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A Merry Little Christmas(9)

By:Melanie Schuster

Suddenly Donnie's appetite deserted him, while his thirst became  unbearable. He went into the kitchen to find a huge glass, and was in  the process of filling it with ice and water from the refrigerator's  dispenser when he detected the faint temptation of Angelique's perfume.  Sure enough, there she was behind him, holding two glasses and waiting  for her turn at the water. And this time she was looking right at him.  He looked at her and could feel his face heating up, although for the  life of him he couldn't understand why. He gulped the water rapidly and  would have filled the glass again, had Angelique not spoken.

"Adonis, you don't look too happy," she said frankly. "It's not good  luck to start the New Year with a bad disposition, you know."                       


Donnie rolled the cold glass between his palms, trying to cool off the  burst of warmth that had encompassed him. He eyed her warily as she set  down her two glasses on the cupboard.

"It's not? Well, I sure don't want to have any bad luck," he mumbled. He  looked at the water glass in his hand as though it were a relic from an  alien civilization. He'd seen one of these before; he just couldn't  remember what it was for. Angelique seemed to know, however, as she took  it from his hand and set it on the cupboard with the ones she'd just  discarded.

"I don't want you to have any bad luck either, Adonis," she said as she  came closer to him. "I want you to have a happy New Year." And taking  hold of the front of his cashmere sweater, she gently pulled him down to  her level and kissed him softly and sweetly.


The new year dawned bright and cold. There was no snow to speak of, but  in Michigan, you never knew about the weather. Angelique lived in hope  that there would be a big snow, and soon. She found that the cold  weather of her new home suited her and she was anxious for a huge  snowfall; she'd never had the chance to really play in the snow. While  Paris was relaxing in the living room, Angelique was in her bedroom,  rearranging her already fastidiously organized closet. She'd also taken  everything out of her dresser drawers and put in new scented liners,  dusted and polished all the furniture and put clean linens on the bed.  She'd also done a couple of loads of laundry. Angelique didn't believe  in starting a new year with dirty clothes in the house Finally, she  stood in the middle of her bedroom and surveyed her surroundings.  Everything was sparkling clean, the way she liked it. The rest of the  house was immaculate as always, and everything was ready for the open  house the next day. She walked over to the window and looked out; maybe a  long walk would do her some good, blow some of the cobwebs away. She  was in the same pensive pose when Paris's voice came though her doorway.

"My goodness, woman, you're like a machine! Come work some of that magic  in my room, you know it needs it," Paris said cheerfully.

Angelique followed Paris into her sunny bedroom and quickly hung up the  few garments arrayed on the bed and the small slipper chair. Paris  guiltily gathered up the magazines spread across the bed and put them on  the small desk that sat in front of the large window in lieu of a  dressing table. "These are like homework for me," she confessed. "I read  all of TDG's publications and everybody else's, too, just to stay  current with the industry. Once my internship here is over I'll be just  about ready to assume a permanent position in Atlanta, and, I have to  tell you, I'm not quite sure what I want to do. My bachelor's degree is  in journalism but that MBA in leadership is pulling me in another  direction," she continued as she rearranged the items on her desktop.

While Paris was talking, Angelique had stripped the bed, dispatched the  linens to the hallway and fetched clean sheets from the linen closet.  She was almost finished making the bed when she suddenly whirled around  and looked at her cousin.

"Paris, I did something really stupid," she said slowly. When Paris  turned around to face her, she blurted it out in a rush. "I kissed  Adonis last night."

Instead of looking shocked, Paris immediately smiled with glee. "Girl,  why are you wasting time with those stupid sheets? Tell me everything!  Was it good? Did you like it? Did he like it? Where was it?"

Angelique spread the blanket and duvet over the bed and then flopped  across it with a huge sigh. Paris sat down on the end of the bed and  crossed her legs yoga style. She reached over and shook Angelique's arm  as she launched her inquisition again.

"Angel, don't lay there like you're dead; you'd better tell me something! When did he kiss you and what was it like?"

Angelique moaned slightly and rolled over on her back before sitting up  to face her. "I kissed him, Paris," she said wearily. "Yes, I did. We  were in the kitchen. He was drinking water and I was getting some ice  water for Miss Martha and Mr. C and I have no idea, just no idea what  made me do it." Angelique's eyes went soft and dreamy as she recalled  the events of the night before. "He was just standing there looking  grumpy and mad like he usually does when he's around me. And all of a  sudden he started drinking that water and his Adam's apple was moving up  and down and his neck looked really sexy...." Her voice trailed off for  a moment, and then she finished in a rush. "I just reached up and  grabbed the front of his sweater and yanked him down and kissed him.  Just pounced on him. Can you believe I did that?"                       


Paris made no attempt to hide her amusement. "Yeah, I can believe it!  Why not? He's tall and handsome and sexy, why not kiss him?"

"Paris, Adonis and I don't even like each other! Yes, he's cute, but  I've never been the type to just walk around kissing cute guys for no  reason. I have no idea what came over me," she moaned. "He was just  standing there looking lost and all of a sudden I'm all over him like a  cheap suit. I can't even begin to tell you how embarrassed I am about  this. I'm never going to live this down."

"Oh, come on, now, it wasn't that bad," Paris said bracingly. "It was  New Year's Eve, a traditional time for kissing. How did he act when you  were doing all this smooching? Did he push you away or gag or run out of  the room or something?"

Angelique's eyes got dreamy again when she remembered the kiss. "No, he  didn't do any of those things," she said softly. "He was a little  surprised at first, I think, but then he started kissing me back and it  was wonderful. He's a great kisser, Paris. He's a wonderful kisser. He  has the softest lips and his mouth was still cold from the ice water but  it was hot at the same time and he just... well, let's just say it was a  great way to start the New Year," she said with a soft sigh of  contentment.

So that's why brotherman was staring at you the rest of the night, Paris  thought. I knew something was up. "So what's next? What's your plan?"  Paris asked with a sly smile.

"My plan? I have no plan other than trying to avoid him for the next few  months until he forgets all about last night. I'm telling you, Paris,  it may have been a harmless gesture that kind of backfired but he's  going to hold this over my head forever. I still can't believe I did  that." She sighed, rubbing her hand across her forehead. "If I had to  lose my itty-bitty mind last night, why on earth did I lose it with him?  Why?" Again, she moaned dramatically as she once more threw herself  face down on the bed.

This time Paris did give a short burst of laughter, but she also gave  Angelique a comforting pat on the back. "C'mon, girl, it's not that bad.  Let's get ready to go, you know everybody is expecting us at Alan's.  You'll feel better once you've faced him and see it's not as bad as you  think."

Angelique rolled over and looked at Paris as though she'd lost her mind.  "Are you crazy? I'm not going anywhere near that open house! In fact,  I'm not going near any of the Cochrans until Easter, at least! Adonis  Bennett Cochran is the last person on earth I want to see."

Chapter Four

Donnie's reaction to events of the previous evening was slightly  different from Angelique's. He had risen early the next day and taken  Jordan and Pippen out for a run, a much longer run than usual, and they  were now lolling in front of his fireplace, dead to the world. Donnie  would have joined them in slumber, but his mind was in overdrive. After  what had happened between him and Angelique the night before, he had a  lot to think about Some details were hazy, such as the moments right  before the kiss, but one thing was certain: Angelique had kissed him. An  unexpected, unsolicited and completely delightful kiss, at that.