and as he called out my name I fell apart with him.
“Twice in as many hours.” Xavier whispered, his breathing shallow. He moved off me, kissing the tip of my nipple as he did so. “You're insatiable.”
“Well we should head back down, but I'm up for round three in an hour if you are.”
Xavier leaned over and kissed me. “And that is why I love you.”
“You cheeky perv.”
“Guilty as charged.” He held up his hand and nodded. “Come on, let's get dressed. I spied another bottle of brandy in the conference room.”
We dressed, and then headed back down. I took a deep breath before walking back inside the conference room. I had to compose myself. I knew there would be questions, and I needed to prepare myself to answer them.
So much for a relaxing Christmas on the beach.